Idyll #415 No Lines, No Waiting.....

saucydog(z5MA)December 19, 2008

I couldn't think of a tydll until Julie's post :)

Carry On....

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vtskiers(z6a CentralCT)


Snow predicted here today as well. I have two "use it or lose it" vacation days left so I'm burning one today. Since I'm way too busy to take another before the end of the month it looks like I'll be losing one...oh well.

Saucy's weather map covers me so I guess I can expect 6-12" of the white stuff. All schools were cancelled for the day and a flake has yet to fall. I made a stop at the local fish market this morning on my Dunkin Donuts run and picked up fresh grey sole filets and a pound of sea bass. Fixins for beef stew are also in the fridge so I'll have a variety of stuff to eat. Yesterday I stopped at the liquor store and picked up a couple of bottles of my favorite chardonnay so I'm good there too. The only part of this I'm not looking forward to is clearing the snow off the driveway. The snow blower didn't go my way in the divorce. I was going to buy one but one of the guys from work said we had an extra one lying around in the facility department and he would have it tuned up and dropped at my house. Well that hasn't happened. Shoveling is going to have to be the option. An snow/sleet/rain storm is predicted for Sunday so I'd best get my butt in gear early tomorrow. Maybe I can borrow a blower from my neighbor. Too bad Julie isn't closer :). Don't you just love winter?


    Bookmark   December 19, 2008 at 10:41AM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

It is snowing here but not as much as forecast. It looks like it will be starting to move out of this area soon. I doubt that we'll have much more that about 4" at most unless it changes substantially soon.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2008 at 10:46AM
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chloehoover(z6b VA)

I Love rain......... Im going to pretend I live in California.


    Bookmark   December 19, 2008 at 12:37PM
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Is it this cold in California Cindy? Go check.

Sue, I'm loosing about 5 weeks so don't feel too badly about your lost day.... I've lost track of what can be carried over but it's not more than a couple of weeks and I count myself fortunate to have such troubles :) But next two weeks are company shut-down and that is a 'real' vacation! I'm already in holiday mode which is why I'm 'here' instead of 'there.' Ok, back to 'there.'

    Bookmark   December 19, 2008 at 12:54PM
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Hi everyone

We've had a good foot or so here and I'm researching snow blowers. I cancelled our plow service as part of our tightening the belt but it looks as if we are in for a snowy winter. It just took me 2 hours to shovel the driveway so some mechanical help is in order.

Annie and David were thrilled to have school end 45 minutes early and have been busy with friends packing the snow on our slope for faster sledding. I discovered my cold frame is the foundation for their ramp:0( X-country skiing should be super this weekend but for tonight I'm battoning down the hatches, lighting a fire, pouring some wine and hoping there is a good movie on TV.

Poor DH is on route from CA via Chicago. Not sure he'll make it make tonight.


    Bookmark   December 19, 2008 at 4:03PM
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It's snowing to beat the band here!

Today Jake got an early Christmas present: size 12 snow boots! Those are some big feet to try to keep warm. He keeps bragging that he's taller than me, but I won't admit it just yet.....I still have at least 3 cm on him :)

I'm just about to install some new software onto my computer....just wanted to poke my head in here in case the computer blows up!


    Bookmark   December 19, 2008 at 4:27PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

I don't think we had more than a few inches here but it's blowing like crazy out there! Misty just refused to go down off the porch - and peed in the snow on the porch, then beat a hasty retreat back inside! Randy e-mailed to say he left work at 2:30 and figures it'll take a couple of hours to get home!

I amused myself today by making a couple of batches of dog cookies for Christmas treat bags and organizing some of the dog photos on my Picturetrail albums. If you need a dog 'fix', check them out at the link below. (Lots of typos that need correcting...)

Here is a link that might be useful: dog pack

    Bookmark   December 19, 2008 at 4:29PM
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The snow started at about 3PM here, and I arrived home shortly thereafter. Like you, Mary, I immediately lit a fire in the stove, one that would be much loved by Cynthia's pointy-nosed dogs. The cats that were outdoors when I came home were extremely pleased to go indoors with me. In fact, they came around the corner of the house jawin' at me with urgent meows. It's really picked up fast and I hope the helpmeet receives an early reprieve from tree purgatory.

I have a sink full of dishes and I think that will be my next move here. Then I'll bring up a load of wood for the night and fold some laundry.

No candles in the windows yet, Cynthia. I have 3 more decorations to make, presents to buy and wrap, and a good deal of cleaning, too. But we're going to put the tree up tonight and that will definitely rev up the old holiday spirit. I wish I'd been patient enough to "hit the packy" and bring home some Bailey's Irish Cream, though.

OK, time to get the kitchen whipped into shape. Thinking of Jerri and hoping the sore paw is well on its way to mending and the meds are doing their thing. Please don't hoard them for recreational use, OK? Wondering if PM has found her dream car and is heading west to rendez-vous with Kathy or Denise. And thinking of Marian, too. I had to fill the font of one of the lamps this afternoon and need to remember to replenish the supply of lamp oil we keep under the kitchen sink.


    Bookmark   December 19, 2008 at 4:42PM
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We got nearly a foot of you know what. I was able to make it to work easily though. It's supposed to snow more tomorrow and blow, I'm glad it's the weekend!

Have a great Friday night! We are going to a couples Bible study on marriage, it's proving to be very interesting.


    Bookmark   December 19, 2008 at 5:27PM
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Mary, we have two snowblowers. One lives here, the other lives with BIL, next door. Both are Ariens, 24" wide, and are 8 HP. One is 10-12 yrs. old the other is about 4. I can handle them with no problem. We have a lot of driveway and we've never had trouble clearing it with a snowblower. The helpmeet recommends buying from a dealer. He regularly has to deal with a cheapie from WallyWorld at work and he hates it. I recommend having it serviced yearly (springtime) and wearing a snappy jacket with a fur collar so you don't look frumpy when you're following it up and down the driveway. :)

    Bookmark   December 19, 2008 at 5:42PM
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First things first. Chelone, I had every intention of hitting the package store tonight too and drove right on by. But I do have Bailey's. Wanted to stock up on champagne and wine for the holidays though. 'Package store' is a Mass term I think. Do other states call it that? In NH it's 'State Liquor store.' That's part of the trick to NH staying...liquid...without income or sales taxes.

I picked up a few brie en croute with cranberries/orange at Sam's for whatever entertaining I end up doing. Between Sam's and TJ's and lotsa wine I can just sneak by as a hostess. And I changed the config in the living room last night for the holidays. Need all chairs facing fireplace!

My driveway is long and my snow removal device is a shovel. Sometimes think about adding one more 'machine' to take care of. Maryland doesn't have a lot of snow though so I'd probably use it 3 or 4 times a season at most. I do make a point to get out there and shovel before my neighbor can get to me with his snow blower. Theory is that he can plow it when it's deep/heavy but I don't want him to feel obligated to plow it every single time we get 2 inches. So far so good!

I should dig out the 'liver treat' recipe for all you dog bakers. It involves big bloody cow livers, but the dogs seem to appreciate the efforts, and it makes a trillion freezable treats.

Mary, I love your creativity, but if I received one of your 'dishclothes' I think I might use it as a hot mat instead. Just too pretty to get grungy from dishes. I have some beautiful crocheted dish clothes that EP sent to me.

There is no wreath on my door. Gotta do something about that.

Since I'm hunkered down here, I could actually enjoy some of the snow you northerners have. The dogs love to fly in it, and this would be Hope's first real snow! (Florida dog.) We've had dustings this year but nothing deep and fluffy yet.

I'm on vacation and have books to read and lists to make.

Hope the foot and mouth duo are feeling ok!

Waving to all :)


    Bookmark   December 19, 2008 at 7:26PM
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In NH it used to be called "The Commission", too, because it was orginally the NH State Liquor Commission. All the stores had a green border on the front of them and they were often called, "Doc Green's", too. :)

When I was a kid you had to write out a paper order and hand that to a clerk who then pulled the liquor requested from the shelves behind him. No self-serve.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2008 at 8:34PM
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Hola friends A brief respite here in the rain, and slightly less artic.. for now. WeÂre looking at rain and cold temps for the next several days, but on the bright side , tomorrow is the equinox  we finally get to start to move in the Âother direction ..Yay !
My excitement today was my package from Amy Stewart; I finally won an auction on one of her paintings. IÂve linked it below. ItÂs very small , but was also very inexpensive , and will be used in my picture wall re-vamp Âat last something that isnÂt a forgery , lol !

Denise, If there was a way to make a smoothie palatable at a tepid temperature I would have gone for it. Remind to have my next dental procedure in summer when the smoothie option would be most welcome.

Cynthia has reminded me of my bemusement when in Tarrytown for IU5 I discovered there was no wine at the grocery store ! This was a rather shocking development. Grocery stores here carry wine, booze, and beer. We also have Âliquor stores which used to be very prevalent but now are rarely seen..Here in Napa we have a few wine stores too-(not to mention a winery or two). My teeth could handle the Brie by the fire at Cynthias. My tarp blew off and my wood is soaked. Maybe IÂll get a fake presto log tomorrow at the grocery store for some atmosphere !

IÂm afraid I canÂt comment on the efficacy or lack thereof re: various snowblowers. This here is sump pump and sandbag country.

Thinking of Jerri too hope all is well with her.

V, I assume you move your Meyer Lemon inside for the winter ? Mine can stay out but it looks pretty crummy all winter. The fragrance of citrus blossoms is my very favorite-probably a childhood thing from back in the day when we actually had mega citrus groves in Southern Cal.

Ok, waves to all and time to read the paper-hope all are warm and dry !

Scroll down on the link to see the pomegranate painting

Kathy in Napa

Oh, by the way, here is my 'awfice' decor...

    Bookmark   December 19, 2008 at 9:22PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

We ended up with about 10 to 12 inches of the snow. Thankfully, no ice or freezing rain here. All the schools closed, and when I drove to work at 6:30 I was one of very few vehicles on the road without a snow plow attached. One of my coworkers rode his snowmobile to the office.


It's never-ending! Sunday, the three moms, our four DDs, and MIL are having our "girls night out" during the day. We are taking the train into Chicago and seeing the musical "Dirty Dancing", then going out for dinner. I don't think we will be doing a lot of walking around in the Loop!

Just saw a news item that a horse barn several miles east of us had to have 50 horses evacuated when the roof started to sag with the snow load. All of the horses were safely out when the roof collapsed later in the day. It's an area full of horse farms, so many people pitched in with trailers to relocate the horses to another stable.

Enjoyed the commentary on TCS, Skyler and whiny children in general. I think the hardest thing is that too many parents don't take the time to deal with bad behavior properly at the time it is occurring. It's more expedient to give in and quiet the child than to do the right thing and address the behavior. And of course, the bad behavior gets reinforced and grows worse. Julie, keep up the good job with TCS. He will learn to eat a wider variety of foods, and it will happen before he starves to death.

I took my Meyer lemon butter cookie dough over to SIL's to bake with the girls today. They were baked on parchment paper, and I used very poor judgment in trying to move the first batch across the kitchen on just the paper. Of course, it collapsed across the middle and almost all of the cookies went sliding to the floor. I, of course, maintained the highest sense of decorum and yelled out "S***" at the top of my lungs. At which point you could here a pin drop, as my three nieces apparently thought I did not know that word. We applied the five-second rule (no animals in the house!) and (amidst a lot of laughter) saved all the unbroken cookies and the larger pieces. I do have to say that they are quite tasty!

Chelone, when I was a kid, a parent could write down what beer or other alcohol they desired, hand the paper and some cash to their 10 year old, and send the kid to one of the small mom-and-pop corner stores that were all over the city, and the kid would bring home the booze (cigarettes, too.) I can remember the day when one of my neighborhood pals was told at the store that they couldn't do that any more. Could you imagine the headlines today if someone was sending their kid out to buy their booze?

We're enjoying a nice fire tonight, along with some red wine. The coyotes were yipping rather close to the house and rather early in the evening, so I made DH go out with the dogs. No sign of coyotes while they were outside, though.

Cynthia, nice to see you posting again! Hope we get to "see" you a lot over the next several days.

My vacation does not start until Tuesday at 12:00. Looking forward to it!


    Bookmark   December 19, 2008 at 9:31PM
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jak1(4 Ontario Can)

Boy you guys are fast! I just thought I'd give it a day and see if someone started a new thread - here we are a quarter of the way through, well almost. Where to start?

Well, Chelone, TCS aka Adrian is my 7 year old grandson sho has lived with DH and I since his birth. His father is our son Brendan aka Interphil. Brendan has lived here too for the last year.

'Bug, Skyler is a hoot! I think it is wonderful, what that little guy has gained from your family. "XXOO Nana Marie" is just so heartwarming especially to a kid.

Mary: 'frumpy"? FRUMPY???? you gotta be kidding - with a white fur trimmed jacket? Clean, yet? You ain't seen frumpy until you've see JAK1 at age 61 out picking up doggy doo,wearing DH's tatty quilted work shirt, garden gloves, and a pair of skidoo boots *LOL* That's what's at the back door so that's what I toss on when duty calls!

I also noticed the dog cookie recipe but my oven doesn't go to 3500 degrees. There is a pottery kiln down the road though and maybe they would be interested!

Jake would be as tall as you, Lisa, if he didn't have so much turned up for feet!

Kathy, Lovely Christmas tree! Your "awfice" looks very neat. You must do JJobs there every day!

We got about a foot of white stuff, very very cold, and windy as can be. Couldn't see across the street all day. It was clear yesterday morning so busses ran, but it was a worriesome time until TCS got home.

The pomegranite painting is super - I would hang something like that in my kitchen! (DD has pears in hers).

We call our provisionary shop the LCBO, the Liquor Control Board of Ontario, or commonly here, the likkibo. I hate that!

DH is our vintner we are so cheap! But there will be a drought here in January as all of the primary fermenters are full and the fermentation is very slow in winter.

Once DH had his fermenters all lined up in the dining room where it was warmer, and they burped along through the air locks quite cheerfully. But it did sound like someone f**ting, so I asked him to do something about it as I was having my garden club over that evening. When the guests walked into the dining room for tea, each purping carboy had a little sign aound its neck: "Excuse Me!"

That's my life *LOL*

TCS would like the computer - he is writing books for his friends for Christmas. So I think I will hand it over.

All the best to those suffereing from Hoof and Mouth!



    Bookmark   December 20, 2008 at 6:53AM
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Good morning

Chelone - thanks for the snow blower info. There are two I am considering, one, manufactured by White, was originally bought from a dealer but needs a tune up which will cost $79. The other is a Snapper which is sold by Sears, and is in good working condition. Both are two stage blowers which is what I'm looking for. I think I'll go see both this AM and decide. Hopefully the sellers are not complete weirdos or mass murderers (somehow with Craigs List you never know). If you never hear from me again send out a search party.

Kathy - the artist's work is wonderful adn the pomegranite would be one of my favourites! What a neat thing to own.

V - I can identify with both the sliding of cookies onto the floor and exclamation uttered LOL! Many things from baked goods to a cooked turkey have hit the floor here. We also follow the 5 second rule despite ahving animals.

Julie - I love the image of the carboys apologizing for their flatulence LOL! My father used to make wine and also home made ginger beer which had a wonderful habit of exploding sometimes.

