Idyll 494; thoughts on life changes

cheloneNovember 26, 2010

How our lives have changed since the inception of the Idyll du jour! And what fun that we're all still "connected", more or less, because of (in spite of) this cool technology.

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I've been so absent in voice but sporadic reading has gleaned several items of note:

A delighted discovery that our Miss Mary (never contrary) has resurfaced. Tinged with the knowledge that counter cruising Clousseau slipped his electrically enforced boundry and met a tragic end. Knowing how I feel about dogs you can only imagine the gleeful celebration on the Compound. I don't think there is a worse scenario for a pet owner than a collision between a pet and an automobile. I've "been there" myself. I'm so sorry, Mary. Rex and I had a long discussion about the dangers of the road and it's a subject that surfaces daily when I take him on his forced march. (I couldn't deal with a dog that snores... too much overbreeding, for my taciturn sensibilitues).

I also managed to forget that Maid Marian's birthday coincides with the anniversary of a dear friend's suicide. Clearly, I need to think about Maid Marian's birthday and not that unhappy date! May the day repeat itself next year with me leading the charge for birthday greetings. (don't hold your breath, kiddo!).

Slumbering skunks is really the thing that grabbed my attention, Kathy! WOW. Will there be "footage at 5"? Most of all, I was duly impressed by your unwillingness to to feed into the potential "panic mode". Suffice it to say, I'd have done the very same thing. My brother fell asleep on the couch one night having left the door open for the cats. He awakened, flipped on the light in the kitchen only to find his cat and a skunk contentedly feeding from the same bowl. He flipped off the light and went to bed. As he explained it to me: the skunk was in the house, there was no way to get him out, and I was tired. Lol. You "done good", girlfriend.

Busy here. In a VERY good way. I scan, I laugh, I think about good, witty replies, but my head is presently occupied in different ways. Which doesn't mean I don't "care". I care very much!

(a warm birthday hug and a kiss on both cheeks for Maid Marian; my best and fondest wishes for your continued vigor in the coming year, girlfriend!)

    Bookmark   November 26, 2010 at 3:42PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

Crisis day - sort of - here today. We got word this morning that Blue's 'daddy's mother died this morning. They don't have a phone at their condo in Mexico and his mother's husband (his stepfather) is somewhat befuddled. A neighbour helped him e-mail Allan but, when we called his stepfather this afternoon, he was still very confused and not sure if the e-mail went through - or how to get the reply if it did. So Randy took Blue (dogs are calming...) and went over to help him, and hopefully bring him back here. About 30 minutes later I got an e-mail from Allans saying they knew about his mother and will be home as soon as they can get flights - probably on the weekend. I texted Randy's phone to let him know and am now waiting to see what happens next.... (Update - Randy just got back - alone. The stepfather didn't want to come tonight but will come if Allan can't make it home tomorrow.)

The other life change issue going on here is that we got my latest MRI results this week. They are still inconclusive as to what is growing in my chest! So another MRI is in the cards - as soon as my doctors reappear and can schedule one! Both my family doctor and my main neurosurgeon are out of the country and unavailble - end of next week for my family doctor and Dec. 8 for the neuro guy. It's the neuro guy we really need to see. Fortunately, the MRI did show it hasn't increased in size since the CT in early July.

I've been working on creating a maintenance manual for the garden to keep me distracted.

I've been skimming here but not reading as close as I should so not commenting much. I think this will be a winter to hunker down and just get through, hoping for an early spring!

    Bookmark   November 26, 2010 at 4:53PM
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Back at ya’ Chelone, and how fun the transition is from the ‘imaginery’ to the ‘in-person’. Think of all the gardens I never would have seen if I hadn’t stumbled upon a thread with photos of Deannes driveway garden..pretty sure that's how I ended up here.

We had a pleasant Thanksgiving at DD’s , great food , easy drive there and back, and a leftover pumpkin cheesecake in the fridge. And three nights in a row of temps in the 20’s have pretty much sealed the fate of gardening season around here..though clean-up still must be done in between rains. Another few weeks and it will be time to prune the roses.

I managed to get the pop-up greenhouse erected yesterday before heading to Sonoma Cty- It would have been quite a spectacle for an observer-I could have used an extra pair of hands. But I prevailed ! Next step is the ‘heating’ method. The booklet that came with the thing suggested an electric ceramic disc heater , but I’m going to see how it fares in the rain first.

Ok, out I go to rake some leaves ..still fall here.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2010 at 5:28PM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

My GDs have comandeered my computer this afternoon, but I took it back. LOL

Thanks for the Birthday wishes. The pics are lovely, and I espacially like the mesage to "Maid Marian. :-). I accept the hug and kisses, Chelone. :-) One of our friends elderly father always called me Maid Marian. :-)

All 3 GDs and Tim are here. They arrived early this afternoon , and will be returning home tomorrow.
So...back to being with them.


    Bookmark   November 26, 2010 at 8:04PM
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Hi Everyone. I hope you all had a nice Thanksgiving. All my kids and their families came over, plus my mom, my sister, and niece. It was really one of the best I remember because Skip and Sean came through for me and ran up and down the steps doing anything I asked. I had energy left at the end of the day. I bought a bunch of those pyrex containers with lids and cooked the side dishes in them, then popped the top on to store. Really saved on cleanup and extra dish washing.

Kathy, did you have the Cheesecake Factory pumpkin cheesecake? I got one of those, and it was pretty yummy. Good news on your greenhouse Kathy. What are you going to plant/grow in it? Down the road I would love to try winter veggies, but I am not anywhere close to that yet.

Woody, my thoughts are with you while you wait to hear from your doctor. You are an inspiration to me. Sorry to hear about your friend's mother. I hope the dad is doing better today. You and Randy are so sweet and helpful.

Chelone, glad to see you. Hope you are doing well. I miss reading of your Thanksgiving. You usually post pics and describe your menu :). I look forward to that.

Mary, sometimes the quiet dinners are the best. I picture a little musical choral after dinner at your house. Hope you are feeling better.

Bug, how nice to see your son! I bet you were thrilled to have him.

Marian, Happy Birthday! I don't have any good garden pics to post. I seem to not take them at the right moment. Next year I hope to do better. But the sentiment is heartfelt!


    Bookmark   November 26, 2010 at 8:29PM
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At Folie a Deux , Thanksgiving morning , frost is settled on the lavender.

: From Garden Fall 2010 From Garden Fall 2010

The new farm table, re-arranged after the pole-cat accident. My indoor garden... From Garden Fall 2010 From Garden Fall 2010

Movie night tonight, warmer but rainy..

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   November 26, 2010 at 8:33PM
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cyn427(z7aN. VA)

Haven't been around nearly as long as all of you (well, not here on GW anyway), but have to say that, even when I don't post, I feel so lucky to have found all of you!

Love the skunk stories, especially yours about your brother, Chelone. Saw a mama leading her brood across a street up home in PA years ago-looked like a mama duck with a string of babies folllowing in line behind her. They are cute little critters.

Woody, I second Drema's comment about you and Randy and hope you get some sort of answer when the doctors return. No fun going through so many tests and somewhat disconcerting, I imagine, to have them both away at the same time. I hate the thought of our doctor retiring. He is just about the same age as we are and the thought of finding someone new is completely depressing. Funny that we always expect him to be there when we need him. Not fair to him, but it is just good to know he is there. Not so good when they are away, though.

We went to see the new Harry Potter movie after dinner on Thanksgiving. It was just the three of us (John comes to our house rather than stay with his sweetie and her family at their too-small-for-five-people townhouse). It was fun going out for a change and the movie was fun.

Today, a hike with neighbors and their kids is in the works. It is pretty cold compared to earlier in the week, but should be fun. Chuck has decided we should do a trail that will take the kids right down to the river, so no dogs since they wouldn't be able to navigate the rocks easily. Too bad because they love adventures, especially our Clouseau. We have been lucky the three times that he and Annabelle have escaped the yard. Twice in the past, I haven't been so lucky, Mary. Not an easy thing at all.

Kathy, your indoor garden looks wonderful. The lavender with the frost makes me a tad wistful, but also got me thinking about fields in summer...

Cindy, if you end up heading into Old Town this season, let me know. Would love to meet up for a hot chocolate or glass of wine!

Hope everyone is having a blissful weekend.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2010 at 11:34AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

DH and DS are out for a walk with the dog in the snow. This morning after breakfast, I updated the blog for the Haitian school DS is involved with, renewed a library book, did 2 loads of laundry and did 15 minutes of treadmill....

Last night I looked at photos from Haiti. Amazing shots. I was much impressed by photos of kite flying with kids at a tent city for deaf children.

I need to rush off and prepare some lunch. DS needs to drive through snow to get to a meeting in Toronto by his 20 year old Toyota station wagon. He's also delivering 15 computers to several groups.

I heard Ivy giggle about Indy dog when I was on the phone. What a wonderful sound!

Happy weekend to all!

    Bookmark   November 27, 2010 at 11:47AM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

A belated Happy Thanksgiving to all. I'm enjoying the long weekend, although I do find myself cleaning the kitchen every couple of hours.

The holiday started off on a rather tense note. We were dog sitting my son's two dogs, and the younger dog was very unhappy with the arrangements. He peed in the house eight different times over the course of two days, and spent most of the rest of the time emitting a very high-pitched whine. I was on edge from the whining, tired of cleaning the floor and cranky from lack of sleep. Finally took the dogs back to their house last night and when I went to feed them and let them out this morning, I was amazed at the difference. The dogs did not want to be at my house. They were much happier at home.

I was going to post some chicken photos for Mary but Flickr is not cooperating at the moment. The girls are doing well. We did lose two of them a couple of weeks ago to unknown predators - no sign of what, just two less birds than we started with. But they are keeping up their egg production and I'm selling the eggs about as fast as they are laying them. I have lots of repeat customers, so the egg selling is easy.

Well, I think the kitchen needs cleaning again. Then off to town to restock some cleaning supplies.


    Bookmark   November 27, 2010 at 3:13PM
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Hello Everyone!

Wonderful to see so many posts today!

Woody - sorry to hear there is more to worry about health wise but your fortitude is as amazing as ever.

GB - baby and toddler laughs are the best!

Lovely photos Kathy!!

Chelone - how great for me to see your name at the beginning of a post. I enjoyed your brother's skunk story. I am on a bit of a sewing spree, making mail bags as Christmas presents. I often think of you as I haul out my machine!

V - unhappy dogs do not make a holiday festive:0( Nor cleaning up after them. Zu-Zu continues to do well in the house training area with just a few accidents from time to time. Somehow they seem to happen on DH's watch...

Tonight is turkey pot pie for dinner so I'm off to make a batch of pastry. I've been perfecting a Gluten Free recipe that is almost as good as regular. Making English pies used to be one of my passions though now I only indulge for the holidays. But as DH doesn't go back on his low carb diet till Monday we thought we'd enjoy one tonight.


    Bookmark   November 27, 2010 at 5:55PM
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The oft-avoided plantation shutter cleaning was performed today. It’s much easier if you do it say, once a month, and since someone invented those swiffer thingys , it’s pretty painless-unless you wait too long. I decided to start my pre-Christmas house cleaning �"I have the possibility of 6 guests , plus 2 to 3 dogs . I’m seriously considering having the Merry Maids in a couple days before the guests arrive , to clean the 3 bathrooms and the floors . It would save me so many hours it might be worth it. I’d rather concentrate on winter floral arrangements and menu planning !. I have already decided that the Christmas dinner will be Beef Tenderloin with truffle �"cabernet sauce; the only question is will I go cheap and opt for truffle oil instead of the real thing ? I guess it depends on the price at the time.

Mary I’ve really noticed how much more gluten-free stuff there is in the stores now, especially at Whole Foods , they seem to have sections of it in every category .Clearly gluten-intolerance is more common than one would think..

