Posted in Arlington, Christmas, Family, Hanukkah, Holidays, Massachusetts

Enter Ancient December

It’s finally cold outside. I need my winter coat. No snow yet, but the local shops are putting up their displays and the Town is getting ready for a holiday blow out this weekend: tree lightings, caroling, special promotions at shops and restaurants. White lights are draped over trees in Arlington Center and trees are on sale, ready for ornaments all all that.

Holiday Display
Ginger Bread House at The Artful Heart

We’ll probably pick out a tree this weekend, just in time to kick off Hanukkah! I’ll have to dig out my husband’s menorah and remind him to get candles so we can light the thing. My travel arrangements for Buffalo are set and I’m starting to look around for presents to purchase or make.

Okay, so this is feeling cool. I’m getting into it. It’s been a little hard to get into the spirit since my mom passed, but enough time has transpired so that I can feel that holiday joy in my heart.

Happy Holidays, everybody!

Posted in Christmas, Family, Hanukkah, Health, Holidays, Just Bitching

Door #1, Door #2 or Door #3?

Finally, after yet another bout with an unexpected and unwelcome virus I’ve managed to get myself both outside and active as well as inside and working. At this point, this foolishness has been going on for about two months and I’m not out of the woods yet. So far I’ve had visits from two different viruses, one of which may have been some version of mono. At least that’s what the tests might indicate. I came down with a run-of-the-mill cold about two weeks ago and am still stuffy and more tired than I should be.

And no one, no one, knows why or how I got those hallucinations in November. At this point I’ve had three separate blood tests, a CT scan, an MRI, visits with a psychiatrist, neurologist and a neuro-opthalmalogist. I’ve had my central and peripheral vision tested, my blood drawn and my head examined – literally. So far we’ve determined that I’m not psychotic, don’t have a tumor, don’t have Charles Bonnet Syndrome or anything in my blood that would suggest a source of the visions. The first blood test took place in the emergency room while I was actively hallucinating, so they really started at the beginning. I have an EEG scheduled for January and after that I am done with this crap.

I haven’t had any hallucinations since that one day but am going crazy trying to figure out what the hell happened. Did I eat something? Touch something? Smell something? My doctors don’t think so, based on the sequence of events and the fact that this thing only lasted one day. So, what is it, damn it? Tell me!

I just don’t want that to happen again. It was like going on a bad LSD trip, or so I’d imagine. Whirling things, snakes and bugs, all coming at me. Yuck.

Anyway, I’m back to work and am slowly starting to dig my way out of my backlog. Fortunately, it’s a quiet time of year so I can get away with a lighter task load. I’m leaving for Western New York and Christmas on Sunday. The hubby will be driving out later, after his classes get out. I’m not planning on bringing my laptop along!

Anyway, Happy Hanukkah for those who celebrate the occasion!


Posted in A Bit of This, A Bit of That, Blogging, Christmas, Friends, Hanukkah, Holidays

Safe and Sound

The presents have been opened. The food’s been prepared and then eaten. Even the leftovers are gone. The families have been telephoned or visited. We’re done for another year.

It was a nice Christmas and a nice Hanukkah, too. Went to a neighborhood Argentinian restaurant (of all places) for our Christmas Eve dinner. Had a lovely meal, then meandered back home to open presents. We videotaped the event for the folks back home, since I have a blog just for them. Then my husband’s side of the family came over on Christmas day and we were treated to fresh latkes (potato pancakes) by his mom, along with a wonderful roasted chicken and salad, made with ingredients from a gourmet food gift box my brother sent me.  More presents were exchanged – nothing huge and complicated. Overall, an enormous amount of fun on both days.

I hope you all had a lovely holiday, whichever one or ones you’ve celebrated. Have I ever mentioned how much I enjoy all of your blogs, by the way? I don’t always get a chance to respond, but I do read them all. It’s wonderful to have so many friends in so many places, not just here in the US but in Australia, India, Britain and elsewhere. I’m fortunate, indeed.

Here’s to friendship and to blogging!

