A Catch Up, November and December Style

Hi! Hi!

So it’s been over a month since my last post, sorry about that! Turns out time flies both when you’re having fun and when you’re not!

Mostly it’s been of the “having fun” variety, but as an outgoing introvert who needs some down time to refill the batteries (and recover from being sick a few times in the same period)… the battery light is blinking from a busy month or so.

Okay let’s see… where to start. Back in November, probably.

Thanksgiving was good. My husband smoked turkeys and so gravy had to be made from something else. As I REFUSE to make giblet gravy as I’m of the opinion that gravy must be produced from pan drippings and pan drippings only, I roasted two chickens for solely gravy related reasons. (Not like I chunked them or anything- I shredded and froze the chicken meat for future green chicken enchilada uses.) Now, this did not, despite my best efforts, result in enough gravy- so (AND I’M SERIOUS HERE NO ONE TELL MY MOTHER THIS) I stretched it with some turkey gravy packets simmered with fresh thyme, carrots, celery leaves, and extra black pepper, added it to the chicken gravy made from scratch, and then double strained it. It was a huge amount of super not obviously instant gravy, if I do say so myself.

We celebrated at my aunt and uncle’s house with them, a few cousins, and my folks- and it was one of my favorites so far I think. (They’re very stringent on their vaccine and Covid health and safety protocols, fyi, which I appreciate immensely.)

Now, I’m not generally a fan of Thanksgiving much- I think because it requires no substantial decorating or gifts or much build up to the holiday. Maybe it’s because it’s bracketed between Halloween (BITCHIN), Diá de Los Muertos (LOVE) and Christmas (THE BEST) that it’s just a bit meh to my mind, generally? I don’t know. AND I forgot to put up my embroidered turkey and am sad about that.

You’ll be back up next year, turkey, I promise.

Let’s see… then life picked up the damn PACE!

So my sister and law saw how I’d done up my hair before a workout once (was… nothing special I assure you but I’ll take a damn compliment) and then called me to ask if I could help her daughter figure out some hairstyles and what to do with her new curtain bangs as she was having some self esteem issues and frustration around her hair. As someone who always feel I can pull off stuff I’m wildly unqualified for, I said sure.

So! Many a Pinterest tutorial was watched and supplies were purchased. My husband was out of town for a night at Lake Charles with my brother (teachers gots to cut loose on the breaks, don’t ya know) so we had a girls night of playing with hair and getting ice cream. I think it went well.

So now they all know how to style curtain bangs, do space buns, topsy tail a pony tail, use a curling iron, and do bubble and Viking braids. These beautiful girls, with their gorgeously thick hair and beautiful smiles and bright eyes… and their unfounded (but well remembered and recognized from my own experience with it) self-consciousness of trying to move into the world as teenagers… I just love them so much!

I (after the example set by my two very different, very awesome aunts who were way more formative to me growing up than either could possibly fathom) take my role of being an aunt VERY seriously- so I hope my niece feels better about her hair and self-esteem. And my girls, of course. They all have been using some of the styles we played around with, so that’s something, right?

And in “because of course it was like that” fashion- I let the 5 year old “do” my hair and so THIS is what my hair looked like during the whole thing:

Someone tell me how much turbans cost, stat.

Seriously though… I’m wildly unqualified for giving hair advice over here.

Not like I’ve given up, mind you! I try, occasionally! But it’s thin, and weakly wavy, and prone to frizz… so I usually just dry it straight. I did try to bring out the natural wave the other day though, going huh… maybe I should just lean into it (as I do every few years)… and then promptly remembered why I don’t.

Oh well, my own hair will never be my strong suit so humor will just have to continue to do the heavy lifting.

The above picture is from a doctor’s office after the colds we all got (that we caught while either getting flu shots or the youngest’s covid shot, I think) that then set up as laryngitis for me and I lost my voice COMPLETELY and so was at the doctor’s office for a steroid shot. As in… not even a squeak coming out and so had to book the appointment online as I couldn’t even call to schedule it. I’m still a little raspy today honestly, and this is weeks later at this point.

Oh! And I forgot- when getting my 5 year old’s second covid shot (YAAAAAAAYYYYY!!! Amiright?!) we came out and there were a couple of late-teen looking guys next to where we were parked staring helplessly at their car with a HUGE puddle of oil under it. I asked them what was wrong and they said they think a hose came loose but they didn’t have a jack.

Oh my damn lord- I have a jack! I love this shit! During college I got to a point where I was like the dad from a Christmas story on timing on how quickly I could change a flat tire! I loved nothing more than having to pull myself under our VW bus to tap on the solenoid back in the day! I’ve bled my own brakes before! I love bucking some damn stereotypes even if I’m not like, regularly doing my own car maintenance or anything.

I loaned them my jack to get started and then went inside the CVS where we’d gotten the shot to ask the manager for some cardboard to put over all the oil and tell him what was going on. Being a 42 year old white lady (wow I hate using that word self descriptively…) I figure that’s how ya can be an ally as I figured I’d get the manager’s help easier in this scenario. (the kids outside were black- she awkwardly finds a spot to fit into this story.)

I go back out, put the cardboard down, and once their car is jacked up we look under… to the absolutely SHREDDED oil pan. Turns out it wasn’t a hose but damage from a speed bump they hadn’t seen and hit full speed. Nothing to be done, but damn I tried and I hope sometimes that’s enough.

