Idyll #343 Lurkers Open House

dodgerdudetteDecember 9, 2007

We know you're out there... Drop in for a virtual glass of Christmas Cheer, step up to the Idylls front porch for a visit. Don't forget to post a pic of your garden (or your pets) to brighten up our wintry days.

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Lets see, my tent would include a subscription to the LA Times, a really big stack of garden magazines, a radio, college ruled paper and pencil (to write) a case of Silver Oak cabernet , cheese and crackers , Pellagrino, deviled eggs and all of Dorothy Sayers .

I spent quite a bit of the day outside today. I was expecting to do Christmas related activities but it didnt happen. Instead I primed my arbor in the front yard with good old Zinsser 1-2-3 , which took way longer than I expected . But it was now or never-it hasnÂt rained since last week so the wood was dry and I needed to jump on it if I wanted to get it done before Christmas. What a messy painter I am ! My Âpainting sweatshirt looks like a Jackson Pollack work. I also planted about 100 tulip bulbs, still more to go and I have my fingers crossed for another dry spell between now and mid-January. So, Christmas is still in absentia from these digs.
Furthermore , having been shamed by Denises triumphant three days running on the rowing machine, I hauled out the gazelle and did 15 minutes, which was way too hard , which means I am out of condition ! And p.s. Denise, if I had actually done any decorating you would find the theme to be completely plant oriented, and all harvested locally (read free/ borrowed from the park or local businesses landscaping) with a few bows thrown in.

And, an observation, IÂts 4:30 and the sun is just about ready to set- 13 days till the solstice.

Ok Chelone, since you brought up the singing of selected songs to pets, I will confess that my pets and one of my BILÂs pets have a Âtheme song that I greet them with. So if you are certifiable so am I .
IÂm a pretty pathetic photographer, but I would concur with Âbug re: the light coming from behind. I think much of your procedure has to do with your camera and what it can/cannot do.Do you have a Âmacro setting? ThatÂs what I use for close ups of flowers. I also have a mode in mine where I can increase or lower the brightness of the image (only when I am not in Auto) and I really like using that when I am shooting plant pics outside. You remind me of how I still want to take some sort of extremely basic digital photo class..I always notice how sharp Deanne and Maries pics are .
Abe and Martin Luther interesting combo.

Excellent to hear from Cynthia though it sounds like youÂve had a harrowing few days with the patient. HereÂs hoping youÂve crossed a bridge. I have nothing but admiration for your fortitude...

Norma, your pics are just lovely. It looks very much like what we see here in winter..our hills and grassy areas turn green because of the rain, yet the trees are bare and wintry looking.

Time for dinnerÂand a new Idyll. And come out and say "hey" lurkers !

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   December 9, 2007 at 9:08PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

psst Kathy - do you know what's in my wine fridge? Not quite an entire case, since we did drink one bottle...

We visited the vineyard just about a year ago in the late afternoon, the low sun was pouring through the open door of the tasting room, and the tasting pours were generous. (The fact that we were spending money may have influenced the latter!)

Of course, at the moment I'm sipping the bullseye box cab, which for the price is not a bad alternative!

Do you know Chappellet vineyard? I just had their Mountain Cuvee the other night and really liked that.


    Bookmark   December 9, 2007 at 9:54PM
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V, my boss volunteers every year at SO's release event. He gets a deal. Low sun is by far the best, and the most golden.

Molly Chappellet wrote a garden book...

K in Napa

    Bookmark   December 9, 2007 at 10:58PM
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Ice again on a Monday. Slip sliding away ....

I'd have Rich in my tent ;-) If people aren't allowed I'd have the Brooklyn Botanical Garden Book, copious amounts of chocolate, down comforter, warm cider with cinnamon and a laptop that only powered on for 1/2 hour at a time.

I tried. Our house is lit and looks lovely, if I do say so myself. Our camera isn't techy enough to capture it from the houseside, and inside it just looks like big slates of black with teeny glowing spots. When we get the inside going I'll make my efforts again.

Denise had mentioned garish decorations and I must admit that at one time we entered ourselves into contests. It was the 20' round peace sign in lights on the top of the house that got most notice, since Ky's childhood home sat on a knoll that was visible here and there from many roads. Even a local small plane pilot called to say he'd begun using it as a landmark. Add that to a tree that was planted the year we moved in and grew to some 25 feet. 1500 large bulbs later (along with an upgrade to the electrical system) and the neighbors across the street and up on the ledge could look down and see the whole shebang.

I put my foot down when it came to pre-made lit objects. I didn't care how bright or how many lights were involved, but it needed to come from our heads, not the store.

I'm sorry, Denise, that I didn't have a chance to meet your son. I'm nursing a monthly malady and he wouldn't have liked me much if I were hunched over while walking Broadway. Movements are slow these last few days. Have to laugh that he's chilly. It's been downright balmy in NYC in the mid-30's for December. LOL

As soon as I'd heard the mall news, I thought of the mid-west Idyllers and wondered .... As much as I abhor this type of behavior, doyathink that eventually the medical establishment will catch on that mental illness is just that, an ILLNESS!!!! My heart goes out to the victims and their families, because it truly just doesn't make sense.

Hooray for Katie!!! And Hooray for Cynthia the advocate!

Enough rambling. Ice world awaits ..


    Bookmark   December 10, 2007 at 7:17AM
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I thoroughly enjoyed my idyll time this morning. I had a personal training appointment, but he cancelled. I was really bummed, but you all made me smile and Nick has promised to join me at the gym later today before he leaves for New Jersey for a class.

Denise, I believe Chelone's fruit over the pediment is a very traditional New England decoration, and I too wait for pictures....I might just have to drive up there and snap one for all of us - garage included :) Idyll paparazzi :)

Sarah slipped on the ice trying to get on the bus. I hope she laughed it off (I couldn't see her face) and that she's having a better day at school.

I want a window in my tent so that I can watch my bird feeder. I'd have a wide array of cheese and some of Mary's crackers from IU4 as I can't stop thinking about them (remember? peppery crisps, "Mary's Gone Bonkers"?)....hmmm, a google would probably produce results and I could have them shipped in for Christmas!

Norma, I love your icy scene! I too see more than green.

I guess I'd better get to work....I may have to close the shade so I will quit looking out to see what the bird population is up to....I put out the good stuff, it has peanuts and dried cherries :)


    Bookmark   December 10, 2007 at 9:27AM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

Saucy, Mary's Gone Crackers, not bonkers!

And speaking of shipping for Christmas, Victoria's Secret just told me I was 1 hour and 49 minutes too late. End of discussion. I told them to shove, I mean cancel the order. I also told them that I was flabbergasted at their response. Didn't seem to faze them one iota.

Let's switch gears to MAJOR GOOD NEWS! DD had her major instrument jury today and was told she was accepted into the upper level of the program. This is a major hurdle cleared, so we are very, very happy.

We have another ice storm predicted for tonight. This will be the third bout in ten days - not our usual winter weather. And unfortunately, the weather forecasts have been very accurate lately.

Dinner's in progress so I'm running...


    Bookmark   December 10, 2007 at 8:00PM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Evening everyone,

Well we had a nasty day here but nothing compared to the ice storms west of here. Just lots of sleet, freezing rain and snow off and on with steel gray, overcast skies. I had to run out to do a few errands and when I ran, well started to run, to the mailbox realized that the driveway was a solid sheet of ice. Ive got no way to clear that until the sun comes out and starts to melt things. I felt terrible for the poor UPS guy who delivered here today. The roads are all OK. The road crews have put tons of sand and salt down to driving wasnt a problem except in my driveway. Be careful everyone, no more slip and fall accidents please. Speaking of which,

Mary how are you feeling? I hope you arent suffering any ill effects from your fall last week. ~~~ BTW Doug is out in your neck of the woods.

V. congratulations on DDs success. Thats fabu !!! ~~ Thanks very much for the kind words re the little trompe loeil painting. I painted that from a set up Id photographed. The piece was featured in a magazine article about ten years ago now and is one of my favorite little holiday things I get out this time of the year. The reflections in the glass ornaments were really a lot of fun to paint.

Saucy, you can come and play in my tent any time you want.

OK so here goes everyone, you can now all have a good laugh at my expense. Here is a photograph of my blind. I have a real tent that I do spend a lot of time in and if I had my choice Id have an espresso machine and lots of dark chocolate. I have to make do with my little heater, camera equipment and lots of birds to look at outside the tent.

You can see various perches to the right under the tree. I place them under the feeders in locations that will give me decent backgrounds. Here is a photo of a male House Finch I took the other day from the blind.

Kathy, good for you with getting your arbor primed and getting some bulbs planted. I never planted any spring bulbs this year as I was too busy getting the pots taken care of. Somehow I have to find some balance. Youll be happy to know that the two pieces of the large papyrus have survived and put up some new green growth. They are only little green tufts, about three inches tall right now. Its hard to believe that they might grow into a seven foot plant next summer. Amazing.

Denise, Im so very happy to hear that Joe has started getting some movement back into that injured limb. Thats great news.

Chelone, I agree with all the advice re light for picture taking. Its best to have the light behind you. In years past when I used a film camera and had to have good photographs of my painted pieces I did not have a good flash unit. I used to wait for a cloudy day and take the pieces outside on a cloudy day to shoot the photographs. Again, it is because you get such flat even light with an overcast day. If you do shoot inside with a flash you need to keep at least six feet away from your subject or the flash will overexpose your images. I really do need to come up for a visit and work with you and your camera a bit. ~~ So happy you liked the little Junco photograph.

Michelle, thanks! So happy you like the Santa collection. ~~ So how would you like to come and visit and finish up my wrapping??? Ive almost finished my shopping but I havent wrapped a single present yet.

Cynthia, thanks for the update on Katie. I lol about the kitties helping you out with those window candles.

Bug, those uTube links are a scream.

Norma those are some lovely photographs of the ice storm. It always amazes me how the world is magically transformed into what looks like a mystical fairyland. You certainly have great bones to your gardens.

OK time for me to get ready for some shut-eye. Have a terrific evening all.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2007 at 9:05PM
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Buenos Noches friends.. (and the lurkers who have yet to appear ! ) Im having a pretty good day for a Monday. V made me think about an old friend who was the tasting room manager at Silver Oak that I would like to touch base with and invite he and his sig other over to dinner before I skip town . Do you suppose hell bring a bottle ??

Wow Martie, the 20 peace sign ! Love it !

And V, kudos to proud you must be ..

Saucy, a blind is just a tent in disguise! You have joined Deanne amongst the camo. Poor Sarah, I hope she forgot about the spill in a timely manner.

And Deanne, that blind is just priceless. So do you unzip little segments of the window panels and surreptitiously prop the camera up in the opening ? The snow looks so pretty ..I guess I better get used to it ..

I got my LL Bean boots today- nothing too extreme, this is Oregon after all , not Minnesota. But I had no shoes that went above ankle height and I hate cold feet. So these seem to fit the bill without overkill and are very comfy. I am now ready to experience Christmas in the PNW.

OK, see yall later..wondering about Cindy, Brenda, Babs, and we havent heard from Marian in a few days. And how is Sue feeling ?

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   December 10, 2007 at 9:26PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

OK, just lost that really thorough post where I responded to many. Sigh...

OK, Cynthia, Deanne, Michelle, Saucy, Martie, and V & charming daughter, consider yourselves complimented. Mary, Drema, Eden, Woody, Cindy, Honey, Babs, Brenda and others...I am curious how things are going in your busy lives. Is that Norma playing in the background?

For those who care, here's the countdown:
1 day til my doctor's appointment. (routine)
8 days until my Book Club dinner party here.
12 days until we fly off to Alberta.
12 days 'til Lizzie's puppies are due.

As you may know, every name we come up with for a puppy was a name of a jerk in our third grade class and must be nixxed. For the moment it looks like Elizabeth the Second (Lizzie) and Charlie (male form of Charlotte) are in the lead. My father would be honoured, except that he was Charles with a very French accent! But then there are Asha, Maggie, Sophie and Liza for girls, Levi, Milo, Farley and Flanders for boys to be considered. If you are of voting age and have an opinion, I'll listen. Meanwhile I'm refreshing my dog training skills by reading these days. Things have changed in the last 10 years in this regard. How amazed I was to find, in the first sentence of my book, a tribute to our vet friend Bruce, who passed away this year.

Before I lose this one, I'd better post.

A few photos for the heck of it. First, from Bristol England, NOT my house or Chelone's!

And you know who this is...


    Bookmark   December 10, 2007 at 10:02PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

OK, it's 9am and I guess everyone is either out there earning money or else baking, buying, wrapping and cooking. I hope that's the case anyway, as sniffing one's nose, caring for sick ones (pets included), laundry and cleaning sounds just too dreary.

Very drab here and the forecast promises 5cm of freezing rain. Yuck.


    Bookmark   December 11, 2007 at 8:59AM
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Full_Bloom(z5 IL)

Good Morning Idylls!

I'll have to make this a quick one, as I'm still battling the sinus infection and am getting ready to get out in our freezing rain and ice to get my stuff out to the post office...Yikes!

Deanne your Christmas decorating is just beautiful! Do you have other pictures that hang on that wall and then just switch them to Christmas? Your talent is amazing and what a joy it must be to be able to create anything you have in your mind! Well, I think the tent is neat. So it's to keep you warm while watching the birds? and to sort of be unobserved by them? Your such a pro to set the perches up with nice backgrounds! :-)

Norma your pic is lovely...and you captured icicle land so perfectly. :-) How can such a pretty picture be so dangerous and scary too...we're having that today, but not so bad as some of the states surrounding us (so far anyway). Hope everyone is safe and warm.

Happy to hear a better report for Katie. Hope each day just gets a little better and better.

There's that megawatt smile...he's such a cutey Bug.

Well, I better bite the bullet and get dressed and get out there...Have a great day all!


    Bookmark   December 11, 2007 at 9:30AM
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What if you're making $, taking calls from the school counselor, doing laundry and dishes, and listening to Christmas music?

It's dreary....

I'm having a really bad day so it was nice to come here and be invited into the bird blind :)

Jake's counselor/teachers are really frustrated with him.

Sarah was afraid to go to the bus stop, but all was better today. My town ought to be ashamed of the state it keeps our sidewalks (big pot holes) and now the non use of ice melt when school is in session....come on now, do I have to write a letter to the editor? The last people who complained about potholes got the cement sidewalk filled with hot patch....that means you get tar and gravel tracked into your house....not to mention how attractive it is.

Well, I obviously have nothing nice to say. Maybe I will go to the gym out of anger and really crank out some time on the cardio machines :)


    Bookmark   December 11, 2007 at 9:36AM
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Good foggy morning. It warmed up over night and most of the ice is gone from the trees. This is what I saw out the window as I sat down for breakfast. I know this one is not sharp but can you tell what is sitting on the corner of the swing arbor?

I can't stay right now. I'm going out for the day, but will try to get back later.

Bug , That little guy makes me smile every time. Bet you can't wait for snuggles.

Later Norma

    Bookmark   December 11, 2007 at 9:43AM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

The temps warmed up just in time to avoid a major ice storm issue, which is very happy news. We're still due for precipitation the rest of the day and evening, so the potential for havoc remains. I'm keeping my fingers crossed...

Saucy, sorry to hear you're having a bad day. Sometimes you have to pressure those school counselors to get the right resources for your kid. While I don't stew over regrets a lot, I do wish at times that I had meddled a little more in my son's school life when he was in high school. The school does not make it easy, though.

Norma, glad to see you missed the worst of the storm also. I heard dire reports from Missouri but haven't checked to see what part of the state was hit hard. DH is in Kansas today but managed to traverse the storm without problems.

Cool owl! There was a snowy owl sighted not too far from here this weekend - very unusual here.

What a smile, 'bug!


    Bookmark   December 11, 2007 at 11:28AM
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Jerri_OKC(z7 Ok)

My tent would have heat, lights, and water. We were caught by the ice storm and lost power for 24 hours. It's amazing how much warmth a kitty puts out when sleeping on you. :)

The electricity is back on and a line is forming for the first shower. We lost several trees and the garden benches that were underneath them. I'm still accessing the damage.
Stay warm all.


