Wednesday, November 30, 2016

November Wrap-Up

It’s hard to believe that tomorrow is going to be December 1st.  The last few weeks of November seemed to fly by, but was actually mostly good.

I’ll start with the best news first.  We finally got rain!!!  I’ve never been so happy to see rain.  We had a tiny bit of rain in the early hours of Thanksgiving morning.  Then we had a little rain Monday night.
We’ve had lots of rain today, and it has been wonderful.

The smoke got really bad last week.  Because of the way the wind was blowing we were actually getting smoke from two different fires.  There was a haze of smoke inside at work last week, and at home it smelled like a bonfire.  I was convinced we would be evacuating.  Once again, Nick was the voice of reason, and was right, no evacuation for us.

I ended up going to the doctor to get medications for smoke-related breathing issues.  I’ve had a terrible cough that just won’t go away.  It turns out that it’s due to inflammation caused from the smoke and all of the coughing.  I’m two days into the medicine, and already feel so much better.  Being able to breathe is a wonderful thing!

Our cat, Joey, has asthma, and our vet has had us increase all of his medications, and even added in a few more.  Hopefully now that we’ve had some rain, and the smoke seems to finally be clearing, we’ll be able to taper him back down to his normal dose.

We celebrated my parents’ 42nd anniversary with them the weekend before Thanksgiving.  We brought a cake, and Nick made calzones, which were incredibly delicious.  It was a little weird, because we had to check on the status of three different fires burning near us before we felt comfortable leaving to go that far from home.  Fortunately everything was fine, and we had a good time with my parents.

Thanksgiving went really well.  I got the food to the hospice house on time.  I was really worried about running behind.  I told them I’d have it there between 12:30 and 1:00, and made it about 12:50, so I’m counting that as a win.  Bonus win, I had very minimal spilling on the drive there; just a little green bean juice spilled in the trunk.  Considering the amount of food I took there, I’m counting that as success.  I’m fairly proud of myself for packing it up efficiently.  I saved shipping boxes for a while, so I’d have boxes to put the pans in.  I put everything in disposable pans so there would be no worrying about getting dishes back, and labeled everything to make it easier in dealing with leftovers.  We even remembered to buy paper plates, etc. to take.

I ended up bringing turkey, dressing, gravy, mashed potatoes (made to stand alone, so they wouldn’t necessarily need gravy, and could be a vegetarian option, per Victoria’s suggestion), sweet potato casserole, macaroni and cheese, green beans, rolls, jellied cranberry sauce, whole berry cranberry sauce, two pumpkin pies, a cherry crunch, and a chocolate cake.  I ended up scaling the menu back a little bit, just to make sure I got everything there on time, but I think there was still plenty of food.

The staff was so nice, and kept thanking me over and over again.  They made me cry (in a good way, just by being so nice).  I told them they had just been so kind when GrandMommy was there, and that we really appreciated them.  I cannot imagine doing their job.  They kept saying they’re happy to do it, especially when people appreciate it.  I didn’t stick around very long.  I didn’t want to intrude on anyone’s grief, or get in the way of people trying to work, or eat so they could get back to work.  And I wanted to get out of there before I turned into a total crying mess.  I called Nick’s mom on the way home, and cried to her instead, Like, I said, it was mostly a good cry, though.

Once I got home from hospice, I started cooking smaller batches of Thanksgiving food for us for when Nick got home from work.  I started the desserts on Wednesday afternoon.  I have pictures of the desserts, but somehow managed not to take a single picture of the food before I left with it on Thursday.  We figured out that out of about a 30 hour period I cooked or baked for all but about eight hours of it.  It was fun, but I totally crashed on Friday.

On Friday, the most ambitious thing I did was a little online Black Friday shopping.  I’ll admit, I never even got out of my pajamas.  We ate leftovers, watched a few movies, and did a little online shopping.  It was nice to have such a low-key day.

We put the tree up on Saturday, and had a friend, Cathey, over for some apple cake.  She had gone out of town for Thanksgiving, and we started talking about how everyone had spent Thanksgiving.  We told her about taking food to hospice, and she loved the idea.  Her first husband was sick off an on for years before he died, and she has ended up taking care of a lot of different people over the years.  She has spent pretty much every major holiday in a hospital or similar place at some point.  She said one Christmas when her husband was in the hospital someone had brought in some Christmas goodies, and it just made such a difference to her that someone did that.  So she came up with the idea for us to take Christmas goodies to the hospice house.  We won’t be able to go on Christmas, but we’re planning to go a few days before and leave some Christmas foods.  Cathey makes a lot of the traditional candies and fudge, so will do that.  I haven’t figured out what I’m going to make yet.  I’m open to suggestions.

The tree looks good, and so far Frankie is the only cat really messing with it much.  One of the presents is in a fairly large box, and he’s using the box to stand on to access some of the higher branches (where we put the ornaments we really don’t want the cats messing with), so I think that box is going to end up being moved away from the tree.

