Sunday, December 16, 2007

Decking My Halls . . . .

As I write this, there are only ten more days until Christmas. My shopping is all done (nothing wrapped, though) and I hope you've got yours all finished.
Today I decorated the Christmas tree after Steve set it up and started the lights. I love color and I love sparkles so the tree is a huge mass of primary, bright, twinkling lights.
* It is very hard to take pictures of a lit Christmas tree. These are the best of about twenty I took and I think you can see how very full and festive it looks.
Garm and Thea watched (at least Thea did) me from the couch. Guess who loves to be covered by the soft orange blanket?? He was under there for quite a long time.

Isn't this cute? It's a bean filled holiday-themed conglomeration
that is to be put by a door to keep out the drafts. I can't for the life of me think of what it's called. I don't have drafty doors, but I thought it would be neat used as a decoration and it was 60% off! Garm is sure that it's a big, long dog toy and tried to carry it off.
I can just see the wheels turning in his head . . .
After I got this Santa pillow home, I saw that one of his beady eyes was missing. Kind of looks like he's winking, but that's the thread sticking up. Garm likes this guy too. I can only put these two decorations out when company comes otherwise there will be stuffing and felt all over the house.
This was my attempt at a panoramic view of my Santa figurine collection. Every year we've been together Steve has gotten me a Santa. All the little shops he used to go to are closed now so we ordered one on line this year. I hope it arrives by Christmas time.
Love this wreath and isn't it amazing how they can make plastic ornaments look like glass!
These two pictures are of some decorating in our bedroom. I think beaded garland is so pretty to use and gives everything a sumptuous, decadent feeling. The angel and candles are on a very tall chest of drawers and the beads and baubles spilling out are on my jewelry chest.
If you look closely, you can see that the nativity background spells the word "JOY". This is on a narrow shelf in the hallway. The LED candles give this a lovely glow. I got the silver tree (red one in the previous picture) from Crate and Barrel. Even though they are ultra modern, they fit into my traditional-hunting lodge-Victorian home.
More and more Santas.
This bowl of ornaments is in the breezeway and what looks like a little wreath hanging above is a ring to put around a candle.
The snowmen are also in the breezeway and this excellent rustic Christmas tree - made with bits of pine cones - is at the kitchen step - up.
A very glittery tree on the kitchen counter. See the violets blooming in the reflection.
And last, but not least, the fantastically huge poinsettia Steve surprised me with. (He "surprises" me with one every year.) It is actually a more creamy color than the picture shows and since I equate most things with some sort of food, the "flowers" remind me of luscious, butter cream frosting!
As I do each year, I read Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" and then watch the George C. Scott movie version of it on tape. It is always a moving and inspiring story for me, so for my quote this week I will borrow from Mr. Dickens.
' "Business!" cried the ghost, wringing its hands again. "Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were, all, my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!" '
-The Ghost of Jacob Marley
Fine words to live by.
Bye for now,

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Happy Birthday, Ashley! and Snow, Snow, Snow!

Twenty years ago today Ashley was born. It seems like yesterday I was waiting at the hospital for her arrival and today she's a grown young woman.

She's making extra money bar tending part-time now, so, this being a Packer Sunday, she had to work. So a lot of us went to wish her a Happy Birthday! and watch the game. (I don't care for football so I just went to see her! Oh yes, Steve was up North again and couldn't attend.)

She works at a sports bar called Calhoun Station. Aptly named because it was originally a train station and is right by the tracks. Inside was a loud, raucous crowd shouting the Packers on to a win. And I don't think I've ever seen Ashley moving around so fast as I did today as she and two other bartenders served up the "brewskis". She said Packer Sundays are "totally hectic"!
I told her no more goofy faces ...

That's better - listening intently to her Dad.
Handsome and proud father, Kim ...

Father and daughter look-a-likes . . .
with Aunt Candy . . .

and her wonderful , heart-of-gold, Mom (Gramma, too) Mae.
And Shaun, love of her life, was there with his Mom and Dad.

"The Other Gramma" as I sometimes call myself and my little sweet heart. (I remember when I had a chin like that!! Really, I did!)
Kelly, looking much too grown up and lovely, was there with Cindy. I didn't get any pictures that Cindy would allow me to put on the blog. But she was there.

