A New Year

January 1 is a big day around here, although not for the reasons you would think.  I am a calendar person – I love calendars.  Right now I have my daytimer calendar (which lives in my bedroom), a handmade 6 x 6 calendar (also in my bedroom), a Cobblestone Way calendar on the fridge, a Lighthouse for the Blind calendar in the breakfast room, a birthdays only calendar in my studio and the new addition, a Sandra Boynton calendar (also in my studio).   I do keep a few things on my phone’s calendar and when I was still working in my cubicle, I had a calendar there, not to mention my Outlook calendar on my computer. 

Most of these calendars are just for show.  Probably the most-used calendar is the birthdays only calendar in my studio.  It has one page per month with all the dates, but no weekly/day layout so it doesn’t have to get changed out every year.  I use it every month when I’m getting the birthday cards ready to go.  The Sandra Boynton calendar is just for fun – January 4 is listed as World Hypnotism Day. 

Not sure where along the line I got hooked on calendars; I suppose it’s been ramping up as the years go by.  I don’t think it makes me any more organized, just a personality quirk I guess. 

But it does make the first day of each month exciting because that’s when I change out the calendars.  And January 1 means not just moving to the next page but moving to a whole new calendar (except the birthday one, of course).  Tell me that this doesn’t make me a sad and pathetic being.

What have you got on YOUR calendar this month? 

The Yellow Box

Several years back, Teenager wanted to take a jewelry class at a local bead shop.  We took the class together and it was fun.  Part of the cost of the class included a couple of tools and, of course, we purchased some more items afterwards.  For a couple of years, I did the occasional bracelet or earrings; the craft didn’t catch on with Teenager.  I put the tools and assorted wires and beads into a yellow tool box and eventually drifted away from beading.

In May, I found a jewelry kit on sale online from a company I knew; since I was officially looking for ways to fill time during shelter-in-place, I purchased it.  Most of the items I needed were in the kit but I did need one of my tools to adjust the bracelet size.  The yellow tool box was not in the first place I looked.  Or the second.  Or the third.  I spent quite a bit of time over the course of a week, looking and re-looking in what seemed like natural spots and then the unnatural spots.  I’ve done a lot of tossing/donating the last couple of years but I was SURE I would remember if I had gotten rid of the toolbox.  And I couldn’t imagine that I would do that either.  Eventually I gave up, assuming I’d gotten rid of the box, and re-purchased the tool I needed.

Last week, I decided to do some organizing and cleaning in the attic; when I had brought the holiday decorations down, I had promised myself I would do this before the boxes when back up.  YA came up to help me and we ended up really clearing out some stuff and generating a large bag of trash.  At one point I was putting a plastic bin away and realized I didn’t know what was in it.  You know where this is going, right?  As we dug through the box, we found items from last year’s stocking gifts (which I had vaguely missed) and…. drum roll please… the yellow tool box!  Because it was inside the bin, when I had searched the attic in May, I hadn’t seen it.

I can envision how everything else in that plastic bin ended up there, based on my normal habits, but I have no clue how that yellow box ended up there.  Nothing in the box was irreplaceable but I’m happy to have found it, if only because it means I’m not crazy!

Anything you’re still looking for?  Do you have trouble finding things you’ve “put away for safe keeping”?

Tree Trouble

For my entire life, I have put away the holiday decorations on New Year’s Day.  This season I felt like I wanted to jump the gun and it took me a bit to realize that New Year’s has always been a day off.  This year with pandemic and furlough, every day is a day off.  So we decided to put everything away a couple of days earlier than usual. 

We both like a live tree.  But even with constant watering, six weeks (plus whatever amount of time between cutting and the Bachman’s lot) is just too long for a tree to stay supple and resilient.  Taking the lights off always means a mess, especially since I like to “bury” the lights, but as should have been expected for 2020, it was much messier than usual this year.  In addition to the little sprigs of greenery all over the floor, after I took the tree to the curb, the front porch, front steps and front sidewalk were covered with the tree detritus.

