Idyll 416: Idyll Light

cynthia_gwDecember 23, 2008

You can't have a light without a dark to stick it in. ~Arlo Guthrie

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Heat wave today, it was 7 above this a.m. and they are actually talking 20s or possibly low 30Âs, but then back to the deep freeze for tomorrow and then warmer again for Christmas. Crazy!

IÂm pleased to report that my back is feeling better each day. Last night instead of swimming I just spent my time in the hot tub.

Chelone, DHÂs sister and BIL go to southern Florida each year around mid-November to Christmas to sell Christmas trees. No gloves needed there. Great Christmas card shots of your house.

Even though it didnÂt get above 10 yesterday it was warm enough to melt some snow on the roof at work and produce a leak on my desk.

Well, the tickets have been purchased and we leave for FL on January 3.

Mary, AnnieÂs gesture was very touching  regifting at its best. You must be very proud of her.

Saucy, I absolutely love the tuffa containers and the way you have them planted. The moss is wonderful.
Âbug, since each of us has a divorce under our belts, we are very aware of how fragile relationships are and have vowed to really work on this one and use opportunities such as this group to refresh our marriage and learn. Your window art would make lovely greeting cards or wall art.

Julie, sorry to hear about the accident, especially glad to hear that no one was hurt. I really like your fireplace.

Cynthia, those greyhounds are so lucky to have you to spend their golden years with. Hopefully, Monte can enjoy life comfortably for a long time yet.

Jerri, good to hear that you are feeling better today.
Cindy, I really like your entrance with the wonderful architectural details and the one above the window as well. IÂm envious over the square pots with the topiaries. What a little doll Chloe is.

IÂll leave you with a little cookie decorating pic.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2008 at 4:32PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Good afternoon... :-)

DH is about ready to leave the office and is off tomorrow. He had already been out earlier in the day and reports it is a madhouse on the roads. Took him an hour and 20 minutes to travel what normally takes him 25 mins, and that was late morning. DD and oldest DS have tomorrow off and will be home for a day of wrapping and music and Christmas Eve dinner preparations. We are actually celebrating Hannukah on Christmas Eve this year due to everyone's schedules. On Wednesday, we will all be waiting anxiously all day for middle son to arrive with his doggie 'Noodles'. He has about a 5 hour drive and I am keeping fingers crossed for good traveling weather.

G'bug it is great to hear you sounding so excited! I can only imagine how great it will be for all of you to be together again. Happy travels.

Martie...Cajun food and bowling would not be my first pick for an office party either...I'm with you, once a year would be enough. [g]

Cindy....our tree is only slightly crooked this year. We did buy a new stand two years ago, that makes getting it in place and straight, much easier. I wish I could remember the name of it. I love your tree as is though! So festive! That sweet little Chloe is 7 pounds?! Not much more than a sack of Your description of her in the bedding was precious. What is she getting for Christmas?

Norma...mandolins make me think of Romeo and Juliet and music in the garden too, now that I think of it. I wish you could do a You Tube of your guitar playing at some point. Maybe with a Santa beard and hat as a disguise? :-) Here is the set of pot holder and oven mitt in a doggie print for son who has the dog. I thought the fabric was so cute. I inserted a Teflon lining into them that protects from burns, in addition to cotton batting. The potholder was a cinch, but I will try for better directions next time I attempt the oven mitt, as the lining was tricky and my hand dexterity is not what it used to be. My son will be very happy with it any way, I am sure. :-) I had planned on making a set for DD and for our house, but I ran out of steam. Maybe after Christmas I will try it again.

Nothing says home made, like the right amount of

V...I'll bet by Christmas morning you will be feeling wonderful!

Kathy...have you left already? Hope I didn't miss saying Happy Trails! Have a wonderful holiday with your family and hope Santa brings you something special. ;-)

Mary...I'm very happy to hear the afternoon with your visitor went so well. You never know how much just the effort we make on someone's behalf means to them. How wonderful for Annie that she felt moved to give so freely of herself. What Christmas is all about. Ouch on that finger! Glad it has stopped throbbing.

Deanne...your friends and family are so lucky to receive your Bird Calendars! Very special gift! Really, to me, your photos are art. I was thinking about your cardinal photo and why I have seen so few bird photos that are as wonderful as yours, and aside from the obvious fact that you are talented, I can't imagine too many photographers would sit out in a blind for hours waiting for the perfect shot. I'm happy for you that all your efforts have been so fruitful! Hope you have a wonderful day enjoying nature on Thursday!

Julie....all those Julie Jobs really pay off...your home looks so beautiful and inviting for the holiday! Love the candles, the succulents, even the window covering! [g] The tree in the window is really just right.

Jerri...I hope you enjoy some special attention while you are recovering. What are your plans for Christmas?

Cynthia...glad you have had some napping time. What will you be doing for the holidays and what are you giving your furr babies for Christmas? :-)

Chelone...we are giving DS a vacuum for Christmas and it occurred to me that the animals will all have to get used to the noise of it now. Poor kitties have never been outside, so I wonder if they will be frantic in his small apartment. mouth is watering for your pork tamales and V's lemon sables. Any chance you might post recipes on the Recipes thread? I think V posted the lemon dessert somewhere, I will look for it. Have a wonderful holiday if we don't see you! :-)

Norma...believe it or not, I used to actually enjoy wiping the dog down when he came in from bad weather. Something about how he would sit and wait to be dried and the precious way he would look at me while allowing me to dry him off. :-)

Michelle...So they decorate cookies in Florida at Christmas time too? Not as much fun as snow and grandparents though, right? ;-) Kenzie looks so intent on what she is doing. So glad your back is getting better. Have to feel well enough to enjoy Christmas! So you are visiting Kenzie and company in January!? I'm so glad for you!! Hope it is a nice long visit and you can soak up some rays while you are there.

Wonder where 'T' is? They must have a ton of snow, right? Marian, where are you today? Saucy? Waving to Woody and Eden..miss you both. :-)

Enjoy the evening..!

    Bookmark   December 23, 2008 at 4:54PM
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Dannie (front) doesn't feel good after her adventure. Hope is concerned and curled up behind her to lend moral support.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2008 at 7:57PM
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Look at Kenzie intently decorating her cookies. What a darling shot, you can tell how important the operation really is by that face. I'll bet you can't wait until the 3rd., huh Michelle? Good that your back is on the mend, too.

Nice goin' on the oven mitts, PM. They look great, and I can understand how the lining could have been problematic. Refer to "grading seams" and "Clipping/notching 101" to make the next batch go a little easier. :)

I'm tired! I put a lot of effort into vacuuming today and it shows. I haven't completely finished cleaning the john, but figure I'll call it a day. The helpmeet has graciously volunteered to vacuum the entry hall and the staircase, as well as The Rat's Nest. None of the animals have been very pleased with the level of human activity today. The wrapping paper is down from the attic, the awnings are up there, as are the ornament boxes, a suitcase, and the Coleman cooler.

And, I'll have you know, Julie, that I did not allow myself to become sidetracked by the bookcases in the library! I've wanted to go through them and cull duplicates of paperbacks having to do with nutrition and/or freshman reading assignments from about 1966 for some time now. But I kept right on vacuuming and will indulge myself later in the week. I'm really gettin' into the cleaning and organizing. I believe Cynthia has inspired me to tackle the inside of the 'frig., too. Do I dare test the theory of self-innoculation?

PM, we've had dogs that actually liked to be vacuumed and at least one cat who couldn't have cared less about a vacuum cleaner and the attendant racket. Usually, they just retreat to a place that is not so noisy.

I'm all showered and ready to get into my nice clean bed and read for awhile. G'night all.

Any recommendations for a nice red wine to go with the roast beef? Also, any suggestions for a nice sparkling wine (brut)? I'd like to try something domestic and really wish I hadn't missed the opportunity to get a suggestion from Lil Miss Napa herself!

    Bookmark   December 23, 2008 at 8:12PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Thank you for the tips on the oven mitts Chelone. I was hoping you would offer your expertise. :-) I will look it up after the holidays and give it another shot!

I am the least knowledgeable person on the subject of wines, DH and I are very easy to please in that department and rarely have any except on the holidays anyway. DD and DS tease us endlessly about our wine selections, so I thought I might surprise them and have the name of some good inexpensive wines for the next time we have dinner with them. Rachel Ray was on today and I am not a fan, but she had a guest who was a wine expert offering his choices for good wines under $15. Here were the three he recommended....

Vinho Verde Was a white wine he recommended to go with her antipasto
The red wine with a rib roast was called... Nero Davola...
And the last was a wine to go with dessert, which was an eggnog bread pudding and he recommended a Port that they didn't name but showed the label and I thought it said...Real Companha Velma

Wish I could offer these suggestions with experience, but..

As for a sparkling wine selection...I have been happy with Asti Spumonti at times, but I get a lot of snickers and rolling of the eyes on that selection. The best I've ever had and it was really good, was Dom Perignon. I just can't see drinking something that cost that much. It is in your glass one minute and gone the next. [g]

I wish you had a video of vacuuming your

Cynthia...I hope Dannie feels better tomorrow. They are so cute together.


    Bookmark   December 23, 2008 at 9:26PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

Chelone, I'll offer a couple of suggestions on the wine. I'm not sure if these are all available throughout the country, but here goes. Sunday night we had a 2006 Joel Gott cabernet sauvignon that was quite nice. For a very inexpensive red that doesn't taste cheap, try Columbia Crest Two Vines Vineyard 10 Red Wine. I like Chandon's sparkling wines for a little nicer but not terribly pricey choice.

Cynthia, I will totally accept your health advice and hope it holds true. I'm quite ready for this to be over and done, and it just isn't happening. I went on birth control pills about a year ago at the doctor's suggestion, but that did not make a big enough improvement for me to feel it was justified to continue, so I dropped them several months ago. I'm feeling much better today.

Strangely enough, we had more snow today. And we are expecting more tonight. And expecting more tomorrow morning. But don't worry, it will stop snowing by the weekend. Because then it's going to rain. A lot. Who has the plans for the ark?!?

We did make it into the city for our girls' outing, and we had a great time. The guys' turn was tonight, but they had to cancel due to the weather. DH was in OK City (I think he was delivering more pain meds - I hear all the pharmacies in the area are tapped out) and had a tough time getting home tonight. He finally made it to O'Hare and is on his way home now. I seriously was getting worried about him making it home for Christmas Eve.

Our tree finally has lights and should have ornaments soon. All the pine cones on the tree look very cool, but they are noisy! They crack open in the warmth of the house and made little cracking, popping noises all evening.

So those ornaments won't get on the tree by themselves. I'll take photos tomorrow - promise!


    Bookmark   December 23, 2008 at 9:29PM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

My word! I sure agree that keeping up with you gals is like trying to get on a speeding train!

I had hoped to do some catching up this eve, but not only is there 5 new posts here, there are a bunch of new ones on the last thread!

If I reread and said all that I wanted to, it would take two hours, and fill two pages!!! Sooo, I will just post a few pics, and call it a day!

