Poinsettias are very popular at this time of year. Often given as gifts and sadly often gone before the Christmas tree is taken down.
They are hobby plants for me. Each year if we get one it is a challenge to see if the little life can be kept going till another season.
Mostly I’ve been successful. Three years ago I almost lost one but after a little encouragement it bounced back as a little Bonsai and now has become so robust and my favorite.
The trick you need to know to be ready for this years Poinsettia season is that you must be ruthless! Starve that plant of water until the soil on top is completely dry then take it to the sink and drown it until water is running out of the pot.
Over the years I’ve learned that this works because the Poinsettia is native to Mexico where climate fluctuations mean drought and flood are interspersed.
While my plants keep growing it is rare that they do what they should do and that is turn red at Christmas.
This is all part of the Poinsettia story. The gifting of the plant is based on the legend of a little girl who had no money to bring a gift to her Church. So she plucked some weeds on her way there. The leaves turned into a plant and this turned red on Christmas morning.
This year we have victory! The reward for good light and patience!!!
Blessing # 178 – A little red leaf!
We are having our annual cookie walk at church this weekend. The idea is that as many people as possible sign up to make Christmas cookies and then we sell them by the pound.
Now some of the ladies who bake are artists.. They come up with these amazing creations and the cookies are absolutely perfect iced and sparkly.
In the past years I have had some outstanding disasters when I tried anything more adventurous than a sugar cookie but this year was going to be different.
Early yesterday morning the production line was set up. Dough made, oven turned on, cookies cut. Confidence was coming out of my ears!
Batch after Batch came out right! I was baking for a nation. Mary Berry, Martha Stewart eat your heart out!
Stars and snowmen and hearts were cooking and cooling and being boxed up and they all looked plain and simple but right. So in for a penny in for a pound another round of dough production began.
We were into the home stretch when disaster struck.
After warming up a coffee in the microwave to watch the start of the memorial ceremony for President Bush the oven was accidentally turned off as well as the microwave. This became apparent when a check on the status of the last two trays of cookies was made.
Well of course this was not a big deal. The temperature had only fallen a bit so if it was switched back on all would be well wouldn’t it?
Alas no! The cookies took on the look of charcoal. Now why would this be? Well of course an oven ramps up to its set temperature with a higher heat than it does when stable.
Did this cross the mind of the kitchen diva? Not for a moment but it’s a good lesson learned and so ironic and so funny that they were little fir trees!!!!!
Blessing # 177 – Burnt Wood!!!!! Christmas Logs!!!!!
Such a beautiful ceremony of remberance for President Bush at the National Cathedral today. So full of love and grace. Powerful messages and wonderful music.
All this week we have learned more than ever before about the goodness, kindness and humility of the man that was the forty first President of this great country.
He valued character over pedigree. He viewed tolerance as a virtue not a vice.
We learned that when his lovely granddaughter Jenna introduced him to her baby and asked him what advice he would give her he said
»To your own self be true »
He epitomized the meaning of servant leadership. In defeat he was gracious writing words of encouragement to President Clinton. He became like a father to him. So much so that the Bush brothers referred to him as a brother from another mother!
We learned how he loved to laugh especially at himself. He even had a grading system for jokes.
He had a simple faith and the strong belief that the legacy we must leave our children is the desire to do good and to serve.
Most importantly we learned how much he loved. He loved his country, he loved the people of this country and of the entire world and especially he loved his bride Barbara and their family.
It is in knowledge of his reunion with Barbara and with their baby Robin that this wonderful family universally have said they feel joy and peace today.
Blessing # 176 – Enduring Love
This furniture movement is wrecking havoc in our home especially for the fur ball.
Poor Dibley is in the dog house!
He normally sleeps in bed with us. Our bedroom is on the main floor but we have had to move upstairs temporarily until our favorite bedroom furniture arrives from Ireland as it’s going into our room.
Of course we invited Dibley to join us upstairs but he refused to go. He imposed a ban on the upstairs bedroom!
For several nights he just sat in front of our usually bedroom door. When Krishna tried to coax him to come upstairs he growled at him.
Heaven know why but he is not budging from the main floor. So the past few nights he has slept in his kennel in the kitchen.
We have been up for a while now, had our breakfast and seen Aaron off to school. So it was a bit surprising that the fur ball is still in his kennel.
We were wondering is he huffing with us but I caught him just now lying on his back snoring his head off so maybe he is treating this all like a vacation!
Blessing # 175 – The Fun In Anthropomorphism
Yesterday our dear friends Nilima and Pradeep organized a baby shower party for their younger daughter and her husband who are expecting their first baby soon.
We had such fun playing games and of course eating delicious Indian food and a great big cake!
For all little babies coming to our friends and family it has become our tradition to get the baby a little Irish Arran Sweater. These are knit by Liz a friend in Belfast. She sells them to raise funds for Assisi Animal Charity so little puppies and kittens benefit too.
Yesterday was also the first Sunday in Advent when the candle of hope was lit in anticipation of the four weeks leading up to Christmas and the celebration of the birth of Jesus.
The world has changed a lot since Mary and Joseph waited for their baby to be born.
