Idyll #342 The north wind doth blow...

michelle_zone4December 1, 2007

The North wind doth blow and we shall have snow,

And what will poor robin do then, poor thing?

He'll sit in a barn and keep himself warm

and hide his head under his wing, poor thing.

I think he'll go to Deanne's to be photographed ;o)

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Today reminded me of this poem that I used to read to my kids. It's very wintery here. Sleet, freezing rain and wind. We were going to tackle some more shopping in the city, but decided the best place to be is home. I think next Friday night we will probably drive over and spend the night.

On a day like today I cant begin to tell you how appreciated all the birthday pictures are. I finished the decorating and am in the process of cleaning and wash. IÂm sure there are enough projects around this place to keep me busy all day and more.

Ei, how wonderful to hear from you. What terrible news about Scout. Sorry to hear also that your mom is declining. SheÂs very blessed to have a daughter like you. Your dress is the perfect color for you, but we need to see front (hint, hint) The newlyweds look oh so in love, congratulations to them. Unfortunately your "visitor" is visiting me today ;o)

Âbug, we are now in the black and white world too, but I still love your photos especially with a touch of red. What a fun picture of you and the big furry.

Denise, that is one colorful bunch.

Martie, your gingerbread party brought back memories of making gingerbread houses with my children. I do miss those days. I guess IÂll have to start that tradition with Kenzie.

Christmas 1992

My decorating efforts:

This mirror is from Rick's parents. I've had it a couple of years but haven't used it. I like it on my buffet with the angels etc. The back of the mirror has the manufacturer and the date April 1911.

Hi to all - stay warm!

    Bookmark   December 1, 2007 at 6:11PM
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Think Ive looked at Denises Indian dance troupe about ten times. Those jewel tone colors just really suck me in ! They all look so beautiful too ! That puppet reminds me of Lucy Ricardo trying to sing. Do you see it ?? I could just take those colors and do a garden around them.

I woke up to 27 degrees this morning. It was 52 in the house ! I had to run the heater for about two hours till it hit 60. Corpus delectis abound in the garden. Thank goodness I had moved most of the really tender stuff either inside or to protected areas. I had no idea it was going to get that cold last night, but my citrus are all ok. Expecting mid-30s tonight. Ive been hearing about the predicted storms for the Midwest and Northeast. Im sure you are all hunkered down with your hot toddys and hopefully will avoid having to negotiate any nasty commutes.

Chelone, Mary Queen of Scots, the 1972 film with Vanessa Redgrave as Mary, Glenda as Liz. I think perhaps this film was made before the miniseries Elizabeth R , but not certain. I wish I could speak intelligently on the historical accuracy of the movie, but it has been numerous years since I read the book ( by I think Antonia Fraser? ) and I have not retained all the complicated details of her life.
I have numerous pairs of the Lands End version of those mocs, and I just got a new pair on Wednesday that are lined inside with some fuzzy stuff. I am trying to accumulate proper apparel for my Christmas trip to Portland , and for winters to come in zone 8.
Flo.. I fear that I put off the inevitable with our Boo-Boo Kitty for longer than I should have . I too hope for a slumbering exit for Flo, provided she is not in pain . Its crappy no matter what

bug , there was a comedy several years ago that came out called Best In Show" . I never did see it, but it was a send-up of the dog show circuit. My family was quite involved when I was a child-(Irish Setters). It is quite a sub-culture- nothing I ever wanted to get involved in as an adult though ! An expensive hobby, involving lots of travel , including sending your dogs off on airplane flights with frequency.

Michelle, how pretty your tree is ! Did you steal that urn from Deanne ?? Im sure Ive seen it dripping with Beacon ! So cool that you were able to incorporate the family heirloom mirror into your display. Ive done nothing yet ! But I will be away for Christmas so I will not have quite the extensive décor that I did last year when our family was all here.

Ok, see yall later , bundle up and seek shelter from the storm
Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   December 1, 2007 at 8:15PM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Michelle, is this the one you are speaking of? I took this photo last March.

We are supposed to get our first significant snowfall Sunday evening into Monday morning. Today Doug and I did our last major leaf cleanup and have them all shredded and tucked into the large compost bin on the hill. We've finally almost finished up buttoning up everything for the winter. WE got the new large bird bath emptied and put away safely, put the lawn mower away and took out the snow blower. I also put the bird bath heater in the BB in the Sundial Garden and kept the 'bubbler' in there as well. The last thing that needs doing is putting a tarp over the empty containers in the trailer up on the hill. OH yes, Doug and I finally set up my bird blind inh the back yard and I can't wait until tomorrow to set up with my camera for my first bird photographty session of the season.

Michelle, love the decorations! How beautiful!

Eileen it's great to 'hear' from you. So sorry to hear about Scout and especially sorry to hear about your Mom. ~~ That drawing of Scout is fabulous!

OK I'm getting pretty tired and have to turn in for the evening.

Hello to everyone. I'll try to check in tomorrow.

Nite all

    Bookmark   December 1, 2007 at 8:55PM
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Jerri_OKC(z7 Ok)

Blessings to all the Idylls and especially Flo.
I just photo surfed tonight and loved them all. It was a long day. Today was the beginning of our first weekend of 'Santa Paws' pictures at PetSmart for the season.

Most interesting photos of today:

One German Shepherd and his Python pal
3 giant bunnies and their Corgie mix brother

Off to bed for now. I'll try and post a Santa pix tomorrow. :)

    Bookmark   December 1, 2007 at 9:31PM
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Hope you ladies had great little(actually tall)baby AJ turned 12 yesterday so I've been in clean the house,hide the clutter mode.I think you know what I mean. Now I can switch to Christmas mode : ).
It's snowy and frightful outside tonight! Our electricity had the nerve to go out during dessert but then came right back on: ).


    Bookmark   December 1, 2007 at 10:12PM
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Full_Bloom(z5 IL)

Oh Michelle...I *love* the mirror and what you've done with it....just beautiful. A blue & white Christmas is becoming a favorite scheme of mine, since last year when I turned the elves fru-fru (is that how you spell it?).

Great Idyll Tydll. I remember that poem...My first grade teacher, Mrs. Irma had us memorize it. I think it was from Mother Goose; no? I *loved* Mrs. Irma...she was the *sweetest* teacher and I was lucky enough to have her for 3 grades! :-) We've got freezing rain and snow here today, but oh *is* winter; isn't it? We had the longest, warmest, driest fall that I can remember. Took a long time for the fall colors to show, but when they did...Wow! What a display!

Re the dress...Well, I really do love the dress and hope I have some other occasion to wear it. I would oblige you a front view, but I would probably want to cut out my head...Ive never liked myself in pictures...I am definitely not photogenic.

I sure do hope that Flo goes in her sleep, Chelone...I wish it were that way for all Gods creatures...including the human ones...Why cant it be so? :-( You hit the nail on the head with the mom issue...I could not describe how I am feeling any better than you did. I struggle with my shortcomings all the time and regrets...yep! But your words are very wise and comforting...."Because you CAN'T change what's already passed, and if you wallow in it you will soon forget the FUN and lose the remaining half of shared memories that only the two of you made together." You are so right...I dont want to diminish *any* of the special times me & mom have had...Ive been *so* lucky!

I *love* the rich colors in your sons photo Denisez! LOL...yea I think puppets can be scary too....all though I loved these guys as a child:

I bet V remembers Garfield Goose since we are about the same age and from the same area. I'm not sure Garfield Goose aired anywhere else besides Chicago. I *loved* Frazier, all the puppets and all the great cartoons on that show. I use to race home from school so I could beat my brother to the only T.V....LOL! Great memories! :-)

Bug...the puppy is adorable and I cant wait for you to get yours...Im so happy that youve found a breeder you feel comfortable with.

Thanks about Scout Norma. Well, at this point there is not much to be done, the combination of his age and all his health issues; thyroid, arthritis, bad knees, low level Cushings Disease are wearing him poor sweet Scout. He has also developed tumors...*which* the doctor believes are benign, but we havent had them tested yet. Not sure what I would do in either case. He still loves to eat, and to take a short walks and still loves going for car rides with there is still some joy in his life and that gives me comfort...when these things no longer bring him pleasure or if he loses his interest in food (which is his obsession) then I guess the tough decisions will have to be made, but for now, I don't want to think about that and am just enjoying our time together. Its amazing how an animal sneaks into your heart so profoundly... Well nuff about that...

Hi Jerri! It's great to see you. Do you take the pics at PetSmart? What fun (though I imagine chaotic) that must be...Do include pics if you can...I know that will bring lots of smiles....

Hi Babs! What gorgeous birthday cards....I *love* that toadstool for Mary especially...and it definitely looks like a *toadstool*...LOL...not like the one I got rid of! :-)

Thanks Deanne for the kind words. Your photo is stunning...and definitely the *perfect pic* for Michelle's Idyll Tydll...What a gift you have! I have a file on my computer entitled 'Deanne's Birds' and I often go through them and am as enchanted and amazed as the first time I saw them...hope you're still thinking about that book!

Anyway, thanks everyone for making me feel welcome here....Idylls really are the nicest people.


    Bookmark   December 1, 2007 at 11:04PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

BE CAREFUL OUT THERE! ICE ICE ICE! We have the luge event in our driveway....More freezing rain expected. The laneway has been plowed already this morning to remove snow drifts.

Do you believe that gardeners care for more pets than the average folk? We seem to need to nurture on many fronts. I wonder if there is a single Idyll without a pet....(I think Babs can count her love of insects.) Well I'm sure there are, but not many.

So Katie, tell us how you feel!

    Bookmark   December 2, 2007 at 9:08AM
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'Bug don't forget I have a pet husband and two pet kids lol. I really do have a new insect pet that I will have to try and capture by camera. I brought my plectranthus indoors to overwinter and it's got a crablike spider living on the leaves and everyday I check on it hoping that it stays. I may have to name it. He defends himself by raising his front legs by trying to look scary-the little guy is just about as big as a granule of Osmocote(I figure you'd all asscoiate with that reference easily).

Anyway,have a great sunday....I have to finish my fireplace for the PTU Breakfast with Santa and cut more snowflakes.


    Bookmark   December 2, 2007 at 11:12AM
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Here's a time waster for you: Christmas Hangman

Katie is hurting and I'm trying to figure out the best way to get her up when needed without hurting her. I can't use a sling until she's 'up'. The sling helps her to walk, but she's so unsteady I worry she has hurt herself just getting up and lying down. So next time she is up to go outside for potty (her request not mine), I'm going to put towels on her pillow going 6 different ways and hope one will be going in the right direction the next time she wants 'up.' If she would wear clothes I'd sew the sling on her so that handles would be there. I just ordered a special harness that she might be willing to wear and maybe that will help. I think her regular nighties must 'touch' the repaired area - she's always been cozy with them before.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2007 at 2:10PM
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Cynthia, just googled a bit and couldn't find much of use but did come across a reference to "manual expression of urine" in postop spine surgery phase, i.e., no trips to the potty, you handle it for her. Just wondered if the doc mentioned such a thing and how it's done...Guess they don't catheterize dogs...

What a tough time. I'll try a few more sites. Most of the sites seem to relate to dachsunds and basset hounds, small dogs. Linking the site.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2007 at 3:20PM
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Hello Idylls

More lovely cards - thank you everyone. It's wonderful to see each person's creativity reflected in the photos. We have such a talented grouop here!! Babs - I hope AJ enjoyed his birthday too. Love the toadstool though I'm sorry to hear Ei got rid of her mushroom.

Winter is here with our first significant snow and my first fall on the ice. David and I were walking out from his guitar lesson downtown when I stepped onto the newly shovelled sidewalk only to find it was covered with a lethal layer of ice. It was so slippy I had to crawl on all fours into the snowbank - not my most elegant moment. There were plenty of cars waiting at the light to admire my technique.

Ei - I'm sorry to hear of your Mom's condition and Scout's health. I know you are the most wonderful comfort to both. The collage you are working on is beautiful and will be a lovely way to remember him. Your skillful painting reminds me of a dog portrait Woody did a while back. I agree more photos from the wedding would be lovely.

Cynthia - good thoughts wending their way to you and Katie as you figure out the best way to kep her comfy. Christmas hangman is very fun though I must admit I'm still highly addicted to Free Rice.

This weekend was slated for boot buying (not a moment too soon as neither Annie or David had anything that fitted). I've now kitted both out with winter footwear. Finding something stylish yet practical for a teenager was by far the hardest part but we're both well pleased with the purchases.

Stay warm and dry everyone


    Bookmark   December 2, 2007 at 6:02PM
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honey_mi(Z5 MI)

Just a quick note to let you guys know I havent forgotten you! I cant believe its December already! Where has the time gone? Idylls, Ive truly missed you. I havent read up on you guys yet so please forgive.. Figured Id just jump in and let you know stuff here. Thanks, V and Deanne for your notes. Im so sorry if I worried anyone. These last few months have been a roller coaster with DHs job, DDs divorce, etc., etc.

The latest news is DH was told that Dec. 21st is his last day at work. Today, we spent 4 hrs. sending out resumes. His bosses really dont want him to leave and hes hoping they can pull him back in after the first of the year. Well see. Meanwhile, hell spend the next 2 wks. networking and hopefully can snag something. In this climate and in this state, someone on the inside has to pull you in. For every job posted in the paper, employers are getting 5,000 resumes from really qualified people! And the housing market here is the pits, too. Today there were 127 PAGES of foreclosure notice listings in this county alone. Weve never seen anything like this.

Since July, its been daily drama here with DDs divorce.. Lots of threats, raging and harassment. For her safety, we moved DD in with us. I wont go into details but its been scary at times. We moved a lot of her stuff here to protect it as well. So of course, that meant I had to sift and shift all our stuff around before we could store some of her things in the basement. I also cleaned up the yard at her place so it looks like someone lives there so she wouldnt be vulnerable if she stayed there.

I think this time here with us has been good for her. I know we feel better shes here. We so enjoy seeing her everyday and really talking. Its been years since she and I had heart to heart mom-daughter talks for hours on end like we do now. So thats a side benefit. Lately, things have calmed down and after dinner she has been spending evenings and weekends at her house with her 2 kitties. They are so very lonely. Theyve been eating up a storm and just lazing around so both of them look like footballs with legs. As things have progressed, its looking like he will buy DD out of the house. So shes going thru a mourning period with that. As she said, he took her life as she knew it, away. Itll be interesting moving her two kitties in here with Missy (to say the least!). Im sure itll be a zoo for awhile.

Missy Mischief, or Missy, the terriorist, is growing up too fast! Shes losing the puppy look. She weighs 40+ lbs already. Missy says, Hi Idylls" (Marty, dont look) How can you be mad at a face like this? Yep, she's got me wrapped around her little paws!

Cant wait until she stops jumping in exuberance like shes on a pogo stick whenever someone comes over, tho. All she wants to do is love them and lick their face. We bot her an E-collar and are using it now every day. It allows us to remotely buzz her for bad behaviors excessive barking, counter surfing, jumping, etc.. DH took her to the pet store yesterday to work on walking w/o pulling, not jumping on people and listening in general. We try to do that a couple times a week. Of course, we have to buy stuff while there!

Im also taking her 2 days a week for a half day of doggie daycare. Its $14 for a half day and she gets to run and play with the other dogs inside and out and burn off some energy. The indoor arena is 2500 sq. ft. of padded floor with loads of doggie toys, beds, little houses. Dogs can go outside at will for potty or to an outdoor play area of 1500 sq. ft. There are 2 people moving thru the swarm of dogs with spray bottles to discourage any undesireable behaviors. They only accept dogs that have been neutered and each has to pass a 3-person, 3-dog test before theyll be accepted. DH has been walking her 2 miles every day after work, but now that the weathers bad, she can get her exercise at the day care center. She can barely walk after a morning at daycare and usually rests the rest of the day. Shes also very docile the next day, too. And I can get something done around here!
Since she was spayed a month ago, shes had a couple puddle accidents in the house but Im hoping thats behind us now. We still have her confined to hard surfaces tho. Her puppydom has gotten pretty expensive. So far shes destroyed 3 pairs of drugstore reading glasses, my garden shoes, a pair of gold earrings (I knocked one off when I put on my coat and she chewed it up!), a couple pair of socks I dropped on the floor on the way to the washing machine, a couple magazines, some important papers we left too close to the edge of the counter, and misc. stuffed toys.

We went to my nephews wedding on the beach in NC at the end of September. We took my Mom and DD with us. It was a lot of schlepping around but we enjoyed ourselves. We had a fabu time with my cousin and his wife the day after, fishing off the pier, walking the beach, shopping and dinner. It was so great getting to know my cousins wife, whom we never met before.

With all the upheaval here, Im not putting up a Xmas tree this year. I also am not putting lights outside, or garlands, ribbons, etc., on the stair railings. I need to simplify. DD says shes giving us her refrig. So, we have to make room in the basement for it and other stuff. So Ive decorated the mantle, chandeliers and tables. But not going all out. I just cant face dragging it all out then putting it all away along with shifting and moving stuff around in the basement while DH runs electrical for the Frig. We will have 16 over for Xmas eve dinner. Im also not doing the traditional sit-down dinner. Itll be buffet, with disposable plates and more casual. Its all I can deal with now.

Eden, I haven't forgotten you! I must get your books back to you. I'm hoping we can meet up in the next couple weeks and I can return them. Please forgive. It was so rude of me to keep your things for so long!

Ive only got a couple more presents to buy for Xmas, mostly gift certificates, and Im done shopping. I took advantage of the 50% off or buy one get one sales earlier. This year is not creative, just done.

I havent wanted to burden you guys with my rantings re SIL, depression re DHs job, frustration over Moms increasing nastiness, etc., etc. Ill save other news til next time. Thats it from me tonite. Oh, how Ive missed you guys. Back soon. I promise.


    Bookmark   December 2, 2007 at 7:44PM
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I ventured out today to view the frost damage from our multiple nights of below freeze temps, and came across this ! Go figure. Deanne and others in the east have dramatic displays in summer and mine blooms in Nov/Dec after frost has set in.

Checked the national weather service this morning for NE and the Midwest..sounds pretty nasty out there. I hope you are all enjoying the great indoors . I finished painting the home office today ..I will not be using it as such now that I am selling the house, but I will furnish it as a bit of a study. I bought an antique library table, an inexpensive lamp from Target , and I will move my Morris chair that is in the living room up there as well. All I need is a bookcase and it will be a done deal.

Christmas hangman was pretty fun during my break-time today ! One does need to waste time for at least a half hour every day. Last winter I spent my wasted time playing Poppit. I m going to look for an online version of Tetris this winter. I love that game.

Eileen, your pic of Garfield Goose made think about a couple of local kid shows in Los Angeles where I grew up. Sheriff Johns Lunch Brigade and Engineer Bill being the two I remember most. Denise would be the only Idyller who might possibly remember either of
these, unless there is a lurker out there who grew up in LA in the 50s /60s ?

Hi Babs-glad you checked in !

Refreshed , and there was Honey ! That Missy is just beautiful Honey, and Im sure all the time you are investing in training etc will pay off in the long run. Sounds like its well worth the 14 bucks for the doggie-day care , and its fantastic to get her socialized with other dogs. My BILs have a mini Aussie ( maxes out at about 25 lbs) and he is so sweet.
What challenges you have had with DDs situation. Your philosophical approach is admirable , and I hope all ugliness is over for you soon.

So weve heard from Honey and Eden, can Taryn and Yeona be far behind ?

Hope all are well ..waving from California

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   December 2, 2007 at 8:09PM
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Skates will be needed to negotiate work sidewalks, so I'm talking my time this morning after receiving a call from the second best boss in the world saying: Cancel appointments and VPN in until it's safe. Hooray!!!!