    Bookmark   December 11, 2007 at 11:46AM
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We missed the latest ice storm fortunately. It sounds like southern Iowa got it instead. Although, we still have lots of ice on our yard and the trip to the compost pile is difficult. I needed to drag an urn from the garden shed last night to put together my Christmas topiary, needless to say it wasnt a pretty site.

bug, I thought of you last night while I was ordering pictures online. We bought a babys picture album for our latest granddaughter for Christmas. I had given one to Kenzie also and she loves it. Its a photo album meant for baby to look at. Its titled "who does baby love"

Reed looks like a little bear in his snowsuit. That smile is absolutely precious.

Congrats to Vs DD.

Deanne, how cleaver to provide some interesting perches.

Norma, how fun to see the owl. Ive been hearing one in the grove and walked out there the other day only to see it fly away.

Saucy, Jake sounds like my son. When he graduated from HS I felt like I deserved a diploma as well. The good news is when he got in college he really worked and surprised me with how well he did. Hang in there.

Have a great day

    Bookmark   December 11, 2007 at 11:53AM
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I see I have to reread the many posts of the past few days. I must unearth the manual for my camera and figure out how to disable the "automatic" flash, etc.. I also need to obtain a tripod. Thank you all for your picture pointers. I'm really sort of "stuck" because much of what I'd like to photograph can't go outside on a cloudy day, so CLEARLY I have to gain some modicum of control with respect to the "Brownie".

Jerri's "check in" has me wondering if the ice storms now have Marian in their clutches, too? I did chuckle at the queue forming for the shower, Jerri. This is a pretty self-sufficient household, full of the things that make your life easier when the electrical current is interrupted, but there is NOTHING like a shower when you really need one, is there? And I've done a fair amount of blubbering about Mum in the past week/so, and wonder how you're feeling now, too.

And you'll appreciate this one, too, Jerri: I was buying some hooks this afternoon and a man with a dog on a leash came down the aisle I was in. It was obviously a pit bull cross and I smiled at the man and spoke to the dog. Turns out, the dog was part of a litter of puppies that had been shipped north from OK! I know the shelters here in New England suffer from a chronic "shortage" of puppies and have to "import" them because no one is particularly interested in adopting the older animals. So, one more Okie now has a loving home. Score one for the team, huh?!

Bummer that you're having a "pissy" day, Saucy. You're entitled, we ALL are! I was thinking of your WE ALL LIVE TOGETHER 101 this very morning, in fact! I toddled into the kitchen to make coffee at 4:30 and had to clean out BOTH bays of sink to easily use the faucet. The "dead" egg nog carton, a saucepan full of water and partially dissolved chocolate sauce in the other. Clear evidence of a party after I'd retired to bed! The jar of chocolate sauce was still on the counter, the top jauntily stuck on the top, the entire rim coated with dried on chocolate sauce. There was a large blob of dropped chocolate sauce on the countertop next to the coffee maker. I sighed. And left the following note: "THIS IS NICE, I see little oinkie was here last night... XO". Thusfar there has been no acknowledgement, but the jar of chocolate sauce is still encrusted even though it is in the 'fridg.. How you deal with the pathetic beaurocracy schools are part of is a marvel to me! I was so appalled by the ineptitude and lack of IMAGINATION displayed by doctors, nurses, nursing homes that I am certain I could never "handle" a public school system. You have a depth of character and an intestinal fortitude that is truly inspiring, Saucy! One day, Jake will look back and appreciate you... believe it or not.

Wondering about the Tuna-boy, Joseph... I doubt he's jumping from rooftop to rooftop just yet, but DO hope he's regaining movement and control over the injured paw.

I have purged uploaded pictures and have downloaded the most recent batch from my camera. I've been plugging away on organizational chores.

For Denise:

I still have to fill the windowboxes with greens and I'd really like to pull off a larger plaque over the second floor windows to add some OOMF, but the weather is looking dicey, so the greens in the boxes may be where it'll end this year. (Clench your teeth together and say, "it's just so, so genteel and correct, daHling".). I've always embraced my Puritan heritage and neo-Victorian leanings. ;)

For everyone else:

And for Tuna Joe from his pinktoed, pinknosed doodlekin boy-boy friend in New England. We know you'll be back to your arborial ways very soon!

The tall case clock returned from the clock doctor today. (I purged the pictures. All too dark!). The soundboard for the chimes has come unglued (it's nearly 80 years old) and must be reglued before they will operate. The clock chimes every quarter, half, and hour. It's a "real" grandfather clock, too! made by the helpmeet's grandfather in the late '20s/early 30s. He was a master cabinetmaker from Germany who came to the USA because he was so appalled by what had become of his country and the turn he saw it beginning to take... . I can't wait to hear the chimes. :)

That's all for now.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2007 at 4:59PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Saucy, your comments on support from the school in working with your son (!) brought me to a freeze. Our son was in a private school and years and years later I still can't deal thei attitude. The fact that he did, in his own eccentric way, is a very fortunate thing.

Marian, are you busy ignoring Christmas talk or are you not well or housebound? I hope you are contentedly doing what pleases. Here it can't decide whether to rain or freeze. What a mess.

Chelone, it's just so, so genteel and correct, daHling!!!! Truly! And the studio! I can't wait for those indoor photos...

Well the annual fruitcake has arrived from my sister in France. The postage alone was 14 euros, which gives you an idea of the weight of a well sloshed Christmas cake! Every year we ask for more nuts in it, but no. :( Since her partner is 94, I ask for nothing and can only imagine the care he requires. I've never met him.

Time to cook the ravioli and toss a salad.
PS: Turn on the sound.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2007 at 6:35PM
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Okay, I'm trying to resist the siren call of the idylls and focus on deadlines but have to comment that Chelone's pictures are gawgeous. Did I say that right? ;o) So that's how it's done. Wow. And the garage and its doors are simply splendid. I made the holiday pilgrimage to the downtown LA flower market today, presunrise, and brought home wreaths, dried pomegranates, cinnamon sticks and other sundries, trying to kickstart some holiday spirit. Mostly wholesale only that early and only opens to the public after 8 a.m. so didn't get in to too many warehouses and may go back next week if time. Meant to bring a camera for an idyll field trip but was too foggy precoffee to remember.

And look! I've found your location for the next idyll reunion!!

Submerging again...with a wave of the flipper to all.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2007 at 6:39PM
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Denise, you can thank me later....I knew if I threatened a visit she'd produce :) It's gorgeous Chelone! Deanne and Michelle, I meant to say how great your decor is too and that Reed on the sled is the ultimate holiday card :)

I'm at my wits end. Here's the jist of it (and I'm open to suggestions, though I reserve the right to dismiss them :) Jake WILL NOT do his work....class work or home work. He has what "the experts" call learning disabilities, though I prefer to think of them as non cookie cutter types of learning....(there sure are alot of kids in his "special" classes....) and he's got an educational plan. He is assigned a counselor to help him. All of his teachers report that he is a JOY to have in class because he doesn't cause a disturbance....but there lies the problem....the squeaky wheel gets the grease....and he's not squeaking in the usual way.

The counselor mentioned that perhaps it is time to let him fail. He always seems to internalize failure, but doesn't use it as a motivator/jumping off point....just gets "down" on himself.

I'm so frustrated with him. And the school. And my husband. And his family. And in my heart I don't think that there is a darn thing wrong with my son except that he doesn't fit into some mold. In fact, every "disability" that he has, I see in my husband who seems to be functioning fine as an adult who uses SpellCheck on a regular basis.

I'm sorry to unload here but I'm feeling pretty alone right now on this issue. I will have to pull my thoughts together and let the counselor know that I'm not happy with failure.....but for now crying in my dinner is all I can muster :)

Thank you all for your nice thoughts.

Two weeks until the big day and I'm a little behind on shopping....did someone say they're all wrapped up and ready to go?

Michelle my babies loved having their own picture albums, too.

Jerri, there is NOTHING like a hot shower after being without electricity. Chelone, my tank can keep the water warm enough for a day :)


    Bookmark   December 11, 2007 at 6:56PM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

I am developing web feet, but we have had no ice or power outages. It is alternating fog and pouring down rain.
Marie, you have one out of three correct. ;-)
And yes...I am "contentedly doing what pleases".
Our temps are really wierd. We got up to another 60F morning! I haven't determined if I will need to refire the heating stove tonight, or if I can wait until morning.
I am feeling so sorry for all who are contending with ice, snow, and power outages. I suspect ours is yet to come.

Norma, what a cute owl. How fortunate that you could get it's pic!

Deanne, your blind is verrrrry interesting! :-)

Great pics, Chelone, espacially Doodlekin Boy-Boy.

What a doll Reed is!

I have my first orchid blooms of the 'winter':

We are enjoying our new DVD and videos. I bought 2 more today...Christy and Open Range.

I am also enjoying the Midi music on my computer.


    Bookmark   December 11, 2007 at 7:25PM
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I'd love to have a visit from you, Saucy... or maybe a day's "forced labor" with Jake. He's a totally great kid and there are a lot of us out there who "did the school thing" and quietly wondered, "is the world upsidedown?". I have come to believe that it IS.

My brother is as shaHp as a tack. But he collided head on with the "powers that be" at school. He was expelled every other week for something. Maybe his hair was too long, maybe he didn't wear the proper sort of shirt (this was in "dress code days"), or he simply refused to RUN a mile, preferrring instead a leisurely stroll... ;). I saw the futility of his protest and "towed the line"... to a point. When told I would be given detention for "skipping" a last period study hall and holing up in vacant classroom I simply replied I wouldn't accept a detention. Threatened with expulsion I simply smiled and said, "Go ahead I'll get my GED, I could pass it tommorrow. You aren't going to expell someone in NHS with straight As. I'm going to college, you know it, and I'm NOT going to that study hall again." When seated for the SATs, I vividly recall making the decision about whether or not to actually TRY to go for the score or spend the time trying to get a perfect ZERO. Seemed pretty clear to me that getting a perfect ZERO required more thought and made a bigger statement. But my father wrote the check for the test and much as I wanted to I would never have insulted him by indulging my own vanity. (screw-off with a "bad attitude").

So you'll find no school-bolstering ally in me, my friend! I think the toughest thing about school is the necessity of the lesson they try awfully hard to hide: that sometimes you simply have to do things you don't want to do! I watched my brother and determined it was just easier to grit my teeth and do the work. Somehow, some way, someone has to get that across to Jake. Has anyone "spelled it out" in those uncompromising terms? not everything in life is fun, easy, interesting. And that sucks! but "doing your time" early on can make things easier in the long term. It becomes more difficult to rise, creamlike, to the surface with every passing year. Not impossible, but HARDER.

My brother is a master metalsmith. A gifted mechanic, very artistic, and "aced" Calculus when he took it for "fun" in his 20s! The helpmeet's elder brother refused to write an entry essay and still received a full college scholarship based on his mathematic and scientific prowess. He never finished his freshman year, either! went straight to CA, and has worked in "high tech" since the early '70s.

I'm sorry this is so trying for you, Saucy! If I could, I'd snap my heels together and wish it away to an easy conclusion. Maybe you, me, and Jake should hang out in my tent for a day!

Also wondering about Marian and the Holidaze. I'm a bit concerned about the nasty weather I see in your general coHnuh of the country and just want you to know that...

    Bookmark   December 11, 2007 at 7:49PM
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GOOD! I was concerned about you, not knowing precisely where you and Nolon are and how you may've been affected.

Spencer is uncommonly "common".

    Bookmark   December 11, 2007 at 7:53PM
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Well Ill be damned its the garage pics at last !! My oh my, its way bigger than I imagined ! What exactly is the sq footage of this edifice Chelone ? Its quite stunning. Love the doors, love the widows, love the color. Can interior shots be far behind ?
And the pedimentsvery nice. If I was going to add oomph I would gravitate towards red, which would pop out from the gray tones of your house , and the greens too. Pomegranates I think. Too bad they cost so much ! Maybe simulated berries are the thing. And very clever of you to have cat that goes with the color scheme.

Norma, your owl pic looks very much like a photo that could have been taken here in the Northwest. Green, plus some bare trees and a bit of fall color hanging on, and most of all the mist !

Jerri, good to hear from you !

Saucy, just want to say that I was so anxious while my DS was a student, never living up to his potential , gifted program that did not serve him etc etc ad nauseum. Some people just dont fit into the mold. How do you balance the desire for success for your children with the desire for happiness ? My DS has turned into an interesting , fulfilled person, but had to learn many very hard lessons to get there. I dont know that I was that great of a parent, but both of my kids are happy, moral (by my definition ) adjusted and have eclectic interests and share many of my values. I think this is where the home school thing has its fountainhead. It may have started out as a faith based thing, but if you think about it, there are plenty of people who just want to remove their kids from the standardized system that may not speak to their individual needs. Letting them fail is ok, as long as they understand how much one can learn from failure, and that it is no shame-everyone fails upon occasion. I wish you well.

Denise, I am on board for IU at Pallazo Parisi.

Marian, Im jealous, dont have bloom number one on my orchids. Or even a spike.
Glad that you checked and all is well at Casa Marian.

bug, the Lecturer made some excellent points. In fact, I found it very Shakespearean. Im sure there was a bit of Othello in there

Okay, time to hit the reading room I dont seem to have coaxed a single lurker out of hiding yet ! Guess theyre shy..

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   December 11, 2007 at 9:37PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Saucy, I feel your pain. I spent years in pain over DS. I'm certain not one of you could stand him for 10 minutes, but he is a fascinating man who succeeds at what he finds important in the world. His school USED him to get math and physics awards, so that their walls were covered with them. He aced everything. But when he hitch hiked across Canada, they were outraged. We were negligent parents, he'd miss exams, blah bah blah. He was kicked out of the physics Olympiad in Poland for his wandering ways. In the long run, he did fine. He learned a great deal on his trips, met interesting folks too and helped some of them out in a big way. He was burned out and needed things other than math & physics. He went to school on days he felt like it. He did homework when he felt like it. He was a trial. Sometimes he'd teach classes in math for upper grades or at a friend's school. He was a really fine teacher at summer camps too. Cartography was a huge interest. He retains every single thing he's ever read. Anyway, each child is different. Your son knows he is loved, he knows what is good and kind. He may not know HOW to learn. He may need guidance and starting with something he loves. DD wrote her thesis on canoe building. But frankly, nagging isn't going to work. Enthusiasm will. Eventually. I'm sure he doesn't want to disappoint. He needs to learn tricks of the trade. My thoughts anyway. Of course I don't know him. I hate for you to feel as you do..and as I did. Trust that he's a good kid! Perhaps like our kid, he is a perfectionist who is paralyzed and doesn't know where to begin. Hugs to you both!

    Bookmark   December 11, 2007 at 10:12PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

"...the potential for havoc remains." D***, I hate it when I'm right. Fortunately the havoc has been minor so far. Our parking lot at work has been a disaster for over a week when it turned into a skating rink, and remedial efforts have been lackluster at best. So I did the itty-bitty baby step routine to my car and was almost home free. The full picture is complicated to paint, but I had a slim portion of my rear (can I ever use "slim" in a sentence about my rear?) on the seat when the following foot lost its footing. I was hanging onto the steering wheel with one hand for dear life, but managed to recover and haul the rest of the body into the car. A good reason to leave a few minutes after the rest of the staff!

Then off to the doctor's office for a routine follow up visit, except life was not being routine today at her office. They had to call in an ambulance to take a 23-week pregnant patient to the hospital. Not a good sign for her or the baby. While I was trying to be patient, I did wish that the staff had not kept commenting on how horrible the roads were getting! It just made me worry about my own overdue trip home.

There should be more to this post, but the brain has checked out for the night. The body must follow.


ps - love the gahrage doors, deah!

    Bookmark   December 11, 2007 at 10:13PM
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Reed makes more sense than most professors I had.

