When It’s Cold Out

It’s been the snowiest December since 1970.  During the first storm, I wrote this post and forgot to publish.  I’ve adjusted a little better now, but it’s still applicable.

When it’s cold out, I get acrimonious.   MrH will try everything he knows how, but it’s never quite right or quite enough.  There is a tricky balance between expressing how you feel (need, cranky…) and loving the other by realizing that he is cold, too.  We both have the same goal: to get home quickly without falling on the slippery ice.

In those moments I want him to take charge, but don’t agree with his decisions when he does.  Recently, we’ve been seeing a portrayal of this in all its awfulness: know Nate and Jen on the Amazing Race?   If you don’t,you should watch it because they are like a caricature of how I get when it’s cold out.  Not pretty, not teamwork.  Working on it.

Cute, no?

I learned how to put snaps on for this little number:

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Blogging Lessons

Personally, I really love my mystery image below, even though Kate spoiled it by guessing correctly right off the bat 🙂  I still think that the snow-covered table looked more like a big fuzzy donut, and I was enchanted by it.  Hope some of you enjoyed the picture!

Lessons learned:

  • “mystery image” draws more visitors to my blog!  Too bad this wasn’t as exciting as circles in the cornfields
  • Ten comments is a bar that’s too high for us right now
  • Kate might still get her prize, just because I enjoy her (keep an eye on the mail!).  Even though she ruined my dream of being thought mysterious and exciting. A salesperson in a wine-store once called me “dark and mysterious,” as a result of my wine preferences.  I think that’ll just need to do for now.
  • I still like writing on my blog, even if I get zero readers (and I get more than that, so there!)

Mystery Image

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I recently took this picture, and by the time I uploaded images, had forgotten what it was of! While I’ve since remembered, I thought it’d be fun to see if anyone can guess what it is.

To win a prize: at least 10 different people need to take a guess, and yours needs to be the only correct one. Happy guessing!

Cookie Update

I had to come clean to the cookie party hosters (see here), and admit to not having a favorite cookie recipe at all! I offered to bring a log, and they vetoed me for fear of getting the ones with the Christmas tree in the middle!  But here is the secret: their chocolate chip, plain sugar cookies, or peanut butter cookies, are the SAME as if you’d made them from scratch!  Trust me, I know.

While I have never gone so far as to lie about the source of my cookies, I was able to keep up a cookie-foolin’ with MrH once.  During our first New Year’s together, I was still recovering from an extended illness and pretty weak.  We decided to make it a calm evening in and he picked up takeout from our favorite restaurant.  Well, I wanted to do something romantic and sweet for this amazing man I was dating, so I got a package of the soft Pepperidge farm cookies, displayed them prettily on a plate, and added some Hershey’s kisses to finish it off.  For years he thought I’d baked him cookies that night.  Ooops!

All that to say that nobody needs to know you used a package or a log.  Happy “baking!”

Weekend Feel

I’ve been sewing lots lately. Having the inspiration of numerous peoples’ blogs has been really fun, and I’m learning all sorts of things. My hope is that this can replace some of my purchased clothing and save me a few $$. So a few weeks ago I made this bag. I decided to make it a bag with a weekend-feel rather than something I’d tote on the T with me. I’m very satisfied with the end result:

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Both fabrics I used were pretty thin, 100% cotton, so I did add a layer of interfacing which helps provide a bit more structure. I’m really happy with how it came out, but will make a few changes before my next bag: longer strap that’s narrower up top, deeper, and a little less wide. I’ll also make it reversible and will find more fabulous buttons.

One thing that was fun is that it was my first time making something with a lining like that, which I was then able to also use in the stockings I’m making for Christmas.  I told a co-worker of mine who looked like she though I was kidding, but finally just shook her head (ever so slightly) and said “only you.”  I think she meant it as a compliment.

Cookie Recipe?

True confessions: I don’t have a favorite cookie. But I have to find one, and quick! You see, someone at work decided to host a get-together where we’ll bake cookies for our most gracious and wonderful volunteers (all 300 of ’em!). The idea is that we’ll each send our favorite cookie recipe, and will then each be assigned an ingredient to bring.

My dilemma? I make cookies from a refrigerated log; boxed mix when I’m feeling especially excitable. I’ll even mix in additional ingredients. But a favorite recipe from scratch? I can’t even remember the last time I made cookies from scratch!

