31 December 2019

Be Brave

If you're brave enough to say goodbye, life will reward you with a new hello 
-- Paulo Coehlo

Oh 2019, you weren't the worst year ever, but you sure weren't the best one, either.  All the same, I'm sorry to say goodbye to you, as I do not like most goodbyes, particularly those that can put me further away from those that meant something to me, or things and places that I love.  

I really do wish that I could say it's been a wonderful year, but well, it just hasn't.  I'm ending the year feeling that a lot of things that weren't that great to start are not getting better, and probably won't, if I'm being realistic.  At least not anytime soon.  Which is disheartening, but so much of it is seriously out of my control, that I need to learn to accept it the best I can for now.

Instead, I want to think about the things I can control in my life, and the good things that have happened, even if they didn't seem to be the overarching moments in my immediate memory.  I've said it before, and I'll say it again - no year is all bad or all good.  

And so, my hope for all of us is that we will give 2019 a break, because there were in fact moments of joy and fun and happiness, even if those are not the ones that immediately place themselves in the front of our memories. 

We're all still here.  That's what matters.  I hope your new hello will make you smile more than anything else in the next year.

28 December 2019

Hamlet's Most Excellent Christmas Day!

I am guessing if you are reading this, you made it through Christmas Day, and are [hopefully] still enjoying Christmastime.  Our Christmas Day was especially nice, and it seemed like a nice long day, instead of just speeding past before we even realized what was happening. 

Everyone was very pleased with their gifts - most of the treats for Hamlet and the kitties have been consumed, other than those in large bags or containers.  And with the addition of toys, boxes, and ribbon, it was just what you could want.  The Tim really liked his gifts, and was thrilled with the socks that I had knit for him.  Of course, even though I had been working on them in front of him a few times, he clearly had not been paying attention since they were a complete surprise.  :-)

I received some really great things, though nothing knitting-related.  Though to be honest, I'm not sure what I could have received, since I have plenty of just about everything I would ever use or need.  Only one item has to be exchanged for a different size, so I call that a success!

Hamlet in particular seemed to enjoy himself all day long.  Of course, whenever everyone is home, he thinks that's the best, so it started with that.  But he definitely thought his gifts were good ones.

I made him lie down for this photo before we started opening things.  The Tim said he is giving me a look that says, "PLEASE hurry up and get this done!"

His true favorite gifts (besides two pup cookies from Santa, one in the shape of a snowflake, and the other in the shape of a Christmas tree) were his chew toy and his unstuffed chicken.

The unstuffed chicken is apparently an excellent sleeping companion. 

Of course, just like kids, as soon as he was enjoying a gift, one of the cats had to try and horn in - but he gave as good as he got, so it all worked out in the end.

Later in the afternoon, we went for a walk and he wore his reindeer antlers - which he didn't used to like, but now that he realizes that they can get you some extra attention, he thinks they are great!

Needless to say, after all of the excitement, The Tim had a hard time getting him to go for an evening walk!

The Tim had to work on Thursday and Friday, and originally I had hoped to get together with some people during those days, since I was still off and had the time to meet for lunch or whatever.  And so of course for both of those days I was overcome with panic and anxiety about the fact that next week I would have to go back to work where things are particularly tense and miserable, and that was that.  The thought of having to even talk to someone - about anything, even the good and fun stuff - was overwhelming to me, so in the interest of my sanity, I just kept to myself and did things around here.  The kitties and Hamlet and I had some lovely days together, and I am feeling somewhat better, so that is good.  But I don't have many chances to get together with the people I'd hoped to see, so that was disappointing to say the least.  Hopefully I can figure out a way to make plans with them very soon.

And before we know it, 2020 will arrive, so there are all kinds of possibilities ahead, right? 

Enjoy your weekend!

24 December 2019

Christmas Eve 2019

"May you never be too grown up to search the skies on Christmas Eve"

... no matter who or what you hope to see.

Have a lovely Christmas Eve, and blessings to you and yours from everyone at our house.

23 December 2019

Go Easy and Be Kind

This isn't the post I was originally planning to write today.  Not that what I was going to say was life-changing and important, but I had something else in mind.

As I was walking out the door this morning to church, our next door neighbor was coming up the street towards their house.  I was surprised to see him, because I knew their teenaged daughter's school was already closed for the holidays, and we expected that they would be spending their holiday in Maine.  They are in the process of building a vacation house there, and love to go up and spend time there whenever they have a bit of extra time off.  I mentioned this, and he said that was the original plan, but things changed suddenly.