That said, Saucy, while I didn't have to deal with labels on Kyle, what worked for him was a strong: If you Don't Do It Now, You Won't Be Able To Do Much Later. My sister the teacher gets more exasperated than many parents, in that sometimes kids just need "a good swift kick but each child needs to be brought 'to their potential'". Does your son hold an interest in anything outside of school that can be used as a "this is how to learn"? I know from myself, who has turned out to be relatively successful personally and professionally, that I was just plain bored when I didn't do work and turned in F's. Just bored. And my mother would go nutso "there is no such thing as bored" but for me learning in school was just flat. No zing. So I found my own zing and did what I needed to do in school to Get Out. Don't know about Massachusetts, but in CT schools are almost forced to label kids who don't "fit." It's sad. No Child Left Behind is squelching creativity, instead on the part of the teachers, IMHO>

Chelone - Now it's really winter. The garage/Salon is great with the house. Rich took a look at the pic and said he was really impressed with the foundation. How can he tell? I've no clue but he explained that without it, the rest of the structure wouldn't be as plumb. A high compliment .... Something about the doors reminds me of Frank Lloyd Wright. I like it!!

Buzzing nawth today and really looking forward to being back in mountains. Think I might miss my old job and the character it brought .....

Owls are amazing.

Bye for now!

Martie, who'd love to bop to the LA market. JEALOUS!!!! :-)

    Bookmark   December 12, 2007 at 7:30AM
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Well a good night's sleep works wonders.

I sent him off to a field trip today, and we packed the most hilarious sandwich - a foot long sub which was more like a 2 foot long sub :)

Thanks for all your kind words. I still can't wrap my head around which direction to thing I know is that fighting with Jake is not working for either of us.

I would gladly pay good money to see Chelone sit and take the SATs and earn a big fat goose egg :) That's a pretty funny thought. BTW, I love the green on the baHn doors! Do those really open like garage doors?

V., the visual made me smile. I am worried about Mary....and I did find/order the crackers.

I want to see an owl, now! What was he doing out in the day? Insomnia for owls....maybe her baby is not doing good in school :)

I am going to go sweat with the oldies :) Still no loss of pound nor inch, but it helps with the neurosis :)

Saucy (who is watching neighbor's unleashed dogs poop in my back yard....this is the same neighbor who walks her cat on a leash....)

    Bookmark   December 12, 2007 at 8:32AM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

Chelone - finally! :-) What a great garage/salon! I love the doors - the color goes very nicely with the house front door. What a really like about both buildings are the shingles. Shingle houses are a rarity here, although there are more now than there used to be. Shingle houses still say 'home' to me even though I haven't been 'home' in many years - and, unfortunately, shingles seem to have become less common there over the years. Was the shingling done from scratch or has the shingle panels that we used on the shed become the standard now? The panels were certainly faster to install, look as good and significantly reduce labour costs.

Saucy - I know nothing about kids and school struggles (I was a lazy student who did the least amount I could get away with but I liked school and did well...) Barb, one of my helpers, is a hopeless speller but otherwise very bright. She's a college graduate. She is in her late 40s and is taking adult literacy classes because she is tired of not being able to spell properly. Recently, I was reading a book called The Brain that Changes Itself (a fascinating read - I highly recommend it...) The book had several sections talking about people with learning disabilities of various sorts and the unique approaches that were taken to deal with their problems. Some of the approaches have now been turned into programs available through some school boards. One of the situations described matched Barb's problem pretty closely. It is the case where the brain has difficulty sorting out the sounds it hears (e.g. can't distinguish between E and I etc.) There are now software programs that are fairly effective in training the brain to sort out the sounds. Barb has been talking to the local provider of the program.

You might be interested in reading that book Saucy. It talks a lot about kids being mis-labeled in various ways when what they really need is teaching adapted to match how their brain learns or training directed at retraining their brain (and someone to figure out how their particular brain works!) The book may give you some ideas about what to look for to figure out the best way to help Jake deal with school.

The weather here has been fairly mild with more rain than snow. I hope we don't end up with the hellebores trying to bloom in January again and then everything getting laid waste by a deeply frigid February and long, cold spring like this year!

I'm mostly finished my Christmas shopping - just a few things left to get. I used to like shopping but I really don't like it any more. I try to get in and out of malls as fast as I can. I spent three days this past week on a fruitless hunt for a new winter coat for myself. I couldn't find what I was looking for so gave up and bought 'second best' just so I could stop shopping!

Jasper and Blue arrive on Sunday. Randy's parents arrive early next week. So things will be busy here for a while!

gb - I forgot to tell you - tell your DH that Randy is now taking guitar lessons and enjoying them very much. Barb called his music teacher for me and asked what sort of guitar-related things I should get him for Christmas and where I should get them. Yesterday we went to the music store he recommended - very odd little place jam-packed with books of music. The aisles were only about 16" wide. The guy better hope there's never a fire in the store!

Time to go walk Misty....

    Bookmark   December 12, 2007 at 9:08AM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Good morning all,

Well Ive got the painted piece for the Japanese magazine article finished, text, step-by-step illustrations, PR Bio, photo of artist etc all complete and boxed ready to go to post office. After I send that off today I dont have anything else pressing on my calendar until after the first of the year. Woohoo!!!! Then I have to deal with cards, finishing decorating the tree and dealing with acres of wrapping paper. I might just have all the Christmas stuff wrapped up (pun intended) by the end of the week. Maybe I wont be frantically wrapping presents on Christmas Eve. Nice.

Chelone, the garage is fabu-fabu!!!! Wow, fantastic! The pediments and window box greenery, ditto! Simply beautiful.

Saucy, sorry for your woes with the school system and procrastinating son. Doug used to be the same way and actually flunked out of UNH to the horror of his parents. He finally went on to finish up his business degree in night school and has been very successful in his career. So, re what youre dealing with now, this too shall pass.

Denise, Im in for Palazzo Parisi! How much fun would that be???

Marian, nice orchids. Mine are just starting to spike up for the season.

Norma, how neat about the owl paying you a visit!!! Thanks for sharing that. Do you know what kind of owl it is? I cant tell from the photo.

V. glad to hear you didnt land on the pavement with the ice situation. My driveway is like that at the moment but its 40 degrees out today and Im hoping the sun comes out long enough to melt some of that off. The temps are supposed to drop to 16 or so tonight so I hope most of that ice melts today.

Hi Jerri, sorry about the ice storm. I was wondering if youd been affected. Hope things are going back to normal for you.

Hi Woody, how neat about Randy taking guitar lessons too! I guess that really should guilt me into picking up my instrument. Ive been having problems with my carpal tunnel in my right hand so I dont know how well Id do. I guess if I can still type I can probably play guitar. LOL ~~ So what kind of coat were you looking for? Ive been wanting a full length shearling coat for a long time and just for jollies I put a link to one I found in an email to Doug. Hell probably never follow through on a suggestion like that but its fun to dream for a bit.

Kathy, its really funny how we can go months without any new people popping in and then all of a sudden get several new Idyllers. I hope your thread title attracts some new people here.

Hi to Bug, I hope Mary, Honey and Eden check in sometime soon.

I was playing with the camera the other night and here is one of the results. This was taken with available light, the camera white balance was set on incandescent light, aperture setting a F10, shutter at 2.5 seconds. The camera was on a tripod and I used a cable shutter release so as not to jar the camera when pressing the shutter. What fun. The ornament in the center is hand blown, hand cut Egyptian glass and one of my favorites.

OK Im off to spend some quality time on my LifeCycle.

Have a great day everyone.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2007 at 9:47AM
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honey_mi(Z5 MI)

Hi, friends. I must confess to being a really bad puppy Mom. Missy is so very sick and part of her feeling so bad is my fault. I didnt pick up on the cues. Missy has a bladder infection which is why shes piddled in the house occasionally. I feel so bad for reprimanding her for it. I should have noticed the increased need and taken her to the vet sooner. Then yesterday am, she started coughing really bad. It turns out she has kennel cough. Shes been vaccinated against it but the vet says there are so many strains, its not unusual that she picked one up. Puppies and older dogs are more vulnerable to it.
She on an antibiotic regimen, a tranquilizer to keep her quiet for a few days and some cough meds. It just tugs at my heart to see my baby so sick.

DH is also sick, DD has a sore throat and I have a runny nose. Sheesh! DH really should be in bed but wont/cant take the time just before permanent layoff. The good news is that two higher ups told him today that hes at the very top of the list for them to call back as soon as they can. But no one knows when that will be.

Since I was here last, Ive been busy in the basement dungeon, poking along finishing up xmas shopping and working on cleaning out closets and drawers to make more room. I also went thru old catalogs and magazines and pitched. I managed to clear out a space for DDs refrigerator in the basement and found that there is an electrical plug already there. DH needs to look at it to see if its enough power to run DDs frig. Im hoping he doesnt need to upgrade the power so its less work for him.

Our Xmas shopping is now done and out-of-town presents shipped except for 2 I ordered on-line. Its going to be tight getting them to Georgia before Xmas. I plan on doing some wrapping this afternoon. I usually love to do that but with everything going on this year, its just another chore.

This year DH and I decided to get a piece of furniture for the foyer as our gift to each other. Its a buffet with a marble top that were going to use as a bar. The foyer is 10 x 11 and presently is just wasted space. So now DH will have an area to serve guests and Ill have him out from underfoot in the kitchen. The buffet has been on back-order but I just heard from them and it will be delivered Saturday. Yeah!

As I write this, Im playing the new CD my BF sent for Xmas Josh Grobans Noel". I usually dont like one performers Xmas albums, but this is truly an exception. LOVE IT. The arrangements, orchestration, duets and harmonies are original and exceptional. Of course, David Foster had his hand in it, no wonder. And Joshs voice has returned to its pre-tonsillectomy richness. If you need a gift for that music lover, I wholeheartedly recommend this CD. Its beautiful.

Hey Marian, my rhodos and azaleas would often get confused in the fall and want to bloom. Hope a freeze wont hurt your shrub, but how great to get an unexpected bloom to brighten the holidays!.

"Bug, our neighbor has a Bouvier puppy the same age as Missy, but now twice Missys size. I cant believe how laid back this dog is compared to their last one. I cant wait to see your new little one and hear all about him/her! Itll be nice to hear someone else will be sharing support payments to their local pet store! BTW, Missy picked us. Oh, Reed and Indy are so very cute. What a Xmas postcard that photo would make!

Andthat was great advice you gave Martie on her aging parents. I read what you had to say with great interest. Unfortunately, my Mom sees her health and other issues as HERS, not to be shared with anyone. And any inquiry is met with suspicion that we just want to put her in a nursing home and take her money. While I have her Power of Attorney for health issues, shes not sharing info on the state of her health. At 83, she still drives and it scares us all to death but no one will deal with it because theyd then have to figure out alternatives for her living arrangements, shopping, drs appts., etc. Its a worry. Shes very nasty and says hateful things to me, so I stay out of the line of fire. I have enough to deal with w/o hearing about what a disappointment Ive always been to her and how I couldve done much more with my life. If anything is to be done, Ill let one of the "Princes" (DBs) deal with it. Im tired of being the worker bee and catching the crapola. Nuff said.

Ei, I, too, wanted to know whats happening with your house and your possible move. Thanks for the update. Im with you on the Arts & Crafts homes. If I ever were to buy/build again, that would be my choice, too. I love the simple, clean lines.

Martie, I can see why youd be hesitant about getting a dog. 10 hrs. is a long time for a dog to be cooped up in the house. If we were to move, Id look for a place with a walk-out basement with a fenced in area behind. Id install a doggie door for the animals to go in and out at will. Wow, wow, wow. That sounds like quite a light display you had. Very creative.

Chelone, I love that stove. Ive never seen one like it before. Bug is right, youre really teasing us. Need PIX ASAP. Im so anxious to see what youll do with your new space and to see pix of the progress.

Your friend is smart to let someone know when shes going out on the docks and to wear a float coat. We had friends who lived aboard for a couple yrs. Its a great livestyle for warm climates, but NOT here. We visited them and always came back cold for days. Even tho they insulated the hull as best they could, the structure just never gets warm. And going to and from their home was always treacherous. Not for me. How great you cater to the working boats first. Blowboaters IMO, are usually the most rude. Glad you stood up to him and let him know he was out of line.

Oh, T, Im so glad you checked in to let us know youre alright! I was very worried. Sorry your grandbabies have been so sick. Poor things. Love their little tent. Looks so comfy, cozy in there. I hear you about barriers up everywhere. I, too, cant wait till my house can get back to normal whatever that will be!

Im so glad Joseph is back! He sounds like quite a little monkey. Hope to hear good news from the vet on the final outcome, Denise. Do you have any idea what bit him?

Hey Norma, would you please come clean this pigsty? My vacuum is on its last legs and the new one I want is too expensive. How come buying a good vacuum is like buying a new car? Jeez! Im not sure if I want the Dyson 17 Absolute or the Dyson 15. Have to check with the in-house repair serviceman on what he recommends. Hmmmm.

V, good to hear from you. Hope that minus 5 weather isnt heading this way. Were having ice and sleet storms. Missy thinks shes a Husky and hates coming back in the house. When she has to go out late at night, I put her on a leash so she gets down to business and comes back in right away. The other night it was icy and I couldnt go get her. It took me an hour to coax her back in the house. BTW, Id love to share YOUR tent. Youve stocked it with my fav stuff! And mega congrats to DD on her program! Thats great news.

Deanne, thanks for the birdie pix! Oh, and as always, your Xmas decorations are spectacular. Hey, our Bombay here is going out of business. Hope its not the whole chain. I know you love that store, too. They have tons on sale for 50-70% off.

Denise, we saw a video on Coast Guard training on the Columbia River channel. That inlet is considered one of the worst of not THE WORST in the world. The training video showed how the Coast Guard boats are able to withstand a full broach (sideways roll-over for the non-boaters here) and how the CG captains are trained to handle it. OMG! My hat is off to your DH and all those who do similar demanding, dangerous work. It takes real skill to maneuver in close quarters in calm waters, much less pitching seas. I often piloted our 38, but since it was recreational, I could stay at the dock in bad weather. Captains of working boats dont have that luxury.

I had to laugh when I heard your son was cold with the weather in the 30s. Boy is he going to have a rude-awakening when winter winds roll in off the water, whipping thru those tall buildings bone-chilling. I remember those well.

Cynthia, Im so glad Katykins is on the mend. It sounds like you have been thru quite an ordeal. Weve been training Missy with positive reinforcement the best with this breed. But boy she can be stubborn. Re the E-collar Sports Trainer, it doesnt shock her. Its more like a vibrating buzz they dont like. We had them buzz us to check it out. You can dial the setting from 1 (lowest) to 10 (highest). Missy responds to a 2. She has quite a will, wants to be/thinks she is the boss and sometimes becomes hard of hearing when she doesnt want to do something or theres a great distraction. It helps her focus and isnt cruel.

Kathy, I forgot how early it gets dark out there. Thats one thing that surprised me and that I didnt like about California.

Hey Saucy. We, too, use a nits and berries mix in our bird feeder. Missy isnt sure what to ake of the birds she watches thru the doorwall. Im sure when the kitties get here and get acclimated, itll be a favorite spot for them.

Sorry Jerri that you had ice storm damage. Hope when you get out there it turns out that its not as bad as you think.

Michelle, I, too, was thinking of you when the news hit about the mall. I second Marties comment about mental illness. The insurance cos and legislators dont want to deal with it b/c there isnt a quick fix. Treatment is long term and costly. A board member for our sub just lost his DD to suicide. She was diagnosed with schizophrenia in her 2nd yr of college. The family dealt with her ups and downs for 15 yrs. She was unable to work, lived at home and she and her family lived in terror the whole time. It was so very awful for them all.

What a great idea to make a baby photo album for the baby, Michelle. Im sure it will become a keepsake, too.

OK, Im going to post this epistle and catch up on the rest of this idyll. Stay warm and no slip-sliding around you guys. Back later.


    Bookmark   December 12, 2007 at 10:18AM
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honey_mi(Z5 MI)

Me again.

Chelone, I remember pix of your exterior decorations from last yr. Theyre always so beautiful and appropriate for your lovely home. And now THATS A GARAGE! What a fabulous space you have to have upstairs. And love the pic of your pink-nosed kitty on the arbor.

Marie, How cute! Yep, going to be a lecturer. On plants perhaps?

Great suggestion for the next IU, Denise!

Oh, ((((Saucy))))). How frustrating for you and Jake. Do you have any of those Tutoring schools nearby that could test him and recommend a plan of action to help him or show you how to help him learn? I think youre on the right track. You need to find the key that unlocks the door for him. He just learns differently than everyone else. Once you or he figures it out, hell just sail.

