’tis the season…

…to get outside

…to delete apps

…to make soup

…to read

…to nap

…to puzzle

…to complete a small project

…to eat a dive-bar burger

…see a nostalgic, mostly feel-good movie

Yesterday was cold, but sunny, and so we spent a few hours working in the yard. I shuffled some plants around, cut back stems that finally withered from our first frosts, and planted a few new things for winter. Cane pruned the pear tree and took a load of lumber scraps and other detritus from summer projects to the dump. It felt really good to move our bodies in the cold air and look closely at the sparse kind of beauty that late fall brings.

The first thing I did yesterday morning was make soup (recipe linked above; I recommend mashing the beans a bit to make the broth a little thicker), and it was so nice to go inside and warm up with it after getting cold and dirty and the best kind of tired.

After lunch we took naps, and then we went out for a real, honest-to-God date. We walked around a fancy part of town to look at lights and storefronts, and then we had one of our favorite dinners, a dive-bar burger. Followed that up with Spielberg’s latest schmaltzy offering, but we found it more charming than eye-roll inducing. Sometimes you just want to spend a few hours with simplistic characters, grand speeches about Important Things, swelling music, and gorgeous people, clothing, and interiors. This time of year is a good one for that kind of movie. We made our annual obligatory trip to our city’s main square to see the big Christmas tree that is erected there every year. I’m glad we did.

This morning I read Anne Helen Peterson’s latest newsletter offering (linked above), on reading, and so much hit so close to home. I miss reading the way I once did. I keep trying to find my way back to it, and it eludes me. I then spent a good amount of time deleting apps from my phone. I’d already deactivated the dumpster fire that is Twitter, which I rarely used anyway, but I’ve put both Instagram and Facebook in timeout. I really love some Instagram accounts I follow (e.g., poetryisnotaluxury), but I would rather be the kind of reader I once was. I’m not sure this will do the trick, but I’m willing to try it.

Not much in store for today. I’m sitting at our dining table in the living room, on new-to-us old chairs we bought and recovered last weekend, watching snow blow out the window. The weather app tells me it’s supposed to be rain and 37 degrees, but my eyes tell me those are snowflakes and that they are sticking to the ground. I’d rather believe my eyes than my phone. We’ll be celebrating the second Sunday of advent at dinner tonight, a Swedish tradition my daughter has brought home with her. We celebrated first Sunday last week, and we really enjoyed it. There will candle lighting and a fire burning in the fireplace and something warm and comforting to eat.

(I am not eating pie for breakfast, though I would if I had some. Snow is reason enough to eat pie for breakfast, I think. This is a shot from last weekend, so you can see our sexy chairs. Fabric from the Pendleton wool outlet we are so lucky to live near.)

I don’t know if it’s the most wonderful time of the year. I know for many it isn’t–and I think you probably can’t live as many decades as we have without feeling some sorrow through the holidays–but we’re doing our best to make the best of these weeks. We’re keeping it small, and simple, and listening to what our bodies want. Our souls, too. Hoping you can do the same in the weeks to come.

8 thoughts on “’tis the season…

  1. Ally Bean says:

    The average person uses 30 apps per month? Oh my, I am so not the average person. I gleefully avoid putting apps on my phone and try not to use the ones I have.

    I used to get Anne Helen Peterson’s newsletter & am only now realizing I don’t anymore. I went through a DELETE ALL NEWSLETTERS phase, except I thought I was keeping a few I actually liked.

    I like your slice of pie on the beautiful black & white plate. There’s a perfect simplicity in that photo.
    Ally Bean recently posted…The Tale Of Diligent Dave & The Wily Fiber Optic CableMy Profile

    • Rita says:

      I was surprised at how many apps I have that I do not use and have never used. How did they even get there? It’s a bit of a mystery. It felt good to delete and delete and delete this morning. With many things, I am finding that having fewer of them feels right.

      With AHP’s Culture Study, I especially appreciate the community. She fairly regularly does a “what are you reading” prompt, and I’ve found some great books that way. I don’t sign up for many newsletters; most I’ve tried have been less than compelling.

      I also liked how that pie looked on that plate. I guess that’s why I took a photo of it. Small slices of daily life can really stop me sometimes, you know?

  2. Kate says:

    I love your slices of life and agree with your list of ‘tis the season fors. Your life right now just looks so GOOD. I know it’s just slices but it’s good to see them. I wish you warmth and comfort and joy this season.

    • Rita says:

      Thank you, Kate. Life really is mostly good right now. Last night was so lovely, just Cane, my daughter, and me celebrating second Advent Sunday. We had a fire and candles going, and it had snowed all day, and the three of us hung out companionably, listening to music and cooking and sipping wine and I thought to myself: Remember this. Our parents are alive, my children are well, we are happy together in this moment, in our snug little house. It won’t always be so, but it is right now, and I am so grateful for knowing that I need to pay attention and savor these small, ordinary gifts.

      I wish you all those things this season, too.

  3. Marian says:

    It’s lovely to see how you’re keeping the season, Rita. Small and simple is how we do things too, but thanks to this post I might just revive a tradition I let go of a number of years ago—the Advent wreath. Despite having a German father, it wasn’t something I grew up with (Advent is also a German observance), but my MIL gave me an Advent wreath early in my marriage. Desperately wanting to build some sort of traditions for my kids, I determinedly brought it out every year . . . until one year I just didn’t. (Sometimes even just the thought of buying candles is too much, you know?)

    I love the fabric on the new-to-you chairs, and that pie does look delicious! Has your daughter ever mentioned this Swedish cinnamon bread? https://savortheflavour.com/kanellangd-swedish-cinnamon-bread/ (Despite my lack of Swedish roots, I’ve made it for the past couple of Christmases, and it’s SO good!)

    Wishing you and yours all the best this season, Rita.

    • Rita says:

      Hi Marian,
      My grandfather was German, but I don’t remember any observance of Advent in my childhood. Now I feel like doing a little research to learn more about this tradition. I do understand just candles being too much. I’ve certainly had those years–especially when my children were younger.

      And thank you for that recipe! Can’t wait to show it to Grace. We were talking last night about what food we want to make for Christmas. (Her husband will be here with us.) She mentioned cinnamon bread or rolls, and that there is a special recipe in his family. I’d like to make your recipe, too.

      Wishing you all the best, too. So nice to hear from you.

  4. Kari says:

    30 apps per month?? I feel so much better about myself. 🤣 All kidding aside, apps take up a lot of storage space. Now I have to check to see if I have any that I haven’t used in a while…

    Thank you for sharing this glimpse into your life. It’s very warm, cozy, and lovely.

    • Rita says:

      Yes, and I’ve had some struggle with storage space on my phone. I moved a lot of them off my screen, but I probably need to fully delete more. I was kind of amazed at how many I’ve never used at all. I don’t even remember how they got there.

      It was a warm and cozy weekend, for sure. Hope you had some in yours, too. 🙂

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