His mother died this past Thursday.

Now we don't know his parents well, but we saw them regularly when they would visit next door.  They moved from their family home in Illinois about five years ago to be closer to the couple who lives next door, and I always thought it was especially nice how much they seemed to love their daughter-in-law, and how she was crazy about them.  Todd's mother was a lovely woman, always smiling, and with a wonderful sense of humor.  In the past few years, she had two hip replacements and bounced right back with few problems.  Todd said that she had a massive stroke last Tuesday.  Apparently her birthday was last Wednesday, and she told them she wanted to hang on for that.  She had always insisted that her birthday be celebrated separately from Christmas, so they had cupcakes and sang Happy Birthday to her, which she really enjoyed.  She told them it would be OK to have to leave now, and she died the next day.

That is so poignant to me.  I'm very glad she didn't linger and suffer, and I know it's a shock for all of her family, but to some degree it sounded like she did things her way, on her terms.  And in the end, she was surrounded by those she loved and who loved her, and frankly, I envy her that.  Todd says that she had always wished her adult children and their families would spend Christmas together, enjoying each others' company and telling funny stories, etc.  He said that in the saddest way possible, she finally got her wish.  They are all going to try and have as good a Christmas as possible in her honor.

Todd also told me that his dad and his mom were "lifelong buds," having met each other in elementary school.

I guess you don't really need to know all of this.  But I wanted you to know, because I think it's important to know that someone is no longer here who mattered to so many people.  We get so caught up in our own plans, thoughts, and problems, that we forget that when someone - anyone - dies, it's a ripple effect to an extent we might never know.

After talking to Todd, I walked up to church, and as it turns out, a baby girl was being baptized today.  There she was, dressed in a fancy christening dress, with her proud parents, older brother, and others, all smiling and beaming because of the occasion.  And I thought, wow, universe, way to remind me of the circle of life and all that.  That little girl will never know Mrs. Drake, but she will meet others like her; she has a grandmother that means everything to her.  Or maybe she'll have next door neighbors with a mom like Mrs. Drake.  She will undoubtedly have an intersection in her life with someone like Todd's mother, though she may never realize what that woman means to others.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that there is no doubt that everyone has lost someone along the way.  And no matter what, it's not easy, and it is never fair.  Having loved someone and/or knowing they loved you is so hard, but so worthwhile, even when you have to say goodbye.

Tread lightly around others when you can.  You don't miss someone only when they die, any more than you are only happy when someone is born.  Smile at someone and mean it.  Wish someone a Merry Christmas.  Make someone laugh.  Hold someone's hand.

Be kind.  We can't always love everyone, but we can try to be kind and that's better than nothing.

21 December 2019

Winter Solstice and Last Sunday of Advent 2019

stitched by an angel
on the winter 
solstice night.

- "The Little Square"
by Liliana Ursu, 
translated by Mihaela Moscaliuc

17 December 2019

In Which The Tim Gets One of His Christmas Wishes

This will always be one of my most favorite Christmas photos.  Every cat we have had has had to be in a photo with Rudolph, but I was lucky enough to catch this instant when it looked as if Jetsam and Rudolph are kissing.  :-)  I miss my Jet so much, but this makes me happy even so.

Today is the December meeting of our crafting group at work.  I brought in some cookies to share, and hope that more than just myself and my co-worker show up.  It's a hit and miss thing - one month there will be three of us, and the next time, twenty people show up!  I didn't bring in a whole lot of goodies, but at least made an effort.  One of the other members also usually brings a treat (her "craft" is baking), so I'm hoping she'll be there too.  It's a nice break in the day, even if not a lot of people are able to fit it into their schedules.  Quite a few of the people who have been laid off (excuse me, "restructured") have been in the group since the beginning, so I hope they can come today, since it might be the last time we'll get to hang out ... our institutional holiday party was mysteriously cancelled, due to "scheduling issues" which all of us take to mean that the administration didn't want to have an event that might turn into a farewell party for the people previously mentioned.

Anyway, we should have a good time - I'm looking forward to it.

