The Motherboard at Christmas

dishwasher 2019Kid: “Why is a computer so smart?”
Mother: “It listens to its motherboard.”

We had a dishwasher we really liked until it stopped communicating with its motherboard. At least that’s what the repairman said after studying a series of blinking light codes. I didn’t like the sound of that and I feared hearing the words, “You need a new dishwasher.” His work on resetting the motherboard failed and he turned to me, “You need a new dishwasher.”

It was either that or a new motherboard. After Christmas Eve 2019comparing the cost of a motherboard vs. new dishwasher, I dashed out to the big box store that evening for a new dishwasher on the last day of a good sale. I came home with the same model, a brand we like… that now includes a cutlery shelf and an extended warranty.

Everyone has different holiday traditions. Our tradition is a Christmas Eve feast and we needed that dishwasher to host the feast. We spent time making the table festive and inviting for arriving family. No reader would want to see an ‘after’ photos of the same table following 3 tykes and 5 adults feasting on traditional goodies…  ending with a delicious Yule Log (La Maison Navarre) and figgy pudding… and a off key chorus of song!

Our tradition on Christmas Day is always a late morning brunch hosted by my daughter… egg casserole, grits, french toast casserole, scalloped potatoes, sweet rolls… a meal we could return to throughout the morning as we relax by a fire and watch the little ones.

That was all two days ago and now we have returned to regular routines. I’m still working on my holiday puzzle, listening to holiday music, but thinking more about our two Christmas trees and rooms full of holiday decor. Mentally, I’m planning the Big Takedown shortly after we ring in the new year.

I wouldn’t trade a minute of the decorating, volunteering, the parties and festivities leading up to the holiday, and it’s fun to trim the trees and deck the halls and be with family and friends… but it’s a bit of a comedown to think about spending one or two days disassembling and packing everything away for another year. The rooms will look austere for awhile. It may be that everyone feels a bit like this, yes?

 

Countdown

We’re feeling the some of the last minute Christmas rush. I know people who shop the January sales to stock up on gifts for the following Christmas or they pick up a few gifts in July. When Christmas rolls around, they don’t feel that rush like the rest of us. I totally lack the vision for shopping early, plus I like a little of the last minute rush. Most of our 11 grandchildren are old enough to prefer green gifts that fit in envelopes. That makes it easy there but we are still shopping both online and locally for our offspring, younger grands, and for the mister and me.

Our holiday decorations have been pared down. We have a small but overdecorated tree in our new room, an abundance of greens decking the halls, and collections of classic Santas of all sizes wherever we have space. But most of our holiday decorations have been passed on to the next generation.

I am partial to our small Santas that are displayed 04072FEE-8A8E-420D-A4C1-BFDA970F7B5F_1_105_c like a crowded Santa convention this year. Some years they are spread out along the mantle, some years as a centerpiece on the dining table, or on a bookshelf, a desk, or a side table. This year they are tightly packed atop a wooden box that belonged to my grandmother. None are really, really old. Some are resin, some are tin, some plastic, one is oilcloth, and a few are older chalkware made from old chocolate molds. Whenever I find a Santa I like, he joins the collection.

It’s been pleasurable joining friends to celebrate the holiday in different events from cocktails, to volunteer work in the community, luncheons with club members, and gatherings with friends. Meeting fellow garden club members at the Exeter Historical Society to decorate with greens is something I look forward to every year. Members drop off bags of beautiful evergreens and berries that several of us shape into wreaths, boxwood balls, and arrangements just in time for Historical Society’s annual Christmas social. These holiday traditions and time with family and friends keep me sane as we face an uncertain world.

This weekend we will join the youngest of our family at a Holiday Brunch with my Portsmouth NH family. Children visit with this delightful Santa below, then they participate in various projects… like cookie decorating, ornament making, and more. The morning ends up a little like “The Keystone-Cop-Kids meet the Grandparents.” Every little one is dressed to the nines with adult’s cameras and phones flashing nonstop.  My camera is ready. Can’t wait….

Wentworth Santa 2018

 

The Trials of Snow

Well, it’s official. I went online to WMUR.com, our Manchester NH tv station to see snowfall totals for towns and cities. Exeter, NH was listed yesterday morning as receiving an official 17″ with possibly “one or two more inches by the end of the day.” It was a big storm that dumped heavy snow, the worst kind to shovel.

Throughout the storm, I stayed warm and content indoors. Our walkways and driveway were cleared by a service and I spent the day blissfully decorating the home for the holiday accompanied by Alexa’s holiday music. All was well until I spotted this sight across the street:

Cindy - Snowstorm Dec. 3, 2019
Our senior neighbor trying to dig her car out of the mess. It was obvious she had been working for awhile. I watched for a few minutes to see if she was successful.

Cindy - Snowstorm Dec. 3, 2019

 

Cindy - Dec. 3, 2019 snowstorm

She rocked back and forth and nope! She was totally stuck. I alerted my mister who dashed across the street to the rescue. Together they dug and tried again and again to disengage from the snowdrift.

mister and Cindy - snowstorm Dec. 3, 2019

But it wasn’t to be. In the end, it was the seniors’ most trusted rescuers at AAA that saved the day.  They arrived late, loaded the car onto a flatbed truck, and transported her car lickety-split to the street.

Snowstorm Dec. 3, 2019

This snowy misadventure makes me thankful for neighbors who watch out for each other, for our snow removal service that takes good care of us, and for being blessed with warm garages for our cars! This early December snowstorm rewarded us with a spectacular sunset last night meaning high pressure good weather is on the way. And amazingly, all this snow may be a wet memory in 5 days as the weatherman forecasts temperatures possibly spiking near 60°. Yep.

December 3, 2019 snow sunset

 

Holiday Weather

Refreshed. It’s nice to take a blog break sometimes. For a while, I scaled down attention to world headlines, stepped away from a few duties, and devoted attentions and energies to more welcome pleasures…. friends and family. I call it the Great Diversion that involved a bit of travel, important dates with a 3-yr. old, reading books, some Christmas shopping, movie watching, dining out, and brief community duties.

Now it’s December and Santa has replaced the pumpkins and turkeys at our home, but thoughts of Thanksgiving linger.  My daughter nearby hosts Thanksgiving and most of the fixings and we supply several sides for the meal. A year ago she switched from one HUGE turkey to two smaller ones. We all agreed they were easier to roast side by side and fun to prepare using different methods. This year, it was the buttermilk-brined turkey that got the thumbs up over the salt-brined. Pssst: both were delicious!

Thanksgiving 2019

Two of our adult children and their children are heading home today… the most traveled day of the year. One family spent the holiday in Philadelphia with their son at a Meet The Parents event. Pssst: She’s absolutely adorable and so are her parents! All good…

The other family spent the holiday week at a family place on Hilton Head Island where the weather cooperated with sunshine and warmth and lots of beach days. Their excitement was the resident corn snake, a docile and benign snake, that visited their home all week. Thank goodness they respect and admire snakes like I do. All good….

Hilton Head Corn Snake 2019

Today both families will venture home by car while a powerful swath of wintry precipitation will disrupt travel for them. They will cross paths at some point… one to northeast Ohio and the other to Louisville Kentucky after driving to Indiana to return one of our grandchildren to college. This kind of travel is definitely for the young!

The storm’s path will lead it straight to New Hampshire this very Sunday afternoon with a long duration snowstorm. Our weather apps tell us to expect significant snowfall, perhaps bringing blizzard conditions until Tuesday. This may mean a cancellation of a community event I’m involved with to decorate the Exeter Historic Society building for Christmas. I’ve stocked up on hot chocolate for a two or three day hibernation at home. All good….