Friday, December 23, 2016

Reflections on Christmas Eve eve...

It's the eve of the merriest holiday of the year, and I'm in a good spot.  I have the day off from work, which I took believing that I would have a slew of last minute wrapping, flower-arranging, baking and vinaigrette-making to do.  But the last of the gifts I ordered online arrived and was wrapped and put under the tree yesterday, my late mother's traditional persimmon cookies have all been baked and shipped with other gifts to family in northern California, and the hearty, garlicky mustard vinaigrette that I make every year to share with my neighbors is all bottled and gift-bagged and ready for door-to-door distribution on Christmas Eve. This year I added tiny Tobler chocolates and a satchel of pumpkin seeds to every gift bag, the seeds roasted with hickory smoked salt, Worcestershire sauce and butter, yet another recipe of my beloved mom's. And all the evergreens I've been collecting from my two-acre property, supplemented with magnolia and other seasonal branches and berries from a local topiary garden, have been set into vases as gifts for my manicurist, my hair stylist and my friend, Anna, who I visited on my lunch hour yesterday at the nursing home where she has lived since 2009.

So here I am, feeling very good about the holiday. I managed to design, produce, address and mail my Christmas cards (390 of them) to beloved friends and family in 30 states and seven foreign countries a full four days earlier than last year. I made cookies for the mailman, wrapped a case of beer for the garbage men, and took a beautiful bûche de noël and a vase of greens to my manicurist on Wednesday. My house is all decorated and so is the yard. 

This year I used fresh greens to make my own arrangements for 22 window boxes and hanging baskets around the perimeter of my home, and I must say that I am very pleased with how it all looks. My plan is to remove the Christmas lights after the holiday and leave the evergreens and berries in the flower boxes to cheer me all through the winter.

So here I am, with the day off from work and a rare gift of time to reflect upon and appreciate my happy circumstance. Mind you, I am not without anything to do. My dentist has arranged for a professional photographer to take some glamour shots of me (my teeth, specifically) this afternoon for her updated website. Once the photographer saw a photograph of my old farmhouse, he asked to do the shoot at my home, so he will be here at 4:00.  I have an appointment with my hairdresser at 2:00 and then will do my makeup and get dressed for the shoot. But these are all happy, fun things to look forward to!

I didn't expect to have a full morning to relax so close to Christmas.  I expected to be downright  frantic as I rushed around finishing a million little things.  So I've taken a few minutes this morning to write a post for my blog, something I have not had a spare moment to do in almost two years.  And now I think I'm going to take this happy accident of extra time and indulge in a luxurious bubble bath in my newly revamped master bathroom, last year's major (time consuming) home improvement project. What a special gift of relaxation that will be!

Merry Christmas to each and every one of you. I wish for you all a new year filled with peace and happiness and, most of all... time to appreciate what a good life this really is.



  1. I never commented before in the 3 years that I read your blog but I wondered what happened to you and glad to see you are back. Hope you have a wonderful Christmas and New Year. Eileen

  2. Hi, Eileen. So nice to hear from you. After my sister's unexpected death in early 2014, followed six weeks later by the death of my beloved 30-year-old gelding, Chubby, I lost interest in writing my blog. I'm back now! And while I might not post as frequently as before, you can look forward to periodic essays on home, life and travel in upcoming posts!