I remember us explaining to DD while at a restaurant when she was 18, how mortgages work, about the Fed, etc. She was working at a title company and was ready to take in the information. We got disgusted looks from neighboring tables, but we sat there for a couple hours and explained the process in as much detail as she needed until she understood. We didnt care about anyone elses opinion. If she wanted to learn, we were going to help. That might happen with you and Jake in a similar fashion.

Norma, what a fabulous photo. Id love to see an owl here.

Woody, so great you dropped in. Your advice to Saucy and book recommendation seemed spot on to me. I know youre having tons of company the next few weeks. So if you dont get a chance to drop back in, Im sending you lots of Merry Xmas wishes!

Marian, my one purple orchid is blooming, too. I thot it was dead b/c all there was was foliage. Then in Sept. it sent up a spike and now is blooming up a storm. If I had a sun room, Id fill them with orchids.

V, hearing about your harrowing trek after work gave me flashbacks! Be careful and stay safe please. I dont mind the snow, but I hate, hate, hate this ice.

Deanne, gorgeous photo of your ornaments!

OK, finally caught up. Hi to all. Am missing Eden, Mary, Sue, Babs, and T. Hope I didnt miss anyone.


    Bookmark   December 12, 2007 at 11:15AM
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Last night we decorated at church for our Bible studys Christmas party. We used a theme of angels in white, silver and blue. It turned out so pretty. I used some of the things I had posted earlier.

V, how are you feeling this a.m. after your ice dance? Wondering about Mary too. My boss fell yesterday afternoon and spent the night in the hospital. Our staff is getting pretty slim these days. One of our techs lost his job due to getting picked for OWI dummy!

Chelone, the garage/salon is simply mahvelous and the doors are perfect. Definitely worth all the searching. Your snow covered house and garden looks like a Christmas card.

Deanne, your ornaments are so very elegant. I should add some new ones to my tree. Each year when my kids were growing up they got to pick an ornament each year and now that Ive given DD hers, my selection is a little sparse.

I wish we could get to 60 degrees and get rid of our ice.

Have a great day!


    Bookmark   December 12, 2007 at 11:58AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Heck Michelle, I'd like it to reach 40F! Honestly, I'd go for SPRING!

Woody, DH was wondering if he'd be taking lessons. "Good for him!" is his message. :) Keep your calendar open for March. Puppy will need to meet and greet lots and lots of people for socializing.

Honey, poor Missy and poor YOU! I hope she recovers ever so quickly.

Lovely decorations and photos Deanne. I so admire your organization. Things are quite confused around here. Too much going on. Thank goodness I don't need to decorate this year! I can't wait to sit back and relax...

This morning I collected my new prescriptions. The pharmacist looked about 25 years old and I was treated like the foolish sweet little old lady. Funny, I don't feel much over 25 myself- today. I wish I could be treated simply like a human being though, not like a helpless idiot. I'd better adjust though I guess.

I saw one of my friends in town. She breeds golden retrievers and is a fellow gardener. She now is on the board for the visiting dogs at the hospital etc, so maybe I'll investigate that further when the pup is a year old. Could be fun.

Yes, I think we need to find out what Jake wants in his tent. :)


    Bookmark   December 12, 2007 at 1:24PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

A quickie post here. I'm pleased to say I feel perfectly fine today! I really thought I would have a few aches because I sort of twisted my back in the process of hauling myself into the car, but no ill effects have been felt.

Nice to see a long, chatty post from Honey! I've only read about half because I'm sneaking a peek at work.


    Bookmark   December 12, 2007 at 4:26PM
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Hello All, Looks like I've fallen off the posting wagon again. Life's been nothing but chaotic here lately. The latest is one of the cats, Isaac, yesterday suddenly seemed to lose much of the use of his back legs. The vet thinks it's likely neurological, he had a steroid injection and is on a round of predlisilone to see if that helps before we proceed further. My mom had her PET and CT scans the last two days so we'll be finding out Friday where we go next with her treatment. Luckily we escaped most of the snow and ice here, but lots of rain yesterday.

T, loved the picture of the twins. Bella has a teepee. I've been meaning to get a picture of her in it to share...

Chelone, love, love, love the garage and the pediments are the best ever this year.

Denise, glad to hear Joseph was found and is now on the mend.

Marie, Reed is growing up so fast. Such a cute video. Can't wait for the arrival of the new pup and I'm excited for you that you'll be spending Christmas with the kids!

Honey, sounds like you're hanging in there. I'll keep my fingers crossed that Tom gets called back pronto!

Ei, great to hear from you. Sorry your mom's not doing well and Scout too. What a wonderful portrait you did of him.

Deanne, your Christmas decorations are just lovely. I'm looking forward to a winter of your bird photography!

Saucy, been there with the boy and missed schoolwork, especially at the middle school age. David's school implemented an online program called Edline where parents could log in and see when assignments were due, missed homework, test scores etc. Amazing how much more of his work got done when I could see in black and white how he was doing day to day. David would get bored too and could skate by with ok grades without any effort but did wonderfully if the teacher challenged him. If you could find a tutor who could get Jake excited about learning? I don't know, no easy answers. I do know that my son grew up to be a great person and is now an excellent college student. I think Jake knowing he has parents that care will make all the difference in the long run.

Michelle, love your Christmas decs too! So what's on Kenzie's list for Santa? Bella wants Butterscotch the horse. Not something I would have chosen for her but seeing her face light up everytime she sees the advertisement I caved and got him for her.

One of Bella's advent gifts was The Snowman dvd. I'm sure you're all farmiliar with the book by Raymond Briggs but I recommend the dvd highly too for those of you with little ones. Bella loves it (me too!).

I've gotten her a few books for Christmas too. Noah's Ark by Jan Brett, Make Way For Ducklings by Robert McCloskey, First Snow In The Woods by Carl Sams and Jean Stoick, great MI wildlife photos in that one, and a set of little Beatrix Potter books in their own carrying case. I feel much better about these purchases than the purchase of Butterscotch, lol.

Well I'm running on here and it's time to get ready for Bella's sunday school Christmas program tonight. I'm going to try to get some pics of my Christmas decorations to share but no promises. Take to you all soon! Hi to all I missed...

    Bookmark   December 12, 2007 at 5:27PM
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I guess I'll be the first lurker to show up. Do you suppose I'm the only one? I enjoy reading your posts so much. You are such a diverse group and yet you have formed such a bond with each other. It is so fun to hear what is going on on both coasts plus Canada and a couple of places near me. I'm in Missouri so I live sort of between Marian and Michelle.

I relate to most of you because I have four grown children and five grandchildren. My youngest grandchild is 6 months old and must be very near the age of Reed. I noticed in the video today that Reed is "practicing" pulling up on his hands and knees. My Mica doesn't do that but she hasn't been in a hurry to grow up. She seems to think life as a baby is a pretty good deal and she's going to enjoy it as long as possible.
My daughter is fighting the school work thing with my 14 year old grandson, Saucy. Reading your posts and the others reminded me he isn't the only one who refuses to apply himself. In fact, we had one daughter who was a terrible student until she reached high school.

I'm a gardener and a bird watcher and love your pictures of birds and yards and gardens. We don't have pets which disqualifies me as a true Idyller. I like pets though and enjoy the pictures of yours.

I've been trying to send you a picture through Photobucket but it isn't working out. Maybe I'll figure it out and send it later.


    Bookmark   December 12, 2007 at 6:56PM
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I've been so focussed on organizing pictures, Christmas decorations, work, etc., that I've overlooked some really marvelous nuggets from all "therestayas".

Norma, I am amazed that you actually had a owl perch in daylight so you could photograph it! I've only seen 2-3 owls in my life and I was a KID (got to see a Snowy Owl on a telephone pole in mid-Massachusetts!). The helpmeet saw a little one in a bush while out looking for the kitties a month/so ago, but it was after dark. Do you know what type it was? Have you seen it since? I love that you were able to share such a treat with all "theresatus". :)

V., your fall was eerily reminiscent of one my late aunt took several years ago that resulted in a broken ankle! My brother went to her aid and damned if the same thing didn't happen to him about 3 yrs. later! Both breaks occured getting into cars on an icy lot. Mercifully, your slip was not as disasterous. And hats off for your daughter and her triumph; hard work and practice really do pay off, don't they? I love hearing about talented young people! (and I really do believe every one of them has a talent, the key lies in identifying it). Please remember me to your sisters-in-law, I enjoyed them so much and wish them happy, fun-filled holidaze.

Michelle, I did not realize you lived in proximity to the tragic mall shooting until you mentioned it. Events like that are so frightening because of their randomness. Still, though, I can't help but feel for the family of the shooter. No matter how terrible the deed, the remaining family still remembers the perpetrator with sticky little fingers, toddling around a home... . Martie has forgotten more about mental illness that most of us will probably ever know. And her expertise offers the rest of us a rare insight. I can't wait to see pictures of Kenzie and Christmas. She is really getting to an age where the magic of Santa Claus is beginning to "make sense". What a special time for you! And, yes... so much of what I most enjoy about the Christmas season is directly tied to Mum and memories of my childhood. I'm alternately very sad and downright joyful, all as it ought to be right now. Each and every one of us will experience the same feelings over the course of our lives; this is what being alive is about. And it will be OK, being sad gets us to the "OK" part sooner. But being sad is not really very much fun. ;)

Woody, the shingles on the garage are the REAL thing. They were "double" dipped in bleaching oil, so they're stained on both sides (unlike the house). I was appalled at how long it took to put them up, but Danny did a beautiful job. We are not quite sure how to "marry" the color of the house (50/50 bleaching oil and Silver Grey stain) with the pure bleaching oil on the garage... . NEXT spring we'll call the painter and address the house (needs trim painted BIG TIME) and restaining. The garage doors are one chip darker on the card from which we selected the front door color. I'll probably repaint the house door to match the garage doors. I originally wanted to do the doors in high gloss black, but "chickened out" under heavy pressure.

Eden, I saw no mention of the function I KNOW ponies perform 12-15 times daily... where do all those carrots go?! :) I hope your kitty is OK soon. Our elderly matriarch is failing. It's the day to day kidney failure thing. She is getting thinner and thinner, but still eats as usual. Water consumption is up and so are visits to the litter pan... sadly, it's only a question of time. We provide her with warm, "woolies" (comfortable nests) and keep her content, but I believe the end is in sight. Sigh. Please post so shots of Bellatheball. And I'm sending good thoughts to the cosmos for your Mom. More than that I cannot do, much as I'd like to. I miss your "voice".

Also thinking of CINDY. I have thought about your Dad's surgery and hope you're OK. And your home is VACANT.

Ei., there is much I'd like to share about Mum and how she ended up with me, but I'm tired and the story is long. Another day; but keep doing what you're doing. You're doing fine.

Honey, more I want to say to YOU, too... but I'm runnin' outta steam fast; so keep Idylling, willya?!

And where's Brenda? I miss her droll sense of humor.

Cynthia... I think of you every day; esp. when "thatfooldog" hurtles toward me in fond greeting. Not a twirl, but I well recall how much I missed the hurtle when he was unable to do it. ((())). ;) (and I hate dogs).

That's a big 10-4, good buddies.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2007 at 7:29PM
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Ah , finally the long awaited garage photos. Its a beauty Chelone, and everything coordinates so well.

We took advantage of a break in the weather yesterday and dashed out to visit friends. We actually saw the sun for all of two minutes. Almost worth the drive just for that.
Today I stocked up on food in case we get another round of ice.

Jerri, sorry to hear of your damage. Good to hear you have power back though. We have friends that live at Skiatook. Looks like it will be awhile before their power is restored.

I hope Mary is just busy. I know there are a lot of activities this time of year.

Michelle, I imagine the angel theme is neat. I liked your buffet display. I can't figure out what OWI is. I've not seen that one.

Saucy, you are getting some good feedback from ones who have had similar situations. I hope that Jake finds his way. At the moment our Jake is doing his homework. But I'm not breathing easy yet.

Deanne, the nearest I can come to identifying the owl from my book is a Barred Owl. It must nest nearby. When DD was here in Oct for the wedding she had brought the little longhaired chihuahua in the picture below (the small dog) his name is Zeplin. Four months old. Anyway a bunch of us went for a walk on the trails including all the dogs. With people chatting away it was a little while before we realized Zeppy was missing. We had been pretty far from the house when we last saw him. We were calling and searching for him and DD recalled seeing a big owl so fear struck our hearts. Somehow the little booger had found his way back to the house where DH had let him in. But we were panicked for awhile there. He is the cutest little dog and I am not a fan of chihuahuas.

Thinking of all.
Stay safe everyone. Norma

    Bookmark   December 12, 2007 at 8:17PM
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Hi Anise, welcome and I hope you stick around for more chatter. The Idylls are good companions.

Yes Eden,do post a pic of Bella in the teepee if you get a chance. I hope your moms test results are positive. Sorry about Isaacs declining health. I miss your posts. Norma

    Bookmark   December 12, 2007 at 8:40PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

We're sure to enjoy tales from you in the future and hope for photos as well.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2007 at 8:46PM
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Just checking in before shutting the computer down for the night and wanted to welcome Anise (What a beautiful name....and the name of my favorite Italian cookie :)

How nice of you to pop in....please stay :)

I think I recognize your GW name from posts.

Well, to the rest of you folks, see you tomorrow....when I will have a new 'do that's supposed to make me feel better....we'll see....the bluegreen toenail polish ain't doin' it :)


    Bookmark   December 12, 2007 at 8:53PM
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Butterscotch is a dream present for little girls who can't have a real one.

Wyatt covets a battery powered fourwheeler but Daddy says he would only outgrow it in a year and they have a "real" small one from Jake he will be able to ride soon.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2007 at 8:56PM
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Hallo from over yonder in the west. Still no Christmas décor here , and Im beginning to think it may not happen ! Ive been busily meeting contractors, painters , window installation dudes etc to get this house ready to list , and everything else is going by the wayside. Ill talk to DS tomorrow about getting a small tree he would be disappointed if we skipped it.

Anise ! How great of you to drop by and say hello ..I hope some of the other lurking folk will be inspired by your visit here. No pets is not a disqualifier. our Martie is petless and we love her anyway ! For photobucket I click on the html tag link and copy and paste into the dialog box here on garden web. Welcome and please feel free to participate..

Deanne, that photo of your tree and the ornaments is exquisite ! I swear a photography class is in my future. I noticed that beady garland there in the background. Very nice.
We did get a visit from lurkdom Anise was the brave one to step up to the plate. I know there are more out there !

Honey what a nice long post from you ! It took me almost a half a glass of wine to read it/them ! Dont beat yourself up so much about poor Missys bladder issue..we always expect children doggies to have an accident here and there, and Im thinking the cues were disguised amongst the normal puppy stuff that was going on. I hope you will post a photo of the marble top buffet when it is installed in its position of honor , perhaps with the cocktails artfully displayed. I hate my vacuum cleaner too ! I solved it partially by ripping out most of my carpet and having wood floors put in, but the area rugs require the vac and the bedrooms upstairs are still carpeted. Im going to wait till I move and then Im going to get a canister vac from Sears.

Eden, heres hoping all turns out well with Isaac. Is he elderly ? And we do await the tepee pics and really that Butterscotch thing is over the top ! It reminded me of a doll I got one Christmas , Im thinking maybe I was 7 or 8 ..Patty PlayPal. She was 3 feet tall with long brown hair. My God, I almost swooned when I opened that box, I was so thrilled ! This would have been in the late 50s.

I should be working on my box that I need to mail up to Oregon, but I think I will procrastinate till tomorrow. Enjoyed all the Idyll news today, gbs countdown , Vs splendid recovery from slippage, busy Michelle, Normas tale of the wandering Chihuahua, Saucys attitude adjustment and a nice post from Woody. I too wonder about Mary . And Babs, Brenda, Wendy, Drema etc..

Nite- all

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   December 12, 2007 at 10:02PM
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Greetings from Connecticut, which is closed for the day given impending 2-3" per hour of snow starting late morning. LOL

Actually, I'm looking forward to being in the office all day since I have year-end stuff to do and need to go beat up on some clients who are a bit late with payment....

