The Compton Heights CC Rising Reading Book Circle held its December meeting at our house, and everyone enjoyed the potluck brunch and discussion of 84 Charing Cross Road. Clockwise, from the left: Madeline, Brenda, Chris, Marsha, Norm, Liz, Devin, Kathy and Sarah. Missing is Janice, who is still recovering from serious surgery.
Winter sun throws long shadows, making it hard to get a photo of the west side of the house. It was also to get outside photos of anything, as we had many cloudy, rainy days. The sun came out on this particular afternoon and I ran outside, camera in hand, before it could change its mind!
Norm has such a great decorating imagination. He found some older plant sprays I was planning to donate to a good cause and worked them in with our traditional greenery and red bows to create focal points on the front porch. It has looked kind of lonely on the porch since all of the houseplants moved inside, back in November.
I could not resist pansies back when Thies Farm was still selling them in October. These guys welcome us every time we drive up the driveway, and an equally sprightly contingent of them holds forth in the back. They took this morning's inch of wet snow in stride and looked about as good as this when I got home from errands today.
Before we took to ailing, we had a fabulous 3 days in Kansas City with Nancy and John Sanders. They came in from Colby to attend a madrigal dinner/concert directed in part by their daughter Jamea, and an Allegro Holiday concert that their granddaughter Katie was singing in. We ate, visited, broke speed limits to get to concerts on time, visited and ate some more, and also got to see their son Shad and son-in-law John as well. We had a great time. Two days later after we got home, the Rhinovirus struck, but we aren't blaming it on KC!
With the outside decorated, I started getting the inside ready for our book club guests and hopefully others. The entire mantel and book case is taken up with some 17 or 18 nativities, but the centerpiece is always my mother's traditional one. With a couple of nontraditional additions....
The piano showcases my dad's handmade O-gauge train year round, but at Christmas my 21 Santas invade the property as well. This 1922 Story and Clark also makes a handy display case for the many Christmas cards we received, most of them with lovely notes or long letters. And we will answer them, every one. At least by Valentine's Day!
The Santa at left, the sleigh with presents, the two white reindeer and the little cardboard house with the trees around it were my mother's pride and joy. Daddy made the sleigh and bag for the presents. Mother purchased the rest, before I was born.
The little gray house, car and outhouse are part of the scene my dad was building for his train set. It looks like Santa has left some presents here. My other Santas were gifts or else I collected them on travels or at craft shows. A few years ago I decided I should stop and savor the ones I have instead of adding more. That feels about right...they all fit in one box and any more would require a bigger box... and we all know what happens when you need a bigger box, or house, or barn.....
I think we put everything on the Christmas Tree this year. No white and gold Victorian theme....use them all! Norm did most of the decorating when I was busy getting ready for my December Circle meeting and Quilt Guild party, which came the same week as the Book Club Brunch. Do you suppose that all of that partying had anything to do with the relapses?
By night, the tree glows with white lights and takes on a whole different personality. It reflects in the French doors and the reflection also shines from the East windows in the sunroom at the other end of the house. When I was little I dreamed of living in a big house with room for a tall tree. Here we have 9-foot ceilings so I got my wish. At Christmas I am sometimes overwhelmed by remembering the love and the care that went into the Christmases of my childhood and by the realization that Norm and I are still making memories to share as we ourselves grow older. We love Christmas and always observe the traditional 12 days of Christmas, marking the arrival of the Wise Men on January 6 and holding a candlelight vigil on 12th night. So the house won't be back to "normal" until some time in January. Or February..... We hope everyone who reads this had a good Christmas and we are praying for a healthy, happy and prosperous New Year for everyone in 2012!