Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Secret Anniversaries of the Heart


The holiest of all holidays are those
     Kept by ourselves in silence and apart;
     The secret anniversaries of the heart,
     When the full river of feeling overflows; -
The happy days unclouded to their close;
     The sudden joys that out of darkness start
     As flames from ashes; swift desires that dart
     Like swallows singing down each wind that blows!
White as the gleam of a receding sail,
     White as a cloud that floats and fades in air,
     White as the whitest lily on a stream,
These tender memories are; - a Fairy Tale
     Of some enchanted land we know not where,
     But lovely as a landscape in a dream.

Holidays ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

There is something peculiar in this evening.  We feel a gladness without exactly knowing why.  However old one may be, he becomes really one of the children; and even if he knows that there is no one in the wide world to think of making him the smallest kind of a present, yet he believes and hopes there is one coming, whenever he hears a footstep on the stairs, or any person opens the door.

Christmas Eve in Germany ~ C.C. Shackford

Last night, between eleven and twelve o'clock... the Old Year was leaving her final foot-print on the borders of Time's empire... she thus awaited the midnight knell that was to summon her to the innumerable sisterhood of departed years...
     The New Year... greeted the disconsolate Old Year with great affection, and sat down beside her... waiting for the signal to begin her rambles through the world.  The two were own sisters, being both grand-daughters of Time; and though one looked so much older than the other, it was rather owing to hardships and trouble than to age, since there was but a twelve-month's difference between them.

The Sister Years ~ Nathaniel Hawthorne

Sitting under the mistletoe
(Pale-green, fairy mistletoe),
One last candle burning low,
All the sleepy dancers gone,
Just one candle burning on,
Shadows lurking everywhere;
Some one came, and kissed me there.

Tired I was; my head would go
Nodding under the mistletoe
(Pale-green, fairy mistletoe),
No footsteps came, no voice, but only,
Just as I sat there sleepy, lonely,
Stooped in the still and shadowy air
Lips unseen - and kissed me there.

Frosty Moon

Melted Snow Flakes

Half full, half empty...either way, the beauty's still there 

Did you always tell me about Santa so I would be a good doggy?

When have you been a good doggy?

You're so funny, sweet mommy!  I work hard to stay the model dog you raised me to be.

Hmmmmm... clearly there's somewhat of a disconnection somewhere in your noggin with the interpretation of model dog.

A whatsit wheresit?

We have a difference of opinion, my little pain in the patootie.  Anyway, I haven't mentioned Santa for years.

I know, mommy.  Did he go to heaven?

WHAT!?!  No!  He's still at the North Pole taking a vacation.

How many Christmases' do I have to wait before he ends his vacation?

What do you mean?  He ends his vacation the beginning of every winter.

Then what does he do that causes him to forget me every Christmas?

He reads, but he doesn't forget you every Christmas.

I thought you said he makes toys... he doesn't make toys?

Uh... he moved to a supervisory position and reads all the letters received from his believers, and makes sure the elves create all the toys the letters of the good ones ask from him.

Then you're saying I'm one of the bad ones?  That I'll never ever get a Christmas present ever from Santa ever and forever more?

No... are you sure you mailed your letters in time to arrive before Christmas?

Mailed?  Silly mommy!  The magic wind carries them off to the North Pole every year.

Oh, silly me.  Well, then I'm sure they were delivered.

Well then, I'm sure Santa doesn't love dogs.

Of course, he does!

Of course, he doesn't!

Yes, he does!

No, he doesn't!

He does!

He doesn't!

He does!

He doesn't!

:(  Good grief...  Clearly your letters are being diverted to the land of hobgoblins by Jack Frost, causing Santa to never receive them.  I'll have your letter delivered Priority Mail Express as soon as you write it and that mean Mr. Frost won't make your Christmas sad anymore.

Yip!  Yip!!  Yip!!!  You're the bestest mommy ever!

Mommy spent a small fortune on Christmas that year, as Santa really did love her dog more than any other on his list.