The first two are my contribution to the white owls...:-)

The next is a 'montage' of my african violet blooms from today:

I will sign off with blessings for all , both for the holidays, but also for the New Year. :-)


    Bookmark   December 23, 2008 at 9:42PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

If you plant the little seeds that pop out when the pine cones POP, trees emerge. I've done it successfully. Need a forest V?

    Bookmark   December 23, 2008 at 9:45PM
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Jerri_OKC(z7 Ok)

AWWW. Kids and doggies. Nice close to the Idyll day. :)
V, it's a wonder your DH made it out of OKC. It is so foggy tonight, I think the visabilty is 0.
Clelone, that's interesting info from your nurse friend. My surgery was a little over 3 hrs. I guess I can count on feeling tired for a couple more weeks. Yuk
It waw a LONG day for me, ventured out twice today and I'm paying for it. Goodnight all


    Bookmark   December 23, 2008 at 10:25PM
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Good evening

Well, we had a really fun evening at our neighbors party. I spent a lot of it playing and as there were some really good musicians there it was a treat. My finger held up any only started bleeding again right at the end. We played lots of carols, then a little chamber music. After, I indulged in some holiday cheer and laughs before noticing it was 10.45 PM and the rest of my family had all gone home. The nice thing about a party next door is how easy it is to get home.

Kenzie is adorable!! I love the total concentration.

Pm - those oven mits are wonderful - such great fabric. I made some many years ago as gifts. Youv'e inspired me to do some more.

Marian - I enjoyed the white owl and all the violets. Good wishes to you for Christmas, and for a healthy and peaceful New Year.

Chelone - for someone who imbibes their fair share of wine I'm hopeless when it comes to recomending one. I do know what I like as I'm drinking it though.

GB - safe travels!

Well, I should head to bed as I have an early morning run to the grocery store planned to pick up the bird. I then need to dedicate some time to serious cleaning.

By the way, I sliced my finger cutting cardboard with a mat knife, while talking to DH. I don't think I was totally focused on the job:0( I can't believe I fixed up two bathrooms using a table saw and power tools without a scratch, and then injured myself cutting cardboard.


    Bookmark   December 23, 2008 at 11:30PM
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Hello friends ! Despite the dire PNW media reports we made it here unscathed, flight on time. I 've never seen so much snow !
Just wanted to check in..wave to all

    Bookmark   December 23, 2008 at 11:52PM
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Jerri_OKC(z7 Ok)

So much for going to bed early. :(
It's good to hear everyone arriving safely to their destinations. Someone asked about our Christmas. This is about the third year in a row of Bah Humbug moods for me so I've kept it offline. It's so fun to see all of your decorations and families though!
Im not sure what the funk is about. I have always been the one who cooked all the goodies and had the tree up on Thanksgiving weekend. Hum, sounds like fodder for the therapy mill. LOL
DH has a very small family in town so we usually go to MILs house on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning. It depends on when the nephew has his little boy.
This year DH will fly solo and I will stay home and read :)


    Bookmark   December 24, 2008 at 12:56AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

*yawn* bed and up again already. Trying for a snack and hopefully back to sleep.

Mary...Glad you liked the fabric on the potholders. Have you any of the potholders you made in the past? It seems to me, to be a project you can really get creative with. Turn about is fair play, since all of your crafts have certainly contributed to my renewed efforts to give it a try. :-) I am wondering how someone who is musical manages to move next door to someone who is musical? Glad you had a fun evening.

Kathy...great planning to have gotten where you were going ahead of the storm.

Marian...what a nice white owl! You have some collection of african violets there. I am a sucker for the larger blossoms, second from the left top row and end of the second row. That dark maroon flower is pretty too.

Jerri...Christmas is a difficult time of year for many people. It is often hard for everyone's expectations to be met so some degree of disappointment is inevitable. Add to that past unhappinesses associated with the holidays and it can be a depressing time. I hope you can find some enjoyment in the day. :-)

Back to bed.

Christmas in Graceland by Thomas Kinkade


    Bookmark   December 24, 2008 at 2:05AM
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Thank you for your suggestions on libations! I've jotted them down and will head on out this morning to stock up.

LOL about V.'s DH filling pain med. 'scrips in OKC. Clearly, everyone has Jerri's best interests at heart.

Jerri, the helpmeet and I have long marvelled at the amount of pressure that seems to dog the holidays for so many people. Maybe it's because we share similar levels of dysfunction or maybe it's just that we refuse to be herded along and whipped into a frenzy of longing, buying, and disappointment. Christmas in the homes of our childhood was never the extravaganza portrayed in television or print commercials. I get a kick out of decorating the outside of the house for the holidays but would feel equally OK about doing nothing if my mood tended that way. I invited my brother and won't know if he's coming until he pulls into the dooryard. I'm OK with that, because I want him to be happy and have a nice relaxing day doing what HE wants. Ditto for BIL. That's how our parents' regarded the day, too. So, I think your plan to hang out and read sounds pretty groovy.

Marian, I love the Snowy Owl, is it something you keep on the windowsill over the sink to make you smile whenever you look at it? :) And the African violet blossoms always remind me of confectionary decorations. They're so pretty, I think my favorites are the 3rd. from the left in the second row and the pretty white one in the bottom row. I can well imagine Nolon surrendering his chair to Tommy... my father would have done the very same thing. Calling on family members to "come see how very smart" the cat was featured prominently in our enjoyment of resident felines over the years. It's a tradition we've continued...

Good to know Kathy has reached her destination, I was wondering how that whole scene was going to pan out! I'm sure she will have a rolickin' good time snowbound in the PNW.

And I wish all due speed to 'bug and her DH on their journey west. Mostly, though, I wish for a level of relative comfort for the hours you must endure on the plane. Just try to think about the reward at the end of the trip. While poignant, this will be a very special holiday and closing out what's been a tragic year with those you love is the best tonic possible. My fondest and warmest wishes will follow you. :)

Poor mournful Dannie. The best thing about being a dog has to be living with you, Cynthia. The worst part about being a dog would have to be living with me... .

Good news that the fing-y held up for the musical evening, Mary. I forgot to comment on Annie's gift of the American Girl Doll to Victoria. It's not so surprising, really, at least not to me. Children raised in homes where love and generosity are unconditional find little difficulty in perpetuating those traits throughout their lives. You must be (and ought to be!) very, very proud.

Deanne, I meant to tell you that I liked the cardinal shot best in its entirety. I love that the snowflake is still perfectly visible but not the main feature of the photograph. That fluffed up little Junco is precious, too. Both the shots reminded me of Saucy's commentary on the relative personalities of birds in the last Idyll.

More than ever now, Saucy, I want to try 'tufa. I love the moss on everything in your shots because I love moss. Always makes me cringe when people work so hard to eradicate it. There is something so simple and elegant, not to mention EASY about it.

I need to plan my day so when the helpmeet flies the coop I can get some last minute things done, not the least of which is wrapping and not rapping!

    Bookmark   December 24, 2008 at 7:18AM
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vtskiers(z6a CentralCT)

Good Christmas Eve morning!

It's raining here this Usually I like to take a nice long walk on Christmas Eve. Most of the homes in the historic district and around one of the town greens put luminarias out along their front walkways and sidewalks. At 5 PM a group from one of the town churches brings instruments and sings Christmas carols on the green. Last year I stumbled on that gathering by accident and have since been planning to attend again but the weather may turn those plans to slush. We'll see. At any rate, I bought some lobster meat to make a lobster pie for dinner and I've got plenty of wine. If it isn't pouring, I may make a visit to the hot tub. My house is decorated and little white lights are twinkling in just about every room. Christmas Eve has always been my favorite and this is the first year I don't have a "gig" but entertaining myself has never been a problem so it's all good.

When it comes to making a suggestion on wine, I'm in Mary's camp. Plus I only drink white and tend to prefer Chardonnay so my wine universe is limited. If you like chard though, my favorite is Kendall Jackson. In fact, someone just plunked a bottle of it on my desk. Tra la la la la!

Jerri, nice to see you posting regularly. Cynthia too.

It will be a lost day at work today. Lots of gifts exchanged, lots of food, we bring in lunch then send everyone home afterward. For now I'll leave you with this Christmas oldie but goodie. Maybe I'll make these

Jose Cuervo Christmas Cookies:

1 cup water
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
1 cup brown sugar
4 eggs
1 cup nuts
2 cups dried fruit
1 bottle Jose Cuervo Tequila
Sample the Cuervo to check quality. Take large bowl. Check Cuervo again, to insure it is of highest quality.
Pour one level cup and drink
Turn on electric mixer. Beat one cup of butter in a large fluffy bowl.
Add one peastoon of sugar. Beat again. At this point, its best to make sure Cuervo is still ok, try another sip to be sure.
Turn off the mixer thingy.
Break 2 eggs and add to the bowl and chuck in the cup of dried frute.
Pick the frigging fruit off the floor.
Mix on the turner.
If the fried fruitgets stuck in the beaters just pry it loose with a drewscriver.
Sample Cuervo to check for tonsisticity.
Sift two cups of salt or something. Who geeves a sheet. Chek cuervo again for taste.
Now shift lemon juice and strain your nuts.
Add one table.
Add a spoon of sugar, or somefink. Whatever you can find.
Greash the oven.
Turn the cake tine 360 degrees and try not to fall over.
Dont forget to beat off the turner.
Finally, throw the bowl through the window, finish the Cose Juervo, and make sure to put the stove in the wishdasher.
Cherry Mistmas to all.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2008 at 8:00AM
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Chelone, This is a nice red I keep around. It goes with everything and it's inexpensive. $15.99 in Maryland, but when I was googling for the label to show you what to look for, it's much less expensive elsewhere. Don't be put off because it's a Valpolicella the 'superiore' is aged in wood and very different from Valpolicella Classico.

So nice to see Kenzie! Maybe we'll have more Bella pictures soon too?

The pot holders look nice and protective PM. You did a good job! Cute fabric and so special that you made some of your gifts this year.

The road is looking drier (everything was slick with frozen rain this morning), so this will be short as I want to get some decent walks in before rain starts. Dannie still not herself, and I'm hoping the walk will perk her up. She takes anesthesia very hard, still a zombie this morning but made it to the couch and also ate breakfast so hoping she is recovered by tomorrow. Hope misses her playmate.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2008 at 8:45AM
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Anesthesia is very hard on any patient, no matter how skillfully applied. Being cozy is the most important aspect of recovery.

Thanks for the suggestion, Cynthia. I'm off to pick up some baking necessities... I have to bake a cake for tomorrow! (no tequila on the list, Sue).

    Bookmark   December 24, 2008 at 8:57AM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

A quick good morning to all, WE are expecting lots of rain and I need to go and clear a bit of snow off a few areas of the roof. We had a couple ice dams that caused some interior damage last winter and I don't care to repeat the experience. Very, very 'birdy' here this morning and that usually preceeds a good storm so I guess the weather people aren't kidding about this rain.

