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,

Sunday, November 11, 2007

New Additions

Finally, life has slowed down a bit and I'm able to join the blogging world again. The biggest news is that of my "new" granddaughter, Sierra. She is 6 years old, and , as you can see is a sweet little pixie. I should explain. After a rather long estrangement, my daughter, Adeena, and I have been slowly repairing our relationship. So, last week we decided to finally meet face to face - we've been emailing for most of the year. She is now married to a very nice, hardworking fellow who has custody of his daughter and Adeena wanted me to meet her new family. I had spoken on the phone to Sierra a number of times and sent holiday and birthday cards so we were not completely total strangers.

Needless to say, the visit was wonderful. I had bought little Christmas ornaments and play necklaces and hung them (very low) in the branches of the trees down the paths in the woods. We gave Sierra a little basket and she "found" them as we walked along. Then she and Steve went through a basket of seashells and she choose whatever caught her fancy. She is a very bright and articulate child and speaks easily with adults. Her early childhood was very turbulent, but you would never know. We laughed, talked, played the piano, played little computer games, looked at all the "pretty things" I have in my house, and enjoyed the day. The kids gave me some wonderful, belated birthday presents which I hadn't really expected. Everyone loved the pugs and they basked in all the attention wanting to be on each new person's lap. Adeena has matured greatly and I'm so pleased that we will be able to have a relationship again. Her husband, Tony, is a genuinely nice man who seems devoted to his little family.

Sierra wants to stay overnight at my house and I though another visit would be a good idea just to make sure she feels comfortable about it. Our second visit this weekend was great and Sierra and I are becoming closer and closer. She turned to me one time during the day and said "I'm glad I found you." That does just clutch at your heart!

I also had my piano tuner over to give my piano it's biannual "check up" while my company was here.
The tuner is a rather eccentric character with an Hungarian accent and many stories to tell and always expects a cup of hot tea as he tunes. He's about 64 and has been in this country for about 25 years. His name is Lajos Havas and can even make my poor old piano sound great. Tony was entranced by the tuning process and watched and questioned Mr. Havas for a half a hour. I highly recommend him and his old world charm.


You would think gaining a new granddaughter, son-in-law and daughter would be more than enough excitement but there is more. Steve went out and bought me a new vehicle while I was on my mini vacation! Here it is:

It's a 2007 Chevy Trailblazer.

I had a raspberry colored Blazer that was 12 years old, so it was time for something new. The Blazer still ran really well and everything (including the four wheel drive ) worked fine. I guess it needed a break job and a tune up, but all in all, was very drivable. This is a funny story. I had told my work mates that we were selling it and (truthfully) I thought Steve had said it wasn't worth more than $1,000 so that's the price I told them we wanted. A number of people jumped at the price right away! I said yes to the first one. Later, I told Steve and he said that was "way low,No wonder everybody wanted it!" I have no conception of what cars are worth and I really have no interest in them so it seemed like a lot of money for an "old car" to me.) Neither of us wanted to make a killing on the Blazer and since it was going to a co-worker, we left the price at what I'd agreed upon. I now realize that you can't get much of a used vehicle for $1,000 anymore.

Steve was thrilled with the whole vehicle process. He hates to dicker and bargain and a work mate told us of a place called Educators Auto and Lease (its a credit union). They have newer vehicles that have been company cars or leased and the price on the sticker is "it". The prices are very reasonable. My 2007 Trailblazer had 15,000 miles and cost $19,000. They threw in a $50 gas card and some free gifts. We also got a clear glaze coat, underbody rust coat and scotch guarded seats for $270. Steve said that was a real bargain for those things. And the frosting on the cake: they delivered it to our door!! From Racine, which is about 40 miles away. The company has a group of retired school teachers who are available to deliver vehicles. The whole thing was nearly painless. No one at work could believe that I hadn't driven it when we first got it. We had it for a week until I drove it today!!! (Well, I had lots of things to do.) It is just great and Steve made an excellent choice.


A few things around the yard:

The last Dahlia and a late blooming Sedum, "October Daphne".

A tiny bouquet I picked for my daughter's visit.
Steve chose a really good spot for the poodle pine tree.

The front entrance today with the box containing the last of my spring bulbs to plant.
Ah, yes. New plush toys for the pugs. Garm has pretty much ruined the others.
As you can see my two weeks have been crammed with excitement. Steve left yesterday for his two week hunting vacation up north so now I can relax and start thinking about the holidays. This will be nice.
The supreme happiness of life is the
conviction that we are loved.
Victor Hugo
Bye for now,

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Too Busy For a Blog This Week

Hi, everyone. Just wanted to let you know that I'm really busy this week and am not able to blog. But this Sunday I'll have all kinds of interesting stuff to tell you! See you then!

I thought this was a neat little picture. It is entitled, appropriately, "Autumn".
We succeed in enterprises which demand the positive
qualities we possess, but we excel in those which
can also make use of our defects.
Alexis de Tocqueville
Bye for now,