Idyll # 346 Marching into the New Year!

saucydog(z5MA)December 28, 2007

2008 is approaching quickly :)

Carry on.....

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Bravo! I, for one, will not be dismayed to see 2007 recede into "the past".

I'm on my way back out to the garage where the helpmeet and are industriously cutting out the sheetrock for the flush installation of the flourescent lights. I helped with the measuring and marking and I'm the one who mans the shop vac., following behind the Sawzall as he cuts the 'rock. I then remove any screws and the attached pieces of strapping (to become kindlin'!). We have quite a little system going.

I'll try to get some pictures.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2007 at 7:49AM
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Every once in a while, my morning coffee tastes particularly good. This is one of those 'whiles'.

Kenzie made me laugh everytime she got to the 'Hey!' part of her song :) And Rahji, oh how you sparkle! When is your calendar coming out? Loved all of the Christmas cards and Monique's bd cards.

"If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things,
this is the best season of your life." -Wu-men

Found that when I was cleaning one of the little drawers in my bedside stand yesterday. It's a crooked shred of magazine paper that I ripped out some years ago. It works for homes too :) Another week until Salvation Army comes to clear my house of 'unnecessary things', but I have a list of what's leaving. It's not a final list, but a good working one. I even vacuumed the finished part of the basement. Which usually happens only before I have to let furnace or plumbing people down there. If I were on vacation all the time, my house would be so orderly! And I got my 07 files and spreadsheets ready to close, and set up the new year yesterday.

The back yard is free of fallen sticks for now. The weather is quite nice (40ish) and I noticed that a lot of the anemones and geraniums that I had divided and transplanted had basal foliage. So I guess they took. Being able to do yard clean-up in winter always seems like a bonus.

The half and half expires on Feb 1. When I start opening cream that expires in March, I know spring is not too far away!

Good tidings, Cynthia

    Bookmark   December 28, 2007 at 8:18AM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Good morning all,

We are having a day of sunshine and melting today after three inches snow last night its 34 degrees out and heading up to forty or so. Apparently our day temps are supposed to be in the 40 and 50 degree range for the next week or so. The weather person on NECN said there is an old Âsaw that says if you get lots of snow in December you get lots of mud in January. LOL

Doug and I are enjoying a few days of kicking back and relaxing and itÂs really nice to have a few days at home with no agenda or Âto-do list. IÂll probably start getting the decorations put away in the next couple days but might leave things up until New YearÂs Day.

Cynthia, I love it when you are on vacation because itÂs a treat to have such a nice chatty post from you. So rub it in that you are able to do outdoor garden work in the end of December. LOL Even all the debris in the yard are still buried under a foot of snow. WeÂll see what the melting over the next few days brings. If it does melt off and dry out IÂd love to get the oak leaves raked off the lawn and shredded. That will depend on whether or not this snow cover melts off and dries out. ~~ RE: Calendar, what a great idea, a twelve months of Rahjii calendar. I should do that. LOL

Chelone, I agree with you, IÂm not sad to see Â07 going away. IÂm looking forward to all the new opportunities for Â08.

Great Idyll Tydll SaucyÂ.

Woody, I agree totally ageing sucks!

David how great to hear from you! Sounds like you had a terrific Christmas.

Hi Monique, its great to see you popping in here regularly.

OK time to head out to the gym, have a great day everyone!

    Bookmark   December 28, 2007 at 9:07AM
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Good morning

Like Deanne, we are enjoying a few days of just being home together. I've been bitten by the miniatures bug again and have been totally absorbed in constructing a French Boulangerie that I will fill with miniature breads and pastries. It's great to have time to indulge in the fun things that get squeezed out of our regular schedule.

Annie and David are having a great time catching up with friends and just hanging out. We have all been sledding and David had an afternoon downhill skiing. We are keeping our fingers crossed that conditions hold for New Years Eve when we are hoping to ski at night, followed by fireworks. Unfortunately its been grey and rainy - not ideal alpine conditions. But on the other hand I might get my daffodils planted lOL!

David - great to hear from you. I love the idea of the Merman tree! Can we see a picture of it?

Woody - I agree with your sentiments on aging and was thinking how hard it must be dealing with those issues long distance.

Deanne - Rahjii looks gorgeous whatever he is wearing!

Like Cynthia I'm enjoying my cup of coffee and am about to start making a display case for the teeny tiny cakes.


    Bookmark   December 28, 2007 at 9:40AM
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It would be fun to see the tree, David, but will you please resize the shot so the rest of this thread doesn't require scrolling left to right? :)

I am in a holding pattern with respect to the sheetrock cutting. Helpmeet has salleyed forthe to purchase a small, light, hopefully battery powered circular saw to cut through an inconvenient arrangement of strapping on either end of one bank of the lights.

How "miniature" is this one going to be, Mary?

    Bookmark   December 28, 2007 at 9:48AM
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I'm back from the gym. Disappointing gym day as Nick and I went together, but he got a little nauseous and we had to leave right when I was getting into it :) I think he's been coming down with something....been complaining for a couple of days about not feeling "right".

I stopped and got a cafe latte, so my coffee is good, too.

I, too, want to see the Merman tree. David, your description of your holidays made me smile.

I'll agree with Woody's sentiments, too. Aging doesn't seem fair. Nothing's fair though, is it?

Wendy gave me three brug cuttings to care for until they can move out to my deck! I'm very excited about the prospect.

TTY'all Later, LOL....


    Bookmark   December 28, 2007 at 9:56AM
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Chelone - 1:12 scale so the shop front is approx 8 x 12 inches. It's fun doing something from another country - I just need to look up the price of a baguette. I also think I see reading glasses in my future.


    Bookmark   December 28, 2007 at 9:57AM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

So if I've spent the last few days doing "nothing", why am I behind in idylling?

Just a few quickie comments before I hop in the shower and get the day rolling.

Mary, am I the only one who thought that Babs' photo was a tad naughty? I was sure that photo would have gotten a rise out of you!

Deanne, I had to chuckle at your comment about the snowblower owing you nothing - that's one of my MIL's phrases, which came up the other day in reference to my love seat. That piece of furniture was ordered out of a cataolog 11 years ago, was quite cheap at the time and is quite shot now, but - it owes me nothing! Our mission today is to find a replacement. Dianthus and I visited a very large furniture store on Wednesday and found nothing that either of us liked at all. We passed on the "Big Tuna" wooden wall decor, marked down from $579 to a mere $39. And we almost wet our pants when a gentleman who was grinning from ear to ear marched it up to the sales desk!

I've enjoyed all the photos and holiday reports. We had a lovely couple of days with family, and I will share later today when I am back home watching the snow fall.

V. (voting for Michigan, by the way)

    Bookmark   December 28, 2007 at 9:59AM
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vtskiers(z6a CentralCT)

Before it gets too much later and I get trapped in my next meeting...


I'm waiting for Deanne to produce pictures of her cat playing with the backyard squirrels and the squirrels playing with the cat. If I hadn't seen it with my own eyes I never would have believed it.


    Bookmark   December 28, 2007 at 10:50AM
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Today I'm packing Christmas away for another year. We had such a nice day. Jen and Randy did a great job of hosting and Butterscotch was a big hit! I haven't even gotten the pictures out of the camera but soon.

I have enjoyed everyone elses pictures though. I love those rosy cheeks on Wyatt and Kenzie's just the sweetest little girl. Babs your gingerbread man is a good match for Mary's cookie girl, lol! And I loved seeing Cindy's Christmas bouquets too!

Just wanted to drop in and say HI. Back to the dismantling of Christmas.


Wishing Monique a Happy Belated Birthday too!

    Bookmark   December 28, 2007 at 11:27AM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

HI again,

I'm waiting for Doug to finish up putting the bread on for dinner so I thought I'd pop in for a bit. I've got to finish putting my pea soup together after he's done with the kitchen.

V. LOL about the 'Big Tuna'. Amazing what some people will spend money on. I guess there is something for everyone out there. Hope you find a nice love seat. ~~ BTW I'm looking to set dates for our 'Thumbs' party and was wondering if there is any time frame that works better for you??? We are all hoping you can join us again this year.

Mary, I can't wait to see your new miniature creation. Sounds marvelous. What are you making the baked goods out of? ~~ Also, wanted to ask you if there is a time that is good for you before I set dates for our winter party?

Anyone else want to come please provide input for dates???

Eden, I'm usually on dismantling Christmas decorations the day after but this year I'm waiting until after New Years. Looking forward to Bella and Butterscotch pics.

Sue, I've not been outside with the camera yet but really have to record the amazing cat trained by grey squirrels act. Sue is right, the cat is playing with the squirrels and they are playing right back. It's a hoot. The cat actually landed on the back of one while we were watching but never put a claw out and the squirrel just ran a couple feet away then sat up and looked back at the cat while another squirrel came around behind the cat and was sitting there waiting to see what the cat would do. Rahjii is just chasing them but doesn't want to catch them. Strange.

OK Doug is done with the kitchen so I'm up. Time to finsh the soup.


    Bookmark   December 28, 2007 at 1:23PM
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I love 3-day work weeks!

I think my decorations will stay up until the New Year.

V, I thought surely Mary would comment on Babs gingerbread man too.

Deanne, Im glad you like the chickadee picture. It pales in comparison with what you would have done with it. Weve been having warm, foggy weather, which leads to lots of frosty trees etc. Its pretty but makes driving nerve wracking. Seeing your card to Monique reminds me of the topiary poinsettias I saw at a store. Id never seen one before.

Norma, fun picture of your DH. Im sure Wyatt brings the joy of a small child to your Christmas.

Cynthia, you should have heard Kenzie trying to sing "Feliz Navidad" Theres no garden cleanup going on here unless you count snow shoveling.

My lunch hour is nearly gone so till later.


    Bookmark   December 28, 2007 at 1:55PM
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Hello everyone

I had many a wicked thought about Bab's gingerbread man who was looking very er... happy, but I refrained from commenting. After my gingerbread self portrait I was worried what the lurkers would think LOL!

Deanne - we're leaving holiday decs up till New Years too. I'm having a brunch New years Day and it gives us a good reason to enjoy them for another few days. For us, taking them down early makes it seem as though Christmas is over in a flash. My miniature breads etc. I'm making out of fimo clay. I'll check DH's schedule for when he is home to leave me free to come party with you all.

Michelle - enjoy your short work week!!

Time to take a break from my minis and head out with some friends for a walk.


    Bookmark   December 28, 2007 at 2:11PM
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Mary, first thing I noticed was how happy Babs GB man was too. If you can will you please take pictures of your new miniatures project? I just love seeing the magic you do!

Deanne, soup and fresh hot bread sounds delish for a day like today. We have flurries here but barely any snow is left on the ground. Like the story of the cat and squirrel games.

I've got everything packed away except I haven't started undecorating the tree. That may have to wait until tomorrow. I start decorating Thanksgiving weekend and love looking at everything right up through Chritmas night. The day after Christmas though it all starts feeling like clutter to me. I'm ready to start the New Year fresh and clean.

Dinner out for us tonight. We're celebrating our anniversary which is really tomorrow but Bella will be here then.


    Bookmark   December 28, 2007 at 2:56PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Skimming isn't working so well for me today. I've missed Cindy's Christmas flowers, Babs' gingerbread man and plenty more I'm sure. I'll try harder once I return home.

It is almost 1PM and we just returned home from breakfast! Eggs Benedict for most of us, something I've not had in ages. Then off to the framer's to collect two pictures. We've been working on puzzles, skating, games, hot tub...but mostly eating. I'm truly sick of food. Pork roast tonight I'm told....

Skyler has been up way too late and so turns into a whining crying spoiled brat by evening. There's been lots of "But Mom lets me...." and "But this is my last day here! I want to..." and the best one is "I like Mom's house better than this one. I like Mom better." Of course Mom gets the same thing at her place, but the nonsense is rewarded too often or it wouldn't work at all. He's fine with us old grandparents and knows when we say something we mean it, and NOW. We left without him when he wasn't ready and he was dumbfounded....

Our new fur 'baby' arrives mid to end of February I believe, so I wonder if I'll manage a Thumbs II trip this time. Not sure. We're still working on names.

Woody, true words about aging. Not a good thing at all, not a bit fair to anyone. So enjoy what you can about life while you are able to!

Love the mood at Mary's and Cynthia's.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2007 at 3:10PM
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I have very much enjoyed the photographs and links, too. I still have a few to scope out carefully. I am relieved to note I was not the only person to raise an eyebrow at Babs' Christmas man ;) .

Cutting sheetrock is a messy task. I was covered in that fine white dust yesterday and again this morning, in spite of the fact that I had the shop vac. wand sucking it up right behind the blade of the Sawzall. Working up over your head is a drag, too. But, all 26 openings are now cut, and we began putting in the "lightening rods" that will keep the insulation the requisite 2-3" above the metal house of the fixtures; we ran out of them, with only about 6 openings left to go. Fibreglass is pretty nasty stuff, too. I took a shower as soon as we finished today and promptly carted my coat off to have it cleaned. The sheetrock remants were carted away today, too. I suspect the mudding is soon to follow.

We leave the Christmas tree up until the Epiphany, the Twelfth Day of Christmas. We clip one bough and burn it in the woodstove that night and we take it down the next day. I leave the outside decorations up for a month or so, mostly because they aren't specifically themed to Christmas... more linked to ancient rites and themes surrounding the Solstice and wintertime, in general.

'bug, GOOD FOR YOU for leaving little, whiney Skyler behind when he'd dilly-dalleyed too long! Actions or inaction both carry consequences, an important lesson to learn and best mastered in childhood. I can still hear my father (Mr. Punctual) now, "on time means 15 minutes early, with a book". "Punctuality demonstrates respect for others, but more so for yourself, dear". It will be fun to see the pictures and hear the stories when you have more time to share them.

The "Big Tuna" score made me chuckle, V.. Do any of you remember a fun band called, Hot Tuna? I used to love them. Let us know when you find the replacement love seat. I occasionally wander through furniture stores to see what's "hot" in the market... usually I come away thinking most of it is cheaply made and not likely to withstand the rigors of household life for more than a few years. No wonder I prefer OLD stuff (heaven knows I have enough of it and plenty more at Mum's house).

I thought of you guys today as I sorted the mail and found a Heronswood catalogue?! How they got my name is a mystery, but I wasted no time calling and telling them to take me off their mailing list and save themselves some money! Like I'm going to buy a Stewartia in a 4" pot?! GET REAL. The only things I want to find in my mailbox are the usual utility bills and letters from friends. NO MORE CATALOGUES or junk mail, thank you.

That's all I can remember right now. Clearly, I have to go back and do some more reading...

Hi Marian, are you planning to remain submerged until the Epiphany? If you are, I hope you enjoy your time and use it profitably. You must be just blowin' through the puzzles now, huh? :)

Hi Woody. I am touched by your understanding of the worries surrounding a distant, ageing family member... . I well remember my own worries before Mum's health collapsed completely. It can be a very long haul. Thinking of you.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2007 at 4:41PM
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I was DEFINITELY not prepared for your birthday greeting, Monique. So these offerings will have to suffice, albeit on the late side!

This was snapped this very morning. Taken from our bedroom window, looking southwest, you can just make out the sun over the trees...

And while I suspect neither you nor less are "cat people" there can be no doubt my best wishes when I tell you I hope you always feel this content and cozy (please not the catnip on his neck):

So? do we get to see a shot of the birthday shoes?