V, I remember when I used to board my dog when we went on trips, and how stressed she would become after being away from both home and family. I always put her on a bland diet both before and after. Woody clearly has the dogsitting thing down to an art ! I enjoyed your town square lighting link over yonder on FB. We have a festival of lights in Yountville every year-it’s a tiny town , but they really do up the lights.

Cyn my DS went to see the HP film too, and he went again the next day. And now that you mention it, where the heck is Cindy anyway ?

All for me tonight..waving to all

    Bookmark   November 27, 2010 at 7:30PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Life changes indeed!

Today is busy busy...with DS still hanging around and DH having two meetings this afternoon. Not MY usual routine. I am cook & bottle washer now.

Outdoors we have snow and Phoebe adores it. She'd be thrilled to have snow always. Not I. It involves removing snow clots from her paws many times a day, and the kitchen and laundry room floors are an awful mess as a result. Snow means lots of animal tracks to inspect, and that can be FUN! I'm still searching for cat sitters for Christmas time. So difficult!

I promised to include my blog site for you and then forgot. It is all still very new to me, but I'm trying hard. So here is the unveiling for you to bookmark if you choose. Feel free to share it with others and add helpful comments.


Here is a link that might be useful: buildingaschool

    Bookmark   November 28, 2010 at 1:37PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

Blue's 'parents' can't make it back from Mexico until Monday night. Allan's stepfather didn't want to stay here overnight, but he did come for supper last night. Randy helped him use Instant Messenger to talk to Allan in Mexico - they now have a cell phone at their condo but reception is lousy so it's almost useless...

I wanted Randy to go pick the stepfather up for supper but he had insisted he could drive himself here without any problems. After we waited anxiously for 90 minutes for him to arrive, he phoned from his home saying he got hopelessly lost! So Randy went to pick him up. When Randy took him home after supper, we sent enough leftovers so that he should have a reasonable supply of food ready-to-eat for the next day or so. Allan wants him to go with them back to Mexico after the funeral but he doesn't want to go - mainly because he has tickets for some Jazz concert where the musician is someone old and he figures it's the last chance he'll have to see/hear this guy!

    Bookmark   November 28, 2010 at 3:01PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Best wishes to Blue's family from Miss Phoebe.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2010 at 10:28PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

Miss Phoebe is looking lovely! We need a visit soon... :-)

    Bookmark   November 28, 2010 at 10:53PM
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Belated Happy Thanksgiving! We had a whirlwind weekend except for today. Kenzie joined us on Thursday evening. While we shopped on Black Friday she spent time with her cousins, which are actually her mom’s cousins, but are fairly close in age to her. We had dinner at my parents on Thanksgiving and Friday evening as well. Saturday was a baby shower for our DIL and then Rick’s kids and families were over for Saturday evening dinner. We had lasagna and chicken Alfredo since I figured everyone would be somewhat tired of turkey.

Woody, sorry you are dealing with more health issues.

‘bug, I’ve checked out your blog and was impressed with what you have so far. We have missionaries that our church supports that have started a school in Haiti. In fact they are back in the states and will be in our church Tuesday night to talk about their work in Haiti. He is a native of Haiti and she’s from our area. They met in college here and he wanted to return to Haiti. I’m supposed to bring a couple of crock pots of chili for a chili cook-off for the meal that evening.

Kathy, your indoor garden is wonderful! The table is cute and I especially like the tray of natural items.

The natural items remind me of the bouquet of flowers that I brought home from church this a.m. I had arranged them in early September and they dried so nicely that we left them there until today. They were all flowers that dried quite nicely. Hydrangeas, yarrow, cat tails, broom corn, lavender sea statice and sedum.

Marian, I hope you had a fantastic birthday. I’m happy for you that you can spend time with your son and granddaughters. Family really does make Thanksgiving special.

I’m ready to go and put my feet up. Have a great evening.


    Bookmark   November 28, 2010 at 11:23PM
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I'm so glad to see you back ;)

    Bookmark   November 29, 2010 at 8:19AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Wishing you a wonderful day my friend!

Kite flying with the children from a tent city for the deaf, November 8, 2010.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2010 at 10:54AM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

    Bookmark   November 29, 2010 at 4:36PM
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    Bookmark   November 29, 2010 at 6:15PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

Happy Birthday, Mary!


    Bookmark   November 29, 2010 at 7:26PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

The photo features two of my Buff Orpingtons, the largest of my hens. This was taken about three months ago; the girls' combs are much larger now. At the bottom of the photo you can see one of the barred rocks.

DD went back to school today after being home for six days. It was so nice to have her home and I'm missing her already! (As is the dog who is glued to my side right now.)

I had to chuckle because she took the train into Chicago on Saturday evening to see a musical event. She ran into four HS classmates and a couple of college classmates on the train - they were all headed in to see the Chicago Symphony. DD and her friend had other plans - the Lyric Opera! Me, I would have been going to see Springsteen at her age.

DH had to go out of town earlier than planned, so I have to finish cleaning up the loose ends around the house. TTYL!


    Bookmark   November 29, 2010 at 8:15PM
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    Bookmark   November 29, 2010 at 8:48PM
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Hello everyone

Thank you for such lovely cards, they mean so much to me! It is rather strange to think I am now 50 as I don't feel anything like as old. I did most of my celebrating over the weekend and the family cooked a lovely supper for me last night, with a special Gluten Free lemon cake made by Annie. Colleagues at work bought me a Thai lunch today and we had Indian food for dinner. I am very well fed and am retiring to bed happy and content.


    Bookmark   November 29, 2010 at 11:09PM
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jak1(4 Ontario Can)

Hello everyone! Lots of good reading material here. I am glad to hear (and see) all of the happy Thanksgiving posts. I think this is a much bigger holiday in the US than it is in Canada, although it is surely a time of celebration for us north of the border too.

Happy belated birthdays to Mary and Marion. How time does fly...I seem to miss Idyll birthdays often, and then I see the beautiful photos and wish I had taken some more, and knew how to save and post them. I am always threatening to learn how.

Marie you are an inspiration, learning how to blog already. I am also impressed with your French. Mine is rusty but still I am functional in Canada's "other" language.

Haha Kathy - the plantation shutters are a Juliejob for sure. I do wipe mine off about once every few weeks - I have them pretty much everywhere now, I am not a curtain person (sorry Chelone, I know what beautiful window treatments you create).

Nice to see your chicks V! I still remember the little ones in the bathroom....sort of like Marie's turtles! I totally get the dog sitting thing - This week we had five people, three dogs and 1 cat in our little bungalow. I won't even begin to talk about the fish. When DD has to, by necessity, bring her dog with her when she stays with us during her night shifts, our cat gets her nose out of joint and pees on the laundry room floor, next to the litter. She is thinking outside of the box I guess *LOL* Anyway, it is a kind of mixed blessing, as I have the cleanest laundry room in Perthmore right now. Also, two bostons are fine but with three, one is always the odd man out, and there is great competition among them all, with the result that my dogs are exhausted when DD and her pet leave. Takes us all few days to get back to routine.

Speaking of dog sitting, Woody you sure have had your share of experiences. You are so good to take on the whole family when you sit. I am betting that the dog parents become your friends, and you provide more than just a convenience for them. How disappointing to have to wait for further medical advice. At least, as you said, whatever is going on does not seem to be worse than it was. What a good idea to start a garden maintenance manual over the winter.

DH and DS went into the city today ostensibly to Christmas shop but are now playing their second 18 at Golf-o-Max. I should have known. TCS came home from school with a headache (again. Side effect of his meds), had a huge melt down over homework, then ate a large dinner and did the homework, had a shower and is fast asleep in bed. Pouring rain outside, but not cold. The Christmas lights on the houses look odd, it is so wet and windy. Going to settle myself down with a glass of red and a good book. Parenthood is usually on t.v. on Tuesday but for some reason not tonight. So it will be an early bed time for me.

Cheers to you all!


    Bookmark   November 30, 2010 at 8:59PM
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Good evening Idylls, wherever you may be.
The weather here is transitioning from frosty to rainy (to have both is a rarity ) so the tenders and semi-tenders get a reprieve. Heating still needs to be addressed in the pop-up greenhouse. It gets darker and darker each night upon arrival home from the awfice, and we are back to near dark in the morning. Books that have been long neglected are being lined up for evening reading. I believe I won’t need to buy a single book this winter .

V, I find I enjoy the peace and quiet when no one is home but me, but it’s nice to have them around upon occasion, even if they are in another part of the house. DS is home tonight , and probably more for the next couple of weeks as he won’t have rehearsals for the winter break.

Michelle, I have taken to saving every birdnest I find in my garden- I pick up feathers, blobs of moss, and always collect more driftwood and dried seaweed when I go out to the coast. That’s all the stuff on the tray.

Marie, I’m adding your blog to my Blogroll; I think you are doing just fine thus far.

Woody, you and Randy are sure the kind of friends I would want around in a crisis �" I envision a calm, take charge attitude-not everyone could handle being thrust into a situation like this with grace .

Julie, I am being sure to view and appreciate my clean shutters daily . I still have one more window to address. It seems like you have steps back and forward re: TCS’s meds ? At least he did the homework !

Ok, all for now, sleep well friends !

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   November 30, 2010 at 9:57PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Good evening all!

Good news on the cat sitting front here. A nice lady will be helping us for 2 weeks. I'll pay her of course, but she is quite reasonable thank heavens.

It was a rainy slushy day here, but I managed to cage another shrub and also mound soil around some fragile plants. DH kindly put the hoses away in the barn and turned off the water spiggots from indoors.

My friend's Burmese cat was mauled by an animal...they think a dog...and is slowly recovering from broken ribs and more. But she is acting like her old self again after having a reaction to the drugs they gave her. She will now be an indoor cat! Elizabeth is so relieved!

Today was the second 2 hour visit from my cleaning friend! Wow I'm enjoying this! Clean bathrooms, floors, rugs, dusting...well it's just grand. I also helped my French speaking friend with his trip to the vet with his Burmese cat this afternoon. All is well except for ear drops.

I am sifting through kite flying photos from Haiti and expect to add a post to the blog when I figure out how to post 24 photos on one small posting. Hmmm. I'm too old to learn new tricks!

Love the chickens V!
Sorry about Adrian's headache. Sarah finds that large quantities of water fix Skyler's. He gets dehydrated easily and "forgets" to drink. Then his whining and behavior go to He**. Julie, maybe a thermos of water for him to carry with him would help?

I'd like to begin wrapping gifts soon, hoping the airline won't mind.

I asked DD to give me this journal for Christmas and said I'd try to complete it and give it to her next year. Take a look below.


Here is a link that might be useful: Memoirs

    Bookmark   November 30, 2010 at 11:41PM
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    Bookmark   December 1, 2010 at 12:20PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

Julie - all our dog-sitting is done for friends. We've known Blue's 'parents' for about 20 years. They were neighbours at our previous house. They dog-sat Chelsea for us at times. We had also met Blue's 'step-granddaddy' before. Blue thinks we all belong to him too. He'll be back on Saturday to continue his interrupted stay here when his 'parents' return to Mexico (without the stepfather I think.) They booked Blue's stay with us back in June - usually they go to Mexico after Christmas but decided to go early and go for longer this year now that they are both retired. That meant we weren't able to offer our services to gb this Christmas for Phoebe - I had been rather hoping to have a visit from Phoebe. (I'm allergic to cats now - and I wouldn't trust Misty not to consider them rabbit relatives and try to dispatch them, so we're of no use for cat-sitting...)

    Bookmark   December 1, 2010 at 4:14PM
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jak1(4 Ontario Can)

That's interesting about Skyler's headaches, Marie. I was searching the net regarding this new medicine and found a site that said exactly that. It is necessary to really hydrate to keep the headaches at bay. Adrian went to school today with extra drinks. We are meeting the teacher this afternoon, so will discuss this, among other things with her. The school's response to Adrian has been great.