My vacation doesn't start till 3 PM Tuesday but it continues a nice long while so I shoudln't complain.

Cynthia - I'll try and blow some snow your way:0)


    Bookmark   December 20, 2008 at 7:24AM
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We have a good deal more snow this morning than we had yesterday. And, if the prognosticators are to be believed we should have even more of it in another 24 hrs.. I'm not looking forward to relocating it, and it will rather complicate getting out and dealing with the necessary holiday errands but it's pretty. Rex is going to be very excited about it, too. He LOVES frisking around the yard while we're out cleaning up. "Rollie-polies" will keep his humans nicely amused. :)

Our tree should look at nice as Kathy's awfice offering! We aborted the mission last night after 1/2 of a string of lights decided to give up the ghost, and resisted all attempts to revive it. The helpmeet was tired and on the whiny side, so we set the boxes of baubles aside until tonight. The cats were all asleep around the house but once the tree came up the stairs they were up to investigate the new addition to their territory. They're too old to care about climbing it anymore, but they certainly do enjoy smelling it and hanging around behind it.

All the merchandise at "the Commission" had a number to identify it on the shelves behind the counter. When you wrote out your order you had to put down the number on the paper. Mum used to have me practice writing my numbers on the order pad. When she would come down the driveway the old woman across the road and the old woman next door would come out on their respective porches and watch to see which direction the car turned. Right meant we were going to the lake for the afternoon, left meant we were going in the direction of "the Commission". And they would each holler out the numbers of the items they wanted. It was my job to remember those numbers. When we returned home I would be sent down the driveway to Cookie's house first, toting the booze, and I'd return with the money. Then I would go to Minn's house, lugging her desired item(s). Always with the admonition to walk to the brow of the hill so I could clearly see any cars coming before crossing the road. Being the "bagman" had distinct benefits... mainly her cookies, which were varied and abundant. It would be pretty funny to see a shot of a 5 yr. old Chelone lugging a half gallon of whiskey across the street to the old lady's home, the family dog trailing behind. ;)

I like your new painting, Kathy. Isn't it fun to purchase something that is just plain, "pretty"? I scrolled down and the one titled, "Gaslights" really appealed to me, too.

Woody, I really enjoyed your link. I love the shot of Misty's face. Rex is much like Misty when it comes to meeting other dogs, too. But he's big and his size naturally inspires more fear and caution. The only dogs in our immediate area are completely out of control (one is "controlled" with a shock collar, the other is benign and just runs along behind the electrified one). The other two are Bull Terriers that drag their owners along in spite of the prong collars they wear. None of them appear to know their names and won't look at you when you call them by name. So, what you wrote about encountering people who will allow their dogs to "meet and greet" really strikes a note with me, too. Because Rex is large and presents an imposing front I frequently endure the disapproving looks of other owners when he "puts on the dog" and when I put the kibosh on the performance. I whince a bit, but I'm pretty much over that now. Interestingly, I find the fundamentals of the article on whiny kids applies to training your dog, too. Consistency is key. Rex doesn't leave the house to greet anyone unless he sits quietly for me first. Then we go out on leash (to save him from himself) and we are polite. And it takes a lot of effort. (and beatings). I often wish Rex could speak human or I could speak dog for a few hours. I would love to have him just tell me about the year and half he experienced before we liberated him from "the joint". But like you and Randy, we just soldier on, keeping it consistent, and marvelling at the ability to adapt and make progress.

I wanted to share this nugget with you guys because it underscores the importance of generosity. A guy came into the shop and the topic of the week has been "how long were you without power?". He had a generator and it dawned on him that he should look in on the old woman down the road. Her house was in the mid-50s when he knocked on her door. Clearly, help was needed so the generator was moved to her home. He called on her later in the day and she'd made up the guest room and prepared a hot dinner for him and his wife. And that's where they stayed for 4 days, taking the generator to his house only long enough to keep the inside temperature up and prevent frozen pipes.

Cindy, you are a sport to go in on Saturday (I would, too), though sayng "No" would have been well within your rights, I think. I've been thinking of your refusal to be drawn into conversations that could easily take a turn to the unpleasant and I applaud you. Good move! holidays should be fun and relaxing.

Size 12s, Saucy? yikes, Jake is developing into quite a strapping young man, is he not?! What was on the program for the choral performance? Rex has begin spending the night on the couch, too. I'm not quite sure how to address that, aside from making sure his bed is clean and positioned invitingly in front of the stove. :( He has never shown any inclination to chew it up, thankfully.

So what's everyone having for Christmas dinner? I think Cindy's choice sounds mouth watering. Other possibilities that've crossed my mind are: roast leg of lamb (my favorite) or a nice spiral cut ham. I've put the question before the helpmeet but he's thusfar had little to say on the subject. And I'm thinking of using the sideboard as the stageing area this year, rather than having all the serveware on the table. I'm still not sure who will be coming but there will be plenty of chow for any who shows up.

It's started snowing again and it's time to think about putting what we've received in locations other than the deck and the driveway. Between clean up today and more of it tomorrow it's going to be a real baptism of snow. But soon, "the back of winter will be broken"! (hang in there, Eden).

OK, time to think about gettin' motivated. Or not.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2008 at 8:10AM
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No snowblowing here, yet. We've decided to just enjoy the fondant look for a few more hours then head out in the truck to see what mischief we can find. The little kid in all of us....

Work for me ends on Weds at noon and starts back up on Friday at 8:30a. It's okay with me since no one else in the world seems to be working those two days and "work" will undoubtedly consist of hanging out at home in sweats and checking emails occasionally. This I can live with.

Skyler's take on things makes so much sense!!!

Also wondering out a big fish part landed in just the right spot for Rex to indulge. LOL

Snowing more now, and more anticipated Sunday into Monday. Kind of like the STOP influence it has this weekend :-)



    Bookmark   December 20, 2008 at 8:15AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

We did not make it to our party last night because the plows arrived late to clear out our laneway. Hey! I just heard that the party is tonight, that it didn't work out last night for others as well. Cool!

I believe Christmas dinner this year will be either moose, bison or venison. I'll leave it up to the chef, who is fortunately not me, but dear SIL!

Sarah had a big melt down yesterday. She sees herself as the strong, competent one, the one who researches and deals with facts. Her life lately has been stress upon stress and all through this she wants to support DSIL and the ugliness his ex inflicts on them. Poor DSIL has not been able to deal with Reed's death very well because of ex. His therapist has only heard about her, not his baby. And so I wish them peace over the next while, time together with no pressures.

Today I must check my list twice, to make sure I have what I want to give each & every one, then start packing after I do some errands.

Off to make oatmeal now!

    Bookmark   December 20, 2008 at 8:45AM
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Our neighbors are avid fishermen and we suspect the fish parts that Rex so proudly brought home came from them. We aren't sure if he stole them out of a trash can or if they were simply tossed casually into the "woods". We suspect the latter because he wasn't gone very long and he made repeated trips to the general area the next day.

Silly boy! (but he was some proud of himself!)

    Bookmark   December 20, 2008 at 9:20AM
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I spent 30 minutes arranging and rearranging a table cloth on the big living room table this morning. Then I walked around repositioning the clutter - er - candles, plates of cocktail napkins, and the rare Christmas do-bob. Yep, I think I'm in vacation mode. Luxury for the working stiff.

GB, I read your new health plan with high interest. I think you'll like the results. There is no food or diet which can remove the stress of your year, but I do believe that preventive maintenance can give us more defenses to deal with whatever life hands us. You have the best exercise program available - that leash and Phoebe :) I get nearly 2 hours a day of good walking in warmer weather, and the mental stimulation on those walks isn't beneficial just to the dogs! It's harder on the worst winter days, and I have fewer of those than you do I know, but the vitamin D is still available. In a family fraught with cancer and high blood pressure, I've escaped it all and really believe that diet and my own 'choices' has a lot to do with that. Please keep us posted on your program, I think it sounds wonderful and glad that you are doing this for yourself.

For my (older) sister's 60th birthday in January, we're going to Sanibel for 4 days. We've been planning this for years, and last year when she had brain cancer I took her to an 'early' Florida via a business awards function. As much as I hate leaving home and the prep it requires, I'm looking forward to the trip. If Ei pops back in I hope she'll share her pictures. She mentioned them on an earlier thread - can't remember which, but it was recent. Would love to see them Ei!

Chelone, you have an excellent memory of the details of your childhood! Agh, did everyone's parent's buy whiskey by the half gallon? My mother did. Dad's was vodka by the half gallon. I remember disparaging comments about my aunt who had a glass of red wine 'for her health' each night. As if that were somehow worse than Shenley's on the rocks each evening. Hmmm. My parent's are dead and Aunt is thin and healthy and at 80 something looks like a well preserved 65.

Kathy, I like this artist you've found. Her cityscapes are quite nice too.

Saucy, I want to visit your booth this summer. If your art weren't so heavy you could put it on Etsy too.

I've just visited the living room for more objective scanning and removed a small table. Now can't remember what else I meant to comment on. I'll be wandering the dining room next.... a lovely day without pressure!

Hi to all, especially Cindy at work and hoping you'll be joining the other 'vacationers' soon. Cynthia

    Bookmark   December 20, 2008 at 10:51AM
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I had to google Sanibel, sounds lovely. So glad you mentioned your sister and that the two of you will make such a special trip.

I too loved the recounting of little Chelone taking the neighborbood liquor orders. What industry at such a tender age!

I had no idea Misty had such a troubled past, Woody. Very interesting link and loved the photos of the many dogs that have been made frequent mention of on the idylls.

My mom reported this morning that one of my brothers sent them a large indoor grill, in a voice that suggested a whale had just beached itself in their kitchen. I kidded them, Wait until you see my present! at which they groaned. She also reported that my niece turned 4 recently, on which day she got out of bed and announced, "I grew up!"

Kathy, I didn't know that Amy Stewart painted. Love your choice. I was drinking pomegranate juice (with some bubbly) just last night.

We adhere to a loose 30-second rule, V, but Ein is usually faster than that.

I'm stuck with transcripts that are needed ASAP so will have to leave multiple errands undone. Tree still not decorated, etc. Paying close attention to the snow blower survey...well, that was unnecessary. Just venting some spleen over being stuck inside ;)

Really, warmest regards to all.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2008 at 1:30PM
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Morning all, Ive done some indoor chores and am going to head off to to the office for a couple of undisturbed hours-I find that one can get legions of paperwork done when no one knows you are around. No phone calls , no visitors. Sun is out, garden looks forlorn. Black slimy foliage abounds. No doubt it will be addressed when I begin the rose pruning in Jan

Denise, I never knew Amy Stewart painted either till a few months ago after visiting her blog which is linked in Garden Rant . The paintings are all quite small ,but I really like them .

I too had to google Sanibel , as we Calif dwellers can be somewhat Florida ignorant.

The awfice Christmas tree has provoked numerous comments , most of them negative ! "What the hell is THAT?" from the CFO, "ugliest tree Ive ever seen" from a sales rep, "that is just wrong" from a co-worker who then brought his spouse in to see it on his day off. A conversation piece to be sure

Back later to visit and post over on Marties thread

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   December 20, 2008 at 2:16PM
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Paging Saucy .... I just looked at the regional radar and you might not get dug out in time to go to Logee's :-) Hope all is well and that the canoe got moved in time. Also am thrilled for you that your work is somehow now more "official."

Well, Kathy, at least at one point they were in New York, so how really bad can that be? LOL

Oh com'n Denise?!?! You know you'd love to be in 7degF windchills with frozen roads and blowing snow, Right??? Heck, give up the Getty and come East! I can hear you saying...."not in this lifetime".....

'bug - The lilt in your "voice" is palpable, and I wish you a safe and wonderful journey across the continent. We'll All keep close eye on Phoebe if Woody has anything to say about it :-)

Chelone: Forgive me this one: Only in coastal Maine could there be a fish and dog story like that one. I'll betcha the neighbors knew just what they were doing ;-) Thought of you as I watched branch after branch worth of snow fall out of an Eastern pine on neighbor's head. There are some things that just aren't worth the angst, methinks.

Mary: Actually I think a white puffy jacket with fur/fluffy trim is tres chic!! You'll know for sure when Annie wants to borrow it.

Cynthia: Muffled LOL about your tablecloth since I've been known to do the same thing, sometimes with people standing there with settings waiting. Is Hope calming down at all?

Marian: It was fun to read of your gathering of old friends. My cacti are starting to bud:-)

Eden: If you can crawl out from underneath the inevitable mountain of wrapping paper at your house, could you remind me when Jen and Randy are due?

Cindy: Hope you're at the point in your day when you're home and can say "let it snow" and really mean it.

Everyone Else -- Enjoy This Day!!


    Bookmark   December 20, 2008 at 2:50PM
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I am now the proud owner of an 8 HP, 2 stage, electric start, 4 speed snow blower and it is awesome!! What was a real bonus was the man I bought it from drove it home for me in his pick-up truck for free. I had the mistaken idea a snop blower would be something like a vacuum cleaner in size and weight, and I could shove it in the back of the Subaru along with a week's groceries and David's guitar - not! The blower was incredibly heavy for 3 of us to lift but we managed, it cleared the driveway lickety-split and is now parked in the garage awaiting the next dump of snow. I can't wait to show DH!!

For anyone who was wondering as this is usually male territory, DH was somewhat sceptical about the idea of buying a snowblower, feeling the plow service gave him greater peace of mind when he is travelling. I, on the other hand, am rather more frugal and saw an opportunity to save in the long term. Plus, I like the freedom of owning and working my own equipment. Many of the Moms at school looked extremely puzzled when I asked their opinion as it isn't anything they would ever consider on their own. But I'm sure the Idylls would be up for the challenge:0)


    Bookmark   December 20, 2008 at 3:07PM
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vtskiers(z6a CentralCT)

Spent most of the day shoveling, the patio, the driveway, the side walkway, the driveway, the front walkway, the driveway, the hot tub, the driveway. Did I say the driveway? At any rate, finished everything but a section of the driveway behind the garage bay I don't use and decided to reward myself with Starbucks. On the ride home I heard the weather for tomorrow-another 4-8" of snow possible mixed with sleet and freezing rain after which the temperatures are predicted to plummet. I almost cried.

Somebody just shoot me because I physically can't do all that shoveling again tomorrow after the 8-10 or 12 inches today. Looks like I'd better head over to Craig's list and see if there are any snow blowers left. :(


    Bookmark   December 20, 2008 at 4:36PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

Snow? Did someone say snow? Yes, it's snowing here again. But we did get out this afternoon and cut a tree. We got one that is literally covered in pine cones, so we won't need a lot of ornaments. The dogs had a lot of fun frolicking in the snow. Sunrise, who turned 12 on Thursday, was rolling like a little pup in the foot-deep snow. I also cut some red twig dogwood and some white pine branches. I added a little dogwood to my vase of pussy willow branches and it looks very festive.

Today's experiment - wearing my brand-new bifocal glasses for most of the day. I usually wear contacts and had not bought glasses in this century, so my back-ups were extremely out of date. Since DH had extra money in the flex spending account, it was a good time to order them. Overall they're not too bad, but I did have a little nausea this morning and also one humorous giant misstep over a pile over snow that was about 18" shorter than I thought.