Posted in Christmas, Food, Hanukkah

Margy, the Latke Lady

It’s not my holiday, mind you, but I do love sharing Hanukkah with my husband. We’re really a two-holiday household, and it’s fun when Christmas and Hanukkah come around at the same time, as it is this year.

We’ve been lighting candles on the menorah and singing the blessing that accompanies that act. My throat feels like it’s crawled through razor-wire – blasted cold! – but I’m managing to croak out the verses with my husband. He has a simple but elegant menorah, one he’s had since his childhood. Hanukkah candles are quick burning, and some of them didn’t quite make it through this summer. My husband squeezed one in that looked like a tree that had been bent in the wind. No matter, it glowed on!

I also decided to get the frying pan out this year and give my husband a plateful of latkes (potato pancakes if you’re a Polish Catholic girl like me). I figure he should have a traditional dish at least one night, while I’m running around decorating the house for Christmas and eating cookies. It didn’t look too complicated: shredded potatoes and onion, eggs, a little flour and some salt. Oil the pan and fry away. No problem. Just like regular pancakes. And they were good!

Latkes are traditionally served with sour cream and/or applesauce. I’m not a huge sour cream fan (I know, I should get a whipping for that, Polish girl that I am) so I loaded up on applesauce. The hubby – who will eat just about anything, but especially latkes – dished out gobs of sour cream.

Just a little sour cream…

So, latkes/potato pancakes/whatchamacallit flew off the serving plates and into our mouths way faster than they took to make. I gave them a tentative chew, this being a new thing for me and all, then gobbled them down:

And the hubby? Did I meet or beat his mom’s experienced hand? Were they okay? Were they? Were they?

I guess so! Have a wonderful holiday, y’all, whichever ones you follow. And don’t forget to light a candle for the solstice.

Posted in Christmas, Hanukkah, Holidays

First Candle

I’m the Christian in the household, who ends up nagging my Jewish husband incessantly about Hanukkah. “Can we light the candles now? Can we light the candles now?” It’s the light thing, maybe a mental extension of my love of lights and color around Christmas. Winter is depressing. Light makes a lot of difference, particularly when it’s cold and dark outside.

So, we light candles, plug in trees and sing. A bit of light and harmony in more than one sense. I wish the rest of the world could do that. Say, I like your holiday, can I have some?

Posted in A Bit of This, A Bit of That, Christmas, Hanukkah

Ho, Ho, Ho And all That Yada-Yada

My lucky streak with colds seems to have ended. I’m working my way through my second one in as many months. I’m at the head-plugged stage where I’m feeling better but sound worse. This is actually the worst part of having a cold for me. My hearing is rather sensitive and I go nuts when my ear pressure changes, as it’s doing now. I can’t focus and my balance is off because of the fluid in my inner ear.

As a result, I focused on some Christmas decorating yesterday, since it’s pretty mindless and doesn’t get upset whenever I have to stop to blow my nose or pop my ears.  Plus, I was was feeling poorly and wanted lights and pretty trees, dammit! The hubby and I did a bit of Hanukkah shopping for his family yesterday morning, then we picked up two mini-trees for the living room. I managed to string them with lights and only broke two ornaments as I tried to string tinsel garland around them. My husband came to the rescue with that, otherwise I would have probably tipped the damn trees over.

I spent a restless night not being able to sleep or breathe, but was rewarded with the sight of two pretty little Christmas trees when I came downstairs for coffee. I also wrapped a few presents, to add even more color. Pretty, pretty, pretty! Then I put out a colorful tablecloth on the table in the dining room, popped a bouquet of flowers into the middle of it and lit a candle. Then I saw down and read, blew my nose, took little bitty naps and enjoyed the view.

Christmas Tree
Awww, Cute Little Tree!

Merry Christmas!

Happy Hanukkah!

Yuletide greetings and happy Kwanzaa (is that right?), wherever – and whoever – you are! Love, peace and plenty of eggnog. Ahhh, the world’s feeling better. Now tell me more about your holiday preps?