Idyll #467 - Happy New Year to all!

woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)December 31, 2009

Have a great one...!

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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

To start things off with a chuckle, check out the link below...

Here is a link that might be useful: Misty on YouTube

    Bookmark   December 31, 2009 at 6:07PM
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And to you too Woody, and all my Idyll friends from coast to coast.

Lol, does Misty do that every Christmas ?

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   December 31, 2009 at 6:38PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Oh Misty! Phoebe will be SOOO jealous of your squirrel!!!!
Ivy opens gifts in much the same way.
She LOVES shredding wrappings!

Indian food tonight! Yippeee!


    Bookmark   December 31, 2009 at 6:52PM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

Candy, the pain from the shot does not last, and the result for me was great relief, not only in the shoulder, but pretty much all over for guite a while. In fact, the shoulder that I got it in has not been as bad as it was before. I forget how long ago I got it, but it was over a year ago. There were no bad side effects.

Well...I see I still have to open my entire page to see all of this, but no scrolling needed.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2009 at 7:58PM
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Full_Bloom(z5 IL)

Just popping in to wish everyone
a Happy & Blessed New Year.

I just got back from my last
pig out before 2010...I don't
want to talk about!
I'll simply say Weber Grill.

Woody...Misty is absolutely
adorable and loved the background
music. That's my favorite song...
although it does often bring
me to tears.

Thanks all about the nail polish.
Of course you realize I creamed
those hands before I took the pic. :-)
Anyway, I don't wear polish often myself
and never in would be
a waste.

Cindy did you know that FB has a brewery
out here by me? I took the tour.
Our tour guide was a hoot. They've
added a little restaurant next to
the brewery that serves mostly
comfort food. I would have never
found the place except DDIL took me.
It's in a way out of the way kind of
place. If you ever see their
"Domaine DuPage" beer offered by you,
youshould try it. It's hubby's
fave. I don't drink much beer but
even I liked it. My real shame is
that I don't like wine much either...
well except for the sparkly stuff. I don't think so Denisez.
I see you more as spirited myself.

Again Happy New Year all and
Good Night!


    Bookmark   December 31, 2009 at 8:00PM
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Nice to have the Idyll back to normal. We did good on speeding that last one along. We're having a nice balmy night for New Year's Eve in MI. It's lightly raining. We had rain for Christmas too so I'm two for two.

Back from the dinner and the bookstore. We're saving the movie for tomorrow when Bella will be here in the afternoon. I got a couple of magazines and a calendar. She got two calendars, a wall calendar about cats in the garden and a desk calendar with puppy pictures. She also got two storybooks and two stuffed animals, Olivia and Corduroy, two of her favorite book characters. She always makes out better than me on shopping trips:)

My cats all have some sort of feline respiratory flu. I took the sickest one into the vet this morning and got antibiotics for all 6. Fun times trying to get that eyedropper of meds into them all twice a day. Bella, of course. is happy to assist me:)

Candy, great picture of the kitties on the potty!

Denise, yes, Chelone and I enjoy our annual countdown to spring discussions I think. It's all in fun and I think we both like a bit of debate and would have a blast discussing things in person. Someday when I get this crop of babies raised I'll make it to Idyllunion again and hope she'll be there too!

Marian, sounds like the shot will be the best of two evils at this point. Hope you get one soon and it works for you.

So are we growing inches or losing weight in the new year?

Brad just poured me a glass of wine and Bella's wanting to play a few games of Uno Moo. I keep hearing "Are you ready, are you ready???" So I'm outa here for now.


    Bookmark   December 31, 2009 at 8:04PM
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So is it cruel of me to post this ? Nah, Denise talked about al fresco dining tonight , so I think I'm ok.

Seen this afternoon.. From Winter 2009

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   December 31, 2009 at 8:28PM
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I was thinking about consumerism tonight as I sanded that dreadful bookcase, then cleaned up the dust and began priming it with one of those noxious "sealing primers". It has only one redeeming feature: it was free and the size is OK, other than that I can't imagine why anyone would actually fork over pork for it. Expediency, I suppose; but the landfills are too full of expedient rejects. At any rate, I'd much rather have hired the guy who made the china cabinet to make me one out of pine and pickled it to match the woodwork. But I wanted to solve the book storage problem and this was the way to do it quickly and relatively mindlessly.

After I finished the painting I decided to load the stove for the night. I had filled the woodbox earlier today and noticed that a couple of the splits were questionably long. I put one of them in the stove (on a very hot bed of coals) and realized almost immediately the door wouldn't close. I used the poker to see if I could get it to fit "kitty corner". Unhuh. By that time it was starting to ignite. Hmmm... what to do? I opened the window, grabbed the split and whipped it out the window onto the snowy path below, sparks lighting the night. No harm done, didn't even set off the smoke detector. And that's when it hit me... I'm a friggin' redneck, a real "wood chuck". And I'm proud of it. ;)

I have to clean my brush (forgot to bring it in) and then I'm going to bed. I'll read more tomorrow morning.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2009 at 9:55PM
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We are spending a quiet evening at home which is exactly how I like it.

Mc Donalds it was and we had a great time. I didnÂt realize that apple slices are now a choice over french fries and apple juice over soda. Of course without any prompting from me Kenzie chose the apples and apple juice. We play games, colored, rode around and looked at Christmas lights and went to Walmart and just looked at the toys. Funny but she didnÂt ask for anything other than some barrettes (butterfly ones of course)

My amaryllis just opened up with the largest flower, it certainly helps to have fresh flowers in the winter. IÂm getting lots of garden catalogs as well.

IÂm not sure if I mentioned that IÂve made the crustless pie in both cranberry and blueberry  both were delicious.

I always polish my toes except in the winter. One of my latest colors is very similar to yours Ei.

I can just picture Dr. Isabella tending to the sick cats. It sounds like quite a task Eden. Kate is getting so big. Grampa looks pretty proud.

Denise, Ein looks like he enjoys bathing  maybe its your wonderful bathhouse.

Kathy, you are so cruel. Most of my gardens are under at least 2-4Â of snow.

I know I wonÂt make it until midnight  so happy New Year!


    Bookmark   December 31, 2009 at 10:45PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Almost 1am here....and we drank sparkling apple juice to celebrate.


    Bookmark   January 1, 2010 at 2:55AM
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Well I didn't stay up. So let me be the first to wish you al a Happy New Years day.

Nice going girls on moving the old thread along. I did not have any problems with it, but my laptop is fairly wide screen anyway.

Not much to add right now. I am just up early due to the Blue Moon, I think. Since I didn't read yesterday I thought I might as well catch up.

I tossed Niki outside since she was being a pain in the butt. Now I am trying to get her to come back in as it is only 15 out there. She is not wanting in at all.

I'm ready for more tea though, so I'll be back later. Norma

    Bookmark   January 1, 2010 at 7:18AM
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I'm about ready to head out to the Salon to rekindle the stove and get the other sid eof the bookcase primed. It's my hope to get a finish coat done today and finish it up tomorrow. I also need to get the fingerprints off the mirror.

Other than that, not sure what the master plan for the rest of the day will be, aside from a pork roast, roasted potatoes, cruciferous vegetables, some adult beverages, and something for dessert. The parents of the Wrecking Crew should be joining us but no time is yet fixed for it. I'll let the helpmeet shove the vacuum cleaner around while I paint. ;)

Yeah, Norma, the gals are certainly capable of takin' care of a "too wide" Idyll when it's necessary. I have to get going on my project. Later.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2010 at 7:34AM
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Happy New Year.

Tried in vane to correct anything I did wrong posting pics on the last thread. Pics were arranged the right way and no scrolling issues. Looked fine from here from the start and from a friend's computer, as well. At least two of my posts are completely gone from the thread, and GW wouldn't let me log back in from Wednesday evening 'til now. Must've somehow flagged my IP address since even starting a new screen name wasn't allowed. Don't know what evil I perpetrated, but GW must've thought I did something horrendous to block me out. Nothing in those posts out of the ordinary or against any web ethics. Hmmmmmmmm

So will answer questions from before that I've tried to answer twice, and then skedaddle:

Blanket for Boo was made by my mom to carry on tradition of all pets having one for "their own space."

Village was started 20 years ago. Added to each year since.

Hope this post is allowed so no one thinks I've ignored the problems.



    Bookmark   January 1, 2010 at 8:36AM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

Oh my goodness, Chelone! Your near disaster reminded me of some of Jain's! I recall having a too long stick a time or two, but the 'kitty corner' worked. Also, if you could have propped up the front end and put short sticks crossways under it it may work. I would not have a window to toss one out of! Nolon is prone to cut mine way too short.
Martie, it was not your fault....GW was doing some maintenance last tuesday night and accidently lost all those posts. They had the notice above the opening page wednesday morning.

Well..the old saying about " When the days grow longer, the cold grows stronger" is coming true here. It is to be in the single digits for at least 3 nights in the 5 day forecast. Last night was 15 but I got up to 62 in the livingroom. Not bad at all.

The first January that we lived in this house the low got down to 22 below! And the high was 3 below! That was on the 20th of 1985. We didn't even have the house prepared very well for cold! I don't know how we survived. The past 9 winters it hasn't got down to 0 at our house. I suspect that record will be broken this winter.

It is lovely and sunny out this morning.


    Bookmark   January 1, 2010 at 9:32AM
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No one would ever think you ignored the problems, Martie! Glad to see you check back in. I did see you post before it disappeared...strange.

Happy New Year everyone. Sue has a nice quote on her facebook wall, and I don't think she'll mind if I share it here (and if she does, she'll just have to come here and tell me so, lol):

"We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day." -Edith Lovejoy Pearce

That sounds like a wonderful philosophy and I hope this new year brings some new opportunities my way (and yours if your wanting them!). I got my resume out last night along with my red ink pen.

Jake had a party to attend last I was up until 1...I got to see Dick Clark who is getting up there in age, but still has it. Sarah had a friend sleep over and I am pretty sure they stayed up all night which means a day of misery for Sarah...we'll see.

I'm off to do the quick soak method for my black eyed peas - forgot last night! and then I'll feast on my Hoppin' John and greens for the new year.

Have a great day, all!


    Bookmark   January 1, 2010 at 9:34AM
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Marian, I remember the weather that year (1985)! Because we didn't normally have temps that low everyone's pipes froze (the houses aren't built for temps that cold) and everyone needed a plumber. We melted snow to put in the backs of the toliets.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2010 at 10:06AM
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Well, a message to GW was answered and they fell over themselves apologizing. Seems that many threads were having scrolling problems seen by some but not by others. Additionally, they were having "maintenance" problems and deleted a lot of posts out of necessity. I'm not tech savvy enough to understand it, but they assured me I had done nothing wrong and was welcome in the GW world. Phew!!!! Can't imagine life without this sisterhood.

So, a Happy New Year it is.

The seed catalog pile is growing almost daily. Hanging geranium seeds are ready to start before Monday; ditto some pansy seeds from a friend who claims they will bloom fushia pink. We'll see how the hybriding holds there, LOL. Narcissus growing medium is soaking up water as we speak. And, need some sage advice about whether this is how a Phal is supposed to look at this time of year. This pic taken a few weeks back and the squigly root looking things are a bit longer and the barely visible new growth mid-plant leaf (?frond?) taller, but nothing new sticking out since then. Help? If I screw up the thread again, someone just delete me :-)

Today is being spent taking apart the front room and living room for painting, Rich's project of the month. We've chosen "Georgian Brick" from Benny Moore for the living room and after that is up, will pick the front room color. Since the front room is where the drums live, and we want them to be the focal point, it will be a neutral, but not so neutral as to be boring.

Also heading to the CT hills for a friend visit. Guess what's in the oven to bring along!! Perfect use of leftover cranberries. Thanks for the deliciousness!!

Not going to tempt fate here, so will see you later.


    Bookmark   January 1, 2010 at 10:07AM
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chloehoover(z6b VA)

Happy New Year 2010, all friend idyllers. I hope today is a lovely sunny one for all.

Im sure it was not you Martie - I have been having issues pulling GW up at home for the last month - it takes incredibly long times and I've lost several posts and frozen the p.c. that usually means I reboot and walk away without checking in here... Dont know what's going on. But glad you were able to get in again.

I think that's a lovely quote, Saucy, a new one to me but I really like it - and as so many of us are fond of books, it's a great sentiment.

I forget so many things to comment on - I meant to say to you, Denise, that I couldnt imagine the word drab in connection with you -but someone already beat me to it -- you lead a colorful, individual life - and I think it sounds a fairly sophisticated one (as in your interests in books, philosophy, etc.) - I love to read your posts! Your story re your niece made me think of my own -- my Dad was recently complaining about all the heavy makeup my brother's 2 girls are wearing and they're slated to go somewhere today and he was worried about the impressions they would make - if he only knew, LOL - I told him he should be more worried about face/body piercings, LOL. It's interesting how manipulative teens/young adults can be and good feeling when one thinks one can at least know when one is being manipulated!

Well, a few hours of R&R and then it's hit the energy button to take down decorations and do some laundry that's been malingering. I think a fish chowder and cranberry pie is on my list of ways to start the New Decade off right. And the last feedbag before it's salads, salads, salads, maybe citrus thrown in.

Oops - Michelle - that's great you had a nice time with Kenzie - the locale doesnt make any difference obviously and I think that's so wonderfully telling of how she's being raised re nutrition -- a good sign and Im sure thanx to your DD -- I hope 2010 brings her closer to you somehow and that the troubles at least lessen now that holidays are behind -- I think that holidays heighten these often stupid, trivial dramas that dueling parties use for their own purposes. Im glad you had a good time with her!

Kathy -- I can hope -- I sure am happy to have winter whip thru - I did manage to pot up the last 100 bulbs in about 8 pots last week when we had the one 54 degree day - now they're frozen tight. Dont know if they'll survive as it was soooo late and some were in early rot stage, but at least I gave it a shot! I will count right along with Eden.

(O, and love the vid of Misty, Woody, -- how cute - and how smart.)


    Bookmark   January 1, 2010 at 10:31AM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

Martie, you are right about the Phal's root, but the growth that you are calling a leaf looks like a bloom spike to me. For one thing, it is in the wrong place for a leaf. New leaves come out inside the last one. Of my 8 Phals, 4 are putting up bloom spikes. 2 already have buds on them. There is also a bloom on my "Ei Slipper Orchid".

    Bookmark   January 1, 2010 at 11:31AM
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jak1(4 Ontario Can)

Happy New Year One and All!!

I've started the year off right by getting my kid off the computer and my dogs outside. We have had a very quiet and pleasant holiday season, and I have totally enjoyed seeing all of your gorgeous Christmas decorating! Very talented group here!

As I promised a thread (or two) ago, here is the adjunct to the Julie Job.

I call it the EAT program (I used to work in government, remember, so an acronym is an absolute must!). EAT stands for Eliminate Annoying Things. I will immediately iterate that Husbands, Teen-Age Kids, and Dogs do not qualify for the EAT program.

First, buy a 29 cent note book from the dollar store - paying a dollar for a 29 cent notebook is one AT that will also have to be ignored for the course of this program.