    Bookmark   December 28, 2007 at 5:05PM
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Here's what we were doing yesterday and today:

And here is your's truly, suitably suited up for the task at hand:

You wanna piecathis? bring it on!

    Bookmark   December 28, 2007 at 5:09PM
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LOL, OMG, Monique... please, please, please accept my apologies for probably the worst typo known to man...

How many times can you read something and still not catch it? Les. I am SO sorry (but still cracking up, anyway).

    Bookmark   December 28, 2007 at 5:12PM
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Eden - here is the shop so far. I still have a lot more molding to add to the exterior. I'm making it up as I go along based on a photo in a book but plan on more detailing around the door and window. Inside I thought I'd add a wall clock and a chalk board with prices written on. And then the fun part, making all the bread etc. I love having a project to do by the fire when we're watching movies or listening to music. And making miniature food is like having your favorite desserts without all the calories.

OK Chelone - I'm heading back to look for your typo. What a lovely view from your bedroom window.


    Bookmark   December 28, 2007 at 6:12PM
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Greetings Idylls !! Im back in the Napa Valley after a fun few days in Oregon. Portland had its first White Christmas since 1937, and there we were to experience it ! None of us had ever been in a snowy place on Christmas before, including my BIL who grew up in Portland, but way after 1937 ! It was too fun, and the snow was very accommodating to all our travel plans, melting or subsiding before anyone had to get on the road. We apparently had more nights in the 20s while we were gone, but it has warmed up some now as we are expecting rain. I had great fun perusing all the posts and Christmas greetings last night , not to mention all the cool cards for Monique ..I owe you one Monique !

I believe Chelone might be the holder of a new record for number of posts in one day , culminating in the inspirational respirator/sheetrock tools pic. And a glimpse of the salon at last ! Taking note of the number of light fixtures, coupled with numerous windows, Im thinking Chelone will have enough light to perform brain surgery up there ,lol. Better keep those tools handy. And it looks like there is ample room for a rather large buffet table and cocktail bar to boot :-)

Mary, I love your Boulangerie- where did the exterior signage come from ? Its wonderful. Perhaps one day you will put up a group shot of all your minature projects ?
Loved the lime-green undie gingerbread lady too .

Cynthia I am also accumulating yet another batch of salvation army donations. I continue to unearth things they just seem to erupt unheeded from the back of neglected cupboards. My cleaning chore today involved going through my recipe binder and discarding the ones I never use . I put this binder together several years ago and it works pretty slick, its just a basic 3-ring with filler paper and dividers for different categories (salads, entrees etc) and I have most of the recipes either glued to filler paper or put in plastic sheet protectors.

Ok, see yall later, I have to finish the post-trip laundry

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   December 28, 2007 at 8:05PM
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Reading Cynthia's post this morning, I had the strange realization that her writing style is a ringer for Peggy Noonan's of The Wall Street Journal, which is a huge compliment, BTW. I don't share Ms. Noonan's political point of view, but she is an elegant writer.

Deanne, you've got a Noah's Ark vibe going there, with all the creatures playing nice. How did you manage that?

Wow, Kathy, a White Christmas! Glad you're back home safe and sound.

Chelone, excellent protective gear! Very impressive precautions. The salon is certainly taking shape, on a scale not seen since Versailles. That's some dancing footage you've got there.

And on the opposite, wee end is Mary's lovely boulangerie. I bet the kids are entranced with it.

As usual I've been hemmed in by deadlines throughout the holidays (missing a few ever so slightly!). I finished the last job this morning and set off to deliver it up in Glendale, which is close to off to the Huntington Botanical Gardens I went to stretch and walk and gape at plants. I have a little aloe in bloom in the front garden at home, so it occurred to me maybe the Huntington's aloes are starting bloom too. OMG are they ever:

The air was full of hummers darting among the flwrs. Apparently my idea was not a novel one, since there were hordes of visitors. Lots of parents and children, probably trying to ward off some of the post-holiday crankiness that 'bug described by letting the little ones loose on 100-plus acres. After walking for a couple hours, it was a relief to actually feel hungry again, something I've not felt for a week. I could have set up camp in the glasshouse, rainforest section, in the cool moist air. Pitcher plants/sarracenia were blooming in the bog garden section.

The Heronswood cat. arrived here too. Sure sounds like Hinkley is still writing it, unless they have someone aping his style. Maybe that was part of the deal. WFF arrived today.

I was thinking Ethel Merman must have something to do with the Merman tree but couldn't figure out what, but it really is holiday mermen. What a riot, and wonderful to see how the holidays are personalized by everyone.

Michelle, the sweet pea looks set to open tomorrow, a washed-out lilac color, but at least I know it can be brought to bloom before the end of Dec. Kenzie's performance was lovely. I imagined the idyll kids exploring through the topiary, mazes and teepees as I strolled the new children's garden at the Huntington. Ran out of space on the dig. card but got one photo of the entrance:

    Bookmark   December 28, 2007 at 8:24PM
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As promised a few pictures of Bella and Butterscotch

and tearing into some other gifts

and my favorite, with Jen's fiance Randy

    Bookmark   December 28, 2007 at 8:24PM
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WFF catalog arrived here today too and I spent half an hour or so leafing through. I miss the old Heronswood catalogs. I do look forward to getting my favorites in the mail though, kinda like getting a letter from a friend for me.

Chelone, the salon's a wonderful space. Now YOU look like a ghostbuster!

Mary, oh your little french bakery is just the cutest thing! What fun! I hope you can keep us updated with photos of it's progress.

Denise, next time could you take some pics of the sarracenia? And the children's garden? And...I do like the photo of the entrance gate.

I was thinking Ethel Merman too until I googled them. I'd like to see a picture of the tree too David. It must really be something! Good to hear from you.

Cynthia, I like your quote. One I ran across today that I thought was good to start out a new year..."Resolve to get the best of everything but not let anything get the best of me"

Dinner was good. Parmesan encrusted shrimp for me, twin filets for Brad. Key lime pie for dessert. I ate too much and now just feel like hibernating so I'm bidding you all a good night.


    Bookmark   December 28, 2007 at 8:50PM
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Way cool pics from Huntington Denise ! And Butterscotch looks huge...much more impressive that Patty PlayPal !

A few from me:

DS 'snowboarding' on about a half an inch of snow, on a trash can lid. I did not get a pic of the tragic wipe-out

Bamboos in the snow

BIL's dwarf conifer terrace draped in Christmas snow..

    Bookmark   December 28, 2007 at 9:18PM
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Michelle, one of our GDs used to sing something funny with The first Noel, I have it on video tape somewhere.
It is crispy here this morning and the ice formed on the pond in a way I have never seen before. It looks like crystals.

Sounds like everybody is getting some well deserved rest. I for one took three naps yesterday. Guess I needed to catch up on some of that missed sleep lately. We then went to vist some friends and meet their new baby. What a sweety Joesph was and I held him a lot. Nothing like the feel of a newborn.

Happy Anniversary Eden and Brad. The meal sounded yummy, especially the key lime pie.

Bug, you deal with Skyler the same way we do with great grandson. He knows we won't deal with his nonsense.
Soak up those Reed moments.

Woody, I agree too, aging does suck. And so does loss of someone. I've just had word that the friend we visited a couple of weeks ago has passed. He was the brother of my best friend growing up. I don't know how she can be holding up as she just lost her husband and a baby nephew too. All this since Thanksgiving.

Geesh, Now I am going to have to go back and look at that gingerbread ornament!

Chelone . Love the frosty scene and " Battle Warrior" shots. Tweny six holes was a lot to cut. I agree working overhead is very taxing.

Mary, Where do you keep all your miniatures? I'm wondering about the dust they would collect ,( in my house anyway.) Maybe they will become part of Davids train setup. By the way how is the sound level at your house with the new electric guitar? I received money for christmas to complete my savings towards a new guitar and spent three hours picking out a new electric accoustic the other day. I'm loving it.
Skiing and fireworks sound like a great way to celebrate the new year. Hope it is a nice night for it.

Kathy, How fun that you got to see snow for Christmas. Great pictures and I love your sons creative snowboard.

Ahh Eden, the purchase price was well worth that memory. The delight on her face is priceless.

Denise, how nice of you to venture out to show us some blooming plants. Sorry about all the work though.

Hi to everyone. I need to skedaddle outa here. Norma

    Bookmark   December 29, 2007 at 10:38AM
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Snowboarding on a trash can lid is priceless. I had a good laugh about that one and definitely doff my cap to the ingenuity of youth. The shots of the "snowy" terrace are great. There really IS something festive and exciting about snow. Perhaps, though, my typically cynical yankee view has been jaded by the addition of a garage... ;)

I marvelled at the the abundance of the aloes... the image of hummingbirds darting to and fro has lingered long in my imagination. It'll be some time before they return to this yaHd! Funny you should mention Versailles, this morning I watched one of my Christmas dvds, a PBS production on the life of Marie Antionette. A thoroughly amazing woman; her transformation from an essentially illiterate and pampered Archduchess to a model of composure and courage as events swirled out of control is tragic, yet inspiring at the same time.

I fear, Eden, you have indeed let the hoss out of the baHn. If you think Bella will be satisfied with Butterscotch... ahh, I think you are doomed to disappointment. ;) She is absolutely too cute for her own good. How do you retrieve the carrot?

Mary, your boulangerie is great! How and when did you get "hooked" on miniatures? You would love the collection of vintage dollhouse furniture I have. They were the furnishings for the dollhouse Mum had as a child. I ought to haul them out and snap some shots of them. I really admire your creativity and attention to detail.

Peggy Noonan... hehehe. A brilliant writer and a passable actor, what a combination! Under the tree were the following books: "Heny VIII, The King and His Court" (Alison Weir), "Eleanor of Aquitaine" (Alison Weir), and "Team of Rivals" (Doris Kearns Goodwin). I'm about 60 pages into the first, the helpmeet has started the latter. Good writing IS a treat, regardless the "slant".

Kenzie with the stroller is simply precious. The vocal was pretty cute, too, but one day she will cringe when you haul it out, lol.

It's totally overcast here today. Fogged in and raining. I'm thrilled with the continued melting of driveway ice, and it IS pretty in its own way, but it's GLOOMY. Rex decided to go AWOL this morning. Helpmeet was beside himself, turned his back long enough to move the snowblower and that fool dog vanished like a faHt in the breeze. He returned about 45 minutes later, SOAKED, and received what could best be described as a cordial welcome. He is drying out in front of the woodstove as I write. Dem's da risks when you opt of "off leash" in an area with abundant wildlife.

OK, time to "refresh" and see what's new with YOU. :)

    Bookmark   December 29, 2007 at 10:51AM
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chloehoover(z6b VA)

It's such a pleasure to read what "small pleasures" others are filling their days with.

I too really enjoy the pics of bloomin plants, Denise! Thanks for thinking of us. I was looking at a couple of the aloes I got this summer and wondering if that might ever happen - I guess I'll be happy if I manage to just keep them and the agaves alive thru the winter, LOL.

Toward that end, I had a very expensive but profitable day yesterday -- new gas furnace & humidifier installed (may keep me, Chloe and the agaves warmer), the first of my new West Elm dining chairs arrived (was tooo good a deal to pass up) thereby starting to fulfill a wish to get a better looking dining room furniture (the 35 yr old chairs had always just been "temporary"); had lunch w/ a friend I had not seen in 3 years and we just talked and talked - could have gone all day; and took poor Chloe off to her annual visit to the new vet and got her shots, etc. Unfortunately, poor Chloe today looks like she had the life smacked out of her -- she seems incredibly lethargic and doesnt even want to move - I am afraid those stupid shots too more out of her and she's feeling terribly punk.

Im hoping the rest of the houseguest debris goes out today -- if not, it's getting bundled all up so I can clean that room to await the carpet cleaners on Monday. I did manage to clean out the bathroom she had used - I confess Im really disappointed that a friend would leave my hospitality(>?) in such a mess....

Chelone and others have been so eloquent as to others' activities I feel woefully inept -- however, I too have wondered, Mary, where/what do you do with your wonderful miniatures once they're finished? Do you have a room you place them in? Are they displayed in some wonderful fitting fashion or bundled in among other rooms of your home?

I have started to try getting in the mood for garden catalog shopping -- got the WFF before Xmas, but confess Im having a hard time finding perennials that excite me. I spent yesterday looking at the IU photos for inspiration and find that more and more I see more shrubs/trees that interest me.

Kathy - I meant to mention that I love your BIL's conifer garden -- another thing I'd love to do if I had more room.

Tomorrow will be the start of my cleaning/donation piles to be created -- Value Village should expect my call soon, LOL... Did anyone see the news that Goodwill is now on the internet? You can Buy things from them just as if it were ebay store? Amazing!

I also forgot to mention that I have enjoyed all the kiddie holiday shots -- they add such excitement to the holiday.

I think my area is getting the weather Portland should have gotten - we've had a lot of rain, more to come tonite-- it's grey and squishy everywhere.

Okay, guess I better do something useful today!


    Bookmark   December 29, 2007 at 12:01PM
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vtskiers(z6a CentralCT)

I want to move to Portland.

Cindy, keep an eye on Chloe and call youe vet if she doesn't start getting better quickly. Despite what many vets will tell you, pets do not need annual vaccinations. Over vaccination can actually do more harm than good. Once an animal has had a reaction to shots they should never be vaccinated again. For most dogs, puppy shots and one year boosters are enough for life. At the very least I believe the current protocol at all the US veterinary colleges is once every three years. I would still have blood titers done before agreeing to have my adult dog vaccinated. Rabies is an exception and required by law in most states but should also not be done any more than every three years. Google for more info. If your vet has not adopted the newer protocols and continues to insist on annual shots, find a new one. Same with your boarding kennel if you use one.

Looks like it's going to be 50 and sunny here today. What little snow we have left is melting fast. I was finally able to clean out the large containers on the patio and turn them upside down on bricks. Let's see how that works over dragging them in and out of the shed twice a year.

Happy Anniversary Eden and Brad! Will a real pony be in your future soon? lol

Mary, have you ever tried creating a miniature greenhouse? Or even a flower way to feed the winter gardening desires without all the work and care of indoor plants.

OK, time to get moving. Enjoy your day!


    Bookmark   December 29, 2007 at 12:44PM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

I finished the Hummingbird puzzle a few days ago;

I've been waiting for a lighter day to get the pic,( the flash was making a bright spot on it).
I haven't counted the hummingbirds...:-)

Epiphany??? Not a word that I am familiar with, and not found in the Bible. :-)
But I appreciate your thoughts and humor, Chelone.

Had to go to town yesterday to refill my BP meds and get some groceries. I had hoped the shopping madness would be over...but no such luck. It was a madhouse! And I can't believe the rudeness of the WalMart shoppers....espacially those with cell phones! The sinus pain I was suffering made it hard for me to restrain myself from telling the rudest one off. :-(
Remind me not to go there again on a day the schools are out! Apparently some mothers think WalMart is a public playgrounds!

I bought a couple more DVDs, but am considering becoming a member of Netflix. It sounds like a good deal. Can those of you who have it give me some input?

Three more days...I am counting down to the New Year's parades. I always enjoy watching them.

We got a nice snow fall Wednesday, but it all went off yesterday morning. Looked awfully pretty while falling and while all the landscape was still white.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2007 at 1:51PM
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Wow Marian, The hummingbird puzzle must have taken a lot of concentration. Thats a nice one.