Julie's folly, aka Banana Ensete, is now touching the ceiling. It is huge and gorgeous, but after the holidays it may, by necessity, get a haircut.

It would seem that a distant cousin of Grille Mouse has taken up residence under the kitchen sink. I keep telling the Bostons to "Get the mouse! Get the mouse!". But they don't get it (pun intended). Anybody remember that t.v. show Mad About You with the dog, Murray, who used to run into the wall while chasing the mouse?

It sure doesn't feel very Christmassy around here. The weather is sunny, warm, or rainy, warm. The grass is still green and we have no snow. I think I need to do some baking or something to get things moving. DH and I are doing all our shopping in one day next week. We are going to hear The Messiah with best friends on the 12th, and Adrian and his Dad are doing gingerbread houses that day, a family tradition for them. Cards that I bought from the school are coming home today. I need to get moving!

All is quiet on the home front.

Keep well!



    Bookmark   December 2, 2010 at 9:10AM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

It looks like it was very good timing for Blue's 'parents' to return from Mexico. Imagine the mess if they had been gone for another 3 weeks...

'I'm sure Blue misses the peace and quiet of your home, We have fans and humidifiers running here for two days - due to water damage in the living room and basement, from raccoons eating through the shingles - we had a full day yesterday of insurance reps, disaster recovery team, guy making holes in the walls to release the moisture, calls from flooring store, pounding from roofing company temporary fix, call from insurance adjuster, has been a nightmare. '

    Bookmark   December 2, 2010 at 9:39AM
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Love the variety of pictures for the birthdays. Each one is pretty awesome. Kathy love your farm table and Michelle the cherub in the Ivy is frameable. V the chickens are fun and pretty.

Woody,things have been pretty hectic for you and Randy. You guys handle things so well. I'm glad things have stayed stable with you, but wish you had some answers.

Julie, how neat that Marie gave you a clue to the hydration thing for TCS.

Not much going on in my neighborhood. I have pretty much transfered over to indoor mode (hate it) except for my daily forced marches with the dogs which I relish). I just don't have enough to keep me busy indoors. I need to start a project but hesitate to do anything big until after the holidays because the house is clean now and what I want to do will create a mess. Namely paint my bedroom and replace the carpet with hardwood. I did see a comforter set while shopping today that inspired a color theme. The hard part will be moving a lot of heavy stuff out of the room as it doubles as the home office.

I think Niki doesn't like being indoors much either except when she is sleeping because she has been harassing Jasmine a lot. It's agravating when she wants to go out at three to four in the morning but hesitates at the door when she feels the cold. I then have to catch her by surprise and pick her up and boost her out or she won't let me go back to sleep. Sometimes I don't anyway.

Not much else , so
take care everyone. Norma

    Bookmark   December 2, 2010 at 7:53PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Today was a dentist day for both of us. He is new to us, but much closer. In fact, he's a neighbor of ours.

If you look at the link below, you'll see lots of photos of kite flying in Haiti and really cute kids. Do catch up on reading the most recent posts.

Tomorrow the new cat sitter comes to check things out for her job while we're away. $$$ :-(

Monday DH's class comes for dinner. That means lasagna for 20+. I always end up enjoying the evening but dreading the work...

I LOVE having my new cleaning person, even though she can only come for 2 hours every second week. But that's enough to tidy a bathroom, vacuum, clean the fridge or wash some windows. Anything is a gift!

Got some photos today:
What's in the box Skyler?

Hmmm, I thought so!

And now you can blame me for keeping Chelone away....

Here is a link that might be useful: Les cerfs-volants

    Bookmark   December 2, 2010 at 8:16PM
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I am always taken aback by the summer-ish garb worn indoors by our friends in the cold north..I have to think the houses are kept warmer in winter, and probably better insulated too. And there is the ‘wimp factor’ to consider too ! My thermostat is set to the low 60’s in the evening and 55ish overnight. I’m bundled up right now, fleece and a turtleneck. Wimp.

I have chatted with our Cindy via e-mail , and all is well with her (and Stella !) but the awfice continues to sap her energy. She hopes to visit with us soon.

We have rain tonight and for the next few days, so we are spared the frosty nights for a bit. I hope to get my heating set up in the greenhouse over the weekend, I’m going to start out with the seedling heat mats and see how that goes. I have 2, so I will place the most tender specimens on top and gather the others around.

All for me tonight, I’m still dinner-less ..waves !

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   December 2, 2010 at 9:36PM
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Kathy, I always wonder the same thing about How they tolerate the cold so well.

Love the pictures Bug.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2010 at 9:59PM
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Today is a Christmas shopping day to the city. I've been under the weather with a cold this week so I've spent quite a bit of time resting. Coughing takes so much energy.

Kathy, we keep our thermostat on 70 for the evening and 60 at night.

This thread is on life changes and my most recent is no more turtle necks for awhile. I in full swing of the big life change for a woman.

The little ones and big ones too see to be having lots of fun - great to see!


    Bookmark   December 4, 2010 at 8:56AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

What is the alternative to turtle necks?????? (I live in them!)

I'm off to run errands....

    Bookmark   December 4, 2010 at 10:18AM
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I've just started wearing turtlenecks again after several years of not. LOL I was worried because one of the side effects of my new med is possible hot flashes. So far so good.

Cold and windy here today. Dressed in layers for my walk and was just fine.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2010 at 12:34PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

I'm wearing a turtleneck right now. It's a lighter weight one that layers easily under other things. We keep the main part of the house at 65 and the bedroom at 60, so lots of clothes are a good thing. Blankies, too!

We're having the first real snow of the season today. My laugh for the morning was watching the reaction of the chickens to their first snow. The first two out of the coop got to the bottom of the ramp before they realized that the world was different this morning. They stopped short and created quite the logjam on the ramp out of the coop. I moved the feed closer to the ramp to entice them out. The first ones moved over very gingerly, then one of the roosters flew the five feet to the bowl rather than walk in the snow. Several of them got to the end of the ramp and turned around to go back into the coop - chickens! By noon they had all come to terms with the new world order.

I did a little bit of Christmas shopping in town this morning, but it was mostly stocking stuffers. I don't have any great inspirations this year! We'll have some of the family over at our house for Christmas Eve. I'm planning on making lasagna.

Now I need to admit that I am just procrastinating! I need to go out and shovel the front walk. And, um, maybe it's time to get rid of the pumpkins on the front porch. Yes, really, it's past time.

Stay warm!


    Bookmark   December 4, 2010 at 2:52PM
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cyn427(z7aN. VA)

Seems I am destined to be only a weekend wanderer here for a while. too busy at school, so I am bringing stuff home at night. I had pretty much gotten away from that until this year. Oh well.

Happy belated birthday, Mary! Hope it was festive. I loved all the pics for you, but especially like the one from V. Giggled at that!

I am with the rest of the Idyllers on seeing those pics of the kids, 'bug. I am always bundled up around here come winter. Love the two pics of Skyler and his "baby in the box." Too cute. Nice to see such happy faces.

Julie, laughed aloud about Grille mouse's cousin and the pups.

Michelle, hope the cough and cold are easing as the weekend passes. I am a believer in the Neti pot at the first sign of congestion. Not sure if that is scientific, but seems to work for me-along with huge amounts of Vitamin C and Airborne every couple of hours.

V, just stick some holly branches in those pumpkins!

All the talk of lasagne has decided me on next weekend's Saturday night dinner with some friends. Yum. Thanks for the culinary inspiration!

Norma, sounds like a good idea to do the painting after the holidays. Should make January or February pass more quickly and if you are like me, once the new year comes, I start thinking of (wishing for) Spring!

Kathy, glad to hear you have been in touch with Cindy and that all (except the awfice) is well with her. No fun when the job stinks, is it? Chelone (I imagine) and I (this year anyway) can absolutely relate.

Feeling like doing some more Christmas decorating. Wish we had gotten our tree today. I am thinking of two this year-one for the deck and one inside. Last year we skipped the inside one, but I missed it.

Hope everyone is warm and cozy this evening (all in our turtlenecks)!

    Bookmark   December 4, 2010 at 5:29PM
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Turtleneck here ! It was oddly warm out this afternoon, I had a turtleneck under fleece and had to make some wardrobe adjustments. I placed several plants in the pop-up, no heat will be needed for the next few days-we are in a rain cycle so the temps are unlikely to drop below 40.
I made spaghetti sauce tonight, with extra mushrooms, and looking for my copy of ‘The Egyptologist’ , the next book on my list if I can find it. How is it that books vanish ?

Norma, I hate being cooped up inside too�"I actually enjoyed raking and sweeping today-it was so nice to spend a couple hours outdoors. It was predicted to rain today but even though it was steadily overcast there was no rain til after 4. Still, all is damp and muddy.

V, I always check the weather in and around Chicago. I guess I figure it can never be worse here, lol. What a rude awakening for the feather-kids �" will you have to heat the coop somehow ?

All for tonight !

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   December 4, 2010 at 11:31PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

My turtleneck today is maroon, the sweats black. Indoors we are at about 62F and outdoors around 21F at the moment. I remember well the days of keeping bunnies in the barn and trying to keep the water unfrozen with heat lights. What a pain that was!

Nice to see you pop in Eden with a sweet photo!

DH has a phone meeting in a few minutes, so I'd best go feed him at last...


    Bookmark   December 5, 2010 at 9:12AM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

Kathy, there is a heat lamp in the coop that is on a thermostat. I have a heated water container also, except I dropped it in the snow yesterday and broke it. :( There is a trip to Farm & Fleet on the agenda today!

I've had two large flocks of sandhill cranes fly over today. I love to hear them as they go past.

MIL has been talking about getting a dog and finally selected one. I'm grateful that she's picked a three year old dog instead of a puppy. I couldn't fathom how they were going to handle a very active puppy. MIL is 78 and her husband is 81 and not very steady on his feet. They'll get the dog in January; she's a golden doodle who is weaning her third litter. (And a note to all the dog people here - all advice we have tried to offer to them has fallen on deaf ears - MIL is determined to do what she wants.)

Lunch break is over, so time to do more cleanup.


    Bookmark   December 5, 2010 at 2:06PM
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Long day here. I decided to give my body a rest from walking today, but kind of wish I had gone anyway.

We had to rough it today. Sewer back up problems. Mr Rooter will be first person called in the morning.

There are a lot of things you can't do when you don't want to run water into the drains. Amazing the things we do without thinking about them.

Bob laughed when he used the dip net in the pond and it froze stiff before he returned to the house. He turned it upside down and it stood straight up.

V, our neighbors chickens stopped laying as much recently. The boys usually bring more than we can use( we buy anyway because it is their little enterprise) but this time we ran out. They did however bring us some yesterday.

Hope everyone is keeping warm. I am except for my toes. Need to go get something more on my feet.


    Bookmark   December 5, 2010 at 7:53PM
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A rainy day, but I managed to get all the grocery shopping done, a tad of laundry and got the menu plan started for the Chrismas festivities. We are having a ‘Tiny Tim’ Christmas this year , minimal gifting, so the food will prevail. Nothing wrong with that ! The BILS will be down from Portland and DD , partner and Mr Toddler will be here as well. I believe I will have 3 dog guests.

V, we have geese and egrets here, I love hearing the geese fly over , I am so close to the river they are usually quite low, and I can hear the wings.

DS has auditioned for ‘Gypsy’ , we expect he will have an ensemble role, as most of the principles are women.

Todays turtleneck is pale yellow.

So where did Chelone go ?

    Bookmark   December 5, 2010 at 9:46PM
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I'm in a t-shirt with a denim shirt over it. That way I can shed a layer if I need to.

I took it easy today and napped trying to beat this cold. Although, I did hit the treadmill since exercise is a high priority these days for several health issues that came up recently. A few gifts got wrapped also.