Then, go through your house, room by room, and note the Annoying Things that are there. Example: in my kitchen there is a switch plate cover that the exempt AT overtightened and then cracked. It has been there for 4 years. Every time I turn the light on or off I see that cracked switch plate cover. Annoying Thing. Also the window crank that doesn't work quite right, and the ceiling fan/light that doesn't work and hasn't been replaced because we have two in there that match so we would have to replace both....

Next, determine how much money and effort it will take to correct each Annoying Thing.

Then pick one room and start there - and EAT your way through that room. Then move on to another room; hopefully you can EAT your way through your whole house in a year or two.

EATing differs from JJobs in that, in my conception, JJobs really involve nuisance cleaning. EATing may involve stuff like tools and money and maybe Annoying Help, unless one is adept at using tools, like Chelone. Many of the things on my last year's EAT list reappear this year because I didn't have the $ or the help or the time to EAT them last year...carry-over is completely allowed. Some AT just can't be dealt with all at once. I usually look for the room with the fewest ATs and the lowest cost and tackle it....then I have the satisfaction of having at least one room that doesn't annoy me.

So there it is! EAT away, my friends!!



    Bookmark   January 1, 2010 at 11:41AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Dear Julie, I hope hiring out EAT tasks to hired workers is permitted. The wait for spousal help really is frustrating, as is paying, but sometimes I believe I simply MUST. Also, showing him the notebook produces fury. Said spouse does not think that what irritates me is always worthy of correction.
Now that light switch issue I could certainly do myself, but in my case it involves electrical repair beneath, which I am NOT comfortable with. I believe collecting all the electrical jobs and hiring out makes sense. DH is capable of these jobs, but has too many other jobs that take priority...and won't admit it.

Off we go on another trip today to visit family up north. I haven't checked the temperature yet.


    Bookmark   January 1, 2010 at 12:19PM
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Happy New Year!

I do this every year too Julie. I was just thinking this morning I need go room to room and make a list. Amazing how many little things we live with day to day that can be taken care of in a matter of minutes. And amazing how those little things keep happeining and happening...I usually have a few things that are broken, not working right, etc. that Brad fixes for me each week plus what's on my list.

Martie, GW lost everything posted after midnight the other day during their morning maintenance. I wasn't just you, some of my posts were gone as well and the site was down while they were fixing the problem. No worries on the last Idyll. We worked through it:)

Michelle, what a great time you described with Kenzie. Bella doesn't drink pop either, except with an occasional Happy Meal. She likes Sprite. She's a fruit lover too. Especially strawberries. I always try to keep them in the house for her. Now as for the not asking for a toy, that would not happen with Bella:) She thinks I'm going to bring her at least a little something every time I go out. That's my fault though and I have to admit I enjoy it as much as she does. Kenzie's such a good little girl!

I saw my sickest kitty drinking water this morning so that's a good sign and I don't hear as much sneezing going on. The antibiotics are working!

Decorations are all packed away. Brad's vacuuming the basement. And I feel a decluttering session coming on!


    Bookmark   January 1, 2010 at 12:30PM
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Happy New Years day my friends
Im intermittently watching the rose parade, while staging the boxes which will be filled with the Christmas décor that is remaining. I took down some yesterday, the tree is on the agenda as soon as the parade passes by.

Martie, your Phal looks better than any of mine-I defer to Marian as the expert in that category. I keep moving them from room to room to find a spot that will coax then to re-bloom .

Julie, love the EAT program . I think I started EATing this fall; Ive already had annoying electrical issues taken care of, and part 2 will be the front porch light fixture which I have hated almost since the day we moved into this house 20-ish years ago. I do like the idea of making a list and putting it where it is often seen maybe I put it on the computer and make it my desktop back ground, lol.

Last night I marked up my Select Seed Catalog, and will order this weekend---and Cindy, I have yet to plant my tulips, they were in the fridge till I had to move them out to the garage to make way for actual food while I had the guests here for Christmas. Time to get them in their pots-bulbs will be coming up here very soon.

Back later folks

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   January 1, 2010 at 1:05PM
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Happy New Year to everyone! Hoping 2010 will be a good one, especially for those needing issues to improve and their spirits renewed. We did manage a quiet night and watched the ball drop before falling into bed just minutes after midnight. That was so nice after a string of years where weve strapped ourselves into a frigid car and made it home through snow, ice and bitter wind!

Woody, cute video of Misty opening presentslove that bit of tissue paper clinging to her face, lol.

Norma, did you get naughty Niki back inside?! Im so taken with hershe struck a chord with me when you posted her photo on the pet thread. Not sure why, something about how she was looking at the camera. I knew she was a little dickens, as grandma used to say. Hope you post more of her!

Eden, you have 6 cats?! Glad to hear the meds are working. How bout a picture of you and them?

Very clever EAT program, Julie. However, before I get to that stage I must commit to the level I PITCH program and I vow to start this very day. DH is cooking our New Years dinner so Ill also be following him around with a damp sponge and cleaning up the debris field. Better than me having to cook though so Im not complaining, just being factual.

Health tips are finished, no more to be found. If I get any new ones emailed to me Ill be sure to share but with the new yearI think Ill post a miscellaneous pic of the day, hows that? Id love seeing what you guys come up with, too. We all love photos and they sure help brighten these winter days. I need to clean out whats accumulated in photobucket anyway in preparation for the upcoming year of garden photography.

Misc. Pic of the day: Frost pattern on the garage windowsunny, blue sky made a nice background.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2010 at 1:32PM
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cyn427(z7aN. VA)

Happy new year everyone! We didn't plan to stay up last night, but the TCM channel was running all The Thin Man films in order, so we ended up seeing in the new year after all. I do like just staying home cozy and quiet on NYE.

I'm always surprised that I have so much to catch up on when I miss a day here.

Love the pic of the day, Candy. That is a photo worth enlarging, printing and framing! Just amazing.

Julie, I am going on the EAT program immediately. Had to laugh about the switchplate. I have one just like it in the hall bathroom. It was an even more AT when DH changed the switches, but couldn't quite get it back to normal, so the two light switches went sideways instead of up/down for on/off. Finally, got an electrician in to do it right, but the switch plate is still cracked. I think I will do my room inventory tomorrow morning and get started on the list by afternoon.

Thinking of the EAT program more literally, I do like the idea of growing several inches taller (from #466)-that would help a lot-then, I might only need to lose 10 pounds! I have my 40th high school reunion this spring. Most everyone always looks great. I went to a small girls' school and we usually get together with the classes from the other girls' schools as well as the boys' schools from our area for these decade years. Sure would be nice to go back closer to the old weight----or four or five inches taller. LOL

Eden, good news on the kitty front. Glad you are seeing improvement. It is so awful to have a sick pet.

Woody, that really is a cute video of Misty. Love the way she cocked her head when asked about her squirrel.

Martie, a fuschia pink pansy? Can't wait to hear if the seeds come true! That would be very cool.

Saucy, good quotation. We need to start fresh more often.

Michelle, sounds like the perfect day with Kenzie and it seems as if she knew that being with you was the best gift of all-no need to ask for more!

Kathy, I am jealous that you are so much closer to spring than we are as your photo shows us, but I am trying to look at it as only about 10 weekends away for us. That makes it seem not quite so long.

Tonight we are going to pop in first of the Lord of the Rings movies. Huge Tolkien fans here, so it seems like a fun way to start the new year.

Cheers, all.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2010 at 5:36PM
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chloehoover(z6b VA)

Cynthia - we are becoming twins for sure and we'll be confusing everyone pretty soon -- I had my 40th HS reunion (did not go) this past spring - grew up in Rosemont and went to Agnes Irwin -- we must have grown up within 10 miles of each other - how weird is that? and then w/ your ventures in senior parenting in the last years - we were probably tagging each other on I-95 on too many weekends. Interesting how small worlds collide! Funny re the Lord of the Rings - I think V was saying on FB the other day she was Orc'd out because her DH was watching them all...We'll have to try to meet come the Spring and see what other garden similarities we have, LOL...

Eden - Im glad to hear your kitties seem to be improving - and I hope the cleanup is improving too! Yikes, trying to give meds to those mouths that likely run away at the sight of the eye dropper must be challenging.

Im not sure I could succeed with the EAT program -- I make so many lists and they get misplaced or replicated and replicated - I seem to be more disorganized every year for some reason. Just this last week I probably created the same grocery list about 3 different times and each time I left the house to get the items I couldnt locate - I'd left somewhere or picked it up to get ready and put it somewhere strange... I've got garden to-do lists like that too -- some of the same things have been on the new list for a number of years.

I guess I'll be happy when Im the proud owner of 2 new toilets on Monday - I already had the plumber install a new garbage disposal and it's giving me a great satisfaction to feel as tho I have a whole new sink.... the toilets are being replaced because somehow they developed cracks (which drips I'd been ignoring for almost a year with little plastic containers under them - sheesh.) So I should be glad to be going back to awfice on Tuesday - this has been an expensive stay-vacation, LOL. But definitely some AT off the "list" so to speak.

Lots of de-trim clutter out and about tonite; it didnt all get put away; but the tree is naked and will be dragged out tomorrow and the needles sucked out. It's a great feeling of satisfaction when one gets that all tucked away isnt it?

Love that photo, Candy - very cool. I love lace and it reminds me of its infinite intricacies.

Watching Dr. Who repeats tonite -- I'll be sad when it ends tomorrow nite. I've enjoed the David Tennet versions...

How pleasant to think it's only Friday and the weekend is to come - more days off !!


    Bookmark   January 1, 2010 at 6:57PM
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The Christmas Tree is vacant but still resides in the living room, DS is not home today so I decided not to try to wrestle it out by myself, envisioning broken lamps and strewn books- thinking to myself what I would do if I did not have an additional person residing here to carry one end (besides recruiting neighbors) and thought of the obvious gardeners solution of taking the loppers to it and removing it in chunks !

Cyn, I watched Pride and Prejudice last night ( the Kiera Knightly /Donald Sutherland et. al . version) but as I was queuing up the DVD and had tv stations on I saw William Powell ..that would have been an excellent option for the evening ! I went to an all-girls high school too- were you a Catholic kid ? 12 years of nuns under my belt here .

Michelle , I think you asked me how far Mr Baby , DD et al areas the crow flies it would seem a short trip, but it is over the typical Norcal back country roads with switchbacks and 15mph curves . Takes about 2 hours to do. Buts its only 60 miles. I drove them home on Christmas morning-Aiden had to be dosed with Dramamine . They are hoping to get out of the area sooner than later ;it is a very depressed rural community , but cheap.

Candy, what a wonderful photo ..I am reminded of some similar that bug posted long ago. Photo of the day is a good option !

Tonight Im going to watch Rent , not the film version but a video of a Broadway performance. Tomorrow will be a reading night. We have rain now, but expect sun for the balance of the weekend-I always try to start the rose pruning over the New Year so plans are to tackle a few in the afternoon.

Sweet dreams !

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   January 1, 2010 at 8:56PM
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Full_Bloom(z5 IL)

Happy New Year Idylls!

Nothing new to report here, so I'll keep this short. Truthfully...I'm drained from the Idyll #466!

I thought tonight was the concert, but found out it's tomorrow instead, so today I spent the day taking down
the tree, grocery shopping, etc. etc.

Did do Leslie. Uh, realized that sounds wierd...I'll elaborate by saying I did the Leslie Sansone exercise video.

I put myself on the stretcher today, but think I may have only gained a 16th of an inch...I'll keep trying.

Loved Sue's quote Cindy...thanks for sharing that!

Glad Chelone suffered no ill effects from the wood stove. I've lit our fire a few times, but am always anxious when I do (especially if I am alone) and admire Marian's and Chelone's spirit. I need to be a little bolder and more confident in my life. Maybe that will be another of my New Year's resolutions.

I agree with all the comments. I love Candy's latest submission. I would like to truly etch that in the glass windows of my little bath...wouldn't that be fun? I can't decide if her pic reminds me of an enchanted forest or a mythical undersea scene.

I remember some lovely frosted window submissions Bug shared a few years ago...has it been *years* already? Where does the time go? are one of the most creative people I know...everything you do is magic. So please share any of your new ventures, okay?

So glad Michelle got to see her little girl. Love the barrettes she picked...isn't it wonderful that she is so in tune with nature. She may end up to be as great a gardener as her grandma...what a wonderful legacy.

So glad the "Ei Orchid" (I love that you call it that) is still doing so well for you Marian. Of course I'm not are an amazing caregiver of all your houseplants. I, on the other hand, can't seem to keep a houseplant alive. Well, other than the Fig tree I've had for many years. I don't know why it keeps doing so well for me... I guess he just likes me....or maybe he's a masochist. :-)

Love Julie's EAT program. In fact I printed it out and will be referring to it all year! :-) I don't have too many of the "annoying things" as far as repairs are concerned because DH is pretty anal (I mean that in a good way) about that kind of thing...although not with the same enthusiasm he had when he was younger. :-)

Julie's talk reminded me of a quote by William Morris:

"Have nothing in your home that you don't know to be useful or believe to be beautiful"

I'm going to shoot for both of their goals in 2010...although I *still* have to keep the sentimental stuff too...even if it isn't useful or

I'll leave you with one of the things in my home that always brings a smile to my face...

The Robin has always been my favorite bird and after this past spring experience with mom & the robin's nesting at my house, robins are now more special to me than ever. The little robin that's inside the cake plate was given to me by my mom years ago when I was looking for a bird to put on one of my wreaths...I guess it's all coincidence, but I'd rather think it's mom sending her love.

Good Night All...

Oh, and P.S. Speaking of movies DH & I watched the sweetest movie last. If you haven't seen "Up" I highly
recommend it. In fact, I liked it so much I think I'll buy the DVD, even though I don't normally buy movies.


    Bookmark   January 1, 2010 at 11:10PM
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Full_Bloom(z5 IL)

Oops! I meant "Thanks Saucy" for sharing Sue's quote with us...

    Bookmark   January 2, 2010 at 12:20AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

On our many travels to eat at relatives here and there (that means food, not Julie's EAT acronym) we have been listening to Harry Potter in the car. Skyler & DD also received the Harry Potter video game and have been practicing that as well. And so I am full of magical moments, spells and verbal twists.
Ivy is teething badly and has miserable moments and little sleep. Sigh. Certain songs help calm her fortunately. Mommy is best, then Daddy, but NO ONE ELSE! This is hard on grandmothers you can be sure.

Sleepy time!

    Bookmark   January 2, 2010 at 1:05AM
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Aww, GB, Sarah was just like Ivy in the respect of being assured she got over that!

Ei, I noticed your cloches in your pictures before and forgot to inquire about what was inside! I'm so glad you showed us. What a beautiful idea. All things happen for a reason, I believe!

Not much going on here this morning. I'm going over to SunnyD's later to buy my plane tickets. Her husband has earned two free tickets, and he's going to let us ladies use them for a good cause. This way I will only be responsible for room and board for us two! I have a good friend in SunnyD.

It is snowing again here this morning. I am growing tired of being home. Cabin Fever. I'm going to take Jake to see Sherlock Holmes. I'll need something to do on Sunday...maybe bowling?

I had a wonderful meal of blackeyed peas, sauteed spinach with garlic and parmesan, london broil (from my new beef source, mmmm), and gluten free stuffing! The stuffing was good, but too salty. Gluten free requires a lot of trial and error :)

Well, that's it from me this morning. I'm going to put on something besides pjs and get this day started!