Guess I'm one of two Idylls without pets :-( Yes, we had agreed when we got really together that there wouldn't be, but that was then. Did get a big bag of Greenies for adopted Cairn Terrier of my moms, and our dear GrandDog, but a promise is a promise for one of our own.

That you have the energy to sit at type, Honey, is nothing short of stoic! All good thoughts are being sent your way on all fronts. Can say that I'm thrilled that your DD is OUT!!! She's lucky to have you, as most women/men in her situation would just need to abandon ship for their own safety.

This year our bathroom (blue walls) is being decorated in purple. It is going to be our "Happy New Year" room and I'm having a blast. Rich said his addition will be writing on the walls: "For a good time call Martie." Love tradition, but also love being just a bit preposterous.

Ranger Andy in Hartford was a standard birthday destination in the early 60's. I can still sing the theme song.

The mirror is a treasure, Michelle. Can Kenzie (and Bella and Reed and the twins and Wyatt and everyone) come to my house next year?

Helpful household hint: Flat ceiling paint covers food coloring laced icing.

And for the purists (of which I am usually one) we also did gingerbread angels with just white icing but couldn't resist those little silver balls .....

When it comes to the holidays and kids, I'm bad ;-0

Christmas day (as mentioned in previous years a largely non-event for my family) is shaping up to be a large gathering at, you guessed it, my house. We have become a "safe zone" for all members of several families, so we'll up the poundage of the roast beast and have at it.

Advent and the Twelve Days are another story, however, and it's been great fun getting my world-traveler 21 year old 12 little gifts from Connecticut to always remember "home" by.

Marie - In a word: Contentment!!!!!

Stay warm, Kathy!!!! (Never thought I'd say That!!!!) LOL


    Bookmark   December 3, 2007 at 7:33AM
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Well... as usual, the "classic nor'easter" has changed over to largely rain here. I awakened in the wee hours of the morning and it was snowing then. But when I rolled outta the rack later on it had turned to rain. I suspect it will change back to snow intermittantly throughout the day.

Honey, it's great to see your name again. I am amazed at how big Missy has gotten (the multi-colored "gumdrop" is too much, lol). Good move with the daycare, don't you just wish you had such boundless energy? I am stunned that there are 127 pages of foreclosure notices in your paper. I know many of the midwest and sunbelt states have taken the brunt of the sub-prime debacle and that hits in the automotive industries have added to the misery. Homes sales dropped 16% in Sep't. and another 12% in October here... . I drive by a couple of homes that have been for sale for a long time, now... and every few months there is the "price reduced" sign added to the bottom of the realtor's shingle. I'm sorry about your daughter's situation, too. How sad. And what a worry. :( Good move to tone down Christmas and all the attendant stresses, doesn't sound as though you need much more of that sort of thing!

Does anyone remember Kukla, Fran, and Ollie? two puppets and pretty woman that chatted and then introduced a movie for children. I used to LOVE that show.

Oooh, Mary, OUCH! I broke my wrist in a fall on ice several years ago. It was painful and needlessly expensive. I agree that being properly outfitted makes wintertime easier to take; I have a pair of boots that are annoyingly too narrow and need to be replaced this year (I'm thinking Sorels). And I have those nifty little pull on ice grippers, too (learned that lesson!), one pair in the car and the other in the house. I'd've crawled to the safety of the snowbank, too, for what it's worth.

Cynthia, you must be so worried about Katie. I can't imagine anything worse than watching her stoically enduring the discomfort. :( , it will get better but that doesn't help the immediate circumstances.

Delightful to hear from Babs., too. I wondered where our Nurse Ratchett had gone. I chuckled over the osmocote sized spider, yep, the size is perfectly described.

I'm thinking of working on the Christmas decorations today. I forced myself to get the greens conditioned yesterday morning knowing today would be an "inside" day. Unless, of course, the helpmeet has some group activity planned for the garage. Dunno.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2007 at 7:55AM
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Martie, for two days now I've meant to answer your question about overwintering Hydrangeas. I've done it for two years now and was most successful the first year, using this method:

I treated each plant individually. I put stakes around the plant (pretty close to the crown), then put a dog fencing cage around them. I filled the cage with oak leaves, shaking them down inside the canes and around the outside of the plant. My Tokyo Delights were covered with flowers, as was the Nikko Blue (had never flowered before!). But here's the real key for me in my area, where spring is always "late" to arrive and is chilly: I didn't uncover the plants until the middle of May!

Last year, we used burlap and corralled all 3 plants, treating them as one. It didn't work nearly so well, though the Tokyos flowered pretty well. The Nikko had two or three flowers.

I don't generally wrap them until mid-December, and they are not protected yet. I have some salt marsh hay and have been hatching a plan to swaddle them individually with a hay "blankie". I'm hoping the snow melts away within a week/so, as it commonly does here.

Michelle, your mirror is lovely. And I think your decorating is great. I love the crisp silvers, blues, and sparkle for the holidays. I don't usually put out little things on horizontal surfaces, they tend to wind up in the far reaches of the house under other pieces of furniture. ;)

And I do think we, as a group, have a greater than usual propensity for "nuturing" things. I get such a huge kick out of watching the antics of our "betes domestiques" I can't imagine not having them around. And one of my own personal "rules", adopted many years ago now, was to NEVER date anyone who declared they didn't like cats... .

    Bookmark   December 3, 2007 at 8:39AM
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chloehoover(z6b VA)

Just a quick check in for me and how wonderful to see Ei, Eden, Honey, Babs all here too -- amazing. I've been in the AWOL list too; just cant seem to fiind any idyll time lately.

So I just wanted to say a belated Happy Birthday to Mary -- & while I offered felicitations to Saucy, Marian I think; Im missing pictures sadly.

Great to see the wonderful photos -- and to see the names of those missing recently. Welcome back all. These drive-by posts are probably very annoying w/ little substantive from me - other than Im still among the living, LOL.

Ei -- love that photo of the big wedding event -- that is truly a gorgeous dress you wore - I was going to write you an email last week but didnt get to it -- and so wonderful to see you posting here. Im sorry there's sadness surrounding Scout and your Mom - I hope things ease for each. Love that collage you're doing! You're so creative.

I've got a busy week (again) w/ ofc, off to PA for Dad's surgery on Weds., and hopefully back by Friday -- my houseguest & dog have (again) made arrangements to move on Saturday -- we will all cross our fingers that it happens and life can get back to "normal" for us -- I've already scheduled a carpet cleaner for the end of the month in anticipation, LOL....

Has anyone noticed that the annual Fine Gardening special edition annual glossies re "Great Gardens" has a picture on one most of us IU4 attendees should recognize? -- One of the truly great small gardens we all raved about is on the front cover!!! -- the Gabezo/elephant & pool should ring a bell. Cant wait to see what else they have inside the pub.

Im hoping to get & put up a tree once my boarders have departed -- hopefully on Saturday. That should get me in the spirit hopefully.

Glad to see that Katie made it thru her surgery so well; but sorry she's such a hurtin puppy -- I seem to recall my vet saying once that it was good to keep the pain at a level for them so that they will not do more than they should.... does that make any sense? But there must be some way to help her out with the essential "chores".

No snow here -- just some rain and now high winds -- I hope that wont change over the next few days here - they're talking "flurries" on Weds. - but Im hoping it wont come to pass -- seems like an early SNOW happenings in most of the country though or am I just spoiled?

Ok, back to the drowning paper piles.


    Bookmark   December 3, 2007 at 1:43PM
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Cindy, I'll be thinking of you and your father on Wednesday. And I'll be crossing my fingers that you and Chloe will have your home back to yourselves by Sunday morning. Let's hope scheduling a carpet cleaning proves the charm. ;) I hope Christmas is more relaxed than Thanksgiving was for you!

Busy day for me, today, so far. The kitchen is looking positively resplendent after my loving attention. I've done 3 loads of laundry so far, and the first load of awnings is entering the rinse cycle. I paid all the bills, went to the post office, did some banking, ordered the woodstove for the Salon (beautiful) and picked up paint chips for the wall, ceiling, and trim color of said Salon (fun!). The helpmeet has been notably grumpy; wrestling with the ductwork in the garage (refusing my offers of assistance; in spite of the fact that I'm quite good at that sort of thing). I ordered him a lovely hot sandwich and returned from my errands with it at noon punctually. He sowed it down in good order, too. Refused my repeated offer of assistance. OK, whatever... be miserable by yourself. ;)

I've not gotten within 15' of the boxwood, the plaques, or the simulated fruit... . I'm more interested in a nap now, frankly, but have to call the electric company with my 3rd. request (in 6 weeks) that they remove the utility pole from what is going to be the final sweep of the driveway... . Maybe I'll leave that until Wednesday, on second thought... what with the snowstorm, 'n' all. And it IS a snowstorm west and north of the compound!

Garage doors will be installed tomorrow (save motors, which will be installed after the drywallers leave). Insulation on Wednesday. Sheetrock is PROBABLY going to be delivered on Friday, and after that we'll have a clearer picture of when the drywallers will arrive to work their magic. It's going to be a busy week here on the compound.

Missing fun reports from other Idyllers and thinking of Katie and Cynthia!

    Bookmark   December 3, 2007 at 2:17PM
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Just checking in and I see that very missed others did to :) Happy to hear news from you all.

NYC was fun, fun, fun. I had a great time with my friend and met more friends in the process! I'm gonna say hi to Shea in case she checks in here - a new gardening friend from Nashville....we could use a Nashville rep on Idyll!

I've gotta get off the computer and get to work on the house. I have it in my head to do a little extra work daily for the holidays....we're planning our first open house and I am a little nervous :) I've got a front door to paint and some wallpaper to finish up!

Talk to you later....


    Bookmark   December 3, 2007 at 4:29PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Here there's SNOW SNOW SNOW. WIND WIND WIND. Icicles too.

DD introduced me to Terry Fator on YouTube. We particularly enjoyed Roy Orbisson, though Kermit the frog was mighty amazing too. CHECK IT OUT.

Gotta run make dinner.

Woody, hope you're OK with all those visitors arriving!
Hi Katie!

    Bookmark   December 3, 2007 at 6:03PM
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honey_mi(Z5 MI)

OK, a brief drive by.

Chelone, the bulls eye store has thermolite boots good to 10 degrees for $29.99. I bot DD and I each a pair for our Xmas Light tour on the 16th at a world renowned historic village nearby. Theyre really comfy and warm. Hope your have one of those stores in your area.

Kathy, I cant believe that Charles Grimaldi withstood the frost! I gave David the Charles and the Double White that Eden gave me. I hated to give them up but I lived in fear that the puppy would eat them since they are so toxic to critters. Love those plants, tho. So, Eden, if I didnt tell you, thats where those fabu plants went.

In keeping with that, heres a Happy Birthday to Marian, Mary and whomever else Ive missed!

Ei, it sounds like you really have your plate full. ((((Ei))))) My heart breaks for you.

Cindy, Im hoping your houseguest does move out this weekend. Sounds like that turned out to be quite an episode.

Cynthia Oh, poor Katie! Hope shes on the mend soon. Boy, these critters sure do get into our hearts, dont they?

Martie, Im so sorry you had a pre-nup precluding animals. So sad. While they are costly in $, patience and care, they give back so very much. Hope your DH has a change of heart or some critter takes up with him and he cant refuse. Happened to my brothers wife. She adamantly didnt want cats. A stray landed on their porch and the kids fell in love. The cat, of course, scoped out my SIL, won over her heart and guess who is the very center of attention in that household! Hope the same happens at your house.

Mary, oh dear. Sounds like you had a calamity. Hope youre on the mend.

Thats it from me tonite. I have a dentist appt in the am, then several stops on the way home. Hope to check in tomorrow pm.

Hi Saucy, Hi 'Bug!

Stay warm and stay safe on the roads. Hi to all my ole friends! Missed you terribly


    Bookmark   December 3, 2007 at 6:53PM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

My weekend company have come and gone. and I am resting up.
Saturday all of us except Nolon spent about 5 hours in, visiting, and eating out.
I bought a new microwave oven ( ours was about 20 years old! ).Tim bought me a DVD player and a video for it. I bought 2 more videos. They are : " Broken Trail" ; "An Unfinished Life";and "Radio" ( our 12-going-on-13 GD picked the last one out and highly recomended it).
I haven't watched any of them yet.

Back at home the farm was brought out:

That is the middle GD working on the set-up.Tim and Tommy were fascinated by the operation. I was fascinated by Tommy's fascination...LOL. I have never seen him so interested in their activities.

The other two GDs were working on a 500 piece jig saw puzzle:

Trubby was just happy to have his bed again on the loveseat. :-)

The girls brought me a very challenging 1000 piece Hummingbird's puzzle for my BD. It says on the box " How many hummingbirds can you find?" I haven't opened it yet.

It was a very good weekend...but I was really 'pooped' when they left. I hope they come again during the xmas holidays.:-)

Great to see more absent members appearing.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2007 at 7:28PM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

Ooops, I was going to add my thanks to you for the Birthday pics and wishes. If I missed anyone...just consider the

    Bookmark   December 3, 2007 at 7:31PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

No Grimaldis here! This is my view today:

This is the first time I've ever seen horizontal icicles.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2007 at 8:49PM
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The peculiar thing about trouble is how it dips down and knocks people around like a tornado, leaving others temporarily unscathed. Thinking of Honey with her DD and Ei (lovely portrait of Scout!) and others. Currently, at this blessed moment, we have nothing truly awful going on, knock wood, only small fires here and there. But there have been times, holy smoke...

'bug now you've got me thinking of Cat Stevens. Remember his song "Trouble," linked below, best heard not looking at that video montage.

The photographer DS leaves for NYC tomorrow, and I've been repeating idyll weather warnings: slippery ice, sleet, need for ice grippers, etc. and he laughs, wretched youth. He's wearing a pea coat, scarf, sweaters and jeans and has agreed to gloves. Any other input on required clothing appreciated. He's staying with a girl whose heart he broke before and now they're "friends," so I've severely admonished him to be nice this time around. He was also going to flop at a friend's apt in "Bed-Stuy" but the guy is currently in Spain. I hear that neighborhood is not the best, so it's probably a good thing...The last time he stayed with friends in NYC it was the neighborhood where the French Connection was filmed (did you ever pick your feet in Poughkeepsie?)

Movies -- Kathy, curious to know if you watched Women in Love? Read it, loved the movie years ago and rented it recently but only watched parts, including the nude wrestling match with Alan Bates & Oliver Reed, which still astonishes. Glenda Jackson is as always superb. Wonderful in Hedda Gabler. What I remember about the Mary Queen of Scots film was it depicted a meeting between the two queens, and there's no historical record of such. Movies make different demands on history, of course.

Clothing update: Now he's taking MY heavy, to-the-ankles wool coat, which is nearly unisexual, but the gathers in the back show it's a coat for women and the sleeves are too short. I protest, the natives will laugh you out of town! He laughs again, wretched youth.

Re cats, I live with a confirmed non-appreciator of cats, and it is an uneasy truce, depending on what outrages the cats have done to the kitchen rugs (just threw two away). And then there's this problem with domestic cats and/or feral cats that I'm sure Deanne is acutely aware of. I've pulled hummingbirds out of the little dears' mouths here and saved most of them.

Cindy, liberation is near, and we must have a cyber toast when it arrives.

Michelle, what a great old photo of a nice tradition with the gingerbread houses, something I've never done. When I saw your lovely white and blue decorations, it occurred to me I'd never think to use those colors because they aren't around me seasonally at all. It's so interesting to see how the seasons affect such a big part of your lives. I really feel like a lotus eater in contrast to the idyllers, out here in la-la land, lol.

Marian, what lovely pix of the grandkids and cats so absorbed in their activities.

Martie, I love hearing of your cul de sac antics, frosting streamers and all. Our neighborhood Christmas cookie party has been set for the 16th. Everyone brings their favorite cookies and an empty plate, load them onto the table, then circle the table, tasting and chatting and piling your plate with samples of all the cookies to take home.

'bug, that snow looks like carefully applied frosting. A meandering post with a hearty wave to all.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2007 at 8:53PM
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Everything here is solid ice. Luckily the road I take to work is dry. I hear that our storm has made it all the way to Nashua, NH. They were reporting on the Early Show today from there.

Deanne, thats the perfect picture to go with the Idyll title.

Ei, Frazier reminds me of our local Captain 11 a favorite after school tv show.

Mary, Im glad to hear that your fall didnt result in anything broken. The Schwans man said he fell twice, the UPS man told us he fell once and our telephone tech said he fell twice, so that tells you how slippery it is here.

Kenzie got new boots today and insisted that Lucky their dog try them on. DD said that she is into having "picnics" in her bedroom with a little blanket on the floor and toy food. Lucky comes in and lays on the blanket and she puts food in front of him.

Honey, good to hear from you. Sorry about your DH losing his job, I hope something opens up for him quickly. Its the pits when life throws so many curve balls at the same time. Hang in there.

Ei, I meant to tell you how impressed I was with your picture of Scout.

Cindy, I hope all goes smoothly for your dad and that you get your house back.

Marian, how nice to see kids enjoying themselves with something other than TV or video games.

Healing thoughts going out to Katiekins.

I think Im off to try my hand at Christmas hangman.


    Bookmark   December 3, 2007 at 9:33PM
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Im whiney today as I have acquired the common cold in the last 24 hours. Think it will be a mild one ..Im medicating with water and wine. And some minestrone. Got the Feb 08 issue of FG today in the mail so I will retire later with some tea, put on some Miles Davis or Stephane Grappelli or the like and dream of gardens to come.

Talked to DD tonight, and they are having some serious weather along the Oregon Coast (she is about 40 miles inland) and strong winds where she is as well. Our rain has not shown up yet, but is needed. And I continue to hear of the nastiness in the Midwest and NE.

Martie, I like that your boss put your safety before business concerns. And thanks for your stay warm sentiments ! Got the thermostat cranked up to 66 .

Marian, I couldnt help but notice the table and chairs in the pic of the GDs working on the puzzle. I like the legs and the straight corners. LOL Tommy and his observations of the goings on. One can only speculate on what cats find to interest them-to me that is part of their charm-you never quite know what they may have on their agenda. They are so predictable in many ways, but never hesitate to throw you a curve. Im very fond of them and I think Martie needs one.!

bug. Your snowy perspectives continue to display the beautiful aspects of crummy weather ! There is no way I have the right shoes for that..

Saucy, I had an open house last Christmasit was too fun, and thank god I had lots of helpers to prepare.

Denise, I have seen Women In Love, but not since it came out in the theaters, which is why I put it in my Netflix queue. Want to see how it holds up after lo these many years. Im going to do Sunday Bloody Sunday too.

Ooo-wee Cindy, all appendages are crossed here that you get out of the slammer on Sat. Youve done your time for sure.

And Chelone, no fair that youve been so industrious, especially your diligent work on the Salon. Im thinking some of those jewel tones from Denises Indian Dance troupe photos might be inspirational for the various settees and pillows that we will be reclining upon with our adult beverages, cozily arranged around the wood stove. You know we are all dying for photos !

So do you think Deanne is snowedin in the bird blind ??

Hi to Cynthia and Katie

Kathy in Napa, blowing my nose

    Bookmark   December 3, 2007 at 10:20PM
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Full_Bloom(z5 IL)

Hi Honey - Its great to see you! Well, I dont think even Ebeneezer Scrooge could resist Missys adrorable face....what a beauty! How old is she now? Thanks about mom & Scout. Well, you certainly have had a lot to deal with yourself. I wish for brighter things to come for DH. Thats rough and Im sure scary. Though Ive never met your DH personally, I remember reading lots of wonderful things about him here at the Idylls. A man *that* personable and with all his knowledge and experience...things are sure to turn around. Im sure his company knows it too and will want to get him back as quickly as they can...before somebody else scoops him up. So sorry to hear about all your DDs troubles, but great that the two of you have had this time together....sounds like it has been good for both of you.

