Stuffed

Once again, despite promising myself otherwise, I overate. It’s hard not to do when spending a holiday with Jim and Ken. Ken is an incredible cook and makes as much of the food (snacks, appetizers, meals, and desserts) gluten free as possible. I’m grateful it’s not all gluten free so I can pretend to exercise some semblance of restraint by not eating everything.

It’s been a lovely visit. Their house is beautifully decorated (as always) and conversation and cocktails flowed easily. Here’s a small sampling of their decoration:

A bad pano shot of their beautiful blue and silver living room.
Above the kitchen cupboards
One of their 9 trees.
I’ll let you decide which I am.

It felt good to hug them both, and see they’re dog, Quinton again.

Apparently, hosting us is quite exhausting.

We started the morning with breakfast then, per tradition, we retired to the family room to watch the Macy’s Day Parade while Ken finished up dinner prep. Admittedly, we recognize fewer artists and celebrities each year and don’t really enjoy most of the songs, aside from the Broadway acts and marching bands, but tradition is tradition, so we watch.

We had a surprise drive by from friends taking an annual motorcycle ride. They stood safely distant in the road and we did a quick hello from the porch. It was great to see them again.

Then we had a group zoom chat at noon with the folks who would have otherwise been here for dinner. We all had Prosecco and toasted to our continual health and fortune.

Then the gut-splitting meal with all the usual fixings.

After, we fought drowsiness as we continued with tradition and watched A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving followed by A Charlie Brown Christmas.

Now we’re playing Skip-Bo, listening to holiday tunes, and feeling pretty damn sated and content. A lovely ending to a lovely day.

I’m so glad we got to spend this day with our chosen family. While I’ll be sad to leave them behind, I am excited to head home tomorrow and hold my precious pups in my arms once again.

Hope you all had a safe, peaceful, enjoyable day, whatever you did and wherever you are.

Hello from CT

Left to Right: the BF Jim, the hubby Jeffrey, the BF hubby Ken.

We made it to CT safe and sound. It is surreal to be out of the house, away from the dogs, in another state.

We have already had a few rounds of cocktails, a fabulous dinner, and are heading into dessert as I type this.

We are fortunate folks, indeed!

Dogless and Down

For the first time in 9 months, I am without my dogs for an extended period of time – 3 days. We dropped them off at the Kennel this morning, and will pick them up Friday on our way home. My Mom is no longer mobile enough to care for the dogs in our absence, so its the Kennel or nothing.

We love the Kennel they go to. The owners and staff are warm and friendly, incredibly accommodating, and totally non-judgmental about weepy-eyed, over-doting dog dads. So I feel they are in good hands.

But, I miss them already.

Here’s the thing: I love my dogs. They are my kids, my family, my endless source of unconditional affection. They have been part of my daily life for the better part of 8 years, and have been my constant companion through some of my darkest moments and health struggles, protecting and comforting me and always making me feel loved and needed. I hate being away from them. I hate removing them from their home. And I hate that I can’t reassure them this is only temporary and we’ll back soon.

I am not apologetic about my attachment to, nor my affection for, these incredible animals. I doubt I will ever give back to them half of what they give to me. So, I’m sad that I am home and they are not. I’m sad I will not see them again until Friday. And I’m sad that they are in a strange place and separated from their pack.

I just don’t like being separated from them, and I can’t wait to bring them home again.

Time after Time

It seems tiresome to say this, yet again, but it is shocking that we are at the end of November and Thanksgiving is less than a week away. The months continue to fly by. It also sped things up that I was so focused on decorating for the holidays for the last 2 weeks, I hardly noticed the day or time. I feel like I have just come up for air after a deep dive into basements, bins and baubles. It actually feels really good having this all done. Last night, we sat in the living room and enjoyed quiet holiday tunes while sipping favorite cocktails by the fire with the pups. We almost forgot we’re in the middle of a raging pandemic while a tyrant is trying to shatter democracy by stealing the election…almost.