I've still got to wrap some gifts here and take a vaccuum to the house then get salad stuff for out dinner out at a friend's house tonight so a busy day is on tap here.

PM love the oven mitt!

Mary, sorry but I did LOL over your cutting yourself when cutting cardboard when you remodeled two bathrooms with power tools and nary a scratch. I cannot believe you played with that finger injury! didn't that hurt?

Jerri, I'm in the same boat with not feeling like decorating this year. And I have some marvelous things that will stay in their boxes this season. OH well.

Glad Kathy has arrived safely and hoping to hear from Bug.

Cynthia, love the puppies in their red finery!

I missed the post on asking about wine, who was asking about what? If you are looking for a good inexpensive champagne Korbel makes a Chardonnay Champagne that is very nice and not a lot of $$$$.. I agree with Sue that the Kendal Jackson Chardonnay is always a good dry white. We also like Mendoza Pinot Grigio that we get at Sam's that's a nice inexpensive table wine. I'm sure Kathy and Denise would be good sources of info for reds.

Marian, those African Violets are quite beautiful. I've given up on growing them as they always get powdery mildew really bad here for some reason.

Michelle, the Kenzie pic is priceless.

OK waving hello to all!!!!!Must run, just as V's ornaments weren't going to hang themselves my gifts aren't going to wrap themselves. have a great Christmas Eve all!

    Bookmark   December 24, 2008 at 9:43AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Yippee!! DS called to report he is already on the Mass Pike and the roads are fine...just rain. I can stop worrying now. :-)

Thanks for all the encouragement on the sewing front. Appreciate it. :-)

Hope everyone has smooth sailing today. Looking forward to hearing lots of great reports on the holiday!


    Bookmark   December 24, 2008 at 10:37AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

It is 11:30AM, my hair is cut... and already our flight for 6:25 is delayed by over an hour.:( DH has notified the credit card folks that we are going out of town and not to cause us trouble with our card.

Now to finish more packing, eat, etc!


    Bookmark   December 24, 2008 at 11:29AM
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I sense a buzz of last minute activity from Idyll households. I am waiting for the melted chocoate to return to room temperature so I may finish the "Delicate Chocolate Cake" I've undertaken this morning. It will have tart cherry preserves between the 2 layers and I will frost it with a delicate buttercream frosting. I suspect the helpmeet will be suitably surprised.

I'm listening to CPE Bach's "Magnificat in D Major" as I type, I don't tend to listen to this sort of music when the helpmeet is home because I like to pay attention to it and that's hard to do with regular household activity. The CPEB piece is immediately followed JSB "Magnificat In D Major" and it's fun to go from one to the other immediately.

The grocery store was not jammed and Rex enjoyed the ride since I let him have an open window. It's raining today and when we got home his head was pretty wet but the rest his hugeness was dry. :)

Time to check the chocolate.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2008 at 11:34AM
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Stay out of parking lots.

Trader Joe's was fine inside the store with plenty of provisions and cashiers, but as I exited the lot, no fewer than 3 cars backed out blindly as I crept by. If only my horn played 'You'd better watch out/Santa Clause is comin to town'. That's it for me and grateful for no more driving. Christmas Eve is at a neighbor's house so I'll just cut through the woods on foot with my flashlight. ("The woods are lovely dark and deep....")

Those are the pups nightgowns btw, my house is cold and they don't have built in coats like other dogs. Monty wears manly camo fleece most of the time:) Once I get some vacation projects done around the house I have a pile of bright fleece to sit down with and make some more with turtlenecks. Just seems cozier.

I'm off to putter and do some more wrapping - which involves tissue paper, pretty bags and no tape or lables.


    Bookmark   December 24, 2008 at 11:57AM
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Jerri_OKC(z7 Ok)

Good morning my Idyll friends. It sounds as if I'm the only Idyll one this week, you guys are all so busy.. It's exciting :)
I have yet to read this mornings activities. DH just went out for some errands. I called to cancel my colonoscopy next Monday. I'll try not to be gross but I'm moving really slow right now. The 'prep' work for the procedure has disaster written all over it. LOL
It's re-scheduled for mid January. Oh boy...


    Bookmark   December 24, 2008 at 11:59AM
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Merry Christmas (almost)!!!

I spent well over an hour last night, trying to compose/type a post, but kept getting interrupted by telephone calls and DH wishing to talk. I finally gave up and just called it a night. I was able to leave a short comment about Mary's lovely miniature but that was the extent of things.

It is snowing here---very lovely and very deep. LOL

We're pretty much stuck here unless DH can get the bulldozer started and scrape most of the snow/ice off of our driveway. The UPS/FedEx/USPS hasn't been able to deliver any packages for over a week and we've not been able to leave here so there are a number of Christmas presents that are sitting in those warehouses. We're going to be enjoying gift opening a number of times over the coming week(s). Something to laugh over--doesn't do any good to snivel and whine. The snow is absolutely lovely!

I've not uploaded any photos for a very long time, perhaps I'll give that a try later today.

Hello to all!

    Bookmark   December 24, 2008 at 12:11PM
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Courtesy of Willow Manor, to recite while you're making Jose Cuervo cookies!

The Christmas Life by Wendy Cope

Bring in a tree, a young Norwegian spruce,
Bring hyacinths that rooted in the cold.
Bring winter jasmine as its buds unfold
Bring the Christmas life into this house.

Bring red and green and gold, bring things that shine,
Bring candlesticks and music, food and wine.
Bring in your memories of Christmas past.
Bring in your tears for all that you have lost.

Bring in the shepherd boy, the ox, the ass,
Bring in the stillness of an icy night,
Bring in a birth, of hope and love and light.
Bring the Christmas life into this house.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2008 at 12:18PM
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(Chelone's comment to 'bug made the above poem seem especially appropriate.) Trying to finish up odds and ends (transcripts) but checking in here too, to read reports of all the bustling activities going on. Ein's wearing a festive miniature Christmas light collar, and we'll most likely spare him the embarrassment of fitting into the gag Santa jacket this year. Hope the idyll cats are leaving the Christmas trees alone. There seems to be a different cat parked under the tree every time I pass by.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2008 at 12:43PM
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Lol, Jerri. I think that was a good move. Why torture yourself so soon after this round?

I'm tellin' ya, it's the anesthetic. Mum was right out of her mind for a week after her surgery (she was under for 5 hrs.). My brother warned me and told to wait a few days before going to see her, but she was still plenty fruity when I finally did. I spoke to my friend (the nurse) and she told me what to expect in the recovery and how long it might take for all systems to return to "normal". I'm not surprised that you're still a little "haywire".

The cake is out and cooling. And I have the butter all cut up and sitting at room temperature (to help the aged hand mixer a little bit) and the confectionary sugar sifted and ready to go. I'd like to get it frosted before dinner.

Now it's time to select the linen and get it pressed and then wrap some presents.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2008 at 1:02PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Rain Rain Rain....

Perfect poem Denise.

Jerri, the prep for the "procedure" is actually OK, and the actual event is no big deal. At least for me there weren't gallons of poison to drink etc. They've improved the thing at last!

I'm packed and will just cope with whatever I've forgotten.

On the 27th is a big folk concert run by the North Country Fair which we will attend. In the afternoon, a children's concert, in the evening the adult event. ALL proceeds and contributions go toward The Reed family stage. I'm afraid there will be tears once more. I've been warned that poor DSIL started smoking once again. I think it won't last long as he is miserable with himself about it, but between his baby and his ex and other stuff too, life has sure been a struggle. I'm really bad with smokers, so I hope I can keep my mouth shut and remind myself that it is NOT my problem! (But P U!)

OK, time to label bags for easy identification. Somehow I am overloaded with stuff. I traveled all over Asia for 3 months with waaaaaaaaaaaay less!


    Bookmark   December 24, 2008 at 2:04PM
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Chelone - I think Bach sounds an excellent accompanyment to coooking. I'll have to put some on. I just finished listening to a show on BBC Radio 4 about forgotten Christmas foods.

I've decided to save the Christmas pud for New Years when Mum is here and am still pondering what to cook. I'm leaning towards Sticky Toffee pudding which is not quite so heavy and always a hit.

DH took the young folk (Annie, David and friend) to a movie which gave me some uninterrupted time to wrap prezzies, something I love to do. They are on their way home now but the surprises are wrapped and labeled and under the tree. The house is getting marginally cleaner but I think I'll do a little kitchen prep before tackling the floors. Then I can reward myself by getting out the Christmas china.

T - great to hear from you. We'd love to see how all those grandbabies have grown:0)


    Bookmark   December 24, 2008 at 2:09PM
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    Bookmark   December 24, 2008 at 2:16PM
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Actually, Chloe's picture would have worked there too.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2008 at 2:18PM
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Jerri_OKC(z7 Ok)

Love the Christmas kitty. :)

GB, I'm in a cast on crutches. It takes me forever to hobble in to the restroom. I don't think the colon prep is a good idea for me until I can walk better. ;)
Unfortunately my Dr. prescribed the gallon of poison. He feels it cleans out better. Ugh. I get an upper GI Endoscopy too. At least he'll have a complete picture :-\

I'm so bored I can't stand it!!!!


    Bookmark   December 24, 2008 at 3:06PM
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The cake is frosted, helpmeet is bone tired and sacked out on the couch and isn't even aware of its existence. The presents are all wrapped up and while I'm not crazy about any of them, they look nice and will be appreciated.

I'm now ready to stetch out myself.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2008 at 4:52PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

A quick hello...I had a Christmas Eve Norman Rockwell photo that I really reminded me of my childhood and sitting at the top of the stairs trying to peek at what the grown ups were doing. Thought you all might enjoy it too...

And I have a new favorite Christmas song! Michael Buble, 'My Grownup Christmas List'.

Enjoy your evening! :-)

    Bookmark   December 24, 2008 at 4:55PM
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Hope you all have a lovely evening! I'm out of here and the dogs are going to be listening to YoYo Ma 'Songs of Joy and Peace'. (Dannie is a big fan :)

You can listen too:

    Bookmark   December 24, 2008 at 6:02PM
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Just wanted to wish you all a Merry Christmas! Brad and I are home tonight. I'm finishing up some baking and appetizers for tomorrow's dinner at Jen and Randy's. Brad's wrapping presents. Homemade chicken pot pies for dinner in a bit. I've just read all of your posts from today and wish I'd had time to join in. I'll be back in a few days when all calms down. Wishing you all a blessed and peaceful holiday.


    Bookmark   December 24, 2008 at 6:13PM
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chloehoover(z6b VA)

I'll add my wishes for a lovely, restful peaceful holiday to all --

Had to get busy and serious re the debris and cooking and am bone tired now... cranberry trifle is partly made, twice baked potatoes done, rib roast in frig and asparagus waiting for prep tomorrow... DD to bring her veggie casserole to fill her w/ the other fixins (her hubby reverted to the dark side (aka a carnivore - yeah!! someone to join me) during their vacation to Italy in the Spring; so I have him as the excuse for the rib roast...