DH and I have requested no gifts this year and that the money they would have spent go to charity.

Cyn, I've purchased the nasal rinse kit but haven't gotten up the courage to try it. DH uses his daily and it has really improved his sinus issues. It was recommended to him by his ENT.

Norma, the sewer issue sounds horrible! Hopefully, not too much backup. We actually had that at work a couple of weeks ago. Just a little up the floor drain in the basement. Once he started the rooting it stunk though.

I bit the bullet and ordered a new laptop. I didn't go with the Apple mostly because of the cost. I just couldn't justify it.

I've not done a bit of Christmas decorating. I will wait for Kenzie to help with the tree but I think I'll take care of the rest.


    Bookmark   December 5, 2010 at 11:31PM
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A Christmas goose, is it Kathy? :) I think a lot of folks are paring down this Christmas like you and Michelle. We've decided to do a 20 dollar gift "Secret Santa" in our immediate family and go to California. I'm meeting my best Navy bud at the end of the trip and I can't wait. We leave on Christmas night.

Sarah's home with a sore throat this morning. I am a bit bummed as I enjoy my Mondays. Lately I've been actively job searching. I'm feeling quite restless at home, and that's a sign I suppose. I've told myself not to get all excited though, as we all know how the job market is and I can afford to wait. I go back and forth between finding a "conventional" job and doing something creative. I have all these ideas floating around...

In the mean time I am working on my leaves. I have found some new dyes and stains that I like to use. I wish I had a heated workspace. Our garage has a woodstove, but I'm not like Chelone - I have a hard time getting the motivation to warm it up and keep it warm for the days it would take me to work. I'm slightly afraid of the stove - maybe respectful is the word - and I'm not sure I'm confident that I won't burn my house down :) Now I could use a new garage...

So lots going on in my head at the moment.

I don't envy your phone call today, Norma! I've only experienced that once and it was not fun.

Woody, I can't imagine a hole in my roof while I'm away! It is like the universe conspired to get them home.

GB, your blog is lovely and a perfect fit for you! I passed it along to a few friends who might be interested. Keep talking...people are listening :)

Okay, gonna go check on the patient and see where today brings me.


    Bookmark   December 6, 2010 at 7:49AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

A high of 24F expected today. Light snow is falling and there is wind. The color of my turtleneck has not yet been decided. I have ordered pink bunny slippers for Ivy. Her Mom will kill me, but Ivy will be in heaven!

I have heard that Chelone is very much enjoying time in the salon.

I am nervous about December 7th, when decisions about Haiti's election will be made. But I am also concerned about affairs in Ivory Coast, where things are in crisis as well.

Last night I received a Magic Santa card from Skyler. He had fun sending it, but was a bit confused as to who it was intended for, himself or me... and so it said that when I grow up I want to be a celebrity rock star. LOL LOL LOL!!!

I do need to get things started for the day as tonight is party night.


    Bookmark   December 6, 2010 at 8:40AM
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Rock on, GB!

    Bookmark   December 6, 2010 at 9:53AM
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I like the sound of Tiny Tim and Secret Santas. We had decided a White Elephant exchange, but yours sounds more christmasy.

Help is on the way around 11:30.

No turtleneck yet, but a shower before hand sure would be nice.

Good luck on the job front Saucy. I understand your restlessness. I get that way just being indoors so much.

Kathy we don't do a big meal for Christmas as it is usally a late day thing and people only want snacks.

Off for a bite of breakfast and to get dressed.


PS Michelle sorry to hear you have more health issues.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2010 at 9:54AM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

Norma - UGH! re the sewer. We had that happen not too long after we moved in here. The problem turned out to be damage done by the Town when they did some work on the road, so they paid for all our costs. But it was still a PITA :-)

Michelle - I hope your problems are not too serious... get well soon.

gb - are you getting snow there? A friend in London says they're getting a big blast - he can't get out of the driveway and it's still coming down. Apparently Toronto has also had a lot. We've got nothing here.

Lilac turtleneck here - and denim shirt.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2010 at 10:34AM
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yeonasky(z8b VancouverBC)

Hi everyone. Sorry to hear about the health woes Michelle and Woody.

I don't know if you remember me, but I was reading your posts after a very long absence, and realized that this is the place I kept getting drawn to. I've tried to find a place to really belong on the inet, since stopping posting here and have realized, that although I'm not good at sharing myself, or my life with people as a whole, I am more comfortable here than anyplace else. So if it's all right I would like to post here sometimes, again. I know I'm a square block in a round hole, still, but sometimes I'd like to share my squarish thoughts, and hear more of other people's life and thoughts. It puts one's life in perspective to hear others' thoughts. I like the fact that you don't purposefully denigrate others, like in the other websites I've tried. Plus you talk about family pets and gardens. Some of my favourite things.

I woke up this morning asking myself what I was going to do for my soul today. I know that sounds funny, but I do have strange thoughts often. I decided that I would renew my vow to myself to say I love the people I love, to make sure to spend time with the people I love, and to act lovingly to the people, and pets and plants,that I love, at least once a week, preferably much more. Of course that includes taking care of myself as well. I also have decided to do something to help someone in need of help, though I'm not sure what I'll do yet. I'll have to think on that.

So I was searching for a talk forum on spirituality, and only found websites where people were putting down others for any spiritual belief. I'm not a particularly religious person, but I still seek spirituality in my life. It was disheartening to see how people swore and belittled one another for their beliefs. There are billions of beliefs out there. If we can't have calm discourse or at least leave room for those beliefs, if they harm no one else, how can we move forward. Is there really that much anger in the world? No wonder it makes me nervous being around people. The mother in me feels so sad for people who are subjected to others' abuses, and feels very badly for the person who is driven to abuse, whether ill or not.

I hope this topic is appropriate for this site. Please let me know if I overstepped the bounds. Sometimes I talk about things and no one else is interested, and I only realize that after their computer eyes glaze over.

Sorry for the run-on sentences.


    Bookmark   December 6, 2010 at 3:55PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Yeona! It feels like old home week to have you return! Welcome back!

I don't know how others feel, but I have been putting things on separate threads here when I feel not everyone wants me to talk on certain subjects. (Haiti, grandchildren...) But at times I do bring those topics up briefly here too. So do what makes you comfortable!

I'm in a rush today....but will leave with a photo.


    Bookmark   December 6, 2010 at 4:20PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

Hi Yeona!

Cute Chistmas pictue gb - Ivy's smile is definitely a winner:-) BTW - my family doctor is heavily involved in relief efforts in Haiti still. He's connected to a children's hospital there and spends a fair bit of time down there. When I saw him last week, I asked him if he's ever run into the group your son is involved with. He wasn't familiar with them but was interested in what little I was able to tell him. Maybe they'll run into each other sometime.... The link below is about him just after the eathquake happened.

We still have no snow here although nearby areas have got some. A friend of Randy's in London, Ontario is snowed in at their place. Randy got me to take the picture below so he could e-mail it to his friend. His friend's response profane!

Here is a link that might be useful: my doctor

    Bookmark   December 6, 2010 at 4:43PM
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Hi Yeona, I have thought of you from time to time.
Good to hear from you.

Bug I like seeing all three of the gkids together.

Woody, Randy's picture definitely thumbs his nose at his friend. LOL

Mr. Rooter did his job and things are up and running again. We still will have the septic tank pumped on Wed. though, which is the real reason it backed up. I had a told you so to Bob as he swore it was tree roots. He thinks septic tanks never need pumped. But he is wrong. I had been trying to get him to have it done for quite awhile now.

Off to make some cream of mushroom soup. N

    Bookmark   December 6, 2010 at 5:16PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

Norma - LOL tree roots! Men...! :-) I hope you made sure he is the one to clean the basement floor!

Randy's friend just responded with this photo and the comment:
Notice the absence of shorts, sunglasses, or any other hint of climatic comfort.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2010 at 5:39PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Woody, we have snow here, but not enough to cancel our dinner party! Lasagna is cooking already.
I notice Randy was also wearing sandals....Not here!!! Phoebe needs a good wipe down after her sorties.
Thanks for the article. It is useful for an ongoing discussion with Adam's friend Tim from Waveplace. Yes, Ivy's smile is adorable and will take her far...the rascal!
And in case Marian is out there, here's a shot for you with early training for puzzle making.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2010 at 6:02PM
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Happy Monday friends..did a bit of a frost damage inspection WALAT this evening , looks like I only have 2 containers that suffered, though one is an Aloe striata that I thought would be ok, with a 25 degree hardiness. We got close to that for several nights-it hasn’t turned black but the color is off and the leaves feel a bit too soft.

Hi there Yeona ! I think you may be before my time here on the Idylls, but I think you were posting when I was still a lurker. It’s always nice to have another voice from the pacific time zone.
Re: your comments on spirit..I am not religious either, however my garden to me is an intensely spiritual place, in the sense that it heals, it spawns an intense inner happiness, and it demands a respect for nature, for our planet, and for the creatures we share it with. I think all of us here on the Idylls share a connection in that way. �"some of us do in fact practice a religion, but all of us have an important relationship with the earth.

Woody, I lol at that pic of Randy. Out here on the left coast men have an extreme attachment to shorts- my late DH always insisted on wearing them until November 1st, no matter the weather.

Norma, glad to hear the sewer issues are on the mend.

Oooh, Saucy, I can’t wait to see the dyes etc that you use on your leaves ! A conventional job has it’s benefits, but if you are in a position to be selective I say go creative. Grab those ideas that are swimming around ..nothing to lose, right ?

Ok, I’m off to have some dinner …

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   December 6, 2010 at 9:23PM
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Well if it isn't Yeona - great to have you back!

Love the puzzle in the round.

What a creative picture of Randy.

We have just a bit of snow here.

Rick hauled the Christmas decorations downstairs. I put a few things out but have to dust each surface first. I wonder how I've accumulated so much seasonal stuff. I think this is the year I should get rid of some of it.


    Bookmark   December 6, 2010 at 10:56PM
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yeonasky(z8b VancouverBC)

Hi again everyone. Thanks for greetings. And thanks for the replies to my rantings. I was so frustrated and discouraged with the anger displayed on some websites, so I was just looking for some calmness. I don't generally talk about my spiritual beliefs, so to speak, but sometimes it's nice to, at least acknowledge them, however non traditional and transistional they may be. I agree that the garden is healing and nurturing, and for me, a confirmation of the hope of the continuation of the best of the beauty of life.

My garden was frosted and frozen completely over and a violette clematis in a container full of water completely froze. Why did I forget to plant that out? Maybe it will come back.

Lol on Randy's outfit. I won't be wearing sandals in the cold and wet anytime soon. We don't get much snow here in Vancouver, but the cold wet seeps deep into the bones. I layer my clothes three shirts and a sweater deep and only put the heat up to 68F for Richea when he comes home. He really feels the cold, and isn't a good layerer, if that's a word.

I haven't put out many Christmas decorations yet this year. I'm looking forward to doing the tree, more than I was last year, though.

Love the Grandkids photos. No gkids here yet, though DD got married July 30 this year to a great guy. He's in school right now taking electrical engineering so things are heading in the right direction, but to tight financially for kids, right at this moment. Hopefully they'll start a family in the next few years, though.

We lost Jagger, our Husky Lab cross, this year, 2 months shy of 16. Life feels strange without him. We'll miss him for a long time.

I've forgotten how to post pictures, but I think I can do it through my inet service. How do you post your pictures?

V love the chicks. They approved the raising of up to 4 chickens per household with a permit here in Vancouver, but a lot of people don't like the idea. They believe that the chickens will attract coyotes, raccoons, skunks and rodents. I think we're already surrounded anyway, so it won't make much of a difference. I could be wrong, but the idea of being more self sustaining does appeal to me. I wonder how cold they can be before they need heat?