We have revised our plans for the holidays. We are going to CT for Thanksgiving to have dinner with the BF and his hubby. They have been the only two folks in our bubble since March, and our homes have remained “safe zones” for the 4 of us, as we all remain as isolated as possible. NY and CT continue to allow travel between them, since they are contiguous states that have large interstate travel for businesses and families. It will be just the four of us, and will be portal to portal – with no stops in between on the 2 hour drive.

The remainder of the holidays (Xmas and New Years) will be just the 4 of us at home – Me, Jeffrey, Harvey, and Rita Mae – and we are good with that.

I know this is going to be a hard time for many people (even more so than usual.) I hope we can all find ways to connect with our loved ones safely.

Decoration Completion

As of 11:55am this morning, we are completely decorated for the holidays, inside and out.

I’ll try to get some good pics with my phone. Here’s a pano I took a few minutes ago of the living room:

Amazing what a string of lights and a few baubles can do, eh?

No apologies for being decorated before Thanksgiving. This year has kicked all our asses and the “rules” are out the window. We needed a little Christmas, so we brought it.

Tonight, we will light a fire, pour a cocktail, sit back, relax with the pups, and enjoy some holiday toons while we admire our handiwork.

There may not be gatherings.

There may not be shopping.

But, by gum, there WILL be pretty lights!

Pagen-tree

The decorating continues…

The giraffe tree, which used to be set up on a buffet in the dining room downstairs, made its way upstairs to be properly placed in the giraffe themed guest room (aka Giraffe Towers.)

IMG_2816

The Superhero tree is now a permanent fixture in the comic den in the basement…

The Bear Tree in the dining room isn’t usually decorated , but I made it the “Peanuts” tree this year

There are two more trees…another one in the opposite corner of dining room with general personal ornaments, and the main tree in the living room. They will get finished this weekend.

This is the bar area, with a reindeer theme (obviously.) We used to have the buffets filled with reindeer, dubbed “Reindeer Way,” but decided to disperse them around the house and do a scaled down version for the bar this year. And I absolutely love our reindeer cocktail set.

This weekend, we finish the trees and get the outside deco up. Oh, and I’d be remiss not to give a shout out and big thank you to (former? sporadic? soon to return?) blogger Java over at my life, or something like it , who sent us these fabulous homemade masks.

Thanks a bunch, Java! We love them!

Holy Holly Jolly!

Deck the halls and all that jazz!

Today was round 2 of decorating. It went much better, as I felt better (yay cooperative guts) and was in brighter spirits. After a long day of fa-la-la labor, Jeffrey built me a fire, we mixed some cocktails, and I whipped up some low carb, gluten free, mini pizzas for dinner.

We still have 5 trees to decorate and the outside to do, but we’re way ahead of the game so we should be finished by next weekend.

And it’s so weird that it’s “only” November 15th. But we all know it’s going to be January 1st in what will seem like just another three days, so better to get it done early and enjoy all this hard work for a bit longer than usual.

Hi Ho Ho.

Premature ornamentation

For the first time in my life, I’ve started decorating prior to the weekend before Thanksgiving. For the first 43 or so years of my life, I wouldn’t even acknowledge Xmas before the day after Thanksgiving. Then, a few years ago, we started heading to CT every year for Thanksgiving with the BF and his hubby, so we started decorating the weekend before Thanksgiving. (To have it done for when we got home.)

But, we’ve been in the house for 8 months straight, so we figured we might as well get a jumpstart. Especially because we’re older and we have a bajillion bins to hoist upstairs so it takes longer; and, there’s no real reason to wait this year.

So, we’ve begun the process, albeit very slowly. Clearing out all the year round bric-a-brac to make room for the decorations. Replacing our pillows and curtains with the white replacements for the holiday. And bringing up some of the bigger holiday items. (Have you seen our awesome Santa bear on a tree?!?!?)

It all feels so…bland. The early start, unseasonably warm weather, and current “atmosphere” of the country makes for a dismal hall decking, for sure.

Still, it’s something to do, and maybe once we’re all done, it’ll bring some much needed cheer.

Here’s hoping.

P.S. Little blogging tip: Do NOT take pictures of your bathroom rainbow tree in front of the mirror when you’re sky clad…well, a few of you can, if you’d be so kind to forward the pics 🙂