We had Netflix for a long time and I think it is a good buy and handy. Norma

    Bookmark   December 29, 2007 at 2:24PM
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Kathy seems to love Netflix, Marian. And this household is thinking about availing ourselves of it, too. I have a few friends who use it in lieu of cable and swear by it!

Epiphany... you might haul out the Book of Common Prayer, penned by Thomas Cranmer in the early/mid 16th. century, before he was burned at the stake for heresy by Mary I. Or you could use the dictionary and simply look up, "epiphany". Either way, you will be informed!

I'm glad to see you "surface", though! How long did it take you complete that puzzle? looks complicated and with 4 cats I can't think of a way to accomplish something like that! :) Any good shots of resident wildlife?

    Bookmark   December 29, 2007 at 2:26PM
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Marian, I remember a puzzle I did when I was young , it was quite large and was a pic of TWA Connie flying over a complicated little village (lots of buildings, gardens hedgerows, etc) kind of an old fashioned scene. I used to love doing that puzzle.. and as Chelone obseved , what strategy do you employ with cats ? I'm sure it's every bit as enticing as the newspaper... Netflix works great for me- it's extremely convenient and it's unlikely that you would find a video rental store that would have the inventory of classic films, foreign films and some of the more obscure stuff that I like. Turnaround time is very quick.I do the two movies at a time plan, which means I can have two checked out at any given time. I rarely buy movies anymore.

Back to sanding the downstairs bathroom. I don't have that nice space-dude lookin' rig like Chelone, but I'm just roughing up the walls for painting.

later everyone...

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   December 29, 2007 at 3:07PM
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Another netflix user here. We love it. I got a NF gift subscription for my parents last Christmas which I've renewed because they really like it too.

Not to open a can of worms but...I don't think many, if any, of the so called 'religious' holidays are mentioned in the Bible. It's not the words or holiday names we're celebrating but the biblical events that they represent. JMHO:)

Marian, the hummingbird puzzle is just beautiful.

Norma, the pond picture looks just like a broken mirror to me.

Yes Sue, a miniature greenhouse. What a great idea! Or how about a miniature plant nursery? Both sound very intriguing.

Kathy, your bil must be quite a gardener too? That miniature conifer collection is really something!

Cindy, poor little Chloe! Hope she's feeling better by now. You are getting so much accomplished. You must be off work this week?

Deanne must be snuggled up with Doug?

Not much going on here today. Just me and Bella playing with the Christmas toys. No REAL horses in our immediate plans though:) What I would love to have but can't here in the city is chickens. I'd have them in a flash if I could.

Have a good evening everyone!

    Bookmark   December 29, 2007 at 4:26PM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

WOW ! What a pleasant surprise from Mary ! Thank you very much,Mary, for the beaded dragonfly!You can bet your boots I will wear it, and brag about who made it! And what a neat little box that you made to contain it.

Chelone, I do understand about the word, but was trying to put it delicately without offending anyone. I wish I had a way to explain to you how I and my brethren believe.....:-(
BTW, I am west of the Mississippi, and you are most welcome to visit me and see how a country bumpkin lives! LOL ! There are no lovely public gardens close, but wonderful scenery anywhere you go, espacially in the spring and fall.

Thanks for the input about Netflix. I think I 'will' get it.

No problem at all with the cats. I see no evidence that they have 'visited' the puzzle ( except for a few hairs now and then) :-). I don't know the exact length of time that it took me to complete it, but I'm sure it was less than a week, and not too many hours each day . Nolon put in the last 8 pieces.He likes to watch until I am almost done, and then finish it. I was a little chagrined that he did that with my Birthday puzzle.
I have Marie's Owl puzzle awaiting to do next.

Kathie, I like 'busy' puzzles., and have several. They are generally easier for me than scenery pictures...which most of mine are.

No more wildlife shots to share yet, but a pic of our wednesday's snowfall...

I should have used the action option and stopped the snowflakes in motion.


    Bookmark   December 29, 2007 at 4:34PM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

Norma, I meant to mention your pond pic. It IS unusual and outstanding ! Beautiful. I love pics like that.

Kathy the same goes for your Portland snow pics. How fortunate for you that it came when you were there!

Denise, the blooming Aloes are gorgeous! Thank you for sharing them.

Eden, the Bella pics are precious.

And last, but not go gal! Great pics of you and your 'Salon" job.


    Bookmark   December 29, 2007 at 4:46PM
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Religious holidays are wonderful to all, no matter what your personal beliefs. THAT'S what I think, anyway.

Christmas is the celebrated birth of Jesus, the Christ, at least for Christians (so "they" say!). The Epiphany is the day the 3 "wisemen", the Kings, arrived with their gifts of gold, frankencense, and myhrr. Hence the Twelfth Day of Christmas, and the traditional exchange of gifts. Hey, I may not buy into all the religious stuff, but I DO know the history and the traditions dictated by it. And I LOVE the traditions and all they evoke (and require!) of me.

Christmas is the one time of year that too few people are reminded of the necessity of kindness and respect for their fellow man. Me? I may not be a regular visitor to any of the neighboring churches... but you may rest assured, my friends, that if you ever found yourselves in need of succor OUR'S is a door you that would be opened to you without hesitation. We offer friendship, succor, and respect to ALL. Because it is right and proper to dispense the milk of human kindness to ALL.

Kindness and fellowship is part and parcel of how the helpmeet and I were raised. "There is only one Jesus Christ, all else is a dispute over titles." - Elizabeth I.

Kindness is the rare coin that returns the spendthrift twofold, but leave the miser penniless.

And while the Twelfth Night is still some days away, I hope those who don't observe it will carry this household's wishes and promise with them into the coming new year.

Goodness, kindness, and fellowship is alive and thrives in this household!

    Bookmark   December 29, 2007 at 5:17PM
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Ahhhhh Spring!

I know. Winter will slam me for that :)

Has Sue already moved to the PNW? Her post was dated after lunch, but it read like the crack of dawn.

Kathy, very cool that you had snow while you were visiting. The conifer garden is nicely done and so pretty in the driven snow.

Norma, the pond crystals are amazing. Do you think it's a type of hoar frost?

My aloes don't bloom Denise, but when I was working a booth at a hort show one time (volunteer stuff), there was an aloe in bloom and the flowers were light yellow/white. Those orange/red ones make a stunning display. Thanks for the side trip!

Eden, Bella looks pleased but just a little daunted by Butterscotch. She's such a tiny thing compared to the pony and Jen's fiance.

I took a $50 gift card to Lowes (Laura Bush got a purse and a silver tray, poor thing), and came home with 2 new pruners, an ice scraper, Febreeze, a garden mag, and few other doodads. The cashier handed me another $10 coupon!

I trotted outdoors with the new clippers and cleaned up the front garden. Raked more leaves from the patio, and then Katie got her 8 minute wobble walk, which seems to take longer than Dannie's 30 minute power walk. It's a scary walk since I don't want her to overdo it, but she needs to start building muscle back up somehow. It seems like a long haul to get back to what used to be normal.

I hit Pier I today, which is a nice place to go after the madness. I like those under the cupboard wine glass racks and decided a few more were in order, so that was the purpose of the trip. I also ended up with a candle that looks like he77 but smells like heaven. Screaming yellow, but I knocked the cover off by accident and couldn't stop inhaling it.

I like Peggy Noonan. She writes for the ear. The only book I've read by her is the one about the Reagan days when she was a speechwriter. (What I saw at the Revolution?)

Kathy, I should do that recipe clean out thing. I have the same system you do, notebook with plastic pages for inserting recipes. It's full, but I only ever use 6 of the recipes and 3 of them are different types of fudge.

Cindy, you sound so much better! When I was in Pier I they had a lot of teal/turquoise decor. You're ahead of the trend. Your flowers and backgrounds are so bright and happy. I don't know what 'West Elm' chairs are? I have the idea of new dining room furniture too, but can't get things that match, so it's shopping is difficult. I want white and that really doesn't make any sense. Agree with Sue on the titres and potential for over vaccination. One of my kitties doesn't even get rabies (exemption from vet).

Mary, the Boulangerie is coming right along! Signage is terrific.

Chelone, I googled 'piecathis' (pronounced pie-cath'-is), but finally figured it out.

Later, Cynthia

    Bookmark   December 29, 2007 at 5:26PM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

Chelone, I appreciate all that you posted about your beliefs. Now I wish you would go to my member page and look up the URL that I put at the end of my page. It is not written by one of my brethren, but is very well said, and I find no fault with it.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2007 at 5:51PM
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Monique z6a CT(6a CT)

Chelone, we leave the greens in our outdoor pots and windowboxes up until Springtime or until they turn brown, whichever comes first. Do you spray everything with Wiltpruf? The greens should last a bit longer with that coating. Thanks for the birthday photos. My shoes were nothing special-just some navy blue casuals that Ive been looking for.

V-that large tuna sounds up my alley LOL! Have you seen the nautical décor in my house and yard?

Mary, I cant wait to see the French Boulangerie finished. The boulangeries and Patisseries definitely were some of my favorite stores in France when we visited there a few years ago. As I read your note this morn, I was eating a small almond croissant which I thought was appropriate :o)

Eden, Happy Anniversary! I probably wont get back here tomorrow, so wanted to say it today. Has the fart machine been popular the last few days LOL? Love the horse for Bella!

Denise, I also rcvd Heronswood and WFF catalogs today. Unlike Chelone, I love receiving gardening catalogs. Gets me thru winter.

Cindy, Im glad your houseguest has finally left. What a trooper you were to put up with her when she seemed so ungrateful towards the end. I agree with Sue about the vaccinations. The only ones we do are Rabies since it is required by law, however we are lucky that we have a dogsitter. If we had to leave our pups at the kennel, they would be required to get all the shots. We got around it one year by giving them a holistic treatment instead of vaccines, and the holistic vet signed a form saying they were vaccinated. Fortunately, he did believe they were since the blood titers came back on them as still having antibodies against the major diseases that they vaccinate for. Good news is that a 5 & 7 year Rabies Challenge study has started that will determine the duration of immunity of the Rabies vaccine. Ill wager bets that at 7 years the pets in the trial are still protected against Rabies.

Marian, that is a beautiful hummingbird puzzle. Must have been fun putting it together and trying to match the pieces. I use Netflix and recommend it. We have the 3 DVD at a time plan, but you can send back 1 at a time and get another one in a couple days. The price isnt that bad if you watch more than 4 or so per month. It can end up being cheaper than the video stores and much more convenient. BTW, I love the Tournament of Roses parade; I watch it on HGTV since they dont have any commercials and seem to talk a bit more about the seeds and dried/fresh flowers that are used on the floats.

We went out to bring some clothes to the Salvation Army today, an annual trip that Ms. procrastinator waits until the w/end prior to the end of the year for. Its a tradition :o)

    Bookmark   December 29, 2007 at 6:04PM
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Monique, yes the fart machine has been a hit. We took it with us on Christmas and I got Bella a sequel Walter book, Trouble At The Yard Sale. We read it with sound effects and today she's been using the machine to make poor Butterscotch fart, lol.

It's really great to have you posting more!


    Bookmark   December 29, 2007 at 6:44PM
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Jaden and I just returned from a walk. 19 degrees but no wind so it was rather pleasant and I was toasty warm. We came to one spot in the pasture near the creek where nearly 100 pheasants took flight. Jaden would like to be a bird dog. In the more wild areas of the farm there are so many animal prints in the snow its just like the snow is patterned.

Im trying to be productive. Ive gotten some cleaning done and have been burning DVDs. I talked to Kenzie on the phone and heard about how she went bowling. She got a 60. My DD thinks they need to move to a bigger house because of all Kenzies Christmas loot.

Im dizzy just looking at Marians puzzle, what an accomplishment. Nolan putting in the last pieces reminds me of when we were kids, we would do puzzles in the winter and someone would always hide a piece so they could be the one to put the last piece in.

Kathy, the snowboarding on the trash can lid is priceless. Your BIL conifer garden is perfect for that slope.

Norma, the pond reminds me of frosted glass.

Chelone, I dont envy you the sheet rock cutting, but its going to be a great space when finished. Id love to see pictures of your mums dollhouse furniture. When I was young my friends grandfather made a fabulous dollhouse that had rooms on both sides so that 2 girls could play at a time. There were probably 8 rooms on each side and she had tons of very cool, detailed furniture. I loved play with it and was envious that I only had one of those dinky metal ones.

Im wondering about Butterscotchs carrot too. My niece got Baby Alive for Christmas, heres a quote from their website: " Originally introduced in 1973, the much-loved BABY ALIVE doll is back to play with a whole new generation of little girls. She still "eats" and "poops", and now she's more "life-like" than ever. Best of all, your little girl is sure to love playing "mommy" to this special doll as much as you did years ago."

Eden, Bella looks adorable on her pony, but she really needs a cowgirl outfit and a hat.

I believe Mary needs to post pictures of where her miniatures reside, inquiring minds want to know.

Denise the Childrens garden entrance is very cool. Are those succulents along the top?

Im getting mighty tired of all the political calls today. Im too cheap to get caller ID, but Im getting tempted today.


    Bookmark   December 29, 2007 at 6:55PM
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wendy2(zone 6 MA)

I am at the computer to escape Patriots Football madness in the other room. Can you believe this game is going to be shown on all 3 major networks here? I guess they are going to break some sort of record if they remain undefeated, but I really could care less about sports for the most part. I think it'll definitely be an early read-in-bed night for me! I will begin the book "The Devil Wears Prada" - I haven't seen the movie. I almost always think the book is better than the movie anyway.

Hopefully we'll get the Christmas decorations put away tomorrow. I do love them, but after the big day is over, I'm ready to have my house back. Every year after I think that everything Christmas is packed away in the attic, I find some stray decorative item that has escaped my notice. I wonder what it will be this year?

Eden, that Butterscotch is pretty impressive! I somehow didn't realize how large it is. The closest thing to a real pony without the clean-up! LOL on the use of the fart machine - the kid's got potential.

Hi David! Another vote for a look at your tree. I googled those ornaments, they are a riot! Do you have a favorite?

Marian, that hummingbird puzzle is very pretty. Looks like a challenging one though!

Denise, love the blooming aloe - I didn't even realize that they bloomed.

Chelone, the salon is really coming along. Don't you love the way the addition of the sheetrock makes it look more like a room? The get-up you've got on is great, and with those tools in your hands and that look on your face, I wouldn't messwitcha! Hey, remind me to ask you for some scarf-tying lessons next time I see you. I have a lovely collection of scarves that my mother knits for me, and I just tend to wrap them around my neck artlessly.

Hi Monique! I second the positive reception for gardening catalogs. I very rarely order from them, but they are a pleasure to read. I miss the old Heronswood catalog too, that was a real pleasure to read and re-read.

Michelle, I'm tired of this election, period! I can't imagine the dealing with the attention your state is getting, you must be tripping over candidates! We have plenty of commercials here, and our primary isn't until February.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend everyone!

    Bookmark   December 29, 2007 at 7:39PM
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Butterscotch gnaws on the carrot but doesn't really eat it. If you try to feed it to her too many times though she shakes her head NO and won't open her mouth. Michelle, I've seen that Baby Alive too. You're right about the cowgirl outfit. Wouldn't that be a cute picture? 60 is a great score for Kenzie. Probably about what my score would be too. We spread out Bella's loot between home, here and Jen's house so it's not so bad. She's managed to keep herself busy here today playing with it all which has been nice for me too!

Cynthia, good news that Katie's progressing along even if it is slow. The Pier I wine glass racks sound interesting. I may have to check that out. I'm ALWAYS looking for anything that's a space saver.