The house is a minor disaster at the moment, as everything was pushed aside to make room for the tree and nothing is put back yet. I think I had better rouse the troops to action.


    Bookmark   December 20, 2008 at 5:10PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Hello, hello...about a foot here too. Just wanted to add our experience with snow removal. We have a short driveway and walk, which never has been much of a problem. I used to enjoy shoveling and no one else in the house usually minds it either. But as we are getting older, I am not up for it and DH has a bad back that can't risk it. So three years ago, DS bought us a used snow 'Shovel' for $25. We thought it would be a joke, but to our surprise, it is really easy and effective. It works for our short driveway and walkway. It will only clear about 4 inches at a time, so you have to go out more often. It probably wouldn't work if you were at work all day and came home to 12 inches of snow. We also have DS as our back up for shoveling, but there have been few times that has been necessary. We find it fun, light weight, and very effective. Not to mention, inexpensive. To our surprise it is still working fine going into our third year. We like the fact that we are not totally dependent on anyone for snow removal.

Sorry to hear that weather forecast Sue, DD is away for the weekend and is due home by plane tomorrow, I am not sure how that is going to work out.

Sue, are there no young people in your neighborhood who would enjoy making a few dollars to do that shoveling for you?


    Bookmark   December 20, 2008 at 5:14PM
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I cleaned the kitchen, put away some laundry, organized my Christmas errands and decided to brave the crowds today, since (as Sue pointed out) we're due for more snow tomorrow.

Parking at the maul was competitive and complicated by lots of snow that was really slippery and some very high snowbanks. I found two of the CDs requested, Bobby Darin will be a hit with me, too... Allison Kraus and Robert Plante not so much. I was not thrilled with the color selection of corduroy slacks and struck out completely trying to locate a cardigan sweater ("like Mr. Rogers wears" is the quote from the list). In all, it was a very uninspiring shopping trip, though I did find a couple of "fun" things. And I did "hit the packy" for the Bailey's. That should put some spirit in tree trimming.

Nice goin' on the snowblower, Mary! I'm with you, I'd rather know I have the equipment to take care of myself than rely on someone else to get it done. Sue, you're overdue and need to get on the blower to the guys in the maintenance department. That much shovelling is for the birds! I shovelled the deck this morning. Usually, I end up taking off my jacket and my hat when I get warmed up but not today. It's COLD outside! The snow was light and the shovelling was pretty easy, I hope tomorrow brings more of the same kind of snow. There was a lot of sea smoke this morning and the waves were about 6-8'. It was really pretty with the gulls hanging on the wind over grey-green water with crisp whitecaps.

Sounds to me as though Sarah is long overdue for a meltdown! As awful as they are, they serve a useful purpose. It's the way all the pent up hurt and frustration are released. Only after that occurs can more meaningful steps forward be taken. It's bad enough that they have to reconcile the death of much loved child but to do so with complicating circumstances involving an ex-spouse and another child only adds to the difficulty. Even the most patient, rational, and kind people have breaking points. And I'm glad she gave in and melted down. Now she'll be able to think clearly again.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2008 at 5:22PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

The carrot/ onion/ currant/ feta/ riccota/ egg/ parsley/ dill casserole in pastry is in the oven. In 20 minutes we leave to paHty.

More gifts for the gang were purchased today in the tourist town of St Jacobs, nearby. Should be exciting trying to pack it all. A large beef bone intrigues Ms Phoebe who turned ONE YEAR OLD yesterday.

Enjoy the weekend/holidays!
We had a high of 5F today but it was BEAUTIFUL with a blue blue sky and puffy white snow. It's all downhill from here though...

    Bookmark   December 20, 2008 at 5:29PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Yes Chelone, I gave Sarah permission and encouragement for the melt down.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2008 at 5:31PM
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I rather like Nick's Krauss/Plant cd, maybe you'll find you like it, too, Chelone :) We braved the crowds today, too.

Zeus surely can love on a marrow bone, GB....I hope Pheobe's keeps her busy for a while :) Z is really "neat" with his and only eats it in his bed, so I just lay an old towel down while he's busy "eating."

Denise, I forgot to tell you that I cracked up over your Skylar add ins. I've noticed lately that I notice my kids washing their hands without being asked....I think it might've sunk in - that or they're tired of me asking!

I'd love the lemon cookie recipe, V. The dog liver cookies sound tempting, too, Cynthia :) Zeus requested that last bit :)

I like that Kathy didn't want to leave Cindy in the office alone today!

Martie, I have no topiary because I have a brown thumb. I am considering posting a picture of a Musa with an ornament, as they are thriving by the lights.

TTYL...gotta feed the crowd. BTW, Mary, I am happy for you! Sue, I wish Jake lived close by - he's trying to earn some cash and he just mentioned shoveling today.

Well, I'm really going now.


    Bookmark   December 20, 2008 at 6:14PM
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Sue, park the car at the end of the driveway for now.

Mary, good deal and delivered too? You must feel all prepared and self-sufficient now with your 'snop' blower. Tissue? I have a lawnmower repair services that comes to the house. Tune-up, blade sharpening, replace any little parts that need it and never more than 99 bucks. He does snowblowers too. Hope you have something similar in your area so that you never have to try to put your prize in the car again.

Oh! News just said we're getting snow too. "Up to a quarter of an inch in some areas." (I'm taking cover now as the truly weather plagued fire snowballs my way.)

Wondering if Eden is wrapping Bella's dinosaur or just hiding it well.

Denise, *I* didn't know that Amy Stewart the artist was Amy Stewart.

Kathy, I thought the tree was 'you' so I liked it!

I hit the couch and watched 'Mama Mia' this afternoon. The beginning and the end were good. I snoozed through the middle. Dannie joined me on the couch, Monty curled up in Hopesy's upstairs crate and Hopesy-Dopesy spent a good bit of time alternately playbowing to and then disciplining a stuffie that was half trapped under a dog bed. She had such a good time, I think stuffy tucking will become a practice here.

GB's casserole sounds really good. I wanted eggs for supper so I had three and pups ate the shells.

Chelone, the sweater and the cords in the right colors are probably available at Lands' End, and you can order through tomorrow (I think) for delivery in time. So much easier to shop on-line.

It's cold enough for a fire tonight. No, not that cold. 31F.

Hope Cindy is home now and that Denise can quick working soon too.

'Night, Cynthia

    Bookmark   December 20, 2008 at 6:21PM
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Just caught Saucy's post, so here's the Liver Leather recipe:

1 Pound beef or chicken liver (beef is preferred)
1 cup tapioca flour or starch (oriental food store will have this is the supermarket doesn't)

The first time I made these I think I queried the idylls on what the heck tapioca flour was because I couldn't find it at Giant or Safeway.

Preheat over to 250F. Puree the liver in a food processor. Add the tapioca flour and mix with the liver in processor. Line a baking sheet with foil and pour the disgusting mess in there. Cook for 1 hour. (The scent is delightful, you will have any loose dogs in the neighborhood howling at your door.) Turn off the oven after an hour and leave overnight. In the morning, peel the leather off of the foil and cut it into small, 1", squares. Freezes in baggies what you won't use in a week. Remember that organ meat is rich - er um, a laxative if you give too much! But these are healthy and the dogs love them.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2008 at 6:32PM
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Im thinking we might really be needing a photo of Mary in her white-fur trimmed jacket, riding triumphantly down the drive on her new snow blower !

Potato soup is simmering on the stove , but wish I had some of what bug is having with the currants, feta, pastry etc etc. Sounds very tasty indeed, especially after the blah foods Ive been consuming for the past few days. I have not ventured into any stores today so I dont know how the crowds are out in the world of retail. I need to get a new pair of gloves tomorrow for my journey north ( I seem to only have one , and must choose which hand to keep warm.) and will do that as early as possible in the morning .

Got a chance to look at Woodys doggie linkfun to see all the photos of Mistys buddies. I too was unaware that she was from an abusive environment. Clearly she landed in the right place !

Im pretty sure booze shopping for the adults would have been pretty hard to pull off in LA ..However, my friend Georges mother had an arrangement with Elsie (the highly made-up/highly wrinkled old babe at the local liquor store) to allow George to purchase her Kents upon occasion.

BILs advised me yesterday that cold snowy weather is on the books for Portland DS and I will be flying up on Tuesday , home again on Saturday. They are packing in plenty of food and adult beverages for the duration.

In awe of all the industrious snow shoveling occurring in Idyll land , and wondering how Marian , Eden, and Deanne are faring not much heard from them the last couple of days.

All for me at the moment, off to complete the soup

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   December 20, 2008 at 7:22PM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

We are having yoyo weather again. It was in the 30s when we went to bed last night, but started warming before midnight,(I had to shed my comforter),and it got up to the mid 50s by noon. It started dropping again in the early afternoon, and is now 29, at 6 PM !
Lows in the mid to low single digits are predicted for sunday and monday mornings.
Thank goodness there is no precip in the forecast.

I went to the funeral of a 93 year old friend this afternoon. It was not a sad funeral. It was even amusing, when the son (also our friend) held up his hand after the last song was led, (it was congregational singing by the familie's request), and requested another song! The young man leading the singing said he had never seen that before at a funeral. :-)
That young man (probably mid 30s or 40) frequently comes to the Golden Year's class. He is the preacher for the hosting congregation. He went around, after the funeral, and hugged all his "Golden Years friends". :-)

I did more food and other needed items shopping both before and after the funeral. My freezer and pantry are getting full! lol

Marie, I enjoyed the e-mail from Skyler. I agree that it is good that Sarah had a meltdown. I think, as others have said, that it will be helpful for her well-being.

I sure feel for all that are having all the snow and ice. Our turn will come....but of course not to the extent that all you northerners will get.

A snow shovel is sufficient for us. ( I hope I haven't jinxed us! )

I got a kick out of Rex and the large fish part. I don't find it surprising that someone in that area has a large fish in their yard. :-)

Sue, did you shovel the driveway??? LOL

Marie, the choices of meat for your Christmas Dinner sound interesting. How fortunate to have a SIL who loves to cook. My mom and I never had that luxury.

V, I am so glad the spilled cookies was not too big of a disaster, and that you all got a laugh out of it.

Cynthia, I don't recall you mentioning your older sister having brain cancer. How scary! I hope she is doing okay now. The trip sounds great.

Mary, although I have never met you, I can tell from your pics that you are far from "frumpy" ! The white coat sounds so pretty, but I am too much like Charley Brown's "Pig Pen" to wear a white coat. :-(

I am pretty sure that I read more that I enjoyed, and meant to comment on, but you all have been so busy posting, I cannot keep up!

Our latest bird group was Starlings!!! I HATE Starlings! Thank goodness they were just passing through. We have had Robins all over our yard for several days now. They have stripped all the dogwood berries. About all that is left are the Pyracantha berries. They seem to have to go through a lot more freezing before the birds will eat them.

I did not get my wood carried in before going to town today, and was very pleased to find that Nolon had done the job while I was gone. He said he worked on it slowly, resting well after each load.
It always really gets to me to hear how badly he wheezes when he carries in a load. He was fine when I got home.

For some reason I was pretty hungry while I was getting groceries, so when I saw a large container of chocolate covered peanut clusters I could not resist. As the checker was checking me out, I felt compelled to tell her that I was hungry!!! The lady behind me laughed and said," You should never shop for groceries when you are hungry". Needless to say, I have eaten too many of them since getting home, now I've got a tummy ache!!! :-(


    Bookmark   December 20, 2008 at 8:10PM
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Thank you, Marian and Cynthia, for "You must feel all prepared and self-sufficient now with your 'snop' blower. Tissue?" and the bereaved son who wanted to party just a bit longer at his dad's funeral. Made me howl with laughter in my little office. Just returned from some dispiriting shopping, but did find nice ribbons to dress up the rather meager fare that will pass as presents this year. Recipients may just throw the present out and keep the ribbons ;)

Marty said there were lots of dolphins in the harbor today and a stray humpback whale. The fuel dock has a little Jack Russell terrier mix, Jen, that is obsessed with birds and will not allow any to land on her dock. She scans the skies with manic intensity as only a Jack Russell can muster, even refusing a dog treat offered to her, dropping it to chase off a winged interloper. She keeps a clean dock from dawn to dusk, with not a jot of bird poop, whereas the pilot boat dock is covered with it. Fuel dock owner said he'd rent her out at $600 a week. I like a dog that finds a useful niche for herself.

Sue, you are going to be absolutely "ripped" with all that shoveling, no need for further exercise. And well done, Mary, working the Craig's List. I wanted that liver treat recipe too, Saucy, but might wait until after Christmastime to scent the house with it. Time to find some dinner, so g'night.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2008 at 10:06PM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

I hate to burst your bubble, Denise, but we were singing Hymns!!!!!LOL ! And the funeral was in the church building.

I am watching "Dr. Seuss' The Cat in the Hat". I have never watched it before. Quite a show.

I just checked the forecast on line, and went out and brought in more firewood. I will be stocking the fire all night...I think.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2008 at 10:38PM
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Its a snow storm day here. We had to go out this a.m. for a bit and the roads were really drifting over on the way home. I was glad to get here in one piece.

Since were on the topic of snow removal, we have a snowblower on the tractor and the skidloader so we dont have to scoop anything much, but I hurt my back trying to scoop by the door of the garden shed this a.m. I was able to make some mixed nut clusters, owls eyes and party mix. I thought this evening that walking on the treadmill might help. After 20 minutes I got such bad spasms I didnt think Id make it up the basement stairs :o(

Denise, the Jack Russell terrier chasing away the birds reminds me of a couple of years ago when T had so much problem with a woodpecker pecking at her house, that would have been the perfect solution.

Martie, I actually do have a few topiaries I hope to post, if I can make it back to the basement.

Kathy, your blue tree is fabulous! Not nearly as flashy, but I do have a "garden" tree for the season. Interesting how the liquor thing goes from state to state. Here we have it in the grocery store, but in MN, which we are just a few miles from they dont. The liquor store offers more variety. Here in IA they used to be owned by state.

"he is writing books for his friends for Christmas" Julie, I think that is just the coolest thing for a 7 year old.

bug, I think melt downs can certainly beneficial. One cant be strong all the time.

Ive sat long enough, later.


Snowballs at Cynthia:

    Bookmark   December 20, 2008 at 11:08PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Good morning :-)

I'm sorry, I seem to be behind again and not able to catch up at the moment. It was suddenly very hectic around here the past few days. Yesterday we just about finished up the shopping, I think, but I am worn out and need a few easy days to regain my equilibrium. After pushing to get the car shopping finished we found that the car we want is just not available now, so we have put that aside until after the holiday. Thankfully.

So now I am hoping the last few days before Christmas I can focus on finishing up gifts that I am making and wrapping. Hoping to do a little baking. I found myself putting off starting on my sewing projects since it had been so long since I have sewn that I wondered if I was going to remember how to. [g] Finally tried it on Friday and had a very enjoyable time, and was pleasantly surprised how much I remembered. I managed to finish one I still have plans for more and two oven mitts, but have put plans for an apron on hold until after the holidays.

DH and I are also putting together a 'green' cleaning kit for two of the kids. Making up home made cleaning supplies, which I hope will be finished today. I was also trying to put together small sewing kits for them, that would be more or less for mending. I have the ingredients and seem to be stuck on finding containers to hold them in.