On a brighter work note, I have officially met two budgets this year -- one for my Massachusetts post and now for my Connecticut post. My company HR gurus are trying to find out if anyone else has ever done that. "Just doin' my job.."

Good to see you, Honey!!

Welcome, Anise!! Love, love, love your screenname and being petless means I have a comrade in petlessness!! My plants are my pets, and they even hibernate for me! Welcome, and come back often.

Kathy - A most unlikely occurrence had me thinking of you and if it wasn't literally freezing outside I'd foray for a pic. I HAVE A PANSY BLOOMING!! It caught my eye last night on the way in from newspaper getting. I'll dig it out of the snow and pic it later for you.

'bug's Dog's name: Being a child of the U.S. '60's, my immediate thought was Jackie (as in Bouvier-Kennedy-Onassis) but I like your choices, too. What is Skyler coveting for the Holidays? My tree-tag (where you pull a tag off a tree that has a gender and age of a child and you get a gift for same) is an eight-year-old second grade boy. No experience of late with that age. Books are covered by a different entity. Help??

Eight days until Ky is home! The symposium went well and though he was far away from the "international players" he did meet some cool folks who share similar commitments as he. Tomorrow he leaves UK for Paris, then Amsterdam, then back to school to hand in final papers on Thursday, then home on Friday.

The December 21 mantra: No foul weather in New York ... no foul weather in New York.

Chelone -- Don't know if you mentioned if you have sheetwork, yet?? I can imagine that the shingles took some time; fragile wood combined with tons of cuts. Great job as you said, and a craft in and of itself.

Phone ringing - Work?

Later -


    Bookmark   December 13, 2007 at 7:15AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

No breakfast for the wicked....
Phone rang...
Turns out a friend bought a house yesterday. I've heard ALL about it, as you can imagine. Before breakfast. DH is gone, so I never got to talk with him.

Martie, Skyler is most concerned with the NUMBER of gifts, not the content. Yes, he's getting books from me, but also a well chosen game which requires listening and concentration as well as physical activity. His Mom thinks computer games are just fine, so he's inclined to sit and virtually shoot at characters for hours. NO NO NO! Not what I'd want at all. I've bought left handed scissors, lefty pens and pencils and am on a mission to try to make fine motor coordination FUN. I bought him an interesting drawing book like I've not seen before. Each page has a challenge that you respond to with a picture. It doesn't have to be "art" but you do need to at least doodle a response. I think DD will work at this with me too. Skyler loves jokes and true facts, so i got him books of those too. He LOVES music, so DH bought him a beautifully illustrated kid's book of John Denver's Country Roads. He'll be playing that on the guitar for him and they'll belt it out together. FUN!

Lately DD has unearthed DSIL's old costume collection. The kids have been having a ball with that! DSIL captured these two shots of Skyler with neighbour Amanda.

I'm so happy he isn't playing POW POW POW stuff all the time now. Things are really improving!

Reed began rolling about yesterday, covering vast areas. So mobility has begun! DD's home has 4 levels to it with her challenge is beginning... ;)

Well, I need Molly Maid to show up, but I guess that won't happen, so I'm off to eat a bit and then dig in to this disaster area.


    Bookmark   December 13, 2007 at 9:17AM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

Hi Anise! Great to see you 'over here'. I haven't been to the Ozarks Region forum for a while, but remember you from there. It would be nice if we Ozarkians could maintain a conversation as well as we Idyllers do....:-).

Yesterday was another rainy day, with occasional periods of fog. I went to my Doctor appointment and got a good report. Endured a scan of my abdomen to try to determine what is causing some problems with a 'heavy' feeling. Nothing was seen by the gal doing the scan, but it is yet to be read by the radiologist.

Honey, what great posts from you ! Wonderful to 'see' you.
Sorry for all the illnesses. I sure hope your puppy wasn't from one of those puppy mills I have been hearing so much about on the news. She 'is' a beauty.
I am afraid the rhodo bloom cluster that I pictured has bit the dust. Another one still has a nice looking cluster but not for long....the coldest temps yet are predicted for later this week,( along with snow), for us. I doubt if it will compare with what all you more northern folk are contending with.
RE: the orchid...if I would cut back those long stalks it may be prettier, but it always looks like more blooms will come on them as is, so I leave them alone and more do, sooo....?
Good news about your DH's job possibilities. I sure hope it pans out.
Re: early darkness in the more southernly regions....I had a hard time with that here. In Idaho the evening stays light about an hour longer than here. I marveled anew about it when ever I visited there after moving here. I imagine the farther south one goes, the shorter the evenings are??

Marie, welcome to the 'senior citizens' world. It is rather funny how the young 'carry-outs' at the grocery store attempt to help me with my groceries even when I have only one or two small bags. I tell them ( with a smile)," I am not that feeble yet! " I have about got used to all the patronizing and 'honeys'; 'sweeties'; etc.

V, so glad you suffered no injuries with your icy experience. I would have been looking to see if anyone saw me, and hoping they hadn't, and I 'would' have been in pain afterwards!

Good to see Eden....I am telling my friends I would like to have a 'whole body' scan once and for all, to see if any abnormality is found. I even told my Doctor that yesterday...but she just smiled. I hope your mom's scans come out with no additional problems.

Norma, I hope you get more than "two minutes" of sun today. It looks like we may we fog free today ( Yippee! ), but now we have to look forward to the wintry weather. :-(
I hope Jerry is having sunshine too.


    Bookmark   December 13, 2007 at 9:28AM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Good morning to Idylland,

Well, I put in my half hour waiting in line to ship my painted piece and magazine article to Japan yesterday. I had all the paperwork filled out ahead of time so as not to slow things down but was informed when I got to the desk that I had the old customs forms and now had to fill in the new customs forms as well as another thing. Arrrrrgggghhh!!!! I thought Id taken care of all that ahead of time but oh well. I hate standing at the desk filling out paperwork when people are impatiently waiting in line behind me and I already filled out paperwork but it was apparently the old form. Jeesh~~~~~ I received an order from my web site yesterday from France and thought that interesting. Apparently our North American decorative painting is becoming more popular in Europe so now things have come full circle. Many of the styles of decorative art originated in Europe, came to the US and are now going back to Europe. Neat. ~~ So I asked Doug this AM how he manages to choose such excellent travel days? Hes supposed to be flying home tonight and with the predicted snowfall amounts Im doubting that hell make it home tonight. I recommended that he either try to get an earlier flight or just come home tomorrow instead of trying to travel in this weather coming in. Id love it if this storm fizzles out but I doubt thats going to happen. Every forecast Ive checked this AM is predicting that two three inches per hour snowfall that Martie mentioned.

Anise! HOrray! Welcome to our group. So nice to hear from you.

Martie, how neat youve got pansies! Incredible with the very cold temps weve been dealing with this month.

Kathy, Ive had years where I didnt get any decorations up and then felt pretty lonely without them on Christmas. I sure hope you can at least get a small tree up. ~~ So happy you like the ornament pic. I love playing with the cameras and its fun for me to share the results.

Norma owls are beautiful creatures but they definitely could take a dog the size of a Chihuahua. One of our friends lived in a neighborhood in Northeastern MA in a rural area and every cat on their street went missing including two of theirs. They had a Great Horned Owl in the area that was apparently hunting house cats. We actually saw it stoop on one of their cats one evening after returning from a dinner out. Impressive birds. We keep our kitties in the house at night for that reason.

Eden, how great to hear from you! I definitely would love to see pics of Bella with Butterscotch. ~~~ I hope the results of your Moms tests are good news. ~~ So have you been doing any indoor gardening this winter with your busy schedule? I had to defoliate my coleus a couple weeks ago because, again, Ive somehow gotten aphids in the house. Grrrrr.. I cant figure out where the darned things are coming from as Im so careful when bringing things in. Ive lost a few plants to the extreme measures but I just dont want to deal with bugs in the house. Fortunately the coleus standard is coming back beautifully from the treatment I gave it five or six weeks ago. I also stripped every leaf off it but its looking pretty good again.

V. glad to hear youre OK after that near accident.

Michelle, Thanks! Glad you like the decorations. Ill tell you what, now that weve downsized our tree Ive got bucket loads of extra ornaments. If youd like I can send you a box of my extras.

Hi Honey, hope Missys feeling better. Dont beat yourself up about not recognizing it. It sounds like the symptoms were pretty much like normal puppy behavior. ~~ Our Bombay Co. at the local mall went out of business over a year ago. I dont even know if there are any around here anymore.

Wendy, hope you are just busy with the holidays and all is well. I was thinking we should get together for lunch again sometime soon.

OK Ive got to get some exercise and water some plants here. Also need to clean the fish tank and start wrapping presents. Have a great day everyone!

    Bookmark   December 13, 2007 at 10:05AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

I feel strongly about this. If you do too, you'll know what to do...

    Bookmark   December 13, 2007 at 10:15AM
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Good Morning, Snow here, large, fluffy, pretty flakes. This has been the wintriest December I remember in a while. Last night was Bella's first time "on stage". Her ss class, of which she's the youngest, ages 2 1/2-5, were angels, complete with sparkly halos and wings. She seemed oblivious to the audience though she did call out hi to Meg. She just did her Bella thing up there, even leaving her area and going over to pat baby Jesus in the manger. She had the audience really laughing. They may as well of directed the spotlight on her while she was up there, she held everyone's attention. Not sure if that's a good thing...Cynthia tells me Bella's an independent thinker.

I'm not seeing much improvement in Isaac though he seems to be adjusting to not having full use of his hind legs. He doesn't seem to be in any pain, is eating and using the litter box. Kathy, he turned 10 years old in Sept.

Martie, I bet you can't wait until Kyle gets home. I'm sure that will be your best Christmas present. Good for you meeting your work goals so well!

Norma, your owl reminds me of Harry Potters. Nice to hearWyatt has a big Christmas wish too and I agree the real 4 wheeler will be MUCH cooler.

Jerri, I agree a shower would be what I'd miss most in a power outage. Luckily we have a gas water heater here and city water so that's the one thing we can count on. Good that your power's back on. I've read that some who've been hit will be without for up to 2 weeks.

Honey, I remember you mentioning to me about getting a bar for the foyer last time I was at your house. It will look spectacular there and what a great use of the space. You're entire home is beautifully done! You have a talent for it. Hope Missy's on the mend. What a cutey she is but I can see some mischief in her too.

Kathy, I'm impressed that you and your son can paint his room in a day or so. I always plan for at least a month. I'm setting aside the rest of winter, after the holidays, to paint my livingroom. You're motivated to get your place on the market though. Sounds like you're moving right along with all that needs to be done.

Marian, my dad had one of those total body scans last fall just because he wanted to be sure everything was ok. He's very healthy and it was fine. Hope your ab scan turns out ok.

Marie, those costume pics are priceless. What a great time those children are having! You've put much thought into Skyler's gifts. Bella's allowed to play on the computer 15 minutes a day. She does love it though and would spend much more time if we'd let her. It's a good learning tool but must be controlled like anything else I think. At Skyler's age David and I used to read chapter books together. I'd read ones that were too advanced for him and he'd read others to me. I miss that and can't wait until Bella's ready for that kind of reading.

V, how great that your daughter's doing so well. You must be so proud of her. Glad you didn't have a worse mishap on the ice.

No Bella here today, cleaning for me since Molly Maid never makes an appearance here either. I should be going out to finish Christmas shopping but that's my least favorite part of Christmas and I think I'll put it off until this weekend when I can go out, fight the crowds and make myself really miserable, lol.

Almost forgot to welcome Anise. You must be our one and only lurker? Glad you decided to post and I'm looking forward to getting to know you better so stick around!

Hi Babs! Hope you have time for posting over Christmas vacation from school. Miss you!

Hi Mary! Things must be busy for you too?

Time to grab some breakfast and get going here.


    Bookmark   December 13, 2007 at 10:27AM
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Hi Deanne, I cut way back on the indoor gardening this year, no coleus cuttings, really no cuttings of any kind, but I've still managed to have under lights 4 tables full of plants and another dozen or so big pots on the floor of things I just couldn't let go. Mostly begonias, agaves and other succulents, salvias musas, and so on. I've also got all of the window shelves upstairs full of houseplants. I did give one of my big ficus to Jenni. With two in the lr I felt like I was living in Where The Wild Things Are, lol. I'm sorry you're having bug problems again. That can be so frustrating and you take such good care of your plants, MUCH more so that me. Mine struggle along all winter since Bella's been around but they perk up again in spring. I would LOVE to have more time to fuss with the indoor stuff! So you're time's your own for the rest of the year? Good for you! I know you'll fill the hours with all kinds of wonderful things.


    Bookmark   December 13, 2007 at 11:03AM
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wendy2(zone 6 MA)

Good morning!

Things are busy here; I seem to be able to skim the Idylls often, but never have time to collect my thoughts to post. I've been spending time on line trying to score a hard-to-find, out-of-stock must-have item for a gift for my DD, and I finally found it! Gotta love the worldwide web!

Saucy, if I still had shopping to do now, I'd do as much as I could on line - the stores are getting crazy! Someone in some sort of holiday frenzy almost backed over me at Target the other day - a passerby called out and stopped the driver in his tracks, I was too shocked to yell!

First and foremost, welcome to Anise. I am another one with no pets, though my kids would love to have a dog. I just can't see how we could, since there are days when nobody is home all day long. They have adopted my brother's puppy, which is a good arrangement since all the puppy antics stay at my parents' house!

Any other lurkers out there? Stop on in - I'm getting ready to fill up the punchbowl! Or maybe I should get the blender started - I could use a trip to Margaritaville right about now. I've had enough winter already!

Chelone, love the decorations and the garage. Simply maHvelous! The garage will be a great space for you, can't wait to see the finished product.

Honey, sounds like you have a full plate right now. Sending good thoughts to you and your family.

Eden, Bella is so adorable. I would have loved to be in the audience! My kids always had that "deer in the headlights" look to them at school concerts and such. My DS admitted to me last year that he could never remember the words to the songs so he just moved his lips. BTW, I made cuttings of two rex begonias and a fibrous begonia, and just about all of them now have little babies! It really worked! Thanks for the instructions.

'bug, the videos of Reed are just priceless. How wonderful to have that technology so that you can see him! I bet you can't wait to get your hands on him though.

Saucy, I've been thinking about your son and school. It is totally unacceptable for the school to say they want to let him fail. That will just make him feel worse about the whole thing, as you said. What does Jake have to say for himself? I asked my DS, who also has learning disabilities and an IEP, what motivates him to keep trying even though he has a hard time. His teacher says he has a really good attitude, and doesn't seem to mind having the specialists come to the classroom, or to be pulled out of class to work with them. DS told me wasn't sure - he has to think about that one. I'll get back to you if he has any words of wisdom from his almost-11-year old brain. The age probably makes a difference, I know your son is older. I'd tell you that you and your DH need to present a united front to your son and to the school. I find that some of the direction I try to give my son is ignored (I'm sure he's thinking "there goes Mom again"), but a few well-chosen words from my husband, man-to-man, often work wonders.

My DS has a lot of trouble reading, and I try to get him the books on tape or CD so he can follow along. I also spend a lot of time reading out loud to him. He simply can not sit there with a book and read for any length of time, he gets too frustrated. Other Idylls have offered great advice, but I think some time in Chelone's tent would do you both a world of good!

A perfect 0 on the SAT would be about as amazing as a perfect 800 (is that the high score?). It is a multiple choice test, you'd have to be really careful not to give a right answer my mistake

Deanne, lunch sounds great, maybe the week after Christmas? How about you Saucy? Maybe Chelone too??

Anyway, lots more I'd like to say but duty calls! Waving hi to everyone!


    Bookmark   December 13, 2007 at 11:23AM
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honey_mi(Z5 MI)

Welcome Anise! Sounds like youll fit right in with this group. Glad to have you join us.

Im waiting for the vets office to call back. Missy is feeling better and is sooooo full of energy. So shes tearing around the yard like a crazy dog which sets off fits of coughing and Im out of cough meds. I want to get up there and back before we get more snow and the roads get bad.

