2020 Hindsight- Part Two

Hello. I'm back again with Part Two of my 2020 year in review starting with July. We had no 4th of July fireworks. I celebrated with a new mask for Summer and a new hair color. My hair is going white and my hairstylist Jean and I decided that I should not go with permanent hair color anymore. I have her put semi permanent color on my hair and the grow out will be more subtle. 

It was a great month for the garden. My Asiatic lilies grew tall and fragrant. My condo neighbor said he loved the big tall, spiney flowers. At least, he noticed.


I fought for more patio time, difficult with four units sharing one small patio space. I only went out when I could be alone. Early afternoon was the best time. I was working from home so it worked well.

My sister got lobster rolls one day and gave me one. Who knew a Stop & Shop lobster roll could taste so good?



Chippy made frequent visits. I never fed him but I think he lived in hope.



 Another view of the garden. I had my best year with the hydrangeas. Was it the blossom booster I gave it or the mild Winter? Not sure, but I gave them lots of water!


I think I was brave in August. I took a day trip by myself to Newburyport. Newburyport is a lovely seaside town with the sweetest historic homes and a fun downtown with interesting restaurants and shops. 


Of course, I found a cool coffee shop. Plum Island Coffee Roasters has the perfect location to just soak up the sun and watch the boats in the harbor. I totally enjoyed my coffee break there.


Colby Farm is a must visit when the sunflowers are in bloom. It is located in Newbury, MA.


I bought a new pitcher from Perennial Style in Sturbridge, MA. I didn't go there I had it shipped. The flowers are from Pondview Florist in Winchester, MA. I bring in a vessel and Diane, the owner designs something beautiful for it. It cheered up the patio. That building in the background is our garage.


I killed it with the lilies this year! Oh, I already said that but I am so proud of myself. I usually can't grow anything!



I forgot to mention what I packed for my daytrip. Mask, keys, jacket, hand sanitizer, and lysol wipes. I am prepared always.
 

My sister's birthday was in August. She did not want to do outdoor dining at a restaurant so we had an outdoor tea. We had scones made by our friend Mary. I supplied the lemon curd, strawberry jam, and my sister made the mock devonshire cream. I got the fancy paper plates from Amazon.


I enjoyed daily walks around the neighborhood. A neighbor created some kindness rocks and put them out on her steps. 



September rolled around and I catsat for my upstairs neighbors babies. Bing and Barley are the cutest, sweetest cats. I love spending time with them.


I had to photograph my sister's return to Kushala Sip, our local coffee shop. Her clothes matched the chairs so I thought it would make a good photo. She had not been to Kushala Sip since February.


I try to coordinate my masks with my outfits. This day I was on a coffee run and it was raining. A friend made the mask and it was a fave of mine.


I met my friend Debbi for outdoor dining at the Stones Commonhouse in Stoneham, MA. 


I attended pick your own hydrangeas day at West Parish cemetery in Andover, MA. This is a once a year event in September. I try not to miss it.


Also in September, the leaves turned gorgeous colors and then they fell on the patio. I always grab some and press them in my books.


My next door neighbor created a beautiful Fall display on our front steps. I sent her an inspiration photo, picked up some pumpkins and lanterns and she did her magic. Christine is a floral designer and I was more than pleased with her work. She captured my vision beautifully.


I went to a Relinquished Treasures sale of the Lexington Historical Society. This set is perfect for an Autumnal Tea. Of course, it came home with me. The sale was so safe. I had to reserve a time slot to shop.


Funny story about this pic. Every day I would find a small veggie or two on the patio table. I thought the chippies and squirrels were feasting on our veggie garden and then deciding they didn't like what they picked. One day I saw a bunch of veggies on the table so I asked my condo neighbor Michelle if she ever caught the animals picking the veggies. She said she picked them. They weren't ripe yet so she left them out to ripen and here I was blaming the animals!


In October, I went back to West Parish cemetery. It is so pretty in the Fall.


The chapel is amazing on the outside. Someday I hope to see the inside.

I also participated in a virtual twilight tour of the Old Burying Ground cemetery in Wakefield, MA. This is always a cool tour. This year it was a little different but I always learn something new.


We had our first snow in October. We still had leaves on the ground when the snow fell.


My neighbor, the floral designer's, house always looks so pretty but especially after a snowstorm. This is my view from the dining room window. I just love her red barn.



In November, I pulled out the fingerless gloves my friend Janet gave me. I received many compliments on them. They were purchased locally in Wakefield. Starbucks red cups came out for the holiday season but still no gingerbread lattes, not for 2 years now. I have not forgiven them.


Did I mention about the coffee meetup I have every Saturday with my sister and friends?  Outdoor drinking only. We stand across from the Reading Common and we also see at least one friendly dog. Evidently, this dog found a cup of whipped cream the day before so he had to stop and check out the very same spot. No such luck. We didn't leave any trash.


I went back to Newburyport to shop at Mill 77. They held an event called the 12 days of Christmas. Again, I had to reserve a time slot to shop. This made me very comfortable.