I experimented with making some dog toys yesterday. Taking an old kitchen towel and cutting it into strips and braiding and knotting them together. It worked out pretty well, but the cut edges are unraveling some and I will have to work that out. We also found a local small business selling dog toys that actually had some non toxic, American made offerings and brought home a 'kong' type done in recycled rubber, and a few felted wool balls.

This year is shaping up to be a very practical one for some reason. For a change, no one needs electronics. Everyone's list was very short and I think we are all looking forward to just enjoying some extended time together.

I didn't make my last post clear...the snow 'shovel' I was talking about was an electric snow shovel. Which seems to do the same thing a snow blower does only it is much smaller.

That's our story...I have caught a few posts here and there and wish I could read them all and comment. Kathy, I'm glad your oral surgery is behind you and hope you are feeling better fast. 'Bug, you sound encouraged by the new 'plan' your naturopath has given you. I can hear your excitement about the upcoming visit with DD and family. Loved Skyler's email exchange. :-) Congrats to Mary on the new snow blower, boy do you work fast. Sue, do you use the hot tub this time of year? Sounds like you need one. Michelle, I'm so sorry to hear about your back! Hope you take extra special care of yourself so you can enjoy Christmas.

That's about all I managed to catch on the fly...hoping you are all enjoying a relaxed few days of last minute preparation for the holiday.

Happy Sunday!

    Bookmark   December 21, 2008 at 5:38AM
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The next 5 - 8" of white stuff has started here and I'm looking forward to a second day in three of just hanging around. Rich offered to use his truck for food shopping today and I'm totally for that!!

Oh, Sue, Ky is only a few miles away from you -- I should send you his cell phone # since he's working for a landscaper "on call" for snow removal and could've lent a bargain hand, I'm sure.

Rich (!!!!!) and I headed off to Home Goods in search of some small stuff and within 8 minutes managed to find three gifts and check out without calamity. He's making progress....

I'm all for meltdowns, and go to the lengths of hurrying them up sometimes to get the arghhrumphs out. Or I come here to vent. LOL

Second cuppa waiting...


    Bookmark   December 21, 2008 at 7:21AM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Good morning all,

Well we only got about eight inches of snow on Friday but did get another two inches of very fluffy stuff yesterday. It was perfect for photos with the light snow flakes drifting down and the extra light reflecting off the snow cover. We are supposed to get another ten inches of snow today so the white stuff is definitely piling up. Im so glad we got the bulk of the debris from the ice storm cleaned off the lawn before the snow came. ~~~ I had heaps of birds in the yard yesterday. They become little gluttons when the temps drop. I was so pleased to have quite a few different sparrows here including some beautiful White-throated and American Tree Sparrows. Id not seen the Am. Tree Sparrows here since 2006 so was really pleased to get a few photographs of them. ~~ Doug is a bit bummed that we dont have a tree up this year but he doesnt decorate it or take it down and Im just not in the mood for some reason. It just seems silly to put it up for a week. ~~ The plants under the lights are acting like the deciduous trees in the fall dropping leaves at light speed. Im sure it was from going four days without light. I dont run plant lights on the generator. That falls under non-essential when dealing with an extended power outage. I think theyll be fine and so far it looks like I only lost one Alternanthera.

Michelle, so sorry to hear about your back! Thats awful. I surely hope you are better today. Sounds like you need one of those heat packs to keep the muscles from going into spasm. ~~ Im a bit sore after taking in the remaining plants from the garage. I only have one left and predictable its the banana. Ive cut it to the nubbins and it is still enormous and very heavy. Doug is supposed to help me get it out of the pot and into the basement today.

Denise, lol about the recipients of you gifts keeping the ribbons and tossing the gifts. WE are going pretty spare with gifts ourselves this year and if folks dont like the presents so be it. I just cant justify the expenditure in this economy. ~~ Love the story about the Terrier keeping his dock free of birds. Too funny!

Marian, hopefully youve recovered from eating a package of chocolate covered peanuts!!!! We have a large flock of Robins here to and they stripped out the dogwood berries (along with the squirrels) a month ago. Ive only got holly berries left and the Cardinals are eating those. There wont be anything left when the Waxwings come through in the spring.

Kathy, I love your blue tree!!! Now that is festive! ~~ Do you have a recipe for you potato soup? I love making soups and we eat a lot of them over the winter with Dougs home baked bread.

Bug that casserole sounds fantastic, recipe? ~~ Everybody needs to have a melt-down once in a while and I think Sarah was overdue.

Mary, fabu-fabu on that snowblower!!!! You continue to blow my mind with all you do. Did you wear your sassy white coat when blowing the drive???? LOL about thinking you could put it in the Subaru though. The machine Doug bought last year wouldnt fit in the Suburban.

Sue, do be very careful with that shoveling. Your back isnt the best and you could decommission yourself by overdoing. Anyway you could find someone to do your driveway today? You really do need to get a snow blower.

V. you really could keep this weather out your way and not send it along east you know.LOL

The turkey has been reduced to soup and what a delicious soup it is. Ive got enough to feed the Russian army and I put half the meat and broth in the freezer for another batch.

OK Ive got to go and pop on my lifecycle and put in my 45 minutes of sweating time. Then water the plants, change out the water in the fish tank. Oh yes I found Uncle Fester my Blue Oranda goldfish in the pond after the last thaw. He was in pretty sad shape but it looks like he might pull through. The heron and raccoon only left me four fish out of the eleven I started with so I was really happy to find Fester. Hes so dark hes very hard to see in the pond.

Have a great day all!

    Bookmark   December 21, 2008 at 7:35AM
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I have heard of golf courses and airports employing Border Collies to keep the flocks of Canada Geese under control, so why not a Jack Russell mix to enforce the fuel dock ban? And I can attest to the fact that seagull s--t is tantamount to nuclear waste, have had plenty of experience with it over the years. ;)

Well, the helpmeet returned home with the replacement string of lights and hooked them up in short order. We decorated the tree last night and every year I exclaim, "oh honey, it's the most beautiful tree we've ever had!". His reply is usually dismissive, that's part of the game. I've been adding a few "bigga-biggas" (my father's term for ornaments) every year and we now have rather a large cache of them. The helpmeet brought home a 6-7' tree this year, a little smaller than what he usually selects. And he remarked "there's a lot of -hit on this tree, isn't there?". You can see that the nasty weather, the cold, and the relentless grind of holiday cheer has taken its toll on him. I'm ready to start calling him Eyeore!

We regularly cook chicken livers for the cats and the dog. I'll pass the recipe along to the helpmeet and make plans to be gone when if he decides to make the "leather", Cynthia. I've had one encounter with an entire beef liver in my life. It was at a restaurant where I worked many, many moons ago. It arrived in a vacuum packed bag and when the chef opened the bag he was horrified to discover it had not been sliced. It was entire, the best part of 18" in diameter, quite thick, and the venus system was clearly apparent. It was heavy. Naturally, all that makes sense since cattle are quite large and a liver must be adequately sized to perform its function smoothly and efficiently. Anyway, it was rather a sobering site sitting on the cutting table awaiting the chef's knives. Breakfast, anyone?

Today is the day I have to finish the last 3 decorations. After braving the hordes yesterday I just wasn't in the mood to apply myself to wiring greens and stapling. But it looks to be a profitable activity for a cold, windy day. The forecast is for that New England "classic", the Nor'easter. Snowfall predictions are all over the board, anywhere from 6" up to 12+", but the roads will be crummy and there will be more snow here in pretty short order. Rather than rage about something I cannot control, I've decided to just watch and enjoy it. :)

The stores are still out of lamp oil, Marian. I asked the guy in the store about it yesterday and he asked if we were still without power. No, but replacing what was used up is important to being prepared for the next time. They said there was none left in the warehouse, either, but stocks should be replenished next week. ;) I vote for a shot of Mary in her spiffy jacket directing the snowblower in her driveway, too!

I smiled at rearranging the tablecloth and the side tables, Cynthia. I love to fuss over things like that, too. I have a lot of general cleaning to address in the coming days, so there will be adequate time for fussing in my future.

Michelle, bummer about the back! take it nice and easy, you certainly don't want that to ruin your holiday. So what are they teaching you about marriage at your class? We subscribe to the basics here:
1.) Be affectionate and appreciative every day (even when you don't feel like it). Always remember why you married your spouse. Even when it's hard. It's important to be a "good sport".
2.) Say what you mean and mean what you say. No "beating around the bush". It's not fair to expect someone to look for DHMs (deep hidden meanings) or the "real" intent of your message.
3.) Fight fair. When you're pissed off, be direct and don't drag a lot of crap that happened ages ago into the discussion. Don't "get personal". When you're wrong, accept it, apologize, and move on.
4.) And hardest of all, work to maintain common interests and develop new ones. Gettin' stale is really easy and very dangerous.

Just spoke with my brother and told him there would be sustenance, merriment, and cheer under this roof and if the spirit moves him he should come on up to soak up some holiday cheer.

The Salon is warming up as I type, so it's time to get going on the last 3 decorations. I think the dishes and the chaos in the galley can wait for a few hours.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2008 at 8:09AM
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jak1(4 Ontario Can)

Well good morning all! you all seem to be "ready" for Christmas. Me too, except that today I have to buy the bird. And of course this a.m. it is -30C (about -22 F) and blowing the white stuff everywhere - can't see across the street. Also DH was able to utter these famous words yesterday afternoon as we made an unscheduled sudden stop on our way out to dinner: "Happy $500 deductable to you!". *sigh*

The combination of intense sunlight and blowing snow suddenly cut our visibility to zero, so he slowed right down to pull over to the side of the road - and discovered too late that someone else had the same thought and we pulled over right into them. They had no damage - we had lots: we will need a new windsheild, new heated mirror, new headlight, new front quarter panel, new rear quarter panel, and the jury is still out on the front and rear doors on the passenger side. We were going soooo slow - what if we had been doing something like 80K???*shiver* Worse yet, the other people were out of their vehicles (they were towing a little car) and standing on the ditch side looking at something. If they had been on the road side, we would have killed them. As it was, they cheerfully went on their merry way and we spent two hours cooling our heels, well, warming our heels, with the Perth Police.

But the dinner was fun - our best friends from the village - and the social evening open house at another friend's was also a good time. At one point a lady that I didn't recognize looked at me and said "Hey! You're Ajax's Mommy!" Turned out she had her Springer puppy in Ajax's dog obedience kindergarten. Ajax is so happy and fiesty and very little - he is unforgetable!!

Woody, I really enjoyed the dog show. I had no idea that beautiful little Misty had been so miserable in her early home. I hate that - poor dogs, they really are at the mercy of their owners, and some have no mercy. Grrrrrr!!!

I also see that many people have the snow demons to deal with. Except for Cynthia. Yeah right, snowballs to you!

We are fortunate that DS is quick to get out there with the big blower every single time it snow. He is very good mechanically too, so he knows what to do to keep the thing ready for the next time. And *sigh* there always seems to be a next time! He tries to blow all the snow into a huge big pile on the front lawn and then helps TCS to hollow out a snow house. He pours water on top to make a slide and last year it was big enough that he made steps up to top for the kids. They love it! Kids do love snow! This year the fort has already been started. Also, DD is giving TCS his own ski eqipment as a gift, and she takes him skiing fairly often in the winter. Also we spend a week in a condo at a local ski resort so the gift will get good use. Both DD and DS are excellent skiiers. DD has taught for many years, usually locally but also for a season at Whistler B.C. and in Japan. She is a ski patroller now. DS was Ontario Toursims Poster Boy for the ski industry about 8 years ago. He is a very flashy skier and likes to have all the trendy matching gear, so that's a good combination if you want to take 400 photos of somebody skiing. We never got a one: he signed a waiver and that was that.

Congrats to Sarah for letting it all out - I came close too this week, but managed to have it out with the offending party. So all is welll...

Wishing you all a super Christmas week! Warm fires, cold beverages, buttery shortbread, gentle music, love of family and cheerful friends!



    Bookmark   December 21, 2008 at 8:35AM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

Julie, glad to hear everyone is safe and sound after your accident. We had blowing and drifting snow on our way home from friends last night, but fortunately we had a very short drive and no problems.

It's -9F this morning. We had another two inches of snow last night and vicious winds all night and this morning, so the wind chill is unmentionable and blowing snow still abounds. We're headed into Chicago on the train, so this will be a short post. Deanne, I just can't hold on to this miserable weather for too long, so brace yourself - it's headed your way.

Saucy, I've put a link to the Meyer lemon cookies below.

Until tomorrow,


    Bookmark   December 21, 2008 at 9:47AM
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Coffee this morning , Sunday paper and then a day of travel preps.

PM, youve been quite industrious with all the home made gift activities you have going on. Like many of us here its a scaled down affair gift wise for my family as well. I had to google your electric snow shovel-I had no concept of what something like that would be .

Julie, glad you (and everyone else) emerged from the auto mishap unscathed. Pretty scary stuff.

And thanks to V for the lemon cookie recipe ..I will definitely be trying them out.

Chelone we have a relentlessly negative individual at our company we call Oh No Joe . Poor Helpmeet-maybe he needs a few days off to decompress.

I better cut this short, I need to get to the store before the hoardes (if there are any) to get those gloves back later..

And for all your edification-this is what Im heading for on Tuesday :

BILS deck in Portland yesterday. Jeesh.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2008 at 12:43PM
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Hey, that's sort of what it looks like out my window now! It's snowing very heavily now and the helpmeet did come home at about 1PM. It's really pretty.

I've finished the decorations and they're up. It was a nice way to spend the morning, listening to the radio, I with my staple gun, Rex with his bone.

I'm heading back out to clean up the trail of a week's worth of assembly. But this time I'm going to put on my boots!

    Bookmark   December 21, 2008 at 2:11PM
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vtskiers(z6a CentralCT)

Thank goodness for good neighbors. The only one with a snowblower finally came through this afternoon when he saw me shoveling the pile of plow poop from the end of the driveway. He even cleared away the part I couldn't get to yesterday. Another 4" at least already and it's still coming down. A friend of mine is driving home from Eagle Lake, Maine today-a ten hour drive in good weather. better him than me. For those of you who asked there are no kids in the neighborhood looking to make $$$ shoveling. I actually don't mind doing the walkways and patios. My driveway is way too large to be shoveled. Only a fool would attempt If it wasn't for the stone retaining wall that runs along about 50 feet of it, I'd hire aomeone to plow.

To Chelone and all the other "nosebags" out there, I received the promised letter from the old flame-all seven handwritten pages of it. It was somewhat along the lines of what I expected only worse. To give some background, this was one of maybe three or four relationships I've had in my life that I consider serious. It ended because he claimed he didn't want a committment. In fact it never ended the way most relationships end. I left and moved home to MA, never said a word and never heard from him again. So imagine my surprise when I read "The truth is, since the time I gutlessly, spinelessly ran away from you twenty five years ago, I've thought of you literally every day." Say what? OK, so I did take the whole thing pretty hard and for many years had a recurring dream that I would drive by his house (which is on a remote mountain site in Maine) to see if his car was in the driveway. Did I have regrets? Of course, but I was 22 years old, this stuff happens, you build a bridge and get over it.