Still have presents to wrap -- Chloe is totally unhelpful in that area; altho she did help dust earlier...

Jerri - I hope you have a pleasant day of doing just whatever the heck you want and eat what you want -- and think on the hard holidays you had and how lovely it is to have the quiet to reflect on nice thoughts ... enjoy the little "me day"...

Merry Merry Christmas to all...

--Cindy (and Chloe)

    Bookmark   December 24, 2008 at 6:32PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

Merry Christmas to all my idyll friends (who are never very idle!)

V. (who got the tree trimmed at last)

    Bookmark   December 24, 2008 at 6:35PM
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Merry Christmas
Peace to all


    Bookmark   December 24, 2008 at 8:52PM
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Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

(I bet none of you have one of these on your tree)


    Bookmark   December 24, 2008 at 10:29PM
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Hi Gals!
I'm amazed that my password still lets me in!

Please know that even though I am absent in more ways than one; ) ,I really do think of you often-during ice storms in the east and snow storms to the west and all the other stuff in between and on quiet days too.

I miss you.

My life is so involved(I suppose in a good way) but I honestly,very honestly, miss deeply those quiet afternoons at home with Ryan or even AJ while I chatted with my garden peeps. You are really the best. I wish you a merry Christmas and a happy/healthy New Year!

I hope you don't think I've forgotten you because I never will.Never want to. hee hee I'm supposed to be wrapping gifts and what do I do? I Idyll : ).

My Best to All the Idylls,

    Bookmark   December 24, 2008 at 10:31PM
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As I type it's 2 minutes until Christmas....we're just home from Christmas Eve dinner and finished up the last minute tree touches :)

Merry Christmas friends!

Babs, your password will never fail you :)


    Bookmark   December 25, 2008 at 12:00AM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Merry Christmas all!!!!!


    Bookmark   December 25, 2008 at 12:06AM
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Full_Bloom(z5 IL)

I wont sing the next verse...LOL! I think we probably all have plenty of *that* this year!

Thinking of you and wishing you all a holiday bright with the Love & Hope of Christmas and a New Year blessed with Peace & Happiness...

Merry Christmas Idylls!


    Bookmark   December 25, 2008 at 12:40AM
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Merry Christmas my friends..
Love to see you all. Waving to T across the Columbia. We have had lots of food.Food food,food. Wine wine wine.

Kathy in Napa/Portland

    Bookmark   December 25, 2008 at 2:27AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

2am snack time...and tip toeing around sleeping visitors of the two legged and four legged variety. Not a creature is Looks like Santa has already arrived.

I am sure all the Idylls are snug in their beds, although I can see one of my neighbor's up and prowling his kitchen. It's raining here. Thankfully, it warmed up enough to melt some of the ice on the gutters. Plenty of snow on the ground though.

I'd rather be sleeping! Morning can't come soon enough. I still find Christmas morning exciting. I'm being very good...ignoring the pecan rolls waiting on the counter that are planned for breakfast and having decaf green tea with almond butter on a 1/2 pc of toast, instead. Don't want to end up on the naughty list. ;-)

And that is my fascinating Christmas report from here...

Merry Christmas and good night! :-)

    Bookmark   December 25, 2008 at 2:35AM
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Can we get up now? Santa's already come!

Merry Christmas, everyone. Rex is AWOL, probably tracking reindeer through the snow... helpmeet never learns that you can't just let him out unchaparoned unless it's pouring or snowing like crazy. Constancy in life is good. :) (but grumpy helpmeets aren't).

Very nice to see T and Babs poke their heads in. Maybe you'll be able to drop in more frequently in the coming weeks. We miss you guys, too.

Polly is jumping the gun, she's very interested in a small something her Daddy wrapped last night...

    Bookmark   December 25, 2008 at 7:31AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Merry Christmas!

Lots of sleepy heads here too, Chelone. I'm going to give them another hour since they all worked hard yesterday, wrapping and cooking up a storm. We used to be up by 6am but that's history.

I also enjoyed seeing T and Babs stop by...and would enjoy seeing photos if you find time to post.

Enjoy the day!


    Bookmark   December 25, 2008 at 8:22AM
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I needed to pop in on the Perennial forum and say Merry Christmas to everyone here, too! I came back after many years also and am glad I did. Have a good day all!

    Bookmark   December 25, 2008 at 9:27AM
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vtskiers(z6a CentralCT)

Merry Christmas to all! Hope Santa left something nice under all your trees. It's sunny and mid 40s here today. Snow is melting fast and the dogs are back on full yard patrol. Speaking of dogs, Cindy, Chloe is a real cutie. Even Zoe at 16 pounds would look like dogzilla next to her.

Christmas Day is the one day a year I make coffee at home. It took two tries and it's just OK, but DD will be open again Next on the agenda is to bake the whoopie pies I'm bringing to my friend's as my dinner contribution. Maybe I'll jump into the hot tub for a quick soak first.

Hi to Babs, Ei and T, long lost idyllers. Enjoy your day!


    Bookmark   December 25, 2008 at 9:41AM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

It's a quiet start to the morning here. DD requested a 10:00 am start to the festivities, which is fine by me. :) It's -5 again this morning, so I may have DH set a fire soon.

Here's a snowy photo from yesterday.

And here is DH and the dogs, romping on the snowy deck last Saturday. Supposedly they were getting the tree ready to come inside.

Enjoy your day!


    Bookmark   December 25, 2008 at 9:54AM
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Merry Christmas everyone!!

Christmas still has magic here:0) David was up at 6 AM opening his stocking but went back to bed for an hour or so - Yay!! I'm looking forward to a leasurely morning drinking coffee and puttering in the kitchen before our friends arrive at 2 PM. We'll have the big feast soon after, followed by a Christmas walk, games and music. My finger is finally healing:0) which will make violin playing so much easier.

DH is busy installing the PS3 he won at a raffle which we gave the children this AM. I don't think I have ever seen David as awestruck (he doesn't even own a gameboy), so this was completely beyond anything he had imagined. I had very mixed feelings about introducing electronic games into the household (I HAVE become frumpy in my middle years). But seeing DH as excited as Annie and David makes it all worthwhile and I'm sure we can agree on a timetable for its use.

How wonderful to have so many Idylls gathered to celebrate the season - Hi Babs and Ei and T!! Welcome back schoolhouse:0) Did you join in the Idylls before?

Enjoy your day


    Bookmark   December 25, 2008 at 10:22AM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

Merry Christmas to all!

    Bookmark   December 25, 2008 at 11:19AM
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Jerri_OKC(z7 Ok)

Merry Christmas all! I love hearing all the Idyll holiday stories.
DH has gone to MIL's house and I'm snuggled in bed with my foot propped up, reading the electronic New York Times. Ebony and Tiffany are keeping me company. Ebony snores. LOL Yesterday I read The Music Lesson and today I'm starting Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World.
I'm looking forward to reports of Christmas lunch/dinner!!!


    Bookmark   December 25, 2008 at 12:28PM
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Monique z6a CT(6a CT)

Merry Christmas everyone!!!

    Bookmark   December 25, 2008 at 1:12PM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

I hope all in Idyll land are having a happy, peaceful day, full of love.

Nolon and I are watching " Fried Green Tomatoes". I have the video, and the comment awhile back about "Towando"..sp... caused me to hunt it up and watch it again. :-)

It is clear and warming nicely here. Presently 46F. Supposed to get close to 60 tomorrow!!!


    Bookmark   December 25, 2008 at 1:46PM
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gardeningmary - no, I don't believe I knew about the Idylls then and really not sure what they are now. I've been reading the threads lately,tho and just thought I'd stick my big nose in today being Christmas and all. ha. What I should have said is that I have come back to The Garden Web after many years.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2008 at 5:00PM
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Coolest gifts so far?
1.) Tom Jones Greatest Hits
2.) PBS DVD on Benjamin Franklin

We've had roast beef, broccoli, rhutabega, mashed pototoes and gravy. And cake.

It's time for me to haul my overloaded carcass to a quiet location for proper digestion to occur. I'll wager a cat/two won't be too far behind.

I liked that movie, Marian.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2008 at 5:01PM
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Merry Christmas everyone.. champagne with breakfast this morning, and there will be prime rib and yorkshire pudding for dinner. The snow has been coming down on and off all day, but we are seeing a bit of sun now. Great to see Babs stop by,and I'll bet Brenda is just about in a frenzy by now !

Wishing fun and happiness to all...

Kathy in Portland

    Bookmark   December 25, 2008 at 5:57PM
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Merry Christmas!

Day 2 of the festivities has come to a close and Nick and I are about to settle on the couch for some "quiet time."

Nick received Planet Earth on DVD....I got a really cool bee book that I'm bumping up on my reading list. Both should make winter a little more fun.

Speaking of the bees, I was so happy to see the snow melted from their entrance. Jake had cleared a small spot for fresh air, but I was's a shot with the entrance covered:

Good night all....tomorrow we have the family Christmas party (the other side of the family).....I'm going to fast the rest of winter vacation, lol!


    Bookmark   December 25, 2008 at 8:23PM
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We had a lovely day. Ricks son and wife joined us for worship services. My mom and dad joined us for dinner. I made turkey breast, stuffing with wild rice, mushrooms and walnuts, spiced cranberry and pear sauce, twice baked potatoes and mom made white chocolate mousse with raspberry sauce. We spent some time on the webcam with Kenzie and family. They opened the gifts we had sent them. They all seemed to be a hit, but my heart was warmed when Kenzie kept returning to the I Spy Book. We watched some of the slide show of my garden, which had us, all longing for spring.

I guess Kenzie had a very hard time getting to sleep last night and peeked out of her room several times to see if Santa had arrived.

Jerri, I havent read the Dewey book yet but simply must since I worked at that very library one year while in college. Unfortunately it was a few years before Dewey showed up. I live an hour from there now.

Thats all from here for now.


    Bookmark   December 25, 2008 at 8:26PM
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Jerri, I meant to tell you that I loved Dewey! and will read it again when it (finally) comes off the most requested list at the library.

It was just the helpmeet and I yesterday and it was great fun. We didn't bother to even get dressed, preferring to hang around in our "loungewear". Given the availability of food we were appreciative of expandable waistbands. VERY decadent. :)

Among the items I brought back from THTTF were the window candles. When I was a little kid one of the big thrills was being allowed to put one in my bedroom window and I always selected a blue bulb... and finding a sole candle with its blue bulb when I opened the box at home was a poignant memory of Christmas past. So I smiled at the image of Kenzie repeatedly poking her nose out of her room to see if Santa had come yet. I remember lying in bed thinking morning would NEVER come. :) Also, that our home was usually the first one in the neighborhood to turn on the lights, lol. I'll bet all kids associated with the Idyll regulars slept pretty soundly last night!

So what am I going to do today? will I undertake the grouting of the hearth out in the Salon? cull books from the library bookshelves, perhaps swab out the interior of the 'frig.? One this is a certainty, though. I have NO intention of going within a mile of any store today.

