Monday, December 01, 2014

Bye-bye Thanksgiving!

Today is December 1st! Advent has begun.  Thanksgiving 2014 is now a memory -- I would like to say distant but considering there is still leftover food in my refrigerator, not so much! I have to say that no matter how much pre-planning and paring down I do, Thanksgiving is the most exhausting of holidays -- more than Christmas.  I think it has to do with standing on my feet for hours cooking.  However, I am glad it is over and I am looking forward to the next month.

I am about done with my shopping -- really doing precious little of it this year.  Opting for a simpler approach.  We have reached the point in our lives where our adult children really don't need much and whatever they do need, they have the means to supply themselves.  The children are all growing and settling into their own interests so the days of mass toys are drawing to a halt.  E is still new so all she needs is a cuddle which I will be glad to give in excess -- can't have too many hugs.  So, Christmas this year will be more of a celebration of time together, time to reflect on blessings and just a time to kick back and chill-- an appropriate word considering the 45 degree drop in temperature over night.

As things wind down from a visit from my husband's sister and her husband on the occasion of my mother-in-law's  93rd birthday and, of course, the food frenzy known as Thanksgiving, I am enjoying some time to explore new DNA information on my Ancestry.com account.  When I did the DNA test I wasn't sure how that information would evolve and be used but it seems that it is an ongoing thing with new information being added all the time.  The DNA matches are becoming more specific which is fascinating.  When you have a DNA match the people at Ancestry have designed the results to compare your tree to the "cousin's" tree so you can see the relationship very clearly.  It is all very exciting and interesting, especially when most of my DNA matches are to the part of the family that was the most elusive.  I will be watching it quite closely to see more relatives.

Speaking of relatives and roots and all that -- it is no surprise to anyone that I am of extreme British extraction -- I have hardly any other ancestry except some Dutch and a tiny bit of German.  I have always identified with my British self -- in spite of the fact that Ancestry DNA seems to concentrate on my Dutch ancestry.  I was quite close to my grandfather who was the son of Welsh immigrants and many of the things I still do hark back to his habits which were, of course, from his parents. 

However -- there is the question of tea.  I have always been a tea drinker.  I remember having tea and toast with the aforementioned grandfather -- more Pet milk than tea but tea and toast was sort of a ritual of ours.  That and the Welsh rarebit but that is another story.  You would think that I would have tea making down pat, wouldn't you.  Well, with a tea bag, yes, but my daughter brought me some lovely loose tea from Fortnum and Mason on her last time to England.  It is loose tea and really good.  However, I don't seem to have the knack of tea infusers -- they all seem to shed the leaves a little too much.  So, here is my solution today -- yes, a coffee filter in a ceramic infuser.  It worked quite well, actually!  
ceramic infuser




I think I should look for some smaller filters

water added

Maddening infusers!



This nice warm tea was very welcome this morning as the temperature had dropped 45 degrees overnight.  I went to bed in the tropics and woke up in the arctic!  I did brave the cold wind to take a couple of snaps of the yard after a couple of freezes and a lot of wind.  It is lovely, actually but I didn't want to stay out there too long!

Pear tree in lovely fall colors

Another pear tree

and yet the OTHER pear tree

the crab apple tree today!

and the mint just keeps on keeping on

I know that north Texas isn't really known for it's fall color but I think we have done a pretty good job in our yard, don't you?

And now, totally unrelated, I thought I would share with Mary, Bonnie and Jane some pics of the Bean on her trip to England this last summer.  I sharing these with permission from her mother, of course.

Bean and the Pig

Such a grown up little bridesmaid!

Bean and her mother at the church in Bramley

I wasn't at the wedding but the photos are lovely and I think it was a wonderful day for all.

Ok, now I need to go deal with those leftovers! It is lunch time, after all.