Such a wonderful and sweet young woman she has become. I can't wait to see what the next twenty years will bring . . .
There has been quite a bit of snow the past weeks and I was able to get some very pretty pictures of the gardens.
As you can see, I haven't got the front entrance decorated at all yet. The "Happy Harvest" scarecrow is sticking out of the snow! The Welcome Pug is just about buried and the Welcome Bear looks a little like a panda - if you squint and tilt your head just so .....
Can't even tell that this is the pond . . .
I thought these two pictures, above and below were really neat . . .

like they were taken for a calendar.
The Poodle tree with the ornamental grass in the background. The grass has sprung back up after being covered with ice and snow last week.
Little Metal Pig Gardener looks somewhat forlorn up to her skirt hem in snow. And don't even ask me where the Green Angel is - somewhere under the snow would be my first guess!
There is something about winter
which pares things down to their essentials
a bare tree
a black hedge
hold their own stark throne in our hearts.
Moya Cannon - "Winter Paths" (1997)
Bye for now,

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

No Time ! !

Hi Everyone!
Sorry I won't be able to blog this week, but I'll post some cute Christmas pictures - some vintage, some not. I especially like the one where the Mother and Sisters are decorating the tree. Reminds me of when I was younger. Please enjoy the pictures and I will try to visit you all during the week.

Everyone must row with the oars he has.
--English proverb
Bye for now,

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Another Week Flies By!

Oh, this past week was another very busy one. I was lucky that work was fairly light and I didn't have a whole lot to do there, because home matters were a different thing.
For Thanksgiving celebration I was making dessert. I chose Cherry Berries in a Cloud. I'm sure lots of you have made it: meringue shell, whipped cream-cream cheese filling, and a mixture of cherry pie filling, raspberries and strawberries . It's delicious and takes some time to make. One night I made the meringue and left it in the oven all night. The next night I made the filling and let that sit in the refrigerator overnight. Thanksgiving day I put the topping together and assembled the whole thing. It looked really pretty and tasted delicious.
I also made a big dish of mashed potatoes to take to my sister's house. None of this may seem like a big deal, but doing it on a second shift schedule gets things kind of mixed up. I can't switch from 2nd shift sleep schedule to 1st shift quickly so Thursday morning I got up at around 10:00 and I was rushing around getting everything ready so I could leave by 2:30.
Well, we had a nice Thanksgiving. The food was very good and we had a lot of fun playing a game called Hoopla. It's by the makers of Cranium where everyone plays against the clock giving drawn, acted or verbal clues to cards with all sorts of unusual pictures on them. Towards the end, we decided to just act out the clues and it became Charades. We were laughing like mad.
Here's Misty again at Thanksgiving. As you can see, she's looking like a lion now. Cindy found a grooming service that comes to your home with a big van. Misty, obviously, hadn't been groomed for a really long time and needed lots of attention. Four hours worth for starters!! And they are not done yet - her head has to be done when they come back next week. Now, Cindy says Misty'll be groomed every 4 months or so. Kind of like something I've been telling her for ages.....
That evening I came home at 8:00 and rushed around cleaning the house because Sierra was coming over the next day. Friday Sierra came over at 3:00 and we had an active and fun evening and next day. We read Mother Goose, played games, watched "Rudolph" and "Frosty", played piano, went to the Quick Mart for cough drops (she had a bad cough), and had shrimp for supper. (The soy bacon was horrid - even I couldn't eat it. Should have bought turkey bacon instead!) She fell asleep at 11:00 and I stayed up 'til 2:30 playing video games (it's that 2nd shift thing again!!). Well, Sierra was up at 8:00 that next morning and I asked her to watch cartoons until 10:00 - I was beat. We had pancakes for a late breakfast and then she did the dishes for me.

As you can see, she really liked doing dishes "like a big girl". Ofcourse, I gave her a little help with the breakable things, but she lined everything up just so, and kept the silverware separated. The rest of our day was spent reading, walking the pugs on the paths, and playing computer games. After Adeena and Tony picked her up, I laid down on the couch and slept for two hours! I guess Gramma isn't used to a 6 year old anymore. Whew!! We had a lot of fun and she is a little darling.
After my nice nap, I played "Splinter Cell: Double Agent" and "Two Worlds" video games into the night and vowed I'd sleep as late as I wanted. Which I did.
Today Ashley came over and we went through the myriad Christmas decorations I have. I gave her two full shopping bags to take home. She is all excited since this is she and Shaun's first Christmas living together. We had a nice long visit and talked about all sorts of things and next Saturday she will come over and help me do some decorating.
Around 5:00 Steve got back home, Ashley left and then we had dinner. This four day weekend went by in a flash and now I've really got to concentrate on Christmas.
Here are some pug pictures:
Doesn't Thea look like sort of a funny beach ball dog!?
Oh, Christmas angels!
We should consider every day lost on which we have not
danced at least once.
Friedrich Nietzsche
Bye for now,