Wendy, I thought I had every last decoration put away yesterday and then today when I was getting out of the car I noticed a Santa hanging on the back gate.


    Bookmark   December 29, 2007 at 7:50PM
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Minestrone made, downstairs loo sanded and tspd, new vacuum cleaner purchased and put away ( I had an appliance death today while sucking up spider webs from afore-mentioned loo) laundry done , and Idylls read at leisure. Tomorrow Ill start painting might actually finish it in one day.

Sue, when you move to Portland make sure you pack your umbrella and rain resistant outerwear Ive included a couple of pics from my trip in May at the bottom of the thread. I swear you can grow just about anything there.

Norma, great pic of the pond gripped by the cold- I look forward to every photo you post of that pond, its such a wonderful feature and you must get so much enjoyment out of it. Is it a natural pond or did you have it built ?

Chelone, the book I am reading right now may be of some interest to you "The Great Mortality" by John Kelly; a history of the Plague and its movement across Europe. There is a tad of speculation in it but I like the construction and the way it follows the movements of the disease. I dont recommend reading it while eating however.

Cindy, is West Elm a brand ? I would love to have upholstered dining room chairs of some sort , armless slipper style. I sit in mine so much it would be nice to be more comfy. Gonna check out the Goodwill site-my BIL swears by the Goodwill store in downtown Portland. He bought a beautiful wool area rug there for me for Christmas for a song.

Eden, yes my BILs are gardeners. They had 2 acres when they lived in Mendocino County and wonderful gardens. The lot they have now is a quarter acre but it is not level so they have lots of terraced areas.

LOL Cynthia- your three fudge recipes out of 6 ! My binder has virtually no sweets in it except for a boysenberry cheesecake recipe. Most of the stuff is chicken or Mexican food. Bet I tossed half of what I had.

Monique, I watch the Rose Parade every year , and like you I do the HGTV thing-why would anyone choose to watch it on a broadcast that has commercials I wonder ?
When the parade is over all the floats are on display in a park in Pasadena ; my friend Larry and I used to go to see them every year for a few years (going to the parade itself is hell if you ask me-did it once ) and its cool to see them up close . Hey Denise, do you remember the broadcast on channel 5 with Bill Welsh ? We used to call him Disaster Welsh.Thats back in the olden days when there was actually journalism on TV news, and he was the LA schlock reporter doing the fires and car wrecks etc.

Michelle, I had one of those dinky metal dollhouses too ! I have to say that my caller ID is worth every cent I pay for it. I just dont pick up the phone if I dont know who it is, and the junk callers never leave a message.

Re: Heronswood, how I miss the real Heronswood catalog. Ive kept all of them I ever got-think I have 5 . I guess Dan had to do what he had to do. I saw him speak a couple of times at the SF Garden Show , very entertaining .

OK, here is a pic of BILs rock garden taken in May.I know I have some better shots, but I can't find them so these will have to do.I had some b-4 pics too-railroad ties and ivy.

and from another view

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   December 29, 2007 at 9:17PM
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vtskiers(z6a CentralCT)

Geez, you people who are already eradicating Christmas decorations from your houses are making me feel like a slacker! Usually I get rid of them on New Year's Day and this year it can't come fast enough. Maybe I'll pack a few away tomorrow.

Lots of what I assume are political calls here too. I don't answer the phone and use the answering machine to screen. Lately it's been ringing constantly and no one ever attempts to leave a message. In a couple of months I plan to get rid of the regular phone line and just use a cell phone. I'll save about $40 a month and wipe out all nuisance calls.

Marian that is quite the puzzle. My nana used to set up a card table whenever she was working on a puzzle. It's been years since I've even attempted one.

Greens in the outdoor entryway containers-another detail I spaced through this season. Now the soil in the containers is frozen.

OK, it's time to wrap up what for a variety of reasons hasn't been the greatest week. Stress at work, stress at home...being an optimist I'm committed to making sure next week will be better but will remain cautious.

Good night and sweet dreams to all.


    Bookmark   December 29, 2007 at 9:38PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

DD & her visiting friend are at the walk-in clinic waiting for a doctor. Both are sick and miserable. I'm hoping for the miracle cure that baby Reed can tolerate as well.
The menfolk are playing a Christmas marble game and Reed says he can't sleep without his mommy....It's 12:45 and I just had breakfast, since lunch seems too much for me these days.
The snow is just beautiful here! With the dryness, the trees look ever so different from Ontario winter scenes. Yesterday I managed to buy several Chinese tree decorations at half price. Fun!
Skyler is away until next week, but he popped in this morning for a hello and conversation about some Nintendo gift. He has a wonderful collection of books this year and I hope he tires of the Nintendo soon and has time to read them.
For me the hardest thing is the fantastic fudge DSIL's Mom makes and delivers each time I visit. Mmmmmmmmmm! Lots of magpies flying about here. They are very dramatic against the snowy branches.
Later my friends!

    Bookmark   December 30, 2007 at 2:53PM
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chloehoover(z6b VA)

Well, Im on my way to a positive 2008 -- the last of the houseguest debris is gone (despite a sad, confusing to me, departure -- no talk, she just loaded up her car, left the key in the bedroom and stalked out!? what's up w/ that? I was speechless again -- I truly thought she'd understand when I told her yesterday that I had carpet cleaners coming Monday a.m. that yes, the stuff really needed to be out before then. I thought I was calm, non-aggressive and chipper) - chalk another fiasco up to my confusion over human beings...
in any case, I got the vacuum (new working one, Kathy - houseguest killed the older one a couple months ago,LOL) going & moved stuff up & out of the way and am energetically awaiting clean carpets tomorrow, yeeha.

Better news, Chloe is much more herself today - I was kind of worried yesterday - she was a zombie - I realize the shots are somewhat controversial but she's 9 and we'd never really had such a terrible "funk" before - I may now seriously reconsider any more. The bad news is that it was a new vet - our old one of 20 years abruptly retired and sold his biz over the summer without notifying customers/clients - I was shocked and saddened - it was like losing a good friend - I seem to have a lot of experience in loss this year, sheesh! even the vet...
I dont know the new one's credentials - no google info available on him; his state license is from 2004; he seems to be latino; dont know what school he graduated from... all in all, it's making me a bit nervous. I guess change makes me nervous anyhow... But thanks for the info (rabies shot is 4 yrs old; so I dont have to decide on that issue for a while..).

Another great thing about no Xmas tree this year has definitely made the holiday cleanup, a no fuss, no muss one -- there's a lot of comfort in that, LOL.... I looked at artificial ones this week, but was not motivated or impressed and came home empty handed.

Re West Elm - it's a newish brand - store -- similar to Pottery Barn & C^B -- mostly more contemporary styled stuff (which is not me,Im pretty much a federal style, eclectic/antique person); but they have some interesting oriental/asian looks which I like and see mixed in often w/ federal style - Cynthia, they do carry white (lacquered white finish) - I got black lacquer w/ overlapping square-backs & velvet cushions. One thing about old/antique stuff is that it doesnt hold up to day to day heavy living - I've ruined a couple great old chests from overuse and while I thought about collecting different single chairs of various styles and age, ultimately I dont want guests breaking them or feeling like they might. (Had that happen to an old chair years ago and the guest was sooooo embarrassed - he was even a skinny guy, LOL; definitely not his fault).... I think it's at for folks interested. Unbelievable shipping prices -- $10 a chair (I think they were about 20 lbs each...); gotta love those factories in China....I imagine that's where they're from; but they are sold wood and should hold up for 10 years for me - who knows where I'll be after that?).

O, and yes, I took off all last week and dont go back to work til Weds., Jan. 2 -so a couple more days of R&R and organizing for 2008.

I spent too much time on Plant Delights website this a.m. -- I filled the cart w/ more agaves and some cool new perennials.... and then I left... gotta get more organized about these impulse plant buys this year! Im going to need to do some major rehabbing from the visitor dog and am thinking the Inta courtyard look -- I really love that walk w/ the millstone center -- Im trying to imagine some project to replace the dead grass path w/ something like that..... And I definitely need some thin, vertical evergreens for more punctuation points.

Well, back to moving things off the floor for me. Hope all have a pleasant evening (more rain here today..... going back to work will probably bring back the sun).


    Bookmark   December 30, 2007 at 5:24PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

A quiet Sunday evening here on the prairie. We had five inches of snow on Friday, so the three deer that visited us in the back field today were easy to spot.

Like Cindy, I took all of last week off and don't go back to work until Wednesday. What a luxury of time it has been, with not much of an agenda outside of the family gatherings. Yesterday, in a total indulgence, DH, DD & I watched all 5 Harry Potter movies back to back. We started at 9:00 am and finished shortly after 10:00 pm, with minimal breaks to make (real) popcorn and frozen pizzas.

Tomorrow I will order our new loveseat. We decided on a chocolate brown leather that has a nice woodsy look with our dark green sofa. Now I need a new area rug... I've spent too much time on this computer ordering things over the last few days! Must get back to work and earn money!

Cynthia, count me as another who googled piecathis! I believe that the piecathis is easily propagated from cuttings.

Norma, your pond ice looked like shattered glass to me. I've never seen ice quite like that before.

Eden, Jen's fiance looks like a big guy next to Miss Bella!

I've never seen blooming aloes before - cool!

I have a lab crawling into my lap, so I'm going to post before this is lost!


    Bookmark   December 30, 2007 at 6:12PM
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I patted myself on the back for the bathroom painting project . poured a glass of wine and sat down for some quality Idylling..but not much action today post Christmas clean-up perhaps ?
Im going to have to put a 2nd coat on the d**n bathroom , so Ive got another day of painting in there however I have all the new décor gathered and ready to go when its finished. Ill probably do it next Friday while my new slider and dining room windows are being installed.

V, how funny that you and family did the Harry Potter marathon my DS and I are doing the same thing, but not all in one day because of our conflicting work schedules. We watched number one Friday and will watch 2 and probably 3 tomorrow.

Cindy I am also experiencing the liberating feeling of no Christmas stuff to put away . That would have been the last thing I needed with all the stuff I still have to do to get this house ready to sell. January will be totally focused on that for me, and I will undoubtedly be sick of painting by the end of the month... DSs room is next.
Sorry to hear that your parting with guest was unpleasant. I hope you will be able to mend your fences (if you wish to) after your friend has stabilized her life and had time to reflect on your kindness.

bug, nice to see you drop in , but what a bummer that DD is ill! We have magpies in inland central California but I have never seen one here. Those in Cent Cal are yellow billed really beautiful birds I think.

Well, guess Ill say ta ta for now and check back later to see if any of the east coast folk are keeping late hours

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   December 30, 2007 at 7:30PM
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Hi everyone

I spent a busy morning making 8 baguetttes, several round loaves and a tray of chocolate eclairs - all in miniature. My minis are moved around from room to room depending on the season and clutter in general. I first got into making miniatures when Annie was 9 and thought she would enjoy playing with a dollshouse. I had longed for one as a child but they were way to expensive for my family to consider. Instead I satisfied my longing with an English tudor style house I made from a pattern and ply wood - my first foray into carpentry. As furniture can be very expensive I read lots of books and spent hours making tiny upholstered sofas, chairs, rugs and drapes. Annie and her friends were captivated by the house for several years - it was a real magnet whenever kids came over to the house, boys or girls. Annie's interests have since moved on but I still love making tiny things and find the appeal of creating a lifelike world in minature endlessly absorbing.

The rest of the day was equally pleasant - we all went out for Indian food for lunch, then I visited with a friend while the children had play dates. Afterwards I drove to another friend's for tea by the fire and enjoyed catching up on news. While I was gone Annie made split pea soup with our ham bone and gluten-free bread sticks which are baking as I write. I'm looking forward to the PBS show "The Seedy Side of Plants".

Denise - your photos of Aloes are fantastic. What great plants they are.

Kathy - loved the snowy scenes and your intrepid snowboarder!

Norma - which guitar did you buy? How exciting. The pond is unique indeed.

Cindy - hooray on the last of the debris being removed but too bad houseguest was so ungracious in her departure. I'm guessing she's just not in a good place to express her gratitude for all you have done.

Monique - we leave our Goodwill run till a few days before New Years too - I guess we share a tradition LOL!

GB - I've always thought books make better gifts than electronic games. I'm sure Skyler will come to appreciate them as the gizmos loose their novelty.

Oops - supper is served - need to run


    Bookmark   December 30, 2007 at 7:39PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

Things forgotten under the duress of a dog climbing into my lap...

We started Netflix a few months ago and have enjoyed it. The turnaround time is fantastic - Marian, I know you're more rural than I am, but I can drop a movie at the PO at 4:00 pm, get an email at 10:00 am the next day saying my movie has been received, and have a new movie the next day. I only have the 2 a month plan, so the price is about the same as the video store but it's so nice to have a movie on hand when the mood strikes.

I always leave the holiday things up until after New Year's. Since we often have friends over on NYD, clean up time is usually the next weekend day.

Now I think I'm off to search cyberspace for a new area rug.


    Bookmark   December 30, 2007 at 8:26PM
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Monique z6a CT(6a CT)

Some more elf fun...

    Bookmark   December 30, 2007 at 10:19PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Hello everyone.. :-)

I wanted to stop by and wish everyone a Happy New Year. I have not been keeping up with all the posting but I do drop by and try to scan the photos and read a few posts every now and then. I noticed the title of the thread Kathy started titled Open House for one Kathy. So I am a little late, but last day of 2007 seemed like as good a time as any.

I enjoyed all the Christmas photos everyone has been sharing. Especially the series of old photos. Just love old photos. You were all so cute when you were little! :-) We had an enjoyable Christmas this year and still have our tree up. We usually take ours down on New Year's Day, but this year, we may wait for next weekend. Maybe. [g]

It is snowing here in Massachusetts this morning again. Nothing too difficult to deal with though. Enjoying having a snow cover on the garden, which we haven't had in the past few years. We went into the winter with a water deficit after prolonged drought over the summer, so a record breaking 30 inches of precipitation this December has helped out. We visited one of our local ponds yesterday and first time we have seen the water level back up to normal in awhile. Very encouraging for next year's garden.

Imagine tomorrow is 2008 already!

    Bookmark   December 31, 2007 at 8:06AM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

Monique, that is hysterical!

I love the sunglahses on Chelone.


    Bookmark   December 31, 2007 at 9:17AM
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Add us to the list of those with decorations still up. Just yesterday the shepards arrived at the creche, but the wise men/kings are still a few rooms away. Pineapples have been added to the lampposts for an abundant New Year, and because yesterday was the 5th day, I got gifted with golden rings for ears. Replaced the drooping roses with some bright yellow lilies so have red and yellow as the New Year theme. Why not?

Bella will always be safe with Randy around, for sure. LOL Nothing like a big huge uncle to snuggle.

I've loved hearing about the gifts and quips from the Idyllkids, and was a bit taken back that Annie was making dinner. I still see her as a "girl", but I guess not! May I borrow her?

Oooooh, Kathy. Welcome to the magic of a snowy Christmas Day! I'm absolutely jealous of the BIL's front garden. Stunning in all seasons!

And when I saw Denise's aloe pics, I thought "Red Hot Poker" (which Kniphofia ???) that are a hoot to plant in New England for some temperennial punch. Who knew aloes did that? Not me!! Hmmmmmmmmm, yet another reason for a good, strong greenhouse.

