Monday, November 28

Settling In for the Winter

Some friends have been questioning whether I have forgotten the blog, and it almost feels like I have. There's nothing happening around the house, though D. is starting to peep about doing a project over winter break. We're just settling into life in our own place, starting to feel comfortable and at home.

I was scrambling to get a lot of garden work done before it got too cold. Really working myself ragged on Sundays, then moaning about how sore I am for the rest of the week. After the garlic bed was built, I got busy dividing the huge, old clump of daylilies. In the end, and working until after dark, I had planted 20 new daylily bunches. In fact, I have been gardening in the dark quite a bit. Ever since daylight savings time, it's getting dark by 5 pm. So my garden photos look like this:

I seem to be much more aware of the sky here, I guess because there aren’t any buildings to block it. I think the tallest building in town has maybe five stories. So I notice the sun and the clouds. On blue sky days, it’s glorious here, but I feel much gloomier here on overcast days than I ever did in BIG City. No museums and movie theatres to escape to. I notice the glorious sunsets and the dark coming upon us so much earlier in winter.

I notice the moon as it moves through its cycle. It’s just a trick of the mind, but it seems to me that the moon swings across the sky each month. In reality, I look at about the same time every evening, and the moon has traveled a little bit farther across the sky each day in the cycle. At the full moon, the moon rises as the sun sets. The moon is dark when it sets as the sun rises.

Last month, a day or two after that full moon, D and I were driving, and I spotted this enormous red glowing orb on the horizon. It was hard to see because of the rolling hills, and it was oddly lopsided due to the wane. But D said the funniest thing, he said: “That’s not the moon, that’s some kind of a building.” Now it would have been totally reasonable for him to say it was a UFO, but a building! I teased him mercilessly for the rest of the ride, as the building rose in the sky and lightened to a butter color.

Actually, we were driving to the nearest Thai restaurant for D’s birthday dinner. (What’s a birthday without a little mockery? Mocking is love in our family.) Alas, the restaurant did not live up to the hype. It was good, and we need to try more things on the menu, and we’re happy it’s there, but it was noway-nohow any good as what we get in the city.

I’m not really complaining about it, because honestly our dining out budget is 20 percent of what it was in the BIG City. And for a while, I was really enjoying all the access to delicious produce – and all the great cooking I could do with it.

Now I’m too busy. Working. Four jobs. Eek! So I really haven’t had time for housework, gardening, blogging, or anything! Some of the jobs are good, some are more stressful, and one is really exciting. It’s working with a non-profit to help preserve the special rural character of our county. Who better to do that than a newcomer?
The big news in town is that we're getting an independent/art film theatre at the end of December. I'm so excited about this, because I've become desperate for independent film. Don't get me wrong - I love our multiplex, though it's not clear how long we'll actually drive the half-hour to it, since a new 12-screener is opening at the edge of town. But I just hate not seeing the cool flicks.

Because I'm that sort of a person (with a very poor memory), I keep a list of the movies I want to see, and it now numbers 15. Since July, people. So, with the holiday lull in TV about to be upon us, D. has finally agreed to give Netflix a try. Yay!

We headed down south to Florida to see D's family for Thanksgiving. Fun and food was had by all. My house restoration skills came in handy at Grandma’s, where I busted out one of her screwdrivers and re-aligned her kitchen cabinet doors and replaced a busted cabinet pull. Everyone was mightily impressed – or at least acted like it.

We spent a lot of time with D's 92-year-old grandmother, which we enjoyed. She told us stories about growing up on a dairy farm in Wisconsin and found us her family recipes for Norwegian foods. Lefse, lutefisk, sandbakkels, and even the prized julekake recipe. Which I might have to try to make over the holidays. Our Norwegian heritage is one thing D and I share - though you'd never guess it from looking at us. Both have glorious hair, but mine is red and curly and his is black and straight. I'm going to be so happy to have authentic family recipes to cook every December, especially around Santa Lucia.

This year, I'm taking my beloved goddaughter to her first Santa Lucia Fest. I’ve told you before how much I love Luciafest, and I’m so excited to share it with the most special little girl in my life.

We're gearing up for a cozy little Yule/Hanukah at home. Before that we have the college president's holiday party and even an open house with our local state representative and congressmen to attend. We'll host D's students for dinner, and we will be decorating the house though. We have boxes of lights that have been in storage for years, and the adventsstjarna and a set of angel chimes are two of my favorite holiday decorations. We're really looking forward to chopping down our own tree, but our tree-trimming party will have to wait until next year. We're just not prepared to organize it at this point, and everyone says D. will be less overwhelmed next year.

For New Year's Eve, the town has a few events planned that sound like fun. Including fireworks, which is my absolute favorite thing to do to ring in the new year. I'm hoping the town square will be filled with people, and the whole thing will be as fun as the Halloween Parade. Sadly, we missed the Christmas Parade, which happens the day after Thanksgiving and leads up to the lighting of the Christmas Tree in the middle of the town square.

The transition to small-town life feels so gradual that I hardly notice it. I've been reading some interesting books about small-town living, including Moving to a Small Town and American Towns: An Interpretive History. It’s helpful to put things in perspective, and I feel so fortunate to be living the life I dreamed about for so long. If only there was a goat in the back yard.


At 7:34 AM, Anonymous Stacy said...

Don't give up on the dream of goats! :)

At 1:43 AM, Blogger J. Blobbom said...

Glad you're getting those Norwegian recipes. I'll have to bring you some lefse from my Christmas feast. Grandma used to make it (I'm told) whenever she had any leftover mashed potatoes after supper.



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