They lowered their car and handed me back the jack with sincere thanks. You’re welcome, guys- a good deed done, hopefully someday remembered, and then passed on to the next person, you know?

And so now onto the next holiday! Christmas!

The lights are up in the front!

The front is a white and red color scheme
The back has a “riot of color” color scheme
And the tree has a ton of all colored and sized lights.

Our ceilings are tall and so instead of getting a 10′ tall tree for $200+ we bought an 8′ Fraser Fir for $56 and put it on a riser. This is now going to become common practice because I think this is my favorite tree yet!

Y’all know to push down the limbs on the Fraser Firs to open them up, right? A properly opened up Fraser is my favorite tree (and they smell better than Nobles) but until I worked one winter selling Christmas trees in a garden center in college I did not know this. Also it IS spelled Fraser and not Frasier as they’re named after Scottish botanist John Fraser (1750-1811).

Our town does it UP on decorating the downtown too- it always looks so magical- so we went and saw the lights one night… and had such a good time.

Okay let’s see- that’s Thanksgiving, the hair thing, sickness, the various shots, car help, Christmas lights and tree… oh. And then some sadness happened.

So that’s a bad set up to introducing a cat…

For the past few months the girls had been working on taming another stray cat… a quite pretty velvety blue/grey cat we named Yankee. (The oldest decided pets should be named from the military alphabet and so… Yankee.) He was (foreshadowing) sweet, a bit mouthy, and went from skittish to loving being petted and sleeping in a pot by the front door over the course of about two months. He was well loved by the girls and me… though we also loved bitching about how demanding he was.

And then, as couldn’t be entirely unexpected from an asphalt colored outside cat, he got hit in the road. The oldest found him. He’s buried in the back under the morning glory shrub with a stone over him that we put roses from the Ebb Tide bush on the night he was buried. The front porch feels very empty and the front yard just a little too quiet without him. Sometimes life is unfair but at least he got some love in his short little life.

And yet the planet continues to spin, you know?

We haven’t had a frost yet, and so the garden, and especially the banana pepper, is still going strong.

And then a couple of calamondin bundt cakes were made from this beauty:

It looks like it should be on an ancient Italian mosaic, I swear!

And the chickens are finally settled in… no eggs yet, the bums. Though one has started making herself a little nest hollow in a corner of the run, so maybe soon. They are healthy and happy and don’t destroy the garden like their predecessors did so I’m quite fond of them.

I can ever only reliably tell one apart from the others. The darkest one is for sure Iris and I THINK that’s Rusty up on the perch.

And then I finally got my own Covid booster this last Wednesday (had to wait to be over my cold and laryngitis) and it sent me down for the COUNT for a full 24 hours. Body aches, fever, weakness… it was not fun AT ALL. Having had Covid in February of 2020 (probably), both shots, and then breakthrough Covid this fall I knew my immune response to the booster would be strong… but holy hell that sucked! I am better now though, thankfully.

Oh, did I mention in the midst of that we also hosted my brother and his kids for a weekend, then my husband’s aunt and uncle, and the mother-in law… there was also a found dog in there too. (Returned back to the owner, fyi). Also the oldest had her play, the middle had many a basketball practice and game, and the neighbors had their annual cookie party. Also all presents were bought and wrapped and shipped for Christmas, and then presents were bought and wrapped for the one birthday and then the other birthday too.

But- right now it’s raining, and I’m blogging while drinking coffee with a cat on my feet, and I can feel the batteries recharging from all the up, down, around, and sideways from the last month or so.

And look! The snapdragons are blooming too, which neither the chickens nor the deer out front like to eat! Life is good.

Merry Christmas/ Happy Holidays to all y’all!

8 thoughts on “A Catch Up, November and December Style

  1. Busy! Busy! And so good to hear from you.
    Everything looks beautiful… love your House Christmas lights and your tree.
    Yay for being Boosted! Me too!
    Merry Christmas!

  2. Except for the cat dying, that was a fun post. I felt extra bad about the cat because it looked a lot like mine from a long time ago. But I appreciate your outlook about this being one of the things that is part of life and you tell it like it is. I hope you and your family have a wonderful time over the Christmas holiday season. All the best for next year too. I’ll look for your posts to tell us all about it.

    1. I appreciate that- Yankee was a special little guy, but sometimes these things happen… much as we hate that that is how it works. Happy Holiday to you and yours!

  3. I want to be you when I grow up please and thank you. (We are the same age.)

    The car maintenance stuff (which my dad has tried MANY TIMES to teach me), the hair styling, the gardening, the LIGHTS (how do you get them so perfect???? my husband refuses to do outdoor lights because he is afraid he won’t get them perfect, but some people — YOU — have figured out how to do it, so presumably he could learn?). Every time I read your blog I find something new to admire. You are a rockstar.

    BOO for laryngitis, SOB for the poor kitty, and YAY for being boosted! Woo! Merry Christmas to you and yours! xxoo

    1. Daww, that’s the sweetest comment ever- thank you! It feels decidedly less rockstar and decidedly more awkward and everyday on this end, just fyi. But then none of us know our own value- think it’s a fundamental of existence, no? The stars and flowers don’t know they’re admired, they just shine and bloom and it’s normal to them- so are we all, maybe?

      As for the lights- oh I have NO patience to get them perfect, the front is entirely my husband and he spent all day on it and there is a ton of careful measuring and planning involved. The back with the “devil may care” colorful lights thrown everywhere is my installation style! (I literally throw them, fyi)

      Happiest of holidays to you!

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