Thursday, December 28, 2023

Three On Thursday: A Holiday Postmortem

We made it. We are on The Other Side Of Christmas. We shopped, we bought, we wrapped, and we gave. We baked, we cooked, we served, and we packed up leftovers. We vowed that Next Year Will Be Easier/More Relaxed/Less About Stuff/In Costa Rica. We may have already Taken Down/Put Away all the decor (mine will be gone tomorrow). Lives will return to Normal if they haven't already. Let's do a little Post-Holiday Postmortem.

1. Theo:  It was beyond wonderful to have my baby grandson here for Christmas Eve and Christmas Morning. True, he didn't do much besides eat, sleep, coo and fuss a bit, and nap in his swing, but he was here. I held him, cuddled him, and he absolutely loved touring my kitchen with all the black and white Holstein cows to look at. Did he appreciate his gifts? Heck, he couldn't even open them, but he wore the Santa's Helper outfit (and hat!) that I bought him earlier and looked adorable. I took almost no photos, so I flunked that section of the Nana Test.

2. Food:  Last year I said I was never making Christmas Toffee again, and I lied. I made two batches, but I gave most of it away. For one batch I freestyled and used tiny pretzels as the base instead of saltine crackers, and it was a big hit. I have the ingredients to make one more batch, and I just might, but only to experiment with using potato chips as the bottom layer. Then I'll give it away, too, after I've tasted it to make sure it's good. I found little red and white metal buckets at a dollar store and used those, lined with tissue paper, to hold the gift toffee. 

3. Gifts:  So far, I have not heard of anyone needing to return anything, but I am vigilant about including gift receipts. All recipients seemed quite pleased with their things, and in spite of limited time, I was a thoughtful shopper and tried hard to be very personal. Zydrunas loves his treats and has already completely destroyed his toy, so Resounding Success there. Rick and I are returning to Niagara-on-the-Lake in January to attend a private party at our favourite winery, so that will be our gift to one another. There is sure to be another wine buy since they are releasing new vintages under a family label. Fingers crossed for good weather for us, especially through Buffalo. 

So, tell me--are you Christmased Out? On balance, was it a satisfying one? How did things stack up for you?

Friday, December 22, 2023

Happy At Last For Christmastime

My Happiness Meter is registering Glee, Joy, and Jubilation. Quite the turnaround since last week, I know. In the past seven days, I've completed my shopping, boxed and readied all gifts for wrapping (which will be done tonight), shopped and readied all food for Christmas Eve, including two types of toffee, and I even baked dog treats for Zydrunas. All that pushed me well into the Yellow Zone, above. 

Then I got a phone call from Jared on Wednesday as I was driving home from taking my mother to the doctor, and he informed me that 

Theo will be here for Christmas Eve, overnight, and for Christmas Day! 

His parents will be, too, but the important thing is that Theo will be celebrating his First Christmas Ever here, at our house. Probably you can tell, but I could not be happier. Jared said he couldn't imagine not being here for Christmas, and he and Jordan wanted Theo to be here with everyone, too.

It's strange how I can feel such Joy and Excitement, yet a sense of Calm and Peace at the same time. My Family will be here. Jared, Jordan, Theo, Sam, Emily, Rick, and me. I feel...Complete. Satisfied. Content. My Fulfillment is Profound.

May all of you, Dear Readers and Friends, find a sense of Peace, Calm, and Joy this Season. Thank you for being here with me. It truly means a great deal more than you could know.❤️

Thursday, December 14, 2023

Have A Kirkegaardian Christmas And A Sartre New Year


My sons have asked me to put together a Christmas List to help guide their gift shopping for me. Just like everything else related to Christmas this year, I'm stymied and stuck. What do I want? What do I need? Honestly, WHAT DO I WANT?

Never before has the holiday seemed so Existential to me. Exactly why must I put up this tree, these mantel decorations and stockings, only to take them all down again in a couple of weeks? I'm not Scroogey or Grinchy, just a bit disengaged and weary. 