    Bookmark   January 2, 2010 at 8:36AM
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Interesting that the EAT program has always been part of the JulieJob program for me. My interpretation of the JulieJob has always been dealing with some small thing that needs doing and, under that heading, fall all manner of little piddly things. I have cleaned the brush, the roller, and the pan and am binding my time until the present coat dries adequately to permit recoating. I have one coat on all the shelves, the bookcase, and the fabric rack that wil be mounted on the wall. Fingerprints are removed from the big mirror.

Cindy, what does it say about our lives that we derive great satisfaction from replacing toilets? I'd be thrilled about that home improvement, too. :) How much water do they require to flush? Our Kohler (now pushing 20 yrs.) requires 1.6 gallons and has the annoying habit of permitting paper to re-emerge in the bowl... (hate that) but a new crapper is low on the list at present.

It's snowing very lightly this morning and the forecast for accumulation varies widely according to location in the state. We're (predictably) on the low end of things, the falling snow is supposed to hang around through tomorrow. I'm OK with it, it's the time of year for it and I have all the requisite gear to render "cabin fever" a truly "self inflicted injury".

Our tree continues to delight and will until the Epiphany. We celebrated New Year's Day with the Wrecking Crew and their parents. It was a good time; their mother has been a friend for a long time now (1992) but their father is less familiar to us and it's been gratifying to watch him settle in and make himself at home. Stuffed pork roast, roasted potatoes, parsnips, brussel sprouts, broccoli, with sauteed red peppers and onions, and Delicate Chocolate Cake for dessert. We were well fed. The Brain Trust received a lovely dinner melange involving some of it, too. :)

Ei., we were enchanted by "Up" and I recommended it to the Sisterhood shortly after seeing it last June (our anniversary outing). It made such an impression that Santa delivered it to our home in the course of his travels. It really is a fabulous film. There is nothing to fear from a wood stove if it's properly installed and you follow some basic precautions. I wouldn't waste my time with a fireplace; even with doors and a chimney damper they suck the heat right up the chimney and out of your home.

No chance Ivy's flaming gums could be cooled off in a snowbank, eh 'bug? ;) Poor kid, she must be pretty uncomfortable. It'll pass, but how long does it take for them "cut teeth"? I have no idea as the information has never been necessary.

I have to go check out Misty's assault on her presents. The helpmeet "forgot the time" and I ended up doing the vacuuming yesterday (I was not amused) but I did have to smile at the amount of catnip and shredded tissue paper that had migrated under the rug in front of the Christmas tree. ;) I hope things are OK on the in-law front, Woody. I am so behind I hestitate to even mention it, except to note that I think of you often and always with a smile. Hang tough.

I also smiled at the vision of Kenzie opting for apple slices over fries. Man, Michelle, if she keeps that up she'll sidestep a huge shortcut to obesity and all the attendant ramifications. Nice work! and I also smiled at the level of content that permitted a non-whiney cruise through a store, no small feat in this day and age. :)

OK, gotta think about my next move around here.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2010 at 10:00AM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

Add me to those with toilet woes. Mine, in the hall bathroom, does not flush adequately, and 'stuff' does not do down well unless the handle is held down a little while. Then it refills very little. I keep a bucket setting under the bathtub drips, and use that to complete the job. Works quite well for me, but not so well for company. Like Chelone, a new one is not on my agenda.

Our wood stove has occasional problems also. It announces it's presence by poofing ashes out with a loud "Fooom"! I understand part of the cause of that is my setting of the draft is wrong, when gases have built up in it.

Ei, I love that cloche. I never was too creative. A "stretcher"? Don't hurt yourself. Sounds like torture to me.

I am ignoring the "EAT" suggestion. The very thought of doing that is too overwhelming for me!

Looks like we may be pretty much housebound for a week or so. Snow predicted for later today, and again midweek, with lows in teens and single digits, and highs in 20s.

Nolon is needing med for his nebulizer, and UPS failed to deliver thurs, as planned. We are hoping they will today. He has the little emergency puffers, but they do not work nearly as well. I hope I will not have to get him to the hospital. He made it through the 11 days without power last January, but he is a year older now..... I will make sure he does nothing strenuous until he gets more med.

I must put "Up" on my shopping list.


    Bookmark   January 2, 2010 at 10:41AM
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chloehoover(z6b VA)

Ei - what a pretty vignette and so lovely that it holds such special things and memories for you - truly if we could, we should all have our homes filled with such things. I have to laugh tho - recently I inquired if DD would like some things in the house, including an old brass bed and she told me there was little she liked here -- the way of the next generations, most seem to want to be "different" from their parents in taste and decor.... I suggested it would be nice to have free stuff for a new home (they're contemplating trying to find a home in this area) and you could hear the sniffs.... later she told me while she's snooty, her DH at least is practical and would be interested in free furniture.... but I guess if one doesnt like things, there's little point in taking them. They become AT most likely.

Chelone - the toilets were both cracked (dont ask me how that happened on 20 yr old toilets); and one had been leaking for a long time (as I said w/ catchpot under it) -- for me to get in repair folks is usually a big deal - from finding one, taking time off, and paying for it - so it always ends up "big deals." Yea, a sad commentary on my life that I feel a sense of accomplishment in replacing them, esp as they were not in the 40 year old category. I got a low 1.3 flush Toto - and I did worry about the success factor; which is why I recalled Sue's tales of the Toto... (not the dog, LOL).

Kathy - yep, I've got the dehydrating tree still standing and hate the hauling on my own -- altho it's easier than the installation - the idea of pruning is not a bad one - chopping it up in the living room, what a concept, LOL. I do hope to get it out today altho it will have to hide in my yard til Tuesday when it will get picked up by the garbage folks -- but it cant linger on the curb til then (against HOA rules).... I guess putting those tubs of decorations away will be the other priority - having gone to all plastic ones after finding local mice had decided to set up residence under the stairs in those paper boxes or things that were loose -- they made quite a mess of a couple other seasonal wreaths I'd slung in there - amazing how they'd want to ingest plastic/other synthetic materials... Now, there's little hope of them finding anything worth munching thru a bunch of plastice tote storage containers.

It's pretty frigid here today; high winds making it even colder (but yes, not Canada or intrepid Iowans' temps).. Im just a hothouse flower at heart.

Im envisioning Deanne tucked into her blind with her toasty battery powered socks keeping her warm - likely getting stunning pics for us.

Cheers all.


    Bookmark   January 2, 2010 at 11:30AM
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cyn427(z7aN. VA)

Cindy, I am dumbfounded! I went to Shipley (not a Catholic school, Kathy-my DH is the one with all the nun stories-very funny-especially when his dad was involved). That is where I first discovered Tolkien-his book was required reading on our summer reading list in 1964! I have read it almost every year since. Seriously, a meet-up is definitely necessary! Think of all the gas we could have saved by making those trips together. My parents home in Gladwyne has been replaced by what I hear is a lovely stone cottage-style house. I suspect it is a very large cottage, but glad my neighbor there likes it. The saddest thing for me will be not seeing the spectacular old crabapple that had wonderful spreading trunks and leaned over the driveway . Wow, I loved that tree! I will probably stay at Beaumont when I go up for the reunion. A friend's mother lives there and she will get us one of the guest suites-very nice!

Chelone, your New Year's Day dinner sounds splendid and so nice to hear that the Wrecking Crew's dad is fitting in so well-not always the case, so it is great when everything works.

I fear we have a leak from our main floor hall bath down into the basement bath. Not sure if it is the toilet, tub, or some other water pipe that is the problem. DH's solution was to cut a little hole in the ceiling and let it drip. I can't afford to have the ceiling ripped out right now to find the leak, so I live with it and worry about structural damage. What I would really like to get is a dual-flush toilet. We first saw them in 2004 when we were in New Zealand. Won't replace any we have though, until necessary.

I make and lose lists, too, but I think the important first step in Julie's EAT program is the 29-cent notebook from the dollar store (very funny, btw). Harder to lose.

Okay, after a break from this to do some cleaning, I have come to realize that I really do need a maid. Either I do the every day/week stuff or I do the monthly/quarterly jobs, but I never get through everything. By the time I finish the baseboards in one or two rooms, I have no desire to do the dusting/straightening, etc., etc. Today, I scrubbed the cabinets, cleaned the top of the refrigerator, tried to clean the stainless steel fronts of the double oven (I can never get them looking clean and unstreaked-hate that), dusted in the family room which is really part of the kitchen, and cleaned the ceiling fan. I want to go to the movies or do something fun. I am hopeless. I did win $12 in the VA lottery, but that won't get me too far, I fear.

Back to sorting through clutter and cleaning the countertops-which are in desperate need of replacement, but will probably stay until I die. Yuck (to the cleaning and clutter).

    Bookmark   January 2, 2010 at 1:48PM
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DS arrived home last night so the removal will occur this afternoon. Stashing the boxes is partially don. Still have not dis-mantled , so to speak, the Fabulous Display..I may leave it up a few more days ..I m not the least bit tired of looking at it yet, as the pomegranates are still holding up.

It was foggy amd damp this morning, but the sun is said to be appearing this afternoon. I may be able to get out there and do some rose pruning the temps arent bad but everything is still drippy-wet.

Select Seeds order is on the agenda today too- they have the Benarys Giant series of Zinnias, and going with that one this year I bought a few plants to fill in with last year and really liked them. Anyone planning on growing the new Snowpuff or some of the other double flowered Cosmos ? I may give them a try.

Ei what a pretty arrangement in your cake dish..! I have two little faux birds and they are used in the mantle display most years and sometimes in centerpieces.

Must get to work here, will check in later

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   January 2, 2010 at 2:07PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Good afternoon .... and Happy New Year! :-)

We are having a slow day here and wanted to take a minute to say hello to everyone. Christmas clean up is almost accomplished here. A few returns and a few decorations to pack away and both feet will be in 2010. We had a wonderful Christmas, just right in many ways, but always ready to get back to normal by New Year's weekend.

I am reminded of all of you often and send along wishes for a bright and happy new year to everyone!


    Bookmark   January 2, 2010 at 2:43PM
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Rose pruning break--not a Julie Job since it pertains to gardening ..all gardening gets a JJ waiver.

CYn, mayne the 12 bucks will get you the cheap-o matinee if you smuggle in your own popcorn ,lol.

Hi PM ! great to see you drop by here !

Back outside..

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   January 2, 2010 at 4:11PM
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cyn427(z7aN. VA)

Hah, Kathy, I thought of that! LOL. I am thinking of going to several 10am shows this week if they are still running the early ones now that everyone will be back to normal routines. I still have one week off which is wonderful beyond words. I will be so sad when we go back to the traditional calendar after this year.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2010 at 4:46PM
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Cyn, I recall your school year was different but I don't recall how it was structured, remind me, please. It was more of a "year round" set up, wasn't it? I should think that would be very beneficial for kids who struggle and also helpful for parents who struggle, too. Why has your school decided to go back to the "old" schedule? I watched Michelle Rhee on CSPAN last night and thought of you. I know she is very controversial but whenever I've heard her speak I've been impressed. I have no great love for unions in general; having seen firsthand what has happened to my own industry in the past 30 yrs..

I am preparing for an evening assault on the painting. Everything has had about 4 hrs. to dry and with the stove going it's definitely a "dry" environment, so I ought to be able to slap on another coat before retiring for the evening.

You reminded me, PM, that I have a Sapporo gravity feed iron and my ironing board is wider than most that are commonly available. And the deck of it is made of mesh, rather like the mesh they used when they're going to apply a scratch coat of mortar for a stucco finish. If there was water to the bahn I wouldn't hesitate to purchase a proper press with vacuum. That's how you obtain a good press (also how you can put a wicked shine on garbardine if you don't know what you're doing!).

We had a leak in the bathroom not too long ago. It was a loose connection to the cold water on the bidet and it managed to drip down and soak one of the ceiling tiles in the Lab. before it was detected. Nothing a few turns with an adjustable wrench couldn't fix fortunately. I've always loathed the "suspended" ceiling on the first floor of our home, but it certainly does make access to the mechanicals a lot easier!

Time to get back to the project at hand.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2010 at 6:37PM
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chloehoover(z6b VA)

Neat, Saucy, re the freebie tickets! Im investigating into Oakland but so far could only find Jet Blue deals - never been on JB - anyone have any experiences with it? I suspect more deals will open up this month perhaps - Im trying to think of cutting down on driving/SF that was discouraged... but I think it's grand you've got it already settled on!

Kathy - I decided to be inspired by your pruning idea, seriously, and lopped off a bunch of wide branches from the Xmas tree and it did make dragging it easier - the debris of dried pineneedles is fierce and may take several bouts of vacuuming and sweeping.

Wow, Cyn -- I figured it was likely either Shipley or B. - small worlds. I hope the water issues for winter are not going to be another idyll "virus".... altho it's certainly been frigid outside here enuf to create all sorts of cold/freezing pipe issues.

Yes, Chelone, you're an intrepid pioneer and Im glad to hear you were able to locate and fix the leak quickly. My talents do not rest in that direction sadly.

Hi - PM - so glad you could pop in for the New Year -- and how nice to have a good Xmas - one can never be sure of the outcome of family holidays can one....

I seem to recall, Chelone, that Cyn's school was one of the experimental programs in Fairfax county - sadly I suspect the reversion to old calendar is the budgetary woes that this state is facing -- they are also considering seriously reverting kindergarten classes back to half day sessions, instead of the full-day. At this point, all cuts are terrible steps back in progress or modernization - there is no fat to cut anywhere in VA budgets....

Well, best not go political here -- off to hunt down some leftover chowder and get ready for the big finale of Dr. Who - Im imagining Mary and her brood settling in for it too as faithful fans.


    Bookmark   January 2, 2010 at 7:00PM
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cyn427(z7aN. VA)

Chelone, Fairfax County VA has six "modified calendar" schools. We started the year in July (this year the kids came back on August 2nd, I think, but it is always that last week of July/first week of August for the first day). Then we have a break at the end of every quarter. There is a two-week intersession in October , one week after Christmas/winter break, and then two weeks added to the spring break. Those intersession weeks offer classes for the kids that are not like a regular session. When we first started with this schedule, the kids could choose one or two "fun" classes and they always had a math or reading class. Teachers used to make up their own curricula-Sports Math for example, or keyboarding in music, pottery, photography, theater, explorations in science or social studies, fun reading/writing classes where each student might read in depth on a subject and then publish a 'book' on it. Now, with all the emphasis on testing, everyone has a math and a reading class and that is it. Our kids aren't ones who have much opportunity for camp or visiting museums. A lot of them haven't even been into DC except on field trips, so it was great that they had a chance to do the club types of things. I always thought it was an important part of their education. Silly me. It seems that money is just such a big problem now with all the budget woes that the district won't be able to continue this schedule. It costs more because teachers have to get paid for those extra weeks-it is basically summer break distributed throughout the year. I think our current superintendent just isn't a fan. Not only that, but we won't get a paycheck in August when they switch back to traditional calendar. I get my annual pay divided into 12 months, so I don't have to worry about putting some away for the extra two months. Seems the "system" isn't set up to figure out how to transition back to the regular calendar. I personally don't really understand that. It seems that my checks should just keep coming as always, but apparently not. It also seems that someone should be able to fix "the system" so it would work. Oh well. BTW, VA is a "right-to-work" state which means no unions really. I haven't quite decided about Rhee. I am not opposed to getting rid of teachers who aren't doing their jobs, though. I also am not for merit pay. Won't go into that now.