OK, heres a few pix from our house.. Im not putting out the full complement of Xmas stuff this yr. and were not doing a tree. Too much other stuff going on. And/or Missy would tear it up:

Heres the fireplace area:

This yr. I redid the mantle greens with stuff I got on clearance last yr. Heres a close up:

A close-up of my Santa:

A Xmas Kitty for my 3-yr. old DGN to hug:

Love these acrylic snowflakes:

Heres last Yrs staircase garland that didnt go up this year b/c "The Terriorist" would tear it up:

V, so glad you didnt wake up sore all over. I did a triple-klutz on ice in the parking lot at work a couple yrs. ago and severely sprained my ankle and was on crutches for 2 mos. So glad you dont have to deal with that and that youre feeling fine!

Chelone and Eden, Im so very sorry about your elderly kitties. Having just gone thru that with Bullet, I know how heartbreaking it is to watch a beloved pet go downhill and not be able to do anything to stop it. What really helped Bullet for quite a while, was Gerber Baby food. Just the plain meat w/o veggies Chicken, Turkey, Veal, Ham, etc. Also, the vet has some nutrient packed Prescription food that really helped him a lot.

Chelone, I had no idea staining required so much work. While I do love the garage doors green, I think black would have really looked nice.

Eden, WOW, Butterscotch is really cute. I know it had to be a splurge for you, but Grannys are for spoiling the little ones. Im really excited about our gift. We got Jessica one of those Leapfrog, One Click her first computer. She loves to help her Mom on the puter, so it seemed like a good choice. DGN thinks she can hook it up to the portable car video screen. Thank goodness she knows how to do it. We dont! Ill keep your Mom, you and your family in my prayers that your Moms test results are OK.

Norma, thanks for the owl closeup. And I agree, very cute dog.

Martie and all those on the east coast stay safe and warm. I understand this storm today is supposed to really dump on you.

Bug, cute pix of the kids in costumes!

Marian, no Missy is from a very reputable breeder. We thoroughly checked her out. "Kennel Cough" is just the common name of the illness and she couldve picked it up anywhere on her walk, at the pet store, when we went for a pic with Santa, the groomer, the vet, puppy class or daycare. Its highly contagious. Theres a 2-1/2 wk incubation period with no symptoms, but she can spread it then. Puppies, older dogs and those with a compromised immune system are very vulnerable. So Missy is being quarantined until after Xmas when shes cleared by the vet.

Hi Wendy, Good to hear from you!

Congrats, Deanne, on the hit on your website from Europe. Im not surprised, tho. Youre so very talented and creative.

Gotta run to the vet. Hi to all, particular our missing idyllers. Hope everyone is just busy.


    Bookmark   December 13, 2007 at 12:21PM
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A couple of things I forgot...

First Chelone, I'm sorry your kitty is failing too. My old Abraham followed pretty much that same pattern until we knew it was time to let him go. Sounds like she's enjoying a comfy cozy old age with lots of love now.

Marie, I don't know if you know of Jan Brett's website. Bella and I visit there and she has a whole sections of videos showing how to draw animals. Maybe something you could share with Skyler? I'm linking it below.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2007 at 1:36PM
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Hello everyone...I feel like I know all of you, since, I admit, I am a lurker. But I hope that can change now that I've received a formal invitation to come out of lurkdom! LOL

I post occasionally on the other side, but I always stop in here to see what's new for the Idylls. You all lead such interesting and full lives...and your gardens put others to shame! I always have so many questions, but never feel like I could just barge in and ask one. Maybe now I'll feel comfortable doing so.

Just a little about myself for now: I've lived in the Chicago suburbs all my life, which is almost at the half century mark. I'm happily married with four kids and four grandkids. (love seeing pics of Reed growing up...too cute.)
I'm a hairstylist who joined the game later in life after being a stay at home mom for years.

I'm from a big family (eight siblings) and am the only one without a pet! Hope I don't get expelled for that. LOL. My kids are allergic, so I was cautioned against it when they were younger. We did try it once, but it didn't work out. So I appease myself with my parent's Shih Tzu, Toby.

I just wanted to give a quick introduction. I hope to post often and join in the fun.

Have a great day.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2007 at 2:23PM
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Are you all sick of me yet today?

Wendy, isn't it just the coolest thing how those pieces of begonia leaves put out the little baby plants. I'm so glad it worked for you too!

Honey, beautiful decorations! I love the kitty especially and the santa in white on the mantle against your red wall! You're right I probably do splurge a little too much when it comes to Bella. But I realize it's only a few short years that I'll see that wonderment over the enchantment of Christmas magic in her eyes. I enjoy buying and decorating for her as much if not more than she does.

Here's a couple from Bella's and my shared room. First her tree. We decorated it with ornaments and things that belonged to my girls when they were little and Bella made the paper chain (with a little help from grandma). The elf watches over her and heads back to the North Pole each night to report to Santa and bring back her advent gift. She loves him! Maybe because he's always holding a gift in the morning, lol?

Next are these trees,my Christmas craft for the season, sitting next to my computer desk

And last a pic I took of Bella modeling a dress my sister made for her. The material's a print of Christmas dogs and cats. She tried it on just before getting on her pjs for bed which explains the barefeet:)


    Bookmark   December 13, 2007 at 2:51PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

WELCOME LURKER #2!!! Anita, sure glad you turned up! Maybe you'll get a pet goldfish for Christmas? LOL Please join us frequently.

Eden, thank you for the Jan Brett site. I mailed it along to Sarah right away. Bella is amazing. so many ways!!! I love her imagination and your special bond with things artistic and cuddly. Cute cute cute! That latest photo makes her look so mature.

Honey, your house looks fabu fabu...just as I remember it. I still LOVE the red! Will DGN spend much time with you at Christmas? I'm sure we'll have puppy tales to share in the new year!

Marian, to top it off, I got a phone call today from the pharmacy announcing a special seniors discount day. Oh they'll plague me by phone too.

Deanne, I feel for you with your post office woes. I try to be organized too. I think they're out to foil my every attempt sometimes.

Wendy, yes indeed, the videos are a huge help. I love it that DD shares a great deal with me since her marriage. Just today we tried to come up with solutions to Skyler's many behavior/attitude problems. This business of two households I'd only wish on my worst enemy. It's so unfair to dump trash on a little kid. These days I suspect he's mother to his Mom. DD witnessed their interactions at his school play last night and didn't even recognize him. It is not a healthy relationship having him whine about how much he misses her. He doesn't! He plays right into her needy games. She has been lax too about getting him to be punctual, complete homework etc., and this carries over to DD's home. Yet, she's signed him up for an 8AM running team. DD refused to take him because he got 5/14 on his science test. School comes first for her. His desk at school is a total disaster, even though his Mom signed him up for an organization course. (Can you believe?) Sarah is working with him on organization, but a course that's a 2 hour drive? Pulleez! Oh, did I tell you these things drive me nuts and that I'm proud that Sarah does not strangle the ex? OK, I'm done venting. Thanks.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2007 at 3:54PM
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Greetings everyone

Life has been crazy busy here with something on every evening after school and all weekend. Mostly good things though so I'm not complaning, just coming up for air to say I miss you all. Unable to type at any decent speed for the sort of post I'd like to write I'll list some of our activites instead as a way of staying in touch.

Annie and I played with her music school in a benefit concert raising $3000 for a childhood cancer organization. I narrated the Night before Christmas and played the Bach Double VIolin Concerto. Annie presented the check.

David and I spent a good part of Sunday at a model train exhibit at RIT. He loved every minute and had some great talks with the other train buffs. I came to the conclusion facial hair appears to be a pre-requisite for the hobby and the wearing of overalls and train caps a popular option.

Violin lessson for Annie with a new piece to study.

Bass lesson for David. He's learned two 12 bar blues patterns and has fun improvising.

Spent 1 hour 55 minutes at the pediatrician's office for the children's annual check up - sheesh!

Watched David earn 2 more stipes on his purple belt in the testing class in Karate.

Helped Annie construct a 35 inch tall structure using only popsicle sticks and white glue that would support a bowling bowl for 14 seconds. Unfortunately the structure weighed over 125 grams and was disquliified. 6+ hours and no points awarded - where do teachers come up with this stuff? - ACK!

Helped David learn more of the Villa-Lobos piece he is playing on the guitar (Valsa Choro). Beautiful and a real challenge but it's starting to come together.

Took both kids to the dentist for annual cleaning - teeth look great and Annie will be through with braces by the end of the summer - yay! Just in time to start on David's otho - groan;0( This stuff costs an arm and a leg.

Had car die on my way into work. Was able to pull off the road just in time as the ploughs were steaming up and down and it was snowing like crazy. The gas was low, but not out but a good samaritan stopped and asked if he could help, and suggested adding gas anyway. He returned with a fulll can and the car started right up. There are some very good people in the world! I learned the hard way that what DH says is true - you need to fill up long before hitting 1/8 mark in winter. I'm stopping by tomorrow at the kind man's house with a card and basket and payment for the gas.

Spent every free moment not running around beading dragonfly pins for Chirstmas presents for my work friends. I love the way they are turning out but as each takes several hours I am totally crazy to be attempting it. Pictures I hope to follow.

I haven't had time to even skim above but I know there are some fabulous photos to enjoy and lurkers to welcome. I just didn't want to be gone too long.

I still have Christmas cards to write and am throwing a birthday party a week from Saturday for a dear friend so it might be a little while before I'm back as much as I'd like to be. But Christmas will be spent at home and we're staying put the week between Chistmas and New years to relax and unwind - yippee!! I see some good Idylling time in my future.

Thinking of you all


    Bookmark   December 13, 2007 at 4:58PM
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Welcome Anita and Anise great to have you. Just jump right in and ask away.

bug, as disfunctional as the relationship between Skylar and his mom, at least she is in his life. My DD suffered immensely wishing her father would take an interest in her. Im sure its very challenging though. The costumes look like lots of fun. We had so much fun playing "dress up" as a child. I have saved all my DDs dance recital costumes and hope Kenzie will enjoy them.

Eden, I love your little trees. Are they wrapping paper pinned to Styrofoam forms? Bellas feather tree is so precious. Bella looks so grownup. I got Kenzies Christmas picture yesterday and realized how grown up she looks in it. Shes coming over tonight to see our tree and have dinner. We are getting her a doll stroller for Christmas, books and more animals to go with the ones we got for her birthday and then well see what we find. Im praying that your moms tests have encouraging results. Sorry to hear of Isaacs lameness.

We just found out that my dad has glaucoma but thats is supposedly a more rare kind that is harder to control. Its actually a side effect of a syndrome, which is hereditary.

Honey, your fireplace decorations and the wall color are wonderful! I really like the limey color with the red.

Marian, my experience is when I have purchased 2 bags of groceries, 3 gallons of milk and a gallon of juice and the kid asks "do you need help with those?" Duh!
Norma, OWI is the acronym that the Iowa courts use for operating while under the influence.

Chelone, I often think of the fact that all the people who commit such horrible crimes were once someones little one. Sorry to hear that your kitty is declining so quickly.


    Bookmark   December 13, 2007 at 5:18PM
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For some time the message on our answering machine was, "Leave a message, if you dare". So! it's very nice to note 2 new voices who "dare". Welcome aboard. But I have to say this, what's with the whole "invitation" thing? I don't "get" that notion, at all; this is the internet and it's open to everyone! (those who dare).

It's snowing steadily now; the little icy flakes that tell you it's cold outside. And it's accumulating and the intesity is increasing steadily, too. But my car is in the garage! The helpmeet set out the drill (outfitted with a crappy bit) as I requested this morning... when the snow was supposed to start at 5-6 PM. I have put any notion I may've had about putting greens in the windowboxes clear out of my head. FORGET THAT FOOLISHNESS. It'll happen tomorrow or Saturday.

I purchased a new pair of boots on the way home today. I have too long endured a pair that totally suck. The have felt liners but no padding/cushioning on the soles and they're COLD. The uppers are fabric and floppy, there is no support for your ankles, at all. So I bit the bullet and purchased a pair by Columbia (after trying on several other brands and really walking around in them). The price made me choke, but at 48 I'm probably not going to grow much more and they'll be with me for many years to come. Mum always used to say, "cheap shoes are no bargain, dear". Winter isn't my favorite season by a long shot, but I know well that being warm and properly "kitted out" (where IS Mary?!) makes the cold and snow much more palatable. And yes, Wendy, I finally had to put my sandals away for the season...

Honey, I love the way you've "done up" your home... keep your eye on that roly-poly kitty though; I see fragments of fleece and stuffing all over the room if you don't, lol. Another reason I hate dogs. I listened to so much static about gloss black doors I "caved in" (unusual for me). The doors face south and "fade" will be an issue over time. But I really thought a glistening black would have looked "boss", too. Your's is the only other voice to say the black would've looked nice! Great minds think alike, huh? Dog breed "personalities" fascinate me. I'm hugely in favor of positive reinforcement, it's what gets results in the long term. But breeds that have been bred for centuries to peform a specific task also have a way of "locking on the radar" to the exclusion of all else, "getting their attention" back on you isn't always that easy. And there comes a time when "off leash" is required for continued obedience work. Herding and working dogs are bred to be independent thinkers and that can prove trying when training (don't I know it)! I have never used one of those buzz collars with Rex, but I certainly can see how it could be helpful when he is annoyingly just out of reliable voice control and the inevitable "distraction" pops up. We have no interest in owning a dog that must be leashed or fenced at all times; we have a dog to patrol the property to deter deer and other unwanted visitors and provide companionship. I rather like that he barks like hell and puts "the fear of god" into people who enter the compound unannounced. (I am a wicked soul). My neighbor uses that sort of collar to the exclusion of obedience work and I think that's a shame!

The garage is 28'w X 36'l. The garage bays have 9' ceilings and the Salon has an 8' ceiling. The roof is supported by attic "storage" trusses, so the space upstairs is completely open and there is a huge storage area above it all. The doors for the storage area will be constructed later in the winter... I'm not keen on the plastic solution. The stair case is 48" wide and the first run goes to a landing and turns a corner before delivering you to the north end of the Salon (in the under staircase space the oil tank will reside along with whatever else will fit nicely in there). Heating is an oil fired, forced hot air system (there is no water to the building) and there is the provision for woodstoves. My late FIL was an architect and my father worked in the building trades, too (plumbing and heating). We had a very clear notion of what we wanted the building to DO for us. We hired good people and we LISTENED to them and worked with them when a difficulty presented itself (Rich would probably like working with/for us). With the exception of the foot-dragging electrician it's been smooth sailing, if a bit slow, but that's part of being your own GC. Sheet rock is slated for delivery tomorrow sometime (wonderin' about that) and the guys are going to begin next week.

I was interested in Wendy's "take" on the idea of allowing Jake to fail compared to my own. I didn't see the notion as unconscionable, at all. Rather, I saw it as a bit of "tough love"... the reality of a failing grade is greatly different than the vague notion of it! It's what the NPR Car Talk guys call a "dope slap". Some shame, some embarrassment, a little humiliation... I don't think that's such a bad thing you guys. And I was interested in Kathy's perspective, too, about home schooling. In the course of my work I meet several "liveaboard" families in a year. These are families that live on boats (usually sailboats in the 40' range) and come from all over the world! I've yet to meet a kid from that background that was rude or out of control in any way; on the contrary! The kids are uniformly polite (ASKING before they touch things!) and comfortable dealing with adults in business settings. They are interesting, too; when quizzed about their interests they bubble over. When I think "home schooling" I don't think of religious funadamentalists immediately. Rather, I think of adventurous parents who love their kids and believe that exploring adds a whole new dimension to education. Interesting thoughts from interesting people I like very much. Another reason the Idyll du jour is such fun.

OK, need to hear from Cindy and DREMA (whatyagotplanned for your next career?).

