My first Christmas tree 🎄

Well, not my first … but my first, as in the first Christmas tree I have put up in my own home.

Sitting in a dark room with a twinkling tree might be my favorite Christmas mood. But I find I also enjoy sitting at the piano, playing Christmas music next to the tree with all its lights and decorations:

Tiny spots of color

I planted a mix of annual flowers in my garden this spring, in hopes of adding a dash of extra color and fun. They were seeds and I wasn’t sure what to expect or how many would make it. So when these spots of color started popping out this week I got pretty excited! Of course, plenty of weeds are also popping up, so I’ll be busy for a while getting things under control.

My friends’ children

I love my quiet house. I love staying up late reading and then sleeping in. I love having time to cook from scratch, to garden, to meditate, to practice yoga.

I also love the energy and directness of small children. I love the way they laugh. I love listening to their stories, playing games, sharing hugs, seeing the world through their eyes.

There is something wonderful about opening our house to friends and their children, inviting the adults to spend an evening eating and talking and relaxing while we take turns engaging with the little ones. They fill the house with imagination as the pillows become swords and shields and the floor becomes lava.

And at the end of the evening, they bundle up and go home to their beds, and I curl up in my warm, glowing, but still (thankfully, happily, once again) quiet house.

Feline visitors

This kitty likes to come around our garden from time to time, and I’ll watch it from inside, but for the first time today I encountered it while I was out working in the garden myself. I startled it at first as I came around the house, but it quickly decided I was ok and came to say hello.

The satisfaction of a home-cooked meal and a full stomach

There is a simple pleasure in spending two unhurried hours preparing dinner from scratch. Thank goodness for weekends! Tonight’s dinner was three dishes from Ottolenghi that didn’t end up meshing all that well flavor-wise, but were each tasty and I’ll certainly be cooking again. (And with some tweaks they could be really versatile!)

I made a simple turkey with sauce, beans with hazelnuts, and a butternut squash and celeriac mash. The mash also had fried onions on top, which were super easy thanks to a microwave trick I happened to read on Food52 the other day. My stomach is very happy.

Rediscovering childhood

My husband pulled a box out of the cupboard the other day, revealing a pile of CDs that I didn’t know we still had. He was planning to rip his old music onto an older computer. (Our laptops don’t have CD drives — part of why I had forgotten about the CDs in the first place!)

I started rummaging around in the box and discovered a relic of my childhood: Myst. To my delight, I also found Riven, Myst III, and Myst IV. If you don’t hear from me in a while, you’ll know where I’ve gone …