Onward and Upward

The Christmas décor is down, boxed, and being loaded back into the garage. Somehow, all that work only took 3000 steps, so I’m way short for this time of day—short in steps only, not short in any other way.

The white angel that smiled on us all during the holiday season is now gone from her spot in the family room window. I miss her already. The house, without all its brightly colored finery is looking a bit drab and bare, and the fact that it’s gray, gloomy, and wet outside isn’t helping my mood at the moment.

We had a beef roast for Christmas dinner, and then dined on leftovers until last night, Monday, when we finished the last of a batch of roast beef hash that would have made my mother and her food grinder proud. Based on the number of meal servings from that one roast, Bill figures it cost $2.32 per meal—that’s less than we’d be paying at Burger King. Evie would be proud of that as well. She believed in the old adage “waste not; want not,” and that definitely was part of her strategy for using leftovers.

This year we actually let go of some of the decorations. The Costco Creche went away. Some of you may recall a blog from ten years ago when Colt, then five, knocked Joseph’s head off. Grandpa glued it back on, and it is still in one piece, but as they were putting it out that year, Colt was asking Jim Hunt, our decorator, who everybody was. Baby Jesus was pretty easy to identify, and so was Mary. When they got to Joseph, Colt asked, “Is that Baby Jesus’s daddy?” The question was followed by a long pause. Finally Jim said, “I think you need to ask your mommy about that.” The creche may be gone now, but the memories linger.

As we put the decorations away, we came across the delicate crystal ones that our daughter gave us as a wedding present 35 years ago. This year, they were joined by a lovely crocheted star that was sent by one of my fans. So the old was there as well as the new.

And now it’s time to move on to the new year. This morning I heard from the Tucson Festival of Books, coming in March. On Saturday March 6 I’ll be doing a virtual two-person panel with my friend, Joe Kenda of Homicide Hunter fame. We’ll be talking about his new book, Killer Triggers, and probably a bit about life in general. I had hoped we’d be able to do this live and in person, but them’s the breaks. He’ll be on one side of the country, and I’ll be on the other.

So the new year is here. In a few minutes I’ll venture into the bedroom and start retrieving all the bits of regular décor that were stowed there during the holidays. One piece at a time, I’ll start putting some flesh back on the bare bones of our flat surfaces again.

Once that is finished and I’ve done the rest of my steps, it’ll be time to get back to Beau. I’m 11,003 words into the next book, but who’s counting? I am, of course. That means only 83,997 to go. As I told someone who had added 50 steps to each of her snowbound inside laps, “By the inch it’s a cinch.”

The same thing goes for writing books. By the word it’s a cinch.

PS. We just discovered we failed to pack away the front door angel, so she’s now our family room angel. I’m glad she’s there.

22 thoughts on “Onward and Upward

  1. Wonderful hearing about everyday things in this time of chaos. We all need an Angel.
    Exciting to hear about Beau, can’t waIt.
    Happy Day.?

  2. Wonderful hearing about everyday things in this time of chaos. We all need an Angel.
    Exciting to hear about Beau, can’t waIt.
    Happy Day.?

  3. Please tell Joe Kenda hello from me. I don’t know him personally but because of your promotion and because I live in Colorado I have watched nearly all the Homicide Hunter series. I’ve been praying daily for God to send”…more Joe Kendas!!!” I’ve also been praying for angels to watch over us all, so Im delighted to hear you still have your angel in attendance, presiding over your living room!
    God bless,

  4. I know how you feel after taking down the decorations. My house seemed so bare until I got use to it again. Your door angel reminds me of the one decoration that is always missed. This year I was determined not to let that happen. I went room to room, looked on tables, walls everywhere there could be something left over. Finally after doing this for 3 days I thought, yes, this year I finally did it – no decorations left. Four days later I was on the couch and looked at the coffee table and there was the Christmas doily! Grrr maybe next year I will get them all!

  5. Somehow there is always that ‘let down’ feeling after Christmas.
    It can happen just after Christmas dinner and after all the presents are opened, sometimes it is delayed as you describe.

