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Oui Oui Wednesday

It’s that Christmas time of year, and in the midst of baking sweet and spicy concoctions, decking the halls, and going about my Auntie B’s Wax-ness I like to listen to things via that awesome thing called the internet, mostly YouTube and Pandora.  I just plug myself in and go to town.

The other day I had a song in my head from a Christmas special from my past.  It goes something like this…

We’re going home for the holidays
By train, by bus, by car
We’re going home for the holidays
We’re traveling oh so far…

The song is part of the soundtrack to Madeline’s Christmas.  I searched YouTube and found it without difficulty and couldn’t have been more thrilled.  I listened to it while pouring candles, then watched it on video for fun.  The songs of the video are now embedded in my head, and I couldn’t be more delighted.

Madeline is a seven-year-old girl living in a Catholic boarding school in France.  She has many adventures via books, film and television, but the Christmas special is one that captures my heart.

The sweet voices of little French girls, the colorful illustrations…it’s a simple story of Christmas cheer that fills my heart with joy.

Madam Marie sings a sweet song we should all remember…

Never give up on wishes
When you are sad or blue
Wish a wish right from your heart
And it just might come true

Never give up on wishes
Wish for the moon or sky
A wish is a dream that’s wide awake
Come now! Give it a try

Give this video of Madeline a try.  I’m so happy I found it, and it fills me with the Christmas spirit.

We’re staying in for the holidays
And those we love are near
We’re staying in for the holidays
We wished and now they’re here

We’re staying in for the holidays
We’re happy as can be
‘Cause there’s no other time like the holidays
To be with family

Wordless Wednesday

A Major Award

As you may or may not know, Charlotte and I played on the same high school tennis team in, well, I don’t want to tell you what year.  At the end of the season the team would have a banquet, complete with awards of athletic letters.

For a number of years now, without the watchful eye of our high school coach (who’s probably rolling in his grave with our shenanigans), Charlotte and I have met to play tennis on a weekly basis in the spring, summer and fall seasons.  When it becomes too cold or too dark to play anymore, we get together for the “tennis banquet.”

This banquet involves the two of us finding a wonderful restaurant to share a great meal, a couple of drinks, and much talk about our intersecting lives as sisters.  Oh yeah, and we briefly talk about tennis.

Each year one of us receives an award.  It’s kind of a revolving trophy.  This year I received a most esteemed award.  I’m humbled.

 

It’s a major award!

We play tennis in our little below-the-knee yoga pants.  It seems that every time Charlotte and I get together we plea to the other not to look at our legs, as they may not have been recently shaven.  “Don’t make fun of my legs,” we cry.  I guess my legs were least likely to be made fun of as I received The Lady Schick Award.

 

I forgive my opponent for having less than smooth legs every time we play because, well, we play mid-week and I have much more time to groom than she does as I’m retired from my day job and she is not.  However, even given my time to groom I’ve shown up on many occasions with stubble, and I’m amazed and honored to be presented with such a fabulous award.

What a wonderful trophy!  My legs thank you, Charlotte, as do I.  It was a great banquet, and I’m looking forward to another season of chasing balls with you.

The Season Is Here

I’m not one to put up the Christmas decorations right after the Halloween goblins have come to visit.  I don’t even put up the decorations the day after Thanksgiving, although I confess listening to Christmas music then.  I don’t want to rush Christmas; after all, the season is pretty long all by itself when you consider the actual twelve days of Christmas start on Christmas day.  Then there’s the four weeks of Advent before Christmas Eve.

Christian calendars aside, there’s a calendar that requires the holiday season to begin in August or September.  That would be the crafters’ calendar, especially when those crafts are scheduled to be displayed at shows and shops in time for the shopping season.

I’ve been working for months on the holiday cheer I want to present.  The things I make throughout the year are great holiday gifts, but then there are those things made specifically for the season.

Today I’m going to drop off some holiday votives and magnets at The Farmer’s Daughter, a shop in my town at which I consign my wares.  They’re having their holiday kick-off party this weekend and it will surely be wonderful event with free samples and perhaps a give-away or two, not to mention all of the wonderful gift items for sale.

