What Christmas Taught Us This Year

….Christmas was certainly different this year for most people who chose to stay safe

Some things didn’t change. We cut down a tree with the family, albeit socially distant and masked, and I decorated it. The difference this year is that I totally decorated it on my own and it was up a full two weeks before Christmas. Normally I wait until my daughter can come over and help me and it often doesn’t get done until a few days before Christmas.

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As much as we love being with family on Christmas we found new ways to celebrate the holiday. We exchanged gifts but this year the gifts were exchanged in front of the house. I still filled everyone’s stockings but this year everyone took them home. Gaelan brought special donuts from Hamilton and we exercised the dogs for a few minutes in the park down the street.

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Our son and his family live in London, England so this year we opened our gifts early. We always open presents on Christmas Eve but 3:00 in the afternoon was early even for us. When everyone got back home we had a Zoom Christmas so that everyone could watch their gifts being opened. It was a bit hectic but in the end watching Sevin celebrate her first Christmas was very special. Technology this year has kept us in touch and brought us closer to all our family members.

My husband and I decided to still make a special Christmas dinner for just the two of us. The only thing that was different is that we didn’t cook a turkey. Instead, we bought a nice big capon to roast and at the last minute I decide to make cranberry sauce. My husband is an amazing cook and I’m no novice when it comes to cooking but even after all these years of experience we can still mess up. The difference this year is that we could laugh about it. There were no guests to worry about or timelines that needed to be met. So when the capon was undercooked and we had to put it back in the oven, after slicing off the cooked parts, we just relaxed with more wine and started off with the wonderful salad that Kevin made.

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My cranberry sauce…..well lets just say that you should never walk away from a pot of boiling cranberry sauce. In the end I was able to salvage it with a little more sweetener. Kevin likes to tell people that we had twice baked capon and smoked cranberry relish.

We’ve learned that it’s the little things that bring us joy. Even though we knew we wouldn’t be together as a family for Christmas I still decorated the house. I pared back on the decorations but I’ve learned that you don’t need to put everything out. Simple things like lighting candles and playing Christmas music brought us joy and peace. In a way this Christmas prepared us for the day when we might have to spend more Christmases alone. There will come a day, perhaps, as the grandchildren get older they won’t want to come to Oma and Papa’s house on Christmas Eve or maybe some of our children will move further away. As for now, though, we hope we can have a few more Christmas Eve celebrations together as a family.

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It was certainly a less stressful Christmas this year. Hopefully 2021 will bring back some normality. We will probably all have to adjust to a new normal and hopefully 2020 taught us some valuable lessons about life and what is important. My husband and I learned that even though we love each other, more importantly, we actually like each and enjoyed our self imposed isolation in 2020.

Cheers and a happy New Year!


When Lucy Met Olive

….it definitely wasn’t love at first “bite”

Puppies and old dogs don’t always mesh. A and J were looking forward to introducing their new dog, Olive to G’s and B’s older dog, Lucy.

The experts say that there’s something about puppies that older dogs recognize as being non-threatening. They instinctively know that these frisky young pups, although somewhat annoying to older dogs, are harmless and in need of nurturing and gentle instruction in the hierarchy of the canine world.

I guess Lucy had not read the chapter on caring for pups. A while back she had been attacked by another dog in the dog park and in her defence she has been wary of all new dogs that she meets. Olive learned very quickly that Lucy was less than pleased to meet her. We ended up keeping both dogs on leashes in the house during dinner time. Food issues between two dogs can be quite unpleasant and since Lucy is about four times bigger than Olive we erred on the side of caution during mealtime. P1020714.JPG

As the day progressed Lucy relaxed a bit, literally, and slept on the couch while Olive pranced around the house and stayed clear of Lucy. Luckily Lucy doesn’t feel the same way about our granddaughter. Winnie can sit on Lucy and dress her up and Lucy reaps the rewards at dinner time when Winnie drops food by her high chair. It’s what I would call a symbiotic relationship.

Winnie is a little unsure of Olive. She’s not used to such an ‘active dog’ but over time I’m sure she will grow to love Olive as the rest of us have. As for Lucy, I think that she will stay out of Olive’s way and be somewhat territorial but time will tell.

The next challenge will come when the girls bring Olive over to our house to meet Frances.img_0556

” Say what??? Who’s coming over for dinner?”

Should Have Gotten on my Hands and Knees Right Away

….my last resort should have been the first thing I did

I found my glasses! Yay!!!!!

It only took 2 1/2 days. After sorting through mounds of paper, piles of clothes, numerous purses and bags and getting my husband to look under the seats in my car I knew that I had to start looking under furniture. If I didn’t have such a sore knee I would have done it sooner.

Last night I took a flashlight and started upstairs in my bedroom. I looked under the bed, behind the blanket boxes and under and inside the night tables. No luck. This morning I went to the chair that I sit in all the time to write my blog posts. I carefully lowered myself to the floor, being careful not to put too much weight on my right knee. Voila! There it was, between the chair and the bookcase, hidden by the power bar and the cords. Why didn’t I go there first? In hind sight it was the most obvious place.

Oh well, the main thing is that I found my glasses and I no longer have to wear my sunglasses on cloudy and rainy days. In the process of looking I found several other things that needed my attention, like paying for the dog’s license, renewing my subscription to the WMCT concert series and finding things that our dog chewed up and needed to be thrown away.