Sunday, November 18, 2007

A Little Vintage Thanksgiving

With Steve gone all week hunting, I seem to be busier than usual. Everything he would normally be doing I have to do. So there doesn't seem to be much free time for wandering around the gardens finding small precious things to photograph.
This week we had a very cold snap and most of the leaves fell from the trees in one night. That evening, when I took out the pugs, the air was still but the leaves were falling as if they were great big snowflakes. I stood and could hear them falling from the trees all around me and into the woods. The big Virginia Creeper leaves on the house would drop from the very top and bring others down with them, creating tiny avalances. It was all quite beautiful.
And the next night the first show flakes fell for a short time - something I always look forward to. It gets me in the holiday mood.
I've decided to get back into some kind of shape and drop some pounds so I've purchased a rebounder (trampoline) over the internet. I have a treadmill but the past few years my knees have bothered me a lot so, after some investigation, I found that rebounders are easy on the joints and body. (I know swimming is actually the best thing for joint problem and exercise, but I can't swim so that's out!) It's an Urban Rebounder and came with 5 DVDs with 4 different workouts on each. The contraption also has a removable stabilizer bar for us old timers who have crappy balance too. It's temporarily in the breezeway but will be in the basement when Steve comes back. I bought a cheap DVD player and will hook it up to the tv in the basement. Now I just play the workout on my laptop. I began with the Senior (as in old person) workout and was surprised how hard it is just bouncing an inch or so - the idea is not to jump high. There is lots of arm movement and legs in and out and back and forth. It is only twenty minutes long, but you really work up a sweat and it will be a while until I 'm able to do the workout well. There is also a nice "Stretch Workout" that I really like. It's 20 minutes of gentle stretches that cover the entire body. That one I'll do after work - the other in the morning.
I bought a dog tooth brush and dog toothpaste today to see if I can get Thea's breath under control. Her teeth are all crooked and has problems with food stuck in them (Uck, I know.) so she has bad doggie breath all the time. She loves to kiss and be very close to us so it's really getting to be unpleasant especially since she sleeps right up next to my head! The toothpaste is beef flavored so I'm sure she'll like the taste but she gets so silly and goofy with some things that I don't know how she'll take to teeth brushing. I can't imagine it's going to be easy. The directions say "go slowly and praise a lot". OK, we'll see. Maybe some of you would have suggestions . . .
I also bought some more dog toys today. Yes, I bought all those last week too, but they were Walmart-cheap and Garm had all but one torn up in 3 days. The new dog toys are from the pet store and I made sure they had no tiny noses, ears, or tails that Garm could "work" on until that white stuffing comes out. I also cut off the tufts of "hair" that seem to be on the heads of lots of dog toys. He pulls and pulls on it until he rips it out. He's very thorough.
I have some neat vintage Thanksgiving pictures that I found and put them up as screensavers . I change them every few days and it makes the holidays more fun for me. So, since I've no photos of my own this week, I'll show you these.

Aren't these little gems? They are like tiny works of art. ( Oh, and look how happy the native Americans are to see that ship sailing to their country. If they only knew what was in store for them, they sure wouldn't be waving!!)
I will be celebrating Thanksgiving at Cindy's house, so I'll be snapping lots of pictures then. And on Friday, Sierra will be staying overnight for the first time. I asked Adeena what Sierra likes to eat and she said shrimp, bacon and chips! Obviously, she doesn't get that stuff regularly! At the store I found a little bag of frozen shrimp and ofcourse chips. I don't eat anything that comes from pigs because of the inhumane way they are raised and slaughtered so I tried to find soy bacon. Well, they are rearranging Pick 'N Save just in time for the holidays! so Sierra will have to do without bacon. Or maybe I'll run up to the natural food store and get some there. You know, the taste is nearly the same as real bacon so I'll bet I could slip it by her.
At work we have both Thursday and Friday off so this will be a nice week. It is so quiet in the shop at this time because of lots of people are hunting and other people use 3 days vacation and have the entire week off. I wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving and after just reading a book on women living under Muslim rule in Iran, I'm very grateful that I live in our country (even thought it's somewhat confused now).
My country . . . gave me schooling, independence of
action and opportunity for service . . . .I am indebted
to my country beyond any human power to repay.
Herbert Hoover
Bye for now and Happy Thanksgiving,