Wow-that was more than you wanted to know, I'll bet. I am feeling a little testy about this whole situation and I am more than a little irked with DH (D does NOT equal dear in this instance-lol) at the moment, so ranting seems to be called for.

Did get most of the kitchen cabinets scrubbed. Unfortunately, that only showed me how in need they are of being repainted-which would be an exercise in futility with the Idiots and their fluffy tails and shedding issues.

Cold and blustery out tonight. Wish we had a wood stove!!!

    Bookmark   January 2, 2010 at 7:34PM
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Cyn, my son, who's 23 now went through the year round school, exactly as you described when he was in 2nd and 3rd grade. They did the themed intersessions too. I disliked it for a few reasons, the main one being that we were used to spending much of our summers at my family's place in northern MI and David's school schedule basically put an end to that for those years. I was so glad when they went back to the regular schedule.

Though Brad's a member of the UAW we're not big fans of unions either.

Kathy, I sowed the Benary's Giants last year. I did the lime and the pink ones and they got almost as tall as me. I ordered mine from Johnny's last year. I haven't decided which annuals I'm going with this year but still have time. I do want to sow some nicotiana mutibalis I know. I just sow my annual seeds in milk jugs and toss them outside in early spring a la winter sowing.

Ei, I love your little scene with the robin. I've been seeing so many things under glass or cloches that are really neat. I was going to do a little Christmas scene under one but never got around to it. I think you're pretty creative yourself so having you say that about me is quite a compliment. Thank you!

Lots of potty talk going on today. Cindy I'm excited for you getting new ones! Brad's redone alot of the plumbing here so I'm hoping I don't become a part of this Idyll problem. You never know though...

Marie, poor Ivy. Kate didn't have much of a problem cutting her first two teeth and it looks like the next two are just about ready to come through. I know it's really tough for some little ones though and I hate to see them so miserable. Hope they pop through for her quickly!

I've been catching up on laundry today. Not very motivated to do much else so it's been a lazy day. Got to have one of those every once in a while right?


    Bookmark   January 2, 2010 at 8:07PM
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Rose pruning has been started and the x-mas tree is in the driveway. Even though I had DS to help with the removal, I pruned anyway to have less impact on surrounding furnishings. It got to the mid 60s today-for about 2 hours. It was nice for my garden activites.Rose pruning is the task at hand but I am easily distracted by other clean up chores (and the emergence of winter weeds) that need doing. I was pulling dead foliage and scapes off of Moonlit Madness and more new scapes were nestled in the center. That thing never stops !

Chelone, you have been frighteningly productive in the last few your hours shrink at the awfice during winter ?

Our school schedules here are still very much regulated by agriculture. Christmas break has been extended because the Hispanic workers take their families to Mexico every year and students were missing days of school. This was not going to change, and these workers are life-blood of our wine industry,ergo this tradition was accommodated. It still remains controversial .

Cindy , if SFO is cheaper you should book into there-transportation options are available. Ill e-mail the group tonite with more details.

Select Seed order is placed ! Next is the rose order and the lilies. Im SPing 2 of my roses so get to buy replacements. One will be replaced with another of the same variety and the other is still a ?.

2010 continues

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   January 2, 2010 at 8:19PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

A belated Happy 2010 to all! Did you know today was palindrome day? 01-02-2010.

It took me quite some time to catch up on my reading here. Nice to see Ei and Eileen and Ein all in the same thread! A thread that took a slightly weird twist at the end as you all tried to work around the GW issues.

I don't remember what I last posted (and sometimes I "post" in my head) so forgive me if I repeat myself!

It's been a busy week here. DH and I went into Chicago on Tuesday and spent the night at The Wit hotel so he could get to the next level in the Hilton Honors program. Yeah, it was a tough sacrifice to make, but someone had to do it. So I decided The Wit has the best bathroom window view ever. Looking south down State Street:

We had lunch at Topolobampo, drinks at two different bars in Trump Tower, dinner at an Italian restaurant, a last drink at the Roof bar at The Wit, a great breakfast at the hotel and lunch at their Italian restaurant. (Yes, I gained my winter 20 pounds in just two days!)

We spent a few hours Wednesday morning touring the Chicago Cultural Center. When I was in high school, this building was the main Chicago Public Library, and I spent many hours there on homework assignments. That was when the building was at its low point and today it just sparkles after a great renovation. I was astounded to see what beauty had been hiding underneath years of grime. For example, these mosaic medallions grace the staircase right where the book checkout used to be.

And here's DH in the lobby:

The Cultural Center is across the street from Millennium Park and there are some fabulous views, but at first I was disappointed that the tinted windows made it all but impossible to get a photo with true colors. But after I downloaded the photos, I decided that I liked the sepia effects that were created.

I'll share more photos over the next few days.

On New Year's Eve, our friends who had moved to Colorado came to visit, along with their 5 month old Golden Doodle. Sorry dog lovers, but with the cooking, visiting and dog chasing, I neglected my photo duties. While they were worried that the puppy was wearing out Mystic, the next morning Mystic sneaked downstairs to find out if his puppy friend was still here. For NYE dinner, we made Forty Clove Chicken, asparagus and roasted potatoes. We made it to midnight but not much beyond.

The next day we hosted a lunch/brunch of jambalaya and black bean soup for 22 people and 4 dogs. My friend brought her black Golden Doodle who is only 7 months old, and Mystic had a grand time trying to out-bounce the puppies. He's been sleeping a lot since then! We adults had a great time as well, with plenty of visiting and drinking wine around the fire. It was a great start to the year!

Needless to say, a lot of today was spent cleaning up. But things are in good shape now and I can enjoy my last day off work tomorrow.

Julie, I enjoyed your EAT explanation, but most of all I liked the phrase "exempt Annoying Thing". Oh how true! And by the way, the cracked switch plate is in my kitchen as well, and has been there for 14 years. What am I waiting for, for Pete's sake?!?


    Bookmark   January 2, 2010 at 9:50PM
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Historically, "the county" (Aroostook) always had a 2-3 wks. school closure to accomodate the potato harvest. I don't know if that is still the case, but I do recall a great deal of discussion about the usefulness of continuing the tradition as farming practices have changed over the years. "Summer vacation" has always been sacrosanct in the this country and I've never really understood why, personally. The object of the game is to get them educated, isn't it? I was interested in the whole "merit pay" discussion but can certainly see how it could be unfair. But again, getting rid of poor teachers can only help things. And let's face it, we've all suffered through a class with a really crummy teacher who you just KNEW was "going through the motions" and nothing short of a fatal accident was going to get them out of the classroom and off the payroll. The one I remember was a biology teacher... what a fossil that guy was. All he did was read the same chapter aloud we'd been assigned the night before; we did exactly 3 dissections that year. I'd done 6 in 7th. grade in another state, 3 yrs. before. Huge budgetary issues in this state, too.

We typically take the week after Christmas off, Kathy. And this year the way the holidays fell made for a longer stretch that normal. I do not want to go back to work, either. I raised the issue of cleanliness and overall organization exactly one year ago. I volunteered to help with the cleaning and organization and was basically told, "I'll take care of it!". Not one thing has changed in the that time and there is another 365 days worth of dust and grime on everything in the there. It's cold, poorly lit, and I have a nagging feeling that things are about to change in a profound way, hence the increased activity in the Salon, getting things moved in and organized. I'm not entirely sure how I feel about it all frankly, depends on the day and my mood, but I frequently feel uneasy. I expect to lose a day of work/week for the next couple of months, the economy is slow, people are being careful with their money, and wintertime is traditionally the slow time of the year in a seasonal business anyway. My plan is to continue to use my time prudently and productively to position myself for the next move.

Eden, is membership in UAW mandatory for Brad to work in the shop? Typically, when a garment shop voted to go union you had to join or you could no longer work there. And there were restrictions on what sorts of garments could be manufactured in the USA in non-union shops. Many of those rules/laws may have changed though I doubt it. Union reps used to really butter up workers and the less educated/thoughtful fell for it hook, line, and sinker. They all thought they'd get more money and more benefits, but after the dues they were pretty much in the same place as before and membership didn't save their jobs/benefits when the shops could no longer compete with cheap, off-shore labor. Moreover, the unions really put the kibosh on being able to work from your home. I was never a member, nor would I ever willingly become one. I always felt I was capable of negotiating on my own behalf, thank you.

I too have had difficulty getting the helpmeet to assist me with the things I cannot do for myself, Cyn.. I understand. I was not happy about being saddled with the cleaning yesterday and I snapped at him about the mirror when he grumbled about doing it (I've been asking for nearly 2 mos. now). And I am about to enter the ring for the third round over the work bench I need in the garage bay. Nor is the telephone in the Salon wired (that's been 2 mos., as well). So I've been doing what I'm able to do on my own, crossing things off the list, and "reminding". Next step is losing my temper completely. That usually gets his attention, lol.

I'm relieved nothing is really growing outdoors, frankly. The thought of all the things I'd have to get done out there on top of all things to be done inside might just send me around the bend...

    Bookmark   January 2, 2010 at 9:57PM
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Well, thanks to Kathy's good or bad, not sure, influence I've now placed two seed orders.

Chelone, MI isn't a right to work state so nope he doesn't have a choice.

V, I'd say you've had a pretty nice break from work. You definitely made the most of it and are starting out the new year on the right foot. Good for you! I love all of the photos you shared. Nice work!

Bella's gone home and I'm going to administer the cat meds. Chloe, the sickest cat, still hasn't snapped out of it. Everyone else seems to be doing fine now. Time for bed for me soon. Night all!


    Bookmark   January 2, 2010 at 10:24PM
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Okay, in a departure from the positive mental attitude, is there any reason why it takes 5 minutes to open up a music cd ?? Got 3 tonight and that damn tapey crapola they put along the edge of the jewel case is a PIA . I will report that Verve records , Oscar Peterson Trio was a piece of cake to open, but Bud Powell and Stephan Grappelli brought me to my knees. Does anyone have a secret weapon for this ?? Sigh . Rant over .

V., what is the WIT ?? Pics are fabu !

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   January 2, 2010 at 10:44PM
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Kathy, the key to it is: the utility knife. Once you've scored the tape with the utility knife you can lift the tape and peel it right off. :) Do you like Jean Luc Ponty?

V., your pictures are swell. I liked the "sepia" toned one, too! I just love it when an old, decaying building is given some TLC and a new lease on life. I've long felt that architecture speaks volumes about the time and society that created it. Is the "old library" an Art Deco building? The 'rents were never fans of "urban renewal" which did few favors for the elegant city of Boston; even NYC lost the magnificent Penn. Station. Are you looking forward to returning to work on Monday?

I fed the stove and put the final coat on the bookcase and the shelves this morning. Now 2 paintbrushes, a small foam covered roller, and the tray await my attention. Still snowing and swirling around outside, but accumulation is not that substantial, maybe 6-7"? Enough to make a trip to the woodstack a little inconvenient, but it's supposed to warm up today so I have good hope of some melting.

The remainder of the day will involve some more cleaning in the Salon, more organizing, and rearranging the accumulation of building materials that is clogging the clear passageway to the Salon door. It's a good day for that sort of activity.

More coffee is required beforehand, however.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2010 at 8:23AM
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Good COLD morning,

3F here but it's not snowing, in fact the sun is shining brightly and I don't have to step a foot out today, so who cares:)

Kathy, I beefed up my jazz collection of cds a few years ago, like what it sounds like you're doing now. There is a tool for opening those cds. They usually sell them up by the register. You run them across the top of the cd and they cut through the wrapper. I've got a couple of different variations but they're still a pain to open. Thanks to your influence I placed a couple of seed orders last night while I was waiting for Meg to pick up Bella. One with Select Seeds and one with Diane's Seeds. I'll probably still place an order with Johnny's and then wait for the half off seed sale at our local nursery to finish off with the more common things. I told Bella I was ordering seeds and she was so excited. She and I sowed them together last year and she's ready to help me again. "We love planting seeds because we're gardeners, right grandma?" is what she said. You know I loved hearing that.

Chelone, you are being SO productive! Not a fan of urban renewal here either. When you look at the detail on those old building and homes how could you not love them and want to preserve them? 6-7 inches, not substantial huh, LOL!

I've set up a work table in the basement for Bella and I to get into some messy winter art projects. Time for cutting paper snowflakes, maybe a paper mache project and soon valentines!

I'm throwing together an easy chicken and dumplings recipe in the crockpot for later. Comfort food is definitely the ticket for today. Brad's working a 12 hour shift so it'll just be me and my girl. I think I'll get out my snowman collection and we'll do a bit of decorating for January and maybe watch Up. I bought it months ago after Chelone had recommended it and forgot I had it so I've never watched it. Have a great day everybody!


    Bookmark   January 3, 2010 at 9:33AM
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Full_Bloom(z5 IL)

Good Morning Idylls!

Even though I have all this *room* now that
GWis straightened out,I still want to write
like this, but I won' I just find
it easier to "talk" this way.

Anyway V...inquiring minds do want to know...I mean I'm from Chicago and *I* don't know what the Wit is! What a lovely time you must have had and I'm sure DH appreciates your sacrifice. :-) Isn't the Cultural Center the most *amazingly beautiful* place? We took my in-laws there a few years ago and I was mesmerized. I took lots of pictures too, especially of the quotes on the wall. Some day I plan to use them in one of my mixed media pieces. You really captured that medallion...I love how it sparkles...your pics are fantastic. I wish I was better at photography. Some people just seem to have the eye, like Deanne, and you and Candy with her iced window. Well, actually all the Idylls are fantastic photographers. Love your shot of Millenium Park too...reminds me of a tonalist painting! Have you done the overlook yet at the Sears...hey*now* I think I get it...
were you at the Sears Tower? LOL! I forgot about the name change. Well, did you do the overlook? Promised the in-laws we would do that next time they were in.

The robin isn't actually in a cloche. He is in a footed cake stand that I had from DH's grandma. It was so pretty that I didn't want to just put it on a shelf, so that's how I came up with the robin thing. Then I bought two footed bon-bons to go with it. I didn't really show those because they're not finished. I have the one filled with a polished stone that is egg shaped and a blue color, with a few acorns, dried flowers, etc., but still have not figured out what exactly to put in the other one. I'm hoping the perfect thing just pops up on its own. don't *really* think I'm stretching myself, do you? Not that I wouldn't do it if I thought it would! Thank you about the robin. I remember you like to collect little bits of nature too.

Eden I hope you do a Christmas one and you'll have to share pics if you do, I know it will be beautiful. I remember many years ago people made these miniature seed beed Christmas trees with little tiny *real* lights and little tiny ornaments, tiny presents, etc. all inside a little cloche. I was enchanted! I wanted to make one, but thought the whole thing was beyond my skill level.

Cyndy & Cindy...what even live in the same area?! Amazing! I hope you do get to meet. Cyndy I know you'll just love Cindy...she is a sweetheart. I hope you don't mind if I call you "Cyndy" for right now? Until I get you straight in my head?