I apologize if I've told you this story before, but I at least find it amusing every year.  About three jobs ago, one of the women I worked with was a former pastry chef who had chucked that career for one with "regular" hours.  She was simultaneously the oddest person and one of the funniest persons I've ever worked with, and I was one of the few people she never seemed to be feuding with (and I have no idea why, but it really doesn't matter in the end).  Her husband died from melanoma, and shortly after that, she married his best friend who lived in Maine, and moved there.  On occasion, if she came back to town to visit family, we'd meet for lunch or coffee, and frankly, I was always a little puzzled why she went out of her way (clearly I'm really good at friendships ...).  But every single year, at the beginning of December, we would receive a large box from her full of various types of fancy - and extremely delicious - cookies.  For someone who seemed to truly dislike most people, it was always a compliment, but a puzzling one, since I guess I never really "got" our relationship.

Anyway, last year, we didn't get the box until the second week of December, and The Tim (who can't even make an effort to remember her name, calls her "Your Cookie Friend") was quite put out that they arrived so late.   As of the end of last week, we had not received the box yet and frankly I was surprised I hadn't heard his "concerns" about it.  This past Saturday afternoon, as he was taking a nap, our mailman delivered the Box o' Goodies.  When The Tim woke up and asked if we'd gotten any mail, I said, "Well, you'll be relieved to know that your cookies have arrived," and he responded, "Oh I'm so glad!  If they didn't get here this weekend, I was gonna ask you to ask her if she was sending them this year."  OH.MY.GOD.  I would *never* do such a thing.  But now I've decided that if I happen to finish my journey on this planet before he does, he will not be likely to ever let this woman know ...

Now also keep in mind, if someone else said something like this, he'd talk about it non-stop.

Go figure.

What a weirdo.

16 December 2019

Well That Was a Good Weekend!

I decided on Thursday afternoon of last week that I was going to take the day off on Friday.  The week leading up to that had been bad enough, but Thursday itself was a nightmare, and I decided that it was more important to save my own mental health than it was to not use a day of leave. 

I tell you, it was one of the BEST decisions I have ever made!  The Tim had to work on Friday, so it was just me and the critters.  But that's fine, because it was a perfect day.  I didn't do anything amazing or unusual, and that is part of what made it so good.  I took my time over a cup of tea and some oatmeal in the morning, took Hamlet for a nice walk, and then stopped at the market for a few items that I needed for some cookies I was planning to bake.  Then I took a little reading and knitting break, and then it was time to do some baking! 

I made Seven-Layer cookies, which are one of my favorites - easy to put together, and excellent payoff!  They turned out really well, and I'm guessing they will be gone soon ... then I decided to work on the craft room/junk room/office, which was just in sad shape.  But no more!  I got it cleaned up, organized, and set out my sewing machine, which will good for two reasons: 1) it means that I will use the sewing machine because I won't have to take the time to clear off the table and then haul it out, and 2) there won't be to room pile up all the crap that tends to accumulate on said table.  It also meant that I could finally put the Christmas decorations in that room.  There aren't many, but I always refuse to put them out in there until it's cleaned up.  It was a good feeling to have accomplished so much, and still have the rest of the day to just relax.  It made a HUGE change in my whole being.

Saturday, The Tim made pizzelles, while I worked on a bit of laundry, and we mostly just hung out and enjoyed some Christmas music, Christmas shows/movies, and watched the Army/Navy football game.  He also made vegetarian shepherd's pie for dinner (not "peppered with actual shepherd on top" for those wondering ...), which was pretty amazing.

Sunday, The Tim was at work during the day, and I did some more laundry, some cleaning, and fixed homemade mac and cheese for supper.  It was a good mix of doing some things that needed to be done, and just relaxing. 

Today, of course, it's back to work, but at least it's a day when it turns out that I will be the only one there, so that's a good way to ease back into the week.  Because no one wants to be in prison at Christmastime, am I right??? ;-)

Here's hoping this week will be a good one - or if not that, a quick one!  Take care.

15 December 2019

Third Sunday of Advent 2019

little tree
little silent Christmas tree
you are so little
you are more like a flower
who found you in the green forest
and were you very sorry to come away?
see i will comfort you
because you smell so sweetly
i will kiss your cool bark
and hug you safe and tight
just as your mother would,
only don't be afraid
look the spangles
that sleep all the year in a dark box
dreaming of being taken out and allowed to shine,
the balls the chains red and gold the fluffy threads,
put up your little arms
and i'll give them all to you to hold
every finger shall have its ring
and there won't be a single place dark or unhappy…

-- "Little Tree," by e.e. cummings

11 December 2019

Only the Plot is Unraveling

Hello all!  Here's hoping you are enjoying your December, and not feeling stressed or overwhelmed.  Wednesdays are usually The Tim's day off, so he is planning to get a Christmas tree today and have it set up when I get home.  He'll likely have the lights on, so all that will be left is to fill it with ornaments, which is always fun.  