And here's to Eartha Kitt; seems somehow fitting that she died on Christmas. I have been enjoying a wonderful holiday CD over the past few weeks, "Louis Armstrong & Friends, What a Wonderful Christmas" and "Santa Baby" is on it. Though my favorites are: "Christmas In New Orleans", "Christmas Night in Harlem", and "Zat You, Santa Claus?". I am clearly my father's daughter, he loved Satchmo and I do, too. I recall her on "Batman", but did not realize how outspoken she had been about Viet Nam, nor did I realize that she worked cotton fields as a child.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2008 at 6:29AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Good morning! :-)

What a nice Christmas surprise we had yesterday, when the sun came out! I see the sun coming out again this morning now.

We had a wonderful day. Everyone enjoyed their gifts with a few surprises. The most used gift yesterday was an electric foot massager that was out of the box and in constant use the remainder of the We had a lot of laughs and dinner was flawless. Our four legged visitor was the perfect guest. I am only afraid that when she gets home, she will be so bored and lonesome after all the affection and attention she received since she arrived here.

DH has already left for work two hours ago, but is hoping to clear up a few matters and be home by 10am. DS will be leaving for home later this afternoon and we will be very sad to see him go. :-( We really did have a great visit with him though. :-)

T....happy to see a post from you. :-) Would love to see grandbaby photos and some 'snow' photos if you find the time.

Denise...that was a a very nice poem and I had the impression that a gardener might have written it. I also thought the Willow Manor website looked interesting and want to go back and check it out more. I mentioned to our DS who has 5 cats, your comments about finding a different cat parked under the Christmas tree every time you passed, and received a broad smile and saw a twinkle of 'cat appreciation' in his eye. :-)

Chelone....did you take a photo of your cake and did the helpmeet ever recover from his grumpiness? Did Rex turn up? My favorite Tom Jones song...'Green Green Grass of Home'. Had a chuckle picturing your childhood house with all white lights and one blue. You seem to have wonderful memories of your childhood.

I was also thinking how unusual it was that Eartha Kitt should pass away on Christmas, since her 'Santa Baby' is a favorite we play every year. Favorite Louis Armstrong song...with Ella...'A Foggy Day'.

Saucy...DH and I really enjoyed that Planet Earth series. Not sure where the bee entrance is in your photo?

Mary...what is in Sticky Toffee Pudding? Glad your finger is healing.

Cynthia...thanks for the YoYoMa link. I had not listened to his music before. I wonder how it is that they placed a link to so much of his music and full tracks too. I spent some time trying quite a few tracks. I liked the 'Christmas Jig' and 'Favorite Things' tracks.

Jerri...I like the names you chose for your animals. Sounds like you had a peaceful day.

Cindy...glad you had the gift of beef this

V....wondering what type of Christmas tree that is? My family tells me I always buy ornaments that are too heavy and I want to try to find one with sturdier branches next year. Yours looks pretty sturdy. Enjoyed your nice you have such great space to enjoy every day. Nice to see DH enjoying your dogs and the snow. :-)

Michelle...what a great ornament! You would win the bet, no ornaments like that on our tree. [g] Glad Kenzie enjoyed your gift.

Babs...what a nice Christmas greeting! Although it is great to hear that your life is perking along in a good direction, I look forward to a break in the action so you can visit with us soon.

Ei...Merry Christmas to you too! Look forward to more time to Idyll for you in the new year too.

Hello schoolhouse. Welcome back to Garden Web. :-)

Hi Monique. :-)

Marian....I always enjoy Jessica Tandy. I loved her in Driving Miss Daisy and Batteries Not Included was really cute too.

Hope all are able to sleep in this morning...I am sure I can find a few photos to post later...


    Bookmark   December 26, 2008 at 8:11AM
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Happy second day of Christmas and the relaxation it will bring to the house.

The last 48 hours have been spent giving and receiving every good wish imaginable, starting with "everyone who actually showed up for work today (Wednesday) can leave whenever you want (as of 9am). Finishing with coffee this morning and realizing that there is absolutely no reason to leave the house all day.

In between, Wednesday evening at my sisters for Shepard's Pie, Angel food cake, Manger mushrooms (crab meat Can look like straw :-) and gratitude that my parents are able to be with us in every sense of the words.

Yesterday, DsD's for ham, mashed potatoes, three squash casserole, asparagus, cheesecake, fun with remote control things that fly, and all good. Home early.

A few memories in particular:

Sometimes, despite the "man-ness" of DH's, they really get it right, especially when one's shower head has been the generic since the adjustable one broke sometime in September. I came home to this on Wednesday and it's one of the best gifts, ever:

No major decorating this year, but put this together to bring together all the elements of the season:

And, "she" has found a perfect place to recharge toward another year, one wing less but no less beautiful.....

Blessings of all kinds to everyone -- it's so good to hear some missing voices!!

(Bach's Little Prelude and Fugue in G Minor wailing away at the moment --nothing like some frenzy to get going in the morning. LOL)


    Bookmark   December 26, 2008 at 8:34AM
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    Bookmark   December 26, 2008 at 8:52AM
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~Happy Birthday Monique!~


    Bookmark   December 26, 2008 at 9:17AM
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Hope you make plenty of time for this sort of activity today:

Happy birthday, Monique!

    Bookmark   December 26, 2008 at 9:18AM
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I posted my Idyll message on the solstice thread!

    Bookmark   December 26, 2008 at 9:27AM
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Happy Birthday Monique!


    Bookmark   December 26, 2008 at 9:27AM
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    Bookmark   December 26, 2008 at 11:19AM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

    Bookmark   December 26, 2008 at 11:19AM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

Happy Birthday Monique !

I am missing seeing you here....

    Bookmark   December 26, 2008 at 12:52PM
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Well it's over and I hope you all had a great Christmas. We did but now I'm ready to pack up Christmas and welcome in the new year with a clean uncluttered house. Too far behind for much commenting but I did love seeing Kenzie and Saucy's Sarah and it was nice to see Babs, Monique and Eileen's names.

Here's a few pictures from yesterday.

Bella with Bitty Baby. They have matching Christmas dresses.

Spike vs. Magglio

My mom always knitted everyone a pair of socks as part of her Christmas presents to us and she had finished them all last summer. My dad wrapped up the things she had made and handed them out. In this next picture Bella was being silly and has on the pair of socks Megan received and a ladybug sweater that my mom had also gotten finished for her (there's also a matching ladybug hat that she's not wearing).

And lastly here's Jenni and her baby Kate bump


    Bookmark   December 26, 2008 at 1:31PM
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chloehoover(z6b VA)

Happy birthday, Monique!

Recuperating from gluttony, merriment and fun of yesterday.... slugdom at its finest... So lovely to see so many idyllers and garden folk checking in. I'll check back in when my brain regenerates (oops, that may be asking too much -- when my brain at least re-awakens).

Chloe is recovering from her panic attacks relating to a meat thermometer that beeped and talked --


    Bookmark   December 26, 2008 at 2:43PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

An appropriate quote from one of the garden books Randy got for me for Christmas - a book that he picked up in a used book store:
on gardeners... 'who are painting their picture upon the Earth in their day, with whom we may share the thrill gardeners alone know, that sting of pleasure which makes our eyes go bright and hearts sing... and causes the ignorant and the outcast to call us mad." (Marion Cran, I Know a Garden, 1933)

    Bookmark   December 26, 2008 at 3:41PM
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Happy Birthday Monique !

    Bookmark   December 26, 2008 at 4:28PM
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Jerri_OKC(z7 Ok)

I don't have access to my photo files but I want to add my
birthday wishes to Monique!


    Bookmark   December 26, 2008 at 4:54PM
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Marian Cran is my new hero.

Kate is already beautiful Eden. The striped stockings are still great! Magglio does not look happy. I Like Maggio :-)

I'd love to be in Jerri's head right now ;-)

Sounds like your day was perfect, Cindy.

Hope the suffering has subsided, V. Those cones are all over your tree? Beautiful!

How many minutes 'til your flight, Michelle?

Keeping a lookout for local snowblower deals, Sue.

Methinks you should produce notecards from your African Violet collection photo, Marian. They're all favorites.

Wish I could give Dannie a rib bone from the beast currently on the grill......((((Dannie and Cynthia)))

We need to get internet access up to the Salon before camp. Where's Chelone?????

Our poor sons will always be our sons, won't they PM2? LOL

And to ALL a good night!!


    Bookmark   December 26, 2008 at 5:23PM
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Why I'm just in from the Salon, Martie! I grouted the hearth this afternoon. I did not like using the thin set mortar for the tiles or doing the grouting. The directions on the packages consisted of little more than pictures (probably because the people using them don't read english), and I wasn't at all sure how the mix should feel. I'd have found it helpful to have a description like "consistency of brownie mix". Anyway, it's done and the mess is cleaned up! it will "cure" for a couple of days and then I'll seal the grout against staining. Naturally, I see everything that I did wrong. ;) The stove should be set for the break-in fires in a few days' time. Time to purchase the fireplace tools, huh? We set up the 3 way intercom system today, too. As the helpmeet pointed out, "I like to know I can say, 'Mr. Watson, come here, I need you!' if there is an emergency." He's a practical sorta guy.

I did take a couple of shots for you, PM, though they were utterly staged this morning after I finished cleaning the kitchen. After I add a few more I'll post them for you. The cake was well received and there is rather a lot of it left, so some may go into the freezer pretty soon. I'll bet the foot massager is pretty nice.

Saucy, that shot of Sarah is fabulous. She has the most expressive face, so much like your's. I liked the view of the backyard and the hive with all the snow, was that the last storm? And you'll be curled up with your bee book for some time to come, huh?

I thought of Deanne yesterday, wondering if she was having a great day off photographing birds. Any Snowy Owls?

I wondered what kind of tree that was, too, V. Loved seeing DH rolling around with the dogs, lots of that action here, too. :)

Eden, great shots. Magglio looks so different than the puppy shots you posted. I thought there were 12 days of Christmas, and there you are ready to "fold up shop" before the fat lady's had a chance to sing. January 6th., baby! ;)

That shower head is pretty slick, Martie. What a great gift! and the bow is just perfect. Little things really do mean the most, don't they? Your decorations are beautiful, very festive.

I hope 'bug is having fun with her family, we know that Phoebe is having the time of her life, hangin' with Woody, Randy, and Misty.

We're having hot roast beef sandwiches this evening and probably cake, too. OK, gotta go watch some news. And then I'm going to try to finish my book (I've renewed it about 4 times).

    Bookmark   December 26, 2008 at 6:09PM
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Jerri_OKC(z7 Ok)

Martie, trust me, you would never want to be in my head!
ROBL (rolling on bed laughing)


    Bookmark   December 26, 2008 at 7:26PM
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vtskiers(z6a CentralCT)

Happy Birthday Monique!

Sorry, no card. I still don't have all my programs reloaded from the virus attack a couple of weeks ago.