LOL Marian...I got quite a kick out of your pic too...Tommy looks so cute and I can see he is entranced...LOL! :-) Theres a kitty down the block from me (dont know her family) but she is *always* in the front window staring out or sleeping (with the curtains behind her). I always smile when I see her...she is so cute and just looks so content with the world. The next time I take Scout for a walk, maybe Ill bring my camera and snap her picture. So *thats* where you went off glad you got to spend some time with your family. The girls are sure growing up. What thoughtful gifts you received...youll have to take a pic of that puzzle once you get it all together (I *know* it may be a long time...LOL)!

Hi Cindy...its great to see you too! Kathy scared me for a minute there...*Cindy* in the *slammer*! What did I miss?!? So sorry to hear about the room mate! I second a toast when freedom rings. :-) Dont worry about writing...sounds like youve had your hands full. Sending my good wishes that everything goes smoothly for dad. Ill be keeping you in my thoughts. Thanks about the dress *and* the collage.

Aww Mary...dont feel bad about the shroom! To be honest, I never really liked it...LOL! Besides, its found a happy home. I gave it to my neighbor, who has a collection of toadstools scattered about her garden and she was happy to add it to the collection. So sorry to hear about the fall...though you did make me smile a bit...not because you fell (that was terrible) but because first you looked around to see who noticed, rather than worrying about whether you hurt yourself...I would have done the same fact I do...all the time (ice or no ice) as Im not terribly graceful. Anyway, I hope youre okay and not hurting or sporting any bruises. I consider it quite a compliment having my drawing compared to Woodys. I remember! Woody's was a painting though I believe and she did a *beautiful* job. Mine is done with colored pencils. Painting takes a special skill and technique and just the right hand pressure, I think. Ive tried once or twice, but just dont have what it takes. Pencils are much easier to work with, I think.

Okay as per Michelle and Marys request....heres a pic in which I dislike myself the least (is that a double negative?) and gives you a good idea of what the dress looked like....

Hoping Katie and her mom are having a better day today....

Well, Im off to bed...have a great night all! Ei

P.S. I've added a link for Chelone...hope you enjoy it. I agree Fran is a very pretty woman....

    Bookmark   December 4, 2007 at 12:12AM
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There's grave concern in the neighborhood ;-)

Five year old strawberry expert who arrived at our door with older brother after dark: "Mrs. Martie, since the foxglove are gone where are the fairies gonna sleep during the winter?"

Me, trying hard not to crack up since this was a serious enough question to brave wind and cold: "I'm not sure."

Brother: "Maybe they fly south with the birds?"

Expert: "No, they live here in the garden. Mrs. Martie said."

Me: "Let's grab a flashlight and see."

All of us wander around the Park and find a milkweed pod empty of most seed and fluff.

Me: "I think I've found it!!!! And look, there's still a little bit of silky seed for their blankets!!!!"

Question answered, hot cocoa served (mostly for me who was foolish enough to go outside sans hat), worries alleviated.

In the meantime, ice continues to cover everything and sunrise this morning should be literally blinding.

As for animals, I made my bed ..... The yearnings appear to be temporary as when I go to friend's homes were pets reside I find myself somewhat grateful that I don't have the responsibility of keeping such wonderful friends happy and healthy.

LOL about dating guys who don't like cats, Chelone.

And friend, what a difference the drywall will make!! What stove did you pick? It's amazing how far they've come in the past years.

Marian, it is a true delight to see the girls in your home, obviously so comfortable. Love that the almost-teen had a recommendation for her Grandma.

The dress is amazing, Babs, and I hope you can wear it again.

Everything possible is crossed and all good thoughts, karma and other revelations are being sent into Cindy's home.

Marie, all that's missing is a little black ball of fur :-)

Denise: Our DS's would like each other. The extent of Ky's winter wardrobe is a heavier than usual zippered sweatshirt. I raised him to be tough against the weather, but this is ridiculous. If yours needs to touch base with a "grownup" while he's on the right coast, let me know :-)

This must be the time of year to visit Spain, since Ky was in Barcelona (may still be there as i've yet to hear that he's back on the UK). Amsterdam and Paris are the next two weekends, major paper focusing on modernist English poets done with much help from my niece, and he's home on the 21st. Where did the time go?????

Kathy: When does your house go on the market? This week Oregon seems like the last place I'd want to be. Hope all you love are safe.

For it to be December, I NEED to see Eden's Seuss decorations.

Giving myself a few extra minutes for deicing.

Happy Tuesday, everyone!!


    Bookmark   December 4, 2007 at 7:19AM
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: )But Martie,I'm not wearing a dress ; )


    Bookmark   December 4, 2007 at 9:08AM
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I know I'm keeping a "cheat sheet" on who's doing Nice to see so many idyllers "coming home" for the holidays.

Martie, re your kind offer to meet up with my son on the right coast, and I have no idea if you're in NYC regularly or how a meeting would be accomplished, but his cell is (562) 307-4766, and he'd like to take your portrait, if you're up to it, lol. I'm attaching his web site. See if you can locate me among the portraits, scarf and coat.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2007 at 12:37PM
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honey_mi(Z5 MI)

Wow, another idyller who looks different that I pictured in my mind's eye! And a good looking addition to the bunch, too! Denise, I pictured you with long, straight blonde hair! And my, my isn't DS talented? You must be so very proud.

Marian, your home for the holiday pix look so comfy and warm. Love, love, love the curious kitty one. I so miss my kitties. I'm hoping DD's kitties will fill in the gap when she moves in. I plan on spoiling them silly, even more than they are now. The hummingbird puzzle sounds like quite a hard one, but one you'll be able to enjoy when it's too cold to do much outside.

It sounds like the PNW is really getting slammed. I hope my friend outside Seattle is OK. Stay safe out there everyone. We don't want any more idyllers slipping and getting hurt! Mary, how are you doing?

Denise, when you're 20, looking good is much more important than being warm. Besides, there ARE stores in NY that sell warm things. Don't worry, Mom. I grew up in the east and worked in NYC. Those winds whipping around the buildings are bone chilling. Your DS will be OK. He can just pop in to every deli or coffee shop on his route to stay warm!

Ei, wow, you clean-up well, lol! Seioiusly, you look gorgeous in that dress. I'm with you on pix of myself. I always look awful in photos.

'Bug, your photos look like a postcard! Hope you're snuggley warm in the house.

Thanks everyone for your kind words and support. This, too, shall pass, I'm sure. I think what is so unsettling is that everything seems out of control at once -- DH's job, DD's divorce, the horrible economy here, Mom's health and antics, Missy being willful, etc.

Ok gotta see what's for dinner. Hi to those I missed. Stay warm, friends.


    Bookmark   December 4, 2007 at 3:01PM
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There are now doors on the garage. The guys just left. I was not quite sure about the color I'd chosen, but now that I see it in situ I am pleased. Rex managed to steal one of the guy's bagel when his back was turned. Helpmeet apologized, administered a beating, and replaced the purloined bagel... it was cold here today and the generosity was very much appreciated. When I was painting the doors I noticed there were stick-on tags with numbers on them. I studied the numbers and immediately deduced they denoted the section of the door for either one or the other of the two. I carefully copied the numbers onto blue painters tape on the side I wasn't going to paint. They guys were in a panic when they didn't see the numbers in their usual place... then the helpmeet pointed out that they were on the inside of them. "Your wife painted these doors? they look GREAT! better than most professional jobs... and she even marked the sections for us!". I gave them the final installment, thanked them, and they BOTH repeated their thanks that I'd had "enough on the ball" to understand the importance of the numbers. It's gotta be the sewing thing, you guys. I work with multiple pieces every day and if you don't mark things... you're screwed!

I received a late afternoon reminder that I had a 7:30 dentist app't. this morning. I'd forgotten entirely. The roads were crummy. The door to my car was frozen shut. And then the latch that kept it shut failed to work. I emitted several shrieks of frustration that greatly alarmed the helpmeet (who thought I'd fallen on ice and injured myself, Mary!). I made the appointment on time, a fact duly noted by the good doctor and his version of Nurse Ratchett. The windshield wiper on the driver side was frozen and failed to clear the important 6" of visibility for me... the washer fluid dispenser was frozen, too. I drove the 13 miles with my head cocked to the right. I was in a FOUL temper upon arrival. My cleaning required 30 minutes with virtually NO plaque! I attempted to wheedle a "break" because it had been so easy for him, but no dice. ;)

Have begun an interesting cushion job for a sunroom at work. I rather like the fabric (unusual, since I think most people who come into the shop select incredibly BORING goods) and while the style of the cushions isn't anything that gooses me aesthetically, the result should be rather pretty. I suspect as much because my boss hates the fabrics to be used, lol..

Martie, you are brilliant with the littles! would that more "adults" indulged the curiosity, concern, and imagination of them. They have many years to be "adult", and it seems the years of imagination and wonder are being whittled down at an alarming rate. I admire you for that patient and loving indulgence. It reminds me of something Mum would've done, to be honest. :)

Which brings me to my next thought... that this group is SO very talented, imaginative, and supportive of those things. I am so often in outright awe of everyone of you. I see Marian's grand daughters hauling out "the farm" for a round of imaginative play, at an age that many girls wouldn't be caught dead doing something like that! I sometimes played with my Barbie dolls and my Breyer plastic horses up until 13! I had a few friends who still wanted to do that sort of thing and we kept our "play dates" a well guared secret for fear of humiliation on the school bus. But I think we emerged the better for it, in the final analysis. The environment that nurtures play and allows a young person to "test the waters" of a teenager bit by bit is the one that produces a kid able to withstand the rigors of those awkward years. But what do I know about that sort of thing?

Denise, your kid needs to freeze his ass off. ;) Requisite "winter gear" from MY perspective includes the following: warm, insulated boots (must be COMFORTABLE FOR WALKING), a warm parka, a nicely coordinated HAT, and insulated gloves and mittens. Personally, I prefer the latter, but owning BOTH is important. I grew up in noHtheHn NH and -20 degrees was not uncommon in mid-winter. Wind chills can be dangerous, and a broken down car late a night could have been potentially lethal in my very rural area. I'm not big on scarves, but dressing in layers is an old habit of mine. Being cold sucks, but only experiencing BEING cold will convince someone to dress appropriately. You can lead a whore to culture, but you can't make her think... :)

Ei., your dress is lovely. So are the smiles of the newly married. I did a quick scan of Kukla, Fran, and Ollie this morning (will do another tonight). Made me smile with fond remembrance. Thanks.

I'm hatchin' a plan for the Salon that will evoke the grand tradition of Scandinavian neo-classical interiors. I'm moving toward a more "pastel" wall color than I've used in the past; in a clearer, brighter, more intense hue. I'm thinking of crisp white trimwork, but that's about as far as I've gotten so far. My paint chips are all in the "pistachio green" or clear blue family. I'm thinking the ceiling will be a pale pink/ blush color. But I'll have a better feel for it once the drywall is up and light in the building is not so absorbed by the bare sheathing.

Right now? I'll be happy to see some damn sheetrock over some damn insulation... Patience, patience, patience.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2007 at 3:43PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

Wow! lots going on here... too much to catch up on....

Poor Katie - I hope the miserable part passes soon and she gets her twirl back.

Ei - nice to 'see' you. So sorry to hear that Scout is failing - always such a sad time but your picture will be a great thing to have.

Honey - what a cutie your Missy is! (Too bad you don't live closer - I'd love to add her to our dog-sitting list....:-) I hope the new year (which is way too close already!) brings easier times for all of you.

gb - oooh that puppy! When you get yours, expect us to appear on your doorstep not too long afterwards:-) None of our Christmas guests arrive until the 17th so nothing much happening here yet. Two plum puddings are already made and in the fridge where they will 'ripen' until Christmas. It's too early to start the rest of Christmas baking. The three kids (2 nephews; one niece) are looking forward to playing with the dogs. All of them have lost their own dogs not too long ago. We haven't got final confirmation that the dogs are coming but are expecting to hear for sure soon. We'll all be disappointed if they don't! It's white here too - but not as much or as prettily as in your pictures.

Marian - everybody looked very cozy there. Definitely a 'grandma's house' scene....

Chelone - where are those pictures?! You're teasing us awfully!! Nice stove.... I had a dentist appointment this morning too - didn't go as well as your's - I need to go back next week for a filling. I haven't had one of those in a very long time and am not looking forward to it!

Martie - I loved the fairy story - very creative answer for the kiddies!

I'm not sure if the snow was the reason or not but our phone died on Sunday. Bell finally showed up around 3:30 and concluded the problem is with the outside wires. Which means that someone else has to come tomorrow.... I have a doctor's appointment but today's guy said we don't have to be here for tomorrow's guy to do his thing. I'm glad we switched to cable for the Internet last year because now it doesn't matter to me if the phone doesn't work.

Yesterday I was doing my annual Christmas garden letter to a friend who lives in northern Ontario. It's become a tradition that each year we exchange a letter with the usual Christmas wishes and include pictures and commentary on the current year's garden. She gardens in the NORTH! My biggest wildlife problem in the garden is rabbits - her's is black bears! When I sat down to write the letter, I was thinking about how dry it had been and was expecting my tone to be a bit negative about how the garden had done. Then I went back through all the pictures and discovered a bit to my surprise, that the garden did remarkably well! The most surprising thing looking back over the pictures was how much this year was the year of the vines. I somehow seem to now have vines all over the place that put on a pretty good show this year. The honeysuckle on the north alley fence was pretty impressive. And I realized I have well over a dozen different clematises that were putting on nice shows (how did that happen?! :-) I did rip out a couple of clematis that got wilt and replaced them with honeysuckle. There a a few more vines of various types that are still young and haven't hit their stride yet so there is more to hope for next year.

All the warm California ladies should be glad they're not in the east. Environment Canada is forecasting that this winter will be the coldest in 15 years! I'm sure that forecast is not too different for parts of the US too.

Back into winter hibernation here....

    Bookmark   December 4, 2007 at 5:00PM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

Can you believe this...for December 4th ???

    Bookmark   December 4, 2007 at 5:39PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Howdy Friends!

Certainly no rhodos or azaleas budding here! That's such a treat Marian. I too loved your gathering of girls. It makes me impatient for our trip out west! Yes, I know I'll be tired afterwards, but it is so wonderful that they WANT us there!

We too are expecting the phone repair guys here on Thursday. It's a continuous thing. They really need to bury new lines all the way from the road, but they keep delaying the inevitable. I suppose they enjoy it more in winter? It is a real nuisance that we can't use our phones on rainy days.

Do not fear Woody, your family will meet the puppy shortly after she arrives. We'll need to teach her about car rides, sociability, other dogs, etc. Never too early...

Ei, sorry I didn't get around to commenting on your SUPER dress. You know, I felt the same way about Michelle's dress and you both looked marvelous in the fabu-fabu blues! You look grand - and so does DH! Now tell us what is happening with the house when you have a moment.

Chelone, the woodstove is WOW! Soapstone! I've never seen one. Boy, you know how to manipulate your audience by making them wait on pins and needles for the pictures. ;-)

I'm still hoping (in vain I'm sure) that this snow will melt soon. I just hate the ice under the white stuff and am nervous about DH's long drives. He's out at a far off meeting at a Boston Pizza place tonight.

We received a lovely BEAUTIFULLY penned thank-you note from DS's lady friend. Almost a lost art..I mean the note, but the penmanship as well. You'd think a machine had crafted it! Very sweet.

Well I've enjoyed wrapping some of the gifts we're hauling to Alberta. It was so much fun going to toy stores, but I especially enjoyed the book shopping. I found everything I wanted on many topics for Skyler and of course about 10 "books" for Reed as well. Not just any old books either naturally. The fun is in the choosing! Reed has a yucky cold these days and Mom is mighty tired.

Cynthia? V? Deanne? I'd love to hear how things are going for you!

PS: visitors at our door:

Horizontal icicles:

Sunny cuddles with her Mom.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2007 at 7:09PM
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Greetings from the wet northwest ! We finally got some rain, sorely needed, and expect it to continue on and off for a couple of days. In the meantime I sniffle and blow my nose. I came home at 3pm today, decided an 8 hour day was adequate in my state of disrepair. Im hunkering down with The Great Mortality" a book about the plague. How apropos!

Eileen you look very glam in that dress ! I love all the pleats .

Martie, house will go on the market probably during the 1st two weeks in January- It depends on the progress of the repairs. I ve decided to replace a couple of windows and the slider , and these things take a few weeks to order and get installed. I may list the house before everything is done..conventional wisdom states that winter is a bad time, especially around the hols, but there is another school of thought that only truly serious buyers are out looking then-not to mention those that are actually capable of getting financing. Thank goodness I live in an area that is on the upper end of the income scale , relative to other counties in Norcal.
I too loved your story of your small visitors, inquiring about the fairies . I regret that I just dont connect well with the young folk and would not have displayed your patience and imagination. Perhaps I will age less grumpily.

Very talented young man you have going there Denise-I think the portraits are great and I have always loved B&W photography (and films for that matter) and would love nothing better than to have portraits of my two progeny by someone in your DSs mold.

Honey, I talked to both my BIL and my DD in Oregon last night to check on their weather issues. Sounds like the winds were pretty mighty- the worst being places along the coast , and especially around the mouth of the Columbia.

Chelone, so what prompted you to lean towards the Scandinavian look ? I admire it a lot, its clean , simple in a way , but colorful too. So how about the deck and the French doors overlooking the GaHden ??

Woody, the forecast here is for a cold dry winter (La Nina) and thus far that has proved pretty accurate. We are under season normal rainfall totals .

Marian, your Rhodie pic is right up there with my Brugmansia !

OK, Im fading so its time to retire to the couch.. Tra everyone, with a wave to the neglected and absent

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   December 4, 2007 at 8:33PM
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15degF good morning, I think ;-)

Babs, Ei, both fun ladies whom I'd love to meet. Bet you'd look stunning in that color, too, Babs!! Ei, perhaps Chelone could alter that dress for you?

The fairy story is one of so many collected over the years. Like Chelone, I think that kids don't get to be kids long enough. My niece still talks about going for walks, being sure an apple was in pocket in case we met up with a Unicorn. While some feel that this is misleading to kids and that they need to be more serious and everything has to have a "reason" I think that when only about 1/5 of anyone's life allows for such thinking to be real, let'em think it!!

Denise: Your son's work is amazing, and I will try to get in touch with him while he's here. Don't know if I'll be in the city, I try to avoid it during the Holiday Season, but sure wish he was close enough to do my portrait with a simple appointment :-)

Kathy: I totally agree with getting the house on the market ASAP. Mortgage rates are low now, at least in New England. What if you sell it sooner than you think? Are you ready to pull up stakes quickly? We learned about that the hard way and were fairly certain we'd be without a house when a buyer came in Over asking price but needed us to be gone in five weeks. We found our house, much to our delight, but there were more than a few tense moments.

The woodstove is something I'd pick, and I like that since this is a single room it can be decorated without thought to what else is around. I'm envisioning chilled Vodka for saloning idylls. I'll indulge with some pastries :-)

The Missy pic evoked a Rich smile, but not a "yes." LOL I still have a big problem with both of us being gone for at least 10 hours a day, usually.

A very serious question: You all know I'm grateful for my parents' health. At 74 and 82 they are amazing, but my Mom is beginning to "forget" things and get a little confused during conversations. Can any of you help me to know what the best thing to do NOW would be? If my gut says "it's time to act" I'm not sure what "act" my sister or I should follow. Because of privacy laws, her doc won't talk to either of us.