I've become a connoisseur of one pan dishes, and Vic is my right hand man - peeling, chopping, shredding, or mincing the vegetables and seasonings.  He lovingly does this as he adores eating something not from Chick-fil-a.  Our version of this bean dish is a favorite, served along side warm corn spoon bread with butter and strawberry preserves.

It's said this is a southern tradition on New Year's Day to guarantee a year of good luck and prosperity.  I'm a Nevadan transplant.  I just call it good tasting superstition.

Applegate Uncured Sunday Bacon 8 oz. package - one with lots of meat
(Keep unwrapped slices together and cut into 1/4 inch slices along the length.)

2  large sweet onions, chopped

6 large cloves of garlic, minced

Olive oil

4 15oz. cans Eden Organic Black Eyed Peas (no salt added)

2 32oz. Kitchen Basics Unsalted or salted Chicken Stock

24 grinds of black pepper

1 16 oz. Publix Coleslaw Mix (green cabbage, carrots & red cabbage)

Layer into Dutch oven, stew pot, or whatever as follows:  Olive oil, then pull bacon layers apart and cover the bottom of Dutch oven with them.  However they pull apart is fine.  Then layer the chopped onion onto the bacon.  Last, spread the minced garlic on top of the onions.  Cook at medium heat until bacon is browning, Add more olive oil, if needed, then stir and keep cooking (stirring when needed) until the onion is cooked down without burning the garlic.  Do not drain.

Add canned black eyed peas along with the liquid and stir.  Add chicken stock and bring to a boil.  Simmer uncovered at a low boil for at least 30 minutes until the soup begins to thicken.  (Stir when needed.)  Add coleslaw, bring back to a boil, then simmer at a low boil for at least 15 minutes, and serve.

I haven't been all bad.

I've been totally bad.

I've been totally perfect.

In this household of cats, I'm totally kibble.

Daylight peeks in over the top of the drapes inviting me to rise and shine, so I close my eyes, then wake up two hours beyond everyone’s breakfast time.  My bad.  I guess the accompanying headache is payback for a life so lazily lived.

Vic’s now at work at his part time job that takes up forty hours of each of his weeks; and the pets, well fed by my standards and lousily fed by their standards, keep telling me its steaks, lady, steaks!!!  When will you ever get it right!

Ooops!  Had to hurry into the kitchen and turn on the oven to heat breakfast that was left there 15 minutes ago.  It’s not always easy being older…anyway, what was I talking about?

It’s a nippy 37 degrees outside, and the weather station says with the breeze it feels like 30 degrees.  It felt like the 20’s as I refilled the feeder and threw seed across the ground into the garden.

With breakfast of maple and chicken patties on a whole grain roll but a memory of the recent past, my front window once again gives me pleasure as I follow Austin’s gaze towards the garden.  Mourning doves are milling around on the ground and throughout the garden like beautiful messengers of delight to my eyes.

English sparrows and house finches dominate the feeder as usual, with a cardinal flying in, then a larger finch appears which I’m guessing is a purple finch. It doesn’t matter, because they all explode into the trees as a red-bellied woodpecker swoops in and rests in the middle of the seeds.  It’s his until he flies out.

I’m thinking, as I drag my feet on that last present to wrap, how my older Christmas’s began to disappoint more than delight, and I just shut down and settled into my cocoon hibernating until the January’s appeared.

It’s an effort today as the years have not been kind to my health, but I’m learning to shift my gears down according to how I feel.  Today I’m in creeping mode.  It’s back to a few presents this year as many years have been lacking them. 

The largest acquisition has been Dustin’s car seat.  After all these years, it’s about time!  One look at that humongous box, and wrapping paper was no longer an option.  After several installation tries of getting it all wrong, we joyfully took Dustin on a test ride.  It was a total disaster.

We are blessed with a terrier who views car rides as racing back and forth between windows, bouncing off the side walls as he goes, whoopee.  He paws and claws the sides when he tries to see out the windows. 

Apparently we lack simple smarts adjusting the strap that attaches his harness to his car seat.  The car in motion, he tried to eject himself every second until squeezing himself over the edge, he became froze in time, unable to budge an inch, then whimper time.  Stopped car, squished down dog seat to unlatch from harness, and back home to learn from our mistake.