    Good luck on your Festival of Books interview.

  6. Its always a relief to hear you are working on a new book! Somehow I had missed Credible Threat and am just now allowing myself a couple of chapters a day to make it last. The curse of the very fast reader, my special treat books don’t last as long as I would like. With your books I now usually do a second reading almost right away to luxuriate in the writing once I have gulped down the plot. I’m laughing about the decoration that gets missed in the putting away process – in our case we made a decision to after overlooking them to leave up some Mexican pottery figures depicting a band and acquired on a very long ago trip to Oaxaca. Not only are they colorful and fun, but the memory of selecting pieces one at a time over a visit of a couple of weeks, and then realizing with dismay that we had to carry them home via several flights is nostalgic and amusing. Today we would be more sensible so I’m glad we were silly then.


  7. I took my Christmas decorations down early this year. I had put them up early, too, so it was time to take them down. I didn’t have anything special for the front door, but think I will make an angel of some sort for this year. I need a project to keep my hands busy.

  8. We were looking forward to your almost annual visit to the Voyager this year. Hopefully next year, but will try to watch your virtual visit.

  9. All these notes reminded me of something. One of my fans has a son who has been involved in a protracted custody battle. Last year she left her tree up and vowed it would stay the way with her granddaughters’ gifts under it until they were able to come get them. I believe she’s been able to see one of the girls now, but as far as I know the tree is still up. I’m praying that some day soon her her decorations will come down, too.

  10. Oh, I LOVE Joe Kenda, too! I’ll mark it on my calendar for March 6 and hope to watch live!!

  11. Thanks for making me laugh by recalling when my brother wanted to make hash for the first time. He didn’t realize just how much volume the little roast made. He had such a big bowl of meat. Then he didn’t know he had to re-cook it!

    I don’t know how you make your hash, our mom always ground up potatoes & onions, mixed that with the ground (cooked) roast beef in a big pot and cooked till onion & potatoes were soft. As days went by, left overs were fried to heat them up (even with a microwave available). Nothing like fried beef hash.

    • We did it exactly that way, and fried enough for two individual servings as we went along.

  12. I loved the extended Christmas dinner. I think Evie must have been the product of the depression. So was I. Been frugal all my life, and try very hard not to gasp at the unnecessary expenditures of my grand children and greats. I am sure they will survive and I will not be around to tut-tut them. I have read every word you’ve put in books. You tell the greatest stories! Bring ’em on!

    • Yes, Evie was a child of the Depression. She and my father married in 1936 and were married for 68 years.

  13. Hearing about the beef roast made my mouth water. Seems we always forget to put something away, of our Christmas decorations. Mine are more “winter” decorations so they’ll be up for weeks to come. And, who can’t use an angel, even year round, as an addition to our decor. I’m so glad you’re giving us another Beau. Be still my heart.

  14. I love the blogs. They seem to bring us all into the community of normalcy. I must admit, I am still mulling over great-grandma’s ladle. I’ve thought of several similar items I have – although none of them being from a great grandparent. I thought of the label just yesterday when I broke the yellow handled scoop that my Mom used when I was growing up. Super glue will restore it to it’s “old self” but it won’t be something I’ll use again.
    Now, we have angels. I love the thought that these blogs leave us with. They are always homey (in the best sense), comforting, and reminders of experiences that have been obscured by what seem to be the more pressing ‘events” of our days.

  15. We were so looking forward to decorating our new home for the first time, but then Frank fell & broke his hip. I couldn’t manage all the lights & boxes by myself, so we just skipped decorating. We usually had a big party for all our friends, but that was squashed, also, because of COVID. When it came time for everyone to take down their decorations, I kind of smugly thought I was lucky I didn’t have to do all that boxing up again, etc. Turns out I actually missed doing that, because as you pointed out, as you handle each item, there is usually a memory attached. So, now I’ve got eleven months to look forward to decorating and un-decorating in 2021.

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