I never had much energy before I battled back the migraines, so I couldn't think much of more than looking after the kids, and cooking, and bare minimum cleaning. Now that the kids are grown and I have hardly any migraines, I can think of other things like what's happening in Haiti, etc. I'm not sure what I'm supposed to do to help though. I don't have money to spare, though I'm really working hard to have enough to give some, so I feel fairly ineffective in helping. I think for now it will have to be some kind of volunteering. Maybe dog walking and helping with seniors who can't do for themselves. Anyway with all this energy, I can finally entertain some way to help others.

I feel guilty if I take a day off from walking, though my son walks the dog when I don't. I have a schedule of what to do every day and stick to that fairly well, but find I still take one day a week off from it, though I'm consistent with the yoga, tai chi and dreaded dishes, every day.

I would love to feel comfortable here being who I am, but I'm not sure I'll ever pick up the skills needed for easy casual conversation. I think I've always been very sensitive and nervous, which makes it difficult to not be too serious. I think I need humour therapy. The difficulty is that I don't find many comics to be funny. It's because I don't like too much profanity, or off colour jokes. Not that I don't use the colourful words when I'm alone and stub my toe. DH laughs uproariously at comics, while I don't get the jokes or like the jokes, most of the time. What do you all laugh at?

Anyway it's time to finish writing for the night. I'm writing a scifi book right now. It might never see the light of day, but I still have to write it, anyway. Maybe the next book will be a comedy, and that way I'll find my funnybone.

Take care all,


    Bookmark   December 7, 2010 at 2:34AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

It looks like Yeona was up late last night! Actually the time difference between us accounts for much of that.

I was up until 1am cleaning up after our guests departed. It was a good gathering, but as usual, the confident "kids" neglected to follow the directions and several of them were lost and late. We have several bridges out, and they are convinced Google or their GPS will get them here. Wrong. They were well fed and it is always fun to hear their stories. Last night's crew was from Indonesia, Colombia, Brazil, India, Alberta, Ottawa Ontario, Greece, Serbia, Poland and Jordan! It's great to see how they bond together because of their classwork teams.

Yeona, it can be difficult when things go sour on a forum. It takes time for things to come together once again. I like to think we manage well with Idylls. It certainly has changed over the years, but I think we have quite a few close bonds. Our summer gatherings can't be beat though and knowing people virtually before meeting personally makes such a difference.

And so Yeona had a summer wedding! That was a very special time in our family and it sounds like it was for you too. How wonderful to like the son in law so much!

To post photos here I type [img src=" in front of the picture code followed by "] You must substitute the brackets for the ones I showed you above though. Perhaps that helps?

I'm so sorry about the loss of your 16 year old companion. After the loss of our Charlotte (Bouvier des Flandres) we were very lonesome and found a new Bouvier puppy 3-4 months later. Phoebe is different in many ways, but goofy and wonderful. She'll be three years old this month!

What do I laugh at/with? Dog antics, grand children interaction, life in general. Rather than cry, I manage to find humor in the predictability in people's behavior...on a good day that is. Sometimes I laugh at words and misspellings, sometimes funny signage too. ("Pants, 1/2 off!", "Trespassers may be electrocuted!") I have gardening buddies and we occasionally play with the idea of a "naughty" garden with plants with names such as Black Negligee, Tattoo, Partytime, Lakeside Love Affair, Striptease, etc. It's good for a few chuckles when things get gloomy. Plant names are often ridiculous!

I'm glad you're keeping up with your yoga and that the migraines have largely vanished.

Off to get something accomplished with my day.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2010 at 9:25AM
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Brrr,it's cold here. I think I will forgo my walk outside and walk around furniture stores instead. We are in the market for new recliners and since I am already dressed for an outing (had to go get a blood test) We might as well go today. I think I can wrangle lunch out of the deal too. Picking up a friend who is also recliner shopping so it should be fun.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2010 at 12:41PM
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I haven't checked in for a few days and I see I missed a lot!

Happy Birthday Mary!! I am so glad you had a nice day.

Yeona!!! So nice to "see" you again. I think of you often, and am glad things are going well for you and your family. I feel that the group here on the idylls is a special gathering of like minded people. One of the things I like so much about this group is the positive nonjudgemental energy. When things go wrong in someone's life or if someone in the group is having a tough situation, everyone here is supportive without being critical. I also think this is a thoughtful, caring group who are more interested in making a connection to like minded people, and I think we all have a lot in common. So much for rambling...anyway, I like to laugh, and the things that make me laugh or at least smile a lot are my kids and grandkids. Sometimes the animal antics. As far as belly laughs, I get those when I am with a group of friends talking about fun things. I don't get or like sarcasm or jokes made at someone else's expense. I enjoy so much your posts, and hope that you are able to get some enjoyment from it.

Norma, hope you found a recliner you liked, and lunch is good too.

Woody, good pic of Randy!

Michelle, Skip is out of town this week so I put up the house decorations and have been cleaning out closets. I picked the tree up today, and plan to put it up when he gets home. It is a Fraser Fir, I like them the firs the best. They didn't have any Douglas Firs. We get a real tree, it is important to Skip, so we have always done it. I am almost getting to the age where I would like to just get an artificial one and wrap it in a big garbage bag till the next year:) Or use the tiny table top one.

Kathy, someone mentioned you are getting a goose for Christmas? I couldn't find your post, but am curious to know if you have had one before and how you plan to cook it? Orange sauce or something like that?

Bug, cute pics of the kids. I bet you are getting excited to see them soon.

I have been making some progress on cleaning the house out, and getting rid of stuff. I bagged up 6 bags of garbage bags with things that no one else would want, stuff that got wet in the basement over the year. Other things I asked the kids if they wanted, but they said no, so that will be going to the Goodwill. They are not pack rats at all. I still have tons of stuff I need to get rid out of here. My knee is hurting pretty bad, and it doesn't seem to be improving, so I told Skip we have got to get rid of some of this junk and make this house easier to maintain. I can't run up and down the steps 25 times a day anymore. I have been going to the gym everyday and getting into the pool. I can swim and the hot tub after helps, but it hurts pretty bad. I have to keep the movement I have or I will be in trouble.
Enough of my moaning...

Anyway, I hope you all stay warm, and have a nice evening!


    Bookmark   December 7, 2010 at 6:49PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

Cold here too, but still snow-free. London, Ontario - where the friend Randy was exchanging pictures with lives, has had 3 feet of snow and it's still coming down! I certainly hope it continues to miss us.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2010 at 6:50PM
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Drema, I am still firmly in the real tree camp, though I can see downsizing in the future. As long as family Christmas is at my house I feel like I need to have something decent sized with all the ornaments my kids remember from years past. I did have a �fall-over� incident last year so I am going to be far more vigilant on the stability front ! No goose here ! We are having Beef Tenderloin with cabernet �truffle sauce (the truffle will cost more than the Christmas tree I fear) . I always reserve Christmas for one of my rare beef meals, and get the �good stuff�, grass fed-local from Sonoma County.

Yeona, I use Picasa web albums for my photo sharing site. It�s free, and I can size them as I wish. Please feel free to ask if you need more details�

OK folks, I �m going to curl up with a book, waiting for the rain to start again.

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   December 7, 2010 at 10:32PM
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yeonasky(z8b VancouverBC)

The liquid sunshine is pouring down here, again. It makes me happy, with all those negative ions, but makes DH's SAD worse. We're opposites in most ways, except the important ones, like love and children I always say. He's a morning person and I'm a night person. He's social and brave, I'm trying for social, but slip back easily to withdrawn, and timid. Ah well, it'll be 30 years next March, so we're doing something right.

Thanks for the encouraging words, Drema. DH makes me laugh, but belly laughs are what I was thinking of, I guess. I'll keep trying to find those as I like that good feeling. For my osteo arthritis knee, exercising it daily works, and for the really bad times Glucosamine Rub helps with the pain and swelling. I hope something helps. I hate pain, but have been lucky in finding something more natural to deal with it. I know it doesn't work that way for everyone, though. I do focus on taking anti inflamatory foods, and herbs, like oregano and turmeric, and have noticed less pain in general when doing that.

Yes 'bug the time difference does account for some of the writing late at night. I do most of my writing late at night, though, so it seems natural to me. My mind is much more active and feverish with ideas and doesn't shut off easily when it's time for the rest of me to sleep. It takes at least an hour to get to sleep. I wish I could record my thoughts and ideas in bed so I could put them to rest and get to sleep earlier. I envy those who fall asleep at the drop of a hat.

I love Christmas Decorations as I said and was looking for decorating ideas, and found some sites with pics. I linked and pasted the sites below.

Here's a site with cardboard and bamboo Xmax trees. The bamboo tree is my favourite so far.

I love the third one from the bottom in the linked site. I love red in my Christmas decorations.

Time to finish up and get back to writing for a few more minutes.

Night all,


Here is a link that might be useful: Christmas Ideas

    Bookmark   December 8, 2010 at 2:48AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

It is minus 15C here tonight. That's about 5F and colder than I need. It has been sunny and clear though, which is the kind of weather I expect to have in Edmonton at Christmas time.

Miss Ivy has had the side of her crib removed and so sleeps in a bed of sorts now, free to come and go. And so, she decided yesterday that she needs to be near their tree. This is how they found her:

I made stuffed peppers for dinner and DH is now marking papers by the wood stove, Phoebe at his side. I took her portrait this afternoon:

I'm enjoying the stars above and hope you are too! Good night!

    Bookmark   December 8, 2010 at 10:35PM
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Gheesh Bug, and I thought it was cold here. At least you are getting tunned up for Edmonton.

Lol. Ivy choosing to be near the tree. It is magical for the little ones.
Nice pictute of Phoebe. I know how hard it is to get the features to show up on a black dog. Direct sun seems to work best.

Well we wound up buying the new recliners yesterday after looking at four or five places, it was getting us confused not to mention short tempered with each other. Probably somewhere there are some we would like better. But we were ready to be done with it. They will be delievered next Tues.

I have not walked the last two days so that is on the top of my agenda today. It's a little warmer out than the last two days, and some rain or snow is predicted soon.

I have been watching a flock of robins drinking at the pond. The pond has a bit of ice on it but the falls are running.

Not much else happening here. n

    Bookmark   December 9, 2010 at 9:58AM
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It's pretty cold here, too. Not as cold as at 'bug's house, but she's farther north that I am. Cat box activity has increased markedly!

Darling pictures and funny pictures. I need to "lose" picturetrail and get with the Picasa thing, clearly. No time for fiddling with that right now, though. Just organizing the pictures would be a nice start about now!

Work is work. That's why we call it "work"!

The Salon is becoming a very, VERY comforting space, you guys. It's becoming, "mine" to such an extent that leaving it for... "work" is increasingly difficult. But the time is not yet right to loose the moorings entirely and sail into the coming day. And I'm "good with that"!!! The mental seperation has happened, all that remains are the "loose ends" and I have plenty of time to deal with those. :)

This weekend is to be devoted to decorations. And I'm looking forward to it. I found the old window candles from THTTF, gave them a coat of copper paint to hide the discolored plastic and installed new bulbs in them. I built a little "stage" that elevates the centre candle, pickled it to match the window woodwork and rigged up the timer. I have added two candles thusfar and will add the 3rd. on Sunday morning. While not officially Catholic, I was raised in the Episcopal church and so many of the traditions are the same. Isn't it sad to think of the all the good people burned and tortured for such really simple things? Talk about "missing the forest for the trees". Don't get me wrong, I have no thoughts of church attendance any time soon, but I DO like the intermingling of Church and Pagan rites at this, the "darkest" time of year, when anticipation of soon to be lengthening days and the Advent season are conveniently packaged for all. Party down!!

Gotta go "season" the greens and get the Huge One out for a frosty romp.

(Yeona, nice to see you resurface).

    Bookmark   December 9, 2010 at 2:46PM
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And good to have a post from you Chelone. I like that you are enjoying the the Salon. I am a firm believer in having a space of your own.