After shopping, I sat in my car and googled coffee shops near me. This cute little donut shop popped up in my search, The Angry Donut. I thought the name was funny so I checked it out.


Ooh, so many flavors to choose from. I actually decided to go with a breakfast sandwich. Eggs, cheese and spinach on brioche with dijon mustard. It was delicious.  I did take a few donuts home.


The Angry Donut was so tiny. Right after I got there a line formed. I saw people walking to the place so the locals must like it too. I think it is a hidden gem nestled into a residential neighborhood.


For Veteran's Day, my town had a field of flags in front of the middle school. It was very moving. Each flag had the name of a veteran attached to it.


My sister and I celebrated Thanksgiving on the porch. Luckily, it was unseasonably warm and we opened the windows. It was the most informal Thanksgiving ever.


I brought twinkle lights to decorate the windows. My sister decided to wear a strand. She ate her meal off a TV tray and the day was certainly memorable.


Here is a photo of the food swap. Our friend Mary brought us turkey, gravy and stuffing. We gave her cream cheese mashed potatoes and squash.

Here's a pic of the Mill 77 shopping event.



In December, my bank opened a new branch and my office moved to Melrose. I love Melrose and Main Street looked so festive for the holidays.


Turner's Restaurant had outdoor dining. The outdoor fires gave it a cozy feel. Some hardy souls did take advantage of safer dining.


They even decorate the alleyway next to their restaurant.


I wrapped presents last minute as usual but it didn't really matter. I was only seeing my sister on Christmas.


We had snow at Christmastime and I found an illuminated wreath to complement all the candles in the windows. 

I went with my sister and friends to the local golf course to watch the sky for the Christmas star.


It was cold but we had fun searching the night sky and seeing the constellations. I always think the Winter sky is spectacular.


My sister and her friend Clare went carollng around my childhood neighborhood. My sister still lives in our childhood home. Recognize the lanterns?  They're from my front steps.


Caught my sister as she walked to the neighbor's.


It was a perfect evening for caroling.


I wish we could always keep our porch light on at night because the front of the house always looks so dark.


I found myself "dressing up" just to go out for coffee.




I changed out my mugs often for a little variety in my day.


So, here's the story of the cheese danish. I bought one at Starbucks, brought it home and forgot about it.
Found it later that night, cheese side down on the kitchen floor. Oscar must have sampled it but didn't like it. A few days later, I bought another Starbucks cheese danish. I got home and opened the passenger side door and the cheese danish fell out of the car and into a puddle. Cheese danish #2 also ruined. The next time I bought a Starbucks cheese danish I ate it in the car.



We were very excited that our coffee meetups were across from the Reading Town Common which is always beautifully and colorfully decorated for the holidays.


We didn't see half of the people we usually see at Christmas. No parties, hardly any shopping but we still had fun. My sister and I had Christmas on the porch.


We did the dinner swap again. Mary made a ham and potato casserole.


My sister's neighbor gave me a present. She really enjoyed the caroling. All I did was take photos and video.


My friend Debbi and I and Debbi's mom exchanged Christmas gifts in a donut shop parking lot. My sister gave Debbi a homemade gift.


I gave Debbi a super warm shawl with pockets.


I met Jayn in our condo parking lot and we exchanged gifts.


Here's Debbi's Mom. She gave my sister and I some nice freezer meals. They were greatly appreciated.


I put up a mini tree for Christmas.


Oscar and I spent New Year's Eve together. We stayed up til midnight. No resolutions this year. We will take each day as it comes.

I hope you enjoyed my recap. Looking back through my photos I guess I did more than I thought I did and I also had more fun. Working from home was a blessing. I only took 2 vacation days from work last year. There was no need to take days off if there was nowhere to go. Quite a strange year.






Comments

Anonymous said…
Elaine, I have missed your blogs so it is especially good to hear from you! As always, I love the photos and descriptions of the wonders of New England!

I relocated last May (yes, in the pandemic!) from northeast Texas to the Texas Hill Country near Austin. Our weather week before last must surely have challenged New England for the snow and ice! But I was fortunate to have both water and heat throughout the week long ordeal!

Blessings to you in 2021!

Your Texas follower,
Diane
Nellie said…
Elaine, I loved this journey through the year with you! I love your part of the country! We had different “twists” to our holiday times with family, too. I think it’s safe to say that 2020 will long be remembered for the challenges we have all had before us. The focus on staying safe and healthy has our cars equipped with masks, disposable gloves, hand sanitizer, and sanitizing wipes in addition to aerosol spray disinfectant. We’ve still not been ready to try restaurant food, however. Hope for a better future is strong!
YarnyDragonfly said…
I really enjoyed revisiting the rest of 2020 with you. Once again, you managed to find fun and interesting things to do. Thank you for sharing your adventures (especially since I haven't had many recently!). Loved the photo of the leaves and laughed out loud over your cheese danish debacle. Can't wait to see what you've been up to so far this year!

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