Happier Note: I want Marian's rhodo!! And, are your cacti blooming? I need a pic to tape to my plant with one lonely bloom. LOL

All good things on this Wednesday -


    Bookmark   December 5, 2007 at 7:18AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Martie, it is so good that you are paying attention to Mom and noticing the changes. It is a frightening stage for her as well as for her partner I am sure. My first suggestion is to keep talking to THEM on both fun and serious topics. If you can draw out her wishes for future care and have her sign them (notarized), it will ease things down the road. The same goes for your father. If they ASKED that their doctor share with you, that might also help. I was my mother's Power of Attorney for both health and financial affairs. It is a miserable job, but I agreed to it. If your Mom has a financial/tax consultant, (mine did) that can be helpful. It can also be terrible. I fired her investment man who did little and earned much. I took over that job. In terms of health, Mom had a doctor who was willing to assist and advise me. This was not a perfect arrangement, but it helped. She listened carefully to Mom (who had regular appointments) and then prescribed her meds. Mom had a nurse give her meds because she was unreliable about taking them. BUT, what the doctor did not know was that Mom's symptoms were imaginary and that she was prescribing for things like diarrhea which Mom did not have! And so Mom was describing a sense of lack of control of her life...not a physical ailment. What I'm saying is that I feel, from my experience, that you NEED the connection with her doctor and that your Mom may well agree. If this does not work out, speaking to your own doctor/nurses about geriatric care issues might be the next best thing. Please keep asking if you need help. This is a cruel time, but in an odd way, a time for bonding like never before.

Also I'll add that keeping her mind active with things she enjoys, (reading, cards, singing, piano, sewing, newspaper, gardening... whatever) enjoying pets or visiting pets and children, getting mail, watching funny movies, walking, swimming, plenty of visitors...all these things help her not to turn inward and increase depression.

Later folks,

    Bookmark   December 5, 2007 at 8:17AM
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Good morning all!

I just came in from an ice skate to the car to warm it up. I don't like ice because I am afraid to fall - Mary, you made me wince with your tale....I hope you have no residual soreness. Ei, your fall was wince inducing, too :) I've never had a black and blue bosom....guess I should count my lucky stars!

Cindy, looking forward to a cyber toast to solitary confinement, and best wishes for you and your father through this upcoming just keeps throwing snowballs even when you cry UNCLE!

Denise, your son will be dressed appropriately in said pea coat and acoutrement! It was all the rage, LOL! Most important are the warm feet and hands.... He is so talented...I too wish he could photograph my family. He might make a small fortune from Idyll :)

Kathy, I don't envy the job of getting your house ready, but it seems you know exactly what needs doing and calmy plug right through! I wish I could hire you to tell me what to do, as I generally am a good worker bee - I did good in boot camp once I figured out they couldn't beat (as in with a stick or fist) me, LOL, I just did everything they said and flew under the radar. They didn't even know my name for a while :)

GB, Sarah really enjoyed identifying who'd been at your door....I hope you passed a carrot through a slight crack in the door! Your sideways icicles are impressive.

Deanne, I went out in the icy frozen darkness to fill my birdfeeders just because it didn't seem right to let them go without if you're willing to sit out in a blind to photograph them. Birds probably come from far and wide to get Deanne to photo their families the way that Idyll's would flock to Denise's son....

Boy, I'm in some kind of chattering mood this morning.....

Marian, your grandgirls certainly do look at home, and even before I ready your post, I laughed at the cat's interest....I imagine the small pieces of the farm would appeal to a cat's mischievious side :) Marcy's always batting around some little Sarah something. Your rhodie got it's signals crossed, huh?

Babs, I'm not wearing a dress either....what a coincidence :)

Martie, you're so sweet with good stories and hot chocolate!

Now it's time for me to go to the gym. I'm all set up for a Christmas eve doctor's appt. You see, I've been working out HARD with trainers and all and I haven't lost a pound....not an inch in the waist....NOTHING. Someone at the gym suggested a check up so I made an appt. I set a goal in my life to be in the best shape I've ever been by the time I'm forty.....I'd just like to see some progress :)

Maybe I should look at getting a check up (and subsequent clean bill of health :) as progress.

A big wave to all my idyll friends....


    Bookmark   December 5, 2007 at 8:36AM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Its a chilly morning here as Martie said. Woke up and it was 15F outside. Brrrr.. The kitties only want to go out for five minutes at a time so Im the doorman here right now. As soon as they come in and warm up they think its warmed up outside. Im well trained. I admit it. The birds are feeding like mad right now and Id like to get out in my blind today after I get back from the gym. Ive got the cutest group of Carolina Wrens that are coming into the feeders regularly right now and Id like to get some nice pics of them. I noticed a very interesting thing the other day. I took a photograph of a Junco last December that had a deformed wing with the first primary feather sticking out at an odd angle and the secondary feather under it also not folding in correctly. Well, I got a photograph of that exact same bird on Sunday! Imagine that those little Juncos migrated up to Canada for nesting season then came back to my back yard. Incredible! Im hoping to spot that little female that lost her foot in the ice storm last January. Now that would be something. I havent seen the hawk (Im now thinking it was a Coopers and not a Sharp-shinned) for a few days but Ill bet it comes back at some point. There are too many songbirds here for it to pass up.

I had to butcher the coleus under the lights upstairs as I had an outbreak of aphids in the plants. Grrrrrr.. Where on earth do these bugs come from??? Im more careful and meticulous about bringing plants in than you could ever imagine and I still get the darned bugs. So I cut off ALL the leaves off ALL the plants under those lights and then sprayed them with an indoor plant insecticide. I now have a forest of sticks under my lights. I surely hope they survive the experience. The downstairs plants seem to be insect free for now and Ive only had a very few fungus gnats to deal with. All the abutilon are now leafing out beautifully and a few of them are setting buds so Ill have flowers soon. They bloom really well under the lights. One of the papyrus that I brought in, (not the huge seven footer) we not doing well at all and I figured out that it just wasnt getting enough light so I added a light fixture with a daylight bulb over it and its doing much better. For a while I thought I was going to lose it.

Denise, how nice to see you! Your sons work is beautiful. What Id like to know is, who is the girl in the cap in the third portrait? She looks uncannily like my daughter who looks a lot like me etc. The Durocher (my maiden name)
girls (I have three sisters) all bear a striking resemblance to each other, so much so that one time when DD was working at a job in the mall in her early 20s a total stranger to her asked her if she was one of the Durocher girls. Turned out that the woman used to be my babysitter and thought DD was my youngest sister. Anyway, when I opened the gallery and saw that photograph I did a double then a triple take.

Saucy, good for you with sticking to the work at the gym and for setting fitness goals. I feel your pain! Im in the same boat re: working my butt off and cutting calories and not seeing any results. Ive talked to my PCP, an endocrinologist, and a couple dieticians as well as having a couple different personal trainers and I am what I am. Its beyond discouraging. Then when I stop working out so hard I gain weight at light speed. Ive had to be content to be happy with where I am at and know that Im staying fit regardless of what the outside package looks like.

Bug, you must have had some wind to have those horizontal icicles. Wow! It sure seems that winter has arrived early this year.

Chelone, so when is the garage warming party? Soon your car doors wont be frozen because your car will be parked in the garage.

Honey, great to hear from you. I sure hope things settle down for you soon. Youve got one too many things on your plate right now and I feel your pain. ~~ Love that photo of your brug. Bummer that you had to give it away.

Was that a Babs fly by?

Eileen, just love that photo! You look fabu-fabu in that dress! What a yummy color!

Kathy, I sure hope your DD is OK. That flooding up there is horrible.

Cynthia, hope Katie is doing better. Please give us an update when you can.

Michelle, Glad you liked the robin pic.

OK hello to everyone! Ive really got to get my act in gear and get to the gym for my hour on the stairs. Have a great day everyone.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2007 at 9:50AM
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Full_Bloom(z5 IL)

Good Morning Idylls!

I did see on the news yesterday that there is heavy flooding in Washington & Oregon, which made me think of T right away. Hope all are safe and sound in her neck of the woods.

Nothing much to report here, except we got a lot of snow last night...I think were to get more today. Well, it *does* look very pretty. Not much to report on the home front. We had the house up for 3 months, a few bites, but nothing came of it. There have been about 8 new homes built over the summer in my little area, but unfortunately nothing seems to be selling. I enjoyed your pics; Bug...especially the horizontal funny! How do you spot these things? Youre very good at it. Loved the footprints in the snow first when I was scrolling I thought it was piece of lacey fiber paper.

How fun Saucy that your daughter was identifying the footprints. Have you ever heard of the "Track Finder"? Its a neat little inexpensive pocket book from the Nature Study Guild that shows all the foot prints of animals in the snow. I use to carry it with me when Id go walking in the woods. There is a whole series of them: Bird Finder, Flower Finder, Winter Tree Finder, etc.

I really enjoyed your story about the kids too Marty! Your seedpod explanation reminded me of this...have you ever seen these? I found them while doing a search on Ebay:

They were popular in the 1930s. According to an article I found on the web, written by a Jerri Ferris Reynolds: "The silhouette was painted on the reverse side of the glass with black lacquer paint; the backgrounds were stamped with dampened rolls of crepe paper in pink, blue for the sky and green for grass. When the painting was dry, it was placed in its frame within a shadow-box like arrangement to prevent a breeze from disturbing the milkweed. First the flowers were placed in the areas designated for them; then the milkweed was drifted over the whole picture. Finally, the painted pink, blue and green backgrounds were added. This was followed by the correct size cardboard and finished with brown paper glued to the frame and stamped with the Flowercraft logo." Neat! :-)

Well, I've had enough of seeing am taking the pic off. Besides, I needed the room in my photo album to post these pics for Martie. But, thanks for all the nice compliments.

Chelone I love your new woodstove and the description of the interior design images in your head. I hope you will share the pics once you are finished.

Good to see you too Woody. I think your tradition with your friend is very neat idea. Kind of reminds me of a book I once read (cant remember the title) but it was about two gardeners who wrote back and forth about their gardens. Do you save your letters? If so, I bet its neat to go back and see what has changed and how the gardens and the gardeners have matured.

Marian neat pic. I confess though, Im not really sure what it is. I was thinking rhododendron, but not positive. Whatever it is I love the rich color of its blooms. That *is* strange to be setting flower buds now.

Denisez...lovely pic of you. Your son is very talented and I love the moods he captures with each photo. What a generous offer and how neat for Martie...

Have a great day all! Ei

P.S. Good Morning Deanne! I just caught your post as I was posting mine.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2007 at 10:23AM
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Kathy, I wish I could send you some of the homemade chicken soup that I made on Sat.

Ei, you look lovely from head to toe in your fabulous dress (the guys are mighty handsome too)

Denise, its nice to put the face with the name.

Deanne, amazing that the junco came back to your yard. He must have remembered how well fed he was there. Im getting lots of juncos and many other kinds of birds at my feeder thats just outside the bathroom window. Thats in the area of the sundial garden. The birds like the big spruce there.

DH spent several hours last night with the skid loader cleaning the snow and ice from the yard. At least I can get out for a little walking.

It would be nice if T would pop in and reassure us that they are surviving the weather.

Chelone, what a great stove. This is going to be quite the place.

I've spent a little time burning some of my garden photos on CDs and am now able to view them on our big screen TV. Its almost as good as being there. It might be a good past time this winter.


    Bookmark   December 5, 2007 at 2:01PM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

Yes Ei, it is a rhododendron. It has 3 more clusters of buds but they are not as far along as that one.
I espacially like the second of the two silhouette pics.

Thanks for all the nice comments about my GD's and cat's pics.
I like Chelone's account of her and her friends wnen at that age. The GD's have always kept themselves busy when here. The contents of the toy box, plus items too large to fit in it, have always been their first interest, followed by jig saw puzzles, and ( occasionally ) a video of their choice. In nice weather they are frquently outside roaming the yard, or on the deck. I don't think they are ever bored. They use the song " Over the River and Through the Woods to Grandmother's House We go", then Sunday the middle one ( Bri) reversed the route as they were preparing to leave...." Through the Woods and Over the River From Grandmother's House We go" It really does apply.
As for Tommy and his interest in the 'farm', I thought sure he was preparing to pounce on some of the small objects. At times he was even more focused than when I snapped the pic. He and Trubby lost interest in the toys that I have for them, some time ago...even the squeaky mouse.

Ei, I'm glad you warned us that you were removing your pic of the three of you. I quickly added it to my pictures. :-)
You are a handsome family, and yes...your dress is lovely, and you are too....:-)

Denise, I 'did' picture you with dark hair. You are pretty, and look like I thought you should....:-)
I hope your DS has made it to NYC okay, and is warm enough...:-) I can imagine how proud you are of his chosen profession. He is very good at it.

Brrr, Marie ! I'm sure thankful that we do not have anything like that here...yet. Your pics are great. I have seen such icecycles, but not often. I too have taken animal footprints in the snow. I enjoy doing that. I have books on id-ing them too, and links bookmarked.
I imagine several others of you have similar snowy yards...espacially Woody. I hope it will not be an all winter ( that isn't even here yet! ) event.

BTW, Marie, it seems my B 12 shots are shortening my recovery time from the kid's visit. Normally I drag for several days, but am quite okay already ! I know you will really enjoy your visit out west. Wish I could go to visit 'out west' !

Kathy, I have been rather concerned about my DB and SIL in Albany, Ore., so checked on line for conditions there. They appear to not be in danger. I think I read about your DD in the area, but can't find it now. :-( I hope she is okay also.

Martie, Your parents are close to our ages. Your mom is a year younger than I. Your Dad is a year older than Nolon. In our case, we both have memory lapses. They have been ongoing and do not seem to be of a dangerous stage for either of us. As you all know, I exercise my mind constantly. Mine is more of a 'here after' thing...i.e. " What was I here after?" LOL. I do 'lose' names a lot, espacially of people that I do not see or hear of frequently, and I 'misplace' words, but they generally return. I call it my slow dial-up.:-) So far I haven't done anything weird ( that I know of) like putting a remote in the refrigerator, and I haven't forgotten how to do start thr car or the VCR ....( now I need to figure out the DVD...:-) )
The new microwave is rather a challenge !

Most of my Thanksgiving cactus are nearing the end of their blooms. The Xmas haven't started yet. I have lost a lot of them due to some sort of disease that causes entire stems to rot off ( or else improper watering).

I appreciate Marie's advice about the aging mind, but do be cautious about pegging someone as senile or with altzhimers, when it could be due to a physical condition that can be reversed. Also, it is very common for older folks to have short term memory loses. Most of my friends at the Golden Year's class cope with this loss, but have continued to be self sufficient for many years.

Ei, sorry about your flying fall over Scout, and sorrier that you are so bruised from it. Glad that nothing was broken.

Mary, I'm sorry about your icy fall, but I too have to chuckle at the mental picture of you crawling to safety.
I am glad you suffered no serious injury.
I hope everyone else are being ultra careful.

Deanne, that's funny about your kitties. Ours seem very aware when it is cold outside.
I saw a flock of cardinals in an evergreen up the road from us. Must be migrating. Slate Colored Juncos have been here at least a month. Interesting that you have seen the same one with the distorted wing feathers. The Flickers come in flocks this time of the year. I haven't noticed any Purple Finches yet. Some woman reported a hummingbird in Springfield, Mo. just a few days ago. That is certainly unusual.
Tim was telling me about a hawk that flew into the side of his car recently. He said it flew off and didn't appear to be injured.
I love the Carolina Wrens. They are such roudy little critters, and so exuberant.
Sorry about the aphids. I am having scale problems.They were on my 2 indoor cyclamins. I sprayed with a House and Garden spray...not expecting it to work... but they are better, and still covered with new blooms.

Marie, I tryed to get the Roy Orbison imitater link, but when I finally got it, he was imitating some one else ! I am partial to Orbison. I espacially like his Blue Bayou.

Yargh ! I think I have rambled on long enough. I started this well before noon!

(Please excuse all my mistakes...I know I didn't catch them all....)

    Bookmark   December 5, 2007 at 2:04PM
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Hi everyone, Just a flyby to say hello. It's a cold blustery day here. I knew I should have taken a long walk yesterday. My back is screaming from to much inactivity. I've found a couple of new websites on playing guitar and have been whileing away to much time.

We got rain instead of snow here. I'm ok with that. I can look at Bugs pics when I need to see it. LOL
I am pictureing Michelles DH out there with the skidloader cleaning up the yard for her. And I have this cartoon cat image of Mary looking around to see if anyone saw her fall. LOL , Glad you weren't hurt.

Honey, Like everyone else, I think Missy is just to cute. How can you get mad at a face like that. I bet she lightens things up at your house sometimes with all the woes you guys are having. I'm hoping for the best for you.

Marian , I am so happy to hear the B12 shots are shortening your down time. Loved the cozy pictures of your family.

Ei, your post are always so interesting to read. And I wanted to add , I think the drawing of Scout is awesome.
I always wanted to draw and paint , but never was very good at it.

Martie, clever fairy scenenario. I see why the neighborhood kids like you so much. I'm betting you are getting anxious to see Kyle.

Chelone the stove is really nice. How large a room is the salon? Sounds like a fun project.

Deanne , it is amazing to think that the same birds come back isn't it. I always look forward to your bird photos.

A big cyber howdy to all especially Cynthia who has got her hands full taking care of Katiekins.
And T who has her hands full as well keeping an eye out for little mountain climbers. Probably helping Santa too.
Babs, Drema, Wendy, Cindy, Kathy, Denise and....well everyone.

I may be lost in the world of music notes and scales for awhile so take care everyone. Norma

    Bookmark   December 5, 2007 at 3:36PM
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Wow, nice treat to return from a day in the trenches and find so much fun stuff to read. :)

Marian, do you think the rhodie will offer up a flower before realizing its mistake? I am not the "birder" in this family, but I enjoy the little Nuthatches marching up and down the trunk of the big red maple in the center of the circle. I am particularly fond of the Chickadees, too... there's just something so appealing about them, in their little "Lone Ranger" masks. I meant to tell Saucy that I very much enjoyed her link to "Over the River" at Thanksgiving, and I love that the girls played with the lyrics. Kids being KIDS is just wonderful. Lol about your "dial up"... that's a good one. :)

Feline activity is remarkably similar to Deanne's and Marian's. There's also been a fair amount of the "hokey pokey", too. You know, when they step in something they don't like and give the really rapid paw shake. I love that their bodies don't move, only the one paw.

'bug's photography of her wintery environs never ceases to amaze me. And (again) I'm charmed that an Idyll child was so keen to and able to! identify the tracks in the snow outside 'bug's door; if that isn't the mark of involvement and friendship, I don't know what is. Hey, 'bug., have you begun thinking about names for the "dog-child". Are you set on a female or are you going to wait to "meet" the litter before making the final choice? When does the official countdown begin?

I'm sorry to hear about telephone woes to the north. THAT'S gotta be a drag! I know the expense of burying utilities is great but wouldn't it make a HUGE improvement in the general aesthetics of the world we inhabit if it was undertaken more often? Like you, Woody, I'm very happy with cable internet, but I think the price is far too high. I think there isn't nearly enough competition and there is too much consolidation of media. VERY dangerous and "anti-consumer", although benign at first glance.

I have very much enjoyed the artwork... I love the '30s pictures and the photography! just amazing. Let's hope Denise's progeny doesn't suffer frostbitten "fingies".

Mary Queen of Scots and Elizabeth I never met, to Mary's great frustration. The letters they exchanged were full of requests from the latter and calculated, tactful evasions by the former. Their correspondence is fascinating reading; the rivalry is impossible to overlook. More interesting, however, is the contrast of their personalities. One is clearly passionate and emotional, young and ill-prepared for her role as Queen. The other coolly steps back and addresses a crisis pragmatically. And is, first and foremost, a statesman; hardened by court intrigue and a variety of plots undertaken in her name. The murder of Lord Henry Darnley is a perfect example. Fascinating women, and Antonia Frasier's biography of Mary is something I want to reread.