I need to lose picturetrail too.

My walk was great. I stayed plenty warm.

I have yet to bring anything seasonal out. We still look like thansgiving.LOL

    Bookmark   December 9, 2010 at 3:44PM
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Hello Idylls!

A special Hello to Yeona and welcome back;0) My DH and I are complete oppoosites but I think that is why we still find each other interesting and have fun together. We just reached the 24 year mark.

Photos are all wonderful, festive and fun.

The holiday season is almost upon us, and there are some favorite Christmas traditions to look forward to, number one being a visit from England from Mum. We are also caroling at a retirement home, have a musical evening at a neighbors where we play chamber music together, my bookgroup has a lunch at a fancy country club and we spend Christmas Eve at a dear friend's house.

Shopping was easy this year. We buy rather few presents, and Annie and David decided they would like tickets to a rock concert which I will take them to in April in Cleveland. As I am too old for such things (and Annie old enough to chaperone David) I will hang out instead at the hotel with Zu-Zu, and even wondered if there were any Idyllers close enough to come visit (Drema, Babs......)

I am busy as ever crafting gifts (lots of needle felted ornaments) and this year's presents from the kitchen will include homemade marshmallows and a fun chocolate "salami".

Chelone - we will be decorating this weekend too. Hope you share some of your results. Ours are fairly simple with wreaths, our tree and potted bulbs. Having a young pup we'll have to watch carefully that nothing becomes a hazard.

Tonight is Zu-Zu's second puppy training class. She loved the first one and had a ball racing around with the other pups in the supervised "play" session. She seemed quite oblivious to the fact that many of the other puppies were several times her size (an English sheepdog, Doberman, and several labs). She is true to the Pugs' motto - "A lot of dog in little space", which combined with her sweet nature makes for a winning combination. While I miss Clousseau each and every day, we are falling in love with Zu-Zu as well.


    Bookmark   December 9, 2010 at 3:48PM
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Sounds like a fun holiday lineup. Mary and I know how you all look forward to your moms visit.

I have never been around a pug, so I enjoy reading about Zu Zu.
I hope we get to see some of your christmas crafts.

I hope you will be able to connect with Drema or Babs when the time comes. Who are the rock group the kids want to see?

    Bookmark   December 9, 2010 at 7:19PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

We've had a few very cold days here and are having a little snowstorm tonight. The book club is getting together at a local establishment, but I seem to be unable to remove the blanket from my lap. It's been a busy week so I think there's no harm in hunkering down tonight.

Last night, DH thought he was snoozing away in a hotel bed and decided to roll over to the cool portion of the sheets. He awoke with quite a start when he realized the other half of the bed was occupied! Yes, he was home and it was me in the bed, but it took him over an hour to get back to sleep. Luckily, he didn't wake up "the other woman" and I got to hear the story in the morning. :)

Yeona, it's nice to see you back. Yes, there are many sinkholes of unpleasantness around the web, but the idylls have remained a pleasant oasis. I'm glad you've decided to join us again.

Chelone, good to hear of the progress on The Salon. Advent has become one of my favorite seasons with the emphasis on the coming of light - so very needed these days in more ways than one!

By the way, I've made my debut on YouTube! Our handbell choir teamed up with the choir from another church to perform a pretty challenging piece of music, and when we played at the other church someone videotaped the performance. I'm just to the right of the director, and I'm the one who gets to bang the bells every once in a while. The piece is called Elegy and it is very moving.


Here is a link that might be useful: Elegy

    Bookmark   December 9, 2010 at 9:16PM
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I started getting boxes down tonight- was feeling as though I was lagging on the festive decor activities- once Chelone gets into the act it's my cue to make a move ! I only have one day off this week, so I'm going to go get my tree on Saturday (my off day) and I expect it will take me til about Wednesday to complete the tree and get the rest of the stuff up. I think my primary focus on Sat will be to get the Fabulous Mantle Display up and running, I've decided to take the pruners down to the river for my material this year. I have six birdnests that I've collected , and I notice another up in Lady Banks ( this will be the 3rd from her thatch) so they will be incorporated as well.

'bug, Phoebe looks truly majestic -just love her 'hairdo '! What kind of recipe do you use for your stuffed peppers? I loved them as a child, but my DH hated peppers so I never cooked them � I would love to try a recipe this winter, and I�m sure the variations are vast .

Norma, I congratulate you on surviving the recliner shopping with your DH, lol. We eliminated the recliners here many years ago in favor of really 'deep' comfortable chairs with ottomans. I can fall asleep just as readily in one of those !

Chelone , one of the reasons I like Picasa is that (so far) it is ad-free , and is really user friendly for organizing my photos.I like having one application that gives me editing, photo organization and web-photo sharing. Plus I can link it into my blog too if I wish, though have not experimented with that as of yet.
Really glad to hear that the Salon is returning your sweat-investment with so much pleasure. All those windows, how could it not be a fine place to spend the day ? Just like living in the tree-tops . Give us a photo dammit !

Mary, I too hope you�ll share with us glimpse of your felted creations. Your fancy country-club lunch reminded me that my last FCCL with you, Saucy, Cindy �(was that all ? Maybe Deanne too?) when we tried to visit Tower Hill after IU6. I need to look back at the photos of that day.

V, how beautiful the hand bells are.. I don�t know if we have church groups that do bells here; I think it�s a wonderful tradition and one that needs to be kept alive .

Ok, I should mention that I am sporting an elegant charcoal-grey turtleneck tonight, but it is offset by a ratty green sweater that has seen better days , threadbare corduroy pants, and a pair of shoes that are indescribable.. WTH, since I can't describe them, how about a pic ? From Other

And by the way, has anyone else been having issues with punctuation marks on GW the last couple of months? Anyone have a workaround ? Annoying.

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   December 9, 2010 at 10:49PM
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Hi everyone. For some reason I don't feel tired tonight. Maybe it's because I laid in bed flat for 24 hours yesterday. I picked up a stomach bug from Baby Anna. Everyone at their house was sick except Jenny and the baby, so she asked me to come over long enough for her to run to the grocery. I didn't touch anything while there, but definitely smooched on the baby. An hour and a half after I left, she threw up. Luckily it only hit me for one day. I do not like being sick or slowed down for any reason.

Kathy, love the shoes. Those are my favorite kind. I have one pair of house shoes that I have been trying to replace for 2 years. They are the old scuff kind, flat on the bottom, no tread. Not to be found so far. Don't know about the punctuation.

Chelone, glad you are enjoying the salon! How nice that the plan is working for you.

V, I think it is hard to make the readjustment when Skip comes back into town. I know I sleep better, it must be an unconscience knowledge that I am off guard duty. But I definitely get used to eating cheese crackers and apples for dinner. Sometimes popcorn. Plus I get used to being by myself and making my own decisions, etc. He comes home, and it is sort of like having a long term guest. Then I get used to it, and he leaves again, LOL.

Mary, let me know in advance when you are coming to town and we can definitely get together. It isn't hard at all for me to come and see you, I drive into Cleveland all the time.

Well, I am going to go upstairs and try to read myself to sleep.


    Bookmark   December 10, 2010 at 12:16AM
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yeonasky(z8b VancouverBC)

Glad the flu only lasted 24 hours. That's the only way to have a flu, Drema. I know little ones are just too hard to resist, for smooches.

'bug, I always wonder at how each generation doesn't want to listen and learn from their wiser more learned counterparts. Especially when it comes to something like directions.

Thanks everyone for the help on posting pics. I just haven't had time lately to figure out which to do. I'll have to check out the Picasa web album. I've never heard of that one.

I remember Charlotte, and Clousseau. It really is hard to think of the loss of the special members of our families. I've still got Leah, my 12 year old Golden Retriever, but I can't seem to picture another dog in our lives, yet. I know I will eventually. Mary, my DD Alena loves pugs and talks of having one, frequently. She would just drool over your, Zu-Zu. 'bug, Phoebe's just magnificent. Wonderful profile.

Mary, congrats on the 24 year mark. And on your Birthday, too BTW. I really have to count to see if it's true, when I think about reaching 30 years. Yup 2011-1981 really = 30, lol. My how the time has flown, as they say. I think I'm appreciating Richea even more as the years go by, believe it or not. It's a marvel he hasn't run screaming, lol.

Lol at you DH getting a surprise, V. I guess it's easy to get used to not sharing a bed. When I wake up for whatever reason I have trouble getting back to sleep too, so I sympathise. Loved the bell song, BTW. Very moving, as you said.

I'm lagging too decorations wise, Kathy. I think it's because I don't have a tree yet. I've always had real trees, but this year I'm looking at fake. It's not what I want to do, but I have one and money is tight, so I'm going to pull it in from the back porch and give decorating it a try. I'm also thinking about using a blank wall in the livingroom and just hanging ornaments in a tree shaped pattern. I'd have to do both to use all of my ornaments.

Kathy do you write your stuff in word then put it on the Idylls to post it. If so the website I've linked below suggests that you go to MS word help. "You may want to type the subject "smart quotes" into Word help, and see whether that does the trick." Hope that helps. If not maybe some savvy person at a computer store has an answer.

My indoor shoes always get worn right out before I get another pair. I hate shoe shopping so I bought 2 last time I found what I liked. I now stand and work at the computer, because I felt like I was sitting my life away, so my shoes are thick plastic holey clogs. Not pretty but functional.

Norma glad that you found what will work. We have a recliner; or rather I should say Romeo our male cat has the recliner, but no one ever seemed to pull out the recliner to recline on it anyway. I used to put my feet up, then for some reason didn't feel comfortable doing that anymore. So now we're just straight sofa people, not even a ottoman. Now I only allow myself to sit when I'm beading necklaces and eating meals, anyway. It's surprising how quickly I got used to it.

Chelone the Salon sounds wonderful. I enjoy reading your turn of a phrase, as usual, as much as I enjoy hearing about you. I'm with you on enjoying the 'rites' of this season.

I've missed this. Thanks for the gracious welcome everyone. I'll try not to write a book every time.

Night, night,

Here is a link that might be useful: Upside down question marks

    Bookmark   December 10, 2010 at 3:47AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Good morning!

The interesting thing for me is that my mother would be 98 today. She was born on HER mother's birthday as well!

It is cold still, around 24F, and gloomy. I have several errands that need doing, but I am reluctant to get out there, to drive. I still must find some sort of gift for the impossible one, DH. I guess that is TGFTIO. There's always someone like that who wants nothing but deserves something special. We have managed some very special things this year (IMO)and it is fun to prepare them: The photo books for the Edmonton family, the blog I set up for DS, the different foreign currencies for grandson Skyler, binding the 30 year old books DH created to teach DD to read long ago, PINK bunny slippers for Ivy...but so far I don't know Leo well enough to get him that special something. So he will get clothes and baby books and cuddles.

Last weekend we shopped for the silly presents for our Gravel Watch group's brunch party...taking place this weekend. One gets a new toy car, another will receive a flowered plunger (she recently took the plunge and got married), 2 David & Goliath Certificates of Merit for winning court battles, and so on. The dollar store carries amazing things!

I'm exhausted, but eager to wrap all this up and be on our way westward.

My recipe for the stuffed peppers was an empty-the-fridge thing, somewhat like this: I suggest you try alternatives, like Mexican ones, etc. I thought this one on Google sounded good: Couscous and Feta Stuffed Peppers Recipe : Epicurious. DH likes them now though he didn't at all when we met (in 1964!)

Yeona, I think getting another dog is a compliment to the lost ones. They were so loved that you need to share your life with more.

Off to listen to V's bell ringing concert. Mom & Dad were a part of their church bell ringing group as well. My brother will play toy piano for his Friend's Meeting in January. The song below is the one he will perform. Listen to the whole thing, or you will not get it. It is variations followed by the theme, rather than the more usual theme followed by variations. You will see why.