Enjoying all the pictures. Fortunately there are none of me playing Wii games and Wii fit with my friend's son yesterday. Gotta admit it was fun. I swear the main reason they invited me was to have someone new to make fun of while doing wii hula

Martie, keep looking for that snowblower. Craig's list doesn't seem to be offering much but really old machines and I'm just not comfortable going that route. Of course it's supposed to be close to 60 here by Sunday so maybe I can get lulled into that false sense of security again.

OK, lights out. Company tomorrow and still lots to do.


PS No TGIF today. It doesn't seem appropriate.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2008 at 9:18PM
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Monique z6a CT(6a CT)

Thanks to everyone for all the birthday wishes-I enjoy seeing flowers especially this time of year with all the snow we've had lately. I also like the dogs that were in some of the photos. I'm grateful for all of your sweet wishes and pictures especially since I was so lax this year in promoting each of your special days. My only explanation is that my ancient computer's hard drive is so full that I have to download the garden photos onto my external HD. It takes about 30 seconds to scroll between each photo and I don't even look at them anymore. I'm hoping that either I will get a laptop during the next year or do something to increase my PC's internal memory. Thanks again friends!!!

    Bookmark   December 26, 2008 at 10:25PM
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I was up at my usual time and heard The Huge One whining next to his Daddy's slumbering form. No response from the slumberer. So, I donned my winter attire and took Rex out. I think the "boot camp regime" is having an effect on him, you guys. He was all set to bolt out the door (the way he does with Daddy) until I said, "wait". He didn't cross the threshold until I said, "OK", patiently looking up at me from time to time. He then raced off for the woods in high excitement (Foxy Loxy has been sited several times over the course of the past couple of weeks) but stayed around when he heard me call to him and tell him to "stick around". Naturally, I could have avoided all of it by simply putting a leash on him, but that's not the point of the exercise. I had to laugh at the helpmeet the other day when he lamented that the dog "minds you better than me". I'm into saying the command ONE time (then beating him into compliance). When he explodes into barking (as he is wont to do) I give him the "leave it" command and then give him a command he knows cold, something he will do automatically. I've found it's easier to stop an unwanted behavior by asking for one that's easy for him and reestablishes my control of him. He is definitely not a "beginner's" dog but interestingly I dislike him least of all the dogs we've had before him. ;)

I completely forgot to mention the socks and other knitted items your Mom made before her death, Eden. You know what they say about "good intentions"! You'll have to take a shot of your feet in your new socks and share it with us. I treasure the beautiful mittens Mum used to make for me. I have a couple of thumb holes that need darning, and I may just haul out the darning egg that belonged to my great-great grandmother and accomplish the task. It must have been a bittersweet holiday for your family, though no less joyous. I love that your Dad wrapped your Mom's final gifts to you. Such a loving gesture of farewell and family solidarity. :)

I had to chuckle over how many minutes until Michelle's flight departs, Martie. And I thought of Rich, too, as I once again pondered the staircase railing in the Salon. One of the last remaining things to be done in the Salon is to wire the cable to the face plates. And, also, I have to add two more outlets next to the cable hook ups that are higher on the wall. My brother said he will help me with that, so I may avoid the whining minefield that goes with asking the helpmeet. ;) I checked the grout this morning and its lightened up in color nicely, though there are still some darker areas that haven't dried completely.

It is very warm outdoors this morning. Don't be fooled by it, Sue. You will once again require a snowblower. The cats are relieved that they now have a couple of paths to explore when they go outside and what remains of the packed snow/ice should be nicely on the way to melting by the end of the weekend. What do you want to wager that as soon as you purchase one for yourself we will get no more snow? What are you waiting for? get out there and stimulate the economy! They are starting to use those Wii fitness thingys in nursing holes, you know.

How's the foot feeling these days, Jerri? Still really sore or is it more managed now? And are you enjoying "Dewey"? We watched a "Three Stooges" DVD the other day and some poor slob was in traction, not good postion to be in when Mo, Larry, and Curly are in the vicinity. Anyway, I thought of you in your bed... be thankful Mo, Larry, and Curly have received their just rewards and no such personages will arrive to minister to your recuperative needs. :)

The sky is lightening and I think I'll spend some quality time calculating drapery yardages and/or working on the layout for the floor. It will require painting pretty soon and I've been toying with some simple layouts that could give it a little "punch". Sadly, I'll have to use latex paint (doesn't wear nearly as long as alkyd) and will have to rethink the usual products I've used in the past to fill cracks and nailholes because they may not be compatible with a water-based paint system. It's going to take a lot of fabric to dress the windows out there. :)

    Bookmark   December 27, 2008 at 6:49AM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

You could never guess what our low was last night. It went from a low of 2F Monday, to a low of 61F this morning!!!!
Strong winds and rains all through night. We are under a tornado watch until 2 this afternoon.It is not raining right now, but the wind is strong.
I had hoped to go to a funeral today, but...between the prospect of severe weather, and the fact that I developed a sinus infection yesterday, I believe staying at home is the wise thing to do.

The funeral is for a 70 year old man that was one of our first friends when we moved back to Arkansas in '77. He and his dear wife celebrated their 50th anniversary about 2 months ago. I am thankful that we saw them at Nolon's last doctor appointment, and had a nice visit with them. It had been a long time since we last saw them.

Our high temp yesterday was 68. Naturally I let the fire go out, and will not need to restart it until later today when a cold front moves in.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2008 at 8:48AM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

For those who asked, my tree is a red pine. The branches are sturdier than the white pines. If we get a wee bit of sunshine today, I'll get some more photos of the cones on the tree. Most of them have opened up, and we've had lots and lots of seeds.

We are celebrating Christmas with my son and his fiance today, so I need to run. I'm expecting to have some quiet time tonight to catch up on things.

By the way, most of our snow melted overnight. Can you say "extremely sloppy"?


    Bookmark   December 27, 2008 at 9:19AM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Hi all,

A gloomy day here but we are off to visit friends so no gloom here. I cant tell you how happy I am at the moment that I dont have any decorations to take down this year. LOL I must just be getting lazy. I did give the house a good cleanup yesterday and that felt great. Isnt it always so lovely to get up the day after a serious cleaning and see the clean house instead of thinking to oneself "boy I have to get out the vacuum!" LOL

Chelone, we never got to Plum Island on Christmas Day but we did get over to Rye Harbor and had a lovely drive along the NH coast. I did get a few nice shots of a Loon. And some not so terrific shots of a Long-tailed Duck, Buffleheads, and a female Goldeneye. Do you happen to know of any good areas up in your neck of the woods where the ducks congregate for winter? Im especially looking for Eiders.

Marian, cant believe those temps!!!!! I thought it was crazy around here but our temp swings dont hold a candle to that.

Cindy, I lol over poor Chloe having a panic attack over a meat thermometer.

Eden, fantastic photos!!!! Love the shots of Spike not knowing what to make of Magglio. LOL ~~~ I cant imagine how bittersweet it was to open gifts that were hand made by your Mom. That brought tears to my eyes. ((((Eden))))) ~~ That Bella is growing so fast and is a sweet as can be.

Ooooo Martie! That shower head is FABU-FABU! Isnt it wonderful where they get it right???? Love it.

Michelle, it sounds like you had a wonderful day. Im curious about your wild rice stuffing recipe? It sounds fantastic and something Id like to try. I think I need to get my garden pictures on a slide show. It would be good therapy during the winter months.

Saucy love the winter garden photo and Im so glad to hear the bees are doing well.

Kathy, champagne breakfast sounds fabu. How was the prime rib and Yorkshire pudding?

Jerri, how is the healing going!

OK Ive got to get off this computer and get some plants watered. Exercise and get out of this house. Have a fantastic day everyone!


    Bookmark   December 27, 2008 at 9:47AM
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    Bookmark   December 27, 2008 at 9:49AM
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Good Saturday morning. I dont have to leave the house until later this morning so its nice to Idyll with something warm to drink and wrapped up in a fuzzy robe.

Deanne, I really like the slideshow of garden pictures since I can pop it into the DVD player and watch it on the big screen TV. At least that beast is good for something LOL From the shot you posted it appears that your Christmas day excursion was successful.

The wild Rice and mushroom stuffing was really just me adding cooked wild rice, sliced fresh mushrooms and slightly chopped walnuts to my regular stuffing.

Our temps yesterday started out at 30 which was unreal since we had seen so many mornings that were below zero. I think it got to about 47, so we have lots of slop here as well.

Marian, my sympathies to you and Nolon on the loss of your friend.

Martie, lets just say 176 hours Ill let you do the math ;o) The shower head is really quite lovely and thoughtful.

Eden, I love the ladybug sweater and how wonderful to have such special gifts from your mom. Bella looks adorable with the sweater and the socks. Jen certainly has that "glow"

Painted floors and yards of fabric on the windows sounds just lovely for the salon. Is that a stencil I see taped on the wall?

No snowy owls spotted here, but we did see a Great Horned Owl in a tree the other day. I used the video camera to zoom in on him. I can see much better with it than with binoculars.

We have our final get together today with my parents, my sister and family from Wisconsin and my son and GF. It will be at my parents house which is about an hour away. An appetizer is all that was requested from me.

Have a great Saturday!


    Bookmark   December 27, 2008 at 10:15AM
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Happy birthday, Monique. I know Gmail provides at least 3 gigabytes of free storage. Perhaps some of the photos could be parked there and then Picassa used to manage them?

Before I take down the tree, no tractors here, Michelle, but pirate ships we've got.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2008 at 12:51PM
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Almost 50F here and I should be raking, but I want to waste an hour at Jo-Ann's Fabric instead. Their 'red tag' fabrics are 50% off the mark down price, and that always spurs my creativity :)

Just stopped by to oogle pictures. Love the loon Deanne! (It's been a long time since I saw one, so I hope that's a loon anyway.)

And the tractor and pirate ship are unique touches to Michelle and Denise's trees. V's tree clad in cones doesn't need much else. Bella has fashion sense! She's going to be a leader. I noted the patterned stockings that I think she wore when her date with Santa was broken? They look smashing with the extra layer of lime green and polka dot sweater too. And Magglio is handsome! Nice gift for you Martie ~ and your table looks lovely with the special angel.

Alright, I'm off to waste time. Have been puttering this morning and really think wondering where the day went is a pretty healthy indulgence sometimes.

Hi to all!


    Bookmark   December 27, 2008 at 1:50PM
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Greetings IdyllsDS and I have returned from the snowy Northwest-as we headed out the rain and warmer temps were headed in , what a mess that city is going to be for the next few days. Have enjoyed the photos and many reports of festivities here., and took note that Marian is having warmer temps in the Ozarks than we are in Northern Cal. Marian I loved the photo you posted of the violet blossoms..

Monique, my DS and I got both an expanded memory and an additional external hard drive to hold the photo and music files, very glad we did.

Deanne, the loon is wonderful. I love shore birds. The Prime Rib and Yorkshire pudding were fabu ! My BIL somehow managed to get a USDA Prime cut of meat and you could almost cut the thing with a fork. They have a pile of leftovers too.