Ei. , your story is painfully reminiscent of my own experience with Mum. She was fiercely "private" about her health because she was so afraid of losing her independence. The saddest lesson her story can impart is that had she done the basic things it took a CRISIS to get done (living will, healthcare POA, updated will/trust, and legal POA) before the -hit hit the fan her life in her own home could have been extended relatively easily! That's another of those things I wish I could "edit". Mum and I shared many common loves/interests, but on several levels we were VERY different. She was shocked by the way I've chosen to live my life; doing what I've liked when I've wanted to, and not really caring a fig what "anyone thought". Hindsight has made me wonder if her "disapproval" was more about her own regrets about her own choices than about my choices for my life. But I think she came to appreciate that aspect of me when the chips were down and she needed someone to "go to bat for her". She felt the same way about my brother, too, I suspect; but a male marching to the beat of his own drum was different for her than a daughter doing it. She could be acid tongued and stiffly dismissive when I expressed privately held desires to her. Perfect example: I would like to cross the Atlantic Ocean on an ocean liner one time in my life. I want to be at sea for the amount of time required to traverse it on a ship. When I shared that with her she shrugged and said, "you'll likely never get to do it, so why not plan for something you can more readily achieve?". That came from a woman who'd never crossed the Mississippi River and had never been out of the country aside from a few trips to Canada. So I understand how stifling/cutting your Mom's comments can be. Completely. It doesn't take the sting out of them, though, does it? ;) Keep being you and keep your distance; I'll wager dollars against doughnuts your time will come with respect to caretaking.

Deanne, I love the ornament shot. I should appreciate the specs you gave, but nudnik that I am, much of it went over my head. I DO need to get together with you, camera and manual in tow. And I am SO there for "lunch" you guys. I need to hang out with people who like to laugh. Let's set a date to "solve the world's problems"!

OK, that's it for me right now. (I'm wearing my new boots to see if they really ARE comfortable, so far, so good! my feet are PLENTY warm right now.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2007 at 5:34PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

I'm not sure how much I can post because I have this yellow lab who is insisting that her head, not the computer should be in my lap. She can be very pushy at times!

Welcome, Anise and Anita! But why couldn't it have been Anise and Zebulon? Don't worry, you'll get used to my humor.

Anita, what area of the 'burbs are you in? I'm in the far northwest suburbs.

Kathy, my "bestest" Christmas ever was the year that I woke up and found Patty Play Pal standing in front of the Christmas tree!

Butterscotch looks adorable and I think her best feature is what she doesn't do, as Chelone pointed out.

Chelone, I will pass on your greetings!

DD is done with finals and heads home tomorrow. DS has one more to go, and is almost through the backlog of missing assignments that he had accumulated. He said today that he feels like a heavy burden has been lifted off of him. I think (and hope) that he is learning the value of reaching out for help.

One comment about our mothers and their health. My mom always was very healthy and strong, but could not be bothered to go to the doctor. Then when she just couldn't shake a bad cold, we convinced her to get it checked out. It turned out that cancer had spread through her lungs and was virtually untreatable at that point. (side note: she never smoked but lived for over thirty years with my father who was a very heavy smoker) I still wonder if the cancer would have been detected earlier had she been getting regular check ups. She passed away just days after her 69th birthday. So even though I have groused a bit about four trips to the clinic just to confirm that I am healthy, I am glad that I am keeping up on all of that fun stuff.

So I have a dishwasher to empty, a sink to clear out, a fridge to purge, garbage to wrap and the last string of tree lights to hang. Do you think I'll get it all done in 60 minutes? Someone tell the plants to please hang in there until morning!

V. (I've read everyone else's posts but if I comment any further, I'll never get my list done!)

    Bookmark   December 13, 2007 at 9:00PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

I'm keeping up too.

Thank you Michelle for making me see the other twist to DGS's situation. I get so angry and need to see the positives.

Chelone, how I wish I could send you one of my transAtlantic trips! First of all I get violently seasick, so 7 days of that is a deadly experience. The people and social stuff was simply not my style: sitting at the captain's table, dances, formal dress, drink, etc. (I was 8 and 12 years old.) I recall the menus were superb with amazing art work at each meal...which I could not eat. By day two I was in the cabin's bathroom for 6 more days. I have a memory of porpoises (dolphins?) following the boat's wake. There was shuffle board, a swimming pool with gigantic waves. Ping pong on a rocking boat was an adventure too. Boats were less expensive than air travel then.

Mary, it all sounds GOOD but exhausting. Music belongs at all times, but especially at Christmas!

    Bookmark   December 13, 2007 at 9:22PM
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Im trying to Idyll and be productive at the same time. And drink a glass of wine. I started working on my Oregon box to take to the UPS store tomorrow, and now Im taking a break. So many chatty posts that the break has now outlasted the chores.What a slacker!

Anita, welcome and jump in at will ! Is a suburb of Chicago considered places like Lincoln Park, Chicago Heights, Oak Park etc or further out ? I grew up In LA and just about everywhere is a suburb there ! I love Chicago but do not care to spend a winter there , lol.

Hi Mary- glad you checked in ! Sounds like you are one busy Mom right now !

Heck Eden, we cant get sick of you yet, you still have lost time to make up for !

Chelone, I add my vote to the gloss black doors. But one does have to achieve consensus.

Wendy, I have decided that my new to be selected abode in Oregon will have a red dining room.

V, my Patty Play Pal was a brunette with a brown dress with yellow flowers. My friend George got a surrey (with fringe) that year and we drove Patty Play Pal up and down the block .

OK this is all I have steam for tonight I have to finish my box prepwishing you a pleasant good evening..

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   December 13, 2007 at 9:46PM
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It's me, Katie, checking in between naps and snacks with a naked picture for Chelone. Yes, I do have a funny face, mama has measured my nose and my ears and says my forehead is extra big because I am very smart. (She is right of course.)

Here I am having supper tonight. I should be wearing my chicken nightgown, not cows,on chickie night, right? Mama has a small forehead I think.

Ok, and here's the naked picture I promised. You can't see my zipper can you? Ha. A girl must leave something to the imagination you know. I will have a zipper-ectomy in a few weeks if I take all of my pills, eat everything in or out of my bowl, and don't jump around or twirl at all. The first two things are easy, but I am a gifted twirler and I need to spin again!

In this picture I am telling mama I need to spin NOW. I am shaking the whole kitchen with my pre-twirl vibrations, that's why it's blurry. Anyway, this picture is the real me!

Thank you for all your good wishes and white light. I can not eat those things, but I know they are important to my recovery!

XXXooo, Katie

    Bookmark   December 13, 2007 at 10:08PM
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Cynthia, how great to see pictures of Katie looking so happy! Thanks for those!

Kathy, I was just reading about Patty. First made in 1959, 35" tall and she wore a perfect size 3T. Pretty cool girl she was I'm sure!

Chelone, I think your garage may be bigger than my little house:)

Hi Anita and welcome!

V, my sons last exam was yesterday too.

Mary, I imagined you were really busy and it sounds like you are. Glad you checked in though!

Michelle, I used the 12" scrapbook paper sheets to make the trees and yep, styrofoam cones. I would have liked to have used the paper printed on both sides but made due with what I had in the house. I'm glad you like them:)

I wonder how Cindy's doing too. Well I hope!

That's it from me for today! Say goodnight.


    Bookmark   December 13, 2007 at 10:26PM
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vtskiers(z6a CentralCT)


Pictures of Katie are bringing a smile to my face this morning.

Welcome to new idyllers Anita and Anise!

We got a bit of snow here yesterday. The official measurement at my house was nine inches. It caused a bit of a traffic nightmare in the Hartford area last night mostly because the plows couldn't get through the traffic to do their thing. I left work just before four and got home in half an hour (usually 15 minutes). I would have had no problem if it hadn't been for the plethora of a$$holes in cars who couldn't get out of their own way. Even the slightest incline had people sideways, skidding and pulled over. Getting around them was like navigating an obstacle course. Four wheel drive rules. I'll never be without it. Sky is clear this morning and it's supposed to be sunny and 40. Tomorrow...another I hate winter.

Chelone, love the garage. Does it have a water view? Toss a porta potty out back and I'll move in for the summer. Better yet, how about a full bath in the salon complete with a soaking tub? spending other people's money. Cha ching!

Look how cute Bella is in her new dress.

Love seeing everyone's decorations. Keep em coming.

Allright, time to get to work.


    Bookmark   December 14, 2007 at 8:07AM
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Good Morning and Hi Sue!

Just a quick post from me. Bella will be here today so no playing on Idylls all day for me.

Sue, I hate winter too. We've been lucky this year. All of the bad stuff has pretty much stayed to the south of us. Hope I didn't just jinx myself saying that.

Chelone, the salon would be the perfect place to rent out to summer vacationers. You could be like Bob Newhart, running a little New England bed and breakfast?

Michelle, I'm sorry to hear about your dad's diagnosis. I hope they come up with a treatment for him. I'm fast coming to the conclusion that it's no fun getting old.

I beat Brad in backgammon this morning after getting gammoned yesterday. Hope it continues to be a good day for us all.


    Bookmark   December 14, 2007 at 9:23AM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Good snowy morning,

We got about nine inches of snow here also. I can remember so many winters where we didnt have even a dusting of snow at Christmas. This winter has certainly started out with a bang and its not even winter yet. We are supposed to get another storm tomorrow night into Sunday and then Monday morning the temps are supposed to be hovering around zero! Good grief! ~~ Poor Doug didnt make it home last night and is waiting on another delayed flight this morning after US Airways called at 3AM to inform him that his connection from Laguardia to Manchester was cancelled. He got a flight routed through Philadelphia and now that is delayed as well. Hell be lucky to get home by mid afternoon. It would have been quicker to drive, which is what he normally does but he thought hed try going commercial this time around. Im predicting hell be driving to Rochester instead of flying commercial in the future.

Welcome Anita! Looking forward to hearing more from you. Sounds like you are pretty close to V., Drema and Ei.

Eden what a delightful pic of Bella in her new dress. I love that her toes are curled under. LOL Was the floor cold? ~~ I just love those paper Christmas trees! So pretty. Did you have a pattern for that or did you make it up. Youre so clever.

Mary, wow, sounds like you are busier than you were a month ago. Super Mom! I love to hear about all the music in your lives. Thats fantastic. I almost had Doug call you last night when his flight was cancelled. He was feeling pretty down in the dumps but I figured you were busy, busy, busy and I was right.

Michelle, sorry to hear about your fathers glaucoma. ~~ How did your dinner with Kenzie go last night? Are you going to show us her Christmas picture? Please? I laughed when you said you are getting her a doll stroller. When I got my first doll stroller when I was a little girl I immediately took it outside and used it to carry rocks around and put a hole through the bottom. ROTFLOL at myself.

Chelone, I cant wait to see your salon all finished up. Id give my right arm for a set up like that. Unfortunately with our zoning regulations I cant put a second floor on my garage. I wish I could as Id love to have my painting studio up there. ~~ Glad to hear you are going to try to come for lunch. Wendy and I are talking about the week after Christmas? Bring your camera?

Soooo. Happy to see Katie! Shes looking perkier and will be back to her old twirly self soon.

Honey, I just love your mantle decorations! That Santa is a classic and would look great with my collection. LOL

Wendy, Im with you that its time to fire up the blender. We might just have to have two Thumb our Noses at Winter parties in 08 since Winter is starting to thumb its nose at us early this year. ~~ Looks like Chelone will be able to join us for lunch. What day is good for you the week after Christmas?

V. good for you with keeping up with your health checks. As unpleasant as some of it is (like the oh so fun colonoscopy) it can keep us going longer with a better quality of life. Which reminds me that its time for me to schedule my annual boob squish. Yukky but necessary. I just found out that my across the street neighbor was diagnosed with breast cancer from a mammography screening. We also found out at the same time that her husband who is a heavy smoker was diagnosed with stage three esophageal cancer. Not good. His mom passed away six months ago and he probably wont make another year. Really sad. When our across the street neighbor died of emphysema (from smoking) three years ago I asked this other neighbor, whos just been diagnosed with cancer, if hed considered quitting yet. His answer at that time was, "Ive got to die of something". So now he is.

OK so I just heard from Doug and the flight was delayed another hour so he opted to get off the plane. Hes rented a car and is now driving home. Its too bad he didnt just start driving at this morning when he left for the airport instead of trying to get home flying. Hed almost be home by now. Oh well, Im going to have to shovel a path through the snowbank for him to get into the driveway. I cant run our huge, very old, cranky 25 year old snowblower. So Im off to do cardio shoveling. Ill post a couple pics later. I played with some available light photos last night of the back yard in the snow. Got a couple neat ones I think youll like.

Later all

PS Sue how about shrimp and whoopee pies for Christmas??? LOL

    Bookmark   December 14, 2007 at 9:36AM
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Just killing time on the computer waiting for Bella to arrive.

Deanne, poor Doug! You'll have to make him a special dinner or something tonight after all he's been through.

Michelle, yes please do show us Kenzie's Christmas picture. And I'll post Bella's. Any other kid's Christmas pictures out there for us to see??? Bet you had fun with Kenzie last night showing her your decorations. Love to hear about it...

Deanne, here's a link to the tutorial for the trees. They were a fun and easy little project.


    Bookmark   December 14, 2007 at 9:57AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Only light snowfall here, but so dreary! What a December it has been...I'm not a winter person either. Each year I get more nervous about falls. I can just imagine a puppy between my feet.

I'm about to head into Toronto for the day. This is a quick decision, but DH is going in on business and I just called friend Lynn for a get together.

Katie, so good to see you!! You're looking GOOD! Indy dog is recovering well from her surgery and is prancing about happily. Hard to keep a good dog down.

Lots to clean up still around here, but a break will do me good. We've had lots of discouraging stuff trying to close DH's old business, dealing with a difficult grad student and his weak thesis,etc. I'd love to thumb my nose with one and all, but I'll be away for the first event. Perhaps I can join you for THUMBS II.

Good for you Eden with the backgammon win! I hope your day continues on that happy note!

Later friends,

    Bookmark   December 14, 2007 at 9:58AM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

This morning at our house:

This is frost...snow will probably arrive tonight.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2007 at 11:09AM
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wendy2(zone 6 MA)

Good digging out morning!

Winter did more than thumb its nose at me yesterday - it kicked me right in the a$$! Knowing that the storm was coming, I left the office at 1:45, about an hour after the snow started falling. It took me until 6:30 pm to get home! (My commute home in normal rush-hour conditions is around 45 minutes) Traffic was totally gridlocked, I guess the entire city decided to head home early. The highway was also bumper to bumper, everyone was moving too slowly to skid. Traffic was actually stopped for much of the time, people were hopping out of their cars on I-93 to clear off their windshields! Once the stop-and-go eased up, the conditions were horrible. The plows were nowhere to be seen, the lane markers were invisible, and the breakdown lane was a snowdrift. I passed several exits I could have used to get off the "Highway to He!!", but the snowdrifts in the right lane blocked access. Thank goodness I had the cell phone with me, I could keep checking in with DH. I guess the Mass. state attorney general is going to investigate the handling of the snow removal. I was a little traumatized thinking about getting onto the highway today, but the sun was out and the roads were plowed, I sailed to work in record time.

Honey, I had the same thought about the Xmas Kitty that Chelone did - a puppy would find that Oh-so-tempting. Your decorations are lovely though.

Katie, you look wonderful! I can see the sparkle in your eyes. You'll be well enough to twirl in no time!

Deanne, poor Doug. How frustrating. I'm sure he will be driving from now on - at least he can be his own pilot then! I just looked at the calendar, Christmas is on Tuesday, and I can do lunch on Wednesday if that works. If not, maybe the following week on Tuesday or Wednesday? Chelone, is Chelmsford far for you? The place we went last time is pretty close to 495. Saucy, what about you?

Chelone, I do agree with allowing a child to fail if they are slacking off and not doing what is expected. A dope slap may indeed be called for if that is the case. However, if he is not doing the work because he can't learn the way they are teaching him, then it may not be completely his fault. Often when a child can't read or understand what is in front of them, they get frustrated and give up. It may look like they aren't trying, when in fact they want to do the work but are not able. I don't have a lot of faith in school counselors at the middle and high school level - their focus tends to be more on discipline and control than on child development. I've had a good experience with the elementary school staff, but I dread my son's transition to middle school next year.

Ei, I meant to say Hi to you - nice to see you back here!

Anyway, back to work I guess.


    Bookmark   December 14, 2007 at 11:40AM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

Here is a pic of our noon visitor !

It has made two tours of our right after the other! Thank goodness the cats are still okay. Trubby and Callie were outside during the visits. I coaxed Trubby back in after the second tour, but he is back out on the deck now...just a-watching...