Unfortunately the poor man has now sought counseling because the regrets he's felt after all these years are threatening to eat him up. He claims his almost 20 year marriage has suffered although he descrbes his wife as wonderful, intelligent and attractive. He's hoping the counseling, hearing my voice and writing the letter will help him put it all to rest. He's asking for a response but also says he understands if I don't want to. I haven't decided what to do yet. He's 50 years old so I suspect mid life crisis but he says no. I feel bad for his wife. He probably needs marriage counseling as well.

Anyway, never a dull moment


    Bookmark   December 21, 2008 at 2:50PM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

Julie, glad you and yours were uninjured, but what a bummer about your vehicle!

Kathy, I am amazed that that is a pic of Portland, Ore. It looks like one of our worst snows here.

Deanne, I had to chuckle about " enough to feed the Russian army. The expression around here is Coxie's army....who-ever 'Coxie" was ??? Maybe a Russian...LOL ?

Lol, Deanne, it is a 2 1/2 pound package of chocolate covered peanuts! I didn't eat a half pound of them !

Chelone, I wonder what's with the 'no lamp oil'. Is it just due to the run on it when the bad weather was predicted? I have two bottles with over half a bottle full in each.

We decided to stop at the local One Stop on our way home today. We have slacked off on eating there. The cook, nephew to the owner, said he opened late because the power was off when he first got to the store this morning. He lives only a little ways from the store, and his power was on, but his parents, and his Aunt's were off. Their business has dropped off really bad, for various reasons, and she is at the verge of having to lose the store. If she does, she loses all the rest of her property, plus her home. Thay are all tied up on the mortgage she took out to buy the store. It is a very sad situation. She is a life-long resident here, so it would be a real shame for her to lose the homeplace, that once belonged to her folks.

I am so thankful, that even though we do not own much, we owe nothing on any of it.

Oooo, Michelle! I know how that feels. I sure hope you get okay soon. I like your snowball throwing pic.:-)

Our last night's low was 6F. It may be even lower tomorrow morning. It did not require as much stove tending as I expected, since there was no wind. It is sunny now, and the interior is gradually warming to the mid to upper 6os. I did not leave the stove open very much when we went to our meeting, and it was back down to 59 when we got home.I have on several layers....


    Bookmark   December 21, 2008 at 2:53PM
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Circa August 2, 2008 at Cornfield Park

20 minutes ago right at the onset of freezing rain.

The plants, all wrapped up in their blanket, are quite content :-)


    Bookmark   December 21, 2008 at 3:30PM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Hi all! I FINALLY got the BIG BANANA in the basement. Doug helped me dig it out of its pot and use the wheeled cart to get it downstairs. Whew! Then I just HAD to go outside and 'play' with my birds. There were hundreds of birds in the yard today. I wish you all could have seen them. Anyway, it's been snowing non stop here since the storm on Friday and I think we've gotten a good 18" of snow. The birds go into a feeding frenzy when we have weather like this. I couldn't believe my eyes when I opened up this file and saw the snow flake on this cardinal's face. Though you'd all enjoy this

One perfect snowflake! What fun, in all the trillions of snoflakes that came down this one landed on this bird when I had my camera on it. Neat!


    Bookmark   December 21, 2008 at 6:33PM
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Drizzly grey and dreary today, but I have the heat on inside and I finished my cat area preps in the garage , which Ted and Doobie will have access too while we are in Oregon. I just hate leaving them behind in this crappy weather, but no help for it. Ive set them up some nice poofy beds with old blankets and the feeding stations will be put up Tuesday morning before we leave.

Deanne, the Potato soup recipe I use is the one from Joy of Cooking . If you dont have it I will post it. Its very easy . Where do you stash the fish over the winter ? Just in a fish tank indoors ? How big are they ? Doing a smaller tree for the dont feel like it or out of town years has worked pretty well for me. I still have 6 storage boxes of ornaments and table top stuff that I didnt even open. It will only take me a couple of hours to put everything away instead of a whole day. I think its kind of sweet that Doug misses the tree! There are plenty of men who wouldnt give a rats patoot whether there was a tree or not or at least they wouldnt admit it if they did LOL.

Sue do you suppose the counselor suggested old boyfriend write to you ? I think I would feel very hesitant to respond to him ..a slippery slope with a big pile of baggage (his ) at the bottom. Maybe you need one of PMs electric snow shovels for the driveway.

Marian, I think that is more snow than theyve had in Portland for a long time. My daughter in Eugene got way less, I expect the same is true of your Bro in Albany ? What a shame about the family that owns the One-Stop. Hopefully some creative solution can be found, especially if she has a good relationship with her bank.

Martie, boy, those pics really say it all dont they ? Looks kinda pretty though !

And just refreshed and saw Deannes stunning Cardinal photo ! Hes just as handsome as can be- assuming this was taken with your new rig ? You must be thrilled with the results. and at long last the saga of the banana has ended for this year anyway. And you have a few months to figure out how the h**l youre going to get it back outside , lol. Maybe you could hire a couple of kids from the high school football team.

Waving to all..

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   December 21, 2008 at 6:53PM
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jak1(4 Ontario Can)

Some Christmas-sy shots from today:

The sled DH used as a child

The peacock on the rock watching over the winter street:

Old Man Winter

A little decoration; DD gave me this Trisha Romance print 4 years ago...

And...the wine deck!

    Bookmark   December 21, 2008 at 9:10PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Why is it that winter photos look so fantastic? I try to make them look grey and grim, but somehow everything looks all pretty. Julie, your wHine deck looks adorable! :)

Looks like tomorrow will be the day we venture forth to deliver Ms Phoebe to Auntie Woody. Tuesday and Wednesday's forecasts look grim. I sure hope our flight leaves Wednesday evening! I especially don't want our trip cut short this year- of all years.

Sue, I trust your response to your old friend will be perfect, whatever you decide. You are no longer the same person he knew, nor is he. You need a snowplow more than someone else's husband methinks!

I've been doing OK with all the supplements and small meals, but figuring out how many grains, legumes, etc throughout the day is still a fussy business, along with DH's meals. I expect that excellent meals at Sarah's will be hard to deal with for me, but I'll try. DH is working on all the gift boxes of chocolates and I told him to hide them in his study.

Deanne, your cardinal shot is gorgeous with the detail of feathers and snowflakes....but he looks fearsome and HUGE! Maybe 50 pounds or so? (joking!)

Off to the sit by the wood stove and throw the Kong to our one year old.


PS: DH did NOT BBQ on the patio tonight!

    Bookmark   December 21, 2008 at 9:48PM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

Ahh, Marie! Why not??? LOL

    Bookmark   December 21, 2008 at 10:12PM
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A twist on potato soup that I tried recently is a knock off recipe from Olive Garden's zuppa toscana. We really liked it.

'bug, I hope all goes smoothly with your canine delivery and your flight west. What a bother to fly in the winter.

Julie, great winter pictures. Here the snow is blowing too much to go outdoors, but our scenes are similar to yours.

Deanne, I understand completely about not wanting to decorate for such a short time. That's why my goal is always by Dec. 1 which didn't happen this year. I did put up a few less things. Awesome picture of the cardinal!

PM, the old postcard is neat. I noticed my mom had a Thanksgiving postcard displayed that was sent to my grandpa back in the 20's.

Chelone, you sound like you could write a book on getting along. Those are some really great basics. We are studying the christian aspect of marriage so I won't go into detail. It's an interesting group with a newly wed couple, a couple with 3 little kids, a couple in their 40's and a couple in their 60's.

V, we have you beat with -15 this a.m. Our church services were cancelled and I've not seen the snowplow go by yet.

I've had plenty of time to rest my back and it seems somewhat better.

Martie, I prefer your "green" picture ;o)

I've spent part of the weekend watching the DVD that I created with 2008 garden photos with much longing.



    Bookmark   December 21, 2008 at 10:20PM
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Jerri_OKC(z7 Ok)

Lord have mercy, you all are so busy this week. I nenevr dreaned I'd be this late posting. The laptop with wireless has been on the fritze. I've sleeping, waking up when pain pills wer off and then sleep some more. Finally tonight dh gets the wireless going YIPPEE!
tHE idiot doctor was supposed to do a nerve block to relieve part of the pain when I got out of surgery. It didn't work. I thought I was going to die before they got approval for something strong enough to knock the edge off the pain. It was miserable. Thank god my pain management doc had prescribed the good stuff for when I got home.
I go back Tuesday to get a cast put on. That should be interesting. even getting to the bathroom is a huge ordeal. :(
I'll try to read tomorrow and have a clue what's going on. LOL

Nighty night

    Bookmark   December 22, 2008 at 12:43AM
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Well Jerri! what a nice treat to see you post. I've been wondering about you and figured you were pretty uncomfortable or you'd be right here yakking along with restaus chatterboxes. Normally I loathe people who tell you "cheer up, it could be worse", but I will mention that the worst is behind you and the discomfort will diminish with time. So hang in there and avail yourself of all the resources the pain doc. can provide. Hang tough.

Deanne, that shot of the cardinal is amazing. I can only imagine your excitement when you saw that perfect snowflake balanced on his face. Just beautiful! And I did laugh at 'bug's mention that he must weigh 50 lbs.. Wonder what Luke and Rahji would think of that? Your blind must look like an igloo this morning.

Michelle, I'm of the opinion that being married is rather a lot of work (kind of like having a dog). My spouse and I are really very solitary people, being alone features prominently on both of our "must have" lists. And it can mean that things requiring discussion can easily be put aside to fester nicely. We've arrived at the conclusion that "sayin' it out loud" is the best policy for us and that "bein' a good sport" makes the bumpy stretches of the marital road easier to travel, as well as providing some funny stories for posterity. Neither of us ever thought we'd marry. But here we are, irreverently soldiering on, performing alterations to the marital jacket so it not only fits but flatters. Whodathunkit? and who knows how long it will last? ;)

The snow scenes are pretty! I have another deckful of snow to relocate later this morning. The snow drifts and accumlates there and it looks to be about 24-30" deep at its worst. It's cold this morning (high teens) and the wind is howlin', so the wind chills are down in the sub-zero range, but that means the snow will probably not be very heavy. Rex did not waste much time deciding where to empty his bladder this morning. And I've been mining the catbox about 4 times/day (as soon as I clean it out another cat hops in to make a necessary deposit).

Julie, what a bummer about your vehicle! and I can only imagine how fast your hands got really cold and your mouth really dry when you thought about how easily the other people could have been seriously injured! I think the same way. The DOT was asking people to stay home and OFF the roads yesterday. I was happy to comply and the helpmeet was home by a bit after noon, I think. I love the shots of the wHine deck, somehow it doesn't quite have the allure it did in July/August, huh? (I have always loved those masks depicting the seasons). Does Ajax have to wear a sweater when he goes outdoors to do his business? TCS must be about beside himself now with the arrival of Santa only a few days away.

Sue, I'm impressed at your willingness to serve up "real information"! Wow, it was more than this nosebag expected but was lapped right up, nonetheless. You are quite a vixen, tormenting the dreams of a man wrestling with a mid-life crisis, lol. I've little doubt your no-nonsense, practical, long view of things will serve you well as you make the decision about whether or not to reply. I'm glad I'm not married to him! Good neighbors are wonderful, esp. those with snowblowers. ;)

I hooked up the new speakers yesterday, though to an old (c. 1985-6) Yamaha receiver only. I was too lazy to go up to the attic to locate the old CD player. For now, it's fine. I have "tunage" and can even preset a few stations. I've also cleaned the decoration debris from the Salon and have begun thinking about doing the grouting on the hearth (today/tomorrow/next day?). Barring any unforeseen difficulties, the stove should be in place and producing heat within a week.

I hope Phoebe's delivery to Camp Woody goes off without a hitch today and all the subsequent travel plans go off without a hitch. I very much want things to be easy for you and DH, 'bug. After the past 3 1/2 mos., you and your family really deserve some smooth sailing. :)

OK, gotta get motivatin'. Later!

    Bookmark   December 22, 2008 at 7:10AM
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If the house feels warm when I get up, that's a sign it's brutally cold outside. Warm is relative I know and so is cold. But the furnace must have been working hard last night as it was at least 60F in every room downstairs. 13F outside and eyeball freezing winds. Which is about as cold as it gets here and rare to get that low. Needless to say, the girls' dark sojourn to the potty area was swift and record setting.

If there is any upside to all to the weather pummeling the country, it must be that snowflake cardinal photo from Deanne!!! No superlatives strong enough for that one my friend. Perfect and beautiful and touching.

V, I wonder if optometrists, like retail stores, do 40% of their business in December. I dumped as much as I could there and then hit Sam's for OTC meds I'll probably never use (Would Claritin and Pepcid be good stocking stuffers?) Thinking a Blood Pressure monitor might clean up the remainder. All because I planned to do a dental implant and never found the time.

Speaking of Kathy - hope you've moved along to semi-solids and are feeling good for your trip up North! Jerri, good to hear from you, and hope things continue to improve. I see Michelle is on the disabled list now, sounds bad and might be worth a Dr's visit. Sometimes muscle relaxants can help back pain. What do I know?

Vacation! My big plans for today are to clean the frig and take Monty to a vet appointment to see what else we can do for his comfort. He's doing that circle of life thing where he's not reliably continent in the house, so after months of constant laundry and clean up I've resorted to putting him in Hope's upstairs crate when I can't watch him. Sad that Hope is now more well house trained than he is. Just a lot of things going on with him, but it's so much easier than it was with Katie in terms of decisions and age. She was so young, Monty is old so this is easier to accept.

Keep those snow photos coming!


    Bookmark   December 22, 2008 at 7:16AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

What a lovely Monday morning...12 degrees and covered with ice out there. Oh, well. I was looking forward to a white Christmas, but I guess be careful what you wish for. DD's flight home was canceled last night and is rescheduled for this morning at 11am, she is missing a day of work. I am looking at the forecast for Wednesday, the day our DS will be traveling and it is not looking great either. Keeping my fingers crossed for all of us that have traveling in our Christmas plans.

I am so enjoying everyone's photos! I'm looking out the window but not feeling any urge to go take any photos [g], so thanks for all the snow shots. Love your DH's sled, Julie...Kathy...amazing amount of snow at BIL's house. Is that usual for them? Deanne, that cardinal photo is really amazing! Not only have I rarely seen an actual snowflake in a photo but wow, the detail on the feathers! Martie..Cornfield Park is looking quite peaceful in white. Those drifts are a tease G'bug...looking forward to lots more snow photos from your neck of the woods. Untouched and unsullied by car exhaust. :-)

Happy to see a post from you Jerri. Doesn't sound like fun yet. :-) Hope your recovery period will hurry it up, for you. glad no one was hurt in your car accident. Never a dull minute.

Michelle...your Mom knows the right things to save. :-) Glad you liked the Norman Rockwell..I have a couple more I will try to post later in the week.

I thought I might post a little longer post, but my browser is hanging and driving me crazy, wondering if the ice coating everything could be a problem. Now I see question marks inside diamonds in Kathy & Deanne's posts, anyone else? I think I will try later...

Hellos all around...


    Bookmark   December 22, 2008 at 7:30AM
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Good morning

Jerri - nice to see you post and thoughts going your way. Miserable that the nerve bloack didn't help but hope the meds do. Take care of yourself.

Snowy pictures are beautiful.

Deanne - the snowflake on the cardinal is incredible!! What an amazing thing to capture.

