Idyll #419 - January Diversions - Again

Jerri_OKC(z7 Ok)January 6, 2009

There are two seasonal diversions that can ease the bite of any winter.

One is the January thaw. The other is the seed catalogues.

- Hal Borland

I got 3 plant catalogs today! ;)


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Snowing here...I'm sick to death of winter so I'm mostly hiberating. One good thing about Brad being home is that he's available to send out for provisions. I've gotten a little more used to having him home. We've developed a bit of a routine. Coffee and backgammon, breakfast, then he leaves around 10:30-11 and goes up to the club to workout or play racquetball until around 2. That's when I can get the house straightened up, vacuumed. Bella naps from 2-4 so we have been napping or just reading too. Then he's been working on some house projects while I spend time with Bella and fix dinner and then a movie or we play cards or a game with some wine in the evenings. Also reading and playing with Bella is being shared more with him home. Oh my goodness, that sounds too much like retirement! And I'm not ready for that for a long time. Hopefully Brad goes back to work 2 weeks from today.

PM, I have igoogle as my homepage too. I've got the Betsey Johnson theme presently. My widgets of choice are weather, search, wikepedia search, news bulletin, to do list, current moon phase, and a live cam picture of the Eiffel Tower. I think it's kind of interesting to know what people choose for their page.

Michelle, enjoy your time with Kenzie. I know you are! She's the perfect mermaid!

On the subject of responsible kids I think many times parents expect more of their children than they do of themselves. I've seen so many examples of parents who run a disorganized household and can't even keep track of their own belongings wonder why their kids are having a hard time. Kids need parents to set them up with a good routine and to provide a place for everything. They learn by example. That's my feeling on the subject :)

Cynthia, I feel terrible for your sister. That's just not fair. I hope you guys can postpone the trip and still go at a later date.

V, good thoughts for your MIL and you to while you're taking care of her.

Jerri, our last dog, Alice, had to go through heartworm treatment. She was an adult stray that we took in and when we took her to be spayed we found out about the heartworm. She was in the hospital for close to a week and then we had to keep her quiet for a few months. She seemed fine after that and we had her for 10 years. One evening I came home and found she'd died in her sleep. I don't know if the heartworm may have been the underlying reason for that but she'd been her normal, happy self earlier that day and passed peacefully so I was glad for that. Good thoughts for Ebony!

I'm not planning on doing much seed sowing this year other that the usual things I do in the spring like hyacinth beans, nasturtiums, ricinus, and salvias. I'm going to help a friend of mine do some wintersowing. She's never done it before. We probably won't do that until Feb though.

Woody, it was nice reading about your garden plans for spring. I'm hoping it will be here sooner than we think.

Bella hasn't been here for a few days and I miss her. She'll be here for the next 5 days though. Friday I'm getting together with my sisters. They're starting to plan a baby shower for Jenni.

Time to go put together something for dinner. Have a warm and cozy evening.


    Bookmark   January 6, 2009 at 6:01PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Eden, is Betsy Johnson a designer you are familiar with? I am so oblivious to designers. Vera Wang, is the only named designer I can think of, off the top of my head. I like the cherries. Reminds me of an artist who I enjoy and can't think of her name. She does a lot of gifts...telephone books, stationary, etc. and she uses a lot of cherries. I've tried out a few different themes. I love the Tea House one, and I now have one by Patricia van Lubeck who is an artist that does surreal landscape themes. I had never heard of her, but I have been surprised that I enjoyed her Theme today. It changes through the day. I have always been a sucker for these home pages that you can configure to suit yourself and I just love I must have tried about 40 of them yesterday. I still have about 25 that I haven't deleted that are still on trial. I don't normally do online games, but there is one widget that was an 'editor's pick' called 'Flood-it!' I have found myself playing every time I was waiting for someone today. Another I am enjoying is 'Travel Through English Gardens' which changes photos every time you refresh. I am going to have to look for that web cam of the Eiffel Tower. .... Your daily schedule sounds more like vacation than retirement. Backgammon with that sounds like fun.


    Bookmark   January 6, 2009 at 6:46PM
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I sewed from Betsy Johnson patterns in high school. One in particular was a smashing success, so much so that all my friends constantly borrowed it, a long-sleeved midriff top in a floral cotton knit/jersey with matching miniskirt. White tights and black ankle strap wedgies completed the ensemble. I was about 6 feet tall in those shoes and towered like an Amazon over everyone else. Just double-checking, and my google home page currently has BBC, Arts & Letters Daily, NYT, and a photo of Grimaldi, a pig auctioned off in Bath earlier this year. Marty's page alternates a photo of me at the Acropolis from Greece last spring with a photo of Ein. I won't say which photo he prefers ;)

I'm so glad Eden turned up so I can ask her to divulge what she thinks of Mad Men when she next resurfaces from hibernation. The complete set was loaned to us, and it has the most unlikeable group of characters ever met, but the 1950 fashions and set designs are incredible. The Apartment is one of my favorite movies, also set against a backdrop of office politics from the 50s. Shirley Maclaine is radiant, Jack Lemmon sublime, Fred MacMurray a real stinker.

Current status of medical investigation into Marty's back issues and loss of function of the left leg, unremitting pain, include the fact that his lowest lumbar vertebra is fused to the sacrum, a condition probably present at birth which other X-rays in the past (or X-ray techs) failed to disclose. MRI Thursday, 10 p.m. at night (!), same night I've got comp'd tickets to a dress rehearsal of The Magic Flute. Doesn't look good for Mozart, alas. Doc put Marty on 30 days off work. May look into backgammon lessons ;)

Welcome home to 'bug and kudos to Woody for housing Phoebe and documenting it for us. Cynthia, that is the rottenest luck imaginable for your sister. I'm so very sorry the trip has to be postponed.

Just a quick flyby. Satisfying to see all is well with the world with Michelle visiting her peanut in Florida. Looking forward to photos of the little mermaid. Saucy, I'd love to be included in that discussion enroute to gardens with Chelone. Waving energetically to all!

    Bookmark   January 6, 2009 at 8:04PM
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PM, I chose the Betsey Johnson theme mostly because I like the bright colors and also I really like the cherries. Very cheerful for helping get through winter. Brad and I have played either backgammon or cribbage every morning for years. As for a vacation, not with the vacuuming, cooking and babysitting :)

Denise, I keep meaning to mention that I was sorry to hear about Marty's back problems. That's just miserable. I hope he gets some relief from the pain soon without the drs having to do anything too drastic. My sypathies to you though. It's hard enough to have a man home but a man in pain has got to be much worse. As for Madmen I really liked it and you're right, the attention to the details of the 50s-60s is amazing. The (unlikeable) characters are also a bit more complex than in most tv series I think. I did like the first season better the the second though. I spent some time on the Madmen website too reading about the episodes since there were things from that era that I was too young to really remember. I loved Betsey Johnson clothes when I was a teen too. I still like her stuff though I'm way too old to wear it now. I think her designs have alot of whimsy. Did you know she always ends her shows with a cartwheel? She's gotta be getting a little old for that. She was born in 1942. I once saw pictures of her home featured in a magazine too. I loved it!

I just read The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Seeing the previews for the movie got me curious. I'd never read it and I've always liked Fitzgerald. I want to see the movie but can wait until the dvd is released. I hear Brad Pitt looks as good as he did in Legends of the Fall :)


    Bookmark   January 6, 2009 at 8:46PM
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Fear can be a very good thing, Saucy, it can really "save your bacon" sometimes. It can also be very dangerous, indeed something to be truly feared. :) Especially when fear is used to manipulate and control via messages in the media that hint at it and use it sell everything from batteries to drugs, to medical tests. We even received the fear message from gov't. halls, buy plastic sheeting, duct tape, and Spam so we'd be "safe" from attack.

We don't believe in that nonsense and we don't buy into the fear-based economy. We believe in practical, down to earth, old-fashioned common sense. Teaching kids to be resourceful, self-sufficient, and skeptically thoughtful is what keeps 'em safe and builds a better world for all. We could see a lot of gardens and burn a lot of fossil fuels chatting about this topic, huh? and wouldn't it be fun? ;)


    Bookmark   January 6, 2009 at 8:57PM
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Ongoing sagas and dramas at my awfice too, the week began with the resignation effective Friday of a long-term valued employee, (one of mine unfortunately) so I face an expanded workload , at least in the interim. This too shall pass.
No surprise on my temperature display page, Denise has the high spot (Not counting Michelle) and we are dark and drear but expecting sun for the weekend and mid-50ish temps..more rose pruning will be on the horizon. Im pondering where I will set up my seed germinating station-I have a light set-up in the garage and a heating mat , so that seems a logical choice.

PM, on your topic of schedule days, I instantly thought of the Mickey Mouse Club- Monday was Fun With Music, Tuesday was Guest Star Day, Wednesday was Circus Day , Thursday was Anything Can Happen Day and Friday Was the Talent Rodeo. More useless knowledge ! I am indeed a California native (like Ceanothus) and I have lived here most of my life except for a few years in Northern Arizona when I was in my eary 20Âs. The old Hellebore foliage will be cut off as part of the pruning-clean up I am involved in this month. The Corsican Hellebore was cleaned up in mid-summer .

Funny Julie, my DD was very independent early on as well; we used to say she was ÂhandyÂ. DS took a bit longer to catch up , but he has become the more financially savy of the two , and has gone from a very impatient child to a very patient adult (much more so than me I might add). Its interesting to see how they turn out. DD is still handy !

I love my debit card and I confess that I never balance my checking account. I do use cash for small purchases, but have no desire to carry a bunch of it around , and writing checks out is too slow for me (the impatient thing again).

Woody, it is of course vital that you maintain a photo documentation of your new garden project to share with us. IÂm always down with removing lawn ! I surely have done my share in that department. ItÂs so exciting to have a new bed to plant.

Jerri, for a minute I though someone had bumped up an oldie again ! YouÂre off the meds, right ??? IÂm glad that you havenÂt dropped us like a hot potato since resuming your professional duties. Why is it I have not gotten one single catalog in the mail yet ?

Eden , you and PM are interesting me in iGoogle and IÂm probably going to pour myself a glass of wine and check it out tonight. !

'bug, check out my inquiry over on the Family Time 1 thread !

Denise, sending really good vibes with magic massage fingers out to Marty, though it sounds like he has some Âinfrastructure issues that manual manipulation canÂt cure. Hope he has a good sick-bay income plan. The Apartment is on my all time top 25 , right up there with Teasure of the Sierra Madre, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest, and Rear Window. It is in my top 5 however, of black and whites made after the era of color-Hud, Manhattan, To Kill a MockingbirdÂetc. I do love black and while films.

Chelone, what the h**l are you doing up so late ?

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   January 6, 2009 at 9:16PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

Two quick things.

1. this would be a longer post were it not for pm mentioning Flood-it!

2. for years, people thought I was crazy when I would start to sing, "Today is Tuesday, you know what that means? It'a going to be a guest star day!" Now I know that Kathy remembers that too!


    Bookmark   January 6, 2009 at 11:01PM
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Ok V. here you go...Sheesh I love this stuff.

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   January 6, 2009 at 11:33PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Good morning... :-)

New car arrived late yesterday when it was already dark and DH has already left for work with it, so I've barely seen it yet. I have however already started worrying over dings and road salt and watching where we park in parking lots. *sigh* Our nice 10 year old van, had not been a 'worry' for many years. As with every new car we've had, I suppose that will last until we get our first ding.

Denise...I'm sorry to hear about Marty's test results. Gee...was that as soon as they could give you an MRI appointment? We've had luck explaining that our 'patient' is in considerable pain can you squeeze us in sooner. At their suggestion, calling first thing in the morning every day has almost every time, produced a sooner appointment.

Eden....I still couldn't remember the name of the artist that uses cherries in her designs this morning but I remembered she makes calendars among other things and sure enough, first calendar website, had one of her calendars in the top ten. Mary Englebreit. After a quick look over her webpage, her current designs aren't as cute to me as I remember, but she still has a few I liked. She does have notepads with a border of cherries and a number of fabrics with cherry designs. ....I've never played backgammon, but I know we have a set around here somewhere. I used to play cribbage a lot but I forget how. I'm sure Google will turn up directions... Yes, the vacuuming, cooking, babysitting thrown in is definitely not vacation and I have a feeling you are not on vacation even when you are on vacation. [g] I think it's great that you fit in opportunities to play games.

Gee Woody...what are you going to do when you run out of places for new beds? [g] I am excited to see how the rose seeds work out. I hope we will get a photo journal of that. I remember the photo G'bug posted of her rose foliage in the fall...which was gorgeous.

Julie....I was shocked at the fee the SPCA is charging for an adoption these days. Wow. ...Thanks for the easy directions on the Pelargoniums. I was very much into scented geraniums about 5 years ago and found them an easy plant to bring in and out to the garden every year, but a couple of half hearted attempts to root cuttings were not successful. They managed to survive for the winter on a Western windowsill. I'm wondering if you start your cuttings under lights? So, maybe I will get myself a new collection of those. ....Did you get your haircut? I decided to break down and try setting my hair in rollers It worked out well enough, that I might try it again. More trouble, but if it helps, it might be better than going back to short short. My hairdresser always reminds me that hair is usually much less cooperative in the winter, when the humidity in the house is so low. Plus the longer it gets, the less body and wave I get.

Kathy....I really enjoy walks down memory lane too. I'm not sure why, but I never watched the Mickey Mouse Club. I do remember hearing the theme song and seeing all the little Mouseketeers. See link below. Or Boomtown, which my DH watched and his Mom took him to the set. I ended up watching movies, The Little Rascals, musicals, etc. on Saturdays. I seem to remember watching Mr. Greenjeans and Captain Kangaroo for a short period of time. I have a feeling I didn't enjoy it and stopped watching it, because I was looking at a description of the regular features and none of it sounded familiar. I do remember Shari Lewis and Lambchop and Grandfather Clock. ... I remember the Apartment. I did enjoy Shirley MacLaine and Jack Lemmon. I liked the Theme song and remember I was taking piano lessons at the time and bought the sheet music. I liked Jack Lemmon. My favorite of his films was Mr. Roberts. West Side Story came out shortly after The Apartment and that became my new favorite.

Sorry V.. [g]

So...Chelone was up late last night and so now where is she this morning?

Waving to all....time to get productive!

    Bookmark   January 7, 2009 at 7:18AM
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It was a late (for me) 'phone call, Kathy. Nothing shakes off the sleepies like a ringing telephone.

Snowing this morning, though the predicted accumulations are quite varied depending on weather (hehehe) it's the TV or the radio that's spitting out the information. Naturally, there will be sleet and possibly freezing rain involved. All of which begs the question: go to work or stay home? dunno, so will wait until 7:30 and discuss it with the boss.

I'm just a wee bit too young to have been part of the Mickey Mouse Club or Howdy-Doody, so it'll be fun to check out the link above. I was a Cap't. Kangaroo, Major Mudd, and Boomtown kid. Again, just a trifle too old for Mr. Rogers and Miss Jean on Romper Room (which Mum loathed and would've forbidden anyway, lol). But I do adhere to a Saturday schedule for laundry!

Julie, I'm impressed with TCS's abilities. I find the kids I like are all motivated to get up and go and do things. They get right into learning new things and once they've mastered something are more than willing to add it to their repertoire. Sure, they may need some prompting, but for Pete's sake, they're KIDS and it's not fair to expect them to perform like robots... even adults aren't capable of that. And I will say that most of my good friends who have kids have cool ones (the helpmeet and I are pretty tough critics). I can attest to the coolness of both Saucy's and Wendy's kids.

V., I hope you're holding up in your capacity as Nurse Ratchett for MIL. Broken ribs are the pits. There is little to be done for them except give them undisturbed time to heal on their own. I hope MIL doesn't get sick as sneezing, coughing, laughing are all rather painful. It surprised me to learn that a fit of coughing in a woman with osteoporosis can actually break ribs, learned that one when Mum did. I'm not particularly inclined toward lawsuits, but think a failure to adequately remove snow and address slippery conditions in a timely manner would be a pretty good reason. I often think the same thing when I see the condition of sidewalks in and around my area. For the elderly or physically handicapped (and anyone else) treacherous sidewalks are tantamount to "house arrest" and it's just plain, not fair.

Denise, I hope the MRI reveals a potentially useful course of action to relieve Marty's back pain and make the left leg useful once more. It must be a terrible worry for you. Are the kitties ministering to his needs as faithfully as you are? Missing Mozart would make me sad, too.

I fear my taste in fashion has always been as predictably "buttoned up" as a left coaster would expect from an "dyed in the red" right coaster. ;) I like nice, simple, fluid, clean lines. Classic tailoring appeals to my (somewhat?) precise nature and naturally frugal bent. I love bright colors, but if it's trendy it ain't for me and never was! Armani, Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren... . Another favorite was the late, great Edith Head. I haven't even looked through pattern books in years, probably because there are no good fabric stores in the area anymore. Lately, though, I've had a yen to do some sewing for myself, whether or not I do any is still up in the air, however. I had a favorite rayon blouse several years ago that had sprigs of cherries on a white background. I loved wearing it with a red wool crepe skirt and black patent leather shoes. You know how some things make you feel great when you put them on?

It's time to pull on some singularly uninspiring attire and make a decision about working today. Helpmeet is taking a friend for a biopsy today. :(

    Bookmark   January 7, 2009 at 7:21AM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Good morning to all,

Ive been a bad Idyller lately and havent been able to keep up here between the daily watering of the billions of plants in this house and keeping the fish tank clean (not to mention occasional swipes at the house with a vacuum) and the bird photography my days are going pouff! So I just wanted to pop in and say hello to everyone and hope all are having a good start to the New Year. Looks like we in the northern MA and southern NH region are in for another half inch of icing today. Arrrrgggghhhh!!!! Hopefully we wont have any more damage or power outages. I dont know if the icing will extend as far as the coast of ME. Hopefully not.

So Chelone, barring bad weather Im thinking of motoring over to the coast in search of some Eiders this weekend? You busy?

Denise, Ive missed what is going on with Marty. Sorry hes got back issues, thats terrible. I hope it can be diagnosed soon and improve. Back issues are miserable and incapacitating.

