The Beginning of Christmas 2016

Last evening was a super productive evening.

I wanted to cover up an eyesore in the living room.  There is an old air conditioner installed in the wall in the corner where I like to put my tree.   I hemmed some homespun and now it is a faux window.  The star needed a little trimming, too.  But, the tree is up.  The table is decorated.  My new old coffee table has been refinished.

I have guests coming.  No. Actually, I have family coming this weekend.  They are my dears.  I have my menu done and the beginning of a shopping list completed.

Tomorrow will bring an afternoon off my 9-5 to take care of some Christmas business.  I need to pack a box to ship to California.  I plan to gather the items for packing on the morrow.

Here are some photos of my Christmas décor so far.  Simple country is all I am.  Nothing spectacular or especially wonderful except to me.  I think my little weekend visitors will like things.  I know he and He like them.

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I Can’t Believe It!

I forgot to post last night.  I didn’t even realize it until he pointed it out to me!

I have been very busy with a new schedule and projects.  Plus, I have a very special event coming up day after tomorrow and I have been so focused on that, I just forgot about Raining Orchids.  Actually, I forgot about posting in Raining Orchids because orchids have been flooding my life.

I am not at a “talking about it” stage on the projects.  One you will hear about over the next couple of weeks.  The others will have to wait.  I don’t want to lose any wind from my sails by discussing it.  There is something to be said for keeping things private in the initial stages.

One thing I will discuss is food.  Meal planning actually.  I have been trying to feed us better meals.  Nutritionally better meals. I cook wonderful meals all the time, but they are not necessarily the things that contribute to great health and long life.  I have been making menu plans and preparing our meals accordingly.  I have found a product that is helping greatly.  A simple electric skillet.  It is coated with a non-stick surface, heats immediately, browns food well, cleans up instantly.

I cook every evening. I work my nine to five and come home and cook.  This evening we had stir fried chicken with pineapple, carrots and broccoli over rice.  Tomorrow will be lightly fried chicken over a salad.  We like to make a big green salad and add chicken strips, nuts, cheese, olives.  It is good with a nut and fruit only trail mix blend, too.

The meals are sometimes made up of left overs.  Or as mother called them, planned overs.  Because of his preference, when I serve planned overs, I also try to make them over.  I modify or reorganize the meal in some way.  It is a creative challenge for me.  I enjoy doing it.

Another thing that has developed with us is a planned snack in the evening.  We have popcorn a lot of nights.  Last night, it was grapes, cheese and crackers.  Tonight it will be nectarines and yogurt or cottage cheese.

By planning, we eat less and feel better.  Rather than getting a little of this and some of that and too much of the other close to bedtime, we have a healthful something to enjoy.

Enough of this.  I am getting hungry.  My week will be all messed up because of missing my Monday posting.  I will be a day off.  Now I understand why earlier I kept thinking it was Monday!    I can’t believe I am late.  But, I can believe all the things I have been doing that got me sidetracked are positives in my life.  Flooding orchids.

The Donut Man

Sometimes writing this feels like the man in the old Dunkin Donuts commercial.  “Time to make the donuts…” as he drags out of bed well before the rest of the world of is awake.

I pull up my word document and begin typing.  I don’t know what will come out or where it will go.  That is the interesting part.  What am I thinking today?  What am I feeling?  The posts are definitely of the moment.  If I am having a bad time of it at the moment, the post is sad.  If I am having a good time of it at the moment, the post is happy.

I am feeling simply quiet.  Today was a holiday for me from work.  Texas Independence Day.  I have spent the weekend moving forward.  Friday, I picked up some novels at the used book store, a couple of movies on DVD at buy one get one free.  I replaced the quilts on our bed with new ones.  I read one of the books on Saturday.  We visited a new church on Sunday.  My wash is done up.  I have a menu plan working for the week.  My clothes outfits are planned for the work week.  The house is tidy.  Supper is cooked.  Dishes pending.

I would say I have had an orchid kind of weekend.  Not every weekend is full of outings and people.  I am very pleased with the things I have accomplished.  No.  I did not get it all done.  There are still some things I have not completed.  But, I feel rested and content.  Isn’t that a good thing for the end of a weekend?

I have made some plans to maintain forward motion.  I love to make lists.  I have made yet another list of simple things to remember to do when I am not moving forward.  Things like: assemble the next meal’s ingredients, lay out my clothes for the next day, read a book.  My 9 to 5 has enough challenge and stress.  I need simple things at home.

