Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Holiday Updates

Finishing up a home remodel and putting our house back in order while also preparing for Christmas and dealing with a serious medical problem affecting my beloved cat has added considerable chaos to this holiday season.  As things get sorted out, I thought it was time for some updates.

Our contractor finally finished up his crew's work on our house last Friday so I took some updated pictures of the remodeled spaces.

This is the view from one corner of the living room looking past the dining room toward the front entry on the left and the back garden on the right.  My husband will be building a mantle for the fireplace but he won't get to that until the start of the new year.

This is the view of the living room looking toward the garden on the south side from the dining area

This is the dining area with what my husband calls my "Alice in Wonderland rug"

The old kitchen was gutted so this is an entirely new space.  We only gained 70 square feet by pushing out the kitchen's exterior wall but it feels like a much bigger space.  The quartz countertops are also a nice upgrade from the tiled surfaces we had before.


I pulled out some of my favorite Christmas decor, spreading it through the front entry and into the living room.  In deference to my husband who's something of a Scrooge when it comes to Christmas, tolerating rather than celebrating it, I restrict most of my decorations to those areas of the house.

A faux tree decorated with wood birds occupies the table in the front entry.  A bicycling Santa sits atop our grandfather clock.  A woodworking Santa and elf occupy an end table in the living room.  I've a small collection of Christmas snow globes, which are also scattered about.


My Christmas decorations are more subdued this year than in prior years but it looks as though I won't have time to do much more this year.  I had to put up a live tree of course.  I've only missed doing so once in the years my husband and I've been together, and that was because we'd only just moved into this house.  In fact, today marks the 9th anniversary of that move.

The Christmas tree's in a new spot this year.  It previously wouldn't have been possible to have it here as the indoor barbecue attached to the fireplace occupied a significant portion of this space.


Our tree is an eclectic collection of ornaments accumulated over decades.

The glass ornament in the upper left is a sentimental favorite.  It was on the tree in my childhood home on the Christmas preceding my father's death in a car accident.  I collected the other ornaments shown in the first 2 rows as an adult.  The last 3 ornaments are part of a collection given to me by a close friend over the years.

"Scrooge" and I made a few dozen ornaments like those shown in the top row here using sequins, beads and pins one Christmas during the early years of our relationship.  My stepfather made half a dozen snowflake ornaments like the one you see on lower right for us during the same period.  All but 2 of those have disintegrated over time so I handle the remaining ones with great care.  The needlepoint gardening Santa on the lower left was made for me by another close friend.


My cat Pipig is the only member of our household besides myself who really enjoys the Christmas tree.  She loves the curl up under it but, following surgery for breast cancer a week ago, she's been locked up in the guest bathroom except for a brief visit to the vet for a progress check on her recovery.

Overall, she's been very good during her convalescence.  It took us all awhile to figure out how to get her properly fed when she was wearing that collar.  The bed worked out nicely, though, as she can stretch out just enough and rest the collar on the bed's side.  I got her a heating pad, which sits underneath the bed.


The good news is that the veterinary oncologist my vet consulted feels a second surgery (to remove the mammary glands on the other side) isn't necessary.  However, they're recommending chemotherapy to give her a better chance of a longer life.  I'll be talking to the oncologist after the new year.  Pipig's stitches are scheduled to come out Monday afternoon and she'll be freed of the sausage suit and the plastic collar she hates so much to spend as much time as she wants under the tree.

I wish you luck in realizing your own holiday wishes.


All material © 2012-2019 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party





31 comments:

  1. Thanks for the update on Pipig, I've been wondering how she was doing, poor baby! Glad to hear the prognosis sounds hopeful, I hope the chemo isn't too hard on her.

    Your Christmas ornaments are all so pretty. I love the Santa on the pennyfarthing bicycle. I tend toward a bit of Scrooginess myself, but I'd get into it more if I had help in the decorating/de-decorating. It's a lot of work and too many days of clutter.

    I'm curious to see what the new mantel looks like. I like the large empty expanse above the new fireplace.

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    1. I've been told by a few people now (not just the vet) that cats generally "tolerate" chemotherapy well. I'll be pestering the oncologist with questions before I give the go-ahead.

      As to the fireplace, you're not the first one to say they like its mantle-less appearance. I think my husband's planning to mock-up a sample so we can make a final decision before proceeding. Hanging anything on that plaster surface could be tricky so a mantle would allow us to lean art up against it without drilling into the plaster.

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  2. Poor Pipig. She will be so glad to be released from her bonds this week. Your new interior is absolutely beautiful. You must be very pleased?
    I too have several Christmas decorations with very personal connections mostly with making them with my boys when they were young. Now that they are older they're embarrassed that I still hang them. Sigh.

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    1. I'm mostly glad the whole remodel thing is done, Elaine, but I do really like the additional space in the kitchen and the solid surface countertops. I love the wood floors too.

      Maybe as your sons get older still, they'll gain a better appreciation of those decorations from their childhood. Perspective changes with age, especially if they have children of their own.

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  3. I hope Pipig has a speedy recovery.

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    1. Thanks Tracy. I made the mistake of letting her out of her bathroom prison for a supervised walk-about the house. Now she's even more annoyed at being locked up.

