24 Days of Christmas! What’s going on in the Empty Nest today as we count down to Christmas?

Got My Reservations 25 Days of Christmas 2013 Medium ButtonI’m making lists — but I’m taking it one better and making a Christmas binder.

I have some friends in my life who laugh at my list-making. I also have some friends who laugh at my penchant for putting important papers in sheet protectors and then collecting them in ring binders.

Laugh all you want, nay-sayers, because at Christmas time everyone needs to make a list and keep it safe.

I do this by creating a Christmas binder. I have thousands of sheet protectors left over from purging my school files, and although I gave away about one hundred binders to friends and to charity organizations, I still have a few left. Yeah, laugh all you want; I’ll be the one that’s organized and have all my Bed Bath and Beyond coupons with me when I go to the store.

Since we can’t have an undressed view binder, I needed to make a cover for my Christmas gem. First I went to a web site featuring Christmas backgrounds called — this was totally random, but had what I wanted. Exactly. I am having British Christmas, remember?


I saved the file to my computer, but it was the wrong size — it was landscape rather than portrait. I opened it in (my go-to free photo editing site), and chose the resize button in the cropping menu. The resizing window shows you how many pixels your photo is, and in this case, I just reversed the sizes. It didn’t affect the photo perspective enough to worry about. Then I went to the text editor and added the title, as well as my name and phone number (in small print) in case I leave the binder somewhere.

Binder Cover 2

Now that I look at that telephone booth, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to fit into it, but who cares? At Christmas, it’s the thought that counts.

It’s only December 2, and already my binder holds the recipe for my Christmas Eve cocktail from Nan at Silver Magpies, and an inspiration for a beautiful floating centerpiece for my Christmas table. I’ve a got a section for those all-important receipts, and one for coupons. I’ve got the gift lists, of course, and my personal lists of to-dos for me and honey-dos for Music Man. All in one place and easy to find with the bright cover on the binder. It’s a win-win, and maybe you want to try it for yourself!

I hope that you will follow along on our journey as Music Man and I prepare for Christmas in the Empty Nest. We’re glad you decided to visit with us today!

Got my bags, got my reservations,
Spent each dime I could afford.
Like a child in wild anticipation,
I long to hear that, “All aboard!”

Music and lyrics by Bud Green, Les Brown and Ben Homer (1944)



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Facebook just told me I’m 56 days away from Christmas.

1390558_10152046078923804_21486342_nI should be happy about that — I love Christmas and now that I’m not working in a public school, I’m free to wear every freakin’ piece of tacky Christmas clothing and jewelry that I own.

Yet between now and then, I have eight more days to worry incessantly about whether I did the right thing in choosing to have a knee replacement before I was desperate. I have eight more days to clean my house so that people can come to help me after I come home from rehab and I won’t be embarrased by all my clutter. I have eight more days to make all of the phone calls for pre-certification and to find all the medical supplies I’m supposed to have. Like raised toilet seats for our three toilets. Like a bath chair. (I already have a walker!)

Like elastic shoe laces. OMG. Where does one find such a thing?


I should be doing my laundry and putting it all away. I should be cleaning out my file drawer so that I can file away the current set of insurance nightmares before I start on the next set from my surgery. I should be cleaning the bedroom with the low bed in it so that I can get in and out of bed when I come home from rehab.

I should be going to the gym.

Should. Should. Should. It’s drumming in my head.

And then I open Shauna Niequist’s blog post for today entitled SHOULD is a warning.

Should is not good for my spirit. Should is making me unhappy and fearful — and a little angry with myself.

Unfortunately, I still have to do these things but I have to figure out a way to make them happy rather than sad. Make them want tos and not shoulds.

Like Shauna, I decided that it was important to say it out loud that I’m scared of shoulds. I want them to become wants.

I need to change my perspective on my next fifty-six days; by Christmas this will all be behind me and I will be ready to do things I haven’t been able to do in years.


I want to be able to climb down a hill without hanging on to someone’s arm.

I want to be able to climb to the top of St. Paul’s Cathedral and know that I can get back down.

want to do the Halloween tablescape I’ve been planning for months.

want to get my books in order so that I have plenty to read while incarcerated in rehab.

want to start to plan Christmas decorations and meals.

And I want to go do my laundry. Thanks for listening!

Postscript on October 30: Big thanks go out to Kim from Curtain Queen Creates who sent me to a local big box shoe store where I found PINK elastic springy shoelaces. I never shop there because I’ve been wearing the cutest orthopedic shoes I can find for years and they don’t carry such a thing. And yes, I know that’s an oxymoron, but hope springs eternal!



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