Last Tuesday all our Christmas decorations were taken down. It was sad to see them leave. They were up through Epiphany, or Twelfth Night. And then gone. And a new year feels as if it is beginning.

Soon a too large number of doctor’s appointments and tests get underway. Some happen every three or four months and others only every several years. I’m not thrilled with them, but I believe it helps me to be healthier than I would otherwise be.

I’ve often mentioned that every Friday Emily and her daughters come here for dinner. This began because her dh Ingmar had to bake for the market on Saturday mornings. (However, I always wanted my grandchildren to spend time in my home. I was so often in my Nana and Papa’s home. They lived within walking distance.) But now he has so many other baking jobs that he decided to stop being part of the Saturday Market (which meant baking most of Friday) and comes with his family for dinner. That market also kept them from having family weekends at our cottage at Chautauqua and we hope they can be there more this coming year. But I always felt bad that there did not seem to be a good way to have Alice and her family over for dinner and now we seem to have solved the problem.


We’re having once a month Pizza at Nana’s on Friday evenings. We had one this evening and it was greatly enjoyed. Unfortunately, I forgot about taking any photos! The one you see above is just from stock….We did a bit of brainstorming to make it easy as possible. I ordered six (we think four will be enough in the future!) large pizzas and Alice brought two enormous salads. Andy bought ice cream for dessert.  I feel a bit guilty about this, but Alice persuaded me to use paper plates. At the moment we don’t have a dish washer that works well enough and until that is fixed, I think I’ll have to bite the bullet and go with paper. The pizzas ordered were 1. plain cheese (Alice says Stephen likes the idea of pepperoni pizza but then picks it all off), 2. one ham and pineapple (especially for Sofia who loves this) 3. two pepperoni pizzas one of which also had black olives on it 5. one onion and green pepper and 6. one onion and mushroom. We have a vegetarian and others who love vegetarian pizza.  Andy got several types of Klondike bars for dessert. We drank water, unsweetened La Croix carbonated drinks and at least one of us enjoyed Chamomile tea. Alice’s salads were spectacular and varied with feta cheese to sprinkle on top if that was wanted.

About ten minutes before everyone arrived I was surprised by a text from a friend from long ago. Suzanne used to be a pastoral associate at Holy Martyrs, the church we attended. Then she lived in a condo in Venice, Florida where I vacationed in the past. But now she seems to be moving back to the Cleveland area which I think is where most of her children and grandchildren live.

two popes

Suzanne texted me about the movie The Two Popes which I don’t think I have mentioned here. It’s a Netflix movie and all of our family was very interested in it because it is about the present pope, Francis, and his predecessor, Benedict XVI. Some of the Pope Francis story (Bergoglio) is entwined with the life of my brother-in-law Ferencs (of Francis, or Franz) who was in Argentina. We were a little concerned with how it would be told but everyone is satisfied with it, I think. And the actor who portrayed Franz looks nothing like him, which is all to the good, somehow. I recommend it. Anthony Hopkins plays Benedict XVIth.  All the acting is excellent.


Word for the Year

Some people have been choosing a word for the year rather than particular New Year’s Resolutions.

Mine for 2020 is “Action”!


I need a lot more of it. I have many mobility issues that make me reluctant to do things, that make me ask one of my children (all very grown up) to do things for me. And some of this is necessary, but it has become a bad habit. I may need a hip replacement this year but in the meantime, I need to become more active in “mustering my wits in my own defense”. And not only my wits, but all of myself.

new year 2019

We will be having a very quiet New Year celebration here since both Andy and I are a bit under the weather, but only a bit! But quiet is good, I think. I’m pondering one of those one word resolutions people seem to be talking about, but have not come to a conclusion yet. I wish all of you a very satisfying 2020.

A photo of art from my second Christmas…..

art maxfield parrish christmas morning 1946

Christmas 1946 by Maxfield Parrish

And a lovely quote from much earlier!

“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach!”
Charles Dickens – A Christmas Carol.

We had a fabulous feast at Emily and Ingmar’s this afternoon. My gourmet son in law made crispy duck, a wonderful napkin dumpling (Serviettenklosse) and braised red cabbage.  Emily and Ingmar together made a perfect creme brulee. But I find the last two days left me worn out and I expect to sleep really well this night.

Christmas blessings to all of you, continuing throughout all of 2020!

Christmas nativity set

I think our family will remember 2019 as the year with two Thanksgivings….This was a busy weekend. It began with a play on Friday evening. We all went (except Andy) to see The Never Ending Story at the Magical Theater Company in Barberton. Last year about this time we went to seen Prancer and I wrote about it here: https://thickethouse.wordpress.com/2018/12/08/prancer/.

This was their first performance of The Never Ending Story and, of course, it was Magical! And there was a reception afterwards with food and drink. They have wonderful puppets in many of their performances and this was one of them.

blog dec 2019 never ending story

Afterwards, we drove around nearby Lake Anna to admire all the Christmas decorations and their reflections in the water.

And yesterday we had our second Thanksgiving. Andy missed the first one because he was in the hospital. Our five out of town guests were no longer here, but the ten of us who live in Bath all attended with pleasure. Everyone brought something. Andy made two vegetarian Field Roasts and two types of mashed potatoes – garlic and paprikas. I brought another green bean casserole….Clara brought out the wonderful place cards she had made. Andy’s was a steam ship in a pumpkin….

blog dec 2019 tg2 andy card

blog dec 2019 tg2 Andy

blog dec 2019 tg2 serving

blog dec 2019 tg2 table

Next week will be very busy with several medical appointments and a birthday lunch for my sil Susie. Emily and Sofia leave for Europe on the 12th but Ingmar and Clara will come for dinner with us on Friday…Lots to look forward to.

A Happy Weekend

Today we went to the Weathervane Theater to see Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat. And everyone enjoyed it a lot, but everyone also felt the production we saw last year at our local high school was even better. Surprisingly, the cast of both productions was almost entirely of high school age students. They are so talented and well trained. Amazing. The lead from the high school production is an older friend of my grandson Nathan. They are in the same Boy Scout troop.

Andy is well and home again! He didn’t go to the theater. Most of my sons in law and my son don’t seem to care for musicals. But afterwards he joined us at Emily’s house for our first Advent singing of the year. And we sang a lot! We are doing more German songs this year as Emily is hosting this and her husband is from Munich and her daughters are all dual citizens. When Emily was growing up we tended toward more Hungarian carols.

We will have fewer Advent singings this year because Emily and Sofia leave December 12th for a visit to Hungary and Germany.  They only return on the 22nd.

Both of my daughters called to ask if they could come to my yard to gather greens for their Advent wreaths. Of course I told them, “no way” but also, of course, they didn’t believe me. Here is Emily’s wreath.

blog dec 2019 advent

On Friday my bil George had his 90th birthday celebration. There were so many people there one of my nieces worried about whether the floor could support the weight.

blog 11 2019 gyuri bday 90

My own family was rather small but my husband’s was rather large! And I love that all these people get along so very well. What a blessing!