And of course, the cats and Hamlet will think it's all very exciting!  :-)

Do any of you ever watch or listen to a knitting podcast and think that the person or one of the people on it (if it's more than one) is just too something to be able to take?  I realize that everyone has different tastes, and I'm not gonna name names because that is unnecessary, but there are a couple that I have tried, and in one, the person's voice just annoys me, and in the other, the one person is just too precious, if you get my meaning.  Both are ones that so many others just love, so I know it's just a personal thing with me, but fortunately there are tons of others to try!  I guess in some ways that is the difference between a "professional" podcast and one that someone just does on their own - if you are a professional, you generally have to have a voice that most people can tolerate.

OK, that was a ridiculous digression, sorry about that!

Back to the original reason for this post - I wanted to join in this week with Kat and everyone else for Unraveled Wednesday, since the past few weeks have been busy, and I'm missed the chance.

What am I knitting these days?  Well, as I have said previously, now that the gifts are finished, I'm making a pair of socks for myself.  This is my progress so far on the first sock.

You can't really see it in the photo, but there's an interesting pattern after the cuff for a few rows, and then the remaining texture is from purling and knitting through the back of the loop.  I'm about 7 rows from starting the heel, and I've been enjoying the knit.

As for my reading, I've noticed that an awful lot of others are reading Meaningful Books, and unless that is an assignment for a class, this is not a time of year when I can do that kind of reading and enjoy it at all, regardless of how interesting the book may or may not be.

Right now, I'm nearing the end of this book:

I am really enjoying it, mostly because it contains two of my favorite things: Flavia de Luce, and Christmastime.  The writing is so good, and Flavia is one of my all time favorite characters.  I'm actually a bit upset that I only have about 60 pages left in the book, I'm enjoying it so much.  I haven't quite decided what will be next, so I should start giving that some serious thought!

Other than that, I'm just working on getting rid of my cold, or at least keeping it from progressing.  I want to get started on some Christmas cards as well.  Yes, I still enjoy sending Christmas cards, and I love receiving them, even though there are fewer and fewer every year, which I think is really sad.  So far, we have received four cards - one from Chewy.com (!), two from longtime family friends, and one from Kim - YAY KIM!!!  Last year we received only twelve cards in the mail, which was really depressing.  I know most people prefer to send e-cards if they send anything at all, and those are just fine (I mean, you do you, OK?), but it's not as fun if you ask me.  You didn't, but now you know anyway.  ;-)

Well, before I go on and on any more about what I like or do not like, it's time to get going on the day.  Have a good one!

10 December 2019

Christmastime Random

Hello all!  I hope you had a good weekend.  Mine was OK, but not as good as I was hoping, since I am apparently really coming down with a cold, as evidenced by waking up on Saturday with a really sore throat and coughing.  (Spoiler alert: I didn't die.)  Still, I got some things accomplished and with enough cough syrup and cold meds, I'm doing fine.

So here goes.

I have a Starbucks card with some money left on it, so I stopped on my way to work this a.m. becuase I decided to have a Cranberry Bliss Bar (for medicinal purposes, of course!).  There were a few people in front of me in line, and one person kindly decided to pay for another's coffee.  It was a nice thing, and I'm glad I saw it.  Of course, the woman in front of me had to say in a really loud voice: "If you want to buy someone coffee during the holidays, you should go somewhere else.  Anyone who can afford Starbucks coffee doesn't need financial help.  Then she turned to me, really proudly and said, "Can you believe some people?" and I just smiled and said, "Merry Christmas!"  Walking the rest of the way to work, I wished I'd said, "Tell Mr. Scrooge I said hello when you get where you are going."  But the best comebacks always come to me way too late.

All gifts being sent to family are now on their way.  I managed to finish wrapping stuff and getting the box ready so The Tim could mail it yesterday.  Now the only things left are for us, and to finish decorating, baking, etc.  The Tim's day off is tomorrow, so he is going to choose a tree, and I can't wait!

You may recall that I said a co-worker and I were planning to decorate our desks this past Friday.  We had so much fun doing it, and our workspaces look very festive.  In the afternoon, one of the scientists stopped in.  He stood on our side of the office and said, "Merry Christmas!  Happy Holidays!" then stepped to the other side of the office and said, "Get off my lawn!"  It was really funny.