Broom, dust bin, trash bag and vacuum just to get started.  Then, of course, dusting is needed on all the horizontal surfaces that have been covered with assorted holiday décor.  Everything is now all put away and cleaned up; the living room and dining room seem empty, sort of naked. 

I wish that cleaning up the holiday was a great metaphor for the coming new year.  While I’m hoping for the 2020 dumpster fire will be extinguished, I think it will take longer than we would all wish for.  In the meantime, at least the house is clean.

Live tree or artificial?  When do you like to put the holiday decorations away? 

New Year

Our day and evening will be spent with our busy 2 year old grandson and his parents. We typically don’t whoop it up much for New Year’s. We will cook a nice dinner and probably go to bed early.

My mother spent New Year’s Eve of 1944 in New York City with cousins who grew up in Manhattan.  They took her to the Stork Club. We have a photo somewhere of her in a fancy hat holding a glass of champagne. The only thing she ever said about it was that she didn’t like it when everyone started kissing each other at midnight. I wish I had asked her more about the club and her experiences in New York.

What will today and this evening be like for you? Any memorable New Year’s Eves for you or your family?

Safe Deposit

We have had a safe deposit box at our local bank for 30 years. We also have a fire proof security box in our bedroom closet for things we might need in a pinch when the bank is closed, like passports. (Who knows when we might have to make a quick getaway out of the country!)

Our bank built a new headquarters across the street from the old building that is to open next month.  We who have safe deposit boxes have to make an appointment with a teller to remove the stuff from the current box and walk over with her to the new bank and new box. Same lock, same keys, same box number.  We did the transfer last Monday.  The teller told us they have had all sorts of customers cashing long forgotten savings bonds they are finding as they clear out their boxes. We didn’t have any surprises like that, but it has been several years since we visited our box. Our box is full of insurance policies, the abstract for our house, and our wills and POA documents. We have   copies of those last things in the bedroom closet as well.

The impish part of me wants to put some weird thing in the safe deposit box to startle  our children  when they open it after our demise.  Husband suggested a roach clip. I thought of springy cloth snakes that pop out when the lid to the box  is opened.  If I actually did that, I know that whatever child opened the box would exclaim “Mom!”.   We shall see what I do.

Have you ever had a safe deposit box? What did you keep in it? What would you like to put in one that would surprise your heirs?

 

Extra! Extra! Read All About It!

The only South Dakota news I noticed Saturday in the Fargo Forum was an article about a woman cracking open an egg that had four yolks.  Well, it is  1 in 11,000,000,000 occurrence, but I still imagine there is a lot more going on South Dakota than that. Plus, it is such a stereotypically Midwestern, rural story.

I have become a real news junkie over the past four years, mainly out of anxiety.  I do so look forward to the future when news might become more dull.

What sort of beat would you want to cover if you were a reporter?  What print media do you like to read?

Mules

Last summer (not this past summer), YA and I had dinner with friends at their apartment in Uptown; they served us Moscow Mules.  I enjoyed them quite a bit, in fact YA drove home! 

YA must have remembered that night as she gave me a set of copper cups for Solstice.  It’s a pretty set and includes a shot glass (which is good, since I didn’t have one) and little copper straws and even some coasters.  I made a stop at the liquor store the next morning for ginger beer and vodka.  Turns out I needed some vodka lessons.  I ended up choosing a local brand – chosen mostly because I liked the label – but the gal at the store said it was a good brand, and good value for the price!  Then I stopped at Kowalskis for limes. 

I haven’t actually made a Moscow Mule yet – I have one more day of my wine advent calendar.  The idea of wine and then vodka on the same day doesn’t seem like the best idea.  Although the more I think about it, 2020 has been a year that cries out for all kinds of alcoholic consumption!

Do you have a favorite cocktail?  Beverage?  Have you been indulging more this year?

The Christmas Haul

Yesterday,  Daughter napped wearing a very soft and fleecy hoodie we got her for Christmas.  She received three pieces of clothing from us, and a nice bubble bath/soap/skin cream set  from her brother and sister in law. We always give her candy in her stocking, along with annoying things like parsnips and other root vegetables. She is supremely happy.

