Wednesday, December 28, 2011
My second pot of narcissus has been much more successful: the first bloom opened Christmas day, and now I have clusters of them. Love the scent, love the shape, love the whiteness against sparkling white snow outside the kitchen window.
And: my pink amaryllis was also in bloom when I got home from work today. It's got four flowers on the main stem (two open, two to come) and another large bud on a secondary stem about to surge up too. The second amaryllis (an orange one) is just beginning to grow . . .
We are running out of food much more quickly with both children at home. When I went to the grocery store after work yesterday, the boxes containing narcissus bulbs/earth/pot had been just marked down to just $1 a box!
So you can bet I snaffled up two more kits right away!! I'll get them planted up this coming weekend.
Monday, December 26, 2011
Don't really know: but yeah, much too much!!
Cinnamon bun and fresh fruit salad for breakfast. Quite a few appetizers. Mostly shrimp, raw veggies with humus/salsa . . . but also a couple of cheesie pastries. And two Virgin Caesars.
And then: a small serving of each of everything I'd put on the table. Turkey, stuffing, smashed potatoes, broccoli, carrots, corn, stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce, a small croissant with butter and . . . I simply clocked in somebody's 2011 Thanksgiving Dinner on the nutrition tracker as a kind of proxy -- such a wild number that it's gotta be more than I actually ate -- - and that person had very kindly included fat and protein and calories and carbs. Thank you!!
It was a great day -- family, friends, music, laughter, some lovely gifts: and too much food. My brother-in-law brought home made-lemon blueberry cheesecake and I even had a sliver of that! -- with a tiny sliver of cherry pie!!.
And now I'm taking all of it to the gym.
I very very rarely eat those kind of foods. Today I'm reminded of why I don't: my digestive system is simply not geared up to accommodate them! Not just the calories, but in particular that amount of fat. And that length of time sitting, although believe me, I also did a lot of zooming around the kitchen wrassling everything onto the table. Even my patented "pre fab" approach (frozen pre-stuffed turkey, canned cranberry sauce with add-ins, canned turkey gravy with thyme and sage etc. etc. ) does not eliminate all of the labour!
Suffice it to say, I had more than an elegant satiety. I know that I'll feel much much better when I've burned a little of it on the elliptical cross trainer. And done a lower body ST workout!
Bring it on!!
Friday, December 23, 2011
. . . . . and it must have been difficult. Worrying.
Money worries? Certainly: the taxes were due, after all. Not easy.
Riding a donkey to Bethlehem at 8.9 months pregnant? Not easy.
No room in the inn, having to labour and deliver in a stable? Not easy.
And then accepting that she was the mother of the Messiah? Couldn't have been easy at all.
But: (and meaning no disrespect, absolutely none) Mary only had to do it once. Once only.
Moreover, she had lots of help.
The greetings department was expertly managed by a heavenly host of angels. Better than Christmas cards or emails: no trips to the post office, no stamps, no inbox overloads from photo blogs.
The shepherds visiting handled all the travel arrangements themselves. No pickups at the airport or the bus station.
Gift shopping? Thank to the magi, all wrapped up and delivered. No Visa bills after the event.
House cleaning? Not a big concern, under the circumstances. Maybe a little extra hay spread around.
Baking? The baby Jesus wasn't yet interested in gingerbread houses. No shortbread required for refreshments after the church pageant.
Decorating? One big star seems to have done the trick.
Music? A little lowing from the cattle . . . that apparently sufficed.
But since that first Christmas, all over the world women make Christmas happen over and over again, year after year, for their families. Maybe you're helping your mother and your sisters. Or it's your first time alone, Your fifth. Perhaps you've done it thirty times. Will do it fifty times, or more. In your lifetime. With help from your daughter as you get older.
Because in most families, it still is women who do most of the work. Who make Christmas happen. For everyone. Their own families, their relatives, and anyone who needs a place to go that special day so as not to be alone.
Okay, we're not pregnant every year. But most of us have been pregnant (or with young children) quite a few Christmases And young, middle aged, or getting on in years we still handle the visitors, the cleaning, the gift shopping, the wrapping, the grocery shopping, the baking, the meal planning, the decorations, the entertainment, the . . . yeah. All of that.
And did I mention, we also get ourselves all dooded up a bit too? Hair. Makeup. A pretty seasonal outfit. That's also suitable for leaning into a hot oven and lifting out a fully stuffed turkey??
Mary did it once. Once only, And by all accounts she kept it simple.
As I sit down in my house (decorated) with a fridge full of groceries and a small mound of gifts (wrapped) I think of Mary.
And what she did, once. Simply. Magnificently. Joyously.
What all of us have done over the past month. And what all of us will do, over the next 48 hours.
Mary Christmas? We are!! And Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas!!
Thursday, December 22, 2011
Winter solstice is, of course, the darkest evening of the year: and it's no coincidence that so many religions have a celebration of light, the gradually lengthening days to come.
Many of us will remember school days studying or even memorizing Robert Frost's deceptively simple poem on the topic:
Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
We stop and ponder the dark moments. Contemplate surrender to darkness. And then move on. To keep our commitments. Because there are more tasks to be completed.
And always the potential to be relieved by light, surprised by joy.
My first pot of narcissus was somewhat disappointing. The bulbs produced vigorous green leaves but only one blossom. I've got another pot which looks more promising. And my pink amaryllis is budding.
DS and DD, both home for the holidays, have been busily decorating the house while DH and I are at work. It was lovely to come home last night to see the Christmas tree, lit up, in the dining room bay window. And the Christmas village alight on the mantle.
Saturday, December 17, 2011
Last Monday was my annual Christmas shopping day . . . and I got most of it done.
But: today I was out looking for the "stocking stuff". Silly little items, mostly . . . A tiny toy airplane for my son, who's training to be a pilot. A princess tiara with glittery purple rhinestones and marabou for my darling daughter! Some dark chocolate . . . .
And I spotted some 100% cotton flannel ladies shirts. A red/black/white check. A grey/black/white check.
I've been wanting a couple cozy flannel shirts for awhile. To wear over a long-sleeved T or under a sweater, with my jeans on the weekends.
The Lands End or Woolrich or Eddie Bauer versions are nice . . . but pricey. Fifty bucks and up . . . plus shipping and customs into Canada.
These were marked down to $15 each. Well made, roll tabs on the sleeves, small breast pockets with the plaid on the diagonal and nicely matched horizontally across the front placket. Soft. Feminine fitted cut.
The check out gal asked me, "Are these for you?"
"Yes," I said. I bit shame faced. Wondering how she knew; maybe something proprietary about my pat as I folded them up. "Guess I shouldn't be shopping for myself/"
( I'm thinking that the red one will be great with my black jeans . . . and I've got a nice black jeans belt, leather, with appliquéd red leather stars. The grey will be great with my grey jeans . . . and yeah, I have the same belt with white stars as well!! Those belts were $2 each . . . love them).
By this point, check out gal has all my purchases parcelled up. And she is grinning at me. "We all do it, " she said. "We all buy something for ourselves while we're out Christmas shopping for gifts for everybody else."
So: what did you buy yourself for Christmas?
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