My DD was unable to get to Portland because of the bad rode conditions so they had Christmas in Eugene. My BIL will drive down next weekend with the gifts from all of usso you are spared any baby pics from me this go round !

Waves to all, I have some unpacking chores to perform, and will read the paper (s)
That piled up while we were gone

Later .

Kathy in Napa

One of my favorite ornaments- the Golden Gate Bridge From Christmas 2008

    Bookmark   December 27, 2008 at 6:46PM
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On the third day of Christmas.......

Power shopping with gift cards yielded a pile of bargains and my work wardrobe doesn't have to be touched for another season. Whew!! I love shopping but not when I actually have to concentrate ;-)

Potted up up cuttings of lav and rosemary that have been soaking for a while. Pineapple sage root, begonia leaf cuttings and seed geranium sowing will be done by end of day tomorrow..

Anyone ever start Belamcanda from seed? The plain orange variety? I have a handful of seeds from a dried arrangement and figure it's worth it to try? "Seed to Bloom" recommends stratification then warmth.

Yes, the shower head is awesome. LOL though when it got loose and I was holding on to the hose. Use your imagination.....

Extra hugs for Eden's Dad, too. What a strong guy he must be.

Will catch up later, but it IS good to see Kathy back safely and am hopeful Marie arrived the same way.


    Bookmark   December 27, 2008 at 8:50PM
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Back again as I procrastinate doing anything that could be considered a chore. Ive cut up some organic spuds and butternut squash , gave m a little herb and olive oil bath and have them roasting in the oven That along with some asparagus spears will serve as my dinner. I figured I need at least 24 hours with no meat, cheese, or cookies. However, I continue to drink wine in spite of the horrid amounts consumed over the course of the trip to Oregon.

I have perused the Idyll posts of the last few days at a more leisurely pace, and wanted to comment on the wonderful gift that Marys lovely young lady gave to their visitor. As others have said, you must be very proud of her. It would be so worthwhile if her experience with your family gives her hope for her future.

And , even though she is a little kid, I could not help but admire Bellas lime green sock embellishment(Mary needs a pair) and the look on poor Magglios face as he faced the wrath of Spike is priceless.

Enjoyed also Cynthias Christmas light kitty, the prostrate Wrecks, Marties table display (no village this year Martie ?) and wonder how things proceed in bugs world.

And today was wedding day for the Brenda family , right ?

All for me to all.

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   December 27, 2008 at 9:00PM
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Jeez, Kathy, I think you're right about about the nuptials of Brenda's DD. She is going to be wiped right out after it all (but we'll have some good photographs). I hope everything went off without a hitch. I did a lot of wondering about you and DS as I watched the weather from the northern part of the "left coast" (I love that expression). It's good to know you indulged, enjoyed, and have returned safely. Bet the kitties were glad to have Mummy come home, too.

I wonder if our Mid-western contingent is getting slammed weatherwise, too?

I want to know how you guys get good pictures of your ornaments. Everytime I try they never come out very well, the flash always seems to wash everything out. I have very much enjoyed the interesting "bigga-biggas" you've posted. About the strangest one we have is a crystal Triceratops I purchased in '07 the day that Mum died, but we also have a series of realistic animals, too, including a puffed up Tom turkey. And we still don't have a proper topper for the tree, even after all these years. No star, no angel, nuttin'. Well, there are still 9 days to go, so I suppose I could address the oversight... what is atop your Christmas trees?

A lot of activity on the Compound yesterday involving the block and tackle and attempts to hoist large items to the third floor of the bahn. Between two very practical brothers (one a Ph.D in math) and Google, they were unable to get the twist out of the line they were using, arriving at the notion that perhaps they should be using braided line, not twisted. I recall asking that very question many, many months ago, knowing well how very expensive line can be (well over $100 in this case) and not wishing to purchase it twice. I kept my mouth discreetly closed and kept busy with another project (which I finished). ;)

I scraped accumulated sawdust, sheetrock dust, and other assorted mung out of the nail holes and the cracks between the Advantech subflooring in the Salon and then vacuumed it up. (Talk a about a job for an anal retentive). Next step is to begin filling the holes and cracks with some sort of caulk that will flex and be compatible with latex paints. We moved 2 pcs. of furniture (an armchair and a loveseat) up to the Salon, freeing up the area in front of my car. The two pieces are perfectly serviceable (came from a home the next town over) though they're here because the helpmeet couldn't pass them by, NOT because I wanted them. Still, they're pretty comfortable and could offer a good exercise in slipcovering that could vastly improve their asthetic. (Like I need more work).

Deanne, I love the photograph of the Loon. They're such pretty birds. They require water to actually get into the air as their legs are set quite far back on their bodies and they walk with difficulty and great awkwardness. I love the cry they make, too. I used to hear it float over the water when I was a kid and stayed at my aunt and uncle's cottage. As for photographing Eider ducks... check your e-mail. :)

I think some of your very warm air is infiltrating my neighborhood today, Marian. The helpmeet has a full day planned at work today and tomorrow, so will be taking full advantage of warm temperatures. There has even been some talk of thunderstorms when the warm front is forced out in a couple of days' time. It'll be a good opportunity to open the windows and get some nice, fresh air inside the house and the Salon. Wow, I could even wash them, if the spirit moves me... (unlikely). I'm sorry to learn of the loss of your friend, but a sroke of good fortune that you and Nolon were able to visit pleasantly with him and his wife before his death.

I've accomplished my chores and need to formulate my plan of attack for the day, which includes a trip to Orange (blech) and which I plan to get out of the way just as soon as I'm able! (I need to replace a mortar trowel and a large sponge). Then I may purchase the necessary hearth tools for the new stove. But it's time to break the fast right now... :)

    Bookmark   December 28, 2008 at 7:03AM
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Two opposing startle points this morning. The first when I opened the kitchen door and it was over 60F. (I'm always surprised when the outdoor temperature climbs during the night.)The second when I opened (in email) the December heating bill.

I didn't get to Jo-Ann's Fabric yesterday after all. Took the pups out to the yard and they watched me finish up the raking of patio and steps to rear yard. I usually watch them while they run and play, so it's only fair I 'spose that they would stand in formation and watch me 'play' with wet leaves. Probably keeping an eye on me in case I was about to dig up Hope's dead bunny.

Equal time for Monty, here's the boy in camo nightie with his Christmas stuffie. Monty's stuffie's must be small and portable as he doesn't play with them, but carries them room to room like important luggage. And whoops, Dannie needs to test the squeak for him.

Hope with Dannie's blue frog - yes, I know it's green:

And Dannie about to take a bite out of Hope's orange gorilla:

Welcome back Kathy! Good morning to everyone else :)


    Bookmark   December 28, 2008 at 10:15AM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

Good morning. The sun is shining again today, and it looks like we will have a rather normal winter day today - how unusual! We missed the very worst of yesterday's weather; while it rained most of the day and we heard an occasional rumble of thunder, the heaviest storms were to the south of us. All of the snow except for the huge plow piles has melted but we have not had any flooding problems here. I love my wetlands!

We had our last Christmas celebration yesterday with my son and his fiance. MIL and her husband came over as well. We made venison chili for lunch, had a roaring fire and a general great time. The evening was spent quietly and it was wonderful.

Deanne, we did minimal decorating this year. We did do a tree, but I only put out a handful of my snowmen on the mantle, put the greens on the balcony and that was about it. I'm not sure why, but this year I just couldn't get into the massive decorating mode. But my MIL still thought the house looked great. This may be a new tradition here!

Cynthia, it seems to me that Monty is more camouflaged against your furnishing with his natural coloring than in his camo jammies!

Jerri, I hope your recovery is going well.

We're going to visit my brother's wife and kids today. This one will be a little bit of a difficult visit for many reasons - just a tough day, you know?

So I had better get on with it rather than procrastinating.


    Bookmark   December 28, 2008 at 11:18AM
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Chelone, the pirate ship ornament photo was retouched to minimize the flash effect. Don't ask me how to get a simple Happy Birthday Monique on a photo out of Photoshop, however...six tries, all abysmal.

I usually get at least one image from the idylls that percolates through the day while doing chores, etc. The warmly dressed greys standing at attention while Cynthia rakes will be today's.

Yesterday the tree came down, ornaments packed where I'll find them easily next year, and the kitchen cleaned up from the two-day tamale fest. My folks pronounced them a 9 on a scale of 10, which is high marks considering the problems I had getting the masa just right (hint: a small blob of it has to float in a glass of water. If it sinks, thumb's down.)

I hear you on the veggies only, Kathy. The "Gout Express" chugged into town Christmas Eve, and I had my first acquaintance with a "tur-duck-en," (looks disgusting without the hyphens) apparently a creole dish that starts with a turkey then moves through other fowl, duck, chicken, including spicy sausage of some kind. On top of this, we brought lobsters, and there was chicken cordon bleu, etc, but mercifully lots of veggies.

Holiday retail inducing the helpmeet to muse on his kinship with Shackleton's expedition brought a big smile. Just the kind of grandiose analogy often heard around here ;)

Marty's back and leg pain worsened through the dayshift yesterday to the point he went to the ER after work at 6 p.m., which was alarming enough to me, knowing how stubbornly stoic he can be, but what really ratcheted up the anxiety was not hearing a peep more until we called the ER at 10 p.m. to locate him. Which we were able to do as he was finally getting a doctor to see him. No cortisone shot, but an X-ray looked OK. And his next three workshifts will be covered by someone else, thankfully.

Nice to read gardening news, with Martie potting up rooted cuttings. My sweet peas are starting to make good size with the recent rain, and I did stop in at a nursery while running holiday errands (just veering ever so slightly and briefly off course!) and bought some Apricot Twist wallflowers for a pot outside the kitchen door.

It's been a treat reading of everyone's festivities and seeing Kenzie and Bella's enjoyment. Chloe & Misty and all other critter photos warmly appreciated. I loved seeing V's hounds pinning DH down on the deck and Rex being his silly self, paws in the air.

Deanne & Jeri, it makes complete sense not to be a slave to the holidays if the mood isn't there. The energy invested by me this year in holiday prep was pretty low by past years' standards.

PM, I bet your home-made holiday gifts were a huge success, they came out beautifully.

Marian, the African violet kaleidoscope was lovely. (And I knew you were singing hymns at that last funeral! I was just being silly. But another funeral, mercy...)

Saucy, your doe-eyed Sarah is adorable, and it's good to hear the bees are ventilated. If anyone's kids or grandkids would like our Bat Conservation International mags, speak up!

    Bookmark   December 28, 2008 at 11:57AM
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Morning Idylls- sipping coffee and thinking about breakfast , looks like only a few Idylls are in attendance this morning. Overcast here today with a slight chance of rain, and relatively warm mid-50 temps. If I had my act together I would go out and do some yard cleanup, particularly inspection of frozen plants. I fear that my Mexican lime did not fare well in our frigid temps early in the month.