No Heronswood catalog here :-( Lots of seed catalogs, though, and Rich was downright tickled when he got one addressed to him. Must've put the Territorial order on his credit card last year.

Despite their "rare and unusual" being less so than times past, I still use the WFF catalog as a reference. Ditto Forest Farm. No major perennial purchases are planned for this year, as it will be dividing mania for just about everything this season. Except for Hellebores which are a necessity, and a yet-to-be-determined something pyramidal and probably evergreen, purchases will be haphazard and "gottahaves".

I can kid myself and my bank account, right????? LOL

Though I'm not going to plan a "formal" Logee's trip this year, if anyone has a free date and wants to swing east, let me know.

Good to hear from PM2!! Also great to have Monique around more often, she being one of the voices that drew me here when Sue suggested I stop by. :-)

At work today and no phonecalls or emails. Early day out???

Best to all -


    Bookmark   December 31, 2007 at 10:00AM
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chloehoover(z6b VA)

Ready and awaiting carpet cleaners - like everyone else, they only give you a 4 hour time slot to appear....

Monique - I Love that - how clever of you and I concur that Chelone's was the very best pairing!! They did this for a couple of practice group lunches at my law firm -- if you can imagine a few of the very self-important rainmaker attys doing those dances -- 'course the associate who adapted and showed/emailed it around, got told she must have too much free time on her hands...
I just love the idyll version - but how come no Les/Monique showing?

V - love your movie marathon idea - I havent seen the last HP movie; maybe I should go check it out today; I still visit Blockbuster - it's about 1 mile from my house, no netflix membership -- but most everyone I know loves it.

Guess I better go pay some bills while Im thinking about resolutions....


    Bookmark   December 31, 2007 at 10:33AM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Good morning everyone,

Well weve had a lovely relaxing week here. Yesterday Doug and I did a quick drive down to CT to visit with Monique and Les to have a holiday visit and exchange gifts. Sue joined us there and we had a scrumptious dinner. Appetizers of shrimp cocktail brought by Sue, marinated mélange of olives, and some delicious sweet and sour meatballs. The dinner was grilled filet of salmon stuffed with cheeses and herbs, sautéed brussel sprouts with arugula and bacon bits and my favorite Eggplant Provencal. Yummy!!!! Well after a break to give dinner room to settle Monique fixed individual molten chocolate cakes served hot and melty from the oven! Incredible. What a treat! I have to say that Les and Monique are two of the best cooks on the planet. We didnt stay too long after dinner as we were watching the weather radar closely all afternoon and it looked like the snow line was approaching a bit too close. We wanted to beat the storm home. All in all it was a lovely way to spend a Sunday afternoon. Les and Monique bought us the cutest terra cotta cat planter. Ill have to get a photo of it when I get my camera out.

Doug got up this AM and cleared the six inches of snow off the driveway but it now looks like we are going to get another foot of snow tomorrow and then the temps are going down to the single digits. Brrrr. What a winter. If this is a preview of January and February I might have to go into hibernation. It sure is pretty outside right now though as this was a pretty heavy snow and its sticking to all the branches and its a winter wonderland right now.

Cindy, I cant believe how badly your friend treated you after all the help youve given her. People never cease to amaze me. So sorry. So instead of a thank you gift or note you get a kick in the pants. No good deed goes unpunished it seems. Anyway, at least you have your space back and move onward.

Kathy, love those rock gardens! Gorgeous.

Chelone, loved the pics. You look like Rosie the Riveter LOL. That salon will be well lit! I guess Ive missed the discussions as to what you are going to use the space for? It sure would make a terrific painting studio.

Norma, that pond photograph is beautiful.

Eden, Im jealous that youve gotten all your decorations put away. Im planning on starting that today.

Marian, beautiful puzzle! Looks like it should be framed.

Mary, I just love the Boulangier! I cant imagine how you made a tray of mini éclairs! How did you do the signage? Very nice! BTW let me know if you need any craft paint as Ive got gallons of it. Doug can drop it off sometime. Have you checked with Dan about his schedule yet?

Hi Martie, V., PM2, and everyone else I didnt get a chance to talk to today.

Have a safe New Years Eve all,

    Bookmark   December 31, 2007 at 11:00AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

The gang is off to the airport, depositing friend Jean there for her flight back to Ontario. The last 2 days have been wicked, with strep throat for her and DD. Sarah had 103 temperature and both sides of her throat infected. The antibiotics are slowly making things better. Reed was most annoyed that Mommy wouldn't feed and hold him, but fortunately she had a frozen supply of breast milk on hand. It is just so contagious...and we are washing our hands ever so frequently, bedding too! Glad Skyler is away this week, though he did drop by for a moment to say hi yesterday.

We are in the process of building a 4' x 6' mural for Reed's room. It is just so very amazing that I want to share it. It is a bit like a quilt, with 216 squares that are glued to a backing. The end result is a richly coloured Noah's Ark theme with all sorts of animals made by various artists.

Yesterday DSIL and I went to Michaels.(Is that craft supply store in the US as well?) We bought him a large new canvas and brush to create a painting for their diningroom. Something tells me he thinks he'll have free time as a house husband. Hehehehe, I don't think so, but maybe. Also got nice new calendars for 75 cents each!

I'm off to look at elves now. Enjoy 2007 while you can!!!

    Bookmark   December 31, 2007 at 11:02AM
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Back again, reminding myself that I'll enjoy a day off much more when it's warm :-)

Marie: Sounds like you're making the best of a not-so-pleasant situation. Still, to be able to hold Reed and ear him giggle in person must make up for the sickness. The art projects sound interesting. Where's Skyler's Dad (know he is a DSiL but also that he's not jumping in to "help" Skyler understand certain things???) in Skyler's behavior patterns? I know that when Ky's Dad and I split we sat and had a loooooooooong discussion, suitable for Ky's age, about our expectations of him. He knew point blank that blackmail was never going to work. Hope DSiL and Skyler's mom can be grownup enough to do that for him.

Monique: Have to wait to get home to see the latest Idyll images but am looking forward to it. Did you notice that around the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree there are garden ornaments that look very much like your blue spiky ones? You trendsetter, you!

Deanne: Thought of you this morning whilst pouring coffee into "our" (and V's) sized coffee mug and throwing in an extra shot of espresso.

Eden: Saw on Roses (think it was you, anyway) about your Fragrant Cloud purchase. It is practically an unmatchable color which is one of the things I love about it. It jumps!! Last year I used a very pale yellow marigold variety underneath that worked. The fragrance is worth everything.

Cindy: I waited a bit to talk about your houseguest's departure, thinking that at some point she would wake up and realize that she is a very lucky woman, indeed, to have had such an unconditional place to go. Long sentence to say -- not even a thank you is a travesty.

Michelle: Forgot to tell you to tell Kenzie congrats on the potty progress. Have you put yourself on the national "do not call" list? It's easy, free, and applies to politicians.

Wendy: How can you live where you live and not be just a bit excited about the Patriots? After not watchinbg football for years, on Saturday watched the UConn bowl game AND the Patriots and now I'm done for another several years. LOL

Denise: Tried your son's cell once and got a female voice??? Kyle was up for a drive north to meet him and show him around if he wanted..... Let me know how long he'll be east.

V: Best area rug deals, IMHO, are at Marshalls. What is it about a new rug that just completely spiffs a room?

Cynthia: Glad Katie is up to 8 minutes. Her progress actually seems quite quick to me. Are the other dogs pretty much respecting that she's not 100%?

Kathy: Amongst the "stuff" you'll surely find some treasures. Your trip must've been a great impetus to keep going. Did you have a chance to look at any sample properties?

Chelone: Rich wants to know when you can come to work for him this summer: You do the cutting, he does the hanging and mudding, I do the sanding, he'll take us to Sugarloaf Nurseries and get us each a tree of choice. Sounds like a nice place for negotiations to start. LOL

Sue, Saucy, Honey, Ei, Norma, Woody and anyone I missed - it's good to actually have the time to say HI!!

During the next few weeks I have the unsavory task of finding a lawyer to take care of my brother's affairs. The Probate Court did not accept my resignation, and will not until I have someone to appoint. It seems that very few attorneys will take cases like his because of the very low commission involved. So, again, the onus is on the family to get things moving. What happens to people without families??????

Anyway, after speaking with a few offices whom I wouldn't let take care of my goldfish, talked long and hard with my parents. I'm now crunched in the middle, wanting what's best for my brother's long-term care but also knowing full well that the prospect of getting hit probably isn't going to ever stop. So, can I be conservator at a distace? No sibs are stepping up to the plate, with my full understanding. The saga continues.

Was just invited to lunch with some of the younger women in the office and it's always fun to vicariously be 25 again :-)


    Bookmark   December 31, 2007 at 12:13PM
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Netflix customers here for years, however DS/Mitch set up the account and commandeered the list early on, so looking for something relaxing to view at the end of the day involved choices ranging between Herzog's Aguirre Wrath of God and a political documentary. In truth, I intro'd him to Herzog but had no idea he would run with it! I had "intense" viewing choices at his age too, just not now, after 12 and 14 hr workdays. One of his ex-girlfriends introduced us to Spalding Grey, which would be a fun marathon, Monster in a Box and Swimming to Cambodia. Was it just 2007 he passed away? Not sure.

Eden, we have been plowing through the Curb Your Enthusiasms which I'd never seen, up to season two.

My mom excitedly informed me that there's a movie out we will both enjoy, Atonement. I said, Mom, it's rated R. She, crestfallen, "Are you sure?" It's no fun taking my mom to an R film, whether for language or "adult" situations. She groans aloud and makes outraged comments, "Oh, this is just terrible!"

Cindy, that is such great news that you're "cleaning house" and wonderful to hear Chloe is back to normal.
It's occurred to me that with all this snow cover the perennial gardens will be fantastic this year, right?

I went through Plant Delights too, and pretend ordered Canna musifolia. WFF has been recycled already. PD said they had their best year ever last year, which I bet has something to do with Heronwood's change in ownership =(

Marian, I did look up your member page and read the url and must say I was completely ignorant of that particular aspect of the holiday controversy, so thanks for mentioning that. Reminds me of the ongoing strict constructionist controversy over the U.S. Constitution.

The strep throat sounds awful, the dinner at Monique & Les' divine. I'm wondering if the antibodies in the breast milk will save Reed from a bout with strep throat, or isn't the magic cloak of invincibility for infants up to six months? Vaguely remember something of the sort.

New year's res: work less, walk more, possibly squeeze in volunteer work somehow. One bit of gardening info that stands out from last year: The outdoor fireplace/water basin will become a permanent feature as a dipping pond for container plants. Much easier to scoop the water than run the hose off and on -- with the added bonus that our heavy mineral water "softens" sitting in the basin.

One more aloe, this an immense candelabra of bloom:

    Bookmark   December 31, 2007 at 12:20PM
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Martie, just missed your nice, newsy post, what a treat. Mitch is in NYC for Jan. at least and would love to meet up with Kyle. Don't know why the roommate is answering his cell. I'll give him a bell and let him know Kyle's interested.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2007 at 12:26PM
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Good afternoon Idylls.

Martie, the situation with your DB sounds like a nightmare, hopefully a resolution can be found soon.
I work in the industry and register for the do not call the minute it came out. This is from the FTC website: Placing your number on the National Do Not Call Registry will stop most telemarketing calls, but not all. Because of limitations in the jurisdiction of the FTC and FCC, calls from or on behalf of political organizations, charities, and telephone surveyors would still be permitted, as would calls from companies with which you have an existing business relationship, or those to whom youve provided express agreement in writing to receive their calls.

Denise, wow that is a fabulous bloom on that aloe.

The Idyll elves are sure having fun. I wish I were one.

'bug, we do have Michaels here. I hope you take pictures to post of the mural.

Deanne, as usual the Idyll meal sounds yummy.

Lunch is over, back at it.


    Bookmark   December 31, 2007 at 1:59PM
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New-found insight into spontaneous bonsai, when potted Hebe pinquifolia pagei withers away from full, lush dome to two miserable poodle-dog twigs. Cut away all lower dead growth and voila, instant potted hebe standard.

Michelle, we did the do-not-call registry and stuff still leaks thru. Completely escaped me until you mentioned it that you're getting the full political blitz being in Iowa. I wonder if any candidates showed up close to your farm.

P.S. Martie tell Kyle area code is 562.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2007 at 2:16PM
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Martie - not only can my little girl make dinner, but she just dyed her hair for the first time. She chose a deep, chestnut brown close to her natural color, permanent (yikes!) and it looks great. Needless to say I was very nervous until I saw the end result, but I believe leaving some room for self expression and individuality is important during the teen years. Annie also did a decent job cleaning the bathroom after though I'm puzzled as to why there are a couple of huge globs of red dye at the base of the door!?

I learnt to cook independently at Annie's age and as long as I am in the house encourage her to try her hand at new things. Being the head chef and totally in charge is far more motivating than just chopping or stirring for someone else. Having to eat a Gluten free diet too, I believe knowing how to cook is vital to enjoy foods otherwise unavailable.

Today I found out why it is important to have coffee before leaving the house. Determined to beat the rush at the grocery store I was in the shop by 6AM. After picking up everything I need for tomorrow's brunch I checked out, headed to the door and went for my keys. They were no where to be found. Eventually I decided to go to the car and there they were, car unlocked and keys in the dashboard. Whew! Fortunately folk who get up early to grocery shop aren't tempted to steal cars. I celebreated with a strong cup of coffee.

Tonight we are all going to the Ski resort 40 minutes from here. Annie and David will ski till 10 PM while DH and I hang out in the lodge. We'll watch the candlelight parade and fireworks and be home to see in the New Year, probably from the hot tub. Then our final fling of the festive season, a brunch for neighbors and friends. We're having 4 families and there will be 6 kids aged 3 months to 16 years. It's going to be hard getting back into the work routine again:0(


    Bookmark   December 31, 2007 at 2:34PM
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This is my THIRD try today to get on line. We received about 4-5" of snow here, but it's the heavy, "heart attack" kind. I suspect there are lines down further inland, as the power had clicked off about 3 times today. Each time I have to reset the modem and the router. Trying to my patience...

I get only the vacant blue screen when I click on Monique's link. DaHn it! I have used Wilt-Pruf before, but don't think it made an appreciable difference in the "shelf life" of the cut greens, personally. I do make an effort to condition the greens before constructing the decoration. I cut the ends of the boughs, then smash them with a hammer and plunge them immediatly into tepid water. I allow them to soak for 24-72 hrs. and then assemble the decorations. I find they deteriorate faster in biting cold (which is also very "dry" here) and fair condtions. As one would expect, the needled evergreens tend to "keep" best. But I DO love boxwood!

Thanks for the explanation of Butterscotch's dietary habits... I have been reading "Henry VIII, The King and His Court" (Alison Wier) and like the book Kathy is reading, it is chock full of details and frank language that can really "get your attention". The helpmeet and I have laughed aloud at several of the franker accounts. One more reason we love history. And another reason to be appreciative of Kenzie's newly acquired skill... :)

In addition to cancelling the Heronswood catalogue, I cancelled the latest (unsolicited!) Pottery BaRn catalogue today. I understand the NEXT one may already be in the "pipeline". Next on my "hit list"? LAND'S END and LL BEAN... could it be that I now have the scourge of print advertising on the run? nah... couldn't be.

Norma, I am interested in your guitar, too. And I meant to tell you how pretty the shot of the pond was. It DOES look like broken glass and it's a great shot.

Time to hit send before the power flickers again!