I never really need anything, but I was delighted with the biography of Bela Bartok from Husband. Daughter gave me two Halloween tomten (one with vampire fangs) , and  set of tomten salt and pepper shakers. Husband got a book about Malcom X and Martin Luther King from Daughter. He got a fancy grill and a sausage stuffer and grinder earlier this year that he said were his Christmas presents. We are all happy.  A friend of Daughter gave us a wood burned portrait of Millie, our deceased tortie. It was beautiful.

Next week we go to Brookings with presents for our family there. Grandson is getting floor puzzles and new shoes. Son is getting therapy books,  a James Bond DVD set,  and a baking steel. DIL is getting clothes. They give out specific lists so they are easy to shop for.  No surprises, but no dismay, either.

What was your favorite present this year? What were your best and worst presents in the past?  Do you give out Christmas  lists?

Comfort Ye

Husband announced the other day that he considers Gjetost to be a comfort food. I have never considered it to be so, but he was really happy when he found some at the store earlier this month.  It is too sweet and chalky for my tastes.

This is a year that has screamed a need for comfort. It has been hard to find at times over the past ten months.  I think the worst day in memory was yesterday, as we anxiously waited to see if Daughter’s plane left Denver with her on it.  We hadn’t seen her for a year.  Her flight into Bismarck on Tuesday was cancelled, and she couldn’t get a flight home until Christmas Eve. She had an excellent  time with her grandmother. though, which was a comfort to both of them.

I was so worried all day yesterday.  I tried to distract myself with music. The King’s College Lessons and Carols service was a good start, but it was a really long day. I made some soup, cleaned the kitchen, played solitaire, did laundry, and wrapped some presents, all with a horrid sense of dread and apprehension.  Our cat must have sensed my distress, as she stayed unusually close by me all day.

The only thing that would provide comfort for me was to hear that she was boarding her plane, and then to give her a big hug (but not, she insisted, until she showered to get the Covid germs off her). She was texting us  in caps as she waited for the plane to take off.

What foods, books, music, people, places, activities, or  other things give you comfort these days?

A Little Diversion: The Queen’s Gift

Today’s post comes from Barbara from Rivertown:

Drawing on our recent discussion of what it’s like to be Royal, I wonder if part of the fun might be owning stuff no one else owns, and having the power to give things away if one was so inclined.

I happened on this article listing 31 unexpected things owned by HRH Queen Elizabeth II.

They are as follows:

1. All the swans on the River Thames

2. A pair of corgis

3. All the Dolphins in the United Kingdom

4. Nearly all of London’s Regent Street

5. Half of the UK’s shoreline

6. Six royal residences

7. More than 200 Launer handbags

8. A private ATM

9. The best seat in the house at Wimbledon

10. The Tower of London

11. 150,000 works of art (many of them priceless)

12. Queen Victoria’s Sketchbook

13. A winning team of race horses

14. A car collection worth more than $10 million

15. A tiara covered in 1333 diamonds

16. A massive Faberge Collection

17. Westminster Abbey

18. Hyde Park  [et al.]

19. A Gold Record

20. A bat colony

21. The world’s largest clear-cut diamond

22. Three Crown Dependencies

23. An Aberdeen Angus Cow

24. Two tortoises from the Seychelles

25. Her own flag

26. Four Guinness World Records

27. A bold Blue Peter badge

28. The British seabed

29. An offshore wind farm

30. The UK’s Continental Shelf

31. All of Scotland’s gold mines

32. 25,000 Acres of forest

33. Trafalgar Square

34. Queen Victoria’s wedding dress

35. Henry VIII’s armor

36. Queen Elizabeth II’s own tartan

37. Millions of square feet of retail space

38. A baptismal font

39. A national collection of Mulberries

The game is:  

The Queen has decided it’s time to “lighten up”, and will give each of you one  (or more) of these gifts.

Which of these items would you most like to have?

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