It’s about damn time. Tomorrow I have to stay home and do nothing until about 2:00 (survived my dental procedure, but just have to rest and per my dentist’s instructions “not make any major decisions” for 24 hours — which means Christmas shopping is out of the question). Then it’s back to work on Friday — I’ll try to find the top of my desk and filing cabinet, prepare for the new session as much as possible and clean out my email (worst chore of all).
What Christmas shopping I have left should be easy and take maybe next Monday morning to do. I still need to ask about what to get a couple of family members and one friend, but otherwise I have already done most of my shopping online. My Christmas shopping has morphed over the years. For years, I waited until Christmas Eve to get everything done. It was fun and it was easier in some ways — I relied solely on inspiration and what was left at Sears orMontgomery Wards. For the years that I worked retail, I shopped exclusively by catalog. Everybody got stuff from PBS, Newport or Sears and maybe JC Penny. I like shopping online, though I can’t get everything that way, and at times it is impossible to determine where something was made.
There is one gift that will have to wait until Christmas day. Inspired by the Hallmark books that let you record yourself reading them, I have decided to get some software and a decent microphone so I can record my mom reading my nieces’ favorite books. It’s an activity that is very important to her and very enjoyable for the girls. And it will be something they can listen to and follow along even when mom is not there.
Saturday is our big 4th Annual Cooking Great Grandmas’ Recipes Event. My little family gets together and cooks delicious dishes from both of my grandmothers. It’s mostly the sweets both of them made around Christmastime, and then a dinner favorite from one or the other. In years past we’ve had sour cream tacos, frito enchiladas, and homemade pizza with pineapple. This time around I am in charge of dinner. We will have chicken fried steak with cream gravy, mashed potatoes, green beans and plain white bread. (I’ll try to remember to take pictures and then post them on Sunday.) After all the cooking and feasting is over, we’ll go out in the street to wait for Santa Claus to ride by on a firetruck. This may be the first year that my youngest niece won’t be scared to death of him — we’ll see.
The rest of my vacation — outside of Christmas Day — will be devoted to developing and implementing my plans for the front and back yards. I’ve got to lay the pavers for the puppy run on the right side of the fence in the front and deal with all of the wood chips from the crepes I had removed. I also want to build a planter for my small lemon tree. Figuring out how to more effectively deal with pup poop is going to be a challenge. Any ideas are greatly appreciated. Cleaning the ditches will be a necessary but dreaded chore — one I will probably procrastinate about.
The back yard will involve more clearing of weeds and undesirable plants (including 4 or 5 palms that threaten to up-end one corner of the house). When we first moved in here, there was a ton of bamboo growing along the back fence and it was slowly tipping over the old shed that was back there. I managed to clear it all out, so even though eradicating the palms looks like a daunting task, I know I can do it.
The plans for the raised beds are coming together now that I’ve read more of Year Round Vegetables, Fruits and Flowers for Metro Houston. I’ve decided to go with a base of 8x8x8 concrete blocks and 6′ cedar fencing pickets for the top, secured by rebar. I may make one bed taller — two pickets on top of the blocks — and one bed just with blocks — to see which works out best. Putting in the pond is still just in the imagination stage — I’m not sure if what I imagine is possible, so it needs more thought.
I’m really excited about the winter holidays this year!
I hope that your holidays are filled with joy.