Many of you already know this, but every year I am reminded of how much cats and dogs enjoy gift wrapping.  For cats, it's the boxes, the paper, the ribbons, and for dogs (at least for Dug and now Hamlet), it was that you are in one place and if like me, you sit on the floor to wrap gifts, a dog can fit right in front of you, or possibly ON you - what could be better?  In our house at least, it's not worth doing it unless you have a lot of time to deal with, shall we say, the "extras" ...

This Christmas commercial from Poland is lovely.

Enjoy your day!

08 December 2019

Second Sunday of Advent 2019

It was a time like this,
War & tumult of war,
a horror in the air.
Hungry yawned the abyss -
and yet there came the star
and the child most wonderfully there.

It was a time like this
of fear & lust for power,
license & greed and light - 
and yet the Prince of bliss
came into the darkest hour
in quiet & silent light.

And in a time like this
how celebrate his birth
when all things fall apart?
Ah! Wonderful it is
with no room on the earth
the stable is our heart.

-- "Into the Darkest Hour," by Madeleine L'Engle

06 December 2019

Five Favorites for This Friday

Hello fellow Friday-ers!  I hope you are able to get through the stuff you need to do today so that you can enjoy the weekend.  It's December - we should especially be able to enjoy ourselves, right?

I realized the other day that it has been a little bit more than 2 years since I did a five things on Friday post - what??!!  I enjoyed those, and for whatever reason it fell off my radar.  So what better time than now to do it again, when there are many things to enjoy and that make me happy?

So without further ado, let's see what I come up with, shall we?

1.  Knitting a pair of Christmas socks for myself.  I realized that I hardly ever end up knitting a pair of Christmas socks for myself, and so immediately decided to remedy that.  (And I failed to take a photo for this post, but I promise one soon!)  I am knitting the Vintage Fairy Lights pattern, which I started a couple of years ago, but decided it was too much brainwork and just switched to a plain sock.  However, I decided that I could figure it all out this year, and I did, so I am well underway, and they are making me very happy!  It doesn't hurt that the yarn I am using is in a colorway called Rudolph and Clarice. :-)

2.  Watching Vlogmas videos.  I really enjoy seeing how others are observing/enjoying this season, though I am also intrigued by how their Christmas decorations seem a) in a theme, and b) very fresh.  Ours are, shall we say "eclectic," and a lot of them are clearly loved many years.  Which is fine for us.  But I do like seeing into other peoples' lives, even if it's a specifically-set time, place, etc.  In my deepest heart, I'm a nebshit, what can I say?

3.  Lights and candles.  They make everything look happier and prettier, and I also find that they make me feel cozy.

4.  Decorating my desk at work.  God forbid our whole department put up any decorations, since they are on their best days, Scrooges, but - there is one other person who decorates her desk and since we are the only two that will be at work today, we've decided to have a decorating party, complete with Christmas music and cookies.  One of the few times it will be fun to be at work (at least for part of the day, if not the whole time).

5.  Turkey and dumplings.  Well, vegetarian turkey and dumplings, but in any case, I am planning to make that for dinner on Sunday, and I'm looking forward to it.  I love making dumplings almost as much as I like eating them.  Granted, the "recipe" I use doesn't really make what most people think of as being dumplings, but that is what we always called them growing up, so there you go.  A couple of times during the winter, I make this meal, and it's one of our favorites.  I realized last year that one of the times I make it is during Advent, so this will be the weekend this year!

Do you have five - or more or less - things that are currently your favorites?  I hope so. 

Have a good weekend, and if it is cold where you are, make sure to stay warm.  :-)

03 December 2019

Tee Top Tuesday - An FO Post

Happy Tuesday all!  I'm here with an FO post of something you have heard me talk about for months.  My Pabaigh top is finally finished!!

[crowd goes wild]

Yes, I managed to finish it last Tuesday night, then it took me a while to weave in the ends (so many ends, due to the balls of yarn not having a lot of yardage).  I soaked it and blocked it on Friday, and it was finally dry by Sunday night.  

Here is a terrible selfie I took yesterday morning to give you an idea of how it looks.