I have to really collect my thoughts on memory loss and all that I've experienced, Martie. There is much I want to share, but I'm still distilling it all, still (!). Memory loss is not uncommon and it doesn't necessarily foretell doom. But now is the time to begin setting things lup so IF there is a crisis you can step in and do what your mother would want.

I love clean, neat, elegant interiors. Always have. I love Victorian furniture, but have a very special soft spot for the neat, trim, clean lines of the neo-classical pieces. I love color in a room. And beautiful draperies. Perhaps it's the time of year and the low availability of natural light, but over the years I've saved photos of rooms that have appealed to me and lo! and behold, most of them have been in the Scandinavian neo-classical style! The details and the furniture appeal to me. The use of bright, bold colors in pale hues maximizes light in times of low light. So, I'm thinking about stepping out of my preferred palette and going a bit brighter. I also think the style will marry nicely with the new stove. And it's important to me that the stove be highlighted as the important part of the room it will be.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2007 at 4:52PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Well Chelone, I have a fondness for a book given me on Carl and Karin Larsson's home. She was a creative weaver, and I believe he was the ego and fame. But the colours and furniture, tiles etc...all appeal to me. Their tiled stove ...lovely. Perhaps you have seen some of this? Check out the site below and click on the items in the left column.

My goodness, I thank you all for the winter photo comments! When I take these shots I think I am showing how miserable the conditions are, and yet photography plays tricks and they look downright nice. I had this experience when photographing my school in West Africa. My parents were charmed by it and I was amazed....

So far we do not know the sex of our puppy. We must wait until around December 22nd to see what shows up in the litter. After that we meet the puppies when they are about 6 weeks old. We do not get to choose the puppy, but the puppies basically choose their owner. A sensible plan! We must decide at that time so that our pup does NOT have its ears cropped. I guess the big countdown begins once we have chosen the little one. We need to collect a crate (for travel and its security), bedding and all sorts of puppy things. I need to refresh my readings on puppy care, housebreaking, etc.

My countdown these days is first for the birth of the pups, second for our trip to Alberta. This will be Sarah's first Christmas. I am so excited to see what traditions she will start. I asked her, and she so sweetly said that she does not want to change a single thing, that it was perfect. They may not exactly say thank you, but to me that was a big THANK YOU and I am touched!

Hanukkah begins for many!
I must tend to dinner....

    Bookmark   December 5, 2007 at 6:23PM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

Kathie, I forgot to respond to your comment about the table and chairs where the 2 girls are working on the puzzle. The table is an antique. I have no idea how old. We have had it about 35 years, after one of Nolon's distant cousins moved from Idaho back to Arkansas and left a bunch of furnishings etc.,in his house. He and his wife asked if we would get the good stuff out of the house. We did, and much of it was returned to them eventually, but not that table. I have damaged the veneer from setting plants on it. :-(
The chairs were brought home by Nolon from a fire job. The insurance company would declare everything a loss and the furniture and other usuable things would be disposed of. Much of it ended up with me. The chairs had some charring on them, but Nolon refinished them and recovered the seats.

No rain here, but temps plunged during the afternoon. It is now around freezing. I an fearing for the future of the rhodo buds ( Chelone).
I enjoy the nuthatches and chickadees also.
And hows about the kitties when walking in snow, and daintily shaking it off of each paw as they go along?

    Bookmark   December 5, 2007 at 6:37PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

I can't compete with Marian's rhododendron, especially since it is about 3F here at the moment. But indoors I have one bloom and one bud on a tiny peach coloured cactus. A friend brought me a small cutting in early October. No sign of buds on my large ones though...

    Bookmark   December 5, 2007 at 8:26PM
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Hello friends, so many newsy posts today ! I continue to blow my nose (and Michelle, I too wish for your home-made soup !) but I think my misery has peaked and tomorrow will be the day when I start towards the mend. I decided to experiment with cold turkey this time no over-the-counter cold meds. I think this worked out ok. Im not sure any of that stuff really does anything-with the exception of the drowsy formulas which put me to sleep and I would use if really miserable. I had meetings galore the last two days and colleagues tended to scooch their chairs as far away from me as possible in the conference room ! We dubbed one of the guys in the office as Typhoid Mary since he was the first to exhibit symptoms.

Marian, my DD is in Eugene which is about 40 miles south of Albany/Corvallis area. So like your DB she was not involved in the flooding etc, which I understand is mostly in Southern Washington and the extreme NW coast of Oregon. So I wonder along with Ei et. al. about T ? ..Thanks for the info on the table. I have lots of antiques ,( including the desk I am sitting at right now) some of them cast-offs by others or found being sold cheap in out of the way junk stores.

Ei , those fairy silhouettes are so charming Did you just post these pics off Ebay or did you actually purchase them ? One more and you would be a collector you know ! I expect it to take 6 months to sell this house. I am encouraged by the number of lookers I see visiting the house that is for sale across the street from me- it has about 400 less sq. ft. than mine. Tomorrow I have the window company coming by to quote me on a new slider plus a couple of windows that are in poor shape. DS and I are going to plan on painting his bedroom before Christmas-a 1 day project for two people.

Hi Norma, shall we expect you to emerge as the new Chet Atkins or Eric Clapton after a winter of guitar practice ? What are these web sites you mention ? My DS is always trying to improve his guitar playing.

The fictitious meeting of Mary and Elizabeth was indeed a dramatic device to move the story forward. Nice to imagine (sort of like crop circles or Guenivere and Lancelot) but a non-event none the less.
And Chelone , your explanation of your interest in Scandinavian design makes perfect sense. I can appreciate the desire to color up the shorter days you experience in Maine during winter.

Saucy, worker bees are good. And flying under the radar can be good too! I wish I could spend maybe one month at my office under the radar. Wont happen till Im out the door Im afraid. I ve been around too long ! So is your lack of weight loss a thyroid thing ? Or is it just who you are ? I dont think everyone can fit into a cookie-cutter body type. Maybe youve put on lots of muscle ?

Deanne , great to hear from you ! We look forward to your fabu-fabu bird pics this winter. How nice to see a return visitor. I had a grosbeak that would come back year after year.

bug, I think we Idylls will be in as bit of a swoon awaiting your new canine friendand how nice that Sarah wants to continue traditions from her family , and that her DH is ok with that ? My DD s partner will be initiated into our Christmas procedures this year , and I think that our 4th of July gave him a bit of a preview. One of our favorites is the Gift Wrap Contest. No store bought bows allowed . The person with the best paper /bow combos wins. There is no prize, only the Thrill of Victory ! "

Hi to all, I must be off to eat some food and wallow in stuffiness

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   December 5, 2007 at 9:50PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

Now I'm in a minor pickle - I have "written" so many posts in my head I don't remember what I have actually said and what I just thought I said. Would you all mind taking a course in mind reading this winter and save me the bother of typing?

Winter has reared its ugly head. An ice storm Saturday night, followed by lots of rain on Sunday and 5 inches of snow last night. The roads are fine but some off-road areas (as in my driveway) have a thick layer of ice covered by lots of snow. And sometime last night my mailbox express mailed itself to warmer climes. I'll stop at the post office tomorrow and find out if it sent me a postcard!

I've got one more busy day, and then Friday night I have a night of peace and quiet all by myself. I'm looking forward to that with some simple goals - read the idylls, finish my book and read a magazine or two. I'll probably fall asleep be fore I finish the first of my goals!


    Bookmark   December 5, 2007 at 10:14PM
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Good evening, idyllers. Joseph the cat has gone missing. He came home late Tues with what looked like a broken front leg though DH thought it might be only a sprain. He was sleeping quietly on the couch in the office when I locked him in about 11 pm but was nowhere to be found in the early morning, when it was time for a visit to the vet, escaping through a torn screen. He's either panicked at the thought of another bout with the clown collar or who knows... His call is "T-u-n-a, Joe," to no avail. Hopefully tomorrow morning he'll be back, rotten cat. I don't know if a neighbor's dog is responsible for the injury or maybe a trap for raccoons. How does a cat break its leg anyway?

I forgot to report that rain was officially recorded in the LA basin last Friday, almost 2 inches. Possibly more in a few days. LA commuters are of course rendered senseless by rain-slick roads. How you traverse icy ones is beyond me. A thick fog descended incredibly fast around 4:30 tonight but has dissipated. Nothing to compare to ice, skifts, sideways icicles, drifts and whatnot but at least there's finally some moisture and nice cloudscapes too. High seas are supposed to hit tomorrow, and DH said last night the ships were rocking deeply side to side, up and down 15 feet, like bathtub toys. He spotted a grey whale close to the harbor, which is all wrong for this time of year. Glad he's not working tomorrow night. I can't imagine what the Columbia river pilots are enduring up in the PNW with that storm front.

Marian, no rhodies blooming here but I did notice an aloe throwing up a bloom stalk.

I've had that same cold all week but was able to work today without spasmodic coughing, popping cough drops all day through a forensic accounting matter. What gibberish they speak, no offense to any CPAs.

A book to ID animal tracks, now there's a stocking stuffer. Seriously, for an 8-year-old tracking huffalumps. Those idyllers with young kids still at Christmas, I'm flat out jealous. It's exciting to hear of Christmases just beginning for the new families.

I love it when idylls chat about birds too, many unfamiliar to me.

The prodigal photographer called from NYC and has arrived safely. Thanks for the compliments on his work. He had an interview today but I haven't heard yet how it went. It's been difficult to watch him pursue something that may not be able to afford him a living. Enthusiasm and hard work aren't always enough. We all learn to compromise, but it's hard to watch someone pre-compromise. I suppose the days of one job that lasts a lifetime are over, and he can always go back to school, I guess. Deanne, that girl with the cap is a singer named Angie -- don't know much else about her but I also like her portraits. Family resemblances certainly do skip around generations.

I've enjoyed reading all the posts -- takes my mind off Joe. g'night.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2007 at 2:20AM
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Here's hopin' Tuna Joe turns up today. I would be worried, too. With the exception of two apartments, I've always lived in fairly rural areas. And the family cats went outdoors if they wanted, though "in for the night" has always been the policy. Over the years, we've had a couple "go missing", I suspect they fulfilled their destiny as part of the food chain. And one was hit by a car. Both very sad events, to be sure, but the majority have lived long, healthy lives doing the sort of things kitties do when they're "out".

Jeez, it's COLD here. Definitely below "normal". Or maybe I'm just getting to be more of a wuss in my declining years? There was sea smoke on the river yesterday morning! Denise, is your husband a harbor pilot? I was talking to one of them the other day and asked him about scaling the side of a freighter in rolling seas... "eh, don't look down", was his reply. LOL. My boss wears her "float coat" when she goes to a marina at this time of year, and makes sure someone in the office knows where she's working and about how long she'll be. Several years ago one of the "liveaboards" at a local marina went out to shovel snow from the dock and slipped into the water. He was unable to haul himself out of the water and his body was found the following day... so sad.

'bug, aren't those tiled stoves gorgeous? They are quite ingenious, using thermal mass to store the heat and release it evenly into a room over a longer period of time. If you looked at a cross section of one you'd find a relatively small firebox and a series of vents that allow the gasses to work their way to the chimney, but not before they accumulate in a series of secondary chambers where they attain a temperature that will ignite them and, effectively burn them more completely. It's the same method used by the Romans to heat the waters of their baths. It is an amazingly efficient and non-polluting approach to heating in very cold area. I always wondered how they managed to heat those huge palaces in Russia, Scandinavia, and Germany without cutting down every tree in the country. The same priniciple is at work in our woodstove and the one we just ordered, but because it doesn't have the mass of the other stoves it uses a catalytic combustor to force the secondary burn in the more limited confines of a relatively small stove. (and thus concludes our lecture on woodburning technologies).

I was less than thrilled with the crummy roads on Tuesday morning... but you get used to it or remain housebound until mid-April. I subscribe to the theory that one doesn't need snowtires... if the roads are that crappy, stay home. :) I drive like a little old lady (sorry Marian!) but and always seems to get where I need to go.

The garage is now insulated. I was amazed that there was only one guy doing that dreadful work. He did the entire thing by himself in around 6 hrs. (it's 28x36) and did the walls and the ceilings, and installed the vapor barrier. I always introduce myself to the contractors and offer something to eat/drink or the use of the bathroom. He was, as the helpmeet said, "a little rough around the edges" (bad teeth and a chain smoker and not particularly well-spoken) BUT he was workin' on my garage, doing it efficiently, and that's what really matters in my book. He seemed genuinely surprised at my offer of hospitality, and that gave me pause for thought.

Wow, Kathy, you're cruising right along on the pre-sale renovations, aren't you? Wanna come here and help me prime, sand, and paint drywall? :)

I've wondered about T., as well. I heard a meteorologist say the storm was the size of the USA as it gathered force over the Pacific. Yikes.

And have thought about Cindy and her father, too. I hope yesterday went smoothly and the level of discomfort abates quickly for him. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for the return "to solitary", as Saucy put it.

And Katiekins and Cynthia... wonder about them, a lot, too.

Waiting for Norma to share her studies with us via You Tube... just don't end up like Stevie Ray Vaughn. ;)

OK, I have waited long enough to depart for work (was asked to go in a bit later than usual today). I love watching the sun come up from the shop. It's just about as low in the southern sky as it can get and the display is amazing virtually every morning.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2007 at 5:57AM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Good morning all,

Well its another chilly one here 16F but that doesnt compare to Bugs single digits. It seems mighty cold for early December. The kitties went out for about five minutes, ran like he l for the door when I checked if they wanted to come back in and havent asked to go back out again. Maybe theyve finally figured out that just because its warm inside it doesnt mean its warm outside. I spent a bit of time outside with my birds yesterday and was pleased to see a Common Redpoll at the feeder. Ive only seen a Redpoll here once before in the thirty years weve lived here so its fun to have a new bird at the feeders. This isnt a good photo (I had no light yesterday) but you can see her jaunty red cap.

I finally put an image together with the photos of the Junco from 06 and 07. How neat to know the same bird has returned to the same place. I guess they know the eating is good here.

Chelone, I agree that its unusually cold for this early in the season. Doug was wondering yesterday if we were going to have snow cover for the rest of the winter. One of the local meteorologists said that they believed that wed get warmer temps in January but how knows?

Denise I sure hope Tuna Joe has shown up by now. Thats a worry. Broken leg would probably be a dog, trap or car accident. Poor boy! I hate it when the furbies are hurt. ~~ I can really empathize with you concern over DSs career choice. There are a lot of talented people out there and a lot of success has to do with luck as well as talent. My friends son wants to go into graphic design and Im trying to talking him into a major in business instead. Learn the design but have a business degree to fall back on.

Kathy, I sure hope you are feeling better soon. Nothing more miserable than cold and flu. ~~ Glad to hear your DD is OK.

Bug I love it that the puppy is going to choose the human.

Mary, I hope you arent too sore from your ice incident. ~~ Doug will be out in your area next week.

Norma, how wonderful you are so involved with learning guitar. Id love it if I could get enthusiastic about playing again.

Marian, how strange that someone in MO saw a hummingbird a few days ago. As you said, that really is strange. I never see flocks of cardinals or flickers only a few birds at a time.

Michelle, Id love to have a spot for a spruce for the birds. They provide lots of shelter for them. I do have a lot of birds roost in the hemlocks but I think spruces provide even more protection.

Eileen, interesting art with the silhouettes and milkweed fluff. Thanks for posting that.

Cindy, do you have your house back yet?

T. please check in to let us know you are OK.

OK I guess Id better get myself off to the gym and get my day started. Have a great day everyone.


    Bookmark   December 6, 2007 at 8:17AM
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What happened to Stevie Ray Vaughn? Is this something I have to google?

Boy did I wake up on the wrong side of the bed....everything I look at is just wrong.....I mean I did leave the dishwasher empty so they could put their dirty dishes in, and the clothes hamper has a lid that opens so you can put clothes IN....don't get me started on the wet towel on the floor :)

I guess it's time for a refresher on WE ALL LIVE TOGETHER 101

All the Christmas boxes came down from the attic last night and the kids were bursting at the seems (or were they busting?). They're concerned that my stocking is MIA. I'm sure Santa kept it for a very good reason :)

Sarah is still desperately clinging to Santa and Jake is being good about playing along. I know it's tough when all the kids at school begin their 3rd grade chatter.

Those bad Blue Jays are out there waiting on the ground while the biggest of them all scoops birdseed out with his beak for the masses! I too have wrens. Right now I'm looking at a downy woodpecker on the suet.

OH! and I had a red tail hawk right in the maple in the back yard! He stretched out his wings and took off and it was awesome!

I imagine that in Joe's part of the country it's cat calling time all year 'round. Let's hope he's out foolin' around and will be home for a nap soon.

Kathy, hot and sour soup is my cure all, but do they have it on the west coast? I recall Chinese being decidedly different.

Chelone, I meant to say that I visited with a friend who has that same stove and I couldn't quit admiring it....I must drop in on her soon since we're in the perfect months for backing in to the stove to keep the buns warm, LOL...

Gotta get started a little earlier today....TTYL


    Bookmark   December 6, 2007 at 8:23AM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

LOL, Chelone....I just read your post and 'have' to comment on the "little old lady". I am definitely not the sterotypical 'little old lady' driver, in fact I may even be locally considered somewhat of a terror on the road! I do try to not exceed the speed limit, but I HATE being followed too close, and have the tendency to get the guilty party to pass...then I return the 'following' act. I am not only angry, I am also trying to teach them a lesson.
I drove on many an icy road before moving here, but avoid them like the plague now. I try to be well prepared before such weather gets here, so I can set it out. I see no reason to tempt 'fate' and get myself into an accident. Besides, I have enough to cope with, without adding to it.
The bringing in of the firewood regardless of outside conditions is enough 'danger' for me!

I am still chuckling about an editorial about the traffic in "North Harrison". I drive through that part of Harrison everytime I go to town, and have never considered it a 'dangerous' place to drive...but the editor said he avoided that part of town ( and he is much younger than I ). Harrison is only around 10,000 population !

Now, back to matters at is mighty cold here, but still only mid-20s. I am wondering how I will survive winter?? The house got down to the lower 50s, even though I had the stove full and not turned down too low(?). I was not comfortably warm in bed, but reluctant to attempt to rectify it by either adding more covers or more clothing. Chelone, I think I have become even more wussy ! LOL

Marie, I have a Thanksgiving cactus that is about that same color, but I do not think it has such pretty purple anthers ( not sure I chose the right word). I have checked the only open bloom and it only has one anther . I got pollen on it when trying to decide it's color ( the light isn't good where it is). Mine is one of my hybrids. Your pic is perfectly lovely!

Kathy, I have failed to sympatize with you on your cold in the nose. My silly nose is plagued with chronic rhinitis, so is almost always snuffy and stuffy ! I do hope yours will not become chronic.
I have never been much south of Portland. My DB took me to the ocean a couple of times.I am not sure which location but probably mostly west of Portland. ( I loved it! )

Marie, it is beyond my comprehension to cope with a puppy...or even a kitten, for that matter. If we ever need to replace our present cats, it will be a middle-aged one, so it's life span will not be much longer than mine( what-ever that may be). I am happy that you are so enthused over the prospect. I think those dogs are handsome ( dispite the 'sticky' ).I was espacially partial to Charlotte, but I do develope 'likes' for nice neghbor dogs. Sam the Great Pyrenees is one. He lives next door....very seldom barks at us,( and then only from his front yard) and NEVER chases cars! I HATE the cousin's cur that viciously barks and chases our car almost every time we go out. I don't even like the little dogs ( various breeds) that imitate him from the same location. I don't mind Henry, ( another Great) that belong to the 'goat' people. He likes to 'woof' and run along the side of our car. But is very nice about it.( His face is at the window level.) I usually turn down the window a bit and chide him, and he sheepishly backs off.