Maybe someone should invent a tracking device to put on glasses. It seems that losing your glasses is not such an unusual occurrence.


Lucy and a Trip to Hamilton

…..my daughter and son-in-law have moved to a larger home

On Thursday and Friday, our daughter, G and her husband packed up their tiny apartment and left Toronto to start a new life in Hamilton. We offered to dog sit so that their Bassett Hound, Lucy, wouldn’t get underfoot. Lucy is a lovely dog but not the easiest to look after.

One of the things that Lucy likes to do is take over the chaise lounge and she won’t stop barking until the offending person gets off. If you’ve ever heard a Bassett Hound bark you know how irritating it can be and Lucy is relentless. By the way she also loves to be covered with a blanket.IMG_4664

Our dog Frances gets along with Lucy in short spurts. After awhile she becomes very territorial and she refuses to let Lucy pass to go up the stairs or down the stairs. We always have to separate them at meal time and Lucy finishes first so if Frances doesn’t finish we have to put her food up high and out of the way. IMG_0179_2

Lucy’s nose is always close to the ground; a very common trait of Bassett Hounds. When we work in the kitchen she is always underfoot, hoping that we drop something. She also loves kale and if we’re not careful she’ll pull it out of the fridge when we open the door. On several occasions when Lucy has been taken for walks down Yonge St. she’s jumped up onto to a city planters and pulled out the ornamental kale to chomp on. Our daughter is mortified when this happens.

Today our son-in-law returned the moving truck. We put Lucy in the car and picked up BT and drove them back to their new home in Hamilton. This was Lucy’s first exposure to the new house. We were a little worried about the stairs but a new carpet has been laid and Lucy was very comfortable going up and down the the steep staircase. Normally she doesn’t like stairs. IMG_4657

Lucy checked out the backyard. Clearly she’s going to need to be trained as to where she can and cannot walk and pee. The flower beds are definitely out of bounds. The front porch quickly became a popular spot to hang out with her loved ones. She’s content to be near her family and she didn’t bark at the folks that walked by the house. Hopefully that part won’t change. IMG_4644 IMG_4643 IMG_4642

The new house will be a bit of an adjustment for Lucy. There are still a lot of boxes that need to be unpacked and before we left BT started to paint the living room. I’m sure Lucy will learn to love her new surroundings and why wouldn’t she. She has a big backyard to play in and lots of new places to explore in the house and outside in the neighbourhood. I didn’t see any planters with ornamental kale but if they exists she’ll be sure to find them.

When we got home our daughter sent us a photo of Lucy. Apparently she has already decided where her new favourite place in the house is. So typical!


Mystery of the Fallen Bird Feeder

….the hummingbird feeders are often empty after I’ve been away for a few days but I’ve never seen them on the ground

When we arrived at the cottage last weekend I found one of the hummingbird feeders lying on the forest floor and of course it was empty. In fact all the feeders were empty but the rest of them were still hanging where I left them.

I quickly filled all the feeders and rehung the fallen feeder. It wasn’t long before I discovered what caused the feeder to fall. I think the following photos are pretty self explanatory. Enjoy!

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Sitting With an Ice Cube Against My Jaw

…..recovering from dental gum surgery

Technically I’m not suppose to be doing this. The instruction sheet following periodontal surgery specifically says “NO TEXTING, FACEBOOK, VIDEO GAMES, 1ST 24 HOURS. “USE THE ICE”.” I have to admit that it is difficult to type while balancing a baggy of ice on your jawline but I only have to keep the ice on for 5 minutes and then off for 5 minutes. It’s time to take a break from typing and continue Icing. Back in five.

I’m back. The whole procedure today went very smoothly. There is so much freezing that I didn’t even feel the needles go in. My doctor never stopped talking for a minute. He told me jokes, and riddles, and talked about the latest scandal with Rob Ford, Gwenyth Paltrow’s lastest break-up, his wish to go scuba diving in Mexico, going to the movies with his wife and in between giving instructions to his assistant and explaining in detail what he was doing to me. The entire procedure took just over an hour.

Riddle #1: Mary’s mother had 4 daughters. She named them April, May, June and ….. What was the 4th daughter’s name?

I’ve been icing my jaw again and this time I reread some of the instructions. Apparently I have to avoid talking for 24 hours. I wonder if that’s why my husband is taking his time getting back with my meds. Luckily I’m not in any pain yet but I do have to start taking the antibiotics soon. The only thing I can eat for the first 24 hours is broth or smooth soups (no bits of meat or vegetables) and I’m really starting to get hungry.

A few other DO NOTS are:

  • Do not rinse for 24 hours
  • Do not brush teeth for 3 days
  • Do not use straws for 7 days
  • Do not drink alcohol for 24 hours
  • Do not exercise for 5 to 7 days
  • Do not sleep with your head down

Some Do Nots that I like are:

  • Do not do any housework
  • Do not do any heavy lifting

and some Dos

  • stretch out on the couch
  • let your husband pamper you (I made that one up)

Well I think I’ll go and put my feet up and hopefully my husband will arrive shortly.

Answer to the riddle: The fourth daughter’s name is Mary.