Lol Cindy about the kids and different tastes. That's exactly what I was thinking about re all the old Christmas stuff I have. I know that most of the *stuff* I have would not be in DDIL's taste. She likes more contemporary things. I understand would be a very dull world indeed if we all liked only the same things and I'd feel bad foisting things on her that she doesn't need or doesn't really like and would only take to be polite. But, what *will* I do with all of mom's and grandma's stuff? It's a conundrum :-)

Kathy I have my Select Seed catalog too and am highlighting many things, but haven't narrowed it down yet. Do you shop at Annies too? I would love to go to that place some day. What lilies will you be ordering? It seems I always put at least one order of lilies in every year. I love lilies...they are so decadent and sensual and the best part is you can always find a place for them in the matter how full your garden may! I will also be adding a little Victory garden this year behind the shed.

Two years ago we cut down the huge silver maple by the shed and replaced it with a sweet little red oak that will take *years* to get big enough to really shade the area. So of course now there is tons of sun. Amazingly, most of the plants that were shaded in the honeymoon swing area by the silver maple are actually loving the sun...even my epimedium sulphureum is adjusting well. I did have to move the hostas and the ferns from there and moved them to the pond area.

But all of the stuff behind the shed are truly shade plants. I moved the white hellebores and white bleeding hearts to the white island bed, but there are still more things that will have to be moved and probably given away as I have no more room...tons of variegated solomon's seal, cimicifuga, more hostas, & more ferns. There are also some dodecatheon and dutchman's breeches there that I want to move to the white island bed. I lost my opportunity to move them last year, as they went dormant before I got to them.

Whew!...Anyway, the point I was getting at is that I've decided to plant a Victory garden behind the shed. I'm really excited about it, as vegetables aren't something I have a lot of experience with. And it will be the perfect place for them...big sunny out of the way spot. I've already ordered 4 different varieties of blueberries, some asparagus, seed potatoes, and some strawberry plants. The rest of the veggies I'll grow from seed (carrots, tomatoes, radishes, peppers, etc.).

I've decided to change the formal kitchen garden out back too and there I'll only be growing herbs and maybe some cutting flowers. I'd like to get some advice from the Idylls re the formal kitchen garden...I could really use some help. I've never really liked the spot where it was placed, but since it's bricked I don't want to move it. I'm not sure what color or colors (in terms of flowers) to use in the fkg. The whole back yard is pretty colorful and I'm thinking I could use that bed to tone things down a bit and just do something monochrome there, but I'm not sure really what to do. When I get ready...I hope you guys will help me figured it out? :-)

Have lots more plant stuff I'd like to talk about, but this is way longer than I intended....another time.

BTW I am adding a link to "45 Lessons". I know I posted the advice here before but now someone has turned the thoughts into a video which is *so* beautiful that even I in my below freezing world (and *not* loving it) can't help but appreciate. Make the screen full size if you'll appreciate the pics even more...



    Bookmark   January 3, 2010 at 9:41AM
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Good Morning and Happy New Year

Today is the day of departure with 3 trips to the airport. The first, at 5.30 AM was unbelievably cold with blowing snow - Yuk! Mum was the earliest flight, then DB and family mid morning, with DH leaving this evening. I always feel rather low when everyone leaves and plan to console myself by ordering seeds.

Here are the cousins, with John and I acting as bookends. You can probably tell by the smiling faces what a great time we had together.

Is it is Kathy who has a bright red sofa too?


    Bookmark   January 3, 2010 at 11:08AM
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Hmmm... the family genes seem to be clearly in evidence, Mary. I know what you mean about feeling a little bit "down" when everyone departs.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2010 at 11:41AM
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cyn427(z7aN. VA)

Morning all. Have finished reading The Post and doing bills. Time to get to work on the JulieJobs and EAT list, so naturally, here I am!

Mary, marvelous picture. What a treasure you have there-I miss seeing my cousins now that we don't go up to PA for holidays. Who is the musician? I am hoping to be one in my next life. Enjoy the seed buying. The only seed I'm buying these days is bird seed. I have to stop sprinkling some on the patio for the cardinals and doves, though, since the Idiots seem to REALLY like it. How will I explain the weight gain to the vet??? "Well, you see, I put out seed for the birds..." It's the most ridiculous thing I've ever seen.

Ei, you may call me anything. No worries. Liked the 45 lessons video.

Wow-Oscar Peterson Trio and Jean Luc Ponty-good start to the year. I do hate those little tapes on CDs, too. Even when I score them, it takes me a while to get them open. Seems as though the plastic wrap (which is also impossible without a knife) should be enough. Makes me realize how really inept I am in some many things.

Eden, I hear what you're saying about the modified calendar. Most of the parents in our district feel the same way. For our families at our school, though, there are no vacation homes, camps, etc. for them. A lot of our kiddoes would go hungry if not for school breakfasts and lunches. Many of our kids do not look forward to weekends or vacations the way a lot of children do. I always try to curb my enthusiasm for the breaks when I am with them because I know they don't really have anything to look forward to when they are not in school. Hard to believe that I work in one of the wealthiest districts in the country!

V, your Chicago trip sounds like it was fun. I've never been. It is on my list of places to go someday. Should probably make it soon before we run out of somedays.

Off to do...something. Later.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2010 at 12:13PM
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Good morning Idylls..

French Roast at hand , watching the sun get up from behind the hills and melt the frost off the rooftops. I have a JJ lined up this morning involving the reorganization of a bookcase that has been nagging at me- a good chore before it warms up enough to go outside. Regan Nursery rose order will be placed today as well.

I used a pocket knife Chelone, but the tape never seems to come off for me cleanly. I do like Jean luc Ponty , but own none of his music. Any particular recommendations ?

Ei, it just so happens that Annies Annuals is on the agenda for IU7 , her display gardens are fabu and well worth a visit.Im including a link to a thread I posted pics on when I went there last summer. I was not the only customer with a camera in hand, lol. Not sure about the lilies yet you are so right, even a chronic overplanter such as myself can usually find someplace to tuck in a few. I wish I had the space for a vegetable garden area I always do a tomato and have lots of herbs. Im hoping if the budget allows I can have some concrete removed on one side of my house to accommodate at least one raised bed.

Eden, I like to go down to the local CD store and browse the used section for jazz , have done pretty well there, but the selection of both new and used jazz locally is really pretty pathetic. I usually end up ordering on Amazon if I am looking for something in particular.

Ditto what Chelone said Mary ! And I do have a red couch , though it is more on the rusty red side. Im very partial to it ! Once all the departures are complete, youll just have to spend some quality time here on the Idylls for moral support ..

Ok, off to bookcase land

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   January 3, 2010 at 12:23PM
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chloehoover(z6b VA)

Does bright coral sofa count, Mary? Just a shade removed from red... I've got one in my tropical family room these days. What a great time I bet you had -- lovely smiling familial faces for sure. I suspect you'll enjoy the quiet after a bit of down, and seed ordering sounds grand.

It's chilly but sunny here too - I need to get going but find I'd rather turn to my garden planning which I have totally neglected. Usually by this time I'm already knee deep in plans and online putzing. But I've got a vacuum cleaner disassembled in the living room awaiting my poking -- the result of too many pine needles or something yesterday and an assortment of things still to be hauled from level to level and need to spring into action awaiting magic to happen tomorrow. Also trying to avoid the idea that there is only one more vacation day and then back to reality of work and commuting.

I love that medallion shot, V -- such wonderful details old houses and building hold - glad to see they decided to keep all those great details. Sounds like you had a wonderful holiday with a very varied assortment of social gatherings.

Ei -- what wonderful plans for your gardens -- Michelle has a lovely potager and I recall so does Drema - I bet they'd have lots of ideas for that charming area of your gardens I recall. I hope you'll continue to let us know what you're planning.

So far, I only recall wanting to try the Rudbeckia Cherry Brandy this year that I saw at WFF I think; I need to get out my notes of last year and remind myself ... I am still trying to figure out the faux garden door concept as well... Im hoping to try to restrain myself a bit this year and just shuffle things and plan a bit better rather than my usual over-endulgence. I think some of those monies will go to IU extravagence instead.

Cyn - it must be very frustrating to have your work/program plans changed like that - I know it's not something that is easily done for "let's try for a year" and or then revisit or abandon...I shake my head and wonder how all the states are going to get out of these budgetary woes and not feel that we've stepped back to the mid-20th century.... Keeping my fingers crossed that that it doesnt happen.

Sounds like lots of nesting going on in idyll households - from cooking to cleaning and organizing..... It all makes me hungry! 40 clove chicken sounds terribly intriguing; as yummy as chicken and dumplings does (I havent had dumplings in a decade I bet!)... I guess that's the down to living on the Left Coast, Kathy - not much real down time in the garden is there? You're already pruning and weeding!

Chloe is enjoying being able to run around in her yard altho it's been for short spurts as the wind guests threaten to blow her away - but it's so nice to see the bare ground, even if snow cover offers more protection for plants.

Enjoy the bright wintery day.


    Bookmark   January 3, 2010 at 12:32PM
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You're right Kathy - some quality time here is just what the doctor ordered:0) The jazz CDs sound fabulous.

Cyn - there is nearly always something musical going on in our household. That is David's double bass in the corner. He plays in a couple of orchestras and just got into the pit for a school production of The King and I. He is the only bassist and as they are doing the full score, not a watered down version he will have his work cut out. His true passion though is classical guitar which he has been playing for 5 years now and continues to love.

Annie and I play violin, though my own playing has dwindled down to occasional quartets and parties. I added up I spend 8 hours a week just waiting while either Annie or David are in lessons or ensembles, and that does not count the driving time. I really don't mind as I share in the pleasure they have from making music and the friendships that have developed. It also gives me some quality time to enjoy a cup of coffee and knit/sew/bead. There will be plenty of time for my violin when the children have gone.

Hi Ei!! Lovely to hear from you again. I have one of those seed bead trees and I made a group of needle felted dogs in scale that surround the tree and help decorate it. I love your glass cloche.

The frigid weather continues and I treated the chickens to a bowl of warm mush - oatmeal and scratch grains cooked up with some warm milk. As a real treat I scattered some pomegranite seeds on top. They were in chicken heaven! Clousseau meanwhile has a nice marrow bone to while the afternoon away with so all are content.


    Bookmark   January 3, 2010 at 1:34PM
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Its very, very cold here. Yesterday morning it was 20. This morning is a balmy 5.

We had a small Christmas gathering last night with my son, his GF and my parents. On the menu was Chicken Barley Chili, Zuppa Toscana and Caesar salad. My mom brought homemade dinner rolls and a cream puff dessert. It was a fun but relaxing evening.

When we were shopping on New Years day I scored 2 arbors for my fairy garden for 1.25 each! They were with the Christmas Village accessories and on clearance.

Im curious as to what seeds everyone is ordering.

Im dreading work on Monday the DQ is threatening to quit and with the other employee on maternity leave, I could be in a bind.

Eden, Bellas words about seed planting were so terribly cute and sound like something that would come out of Kenzies mouth. Isnt it fun?

Ei, my fkg is very colorful and probably a little gaudy, so I wont be much help. I actually like it that way. It make me smile especially when I think of how bland it used to be. It was the garden I disliked the most, now its probably one of my favs. It sounds like you have wonderful plans to change up your garden.

Mary, wonderful family photo. Everyone looks so happy.

Kathy, its hard for me to believe you are pruning roses. Most of mine are no longer visible.

Cindy, my DD isnt a bit interesting in family heirlooms or anything thats my taste, including jewelry.

Candy, the frosted window is a work of art.

Im glad to see PM pop in and that GW allowed Martie back in. I know theyve been having lots of problems. Recently over on the Decorating forum all the past posts were wiped out. I havent been over there in a week or so, Im not sure if they have found them back or not.

First on my EAT list is the utensil drawer in the kitchen. I want full drawer extension glides added so I can find whats in the back. I took care of one after lunch today. I had bought new oven mitts, and Im always annoyed that the drawer next to the stove is so full of junk that I cant get my potholders out with out a struggle. I eliminated everything in that drawer except potholders and wax paper since the microwave is near by. Thats how I spend my winter, organizing and refreshing the house so I can spend the rest of the year gardening. Ive purchased paint for the bathroom and hope to start stripping wallpaper soon. I have a few other projects in there as well.

I really should go out a refill the bird feeder. The sun is shining and theres no wind but its still only 1.

I'll leave you with a little of the fun from the other night.


    Bookmark   January 3, 2010 at 2:51PM
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I must say I have never seen Ronald MacDonald with a more welcome site. Michelle and Kenzie together. Grin.

Mary there certainly is family resemblance in that picture. So good to hear you all had a good time. How is Davids hip doing?
I am admiring those photos on the wall, but havn't quite figured out what the third one is. I'm guessing that is some of DH's work?

V, you certainly did have a varied holiday. I hope you are refreshed and ready to take on the world again.

Cindy, Chelone and all the rest that have to return to work, I don't envy you. I don't miss those days at all. I did enjoy my work, but am glad I don't have to trek out every day.

Kathy and Denise, your being able to enjoy the outdoors sounds great. I am enjoying my winter walks but am still enjoying some down time from garden chores too. Although all this talk about seeds is worming its way into my head.

My ponds are frozen over except where the waterfall runs. I'm hoping They keep running through our extended cold predictions. I would hate to have to pull the pumps.

Keep posting everyone. We need the diversion.

Hi to all. Norma

    Bookmark   January 3, 2010 at 4:10PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

It's not even 6:00 pm but it's been an action-packed day here in V-land! Started out this frigid day playing bells at church, with an interesting twist. The choir was singing, and one of the women had to sit down before the anthem was over. A couple of minutes later, she decided to exit the choir area to get some fresh air, but then I heard a thud back in the sacristy area. I scooted back there to find the woman had passed out and hit the floor! Another bell ringer came back to help, as well as one of the men, but then we realized it was time for the bells to ring. We quickly recruited some other help and I played our anthem with shaking hands. The woman is fine; she was wearing a turtleneck and a very thick, heavy sweater under her choir robe and simply got too warm.

After church, the Great Insane Christmas Tree of 2009 met its demise. The ornaments and lights were packed away and then the heavy-duty loppers came out. As the branches were removed, I arranged them outside over my heuchera plantings. When the snow melts, the foliage will have protection from the hungry, hungry bunnies.

Then of course the cleaning up and rearranging ensued. Things are now back in their rightful places and there is a sense of peace in the house. Or is it just that all those extra people and animals are gone? Mystic definitely is sulking right now.

Kathy and Ei, The Wit is a newer hotel on State Street at Lake. It's a Hilton/Doubletree property but is a trendier hotel than their usual places. A few more photos from the hotel - starting with the lobby light fixtures:

The second floor has a library area with several cozy chairs. The books have their spines covered with photos of famous people.

And back to the Cultural Center, which is home to the world's largest Tiffany dome.

Yes, it's a good thing that this building was saved and restored. Chelone, the building is considered "neo-classical" in style.

Ei, the Sears Tower is now the Willis Tower (close but no cigar!) and the last place in the world that you will find me is on their overlook. Not my cuppa tea!

Julie, I think my DH must have read your post. This morning, he started walking around the house with a planer, checking the fit of all the doors and adjusting them as needed. But in the style of a true Exempt AT, he left the wood shavings where they fell.