V and Kathy, I remember the Mickey Mouse Club but dont remember the different days.

Eden, great to hear from you!

Jerri, I hope your foot is healing well.

Here is a photo I took the first day of the year of one of the Am. Goldfinches that are in the feeders every day.

Ive used the broken tree branches from the White Pines from the Ice Storm as perches for my bird photos. I loved the little pine cones on these branches.

Dark-eyed Junco

Have a great day everyone

    Bookmark   January 7, 2009 at 7:51AM
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I really don't have time to be dawdling here this morning, but it's so dark and has been raining and sliming for days. Plus I'm having trouble getting back into work mode.

My sister's kids called an ambulance for her Monday night. She could not move an inch. Felt better once on a gurney with the leg flat and immovable. She's still waiting for surgery, but has even more serious drugs in hospital. She was finally bedded down in pediatrics at 3AM - which is a pretty cool place to spend her 60th birthday. Turns out the break is on the 'tibial plateau' which is top of tibia at knee. I suspect this may have been related to osteoporosis. Woman drinks gallons of milk, takes all the supplements directed by her Dr and her calcium levels are great but her bones don't absorb the calcium. I remember my mother breaking her leg at same age, and my grandmother was always breaking bones. I think my genetics are from the paternal side of the family, plus my dogs exercise me daily, and at least one is always available to provide that critical weight bearing exercise carrying them up and down the stairs to second floor. Never the less, I walk on ice just like V described. Inching along in fear of falling.

I'm an Igoogle fan too. I use the ToDo list for personal things, but also have multiple weather reports there. I can tell you it's 72F in Sanibel right now :(

Oh Denise. I can only hope that the MRI will show the exact issue and allow a plan of action for Marty's pain and loss of function. When you mention his name, I always picture him standing on the roof clowning. Katie's MRIs were always in the evenings too. But that was to wait for human patients to have come and gone. Maybe Marty will be next in line behind a greyhound...or a corgi.

Time for me to switch off and over to work mode! I'm not inspired. And PM, tell me - what is the difference between a 'vacation' at home and retirement anyway? I picture both as just doing whatever I want and having only home responsibilities.

Hi to all,


    Bookmark   January 7, 2009 at 7:55AM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

OMG Cynthia! So very sorry to hear about your sister That's just dreadful! Hopefully she'll heal really, really fast.


    Bookmark   January 7, 2009 at 9:20AM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

How nice to hear news from Deanne and see a couple of lovely birds this morning. The photos are so detailed, I could ID the white pine from the number of needles. Today's plant trivia fact - white pines have clumps of five needles and red pines have two. "White" has five letters, so that's how you remember which is which.

Thanks for the link, Kathy!

We brought dinner to MIL and her husband last night, and it was well-received. She's doing reasonably well and her attitude is in the right place. But the dinner was most definitely a good idea; she has a new high-tech cooktop, and her DH could not show me how to turn on a burner!!! It's touch-sensitive, but apparently my just-in-from-the-cold fingertip was not registering to turn it on.

Sometimes I think we are getting too sophisticated for our own good. MIL and SIL both have ovens barely a year old, and there are enough controls to launch the space shuttle on both of them. My 13-year-old stove has two knobs - one to turn it on, one to set the temp. Four more knobs control the four burners. I figure if one of the knobs breaks, I still have three other burners that will turn on. But when your electronic controls go, you're out of business!

I loved Betsey Johnson's designs when I was a teen, but most of them looked best on someone who was fairy skinny, which did not describe me. :(

I've been looking at iGoogle more lately. They've added a lot more to it since I first created a page. I currently favor the Chinese papercuts theme.

I'm supposed to be working, so TTFN!


    Bookmark   January 7, 2009 at 9:55AM
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jak1(4 Ontario Can)

Good morning, Idyllers!

Nasty, cold, blowing snow here today, so of course, no school bus. We drove TCS to school this morning, and usually pick him up on Wednesday for his music lesson anyway. We are not far from the school so if the roads are even halfway decent we take him. When the weather is really rotten (read ice, like Deanne gets) then he stays home. But we do "home school" then, which he adores. 30 minutes of doing something educational, like looking up something on the 'net, reading something, finding countries on the globe, music, whatever, alternated with 30 minutes of "free time". It is really fun and good for him to see that you can learn stuff outside of school.

I have an awful cold, so I'm having a Benellyn day. Have you seen that commerical, Chelone, where they sing "Should I stay or should I go"? I think it is hilarious, of course having had to make that very decision many times in the course of my working life.

Cynthia, it sounds as if your sister is better off in the hospital getting more bed rest and better meds. What a bummer altogether.

And Denise, Marty's back! How miserable he must feel. MRI's, CAT scans, whatever, are often scheduled at night here. At least we are only a block from the hospital. When DH had his hip replaced, the surgery was scheduled for 6:30 a.m. in a hospital an hour away. He had to be there at 5 a.m. so leaving time was 4 a.m. DD stayed over and drove him there, and stayed until the surgery was complete. One good thing, the surgeon called me directly at about noon to let me know that all was well - many MD's don't have the time or inclination for such things, I have found. Anyway, I digress. I sure hope the various tests show a way to improve things for you, Denise and Marty.

Kathy and others, the world of work sounds awful these days. When someone good leaves, for whatever reason, others usually have a larger than normal workload to pick up because the "leavee" probably did more than just the basic job. When someone not-so-good-leaves, the remaining employees have a larger than normal workload because the "leavee" didn't even do the basics of the job. You just can't win. My commentary on working.

Yes, I got a haircut yesterday, with a different stylist than usual. Young kid, nose ring, tie-dyed skin-tight t-shirt, faded ripped jeans, big fluffy boots....her own hair mind. She did a great job on my hair! Gave me good suggestions, good advice, listened to me and did what I wanted, made a few modifications after cutting and drying because, as she said "Hey this part here isn't falling quite right..." She will go far when she matures a little more I think. I gave her a big tip. I felt so good after that, that I went shopping and disposed of some income. Two blouses, a pair of pants, a sweater. Good day!

Deanne, did you put the pine boughs out for the birds to sit on, or did you wave your magic wand and superimpose the birds on the branches using *gasp* technology? What great photos you take!

We have a kind of retirement routine too, Eden, but we ARE retired! I rise early, make the coffee, read the paper, do the crossword and Sudoko (Soduku? Sudoku? Whatever it's called). TCS gets himself up, spends a few minutes on the computer if there is time, and together we organize his day and leave for the bus, with dog in tow. I run/walk the dog on the return trip home. DH is up by then if not before we leave for the bus, reading the paper, having breakfast etc. I then have computer time and spend the morning on my household routine and JJobs. Lunch, often some reading or errands, someone meets the bus at 3;45 (me, DH or DS),again with doggy, and around 4 I start dinner. We used to have a "sit down" then with a glass of wine before dinner, but are cutting that out as a NY health resolution. Dinner, clean up by whose ever turn it is, homework and music for TCS, then a game of Scrabble and reading before bed. This is incredibly boring reading, but doesn't seem at all draggy when we're doing it. We must be old....

So I have done the morning things except for the household and JJobs so I'd better get going. No runarounds today - too crummy out.


    Bookmark   January 7, 2009 at 10:10AM
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What does one wear when it is raining slushies?

Every Wednesday is becoming a dreaded day, for some foul weather falls from the sky!

Off to gas up the truck and head to the gym. Nice to see that Deanne has pooped in, lol, channeling Sue!

Julie, I believe that Deanne caught the birds on the branch. You inspired me to call my hairdresser :) I wonder if Deanne could superimpose me a nice 'do?

They must've piped in some old t.v. in TN because I was a fan of the MM Club and Captain K (though Mr. Greenjeans was my favorite). The muppets were my era, though, and they were just the best....

I've gotta go brave the elements.....


    Bookmark   January 7, 2009 at 10:43AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Woke up to rainy white stuff falling from the sky. This later turned into pretty white flakes making for lovely scenery from indoors, where I plan to stay! DH walked Phoebe thank goodness.

I have been unwell for the past few days with chills, a minor headache, stomach difficulties, a UTI and just plain weird feelings. Oddly enough I have been sleeping well. I hope things improve fast.

Someone asked about the box decorated by DSIL. Inside were wind chimes made with coconut shells. They made a really lovely deep sound, which is nice because metal ones usually annoy me. Kathy, the photo of DSIL juggling was not a deliberate comparison to the wall photo. The ball in the native art is in fact the sun, so I did not make the connection until you pointed it out! DSIL's friend paints these pictures and even has painted murals for him.

Woody, all the rose hips came from the same plant. They are pink. I'm pretty sure this plant is reblooming or ever blooming, but I think it tends to sucker. Honestly, I hope I am remembering correctly! Have you received your course materials yet?

The only TV I recall (from my friend Kathy's home) was Howdy Doody with Clarabelle and Princess Summerfallwinterspring. Even then I thought it was pretty stupid and condescending. Kate Smith came on immediately after and sang "When the moon comes over the mountain". I remember being confused about it too, wondering if it was satire or what. I felt that way about many things though. Strange upbringing full of cynicism. I visited every household in the neighborhood to discover what "normal" people were like.

I groaned yesterday when DD told me that 'Snowflake' was a super baby name. Fortunately this will be a spring babe.

DGS will be having pretty major dental surgery on January 22nd. I hope there will be no squabbling over who accompanies him and how he is cared for. Sigh. Reminding his Mom that parenting is not a competition seems to lead nowhere. Different styles of parenting does not mean either one is right or wrong. Unfortunately with separated parents there is no glue to the relationship and mostly only years of mistrust between them. I will be sending his photo book in time for that.

Julie, I so loved your haircut report! And just a reminder, you are so lucky that TCS's mother is NOT in the picture!

Deanne, beautiful! Keep those birdies coming!

Chelone, I too love Armani, Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren. But, the money is ridiculous. When I was working and finally out of the pablum on the clothes phase of life, I lost 50 pounds and wore some of these. They are now in my closet because they do not fit and never will. No one in farm community would be interested in suits etc any more. The wonderful Portuguese lady who altered them also altered the dress DD wore to her graduation prom and other special items. I think of you whenever someone mentions Sao. She runs a business from a house she bought across the street from her home. She owns several houses in fact. In these tough times she will always survive. The fancy department stores beg for her but she is no longer interested. She has a name in the big city! In fact, moneyed people ask her to join them on their trips to care for their wardrobes. Sometimes when the mood strikes she'll accept.

My heart goes out to those with physical problems...but also to their caregivers.


    Bookmark   January 7, 2009 at 11:22AM
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chloehoover(z6b VA)

Cynthia - that's just dreadful re your poor sister... I do hope she manages to somehow mend fairly quickly -- Im glad you dont seem to have that issue re non-absorption of calcium... I quite understand not wanting to turn to work when family and vacation disappointments are first and forefront --

LOL re "raining slushies"... that's the typical thing this region usually gets at this time of year, but it seems to have moved farther north instead for 2009 -- I feel for all... it was mostly nasty cold rain here -- creates the usual/"routine" issues re commuting -- I dragged in with a raging headache that just doesnt want to go away; have taken the requisite max of ibuprofen ("vitamin I" I call it) - a co-worker told me she takes 6 (200 mg)of those whenever she feels a migraine coming on and it "nips" it -- I dont understand how she's still got a liver or kidneys frankly... even prescrip stuff is only 800 mg per 8 hours - interesting how people manage to abuse stuff seemingly so "harmless." But you wont catch me doing that -- I try to avoid hospital so I 'll just suffer or go home if it gets too bad -- but after reading the various ailments being suffered here, Im gonna shut up and worship the headache, LOL.

Deanne -- you never disappoint! I know we likely dont say it -- but your photos -- and the birds - at this time of year are so uplifting and stunning.... one simply forgets the yuckiness of our mundane lives in these astonishing visual delectations (hmm, is that a word? no time to go check) -- you get my drift. Im perked just from looking at that gold finch - however did you manage to catch that moment of him ruffling? those feathers -- wow o wow....

An MRI at 11 o'clock at nite -- I am simply astonished, Denise -- do they actually do tests 24 hours a day for "normal" appts? Yes, I get for ER purposes -- I know that well over the years w/ my mother's experiences; but for just scheduling a regular MRI? Are they short machines out there or something? or is the business so overwhelming? Inquiring minds need to know... I do hope they figure some good solutions for Marty.

Kathy - so sorry to hear about the employee resignation -- it's that time of here here at my firm - usually after holidays, and I think we've had a few, altho less than the usual - it always means more work for those of us left doesnt it -- yucko for you -- and if it's someone who's been with you a long time, a personal sorrow too I imagine.

I've been looking over my IU photos of the last several years - at nite when Im home relaxing, for making a list of "have to have" things (one being cornus alternifolia argentea -- a hard to find item), and trying to improve my skills re differences in foliage playing off one another - I feel hopeless in that dept when I look at my photos of my own garden -- but on the other hand, it does inspire me and get me excited to get thru the next 3 months of dreary, almost itching to get the hands in the dirt again (I who was shoveling bulbs into pots at Xmas because she hadnt gotten to planting all her bulbs in due course, LOL)... No seeds for me; I just dont seem to get them to thrive sufficiently....

Well, best turn to the rest of my lunch and mindless quiet to rest the head -- altho with the din of saws and things in my hallway, I may need to go get earplugs -- they're rushing against a deadline of Jan. 20 (for an inaugural event) to get the 2 floors under renovation finished -- methinks they are behind; the noise has increased considerably during the day this week....


    Bookmark   January 7, 2009 at 1:34PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

I forgot to mention the update on DD's car. The huge repair bill quoted by the dealer included $1200 for a distributor; the other mechanic said he saw no reason to replace the distributor and if it did need to be replaced, he could get one for $250. The total damages from the second mechanic was just over $300. So the car is now fixed, running well and will be delivered (by us) to DD on Sunday.

The dealer is a man who is all but an institution in the community. DH actually asked his mom if he was justified in calling to complain about the inflated, unjustified repair quote and she told him to go ahead. DH decided to wait until Monday to be sure the car makes it through the trip downstate. We'd hate to complain and then find out they were right all along!

Needless to say, this has left us with a sour taste about the dealer. It really seems like they were pushing us towards buying another car, which is not what we were prepared to do. The master plan is that this car should last another 18 months to get DD through school, and then she will buy her own car.

'bug with a bug? Not good! Hope you feel better soon.

Saucy, for me it's Tuesday. It snows every Tuesday. I guess I then pass it on to the East, huh?


    Bookmark   January 7, 2009 at 1:47PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

Soggy snow here today - it appears to be now more of a misty rain. Liam is here for daycare today - but no walkies happening today! He's playing with a Kong at the moment: gb - it's possible that Phoebe went home with the wrong Kong. Chelsea's old one is still around; the one Liam has at the moment has one of those Kong stuffie cookies in it so it's possible/likely that Phoebe found Chelsea's old one and lost her own one (she was constantly losing the Kong under the loveseat and other furniture...) We stuffed one of those cookies when Phoebe had an empty Kong - but maybe it was empty because it was Chelsea's and not because she managed to get the cookie out....

I'm still waiting for the audio transcripts for the course materials for the Lanscape course. I reminded them via e-mail this afternoon. The course starts next Monday and this Friday I'm supposed to be able to log in to the site to get the rest of the details and will have a better idea of how it will work. I ordered two books on-line this morning - there's no textbook for the course but the material on the DVD referred to these two books several times so I figured it might be a good idea to get them. I expect I'll have to do a lot of 'filling in the blanks' on my own so the more sources I have, the better I think.

Cynthia - what a sad/unfortunate accident for your sister! I hope things improve soon....

Cindy - my experience re MRIs is that the units run 24 hrs. a day and you might end up with an appointment at any time of day, especially if you need one at short notice. Even with lits of notice, appointments can be at odd time. My next one, near the end of February, is at 5:30 a.m. - and that was booked in August! Actually, they first wanted to book it at 2:00 a.m. but we refused that one! There are never enough machines around here to meet demand.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2009 at 2:27PM
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2 things:

Yes, GB, Tadpole is an excellent name, too :)

and Cindy, I keep forgetting to tell you that I stumbled on a wholesaler site for the Northeast that's growing and shipping gossypium nigra! Click on retailers to see that Plant Delights and Logees might carry it mail order, as well as a list of retailers. I should not have posted this in the perennial forum for every gardener to see, should I have?

I hope to grab one for myself, since I saw it at Tower Hill this year.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2009 at 4:09PM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

I don't know about the rest of you, but I sure enjoyed reading and seeing the pics on that 3 year old thread that was resurrected.:-)

Marie, your ailment sure sounds like mine, except I don't think I have a UTI. All the rest could have been said by me. Is it something in the air??? I was really bad yesterday, until late in the day. Better today.

Cynthia, That is so sad about your sister. I hate that you have to cancel or postpone your trip together. I hope you can do it later.

V, I am sorry about your MIL's broken ribs. OUCH! I am glad you are where you can help out.
I am with you on the range. I want a plain old fashioned one. The one I bought a couple of years ago is that kind, but it is a piece of modern junk. I hope to get to an estate sale this spring and get an older, better made one, and a washing machine. My washer is over 15 years old, and it's agitator has gone haywire.
LOL, "enough controls to launch the space shuttle".
The mechanic your DD had sounds like mine. His charges are always reasonable. He is also Nolon's cousin, but I do not think he plays favorites. I sort of have the opinion that all dealers charge high prices for repairs and maintenance.

Woody, how nice to hear that you are planning another garden spot. You make me wish I were up to doing that.

LOL Saucy, 'Tadpole' was what I named one of my favorite cats.

I got the new Vernon Barnes and Son nursery catalog yesterday. I haven't looked at either of the catalogs yet.
"Lead us not into temptation". :-)

All this talk about falls is making me contemplating being very very careful when we have ice....and we will, before the winter is over. I have no cleats to put on my shoes, but the throw rugs, ashes, and kitty litter should do the job.

I can't contribute to the childhood shows on TV. I never watched them...except Alvin and the Chipmunks. :-) Alvin was the very first word Tim shouted out when he was almost a toddler. LOL

Michelle, I love your happy post with Kenzie. Pics of the fun at the beach would be fun to see.

