There were a couple more photos from yesterday’s trip to the Christmas tree farm that didn’t make it into yesterday’s post. There must have been a bit of rain yesterday (though I don’t remember it), as some of the trees were nicely decorated with beads of water. The little tiny pine cones also made for some cute embellishments.
The kids and I did finish decorating the tree today. While we did find some of the little fuses for the old strands of lights, we ended up adding a long new strand that I’d bought a couple years ago in an after-Christmas sale light-buying spree. Then we added strands of beads, and then the other miscellaneous ornaments.
Strands of beads were never part of the Christmas trees of my childhood, but I have grown to appreciate them. I like the way they add the lines zig-zagging and draping around the tree. Plus I do love their added shininess.
I have recurring lab meetings on Fridays, for a couple of my various research/teaching projects. My colleagues suggested that we could still meet as usual, since none of us would be travelling this year. I, on the other hand, suggested that I’d prefer to skip the meetings. Our family had pencilled in a sort of meeting of our own.
What with this year being so challenging, with things like family visits and travel and fun summer activities mostly cancelled, we have really been looking forward to the home-focused activities of our traditional Christmas. Whereas I know quite a lot of people who have been decorating for Christmas early, we decided to wait until after Thanksgiving. But we did want to jump right in today. And that first jump involves getting a tree.
For the last several years, it’s been our tradition to go to a tree farm in our town. We’ve brought the dog with us most years since we’ve had him. John and I were both feeling a bit tired today, and thought that maybe it would be a bit less stressful to leave the dog at home. However, as soon as I started putting on my shoes to go, the dog put together a very compelling argument as to why he should come. I mean, look at that face.
So we bundled him and ourselves into the car and started on our way for the quick drive across town. And then turned around at the end of our street to go back home for another mask. (For John. The dog doesn’t need to wear one.) And then we were off again.
The farm was really busy today, but we went after our spy network let us know that things had calmed down. It took us a while to find a tree that met our specifications, but we persevered.
We didn’t get around to putting up the tree until quite a bit later tonight. And then we brought down some of the bins to start decorating. We started with the topper, and started putting on strands of lights, working our way up from the bottom. Unfortunately, half of our usual strings of lights seem to have given up the ghost since last year. (I spent more time digging through bins trying to find the little fuses, but gave up for tonight.)
So, the tree is only about half lit for now. Tomorrow, we’ll either see about replacing some fuses, or bringing down some different lights. But it does look pretty festive, if rather bottom-heavy.
Carving pumpkins is a favorite Halloween tradition in our household. For me, as well as the kids. I guess there have been some years when I haven’t carved my pumpkin, but I think I do most. And more often than not, I seem to do variations on the same expression. Here was this year’s pumpkin:
And here is last year’s:
It’s a little like my pumpkin gets reincarnated each year. Except that as a vegetable, re-incarnation is probably not quite the right term. It’s not flesh, exactly. Reinvegetation, perhaps?
I do wonder how many similar pumpkins I’ve carved over the years. The earliest version I could find was this little guy from 2009. It even got its own blog post.
This year’s pumpkin has left for now–sent off into the woods to reconnect with nature, as it were. Until we meet again next year, little pumpkin.
Today we celebrated Thanksgiving, which is a holiday bound in tradition for me. And much of that tradition involves food. Not just the eating of it, but the preparing of it, the serving of it, and the discussing of it. I love that we have this holiday which centers around spending time with family and friends, and about sharing a meal with them.
Thanksgiving always leaves me full of thanks and of food, but also of nostalgia. More than anything, I think of Thanksgivings past at my grandmother’s house. I remember setting the table with the special china, fancy glasses and candlesticks. I remember being shooed out of the kitchen so my grandmother could manage the entire feat of feast-making in her own way. (Also because her kitchen was tiny, and she didn’t want us in the way.) I remember enjoying so much of the feast when it came time to eat, pretty much loving all of it, except for the dreaded liver lumps in the gravy. (My grandmother would cook up and dice up the giblets, and toss them into the otherwise smooth and tasty gravy.) And I remember the extended time in the kitchen after the meal, typically with one or two other family members, hand-washing and hand-drying all of the dishes from the meal. (Because my grandmother’s house did not have a dishwasher. Also, my grandmother was happy to get out of the kitchen at the end of the day.) I usually got the job of drying. I can still remember the feel of the dishtowels in my hand, typically linen and worn rather thin from years of use, and getting more and more damp until finally you had to get out a fresh dry towel.
I spent much of yesterday and most of today preparing food and preparing the space to eat that food. (Our dining room had gotten rather buried over the past 8 months or so, but I was bound and determined to unearth it.) We had a few guests (my mother-in-law, and a friend and her 2 kids), so there were eight of us. In spite of the moderate numbers, we had an immoderate number of food items on the menu.
Now that the day is done, and I’ve turned in for the night, I am still feeling full from the feast (which was blissfully free of liver lumps). I am also feeling full of thanks for the bounty of our feast, for our comfort and safety, and for the people in my life who make my life so full.
Okay, I took this picture of fish in February, not April. But it’s April now, and I’m pretty sure the fish are still more or less where I left them. (Which was in the Japanese Tea Gardens in Golden Gate Park.) I liked the way this group of koi displayed such a range of colors.
My post title, in case you were wondering, is a reference to the way the first of April is celebrated in France, a sort of fish-themed April Fool’s Day. The main tradition is to put a piece of paper in the shape of a fish on the back of an unsuspecting person, and to shout “poisson d’avril!” (translation: “April fish!”) when the fish is discovered. I kid you not.¹
¹ I kid you not, but I would totally try to sneak a paper fish onto your back.