(Wendy, you and I should get together the next time the Patriots play. I would rather watch paint dry than sit through 2 minutes of a football game... )

    Bookmark   December 31, 2007 at 2:37PM
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Salvation Army has no idea of the multiple levels in their name. I have boxes of stuff everywhere, and can't wait til Thursday night when I move the 'furniture-to-go' to the dining room for pickup. I was going to send some area rugs too, but decided that when the attic is less full, I'll simply lay them on the floor up there for insulation.

'Equal time' has arrived for dogs. I have a collection of framed photos of "cats through the years" on the sunporch. Found a (labeled!) box of frames in the attic and filled them with pictures of the dogs. I had ordered maybe 30 prints a few weeks ago. Sitting at a table in my office making the decisions on what photos to put in what frames I suffered a severe twinge in my spine while doing less than nothing. I tried therapeutic waters (bath at 2PM) with the new Select Seeds catalogue but no improvement. I may have to repeat the therapy. It would be ok if Katie weren't dependent on me for 'rides' up and down the stairs.

Cindy, I checked out your chairs (I think) and like! My dining room furniture is probably 30 years old. Everything is sturdy and will last another 30 years. I just want something lighter. Something that's more like a breakfast room. White with handpainted birds would suit me. I'll never find it. Chairs need to match each other, I just don't like table/chairs to match china cabinet/sideboard/other.

Denise, that Aloe picture makes me so happy! My back spent an hour in the back yard today, and the view improved a little after I cut down asters and rudbeckia and lily stalks. As I hobbled around I wondered if I was walking like Katie.

Deanne, I was quite proud of my own impromptu get together last night (turkey pie, spinach and cranberry salad, winter squash and marble cheese cake) until I read the menu that you folks had! You guys all know how to cook!

Mary, you are such a sensitive mom. When I was growing up, I had to wait until my parents went out of town to dye my hair. Seems like I had to go back to the drug store a few times when the results surprised even me.

Michelle, caller ID should cost about $3 per month. If it's more than that, you might consider changing phone companies if you have choices there. I switch every 2 or 3 years when I see a really good plan. Just switched back to Verizon in November. Something like $29 a month for a year for unlimited long distance, voicemail, caller id, and 2-way calling. It will go up after 12 months and I'll compare my options then.

Eden, here are photos of "stem holders". These are in the living room, over a server/bar area, my back was too iffy to stoop down and take photo of the ones running the length under a row of cabinets in kitchen. Pier I always has these in stock.

More to comment on, but it's getting dark and I want to take advantage of the decent temps out there to do more clean-up. Hi to all (Martie, hope you enjoyed your lunch out!)

    Bookmark   December 31, 2007 at 4:18PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

Chelone, have you used the website link below? It's a quick way to get rid of unwanted catalogs. Although I do a lot of online shopping, I do most of my browsing online and have canceled almost all catalogs.

Company's coming soon and Dh has not finished picking up his stuff. I've run out of ways to ask. Right now he's playing with his portable GPS...

We have a quiet evening planned at home with another couple, their DD, our DD and my niece. Tomorrow we're having family over early then a Rose Bowl party to attend. A group of Illini alums have convinced the USC grad in town to host us! I hope we're not embarassed.

Happy 2008 to all! Looking forward to our '08 get-togethers.


    Bookmark   December 31, 2007 at 4:21PM
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chloehoover(z6b VA)

An early wish for a very very Happy New Year to all --

look what I discovered at a local nursery today (needless to say it came home w/ me....).


    Bookmark   December 31, 2007 at 5:52PM
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    Bookmark   December 31, 2007 at 6:52PM
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Monique z6a CT(6a CT)

Adorable Cynthia! Happy New Year to you and your pups too!

    Bookmark   December 31, 2007 at 7:15PM
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Hello Idylls.

We're preparing our New Year's Eve feast: all hor d'oeuvres for tonight. Everything gets laid out and left to eat at one's leisure.

Tomorrow will be a beef tenderloin with Hoppin' John (good luck) and spinach (money) for the New Year. My mom shipped in the black eyed peas and corn meal from TN :) There's a little country ham in the box, too. Good to start off the New Year with southern comforts :)

Cindy, I will say "thank you" for your friend. That was a very nice thing that you did and she's probably in such a bad way that she can't see that and might not. I love your aloe!

Count me in for a happy Netflix recipient. I do the 2 per is for kids and one for Nick and I....we get on the computer and plan them out.

V., I forgot to tell you a while back that one of my proudest moments was cooking T-day dinner for my family. I read a letter from my Grandma recently that mentioned it. I'll bet your daughter felt the same cooking for you.

Mary, right on with letting them have some freedom to express. Jake's growing his hair out and I love it! When else in your life can you be so carefree? Jake has a few meals up his sleeve, too, but he's at such a clutzy stage that I often wince and cringe....

Deanne, Sue, Les, and Monique - great menu! I am going to start a Tower Hill plan starting next week....I'll post more as I sort out the details. I think the woman I work for has an "in" there....we'll see.

Time for me to go and pull things together.....

LOL, at my house the dog and cat won't sit together so we can't get out a New Year, much less a Happy one :) Do the pups always have a stray ear, Cynthia? It's like a rose tucked in the hair :)

Talk at you Next Year :)


    Bookmark   December 31, 2007 at 7:28PM
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Happy New Years Eve ! Im a stay-in tonight and hope to enjoy doing whatever I want I was a very busy bee this last couple of days . We had sun today at last so I started my rose pruning- one of them had to be done no matter what lest the window installers are taken down by puncture wounds on Friday. Got 4 roses pruned (only about 60 to go woo-ha !) and had to think about the few I will be digging up and putting in containers to move with me..mostly the few own roots that I planted last year that are still small enough to dig and pot up with out too much upper body strength. Im writing things down lest I become overwhelmed with tasks in the next few months. I plan on two driving trips up north to transport potted plants to BILs and DD for them to babysit till I get up there.

Cynthia, lovely new year greeting from the fur kidsand it looks like you have enough wine glasses to entertain all the Idylls I hope the back thing is short lived , thats all you need right now !

Cindy far be it from me to suggest that you might have a plant addiction problem-lol ! Blame it on Denise, shamelessly co-dependent posting those cool pics from Huntington.

Martie, there was regrettably no time to go house-viewing while I was up in the PNW, however I have plans to return late Feb /early march for that very purpose. Sorry that your bros situation has hit a snag. Stuck in the middle is no place to be.

Denise, DS has put lots of intense stuff in my Netflix queue as well, some of which are ok, some not so. Spalding Grey s Swimming to Cambodia is something Ive had on the back burner for a lonnnng time ! Im just glad DS has at least quasi- eclectic tastes in films. He has zero interest in most of the movies targeted to his demographic.

Saucy, we do the hor doeuvres thing for Christmas Eve. Much grazing and then the opening of presents. Eating nothing but Ceasar salad for about a month is looking pretty good to me about now.

Hi PM2 ! How nice to get a visit from you hope you can stick around for a while.

Time to go hit the reading room hi to everyone, thanks to Deanne for yet another mouth watering culinary description (and thanks to Les and Monique for cooking it ) which reminds me- the Idyll elves were truly The Bomb.

Special Hi to those who have not been around in while Brenda , Babs , T, Honey, Drema

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   December 31, 2007 at 11:29PM
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Humbled to be the first to say HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!! At lunch yesterday we got talking about resolutions. Mine? Peace and happiness in my own life and anyone elses I can affect. It was interesting to listen to the next generation of smart, talented women thinking of theirs. Thoughts ranged from learning to scrapbook to having a baby.

Michelle -- Thanks for the calling info. In CT there is an advertisement that allows folks to opt out of getting political calls, but it must be a local thing. I'd rather need to hang up or check caller ID for political calls than continue placing advertising for them. Politicians have their own set of advertising rules, mandated by the FCC, that throw huge bumps into for-profit advertisers ability to do what they need to do. It sounds backwards, but the "people's right to know" basically allows politicians to advertise for next to nothing while struggling small businesses need to pay full rate. I won't go on....

Kyle headed for Boston last night but ended up in Nashua!! I guess that they've had enough of big city partying for a bit. I'm just as glad :-)

I have new respect for all who put together puzzles with more than 20 pieces :-)

Today will be spent with seed catalogs and graph paper. One of my favorite times of year when fantasy can fully take over. LOL Crappy weather (snow/rain/sleet mix, Denise, is about as bad as it can get for travel) is FORCING us to stay home. Can you see me crying from here??????? LOL, again.

Enjoy your days!!


    Bookmark   January 1, 2008 at 8:49AM
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Happy new Year Everyone

Last night was fantastic - Annie and David skied for 6 hours while DH and I spent time together in the lodge. The snow was pretty good and it a perfect night - clear and not too cold. At 10PM the ski patrol came down in formation carrying huge burning torches which lit up the mountain. The fireworks that followed were fabulous. Somehow we missed seeing any last year and these more than made up for it. We just snuck in home in time to toast the New Year and David was practically asleep before his head hit the pillow.

I'm in full cooking mode this morning, very happily pottering about in the kitchen listening to the BBC on the internet. I've made cranberry scones, fruit salad and bread sticks and am about to start on the bell pepper and asparagus frittata. Then there will just be some baby potatoes to toss in the oven and sausage to fry and we are ready for the first meal of 2008. Table is laid already and a quick vacuum and we're done.

I hope 2008 brings peace, joy, good health and good gardening to all.


    Bookmark   January 1, 2008 at 9:03AM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Happy New Year to all my Idyll friends!!! Doug and I are relaxing in our favorite chairs in the family room looking out at the white landscape and the Grey Squirrels zooming about. (Man they are fat this year!) Anyway we had a fabulous evening last night. Our friend MJ made reservations to Michael Timothys, our favorite local restaurant, for their special New Years Eve dinner. Absolutely amazing meal! (I cant tell you how happy I am that Im not starting my 08 weight loss program until tomorrow) WE started out with a champagne toast and Foie Gras Brulee then proceeded to choose our four course meal from the set menu. They offered an appetizer, salad, entrée and dessert course. I started with A Curry Pappardelle with king crab, pine nuts, roasted garlic cream with fried chives as a garnish. For salad I had a Baby Romaine Salad on a zucchini pancake with roasted garlic sour cream dressing, haystack potatoes and grated parmesan. For my Entrée I had Grilled Choice Cut Filet Mignon with lobster smashed Hollis potatoes, roasted winter squash and truffle béarnaise. Dessert was a Twelve-Layer Chocolate Mousse Cake with chocolate-covered strawberry and strawberry sauce. That has to be the finest meal Ive ever eaten in a restaurant. Very pricy but worth every cent. Doug and I are talking about making it an annual event. Michael and Sarah his wife the owners were there at the door to welcome us (MJ knows them pretty well) and Sarah even hung my coat for me. Lovely people who richly deserve their success. Anyway it was a culinary masterpiece that was well worth every extra calorie and every drop of sweat it will take me to work it off. LOL

Today our friends are coming over for take out Chinese and a bottle of wine and then the holidays will be officially be over. Ill probably start putting my Santa collection away before they get here.

Yesterday I spent a few hours and watered all the plants in the dormant section of the basement. Id noticed that a few of the fuchsias were bone dry and realized that it had been a month since Id checked them so I did the whole shebang so now that doesnt have to be done for another month. Ive come to realize that I have way too many plants. LOL But, of course, did I throw away all those shoots I cut off the dormant fuchsias???? Nope they are all in water as I write this. Like I really need another thirty or so fuchsias.

Martie, sounds like you are going to have a great day with your seed catalogs and graph paper. I like to putter about with all my plants under the lights and dream about the combinations Im going to make in the spring. So what on earth did Kyle do in Nashua last night?

Kathy the whole idea of moving a garden and household would be overwhelming to me. You are amazing! RE rose pruning, it seems no mater how careful I am I still get wounded. A friend of mine gave me some rose gauntlets last year and that is a help but I still get stuck even through the leather gloves sometimes.

Saucy your New Years dinner sounds yummy. I love tenderloin. Please explain what is HOppin John? ~~ Looking forward to Tower Hill get together.

Cynthia, love the New Years greetings from the puppies. Too cute! So sorry about your back. I hope that gets better soon. ~~ Love the stem holders in your shelves. Are those botanical illustrations under them?

Cindy, beautiful aloe. Of course it had to come home with you.

Mary, Wow! You are lucky your car was still there. OH my! Yes indeed never leave home without a cup of coffee under your belt. Hope you had a great evening and will have a great brunch today.

OK Ive got to get motivated and get my day started with a session on the exercise bike. I"ll have to get out to Keene tomorrow after the snow storm passes. My poor DB fell down on the ice yesterday at work and broke his hip. Hes had surgery and will be in the hospital for a while I guess. What a bummer. Id like to get there today to see him but with this snow coming it can be a real problem getting over Pack Modnanock mountain on Rt. 101.

Enjoy the start of the New Year everyone

    Bookmark   January 1, 2008 at 10:06AM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

Good Happy New Year's morning!

Mary, I wore the dragonfly to AM worship this past sunday. It went well with my peach colored sweater. Thank you ( again).

I didn't manage to stay up to see the New Year in...didn't even stay up until 11 to see the ball fall in New York!

I haven't got any 2008 seed or nursery catalogs, except Vernon Barnes...:-( But then, I will not be ordering anything new so that is okay. Anything I buy will be locally.

Thanks for all the input about Netflix. Another question...when you send one back do they chose which one from your list to send next ? Also, can you add more to the list , or revise it ? One of the gals at church has it, and likes it.

I need to get dish TV also, so we can watch programs that are not all advertizing ! What is that channel that was mentioned that has the Rose Parade with no ads ? Is it on cable, or dish ? Naturally it is too late for me to have it this year, but maybe next ? I really hate all the silly comments that the announcers make. We are only getting it on NBC this year...:-(

Okay ...gotta go...parade is coming on....

    Bookmark   January 1, 2008 at 11:01AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Happy New Year's Day to each and every one!

I am sitting at the dining room table at 10 AM while others are still in bed. Earlier I heard poor Sarah gargling salt water. Her strep throat seems to have taken a turn for the worse. I checked up on recent photos of the puppies a few minutes ago and all is well with them. :)

Last night we celebrated the arrival of 2008 in the hot tub with apple cider. Fireworks were in the distance, Orion was clearly visible, and Reed was happy to be there too, until Sarah left for bed. He's definitely a Mama's boy these days. It was rather funny when DH made a dash for the door to go inside only to find the door had been locked by mistake. Of course he ran back into the tub until Sarah realized what she had done. (It's minus 15C here)

An elderly friend is due for a lunchtime visit today, but I think she may have to cancel. We'll soon see. I'd hate to have her catch strep throat, though the doctor said that Sarah should not be contagious after being on antibiotics for 48 hours. Hard to tell....

Last night after dinner was a hoot with 4 of us on separate laptops at the table together. What a bunch of geeks! Today is overcast but still snowy and beautiful. No seed catalogues here yet, but we gave DD & DSIL books on pond building for the new year. That's the kind of thing they love planning and building jointly.

I hear small sounds from the youngest member of the family so will try to assist Mama with her day now. I had been hoping to read my book club volume -Atonement- but that will just need to wait. I assume the film is the same story, but I prefer to read things first. Has anyone seen 'Into the Wild'? (We saw it with DS at Thanksgiving time.)

Relax and enjoy the day!