Kathy, sorry about your 'awfice' problems. I hope they straighten out soon.

RE: MRI's, I have had several, and they were all in the forenoon. One was in another town, farther away than Harrison.

Deanne I love the Junco pic with the pine cones. :-)

Julie, your hairdresser sounds like the lab gal on NCIS. I get such a kick out of her. I either need another haircut, or a perm. Can't decide on which.
LOL, "disposed of some income".

I don't even want to think of dental work. I know I need some. :-(

Possibilities of 'snow showers' for tonight and tomorrow....


    Bookmark   January 7, 2009 at 6:18PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

I forgot to say earlier - I sure hope you're feeling a bit better gb! and, V, ouch re your MIL - I hope she heals quickly too.

Marian - I hope I have the energy to do what I plan! It's easy to 'garden' in my head; whether I'll have the energy to move the plan from my head to the actual execution in the ground come spring may be another matter entirely...:-)

This picture may not be too clear, but the new bed I'm thinking of will run roughly where the lines are on this picture:

I also ordered veggie seeds and some delptinium seeds today. Think spring....

    Bookmark   January 7, 2009 at 6:59PM
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Hi Marian, I was just thinking about Idylls and wondering where you were, hoping you weren't ill and here you are. And yes do be careful on the ice. We don't need to add you to that list.

I'm in agreement with those who think the older appliances are better made. I think I've said before that my stove and refrigerator will be 30 years old this spring. Jennifer has a Wolf (I think that's it) range that's really nice and she hasn't had trouble with but it was more $$ than I'd ever pay. I always tell the salespeople I just want the basics because that's all I ever end up using. I'm not one for lots of controls that I have to remember what they do.

V, that's great you were able to find a cheaper price on the car repair. We've had the same mechanic for many years. His kids went to school with my girls. He's reasonable, reliable and most of the time can have the car back same day. In fact Megan's car is there today having a radiator fan replaced.

Vacation to me doesn't involve any cooking so I guess it wouldn't be the same as retirement. I liked camping when the kids were small but never felt like I was getting a vacation. My idea of the ideal vacation would be a resort or cruise. Or of course Idyllunion, but that goes without saying:) We used to sometimes do a kind of vacation when the kids were small where we would stay home but just do fun, vacation things for the whole week. Day trips, picnics, the park, etc. That was always fun too and easy because no packing and I could put them in their own beds at night.

Julie, sounds like we're living very similar lives these days. I don't know about that new resolution of yours regarding the wine though:)

PM, you had me investigating igoogle today. It had been a long time since I'd looked at what was available. I added an NPR widget.

Marie, I can just feel your frustration with Skylar's mom. Wish there was some way to resolve that situation so your family could live in peace. But it sounds like she enjoys stirring the pot. I'd love to see pics of your slim self in the designer outfits. Feel better soon!

Deanne, Cindy is right. We forget to tell you how much we enjoy your photos. They're truly something special and most of the time end up on my computer desktop. I can never get enough of them. Thank you for always sharing them with us.

Chelone, sounds like work is a tough place to be these day. Finding that big a chunk of your life unenjoyable is a real bummer. I must have somehow missed the beginning of your discussion regarding fear and children and I couldn't find it when I went back to look. I do agree with you. Though sometimes I have to put a little fear into Miss Bella:) She's known "actions have consequences" since she was tiny.

I tried to put The Apartment on my Netflix queue but it wasn't available for some reason. That's never happened to me before. Tonights movie is The Cat in the Hat with Mike Myers because Bella requested it. Can't wait, lol!

Cynthia, hope your sister is feeling more comfortable. It was a nice surprise to see a post from you on a work day. I take after my dad's side too healthwise. He's from pretty healthy stock. Unfortunately my youngest sister takes after my mom. Even looks so much like her. She's the one who's had so many health problems. I've been meaning to mention that her scans came back clean. So the Drs. have proclaimed her cancer free. That was such good news and a relief for my family.

Cindy, I really hate headaches. Brad always tells me they're mostly due to dehydration and to drink lots of water. I must confess when I have one I usually take 3 or 4 Advil because I want it gone and 2 just doesn't seem to do the job. Bad I know but I rarely get headaches so that doesn't happen often.

MRIs are always done during business hours here as far as I know. And my family's had many of them the last few years.

Dinner's ready to come out of the oven. Time to end this disjointed post. So til tomorrow...


    Bookmark   January 7, 2009 at 7:36PM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

V, on that old thread I read where you had developed an avocado allergy, I am wondering how it affected you? I had eaten an avocado sandwich monday evening, before I was feeling so bad yesterday. I eat them freguently...a whole avocado quartered between two pieces of bread.

Eden, I am happy to hear that your sister's scans came back clean.

Re: taking pain pills, or any other pills, I prefer to stay on the low side of the recommended dosage. Only when my pains get too intolerable do I take the full recommended dosage. I am too leary of getting side effects,and maybe even permanant after effects. I have enough to cope with, without addding more.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2009 at 8:11PM
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Made it through a whole day at work with no major debacles and the interim plan for exiting employee has been created . Cancelled my Feb business trip and reduced my 5 day weekend for Inaug down to a 4 day. Hot tamales.
Ive been playing with iGoogle-I really like it however, the weather boxes are too big, and I dont see a way to make them smaller all the cities I like to display would probably take up two columns. I have a Hubble Space telescope theme on mine at the present.
Deanne, must add my voice to the chorus of praise for the lovely bird pics. So glad to know that you are diligently keeping the plant babies alive so that we may be treated to plenty of garden pics when spring arrives at last.

Cynthia , raining and sliming sounds very Norcal/PNW ! I can imagine getting into work mode when you are in fact supposed to be on vaca must be a challenge .

Im off with a hello to everyone, my brain is drained . Hope all had a pleasant evening

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   January 7, 2009 at 9:39PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Eden, DD is with Brad on the dehydration approach to headaches. More water is her therapy. I've been lucky (since menopause) not to have headaches any more. I had the debilitating kind and doctors (male) were useless at the time at figuring this out.

No photos were ever taken in my designer clothing phase. The chances of ever seeing me in them again are zero.

Woody, Phoebe is just fine with whatever Kong she's got. It too has the cookie in it that she can't get out! I sure hope your course stuff arrives before Friday! What a pain...

I've been eating oh so well these days, meaning the right number of calories, right amount of legumes, protein, grains, nuts, etc. I haven't reached the stage where I yearn for anything special though. Today I made a bean soup from scratch. I love fresh fruit and salad though, so things are fine. I brought home both moose meat and venison from Edmonton. This is of course good too as it has zero additives. And then I got sick! So really, I expect to feel on top of things soon. Hope you do too Marian!

Saucy, I'm sure Tadpole would be great with DD so I won't mention it! She's thinking of Sunshine now. More groans. (She loved the movie Little Miss Sunshine- which isn't everyone's taste, but I loved it too, especially the VW bus.)

I received my email garden news today and am told that variEgated foliage is pass�... so Cindy, out with that Cornus alternifolia argentea no matter how gorgeous it may be! (joking!)


PS: Here is what my January calendar says:
In winter, there might be from 5,000 to 10,000 bees living in a colony. In early summer, there could be 60,000 or more. The population also depends on the colony's health, queen's age, availability of resources, and air temperature. I'm sure Saucy knows all that and more.

My calendar also says this for January tenth: Full Wolf Moon: Some Sioux tribes call this the Moon of Frost in the Teepee.

And for January 17th Benjamin Franklin's Birthday! Franklinia alatamaha, also called Ben Franklin's tree, has beautiful white flowers and grows best in Zones 6 to 8.

Then, on the 26th: sow seed for pansy, verbena, carnation, salvia and impatiens indoors for early spring bloom.

And now you know!

    Bookmark   January 7, 2009 at 9:44PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA


Up too early and my eyes are bothering me today. Glad you are feeling a little better G'bug and Marian. Great news about your sister, Eden!! What a way to start the New Year. Back to NG photos for a few days....have a good one. :-)

These are two wild stallions from the McCullough Peak's herd of wild horses, which is located just outside of Cody, Wyoming. This image was taken in September 2008 w a Canon Rebel XSI and a long telphoto lens. I expected them to fight but they went back to grazing after a minute of posturing. The peaks area is pretty desoliate with little in the way of water supply and a lack of trees. The main staple for their grazing is sagebrush.

Photo and caption by Chris Gimmeson

    Bookmark   January 8, 2009 at 4:08AM
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Predicatably, after 3-4" of snow, nicely soaked by rain, and then topped off by more sleet and a dusting of snow the wind will be gusting out of the west and it's going to get cold. It will be like working in a refrigerator today. Lol about "sliming", Cynthia.

Eden, Saucy made a very quick reference to a post she deleted about fears raised by the media. It struck a chord with me because the whole issue of "fear" has been a central one for the helpmeet and I for several years now. More recently (read: the entire campaign season) it became a prominent theme with several of our friends, too. It's almost subliminal, too, but if you watch a television commercial closely you will see how frequently fear is hinted at and used to incite you to buy. Interesting. As I said, fear has its positive side, too. ;)

Cindy, the world is full of silly people and "super bugs" because the public is incapable of following dosing directions accurately and/or fails to take the entire course of a prescribed antibiotic. I'm with most of you, an aspirin or two when I have a headache (unusual for me) and strict adherence to dosing instructions when I' forced to "pony up" for more expensive drugs. As the helpmeet says, "why would I want to go to a hospital? that's where all the germs are!". ;)

The Christmas tree is down, the "bigga-biggas" all lovingly packed away and back in the attic until next year. I trimmed a bit of bough and tossed that into the woodstove last night to officially close out the Yuletide season. It will be fun to see if the cats took any of the ornaments for a walk and under which section of baseboard they will be discovered. They were looking for trouble yesterday afternoon (refused to go outdoors) and we gave them a paperbag with a paw hole cut in a corner and a liberal sprinkling of catnip. Then we tossed in some crumpled tissue paper... worked like a charm. I have to vacuum tomorrow, so the debris field is of no consequence.

I watched Helen Mirren in "The Queen" last night. I like it very much. It struck me as an interesting portrayal of lives lived within the contraints of court etiquette and how it can lead to misperception in the public at large. Good film! And I have to say, I'm thusfar underwhelmed by what's arrived from Netflix. I'm just not a TV person, I guess, which is probably a good thing because if the helpmeet doesn't get the whole digital thing figured out we won't even have the 4 stations we presently receive, lol.

OK, gotta pull on the survival suit and head to the deep freeze. I certainly hope all who are ailing are perking up soon. Woody, I hope your course materials arrive today, too. More I'd like to say, but it'll be hard to type wearing mittens... ;)

Deanne, lovely shots and yes, I'll be around this weekend. I have a lovely round of JulieJobs planned and your cheery face would be a very nice diversion. E-mail me.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2009 at 7:01AM
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Good morning

Mum left yesterday after a lovely visit so I hope to be around to Idyll a bit more. I always feel sad after she leaves, especially not knowing when the next time we'll see each other will be. Today I have a one hour delay at my school due to freezing rain and roads being turned into an ice rink. I'm not complaining as I'm enjoying a leasurely breakfast, a second cup of coffee and am about to catch up on my Idyll reading.

Waves to all


    Bookmark   January 8, 2009 at 7:49AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

The NG horse photo reminded me of this. Last year around this time I posted a mural that DD and DSIL built for the baby's room. We all helped a bit, but DSIL was the main one completing it. Well I finally found the website for this and other murals he has made and thought you all should take a peek! You can get close ups of them and their stories as well. Also fun is watching one which is in progress. Lewis Lavoie is the main guy, but he has help for coordinating from his brother Paul, and Phil Alain. The "Wildlife Arc" was raising funds for CPAWS (Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society). There is also a horse mural.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2009 at 8:37AM
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flowerluvr(Z5 IN)

Good morning, Idylls!
DB left this morning. We had such a good visit. Time went by way too fast, of course. My other two DBs picked him up this morning. They're going to Michigan to the Gerald Ford library. Family politics combined with illness...always interesting. Oldest and middle DBs have never been close. They just don't like each other much. It happens. Now, oldest is having pangs of guilt because middle DB is sick. So, being the ever thoughtful guy he is, middle thought up something all three of them could do together to maybe help oldest feel better. Sheesh! Seems like it would be enough to have the illness to deal with, but I really admire the way he's helping everyone else cope. He continues to be a fine example of the person I'd like to be when I grow up ;)

I just popped in to say hi, and to say how comfy it felt to sit and read the Idylls this morning. Ice mishaps, mice in the grill, and all :) Be back later!

    Bookmark   January 8, 2009 at 9:35AM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

Tee-hee! When I arrived home yesterday afternoon, the phone rang and it was a survey company following up on my recent service visit to the car dealer.

Caller: "How would you rate your experience on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being Extremely Satisfaied?"
V: "One"
Caller: "one?!?"
V: "Yes, 1, as in extremely dissatisified..."

But it was a little satisfying to blow off a little steam.

Marian, first of all, remember you asked! When I eat a lot of avocado, I get a strong feeling of discomfort in my stomach - sort of like someone had punched me hard, but from the inside. I will turn pale and get clammy, have very strong intestinal cramps and then very severe diarrhea. After that, I'm fine. How fast that all happens depends on how much I've had. I've learned that if I have a very small amount of avocado, I only have a few cramps, but it's still not fun!

Eden, thanks for the reminder about how nice a Deanne bird is on a computer desktop. I now have an American finch on mine, and I cleaned up my desktop to boot!

Book club (i.e. excuse to drink wine) tonight, so this may be it for today.


    Bookmark   January 8, 2009 at 10:11AM
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I've somehow managed to get some obnoxious spyware (is there any other kind?) so may have to wipe this hard drive again. Anti-spyware can't get rid of one file, so the vengeful nerds have been hard at work in making this stuff impossible to get rid of.

Eden, such good news about your sister. I've got you beat on your 30-year-old stove. Mine is similar to this one but without the clock on the top, and it has an O'Keefe & Merritt logo on the "backsplash":

Cynthia's reference to Marty's "Man on Roof" act reminds me to mention two documentaries we've enjoyed, Man on Wire and Encounters at the End of the World. Probably not everyone's cup of tea but I found both fascinating. The Encounters is Werner Herzog's, and even if you don't usually care for his stuff, this one is gorgeous, with amazing underwater footage at Antarctica. The interviews with the scientists working there really boosted my opinion of humanity, which after stuff like Madoff can sink pretty low.

PM, the horses are lovely, and they apparently reside very close to two of my SILs who live in Cody.

I'm skimming but have noticed 'bug's contribution to the clothing theme and also Chelone's comments re the classics. As much as I love clothes and fabric, what I actually end up wearing is always laughably drab. I noticed in the IU photos how Cindy seems to have a sense of clothes as "costume," which impressed me. I also sewed from Calvin Klein patterns, and Yves Saint Laurent was doing the "rich peasant" look in my teens, and all this stuff was available as patterns. I rarely wore what I sewed, though. Lately I've been pushing drab to the limits of decency and need to buy some work clothes, a new year's resolution. A new pair of shoes came in the mail yesterday, so it's a start. Current work shoes are at least five years old. Going to the dentist and shopping for clothes are neck and neck for least favorite activities, but I've made dental appts too...

Coffee. Mitch had a holiday visitor who runs a roastery. My life has been ruined since I tasted a cup of joe he made. I've dragged out the old coffee press, the grinder, tried an old Farberware brewer, all using the roastery's beans, but to no avail. He apparently uses some injector contraption, so that may be my next attempt. He also brought a small "stash" of $50/lb rare coffee beans, very complex flavor, almost tea-like overtones, but just a good strong cup of the organic El Salvadoran would be fine.

Mitch has just left for New York, and I may execute plans to put both boys in his room, what Duncan calls warily the "barracks" plan. Then I can get into Dune's room and paint, clean, etc. It's really just a small sunroom off the kitchen and never meant to be a bedroom and would make a great little library to get some shelves in to corral the books in one place. And since Mitch is so rarely in his room these days, Duncan would have almost full use of a much larger room through college.

I'll be visiting my brother in Alabama, the end of the month for little Ellie's baptism. If there's any "bucket" ideas of things to do near Mobile, I'm listening.

I think this computer is about to capsize so I better post and git! My job canceled today so I might borrow a wheelchair and get Marty out of the house for some fresh air.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2009 at 10:28AM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

V, I had the strong cramps, but not the severe diarrhea. I took a couple of anti-diarrhea tablets before it got that far. They work great for me. I don't think I turned pale and clammy, but I did have alternating chills and hot spells.
Now I will be afraid to eat avocado, and I love my evening sandwiches! One avocado is awaiting me in the frig....:-(
I guess I will try it and see what happens.

Mary, I know how you feel about your mom's return home. My sister and brother do not live that far away, but I felt that same way when they left a couple of years ago.
Do you plan on going there in the near future?

Marie, I checked the mural link, and bookmarked it. I am not sure if I understand. Is your DSIL's pics there? Is he listed in the list of artists?
I hope you are better today. I am.


    Bookmark   January 8, 2009 at 10:47AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Marian, I am supposed to go out for lunch today. I still must wait and consider going. I have a series of small things that keep recurring and that is why I am trying to change my whole lifestyle. A bit too much to do all at once of course.

As to the mural, DSIL & DD bought the booklet version at a fair and assembled their own to hang on the nursery wall. I loved that website though!

It is very cold but sunny out so far today. I need to prepare my photos for French Club for THIS SATURDAY I was just told. Oh dear. Hope DH can help me tonight and tomorrow so I have time to put together some French comments to accompany them!

V, what were you supposed to have read for tonight besides the wine labels?

Great to hear from you Mary and Brenda!