We’ve finished most of our Christmas shopping.  I think we have about four more things to buy, and then we’ll be completely finished.  I’ve also finished shopping for Nick’s birthday (he’s a Christmas Eve baby), and am just waiting for a few more online orders to come in.  I’m hoping to finish up all, or at least most, of the wrapping this weekend.  I enjoy wrapping presents, but it seems to take me forever.

I can’t go into details because most of the people I shop for read my blog at least occasionally, but I’m really excited about a few of the presents.  I also know what some people we’ll be celebrating with have gotten for each other, and I think everyone is really going to love their gifts.

So what about you?  How was your Thanksgiving?  How are your Christmas preparations going?  I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and that you aren’t dealing with smoke!


  1. God bless you for helping at hospice. My SIL works at a hospice, it takes a special kind of person. Glad you were spared damage from the fires, though the smokey lungs couldn't be pleasant. Hopefully the rain will end them; so many people have lost so much...very sad.

  2. So glad you posted about how your taking the meal to hospice went. Sounded like a delicious meal you put together and I know it was appreciated! Good too about taking Christmas goodies over there next month! It really is convenient shopping online isn't it? I remember when the kids were younger and we got a lot of toy catalogs in the mail, they would circle what they wanted and I would then put together a list of what to get them, fill in the order online, and just wait for it to be delivered; so easy! I always find myself when I'm wrapping gifts that I can't keep track of where the tape and scissors are. Gift bags are so convenient, but I "suck" when it comes to making the tissue paper look pretty in it (honestly, son does a much better job with it than I do).

    Our Thanksgiving was interesting, but I can't go into too much detail about it, lets just say that the food was delicious and the time spent with the family that was there were great. We are foraging ahead with Christmas preparations and this is honestly the first year in a long time that I can actually listen to Christmas music or see Christmas light displays and not have a big pit in my stomach, so that's progress :)


  3. What a month! I'm glad it had a lot of good bits. And yay for the rain! We got a tiny bit this week as well and it was much appreciated.

  4. I was in Denver several years ago after their big fires. Some folks were literally passing out on the street. So glad that the medicine is helping you. I am slowly getting the Christmas decorations together. The grandson is helping, lol.

  5. Glad you finally got some rain. I hope your cough clears up fully soon, and that Joey 's asthma medication can be decreased back to his normal dose soon too.

    I'd count that as a very successful Thanksgiving, and I'm glad you were able to do something so wonderful, and felt so good doing it. Thank you for taking my suggestion on making sure there was an option for vegetarians. Any that were there will have appreciated your doing so.

    Great plan about taking some stuff around Christmas too. You're going to make a lot of people very happy again.

    I started my Christmas shopping last week. I'm about half done. We're hoping to be getting the tree sorted during the second half of next week, and already have a few things ready to go under it.

    I don't have any furry family members who will be able to do anything to the tree this year, since none of the rodent gang gets to be loose apart from when we're playing with them (the closest is the chinchillas in their pen). I've had cats and dogs in the past though, and found it easier to keep the dogs away from the tree than the cats. One cat we had used to unwrap anything under the tree that smelled edible, or was in between her and something that smelled edible,
    so we had to use a cloth sack to put the presents in so she couldn't get at them.

  6. You are such a kind, lovely person. What a caring act taking all that food to the hospice. Karma will be smiling down on you. I had no idea cats could get asthma.

  7. Hi Danielle -- boy! You've been busy. But good busy, the kind that helps people and make them feel good about the world and probably makes you happy, too. I love the idea of taking the food to the Hospice House. That is so generous and so very thoughtful.

    Thanks, too, for all your comments and catch up on Marmelade Gypsy! I loved your visit and comments and really appreciate them. You mentioned the shrimp and grits issue -- no shrimp! I think this same recipe would be very good with a spicy Italian sausage in chunks. In fact, I almost always have sausage and might make it that way next time.

    Your tree looks great. Back in the days when I had Stimpy, he knocked down the tree twice going for ornaments. (The fact that one side was heavier than the other probably didn't help). Now I use boxes of cat little on each of the tree legs -- just in case. Of course, the benefit is no buying litter till May!

    Finally, concerned about you with the smoke and hope the fires are gone soon and that the rain will help with your breathing. As one with lung problems, I know so many things can trigger it and that seems like a very big one. I hope all stays OK.

    Happy week,

  8. So glad you got some rain. I hope the fires are out.

    Sounds like the Thanksgiving food was a success. Are you going to take the same place the Christmas goodies? I think you should definitely make fudge. And sugar cookies. Just don't make the mistake my SIL made one year when she made rum balls. Apparently, they were quite potent (I didn't partake).

  9. Thanks for visiting me at Delights of the Heart. I have a Joey cat too. Thanksgiving was all about being together with family. Christmas cards are mailed and 90% of the gifts are bought. Half the decorations are done, just the tree to go this Sunday. Hugs!

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  11. Glad you had rain and I've read all your other are a kind-hearted person.

  12. Wow, you've been busy! We love that you volunteer so much at the hospice house. You guys are wonderful, and we are so proud to be your friends. Seriously.

    Glad you got that much-needed rain.



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