I've already given thanks for my many friends, virtual, at a distance and up close. So, partner and I celebrated Thanksgiving by making 53 jars of apple butter. We bought the apples as we passed through Virginia on the way home from Cleveland. Um, um, good. This stuff is dark and tasty and well stirred - we spent three days getting it all done. And, other than being tired, we had lots of fun doing it together.
The letter from the doctor summarizing my visit to Cleveland Clinic said exactly what I expected, and I'll be making an appointment with my primary care physician here to sort out all the details of follow-up. However, the Requip XL seems to be working well. I tried taking the Cymbalta at the same time and slept all the time; so we'll have to work out a lower dosage or a different schedule.
But, Christmas is officially on the way. Tomorrow is the first Sunday of Advent. Next Sunday, the second Sunday of Advent is our tree trimming party - I've been doing it for 20 years - minus the three Christmases at Yale when we didn't have room for anything but a miniature tree. I think this is the 9th one that we've had together.
We'll have homemade chicken/vegetable soup - well, stew really - with garlic bread, cheese dip, spinach dip, fresh veggies and chips for dipping, cupcakes from the best baker in town, salted and praline pecans and other nuts (besides our guests), shrimp platter, and probably some other things as well. We invite the guests and provide the food; they decorate the tree. Usually everyone leaves with a goodie bag, but this year they are getting white crocheted stars about 2 inches in diameter - my design and my handiwork. In years past I have made hot chocolate mix, but everyone's on a diet or diabetic or something; so I'm not doing that this year either. Traditions change as we grow and change ourselves.
This year, I'll have to go through the ornaments and put away some that aren't as special - just so we'll have room on the tree for them. Partner has some from her childhood, and I've collected many from my special friends over the years; so we have far too many for one tree even if it is seven feet tall. Jimmy always helps put on the lights, and Laura's birthday is always near the party date - right on this time. We've invited some newer friends from partner's various activities.
Partner has been practicing her piano playing and made up a songbook of carols for us to sing. One of the church's good singers will be here; so we'll have someone to help lead the singing.
Paige plays while friends sing in 2004
Christmas Tree 2004 with Stuart still decorating it.
As I write this, I remember the many years of tree trimming parties and think of all the friends who helped put up the many decorations. Godson John in Chattanooga and his friend at the time, Libby. My student worker Andrea. Other college students. And, before that were high school students whose faces I still see in my mind and pray for when I do. Neighbors and co-workers, church friends, volunteers in the non-profit where I worked. And, Mom's 75th Christmas when all the family and friends crowded into her home for the last gathering in that house - the tree was so big that we had to walk around it in the living room. We laughed and told family stories, ate good food, opened many presents, went outside and played frisbee in the street, played cards and ate some more.
We'll have an interesting mix this year of friends from many areas of our lives: church, gays and lesbians, boating, 12 step program, and kite flying. Should be interesting.