    Bookmark   January 8, 2009 at 11:18AM
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Jerri_OKC(z7 Ok)

Hi everyone. It's so nice to see Deanne's photos. They are amazing!
Yesterday, I decided to take the USB wireless modem off of the laptop since I was out of the house all day at the doctors. The modem gets pretty hot sometimes. It's very small - maybe an inch wide and 2-3 inches long. When we got back yesterday afternoon it wasn't on the bed where I left it. I'd moved the blanket so I think it just fell off on the floor.
We couldn't find it anywhere! DH searched high and low, even moving the bed. We even checked the dog crate in case it turned into a REALLY expensive dog toy. :(
Since I'm working from home it is a requirement. I didn't mention to DH that I was mainly having Idyll withdrawals! So about 5:00 DH went to the Sprint store to get a new modem. He was rather cranky since hed wanted to go in to work for a while. Im cranky too, that was a pricey little mishap. At least Im back online. I missed you guys.


    Bookmark   January 8, 2009 at 1:33PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

GB, we're discussing "The Scarlet Letter". Next month we are doing "The Lace Reader". We've enjoyed throwing a couple of old classics into the mix.

Jerri, has the modem card turned up yet? Usually that happens as soon as you buy a replacement.


    Bookmark   January 8, 2009 at 1:43PM
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Jerri_OKC(z7 Ok)

Not yet V, I'm expecting it very soon. LOL

    Bookmark   January 8, 2009 at 1:51PM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

Marie, I hope your series of small things do not turn out to be something serious.

Re: the 3 year old thread that was brought up...I see so many names of former members that I dearly miss. I wish they would return, at least all that are able.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2009 at 2:51PM
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jak1(4 Ontario Can)

Good late afternoon, all!

Another day, done lots, but not lots to show for it, it seems to me.

Tidied the house. Went to the library and found 3 books for TCS and three for me.

Came home. Made turkey soup and baked a loaf of "five minutes a day" bread. Did some laundry. Bored to bits for some reason. Soon we have dinner and it is my night for the kitchen and there will be little to do. TCS has homework and reading and music to do, somebody else's turn to see him through this.

Tomorrow I will cook 300 hotdogs for the school, and in the afternoon, we are all going into the city. I am going to have drinks and dinner with my old work mates. I am pleased to be included in this quarterly casual affair as they are all still working and I have been retired since the birth of TCS - seven years. DH and TCS will go to shop for acquarium fish as they have set up the acquarium that has sat in our basement forever. The weekend is slated to be quiet too, although we will get TCS to the arena for skating on Saturday night and again Sunday afternoon.

The JJob today was the bathroom grout, which doesn't look any better than it did before. But I know it's clean *lol* Nothing will get done tomorrow.
DH has just challenged me to a game of scrabble - so off to dinner and then to the game!

See all of you guys tomorrow - but I don't know when - it's a busy day for me.



    Bookmark   January 8, 2009 at 5:17PM
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I ventured out to the grocery store this afternoon. Sad to say but I'd lost track of the last time I went out. Last Thursday or Friday? I would just have soon stayed home another day. Tomorrow I have lunch with my sisters and my girls. Then off to look at baby things with Jen. She's found a new baby store she wants to show me.

Denise, I would love to have your stove! Mine's just an ugly duckling circa 1979. Yours has personality. Is your whole kitchen done in that style? My girls shared a room the entire time they were growing up. Sounds like a good solution for your guys for the time being. Hope Marty was able to enjoy his time outdoors.

I need to join a book club. Seems they're just as much about wine as books if not more:) I'm reading Paris To The Moon by Adam Gopnik. It's an enjoyable read. Next up is Water For Elephants.

Julie, wow 300 hotdogs! I totally understand your comment about you knowing it's clean. That's what matters! TCS is in for a fun weekend!

Hi Brenda, I think of you and your brother often. Good to hear that he's doing ok. We miss you here on Idylls.

Jerri, either the animals have stashed it somewhere or you have gremlins. Sometimes I think pets are little gremlins though.

Marian, hope it's not the avocados!

Mary, good to see you back. I can see that you cherish the time with your mom. Glad you had a nice visit.

Chelone, Thanks for the explaination. I enjoyed The Queen too. Every year tv holds my attention less and less. Last night Brad and I watched a dvd of old Journey music videos. Boy did that take me back to a different time in my life.

Marie, I enjoyed the website. The Noah's Ark mural was my favorite. Bella loves animals and would really like that one too.

Chicken and rice for dinner and it's just about ready to come out of my old oven. Have a good evening all,


    Bookmark   January 8, 2009 at 6:57PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Good evening...

Quiet day here, with little to report. I did start thinking about the garden for the first time today. Nothing is quite inspiring me to excitement at this point. I do have a lot of new plant material and quite a few things that were moved last season that I am very much looking forward to seeing how it will all work out and that actually feels like enough. I will probably just wing it with the Containers and do whatever takes my fancy this year. Otherwise, I believe it will be another year of editing and projects. I did remember that we bought a twig trellis at the end of the season that will go into place with three new clematis maybe or... one Sweet Autumn Clematis. I am in a hurry to screen an area, so I am feeling pulled toward the SA. I wonder if I could add other Clematis to the same trellis, or am I going to make a mess?

Deanne....dazzling as usual! Juncos are one of my favorites. Very pretty on the Pine branches. Hope you were spared any further ice problems, this last go round.

Cynthia...I continue to feel so sorry for your poor sister. The calcium issue and osteoporosis is not always a clear consensus on what helps. I have heard naturopaths have a different take on how to help the body absorb the calcium, rather than taking medication. I wonder if some exploration in that direction might bring some better results?

V...happy to hear your MIL has a good attitude...she certainly would be entitled to a little crankiness about the whole thing. The Papercuts theme on iGoogle, is a pretty one too. I am sure I will try that one at some point.

iGoogle ....They make them so easy to change. I am enjoying 'Fractals' Theme right now and I am finding it fascinating. It is a series of mathematical equations represented in images that change every 30 minutes. I added Life Magazine covers and I love that. Brings back memories. I have banned news widgets from my homepage. I would like NPR if they would provide just the music section. [g] I like the Hubble shots, Kathy. How many weather reports do you follow?! [g]

Kathy...another long day today? Having to shorten your vacation time is the pits I am sure. DS sometimes takes on extra hours with a temp agency and he just received notice that they are reducing their hourly rate by $3. an hour. I also heard from a friend this week, that she just found out her company of six years is closing their office and she will be looking for a new job. I would imagine many companies will be putting a freeze on hiring.

Water and dehydration. I do pay attention to how much water I drink and keep a 16 oz stainless steel bottle nearby through the day. I was surprised to learn you can actually drink too much water. I think I am getting the right amount for me. I probably haven't taken an aspirin or tylenol in a good 15 years. I have had tylenol with codeine on two or three dental occasions, but that's it. I have a very sensitive stomach and I would rather be in pain then to throw my stomach off with the pain meds. I find other ways to try to relieve it. I am sure that won't always be the case.

Gardenbug....I am cheering you along on your new health initiatives! Not easy to disrupt your routine and especially change what you are used to eating. I like the mural titled 'Trust'. That is something I love about horses...their willingness to trust people.

Chelone...I also liked 'The Queen' but it hasn't beat out 'Mrs Brown' with Judi Dench as one of my favorite movies about Royals. I just love the scenery, the horses and the performances.

Mary...It must be deflating to see your Mom heading back home. Especially when she is so far away. I'm glad you had a lovely visit. Any chance she would relocate to the states? Or come spend the summers or something? :-) I feel for you, I always have a very hard time with goodbyes.

Brenda....your DB, I just love hearing your stories of him and the wonderful attitude he has facing such a health challenge. Nice that the brothers got together like that.

V.....we always take a new car that is under warranty to the dealer for maintenance, but have a trustworthy mechanic who is much more reasonable for other repairs and vehicles that are beyond the warranty period. Fingers crossed for DD's car. :-)

Denise.... I love old appliances and I love that stove! Two sisters in Cody? I always wondered what it would be like living in the west. Do they have any interest in horses? Hope you and Marty were able to get out today.

Marian....glad you are better!

Jerri....we also talk often about the gremlins that live in the house and steal things. We expect one day to find their stash. ;-)

Hello to therestofyouguys....sorry but I am running out of steam...


    Bookmark   January 8, 2009 at 8:50PM
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Pulling into my garage tonight I realized how really junked up its become. Sometimes we just choose not to see things , right ? This is my mega-Julie Job, and I should get started on it. I have at least made the first step which is to schedule the appliance recycle dudes that are associated with our utility provider to come and pick up the old fridge that was being used as the wine cellar;probably the only avocado green wine cellar in Napa County
Speaking of avocados, lordie V, I would be very unhappy if avs caused me to have such reactions as you endure-! It sounds most unpleasant.

Jerri, Im glad you miss us ! I would miss us too if I lost my connection. At least I have the awfice as backup .

Julie, 300 hot dogs just put me in a baseball frame of mind. Spring Training starts in about 6 weeks. My BIL and I were seriously considering a visit to Spring Training this year but the economy has put the kabash on that idea, we feel like we need to conserve funds in the event the younger folk in the family need assistance. Maybe next year.

Denise that stove pic is fabu- those things are built like brick s**thouses arent they ? Believe it or not, we have French Press coffee at work, only because a former GM signed a long term contract . Its very acceptable. Told my office mates that when the contract goes south we will at the least get a decent coffee pot for our office with the good stuff. No Farmer Brothers crapola for me.

PM, I always work at least 50 hour weeks and have been doing so for many years . It seems very normal to me now. Weather: I have a few California locations, the cities that my BILs and DD live in in Oregon, my old Arizona stomping grounds, and several Midwest-east coast locales relative to the Idylls ! This is quite compact on my Yahoo home page, but seems to take up way too much space on iGoogle. I need to figure out a work-around because I really like the other features of iGoogle.

Wendy, where have you been ? No check in lately. Come and play !

Gotta go read the papeslater all

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   January 8, 2009 at 9:27PM
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chloehoover(z6b VA)

G' evening -- it was sunny here, but cold -- managed to kick the headache/germ; I think it was something trying to take hold insidiously, but it's gone...

'bug -- I think variegated foliage, like good design and great tailored clothes, Never goes out of style, LOL, thank goodness... so I'll be on the hunt for that cornus (as I have been for over a year) - it's a slow grower and hard to get going is what I've read and heard from a few growers... might be my Holy Grail, eh? I'd love to have the cornus controversa variegata, but that's one big babe and I just cant see it in 8 years in my poor garden....

Wow, 300 cooked hot dogs -- you are one mega super GM, Julie!! I confess, yum, I love those things, bad as they are for you; I used to eat them years ago off the street vendors - best cheap lunch you could get; and my poor DD probably ate a frightening amount as a toddler - one of my bad mommy things, true confessions....

Havent looked at the igoogle; I dont think I need another thing to play with right now or re-adjust to.

Kathy, I am a natural slob and it is a daily challenge for me to keep things tidy; it just seems things never quite go back to their rightful place upon immediate usage; hence weekend triage for clutter and continual neatening up - not a Julie job, I fear...

Glad you had such nice times, Brenda and Mary with your respective relatives -- and one just learns to treasure the times we have and not dwell too much on if/when the next time might be; in this crazy world impossible to predict or rely on!

Sooo glad it's Friday tomorrow -- one full work week almost down and counting towards the next one til - holiday again, yeeha... you'll be tired of hearing that from me in a few more posts!

Eden -- I quite understand the staying home in the winter -- I call it "hibernating" -- some of us just seem to need it and enjoy it -- with your busy life with Bella and other things, you deserve the time to just "nest" when you can. Enjoy your outing though - sounds like fun!

O, almost forgot - Denise - that is a very cool stove and positively retro collectible now; I bet in CA folks pant to get one in a bungalow (at least House Hunters leads one to think that sometimes) -- I guess it might be like an Aga stove -- they never go out of style either....

okay, Im pondering "Cindy in costume" -- I did do drama/theatre in high school, LOL -- never went thru a goth period though..

Off to bed to greet Friday soon!


    Bookmark   January 8, 2009 at 10:53PM
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Jerri_OKC(z7 Ok)

As expected, my wireless modem turned up tonight. It grew little furry legs and walked over behind the laundry basket.

Nighty nite all


    Bookmark   January 9, 2009 at 12:21AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Kathy...I think I solved your iGoogle/weather problem. They allow you to add tabs to your original home page. If you find the drop down menu at the top of the navigation column on the far left of your home page, there is an option, 'Add a Tab' You can have a whole page of weather related widgets just a click away from your home page. Maybe put your most viewed weather on the original home page and supplement with a whole separate page just for all the weather stations your little heart desires!

Jerri...I hope they will accept a return on the modem just purchased!

Cindy...and I can't say this is the first Friday of the year this time. Nice to hear you in such good spirits.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2009 at 5:13AM
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So I'm off today (rearranged schedule for the remainder of the winter) and have a haircut this afternoon which I wish had been yesterday so I'd have all day long to just mess around with whatever JulieJob strikes my fancy this morning!

I like being at home, too. Couldn't care less about going somewhere just for the sake of "going", either, Eden. But I do like to get outdoors for some sunshine in these light deprived weeks/months and my silly brindle escort is more than willing to go along, too. Your outing today sounds as though it will be fun, though a baby store would hardly be an attractant for me. ;) And I have to say, your stove is even older than our's! Our stove is an apartment size (24") gas model from Sear's that the helpmeet purchased for his store c. 1883. No space shuttle launch possible from our galley, V., there are 4 knobs for the 4 burners (all the same size) and one for the oven which needs to be replaced since reading the temperature is now very difficult (helpmeet used a scrubby on it and nearly eradicated the numbers some years ago). Somehow, it has never been important enough to replace it, but it's come up numerous times in discussion recently. For the time being it's OK, it does everything we need it to do.

Great news on the car repair, V., and I'm glad you were able to voice your displeasure to the dealership. I hope you were specific and they decide to take your comments to heart. I understand that overhead costs vary greatly for businesses and those costs must be factored into labor charges and your dealership needs to know that their labor charges were not competitive. That's business! I'll bet your DD will be glad to have her wheels back. Cars can be such a nuisance, can't they?

The News Hour has had several stories on the health care situation over the course of the past week and last night it was interesting to hear a frank admission that we spend too much money "calling out the cavalry", instead of focussing our efforts and money on the promotion of wellness and good, BASIC care that heads off the need for the cavalry. I heard a startling trivia question on the way to work yesterday... 34% of everyone over age 20 is affected by this: obesity. I got it right and spent the rest of the day contemplating that sad and sobering fact. Sending healing thoughts to those with infirmaties and encouragemenand admiration to those undertaking changes in lifestyle that will hopefully increase and further promote wellness.

I love hot dogs, too. Especially grilled with nice, spicey mustard. Mmmm. I also like them steamed. But I think 300 of them in front of me might be a bit overwhelming. TCS is a fortunate little boy to have someone as dedicated as you in his corner. $700 to adopt a dog? what drugs are THEY doing?

Jerri, things "go missing" all the time here, so I laughed at the mobile modem behind the laundry basket. I suppose you could look at the bright side, at least it didn't get chewed up by an insecure canid. ;)

Mary, how often do you get to see your Mum? do you visit once a year and she visits once a year, as well? I assume your father is deceased? Have you had an opportunity to fire up the snowblower yet? remember, we're interested in a snapshot of you masterfully guiding it around clad in that very cool, fur trimmed jacket... . :) I have wondered often about little Victoria, how is she doing and is her new doll beloved? There have been several very, very disturbing stories of child neglect and abuse on the local news and whenever I hear one I instantly think of you and the work you do with children facing such adversity. You must have a VERY strong stomach, I don't think I could do what you do.

OK, time to get to the kitchen, but first I think I'll light the stove... it's going to be a chilly day and a fire combined with sunshine will keep the boiler quiet for most of the day. A good thing, indeed! Speaking of economizing, the local TV news had a story on how to deal effectively with electrical "vampires" the other night! The helpmeet turned to me and said, "nice goin', hon., you've scooped 'em again!".

PS: we've decided Bernard Madoff is aptly named, Denise. 'cuase he done made off withe the dough. I hope the sleaze gets a perp. walk down Wall Street and straight to the crowbar hotel. What an embarrassment he is!

    Bookmark   January 9, 2009 at 8:05AM
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Good morning

Yes, as many here know, distance is hard when it comes to separating families. I've been thinking a lot about this the last couple of days.

PM - we have had many conversations about relocating to be near family but coming to the USA permanently would never be an option for Mum. Sadly, Healthcare here precludes that. Any of Mum's "pre-existing conditions", for which she recieves excellent and free medical care for in England under the socialized medicine scheme, would become a prohibitive expense not covered by any insurance. In the UK once you are turn 65 there is no charge for prescriptions either. Of course Mum has paid heavily into the scheme throughout her life through taxes so "free" might not be the best adjective, but you know what I mean.

The other factor that plays an equally important role is the life Mum has at home. Although widowed for over 25 years she has a wonderful network of family members, friends, neighbors and a village community where she knows almost everyone. She is active in all sorts of organizations including Amnesty International, gardening and bird watching groups, regularly attends plays, visits art galleries, museums and concerts. Sometimes I think she is almost as busy as I am:0) We have a wonderful time together when we visit, and do the best to keep in touch via phone calls, mail and the internet the rest of the time. I do worry about what will happen further down the road but until we are faced with that situation there is little we can do now. I feel these are the good years, before health concerns take over, and we should do all we can to enjoy them. As Cindy put it - treasure the time we have right now.

Marian - our plans for the summer are completely up in the air due to DH's work and the economy, so visits to England are on hold. I am however determined to come to Idyll camp. Do we have a date?

On the subject of wine groups, ooops I mean Bookclub, our group is meeting next week for Brideshead Revisited. We too like to throw in some classics and also non-fiction. I'm looking forward to the discussion on this one which is one of my favorite books.

I can honestly say I have the WORST coffee at work, which is very hard for a coffee lover like myself. At one school we have the giant catering tank of cheap coffee that appears to be made around 4 AM so that it is always luke warm and stewed. The other school has no coffee available. As I have children in my room I am unable to have my own pot(school safety rules). I am too busy during the day to run out for any so I bring a travel cup in the AM and try to make it last as long as I can.

Jerri - we have that problem finding things but in this household it is the male contingent who usually misplaces things (or cannot find them even when they are right in front of them eg. items in the fridge). The exception to this is Clousseau who always knows where his favorite bones are located and is able to indicate with just a little bark that one is stuck under the sofa or out of reach.

