The Christmas Missives


Christmas 2019

Here it is, boys and girls, our 2019 Christmas Missive!

Grab a cuppa or a nice hot toddy and settle in for a fun read.

2019… what can we say?!? So much happened—like impeachments and stuff—but the Main Event was our 25th Anniversary!  Twenty-Five Years of fun and laughter. More about that, later…

The other big deal this year has been the continued weight loss. We have both lost 50 pounds since July 2018—and, so far, we’ve been successful at keeping most of it off.  It hasn’t been easy—a lot of gym time and a lot of smaller meals. Looking back, it really does feel like all we did was go to the gym and get the [expletive deleted] beat out of us, but… it’s a small price to pay for our Senior Stud Muffin Status. We still see our Trainer one day a week and most days hit the gym for a bit of work on our own. Tim still can’t touch his toes, but he can clearly see them. Victor has much better flexibility.

On the food front, desserts are pretty non-existent and we actually think about what we’re eating, nowadays. We never did diet—we just move more and eat less. Of course, 12 days out west with family and friends definitely threw a wrench into the works because neither of us have that sort of strength of will or resoluteness. Oh well.

Garden-wise, it was the Year of the Tomato!  Last year, as we’re sure you all remember because you do tend to savor and  memorize our little missives—like in 2004 when we wrote about getting our new Dixie Gutter Guards or in 2012 when Tim reorganized the basement while Victor was in London—the tomato crop was pretty bleak. This year?!? The exact opposite! We had something like 16 plants—all heirloom varieties or seeds from Italy—and they really produced. We made tomato-everything, from tarts and galettes to soups and slices. We canned jars of sauce and made fresh tomato paste that is to die for!  We had fresh tomatoes up to the middle of November. The only positive aspect of Climate Change.

In other gardening news, the eggplants sucked and the hot peppers were almost non-existent—although we did get to make a few bottles of hot sauce. We also had so many cucumbers from one plant that we finally had to commit planticide on it. We had baskets of cucumbers on the curb, we made 24 pints of pickles, we cooked them, canned them, grated them, sliced them and diced them. We reached the point where we couldn’t give them away, anymore… and the thought of actually eating another cucumber… It was time for it to go.

In other fun food news, the TJRecipes website has been banned from Zuckerberg Enterprises.  We cannot link to Facebook or post the url on Instagram. It’s quite heartening to know that politicians can flat-out lie on their sites and Russian bots can spread hate and misinformation with impunity, but a recipe for fresh pasta and home-grown tomatoes violates their community standards. The biggest surprise, though, was finding out they think they have any sort of standards.

The recipe site is still up and running—with more than 5000 pages between the TJ Recipes site and Tim’s Mom’s Cook Books—and new recipes are still being added all the time. It’s just not accessible through Zuckerberg Enterprises. Their loss.

On the travel front, we were pretty much homebodies for most of the year. Our first big trip was in mid September—we  flew into San Francisco for Tim’s nephew, Michael’s wedding to his lovely bride, Heather, in Capay, CA. Our families do good weddings.

It was a blast.

It was just shy of a week, but we were saving up for the Anniversary Trip in November—Portland, OR and Port Townsend, WA.

Talk about a wild and crazy time!

The trip started out uneventful, even though we splurged on First Class tickets. 25 years is a definite reason to celebrate—and we’re not putting any kids through college. Actually, we would have splurged even if we did have kids in college—we would have just taken the money out of their college fund. We’re so totally worth it.

We spent a quiet few days in Portland with Tim’s sister, Phoebe, and sister-in-law, Nancy—and got to see the oldest Drag Queen in the USofA. It was an absolutely fabulous show, but seeing the bare butt of an 89 year old drag queen dressed as the Rhinestone Cowboy is something we’ll never be able to unsee. We then headed up to Port Townsend, WA to clear our eyes and visit with friends for a couple of days. More fun and fabulous food—and lots of relaxation—we were storing energy for the onslaught of family pouring into Portland.

Sadly, but what ended up as being fortunately,  Tim’s sister, Eileen, was turned back at Redding, CA because of the #$@!%$ Bomb Cyclone that hit Northern California and Southern Oregon. Sadly, because they missed Thanksgiving with us and our renewal of our vows, but fortunately, because people were stranded in their cars for more than 17 hours. We’re definitely worth a car trip to see us, but even we would have to concede a 17 hour stranding in a snow storm might almost be a bit much. Almost. Kinda.

The highlight—other than seeing so many family and friends and having a dozen different pies all made from Tim’s Mom’s recipes—was renewing our vows on Thanksgiving Day. SIL Nancy performed the ceremony and we were able to FaceTime with the family who couldn’t make it in person, so everyone was there with us. Not that we’re an overly sentimental or emotional family, but there was not a dry eye in the house— especially ours . And we finally got our YMCA.

We made it back east with no issues—we flew in between the multiple snow storms—and even made our connection on time. No one flies non-stop from PHL to PDX, anymore, so we have to really watch the winter trips.

Back on the home front, Blanche is still terrorizing the UPS trucks and with Christmas and a score of other holidays coming up, the UPS trucks are plentiful. Nonna is pushing 94 and still with us and going strong.

We’re getting to the end of the page, so it’s time to bid adieu and plot how we’re going to handle the War on Christmas, this year. It’s not easy being left-wing radicals at our ages. Fortunately those months at the gym are giving us a bit more stamina.

Have a wonderful Holiday Season and try to celebrate every holiday you can—regardless of religion or national origin. Holidays are fun. Good food and good cheer abound—and that’s what it’s all about.

Victor and Tim
Nonna and Blanche