Early this year, Vic told me I was getting my wish as he was down to his last polo shirt. Those garish shirts of horrible colors and stripy patterns he loved so much, that I was always proclaiming should be dumped into the trash along with the doggy poo.  He replenished them year after year to my horror, until the company stopped making them to my delight.  He was so downtrodden, I felt a brief tinge of regret for hating them so much.

Apparently I like tormenting myself, as they became the focal point of what to get someone who wants nothing except goods that closer to a thousand bucks will buy.  EBay and six purchases later, he'll get four rather subdued stripy polo shirts and two from the clown factory.  Okay, maybe they aren't quite that garish, but then again...

Usually in a December post I'll write about walking through the winter landscape that still carries a bit of beauty with it, but this December to me is the real definition of cold, dank, and dreary.  Maybe not feeling well plays into it, as this writing has been difficult to keep in a happy place.

I'll finish this with the last day of November, when a thin dusting of sleet turned into a light layer of snow, melted, then a light layer of snow again, then melted again.  It was one of those can't make up one's mind type of days.  I took a few pictures before it all disappeared into a memory, and the photos of the water drops from the melted snow flakes are magical.

After downloading the photos, I looked out my front window because there's really not much to do except look out my front window.  I rarely ever pick a bad time to look through that dirty glass, and that day was no exception.  A flock of red-wing blackbirds flew in with some grackles, and pigged out on the sunflower seeds.  It was a secret anniversary day I've kept in my heart ever since.

if you're ever on on Towne Village Road, give us a knock :)

May this season of celebration
wrap its magical warmth around you
the same as a thousand hugs.

Keep well.

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  1. Hello,

    Beautiful poems, images and lovely Christmas greetings. Love the cute kitties. My hubby is the chopper and dicer in our family, I a thankful for the help. Especially with the garlic. I wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas. Take care, enjoy your day!

  2. I like these old Christmas cards and you wrote lovely words and stories which touched my heart.
    Have a peaceful Christmas time

    1. Bless this year with love and light.
      Bless this year with faith and sight.
      Bless this year with grace and ease.
      Bless this year with joy and peace.
      (Mary Davis)

      Happy New Year!

  3. ...I love your collection of vintage Christmas greetings! Enjoy these days leading up to Christmas.

  4. Wow these Christmas cards take me back to my childhood...

  5. I absolutely love your collection of Christmas cards - they evoke such sweet memories. Isn't it sad that people don't send "real" Christmas cards any more?

  6. Sweet Dustin! ❤️ In a house with three cats! I saw Lacey (I hope I'm not mistaken) between the decorations. 😊 Curious as a cat! I really like vintage postcards. The one with the swallows reminds me of the story "The Happy Prince", by Oscar Wilde.
    This article is wonderful! Reading, looking at the pictures, I had the feeling that I was listening to wonderful stories at the mouth of the stove (I don't know the English expression) 😊, surrounded by the delicious scent of food.

    I wish you everything that is written on postcards and much more!

    P.S. I like the dialogue between mommy and doggy. ❤️

  7. Today I baked cookies and also tried your Raisin Roughs recipe. The cookies are delicious, thank you!

  8. Fabulous images and wonderful words!

    I appreciate your link at 'My Corner of the World' this week! Thanks for joining us!

  9. Hello,
    What a lovely post. Beautiful images and cute critters. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Take care, have a happy weekend! Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  10. So nice to read your blog post about -christmas!Also your animals

    Adore that kitty in the Christmas decorations hah hah lol :))

    Well i like to smile and you gave it to me :))

    Thanx Yvonne!

    wish you a great weekend and happy christmas if you are taken a pause

    Ilike your Christmas cards very much(Her in norway it is only trolls eating porrige hehe heh)I think I must share some of them if its allright!

  11. Those vintage Christmas cards bring back memories. Thanks for sharing this nice post. Have a wonderful weekend and a Happy Christmas.