I hope starting March this way sets a pattern for the month.  I need space to rest and turn off my whirlwind thoughts.  I had a restful time.  The plan is to have a productive week at work and at home.  And naturally there is a plan B, C and D.  Not really.  I just try to remain flexible and adjust as the days flow.

I continue to work on ways to better care for him.  He is my priority.  It may not seem like it sometimes.  I try to look put together for him.  I try to cook better for him.  I try to keep up with my chores for him.  Clean clothes, clean dishes, a tidy home, groceries bought, meals cooked.  Yes. It is old-fashioned.  But, I have the time, talent, knowledge, and the heart’s desire to do it.  I do it for me as well.  But, I do it differently because of him.  I can’t quite explain how it is different than if it was just for me.  But it is.  Simply because I love him with all my heart.  I want him to have a long, happy, healthy life.  I will continue to do whatever I can to contribute to that life.

 

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Connections

Sunday afternoon was wonderful! My mother’s two sisters and their daughters and I were together visiting.  Recalling shared memories and retelling family lore.  Lots of laughing and talking!   Connecting with the past and making new memories.

I spoke with my daughter this afternoon and heard from my niece the other day. Holiday plans are taking shape!  We will be connecting over the long holiday weekend.

Since there will only be 4 of us for our official family dinner, it will be a challenge for me to cook the meal. I am accustomed to cooking enough for 6 or more with enough leftovers to divide into three parts for another 6 or 8 servings.  I have some ideas forming about how to create traditional dishes in reasonable quantities.  We’ll see how it turns out!

Of course, I will have some company over the long weekend as well. So some things will work to prepare new dishes from leftover dishes.  Maybe I could do a whole turkey after all?  I have a wonderful recipe for turkey salad I got from my mother-in-law’s step mother.  Even recipes connect the generations and memories of the past.

Great food and wonderful company! Two perfect things for which to be very thankful!  Now to just figure out how to connect the Skype to get through to Maui……………..

Fall in Southeast Texas has it’s share of beautiful color……….connecting the long hot summer to the cold wet winter.

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Seeing Things Differently

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I have not been seeing things correctly lately.  I am beating myself up about not doing enough creative work.  But, I have been producing.  Maybe not in volume.  But, I have done some things.

Recent accomplishments:

I potted up two sago palms and filled top of pots with marble rock.  They now enhance the front entrance to our home.

I cooked a recipe of Oriental Chicken I have had for years.  I thought it turned out great.   It tasted like I thought it would taste and I liked it.

I crocheted a stack of dish washing rags and dish drying rags for my daughter.  I am working on some for my own use.

I have posted on Raining Orchids each week and included a photograph of my own production.  Each photo I have used is one I have taken with my phone and edited with the simple program included in the camera application.

I continue to challenge myself to being as honest as I can when writing for Raining Orchids.

I continue to challenge myself to do what I need to do to be better at everything I do.

I smeared paint on paper and found some satisfaction in the exercise as well as the results.  Yes, I actually painted, again, finally.  I set up a TV tray on the porch and brought my paint box out.  An hour or so later, I put everything away.  But, I had four pieces done.  Two of them were more pleasing.  All were learning exercises.

As a result of the production, I bought some more paper and a few canvas boards.  I found it acceptable to use the temporary work station after all.  I had been resisting that idea.  A quote from a book states  something about it not being the workplace, but the desire to work that matters.

The upcoming days include plans for a trip with him.  We will be seeing dear friends.  My girls are scheduled to come see us when we return home.  I will have a couple of days off to putter around the house and garden.  I will have opportunity to cook and bake for my family.

Simple.  Beautiful.  Raining Orchids.

 

Getting It Done

I have continued to write about having time with family and friends.
I am getting it done this month!
Last weekend, I spent time snuggling a newborn and hanging out with a three year old. I was privileged to be allowed to keep my great nieces for their parents to go to an event.
I also had his birthday dinner combined with our daughter’s at her house.
Our children and some of our dearest friends in the world were with us for supper. Homemade lasagna and home baked cupcakes were the menu features.
The upcoming weekend will be spent cooking shrimp gumbo, ham, green beans, cheese “taters”, yeast bread and some pies. I have told all the children to come whenever they could and stay as long as they want.
The next weekend will be more birthday time with my daughter on her actual birthday. She has requested a special menu.
It is what I want to have happening. Making and taking time to gather and laugh and talk. We will play some, too. I am not sure what all we will get into, but fun will be the prerequisite.

Doing, not just wishing and hoping. Acting, not just planning and scheming. Savoring, not just rushing and pushing. Loving, not just surviving and struggling.

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