V, Shucks, I was hoping to see a nice long post from you! Sorry that it has slipped your mind. I DO know how that is.

Oh my, Denise. I sure hope Joseph shows back up. What a worry!He may have found a safe place to go and nurse his leg. Cate like to get off like that when injured or sick.
The Dorky Dude has not showed for about a week now. We have decided he either found a better home, or met with some disaster. We will probably never know. As tame as he is, someone may have taken him in, or he may be in a warm barn nearby.
LOL about LA computers being "rendered senseless" by wet roads. Many drivers have that problem with a wee bit of snow here.
Great to hear that your DS has arrived sately in NYC. I hope the job finding pans out. It isn't just the young that go off to new territory without a definite goal. When we left Idaho to move to Arkansas, we had no designated home or job to go to! Nolon was 50, and I was 44! It WAS pretty tough for awhile, but all worked out.

Deanne, so 'they' were right... you 'were' out in the blind ( but apparently not 'snowed in', lol ). Great pics. I have not seen a Redpoll here, but they are listed as being here. Without a doubt, that is the same junco. I would have thought it would have molted those feathers by now.

(((Saucy))) I hope the day improves! ( I washed all the towels from the weekend visit yesterday. Some of the GDs like to use the biggest fattest towels! ).
Oh yes...Blue Jays! Not my favorite bird, even though they are handsome, but SO greedy! I love Downys but have never put out suet for them. They work the yard trees constantly.

How I wish I had one of those lovely soapstone stoves, but my income cannot cover one !

Wow ! Am I gabby or what ! I wonder if it's the B 12 shots ????


    Bookmark   December 6, 2007 at 10:25AM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

Denise...make that "commuters" not " computers" ( I hate when I do that ! ).

    Bookmark   December 6, 2007 at 10:37AM
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Sorry to have not checked in before now. I've not had a chance to read all posts and am horribly behind. I did see Honey and Ei's names as I scrolled to the bottom of this wonderful to see those names pop up. I will (hopefully -- fingers crossed) have time to read and catch up soon.

Storm was impressive.....don't know how else to describe it. We fared okay here......over 5.5" of rain in 48 hours, only lost power for a couple hours (we are thankful and impressed with the tree trimming over the power wires by our utility company in the past few years). We did not lose any big trees that we can tell yet. We logged about 14 years ago and replanted at that time so the majority of our trees aren't 'damaging height'. We did leave 'wildlife trees' and over the years some of those have blown down in these storms, but those left seemed to fare well through the high winds and rain.

All grands have been sick. 4 year old with pneumonia, 7 month old with a horrible cold, twins with vomiting for the last 6 days. The grands' parents have been dealing with tonsillitis, colds and strep throat. There are a ton of viruses going around and we seem to be 'enjoying' quite a few within our family--unfortunately. I've been trying to help take care of grands and now have the twins 3 days a week. Life is busy but not in a way that I would have chosen.

The twins are here today, not feeling their best and are quite demanding of my attention so I need to cut this short.

My best to all,

    Bookmark   December 6, 2007 at 11:55AM
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I'm home, it's pushin' 4 PM and it's plenty clear it will dark soon. And it's cold! Deanne, please let Doug know that the helpmeet and I were wondering if the ground would be bare before April, too! I'm wondering if I'll have to borrow a leaf blower to clean the snow off the holly so I may trim it in relative comfort...

I've started a fire in our 17 yr. old "Fireview" (sister stove of the one I just ordered). We knew we wanted a stove (NOT a fireplace) when we built this house. Helpmeet figured we'd by a yardsale stove (cheap!). I insisited on something "pretty" (had my eye on a cream colored porcelain enamelled stove). I nagged him endlessly and finally dragged him out to a few stove shops (it was a brutally hot day, lol). He didn't look twice at what I'd had my heart set on... he turned around and spied the stove we eventually bought, "Now THAT'S a good lookin' stove!". I nearly keeled over when I saw the pricetag. We drove home mulling over the superlative specs. and aesthetic of the Woodstock relative to the enamelled Vermont Casting's appeal and price. We decided to save for the Woodstock and we did. I returned home from work on December 23rd. and unbeknownst to me he'd gone to West Lebanon, NH with the trailer and purchased the stove. He had everything required for installation (firepad, permit, etc.). I was stunned. I returned from work on Christmas Eve and it was in place, inspected, and BEAUTIFUL. He handed me a glass of wine and said, "how about we touch this baby off?". In all the years hence we've never regretted our choice of stove or the patience required to attain it. And there was no question about what stove we'd buy for the Salon (a nod to Kathy who has officially christened the space). Woodstoves are essentially pieces of very functional "furniture". They should be attractive as well as SAFE and functional. The old "cookstoves" and parlor stoves were beautiful to look at, only the "modern" appliances have become downright homely (small wonder we throw them away every 10 yrs./so!). I love having "low tech." things in my home: a ROTARY 'phone that works even when the power goes out, a couple of Aladdin oil lamps that provide bright, steady light without electricity, a woodstove that keeps the house cozy no matter what, and a gas stove that can prepare food no matter what. Actually, the only thing we lack is a hand pump for the well... (hmmm, something to ponder!). Yeah... I have decided Luddite leanings, believe it or not. ;)

Time to finish the dishes and bring up wood for tonight and the fire tomorrow. Later, friends.

Marian, you need a couple pairs of polar fleece Dr. Denton's! Maybe there's a "cottage industry" for me in those, you think?! Cracks me up that you're a wild woman behind the wheel. BE CAREFUL, my dear! tailgating is a dangerous practice... anytime you "rear end" someone the odds are stacked against you... most times YOU'RE the one "at fault"; so if the fool that did it to you and passed you hits the brakes while you're "giving a him a dose of his medicine" and you hit him... YOU are going to be tagged with the "fault". Anger has NO place behind the steering wheel of 3K lbs. of steel. Take heed (and stay off the cell phone, will ya?!). ;)

V., you could repeat yourself endlessly (OK, not really) and I'd still be fascinated and chaHmed.

I'm glad to hear from T., too. I have been watching footage of the destruction and am amazed. I now understand that the storm you endured was really rather a "freak" for you area. Fascinating for me on the "right" coast, but no laughing matter for those savaged by it. Wow. And with all its fury it didn't blow all the germs away?!

LOL, Saucy! we undergo periodic bouts of that largesse, too. I get pissy about whiskers and soap scum in the sink. (We've settled the toilet seat thing), but the coffee stained spoon left next to the coffee machine, the lids to catfood cans left on the counter, along with similar food wrappings continue to irritate me. Things tend to "get better" after your's truly erupts in the fashion of Mt. Etna (periodically), but then they do the lava flow thing... accumulate until the next eruption. Trust me, bein' perfect is great. :)

    Bookmark   December 6, 2007 at 4:44PM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

LOL, Chelone...I DO NOT tailgate! I just follow close enough, and long enough, that the other driver gets the message. Actually, I am the one who touches the brakes when being tailgated! I am well aware of the tailgating law, and that the one who does the hitting from behind is held responsible. (And I don't have a cell phone, nor do I want one.)
Polar fleeces sound wonderful,but I can't chance being too comfy while in bed, else I may not get up and check the woodstove for refueling. Believe it or not, having to move around during the night keeps my muscles and joints from 'freezing up'. If I sleep too long, I stiffen up and have difficulty getting around for awhile.
I wish I was comfortable 'erupting' at all the stuff Nolon leaves around the kitchen...but I defer to his age and disabilities. My grumbling generally goes unheard, but seems to be getting louder and louder...:-(

Have you all seen the movie Broken Trail with Robert Duvall ? We watched the first half yesterday, and I could hardly wait to see the second half this afternoon. I consider it a great movie.
My new DVD player works great!


    Bookmark   December 6, 2007 at 5:13PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Starting to be a bit panicky here. Ran errands this afternoon, but the driveway is so icy at the end by the road that I had to wait for DH to go with me. He's a far more experienced driver.

We've begun to receive cards for the season...and I realize that I haven't done that in years. At best I send 4-5 cards to crucial people who are far away. I wish this weren't so, but my energy level is low. I'd need to begin in May! I hate wasting the paper etc...too. Yet I enjoy receiving a personal note. What a contradiction!

We mailed bills etc at the post office, I went to the yarn shop for more supplies (matching hats for the boys), book store for dog training books (which we didn't buy-not the right one there for us), wrapping paper, etc... We had a good time and laughed a lot at the dog books. Some fun stuff there.

Spent a bit of time with Sarah on the phone...discussing puppy names etc. DH spent much time with a PhD student, a tough case. Then more time with environmental discussions. :( Never cheery.

Quiche and salad for dinner. Fed the kitties too, all the while thinking of Dorky Dude, Flo and Joseph. This is not the weather to be a missing critter. This is the season when we must check our rabbit's water to make sure the heat lamp is doing its job. Cricket seems fine and got a big carrot and some timothy today. Sometimes he likes apples.

We need to bring more wood from the barn...but perhaps I'll wait til tomorrow and read some tonight.

Sleep cozy!

    Bookmark   December 6, 2007 at 8:21PM
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Left coast checking in here, and glad to see that T has stopped by to reassure us that all is well on the storm survival front. Our rain has arrived and had fallen steadily all day-but not pouring by any means. Its cold though-snow level is down to 3500 ft. A point worth noting, here in our area the snow falls usually only in high elevations, rarely at sea level or below 1000ft.
I got my window quote today (there are a few I need to replace to make a good showing) so will get the ball rolling on that tomorrow. DS and I will probably get his bedroom painted in the next several days-an easy task we can do ourselves in a day or so.

Deanne, how spiffy to get to see some new bird pics from you . Your juncos are colored a bit differently from those we have here. The heads are quite dark and the bodies have more brownish tones. They are amoung my favorites.

Saucy, hot and sour soup can definitely be found out here ! We must have about 20 chinese restaurants in Napa. Tonight I will dine on Cuban black beans and rice with some mole sauce and avocado and onion cut up on top. I regret to inform you that Stevie Ray Vaughn perished in a helicopter crash in the early 90s(not sure of the year) .

Denise, I hope you are able to resolve the disappearance of Joe..they do like to hide when they dont feel well, and hope that he is doing just that. I hate the anxiety that uncertainty causes. Well, I must say that I can imagine the turmoil that 2 inches of rain caused in LA. When I was living in San Diego I worked in a garden center and when it rained we might just as well have closed the doors and gone home. Life came to a standstill, venturing forth was unthinkable ! Up here in Norcal , life proceeds rain or not, with appropriate wardrobe items at the ready.

Though I appreciate the invite Chelone, I believe I will wait to visit the Salon until AFTER it has been sanded primed and painted. However I do recall Martie expressed and interest in that sort of chore ??? Think you made the right choice in going for the more attractive, higher end stove those many years ago. Classics always hold up better visually, and one should always purchase that best quality they can afford

This is about all I can manage for tonight.. stay well everyone, and hellos to all..

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   December 6, 2007 at 9:26PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Good Morning Sue... ;-) You there yet?

We have snow! It sure is pretty, but I am a coward about driving in it with ice underneath!

Rotten sleep for me last night, nightmares too. UGH. Today DH has his voice lesson. His recital is Sunday. I will have Book Club dinner and chat here on Tuesday, so need to buy food goodies and tidy up the homestead for the occasion. Food has to be vegetarian. Fortunately I have one dish that everyone loves that doesn't actually taste vegetarian, if you understand what I mean! We have a funny idea too. At our first gathering the hosts served a lemon tart from "President's Choice". It was so good that we decided that lemon tart once a month would be great...and a kind of fun tradition to begin. So I've already bought that! Linda made her own raspberry puree to pour over the top of it. Perhaps I'll do blueberry or Cassis or something else to vary it a bit.

I wish the cleaning fairy were coming today! Ah well. Maybe we'll hear about kitties returning to the warmth of the fire?


    Bookmark   December 7, 2007 at 9:02AM
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vtskiers(z6a CentralCT)


Hello to all the wayward idyllers! So nice to see Honey and Ei checking in and great to hear from the storm and virus battered T. Ei, I'm so sorry Scout isn't doing well. Maybe he'll surprise you.

Not much going on here. Most of my Christmas decorations are up. Tonight is the annual company Christmas party. Last night I went for my annual manicure. This afternoon the hair is being appropriately styled. My once a year

I've been working on training the new boss although I'm happy to report he doesn't need much. This morning he showed up with a stack of Christmas CDs to play on his computer but quickly selected my Jimmy Buffet Christmas Island over all of his and is enjoying it as we speak.

Happy Friday!


    Bookmark   December 7, 2007 at 9:02AM
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Happy Friday!

Twins are napping so I have a short bit of time for myself. I've done some laundry shuffling and now can try to catch up on some emails and maybe even some Idyll reading.

A photo from this morning...

This is the 'reading area'. It is a 'floorless' tent made to go over a twin sized mattress (held onto the mattress with elastic straps). I bought it a few months ago (at wally world--$14 in the kids' bedding department if anyone out there is interested in one for their little ones) and James loves to sleep inside it when he spends the night. I set the twins' sofas inside of it and, as you can see, they were enjoying the cozy atmosphere. ;o) The metal 'fencing' in the background is one of the many barricades I have up---this one is keeping the twins from hurting themselves on the brick hearth and woodstove---all my barricades are this attractive or much worse. I will be truly thankful when all grands are old enough to take the safety barriers down and have 'my house' back.

They've been here since yesterday morning about 6:30 and will go home in approximately another 7 hours....but I'm not counting. :oD Tomorrow DH & I have babysitting duty from 5:30 to 11:30 p.m. for James & Thomas while their parents attend an annual holiday party. Then we are 'off-duty' babysitters until Tuesday. Ahhhhh, freedom.

I'm going to go now and hopefully spend some time going back to read what I've missed.....I hope all are well.


    Bookmark   December 7, 2007 at 1:33PM
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Between Chelone's thems-the-facts, Marian's seen-it-all wisdom, Deanne, Saucy, Kathy and 'bug, you have really helped the situation, and thanks for that. Joseph did return this morning. I coaxed him down from a roof a couple houses back. He's now at the vet, just out of x-ray exam. No broken bones but a couple of bites, one very close to the nerve. By the way the paw is curled in, I have a bad feeling the nerve is damaged, but the doc says wait and see until the bites are healed. Possibly inflammation from the bite is impinging on the nerve...I'm hoping, and when the swelling goes down maybe all will be well. Very similar scenario occured with our current tripod cat, but she had no pain at all when injured, and Joseph has been yowling, so I hope that's a good sign. It's turning into The house of peg-legged pirate cats. Gotta get back to a rush job. Joseph comes home later today.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2007 at 1:37PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Good luck Joseph! Do you have a bed of many colours? Welcome home!

    Bookmark   December 7, 2007 at 1:46PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Love the reading nook T!!! Welcome back to you too!

    Bookmark   December 7, 2007 at 1:48PM
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Yeah for Joseph! Shouting it from the rooftops was he? Just like an old tom to have to be fetched for a trip to the vet :)

Marcy sends her best....Zeus is indifferent on cat issues.


    Bookmark   December 7, 2007 at 3:39PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

NanaMarie showoff time once again:

Reed and Indy enjoying all 3 degrees (F)together.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2007 at 4:16PM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

I love the pic, Marie. I was much older when I rode a dog drawn sled, and it was a much larger sled pulled by a team of dogs! (It was the mailman's that delivered the mail to my childhood home town.)

Denise, I'm so glad Joseph is safely back home. LOL on my "seen it all wisdom". I 'do' try to be observing......;-)

T, I can certainly understand your situation, and I do sympathize with you. But rest assured, this too shall pass ,and in the long run you will be happy that you could do it. I wish I could have had my GDs with me more,during their growing up. It won't be long til they are all teens, and have very little time for grandma. But who knows...maybe they will be caring for me in my really old age!?

    Bookmark   December 7, 2007 at 4:46PM
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Awright! baby pictures. Even if we can't see their faces we can see they are enjoying themselves.

Looks like one twin is reading to the other.

What a cool little sled Reed has. Did daddy build it?

Good to hear Tuna Joe is back home. Hope he heals fast.

Hi Sue, I'm happy to hear your boss is an ok guy. I'm thinking you are party bound by now.

I cleaned the pigsty today. It really wasn't to cluttered just dust and inch thick. I swear I don't know where it comes from. My back is very sore. I don't know what it is about vacumning and mopping but it is the hardest thing on my back. I just have papers on my desk to file and that can just wait till morning.
I'm having a glass of wine to relax. Something my DDIL pawned off on me, but its quite tasty. Something about pear and other fruits on the label (to lazy to go see) and I can taste the pear.

There was a frosting of snow last night but it has been raining off and on all day. Looks like the system is going to sit and spin over us all week.
Not much else going on here. Sleep well.
No nightmares Bug!


    Bookmark   December 7, 2007 at 7:46PM
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Friday Greetings, not much action in Idyll-land today-but good to hear that Tuna Joe has returned from his rooftop visit. This reminds me of a cat my BILs had when they lived in Huntington Beach who was every indignant when they aquired a dog and spent months up on their roof. They put her food up on top of the patio cover . Eventually she came down and bonded with her doggie family. Tuna probably decided that roof was the safest port if his run-in was with one of the canine persuasion.

T , what a hoot that pic of the twins in their tent is ! The left twin just looks like a mini adult reading to the right twin ! At least you managed to catch them sitting still !

bug, cute pic !

Party on Sue !

Ok , see yall later

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   December 7, 2007 at 8:57PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

Marian, I have such good intentions of doing a long, chatty post, but then I start reading the idylls and in the process:

1. play Christmas hangman
2. listen to Terry Fator
3. Google Terry Fator to find out if he won the million dollars (he did!)
4. Google free tetris
5. play free tetris
6. discover that sound effects of free tetris cause the older lab to shake
7. check out Denise's portrait as well as other amazing photos by her talented son
8. check out the web page of Carl Larsson
9. Teach myself Swedish so I can read about Carl

So maybe I was exaggerating on #9, but do you see how it goes?

Now for some sundry unrelated comments.

Very happy to see Ei, Honey and T check in, and glad to see that Joseph made a safe return.

Saucy, Stevie Ray's helicopter went down at an outdoor concert venue not very far from me, a place called Alpine Valley (when you live in the flat, flat, flat Midwest, you get very excited about hills of any size). It was very sad and shocking.

My boss fessed up to everyone that he helped his wife out last week and watered the Christmas tree. He noticed dropped needles, felt the tree and noticed how dry it seemed. It's an artificial tree. Yes, he is a horticulturist by training. Wait till you seen our new "plastic perennials" this spring!

Speaking of trees, one of my coworkers is going to put my tree lights up on Sunday! My tree has been up but bare nekkid since Thanksgiving weekend. DH did not have time (travel, deer season, travel) and he is gone until NEXT Friday, and since I still haven't taught the dogs to dial 911, I wasn't going to climb up the 12' ladder by myself. The coworker used to light all display trees when she worked at a garden center and offered to help me out. I am thrilled!

Deanne, we hit minus 5 on Thursday morning! The dogs were out for literally two minutes (i ran the microwave for 90 seconds and then went back to the door) and they were falling over each other to be the first one back in.

We had another inch of snow last night and more predicted for the weekend. I will need to call tomorrow to get someone to plow the driveway. It's passable in my small SUV but a regular car would be a little dicey.

That reminds me - Fedex left a package by the garage that I missed. i must go explore...


