Sunday, January 1, 2017

Nesting for the Holidays

My holiday season in 2016 was dominated with preparations for a second knee joint replacement surgery.  My preparations are peculiar to my personality.  First, I’m a real “nester.”  I want my surroundings to be fun and upbeat.  For me, fall means decorating for specific holidays!  This was going to be more difficult this year because I wanted all Christmas decorations to be completed before my November 30 surgery, but I didn’t want to ignore Thanksgiving.  My turkey collection makes me smile.

Dining Room Table ready for Thanksgiving

I also had cooking I wanted to do before my surgery.  We had homegrown produce I wanted to use.  Our Meyer lemon tree, still potted in a half barrel container, yielded about a dozen lemons, and my friend gave me more from her huge lemon tree.  I wanted to use my lemons, so I opted  to make lemon blueberry muffins.  I was able freeze muffins to eat for breakfast after my surgery.  

Lemon Blueberry Muffin
We had an abundance of bell peppers late in the season.  I was determined to use them, too.  I made several  dishes of stuffed peppers, some vegetarian and some stuffed with ground turkey.  I froze small casseroles of stuffed peppers for post-surgery meals, then cut up the rest of the peppers to freeze and use for gumbo.

Pepper Preparation
My most time-consuming and important task was insuring that my downstairs recovery space was to my liking.  We don’t have a downstairs bedroom in our old house, so again we made up the sofa bed in the music/living room, complete with memory foam mattress.  

Treble quickly embraced the idea of nesting in the living room bed.  We watched a lot of football during the first month of my recovery (when I wasn't doing my physical therapy exercises).


 My husband, my personal nurse since his retirement, even served me Continental breakfast in bed.

Friends and neighbors were incredibly generous in providing meals.  One neighbor delivered a beautiful gift bag full of food--four individual casseroles of homemade shepherd's pie, makings for a fresh fruit salad, homemade cookies, and the December issue of Good Housekeeping magazine.

Another friend and his wife prepared a Louisiana favorite of fried shrimp, fries, garlic bread and salad.  And these were the meals I remembered to document with photos.  For two weeks, Ricky and I didn't lift a finger in the kitchen.

I was able to enjoy my recuperation during the holidays because I surrounded myself with a few-- okay, a lot, of my favorite things.  On the music room mantle, I displayed four Wood World Santas made in a cottage industry during the 1970's and 1980's in my hometown of Marion, Virginia, along with many other Santa Claus figures I've collected over the years.

I hung copies of vintage postcards on an inexpensive tree, added red ornaments and some hand crocheted snow flakes from my hometown.  This provided me with a lovely recovery room Christmas tree.

My friend Elizabeth in New Orleans decided I needed a big singing Santa and a dog like Treble, so one day these arrived in the mail and were added to the fireplace scene.

After the music/living room was complete, I moved on to decorate the foyer, dining room, and my library because these would be the other downstairs spaces I would inhabit during the early weeks of my recovery.  And when I say decorate, I mean I created my own Christmas world.  

Every year I question my sanity but each year my inner child takes over and tells the adult to hush and just go with it.  So I do.