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.