    Bookmark   December 7, 2007 at 11:15PM
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I'm so glad the Tuna Boy has returned, Denise! At least you have only to worry about his injured leg now. ;) . Did the vet. offer any thoughts as to whether or not it was another kitty that did the damage? I know the bite Spencer sustained some weeks ago managed to fester up nicely over the course of 2 days in spite of his regular "care". Evidently, cat saliva is nicely loaded with bacteria, and their teeth leave very neat puntures that heal over quickly, allowing the bacteria a lovely place to "do their thing" in peace. I did laugh at the image of peg-legged pirate kitties; nice visual.

T., those kids in the tent are just priceless; they DO look like little grampies reading the stock exchange reports, lol. I can only imagine how nice it will be to have your home returned to what you know it can be... you're a good sport to do so much baby-sitting!

V., I have to drop it down a gear and get honkin' on the Christmas decorations, too. I've picked away on them sort of half-heartedly, but Sue's announcement that her's are all done has provided a certain impetus. I'm looking forward to seeing Deanne's decorations, too.

I am truly wussy, compared to V. and 'bug. It's been nowhere near that cold, but after a nice, warm November it's been a shocker. Our driveway is slippery, too... it will take a stretch of sunny, mid-high thirties to melt the ice. And I'm definitely on "winter duty" now with repsect to the cats. In and out, in and out... and 3 litter pan minings daily. Mummy's precious babies need a clean toidy, you know.

I shortened a canvas for a restaurant yesterday; filthy and big (30'+l x 12'projection). Then I addressed another deck canopy that needed a zipper inserted in it to make installation easier. And lastly, a restitch on one of those quonset hut jobs that are used for temporary storage. The zippers were coming unstitched. So I was definitely "supersized" yesterday. I found myself daydreaming of clear, bright pastels, crisp white trimwork, and an improved level of cleanliness...

Sheetrock to be delivered next Friday, drywallers to begin their chore on the 17th.. It will be interesting to see how long it takes them to get the job finished. I recall being amazed at how quickly the guys who did the house managed to do it.

OK, time to look creatively at the "simulated fruit inventory".

    Bookmark   December 8, 2007 at 6:55AM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

Inspired by a story on NPR this morning, here's today's trivia question. Did any of you ever meet a Munchkin from Wizard of Oz?

When I was a kid, my grandmother took me to The Midget Club, a Chicago tavern near our house, to meet the owner, Parnell St. Aubin, who had been one of the Munchkins. There's a link below to an interview with his wife.


    Bookmark   December 8, 2007 at 9:02AM
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Full_Bloom(z5 IL)

Good Morning Idylls!

Im so glad T popped in to say all are safe and sound from the storms. After hearing you describe your property, I guess I just didnt realize how big it was and how many trees you must be beautiful! Sorry that all the little ones are sick. I hope they are all feeling in the pink soon. How clever to get that tent....I bet the little ones *love* playing in it. Brings back lots of memories of my childhood. I use to pull to folding chairs opposite each other and then my mom would throw a sheet over the whole thing so that I had my own little *private* getaway. I loved to spend hours in it, playing house & eating lunch there. Sometimes I was a princess trapped in the tower, and sometimes I was a stowaway on a sailing ship; a camper in the dark woods, a mother with lots of children in a teeny, tiny house...LOL...LOL! Lots of fun!

Denisez...glad Tuna Joe is home. I *love* his name! :-) I hope he makes a speedy and uneventful recovery. Did they give him antibiotics for the bite? I wonder why cats go off when theyre hurt? You would think they would want you to help them? My dog Willie was like that near the end when he was dying. He always was a snuggler, but in his last days he would push me away with his paws when I would lay on the floor next to him and he would even go off and hide in the house. I understood he felt lousy, but I felt bad that he didnt want me to "be there" or to comfort him. Just wondering why some animals do that? I dont have those fairy pictures...I just ran across a picture just like those at an antique store once and was wondering what that "white fluff" was in the back of the pic and how they were made. When I found out the "fluff" was from milkweed seed and how the whole picture was made...I found it fascinating. It was a cottage industry that started during the Arts & Crafts period (I think) and I always picture these ladies gathered together in someones library putting these pictures together. But I guess the cottage industry started *way* before then and goes back to the 1800's!. I know thats how a lot of the fine painted porcelain pieces (such as Limoges) first got started, and of course, pottery, quilting bees, etc. I just think its neat to think about. I am thinking it would be fun though...just to try my hand at making one of those fairies...I certainly have plenty of milkweed fluff to gather here in fall. :-) And it might make for cute decorations in the babys nursery...if I ever become a grandma! :-)

Anyway, I use to be a collector, but as Im getting older, Ive kind of let a lot of that go...I dont have the space and I just dont want to dust it all. Ive kept all my Nippon pieces; my small collection of Josef pixies; & another collection of old porcelain birds. But the rest Ive given away to friends and family who I thought would enjoy them. Oh, I *do* still collect antique garden books though! :-) And I *do* still love going to antique shows, flea markets, resale shops, etc...if nothing else, just to admire & learn. I love history.

Chelone...I have to admit, I know nothing about Neoclassical interiors...but am anxious to learn. Thats one of the things I love about the many interesting things to learn about that I never knew anything about! I too have developed a fondness for clean, uncluttered looks. I think thats why Im drawn to the Arts & Crafts style. Not to say I dont *love* victorian and antiques, etc. My friend Dottys home is filled with the most beautiful antiques; stained glass, porcelain, grandfather clocks, persian rugs...she has about 6 old German cuckoo clocks which are a blast when they all start cuckooing at the same time along with the grandfather clocks chiming...LOL! :-) I *love* going into her home and just admiring all her beautiful things I just dont want to clean them...LOL! Im anxious to find out if Neoclassical interiors are at all like Arts & Craft interiors. My dream home would be a Frank Lloyd Wright home...LOL! But seriously, someday I would just love to have a small little bungalow and design an Arts & Craft garden to go with it.

Love the pic of the snowbaby;, fun, fun! :-)

Deanne...Im sure youve explained before and I probably missed it...but what exactly is a "blind"? What does it look like and what does it do for you? that you are feeling better...I hope those B12s keep doing their trick! Youre a hoot..."the here after" and the "dial up"...LOL! Yea, well dont feel too bad...Im a "dial up" too and Ive still got a few years before I catch up to you in age! :-)

Hi Sue, Norma & V and anybody else I missed. Well, I have to be going I have one of those lousy sinus infections, you know, the kind that even make your *front* teeth hurt! Off to snort some salt water....TTYL! Eileen

P.S. We cut our Christmas tree the other day (Paul had a day off)...isnt she a beaut? The pic didnt come out to great, due to the window light, but take my word for it...she has beautiful form! :-)

I think she may be our prettiest Christmas tree yet. When we came back with it the guy who owns the farm said "How did you pick one that fast?" I told him it wasnt hard, there wasnt a misshaped tree on his whole farm. Boy, did a proud smile come across his face. "Thanks" he said...I spend all the growing season pruning and trimming my trees...glad you think they are so nice." What a nice man and I admire him greatly. His family has owned that farm for over 50 years and has 35 acres of property. I admire the fact that he takes such pride in his roots and that they have hung on all these years. It takes 8-10 years for one of his trees to be ready for sale and Im sure the Christmas trees only pay for his taxes, if that. In this area his property would surely go for several million dollars if you were a developer. I got a big kick out of his dad too (who is in his 80s) and surveys all the goings on in a little heated house they have near the drive! :-) Anyway, it was lots of fun to chat with them....Bye now!

    Bookmark   December 8, 2007 at 9:30AM
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V, that's gotta be pre-political correctness, "The Midget Club," lol.

Joseph appreciates all the well wishes and is recovering nicely, eating like a horse, and handling the clown collar with much dignity. Still not sure of the use of that leg, and we've had to do the...well, what's necessary before with Newt and she's done well as a 3-legger. I asked the vet, when I thought it was still a break, How the heck does a natural acrobat like a cat break a leg? Vet: Well, my cat thinks it can fly and has jumped off a height as much as three stories -- he's broken his back femur three times. The vet did say Joe's injuries were cat bites, not dog. Joseph makes much use of the rooftops as highways. Makes me quite jealous actually. I used to do a lot of rooftop sitting as a kid.

Norma, I'm with you on the sinister effects of housecleaning on the back. Heavy garden work, no problem, but the pre-Thanksgiving cleaning brought my back as close to being a problem as it's ever been. Of course using a shop vac on hands and knees can't help but it's the only way to get the fur and dander out of the rugs. Rowing has helped. I've dragged my youngest son's rowing machine into the bathroom and used it 3 NIGHTS IN A ROW. Kinda proud of that, 20 min. each. Lots of space where the clawfoot tub used to be. Dim the lights, plug earphones to the shuffle. I exercise like a savage and am not fit for the gentility of a public gym. No one seems to be sweating on those machines stationed in front of the plate glass windows to be ogled by passersby, and their gym clothes are actual outfits, that match, lol. Youngest DS used to row on local Naples Bay in high school. What a lovely but grueling sport. When the oar slaps the water ineffectively or out of rhythm, it's called "catching a crab." Push-off is mostly in the legs.

I'm wondering what the farms are doing in winter, Michelle's and others.

Baby Bouvier countdown. Ein was a December puppy too.

Glad to hear T weathered that storm up there beyond the Redwood Curtain.

Chelone, DH captains the boat that takes the pilots to the ships, and the wintertime seas and storms add a bit of excitement to the timing of going alongside those giant ships. Winter seas not too bad here in LA harbor, but Columbia river pilots up near T, wow. Pilots can and do get seriously injured, sometimes caught and squeezed between the pilot boat and the ship when there's heavy seas.

Here's some leaves. The agave in the pot is desmettiana, one of the few I have that snails love, poor thing. The variegated lvs behind are a furcraea, darkish lvs belong to an oxalis that was planted last winter, sulked all summer, and has taken off again. Pale clump in the left background is a euphorbia, as is the little clump in the foreground, peeking behind the potted agave, a dwarf 'Tiny Tim.' The euphorbs love this cool weather, but I've run out of that self-seeding population too and will have to bring more in.

Our neighbors are engaging in a spirited holiday oneupmanship involving the most garishly decorated house, up on roofs, pounding away with hammers. Around the week before the 25th, we may or may not put up the single strand of lights around the front porch, which looks more and more absurd and underachieving each year. Does this go on in your neighborhoods?
Enjoying all the posts, the salon taking on shape and now neoclassical Scandinavian colors in my mind, but must practice some brevity. Ei, I'm curious what you conceive your future Arts & Crafts garden to look like?

    Bookmark   December 8, 2007 at 12:41PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

A day off work gave me the opportunity to look for the AWOL mailbox. There it was, right at the edge of the ditch, and completely undamaged! The across the road neighbors were just pulling out of their driveway, and I'm sure they thought I was just a tad touched as I stood knee-deep in snow but grinning from ear to ear.

One problem down, plus I had the driveway plowed. Bring on the next round of storms!

A small herd of juncos are feasting in the front perennial bed at the moment. They're fun to watch!


    Bookmark   December 8, 2007 at 2:06PM
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As of yet no one has inspired me to decorate for Christmas. I have been playing my way through the Big book of Cristmas songs. Wish I could say I was good at it. LOL
I play for my own pleasure anyway.

Denise, I could get hooked on your leaves. Nice arrangement.

Not much happening here again today. Still raining lightly. Been to the library, so plan on veging out the rest of the day. Ta Norma.
(just spied the pile of paperwork to be filed, not gonna happen LOL)

    Bookmark   December 8, 2007 at 3:45PM
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I've been a very good "do bee" today! I plopped a variety of Christmas cds into the "Victrola", cranked her up and made the 8 plaques for the fronts of the windowboxes today. I used boxwood and white pine as a softening "filler" for the area immediately behind and below the fruit. I like them better than last year's iteration; more interesting in composition and proportion. Tomorrow I'll tackle the pediments and stew about the greenery for the windowboxes themselves. I had a good time!

It's too dark to take a picture of them now. I did take some shots of the "fabrication" but I desperately need some techinical pointers from those of you who excel at photography. I don't understand lighting at all! Where does the light want to be relative to the photographer and the material to get a clear, clean shot that will demonstrate a technical operation? You know, the sort of shot you'd find in an "owner's manual" or a "how to" book.

The guy who cleans and tunes up the boiler came today. His son was with him (20-ish). Multiple ear piercings, one of those very hip beard/moustache combos, and the same direct manner as his parents. He had a good, firm handshake, looked me right in the eyes with a genuine smile, and commented on the Christmas music. (Blind Boys of Alabama, Ella Fitzgerald, and a couple of "Twisted Christmas" cds for laughs). We laughed about people who are Christmas killjoys, remarking that it's more fun to "get into it" and enjoy the process instead of letting it drag you down by allowing the image of a "Perfect Christmas" to color everything. What a charming young man.

Denise, I know all the harbor pilots, most of the tugboat captains, and the guys on the DES boats. They're regulars in the shop along with area fishermen. It's interesting to note the difference between them and the recreational boating crowd. There are occasional emergencies with their gear, but by and large it's maintained well and small repairs are done before they become major "issues" involving major blocks of time on short notice. The unspoken rule is that anyone who makes their living on the water goes to the head of list. One particularly stingy "blowboater" grumbled about it one day and was reminded that his livelihood didn't involve his long neglected dodger... . I hope Joseph continues to mend nicely. Spencer was noticeably "under the weather" for a couple of days when his bites were at their angriest.

Every single one of you has a pretty good notion of "Scandinavian neo-classical" style, even if you aren't sure you do! If you think about the clean, neat, trim lines of Regency (British), Empire (French), Federal (American) furniture and look at Hepplewhite, Sheraton, and Phyfe closely you will note immediately the use of Classical Grecian forms. The furniture is clean, neat, but discreetly decorated, getting more ornate as heavier carving came into vogue in a transition to Victorian tastes. The Scandinavian countries and other areas where winter sunlight is diminished, are notable in their use of very clear, bright colors. This was also common in America (an earlier use of bright "chrome" colors is noted in the Governor's mansion in Colonial Williamsburg); the use of them was a visible sign of wealth, too, as those paints were expensive. Our White House is a notable example, as are Mt. Vernon and Monticello. I like the Scandinavian use of "pickling" wood to take the edge off yellowing with time. I also like the use of painted furniture very much. And I have several pieces of reproduction furniture with those lines that will work nicely in the space.

Aren't people funny about picking out a Christmas tree?! Helpmeet hates this time of year; the unhappy kids, the Golden/Lab./dog du jour in his car crate, admonishments from the father to be careful about scratching the top of the new Escalade, ... but WAIT! he has to answer his cell phone... and expects my helpmeet to stand by patiently while he blabs and there are 3 more families waiting for my helpmeet to put a tree on top of their car, too. The continual hoisting and tree twirling for inspection is taking a toll on his back, and his normally sunny disposition too. ILt's hard to "get into it" when faced with stressed customers who are still in search of the
"Perfect Christmas". Naturally, I have not asked about the arrival of our tree. :)

I have to go get some wood and get a fire going. And then pick at the nasty splinter on my middle finger that's been irritating me for going on 24 hrs. now. I think it's time for the magnifying light and a fine needle. I think it's fibreglass (the WORST) left over from working on a batten pocket...

    Bookmark   December 8, 2007 at 5:28PM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Well Ive been in the decorating mood the last couple days and thought Id post a few pics of the results. Ill drop by later to comment to one and all but I wanted to get these photos up before I had to break for dinner.

Here is our entrance room and of course the Rahjii has his nose into everything as usual. When I was decorating the tree he attacked the garland the instant I had it out of the storage box. I painted the large box on the left of the dresser in the late 1980s and it has Santas Elves making toys on the lid.

A close up of the top of the dresser.

The kitchen wall. I didnt do the embroidery or needlepoint (they were gifts) but I did paint the two plates.

I thought this Santa is cute throwing a stick for his dog.

The diningroom table with its Christmas runner and centerpiece. I put some bows and greenery on the chandelier too.

My computer corner. Normally my lap top is on that table but I removed for the pic.

One of the vignettes on the wall.

OK Ill check in later to have a chat with everyone. Im off to fix some dinner. Have a great evening all.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2007 at 6:43PM
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Hiya Idyll folkjeesh, so many are in a flurry of Christmas décor and Ive yet to do a thing ! I think maybe Ill go get the tree tomorrow and put up a few items. Since we are Christmas-ing in Oregon this year I dont have my usual schedule of prepping for the guests that will be arriving here. Ill do a toned-down version and whatever I dont use, Ill pack for the move. This holiday season sure snuck up on me, in spite of the fact that Ive got 95 percent of my shopping done.

Wow Deanne, you dont mess around girl ! Displays a plenty your Santa collection on the table and the cardinal painting is very cool !

Denise, nice to see some plants that arent frostbitten or mouldy . As usual your foliage and succulent vignettes are very pleasing . We have not had much exterior house decorating in the neighborhood this year- There is a retired CHP down the street who used to do major lights on his house no twinkly or marquee stuff , just zillions of the mini- multi colored lights. He hasnt done it the last couple of years.
Get well wishes to Tuna Joe . and hey, what is the correct pronunciation of His Corginesses name ? Meant to ask this a couple hundred years ago .

Cmon Norma, you and me will do our decorating tomorrow and you can play us a congratulatory anthem on your guitar ..these other Idyllers are leaving us in the dust !

V, you are too funny with your list of distractions I had a Munchkin near-miss. When I worked in the garden center in San Diego, one of our regular customers was Mr Beals who was I think about 47 and was actually a voice actor who did Speedy Alka Selzters voice among others. Rumor had it that he was a Munchkin, but it proved to be false. He drove a giant Lincoln Towncar that had special controls fitted out for him.

Eileen, you and I are in the same boat, Im trying to purge as much as possible before moving next year, keeping only what is important to me. Its quite a process, and one has to be dispassionate and practical. Some of the stuff was really easy to let go.
Your tree is lovely as soon as I saw it I remembered the elf pics from last year..

Chelone, I send my simpatico greetings to helpmeet ..I did time for 10 years selling Christmas trees at a garden center , seeing my beloved bedding tables dismantled in favor of the tree fences and holding the tree at attention while the family bickered.

I must be off to cook dinner, and will watch Waitress tonight.

I hope Cindy will check in this weekend to tell us that shes single again, and that Cynthia might stop by to give us an update on Ms Katie.

Yoo-hoo Brenda ? Babs ?

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   December 8, 2007 at 8:21PM
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Well I guess Chelone and Deanne are trying to inspire me. Good work girls!

I have just spent some enjoyable time goofing off. I borrowed a cd from the library today(Gershwin on guitar with Jack Jezzro)it is so pleasant to listen to. Then I put my file of garden pictures from the Idylls on slide show mode and the two things blended so nicely. I was impressed by the beauty of both. Norma

    Bookmark   December 8, 2007 at 8:34PM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Evening all,

Well we had a lovely grilled boneless pork chop for dinner with salad and baked sweet potato. Yum! Were now tucked in upstairs with our lap tops watching a bit of TV before turning in. Tomorrow were going with one of my sisters and brother to take our mom out for dinner for her birthday. Ive got to get a magazine article out to Tokyo for the Japan Decorative Artists Assn. next week and then my slate is clean until after Christmas. Ive got a ton of wrapping to take care of and Im hoping to get that finished by the end of the week next week.

Saucy there have been times here when Ive needed to send Doug to WE ALL LIVE TOGETHER 101. I had to have a couple discussions about removing shoes when entering the house after walking outside on the snow and salt in parking lots. ~~~ Neat that youve had a Red-tailed Hawk in the yard, they are some impressive birds.

Marian, my friend who is an ornithologist said that she believes the Junco with the odd feathers has had some damage to the area of the wing that grows the feathers so even after they molt the new feathers would still grow in at that odd angle.

