Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Sleigh Bells Ring, Are You Listening?

As I look out upon my frosty lawn, I start to feel more in the spirit. I have been on a cleaning spree. No particular reason other than it's nice to have the place looking clean, if not tidy.

No relatives are descending upon us this year. Usually, I invite the outlaws, but this year I didn't. So no need to clean the guest room or get in extra food or have any extra worries. The house feels a bit empty, but we're making up for it with a couple of parties. Once again I gave in to daughter and have allowed her to have a party this Saturday. There will be no food, though, so no chance of it getting thrown around like last time. Now, you'd think she'd be sucking up to me every chance she gets. You'd be thinking wrong. My 13-year-old has changed in the last couple of weeks. No kisses or hugs at bedtime. No goodbyes as she leaves the house for school. And son informed me he wants to go to the town centre with a friend and his "girlfriend." I said no, unless I or another parent takes them. Daughter isn't even allowed to go on her own with her friends yet. He wasn't pleased.

I'm having another party on the 27th for friends and their kids. So yesterday I did the mega-shop at Tesco (which did my shoulder no good) and have planned menus for Christmas Eve (my traditional lamb stew), Christmas (Ballotine of duck, chicken, and turkey, courtesy of Marks and Spencer's), Boxing Day (Gammon), party (poached salmon and pork roast), and New Year's Eve (individual Beef Wellington's). Not bad, eh? I always feel better when I feel more in control and on top of things. I AM a Capricorn, after all.

And I'm fitting in hour-long walks with Jake. I've discovered a local park that seems to be doggy paradise. All the dogs I've come across have been well-behaved, and it's good for Jake. Although he can be a little monster at home, he's quite timid and submissive around some dogs, particularly those that bark a lot. He barks only when he has a reason. So he needs more socialization. I've had a trainer come round twice to assess him. His biggest problem is pulling on the lead till he chokes himself. A friend gave me a harness, which we used till he grew out of it. I then got him a Halti. Actually, I got two, because the first was too big. He's chewed the second one so much he's shredded it. So I'll have to get another one. In the meantime I'm doing the tried and true method of stopping every time he pulls on the lead and only going forward when he allows slack on the lead. He's a smart dog and seems to be catching on slowly. I just let him in and he's jumped all over me with his muddy paws, leaving a big black paw print on my cream slippers. What is he like!

I must go and figure out a last-minute gift for hubby. Men are so hard to buy for. At least he gave me hints this year: coat and watch. That's it. No clues as to what kind of coat or watch. So he's getting a coat and a watch and if he doesn't like them he can take them back.

It's a beautiful day here.


lady macleod said...

Sounds good. I will tell you when Q was 13 we had about five minutes there where I was having menopause and she was having angst! It was horrid but it passed quickly.

My internet service down here is being dodgy at best lately so I am behind on visits.

laurie said...

yum, all that food sounds terrific. we were thinking it would be a quiet christmas for us--doug's mother is in the hospital, and my three west coast nephews who have stayed with us every christmas since my sister died aren't coming this year.

but last night i got an email from my iowa brother asking if they can stay with us on christmas eve. there are five of them. and that delighted shouldn't be too quiet, you know.

re jake: you're doing exactly the right thing, stopping and not going again until he stops pulling. i have never had the patience to do that quite right. the chest harness was the solution for riley. he hated haltis. good luck...

Kaycie said...

I'd like to come to your house for the holidays, please. Everything sounds so yummy.

Thirteen is a difficult age. It really doesn't matter if it is a girl or a boy. I managed to make it through with the older two with everyone still drawing breath. One more to go. If it's any consolation, you usually come out on the other side closer.

And Jake will come around. You're doing great with him.

Flowerpot said...

you sound very well organised - I haven't done any shopping at all. Re Jake - I find Mollie is much beter walking on the lead when she's had a good run and burnt off some excess energy. Stopping and starting is a pain but it does work inthe long run. Glad you've got a lovely day - it's icy easterly wind here and freezing!

