December feels like it was a little bit of a blur. And I’ve gotten really bad about not taking a lot of photos because I’ve been taking video for my vlogs instead. So, the lack of photos I think contributes a little bit to only having a vague recollection of the month. But, here’s a look back at the last month of 2023.
Around Thanksgiving, Eric brought home his old telescope from his parents’ house. He wasn’t sure if it was even worth keeping, but figured we’d give it a go. He did buy some new lenses for it because the original lenses had gotten separated from the telescope over the years in the attic. And so we were able to go out several times and look at the moon as well as looking at some stars, which was really cool. And honestly, I was a little bit surprised to realize that we can actually see a lot of stars where we are. I always sort of assumed that because of the light pollution, it would be hard to see anything, but once I really started looking at the night sky, I was pleasantly surprised. And maybe it’s just an effect of it being the winter sky, but we could see a lot. I did download an app called Night Sky that helps you identify stars and constellations. And I really enjoyed being able to pick out Orion’s belt and take a closer look at Rigel.
I did some deep cleaning of the house in preparation of putting up the holiday decorations and I’ve determined that I need to spend a good amount of effort on paring down the “stuff”. As I was cleaning I found so many things that weren’t put away because I had nowhere to put them, so they kind of got just wedged wherever they would fit. That is priority number one for 2024. I did manage to put a few things in the donation pile as I was cleaning and rearranging though, so that’s a start at least.
Back in September, I took my old desk chair to be recovered. It had spent so many years in storage and then in our garage that it was definitely showing its age. It took forever to get the fabric in for it, but I was finally able to pick the chair up around the middle of December. And I’d had to forego putting the nailhead trim back on it because the labor cost to do that was way out of my price range, but the fabric took so long to get that the shop put the nail head trim back on it for me anyway, which I am thrilled with. I was really sad to have to lose that trim. So, I now have my chair back and in usable condition after all these years. One more project marked off my list and it’s a nod to something else I want to focus on in the new year – repairing the things that need it so that I can use them and enjoy them and not get a negative shot to my energy every time I look at them.
I have to admit that the days leading up to the Winter Solstice and Christmas were hard for me. I know I’m still grieving my mom and then also grieving the loss of a fifteen year friendship, I found myself in this sort of weird liminal state where I wasn’t feeling ready for Christmas. But spending some time doing things that brought me joy and decorating the house really started to shift things for me and I was reminded about the things I love about this season and I began to embrace it.
We bought some new pillow covers for the season (easily storable) because I felt like with the new couches, we needed a few extra pillows. I also re-stuffed our existing winter/Christmas pillows so that they were refreshed for the season. I took so few photos of our decorating this year, but I did manage a few. I put my Christmas village out for the first time in many years and I wasn’t the only one who really enjoyed it. It did make me really happy though to see all my pieces out and to walk into the office and see those lit windows looking so cozy.
Eric ordered from Circo’s Pastry Shop again this year and made sure to order a little earlier as well, so that everything arrived ahead of Christmas (last year, he was late ordering and then weather interfered with how long everything took to arrive). He ordered a sampler of Italian Christmas cookies, some Sicilian fig cookies that were divine and some Savoiardi. They were all so good. And I know they brought a little bit of tradition and good memories to him.
Christmas Eve dinner is our big meal and Eric made baked clams, crab legs, a spinach salad with mandarin oranges and balsamic glaze with scallops, fettuccine with diablo lobster sauce, and tuna steaks with white wine sauce with artichoke hearts and sun-dried tomatoes. Then we had roasted chestnuts and pizza dolce that his sister made. We may also have had some cookies.
For Christmas Day, his sister made pinwheel steaks, stuffed tomatoes, asparagus, and a spinach salad with cashews, goat cheese, and bacon. Delicious.
While we were on vacation between Christmas and New Year’s we did tackle a project that’s been needing to be done for awhile. Back before Eric and I got married, I made this framed piece of his cigar labels. It’s been hanging on our wall for years, and he’d been collecting more labels, but we’d never added to the original piece. So we spent some time one afternoon and he sorted through the labels he’d saved and pulled out the ones he wanted me to use and then I got them added to the piece and put back in the frame. Still room for more, but it’s definitely a lot more full now.
We had a quiet New Year’s Eve, ordered dinner in, and watched some movies. Oh, and we went out to look at the moon with the telescope too. Not a bad way to ring in the new year.
I hope that 2024 is off to a good start for you and I’d love to hear your plans for this blank page.