Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Snowmen, Walks and Yoga

For the past two days the dogs and I have walked in the rain.  Nothing like walking through the woods  when everything is golden and wet with a chilly wind in your face to make you feel alive.
Our world here in Alabama has just come alive since the rains began.

Only a couple of students today, sometime the schedules get so  busy there is no time for yoga and relaxation.  That is when life at the addiction center feels like real life back at home and you have to make choices, or go to your counselor and ask for help rescheduling your day.

I started decorating for the holidays this week.  Last spring, our neighbors brought us these delightful snowmen they painted.  Now  a part of our Christmas decorations but since they are snowmen they will hang out with us until winter is over.  Every time I look at them I smile, they are such charming gentlemen.  I start painting cards tomorrow.  Fingers are crossed that the vision I see in my head finds itself on paper.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Fence Moss

Ever since I was a small child I have loved moss...on rocks, trees, brick, trees, the ground, anything.
I love the color, the texture and the earthy smell.  Since the rains have come, this fence post has just taken on a life of its own.  Every time I walk by it, I have to touch the moss.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Happy Holidays

I have a large family.  There were seven of us kids and now there are so many nieces and nephews, great ones and great great ones that I have lost count.  With the death of my parents the getting together of everyone just faded away, too many families involved, too many calendars to try to match up.  But we siblings ( well now there are six) get together the first Sunday in December at my sister's house for lunch and fellowship.

The years are flying by, and we know in our hearts our number is shrinking.  But today was fun and happy.  Pat's house was filled with laughter and good food and once again the love of siblings was warm, even with a cold foggy drizzle outside.  For me, this is Christmas and today I am grateful.
No presents, not even a tree, but love and laughter.  Happy Holidays to you and yours, today and every day.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Finally A Rainy Day

It has been a very long time since rain has fallen for hours here in Alabama.  It started with a sprinkle today around 11:00 and as the afternoon has moved into evening, the rain drops have multiplied.  It is now a steady rain falling, a little bit chilly and the weather guys say this should go on for the next couple of days.  I am thrilled.

Jordan and Breeze had swim meets today.  They both had an impressive day, shaving time off their past meets and placing in each heat they competed in.  We hope they are creating a "Phillips" dynasty for the next several years on their swim team.

We did Christmas shopping yesterday and birthday shopping today.   December is full of family birthdays.  I had meant to come home and paint Christmas cards, but a lazy streak hit me hard this afternoon and I have done nothing but  read and watch it rain.   Tomorrow my siblings celebrate Christmas with a lunch at my sister's house.  This weekend has been non-stop.

I can't help but continue to say how grateful we are for the rain.  For over a month, every morning when I opened the front door I smelled smoke, finally no more.  I am sure there are some who are already complaining about this rainy day, but I can't.   Tomorrow is Sunday, I wish blessings of peace for you all and a day full of joy.

Goodnight, Sweet dreams

Friday, December 2, 2016

Christmas Cookies

This is my column that ran in The Leaf  ( local paper in Birmingham) this month.

Christmas cookies – I am pretty well known for mine.  They are not you’re  traditional sugar cookie, they are full of butter and spice.  Ginger, cinnamon, and cloves turn the dough a deep rich brown and make the house smell amazing as the cookies bake.  Just the smell makes me euphoric.  Everyone who has ever eaten one says it is the best cookie they have ever tasted; I think they are as well.

Making the cookies has turned into a tradition that has even outgrown family. Now I have so many kids clamoring to bake cookies at my house that this year Jordan and I will do shifts. I have to warn the makers of sugar crystals and edible decorations they need to go into overtime because come the week before Christmas the Watson house will be knee deep in sugar sprinkles of all colors Christmas.  There will be kids whose mouths and lips won’t ever be the same color again and whose sugar buzz will last until New Years.

I have several cans of cookie cutters, some for Easter, Halloween, spring and fall, but most of them are for Christmas.  The cutters include candy canes, reindeer, Santa, stocking, bells, trees, snowflakes, snowmen, gingerbread men and more.  The kid's favorites are trees, bells, and snowflakes.  I think those give them the most freedom with their choice of decorations.

This fall as local politicians visited around town, one of them laughed and said “I know who you are, you’re the cookie lady.”  It turns out, his niece had been to my house to make cookies this past year.  His big complaint, she only gave him one.  I promised if she came this year, we would make sure he got more than one cookie.

The past couple of years we have also painted Christmas ornaments for them to take home and hang on their trees.  That tradition is growing.  This year I have plans for paint and ornaments as well; I just hope the parents remember to send the kids old clothes that are paint-proof.  When we painted Halloween pumpkins, there were some incidents…paint in the hair was a biggie and paint on “good” clothes made some parents unhappy.  Keep your fingers crossed that these issues are resolved.

I realized when my parents died that old traditions will not always survive; new ones have to be created.  Some of the old ones that I cling to, painting each and every Christmas card I send and not putting the tree up until the week before Christmas.  I listen to Christmas music starting December 1, and it is not always traditional/radio Christmas music.  My favorite Christmas tune is Last Month of the Year and old blues song. Of course, I also am partial to the two Christmas songs that Rick and I wrote.

I hope that this holiday season brings hope and peace to us all.
As my friends in the UK say, “Happy Christmas.”

PS.  If you want the recipe, contact me at rickandjilda.com

Thursday, December 1, 2016

December 1

December 1...today is Rick's mom's birthday, RIP Elwanda

December 1...last month of the year 2016

December 1...listening to Christmas music now

December 1...every night a different Christmas movie

December 1...hot cider and my special cookies

December 1....baking Christmas cookies with Jordan and the rest of the kids

December 1...getting our living tree soon, and then after Christmas we plant it

December 1...time to paint my Christmas cards

December 1....I love seeing all the lights

December 1...my mom's birthday is this month

December 1...I have made my list, am checking it twice

December 1....finally it's cold

December 1...getting the Christmas dishes out, will use them until spring ( they have a snowman, not really Christmas)

December 1...decorating the house a little bit every day

December 1....we do a Charlie Brown tree with Jordan and Sam

December 1...time with friends and family

December 1....a slew of family birthdays this month

December 1...baking an Irish fruitcake

December 1... the smell of pine and cedar wood

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Fall Surprise

On this last night of November 2016 there is sadness and gratitude.  We are so grateful for the rains, but saddened by the destructive killing storms that came through our state last night.  We were lucky, a few tree limbs tossed about but  to our north and west there were many who were not so lucky.
We live in a beautiful state, but our proximity to the Gulf of Mexico and the dips in the Jet Stream create violent weather patterns in the spring and fall.  Yesterday it was almost 80 degrees, tomorrow highs in the 50's.

I thought because of the drought and the record breaking warm fall temps, our chance for a any color was lost.   I was wrong, there have been vivid pockets here and there.  Today after the rains passed and the sun came out I discovered a surprise as I walked the dogs.  I share with you the beauty of Mother Nature tonight.