I loved The Queen too. Helen Mirren is my hero:0) You'd probably want to hate someone who look as good in a bikini as she does in her sixites but she is way too good an actress.

Have a good Friday


    Bookmark   January 9, 2009 at 8:05AM
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vtskiers(z6a CentralCT)


Not much time this morning as usual-I have to run home in a few minutes to let the town inspector into the house so he can inspect the gas line that was installed on Tuesday for my new fireplace set up. The granite, doors and log set will be installed next Tuesday.

More snow in the forecast for tomorrow-6-10" this time. At least I have the snow blower now but my trip to VT this weekend is probably off. I guess I'm not alone in being worn out by winter already. The slush storm we had on Weds has turned to solid ice in all the places it wasn't removed. Couldn't be removed-I pooped out trying to scrape it off around 9 Weds night. For me that means the walkway from the house to the garage and half the walkway to the driveway. Fortunately I found some sand in the garage last night so hopefully won't find myself among the slip and fall ranks.

PM, I have AMICA insurance too and have for years-auto and homeowners. No complaints.

OK, gotta run.


    Bookmark   January 9, 2009 at 8:32AM
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chloehoover(z6b VA)

Just time for a quick comment -- PM - I noted your idea re wanting to install SA Clematis -- I just want to caution that it gets huge; dont know what space or how big/sturdy your twig trellis is but you might want to check that out carefully... Of course, I managed to kill one a few years ago, when it's pretty "fool proof" - i think it was the year we got the 12 inches of rain in June and I like to think it just drowned thru no fault of my own, LOL. I wasnt sufficiently impressed with it to replace (altho it was on the fence near the neighbor, who had shaved it on his side when he visited I recall; so I decided it was best not to continue that issue).

I feel for you NE folks w/ snow and ice -- it's weird; we havent had a good snowfall, not even an inch here, which is unusual by this time of year for the region... more mixed stuff coming tomorrow, but not a big storm here.

Also meant to comment on the link you posted, Saucy - I think I saw they had it last summer when I was "searching" -- they seem to be wholesalers but it's interesting to see where they sell to -- would be neat to land some of that plant; it's so gorgeous, no matter whether it's blooming or not.

Ok, gotta get serious here... Im enjoying the finch preening in front of me, and see your name every time I look too, Deanne -- very nice way to stay "in touch" with idylls.


    Bookmark   January 9, 2009 at 9:02AM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Good morning, just wanted to pop in and thank you all for your kind comments about my birdie pics. It's a real passion for me and I'm so pleased you enjoy them too!!!!!

Sue, get some of those YakTracks... They work. I have a pair and do not ever go out on the ice without them. I'm sure they've saved me some slip and fall accidents.

This weather is definitely getting tiresome.... I don't remember a winter where we've had so much precip of the icy type.

Chelone, looks like we won't make it up there this weekend but I'll email you if that changes. If the weather cooperates I might make the trip myself. Doug is going to be busy now.

Mary, you are so right about enjoying the time to its fullest. I believe that right now are our best years together and we are enjoying them to their fullest. So sad you don't get to see your Mum enough but great that you keep in touch and so wonderful that you have such a beautiful relationship with her.

Denise love the old stove pic! We used to have a 1952 Westinghouse electric stove. We bought it used in 1975 and used it until 1995! It was a gem and still worked when we upgraded to a flat top electric stove.

Allrighty, it's getting late and I haven't getten finished with my morning chores so have to run for now. Hello to everyone!!!!!


    Bookmark   January 9, 2009 at 9:05AM
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Today's JulieJob is my closet and my bureau. I have gone through everything, tried things on, washed some things, and tomorrow I'll try to unload the useful culls at the thrift shop. I will have quite a load as there are several of Mum's things neatly bagged, too. I'll be stripping buttons from old blouses later on today. ;) I'm not sure what I'll tackle for tomorrow's JulieJob, maybe the paperback filled bookcases...

I've yet to discover any allergy that plagues me. Eggplant will sometimes make the back of my throat "itch", but I still like it and eat it anyway. Oh, and a lot of commercial soaps with heavy perfumes or heavy emollients can irritate the backs of my hands. I believe a relatively bullet-proof constitution is facilitated by a base level of slovenliness.

I agree, it was nice to see the Queen of the Combine breeze through. And I hold out hope that some of the other busy bees will buzz through soon, too. I like that revolving door policy here... you swing by when you're ready, willing and able and there's always something funny to read or something to make you go, "hhhmmmm". It's nice.

It's funny, but I'm not feeling weighed down by winter this year. I think my year of mourning is officially over. Feels good and I hope all my friends who've lost someone recently read this and give themselves plenty of time to just be sad. Because it's just what you need right now.

And, yes, we do need to start IUVIFORME planning.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2009 at 11:40AM
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jak1(4 Ontario Can)

Hello everyone! A bright and sunny but very very cold day here today.

Got through the hotdog session once again; only lost three ketchup or mustard bottles (found two under a desk in the grade 4 room, the other is listed as missing); we had about 20 left over. Last time we were short three....must have been some kids away today; also there is a teeny possiblility that somebody miscounted....Anyway, done for another month.

I sent an e-mail to the SPCA today to indicate that I hope the Boston gets adopted and to not, under any circumstances, consider putting him down without calling me first....they replied that he has been adopted. *whew* I was concerned that the ridiculous price would deter anybody from taking him.

My little self-sufficient angel TCS was an absolute horror last night. He must have been really tired as he soaked in the tub for half an hour and then went to bed - no books, no snacks, he was so miserable to everybody. His last words as he closed his door were "I just LOVE being annoying!" Grrrr. And we all felt like jerks for being annoyed.

We're off to the city today for my rendezvous with old work mates and DH and TCS on a tropical fish buying expedition. Looking forward to it.

Here is my Sweet Autumn clem on a very sturdy trellis. This was its second year. I have a child of Hagley Hybrid and a President on here too, and so far it makes a very attractive and very private screen for us and for the neighbour behind. I bought it as something else, mislabelled, but am really pleased with the results. Smells nice too.

Eden, I love baby stores. Such an innocent time when we dream that our special little offspring will be both a brain surgeon AND a rocket scientist....and they will look adorable in all of those sweet little outfits. The calm before the storm...

I too would like to join a book club. I know there is one around here but they meet for morning coffee, not wine. And I hate the coffee around here: 4 a.m. and stewed, indeed!

The world of work: our elementary teachers just turned down a last ditch offer by the Ministry of Education: 3% each year over 4 years, extra prep time, smaller classes in the upper grades and I don't know what else. The teachers are really good people for the most part, and they have one heck of ajob to do, but there won't be much sympathy for this in this day and age. They are well paid and have great benefit packages, and no one in the civilised world will ever forgive them for July and August! I'm trying to get my hands on the grade 2 curriculum because I am determined that TCS will not fall behind if there is a strike.

Also the city of Ottawa is still suffering under a transit strike. It has been many weeks now and there is no headway. Very difficult times for everybody.

Kathy, the whole garage is too big a project to be a JJob. The act of getting rid of the fridge, tackling something that can be completed in one day - is a JJob. The whole garage is a Project. Tomorrow do something else, one small step for a man (or a woman), one giant step for personkind...or however it goes... 50 hours week - that is a long week. Add commuting time and I bet you are gone for 11 hours a day. With my commute I was away for twelve hours for a seven and ahalf hour workday - the timing of the commute was just impossible. To this day I get up before 6 a.m.

Mary, as much as we Canadians complain about our medical system, it certainly is a lot easier to seek at least basic care if you don't have to pony up the $ up front...Hard as it is, your Mum is probably making a good decision for herself at this time of her life. It must be hard, though, to be so far away. We have family spread from the East to the West coasts of Canada, most we rarely see. SIL was here this summer for the first time in 9 years. Her first meeting with TCS and he is already 7. There are many others who have never seen him, and he is the only small child in the whole family. Sopmetimes this makes me very sad, but also grateful for technology. (OMG did I really say that???). Makes me think of Marie who is quite a distance from Wayne, Sarah, Skyler and Adam. Hugs, Bug!

On this note I better trot or it will be time to pick up TCS and I will still be looking for my hat and gloves.



    Bookmark   January 9, 2009 at 2:17PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

The sun is out and in the sun, the thermostat on the back porch is reading 30, but wow, the back yard is one sheet of ice over all the snow. I didn't dare take a step out there today. I actually haven't been out there since maybe the beginning of November. I can see from a distance, that two of my new evergreens are splitting from the ice. I have done it to myself again, failing to get around to tying them up before the first snow. Not like I didn't have plenty of time too.

With all the reports of falls and broken bones, I pushed and pushed to get a supply of sand before it iced over the other night. We managed to get it in time and we did need it for the front walk. A bag of sand from Home Depot weighs 50 pounds!

Another person in our circle of friends has just got the news they have been laid off. They had just moved and signed a new lease. They had only been with the company a year and a half, so not that surprising they would be one of the first to go. Wondering with all these layoffs, who in the world is going to be hiring.

Eden, astute observation about parents sometimes expecting more from their kids then themselves. I find myself reminding myself of that every once in awhile.

Woody...That is a really large area for a new garden bed. Are you going to use it to do your landscaping course work? Have you any plant choices in mind yet?

Kathy...I'm sure I've said so before, but To Kill A Mockingbird is one of my all time favorite movies.

Julie...glad to hear your haircut turned out so well. Always a good pick me up. I found I was more satisfied with my hair after setting it and decided to let it grow in a bit more before deciding whether to go short again.

Enjoyed reading about everyone's routine. I'm not seeing anyone who has their schedule organized around the 'day of the week'.

Gardenbug....since it is going to be a spring baby, would April be too conventional? [g]. Tami, from the word Tamiko can mean 'child born in spring'. Daisy? Honey, Hope? Brook. Apple is evidently a trendy name. As is Fern, Ginger, Heather, Jasmine, along with Sunshine, Willow and I am very surprised. Giselle is sort of an animal name, no? One of my new favorite girl names is Violet. There are so many flower names, is that of no interest to them? Or perhaps there are some French names that represent nature? Ancelin is the feminine form of Lancelot. There are some pretty cool Hawaiian names...Aolani means heavenly cloud and Iolana means to soar like an eagle. Did I miss where we discovered what sex the baby is? Maybe since DD has her heart set on an unconventional name, she could be convinced to choose it for the middle name? I liked the name Reed very much and I assume that was part of the reason they chose it because it was part of nature? I remember when Cher named her baby Elijah Blue...I actually thought that was pretty. I ran into a website with a list of 'Hippie Style' names and not many jumped out at me. [g] Okay, I have to stop now, getting carried

Cindy and Julie....thanks for the tips on using Clematis on my new trellis. Great photo Julie! I guess it will all depend on how sturdy the Trellis is. I am pretty sure the SAClematis will grow the quickest and I can always prune hard to keep it in bounds if it gets away from me. Spring seems a long way off today.

Mary....gee...I want to move to where your Mom :-)

Ok...look at the time. Later...


    Bookmark   January 9, 2009 at 3:48PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

PM2 - The thought of digging out more grass is a bit intimidating! Actually, when I planted the Japanese wisteria in 2007, I had considered doing a similar layout then but thought (a) it was too much work and (b) it might look funny. But, ever since, I keep looking at it and seeing that it needs to be there! So I will try to bite the bullet and do it this spring - very annoying that I have to remove some of the brick edging to do it and will need to add more metal edging and bricks to put the new bed in place. I thought I was finished with the brick edging....

It won't be something I use in my course work - although maybe the course work will alter how I plan to do the bed. At this point my intention is to use the same 'Pink Beaudy' potentilla shrubs that are the foundation of the driveway border, as the primary planting along there. They will make a nice low 'hedge' and they bloom continuously from June to October. The new bed is essentially a continuation of the driveway border so I want to use the same plantings. I'll be starting some hardy hibiscus from seeds collected from the big pink one in the driveway border so I'll add the seedlings there to back the potentilla shrubs. I'm also thinking I'll divide some of the asters in the driveway border and tuck them into the new bed too. And next fall I'll add some of the same tulip bulbs to it. I'll probably use the same orange scented thyme that is currently in the Japanese wisteria bed to be a ground cover in the new bed too.

I now have all the course materials, including audio transcripts. I must admit I'm a little intimidated by the amount of work/time it's looking like it's going to be! It makes me feel old and slow :-) when I think back on my university days when it was normal to take 5-6 courses in a term! It will certainly keep me busy for the winter! The course uses one hypothetical house/property for all the assignments and you progressively landscape it through the course. You have to get a friend or family to pose as the 'client' and tell you what they want done. So I will be informing Randy tonight that he will be helping on the course! Maybe I'll learn something about what he really wants in the garden.... :-)

    Bookmark   January 9, 2009 at 4:29PM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

Marie, I keep forgetting to ask you still have that lovely Streptocarpella, and if you do, does it have problems with a lot of the leaves along the stems turning brown and drying up at this time of the year?
Here is what mine looked like while it was hanging outside last summer.

Now it is just rather tall stems with lots of leaves going bad and coming off along the stems.It does have a few blooms though. Maybe I should cut it back?

    Bookmark   January 9, 2009 at 4:31PM
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Marian, I love the plant in your picture above. My regular haunts don't seem to carry them and I didn't know what the name of the plant was, so never bothered to ask about it when I didn't recognize it in the line up. What sort of light conditions and watering does it prefer? Is it available in colors other than that pretty blue/violet?

I went from closet cleaning, to my haircut appointment, and right back home to more cleaning. This time it was the desk in the library. I never use the printer for this computer so I decided that rather than dusting it and around it I'd simply put it in the attic. I took the keyboard apart and scrubbed the daylights out of the top of it hot, soapy water. I was amazed at the amount of mung that was lurking under the keys... some assorted spills and a layer of cat hair and dust made for some sticky capitals and repeated strikes to backspace. Eeewww. Everything seems to be working nicely now. :) I really would like to have a nice, big flat screen monitor, though.

I had a very dear friend who used to say that whenever her nails looked nice she felt well dressed. My nails are usually a disgrace, but I feel better about myself when my hair pleases me and looks neat and well groomed. So I'll always be an advocate of trips to the "beauty parlor". Always nice to hear someone is pleased with their cut and that reminds me of Anita.

I've tried Sweet Autumn clematis twice and lost it both times. I'd sited on one of the pillars of the pergola and the bed is a raised one, inside a stacked stone "container". It's an exposed site without a great deal of insulation and I have another clematis whose color I don't really care for planted there now. We'll see how it fares. Your course sounds like a lot of work, Woody, but I'll bet you'll get right into it and do yourself proud. Are you going to allow us to audit your work? ;) PM, we have 3 Arborvitae by the road and they catch some snow from the plows, they will bow under the weight but as soon as it melts they spring right back, maybe your plants will, too.

Well, it's pretty quiet 'round here and I think I'll retire to do some reading since all my cleaning seems to be making the helpmeet a tad uncomfortable. Good thing he'll be working tomorrow when I make my move on the bookcases, lol. I can already tell I'll be shooing him away from the bags of discarded items until the trash guys finally haul it far from his grasp. ;)

    Bookmark   January 9, 2009 at 8:05PM
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Denise your stove is handsome!

After catching up on idyll stoves and fireplaces, I've decided I want a gas fireplace in the kitchen. It would get more use than an oven. My built in oven is old but still works. I have a thermometer sitting on a rack to determine the temperature. Chelone maybe that would work for you if you can't replace the dial. My cooktop is fairly new since I had to replace it after I couldn't turn off a burner. It was on a holiday of course (why else would I be using it?) and had to summon the gas company to shut off gas to entire house.

Sweet Autumn clematis. It's a bit of a pest here - seeds around a lot, still pretty and I like it where it grows wild on fences. Here in my yard it pops up everywhere and I spend a lot of time yanking new plants that are 10 feet high and strangling things before I notice.

Here's one I allowed to grow a few years ago. The base of the trunk was 4" wide when I wrestled it down this spring with every sharp tool I had.

They're really hard to remove even when small. The roots are deep. So be forewarned! But it does smell wonderful in the fall.

My feet are freezing even with space heater under my desk. I think of my poor sister and tell myself I'm lucky I can feel my feet and move them. She's still in the hospital in traction. Surgery was Wednesday.

I wanted chicken rice soup for supper, but there were no dusty cans of it in my cabinets. So heated up the reaming brie en croute from Christmas and sloshing it along with champagne.

Deanne, the finch photos are spectacular! Love the little disturbed fluff on the first one. And yes the boughs and cones are perfect backdrops for them.

I've missed commenting on a lot and hope to catch up more tomorrow. Hi to all!


    Bookmark   January 9, 2009 at 8:44PM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

Chelone, Here is a link on the plant:

    Bookmark   January 9, 2009 at 9:10PM
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Hello to the busy Idylls and Happy Friday. A sad day today at the awfice as we bid farewell to our co-worker who has been with us for so many years. It all happened so fast we didnt even have time to put together one of our office food fests. Until we fill his position am going to be stepping in .
On a positive note the weather here has taken a turn for the beautiful ..rain is gone for a few days and though nights will be chilly, days will be heading up into the high 60s . This will be an all garden weekend for me, Im looking forward to it.:-)

And speaking of weather, thanks for the tip PM, I noticed the add a tab feature but never tried it. It looks promising. And there are a bunch of weather gadgets available over and above the live weather thing.

Julie, I will take your advice to heart-as you do hold the patent on Julie Jobs (***NOTE to Idylls, who figured out the cool trademark thing for Fabu-fabu ??? We need one for Julie Jobs!) and you are so right, that hellhole garage is not a one day deal. My next step will be a salvation army run, and step 3 will be electronics recycling. Im happy to report that commuting is not an issue for me, I live exactly one mile from my office, and sometimes walk to work during the spring and summer. Its pitch dark out now when I go in.

Woody, I like your thoughts on keeping some continuity in your new garden bed. One can always pop in a few things here and there for interest, but repeated elements to me really pull the whole thing together. Your design course sounds so interesting !