Love the photos of Mary's family and Ronald and friends. Both have a surfeit of happy smiles in them!

Back to work tomorrow. I can't say that I am looking forward to it, but I will say that I am ready to face it again after a nice break. I am looking forward to speaking at a trade show later this month, and will be looking for ways to network and be a bit more creative and inspired in what I am doing. I have a major vacation scheduled for March, and after that? Well, "We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity . . ."

    Bookmark   January 3, 2010 at 7:24PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

We're back home...and I'm reading along and enjoying it all.

Phoebe is with us and very tired from her 10 days with a 6 month old puppy and 2 little girls who adored her.

Lots to catch up on, but here are a few shots of our minus 25C (-13F)Christmas walk for the time being:

    Bookmark   January 3, 2010 at 8:33PM
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Another 8 roses pruned today, and two dug up and dispatched to the yard waste, both are (were) in serious decline. I havent started on the climbers yet (other than the editing of Cecile Bruner) and those always take time- ladders are involved . I have piles of rose parts everywhere, as my yard waste and back up receptacles have been full since the day after they were picked up . It looks like mild weather for the next several says , with Denise-like temps so I hope to get the bush roses finished next weekend, on to the climbers after that.

Im very pleased with my work on the bookshelves this morning-I have a bag filled to be donated to the library and was able to clear up the piles of books that were starting to collect on tables etc. due to lack of shelf space.

V, Ive stayed in both the Palmer House and the Chi. Hilton, and nice to know there is an interesting new entry. If it is on the list for the trade show next August I might give it a try. Im partial to the view from the ladies room at the bar on the 96th floor of the John Hancock myself. ! Ive taken many people there over the years (the bar, not the ladies room , lol) and its interesting to see the different reactions..some prefer to be back from the windows and some like to be right up against them. I love visiting Chicago . Talk about architecture the best and most diverse in the US as far as Im concerned.

Michelle, Im so glad you got to spend time with Kenzie . I know what it means to you..and her too I expect . I have my Michelle seeds for next year after my experience with Celosia spicata Flamingo Feather I am going to direct sow the darker version you sent me. I came to the conclusion that they disliked being transplanted. Im presently pondering the Thompson Morgan catalog. I think my Amaranth viridis will self sow, but Im going to start some just case ..really liked them.

Cindy I remember that Cherry Brandy ..Im going to do Coconut Lime this year ..if I can find it. I bet if you looked through your pics, or the Idyll threads from IU it would remind you of the must-haves-which there are always too many of !

Norma, it is nice to be able to get outside in winter . January is usually very rainy here so the next week will be cherished,

All for tonight ..time to whip up some enchiladas..adios !

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   January 3, 2010 at 8:36PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Yes Kathy, Thompson & Morgan was in my mailbox when I returned. I was folding over pages while seated by the fire this evening...mostly vegetables though.

And this too arrived in my mailbox :)
Hundreds gather to protest global warming!

    Bookmark   January 3, 2010 at 11:02PM
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After spending two days PITCHING I have 2 large bags for donation and another for the hauling. And Im not anywhere near done! Sorting slows me down, making piles, trying on clothing, rearranging and then culling through again to make the second cut. DH is no help, wanting to keep every shirt he owns and he has so many they never wear out. Our house is not overly large and every few years. when all the storage has been filled, there has to be a mass exodus. I want to start painting our bedroom in February so Im allowing plenty of time to get this done.

Ei, thanks for the close up of your special robin. I was wondering what was in the cloche from the table photo in the last Idyll but we were running full speed with that title and it slipped my mind. I love that its really a cake stand instead, great idea! Be sure to post the other two creations when you get them done, OK?

Vwhat a busy week! Your photos are wonderful; that color of turquoise blue in the light fixtures and Tiffany dome are simply breathtaking! Really like the one of your DH in the lobby through the grating, too. Amazed you managed to catch him alone without a lot of people in the picture.

Glad you had a nice visit with your family, Mary, the picture says it all.

Michelle, great to see you and Kenzie together looking so happy!

I loved the Annies Annuals pictures, Kathy, what a fun place. Lots of repurposed containers and neat ideas, Im sure. Thanks for the burst of color on a grey day!

Time to confess, at the risk of expulsion or at least 6 months probation that.I dont grow seeds. There, Ive said it and stand before you, shamed. No basement, no porch, no utility room, not even a bay window to even give it a try inside. My results at direct sowing were pathetic; not even sure what I did wrong. And I might as well tell you, I cant keep houseplants alive either unless theyre some pothos or philodendron. So whats your secret Marian? Ei says youve got lovely houseplants so I hope you post photos and a tutorial on taking care of them. Oh, and I had to google a slipper orchid, wow! They are so exotic looking; and I do know that orchids are not the easiest houseplants to grow.

Welcome back, bug! In a way, I bet youre ready to get back home to Phoebe and normal routine. Looking forward to more of your pictures but these first two remind me not to complain about the cold weather here! Oh, and someone mentioned you posted window frost photos quite a while ago? Id love to see them if its possible to repost. You and your camera team up for the most marvelous photography so I know they must be fantastic!

Norma, I didnt know you had ponds??.and a waterfall?! Where are the pictures? Please take a few while youre out on a walk!

Hi to Cyn, Cindy, Chelone and everybody elseenjoyed reading your posts the last couple of days during a short break in my PITCH program.

Misc. Pic of the day:
Came around a corner of the side yard last fall and froze in my tracks. My mind did not register it as a huge mushroom at first. I thought it was a coiled snake squeezing it's prey.
After spending two days PITCHING I have 2 large bags for donation and another for the hauling. And Im not anywhere near done! Sorting slows me down, making piles, trying on clothing, rearranging and then culling through again to make the second cut. DH is no help, wanting to keep every shirt he owns and he has so many they never wear out. Our house is not overly large and every few years. when all the storage has been filled, there has to be a mass exodus. I want to start painting our bedroom in February so Im allowing plenty of time to get this done.

Ei, thanks for the close up of your special robin. I was wondering what was in the cloche from the table photo in the last Idyll but we were running full speed with that title and it slipped my mind. I love that its really a cake stand instead, great idea! Be sure to post the other two creations when you get them done, OK?

Vwhat a busy week! Your photos are wonderful; that color of turquoise blue in the light fixtures and Tiffany dome are simply breathtaking! Really like the one of your DH in the lobby through the grating, too. Amazed you managed to catch him alone without a lot of people in the picture.

Glad you had a nice visit with your family, Mary, the picture says it all.

Michelle, great to see you and Kenzie together looking so happy!

I loved the Annies Annuals pictures, Kathy, what a fun place. Lots of repurposed containers and neat ideas, Im sure. Thanks for the burst of color on a grey day!

Time to confess, at the risk of expulsion or at least 6 months probation that.I dont grow seeds. There, Ive said it and stand before you, shamed. No basement, no porch, no utility room, not even a bay window to even give it a try inside. My results at direct sowing were pathetic; not even sure what I did wrong. And I might as well tell you, I cant keep houseplants alive either unless theyre some pothos or philodendron. So whats your secret Marian? Ei says youve got lovely houseplants so I hope you post photos and a tutorial on taking care of them. Oh, and I had to google a slipper orchid, wow! They are so exotic looking; and I do know that orchids are not the easiest houseplants to grow.

Welcome back, bug! In a way, I bet youre ready to get back home to Phoebe and normal routine. Looking forward to more of your pictures but these first two remind me not to complain about the cold weather here! Oh, and someone mentioned you posted window frost photos quite a while ago? Id love to see them if its possible to repost. You and your camera team up for the most marvelous photography so I know they must be fantastic!

Norma, I didnt know you had ponds??.and a waterfall?! Where are the pictures? Please take a few while youre out on a walk!

Hi to Cyn, Cindy, Chelone and everybody elseenjoyed reading your posts the last couple of days during a short break in my PITCH program.

Misc. Pic of the day:

Came around the corner of the side yard last fall and froze in my tracks. My mind didn't register that this was a huge mushroom. I thought it was a coiled snake squeezing it's prey.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2010 at 11:43PM
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Sorry about that double post and misplaced caption. Must have hit a wrong key but then I'm tired and probably need chocolate.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2010 at 11:53PM
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Messing around with the photo files tonight..hope y'all will post some of your 2009 garden pics.Deanne taught me to take lots of shots and then get rid of the bad ones-I 'm good at taking the shots but have an issue with the get-rid-of part !

These are taken around my garden in May and June. Hard to imagine it ever looked like this compared with what it looks like today !

Looking forward to seeing some pics from everyone.

This same view looks like a patch of mud and dry sticks today . From 2009 in Review

More roses, my weakness From 2009 in Review

This Magnolia was dying when I took this photo and is now gone. Though it made a nice background, I am thankful for the sun that has been let in. From 2009 in Review

In my front garden, the pink is our Lady of Guadalupe, one of my best performing roses. From 2009 in Review

Liked this combo, but the Rudbeckia eventually ate Casablanca alive. The shovel is poised next to this monster as we speak. From 2009 in Review

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   January 4, 2010 at 12:41AM
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Okay, that's a good series of pictures! Mary and brother make perfect bookends to cousins! GB, what a frigid day for a walk, but everyone looks happy and healthy and bundled up appropriately!

V., I love all of your photos, and with Kathy, I am taking a class in the spring, too! Just on a different coast. You've come a long way! I hope your updating your blog with your travels...finding a plant here and there (Christmas trees must count?).

Michelle, the picture of you and Kenzie is certainly don't look like her grandmother! I'm so glad you both got to get together. Making memories...

I love the masses that showed up to protest global warming - cute picture. I liked the mushroom, too. I wouldn've thought it a snake at first, too!

Candy, I can't keep plants alive in the house, either, and I only grow seeds telling myself not to fret if they don't make it to the garden (though last year I had success with a lot of just depends on what the year brings me!). You're still welcome here. For a while I thought I might lose my membership as I had a couple of years where my heart just wasn't in it :)

Kathy, I can't wait to see it in person!

I was thinking about the cold harsh life my bees are living right now. I have been looking through catalogs at seeds, too, but also at mason bees, and think I'll do it this year! I'm going to grow both colors of amaranth this year, Kathy, as well as more castor beans. Last year's weather wasn't right for my tropical garden, but I'm going for it again!

Later gators!


    Bookmark   January 4, 2010 at 7:22AM
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Cheery morning shots, Kathy. All is white and still outside the windows here. ;) I'm home again today, one more day in the Salon before the return to the inevitable. I was distinctly irritated by the interruption and tone of yesterday's telephone call informing me of this latest example of disorganization.

I assembled the newly refurbished bookcase, added the new back pcs. and began collecting and organizing my books for placement on the shelves. I have them neatly sorted into categories and realize I have plenty of room to add more! On a sad note, I went through a couple of boxes from THTTF and stumbled upon a picture of my recently deceased friend and melted down immediately. I still bear the trademark swollen eyes this morning. I have determined it's my destiny to be periodically destroyed by the awfulness of his death which beats the hell out of being completely destroyed by it, I suppose.

Candy, I don't fart around with seeds, either. I have no place for a seed starting set up, either. Neither do I think I'd be predisposed to fussing over them for the amount of time required. I didn't even bring in any geraniums last fall. The only greenery in my home are 3 rapidly dessicating fern-type things on a windowsill. I've debated transplanting them to a large planter and relocating them to the Salon but there is every liklihood that will never happen. The extent of my winter digging is mining for cat tubers a couple of times a day.

Welcme home, 'bug, bet the cats were some glad to have you back in the rack, huh? We refer to ourselves as giant hot water bottles for our pride. How about an update on your gimpy dog?

How much insurance do you think they carry on the world's largest Tiffany Dome? I was thinking that it must be exceptionally well photographed and documented as a safeguard to any unfortunate occurence.

Time to get about my business, I suppose.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2010 at 7:55AM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

Good cold morning all....

Re: growing seeds. I pretty much stopped doing that when our GDs were small. The set-up of sprouting seeds took too much room, and was to tempting for little hands to investigate. Also, having the two cats indoors hampered the seed growing. I will not do that again because of all the other drawbacks.
Candy, I really appreciate all you kind words about my houseplant success. I really have no secret. I guess it is just a talent that was bestowed on me. I am not all that much of an expert. I very seldom fertilize. I water very sporadically. I do occasionally groom the ones that are most visible. I try to chose exposure that is the most appropriate for each variety, according to the 'experts'. :-)
I am including a link to my PT albums for your enjoyment. Keep in mind, I chose the best plants, and views of them, to post. I have many that are not at all handsome......surviving, but not pretty!

There are too many albums....just chose the ones that are of interest to you.


    Bookmark   January 4, 2010 at 8:57AM
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Full_Bloom(z5 IL)

Thanks for reminding me Cindy...

Michelle & Drema I sure would love to see of your Potagers again if you wouldn't mind posting a few pics when you have the time?

Great pic of Ronald and the girls...I love that look of glee on Kenzie's face. Michelle when I think of your garden and if I was going to describe it with a "g" surely wouldn't be gaudy, more like glorious. I don't have a problem with fact I'm a color floozy. :-) It's just that I really don't like where the FKG is...I wanted it in the center of the yard, but placed it where it is because of drainage issues. Anyway, the reason I'm thinking the fkg would be better more subdued is because there is already so much going on around it. I'll wait until I can get some pics together to show you what I mean. I am serious about wanting advice from everyone. I wish I knew the Idylls when I first installed the fkg...I know you would have steered me in the right direction and have come up with a better solution.

Lol V...guess I really *didn't* remember the new name for the Sears Tower. I'll get it down in my mind surely by the time I'm eighty. I *still* have a hard time calling Marshall Fields "Macy's". I love those light fixtures...they look Native American to me, in an Art Deco style...what a statement! Are you afraid of heights?

The coral couch sounds lovely Cindy and I'm loving the idea of a tropical theme (it's 5 degrees here) :-) This year I want to get Echinacea 'Tomato Soup'?...I think that's what it's called. I have just the spot that needs that color. I also have my eye on Dicentra 'Burning Hearts'. It's a deep hot red and I think it would be perfect in the dry river bed out front. I haven't seen 'Cherry Brandy',but I love the name.

Great couch Mary. Count me in with everybody else in saying what a lovely family you have...such warm and happy faces. I bet the tree with your needle felted dogs is wonderful. I would love to see a pic if you wouldn't mind sharing. I remember all the sweet needle felted animals you were doing. I also remember a beautiful wool purse you made...I think for your SIL? Have you tried needle felting a chicken yet? :-)

Lovely pics Bug...I can't get over how big Skylar is getting too! He's maturing so quickly...seems like just yesterday you shared pics of a sweet impish little boy and now he is already turning into a handsome young man. How is he adjusting to his new hearing world?

Cyn...I'm sorry either I missed out on what you do or I wasn't here when you were sharing with everyone...are you a teacher? In the city of Chicago it's the same many of the kids really *want* to be at school. They see school as a safe haven from the streets. It breaks my heart to think about it. When I say my prayers I always add a special prayer that any child who is suffering tonight will somehow find comfort and security in the belief that someone truly loves them and that they find the strength to believe in themselves. I admit I cry sometimes at night when I lie in bed and the thought comes over me that somewhere out there right now is a child who is suffering...sometimes the feeling is almost unbearable. I'm truly grateful for people like you. BTW, what kind of dogs do you have? Again, I apologize if you've already shared that with everyone...I'm still trying to get up to speed.

