Monday, January 2, 2017


Nature's wreaths
So, where do I start on this holiday tale?  Actually, to be fair, it would be when I asked my son in D.C. what he might be doing for the holidays, which as we all know is just mom code for 'is there any chance it might be here with us?'  This turned into a lovely early gift of a week-long visit attached to his business trip to San Francisco at the beginning of December, so I didn't even have to share him with anybody else.  It's also the reason I am able to continue sending these blogs, as I had managed to lock myself out of the posting site, and my brilliant Santa's helper was able to fix the problem.  Kudos to all the Santa's helpers out there who don't wait for a special day on the calendar to make the world a better place. 
Howling winds arrived for our Winter Solstice, so we postponed lighting the Yule log to avoid smoky fireplace backdrafts.  Sadly for me, the gales brought no snow, but it did sing us to sleep after having feasted on an extra special dinner, and opening our gifts to each other.  Ron got some fleece-lined wool socks from Carnaby Street, a book of monologues for actors, and a new set of colored pencils for a coloring book of mandalas.  I got CD's of my new, favorite artist, Jill Sobule, and a book he loved called Americanah that he says reminds him of my writing style.  And, the Solstice brought us both some peaceful downtime to spend pampering ourselves for awhile in preparation for incoming holiday guests.
Quiet day at the National Seashore
Christmas Eve brought a couple to the B&B Cottage for a quiet holiday getaway.  We managed to find them a few choices of restaurants open on Christmas Day, but the pre-holiday activities are mostly done by then.  The seaside light displays and the gas fireplace in the Cottage afterwards are the best game in town.  And, the raw, rainy evening proved the perfect time for our first, blazing Yule log of the year.  
Bob loves a good fire
With no little ones around yet, Christmas Day was as good an excuse to sleep in as any, despite the bright sunshine peeking through the shades.  With my morning weigh-in a bit over my optimum range, I knew that I needed to put a much needed walk on my agenda.  It wasn't because of overindulging in holiday sweets, as it used to be during 12 years working the front desk of an elementary school.  On the last day before winter break I would bring home multiple grocery bags of sweets from students, parents and teachers.  After the first couple of years, my son started to anticipate this giant haul and would greet me at the front door with questions like, "Did Mrs. Cotman make her chocolate peanut candy this year?  Did Ashley's grandmother bring those butter coffee cakes again?"  It was an embarrassment of riches that was shared with anyone who wasn't already on overload with sweets and would accept cookies, candies, cakes, etc.  But, quite a bit was consumed by us before it all finally disappeared.  My only excuse these days was an aging knee that kept me out of the gym for too long.  Why wait for a New Year's resolution when what I clearly needed to do was make friends with "Gnarly" the knee brace and get back in the game before there were more pounds with which to torture my knee.  After finally finishing morning coffee after noon, my first stop was to our neighbor across the street, who always makes me feel like my visit is a special gift.  I'd made a honey/almond/cranberry biscotti recipe I'd been meaning to try for a long time, and Don was one of my willing guinea pigs.  A few hugs later, I was on my way to our neighbor, Sarah's, at the end of our block with more biscotti.  She's also a great hugger, and received the biscotti enthusiastically even though I warned her they were "healthy".  Walking uphill from there to the trails overlooking the ocean, I was reminded, as I am every time I enter this peaceful place how lucky we are to be this close to such a treasure.  I was enchanted to find that one of the trees, well off the beaten track, had been decorated with seed treats for the critters.  The rest of the day passed quietly with reading and cats who were grateful for the laps.     
An anonymous gift to the birds of Fort Hill

On the day after Christmas we got lots of family:  
2 super nieces, 
1 awesome sister, 
and a car full of wrapped up cool gifts.  

The rest of the week is a bit of a blur as the 2 super nieces came and went, the 1 awesome sister changed plans to stay longer so she could visit with Other Son, Wife and 3 children, who arrived sometime after our bedtime and took over the Studio.  From then through New Year's Eve I vaguely remember taking turns saving the cats from our enthusiastic 13 month old grandson, ordering Chinese food more than once, visiting Paco, the macaw, and a lot of Cheerios, or "Floor-ios" as our son calls them because that's where most of them end up. 
Paco and his new girlfriend
There were 2 tired parents,
3 crazy kids
and a car full of gifts to take home.  

New Year's Eve was meant to be a quiet last evening, eating leftovers in front of a crackling fire with Ron and my sister, before her return home the next day.  And, indeed it would have been if the glass fireplace door hadn't suddenly exploded in a spray of tiny shards.  Luckily, no one was injured, but after a year when it seemed like something broke every month, it didn't come as all that big a surprise.  A fitting end to an Ache-y Break-y Year. 
January finally distinguished itself with a decent snowstorm that covered the Cape in drifts over a foot in places.  It was a win-win, being mostly a weekend event.  The plowers got to make a little money and the more patient of us knew that an incoming warm front would melt it all by mid-week.  

There was also a flurry of guests at the B&B in January that kept our inn-keeping skills sharp.  Two sisters from New York and California came to visit a family member.  A couple looking for a quiet weekend getaway enjoyed grilling their supermarket catch of the day out back.  A missionary couple came to relax for the weekend before returning to their post in Africa.  A fellow storm-lover heard we were due for a Nor'Easter and drove all the way from Stowe, VT to experience it with us.  And, I was thinking it was just about time that we heard from our Wisconsin-born snow lovers, who love to get away from Boston and enjoy the Cape during the winter, when they reserved the last two days of the month.  Just flurries expected, but you can't have a storm every time.    

 Let's see what you've got, 2017, starting with our New England Patriots at the Superbowl!  GO PATS signs abound at every turn.

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