12 December

1. My first sip of Laphroaig in almost three months
2. My returning health
3. Christmas preparations
4. My cherished little star lights hanging above my kitchen sink, along with my red chili baubles

Yes, I know. As my mother-in-law is so fond of reminding me, I haven’t written a post since late October. In my defense, fully half that time has been spent feeling like death warmed over, which isn’t a condition that inspires one to sit at a keyboard and bang out a few words. I haven’t died, although there have been times when I’ve wondered if death might not have been preferable to the hell of this recovery. My strength, while still dodgy, has returned to the point where I can go the entire day without a nap, and I’m slowly returning to my self-appointed duties as Chief Cook of the household, though Rory still does the majority of the meal prep. My cell counts are climbing once again, some even creeping back into the normal range, and my bone marrow is now 100% donor. In a few weeks I’ll be subjected to another battery of tests to check on whether there’s any sign of cancerous cells. All the signs point to a squeaky-clean bloodstream but I’m still a bit nervous, for good reason. I’ve had the rug pulled out from under me twice and I’m understandably a bit gun-shy.

So, yeah, that Laphroaig. One of my most favorite single-malts, even though it’s a bit peaty for some people’s tastes. To me, it reminds me of the way the air smelled in England in the winter. All those coal-burning home furnaces belching out smoke from the glowing chunks of fossilized peat bog. Thinking about all those pollutants being released into the atmosphere gives me the willies now but oooh, that smell is so evocative. We’ve slowly been nursing a bottle of this liquid gold for two years and are only now beginning to run out. We’ll have to savor what’s left in small sips because the stuff is expensive and we just can’t afford to dash out and restock, at least not right now. Christmas presents x our kids’ last Christmas at home = not a whole lot of money to spare!

We decorated our tree over the weekend after a surgical strike at the Christmas tree lot Friday evening. I swear, that was probably the least amount of time we’ve ever spent selecting our holiday greenery. Lauren was bouncing through the pine-lined aisles, her long hair flying behind her, while Basil slumped along offering cynical observations about sibling behavior. Both kids had their own way of selecting the perfect tree. Basil’s main criteria for perfection was cosmetic, while Lauren shoved her face into the tree to see if it had a nice, pungeant scent. At one point Lauren grabbed me by the hand and I had the unexpected joy of holding my 17-year-old daughter’s paw while wandering through the tent, only to have her say that I was old and needed some guidance. I nearly pushed her into the needled shrubbery.😄 I may not be at my 100% best but I still think I could take her in a fight.😆

I walked out into the kitchen this morning to realize that I’d left my little star lights plugged in overnight. It was nice to see them twinkling over the sink though, their light refracted by the crystal snowflakes that are also joining them this year. Shiny holiday things make me happy.❤️