Sunday, December 30, 2007

Bringing Lessons

I've decided that I'm exhausted. It didn't take much to arrive at that conclusion either--- total exhaustion. Thursday morning was a bit of break in the weather so I played hooky from the studio (we shall not speak of my do-me list at the moment!) and took down the lights outside. We don't go crazy as I do draw the line at lights around the two story roof line, I enjoy decorating but not that much! Icicle lights around the porch, the bushes along the sidewalk and the wrought iron fence along with a cheery little yard flag along with the seasonal offering of double door swags, the wreath and the Santa. Gone-- Gone-- Gone! It felt pretty good to get it all down and put away. So good in fact that I decided I'd put everything away. I started at 8:45 in the morning and finally finished up about 8 that night. 4 trees in addition to the 'big' one, Santa's and angels, candles and stockings, roping and lights, swags and wreaths------- and I didn't even decorate BIG this year! Ack! But it is all down and tucked away in the basement.

This is what amazes me----- why is it when all of the decorations come down your house is so boogerin' filthy dirty??? I mean, I understand that you might not have been as vigilant about dustbunnies and furniture polishing over the holidays but good grief it is like the house is just nasty!
Scraping off the nasty was the task yesterday. All day. Well the cleaning drudge was broken up by cooking for guests last night. I made a salad and home baked rolls, beef stew and buttered noodles, and dessert was cinnamon dumplings in apple cider syrup with cinnamon ice cream. It was all very good (even with carrots that refused to get done enough) but the appetizer was to die for! Sugar and Nut Glazed Brie! Heaven--- I could have given up dinner and just had that yummy gooey cheese! There is enough leftover to have for lunch if I sneak away and maybe eat it in the bathroom or something.

Sugar and Nut Glazed Brie
Recipe courtesy Paula Deen

1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped macadamia nuts or pecans
1 tablespoon brandy (I used cognac)
1 (14-ounce) round brie
Apple wedges, for serving
Pear wedges, for serving
2 to 3 tablespoons lemon juice
Crackers, for serving

In a small bowl stir together the sugar, nuts, and brandy. Cover and chill for at least 24 hours or up to 1 week.

Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.

Place the brie on an ovenproof platter or pie plate. Bake for 4 or 5 minutes or until the brie is slightly softened. Spread the sugar mixture in an even layer on top of the warm brie and bake for 2 to 3 minutes longer, or until the sugar melts. Brush the fruit wedges with lemon juice and arrange them around 1 side of the brie. Place crackers around the other side.

On the other side of putting away Christmas 2007 and a really clean house I have assembled a few Lessons for next Christmas. For me this exercise is sort of like New Years Resolutions, given up quickly or forgotten entirely.

1. Plan earlier
I started planning quite early this year, in October actually. I have decided that this is not enough time. Perhaps the 10 days in November away from home threw me off track a bit, I'm not entirely sure but I will start thinking about things much earlier in 2008. Don't hold me to it!

2. Buy superglue
I had to buy superglue twice this year. Once at the beginning of the season when I found an ornament or two that had a bit of a freak out in the storage box and required some attention. Most notably the little glass olive from the martini ornament on the bar tree! You can't have stuff like that happen you know. Then because the folks who manufacture superglue are incredibly smart and make sure that once you open the bottle it will either spill or evaporate you soon have to buy it again. And you don't know you need to buy it until something is broken and you discover a crusty old tube of glue. So next year I am buying two bottles in early November so I'm ready. This will translate to discovering sometime in December that the entire junk drawer is full of superglue in every possible brand name and formulation sort of like how I've amassed cans of tomato sauce in the pantry. Stuff happens!

3. Remember the silly way the boxes are packed
This is actually the only thing on the list that quite frankly scares me! I packed things a bit differently this year going room by room as well as two big tubs of garland and wreaths. I can tell you right this very minute where everything is and why. By next year I can't swear with any credibility that I will remember. Perhaps copious notes on the outside of the tubs would be of some value but they probably wouldn't make any sense next November either!!!

Putting away the ornaments from the main tree always cause more reflection than putting them on in the first place, I don't know why but that is just the way it works for me. I did enjoy spending a moment or two with those very special ornaments that tug at my heart strings. Last February my ex, who must have had a brief second of being somewhat human, returned to me a small box of keepsake Christmas ornaments. Surely if he knew what they meant to me he would never have sent them. I did offer my thanks and really enjoyed having them on the tree this year!

At the top of the list are of course the ornaments made by the kids over the years. Somehow I don't have any made my my son---- the ones I remember did not show back up here, sadly.

The sweet pasta angel made by my little girl who is now over 30-- please remember that I was a young mom, this makes me feel better!

Don't you love this ornament made from circles cut from old Christmas cards and glued together? The artist is now 22.

And probably my all time favorite is this red Christmas stocking cut from fabric and stitched with yarn. It was the first sewing project and is definitely one of those that only a Mother could love!

I've mentioned before how much I missed my Mom this year and it was wonderful to have some ornaments that she had made. On the tree were the little counted cross stitch ornaments below:

So, I've decided to decorate less next year. There is just no need to go quite so hog wild---- I did pare down this year but clearly after two days of packing up and cleaning it was not enough!

And I will remember to pick up ornaments from all fun places visited. They always make me smile!

Wherever you are in your holiday schedule, I hope that you are warm and happy. If you still have to face the great post Christmas take down, well, I say nanny nanny boo boo. (Sweetly of course!)

NOW------------ back to knitting!!!!! I still have 12" more inches of the cable yoke and then I will be able to place my markers and begin the body of Cable Luxe. One tiny little bit of work today gets in the way, but for the most part there shall be knitting!


Jenni said...

You have a lot of beautiful ornaments. I always dread putting them all away too. But is nice to get all cleaned up. A month with all the Christmas clutter is enough to make you happy to get all put away.

Anonymous said...

But Christmas isn't over. We are only half way through the 12 days. My decorations don't come down until after the Three Kings Day breakfast.