Chelone, flat screen monitors can be had pretty darn cheap these days if you keep an eye on the sales at places like Office Cheapo and Staples. Got mine at Staples a couple of years ago (its a Samsung) and I think I only paid about 150 bucks for it if I remember right. It was a really good price at the time whatever it was and involved a rebate. Acer makes good monitors too, my awfice computer , and many others in our company are Acers and they get heavy usage- Ive had mine several years. You have certainly been in a flurry of cleaning/nest maintenance activities ---if I didnt know better Id think you were preggers , lol.

Well Cynthia, I salute brie en croute and champagne for dinner. It is after all, Friday . One can be extremely flexible with meals on Friday.

Time to find some dinner in the house. Always slim pickins on the day before grocery day.

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   January 9, 2009 at 9:14PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

The internet went missing late last night and early this morning, but it's back now and so am I.

Our book club patted ourselves on our collective back last night, as we had the most members ever turn out for one of our most serious books. A very nice discussion, and as I was walking to my car I was thinking what a nice group of women it is.

A huge bit of happy news today - our church got the okay to move back into the sanctuary today; the repairs to the support beam have been completed, inspected and approved. That means that the June wedding will be in the church for sure! Phew... The beam cracked the first weekend of February last year, so it's been almost a full year.

Work was uninspirational this week, at least for me. I don't think I shook the back-to-work blues all week. Right now I've still got laundry and a baking project to deal with, but I really just want to go to bed. :( I wish I wasn't losing Sunday to return DD's car but que sera sera.

Next week is our big trade show. I will be "in costume" so to speak, and I may post an incriminating photo if I can. I'm currently listening to "Bobby McGee" to put me in the proper frame of mind.

I think my brain is getting overwhelmed by my list of undone JJobs. nite-all!


    Bookmark   January 9, 2009 at 9:16PM
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I really start to miss my roses this time of year, so how about some pics to brighten up the dead of winter ?

Michealangelo From Roses

Sombreuil From Roses

Mary Rose From Roses

Paul Bocuse From Roses

French Lace From Roses

From Roses

    Bookmark   January 9, 2009 at 10:34PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

Dinner was a sourdough ciabatta loaf, mozzarella rolled with prosciutto, and a 2006 Klinker Brick from Lodi. "Oh Lord, stuck in Lodi again..."

Baking project (communion bread for church) is cooling, half the laundry is folded and the kitchen is half clean.

I believe that it was Denise, owner of the very cool stove, that trademarked Fabu-fabu for us.

I had a lovely SA clematis that was lost to the house staining project. But I do see seedlings.

Off to the other half of the laundry.


    Bookmark   January 9, 2009 at 10:34PM
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Full day with testimony from a biomechanical expert (with Mary's lovely British accent) all about Delta V's, G forces, and Newtonian physics, but coming home is when the excitement really began. Dune's volunteer day at the aquarium was today, and overnight a hose broke, spilling water on a circuit board, shorting it out, and all the pumps in the aquarium stopped, so no oxygenation, nothing. Fortunately, a new baby otter has been acquired who needs 24-hour care, so this middle-of-the-night problem was immediately noted and scuba tanks were placed in all the exhibits for oxygenation. Coincidentally, I mentioned taking Marty out for a wheelchair outing yesterday, and we chose the aquarium so Duncan could give us the grand tour, showing off the spiel he's rehearsed, so I had this fresh experience with the lovely fishies to add zest to my concern, but Dune assures no fish were lost. I could spend hours watching those tanks and oh! the jellyfish. I was a little anxious about broaching the subject of using the wheelchair, but Marty loved it, and especially getting out of the house. I really think what he needs is a nerve block or epidural injection, but the docs are still going about investigating at their own pace. MRI did happen last night so waiting results on that now.

Eden, I enjoyed Gopnik's Paris to the Moon too a couple yrs back.

Isn't the Eden rose the one Woody is training on the swag? I've grown Sombreuil before, and she is lovely, with that button eye. My Bouquet d'Or had a bloom around Christmas, which is always a treat. She's of the Gloire de Dijon tribe, a pale peachy/yellowy confection.

Cindy, my "costume" remark -- what I had in my mind was that you really pulled outfits together, which I admired. No offense intended!

there's a chicken burrito waiting with my name on it so I'm off but will look forward to reading and commenting more tomorrow. g'night

    Bookmark   January 9, 2009 at 11:18PM
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I think Woodys' swag rose is New Dawn...

    Bookmark   January 9, 2009 at 11:30PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Good morning...

Busy here this week. Wonder where Martie has been? Norma too. Or how Michelle's vacation is going? Does anyone remember when she is due back?

So glad it is Saturday! I have been in the house too much lately and hope to get out today. DD is hoping to come over for the day tomorrow if the weather cooperates. They are forecasting snow.

Woody...I don't blame your for not looking forward to working on the brick edging. Especially since you already have it done and have to 'undo' it. I wonder if you could apply the 'julie job' mentality to this project? Perhaps if you break it down into small enough jobs, it won't seem as intimidating. I like the sound of your plantings. I looked up the Potentilla and it reminds me of a rose. Quite a long bloom time. And you know how much I like your Hibiscus. So they will be in bloom the same time? ....I think using Randy as a client throughout your landscape course sounds like it will be illuminating. Does Randy know very much about plants? Will he be a willing helper?

Eden, I meant to say that one of our DS plays Racquetball. Your DH must be in good shape. Does he belong to a gym? My DD signed up for a gym in November and I think past the first week, she hasn't stepped foot in it. [g] She is just way too busy. So how was the get together with your sisters?

So Kathy...Random thoughts [g]...Food shopping happens on Saturdays around here too and always find Friday to be slim pickings. Thankfully, we keep a supply of Chili in serving sizes in the freezer. So breakfast and lunch are fine it's dinner that is iffy. ....I'm finding it very surprising that one of your employees resigned in this economic climate? Were they moving or something? ... You have so much pruning with all your roses, I am wondering if you enjoy doing it or find it a chore? ... Do you always start seeds every year? ... Since you are a California native, I still think you would find that movie 'A Shadow of a Doubt' with Teresa Wright and Joseph Cotten very enjoyable. It was Hitchcock's favorite film and it was filmed in 1943 Santa Rosa California. If you haven't seen it yet, maybe Netflix has it. Btw, I love Ceanothus! You have some marvelous native plants in California. LOVED the resurrected rose pics! It gave me a moment of trying to close my eyes and imagine being out in the garden smelling the few roses I had last summer....Ahhh! Spring can't come soon enough.

Marian...thanks for the plant link...I thought you had been talking about a Streptocarpus and I wondered why the leaves looked different. I had not heard of a Streptocarpella.

Cynthia...thanks for the warning on the SAClematis. I have a two year old seedling that I have not attempted to move yet, so I will let you know next spring how that goes. I have heard that some people have problems with reseeding. I wonder if it is less of a problem here due to our colder winter temps? I seem to remember a GW post where that was discussed. I only saw blooms last year for the first time, so I will look around to see if there are any seedlings this coming season. Beautiful photo!

Denise...what a full day you had. I'm glad you were able to get Marty out of the house. Good to have something else to distract you when you are uncomfortable. Curious....'Dune' is Duncan's nickname? How old is Duncan? Your job sounds very challenging and should keep your brain young at the very least. are just going to town...first the haircut and now closets and keyboards and purging books. What is up with that? :-) ...One of my evergreens is an Arborvitae and the other is a Juniper. I know from past experience that the Juniper with branches that reach up, can get pretty ratty looking if I don't tie it up and so far it doesn't look too bad, but now it is too icy to get out there and do it until we have a thaw. The other is an Arborvitae, which I will keep my fingers crossed on. Glad to know yours spring back. This is my first year with the Arborvitae.

Hope you all have a lovely Saturday...! :-)

    Bookmark   January 10, 2009 at 5:43AM
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I thought it was Cythia who first used the trademark logo on fabu-fabu. But it would also be right up Denise's alley to do something like that, too.

Poor Marty must be feeling terribly housebound these days, Denise. I think getting him out is a very wise move. Do you have your very own wheelchair for him or do you have to call ahead and request one at your destinations? He is a very good sport about that, though necessity probably figures into his "choice", too. (Sue was a "good cooperator", too.) The logistics of a power failure at an aquarium are nightmarish to consider, and remind me why I'm disdainful of manned space exploration (why would you want to waste both fuel and money going somewhere that's cold, dark, and has neither air to breathe nor water to drink? ;) ). I hope the MRI yields some kernal of information that will prove useful in relieving his discomfort and getting an active and vital man "back on his feet". I used to love to visit the Boston Aquarium when I was in college, free passes to a myriad of fun places were available for the asking at the library.

Kathy's rose Hall of Fame was a lovely treat this very cold morning. I damped down the woodstove and refilled my coffee cup before gazing on them. I thought it was New Dawn that Woody is training on her swag, too. Whenever I look at your roses, Kathy, I have yearning for a few of my very own, but those I've tried have ultimately succumbed to lack of protection and very harsh cold or simply don't perform well in what can be dreadfully humid conditions and owner neglect. Perhaps I'll give them another whirl this year. I was wondering the same thing as PM about your recently departed cop-worker, he must've had one foot firmly on the dock before he stepped out of the boat. Perhaps my mania for cleaning will make more sense if you consider that the interior of my home is more like your garage than I should probably admit. ;) I was very disappointed that some guy beat me to the operable $20 5 CD changer at the thrift shop yesterday, would've been a nice score for the Salon. Too bad you and your rejected electronics are on the opposite coast, lol. At present, the austerity measures put in place here on the Compound some months ago are in full force, and I'm hording my shekels for the purchase of cloth, not flat screen monitors or electronics. I'm old-fashioned in "make due" mode. And it's OK.

I was thinking of Eden's outing yesterday, hoping it was fun. And I was also thinking that I'd like to see a miniature bathtub with claw feet, too. I think that sounds really cute and I'll bet she's already thinking of what sort of planter it will become when it's outgrown, lol. Is our patience ever to be rewarded with pictures of your snazzy new kitchen "look"? There are several lovely pieces of architecural woodwork in a box in the Salon and I think of you every time I pass them and think about how to use them for nice effect in a very large room. I KNOW you'd have good suggestions to offer.

More snow on the way for us today/tonight (have paid no attention to how much) and it's hard to believe it will eventually melt away and the presently silent dawns will be give way to raucus tributes to the sun's arrival. The sun presently rises and shines into the southeast corner of the sitting area, by March it will rise directly behind my present seat as it works its way to the northeast corner of the house. Already I see changes in the patterns of daylight here. So, my winter weary friends, keep yourselves cozy and be mollified that spring IS coming. :)

Woody, my late FIL had a saying that I use a lot (often to the consternation of the helpmeet), "Everyone ought to have a project". And your's will be reworking the pretty brick edging. ;) I have no doubt it will be lovely when you're finished with it. I like the continuity you're building into your landscaping efforts, too, it's easy on the eyes and the chosen plant material should be relatively easy care, too. Wise, wise planning.

How long will your sister be in traction, Cynthia? I smiled at the notion of her spending #60 in the pediatric dep't., frankly I'd expect that would be more interesting than a lot of other places, too. :) I hauled out Gray's Anatomy and looked up the site of her break, looks as though it could be very complicated and require a long-ish recovery period; there was no doubt in my mind that she must've been very uncomfortable waiting for surgery, poor thing! You must be worried about her and I'm sorry for that. Mind you don't stumble and go down the stairs unceremoniously yourself while carrying a dog! (I say so because I did it carrying folded laundry some years ago). And gas fireplace in your kitchen sounds like a grand idea; my BIL is amazed at how much heat his can put out, so it could be a nice way to take the chill of the room, too. Can't wait to see Sue's!

Marian, thanks for the link on Streptocarpella saxorum. I wonder if it would do nicely in the northern windowboxes that are under the bay window awning. I like the blue/violet better than the pinker one in the picture on the link. The color and light requirements remind me of Browallia which is a favorite, along with Torenia.

OK, time to go back and enjoy some of the links already posted and then whip out my Christmas utility knife and break down the mountain of cardboard cartons the helpmeet has been squirrelling away in the board room. (After he goes to work!). ;)

    Bookmark   January 10, 2009 at 7:41AM
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I slept in as hard as I could - until the call fire alarm went off! I'm not the type who likes to bolt from my bed :)

Woody, I'm not sure I'd want to know what my spouse would like as a client of the garden! Actually, I found that I liked his choice in a piece of garden art last I think I can breath a little easier. I'll second the call to share your class with us! My class doesn't start until March, because it is mostly outdoors: Shrubs in the landscape.

PM, it seems my girlfriend is just two hours south of Cody. I loved that shot of the wild horses. I think this might be the year that I take the leap and head to Wyoming to visit her. She promises camping in the woods....sans the campground....and thermal springs! She took her first trip out east a couple of summers ago. She's one of those friends that you don't have to talk to much. She has always taken care of me, which is nice. The kind of friend who will pick up your house for you when you just can't do it yourself. I wonder what the heck I bring to the table, lol!

V., that is excellent about the nuptials! I just thought about your church beam crisis the other day! In the shower, no doubt! What sort of bread does one make for communion? Nick's church has tasteless little wafers.

Cynthia, I too like your fireplace idea. Sue will be cozy in her digs, too!

I had the old stove before I moved here. I liked it until the buyer wanted it written into the contract....and then wanted everything on it to work! I electrocuted myself more than once trying to hurry up and replace parts just before closing!

I think Jake is going to go to work with Nick. That makes me happy :) I am not happy about the snow that is coming our way tonight, but I have all the necessary provisions: Cate Blanchette as Queen Elizabeth, and popcorn. I'll live.

I'm going to get moving. I've started, but never finished, undecorating from Christmas. This morning, it gets done!

Oh, I was so envious of you book clubbers that I inquired about joining one in my area. Cross your fingers that I get accepted....there are interview questions :)


    Bookmark   January 10, 2009 at 8:54AM
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V., I meant to mention the good news on the beam in the sanctuary of your church, too (thanks, Saucy!). How old is the building? And I was curious about Communion bread, as well.

I used to go along with Mum when she was a member of the altar guild at the Episcopal church in our town. She would polish the candlesticks and the chalice (?) for the Communion wine, lay out the beautiful linen for the altar, and make sure the wafers and the tray were ready to go on Sunday. I remember beautiful floral arrangements and seasonal decorations, too. Irreverence training began early for me... Mum always called the Communion wafers, "Trinity Triscuits". ;)

    Bookmark   January 10, 2009 at 9:33AM
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Book club questions probably involve what kind of wine you'll bring Saucy. And provisions for a storm should also involve wine. I think I'm channeling Kathy.

So, I managed to stay home all week and very cold out when I made the hike to the store last night. Wondered when my battery had last been replaced. Car started fine of course. If we had made it to Sanibel, we'd be on the beach plucking shells and wondering what less important items to toss from the luggage to fit them all in. And would have watched greyhounds race at a track. Instead I'm happily watching greyhounds sleep. ( Thinking Saturday mornings are the nicest vacation and I get one every 7 days...!)
That Pink Beauty looks like a very nice selection Woody. I know you've had good success with it in your garden. Now, is it evergreen? Or do you cut them back in winter.

I tried that Floodit game this morning, and proving my limitations, honestly couldn't figure out how it worked for the first couple of sessions. I looked for rules or tutorial. None, and then figured it out by accident not analysis.

I've decide I want a wooden day bed with a separate mattress to replace the couch in my office. It was fairly old and getting shabby, and Monty had a few incontinent moments on it before he started meds and management. A few days ago Hope spotted the teeny half inch rip on front of a cushion and I turned around in time to watch her beginning the excavation. Now there's a big tuft of fiberfill tempting her. Found this option at Sturbridge Yankee Workshop.

Not sure that's 'it', but close to what I'm looking for. Comes in stain or white or black and takes a twin mattress. Seems like I saw one I really liked in a catalogue a few months ago, but must have discarded during a purging spell. Has anyone seen any cool day beds lately? I'm not in a hurry. Suggestions appreciated!

Denise, I was talking with a work friend last night and he was telling me about taking his in-laws to Disney or Epcot over the holidays. Because they're somewhat handicapped with the issues that go with old age, they were given a special pass to go to the head of the line for every tour or event. I do hope Marty can be treated soon and feel better, but in the maybe that man in the wheelchair can you to the front of the line here and there :)

Has anyone read the Obama Economic Plan? Not for discussion here I know, but thought I'd link it for anyone interested. There's also an impact analysis on the same site. Just interesting reading.

Have a productive day ! Cynthia

    Bookmark   January 10, 2009 at 11:09AM
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A couple of things that I am thing of while un-decorating:

Denise, Nick had a cortisone shot deep within the hip to cure a similar ailment. He had fallen on the ice and injured one of his disks which was causing some major sciatic symptoms. He did not find immediate comfort, but the crisis has passed, and the doctor explained that it might not be an instant fix. Physical therapy certainly helped, and he still does the stretches.

Cynthia, Sarah has a similar daybed to the one above. She has a trundle now, but when she didn't, it was an excellent place for storage. Thank you for linking the plan because I heard some knuckle head (I could tell from his voice) on talk radio the other day that prompted me to think that I need to read this for myself. I quit watching the news because it's always peppered with more bad than good. I find it depressing.

A check of the weather reveals 7-10" heading my way.

Hey, I got a new neighbor, too! He's over there hammering away, and I keep looking up to see who's knocking.

Back to work....


    Bookmark   January 10, 2009 at 11:35AM
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Idyll-y drinking coffee, and thinking Ill head upstairs since is warmer up there indoor chores this morning involve the orchid restoration area I set up last week ( must water ) and the floor of the hallway, plus the stairs. A Julie Job to be sure.

The bird feeder was empty this morning and what frenzy my refill prompted- I can only guess what Deannes back garden must look like with her multi-feeders. Ive been racking my brain trying to figure out a spot for my thistle feeder for the goldfinches, but every place Ive come up with thus far is too close to the fences ( not cat safe) .

Love that daybed pic Cynthia, and a practical solution for guests (or canines!) and thanks for the link too, I will peruse this evening.

Ok, going upstairs dust mop in tow..back later.