    Bookmark   January 1, 2008 at 12:18PM
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All window candles are down! I even separated the downstairs candles into two separate boxes for next year. I keep the candles labled by window and direction, but even with separate boxes for upstairs and downstairs I found myself digging too much, especially when a label or two disconnected from the base of the candles.

My last day off :( and it's going too quickly! I've really enjoyed just roaming around the house editing things and cleaning stuff that never gets cleaned. I do have work to do to get ready for tomorrow, but putting it off until it's dark I guess.

Deanne, your New Years Eve dinner sounds like a great tradition to start. Saucy, I would have enjoyed your appetizer spread. And what exactly is hoppin' joe?

Kathy I'm getting so excited about your move! Do you have a realtor for either end of the transaction yet? I'd have a hard time not being on looking for listings just to see what's available.

Hope everyone is enjoying the day and starting the new year off--- happy.

Best, Cynthia

    Bookmark   January 1, 2008 at 2:01PM
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Happy New Year's Idylls - such wonderful reading of lucky new year's food and festivities. Is it the meal on the eve or New Year's Day that's lucky? For the eve here, it was sushi, for the day a tamale, call it a lucky breakfast tamale. Works for me. Tamales are a big holiday event for many here, lots of homemade variations. You can make the masa yourself (huge undertaking) or buy it premade then make the rest of the tamale yourself (still huge undertaking). Mine were bought from a very good local source. Co-workers of DH swear sauerkraut is the definitive lucky new year's meal, but that may be local custom. DH worked New Year's Eve but was seen pouring over a 2008 calendar, matching it against the work schedule and triumphantly declared that he will be off 2008 Christmas Eve AND day. That's a first. Neither of us have ever had "regular" Mon thru Fri work weeks. Mitch in NYC attended a New Year's Eve party at the Gramercy Park Hotel -- that kid always seems to fall into a honeypot. Duncan and I had a scary fest of Alien movies. Ein's been having a chewing fest on his hide and is probably overdue for a bath. Rain may arrive with the weekend, which would be a great start on the 2008 rain count. Hope all your lucky meals work their magic!

    Bookmark   January 1, 2008 at 2:03PM
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Saurkraut is for wealth in the New Year, or so I always heard....I have heard many variations of this with many kind of greens.

There's a link for Hoppin year maybe we'll have Hoppin' Juan :)

Happy New Year to all....I think I've shared this here before, but we also say, "rabbit" to one another on the first day of the month for good luck....whoever does it first gets the it's a big deal to get it on the first day of the new year.

Having said that....RABBIT!


    Bookmark   January 1, 2008 at 6:27PM
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Happy New Year to everyone. I spent some time reflecting on 2007 today and it was a better than average year for us. Some sorrow, some joy...

Marion, we are new Netflix users and have enjoyed it very much. We also have a lot of intense movies on our list. I think it may be a matter of watching movies that we wouldn't have gone to the movies to see. We watched Days of Wine and Roses this week. It was very intense and sad. One of the worst parts for me was when the fellow hid a bottle of booze in his father in laws wonderful green house. Then he forgot exactly where he hid it and tore the greenhouse apart to find it. I could hardly bear to watch.

A documentary I would recommend to you is called God Grew Tired of Us. It is about three young men who were in refugee camps in Africa for ten years and then were given the opportunity to come to the US.

My husband seems to be preparing to retire in 2008 and that is a very good thing. He never would even talk about it before. He seems to have the beginnings of Alhziemers and it is making it hard to do his job. He used to be extremely organized and on top of things. In fact, his nickname at work is Radar. Now he misplaces things and can't remember many things. It is just a some times thing but I'd like him to retire before it gets worse.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2008 at 7:09PM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

Peaceofmind, I am coping with my DH's failing memory and health, so understand what you are saying. I sure hope yours is not getting Altzheimers. I think mine is more of a senile thing, along with other health problems.( He is 81.) I am having similar memory problems.
I like documentaries and stories based on real life. The main things I do not like is vulgarity and excessive violence.

My meal for the day was definitely not traditional. It was a pot of vegetable stew, made with a beef roast. Turned out real good, even though I forgot to put any carrots in ! LOL. I was too involved in watching the parade....:-(
BTW, we watched it on ABC,not NBC, which I thought would be the only one airing it here. The announcers were not bad...very little foolishment, but it seemed they focused more on bands than on floats.

The wind has continued all day, but the sunshine helped keep the house warm. It will be a differant story tonight. Predicted to get down to the single digits.

Marie, I am sure sorry about your DD's illness. I do hope the children and you do not get it. Take lots of vitamin C. :-)

    Bookmark   January 1, 2008 at 7:46PM
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Happy New Year everyone ! Another busy day here for me. I watched the rose parade this morning , and then went outside for the rest of the day. The weather was just unbelievable today- it got up to the mid-60s , sun shining, dry . I cant remember such a warm New Years day since I was a San Diegan. Its usually either cold or raining ! I got 8 more roses pruned and then noticed how bad the weeds were in the area I refer to as the citrus grove, so I spent at least two hours pulling them. I guess an advantage to living where there is a real winter is not having to go out and pull weeds in January . Since there has been no rain for a few days the ground was just barely dry enough to pull the buggers. This time of year we have wild geranium, bedstraw, petty spurge , poa annua, and the ever present oxalis. I noticed while I was out there that the hellebores are budding up . Ill try to get a pic this week to share. My other task for today was cleaning the patio and re-arranging the pots etc so that the window guys will be able to access the slider for the install on Friday. Also dug up and potted two roses for the move

Denise, it must have been t-shirt weather for you today. Ive always wanted to have a Tamale making party on Christmas day with a Mexican feast for dinner (including Margaritas and perhaps Negro Modelo. Next year I will likely be the host so I might make that happen. I have a couple of recipes stashed away. We are supposed to have rain coming in tomorrow perhaps that is the storm that will make its way down to you .
I thought of you and DH today that Port of Los Angeles float in the parade was very cool with all the various crafts . Quite unique.

Saucy, thanks for the clarification on Hoppin John" , I just knew it had to be a Southern thing. My Grandma (long since gone) was born in New Orleans (1890s) and cooked all sorts of things that seemed very exotic to me as an LA girl.

Cynthia, believe me I am on various real-estate websites on a daily basis, checking out the listings, many of which I have viewed numerous times. I do have a realtor here , and will have one in Corvallis once I get this house listed. They are all pretty hungry right now. I expect to be on the market by the end of the month give or take a week.

Anise, nice to hear from you . I think all we can ask for is good year ! Mine was very uneventful . I hope you and your DH are seeking some medical advice ? Its frightening to contemplate Alzheimers, but as Marian said , sometimes its just too much stuff in your head , and some of it needs to go.

Marian, HGTV (Home and Garden Television) is the station I watched the parade on , commercial free. The broadcast was not as good as in previous years as they spent too much time trying to promote upcoming programs on their network, and the verbiage was very obviously scripted. Still, its better than wall to wall commercials.

bug, I just cant imagine being in a hot tub with the temps under zero ! I guess a speedy entry is the key . I read Atonement when it first came out ..2002 maybe ? I will probably re-read it this winter like you I prefer to read the book first. Though I have read it , it was so long ago I remember every little of the story.

Time to call it quits for tonight-back to work tomorrow. Good thing only work a couple of days. !

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   January 1, 2008 at 10:02PM
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Saucy - we used to believe that if you said "White Rabbit" on the first of the month it would bring good luck. An English tiwst on the same perhaps?

Deanne - how miserable for your DB. I imagine it will be a long recovery. Take care driving in the snow.

Marian - I'm so glad you're enjoying the pin:0) Something to lighten the dark days of mid-winter.

GB - hope the strep throat is soon gone and no one else is struck down. I loved the book Atonement - Ian McEwan is a favorite author of mine and Atonment one of his best works. My book group is planning to see the movie when it opens here - we read the book together a couple of years ago. "Enduring Love" is a great book too. More recently I enjoyed "Saturday" and the short book of "Chesil Beach". DH and I saw Into the Wild and thought it very good.

I'm trying to get geared up for work tomorrow but the week off has simply been too relaxing and fun to want it to end. We're expecting close to a foot of snow tonight and tomorrow so perhaps the vacation will continue. Either way I have a last load of laundry to fold before bed.

Nite all


    Bookmark   January 1, 2008 at 10:05PM
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A sparkling good morning to All!!

It rained/snowed/sleeted yesterday and as soon as the sun crests the tree line, everything will be twinkling. Predictions are for a 30 deg drop between now and tomorrow afternoon -- typical New England but a shock to the system nonetheless.

Deanne: Ky and crew had headed for Boston, got as far as Worchester, decided they didn't want to fight the crowds, called their friend in Nashua who was to meet them in Boston, and headed north instead. They had "amazing Chinese delivered" and a bottle of champagne and played Trivial Pursuit all night. He said it was the best New Year's Eve so far. Hooray for guiet Nashua!!!! When he walked through our door at 11a it threw both Rich and I for a loop, but even Ky admitted that after Paris, a stay-at-home night was the best thing.

It was an interesting day yesterday as calls came in from around the world and calls were made as well. Ky and friends had decided to contact each other at 7pm local times on New Years Day. Very glad Skype covers international calls :-)

Love the Hoppin' Joe tradition, Saucy! It's great that you're keeping it going for your kids.

Denise: I'm so glad for you and DH about him having the two days off next year. Thank him from me for helping to keep us safe and sound. Ky will be trying Mitch again sometime this week provided that leftover England school work gets done. WOW re: Gramercy Park Hotel. The kid is doing well in the connections department, obviously :-)

Poured through 11 seed catalogs yesterday and have a tentative plan:

Annuals and Veggies Only.

Going back through my Autumn notes I'll need a small army of help to get everything divided -- a detriment of planting so much in the same year. Until I see what space I have left, I don't want to start anything new that will be permanent.

Also took a look at roses, but won't get anything until I check around locally except for a Rambler to cover some ugly but soil-retention-necessary scrub trees in the back.

No snow fort got built :-( I told Rich he could go do it himself since the boys were otherwise occupied, but it just wouldn't have been the same. There is hope with the five-year-old who is also disappointed and offered to "come over and shovel a lot." I imagine something small with result.

I'm going to have to do more research on declining abilities as folks get older, since I thought that senility and Altzheimers were connected. My mom was absolutely lucid during the last few weeks. The coming and going of "where she is" is going to be the rough part, methinks.

Rockin' and rollin' at work today, so best pour my second cuppa and get prepared :-)

Hi, All!!!


    Bookmark   January 2, 2008 at 7:23AM
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Good morning, Brrrrrr. Rick got a new atomic alarm clock for Christmas. It displays the time and outdoor temp on the ceiling. -9 this a.m. doesn't make you want to get out of bed.

Have a great day!


    Bookmark   January 2, 2008 at 8:00AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Good morning... :-)

Starting off the official new year this morning by attempting to tackle the most pressing issue, dental work. I have to find a very good dentist in the Boston area. I have done some research that went on hold for the holidays and now I can't delay any longer. So that is the top priority on my very first TO DO list of 2008. Not my favorite. [g]

Thanks for the hellos Marty and Deanne and hello again. :-) Kathy, what a surprise to hear you are moving. I guess I missed that announcement. I will have to go back and do some reading. Is the PNW your destination? I have a friend from MA that just moved there and is renting while they look for a house. Well, you will certainly have some big changes in 2008! Yes, I hope I can visit more in 2008 than I did last year, thanks for asking.

I have been reviewing my photos from 2007 and wanted to post one of my favorites that seem appropriate to the New Year. It is called Yellow and Blue and is by William Tsoi.

Hope you all enjoy a productive and happy day. :-) pm2

    Bookmark   January 2, 2008 at 8:20AM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Good morning all,

Its still cloudy and spitting snow outside this morning but I can see blue sky off to the west so some sun is probably heading our way. Im going to have to make time to pick up my Mom and go to Keene and visit my brother today. It looks like hell be in the hospital for a couple weeks. What an awful way to start the New Year. He is a VERY physical and active person, so to be on forced bed rest for the length of time that hip is going to take to heal is going to be terrible for him. He is a line man for the phone company so has a very physical job as well. I surely hope he has a speedy recovery.

Doug and I had a pretty quiet day yesterday and I worked with the plants for several hours. Nary a sign of an aphid and only a couple stray fungus gnats so for now all is well. Ive got some abutilon that are getting read to burst into bloom and Im going to let them do it as the flowers will be a real treat with this cold and snowy weather. Ill have to post pics when they do their thing.

Ive got to get my studio back in order and get myself back to work. Ive got a few paintings in my head that Id like to get on canvas and I really could use a few new pieces for the web site. Ive got about a million flower photographs Id like to do paintings from so Im actually looking forward to getting back to work. This is a good thing. LOL

Martie, we got Chinese food from Lilac Blossom last night and I wouldnt be surprised if that is where Kyle got his from. Its the best around here. Id have to agree with you "HOrray for quite Nashua". LOL

Michelle, Brrrr.. That weather is supposed to be on its way here and Im not looking forward to it. Stay warm.

Mary, I think that snow of yours is on the way here also. I cannot believe how much snow weve gotten this winter already. Nashua recorded the most snowfall ever for the month of December 07 with 39.6 inches. It doesnt look like the snow machine will stop anytime soon either. ~~ BTW Doug is headed back out your way next week.

Kathy, Im absolutely blown away by your organizational skills. Youve set a plan, a deadline for selling and moving and you are doing it. Good for you.

Bug, I hope all are well soon.

Beautiful pic PM2. Do you know the photographer? ~~ Bummer about having to have dental work done. My worst nightmare.

OK Ive got to go to the gym and fight the hordes of people who flock there the first of the year. Fortunately most dont want to use the Stairmaster and I normally dont have to wait for a machine. Time to knuckle down and lose the weight I managed to accumulate in 07. Have a great day everyone.


    Bookmark   January 2, 2008 at 10:10AM
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For some reason I missed the news of Deanne's brother's fall - I hope he has a speedy recovery....that's quite the job he does.

Just in from the gym, and it seems that yes-indeedy, lots of people have resolved to get back to the gym for '08 :) I used the stairmaster today, myself :)

Hi to PM2. It's good to get on top of the dental work before it gets worse - good for you!

GB I hope everyone is feeling better today.

I want tamales, too. And a day at the beach just because I can. I miss So. Cal....must make it back soon.

I am planning a Scuba trip to St. John or Florida Keys - input anyone? We've never been to either.

I am in a mood to get things done and cleared off my's a mood that doesn't strike often, so better take advantage.


    Bookmark   January 2, 2008 at 10:42AM
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Deanne, it sounds like your brother will be very motivated to become active again. I can imagine the ERs must be flooded with fall injuries. I know you guys are all pro's at winter, but please be so careful driving...and walking!

We've had a conga line of ants greeting us in the shower every morning, so I sympathize with the aphis/gnats and glad to hear they're under control. Our little blighters are looking for water, is what I'm told. We've got an uber strain of Argentinian ant that's outcompeted our native ants. My neighbor Holly, former Back Eastie from Maine, has a pest control guy out once a month. I saw him masked and spraying her garden gate area a few days ago, clouds of spray wafting across the street. I completely understand the impulse to have nothing crawling in the house. Pest control should probably be relegated to the categories of religion and politics, never to be discussed.

Lovely morning glory, prairiemoon, and good luck finding that dentist. Funny how the new year's resolutions never include stuff like tracking down and buying all black-colored flwrs in existence but run more toward exercise, dental care. But there's nothing to compare to the high one gets AFTER a dentist visit.