Many things have not changed though. Sheep still make wool. Wool still is used to make little baby clothes. Grandma and Grandpa and the extended circle surrounding them still wait patiently for a birth.
We shower love on the parents to be and as we sang this morning we pray the world will be a peaceful one for their little love.
Blessing # 174 – Preparing for a Little Love
Yesterday we spent most of the day underground.
As we’d moved our sofas downstairs in preparation for the arrival of the Irish favorites we could either lie on the floor in the living room or veg in the basement.
It was a day of football. American that is! First the Texas and Oklahoma game where we were rooting for Texas. They lost.
Onwards and upwards to Alabama against Georgia and Bamy won!
Finally the climax of the day and the seasons our team OSU against Northwest.
Well a girl needs something to keep her nerves in check so out came the crochet hook and a big ball of wool. A different ballgame!
A friend had recently knit her daughter an infinity scarf so as this was a day of infinite football what else was there to make.
Dad had enough half way through and abandoned the ball for the book!
We both abandoned the basement for bed before the game was over but Aaron cheered the winners on to become once more the BIG 10 Champions!
Blessing # 173 – Hobby Hooks
When we were studying French and German at school we were given names by our teachers.
In French class I was Beatrice and in German Brigit. Now I have no idea how our teachers came up with the names. Maybe they tried to match us up well with our surnames mine being Barr. Bottom line those names still make me wince.
This came back to mind this morning as my bestie Lesley and I were sending funny little Facebook posts in German to Lesley’s daughter in Berlin.
At school I was truly horrendous at languages especially French. To say that French class was a nightmare would be kind. It made me feel ill and very jealous of the girls who seemed to get it!
German at least bore a remote resemblance to English so I could goof my way through conversation and translation.
So it was ironic, some might even say it was poetic justice that I ended up living a large part of my adult life in French speaking countries.
That smattering of French from school helped so much when I arrived to work in Switzerland and in the end French became very near and dear to me.
The German came in handy too.
Many of my bosses were German. Sometimes they’d converse among themselves and while they may have assumed differently I’d a fair idea of what they were saying unless that is they were Swiss speaking Switzer Deutsch which is a whole different ball game!!!!
Blessing # 172 – Language Lessons
Last weekend when we put up the lights outside I was getting a bit tired. Aaron helped me some but these days he is so busy texting that it frustrates me more to watch him and keep having to ask him to concentrate than just doing it myself.
The job was half baked. It wasn’t horrible but it wasn’t satisfying. This happens regularly with me. I’ll knit something or bake something and rush it and then it turns out that I can’t stand it or it is a total fail.
Since Monday I’ve been watching the grounds men put up the outdoor Christmas lights at the club. They were still perfecting the tree today. It looks wonderful
This rubbed in my dissatisfaction with my own work so today I bit the bullet took the outdoor lights down and started over.
They are far from perfect but they now have an order and some elements of symmetry. It was time well spent, really not that much just an hour.
Will anyone notice a difference? Most likely not a soul but myself but I know now I’ll smile when I see them.
Blessing #171– Observing Patience in Perfectionists.
Our furniture from Ireland has cleared customs in New York and is in the warehouse waiting to be delivered to Ohio.
The Swiss stuff is now mostly unpacked and placed in its final destination although there are still four boxes in the garage and some in the boiler room.
To get ready for the Irish onslaught we hired College HUNKS Hauling Junk to come today to help us move things around. Highly recommend them!
The guys were smart, efficient and worked non stop. Best of all they were really kind and helpful. Nothing was too much trouble for them!
There were sofas going to the basement, a bed going upstairs twin beds coming to the garage to be picked up by the furniture bank not to mention coffee tables, carpets and the inevitability bookcases moving around too.
Musical chairs took on a whole new meaning!
Before any move could happen of course I had to make a few adjustments to things myself and that is when disaster struck. Something nasty happened to my back yesterday and again this morning it gave me a fright.
Nonetheless still went to Yoga class to see how that would make me feel.
Well it was like a minor miracle.
Our lovely yoga teacher Olivia who is going to her baby in just a few weeks showed up but no one else did. So Olivia and I had a great little practice just the two of us with focus on our lower backs.
Got home just in time to say hello and give direction to the lads.
Blessing # 170 – NAMASTE to Three Strong HUNKS and a Gentle YOGI
The long running TV show Coronation Street introduced many of us in the UK to the term BUTTY.
The program is set in a working class area in the North of England and has been going for 58 years. There are a few people still acting in it who were in the first episodes.
When we lived in Switzerland my Dad would tape the program for me and I’d pick up the video tapes on each visit back home. The binge watching of all the episodes once we were back in Switzerland drove poor Krishna mad!
Anyway I thought of this today as I was making our lunch. We had a good ham BUTTY with some mind blowingly hot Coleman’s Mustard. In other words a super thick sandwich stuffed to capacity and totally lacking in any finesse.
Butties are the polar opposite of a finger sandwich that the more upper crust among the population would be used to.
In Northern Ireland we’d also refer to this as a doorstop just to reinforce its depth. It’s rough and it’s ready and it’s yummy.
Blessing # 169 – Getting your teeth into something good