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   January 10, 2009 at 12:31PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

The satellite is at last working again. This means I was able to read a book yesterday. I chose "I am Hutterite" by Mary-Ann Kirkby which was given to me by DSIL for Christmas. Boy did I enjoy it too! It is about a world I knew nothing about.

I must run off and feed my helpless in the kitchen husband as it is lunchtime...but I did want to mention that I am glad to catch up on Idyll news: hot dogs, roses, trinity triscuits and communion bread, book/wine clubs, families at a distance and so much more.

Woody, make sure you check for wires and pipes before you dig!

Marian, I often prune my Streptocarpella. At the moment mine is looking terrible. If you prune yours, stuff the healthy parts in a new container of soil and it will take off!(I pull off the lower leaves and sometimes put them in rooting hormone, but not always.)

OK I'm off to kitchen duty, then the dump and grocery store. Later I'll be making soup with moose meat, my first experiment in that department! Then to show some flower photos to the French Club. Like these:
The Alexandra Rose


A link below for those interested in the celebration for Reed.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2009 at 12:44PM
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Saucy, if the book club asks for character references, you'll know where to turn ;) That shot Nick had is exactly what I'm thinking will do the trick. I'm guessing since there was no precipitating injury, like a fall on the ice, we're getting this circuitous investigation to rule out everything else under the sun.

That's wondeful news, V, that the church will be ready for the wedding. I'm sure our house got a few more cracks in the 4-point something quake we had Thurs night. I should post a photo of the cracks in the kitchen ceiling for Marian who thinks her house is shabby!

Yes, Sue was a good sport in the wheelchair at the last IU. We borrowed the wheelchair from my mom, who used it after hip replacement surgery. Marty said it was unnerving that no one would look him in the eye while in the chair...

The stove came with the house 20 yrs ago. Everything works, and Kathy's characterization is apt, it is built like a ****brickhouse. There's a local business that rechromes and cleans them top to bottom, which we had done a couple yrs back.

PM, big congrats on the new car, the insurance taken care of. The Mini was my first experience buying a brand-new car, and it was the first year the new ones came out. They sent all sorts of swag, car cups and emails detailing where the car was on the assembly line. Great PR. Cynthia's comfort color silver/beige, mine "silk green" ;) I had the windshield replaced a month ago, cracked from rocks kicked up by trucks on the freeway. Last week it was smacked again, brand-new crack, but at least it's in the far corner and not line of sight. Along with rocks, there's an unbelievable amount of debris on the roads these days, ladders, buckets, you name it.

Fairly certain the trademark belongs to Cynthia. There was only one exhibit at the aquarium that actually had live coral, all the other stuff was fake. Such delicate stuff, I hope the coral weathered the pump mishap OK. Cynthia -- brainstorm! You, your sister, and a wheelchair to the nearest aquarium...Love the daybed. Would you keep it black or shabby-chic white?

PM, I hope you get out with your DD this weekend. Yes, Dune is for Duncan. He's Andrew Duncan, but we've always used the middle name. 20 yrs old, very nice lad if I say so myself ;) Marty's two sisters are up in Cody. Amazing place, so close to Yellowstone. Saucy should definitely make it over there this summer.

Love the first Queen with Blanchett, not the second one. But Mirren's Queen with corgies ("walkies!") was lovely. Plus she insisted on driving that beat up old Land Rover like my BIL inherited from Marty's brother who's passed away, so that movie worked on lots of levels for me.

All the layoff news I'm getting from the idylls sure got reported in those Dec job numbers. Kathy, you certainly can't be asked to work more than 50 hrs a week to pick up the layoff slack, right?
I haven't read the Obama economic plan yet and tune out most of the speculation on his cabinet picks, etc, but will take a look at the link. Just holding my breath basically that he is a "good" man and not politics as usual. Mitch may take a train to D.C. from NYC for the inaug festivities. A friend has invites to the Kenyan embassy, so maybe we'll have a second-hand reporter.

Yes, New Dawn is Woody's swag rose, much more flexible for training than Eden, I'd guess. I really like the hybrid musks too, like 'bug's Felicity. Buff Beauty was sacrificed for the gate project last summer. Chelone, I've got exactly one rose now. I'd think the rugosas would suit your climate. I wish somebody would grow the rambler Veilchenblau and post photos! Mildew magnet for me.

'bug, what a nice article you linked, thanks for including that.

Brevity, brevity, why dost thou elude me? signing off...

    Bookmark   January 10, 2009 at 1:26PM
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Hopefully character references from the Idylls do not have opposite the desired effect !

Still cleaning upstairs....

    Bookmark   January 10, 2009 at 1:39PM
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LOL...Kathy and Denise...there are photos from IUs past, too....those are some mighty big acorns you have, ma'am!

I want to throw my hat in the ring as being okay with helping to organize the next IU event. I am fine with doing it, if you all are fine with my laid back style (that's what I'm calling it now - much better than lazy or absent minded!).

I want to check out the new botancial garden in Maine that everyone is talking far is it from you, Chelone?


    Bookmark   January 10, 2009 at 2:05PM
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GB, those are beautiful pictures! I am a sucker for single petaled roses.

I enjoyed the link to Reed's celebration, too. You have a remarkable family....but I know you already know that :) Last night's moon made me think of all the Idylls, and you especially.

My husband's grandmother sent me a recipe (in an envelope with nothing else, not even a scribble, lol - it strikes me as a very grandmotherly thing to do!) for italian sausages cooked with cannelini beans! I found some good turkey sausages and I'm going to try it tonight!

Okay, back to cleaning up. I'm still UNdecking the halls. Deanne had the right idea this year. For some reason, I decided to reorg all the boxes before I put them away....


    Bookmark   January 10, 2009 at 2:13PM
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Lunch break....Keeping my calendar open for the months of June, July,except for the days around the 4th ...only the most dire circumstaces will keep me from IU6. Perhaps a discussion of the dates should be the first order of business ?

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   January 10, 2009 at 3:25PM
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Jerri_OKC(z7 Ok)

Drive by post! We are sitting in bed watching DVDs. DH has different tastes in movies than I do. I have to pretend I'm intestered now we are watching on of his. LOL
Fabu Fabu came from Deanne I think - more precisely an art student?
I can't wait for the next IU. ;)



    Bookmark   January 10, 2009 at 3:51PM
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Since I won't have to go very far I can be very flexible with IUVI dates. :) I think Mary's David has an important music camp that must be born in mind, though.

Cleaning continues. 2 bags of clothing and 1 box of books to the thrift store. 3 boxes full of cooking and nutrition books ready for a move to the bahn's attic. Anyone need any information on macrobiotic cooking?? I could just be the motherlode, lotsa hippie stuff! One bookcase has been hauled off to the wookshop for repair, so I may be a bit shy of shelfspace even after a heavy cull... . I am categorizing the books right now, sternly reminding myself to NOT flip through them.

Thanks for the link, Cynthia. Information is always a good thing since miracles are rare indeed.

I enjoyed the link to the celebration for Reed, 'bug. "Bad days" must be just awful for them, but making the time to enjoy the life before them will help them through those bad days. Get busy living or get busy dying. Isn't that a line from the "Shawshank Redemption"? Felicia gets my vote above. And my suggestion for a little girl's name is Cassiopeia, maybe Andromeda?

OK, I have to get back to the reshelving. It's looking as though it will snow, the clouds have taken over what had been a very blue sky this morning. And I still don't know how much is forecast because I don't have to go anywhere until Monday morning. :)

    Bookmark   January 10, 2009 at 4:04PM
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Invisible freezing rain. Very loud - crackly - hitting leaves and ground, but we couldn't see it land and the nothing got wet. Dannie didn't spook over it which surprised me. I did stand with both hands outstretched trying to catch something and couldn't. (Puzzleing the pups.) Finally found some tiny beads on the ice of a birdbath, but otherwise not a trace and it could have been a hearing malfunction.

Yeah, I do think I trademarked Deanne's Fabu Fabu®size>, or was it a copywrite?

Saucy, I think January is the time to start the IU6 thread isn't it? :-)

Love all the roses. Here are my contributions:

Sally Holmes



Dannie Lynn Rose!

    Bookmark   January 10, 2009 at 5:13PM
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jak1(4 Ontario Can)

Marie's post about "snowflake" and the ensuing "Tadpole" got me thinking - about names that are derived from nature.

Not suggestions, Marie, just middle of the night last night musings...

DD had friends, sisters, in high school whose names were Aspen and Yarrow. I loved that. They didn't.

Friends of my DS named their baby Azalea. For no reason, they just liked the sound of it.


I have a step-niece named Lily.
What about Rex (as in Begonia)?

And I rather like Chelone by the way.

Adam (like Adam's Needle aka Yucca)
Hazel (as in twisted *lol*)
Stella (as in D'Oro)
Maple (There is a child in TCS's school named Maple. Also a Tuesday and a Wednesday, and a Summer and an Autumn)
Kale (there is a Kael in TCS's class)
Jacob (as in Ladder)
Skye (name of a former neighbour)
Terra (as in Cotta)
Rock (or Roc or Rocque or Roch)
Ocean (also in TCS's class. Her sister is named Coral)
Jenny ( as in creeping)
Hart (as in deer)
Wasn't there a child named 'Dill' in "To Kill a Mockingbird"?
April -May- June

Easier to think of names for girls than boys.

Any additons?

    Bookmark   January 10, 2009 at 5:37PM
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For Chelone - I can't count the number of monitors I've had in the past 30 years. This is my absolute favorite, and there are no bad reviews on it. You can get really cheap flat panels, but you won't like the image quality. Price has come done a lot on this one, and you could get a refurb to keep the cost down.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2009 at 6:56PM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

I was interested in the words "Fabu Fabu" so I googled them. I am afraid they are not something new, and I am quite surprised with what I found. I will not link to any site....

Good news for me. I ate my avocado sandwich yesterday eve., and had no bad side effects.

We did not get any freezing precip, just a rain shower during the night. There is just a bit of ice on the front porch steps. I threw a warm throw rug over it. It is stuck to it, so will not slide.

Marie, thanks for the info on the plant. I will try the rooting of cuttings. I'd love to have more to put out this spring.
I read your link. It is wonderful the support that you all have received. I hope the celebration was not too heart rendering for you all.
Your roses pics are lovely. So are Cynthia's and Kathy's. I am like Chelone when it comes to growing roses, but for differant reasons. They just do not do well for me.
Good luck with the moose meat. Nolon says it is tough and stringy. I have never eaten any.It may depend on the moose, too, and the cook.

Pm2, that light colored horse looks like it had already suffered several wounds from fighting!

Denise, your stove is neat, but I am an electric stove fan. Our son had a really old electric range in his former home. It came with the house, and they used it for several years.

My fingers and brain are not working together very well, so I will sign off for now....

    Bookmark   January 10, 2009 at 7:22PM
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Chelone, you are exhausting me with all the organizational and crapola abatement projects. Youre leaving me in the dust !

bug , thanks for reminding me about Felicia-I just love that rose and hope to add it to my collection one day. Cynthias Westerland is another I wish I had. Pruning today went well, the ground is absolutely strewn with debris, and the yard waste toter is filling up quickly. I do in fact enjoy pruning the roses PM. It is a task that is combined with the general clean-up that some do in the fall. I still had the dead sticks of Joe Pye, S. Black and Blue, all the Phlox etc. and as I move along the roses I cut those down too. I worked mostly on climbers today , and I always get great satisfaction from thinning them out, renewing the various tie downs all the while wondering what the h**l I was thinking planting all these jumbo plants along one fence. Once I am finished with all the pruning and cutting back I will mulch- this will take me well into Feb depending on weather. Ive been saving cardboard to use as my weed barrier , and next week I will start stockpiling bags of compost I have no homemade this year .
Two of my citrus trees may have succumbed to the frosty nights- I failed to protect them as they came through last years 20 degree nights just fine, but last winter I still had my gazebo and I expect it created a bit of a micro climate that protected those particular plants.

Swan Island catalog came today, and Select Seeds yesterday. I dont dare order more Dahlias-do I ?

With a big wave to all I m off to read the paper and think about dinner. Tonight will watch The Commitments

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   January 10, 2009 at 7:48PM
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I am definitely a candidate for the sharpest nose in Maine, having kept it to the grindstone all day long. I have touched very nearly every single book we own today. I sent 1 box to the thrift store, and need one more carton for the culls from this evening. I washed all the shelves, dusted the books, and have put all those that will remain back on the shelves reorganizing them to fit into the shelves. There is one small section of shelves that presently contain back issues of magazines that I've yet to address but it won't take long tomorrow morning. Do not be too impressed, had I been better at general housekeeping over the years I wouldn't have been forced to be as ruthless as I've been today.

I have to go through one final pile of paperwork relating to Mum and I will have that whole sad thing behind me (all save THTTF) and the lovely Empire sofa will be completely uncovered. Tomorrow I plan to get all the recyclables bundled and the trash ready to go kerbside Monday morning and then I'm going to vacuum. I like this kind of "tired". Feels good because I've been feeling really overwhelmed and dragged down by the accumulation of years. And that's a good thing because there is a lot more of this sort of cleaning and decluttering on my immediate docket.

I am certain Kathy feels the same way about the amount of rose pruning she's done today. :)

I will guess I am probably an hour and half from the botanical gahden, don't know because I've never been there. ;) I like Saucy's laid back style, it suits me just fine. Maybe it's time to begin "covert operations" and take this private?

OK, I'm off to my bed, I expect I'll be out like a light in no time flat. Sweet dreams, everyone.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2009 at 9:01PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

gb - beautiful rose pics.! That was a very nice, very evocative article about the Reed celebration - a very bittersweet event I'm sure.

Cynthia - I like that four-footed rose :-) We bought a very simple day bed last winter to replace an old bed in the tiny back bedroom where my exercise bike used to live - now my treadmill's home. The room is rarely used actually as a bedroom so the daybed works nicely - for Misty to lie on while I'm exercising and for me to use as a cozy reading spot on cold days (the room is directly over the furnace so is the warmest room in the house!) The daybed was quite inexpensive (from Crate Designs) and I ended up getting a matching small bureau. There are two drawers uner the bed so it provides good storage space. I had to buy and cover some pillows to put along the back because it didn't come with any. Here's what it looks like:

In this view you can see the frame behind the pillows - I definitely needed to add the pillows for comfort!

PM2 - the potentilla looks a bit like a rose because potentillas are, botanically, part of the rose family! Minus the thorns and pest and disease problems...! I have some white ones too but they aren't as long-blooming as Pink Beauty. I don't like the yellow ones. I'm not familiar with the red, orange annd mango colored ones so I don't know how they perform. I don't think the colors would appeal to me though.

Cynthia - no, the potentillas are not evergreen. The Pink Beauty is quite late leafing out - very end of Many usually - and I start checking them impatiently during May in case they died but they seem very hardy - just slow to start! Once they start leafing out, it happens very fast and they're blooming a few weeks later. I cut 1/3 of the (thicker, older) stems out at the base each year before it starts leafing out. That keeps them nice neat mounds with lots of flowers. They fit in beautifully with perennials in a bed or border.

gb - I've had the utilities (gas line and buried hydro line) located several times now in the front. The brick edging on the front bed runs pretty close to were the gas line is and the hydro line is a bit closer to where the new bed will be. As long as I don't intend to dig more than 3' deep (and I certainly won't come anywhere near that!), it's not a problem to plant there. Of course, if the lines ever need to be dug up, the garden would be lost but c'est la vie....

Putting in the new bed will definitely be done in a Julie Job spirit! That's how I did the rest of the bricks - it took me from May to oct/Nov 2007 to do all the ones I put in then. This is a smaller project (Chelone - I agree with your late FIL's 'everyone needs a project...'!) I figure it'll probably take me about 2 months to do - I don't work very fast! I did 6-8 bricks a day in 2007 :-) The shape of the bed won't be dead straight as in that first picture - that was just to give me a feel for whether it was a good idea. I'll shape the bed to roughly keep a 3' path between it and the existing beds. There will be a bulge near the wisteria so that it curves out towards where the center path comes down between the rose bed on the left (which isn't visible in the picture) and the main bed on the right. It'll look a bit more like this, although I'll need to play around with the shape as I'm laying it out on the ground:

I think I'll keep the hardy hibiscus in the bulge instead of spreading them out along the length of the bed. They can get quite big and they might overwhelm the rest. There will be quite a few hardy hibiscus along there - the ones in the driveway border, another patch to the left of the Chinese wisteria, more halfway up the left side of the front bed, plus the vivid pink ones behind the arbour, white ones a bit further to the right and closer to the front edge, Luna Blush by the bench in front of the cedar, Luna Red on either side of the path a little way behind the arbour, and the two Fireball ones I planted in the front of the bed. The deep red ones have a tendency to disappear so I'm not sure if they will return. But I'm expecting a big hibiscus show from that bed in the next year or two!

I was working on one of the practise exercises for the course today - boy, I need a lot of practise! One problem for me is the expectation we do that neat architect's printing - I can barely read my own writing usually, so expecting ultra-neat printing might be VERY optimistic :-) If anything turns out reasonable, I'll share it - but maybe not until the course is finished.

It looks like an interesting group of students. They come from all parts of Canada so there's a wide variety of growing conditions represented. It looks like the ages run from 20s to mid-60s! Interestingly one of the students is listed as owner of a well-known specialty nursery with a big mail order business! I'm hoping he will provide a discount to fellow students... :-) Another student is from (owner?) a small winery - in Newfoundland! So it looks like an interesting bunch. I think I'm the only one taking it with nno plans for using it in any career sort of way.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2009 at 10:34PM
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Woody, I'm so impressed that you've plunged in and signed up for a "real, live" landscape architecture course. I don't think I'd have the gumption to do it, esp. since that strange, block-like architect's printing is part of the bargain. I'd hasten to bet the brick edging will go more quickly this time around since you've already had so much practice. ;)

What is the rest of the room like that the contemplated daybed will occupy, Cynthia? are the walls "primer" or is there a hint of color on them? What's your natural inclination when it comes to furniture, do you prefer painted pieces or are you drawn to show wood, and if you are is your preference for blonder woods or darker ones? I like the Empire inspired back and curves on the ends of the piece you pictured and instantly thought it would be quite pretty in a pickled finish. I hadn't really considered the implications of monitor quality until you posted the link. I suppose it's the same thing as many of you not thinking much about the differences between different makes of sewing machines and the different options they offer to the the operator. The details and complexities of our lives and work are always interesting to me. On my list of things to accomplish in the next week is the disposal of the stack for a Gateway 2000 386/25 that's been acting as a table for an equally unused combination thermometer/barometer/wind speed and direction thingy (probably should hook it up again, but where?). (the truth of the squalor here now emerges... ).