Kathy, before I re-read Cindy's post, I thought the two of you were talking about imbibing. Thanks for sharing the Annie pictures...what a charming and whimsical place. I'd love to see Annies and all of you too of course and don't need any encouragement to see beautiful California again. Things are kind of tight right now, but who knows, maybe I'll find a job before then. What a treat seeing sunny skies and things a're gardens are lovely! Spring is my favorite season. you ever go to Muir Woods? It's my most favorite places. When I'm out there I go really early in the morning before the crowds get there and it really is a spiritual experience for me.

I'm happy to report I now have my own copy of Up. :-) Chelone...I think that's really neat that you and DH saw it on your perfect! So sorry about the painful reminder of your friend ((Chelone)).

Eden...I'm sorry if I missed your telling about it and I'm sorry to hear your cats aren't feeling well. What is wrong with them? I do hope they are all feeling back to their old selves soon!

Candy, no worries about double happens to the best of us. Well, I don't know about the best of us, but it's definitely happened to me. Re the seed starting...have you tried winter sowing? I've never tried it, but have heard many people talk about what luck they've had with it. You actually sow the seed in plastic jugs outside in winter and by spring they have sprouted and supposedly are healthier than those you would have started inside (since they've been exposed to the elements.). At least that's my simplified explanation of it. Maybe someone here has done it before and would share. Marian can grow *anything*...she's amazing. She has shared some wonderful pics of her orchids, violets, and houseplants and maybe she will share some again. I always think about what a treat it must be to have so many green and blooming things in the house when all is cold and dark outside. Wish I had the knack. :-)

Norma's ponds & gardens are wonderful. She has done such a beautiful job with everything. I love the country feel of her gardens and she really has a talent for making everything look like it naturally grows wherever she's planted it. I found a link from when Norma shared pics of the pond & waterfall. It was a real treat for me and I know you will enjoy them too...

So you leave your pumps on all winter, Norma? Is it better for the fish to keep the pumps going? Now you have me worried. I've always pulled the pump out thinking that was the best thing to do, and haven't had a problem. But, would the fish be happier if I kept the pump running? Does the size of the pond make a difference? My pond is small.

Saucy...I'd bee interested in knowing what the bees do in winter. I'm guessing that they hibernate like bears, but I bet you have a lot more information about their secret little world in winter and I would love to hear more...I'm fascinated by bees. One of these days I think I'd like to try to have my own.

Gotta get to Leslie...TTYL!


    Bookmark   January 4, 2010 at 9:00AM
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I am in a rush!crisis nursery this morning and then some errands. Never should I come here when time is short; thats when I find all kinds of reading and photos.

Kathy, Im almost blinded by the color in those pics but the green just leaps out at me this time of year. Hope you are photo documenting those areas now to show us some construction and after shots.

Marian! Do not break your link, please. No way am I going to pick and choose. I want to view it at my leisure and am thrilled to see you have shared so many organized albums. What a treat for winter viewing! Maybe bookmarking it will ensure me access?

And Ei, thanks for the link with Normas pond pics. I had no clue these ponds were so magnificent. Should have known better with an Idyll though. Norma, I wont be caught off guard by your understatements again, lol. And how neat to see that swing arbor you mentioned that was covered with clematis. Time for a walk, Normalets see it in winter.

Chelone, I feel much better knowing you dont grow seeds and Saucy has had hit and miss years.

OK, must leave NOW.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2010 at 11:28AM
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I've spent the morning in the Salon organizing, sorting, and throwing things out. The old Lab. is looking pretty chaotic about now, however, but I've resolved to get the Salon squared away before turning my attention to the final disinfection of the Lab.. While I sorted thread (integrating the crop from THTTF which was as big as the one I have amassed) the helpmeet measured and cut the cleats and the legs for the workbench for MY half of the garage. I am thrilled because this will mean I'll have a proper place to put my "manly" tools and have a place to do the "dirty" jobs. It will also free up space and eliminate a source of clutter in the Salon. The stated goal is to use only materials on hand to accomplish the project (lord knows we have enough of them!), further whittling away yet more clutter. I wait with bated breath hopeful of timely completion ever grateful that no fit of pique was required to get the project underway. ;)

I heard protective barking about mid-morning and looked out the window to see Wrecks charging down the driveway sporting the full Mohawk. Evidently some poor slob had decided to turn around in our driveway and Mr. Mindeveryoneelse'sbusiness took great offense. Suffice it to say the car was jammed into reverse and peeled out of the driveway in record time. Wrecks arrived at the end of the driveway just in time to inhale exhaust fumes and just stood there looking confused with his tail wagging back and forthe. He couldn't quite figure out why no one wanted to greet him with the same enthusiasm he'd just displayed... lol.

The helpmeet has been poring over the Johnny's Selected Seeds catalogue deciding on what produce he will plant for our consumption later this year. The new footprint of Vegetable World is defined by fence posts but not yet fully enclosed, nor has the irrigation or the wiring for lights been layed in place. I have doubts about the thoroughness of the drainage he's instituted but since the ground has frozen it's not reallly fair of me to pronounce it a "half-assed" attempt just yet. ;) I have lobbyed hard for it to be less "utilitarian" and more of a "design element" and while the transformation may not occur in one season I see that it has fine potential. I think frequently of Michelle's lovely potager as I gaze across the driveway at it.

I love this time of year for the opportunity it accords us to see the yard in an unadorned state. It's easier to imagine what could be without the distraction of too much growth to impede the imagination. I've been bitten by the design bug with respect to the inside of the driveway. Just some very basic thoughts at this stage and some very important questions relating to reworking the area around the base of the big maple without killing the tree. I have, as yet, kept my lip zipped so as not to incite panic in the helpmeet...

Thoughts on family:
It was a delight to see Michelle and Kenzie mugging for the camera with Ronald McDonald; I am sure her strong family connection will see her through the stress that so worries her grandmother. Worries, too, I hope will be soon allayed.

Miss Ivy in her blankie sling with her brother and her Daddy remind me that life continues after tragedy but only if you are wise enough to allow it to do so. A good and timely reminder in the depth of winter.

The potential result of momentary pleasure must be stressed to all young people and considered before indulgence. Many of us are very disapproving when saddled with the societal pricetag of such thoughtlessness. NO child should dread "vacation" for want of safety, food, or warmth. Makes my blood boil when contemplating the grim realities social servants face daily when confronted with innocent victims.

OK, time to get on down to the Lab. and do some more sorting, sifting, and create more piles of items for the Salon and the workbench area... this will free up the 3/4" plywood counter top that will soon be recycled as a workbench top!

    Bookmark   January 4, 2010 at 3:07PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Candy, these are for you, from '08.

DH is sick so I'm off to help him get medicated. (a cold, and yes, he had both vaccines)

    Bookmark   January 4, 2010 at 3:49PM
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Who could imagine that frost on windows could be so pretty? I meant to tell Ei. how much I appreciated the winter photography in her linked piece. It really does give winter the sort of appreciative look it deserves.

So much for vaccinating for 'flu, huh, 'bug?

    Bookmark   January 4, 2010 at 4:16PM
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Baby its cold out there! -20 this a.m. and a town about an hour away reported 34.

Seeing Normas ponds again is really quite a treat.

Im anxious to hear more about bugs trip and Im sure there are more pictures. Ivy looks just as the saying goes "as cute as a bug in a rug"

Chelone, hugs to you as you work your way through your grief. LOL on the cat tubers.

Saucy, my tropical garden failed miserably last year too. The 2 years before it really was a delight.

Kathy, that first picture is my absolute favorite. The roses are incredible.

Candy, I ran across one of those mushrooms this fall too. I had never seen one before.

The Tiffany dome is quite amazing V.

Ive done the indoor seed starting a few times but failed miserably. Wintersowing seems to work well for me. Houseplants are not my thing either and I just barely keep alive my plants under lights Yikes! when was the last time I watered them?

I guess I really should put the Christmas decorations away.


    Bookmark   January 4, 2010 at 8:32PM
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cyn427(z7aN. VA)

Okay, I KNOW I posted last night, but I must not have hit that final submit. ADD-it's catching dontchaknow! I know I told Michelle that I loved her pic with Kenzie who looks oh-so-happy and talked to Mary about wanting to be a musician in my next life, and to everyone else, too. So frustrating to lose all that. Oh well-probably saved all of you from a touch of tedium.

Anyway, I will be back tomorrow-worked on jobs all day around here and plan to tuck in with the Sunday crossword.

Ei, I will take time to tell you I am a teacher-special education. I know what you mean about the kids. I can't tell you how often I wish I could just bring them home with me!

See you all tomorrow.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2010 at 9:17PM
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Wonderful pictures on this thread.

V, those lights are sure pretty, and I liked the one of DH through the grid also. Good composing.

Kathy, loved seeing your summer garden. I would love roses too if I could grow them like you do.

Candy, I see why you were startled by the mushroom.

Bugs family in the snow is a treat, as are the frosty windows.

Ei's robin lends a summery note, and Ei I even enjoyed the link to my pond pics. Nice to see it in it's summer finery instead of the frozen barren look that it is now. There is only one large fantail goldfish in there right now. He would be fine if I took the pump out, but I would rather leave it running. I did lose a lot of frogs one year when it wasn't running.

Michelle, I won't complain about our cold. Yours is worse.

Chelone, hope the workbench gets completed in a timely manner.

Bug I enjoyed your photo threads.

Nothing new here today. Norma

    Bookmark   January 4, 2010 at 9:43PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

I went back to work with a good attitude and ran smack into the same old, same old. The dingbat coworker opened her personal email titled "Funny Video" and got her computer infected almost before she had her coat off. I would be more tolerant if this wasn't the fifth or sixth time this has happened. It was almost noon before I had it cleaned up.

The good news is that the boss seems to be in a better mood than he was before the holidays. I hope this lasts!

I don't think I had shared any photos from the ice storm the hit us on the 23rd. Here's a view of the ginkgo bed:

And for contrast, how about a little riotous summer color?

I finished reading "The Help" today. What a great book! I highly recommend this one if you have not read it.

Now to finish a little more clean up and get to bed early.


    Bookmark   January 4, 2010 at 9:55PM
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Did I recommend The Help, too? I loved it (if I didn't).

Loving all the pictures here :)


    Bookmark   January 4, 2010 at 10:04PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Yes, I'm all for Spring color...NOW!
May 13-2009

Norma, Little Ivy is not even 17 pounds...(less than I need to lose this winter!)She's a tiny little thing, but oh so full of energy! Busy busy!
Although Skyler has hearing difficulties, it all seems to improve bit by bit due to innovations in the field. He needs to concentrate and calm down, and if concentrating on music pleases him, GREAT! Whatever he hears, it is his life to work at. Anything that will help, I'm all for. He is thrilled with the idea of guitar lessons at the moment, but once it becomes actual work, I'm not sure what will happen and how his mother will respond to it all. We shall soon see.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2010 at 10:30PM
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Happy Monday everyone, it was a fairly smooth re-entry into the awfice today, since everyone else I deal with had multiple days off there was not the 100 plus e-mails and 15 plus voice mails that usually accompany a week away.

I will admit to have taken a vacation from seed starting and the Idylls rekindled my interest , and I had fun doing it in my garage last year. Chelone, once you get the Lab emptied out, what a good spot to set up some lights etc..maybe the helpmeet and his Johnnies catalog need to move in there.

Cyn, many of us compose our posts in MS Word and then copy and paste into the text box on GW. If the post is saved in your documents it is easy to re-post if you have an incident.

Ei , I am so glad you are hanging around posting once more ! I am afraid I dont visit Muir Woods too often. I and my family go about 4 hours drive north to Humboldt County where the old growth redwood forests are..and you are right , the redwood forest is a very spiritual place; my late DH loved it and that it where we (the family) scattered his ashes . I will be escorting the IU7 crowd through the redwoods in Mendocino County and will leave time on the schedule; I know we have several Idylls who have never visited the redwoods, and it's right on the way to 2 of our gardens.

Good show V, the winter and summer scenes.

If any of you who are considering IU7 have not received and e-mail from me in the last 3 days or so, please let me know. I am trying to get a head count; believe it or not there are some hotels already booked for June and I want to acquire some group space if at all possible; lodging is expensive here .

Ok, thats all for me tonight, I hope others will post some scenes from their summer gardens !

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   January 4, 2010 at 11:01PM
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Stunningthank you, bug! It looks like ferns, so finely etched and glistening in detail.

Chelone, Vegetable World must be quite a Disney production what with irrigation and did you say wiring for lights?!" What kind of light system does he have in mind?

Marian, I started with the houseplant albums and what a surprise! You have an amazing collection, mostly ones Ive never seen. Cant believe you have an Angel Wing Begonia that came from your MIL years ago! I notice you seem to have good lighting, lots of windows and a sliding door which must provide a bright environment the plants love. But youve definitely got a special touch and probably sense what they need individually! The Episcia caught my eye with unusual leaves that look like needlework or some kind of stitching. Neomarica gracilis reminds me of colorful plant life you see on coral reefs, but oh my!the phals, with their pale sherbet colors of lemon, lime and peach blending into one another. The one from Ei must be a favorite for you. And that new dark red one is so strikingly beautiful. Thank you again for posting your albums, Im going to enjoy them all.

So many great photos on this title, I cant wait to see what everyone comes up with tomorrow!

Misc. pic of the day:

    Bookmark   January 5, 2010 at 12:13AM
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I miss summer....though I see I need more plants (there are still bare spots! and I could take the stickers off the new skylights!)

    Bookmark   January 5, 2010 at 7:47AM
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Great shot Saucy ! I had thought of taking a pic from an upstairs window, but the cleanliness factor prevented it, lol. That deck just looks like the place to be ...

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   January 5, 2010 at 10:39AM
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Cyn, funny about you feeling sure you posted -- I feel certain that I read it, about your wanting to study music.

Misty tearing into presents was a great start to this thread. Those ears say Skye Terrier to me.

I have Chelone's "denial of West Coast" syndrome when it comes to snow. I stare hard at the photos hoping the reality seeps in, but all I see is great beauty and can't imagine the day-to-day of living with such cold temps. And the frost etchings! I described that and other phenomena to Marty, who said that growing up they would gently remove the ice cloaks from leaves and hold a perfect frozen leaf cast in their palm, then pop them in their mouth!

Temps here are 70s during the day, dipping into 40s at night, no rain forecast for the week. Marty's coming off four night watches, so he'll either collapse into an early bed or we'll head to some movies we've missed.

Most of my seed starting was done in the fall. Great germination rate, but have already lost all the clary sage plants -- those are always miffy for me. Larkspur was dug up by the cats and is no more so will try a spring sowing. Poppies from Annies planted in fall are now big plants already in bud...which doesn't bode well for a coherent spring show if the poppies are bloomed out by March. Tulips are nosing up in their pots too. Hellebores, mine all green-flowered corsicans, are in bloom. No photos of any of the above, but here's 'Jaws' taken with an Olympus Pen camera I'm buying off Mitch:

Work is slow this week, no jobs in sight yet. My car's clutch blew out mid December and is due back today. Luckily I was a few blocks from home, just returning from a busy freeway trip, and was able to roll in first gear all the way home. Lots of reading in my "outpost" (bath house) at night, putting away the holiday stuff, and fooling around with stencils on the east fence:

Mitch stayed at a hostel over New Year's at the Marin Headlands, a place we often took the boys when young, just over the Golden Gate Bridge. Too bad it's 50 miles from Napa, because it's a stunning site, close to the City, and the hostel is comprised of grand old bldgs where idyls could bunk together -- very cheap -- and available late June.