For the second day in a row all the surrounding school districts have called a snow day but we have to go in. It's not being at work that I mind (that I actually enjoy) but the drive getting there as we have drifts of blowing snow. I had a white knuckle drive home Friday in some of the worst visibility I've ever driven in and I'm dreading this morning's drive.

After school today I have invited a little girl I've worked with over the past few years. She has experienced too many of the things no child should have to live through (domestic violence, living in a car, incarcerated parents) but somehow keeps going with an admirable resilience. She is struggling right now and I've arranged to pick her up after school to come and make gingerbread houses with us here. It's the first time I've had anyone from our program here to the house but our social worker has worked with me to make it possible. Annie and David are excited about meeting her and playing with her. Fingers crossed everything goes smoothly.

Stay warm and safe


    Bookmark   December 22, 2008 at 7:32AM
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Some shots from the Compound:
(dig the glow from the Salon, you guys)

And a reminder that all is well:

    Bookmark   December 22, 2008 at 7:51AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Mary, I'm always amazed by the photos we see of African children who are "starving". Yes, it is true that many many of them are, but it is usually malnourished, not undernourished little ones we see. But back at home in North America, the little ones take no end of abuse and often from their very own parents and family members. The children in West Africa that I knew were ever so valued. I don't know why, but I never get over being shocked by cruelty to children, from infants through to teen years. Maybe it is my age, but I see more of it and it upsets me more as well. So I'm all for "acts of kindness" to people young and old, and thank you Mary for yours! (I'll add that I see some genuine caring more than I used to as well, so it is a big bag of emotions from me!)

I have a friend who teaches pre marriage lessons, she's a minister as well as a therapist. This is why I latched on to Michelle and Chelone's exchange as interesting. One book my friend uses in her work is The Five Love Languages - by Gary Chapman. I gave it a read and found some useful bits in it. It is Christian based, (which I can pretty much ignore), but I wonder sometimes at the chances of "kids" with their wedding date set, their gown and tux ordered, really benefiting from these words. From my 40 years of marriage point of view, I truly see some good ideas in the book, especially if both partners read it and discuss together.

I see that the plow has left tracks in the virgin snow. This morning involves packing up Phoebe's goods, then lunch, then a doctor's appointment, then a trip to Woody's, then a dinner near Toronto. Can all this be accomplished with me never sitting down please? I'm still in pain. I need Jerri's meds too.

OK, smooth sailing to all today. I hope the JOY has begun! Pause and meditate for at least five minutes to soak up the happy thoughts of the season. Ommmmmmmmmmmmmmmm :)

    Bookmark   December 22, 2008 at 8:22AM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Good morning all,

Well the world is covered in a pristine blanket of snow here like half of the country it seems. The Pacific Northwest is getting hammered with winter weather and I cringed when the news said they were getting ice storms and power outages. I feel their pain. We got almost two feet of snow since Friday and in fact it snowed straight through from Friday afternoon until Sunday night. Incredible! Im so pleased you like the Cardinal shot. I was so amazed when I opened that file on the computer I just sat and stared at it for five minutes or so. What an amazing thing. Bug, I lol when you said it looked like a 50 pound menacing Cardinal. I blew it up that size so you could see the snowflake clearly. Here is the image as it was taken

And another of a Junco that I thought so sweet

Mary your story of that little girl is heartbreaking. You always go above and beyond with helping people. I surely hope you give her some wonderful memories.

Jerri, so sorry about the pain you are in! I surely hope the pain meds do their job and your condition improves soon.

PM have you heard that the weather people are now thinking we will be getting rain on Christmas Day???? Good grief! I cant imagine that it will be enough to melt the blanket of snow we currently have so hopefully we will still have a White Christmas.

Cynthia, so sorry to hear about Monty. I hope the vet can do something for him to help the problem.

Chelone, I love the look of the compound in the snow storm with the Christmas greenery gracing the façade. Marvelous!!!!! ~~ Yes the blind is definitely looking like an igloo this AM. Ive got to go out and knock off the snow so it doesnt collapse.

Michelle, good grief! -15!!!! Yikes! ~~~ Glad to hear your back is feeling better. ~~ Interesting you were looking at your garden videos, I was going through my summer photo galleries the other day and like you longing for the green and color.

Bug, safe travels! ~~~ 50 pound Cardinal, LOL

Julie, great winter photos! I love the sled shot! ~~~ Terrible about that accident. So glad to hear no one was hurt.

Sue, good grief about the old boyfriend. I simply cannot believe hes married and sent you such a letter. Id give this one a WIDE, WIDE berth.

Kathy, I have a 150 gallon aquarium in the basement for the fishies. I do have a couple big fish, the largest is 12". The other big ones got eaten by the Heron this summer. ~~ Thanks for the info about the soup recipe. I do have that cookbook and will look it up.

Marian thats a shame about the people with the One Stop;.

Martie, great before and after shots but I do like the green one better!

OK time to water the plants, clean the aquarium, wrap presents and exercise. Have a great day all.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2008 at 9:09AM
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Jerri_OKC(z7 Ok)

Good Morning all. I feel much better this morning. Up until this point I've been either in pain or unconscious! DH is back at work today. He's been a wonderful caregiver while I've been home.
The furkids love us being home. As I glance around the room I see Tiffany, Hope, Ebony, Gracie, and Tiger happily napping. :)
I'm off to read the last couple of Idyll threads. Back in a bit. :)


    Bookmark   December 22, 2008 at 11:27AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Here's what it is like in our laundry room today. A mix of things for sure!

    Bookmark   December 22, 2008 at 11:47AM
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It's like someone painted ferns on your windows for you, GB! Icy ferns....


    Bookmark   December 22, 2008 at 1:03PM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

Marie, your frost pics are lots prettier than mine:

This was yesterday morning. I did not take pics this morning, but the windows may have been prettier. It was 2F !

    Bookmark   December 22, 2008 at 1:09PM
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It does look as if someone etched the ferns on the glass, Saucy! I love the punctuation mark of the clematis, your laundry room is much more interesting than mine (which is pretty full right now).

Snow has been relocated successfully. The entire driveway is clear, there is a path around the bahn, the doors are completely shovelled. And the freshly cleared deck is begging for a couple of chairs that can be turned to face the sun. Bundled up or with a nice car blanket over you it would be a very pleasant place to enjoy a glass of red wine.

The cats have been outdoors once today. They must feel as if they're in the Colliseum. Next move for me? clean the catbox, of course!

    Bookmark   December 22, 2008 at 2:39PM
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Jerri_OKC(z7 Ok)

lllllllllllllooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooookkkkk c(that was Kensey typing!)
DH called and will be delivering a late lunch soon. I could get used to this. He's stopping by a favorite grill/diner that specializes in burgers. I'm having an old fashioned burger with onion rings. Yum!

DB called me from his work phone (a national pharmacy) and in his best disguised voice said they were concerned about the amount of pain medication being prescribed to me. Caller ID said it was the pharmacy chain that we use so I didn't know what to think for a minute. It was hilarious!

Oops, lunch has arrived.I'll be back soon


    Bookmark   December 22, 2008 at 3:07PM
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Jerri_OKC(z7 Ok)

I keep going to back to the photos. Deanne, the cardinal photo is incredible! I even like the sn** pictures. Don't hate me. ;)
Saucy, do you have any pix of your tuffa and leaf castings? I would love to see them. Please?
I am always amazed at the talent here. The gingerbread ornaments and felt ornaments are adorable. I know there are more to comment on, I'm sorry if I missed yours.
Kathy, how are you feeling? Yes, wine is an important part of any liquid diet!
We're not planning much of a holiday here, DH will go to his Mom's for lunch. I'm not sure if I'll go this year. Staying home sounds like a good option for me this year.
I hate to say it but I'm tired from just staying awake today. I think it takes a bit to feel normal again after surgery. Nap time here. TTYL


    Bookmark   December 22, 2008 at 4:48PM
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jak1(4 Ontario Can)

Chelone! What the H-E-double hockey sticks were you doing outside in that weather!!!!???

Kathy: How's the mouth???

Happy travelling, 'Bug!

Jerri - I sure hope you feel better when the cast goes on, on Tuesday. At least you won't be accidentally moving in the wrong places and hurting....I remember being two weeks after bone surgery before getting a cast....Aren't DH's great??? (well, sometimes).

Deanned, the cardinal is stunning, but I really love the Junco. We sometimes get them here - they are so cute...

Cynthia, when we woke up yesterday our house wasn't warm. In fact, it was freezing. Our furnace had shut down and it was really cold! We called the gas company and the technician asked if the air intake was blocked with snow. I went out to check, and I knew the snow wasn't deep enough to block the pipe...but I found that water had crystalized in there during our recent warmer weather, and the pipe was blocked with ice! A few seconds with a coffee spoon and all was right with the world again. The furnace safety thing had shut it down so gas wouldn't be released into the house and kill us all....and sorry to read about the difficulties with Monty. Our pets are our babies who never grow up, so seeing them failing is never an easy place to be...

This is our living room fireplace looks so calm and peaceful...I wish the same to you all!



    Bookmark   December 22, 2008 at 5:43PM
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chloehoover(z6b VA)

Greetings all -- I meant to check in yesterday after I spent all day getting lites and decorations Finally on tree -- Xmas has finally arrived at my house; the rest of the decs may stay in their boxes, but at least there are a few thrown about this year - so I collapsed instead on the sofa and arose today to do the first and last run to the mall and groceries for holiday dinner.

The mall was shockingly crowded and full; the Wms Sonoma store on my to-do list was wall to wall people -- what's with all the people buying? I wanted to say, hey, dont you know we cant afford this, LOL...? maybe everyone is doing a last fling or something.

I didnt have any spare time on Sat during the o-t expedition, and DC was incredibly snarly w/ tourist/pedestrian traffic, and trucks for events taking up lanes they shouldnt be in - not being in the best of moods to have to even go in to begin with, by the time, I got there, I just said "you're taking your life in your hands to talk to me" and stalked off to my computer to turn it on... he meekly emailed me "let me know when it's safe to talk" a few minutes later.... got him on notice I wasnt putting up w/ any more **** that day, LOL...

So I guess for splurging, I decided to do a standing rib roast for holiday meal this year and after the mall went off to find a roast that was NOT $100 (like it was at Whole Foods); fond memories of meals growing up and my Mom's traditional rib roast had me searching various stores for a reasonably priced "great" piece of meat... finally found at Wegmans - where the rest of the local world had apparently followed me from the mall to their store!!! After 35 mins circling for a parking spot, I growled some more and went in to be rewarded with a somewhat reasonable price -- and absolutely gorgeous butcher dept w/ loads of prime....

So, I am now home and may not officially leave this house for 4 or so days -- if the crowds/traffic persist around here. Whew.

But what, me whine... no Snow here!!!!!!!!!!!

I am loving the fantasy shots from the winter wonderlands -- I wish to never own a snowblower, official or not -- I usually shovel my front walks and stairs myself - here too there have never been energetic youngsters looking to make a buck....

Deanne -- that is absolutely the most gorgeous, perfect winter bird photo.... Im speechless.

Im glad to hear from Cynthia -- and Jerri -- glad to hear you finally got the right meds to get you over the pain hump -- sheesh -- poor you.

Im so jealous, V, of both your girls day out and your living Meyer lemon tree -- mine bit the dust from whatever pests are still ravaging my house plants; it's tough to find a good place to spray in the dead of winter - but is on the to-do list this vacation.

Like Cynthia, I've managed to get the holiday tablecloth on the table, but the rest of the house looks like a tornado ripped thru w/ debris strewn about. Tomorrow is triage day - cleaning and hiding debris. Weds is cooking day... I know I have a nap or two planned amongst it all somewhere....

Michelle -- take care of your back!! I hope you get some rest and R&R to relieve the inflammation -- I recall you'd hurt it before, last year, I think? and it's amazing how easily you can re-injure - as Sue will attest too....

Well, hopefully now that that is all out, I will and can relax, relax - just too much to do -- Deanne, buy Doug a little tabletop tree and park it somewhere for him to gaze at, heehee. I really did enjoy the fresh flowers you all spurred me to get last year - and there was some freedom in having no clean-up after the holiday - so relax and enjoy it this year. It's apparent you are getting lots of joy w/ your camera and the white weather - I hope you continue to be rewarded w/ more amazing shots.

Waving hi to everyone!

    Bookmark   December 22, 2008 at 5:57PM
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It was a good year for growing moss, Jerri!

After the first of the year, I'll make the trek out to the garage and show you what little stock I have....I'm really going to have to get disciplined and crank out a set number of pieces per week to be ready for May.

Glad to "see" you in the forum - hope you have a speedy recovery.

Cindy, a rib roast sounds heavenly! You reminded me of the year my MIL had me out looking for a "spoon roast"...apparently it's something special that you have to ask the butcher for....I went from store to store, and every would be cook I queried had never heard of wasn't even in the Joy of Cooking!

I found it at a mom and pop grocery.

Sue, I would not want to be in your shoes. I, too, am glad I am not his wife....I'm going to ask Nick how he feels about his first serious girlfriend....oh....he says she is me. I don't have to worry too much since he would never write seven pages, lol!

Deanne, can I share the snowflake picture with Sarah's class? Tomorrow is her class party and I put together a craft, snowflake suncatchers. I think they'd like to see a real snowflake on a cardinal!

Kathy, I laughed at your commentary on the prickly seat on the other thread. SunnyD calls that office chair "The Chit Chat Chair"....I'd say she's right on the money with that one, as everyone who plops down in it becomes long winded.

I've been in and out of here today, nodding my head and smiling along. The days are too short for the long to-do lists. I think the other room mother and I are back on took some brown nosin' but I think I did good :)

I miss green.....


    Bookmark   December 22, 2008 at 6:45PM
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chloehoover(z6b VA)

Julie - I love your mantel and the other decorations you showed us ...

I realized after I posted that my silly expressions of frustrations didnt go w/ the no lines, no waiting thread spirit -- really, after getting out of the lines and waiting, we do have some spirit here in Virginia and we're starting to "dig" it!

(Ignore the crooked tree and the plastic that didnt get neatened up yet..)

No snow! But the pediment is crying out for attention from Chelone.... once upon a time I did find time to fancy it up more than a wreath and ribbons, but this is an improvement over last year at least....

Do u see the glowing eyes playing guard dog? it's not a rat.

I took this pic a month ago when someone wanted to know what jacket Chloe wore outside... well, I am kind of "behind" in all things....

I do know how to relax and am going in search of a shiraz I bought earlier today... I will hope for no more bad weather for everyone - it's about 20 degrees here, but I know that's practically like resort weather in comparison to other places.


    Bookmark   December 22, 2008 at 6:59PM
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Wow Cindy! You've been holding out on us (but we know you've been busy!)....Chloe looks like she's smiling in that last shot!

I poked my head back in to ask about the foliage supposed to stand up like a soldier, or flop, like, well, um.....

Mine leaves are floppy.


    Bookmark   December 22, 2008 at 7:07PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

Tendinitis flare-up here; typing v. painful...

Phoebe arrived ~ 5:30. Big Fuzz and Little Fuzz happy to see each other; all are content...