And don’t forget the local art/craft fairs with local vendors displaying their talents.  The HandmadeMN Blog has a feature every Thursday highlighting some of the events in the Twin Cities area.  It’s a great way to support local artisans and get one-of-a-kind gifts for the people on your “nice” list.  OK, get some things for the “naughties” too…might turn them around.

Happy Shopping!

Wordless Wednesday

My 56th 1st

Toward the end of October in Minnesota it’s hard to tell what the weather will do.

Twin Cities, MN, October 31, 1991

We haven’t seen the likes of the Halloween Blizzard of 1991 since, but once again I want everyone to know that I SHOWED UP TO WORK THAT DAY!  My diligence to my employer, the State of MN who did NOT announce a snow emergency that day, is to be applauded.  *Applaud here*

While I don’t expect this October 27th snowfall to turn out to be of blizzard proportions, it will be marked as the 56th first snowfall of my life.  It’s been snowing all day long, and the flakes keep getting bigger and bigger as the day wears on.  First snowfalls are always celebrated by me, if only in my heart.

One of our spirea shrubs, starting to droop with the heavy snow.

There’s so much to complain about with the coming of winter.  Shoveling snow, icy roads, ice dams in the gutters…but for all the trouble I love wintertime.  It’s second only to autumn which boasts its colors and shifted sunlight which makes everything outdoors look more beautiful, like candlelight accentuates a woman’s beauty.  OK, a man’s handsomeness too .

Winter marks hibernation, a regrouping of oneself.  Its cold and stark atmosphere appeals to me, especially when I can bask in front of a toasty fire while eating hot soups and stews.

Husby’s potted spruce trees in what used to be his vegetable patch during the spring and summer.

The snow we get today will probably melt before long; temperatures will rise to the 40s (F) in the very near future.  But that won’t negate the first snowfall, October 27th, 2017.  My 56th 1st.

A small lilac bush.

While the wind blows and the snow falls I’m cozy in my house with a candle burning.  The candle’s scent is Tall Grass, which I expect I won’t be smelling naturally for quite a few months.  Winter is creeping in, and my nesting instincts are aroused.

Closing Time

October is a good month.  I was married in October.  The leaves turn in October.  Halloween is in October.  October is the best month of the year as far as I’m concerned.

There’s some work involved in October though.  Closing up the family cottage(s) in Wisconsin is a chore that has to be done, especially as those dwellings are not winter-friendly.  A friend of mine was recently surprised that the family cottage actually consisted of two properties with two structures.  Yes, my parents managed to buy an adjoining property from a neighbor quite a few years ago in order to accommodate our growing family.

Stats aside, my family and I spent a weekend closing up the cottages for the winter.  It was busy work and caused some bodies (mine mostly) to cry out in protest.  That only proves the bodies in question are extremely out of shape and should shape up.  Raking leaves is the biggest project in October.

The original cottage, built by Grandpa Mike in 1950.  Leaves ready to be picked up and hauled away.

Leave raking is the biggest closing-time activity.  Lots and lots of leaves.  At the end of it there were seven truck-loads of leaves dumped away from the properties.  Seven, squished loads of leaves.  But we love the trees and don’t complain too much about their shedding.

Here’s the second property, right next door to the previous. How happy am I and my entire family to own two properties on such a lovely lake?!

Yes, it takes more effort to maintain a second dwelling in addition to the primary.  But it’s totally worth it.  Good thing we have a big family to pitch in with the work!

It’s closing time at the family cottage.  We’ll not be back for a while, but after the hard work we spent tidying up the yards and winter-proofing the dwellings there were cozy times spent with those who make us a family.  Treasured times.

See that happy little man by the fire? That’s my dad.  His dad was the one who gave all of us the opportunity to enjoy pleasures of lakeside living.  Dad’s the one (along with Mom, of course) who kept the dream alive for the rest of his family.

So, with October coming to an end I pay tribute to the ancestors before me, for giving their family a peaceful respite from the trials and stressors of everyday life.  Summertime at the lake is something we all look forward to.

Autumn at the lake is a beautiful farewell.

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