As I said in someone's Comment section, I feel stalked and threatened by Christmas this year. It just keeps hanging around, taunting me with its proximity, and I cannot get away from its attendant responsibilities. I haven't done any shopping yet. I don't even know where it will be yet--here or at Jared and Jordan's to accommodate them, still trying to get some semblance of order and routine with Theo.

(Not long ago, Jordan had to be admitted to the hospital for a scary situation. Jared and Theo roomed in with her. What she has gone through...calling her a warrior isn't nearly enough. And Jared has been a pillar of strength and a neverending fount of love.)

This week I am caring for my mother in my home, so there will be no shopping marathon to search for inspiration and knock out some gift-buying. Next week is The Week. It either happens, or It doesn't. I am determined that It will. (And I hear you:  I do know what day it is and how much time is/is not left and how to online shop--ugh.)

Here's what I really want for Christmas:

1. I want Men to share the load of Holiday Bringing.

2. I want Christmas to be less of a huge gift binge.

3. I want people to stop putting bigass inflatable figures in their yard but only inflating them at night as if we cannot see them during the day lying there like gigantic used condoms.

4. I want people online everywhere to stop using the word WOMEN as the singular form, completely forgetting we have the word WOMAN. (Not Christmas-related, but it's getting ridiculous.)

5. I want my neighbours to toss their Halloween pumpkins rather than allow them to continue rotting on the front porch where I have to see them every single day as if it isn't December, but still October.

These seem Reasonable to me. 

Please, in Comments, do not tell me how you got all your shopping done by September, or how you have all your wrapping done, or how wonderful your Christmas Spirit is this year...unless you can also give me Sympathy, Commiseration, A Killer Pro Tip, or Righteous Indignation about my Real Christmas List. 

I'm in a Fragile Place right now, and having an Existential Crisis.


Friday, December 08, 2023

Tell Me Three Things


My dear friend Mary was asked this question, and she wants me to answer it, too. Here it is:

Tell me three things you like about yourself that aren’t ways you serve others.

I find this difficult. Firstly, I am usually not very good about accepting compliments. It's something I've been working on for a long time, ever since my husband brought it to my attention. He told me it was frustrating and joyless to pay me any compliment because I instantly backhand or negate it. Example:

Rick:  You look really good today.

Nance:  My hair is driving me crazy.


Rick:  Wow! This pasta you made is terrific.

Nance:  I feel like it's missing something. 

He also told me that all I have to say is Thank You. Period. And that pretty soon he was just going to give up if I didn't knock it the hell off. I don't blame him. 

The thing is, I give a lot of compliments, really good ones. And I'm happy when they makes someone's day. Why wouldn't I want the same for someone else? So, I've been working on accepting compliments graciously and pleasantly, like normal people do.

Basically, this question asks me to give myself a direct compliment--three of them, actually--and it feels like Therapy. Let's see how I do.

1. I like that I'm Smart. I have a lot of natural Curiosity about pretty much everything, so I read widely in many subjects and have done so all my life. I learned speed reading at a young age, too, so if I need information quickly, I can scan a lot of articles and get what I need. Teaching English meant I taught Life; my students relied upon me to know literally Everything in every story, play, novel, or poem. All references to people, places, and things were my job to explain or identify, so I anticipated that and made sure I knew them. 

2. I like that I have a good Palate.  Even though I am an apathetic cook a great deal of the time, I can toss any number of ingredients together and make a delicious meal. I've created many, many recipes that have become favourites and are often requested. I can balance out sauces by adding perhaps a little mustard or a little balsamic or a little butter. I'm also spot on with my wine pairings. 

3. I like that I have Command of The Language. I'm a confident and excellent writer and speaker, and I can express myself well in both arenas. I delight in the MUGS (Mechanics, Usage, Grammar, Spelling) and never have more fun than when debating whether or not a comma belongs someplace or if someone's passive voice is justified. (I still don't judge any of that in the Comments section. Honest, I don't.) 

Okay. Back in the Olden Dayes Of Blogs, I'd tag people (remember that?) to answer these questions over at their spaces. Instead, how about you tell me three things you like about yourself that aren't acts of service to others in Comments? 


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