    Bookmark   December 22, 2008 at 7:16PM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

Saucy, My amaryllis leaves flop. I put a support around them, because I don't like the floppy look. :-)

    Bookmark   December 22, 2008 at 7:31PM
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Either is fine Saucy. As long as they're green. What sometimes happens is that they stand straight then 'flop' when they get longer and heavier. And sometimes the foliage emerges before the flower stalk, sometimes the stalk before the foliage.

Chloe face!!! You happy thing you. And Cindy, is that the new lower level in the last pic? It does look tropical. Tree and front door look wonderful!

Saucy and Julie thank you for the beautiful 'greens'. And Chelone, the whites and grays of winter are beautiful aren't they? Your window dressings are perfect.

I bundled up and finally made it to the liquor store. Monday night will now be my 'preferred' timing for that adventure. It was quiet, so I was able to read reviews and wander while I picked up what I planned and a few things to test out. If I buy a lot and the owner's there he gives me a discount. Tonight he even called his assistant out to carry the boxes to the car for me. Those little things are what make me go back to that store and not to the larger ones with wider aisles and better parking. I'm having champagne right now because I can.

At vet today, two dobermans arrived in the waiting room growling and snarling at my Mini monty (well he's small for a grey) who waggled his ears and tail in a friendly way but stayed attached to my knee like the good boy he is, while they strained at their leashes. I forgive 'one time' but not a second and this woman had no control over her dogs. So when they lunged and snarled again, I snarled back 'BACK OFF/DOWN'. One of them sat, the other started crying. Chelone: I hate PEOPLE.

Mary, that little girl is a survivor and having people like you in her life must mean a lot to her. I hope everyone had a fun afternoon.

Jerri, glad you've found your way to the PC and hope you continue to feel better. Kathy and her new gloves must be in Portland by now. Safe travels to GB!


    Bookmark   December 22, 2008 at 9:03PM
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Is it uncharitable to enjoy a fellow Idylls invalid-hood because they post more ? We had the Martie post-o-rama and now we have Jerri , meds and all . It looks like travel weather will be better tommorow than it has been for the last few days, both on this end and destination point. I got the un-dissloving stitches out today and my dentist was very happy with the healing progress so far- I still have a bit of swelling but that is normal and reducing daily.

Julie, I love the architectural detail on your fireplace, looks like a suitable spot for the indoor wine deck. It appears the outdoor one has definitely closed up shop for the season.

Cindy, my God that Chloe is so adorable, can you possibly ever be mad at her ? Even Chelone might find it difficult to administer the required beatings ! And I am so very taken with your entry ! We have nothing out there that looks like that, with the brick (bad for earthquakes) and the beautiful white moldings; its just wonderful. It took me a ridiculous amount of time to get across town today to go to the dentist, even though I took the Secret Back Way. My theory is that the peeps are out , but they are spending less.

Saucy, glad the room-mom issues are ironing out. Sometimes you have to throw people a bone and hope that it makes them a bit less hostile. Wonderful tufa pots ! Im very jealous. Lol , Chit Chat Chair. I often put my brief case on one and paper work on the other and they have to ask to sit down. Gives me the option of saying no !

No Portland till tomorrow Cynthia, but the gloves are in the packing prep area along with the hats and scarves. Will you divulge the Champagne brand for this evening ? Mumm, Gloria Ferrer , Chandon ? or the real French stuff ??

Deanne , I love that little Junco, they are one of my favorite birds-we have black headed Juncos here, but I have seen none this winter so far. Ours are always ground feeders.

Chelone, the Compound looks just as NE as can be to me. Just call off the white stuff before camp , ok ? And such coolness that you have a snowy owl ornament on your tree !

All for now, I need to do some prep chores ..

Wave to all

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   December 22, 2008 at 9:28PM
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`Woody sorry about the tendonitis flare up. Happy to hear Pheobe has arrived. One less worry for Bug.

Marie I hope there will be no delays of your flight and have good trip. The onesie is cute and I enjoyed reading your emails from Skylar.

Cindy, Chloe looks like the pamperd pooch she is on that pillow. Nice tree too. Enjoy your days off work.

Jerri, I hope you have a handle on the pain by now. Your brothers little joke was good.

Kathy, I'm glad you are flying instead of driving up to BILs. Have fun and I expect to see pictures of Mr. Baby. I imagine he is learning lots of new tricks.

Chelone the compound looks duly decorated for the holidays. Did you take any close ups of your handiwork?

Julie, I've enjoyed all the pictures you posted. You have some neat things. Sorry about your car. Glad you are safe. Good thing the furnace was an easy fix and that you were safe from fumes. Actually I think someone is watching out for you guys.

Marian, yours and Maries windows are really frosted. I made a experimental draft dodger for one window here to see if it worked. It did so I will be making more. Our double hung windows are leaking some air in the middle part. I gues the house has settled or something. They didn't used to.

Deanne , I can imagine how thrilled you were with that cardinal/snowflake picture. I've never seen anything like that. It's ok to skip the decorations for a change. Just enjoy the things you want to do. I have a small tabletop fiberoptic tree that I can just pull out of the box and plug in. Works for me.

Saucy, I enjoyed your gingerbread house making pictures. Any pictures of the snowflake suncatchers? Your last pictures didn't download all the way for me, but what I see looks nice and green.

Hi Denise and Pm2.

Cynthia, so good to hear from you and see pictures of greys again.

I know I've missed a lot of commenting from past threads. You guys have been busy. I've enjoyed reading.
Not much going on here. Sticking close to home, doing chores and playing guitar. I bought myself a mandolin too. Which is a whole new ballgame to learn.
I'm hoping Jan. won't be bitter cold all month. I need to get walking again. I'm packing on the pounds again from to little exercise.
Hey to Sue, Wendy, Babs, Drema and Honey.

Waving to Michelle and Eden too. Eden, did I miss pictures of your newly painted kitchen?

I know I will forget someone, like I just remembered Martie. So Hi Martie, tell Rich he did a great job on the wreath.
I liked your comparison pictures of the front view. Its hard to believe the green will come back again, isn't it.

If I missed someone it wasn't intentional. Everyone have a safe and Happy Holiday .

    Bookmark   December 22, 2008 at 9:32PM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Quick one here, Saucy YES of course you can share the cardinal shot with whomever you'd like! I'm flattered you want to show anyone the picture!


    Bookmark   December 22, 2008 at 9:39PM
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See, I forgot Mary for one. Mary I loved your felt heart ornaments and the mushroom. So neat. I also wanted to say how nice it is of Davids teacher to lend him such a nice guitar, and that David deserves it.
Thanks for sharing with that little girl. I hope you all had fun. Norma

    Bookmark   December 22, 2008 at 9:44PM
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Hi Norma! How great to hear from you . My DS was looking at getting a mandolin at one time. Will you have to take lessons? I love the sound.
Hope you can spend more time with us !

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   December 22, 2008 at 9:50PM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

Woody, we can commiserate together, my fibro flared up this eve. The weather is changing!

Jerri, so glad you have been 'repaired', and are on the mend.

Deanne, the 'huge' redbird with the perfect snowflake is outstanding! What a shot!!

More good reading, but I am going to prepare the stove for the night and hit the sack. My pain meds should kick in pretty soon....


    Bookmark   December 22, 2008 at 10:05PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

I am just short of totally discombobulated this evening. Hide the car keys; I am tempted to drive to town, pick a random parking lot, scream "Towanda" at the top of my lungs and start ramming cars. Hormones are a wonderful thing - not. Driving to work this morning, I couldn't shake the feeling of wanting to burst into tears. Finally, later in the day I realized it was truly a monster case of PMS. Trust me, this was not on my Christmas list!

I managed to skip a whole bunch of posts by starting at Deanne's 2nd cardinal, so I am thoroughly confused. Except I do think I read that Jerri has a terrible drug problem! ;)

I'll wave hi to everyone and hope to find my brain tomorrow.


    Bookmark   December 22, 2008 at 10:21PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Isn't this thread picking up speed, I have the sensation of trying to hop on a moving train. [g]

The sun was out most of the day, but none of the icicles hanging from the roof melted yet. Not sure how much snow we have out there...maybe a foot and a half. Great for the sleeping gardens. Yes, I heard the forecast for rain on Christmas, Deanne. Oh well, maybe the forecast will change before then.

I finished my oven mitt to go with the matching pot holder. I had to laugh at how it came out. I ripped the seams and did over about four times. My first attempt at trying to do anything lined. It is harder than it looks, trying to get the lining to be the same size, and I made my own pattern with a grocery bag and I didn't really get the thumb right. I am giving it to our son and it may become a collector's piece, once I get better at doing them. [g] I'll try to post a photo tomorrow.

Chelone....I love that shot of the Salon looking so cozy in all that weather! You framed it nicely with the tree in the foreground. I am going to need another photo of the christmas decorations when the sun comes out. Very cute owl. I am trying to figure out how you took such a clear photo of a white ornament. Every photo of an ornament I take that has white on it, loses it's detail.

Mary...Always enjoy hearing about the opportunities you make to connect with kids that are having a rough time. Hope you had a great afternoon. Great for your own kids too, to have that opportunity.

Nice to see Norma...I would like to get walking more in the new year too. Happy Holidays. :-)

I have to agree with Kathy, Cindy, Chloe just couldn't be any cuter. How old is she? She looks like she doesn't weigh more than 2 Very pretty doorway, I always liked brick and the trim around the door, lovely. it the cold weather causing your flare up? Not a great time for a flare up. Is there anything that helps it?

Saucy...I am impressed with your tuffa containers. I especially like the moss growing in the top photo. Did you have to send away for that?

Julie...I like your mantle and your collection of artwork. Where are all the rest of the stockings? Don't the adults get one?

Pretty frost on the windows. All but one of our windows are old and even with storms on, they must be pretty leaky because they are steaming up on the colder days, but no frost on them I'd rather have the frost then the steam.

Glad to see everyone in such holiday spirits. Mine is in a little bit of a dip but I'm hoping for a revival soon.

I'm sure I missed a lot...not for lack of interest, just energy. :-)

Good night... :-)

    Bookmark   December 22, 2008 at 10:27PM
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Just not fair...check it out. Click on the thumbnails.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2008 at 11:28PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

I miss Phoebe!!!!
(But she probably doesn't care. She's on familiar turf...with treats!)

We're back from a wonderful dinner. DH played guitar and we all sat around the fire and sang carols.


    Bookmark   December 23, 2008 at 12:54AM
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Happy to be warm this morning!! Have no idea what the temp officially is but suffice to say "stopped cold" was exactly how I felt throwing stuff into the recycling.

Today is office gathering -- bowling then Cajun food, et al. Once a year of this is enough for me :-)

No words for that pic, Deanne. When will you do a calendar?

Happy to see Jerri popping in and shame on the nerve block doc for not having a standing order in place "just in case." Take advantage of the pampering, ignore your DS, and good for you to stay home this year.

I happen to like crooked trees, Cindy.

Mary -- You're giving that little girl the best present there is. Doubtful she's ever had this much attention while doing something FUN outside of school, and glad that Annie and David are excited, too. Have you heard from Joquin?

Saucy -- good idea to get a manufacturing plan and stick with it. Wouldn't it be horrible to run out of stuff and have people want more? Will you be taking custom orders as well? Can't wait to eventually meet your DS -- he's being raised right for sure!!

Norma, Kathy, Denise, 'bug, PM, Woody, Marian, Chelone - so fun to read! and on and on, have a wonderful day!!


    Bookmark   December 23, 2008 at 7:03AM
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I love the sound of a mandolin, Norma! I picked up a cheapie Bluegrass Christmas CD at the Dollar Store (a favorite of mine) and it's pretty good. Mandolin is featured prominently. Good for you to work on "your pickin'". How's Rebel holding up in the chilly weather?

Cindy, you have a pretty living room. The color reminds me of Saucy's kitchen and the Salon. I instantly noticed the way the swag has been accented with choux. I am a complete sucker for the formal touches on drapery work (figures, huh?). And Chloe on her Tiffany pillow sporting her sweater is priceless, though I like the glowing eyes of the watchrat nearly as much, lol. I also like the style of the shutters on your condo. Here, they're mostly the louvered variety, but the raised panel look is probably my favorite. Very, very pretty, nicely dressed up for the holidaze!

Woody, bummer about the tendonitis. At least you can read along, smile, nod... you know, the way we all do in our respective homes. Phoebe is lucky dog, but Misty is even luckier. :)

The only vegetation in this house is the tree. Except MAYBE an onion or potato trying to force some growth in their dark quarters under the kitchen counter. ;) Marian can carry the standard for me in that department.

Julie, I love the crown treatment of your fireplace, too. It's simple, but makes a nice bold statement, too. It's got me thinking about how to "fancy up" the chimney treatment in the Salon.

V., I think you should definitely go outdoors and scream at the top of your lungs. I'm all for theraputic screaming, or you could always take it out on the dogs, that's why we have 'em.

Mary, I thought of you and the little girl on and off yesterday. For the life of me, I will never understand how people can spare so little thought, time, consideration for children and animals (even dogs). I know it's not productive, but there are times I'd like to administer a "dope slap" and tell 'em to "smahten up!". I overheard one in a salon the other day while we were installing something. She was in the chair, getting some sort of complicated dye job to her already bleached hair. Evesdropping, I gleaned that she and her daughter have been sleeping on various couches since they had to move out of their apartment a few weeks ago. The little girl is worried that Santa won't be able to find her. I know the woman from a bakery where she worked the register until she walked out with no notice. I should think the money she was about to spend on her HAIR could have been more intelligently directed. I was appalled. But nothing surprises me much any more. What's that classic line from the movie "Parenthood"? you have to have a license to drive a car or catch a fish, but any braindead a--hole can have a kid. No kidding.

So Cynthia, what was the useless owner's reaction to your intervention with her Dobies? Lol.

Kathy, I wish you safe travelling and hope your visit is full of good laughs. It will be fun to see the changes in Mr. Baby... but don't overdo it with the pictures, OK? ;) Also good to know the healing is right on schedule, is pureed prime rib still a liklihood? Your preparation for your kitties cracked me up. My brother has a variety of similar "nests" for his trio on the off chance one or more is still out when he is going to be gone for a day/two.

I was thinking yesterday, Jerri, that the hamburger with onion rings (a favorite) sounded pretty good. By the time your casted you'll be all caught up with Idylls and will probably be on the computer non-stop. Which will be a lot of fun for us. I have a good friend (a nurse) who told me that every hour a patient is under general anesthesia requires the best part of a week's recovery. I'm not surprised you're wiped out, factor in the stress and pre-op. tension and you're due for a lot of napping. Laze on, GF.

Time to come up with a plan for the day. I'm thinking some more snow removal from the filon roof over the wood might be a good idea since they're now squeaking about a warm up and a half inch of rain. That will add to the weight of it nicely... why tempt fate?

    Bookmark   December 23, 2008 at 7:23AM
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Good morning

Martie - yes, we talk to Jaquain every few weeks and have sent a little Christmas parcel. He's not a big one for phone conversation but I can tell from his voice how thrilled he is when we call him.

Yesterday afternoon I arrived home with our little visitor and Annie had laid everything out on the table and whipped up a batch of frosting. Most touching for me was she had also brough her American Girl doll out from storage and wrapped it up to give to Victoria. The doll is still in perfect condition with its box. They are beutifully made though ridiculously expensive, and just what every little girl sets her heart on. The doll was very special to Annie so to part with her was no small act. I had to blink back my tears.