Project:  Red and Tweedy
Pattern:  Pabaigh, by Kate Davies Designs
Yarn:  Milarrochy Tweed, in the colorway Cranachan
Needles:  US size 2 and 3
Modifications:  I made the body and the sleeves much longer than called for in the pattern (really, I did!), and made the funnel neck 3 inches shorter than called for in the pattern.
Notes:  This was not a difficult knit, but it took me longer than it should have for a couple of reasons - one, I ran out of yarn and then the extra yarn I ordered never arrived, so I ordered it again, and then of course it all arrived; two, I stopped to knit some Christmas gifts while waiting for the yarn to arrive, and wanted to finish them before going back to this project, since it was for me and had no real deadline.

The Milarrochy Tweed is a nice yarn, however, you have to be careful when you knit with it - when you say, get to the beginning of a round, and want to pull the yarn to make sure things tighten up, it can break.  That's largely because it is a thick-and-thin yarn, and a couple of times I didn't pay attention and tried to tighten things up when it was at a thin part.  Other than that, it's lovely yarn and I can tell you it makes a warm tee top - I wore this to work yesterday with a cotton turtleneck underneath and was plenty toasty!

I am not generally a fan of cropped sweaters - frankly I will be happy when the current trend for them is over.  But this hits me at my hip which is OK, so it's not as cropped as it could be; and since it's a layering piece, that also helps.  I think it will be especially nice to wear over a shirt with a pair of jeans, since it is definitely pretty casual.  I was determined to wear it yesterday to work though and it looked fine with a nicer pair of slacks.

Yesterday morning, I asked The Tim to take a photo for me for the blog and for my project page.  After a HUGE SIGH (he is SO put upon, WHY do I ask him to do things???  Please keep him in your prayers, people!), he took this one, where I look slightly crazed.  But if you know my history with The Tim and project photos, you know this was as good as it was gonna get.  His only comment (having been FORCED to do this) was, "It looks nice.  But the picture will be red against red, good choice."  Being that it is Christmastime and he is a bigger PITA in the mornings than the rest of the day, I just smiled and said, "Thanks for doing this."  (But I will admit I mentally slapped him.)

I'm glad this is finished, and I have to say it is a pretty easy pattern which would likely go quickly if you didn't have yarn issues and then get interuppted with gift knitting.

And if you knit this, PLEASE don't ask The Tim to take a photo of the finished item, he is apparently *very* busy with other things ... ;-)

02 December 2019

Happy Birthday to My Mom and Virtual Advent Tour 2019

Happy December!  Today would be my mother's 101st birthday, and though I wish she could be here to celebrate, I also cannot imagine her being that old!  I do miss her every day, but have so many good memories that I feel her with me.

Because her birthday was December 2, we never ever did any major decorating for Christmas until afterwards - though there were always some things that came out on December 1, because to quote my mother, "It's the first day of Christmastime, we're not going to ignore it altogether!"  Actually, I always liked doing it this way - you had the fun of getting started, but didn't have to have everything done right away.

The Tim and I still do that - well, I do it, I'm 99% sure he doesn't necessarily pay strict attention.  Though when he sees it, he always smiles and says, "Well, here we go!"  ;-)

Anyway, I have usually put away the fall and Thanksgiving decorations by the end of November.  And then, every single year like clockwork, December 1 means the displaying of the cardboard Christmas wreath on the inside of the front door:

(That's the peephole on the door in the middle there, in case you were wondering ...)

This wreath is probably one of the first, if not the very first, Christmas decorations we bought when we first got married.  Until last year, you could see the sticker on the back that said, "15 cents," which is a pretty good deal - then and now!  We put it on our *outside* door then, as we lived in a small apartment building where you came in through a main entrance and then walked up to each door.  It was our first apartment, in married student housing at the University of Notre Dame, where The Tim was in graduate school and I worked in the main library.  We had a really nice one-bedroom apartment with a little patio, and we were determined to decorate for Christmas, in spite of not having much money or much room!

And every year since then, this cardboard wreath is pulled out and put onto the front door on the first day of December - now on the inside, so the weather doesn't destroy it.  As you can see if you look closely, there are some spots where the cardboard has gotten a small fold, or started to separate from the color image a bit.  But that only makes it more valuable.  It's a reminder of our first Christmas together, our first apartment, and that you can have a very festive space for just a little bit of money.  Yes, we have quite a few more elegant or nicer things as part of our Christmas decor, but this is the one that started it all, and still does.  :-)

I think remembering your beginnings is important, not just in life, but whenever you are able to find something that still makes you smile after 40+ years.

This post is also part of sprite's Virtual Advent Tour for 2019 - check it out, and join us if you like - it's really lovely and a nice way to enjoy the season.

Have a good week, everyone!