Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Reflections on Christmas

Christmas was lovely this year, except that I became ill on Christmas Day.  I had a stomach bug.  But my family took over and made the dinner.  Fortunately I was able to sing at church on Christmas Eve.  I rested all Christmas, briefly watched the gift exchange, and then later was able join the family for Grace and candle lighting, that is all.  But it was a lovely season.

We had some snow.  Donnie could not resist venturing out.

Our tree was beautiful.  This is my favorite ornament.  

I wore my hair in a blinged-out fashion.  Sparkles!

We sang the Hallelujah Chorus at the end of Midnight Mass.

Then we came home and ate some figgy pudding with a chocolate Brandy Alexander sauce.  

Then Santa came!

Our Advent Wreath candles were replaced with pure white candles on Christmas Morn.  
Welcome Baby Jesus!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Top the Tree!

Our Last Christmas Party as a Team

Earlier this month, the team of doctors, nurse practitioners, nurses, and medical assistants that I have worked with for the past five years all got together for a Christmas party.  It was a lot of fun, but very sad: our clinic is closing, and we are all scattered to the winds.  Some are going to a new pediatric clinic, others to other practices, some quitting medicine altogether.  I am going back to the NICU I worked at previously.  I brought my harp and played for everyone.  Katie's house is an old Victorian, which I love.  So the harp felt right at home!

(Note: the perspective on my friend's camera was a little off - the harp looks enormous!)

Sunday, December 15, 2013

A Special Birthday

One of my friends had a landmark birthday this week.  She invited a group of us to come help her celebrate.  It was an Irish/Christmas birthday theme, reflecting the season and her recent journey to Ireland.  She insisted on being the one to cook!  It was lots of fun, and I was glad we were able to share in her celebration.

Irish/Christmas Beautiful Table

Delicious Main Course

Friday, December 6, 2013

Getting Organized for Christmas

It is St. Nicholas Day today, and a good time to start decorating for Christmas.  We always are rather last-minute about decorations.  I am inspired to do some more organizing.  This week I have been going through papers, getting things filed, or shredded, or recycled.  I finally, finally sorted through this one bag that has been sitting in my closet/home office space since the beginning of time.  It is gone.  Everything in it dealt with at last.  As you may have guessed, the majority ended up in the trash or in the recycle bin.

Tyler and I began going through some of his toys to give away.  This made room in his closet for two bins that have been lurking about without a home.  One bin is computer parts and equipment, the other is our photo bin.  We cleaned out a section of Tyler's closet, near the sloping wall, and put them there.

This year I was inspired to get an Advent Wreath for my home.  I want to dress it up with some pine boughs.  We also have two Advent calendars, one religious, one with chocolate!  Tyler was very excited and I helped him light the first candle.

Happy Advent!



O Come, O Come Emmanuel

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Loving Ballet Class

I returned to ballet class today, after being off a week.  Thanksgiving occurred and I ate so much.  It is hard to go to ballet, in a leotard, after overindulging the entire weekend.  But it was a very enjoyable class.  Very difficult too.  Every week, slowly, I feel like I am regaining facility in my dancing.  

Ballet is always humbling though.  Today we did a most confusing petit allegro.  We also did a combination that included a turn à la second (turning with one leg extended out to the side).  I was pretty bad!  But I love it anyway.  This studio has old tin ceilings and a live piano player.  It is another dimension to get lost in, easy to forget life's concerns for one and a quarter hours.  

Monday, December 2, 2013

Preparing for the Winter (In a Most Unromantic Way)

Normally when one thinks of a blog post about preparing for winter, the thought that would come to mind is of lovingly storing up food, knitting warm socks, making warm pies and cocoa.  All with a serene countenance and, of course, in a lovely romantic sort of dress - with a frilly apron.

Not in this house!!

Our winter prep is of a more utilitarian nature: namely rehanging the ancient basement door that has been letting in so much cold air it is like its own air conditioning unit.  This is a problem for me doing laundry, and our poor kitties whose cat box is downwind of the draft - Brrrr!.  The door is rather ugly and peppered with small gouges from BB guns from previous owner's children.  But the big problem was that the door was ill-fitting, did not close properly, and had air leakage and drafts constantly.

So Paul removed the door this weekend (probably the last "warm" weekend here in the Chicago area).  He found proper wood in his stash, got new hinges and a handle from the hardware.  He refitted the door and added pieces so that when the door is shut with applied insulation strips it will be a tight (and draft-free) fit.  I did the usual lady thing when a man is working: holding sticks of wood, holding parts in place while Paul marked things or drilled holes, making "helpful" suggestions, ordering pizza, and taking annoying photos.   The work is mostly done.  All that is left now is to add the insulation strips, fill the BB holes, prime, and paint it.

Here are two in-progress shots, more to come once the door is painted:

In other non-romantic news, in between holding things in place for Paul, I did a lot of basement uncluttering, packed up and sent off a large load of give-aways to Salvation Army.  Then I sorted things into new spaces, cleaned a bit.  I still have a lot more of that to do.  Maybe I'll get to the cocoa and knitting one of these days.