So would you help me out and share your favorite with me? Just leave it in the comment section. I’ll let you know how it goes!

Decorating the Tree

After a week of having our tree up with lights but no ornaments, we finally took the time to decorate it. As is probably common, it always takes me back to the trees of my youth. tree04.jpgWe had gorgeous trees at home – full of silver balls with red bows, silver garlands, and an ornate, glass-blown tree-topper. Everything matched and sparkled, and neighbors commented on its beauty and elegance. I loved it.

So imagine my consternation when my dear MrH proposed hanging his handmade, felt, cookiemonster ornament front and center our first Christmas! He shouldn’t even be on the tree, let alone front and center!! But over the past few years I’ve gained new appreciation for the unique memories attached to each ornament and have even added a few of my own. Our tree-decorating experience is now filled with stories (with plenty of room for more, as the tree is a bit sparse!). “Oh, that’s the one I made with my Little Sister – it was so crowded with little girls, thankfully we found a corner and just hung out to make these!” “Remember how A gave you that ornament one year? So thoughtful.” “Aww your cousin’s kid made that one didn’t she? She’d worked so hard on her ornaments.” “You gave me that one last year, it was my first ornament!” And the ornate, glass-blown topper from childhood? My parents gave it to me when they moved into their RV!

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We plan to add some more ornaments to our tree this year – maybe as gifts to one another, maybe we’ll pick something up during our big trip to Phoenix. Time will tell, but there is plenty of space.

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Rhythms of the Year

Winter is drawing me into its blanket. My favorite spot now is nearest the radiator, cup of steaming cocoa in hand. In summer, I sit in front of my open window, peeking through the leafy green foliage as it becomes thicker and greener. But in winter, the shades might as well stay drawn since the harsh, gray light just makes it feel colder. I dress in layers now not because it’s cute, but because it’s warm. And I limit my trips outdoors, blasting the heat in the car until my face feels dry. Soap gets replaced with body wash, and extra bottles of body lotion get stashed around the house.

New England. The seasons change here, our habits change, our rhythms are cyclical. I don’t know how I’d live in a place where this doesn’t happen. These subtle, grounding changes remind me of priorities; remind me of today’s preciousness; keep me attuned to the divine. Age-old traditions point to these same rhythms, imposing structure on an otherwise meaningless passing of time. This year, I feel drawn to the idea of advent, the idea that there is a season for expectant waiting and yearning. The idea that as a church body, we delve into these experiences together, and that over the course of the year, we “are presented in an organized way with the opportunity to talk about, reflect upon, and respond to the entire range of faith confessions that lie at the heart of the Christian Faith” (see here).

And so, as I do every year, I stock up on wool socks, dust off my sweaters, re-learn how the 4-wheel drive works, and plan warm evenings at home. I replace the bonfire with a crackling one in the fireplace (or a WoodWick candle for those of us who don’t have a fireplace!); the bike with the car; the baseball cap with a wool hat; and my iced coffee with a hot one. I all but hibernate, loving every second of it, knowing that soon my snowdrops will peek up through the snow and I’ll be readying my garden, still attuned to the presence of the divine.

The Warm Fuzzies

It’s officially December and we bought ourselves a Christmas tree! It’s taller than either of us, beautifully straight, and a little skinny so it actually fits into the spot we have for it. It’s symmetrical, full of fresh needles, and when I came downstairs this morning, the scent of fresh pine was unmistakable. It’s not yet decorated, just sitting in our living room – the first of (hopefully) many trees over many years. A center for cozy memories yet to be created, and warm memories to be re-lived.

Usually I wouldn’t dream of getting it yet, buying into the idea that it’s “too early.” But hey, we’re leaving for warmer weather for the week of Christmas, so might as well get some good-old Christmas tree-in-a-drafty-house feelings in first, right? Today is the coldest day of the year, so we got it just in time to hole up inside with mugs of hot chocolate, strands of lights to untangle, and our favorite ornaments to unwrap. And if that weren’t enough, I’m teaching two friends how to make Christmas stockings today! Pictures to follow! (with no promise of “tomorrow,” since last week’s purse still hasn’t made it on here). Keep warm!