It certainly is snowing outside my windows now. At present it looks quite stormy, the weatherman is calling for 4-8" of snow and I don't envy the helpmeet having to go out and move still more snow here and at work. It will be a fine day for the continuation of JulieJobs. Next week is going to be very cold for us and I'm regretting not getting the Hydrangeas bundled up last fall... . I've just brought in some wood and the stove is now on its way to optimal operating temperature to complete the cozy atmosphere. :)

Chuckled over Saucy's new neighbor and getting up to see who's knocking.

Please let Marty know that I am not one of those people who avoids eye contact with the wheelchair bound, physically disabled, the elderly. Having lived in small communities for many of my years I learned early on that people are just people. Who cares how they get around or that they're "missing a few bricks from their pallet"? those things are usually pretty easy to overcome. More often than not the "problem" is the able-bodied. I thought of Tom Daschle's "upsidedown pyramid" analogy when reading your assessment of the medical sleuthing surrounding Marty's condition... let's hope the "finest medical care in the world" figures it out soon.

Speaking of Marty, where is our Martie? it's been a long time since she gave us an update from Cornhill Park. Let's hope all's well and she and Rich are having a good time together.

I can only imagine what was on some of the sites you pulled up when you googled "fabu fabu", Marian. I've stumbled on several very arresting things in my own searches over the years, too. A notable one was my misspelling of "Harden" when searching for bedsteads... change on vowel and you open up a whole new realm of discovry, lol. Not suitable for linking, either!

    Bookmark   January 11, 2009 at 7:38AM
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I'm glad you don't have to give up your avocado, Marian, I'd miss it, too :) I like mine with tuna fish!

I think the not making eye contact comes from the "don't stare" - not saying it is right, but it's taught. When I first hurt my arm and it was bright red like a burn, I would catch people "sneaking a peak" and I wondered why they thought it was okay to do that, but not to ask.

I thought about Martie this morning, too. The 17th will be here soon :) I'll email her.

Which one of these is not like the other? The Dannie Lynn Rose is beautiful :)

That is quite the JJ you've accomplished, Chelone. I was able to get all my decorations back in the attic, nice and reorganized. I even had time to go have tea with SunnyD and watch her cut squares for a quilt'll be fun to see the progression.

I'm going to go make myself some breakfast and see where this day takes me.


    Bookmark   January 11, 2009 at 9:53AM
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Morning! I've been inspecting my bike in the basement to find Shimano Derailers, mfg year, size, weight, stuff. Was going to Freecycle it, but web search turned up that it's a good and somewhat rare bike. The faded price sticker is still on it :) Since I haven't used it in 10 years, and I'd rather walk a dog than ride a bike, it's time to let it go I think.

Chelone, the daybed would be a replacement for the couch currently in my office. Dannie is allowed on it, and I take naps there. So the decor is desks and file cabinets and a donkey sized crate for any dog I don't trust as continent. Currently that would be Monty man. My dogs go to work with me every day. So functional environment, but I want the daybed to be something I like that is more in the spirit of the rest of the house. Of course the walls are white. I get enough stimulation from work, don't need colors riling me up too :) It's 100% office not a guest room, so it's just for my comfort. I do most of my reading on the current office couch.

Woody, I like the idea of a big drawer under the day bed. I could fill that with stuffies which now litter the floor when not in the overflowing toy hamper. Your bed looks perfect for Misty and you and a good book. I'm finding too that most of the daybeds need pillows added. I rather like that as I could change the colors easily.

I think Saucy's new neighbor is a woodpecker.

My sister moved to a rehab facility yesterday where's she's going to learn to hop on her right foot for the next 4 months. She had a painful and scary post surgery night in extreme pain because a certain organ did NOT wake up from the anesthesia. They put the catheter back before her bladder burst and now will be more careful about removing it the next time. I did talk with her last night and she sounds better. She has a dog in her room! My sister is not a dog person, but her roommate has her seeing eye black lab there. She's actually afraid of dogs, so think this experience will be good for her. She didn't notice she (Brash) was there until one of the nurses was afraid to come into the room. And the dog's birthday is the same as my sisters :) I'll be sending them a party in a box.

'K, time for me to get the bike grease off of my foot and get the day rolling.


    Bookmark   January 11, 2009 at 10:23AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Sunny and cold here. I'm now wondering what the summer will offer in terms of camp. I'd love to get away and see my Idyll friends..but wonder about our new grandchild, getting the garden back to some semblance of order, etc. Life is quite chaotic here now. My brother is supposed to visit, but we have not figured out when. DH is very busy with work and environmental causes. DS is probably winding down his job with OLPC. And so the future is quite hazy.

Over the holidays DSIL was asking about French words that have become adopted in English. Cynthia brought up one of those today, derailers. How language changes, even in our own lifetimes.

Marian, the moose meat was just great, very much like beef. Not at all tough. DD gave us some steaks as well, but I'll keep them frozen until the BBQ becomes unfrozen!

DD would love to start seeds for her garden. I'd love to get her a seed starting setup to put in her back sunroom. Anyone know a place on line that has some good choices?

It is great to watch Phoebe galloping through the snow at high speed. What a crazy energetic bundle she is! Sarah enjoys riding her bike with Indy next to her. But then, Indy is great at accompany her anywhere. Phoebe is totally untrustworthy off leash on a road with trucks and traffic which includes horse drawn buggies.

Saucy, I too have been watching the moon lately. It is odd to see the moon set around 7AM, but it is beautiful to see shadows of branches on the white snow even when it is supposed to be dark.

Last night's photo show "en francais" went well. Not lots of people, but everyone brought something to share, whether old family photos, pictures of the 2nd WW by a pilot, 'my summer vacation' type shots, photos by a Swiss man who enjoys reflections on and through glass...all sorts of things.

Cynthia, the description of DS's bladder woes is particularly painful for me to read about. ALL the best to her and her room mates!

    Bookmark   January 11, 2009 at 1:43PM
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Ive returned and wouldnt you know it, theres a blizzard in the works. We had a great trip, the weather was great and we had so much fun with my little sweetheart and her mom and dad. Since Kenzie had preschool 2 days, DD is working an 11 to 7 shift at her new job and DSIL has a crazy classroom schedule, we spent time all together and with each of them individually. Rick and I took Kenzie to the Magic Kingdom one day and it was pure delight to see her reaction to so many things. We also enjoyed an 83 degree day at the beach, a day at Epcot and a visit to a local garden. It was hard to leave them and then come back to a snowy drive home.

I cant feel too sorry for myself after talking with a lady on the plane that hadnt seen her daughter in 9 years. She also had 3 grandchildren she had never met. She told me she was divorced and Im assuming that money was the reason that the visits never happened. We walked with her through security as she mentioned to DH that she was unsure where she needed to go, so we witnessed her reunion with her daughter, needless to say my eyes werent dry.

Our house is a disaster. I was unable to get the Christmas decorations down before I left and then with having the new flooring put in the laundry and mudroom we have junk everywhere. The washer and dryer arent hooked up and wont be until the beadboard that we are putting in the area is up.

Cynthia, I was so sorry to read that your sister broke her leg and you both missed your trip, how awful. Sorry to hear that traction is required. My sister was in traction for a broken leg and it wasnt a very pleasant experience. I hope she can heal quickly. I feel so bad that you are picking up those beautiful shells in FL. I guess the gulf side is the best shell picking according to DD who has been there as well.

Im hopelessly behind and really must run for now and start getting this place in order. Im having a birthday party for DH next weekend and Im thinking that it may take all week to get this place presentable.



    Bookmark   January 11, 2009 at 4:44PM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

Great to hear that Michelle is safely home, and that she had a wonderful visit with Kenzie.

I am wanting to share a pic with Ei on the Slipper orchid's one bloom. It is huge! I hope she 'tunes in' in time to see it.

The puzzle is the one I put out for Nolon. He seldom works on it, so hasn't got far.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2009 at 4:57PM
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Hey! welcome back, Michelle. Grand that you had such a nice time and I'm sure the return to snow and cold was a rather a shock. I hope you will share pictures of the new floor, both "before" and "after". Did Kenzie seem a bigger than the last time you saw her?

It's cold here today, too, but probably not nearly as cold as 'bug's environs or Michelle's. We're supposed to get some very cold weather next week, nothing higher than the 'teens all day long. And that cold put the kibosh on any Hydrangea flowers next summer.

I polished off the last pile of Mum stuff this afternoon, not without a few tears. But all the old paperwork is burned and I guess that's that. Seemed strange to feed it into the stove sheaf by sheaf; a little bit sad but also liberating. I couldn't quite bring myself to cut up the credit cards even though they had expired and have since been cancelled... there was just something about seeing her stong signature that made doing it too much today.

Cynthia, I bristled when I read of your sister's discomfort after surgery. Memories of too many occasions like that are still quite raw with me and I believe I will carry a low-grade worry and disdain for hospitals and rehab. care facilities until I die. I laughed at sending them a "party in a box", how are you going to keep the chicken backs refrigerated during transport? ;) How long will she have to remain at the facility before she's able to hobble about unassisted and get back to some semblance of "routine"?

And how is our other orthopaedic patient faring these days? I hope you're on the mend as Idyll Camp is now in the planning stages, Jerri.

OK, back to the vacuum cleaner. I have to finish up the sitting and dining area and call this 3 day marathon a rap. I don't want to go to work tomorrow, but coming home to a cleaner home will be nice. Saucy and Michelle will appreciate the newly discovered box full of lights that was stashed in a corner of the board room and I just discovered this afternoon!

    Bookmark   January 11, 2009 at 5:14PM
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chloehoover(z6b VA)

Wow, ya'll have been busy -- and I can tell it's mostly thinking about summer already, LOL.... few people feeling snowbound are they? altho I know it's amazing how quickly the calendar fills up.

Had stock club mtg today, and the usual prep involved, and chloe stuff yesterday -- and the weekend is over, amazing.... I confess I stopped by a nursery and bought an agave, a couple other succulents, and some bayer pest pellets to hopefully rid my poor house plants of the mealbugs and scale issues -- it's either that or chuck everything out...seemd silly to buy another african violet in good health to put near the dwindling ones. Got a 5 minute info/advice from some nice staff about an overall war strategy to rid my plants of these sneaky devils....

I love all the gorgeous rose photos - have to turn to finishing out the nite here and gathering for the work stuff....

Hi, to Michelle - welcome back -- that daybed is lovely, Cynthia; I seem to recall seeing some other lovelies recently since Im the catalog queen, but they've all blurred together.

I'll have to check out the IU planning site;we''re really gonna go to camp, really really? how cool is that...heehee...


    Bookmark   January 11, 2009 at 7:11PM
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An Idyllic day here in Northern Calif, temps nearing 70- not at all the norm in January ! It was 29 when I got up this morning-nothing like a 40 degree temp swing.Doobie and Ted have been in nirvana this weekend, laying in the sun. More pruning accomplished today, think I have about 15 left to do. I spd one of my Icebergs today and will offer it to my neighbor before tossing it in the yard waste. - I have two others in front, no need to have three. I moved Evelyn to the the vacated spot, and expect a much better performance out of her there.

Welcome back Michelle! Sounds like you had a great time in the tropics but one does have to come home eventually. Hoping you had your camera along at the visit to the local garden .

Marian that Lady Slipper is beautiful ! I had one with a very dark flower and spotted foliage that I loved, but it went into a decline and I finally pitched it. I fully intend to get another at some point.

Map of Maine is on the dining room table. Im ready to pack

Kathy in Napa

Doobie and Ted , snoozing today on the remains of the Nepeta From Pets

    Bookmark   January 11, 2009 at 7:44PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

Behind in my reading, but thought I would share a name suggestion for gb. I've heard this one twice in the last few months as a girl's name - Cadence or Kadence. It's stolen music terminology, but reminds one of Kate or Katelyn. I laughed the first time I heard it, but it's beginning to grow on me, and knowing that S&W appreciate music... And I think it beats Tadpole! ;)


    Bookmark   January 11, 2009 at 10:10PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

I've heard it as well V! I'll add it to the list and see what happens! Better than Amadeus me thinks.

Then there's Briony, which you may recognize from your reading...and Bryony, the plant. I've heard that too.

By the way, DH was called "wart" for much of his childhood. It was meant as an endearing name, but...I prefer Tadpole!

    Bookmark   January 11, 2009 at 11:02PM
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Here I am all showered, dressed, and ready to brave the pre-dawn chill and head to work at my preferred time. I have a small job to finish up this morning and then heaven knows what awaits me. ;)

I am definitely "into" the whole house purge, you guys. Instead of continuing the protective measure of averting my eyes from areas of accumulated clutter I've embraced the "refuse to live in fear" motto and I've methodically made a list and begun chipping away at it. The place looks great and I feel great about it. The reaction from the helpmeet is mixed, he likes the cleanliness but is nervous about my ruthless approach to the many tomes that haven't been cracked in over 10 yrs. and my unwillingness to give him any more time to go through them himself. Time's up, baby! When I return from work this afternoon I'll throw some more clothing destined for the thrift into the washing machine and begin systematically going through the Lab.. I have lots of old fabric, items of abandonned clothing (the bane of dry cleaners and alterationists), and old notions that are taking up too much space. I wish some of you crafty types lived down the road, I'd send it your way happily. ;) I want it all pared down for the move across the driveway to the Salon. Idyll Camp has definitely kindled a fire under my hindquarters, you guys. This is one reason I'm not feeling housebound or winter weary, on the contrary, I'm wondering if there will be enough time to get it done before Idyll Camp. :)

Wow, Marian, that orchid is just lovely. I smile every time I think of you puttering around with your plants. I've been meaning to ask you how you carry your wood indoors. Do you use a log carrier or do you just carry an armload? I'm trying to come up with a containment system for the Salon that is attractive and efficient. Eyed the log holder on the clearance page of the Sturbridge Yankee site Cynthia mentioned but was too cheap to spring for it, lol. There HAS to be something here that could be suitably repurposed... Its good that the puzzle is out for Nolon to pick at when the mood strikes him. You know, I never had the presence of mind to provide a puzzle for Mum, something I regret now.

Loved the shots of Doobie and Ted, Kathy. Anyone who says cats aren't friendly has never known one that is much loved and fussed over. Our's like to chaperone us when we're outdoors, too. And there was a lot of getting into the boxes and bags destined for the thrift this weekend, too. Lots of Kodak moments.

Well, time to get rolling so I may return home and continue the progress. Wanna place any bets on how much of the culled stuff actually makes it to the kerb this morning? ;)

Cozy up, guys.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2009 at 5:42AM
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jak1(4 Ontario Can)

Good morning, Idylls! Very bright and cold here today (-30C(-22 F) on the front porch this morning) and destined to remain like this all week.

TCS's fun weekend turned into the stomach flu from HE double hockey sticks. He started upchucking at 10 p.m. Saturday night and continued every half hour until 5 a.m. on Sunday. All three of us adults took turns sitting with him, helping out whatever - there is nothing that makes you feel more helpless than a sick child. Very greateful for the washer and dryer too, as I ran his bedding through 6 times over night. On a pleasanter note, DH and I passed the time by sitting at the kitchen table with the garage heater underneath, playing Scrabble until 3 a.m. Needless to day, Sunday was very very Quiet in the Kennedy household,as everbody caught up on their rest. TCS was fine this morning and trotted off to school as happy as can be. At the bus, we were met by NDN (next door neighbour) who was there to tell the bus driver that his son was very sick at home with the flu. I am sure it will travel right through the school, and I hope that it doesn't return for round two!

The Ladyslipper orchid is amazing! That is one variety that I have successfully killed off twice already. You must have a secret, Marian!

I too am waiting to see Kenzie photos.

Kathy, Doobie and Ted look so peaceful and content - I agree about cats - they can be standoffish with strangers, unless the stranger is a cat hater and then they cozy up as much as possible, but they also know when you need their warm comfy presence - Paws, the most aloof cat I have ever known (probably from spending her early years alone on the streets of a city) cuddled up on TCS's bed at about 6 a.m. on Sunday. Kodak moments indeed.

Speaking of language, it is interesting to think about what brand names become nouns in the vernacular...Kodak being one. Of course, now I can't think of any...

Chelone, it sounds as if you are really progressing on the decluttering or whatever you want to call it. I feel for you in your letting go of your mother's stuff. I still have a small box of stuff to shred after 13 years. And the handwriting especially - it's like you could reach out and touch the hand that did the's hard.

Anyway, looking for info. on this proposed camp: how does this work? Does everybody really camp out? where exactly is it going to be? Fill me in guys, just in case I manage to make it. I gather it is in Maine this year? At least on the right side of the continent for me!

DS need the computer.



    Bookmark   January 12, 2009 at 10:17AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Julie, Kleenex & Ketchup are a couple more for your Kodak List. A blackberry is no longer something to eat, a mouse is no longer something to trap.

So sorry about your weekend...and TCS's! ARGH!

DD phoned last night to fill us in on the updates to their back sunroom. Progress is being made. She also bought a few more pairs of slacks and a pair of overalls to accommodate her girth. Value Village is her store of preference. DGS was away in Jasper with his Mom & BF for the weekend, and supposedly DGS had his first skiing lesson yesterday in the very windy cold. I'd hate to be his teacher given that he can't hear instructions well. If he's interested though, he manages OK.

My new wireless mouse is working well. I am adjusting to its sensitivity. Last night DH got me hooked up properly to two old websites which were causing me grief. He also repaired a phone in the back room which hasn't worked for months. Unfortunately he's too busy to repair the toilet in our main bathroom in time for our weekend company. :(

That's all she wrote for now.
A plus tard!(Later!)

    Bookmark   January 12, 2009 at 11:26AM
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