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  4. Poor Pipig! It is so hard to watch our beloved pets suffer, even a little. I'm sure she'll be so happy to have her collar off and curl up under the tree.
    I love your remodel. Those windows and views are astounding!!! I can't even imagine having that much light streaming in. That would surely make me a happy camper. I'm so glad you have finally arrived at the end, and the end of men tramping through your gardens. Enjoy it all!!!

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    1. The living and dining rooms windows were there when we bought the house but the removal of that clunky, and frankly useless, indoor BBQ has increased their impact, Cindy. The new kitchen windows probably provide twice the light of the old ones. A light-filled space has always been important to me and was a big part of our decision in choosing the house - well that and the fact that the garden is many times bigger than my old garden and generally larger than the average Los Angeles garden.

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  5. What great news about Pipig! I hope her recovery continues to go well and that the chemo isn't too hard on both of you. I'm glad she'll get to enjoy the Christmas tree!

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    1. There's wood floor under the tree skirt now rather than cushy carpet - I may have to beef up the cushioning for her full enjoyment.

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  6. Oh, Pipig. It looks like she's as comfortable as possible considering. She must like the heating pad. Wishing her a complete recovery. We had a dog who got chemo. It is not nearly as hard on them as it is on humans.

    Your remodel turned out beautifully. That big new window in the kitchen for the view is wonderful.

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    1. I'm hoping that's true of her chemo experience too, HB. Maybe the biggest issue for her will be the length of the drive to the cancer center, which will take on the order of 3 times as long as her usual trip to the local vet. My vet said that state rules on chemo treatments by vets have changed and they no longer allow the treatments to be performed by most regular veterinary offices.

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  7. After the past six months, you deserve to sit back and enjoy the holidays in your beautifully remodeled home. It looks amazing. Love that view!
    Your decorations are lovely and some quite charming, like the workshop Santa and one on a bike.
    So glad to read Pipig has a good prognosis. I'm sure she is thrilled to be free of the post-surgical trappings. A blessed Christmas to all!

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    1. Thanks Eliza. I'm looking forward to getting Pipig out of her post-surgery garb as soon as possible myself.

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  8. Wow, I call that an open concept. Open to the outside as much as the inside. Fabulous!! And all of that to have a perfect place to set up the Christmas tree. ;) It is such fun to see your decorations, specially the ornaments. Everything looks so nice. Tell Scrooge that I love the rug.
    So glad Pipig doesn't have to have more surgery and she will be able to enjoy that beautiful christmas tree up close and personal.

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    1. Scrooge was surprised when a photographer hired by the contractor fixated on the rug as an accent piece. She also liked that ceramic pig cookie jar (which is use for tea) on the kitchen counter. She had him remove his wood knife rack, which I formerly had him keeping inside a cabinet because she didn't want it in her photos.

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  9. That is wonderful news about Pipig! And your Christmas tree is gorgeous.

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    1. The tree is a little off kilter (not visible from all angles) but I decided I'm not worrying about the little stuff this season.

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  10. Aww, poor, dear Pipig! I too would hate wearing the plastic cone, but I'm glad to hear that the surgery went well, and that the future seems hopeful. Your house looks very beautiful and festive! The raccoon ornament made me laugh out loud!

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    1. I've been given a number of raccoon-related gifts over the years, Anna!

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  11. The house decked out for Christmas is looking splendid! We moved furniture back into our sitting room yesterday. It isn't finished by any means but it will do until we resume work after the New Year. It's a milestone of sorts!
    Good news on Pipig. I hope her recovery continues and that she responds well to the treatment in the future.

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    1. Thanks Jessica. I'm glad you're getting a part of your house back in advance of the holiday!

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  12. Oh Kris, that's good news about Pipig. I've been wondering how she's doing. Finally remembered to come here via Firefox instead of Safari so I could comment. The house looks great. I was sad to see the stone taken out and covered up, but it looks much better. Glad you made it through and keeping good thoughts for Pipig.

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    1. Pipig and I are both counting down the days until she's free, Barbara. The vet okayed her release from confinement in the bathroom beginning Saturday. Her stitches will come out Monday afternoon and she'll lose both the sausage suit and the hated plastic collar.

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  13. Loving all of your Christmas ornaments. So beautiful!

    I hope Pipig makes a swift recovery!

    Merry Christmas :)

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    1. Thanks Nikki. Pipig's stitches come out late this afternoon. We're both looking forward to that!

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  14. Awwww...Pipig. Sweetheart. I'm glad the prognosis is good, and I hope she's feeling much better soon. Your home is warm and cozy and beautiful. The remodel is awesome! Happy Holidays!

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    1. Thanks Beth. Pipig's new hat mat has helped make her a lot more comfortable. I expect we'll be using it a lot until the fur on her chest grows back.

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  15. I'm a little late to this post, but no less excited. Your remodeled spaces are so beautiful! Combined with the view, to die for, actually. Can I move in?

    Merry Christmas to you all, and above all, a speedy recovery to Pipig!

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    1. You can move in anytime, Gerhard, as long as you're willing to trade garden chores for lodging ;) Merry Christmas!

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  16. Glad I caught up on your posts out of sequence. Not easy to keep a cat quiet and comfortable with all those constrictions.

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