Monday, December 31, 2018

Day 5 Of A # Week Marriage, Going On Forever

Sunday afternoon:   After ruffling some feathers and squeaking some wheels, I left my sister with, I hope, a plan for some extra help that isn't provided by me.    I am back with my shiny new husband and we are enjoying our 5th day together.   We are a long, long way from settled, since we both have our separate houses and most of our separate stuff is well ensconced in them, but even being able to finally spend most of the day, and the night, together is a huge step forward.  We are finally getting around to thank you notes and announcements to the people who might not know yet about our nuptials.   We still haven't celebrated Christmas with either of our families and I still haven't shopped, but just this day of together is good good good.

My son, daughter (in law) and grands are winging their way back from Paris, where they spent the Holidays.  I am preparing for our favorite Holiday tradition of the year, our New Year's chocolate fondue get together.   We have done this, with a few lapses, since my son was a little boy.  I can't wait!

And today was our first Dominoes game of the season.   Our 'young' friend, who is in his 30's but with the spirit and mind of a 12 year old, was excited to have the games begin again, and so were we. He won the vast majority of the games tonight but for once I was able to actually take a few points,  far fewer than our friend but a few more than Jack did for a change.  

And now it is Monday morning already:  The end of the year is flying by and, like the rest of the year, will probably go by in a blur.    It is time to put the turkey breast into the crock pot, clean those fruits and veggies, get home to my Saginaw house to straighten up a bit and and prepare to celebrate once again.  It will be another busy day.    I hope this last day of 2018 will be peaceful and happy for all of you.   By the time I blog again, the year will be over and we will all be celebrating another new beginning.  

Thursday, December 27, 2018

And So This Is Christmas

What a strange Christmas.   Not a bad Christmas, mind you, but stranger than any since I spent the holiday home alone as a teen with strep throat, hallucinating in an empty house while my family went to celebrate at a relative's house.  This year there was no tree, no gifts, no special food.   I didn't think to prepare for Christmas before the wedding and the stores were closing by the time I arrived home late on Christmas eve afternoon.     But I had 24 hours with my husband and, even if nothing about the time was memorable, nothing went wrong, either.  

We took our first married Christmas selfie:
But the  highpoint of our day, no kidding,  was when we opened one of the gift jars of jam from my bloggy friend Barb at Cat Patches.   The jar we chose by random was Amaretto Black Forest Jam and OMG it has chocolate in it!   It took us a minute to realize that was what we were tasting but oh yeah, we caught on pretty fast.   Once we had eaten half the jar at our first sitting and I had paused to breathe, I got on my laptop and grabbed the recipe from one of Barb's old posts.   Michigan is known for cherries, too, thank goodness, and now I know exactly what to do with them.   You can find Barb's blog post here.


And now, as they said in the movie O Brother Where Art Thou?, I have once again R-U-N-N-O-F-T from my husband and marriage and am back at my sister's house.   Today's mission is to pretend that I am not here, in order to see what she can do for herself and what she cannot.   I admit to feeling a little hurt that I am, again, the one who needs to step up to this, since I really do need a bit of time to cement my new marital status.   But her son is So Busy working and her daughter in law took the kids up to their second home for the week since the kids are off school . . . so there ya go.    And I do not mind helping, not a bit, as I have proven with every other family crisis.  And yup, for sure, I am aware that sickness and death and surgeries are all inconvenient for families.    But golly,  we are apparently the only ones who think that it might have been a courtesy for other people to sacrifice a bit so that these old newlyweds could have had more than 4 days together in the first 20 days of our marriage.   

Shake it off.   Nothing lasts forever,  and my sister gets better every day, thank goodness.   Jack and I talk several times a day and my son and his family send me sweet and supportive messages and photos from Paris, where they planned a year ago, long before this surgery or our wedding were scheduled, to spend the holiday.   We are all looking forward to New Year's Eve and our traditional Christmas fondue and, when that is done, Jack and I are looking forward to some lazy time together, just gathering our energy for the next stage of our adventure together in the coming year.  

Life is good.


Friday, December 21, 2018

Gratitude

Although this month has been challenging in many ways, I have much to be grateful for.   Caring for my sister has been tiring and, yes, a tad inconvenient in light of my newly married state, but how lucky am I to be able to do it at 69 years of age, instead of being the one who needs the caring.      My grandchildren and son and darling daughter in law bring me endless joy.   And I have the sweetest husband in the world, at a time in life when no one would have predicted such a blessing, which must be why I am grinning like a Cheshire Cat in every photo.
And I have people in my life who I care about, and who have taken the time to care about me.   I am not happy with the wedding photos, but as I sort through them and crop them into something better, I can't ignore the happy, supportive faces of family and friends as they watch us 'tie the knot.'    I have gotten sweet notes and letters from many people, saying how much they had always hoped that Jack and I would end up together because they have enjoyed watching our relationship grow.    And I got a lovely gift from my bloggy friend, Barb, at Three Cats Ranch, a trinity of homemade jams that we can't wait to try when things settle down and this old married couple finally gets to sit down to breakfast at home together.   I am hoping to meet Barbara some day, as well as my bloggy friend, Kim, at Snug Harbor Bay.
So, while this isn't shaking out to be the Christmas, much less the first married Christmas of my dreams, I am grateful.   And my family, new and old, is on notice that NEXT year I intend to Christmas the heck out of the entire month of December.   So watch out, we will be up to our ears in twinkling lights, cozy hearths and baked goods then!  For now, I'll hold on tight to what I have, even if I have to do some of my holding from a distance.  


Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Most Wonderful Time Of The Year?

Next week will be our First Christmas as a married couple.   We are still waiting to see whether we actually get to spend it together.   After a very rough start -- her pain pills were not delivered and it took us a whole day to get an emergency script -- my sister is doing better but not ready to be left alone yet.  Our 2 "marital" homes are two hours north of where I am now, and a winter storm is predicted for Christmas weekend.   My poor husband traveled home from D.C. yesterday, using Amtrak as he loves to do, and was delayed for hours in Toledo.  On top of that,  he came down with some kind of travelers' woe, either the flu or food poisoning.   Awful, whichever it was.   I sent him a message that I could try to find a day sitter for my sister and drive down to get him if he needed me, but he didn't respond, and later told me he thought he was going to end up in the ER.    Somehow or other he eventually made it home, and feels quite a bit better today, he says.    But this morning, helping my sister out of bed, I was struck with a wave of terrible nausea, so I am hoping I didn't carry some nasty virus to her.

As first Christmases go, this one will be memorable.  The only tree we have this year is a little artificial one in the front window of my Saginaw house, no decorations at all in  his house, no Christmas baking has been done, no grocery list made or filled, and not a single gift has been purchased.   We look forward to the time when we will look back on this and laugh, and we are really happy to have our rings, pretty much the only evidence right now that we are married.

We also have some photographic evidence now because we received our wedding photos today -- I love the internet! --  from the (expensive) photographer that was recommended by a wedding planner friend.   I am not impressed.  None of his photos are edited, but I am cropping and editing them myself and will make the best of them.   He did not take a photo of the eternity knot that we tire in our hand fasting ceremony, or of our rings, but we can fill those in ourselves.     Here is an edited photo of our "tying the knot" ceremony.   The knot itself, tied with symbolic colors to denote the intent to nurture, health and strength, and longevity, is at one of our houses; the hand fasting ended with the reminder that our bond is not formed by the cords, but by the promises we have made to one another.     
And then there was cake, baked by one of my new step-sons whom we hired rather than have a cake by a stranger, unthinkable.   The bite or two that I had of it was delicious.  Unfortunately, my new step-DIL took off with most of the tartan decorated macarons, filling a box and taking them home for herself . . . I guess I'm on notice of my place in this new family!   

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Sadie, Sadie, Married Lady

What a busy month.   I had two Thanksgivings -- one that I cooled, and one that consisted of a ham and cheese sandwich at a restaurant, and both of which were fun with family.    I turned a year older (and that's old!) and then, a week later, I got married.   

The day before Thanksgiving, I cooked dinner at my house because most of my family had other plans for Thanksgiving Day.   To our surprise, my oldest brother bought me and Jack a pair of carved decoys -- my brother has always liked working with wood and has made decoys since I was a little girl.   He made this pair of bufflehead duck for us, male and female.   He wasn't supposed to give us a gift -- we tried to impose a no-gift rule -- but  I love them.

On Real Thanksgiving, the ham and cheese sandwich day, Jack and I went to help my brother empty out a pole barn because he was moving the next week.   There, he gave us some goose decoys he had made.  I was in waterfowl heaven!

On my birthday, I got the sweetest surprise form my fiancĂ©'s daughter, flowers and a welcoming note.    I was in tears for a long, long time.  

The following week was super busy, with a fundraiser gala that I was committed to help with, multiple packages to pack and mail, and a wedding to plan.  My DIL and so were busy with their kids and school, and the people who claimed they would be my helpers (and supposedly took off work to do it) fell through or didn't show up, so I spent a couple days picking things up and  hauling decorations into our venue.    And that was fine, I had a lot of nervous energy to burn off.  

Our wedding day was cold and sunny; perfect weather for a Michigan winter wedding.   My grandkids played their cello and violin and our family and a few close friends were there.   I loved our ceremony, which we created ourselves, with a pagan handfasting flair.     We  had invited our guests to come in "daytime clothing," and my dear brother took us very much at our word, wearing the same stained sweatshirt and pants he wore when we cleaned the pole barn.   I love my family.   I pinned a boutonniere on him and had him walk me down the aisle.  I wore silver sandals and the pretty bracelet that my bloggy friend, Kim, made for me.   I have been wearing it ever since.
We don't have our pictures back yet, but as you might remember, finding a dress was a real struggle for me.  In the end, though, I had two and no idea which to wear.   So I wore one for the ceremony and then, too soon, before and post-ceremony photos were taken, I changed into the other.   Afterward, several people told me they liked the first, and least worn, dress best.  Oh well, I am disappointed that I didn't just stay in the one dress, but it is a small disappointment.   All in all,  it was the best day ever.