Bonnie Bing

Holidays go by in a blur

Boy, this has been some kind of a holiday. Whew! Even though we still have New Year's Eve to celebrate, I decided I'd write a few things down so I can reflect on all of the fun we've had.

Since it seems everything goes by in a blur, starting with Thanksgiving, I figured a few notes would make me pause and reflect on the good times. It might also make clear the reasons I can't seem to avoid seasonal insanity.

I did try to take a little time to stop and enjoy the decorations I spent many hours on. I read Christmas letters and more than once have looked over the cards we received this season.

It was fun to take time to look in the decorated window at Gentry Ltd. and remember standing in front of those at Buck's, Innes, and Woolf Brothers department stores years ago. If you lived in Wichita in the 1950s you might remember standing in front of those stores while you watched mechanical Santas and elves actually move and huge Christmas trees rotate.

This year for the first time, I didn't wrap everything so it would be under the tree by Dec. 10. Instead, I wrapped as each holiday event occurred. Of course, in one case I found myself wrapping at 2 a.m., but overall it worked out.

At any rate I'm going to look at my December calendar, write notes and suggestions on the events of this season and read it all before Thanksgiving next year.

Maybe that will help slow the whirl and reduce the blur.

We'll see.

It was a first

Some friends just don't forget when you mention something in passing. That's not always a good thing, but when I told my friend Pam Cutler I had always wanted to make jelly, it turned out to be.

After more than a year of trying to schedule time to make sand hill plum jelly, we finally got it together in time for me to give the jelly as gifts for Christmas.

I know one thing: I won't be able to make it the next time without her because we didn't follow a recipe.

"How long do you cook this?" I asked, looking at the huge pot of plums bubbling away. Pam said, "I'll be able to tell." Then she added water, explaining we didn't want jelly that would bounce off the floor. I was the inexperienced one, but I did agree with that.

After an afternoon of fun I was thrilled to look at the sparkling jelly in little jars with red and white checked lids. The lids "popped" as they sealed. Also thrilling.

We could never have completed this project without the very dear plum providers: Pat Lindell, Vicky Disney and Donna Wilkinson.

Most of the jelly came out great, but one batch is more of a sand hill plum syrup. Oh well, it will be great on pancakes.

It was a great afternoon and the product didn't have to be perfect. My name isn't Smucker. And I'm glad.