  12. Wonderful vintage Christmas cards! And I loved your cats ❤️ We don’t have any snow, only mist & rain. Made a short Santa trip today and saw a field full of swans resting. Poor birds, I hope they get to the south. Wishing Merry Christmas.

  13. Beautiful images at christmas times.

  14. This post is a work of art. Everything from the cards and poems to the polo shirts. I love it all.

  15. Fantastic vintage Xmas cards and lovely photography and marvelous post ~ thanks ~ Happy Holidays to you,

    Live each moment with love,

    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

  16. the vintage cards and images are really beautiful. nice writings, i enjoy the banter between mom and dogs!!

  17. This was a fun post to read...over and over again! Love the stories and poems and beautiful old postcards. Fun to see your pets too! holiday hugs!

  18. Very nice poems, cards and images of Christmas. With most of the borders crossed, Santa will have a hard time delivering the Christmas presents on time. Lol!

  19. This is such a welcome post to read this morning -- a lovely way to start the day, a look into "real life" with all the trappings of a wonderful vintage Christmas. I adore every single one of your postcards (and I only have ONE of them! What a grand collection!) And seeing your sweet cats made me smile big (can you ever feed them enough? If they are like Lizzie, they are real nags!)Have a lovely Christmas!A

  20. Beautiful poetry and images. I have always loved Nathanial Hawthorne. He grew up in Salem, Ma and I grew up and live still in Marblehead, which is the next town over. Though I do not wish the hardships and health issues that COVID has brought us I have to admit that I have enjoyed the quietness and the slowing down of the pandemic.

  21. What a lovely post! Full of cheer for the season of joy! Wish you and yours a Merry Christmas!

  22. Such heart-warming images and writing flowing with festive cheer. I wish you and yours a Merry X'mas and blessed new beginings, dear Yvonne.

  23. Dear Yvonne, this is a wonderful compilation of Christmas poems (I especially love the first one!), Pictures, texts from your everyday life.
    I had a blog break last week, because my mother died at 94. A few days ago I started a posting with an obituary for her and many photos from her eventful life. I probably won't post any more this year. I wish you and your loved ones (with two and four legs) a Merry Christmas and a good start to a year that hopefully will be better than 2020 in many ways!
    All the best, hugs,


  24. May the year make you happy with its gifts:
    with the violets of spring
    with the hum of bees in summer
    and the red-cheeked apples of autumn.
    Winter gives you the fruits of silence for the soul.
    May the moon show you through its light
    that full days come again after lean ones.

    (Old Irish blessing)

    "Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!"

    1. Beautiful! Thank you. I'm also glad you enjoyed the cookies :)

  25. I wish you a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year, for you and for loved ones!

  26. Hi Yvonne, This post is quite amazing. So many great images. Thank you for sharing! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours. John

  27. Dear Yvonne
    I wish you a Merry Christmas and that you get well quickly. What a lovely post, I love those old Christmas pictures and while reading your words, I had head cinema of your morning with all that animals around you. Very special. Thank you for sharing it.
    Kind regards

  28. I thoroughly enjoyed the Christmas art and poetry and especially your closing remarks. Here in South Florida it was intolerably cold 58 degrees F this morning, with high winds and rain as a cold front arrived. It is due to get even colder tomorrow. When the torpid Iguanas start dropping from the trees it is equivalent to your first snowstorm. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

  29. wonderful Christmas card collection, I kept choosing a favorite as I scrolled and then changing my mind fir the next one ... they are all wonderful. But best of all I loved your musings on the kind of Holiday you had, which is pretty much the same as ours was (but without your beautiful backyard birds and your pets ... so full of personality, whether they are being naughty or nice! Happy and very hopeful New Year!

  30. My cats think they were purrfect too. But I know otherwise!

  31. Hello dearest Yvonne,
    i hope you had a good turn of the year! You left me lovely words about my Farewell Hildekind post, but you also wrote that you are feeling lousy at the moment: I hope I don't have to worry about you because you haven't posted again yet!
    I give you a virtual hug and send you warm greetings from Austria, which is now snowy!
    All the best for 2021 🍀


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