T. Glad to hear you are OK after that storm. ~~ I dont know how you deal with all that babysitting. Id be crazed.

V. Good grief! Minus 5! Yikes! Thats too cold for this time of the year. ~~ Hows the job situation going?

Denise, Im so happy to hear that Tuna Joe came home and that hes been treated. I sure hope he gets back 100% use of that leg. ~~ I just love your foliage photograph. Incredible to see all that lovely green this time of the year.

Eileen what a beautiful tree! How tall is it? I cant wait to see a pic of it when its all decorated. ~~ RE the blind, its just a little camouflage tent that has zip down openings so that I can observe and photograph the birds. Ill get a photograph of it for you.

Norma, play a few songs for me! How neat you played music with a slide show of Idyll garden pictures.

Kathy, thanks! Glad you like the displays and the cardinal painting. I did that one about twenty years ago now.

Hello to Bug, Sue, and all the Idyllers.

OK Im yawning and getting ready to hit the sack. Have a great evening all.


    Bookmark   December 8, 2007 at 9:08PM
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I have the 3 small pediments ready for "assembly" and am a bit dismayed that at how much stuff I'll have to move to get at the big one that goes over the front entry. Ugh (I am certain there will be at least one mouse nest involved and it makes me a bit sad). I'm nervous about whether or not I have enough boxwood to finish the entry topper, so I figure I'll do the 3 small ones first and then reassess the "materials list", moving to "wing it" mode if I have to.

Deanne, I love the little junco with the crooked feather. Larry used to get downright "mental" when one of his primaries was out of kilter (usually when molting). He'd scream, fuss, and pick away until he managed to extract the offender. I had forgotten that until I saw your photograph. It hardly seems he's been gone nearly a year now. Your decorating is so pretty. I love Santa, the dog, and the stick. (and Rahji, lol). I hope you can give me a quick bit of advice with respect to photography and lighting... maybe?

It's either shower time or dishwashing time... I gotta pick one.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2007 at 9:20AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

If you want to laugh.... (start with #1)



    Bookmark   December 9, 2007 at 9:51AM
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Normally, I never bother to turn on the speakers of my computer. But whenever someone links YouTube I do. And it took about 20 seconds of the first link to bring Vera to the top the desk. She was very interested in the speakers! The sort of chirping and trilling the kitties exhibit is precisely HER mode of communication. Our other three use it OCCASIONALLY, but it's not commonplace, by a long shot.

Vera trills, chirps, and chirrups! every single time you interact with her. I AM CHARMED and have been since she first began doing it in kittenhood. I mentioned her vocal nature to my brother who remarked none of his cats are "chirpers", either. Watching my brother chirp and trill to her and HER response to him is really priceless.

Ummm... we sing, "Little Chirper Girl" to her periodically. Yeah, to the tune of "Little Surfer Girl".

I'm certifiable. I know it. I'm even proud of it.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2007 at 10:11AM
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And laugh I did. Our grey, Felony, is the chirper. Evie, the white, could more truthfully be described as a whiner. Joseph mainly purrs, which encourages me to purr in response. I have a pretty good purr. What I don't have is any decorations up or shopping done, but I did find this neat wreath

    Bookmark   December 9, 2007 at 12:28PM
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Food shopping done, glitter affixed to many stick stars to hang on the patio amongst the lit angel up and flying, front shrubs bedecked with simple white lights. Wreaths in the front panorama windows decending down on each side, in the middle of which will be a SMALL!!!!!! tree.

Most loved ones gifted, menu for dinner planned, a few Village pieces out and about.

We've taken to putting something up for each day of advent, and eventually everything gets done. It's also a nice surprise for folks who come over, think we're "done" and find we're not!

I find it fitting that during this Season of Peace, Kyle was asked to be an Assistant English Language Mentor at a symposium that teaches English to those involved with decomissioning nuclear weapons. His job, as he has put it, will be mostly "pointing the aides to the bathroom and coffee, and running paper around" but he is justifiably proud to be asked to participate. I'm still not sure when he's going to get to Paris and Amsterdam without missing classes, but "it's under control." Ugh! LOL

The feeling of the season permeates throughout house and beyond!! And it is wonderful ....

Ei, I'd never seen nor heard of that fairy art, but my good girlfriend (the auction and ebay queen) will be on the lookout. She explained that those in non-pristine condition are actually somewhat affordable and that oftimes folks don't know what they have.

Having moved so much in the past seven years (four 'permanent' times but who's counting ;-) most of my "tired" stuff is gone. Every time I open a box, I find something that means a lot, and am glad that I probably won't have to go through the process again.

The advise and wisdom about my Mom is so appreciated. I agree, Marian, that there is a normal progression of forgetfulness, etc. But when my Dad, who has ministered to thousands over his lifetime, is at a loss for how to help in some situations, I know it's time to act.

Since writing, my Dad and sister sat down and came up with a plan to involve my Mom's (same as my Dad's) doctor. All business affairs are well in order, and have been for some time given the inability of my brothers to handle those types of decisions. I'm grateful every day for my parents' foresight.

So now it's a matter of watching and making every moment count even more than before. Though Mom is 90% "there", the other 10% is pretty frightening to us, but we will get through it with humor and love intact.

Good to hear that Joe is home. Kyle once had a cat named Hardy. Why??? Because we found him way up in a tree where he stayed for three days before inching down for food left on a roof. Cats and roofs. Hmmmmmmmmm

There are days I want to be Reed :-)

Love that the twins have a tent, which is a favored two-year-old birthday gift from Rich and Martie to various littles.

Deanne, your decorations are outstanding and I wish I had your display sense.

There's much, much more, probably, but it's a lazy kinda day and a nap under something down sounds just right.

Best to all -


    Bookmark   December 9, 2007 at 1:09PM
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Ho Ho Ho.

Just a quick check in to admire the photos and read the short posts. I was frozen in fear for Katie until Friday when I finally felt good enough about her situation to put the candles in the windows. (Well 30 candles are in. I left the back of the first floor of the house dark as outlets are spare there and I didn't feel like wrestling with extension cords.) All of my candles are 'cat proofed' with suction cups but Audrey tossed a 3-light candle in dining room 3 times before I got tired of vacuuming shattered bulbs and decided museum putty was in order. And tape on top of that. She NEVER sits in that window. So I looked out this morning to see what the draw was and the dogwood is full of cardinals eating the berries:) If I were Deanne there would be a picture. (Your decorations are gorgeous by the way!)

Katie's meds have been doubled. I won't explain what we went through, but she is much better now with more reasonable level of meds. She can stand up without screaming now and has not tried to bite me since Tuesday! Another Ho Ho Ho! Thanks for thinking of her and for all your good wishes. Denise, I will save 'how to express urine' for another crisis :). Thank you for that research. And glad Tuna Joe is home. Hope he's in better shape now and stays home like a good boy.

We have had snow, ice, rain, fog, cold, high winds, everything winter in the last week, and I've had to drive somewhere in all of it! Today I am hunkered in and doing some cleanup around here.

Nice to see Ei and other lost idyllers. Very sorry that Scout is getting old. All dogs and kitties should be young forever. Speaking of 'young' that Missy is a cutie! And Honey, positive training is an option for those behaviors she needs to change. There are positive trainers who will come to your home and help without the shock collar,which can teach fear and create other issues.

I want a tent to curl up in like T's grandkids. There would be books and chocolate and a cat or two. Maybe I'll move to California and buy Kathy's old house once she's spiffed it up to perfection. Problem is that it would be off of the market by the time I had my own house in order.

Norma you're way ahead of me and at least you're making music. No decorating here and the Christmas music (CD based here) isn't playing. Maybe I'll haul that out this afternoon and have a fire while I dust and tidy that part of the house.

Peace and good weather to all!


    Bookmark   December 9, 2007 at 2:10PM
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Hi Cynthia,Thanks for the update on Katie. I can only imagine how hard its been. Its been so dry here this year I haven't even noticed any berries on the dogwoods. Of course the one that was outside my bay window died out. The birds loved that one. Here they clean up on the cedar berries too.
Today it looks a little surreal out there. Ice on the trees but the grass is still green.

I spent the morning in my jammies putting my cds on the computer so I can make playlists and enjoy them more.
I know... I know... I should be doing something more productive.. But somedays you gotta dance. LOL Norma

    Bookmark   December 9, 2007 at 2:42PM
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Hey do those photos show up blurry for you people? I had my accelerated dial up set for low image quality to speed up my download times, and I see them as blurry. I don't know if its because thats they were on my computer or not.
Somebody let me know OK?

    Bookmark   December 9, 2007 at 2:56PM
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Elvis is singing Christmas! Not blurry at the moment Norma, (beautiful!) but in an hour I'll add some wine to the mix and check again.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2007 at 3:01PM
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Nice and clear photos here, Norma, and gorgeous to boot. Martie, that's so cool about Kyle assisting with the decommissioning nukes symposium. Apart from the sheer enjoyment he'll get, interesting people he'll meet, that's also the kind of experience that makes a resume really stand out from others. My oldest never wanted to leave Amsterdam, so beware! DS wrote this on a journal site: "It is so cold in new york city that my ipod headphone cables froze stiff and then broke."

Hooray for Katie not biting since Tues, that's gotta mean improvement, and SO glad to hear manual expression was not required, whatever it is.

Idyll observation: Michelle's holiday decorations feature mostly angels and Deanne's St. Nicks. Wondering about any other themes out there...

In my tent would be of course the chocolate, some red wine, the two new garden books, Christopher Lloyd & Helen Dillon, and a flashlight with extra batteries because I'd mean to stay there a very long time. But back to this lousy job on asbestos-injured workers. Didn't know that asbestos still isn't banned in the U.S.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2007 at 3:43PM
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Thanks for the feedback Cynthia and Denise. N

    Bookmark   December 9, 2007 at 4:42PM
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Cynthia, SO nice to finally hear from you. I was getting worried about and "that fool dog of your's". I can't even begin to contemplate how hard this must be. At least with Rex he still had 3 legs left to hop around on... and while he may've been sore for some time he could at least move around and shift position without yelping. I really would like to see a picture if you're up to shooting it and then posting it. Hang tough!

I love candles in the windows of a home (pictures? look who's talkin'). The only reason I don't do it here is that there are windowboxes under the roadside window and I fill them with greens that would hide the candles. But when I was a kid we used them. And, MARTIE, we added one for every Sunday in Advent! All the decorations were left up until the Epiphany (Twelfth Night) and they came down the next day.

I finished the 3 pediments this afternoon and put them up. I like them. But need to add something pale/bright to the lower edge to keeping them from "oozing" visually into the window below... . Shoulda bought more .99 lemons at Wallyworld, damnit. I have the big pediment on the dining room table right now and am about to embark on that. Boxwood is holding up, and I'm a whiz at making white pine swags now. :) (smells really good in here and the cats are having a total blast... in and out, in and out, doing their wonderful kitty routines. (thinking of Cynthia and the candles).

Norma, your photographs are lovely (no "blurries" here, either)! I see a lot more color than just green grass in those shots. I love the way Mother Nature changes the palette over the course of the seasons but gives us the shimmer of rain and snow, instead.

Martie, Kyle should be excited about his position. He must be having the time of his life. I'm a bit envious, frankly! :) I'm still struggling with how Mum's life ended, Martie. Not that I think I could have done more (aside from the ususal regrets you feel when someone you love dies), but there are several things I would love the opportunity to go back and "fine tune". I've thought about your question repeatedly over the past few days and still don't really have what I want to say completely figured out. It's such a huge thing to face and I still feel the full force of the wave that overtook me and hurled me onto the beach. I'm still shaking my head and trying to "collect myself"; checking again and again to make sure "everything is here". A good, family plan is the perfect place to start and having the doctor know you is KEY. IF you're able, make sure your Mom's doctor "follows" her if she ends up living with her children or enters a nursing home. That's one of the things I most regret... I loved her doctor when she was with me. He was young, hip, and all about minimizing medications and keeping her ACTIVE. I deeply regret the loss of that when Mum entered that awful place.

Many, many thoughts and reminiscences today... alone with my thoughts, the animals and my final project (helmeet working AND going out with his buddy tonight). Some tears, a lot of "singing along", and the appreciation that the decorations are really ALL Mum. I learned it somewhere, afterall!

Thinking of my friends tonight and still hoping for some basic pointers on how to "light" a basic TECHINICAL shot with my camera. Please?

(MY tent would have a perpetually warm hot water bottle, blue cheese and pate. A cat, a good biography... want to know more about Martin Luther and Abraham Lincoln. Sparkling water with lemon, and Pinot Grigio or a nice red wine. Clementines, olives, and almonds. It would smell like evergreens, too).

    Bookmark   December 9, 2007 at 5:23PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Chelone, I'm such a lazy photographer these days...I usually have the light behind me, some room lights on as well. I use a close up setting if need be. I also use the flash attached to my camera. When I use the flash, a must remove the extension on the front of the camera so that I don't get a shadow at the base of each photo. Much of the time I end up using Photoshop to sharpen pictures. That's all such "photos for dummies" stuff that I hope someone answers your question properly!

DH survived his concert this afternoon. He was the only male, and the only one over 35 as well. Young ladies sure have gorgeous voices, especially when they are trained a bit! The cookies and punch were fine too.

Katie, I'm so glad things are improving! What a time you and Cynthia have had...Hugs.

Cindy? How is Dad doing? Tell me you are home alone with a mug of something wonderful and your puppy to cuddle. Call in a cleaning crew to reclaim your home. That could be your Christmas gift to yourself.

My tent would have a puppy in it! (We're still working on names. It's as bad as naming your child. Two weeks 'til baby pups are to be born.) I'd also add a warm blanket & pillow, reading material, my knitting, hot soup, and access to email to see recent pictures of the grandkids. Once in a while I'd like the phone too, but not too often.

OK, back to the kitchen.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2007 at 5:52PM
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Im just in from a walk, enjoying a cappichino, Lorie Line Christmas CD and the Idylls.

The majority of the Christmas shopping was wrapped up this weekend. We spent the night at a motel, had a leisurely breakfast and hit the stores. We needed to be back early as Ricks company party was last night. The party was ok, there have been ones at nicer places.

I spent part of the afternoon wrapping. I like to do it right away so I dont misplace any of the gifts or end up wrapping them all the last minute.

We received more snow last evening, so we have snow with ice underneath. I did take Jaden for a walk but had to be extremely careful. I spent a little time photographing the black capped chickadees eating off the sundial. My poor attempts cant be posted here ;o) they are really quite brave and allow me to hunch near them while they feed. Lots of juncos and bluejays as well as a bird that I didnt recognize and will have to check the reference books for.

The tent is cool, but I dont have enough sit in me to spend much time in one ;o)

Denise, I have an area of snowmen and St. Nicks together. What a relief to have Tuna Joe home. You have some of the most interesting foliage combos.

Ei, your tree is perfect. Its hard to find those.

Reed in his dog sled would make a wonderful Christmas card.

Norma, interesting shots with the green grass, orange leaves and ice. Your pond is a wonderful size.

Good to hear that Katies pain is somewhat under control. We have candles in some of our windows too.

Deanne, your decorations are wonderful! The Santas are all so interesting and the cardinal is gorgeous. Neat that you can incorporate your art into your holiday decorating.

Chelone, thinking of you as you go through this holiday season without your Mum Your Mum left you with some very specials memories.

The shooting in Omaha has hit just a little too close to home. Ive shopped that mall many times and my sister or other family members could have easily been there that day.


    Bookmark   December 9, 2007 at 6:54PM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Chelone, in order to give you some advice I need to know what is it you want to photogaph? Is it inside or outside? Will you be needing a flash if its inside? What does your camera allow you for settings? Does it have any manual settings on it?

If you are taking photographs of something that is outside the very BEST light is noon time on a lightly overcast day. That way you get very flat, even light and don't lose any detail to harsh shadows or lose anything from the high light ares getting 'blown' out. If you do this and your camera has the option use the setting for a cloudy day. Even thought you don't have as much light as on a sunny day if you can set your ISO setting at 200 with a shutter speed of around 60 that should be OK. You need to shoot several photographs at different settings to see what will give the best results. If you need a long depth of field so that you nee a large area in focus you'll probably need to use a higher ISO setting or a slower shutter speed with a tripod.

Shooting indoors with a flash is an entirely different kettle of fish. I have a separate flash attachment that allows me to 'bounce' the flash off the ceiling which again gives me a more even distribution of light.

OK I've got to get some dinner and get the kitty in the house but I'll be back to comment more later.


    Bookmark   December 9, 2007 at 7:50PM
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Don't know enough to know if flash is required or not. I really DON'T understand lighting, Deanne!

I don't know about optional settings. I "aim and shoot", and "damn the torpedoes"! (Quit rolling your eyes).

All settings are "automatic" as far as I'm concerned, Deanne. Let's start with a basic primer on light and where it ought to "be" relative to the "shooter" (sorry, Michelle). I want to be able to take OK pictures of things I'm working on. Nothing "arty", just good, basic shots in the "how to" category. Most of what frustrates me most is the INSIDE aspect. I tried to get some basic, step-by-step shots of my Christmas decorations and some were OK, but most were a total bust. :( I don't understand light and how it affects a shot. AT ALL.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2007 at 8:00PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

My tent would have some nice red wine, lots of dark chocolate, some candles and two stacks of books - good fiction in one stack and gardening books in another. Don't forget the pile of cozy pillows for napping! and a nice soft blankie to stay warm. Crusty bread and cheese for meals.

Hmm, now that I think about it, maybe when everyone is gone my entire house is my tent?

My tree has lights! I need to get one more string for the bottom, because one string shorted out (think bzz-snap-burning smell!) when we tested them. So that's why you test them first! I will wait on the ornaments until DD gets home because I think she would enjoy doing that.

Chelone, I also am not an expert but I will echo 'bug's advice to have the light behind you. If your camera has an automatic setting, you might want to experiment with taking it off auto to avoid an automatic flash. I've been playing with the different settings on my camera and have been much happier with the results. And my camera is nothing fancy.

Deanne, I love your decorations. I'm particularly taken with the painted sled in the last picture - incredible! (Do all the idylls realize that is a trompe l'oeil painting?)

No main theme here, although there are a lot of snowmen clustered on the mantle.

There's a great Christmas program on the radio right now - Heartland Holiday from Minnesota. Just lovely! The musicians are regulars from A Prairie Home Companion. I could listen to this all night, but it only lasts an hour.

Hmm, yes, add some music to my tent...

Last night I had a lovely fire (I was quite proud of myself for building such a nice fire all by myself!) and tonight the mood is candlelight. Dinner should be done, so I shall sign off.


    Bookmark   December 9, 2007 at 8:03PM
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Cool Salon, the one I have in my mind's eye... (karaoke).

I would prefer the radio, but the helpmeet is sowing down ice cream and torturing me with 60 Minutes. :( Before that it was the Patriots, so I probably shouldn't complain.

I'm picturing the Salon... a veritable "Santa's workshop". A place where whatever I want to listen to reigns. A place where my "mess" can be left until I chose to readdress it (the way it is now). A place where I can crank the music and not "bother" someone else.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2007 at 8:28PM
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I hope Chelone points that camera at what she's been working on and clicks because I honestly can't visualize these holiday decorations. Since I just saw the movie again, I'm stuck at the visual of Richard Dreyfuss in Close Encounters building a replica of the Devil's Tower in his living room, surrounded by branches and mud, except the tv's on in the background playing 60 Minutes. What on earth can these decorations be? They ooze, have lemons, boxwood, go over doors, windowboxes. Is there carpentry involved too or just greenery?....I'm stumped.

And Joseph started moving his toes today. He'll be back up on the roof with the cockerel in no time.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2007 at 8:48PM
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