Julie's EAT program elicited some chortles, esp. about bureaucrats lovin' the acronyms, which brings to mind some of the worst depos I've endured involving the NASD, the SEC, EBITDA, etc. Painting in the sunroom off the kitchen is almost done, and the cracks in the kitchen ceiling now top the EAT list. Saucy's advice last year to get a good plasterer may be acted upon this year!

Saucy, it sounds like you're starting off the new year with a head of steam up, getting out the resume. Good for you!

Kathy, your dedication to pruning shows in your rose photos, the blooms beautifully arranged over the bush.

This thread holds a treasury of photos. Wonderful to see idyll grandparents united with distant grandkids. And I think it's a good idea to recycle summer photos in winter, where we can extract every last detail from them in a garden-deprived state. Loved seeing Norma's ponds again and Saucy's Terrapin Station in its summer glory, not to mention the field trip to Chicago!

On a bizarre note, my eldest brother, traveling in England since October, just called in to my mom yesterday and found out dad died in November. So he wants all the details from my mom, which pitches her into quite the state. So much easier if everyone in the family experiences the event in real time! His cell phone was useless in England, for some reason. I'm going to head over to my mom's this morning with Ein to get them both out for a walk.

It is great to "read" Ei again and get to know the newer idylls. Keep it coming, ladies!

    Bookmark   January 5, 2010 at 12:38PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Denise, your stenciling seems Scandinavian to me, and so I thought of Carl Larsen's wife Karin, who stenciled and wove beautiful designs. I searched on the web for some of her work...and found none. But if you look at some of Carl's paintings, you can see some of her cushions and tablecloths. As I looked through some of these, I saw things that I had not seen before, namely all the indoor plants they kept, Carl's pipe, and so on.

Sorry to read about your brother having to catch up on family news. It must indeed be hard on your mother.

Heat wave here today...20F.

Poor DH had his first class today. I'm not sure what kind of first impression you make on 18-25 year olds when you are 69 and full of germs.

In a few minutes a friend is bringing his 80 year old mother and a brother over for a visit. They are here from Switzerland. I hope their car manages our laneway, which is in its annual "luge event" mode, covered in ice.


    Bookmark   January 5, 2010 at 1:53PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

Another snow photo for today:

And here is my DIL's comment on the photo, "Here, we find the Canis lupis familiaris Mysticus searching for the evasive poopsicle. Let's watch to see if he catches his prey."

Yes, I love her sense of humor!

As a kid growing up in the city, I was sure that water lilies were something incredibly exotic that only grew in some unobtainable location. So I secretly feel very smug to know that I have a large, healthy plant wintering under the ice of the pond that will kick out these amazing flowers next summer.

Saucy, I remembered that someone else had read The Help and wasn't sure who it was. I had a chuckle at the very end of the book, when the author noted that she was told that Shake 'n' Bake was not around in 1962 but that she decided to keep the reference in the book anyway. I puzzled over that when I read it in the book as I was sure that SNB was not around then! I also have a vague memory of a dress or skirt with lots of pleats that my mother used to have my grandmother's "ironing lady" iron for us.

I got some little, annoying clean-up jobs done when I arrived home this evening, but now I feel like I'm running out of steam quickly. I have to prepare a presentation for our church's budget meeting on Sunday so I shall have to find some energy reserves to get me through!

Denise, I love the agave shot. Did I mention I am got two agaves for Christmas? They won't arrive until late February, though. Sorry for the kerfuffle with your brother. It's got to be so hard for your mom to rehash all of that now.

Saucy, great shot of the deck and yard!


    Bookmark   January 5, 2010 at 7:44PM
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The Fabu mantle Display is officially no more, and the rest of the evening has been spent in responding to IU7 e-mails and compiling info from same. If there is anyone here who is not on the e-mail list for IU7 , and wishes to be, please let me know and I will add you. I am trying to get a ballpark head count so I can book some group rate space in towns where lodging can be $$. Ive been fiddleing around with the garden itinerary and think I might have a rough draft to send out soon. And thanks to all who have responded thus far.

Denise, that looks like one nice camera ! Im just chomping at the bit to take my photo classes in March. We were promised high 60s this week , but it failed to come to fruition, dont think it got over 50 today here-which I suppose seems sauna-like to our cold climate compadres. My Corsican hellbores are budded , as is H. foetida , and others are blooming. Got to get the tulips planted this weekend without fail! Nice stencil action.. you have to make use of every surface when you are in the dinky lots we endure here in Calif. Ahh, the Marin Headlands ! However, the Mendocino Headlands are on the agenda, and may be even more dramatic , though not as high. Too bad we dont have time to take in Big Surthe ultimate in Calif coastal experiences. My BIL was in China when his Mom (my DMIL) passed away unexpectedly..this was in the 80s so my DH and I spent a lot of time trying to make contact I think it took us 2 days, no cell phones etc back then. He could not get out of China for the funeral. Good vibes to your Mom.

V, I thought I was looking at Ms Phoebe for a moment !

Candy, very nice DL photo !

Ill make a contribution tonight, a couple from IU6 to wet the appetite

Sleep well my friends.

Kathy in Napa

White Flower Farm..a real treat ! This was one of many photos I took of their long border. From Idyllunion 6 July 2009

Lookee here, exchanging adresses on The Compound with Vegetable World only a few feet out of view.. From Idyllunion 6 July 2009

    Bookmark   January 5, 2010 at 10:39PM
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Yoo-hooo ?

    Bookmark   January 6, 2010 at 1:45PM
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Those Larsen paintings are lovely, esp. the ones featuring plants. The tension of ornate design in an austere setting really appeals to me.

Today was a fortunate day in that I stumbled upon the invention which will enable me to purchase two acres in the PNW -- mop shoes! If you've seen these already advertised on commercial tv, don't tell. Let me live the dream for a day! Throwing down a wet paper towel on the kitchen floor and mooshing it around with my foot was the genesis of my invention. I'm thinking garden shoes with sponges bungee-corded to the bottoms as prototypes.

Now off to my day job...waves to all.

(just googled and, believe it or not, they've already been invented. sigh...Maybe a feather duster hat for those hard to reach spots in the ceiling?)

    Bookmark   January 6, 2010 at 1:55PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Denise, years ago I "invented" a bowl for desserts with a rim around the top where you could place plum and cherry pits...or tea bags, etc. Obviously I didn't strike it rich.

Here's the Larsen picture I liked.

Many others here: Lots to look at under "People" section.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2010 at 3:51PM
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Very snowy here and supposed to get windy. I left work around noon. By the time I was nearly home it felt like I was driving across a field. You couldn't see the road at all and with the ditches full of snow it all looked flat and white.

This thread is full of the glories of summer - love it!

Denise, how sad that your brother was out of touch at the time of your father's death. Bummer about the clutch, but a good thing you were close to home.

Saucy, great shot of your deck. Your pots are wonderful and add such a tropical feel - especially the banana. Wow!

My plan is to start wallpaper removal this afternoon.

The butterfly garden summer, fall and today. I couldn't find the exact angle for each shot but you get the idea. Even the shrubs are buried for the most part.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2010 at 4:43PM
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cyn427(z7aN. VA)

Denise, too funny. You should get that new annoying commercial guy (you know, that Shamwow fellow) to hawk your feather duster hat. I'll bet people would buy it just b/c it is so funny. Mostly, I imagine it would be perfect for gifts for the person who has everything---except your feather duster. I would need an extension for mine in order to reach the ceiling, but there you would have that "something extra" for people who call in the next hour. All for $19.95. What a deal.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2010 at 5:16PM
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Full_Bloom(z5 IL)

Beautiful pics everyone.

That's a nice thing to say Kathy, but the truth is I think I chased everyone away with my babbling.


    Bookmark   January 6, 2010 at 6:06PM
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Denise, believe it or not, I think Mary has a pair of mop shoes and she showed us here a couple of years back! What a small world.

I invented the "lobster roll" but someone beat me to it. It would be a rolling pin (smaller sized, though) that you could use to roll the lobster meat out of the small legs...some of my favorite meat. Later I saw that someone had already thought of it.

...and then there were "Armies...defense against the cold" They were long "sleeves" that spanned the difference between the coat and always get a red mark there where they're not protected. Someone thought of that one, too.

Sorry...I get carried away with inventions.

Hmmm...I posted here this morning about me in another odd position....but it disappeared. I crack right up when I see myself.

Jake's home from his first driver's ed class...think I'm going to go curl up with one of my new books: Spam and Eggs, or Dogtown?


    Bookmark   January 6, 2010 at 8:37PM
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I have no time to post, but wanted to say that I am very happy to see Ei posting, and love everyone's pics. Michelle your border is gorgeous, and bug's travelog, everything. Thanks! I am going to post some pics of the doggies, and potager, per request, hopefully tommorrow. I think some posts have disappeared from what they say at the start of the forum.

Hi to all! Talk to you tommorrow.


    Bookmark   January 6, 2010 at 9:08PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

Go for Dogtown, Saucy, and leave the Spam for another day.

(Spam, spam, spam, spam - sing with me, girls!)

GUESS WHAT! Yes, I'm shouting, shouting from the rooftops if I could. I had a long talk with the bossman today and he is giving serious consideration to an office reorganization. I won't go into too many details, but I am excited and this just may come out the best for me. After being so discouraged about the state of affairs for so long, I feel so relieved it's indescribable. Now to keep my fingers crossed that it all works out as he laid it out to me.

'bug, I love the Spring painting!

Michelle, I'm afraid that your weather is headed my way. The winter storm warning goes into effect shortly.

Ei, you didn't chase me away! Come back and babble, please.


    Bookmark   January 6, 2010 at 9:34PM
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I googled feather duster hat in the event that Denises idea had been pre-invented and seemed to get quite a few results pursuant to French Maid costumes, lol. No actual feather duster hats were returned. This is your big chance Denise, the world is waiting !

Michelle, I love the photo series of the butterfly garden. That has to be one of your favorite beautiful in every season !

I am busily pondering itineraries for IU, such a challenge to try to cram in so many places I would love everyone to be able to see ! I have a basic plan , but am trying to drill down on specifics with driving times etc. My trip to the coast in Feb will be a test drive of the route.

V, I hope things work out for you at the awfice ! Im just wishing for stability and no more drastic cut-backs, RIFs , re-orgs, etc. Flat business levels would be an improvement ,sad to sayand by the way It aint got much Spam in it "..

Ei, blabbing is needed here !

Time to to have some dinner..

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   January 6, 2010 at 10:03PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Such good news for V! I hope he comes through with a great new plan! Then you can pass it on to Michelle who seems to have had work woes for a long stretch as well.

As we bring this Idyll thread to a close I'll add my bit about Christmas. It certainly was about family this year, and that is a great thing. A few things I would change: First, why did uncle Brian have to give Skyler a big man's knife? He is thrilled with it but has no sense of safety and is eager to show it off and be fierce with it. UGH!!! I was also disappointed that Skyler chose to erase messages from the phone. They were very serious ones at that. No sense of respect in that child, cute though he may be. Finally, I was pleased with the gifts DSIL gave to others: For Skyler, a Harry Potter game. This is so much better than the junk he usually plays with both at home and with friends! He also received one of the books and begged to take it for reading times at school. I'm sure it will be misplaced or taken by his mother....Also he received a CD of a Harry Potter book for the car.

Sarah received wonderful tapes too by David Attenborough... and more. Although she doesn't care to watch the TV, (they have no cable) they'll both enjoy these videos. Already Skyler learned a great deal about octopi from the one he looked at.

Skyler begins his guitar lessons this Saturday, and he has been learning that his guitar is an instrument to be cared for, not a toy for his friends to pound on.

And another favorite of mine, Daddy dances with Ivy who fell asleep at New Year's...with Reed in the background photo. Shmaltzy me...

OH! Big news too: DD phoned me today to say they've bought me a ticket for a visit during Skyler's March break. Tickets were on a big sale until tomorrow. The thrill for me is that already they can want me back...just after getting rid of me. Imagine that!


Not only do I enjoy Ei's babbles but I wish we'd hear an update from Blabs about her men folk.

Life is busy and full of germs here!

    Bookmark   January 6, 2010 at 10:38PM
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Goood morning, my fellow inventors!

Oh, yes, the excited but hushed narration of Mr. Attenborough as he crouches down in some wild landscape and tells us all that he sees and what it means.

I was buying grapes on New Year's Eve, and a store employee said, Oh, so you eat 12 grapes on NYE? No clue what he meant, so he explained his culture (Spanish) eats 12 grapes at midnight, one for each month.

About the knife, that'd scare me too. I've carried more knives, cameras and watches of my dad's home for dispersal, and even a g-u-n, one he's had for "defense" since I was a kid but never used, that I need to take to the local P.D. I was joking with my mom that lately every time I leave her house, I'm packing something lethal.

V, that is wondrous news, so glad they'll be some changes! Maybe Michelle will catch some of that action too. And Chelone's employer could use an epiphany too!

Closing out this thread. Ei, it's obvious if people want to twitter and talk in spurts of 164 characters they go elsewhere. Here we like to read and write!

    Bookmark   January 7, 2010 at 10:19AM
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cyn427(z7aN. VA)

Ei, babble on! Your musings are always fun to read!

'bug, Love the picture of Ivy and dad with Reed in the backgound. Is there anything sweeter than a sleeping baby in your arms? Skyler and dad look mighty fine in their beautiful jackets. Any story behind those?

Well, I went to the dentist and am scheduled for the first round of surgery on my gums on Monday. Yuck. Seems I really do need about $30,000 of dental work including crowns for almost every tooth! I am so irked. Then, today I have our regular workmen here. I wanted a new fan in the hall bath because the old one seems to blow only when the heater in the unit is running, too. Mostly, I just want the fan. Time was, this would have been a DH job. Seems those are few and far between these days as my list just grows and grows. Talk about being irked! I scheduled Jorge before the good news from the dentist. Anyway, I thought it would be a quick, cheap, and easy job replacing the fan/light/heater unit. Think again. One of his guys was up in the attic and came down through the ceiling above the tub-not all the way, but wow, what a hole in the ceiling. So now they have to patch that. Jorge is wonderful and I am sure he won't charge for it, but what a pain in the neck. I always feel that any job here becomes much more complicated than he expects it to be. He's one of those quiet types, so I never know what he thinks about working here. He probably cringes every time I call. The people who lived here before us were not prone to doing things the right way, so one thing always seems to lead to another and in trying to fix the jerry- built old set-up, the guy just put his foot though the ceiling. Oh well.

Kathy, I am so going to need that reunion in June! I am determined to figure it out!

V, keeping my fingers crossed for you. Nice to get good news at work, isn't it?!

Michelle, beautiful progression of shots.
Oops-got to go get Jorge some paint for the newly repaired ceiling. He is using my hairdryer to dry the patch-lol.

Later, all.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2010 at 3:30PM
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