Columns

Like the seasons, decorations come and go

It started small.

Several years ago, Mom was downsizing her autumn decorations and gave me a wicker cornucopia and a figurine of a Pilgrim woman carrying a basket of produce on one arm and a pumpkin in the other.

“I don’t know what happened to her Pilgrim husband,” she said. “I’ve been looking everywhere, but I think she’s been widowed.”

My Mom was a serial seasonal decorator. From pilgrims and pumpkins in the fall, to angels, candles and a Christmas village in the winter, followed by roses and greenery in the spring, she marked the change of seasons with change in household decor.

I, on the other hand, confined my home embellishments to decking the halls at Christmas.

That also started out small: a crèche, a nativity calendar, some stockings and of course, a tree.

Those few homey decorations somehow evolved into many large red and green plastic totes filled with wall hangings, wreaths, framed art, pillows, candles and a multitude of heavenly hosts.

Holiday fever spread to my kitchen and dining room with Christmas dishes, stemware, towels and serving pieces.

Then my husband and our youngest son caught the contagion, and now sometime after Thanksgiving, our lawn will be filled with lighted deer, candy canes, a nativity and angels.

I do have some self-restraint. I drew the line at a toilet paper holder that plays Jingle Bells. And even though the Santa bathroom set complete with a chimney on the tank cover tempted, I resisted. I mean, he already knows when I’m sleeping and knows when I’m awake; he doesn’t need to know anything else.

So, I should have known better when I adopted Mom’s harvest decorations. They looked lonely perched atop the piano.

We took the kids to Green Bluff, and I bought a few little pumpkins and corncobs. Then I added a couple vases Sam had made in elementary school. I really liked the autumn look, but the trim still seemed sparse.

Derek suggested we visit Hobby Lobby – a suggestion he has come to regret. For one thing, he didn’t really think I’d go. I have a deep-seated aversion to any type of craft or fabric store.

“They have home decorating stuff,” he said.

What he really meant is they had some cool outdoor decorations for the garden and his shed.

But he was right about the home decor. I browsed the harvest-themed shelves with Thanksgiving in my heart and picked out a few items.

Then I went back later and picked out a few more.

By now my eyes had been opened, and it seemed like every store I visited had some kind of autumn trim. Coasters, candy dishes, tablecloths, lighted garlands. Before I knew it, I’d somehow amassed a bin full of fall decorations, and there was more fall foliage inside our house than outside.

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When I added a welcome mat and a couple outdoor “Welcome Autumn” signs, I felt I’d tied the theme together and vowed not to add anything else.

So far, so good.

Last year Mom moved to a retirement facility, and the transition was difficult. She spent her entire life turning houses into homes as she followed my dad’s Air Force career. Moving from a four-bedroom, two-bath home to an apartment was quite a change. But she rallied, and last week I thought it might be nice to add a few fall touches to her new place.

Of course, this required a quick trip to Hobby Lobby, but I wasn’t distracted in my mission and just picked out a couple of small things for Mom.

She was delighted and asked if I was still using the decorations she’d given me.

“Do you still have the Pilgrim lady?” she asked. “Did you ever find her a husband?”

“No, she’s still unattached,” I replied.

I’m not buying anymore decorations. I really mean it. But don’t you think that poor Pilgrim has been single long enough?

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War Bonds

Author Podcasts: Would you? Could you? Should you?

I have a confession to make. I’ve never listened to a podcast. My sons have played bits and blurbs of their favorite podcast for me, but I’ve never actually listened to one.

Until now.

I’m right in the  middle of writing my second book, Life, Love and Raising Sons (Not Necessarily in That Order) and the opportunity to host a podcast about the same topics featured in my book opened up.

Never one to wade in and test the waters, I jumped in and drug 2 of my 4 sons with me.

In the first episode we talk about spoilers and ruin Star Wars, Santa and a classic novel or two. Undaunted, in the next episode we talk about summer movies, and board games you shouldn’t play with the family.

Produced by Spokane Talks Online, the forum offers a behind-the-scenes look at the fodder for my Spokesman Review columns, magazine articles and of course my inspiration for the new book. The podcast can be downloaded at Spokane Talks Online and iTunes etc.

It’s been a bit of learning curve, but awfully fun to hang out with my sons and spill the family secrets.

I’m not yet sure if a podcast is a valuable marketing tool for a fairly new author in the middle of writing her second book. Time will tell.

In the meanwhile, I’d love to hear your thoughts about your favorite podcasts– especially if you listen to any author podcasts!
And please tune in to Love, Life & Raising Sons here http://www.spokanetalksonline.com/category/podcasts/life-love-and-raising-sons/

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Sam Hval, Cindy Hval, Zach Hval