Chelone, kitties are very happy to have us back, I dont think Ted has moved more that 3 feet away from me since I got home. So, Im thinking you have enough seating now in the Salon for an afternoon theatrical ? Pehaps a trio consisting of Mary on the violin, Deanne on guitar, and Norma on mandolin.

Cynthia, I particularly like the shot of hope with a** end up , and the mental pic of Monty sporting his stuffy as a badge of honor.

All for now, time for breakfast

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   December 28, 2008 at 12:03PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

I'm too far behind to comment on all the interesting stuff here... and my tendinitis is still complaining so I'm not typing much these days. I just popped in to say it's a VERY windy day here and this is the view looking into the neighbour to the south's backyard:

One tree uprooted itself and toppled over and a second one broke off halfway up. Both trees were on the property behind them. So far at least, nothing has come down into our yard.

Most of the snow has melted off in the warmer temperature and rain yesterday. Now it's nice and muddy out there! I preferred frozen ground/snow - at least it's cleaner!

    Bookmark   December 28, 2008 at 2:36PM
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Jerri_OKC(z7 Ok)

Hi all. It's quiet here this weekend, where is everyone? I've been off since my laptop picked up a nasty virus. It's acutally my work laptop so it had the worthless 'virus protection' they use. I was just livid. I'm using DH's laptop now since mine has to be rebuilt. GRRR@!!!!!!! I have just a tiny bias against that software. LOL

I'm happy that Christmas is over. Since I really don't have much family here I'm thinking of volunteering next year. There are several charities that serve Christmas lunch and give out childrens presents to the needy. Of course, who knows what next year will bring.

I better get busy. I'm putting an extra virus product on this computer so I can actually use it for more than 3 days. ;)


    Bookmark   December 28, 2008 at 3:24PM
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I had to laugh at the image of elderly Monty dutifully toting his stuffie along from room to room "like important luggage". It conjures a perfect image. :)

Woody, you guys are gettin' slammed, huh? Nature's pruning makes for a lot of debris. We still have a couple of large white pine branches on Sanitary Ridge, if the warm weather holds the snow may melt more and we'll be able to get it picked up and taken care of. I hear you on the mud. :(

It was nearly 60 degrees today and even though the driveway is really wet I threw the ball for the the dog on several occasions and we went for a walkie, too.

I sealed the grout on the hearth this afternoon and made a template for the pads we're going to put under the stove's legs. I'll cut those tomorrow with the utility knife Santa Claus brought me. (I'll be very careful, Mary!). The helpmeet is going to bring home a small jack from work to make it easier to raise the stove onto the hearth (it weighs 550lbs.). I came home with a covered ash bucket and shovel but struck out with the fireplace tools. I want a poker and a small rake for the coals, I don't care about tongs or the decorative shovels since they don't work well for ashes. So I've been searching for local artisan blacksmiths... have found some very strange sites, too! lol.

Bummer about the virus, Jerri. You don't need to be stranded with no computer when you're basically bedridden. ;)

    Bookmark   December 28, 2008 at 5:41PM
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jak1(4 Ontario Can)

Hello all, and compliments of the season (whatever it is!).

Christmas was celebrated here on the 24th since DD pulled the 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. day shift on the 25th. People like police and fire departments can never shut down, and she had Christmas day off last year...this means she will have it off next year if she stays in the same job.
I was going to do the turkey thing around 6 p.m. but then TCS realized that the children's choir was singing at church at 6 and he teared up when he realized that he wouldn't be going. So it's Christmas, right, and he wants to go to church - well of course. So Nana (me) got up at 5 a.m. and prepped and put the turkey in so we could eat at 3 p.m. and head off to church for 6. TCS got to be a shepherd. I had forgottent the camera, but the costumes were beautiful! They had a young adult drama student narrate the Christmas story and the kids played the roles - great because they didn't have to memorize any lines or anything. TCS and the rest of the shepherds simply had to trot around with the kids who were sheep to wherever the action was - It was so cute and beautiful! Also his choir did sing one song, thankfully one that he knew...

DD said the nicest thing: DH always sang bass in a choir and I sang alto, so we never sang the melody; DD hasn't done any choir singing so she only knows the melody: her comment: "It makes my Christmas to sing hymns in harmony with you guys on Christmas eve.".

We did the gift thing after that, and had a great evening. Suddenly about 10 p.m. TCS jumped to his feet. "Santa! I forgot about Santa! I have to get to bed RIGHT NOW! Look on the computer to see where he is now! Get the cookies! Get the milk! Get the carrots (for the reindeer) I gotta go to bed I gotta go to bed..." and he was gone.

Christmas day started early as DD had to be at work for 7, and of course, Santa had visited. But it was really nice to eat leftover turkey and relax all morning, no big deal for dinner etc., TCS had friends over for a while, everybody played with their gifts (and the Air Hockey was a real hit with both kids and adults).

DD gave TCS ski equipment for Christmas and took him to the resort where she is a ski patroller for the day on Friday to ski. He came home exhausted. DH and I did a Costco run and went out for lunch - these are luxuries that we rarely have time for....

Relaxed all day yesterday and went to an open house at a friends' place today. Slowly coming down from the peak of activity that always occurs at Christmas.

My family knows me well:: DH and TCS together provided me with a new Shark steam cleaner (on my Christmas list) and a Lotus sanitizing sytstem (also on my list). DS bought me a new robe. DD took her life in her hands, knowing my wonderful abilities with technology, and bought me a picture frame that you use to show your digital photos - I have to figure out how to put my garden pics on a memory card next week; for now, just crummy Christmas snapshots rotating through. As someone in my famuily said: "if she can clean with it, wear it or eat it she's happy!" Too true!

On a less than cheery note, DS who has dreadful addiction and mood problems, had a bit of a meltdown on Christmas eve a.m. and left all of us with some sad moments when we had some quiet time to reflect. *sigh* I could feel my blood pressure changing and my own depressing feelings flooding back, although things have abated now. Seeing the doctor next week. I am luckier than Marie: My doctor says "bring out the list" as he has known me for thirty years and knows that I make notes concerning my health issues.

I gotta keep well for TCS.

The rest of the week looks pleasant and cheerful. The weather here was very warm and windy, and our prodigous (great word, huh?) amount of snow has completely disappeared. This gave me the opportunity to clean up the dog presents left for me by Ajax in the yard....the grass was green and the sun was bright. Mother Nature's idea of a joke - I am absolutely certain that we will be snowed in again in a couple of weeks.

Well, this has been very much a "me" post - no time to read everybody's posts, and next week, a new thread! Onward and Upward! Love to you all!!



    Bookmark   December 28, 2008 at 7:13PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Julie, we'll catch up when I return! Hugs to you!

    Bookmark   December 28, 2008 at 8:24PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Back to my usual routine this morning. Freshly juiced veggies for breakfast. Yum. lol Feels good to break the routine and feels good to get back to it. I think I survived the holidays. [g] We still have to take the tree down. We usually do that on New Year's Day. certainly have your challenges to try to accommodate and such a busy schedule. Your family is lucky to have you. Sounds like you had a little bit of everything mixed in to your holiday. I hope the good moments outweighed the not so great ones. I usually do a lot of thinking and regrouping around the new year and make written goals for myself, so I will be over to post on your New Year's thread soon.

Chelone....who is certainly not shrinking from any of the challenges of finishing the Salon. 550 pounds of stove to move...well, it's a great thing that helpmeet has a jack at work. lol .... I just asked the same question about photos of ornaments. We also do not really have a topper for our tree. Our ceiling are pretty low so there never seems to be room. Instead we have a trio of large, soft, angel ornaments that normally are reserved for around the top branches of the tree. ... Yes, that foot massage is getting used. :-) It was from Brookstone and they do a pretty good job with that sort of thing.

Jerri....I find computer issues and especially viruses one of the most irritating and time consuming problems to deal with. You have my sympathies. :-) What virus protection program are you adding?

Woody...barely any snow here. Glad that photo is not of a tree down in your yard. I detect a bit of resistance to bringing plants in the house over the colder months? [g] Are you lacking windows with enough light for them? Very sorry to hear DD and Aiden didn't make it to BIL's. I would not have thought snow would be that significant a problem there in the PNW. Well...maybe you can have a 'second' Christmas next time you all get together. ...LOVE your GGBridge ornament! Very cool! are right on the ball, getting your house back to normal. I'm still enjoying our decorations but the house has been cleaned. Another couple of days and I will be ready for them to be put away for another year. DD just received two cookbooks for Mexican food for Christmas. A favorite of hers. A friend of hers is originally from Texas and is a Mexican food lover. He gave her some kind of mortar and pestle to make her guacamole in and it does come out very good. Last year, she was asking me to grow cilantro. ....What is going on with Marty's back and leg? Injury? Arthritis? ... Photos of sweet peas and new container? Is it really gardening weather there still Denise?... Yes, family was properly impressed with my fledgling sewing skills. :-) Your ship ornament is a keeper! Very pretty! I wonder if you have multiple ship ornaments?

Saucy your Sarah is SO pretty!! And yes...Doe eyed, Denise and yes, expressive face...Chelone.

Michelle...your holiday sounded very peaceful and full of friends and family. I know you said something I was going to comment on but I can't find it now. I will though!

Martie...glad you found some bargains out there. This is the first year I can remember having no desire to shop the sales at all. Nice to hear you are 'gardening'. My head is so far away from gardening at the moment, I'm barely taking care of the houseplants. LOVE your showerhead! And a DH that can install it too? Wonderful.

Cynthia...why is it your grays play nicely with their stuffed animals and carry them around, when DS's dog chews everything to bits? He would have the stuffing out of that gorilla in 5 minutes flat. [g] They look quite happy and content and seem to enjoy their red sweaters.

Deanne...great Duck that the Loon? I thought they were a different color?

Wonder if we will hear from Brenda today?

V....thanks for the name of that Christmas tree. I will have to look for Red Pine next year. Not sure there is a lot of that around my neck of the woods, but at least I can ask.

Marian...very sorry to hear about the death of your friend. He was young. Imagine having celebrated a 50th wedding anniversary at such a young age...he was married young! Hope you are feeling better.

Eden....loved your Christmas photos! Bella is adorable in her sweater and double socks and maryjanes. How did she like Spike? That expression on Magglio's face is This is Jenni's first child, right? She looks so excited and in such good shape. Has she have a nursery she is getting ready?

Happy Belated BD to Monique! Hope it was relaxing.

Well...that is as far back as I can go...not such a bad Monday, since it will be a short week. DD is off the rest of the week and today will be day two of painting at her house. Middle DS went home with our van and we are down to one car that is not so good in the snow until we find our new car. That is on our agenda this morning. He was thrilled to have it, btw, but a flat tire had to be changed before he got on the road and no sooner did he park in his driveway, then a pizza delivery person slid into the passenger door and left a good dent and scratch. *sigh*. That's all the news that's fit to print...enjoy your last Monday of 2008!

No time for proofreading...


    Bookmark   December 29, 2008 at 6:29AM
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