Pixie said...

with my dog I was recommended a half choke chain, so wasn't as cruel as a choke chain but had the right effect if needed. She was quite a big dog but this method stopped her pulling quite quickly.

Food sounds delicious round your house. I'll be having lots and lots of turkey sandwiches, which is just as well I love them!

J said...

Glad you had found the spirit. I had some - it's gone now.

I make lamb stew at Christmas as well, but for us it's on Christmas Day. I refuse to have guests or to travel on Christmas Day, so after the gifts are unwrapped in the morning, I start it and let it simmer long. About 3PM my husband makes spaetzle to go with it and we curl up by the fire, amid the new toys and books, with big mugs of stew.

The individual Beef Wellingtons sound delightful.

Anonymous said...

Watches are ever so popular, I've got the farmer one!

Sounds like your 13yo is very normal.

Crystal xx

marymaryquitecontrary said...

Christmas always gets you in the end no matter how you try to ignore it. It isn't easy to know how to cope with teenagers; firm but fair was our way and it worked out very well in the end and I am sure it will for you too.

wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

Hi Lady M: Hope your internet service has resumed. Why is it that menopause seems to come at the same time as puberty?

laurie: I'm glad you're having company. You're right: Christmas shouldn't be too quiet. Jake hates the halti too, which is why he shredded it.

kaycie: If only they made haltis for teen-agers!

flowerpot: If I walk Jake to the beach, he can't really have a good run first. And I want him on the lead as we walk from the carpark at the park to one of the paths. He's a smart dog. He'll catch on eventually.

Pixie: What kind of dog did you have?

j: That sounds really nice. We have the lamb stew after the crib service at church on Christmas Eve.

CJ: What kind of watch did you get?

marymary: Firm but fair seems to be how I'm living my life at the moment. I have to be that way with everyone in my household, husband and animals included.

debio said...

I find lists very comforting too, wuastc - definitely a Capricorn thing, I think.

My daughter is approaching 13 and seems to lose all her social skills without warning. She is also not allowed to cruise the shops unaccompanied.

Your Christmas menus sound perfect - fancy some company?

Annie said...

So glad you are getting into the spirit!

And, I'm so homesick for Tesco and M&S - oh what I wouldn't do for a bacon and egg sandwich form Marksies right now, or the sausage rolls, or the buns and cakes, the chocolate ahhhhhhh.......

Candy said...

Your Jake sounds exactly like my Chloe. Maybe we should set them up in a nice condo? I'm willing to send support checks if it means I can have my kitchen back.

The Rotten Correspondent said...

Good grief. Were you a caterer in a past life? Do you hire out?

I've just drooled on my keyboard.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I'm embarrassed - it's a just one from the Avon catalogue! Stop laughing!

By the way, I haven't forgotten your meme. I shall do it before Christmas. Hectic here at present.

Crystal xx

jenny said...

I love when I visit a blog and then I have to look up certain things and learn something new. I had no idea what a ballotine or a gammon as, but thanks to wikipedia, I do now. You sure go all out when you cook for the Holidays, but I'm not one to talk... my kitchen is starting to resemble a busy chef's kitchen. Oh what I wouldn't do for a dishwasher now! (Hubby will tell me that he gave me 3! but they aren't old enough to wash the dishes!)

wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

debio: I remember being 13 and being exactly the same,don't you?

annie: but you have Publix, which has little thunder showers every 15 minutes on its vegetables.

candy: I know what you mean. I'm forever cleaning up after the boy too.

RC: I ALWAYS overcater for guests. I guess I want them to go home and rave about the food.

CJ: Of course. It's a busy time here too.

Jenny: I hate doing the cleaning up. I usually leave that to hubby, but then I'll turn around and find he's snatched a knife or spoon I was using. Most irritating!!

Exmoorjane said...

Big sympathy with Jake - sounds like a distant cousin of Asbo Jack.....maybe not so distant either!
Have a fabulous Christmas - sounds like you've got it sussed! jx