Happy Today!

Here is a link that might be useful: Music Box Version

    Bookmark   December 10, 2010 at 10:09AM
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Thanks Yeona for the link ; I can imagine that in a frenzy of typing I might have hit a combination of keys that turned on some sort of auto �format. I�ve been typing my posts in Word for years , but this punctuation issue has only come up recently. I�m fiddleing around with the settings tonight .

I�m going to head up the valley in the morning and get my tree-I may have to heft it into a bucket of water for a couple of days til it dries off (lots of rain last week) and I have to work on Sunday so have limited time to get the thing set up .

Thanks too �bug for the stuffed pepper info. I�ll try a couple.

All for tonight, chores and some veg-time on the agenda�waves !

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   December 10, 2010 at 10:21PM
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Good evening everyone. This evenings post comes from my new laptop which arrived today. I've never had a laptop before.
I need my recliner. When my knees hurt is feels so good. We thought about the chair/ottomen option but it would make our room too crowded. When the kids come over, we number 20 so space was a consideration. I think that the laptop and recliner will be a good combination for me.

The decorations still aren't complete but it sounds like nasty weather this weekend, so I should be able to wrap things up. So far I've got 3 strings of lights that don't work. Of course one string was on the wreath and working but quit when I hung it outside. We were planning on going to Sioux Falls for Christmas shopping, but that will have to wait. DH has the TV on in the other room and I hear words such as "blizzard" "wind chill" etc.

Kathy, the mantel display with the nests sounds interesting. We will need pictures for sure.

V, the bell performance is lovely. Our church has bells for the children and once a month they play. You know the colored ones. It's a great experience for the little ones. Kenzie will participate this month.

'bug, that is the cutest picture especially with the stockings hanging above her. To add to your list, I planted erynguim 'Naughty Jackpot' this summer.

My DH makes me laugh quite a bit.
Well, I'd best say good night.


    Bookmark   December 10, 2010 at 11:09PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

The black & white striped turtleneck needs to be dumped in the laundry. I've been wearing it for days...

I've been grumpy about Skyler's Mom's antics once more, feelings not appropriate to the season. It is sinking in that she will be a life long harasser of my favorite family.

Last night we finally finished Skyler's photo book which is about his uncle's trip to Haiti, the school and kids there, as well as about the currency they use, a bit about the earthquake and rebuilding, also about the kite flying at the tent city with the deaf children. I think he'll like it. We also wrapped about 20 silly gifts for the Gravel Watch group.

Tonight Phoebe goes for a sleep-over at a friend's place. He wants to see how things go with his cat before Phoebe spends a week there for Christmas! Phoebe has met the cat before, but not over-night or while our friend was away at work.

Tried to get DH's gift yesterday...and failed. Still NOTHING for this guy! I may resort to taking him shopping with me and see if that produces results...

Much to accomplish today. Later! I'm sure many of us are racing around these days!

    Bookmark   December 11, 2010 at 9:24AM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

The dog situation here this evening:

Copper is just here overnight. Her 'parents' are having a family Christmas party and a large dog that is suspicious of strangers is not a welcome addition!

Blue will be spending Christmas Day with us - his 'parents' come back on the 20th but they will be spending Christmas day in London, Ont., so Blue will join our Christmas festivities.

Drema - I hope you're all better now...
Michelle - it sounds like you'll be cozy in the recliner with the laptop!
gb - we loved the Ivy and the tree picture. I was curious about your comment yesterday about your mother's birthday... Was it your birthday too, or was one of the grandkids born on Sarah's birthday? I've just been skimming so I've probably missed something relevant... :-)

We've had a frustrating medical week - the conclusion after this week's appointments is that the 'cystic mass' in my chest is 'a mystery' that looks benign and hasn't increased in size since it was detected a few months ago. So we're waiting for an appointment with another specialist....!

    Bookmark   December 11, 2010 at 4:51PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

I forgot to mention... I decided to sign up of another course at the University of Guelph's distance education program. The only one that looked interesting was the Computer Assisted Design one - it uses a student version of one of the fancy design packages and, since the student license is for 12 months, I'd have 8 months to play around with it for my garden after the course is over. Should be fun! (Something to keep me from going brain-dead over the winter.)

The link below shows the course as full - I assume I'm in it because yesterday I got an e-mail asking me to fill out the application for the software...

Here is a link that might be useful: CAD course

    Bookmark   December 11, 2010 at 4:58PM
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The first draft of the Fabulous Mantle display is in-situ. More materials are needed for completion, specifically a bag of sphagnum moss-I should be able to obtain that on Tuesday. It�s primarily natural materials.. I went on a gathering foray down to the river trail this morning with a bucket and my Felcos . The weather was nice today-no rain for a change- so the trail was busy , and I expect a few sidelong glances were made at the individual rooting around in the brush with her clippers, lol. I�ll share a pic once I have the final version in place. Also got my tree which is in a bucket of water outside �have to work tomorrow so there is no time to bring it in and get it set up til mid-week., and DS�s help will be needed for the necessary furniture movement/installation. I did get all the ornaments down from the upper garage and closet shelves-they are staged and ready .

Your photo book for Skylar sounds fabu 'bug. What a keepsake that will be for him.

Woody, your pics of the canine guests always make me pine for a dog of my own, but my time at the awfice and the increasing travel make it impractical. Someday! Benign is a good term. I hope you are feeling otherwise well !

One of my awfice mates does the 'village thing' at Christmas, and she had enough extra (she's been very successful at garage sales) to bring some to work so we could decorate there . We re-arranged the bookcase where we keep vendor info and placed the buildings. I went out and cut branches off the redwoods in the parking lot area , they became a nice evergreen background. Point being, it made me think about Martie and what a long time it's been since she came to see us. Waving at you Martie if you're lurking !

Sweet dreams friends�

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   December 11, 2010 at 8:27PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Phoebe has left for her overnight visit with our friend Denis and his cat Kiara. Kiara will no doubt tease her, so we'll see how it goes! ;)

Woody, I guess the verdict on the mass is good news so far, but still sort of annoying! I'm glad you're taking on another course for the winter months!

My Mom was born on December 10th, 1912. Her mother, Mabel Lorenz Ives, was also born on December 10th. (I'm not sure of the year though.) Ivy's name is a reference to the Ives name.

Today DH and I bought each other Christmas gifts, not at all the sensitive kind that a woman is supposed to dream of. He wanted a shop vacuum and a tape measure. It seems I wanted a new computer chair and it is already assembled and being sat upon. So thankfully we don't need to take our own gifts out west with us. I wish I could take Ivy the cardboard boxes though...

We have made reservations for a very nice restaurant next weekend with our guests. We got the very last table! We seldom go to places like this, so I'm glad they had space for us.(Solé in Waterloo, Woody)

You can certainly tell that holidays are coming. The grocery store was madness this afternoon. It is very disappointing to see how things are changing. This particular "grocery" store just introduced about 6 aisles of clothing! It really annoys me because I like to buy food there and have the possibility of making a selection between brands. Oh well, I bought apples and made our own applesauce. We used to be able to buy "chunky style" there, but no more - only bland babyfood style puree.

Enough of that! Time to accomplish something before sleep time!

Sweet dreams everyone!

    Bookmark   December 11, 2010 at 8:40PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

OK Kathy, now the site doesn't like my accent mark on the restaurant name. The name is Sole with an accent above the letter 'e'.

And I also just realized that Skyler's Mom will give us grief because the book says "Uncle Adam" and she doesn't believe any of Sarah's relatives are related to Skyler. Bah! Just too bad. He's been around for five years and that's just the way he's been referred to all this time. Such is life.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2010 at 8:54PM
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So Skylars mom IS an adult right ? Just checking. Sounds like she may have missed out on some of the maturity factors.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2010 at 9:20PM
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Yesterday was a full fledged blizzard. Things seem somewhat better this morning without so much wind - yet. We have some pretty good drifts considering we had basically no snow before. We didn't go Christmas shopping and Kenzie didn't come last night as planned. So my tree still isn't up. I don't believe I've ever waited this long. I figure if I'm going to all the work I like it up by the 1st of Dec.

'bug, your grocery store reminds me of the one in our little town when I was growing up. You could purchase fabric, gift items and school uniforms. I don't believe there were clothes other than those. The gift items I think were so if you needed a wedding or shower gift you didn't need to leave town.

I'm wondering about Martie too and others that are missing. Remember our men Idylls. David of course but there were a couple of others at one time too.

I'm the office decorator. We have a skinny tree that's predecorated, a few centerpieces to sit on file cabinets, a wreath for the wall and for the front door as well as candles in the windows. The latter is my boss's deal, he likes them and puts them up.

Woody, it appears like good news about the mass but I'm sure you will feel better when they are more sure.

Here we have stopped agonizing about gifts for each other years ago and just don't get each other anything. Some years we don't get anything, some we get a joint gift of something we've been looking at and other years we buy ourselves something we want like this year I got my new computer. Rick had gotten a new trailer for hauling farm equipment. I've been teasing him that its his gift. I'm not sure he agrees.

I think I will get the tree up today, maybe write some cards and maybe make some thumbprint cookies. I like them but the are a lot of messing around.

Here's yesterday's accomplishment.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2010 at 11:44AM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

oooh! YUM Michelle!

    Bookmark   December 12, 2010 at 11:49AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Michelle, I'm sorry Kenzie couldn't join you for the cookie bake-off! We were lucky I guess, having had only rain and slush to deal with when driving to today's event.The snow has now begun and I hope to go sit by the fire and begin a knitting project.

For those of you who remember the HALLELUJAH CHORUS that I posted a short while back, here is a follow up. I particularly enjoyed the foot action...

Here is a link that might be useful: Silent monks and the Hallelujah Chorus

    Bookmark   December 12, 2010 at 3:48PM
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Red turtleneck and purple longjohns today. Layered clothes even in the house is good. At least the wind has died down, that is what made it so cold yesterday.
I am enjoying looking at the gardens in the winter sunlight. The grasses and other things still standing look good in the snow.

Not much going on here. We went to the library the other day and Bob stocked up on books. I only got one, but I picked out several instructional dvds for the guitar and those are keeping me busy.

I do think of Mary while reading my book(Corduroy Mansions) as it takes place in London. I am not far enough into it to make a judgement about it yet.

Stay cozy everyone. Norma

    Bookmark   December 13, 2010 at 11:58AM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

Norma, I'll be curious to hear what you think of the book. He sells a ton of books, but I read one last year and was not impressed. I keep wondering if I missed something.

Yesterday in the miserable weather we had our chicken round up. We selected 10 birds (including the three roosters) to be harvested. The "fowl" weather worked in our favor as the birds were moving very slow and were easy to catch. There was only one thing we completely miscalculated. We had our dog and my son's two dogs running around outside when we did this, and we were using two old dog kennels to contain the birds. When we put the first hen into one of the kennels, the dogs completely freaked out. Three dogs that would walk past a loose chicken without batting an eye suddenly were barking, clawing and generally going nuts at the sight of a bird in THEIR kennel. Oh my...

This morning DH helped me load the kennels in the car and I left shortly after 5:00 am to take them up to the processor in Wisconsin. Thankfully, the wind had finally died down overnight so there were no new drifts forming, but some of the roads were down to only one lane because of existing drifts. This former city child was a little surprised that on a very dark, bitterly cold morning there would be so much activity at the chicken processor. I was worried about finding the place because so many road signs were covered with snow, but you couldn't miss the pickups, livestock trailers and stacked-up poultry crates in front of the place.

Tomorrow morning my DIL will pick them up. We had a brief discussion about freezer space but then realized that we can utilize the large walkabout freezer (i.e. the deck) for the time being.

Michelle, the cookies look scrumptious, but I'm intrigued by the centerpiece as well. What's inside the jars? I love the look of it.

