After Christmas Day

The last few tomatoes from the summer crop had taken turns ripening slowly on the kitchen counter over the fall. Every year when the first frost comes on, I harvest all the tomatoes, red and green alike and lay them out on the counter. The ripe ones don’t last too long — salads and sandwiches or just eaten — but the green ones are allowed to ripen at their own pace.

Some smaller ones failed to ripen or became too wizened or squishy to eat. Yesterday, I took the last good ones — three medium sized — and sliced them up into a ham, pepper and onion pasta dish with Swiss cheese. Yummy!

December 28. Summer has finally ended.

Of course, we still have a few winter squash left, and carrots stashed in the fridge. The freezer has some greens and beans from this year’s crop, but the pumpkin went into pies back in November. I guess it’s time to fully adjust my thinking to winter food — stews and chili and pot roasts, etc. — stuff we can get at the local Safeway. All is not lost, just stepped down a notch from summer.

Of course, Christmas brings all the cookies, cakes (coffee- and fruit- included), and candy we could want, or even more, so our diets shift to possibly a less healthy mode. (I am unclear if the chocolate-covered nuts are in the healthy or un-healthy category. I’ve tried to balance by eating plain and chocolate-covered in equal measure.) In spite of our efforts, the goodies will be around for a while, not to mention anything added as we approach the New Year.

I’ll try to work off some of the calories by breaking up all the cardboard boxes we have for recycling. One feature of having most of our families far away is that everything is shipped, and usually in sturdy, damage-resistant cardboard boxes. Every year I sort through them and set some aside for reuse, but the bulk of them need to be recycled. We have a large recycling bin in the shared back alley that is picked up semi-weekly. However, all the families that share the alley also have stuff to toss, and occasionally if their bin is too full, any of the other bins may be utilized. While that’s not normally a big problem, sometimes one of the neighbors (I know who you are!) doesn’t break down their boxes, filling the bin space unnecessarily. So, in addition to breaking down our boxes, I often get to break down someone else’s. (In the spirit of Christmas, I do this cheerfully and graciously, standing in the alley in the snow and bitter cold.)

We’ve made multiple trips to get rid of the trash, mostly wrapping paper, packaging and such. I try to save the nicest ribbon or decorations for next year, but the stash in the closet is becoming somewhat unmanageable. (I should probably start using the extra boxes to store the extra ribbon and decorations. Hmm …)

Christmas carols have become a bit worn, and I’m ready to listen to some current pop music, cheerfully and gracefully. (No, Jingle Bell Rock doesn’t count.) Most of the Christmas specials on TV are done, so we’re back to our normal shows. We’ve both had Influenza-A for a couple of weeks (apparently the masks we wore diligently worked on the Covid, so far, but we got the flu anyway, in spite of diligent flu vaccinations). The intense cold that invaded before Christmas has lessened, so we can feel better about getting out more. (I’m still amazed at the number of people at the grocery store and elsewhere that don’t wear masks. At the doctor’s office yesterday, one of the med techs wore their mask under their chin, exposing their nose. It was all I could do to just complain cheerfully and gracefully about it to the doctor, and not go over and punch the guy. One serious bout with Flu-A turns you into a realist, I find.)

‘Tis the season …

Have a cheerful and graceful Happy New Year!

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