Tag Archives: Beverly Nichols

Holiday Fun


We are having such a lovely holiday break; we’ve spent time with family and friends, slept in every day, and eaten our own weight in baked goods.  Every year, Hubby has off from work Christmas Eve through New Year’s Day, and every year, we end up getting snarky with each other.  This morning he verbally committed to doing repairs at Eve’s house tomorrow. Five minutes later when I texted the kids to let them know to expect him, he got all blustery and was so irritated that I was “scheduling his time” for him.  In a patient voice I said, “All I told them is expect you after 10am.  You do not have to be there at 10am.  I’m telling them they don’t have to get up early.”  He huffed and puffed, I rolled my eyes, and we retreated to separate corners.

I texted a few friends to see if anyone wanted to hang out (since clearly being away from Hubby was the first thing on my list) but nobody was available.  I started laundry.  I read a chapter of a book.  I cleaned the toilets.  Hubby puttered in the garage and up in our bathroom. I was still thinking mean thoughts about him when he came downstairs beaming and says, “I cleaned all of the hair out of the drains!”  Well.  If that isn’t true love, then tell me what is?  He gave me a smooch . . . and we put our tiff behind us.

The rest of the days have gone smoothly. We’ve seen movies (Dr. Strange and Fantastic Beasts–both excellent), eaten at a new restaurant (Tom Thumb BBQ and car wash in Scottsdale), and hiked in two new locations.  Our first hike was a 45-minute drive away in the Superstition Mountains and is called the Wave Cave Trail.  A young teacher friend told me it was an easy hike.  HAHAHAHAHA.  I’m the first one to admit I’m out of shape, but wow, this trail kicked me in the arse.  The last half mile is quite steep and winding and involves crawling over large boulders.  Hubby lent me his arm to assist, but there were several points where I gave up my pride and crawled like a dog on all fours.  My heart beat so fast that every two minutes or so, I had to rest to catch my breath.  We persevered and were rewarded with a beautiful view from the cave . . . which slopes rather dramatically toward the cave opening. My fear of heights threatened to take over, but in my head I shouted in a stern voice, GO AWAY!!!  And it worked.  This unreasonable fear is as palpable as a leg cramp, a feeling of nausea, or a headache and can come on just as quickly—and causes me embarrassment and anxiety.

Our next hike was at Spur Cross Trail.  I’d been there two years ago with girlfriends when water was running in the creek.  We’d found the area so charming!  There are clearly two different landscapes situated side by side in this area:  the west side of the conservation area is dense desert with some of the largest saguaros and jumping cholla I’d ever seen, but the eastern trails run by a babbling brook and are rich with ironwood trees shading the paths, green grasses, and here and there you can see melancholy brick foundations of a dude ranch which had its hay day from 1925-1955.  Yesterday Hubby and I found only hot dry trails and no babbling brook.  It was still fun to explore a new place together, however, with no water running in Cave Creek, it wasn’t worth our one-hour drive each way.

To finish up our time off, we have tickets to luminaria night at the botanical gardens for New Year’s Eve (my very favorite holiday event).  New Year’s Day will find us experimenting with our new electric meat smoker and the drone the kids gifted to Hubby for Christmas. Life is good.

Happy New Year!


All I Want for Christmas


What gifts have you asked Santa to bring you this year?

I have asked for a fox (live), a hedgehog (live), and tickets to see my favorite band, Bastille, in Vegas (also live).  I bought myself a fetching pair of earrings at Cost Plus  ($6) and gave them to Hubby to wrap up for me.  I bought them months ago, so truly it will be a surprise (and something I like since I chose them, ha).  My kids pressed me for gift ideas, so I asked for a copy of the book Lord of the Flies because a) I loved it when I read it in college and b) I’ve become interested in boyhood interactions after all my hours of school playground duty and c) the library does not have a copy.   I also asked for recently reprinted books by a charming favorite author, Beverly Nichols, who wrote about his plants, his home, his neighbors, and his cats in England in the 1950’s.  He was a blogger of his time and place 70 years ago, and was quite influential to my writing style.

I must explain the desire to own my own personal hedgehog:   I’ve loved the author Beatrice Potter since a young age, and her character, Mrs. Tiggy Winkle, is a favorite, not to mention Jan Brett’s Hedgie in her winter books. Two summers ago, we took our boys to Ireland for two weeks. We drove hither and yon, stopping in rural areas to greet cows and chickens, always with an eye out for hedgehogs.  Why, you ask?  Because they are adorable! But alas:  We never saw one hedgehog.   Same thing happened when we took William and Eve to Scotland last summer.  I asked the young woman at the hotel desk where we might find a hedgehog and she said, “Me Mum has some that sleep in her garden, and she lives just down the road.  I dunno, they come out at night, don’t they?”  Well. We had no idea they were nocturnal!  The next night we went out into the dark armed with flashlights, exploring the vast property . . . yet never found even one hedgehog.  As for wanting a fox?  Check out this video and you will want one too!

I’m confounded when I think back to my Christmas list from just ten Christmases ago:  A diamond ring?   A Viking stove?  A Kate Spade bag?  Those things seem more ridiculous than the fox and hedgehog on my list this year.  The older I get, the harder it is to make a list of “stuff” I want, because truly I have more than a person would ever need. Christmas is laughing with friends at our annual White Elephant Christmas party, the joy of finding an unexpected package at your door, the pleasure of tasting a homemade baked good from a dear friend.  I am blessed with a happy family, fun friends, a comfortable home, and opportunities for travel.  What more could a girl ask for?