The gingerbread houses were messy and fun, then David took Victoria sledding and we finished the afternoon with a game of Life. I think everyone enjoyed themselves. I hope memories of our time together will help get her through the tough times ahead over the holidays (vacations for these children are often no picnic).

Tonight we have a neighbourhood party where everyone has been invited to bring instruments and come sing. Annie is also going carolling with a group of her friends so one way or another it will be a musical evening. I'm totally bummed as on Sunday I cut the very top off my index finger (not possible to stitch back, just lots of bandages). It has finally stopped throbbing. I'm wondering if I can play 3 fingered?

Enjoy your festivities everyone!

Woody - hope tendonitus eases up and Jerri - feel better, GB - safe travel. Waves to all


    Bookmark   December 23, 2008 at 7:56AM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Good morning all and a very cold morning it is. The thermometer was hovering around 2.3 when I came downstairs. Brrrrr.. Nothing compared to the cold the Michelle is having though. And Marian, I cant believe it got that cold in your neck of the woods. Amazing. Then of course, the warm up to rain tomorrow. Good grief! Doug and I are going to have to do some work on getting some of that snow off the roof. Im hoping we dont develop any ice dams. We did have some water damage last year. And winter has only just begun.

V. this too shall pass.. As I recall my worst PMS episodes used to happen around the shortest days of the year.

Cindy, love, love, love your pics! A beautiful tree! Love your door and wreath and that last pic of Chloe is precious.

Saucy, love the photos of your hypertufa!

Julie, lovely mantle shot.

Kathy and Bug, safe travels!

Bug the frost fern photographs are gorgeous!

Mary, OMG! I cant believe you lost the tip of your finger. Thats terrible. Ill bet when it heals youll be able to play just fine though it will probably take a bit of getting use to. So very sorry to hear that. ~~ What a wonderful thing Annie did with the doll! What a special and generous hearted thing for her to do! You must be so very proud of her.

Jerri glad to hear you are starting to feel better.

Norma how wonderful to hear from you!

PM how fun you are getting into sewing again. Thats terrific. Looking forward to seeing pics of the projects.

Martie, I actually did a bird calendar for Christmas gifts. Unfortunately the cardinal and snowflake shot which would have made the perfect December pic wasnt taken yet. Next year I guess! LOL

Chelone, yep, we are going to get that half inch of rain on top of this twenty inches of snow and its not going to be a pretty picture. I cant believe winter has only just BEGUN!

Allrighty, off to get something accomplished with this day!

    Bookmark   December 23, 2008 at 9:10AM
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"Have I ever told you the difference between selling Christmas trees and being on the Shackleton expedition?", queried the helpmeet not 10 minutes ago.

"Why no, I don't believe you ever have."

"Shackleton's men got to keep their gloves on."

That, after telling me his "superior immune system has been keeping a rhino virus at bay for the past 3 days", thanks to repeated boosts from the squalid condition of our home. Lol. He cracks me right up.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2008 at 9:28AM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

enjoy reading about a great Chicago landscaper at the link below

and then sob a little because NPR has laid off Ketzel Levine...


    Bookmark   December 23, 2008 at 9:35AM
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jak1(4 Ontario Can)

Hi everyone! Thanks for the mantle compliments. The people who built this house made the trim at the top of the living room windows. We like it, so when we had the fireplace put in, we had the carpenter come over and design it to match the rest of the room. When the room looks tidy and decent I will take photos of the rest of the trim (g(.

V: scream away. TCS and I have already had our holiday melt-down. Your turn!

PM2 - nope - only the little guy gets a stocking. Although I have beautiful hand knit ones with our names right in the design for the rest of us. Hmmmm, I'd forgotten those...Maybe I'll find them and display them on the more thing to add to my already long list today!

Saucy - I absolutely love the hypertufa. I have been meaning to try one - yours are wonderful and I love the moss.

'Bug, enjoy the peace! Your regimen seems to be working - you sound oodles better!

Chelone: superior immune system *LOL* I guess I should slack off a bit on the JulieJobs - for the sake of my family's health, of course!

Mary: OH! owowow! Shivers and goosebumps for you and your finger. BTW, your family must be the kindest one in the world.

Norma: A mandolin, how lovely! We sold ours when times were lean and have regretted it ever since. It was made by Martin.

Gee Deanne, if you ever do another bird calendar, can I buy one? Your feathery photos are amazing!

Just a couple of further photos of some of our holiday stuff.

These candles are in my kitchen window over the sink. They shine all the way across the park and the neighbours over there love them. They also look great when people are walking the path through the park from one street to the next...In the past couple of years I have left them there until Spring.

And our tree from the outside - not a good photo but it looks great as people drive up the street - we face the oncoming traffic here.

Cheers all!


    Bookmark   December 23, 2008 at 10:17AM
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chloehoover(z6b VA)

Sluggee and procrastinator checking in - it's much better than cleaning - I seem to have caught a clean germ -- it's activated when one starts bringing out the equipment for heavy cleaning....appears the only treatment is to find frequent rationales for stopping and resting...

Saucy - I love love those tufa pots -- and how you planted them as well! is that a saxifraga in the middle of the first one? it always reminds me of a succulent.... so wonderful - I wished i lived closer so I could purchase some pots from you!!

Chloe thanks you for the compliments -- she's the resident house mouse and weighs all of 7 lbs but commands the roost - and yes, you can see why she's such a pampered pooch -- who could stay mad at such a face? plus she's funny -- just this a.m. she rolled around on the bed, got twisted up in a sheet and peeked out w/ just her face showing - w/ static flyaway hair poking in all directions - it was a laughing Kodak moment... they do keep us entertained, pets, dont they?

Mary, ouch - your finger must be throbbing like crazy -- but it sounds like you have had way too much going on to think of it too much - what a special day your family gave Victoria...

Kathy - my townhouse is a typical federal style for this area -- with lots of bricks, and various old style colors -- the neighborhood itself has loosened in the last few years as the homeowners association doesnt seem to watch re what folks repaint their homes as, but I do love brick -- and it's low maintenance in this area; I try not to worry about earthquakes..... now hurricanes might be something else.

Julie - those are lovely candles and so unusual; as we've said here before, there's nothing prettier than lited candles in windows; your tree is pretty too - I noticed that like me you like multi-color lites on the tree; I like the white lites, but still come back annually to don the multis onto my own tree much as admire everyone else's white lites.

Cynthia -- I hope you and Monty and all the rest of the pack enjoy a peaceful quiet Xmas. I imagine Monty doesnt notice too much if he's crated these days or not; he probably just enjoys the peace and quiet of being in your home. Funny you noticed the print on the chair - yep, that's the one that set the coastal/tropical theme in the family room; with yellow walls and a coral sofa, it's a pretty bright room - Im sure some would think gaudy, but I enjoy the brights and I think it finally came together pretty well.... six months later I still have not put anything back on the walls though -- I even hung the usual fireplace wreath on a door knob! See contemplating where/what to hang and it seems a shame to put a hole in the walls just yet..

Norma - you always amaze me with the new things and instruments you decide to take on -- how impressive -- just the thirst for new talents -- it's really neat. I seem to recall that a mandolin has a very deep sound? I bet it's lovely.

Hope V, Woody and others feel more "the thing" soon...

Im contemplating Chelone's concept that a dirty house might assist in boosting immune systems -- sounds like a good rationale to me!


    Bookmark   December 23, 2008 at 12:22PM
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Jerri_OKC(z7 Ok)

Morning all! I'm sporting my new red cast with stylish white trim. If only it were fur... ;)
I got in trouble for not keeping my foot high enough up. It's still way too swollen and is bleeding some. I have to nip the meds rumor in the bud. I have no problem at all with them. I just took more in fact. LOL
The PA suggested bringing in a sofa cushion to help with elevating my foot. It's wider so I can turn and move more without rearranging the world. It works great except for the cats napping all over it. There's no room for me, LOL

I wrote a nice long post last night about 2AM. I bumped the laptop and accidentally closed IE and lost the whole thing. I was so disappointed!!!!! The 5 second version:
Saucy - love the tufa planters and moss.
Woody, loved the Misty story and pics. As you know, abused critters have a special place for me. God bless you all for taking her in and helping her heal. (((Hugs)))
'Bug, have a safe trip. When are you traveling?
Mary, What the heck happened with your finger?! Ouch! How did I miss that story? :(
Chloe is just too cute for words!
Deanne,I want to buy a calendar if you order more. That would be so beautiful!
I know I missed a lot I wanted to comment on.


    Bookmark   December 23, 2008 at 1:03PM
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Ten years from now I'll remember 'Ketzel Levine being laid off' as the sign of how BAD it really was. Like everything else, she'll emerge stronger.

I cleaned the frig. Sorry, no pictures. But it was worse than you could imagine and supports Chelone's theory of dirty homes building stronger immune systems. I am one of those who never ever gets sick. Last time I was sick was December of 2004, and in my fever induced state adopted Katie because she was my sweet foster at the time and seemed perfect to witness my death. (It was a bad cold, 'tis all.)

Mary, That's terrible news about your finger, egads that must have hurt, and I do hope you're still able to play tonight. On the positive side, it's good you didn't do it during Victoria's idyllic afternoon :-) Might have botched the occasion and the good memories. Annie's gesture touched my heart. You've raised lovely sensitive children.

V, Let me put forth another bogus theory on health. I never had PMS, but had a 12 year menopause. So my vacation induced logic would mean that you will have an easy menopause to look forward to.

Nice to see Norma popping in! I had to google 'mandolin' because I couldn't picture it. It's very pretty! (I know that's not what matters.)

Dannie is having her teeth cleaned today. She is such an anxious soul, I asked the front desk if it was possible for her to go first, as I know she would tremble and pant while waiting for hours. I dropped her off as late as I could - 8:50AM, but know they don't start surgeries until noon. She shouldn't even need a dental since she's on raw, but after two and a half years I could see some tartar on the molars and she had staining on the front, so it was time :-(

I like the succulents over your sink Julie!

Cindy, I took Monday off and napped and did little. Since you worked on Saturday, seems to me you would get today as total rest and may be up for the luxury of cleaning tomorrow. I know I'm more into 'the list' today. At 2:30 yesterday I laid down on the couch with book and as I dozed off saw Hope tossing one of my slippers in the air. The floor was covered in stuffies, but the slipper was preferred.

Hope everyone on the disabled list: Jerri, Marian, Woody, feels better soon! Kathy and Michelle back on track I think?

Cynthia (Mulling my next holiday cleaning project - and there are unlimited options to choose from.)

    Bookmark   December 23, 2008 at 1:28PM
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I'm on the final load of laundry and have rounded the stairwell and am headed for the bathroom and the boudoir with the vacuum cleaner. Every corner has contained a tumbleweed of dog and cat hair. I've reached the conclusion that it probably hasn't been vacuumed since just before Thanksgiving, lol. Suffice it to say anyone with a pet or dust allergy would succumb within minutes in my house. :) Is vacuuming a JulieJob or are JulieJobs "fussier" and less obvious than that? My goal is to have everything cleaned by tonight. And I'm clearly procrastinating.

I want to hear more about the fing-y, Mary.

Time to see which cats want to be let back in and then torment them with the vacuum cleaner. ;)

    Bookmark   December 23, 2008 at 1:53PM
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V's lemon sables are chilling in the fridge, the pork is nearly ready for the tamales I'll get to either later today or tomorrow, but all supplies have been bought, e.g. masa, California chilis (milder). Last transcript is open on the puter and waiting attention. I delivered some of the paperwhite vases to neighbors last night and wished I'd bought more bulbs. The local Art Theater is showing A Christmas Tale with Catherine Deneuve and tonight is the last chance I get to go, so I just might if I can rip a chunk of time out of the remains of the day.

I've taken a survey: What if I only get around to baking one kind of Christmas cookie this year? (besides V's lemon sables) Molasses crinkles was the hands-down winner.

A quick flyby and season's greetings to all in case I don't make it back. Cindy, love your festive home. Nice to see Jerri on the mend, enjoying the meds ;) Mary, your poor finger, nothing throbs like a hurt digit. I need to google hypertufa, that's totally off my radar as to what's involved, but beautiful work, Saucy. Glad to hear Phoebe has arrived safely, but ouch, Woody, hope that tendinitis moves on quickly. Smooth traveling to all those leaving home.

So very, very nice to read all the contributions. It rained lightly yesterday, more forecast tomorrow. I was in V's mood yesterday after a child custody dispute job (wanted to hug the mom and hit the attorney but the impartiality demanded by my license precludes such behavior), but today is a simply glorious day. Deanne, I've showed the boys your cardinal photo, and the jaws are on the floor here. One in a million!

    Bookmark   December 23, 2008 at 2:44PM
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Pm2, I want to see the oven mitt. I should use one. I am always burning my hands on the oven. Its just easier to grab a pot holder for me. I do use a heavy leather glove for the wood stove though because I 've had some bad burns with that.

Ah V. I feel your pain. Or at least I used to. DS said It was definitely a stay out of the way of his wife day at his house on Sat. I think I missed saying hi to you in my post too. Did you make the trip in to the city with the girls?

Chelone, I wonder if its the same Bluegrass Christmas cd that my SIL sent me. We have played it a lot. Rebel is staying in a lot. It's funny to watch him when he goes out to take care of business and get a drink . The ponds are freezing over and he has to go around by the falls to get a drink. He checks the edges all along the way for a spot to drink.
I have been watching the ponds carefully in case I have to take the pumps out. It was so cold I was afraid the falls would freeze. It warmed up enough to rain today so they will be ok for now.

Kathy, I'm just tinkering with the mandolin on my own for now. That's what I have done with the guitar. If it doesn't go well I may do some lessons. There are a lot of good books and DVDs to help out. I've always learned things better at my own pace and by trial and error.

Mary, how sweet of Annie to give her doll to Victoria.
Geesh, be more careful with those fingers. I did that with the scissors once.
The tips of my left hand fingers are so calloused now from playing, I have hardly any feeling in them. I read that a mandolin is tuned like a violin so the music is simlar.

Ah Julie I bet that mandolin was a nice one. I really like those candles in the kitchen window . I would leave them out too. Also like the pots of succulents.

LOL Cindy, I just get bored easy. I've always wanted to play music but never had the time that I do now. Getting older does have a couple of benefits. Like time, and no PMS. Not that I don't have my crabby days.

DH is off to a xmas lunch. I elected not to go. Just finished cleaning. Now I just need to think about getting some groceries in.
And Rebel wants out. Hate to let him out with the rain, but I guess I will and have the towel ready when he comes back.

Later Norma

    Bookmark   December 23, 2008 at 3:26PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

One load of laundry done, the cat sitters are organized, 35 minutes on the treadmill done, dinner thawing, and more packing to tend to. DH is napping.

Our mandolin was a gift from my boyfriend (now DH) when we were wandering about in Paris before saying goodbye after our 2 years in the Peace Corps. It is very pretty, but I didn't master more than 3 chords in order to play one particular song. (Don't even remember which song!) The wood has split in the back, so now it is a decoration only. I somehow can't throw it away...

Tomorrow is haircut day and figuring out how to get to the airport in snow mixed with rain. Am I excited to see my gang? Naaaaw. ;)

    Bookmark   December 23, 2008 at 3:39PM
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