Thank you for finding That Old House amidst the chaos of the Internet. We are delighted that you are here.

Friday, December 5, 2014

It's Haulin' Out The Holly Time

Nineteen days until Christmas.


How is this possible, when just a few weeks ago, we were still
harvesting tomatoes from our diehard and shriveled vines?

November, right after Halloween: 
(I suspect our tomato plants actually benefit from our benign neglect
of them, and become tougher and more productive out of sheer cussedness.)
Weird, eh?  Weather.
Mother Nature is a wicked practical joker.
The day before Thanksgiving, this:
...which piled up to 6 or 7 inches before it ended
Thursday morning, and it stuck around for 5 days.

Now the tomato vines look like this:

The Prison Yard looked like this, not all that long ago:

And today it looks like this, like some abandoned industrial site:

Collapsed annuals, weeds, and veggie plants,
gritty dirt from snow shoveling, and just that dreary look of winter.

It's time, my friends.  It is time.

Bring on the bling!

I think one of the strongest arguments for decking
your house with Christmas lights is that
it is so freaking dark in winter!
Even just a bit of light around the front door helps dispel that winter gloom.
Meanwhile, my house looks really spooky, doesn't it?  Hmmm....

Take heart.  In just a few more weeks we begin the
long slow climb back to the Summer Solstice.

Well, as Auntie Mame sang:

Haul out the holly
Put up the tree before my spirit falls again
Fill up the stocking
I may be rushing things, but deck the halls again now

For we need a little Christmas
Right this very minute
Candles in the window
Carols at the spinet

Yes, we need a little Christmas
Right this very minute
We need a little Christmas now

This weekend, Howard and I will get the Christmas storage boxes
up from the toasty boiler room, and they will take over the dining room.
Big time.

2011's chaos.  It's the same every year!
The chandelier gets poinsettias.

 The front stairs get garland and ribbons.

And there will be a Christmas tree in every room.
Well, every occupied room!

What are your plans for Christmas decorating?
Less than past years?  More?

And do you change styles year to year, or keep with
your own traditions for the holidays?

I'm so nosey!  -- Cass

PS  Howard already has lights on our side fence.  Show off.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Thanksgiving Day -- The Good, The Bad, the Stupid, and The Ugly

One week ago, I was slaving over a hot stove,
getting some cooking done before Thanksgiving.
And expecting 20 people to gather at the table.

Then, the snow struck.  And it also stuck.
6 or 7 inches of the dang stuff.
That's the Bad.
Our numbers dwindled to 15, as our five Virginians
wisely decided to skip this trip up the coast.
The Good is that the food all got cooked, even both turkeys.
Including this little one, cooked on Wednesday, unstuffed
so it isn't tainted by the wheat (gluten) in the bread stuffing.
Sorry, there's just no way to make a hunk of cooked bird look pretty.
Especially when you have done what you swore you would never do, and
roasted it in one of those stupid aluminum pans.  Which you'll never do again.
Wiggle wiggle wiggle!  Not strong enough for 14 pounds of poultry!
Now that is the Stupid!
As for the Ugly. . .
What is the holiday season without a few ugly holiday sweaters?

Dylan DiPoochy was wrangled into a reindeer sweater by my daughter Anne.
It was not a hit with Dylan, although we thought he looked pretty cute.
It lasted about 15 minutes, and he was back to comfy nekkid.
I don't have the heart to tell him that I have little Sherpa-lined jackets for him and Gilda.
(Gilda doesn't really care if we put clothes on her.
Do you think she'd look fetching in the ugly reindeer sweater?)

Oh.  One more Bad.
I did not get a new picture of Howard in his heirloom Turkey Shirt.
I forgot this last year, too.
I also took no pictures on Thanksgiving Day.
So many Bads!
And one last Bad.  Or is it more one last Stupid?
Remember my master plan to have our guests put the little
cups and saucers on the Dining Room Christmas tree?
That probably would have gone better if I'd actually put the
ornaments out where people could find them, and if I'd actually
asked them to trim the little tree.
Oops.  My BadMy Stupid, too!
But to wind up with some more of the Good,
there are people I want to thank.  Without them, I'd be sunk.
Husband Howard and Daughter Anne pitched in tirelessly on Wednesday and Thursday.
Sister-in-law Phyllis and Mother-in-law Irene washed and dried
pots and pans and wineglasses and serving dishes ... and more!
Phyllis also brought cranberry pie, and our niece-in-law Deb brought cookies and brownies.
Irene (Howard's Mom) baked dozens of tiny pecan rolls and mini-muffins.  An annual tradition.
Sister Peggy and her hubby Bill brought champagne and shrimp.
Nieces Grace and Mary bailed us out by picking up ice on their way.
And I'm pretty sure I'm forgetting someone but my personal hard drive is running low on space.
On to Christmas, my friends!  -- Cass