'bug, there are a lot of people in this world who are called Aunt or Uncle but are truly not related to the individual. In fact, the second definition in the dictionary says, "Used as a form of address for an older man, especially by children." So there!

Woody, glad you didn't get bad news on the mass, but it must be frustrating to not have a definitive answer, either. Love the dog situation! I have to tell you, when the dog-sitting situation was going bad here over our Thanksgiving, I thought of you many, many times!

It was a very early morning, so I'm off to bed! G'nite.


    Bookmark   December 13, 2010 at 9:53PM
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Tonight the 1st phase of housecleaning on prep for guests begins; starting out with the easy stuff , which is just a matter of editing the clutter. Houseguests seem to bring their own , especially those with pets and toddlers !

Purple longjohns ! Now I'm a little jealous Norma-mine are basic gray, black or off-white. Even here in zone 9 , I wear long johns (mostly the bottom half) all winter. I hate it when my legs are cold. I wonder what I would have to wear if I were in a climate that really got cold ? Maybe I'd bundle up in down..speaking of which ..
Last winter I mentioned here that I in the market for a down comforter, and was really unhappy with the choices locally. Chelone recommended Cuddledown in Maine , and I spent some time on their website. I never got around to ordering , spring came and the need for a warm bed declined. This November I revived my research and officially thanks Chelone ! I ordered the proper product for my temps here and boy is it perfect. Just the right weight , just the right warmth.The felines rather like it too.

'bug, loved the monks !

Time to get to work..hope all our midwest friends are staying warm and safe..

    Bookmark   December 13, 2010 at 10:08PM
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yeonasky(z8b VancouverBC)

I've been wearing a black zippered sweater under a black zippered hoody, lately. Nothing pretty or exciting, but they're easy on easy off. I'll need to replace the hoody soon. The sleeves are frayed and there are now official stains. Nothing gets the stains out, anymore. And of course (black) long-johns under my slacks. My shirts are always colourful. Right now I have purple and white shirts, but I do favour black in the slacks, and hoodies.

Woody great to hear your results came back 'benign'. Sorry you have to see another specialist. My 2nd youngest sister has numerous health problems and is constantly seeing one doctor after another, and we always feel frustrated while waiting for them to do something to actually help. Usually we have to go and demand help, since they do seem to listen to the squeakiest wheel, so to speak. Love the pile of pooches. I know you just do this for friends, but I've started dog walking and dog sitting as a business. It's way to do something I love, which is be around animals, and to earn a bit of money doing it.

GB loved listening to the music. That was cool.

Sorry to hear that Skyler's mother is so difficult. I know some people never learn to put jealousy aside to work with 'new family'. It's too bad. Skyler's lucky to have you.

You've inspired me to make stuffed green peppers. The rice is made. I just have to cut up a million veggies. My favourite part. Not.

I agree about it being a compliment to our dogs to get a new one, but for some reason I just can't go pick out a dog right now. I wanted a dog just about right away after losing my last dog. That's how I got Jagger. He lived so long for a big dog that I thought he would stay forever. When I'm ready it will be time to decide if I want a pure bred, like Leah or a mixed breed like Jagger was. I don't care if the dog is a puppy or not. Jagger was 7.5 months old when we got him and Leah was almost 5 months old.

My dogs have always had their own cats, but Jagger always wanted to chase other cats anyway. Leah just looks. She's got very good manners, unless she thinks she has to protect us, then she tries to act tough, by barking.

Michelle sorry about the bad weather putting the kibosh on your tree finding plans. I'm with you on wanting the decorations up or as long as possible. It is a lot of work, but I love seeing the results for the whole season. Yum yum on the cookies. I'm going to try making my cookies with dates as I can't tolerate any form of sugar well.

I owe $1.50 for overdue library books. :( I hate owing money. Oh well, I inevitably forget the date the books are due back. I have trouble getting into the good habit of writing when they're due on the calendar. Still, it's time to restock the reading material. I read everything, from scifi to best sellers and self help to business books. Richea only likes to read westerns and programming books. Oh, I forgot, add dirt biking magazines to that. If I had money right now that's what I'd get him for xmas. We'd donate magazines to the dirt biking group, so I wouldn't feel bad about getting him a subscription for a magazine. Maybe I'll surprise him when business picks up.

Lol on the kennel jealousy V. At least the dogs couldn't quite get into the kennel. And they were outside if they had to pee! Leah met one of her possible Christmas companions last week. The dog I will probably be sitting for is almost deaf and close to blind. Anyway calm welcoming Leah actually growled. I realized that she was protecting a bone I had forgotten to pick up and put away. I'll have to get some spare bones for my doggy guests. Leah never tries to take another dog's treat away, so that will work out fine. Glad you found the comforter of your dreams. I love my down comforter. When I think of it, though, they word still comes to me in Danish. We say Dyne, and Dyne batrike is a down comforter cover. I always had to help put it back on after it was laundered.

Time to sail to slumberland,


    Bookmark   December 14, 2010 at 4:18AM
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It was nice to come here this morning and find some good reading waiting for me. Everyone seemed to pop out of bed this morning and take care of their own business and that left me with a cup of coffee and you.

I am still experimenting with stains and I am liking the effect. I just need to play around a bit more and get comfortable. I ordered two more colors this morning: teal and cobalt blue. I am enjoying myself, though I wonder if painters mess up as much as I do, and if so, where are their outcasts? I am playing on leaves that didn't come out so great in the first place :)

I have been busy redecorating my boudoir - I bought a new comforter and that sparked the desire. I removed a couple of pieces of furniture that weren't working, and bought a couple of new things at a used furniture store that were more functional. That freed up space for me to add a small desk so that I might sit and write for a little bit of time each day. A laptop can allow you to form some pretty bad habits (sitting on the couch while typing) and I hope to break those.

I am pleased with my progress. Kathy, I thought about being creative, or going to a conventional job, and I think I've decided to be creative (though I haven't committed 100% in my mind, I don't think). I signed up for the welding class at a fine arts school. I have the basic welding techniques down, but I have questions that only someone with some artistic experience can answer. So I have dipped my toe in and plan to take a plunge, how's that?

Woody, your course looks very interesting! Waiting on docs is no fun. Taking a course is :)

It is so nice to have Yeona back! I wear basic black with bright colors, too. No long underwear here, though it would probably be a good idea. I have fleece lined athletic pants, though nothing athletic is going on inside them, lol.

I am going to go do something productive, now. I am.


    Bookmark   December 14, 2010 at 7:26AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Last evening I was among the absent for our book club. They discussed People of the Book. I had other plans, but I also had a problem I have been mulling over. Two members frequently pipe up with complaints about what we have read and are very vocal and overwhelming. I find that this squelches discussion and intimidates those who DO enjoy the reading. I have suggested (by email) my solution. We'll see what others think. I do like the fact that we disagree.

Today was my 'day with Debbie', the day when I get two hours of house cleaning. I'm still loving it! With company arriving this weekend, it was great to get the room tidied up and the sheets changed. She managed lots of dusting and vacuuming in other spots too. Aaaaaah!

I've been working on my new knitting project and when I do that, meals deteriorate. I think it will be sausages tonight. This morning I also had some editing work to do for DH. And then there has been more drama with Skyler's Mom. Sigh...

The day has been beautiful, though cold. Keeping the birds fed has been a challenge. There are plenty of rabbit tracks out there too.

Keep warm!

Here is a link that might be useful: Book Club December read

    Bookmark   December 14, 2010 at 4:17PM
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Full_Bloom(z5 IL)

Oh...I got so excited when I saw Norma mention one of my favorite books..."Corduroy"...

Oh......Corduroy *Mansion*...never mind!...I'm so!

Hope you are all having a wonderful holiday season and hope to be back soon to catch up. :-)


    Bookmark   December 14, 2010 at 10:43PM
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I wish I could have you all over for Christmas tea and cookies. As for the centerpiece with the cookies, I saw something similar at a local shop that is housed in an old barn. I purchased the greenery there. In the jars is fake snow like used for snow villages and some cinnamon sticks and small pine cones. On top of the jars are votive cups with white tea lights.
'bug, I saved some cookies for Kenzie to decorate.

I did get our tree up over the weekend. I left a bunch of ornaments for Kenzie to add. I used some burgundy ribbon trimmed with gold as the garland this year. Its fun to change things up a bit every few years. The boxes are put away and at least the main floor of the house is in order. Rick has an incentive to work on the windows upstairs. We need the bedrooms for 3 of his grandkids who will be staying over for a few days after Christmas while their parents go on a trip. He put 4 new windows in last March, the weather turned nice so he never finished the sills and trim.

Kathy, I used to love my down comforter, but these days its just too hot. I don't wear long johns either.

Saucy, its great to hear that your creative juices are flowing. Funny that you want to get off the couch and back to the desk and I'm looking for the exact opposite. Some of might have to do with the 7 hours I spend at a desk each day.

Speaking of desks, I really should post a picture of my new digs at work. I'm starting to get organized finally.

V, the chicken roundup sounds quite hilarous, but I'm sure it wasn't at the time. I've been in similar situations with cows.

I should really get back to the pre-tax work. I don't know why the end of the tax year has to fall right after Christmas.

Ei, I just refreshed and saw your post. Corduroy is sure cute! Great to have you pop in. I think of you often. Especially when I use exclaimation points.


    Bookmark   December 14, 2010 at 10:50PM
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Yay ..Its Ei ! I wonder if the Elves are installed ?

We had our little awfice get together this evening; the celebrations are scaled back substantially from what they used to be in the 'good old days' , but nicer in many ways. So dinner tonight was the fabu appetizers served-my faves being the jalapeno-artichoke dip, and the ABCCC. And what is that you ask ? Apple&Cranberry Chutney, Cashews,Brie,Curry. You take a wheel of Brie, you dust it lightly with curry, you spread the top with apple �cranberry chutney , sprinkle cashews on top , bake it�ooo-la-la ! And how about this �our hostess showed me the empty jar of the apricot chutney so I could see the brand and it was from Stonewall Kitchen of all places �OUR Stonewall Kitchen , of the fabu IU6. I was in fact the only person in the room who had actually been there- am I special or what ? So the moral of the story is, one can have an Idyll Moment anytime, anywhere.

Saucy, I am glad that you are fixed on the creative ..the 100% commitment can be hard, and it gets harder the older we get. One feels the need to be practical and responsible. But if there is no fulfillment �? I say if you are in a position to follow the heart, by all means do so. And you know you have plenty of cheerleaders here on the Idylls.

LOL Michelle, I have 1 or 2 'heat incidents' per night- I just throw off the covers, wait about 5 minutes and then cover back up again. Sometimes I also have to take off my socks; I debate the sock thing now every night before I get into bed-on or off ? I now have a few pairs of 'bed socks' that are faster to remove if the 'heat wave' hits.

Yeona, how funny you mentioned the stains that won't go away; I did a load of laundry last night and was fussing over 2 shirts that are at least semi-new, that I have ruined with salad dressing splotches-in the boob area of course. I keep trying to get the stains out to no avail. They are now becoming gardening wear.

Here are some photos from Stonewall Kitchen. I loved that garden; I really think it's the most beautiful veggie garden I've ever seen. I hope to get back to Maine again next year for another visit. From Idyllunion 6 July 2009 From Idyllunion 6 July 2009 From Idyllunion 6 July 2009

Idylls wait for lunch surrounded by Chelones handiwork..
From Idyllunion 6 July 2009

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   December 15, 2010 at 12:31AM
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jak1(4 Ontario Can)

Arrrggghhh! Lost my long wordy post! Hi to everyone, and especially Yeona who is a new face for me!

Cheers, Julie

    Bookmark   December 15, 2010 at 9:37AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Oh no! Sorry Julie!

Here's my short post: Sunny and very cold here. Ultra busy these days. Everyone at DD's is throwing up. Should be a joyous visit!!!


    Bookmark   December 15, 2010 at 10:06AM
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