The sweatered greys spelling out a new year's greeting was a treat, such nice manners!

We never watch the Rose Parade, so foolishly missed the Port of LA float. Not a sport fan in the house either so we're out of the loop there too. DH loves attending the big football parties and tries to blend in, but his unpracticed sports commentary always betrays his rookie status. My BIL's enthusiastic commentary is fascinating to listen to when he's watching a game, much more entertaining than the game itself.

Kathy, I'm taking notes on selling and moving house. I can't believe you're ready to list. Good work.

Look at you, Saucy, "planning a scuba trip," and to warmer water this time. What a blast.

All decorations still up here, with the house just beginning to smell piney. Probably means the tree is near to being a fire hazard. Friday will be tree recycling day with the trash, so down it comes by then.

Can't wait to hear of the veggie garden plans, Martie. If anyone has any harsh words regarding taking out a beautiful mature noisette climber, let 'em fly. I can't believe I'm contemplating it, but I know from the past that once the thought first crosses my mind, the rose's days are numbered. Cons are it takes up about 1/8 of available growing space, nothing much will grow underneath its arch, a self-sown Euphorbia cotinifolia has sprung up nearby to 8 feet throwing all proportion out of whack. Blooming is decreasing to really one big spring flush. I think the soil's exhausted, which might be a self-serving excuse but I itch to dig over the entire bed and amend it. Bigger leaves are needed in that particular area (Canna musifolia?). The pros are obvious and needn't be listed. I just can't seem to stay committed to roses, which causes much shame.

I saw this flash of gold driving across town and tracked it down for this blurry photo. A man with jet black hair down to his waist walked by as I snapped the photo and said "Nice orchids." Maybe some of you grow epidendums as houseplants? I've never been able to grow them like this:

    Bookmark   January 2, 2008 at 1:17PM
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chloehoover(z6b VA)

Well, I armed myself well with Garbage Shield and Armor for the first day back at the ofc, and it's holding steady here at the ofc (on the personal front, the best I do is just to try to forget the "recent unpleasantness" and pretend those persons dont exist - it works pretty well during waking hours...). I was pleasantly surprised that Boss 1 had not (for first time in years) blocked my desk & alcove w/ files he'd shoveled out of his ofc on his usual year-end purge -- I congratulated him and told him how much I really really appreciated it -- good start for this new Year!

I can't believe all the snow so many Idyllers have already had -- it's cold here w/ that Artic cold coming in for a couple days, but we've only had mostly rain, rain, rain -- but it still managed to close the year 2007 in a deficit area for the region over all. Eeeks -- Michelle -- knowing how cold it was before I get out of bed would not encourage me either! Brrrrrr.

Sounds like quite a few have a marvey New Years -- Mary, Deanne, I'd have a hard time picking which was more fun (I suspect the gourmet food would win though, LOL..).

Re Alzheimers -- there are other elder diseases/conditions that mimic the behaviors/memory loss characteristics of "Uncle Al" -- there is frontal lobe senile dementia, and other types of things like that -- only a proper diagnosis by specialists can determine which one and what it might be -- some of these things can be helped by medications - including Uncle Al. So, for people concerned about it, best thing to do is see that expert dr - as someone else said here, "growing old sucks" -- for all of us!

Im sorry to hear of your DB's accident, Deanne -- what a wretched way to start a year off. And I do hope GB's DD is on the mend now from the strep throat - how lucky she is to have you visiting though to help out...

Kathy - Im soo impressed by how hard & diligently you've been working and painting your house -- boy, you are an energizer bunny! Even w/ that goal, it must really be tough (it would be for me anyhow) to keep doing all that myself -- I really need to repaint my interior of my house, but the thought makes me cringe -- 'course the thought of paying a painter makes me cringe more, LOL...

Well, guess I've taken enuff lunch time -- keeping w/ my '08 resolution to keep up w/ the Idylls so far...

Denise -- yikes -- that's an epidendrum? W O W!!! It's Mag.(Im sure I wont find that at my local nursery). I think we can all relate to deciding garden real estate is too precious for something that only shows a short time, whether it's peony, rose or something're gonna need a shield yourself to chop it out sounds like! Im w/ you re PNW - I'd love to visit Bainbridge -- we would all be in Garden Paradise I think.


    Bookmark   January 2, 2008 at 1:52PM
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Just in and the cold is coming....

Denise: LOL about letting fly words about yanking. I'm one of the biggest proponents of "it's just plants" and if something doesn't work for whatever reason, get rid of it!! That said, I wish I could come dig up your climber to reestablish here. Keep those current pics coming!! It's defense against the winter blahs in these parts.

Cindy: Good for your boss!! I've always thought it a bit cowardly to purge when the organizer o' purges is away :-)

Kathy: For fun have been poking around houses for sale in Corvallis. What a variety! Are you looking for something gardenless for a complete fresh start? For me, taking over someone elses garden is akin to peaking in the medicine closet. I tried it once, and decided that leaving gardens was a lot easier than trying to make existing ones "mine." Good that you are starting to move plants sooner than later -- you'll end up with more than you thought, believe me. I'm still retrieving things from seven years ago. Good thing hostas are hardy!

We'd need acres and acres to plant all the veggies that we think are necessary for sustinence as of yesterday. LOL Though I have convinced Rich that corn just isn't worth the hassle, he has become intrigued by all the different types of pumpkins to be had. I've introduced him to the concept of vertical gardening using onion bags to support the fruit, but "it wouldn't be right." I'm sure we'll have things tucked everywhere by the time summer is done.

You gotta see this link. Could it be a joke???? Chelone????


    Bookmark   January 2, 2008 at 2:45PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

Belated ... Happy New Year to you all! We've been relaxing and doing nothing much since the company went home. I got lots of books for Christmas so have been spending quality time with the books and the dogs:(note the large lump of a tumor on Jasper's left side in front of his hip...)

Misty loves 'the big guys' coming to visit. Blue, in particular, seems to have become her special buddy.:

Last night we (including Misty...) had dinner with her other 'boyfriend' Liam and his 'parents'. Liam tried to get in the car and come home with her when we left. Misty seems to have become the doggy version of a party girl! :-) Our hostess for dinner last night was a bit melancholy. A few days before Christmas her elderly father died. Her mother died in the fall. Hopefully 2008 will be a better year for her!

I'm feeling very much in hibernation/winter lethargy mode so will probably be even less chatty than usual over the next few months! I'm plotting an expansion to the backyard garden and other garden projects for 2008 to keep myself going through the dark, cold season.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2008 at 3:29PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Back from buying DD a new wardrobe at the sales. (Mark's Work Warehouse and Cotton Ginny) Reed benefited from the excursion as well. :) Sushi for lunch, OUT for dinner later this evening. (Ethiopian)

Unfortunately I must agree with Cindy on the diseases associated with aging. My Mom's was labeled as Binswanger's Disease, and nasty stuff it was as it evolved. Finding an accurate diagnosis is tricky business too. With my Dad, the dementia word was only mentioned after his death. This broke my heart as my mother needed to know what she was dealing with and had zero support from those who could have helped her.

I've just discovered Fine Cooking magazine- as opposed to fine gardening. Perhaps this is not a great addiction either?!

OK, must go for now. We fly home tomorrow, late, so perhaps there will be pictures soon.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2008 at 7:08PM
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Back to the grind today, but a short workweek to ease us into it a bit. I had a dentist appt today (only a cleaning this time thank goodness- though I HATE cleanings, especially when they use that sonar thing. ) and since its the first of the year I didnt have to give them any money for a change.

Martie, I am looking for a house that is more or less turn-key as far as the interior goes i.e dont want to fix the kitchens, bathrooms, windows, flooring etc. That leans me a bit towards a newer home. I want at least a 9 to 10k square ft lot, preferably ¼ acre as I feel that is a size I can handle on my own (with occasional help from relatives if need be lol) and a sunny position. Love the forest but dont want to live in it-too gloomy especially in rain country. Deal breaker is a busy street and too small a lot. There is quite a variety, and Im also looking in Philomath which is a few miles west of Corvallis , but have noticed a bit larger lot size there. Oh yeah, I would love a view as well. So what are the ramblers you are considering ? Is Cl Cecile Bruner hardy in your zone ? That thing gets huge and re-blooms nicely for me. I think it would easily smother anything in its path.

PM2, wonderful photo ! To bring you up to speed I decided to sell my house and re-locate to the Willamette Valley of Oregon, about 500 miles north . Most of my family is up there and real estate prices are a bit lower so I will make a modest profit and be able to segue from my high stress 50 to 60 hour a week job to a nice mindless part time job. Id
like to enjoy myself while Im still able. I can totally commiserate with you on the dental work issue ! In the last several months Ive had extractions, bone grafts, deep root planeing, a sinus lift and gum surgery . Next up are the implants. Jeesh.

Deanne, how great that you are preparing to paint ! We of course expect some pics of your progress. Sorry to hear of your DBs woes. Nothing worse than confinement for one who likes activity.

Denise, back in the olden days when my BILs lived in Huntington Beach I bought them an Epidendum from the nursery I was working for at the time as a hostess gift. They fortunately planted it in a bed that was surrounded by concrete because the thing just absolutely took off and would probably eaten their whole garden alive. And it bloomed like mad. As I recall it was a Southwest exposure. Re; the Noisette, hey some people are rose folk and some arent. But be prepared ! I removed a mature (15 year) climber and it involved several different saws, a hatchet, and a railroad pic.

Cindy, painting is a pain the the A , however I am doing myself the rooms that require no special skill and hiring out the rest. There is no way Im going to paint the kitchen but bedrooms I can deal with.

Woody, great aerial pooch view ! Everyone looks quite comfy.

Ok, time to have some dinner and read a bit Hope everyone is staying warm and dry.

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   January 2, 2008 at 9:35PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

Two down, 364 to go...

Marian, I can answer your questions about your Netflix list or queue. You can change it at anytime and add, delete or re-order your choices. They will send you the next movie on your list that is currently available, and it seems like most of the time they are sending the top choice. The list is fairly easy to manipulate if you want.

Sunrise is sitting next to me on the loveseat, but is turned backwards and keeps mashing her nose into the back of the loveseat. Very strange noises coming from that corner! I decalcified my coffee pot this evening and I think that was quieter! She will not be happy when the replacement arrives and she is not allowed on it.

Woody, our first lab had sizable benign tumors like Jasper. I started calling him the lumpy-bumpy dog.

Our New Year's Day tradition has become jambalaya and black bean soup. Beans for good luck, and jambalaya because there's enough spice to burn out anything that ails you!

We had a great time at the Rose Bowl party, although the outcome of the game was not what we wanted to see. It was hard to go to work this morning, but i got a lot accomplished and will feel good at the end of the short week. With two trade shows to do this month, January will be gone before I know it.

Martie, I understand your comments about the politcal ads. One of the local radio stations I listen to once explained the requirement to run these at the lowest rate, and how it hurts their bottom line when the races get particularly heated.

Time to get ready for bed. I want to read a few pages before I clunk out.


ps - a question to others - lately I'm seeing several posts with ? instead of apostrophes and quotes. Is anyone else having this problem or do I have some quirky setting on my browser? thanks!

    Bookmark   January 2, 2008 at 10:12PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Deanne...very sorry about your brother. Ice is so scary. One of our new year's resolutions is to walk a few times every week but by the time my DH gets home at night, it is dark, so our favorite walking site is out of the question. So we decided rather than go to the malls, we would try the center of a near by town that is interesting to walk around. We tried it last night for the first time and it worked out great. The sidewalks were completely dry and passable. We had a harder time trying to get to our car in the driveway. It iced up here late yesterday. Your brother's story is encouraging me to try to get some sand today. Well, I hope he will be able to start physical therapy before too long.

I meant to tell you that I loved your photo of your Christmas tree with those gorgeous glass ornaments! The light was wonderful. The photo of the morning glory was by William Tsoi.

Saucy...hope you got a lot of things done yesterday. I'm planning on doing the same today. :-)

Denise...sorry to hear about your ants and hope you find a solution for them.

Also facing memory loss problems with my husband's Mom, but she is in her 80s so it is certainly to be expected. My husband and I both have noticed it gets harder and harder to keep all the necessary details in our heads. I rely on lists a lot. Sorry to hear about your husband and hope you can find a specialist that can offer you something to slow down the progression.

Kathy...Willamette Valley sounds familiar. Isn't that where a lot of Iris growers have collected? Corvallis seems to be about 7 hours from Spokane, so you are not so close to my friend at all. It looks like you will be pretty close to the coast there. Sounds lovely. I have often thought of moving to the West Coast, but I don't think I could tolerate the amount of gray weather there. Two days of gray skies and I start noticing a funk coming on. [g] My DH on the other hand looks forward to rain and finds it 'cozy' for some reason.

As for dental work...that is an amazing list of procedures you have had. I cannot remember a time when I haven't had problems with my teeth but thankfully, not gum or bone problems, yet. I have a lot of sympathy for your dental woes. Takes a lot of dedication to keep having the work done. I will be interested to hear how the implants work out.

Another favorite photo from another photographer whose work I enjoy... Raymond J Barlow.

Staying warm and dry today...hope you will too. :-) pm2

    Bookmark   January 3, 2008 at 5:55AM
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The Idyll Motor Court sounds like something the kids would like! I might actually do that, since I don't like to camp without a cabin :) I can stop in at LL Bean, LOL!

I really am overwhelmed by all the info on the 'net for Scuba in the Virgin Islands....are travel agents a waste of money?

I had a great workout today, one of the best on record. I was able to breeze through cardio and lift mountains with my legs :) All with a smile on my face. I got a heart monitor for Christmas and find it fun to make the workout a little more scientific-like.

V., I am a lumpy bumpy Saucy. I have a lovely condition commonly known as fatty tumors. I imagine that they bother a dog about as much as they bother me....though if I had a huge one like Jasper, I might feel differently :)

Woody, everyone looks so comfy....all settled in for a winter's day. Don't hibernate for too long :)

Denise, I think we call those sugar ants, though I've always heard they're after water. They never really bother me since they're not after food. I agree, however, that chemical warfare is one of those touchy subjects :) Mint is something fun to try.

I've got to get this show on the road. I feel very behind for some reason and need to dig back in.....


    Bookmark   January 3, 2008 at 10:29AM
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Warmer here today, the clock said 10 above.

Deanne, sorry to hear about your DB. One of our linemen fell and broke his hip but was able to return to work after 6 weeks. Hopefully, your DB will have as quick of recovery. Ive been quite concerned about falling this icy winter especially now that I know my bone density isnt so great.

We must be one of the few without Netflix. Im not sure I would find the time. We always buy some movies to watch when we travel in our camper as TV reception is usually not good in campgrounds. Of course I have lots of projects for the winter. Theres an arbor that should get built out of copper, several rooms to paint. Rick would like to do a "man room" upstairs in a room that I have full of junk. So some organizing and painting should happen. I should really look for new carpet for up the stairs, hallway and 2 bedrooms. We will be doing the prep work for our new kitchen flooring but not the installation and it has arrived. Spring will be here before I know it.

Kathy, I often think if I had to move back to town that I would have a hard time finding the perfect house and the perfect lot.

Cynthia, I enjoyed the New Years greating from the pups. Hows the back doing? Take care of yourself.

I just check a book out of the library "1001 Gardens to see before you die"

The political frenzy is peaking here in Iowa today. I think tomorrow will be much quieter.



    Bookmark   January 3, 2008 at 11:58AM
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