    Bookmark   December 14, 2007 at 1:37PM
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Jeez, Wendy, I'm traumatized just reading of your commute! I was able to take the metro yesterday, on the platform before 6 a.m. and home before 5, but beat nonetheless.

Roo-rooo to Katie, hello to de-lurkers, lots to say but no time at the moment. Love the critter pictures, Marian. I think I'll paste the coyote pic on the window for Joe to peruse. He's bugging the heck out of us to go out and play but doc says not yet. The house seems to be in preholiday meltdown mode at the moment.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2007 at 2:05PM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Afternoon all,

Well I'm taking a break here, I just shoveled out 2/3rds of our largish driveway (its triple wide and triple deep) and I'm going to be a hurting puppy in a few hours. The very lovely news is that just about the time I was running out of steam (I'd been shoveling for two hours at this point)one of my neighbors fired up his snow blower and finished up the last 1/3rd of the driveway. He'd come home for lunch and must have taken pity on this weary woman. That was a really sweet thing for him to do. Doug is still driving home and I was quite sure he didnt want to have to deal with clearing out the driveway when he got home. Also, he couldnt have gotten into the driveway because of the huge two and a half foot pile of snow at the end from the plow. So that mission is accomplished and Im wishing I had enough stamina left to shovel out the hot tub because I could REALLY use a soak right about now.

Eden, thanks for the link to that site for the paper trees. I just love the topiary one. Very clever.

OH my Wendy! That commute sounds dreadful. I feel your pain! Years ago I was stuck on 128 in the Blizzard of 78. Same deal, it took me about seven hours to get home from Cambridge that day and Ill never forget it. I can do lunch the Wednesday after Christmas or New Years. Either works for me. How about Chelone and Saucy?

Wow Marian looks like Wild Kingdom there today. I sure hope your kitties stay safe.

I played with my camera and some available light photography last night again. Here is one after the snow let up looking into the dining room

And this one is looking from the dining room outside at the snow. It really surprised me how much of the outside the camera picked up in this one.

OK Im going to heat up some turkey soup for Doug as he should be home within the hour. Have a great afternoon all.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2007 at 2:48PM
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Oh Deanne, very pretty! Both shots look like they could be Christmas cards. I love the blanket of undisturbed snow. It all looks so peaceful.

Wendy, sorry to hear about the nightmare commute home. Glad you made it safe and sound.

Well, I just heard from my mom. The news was that one Dr. sees nothing and another sees a spot so she's going with the second opinion and opting for the radiation. Probably 4 weeks starting after the holidays. Nothing showed up anywhere else so that was good news. Thanks for your good thoughts and prayers. Spending lots of time here on Idylls yesterday was just the distraction I needed to keep myself from worrying too much.


    Bookmark   December 14, 2007 at 4:09PM
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Deanne, have you seen this? I can just picture some beautiful winter containers at your place.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2007 at 4:13PM
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Jerri_OKC(z7 Ok)

It's so fun reading everyones posts. We have done nothing for the holidays so I get to celebrate (live?) here. LOL

Question for everyone:

What would it be like to quit your job and start over in a more appealing career? What would you do?
I'm sick to death of my 'career' and I want to do something new and different. I'm aprehensive since I'm 49 now. Is it too late to begin again in the business world? No one is better for advice than the Idylls! Please chime in if you have time. :)


    Bookmark   December 14, 2007 at 4:44PM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

Sorry that my wildlife pics weren't clearer. I had to take them from the vestbule, through the front door and storm door windows, to keep from scaring the varmints off. Besides, it was pretty gray out. It would be nice if I had a zoom lens....

I can identify with the horrendous driving conditions. My experience was many years ago, when Tim was small. I was bringing Nolon home from the VA hospital in Boise. The highway was solid ice. It was 132 miles of it. A 3 hour drive turned into an all day drive, with my foot shaking like a leaf on the gas pedal. The main differance with my drive was the absence of very many other vehicles. My 2 passingers slept through most of the trip.

I avoid icy roads like the plague now-a-days.

Deanne, your outside pic after the snow let up is perfect!
Sure glad you had help with your driveway. Good neighbers are gems.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2007 at 5:04PM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Eden, good news that your Mom's prognosis is looking good. I'm glad she's opting for the radiation. Better to be safe. ~~ Love, love, love those winter containers. I've always wanted to do something like that but it seems by the time I get everything put away I don't have the energy left to do anything for the winter. I really need to think about it for next year though.

Jerri, well good for you. I've been trying to figure out what to do with the rest of my life for three years now and still haven't come to any conclusions. I don't know exactly what your background is other than that you work with computers. Doug changed careers when he turned 50 from Purchasing and Materials management to Oracle Software Business Analyst. I didn't believe he could do it but he made a very successful change so it can be done.

I've been playing with pics today. Here is one from this morning of the terraces

The same garden in August


    Bookmark   December 14, 2007 at 5:13PM
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Deanne, have you seen this? I can just picture some beautiful winter containers at your place.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2007 at 5:42PM
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Well I don't know how I just managed to repost that? I wanted to say that both photos are beautiful but I'd like to be transported into the summer one right now. I just heard we may be getting a snow storm of our own Sat. nite into Sun.

Marian, thanks for sharing the wildlife photos. That last one is scary for the cats! I hate ice most of all too and won't drive if it's even a possibility in the forecast.


    Bookmark   December 14, 2007 at 5:46PM
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Jerri_OKC(z7 Ok)

Deanne, I'm not sure if it's the recent deaths in my family or what but I'm really feeling the need to 'make a difference'. As you can imagine, working in the government is not especially rewarding. LOL
My whole career has been in computers - 15 years with IBM in large system service/support and disk drive development. Now I work with data backup. When I went to college I wanted to do something in the medical field but somehow it didn't happen. I am toying with going into nursing, med. Tech or something. I was there when my dad died and the nurse was just a godsend for us. As the poster family for disfunctional families it didn't bring out the best in us!

Warning - pity party

I'm sorry for being even less chatty than usual but last Christmas Eve Mom passed away and this now we are dealing with dad's death and trying to settle the estate. (/end pity party)

Carry on Idylls! Love the photos everyone.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2007 at 7:43PM
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Thanks for the warm welcome everyone. Feels good.

V...I'm near Elmhurst.
Kathy in Napa...The ones you mentioned are all suburbs, but not Lincoln Park. That's just an area of Chicago, called a community area (of which there are about 80 of these areas.
I'm ashamed I don't know the city well, but that's because I get claustrophobic every time I enter it. I love the space the suburbs provide.

marian...such great wildlife right outside your door. Was that a coyote or a wolf? Was it looking for the deer? LOL's never to late to start a new career if you have a passion for something. Most people would be afraid to rock the boat later in life, but you have to take a risk if that's what you want. Do you have something specific in mind?

Enjoy your evening everyone. And hope the snow doesn't become too much for all the New Englanders.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2007 at 8:07PM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Jerri, some very dear friends of ours lost their Dad on Thanksgiving day several years ago and their Mom on Christmas Eve the same year. Please feel free to indulge yourself in a pity parlor. Hugs....

BTW. Doug said to email me/him your resume and he'd be happy to make some career choice recommendations based on your current skills sets. If you want to completely change things out and want to get into nursing I have another dear friend who has been in the field for many years and she'd be happy to give you advice.

Anita, thanks for snow sympathy. I think like all those in northern climes we all just like to complain about the snow thing but are all resigned to the fact that winter is winter and deal with it; but its fun to whine about it LOL.

Eden, I'm with you girl! I'd like to transport myself to the summer pic. I was looking at the summer garden pics from this year and feeling a bit forlorn.

OK I'm off to tuck myself into bed for the evening with my lovely Douglas who finally made it home. Poor guy's exhausted after the trials and tribulations of trying to return from Rochester. So my DH is home and all is well in our world tonight and I'm counting my blessings.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2007 at 9:39PM
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Friday is a welcome visitor. My task for this weekend will be to finish planting the tulips and avoiding any stores except the grocery ! I still havent shaken this damn cold all the way, I dont feel bad at all , but Im going through Kleenex to a fare-thee-well. Maybe what I need is a Bloody Mary with x-tra horseradish and Tabasco.

Katie, ever so glad to see you looking so chipper in your attractive lounge-wear . Thanks to your Mom for posting these pics !

Jerri, I am in the process of selling my home of 15 plus years and relocating 500 miles north. I also will be leaving a career I have had for 20 years. Im in my mid 5-0s. My goal is to take off work for 6 to 12 months and find something that is in horticulture, even if its just plain old retail and watering plants. This is what I did in my 20s. I know many people at my company who are retired from their first career- one gentleman has been there for a year longer than I have and it is basically his retirement job. If you are in a position to do something you love and are interested in I say go for it ! I remember may years ago I had a sales rep whose wife was a nurse. He was fascinated by her stories and descriptions of her worklife and became more and more drawn to nursing as a career. He quit his job in his mid 40s and went to nursing school, and is very happy with his choice. Believe me Jerri, if you have already taken the step of admitting to yourself that you are dissatisfied and ready for a change your attitude will suffer and only make things worse. It is scary to make these kind of changes, but exciting too. I wish you the best in thinking this throughthe support of family members will help.

Deanne , those snow photos are so beautiful ! And poor Dougs saga of his quest to get home is an interesting counterpoint . How fun that you posted the snow and non snow pics of the terrace garden. Its hard to imagine that they are the same place. Im very impressed with your snow shoveling skillswish I was close enough to come and thumb my nose with yall , but Im not sure my wardrobe is sufficient for winter in New England !

Marian, when you get frost you really get it dont you ? Is that a coyote or is it a wolf ? Looks awfully pretty for a coyote ! Maybe our western versions are scrawnier than the eastern counterparts.

Eden, I wish I were organized enough to do a few elegant winter containers ! Maybe next year ..

Ok, time to sign off for tonite

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   December 14, 2007 at 9:40PM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

Anita and Kathy, it is a coyote. I wanted to post another pic of it and one of the neighbor's Great Pyrenees (Sam), but PictureTrail is down ! I've been trying to make connection with it for an hour or more, but no luck. Kind of scary....I have over 950 pics there.
The wind is whistling around our house, and sure sounds like winter ! So far it is only raining ( again).

Yes, Kathy. With our high humidity we really get heavy frosts, espacially if it is foggy.

I think I will call it a day...see you all en la manana.


    Bookmark   December 14, 2007 at 9:57PM
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Its late so I'll keep it short. One of my favorites was Charming Chatty with eyeglasses and records that made her talk.

Per requests, here is Ms. Kenzie:

Deanne, your tree is lovely and the snow outside the windows is so perfect. It reminds me of a picture perfect Christmas Eve. Thanks for the offer of the ornaments, but you really don't have to do that. I laughed about your carrying rocks around as a child, I guess that was the start of it all LOL

Eden, I read the article about the winter containers in the lastest issue and was intrigued. I did something similar last winter with a dwarf alberta spruce, redtwig dogwood branches, rose hips and other evergreens. The spruce didn't make the winter but was cheap.

Marian, we have lots of deer, but I haven't seen any coyote. I think there are some around, but I'm glad they don't come close enough for a photo op.

To bed with me.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2007 at 12:07AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

After reading Anita's words about not knowing the city well I want to share my day's excursion.

We drove from our snowy rural area into Toronto. We waited until after rush hour. There was less snow the closer we got, but the fumes from cars and city began bothering me well before we arrived. The call of the city is most infrequent for me.

We managed to locate a parking spot right away because we have a tiny vehicle that fits where others cannot. Yeah! I joined DH at his old company's office because I knew there was a washroom there. Lots of construction going on nearby which is rather exciting.

I feel as though I come from Mars each time I arrive in the big city. EVERYONE has a cell phone attached to his ear. Pedestrians cross when and where they wish without looking or interrupting their cell phone conversations. Amazing talent there!

It used to be doughnut shops on each corner, but now it is coffee shops.

The subway was clean, safe and fine. I could even hear the announced stops clearly. In the stores people were polite...but too enthusiastic once again to treat me as the old lady. When I called friend Lynn to meet me, a sales person said:
"May I dial that phone number for you?"
Good grief.

Anyway, we had a very enjoyable brief visit with Lynn's daughter and grandbaby Wyn. What a cutie, but a totally different shape from Reed who is long and skinny.

A real plus for me was seeing people of all shapes, sizes and colours busy going about their lives. I'm always truly saddened by street people, of which there are many. But seeing handicapped folks managing just fine is a huge improvement from a few years ago. Our rural community is suffering from homogeneity... we need this broader mix to add spice to our lives IMHO.

The traffic was so built up on our return trip(cars & cars & cars & cars &...) that we stopped off half way back to eat dinner with friends. A good day with plusses and minusses! Glad I don't make this trip every day though.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2007 at 12:25AM
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Good Morning, Snow storm expected here tonight so I need to get out and make sure we have food. Grocery shopping, not my favorite activity.

Michelle, Thank you for the pictures of Kenzie. She's just beautiful and I love the Dora theme and the Care Bears one. Such a sweet, happy girl! I just don't think there's anything better than having children around at Christmas time! I remember your pretty winter container from last year. I'd like to try a few next year.

Marie, sounds like an exciting trip to the city. Was everything there decorated for the holidays?

Deanne, so glad Doug made it home safely. So are you sore this morning from clearing the driveway?

Jerri, I say if you're ready for a change go for it. Life's too short not to make the most of it and do what makes you happy.

Here's a few more of my holiday decorations.


For Martie

Got this carousel this year with Bella in mind and she loves watching it go around

That's all for now. Have a great day. Hoping you all check in with what you're up to today.


    Bookmark   December 15, 2007 at 8:49AM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

Good Morning!
Our vegetaion is covered with ice this morning, but it appears the snow has bypassed us. Our porches look fairly ice-free so far, but the temps are to drop during the that will most likely change. :-(

PT is back up, so here are the 2 pics I mentioned:

For Kathy, a front view of the coyote that shows it's slender shape.

Next is my favorite neighhood dog...Sam.

I got him to come right up to me, by making the 'kissing' sound and calling his name. I patted him on his big broad head and got several close-ups, but he was moving around too much, and they are blurry.

Marie, I do not envy you your day in the big city. I always avoided the downtown part of Little Rock when I went to visit the kids.I often wonder how differant my life would be if I had been born and raised in a city. The small town that we lived in, when Tim was in grade school, was big enough for me. If I remember right, it was only 4000+ in population.

I am wishing all a safe weekend.


    Bookmark   December 15, 2007 at 8:52AM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

Good snowy morning! I was hoping to head out for shopping before the snow started, but at 7:00 am it already was coming down. I've got to shoo it out of here so there's plenty to share with Eden!

Last night a wonderful young woman showed up at my house and cooked a pancetta-wrapped pork roast that she had seen on the Food Channel. It was very tasty, but more importantly, it was amazing to see how confident DD is in the kitchen.

We have a holiday party tonight and a full day tomorrow. TTYL!


    Bookmark   December 15, 2007 at 9:15AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

V, it's terrific to watch our children surprise us in wonderful ways. I hope it never ends....

    Bookmark   December 15, 2007 at 9:28AM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Good morning all,

Its chilly here again this AM at a brisk 14 degrees F. Brrrrr.. The kitties have taken to looking out the open door in disdain, turning their noses up and then running in the other direction when I come down to let them out in the AM. I guess Im going to have to buy another bucket of kitty litter. LOL They never use the litter box all summer long but make use of the facility when the weather is cold like this. ~~ So Im quite happy I got the driveway cleared yesterday because we are gearing up for winter storm part deux starting tonight. Were looking at another four to eight inches of snow then changing to freezing rain on top of it. I think the CT ladies are only going to get rain out of this storm but who knows. The weather does whatever it wants regardless of what the predictions are.

Im getting as bad as the cats about going out in this cold weather. Ive wanted to do some bird photography but every time I think about sitting outside in the blind Ive decided to wait until it warms up a bit. LOL Id really like to get out there though because the photo ops have been terrific with this weather. The birds feed like crazy when theres a storm coming in or when its very cold like this. I think Ill just wait until the sun gets high enough to warm up my blind though. That helps a lot.

Kathy, wed all be happy to supply you with winter woolies should you decide to join us for our Thumbs party. That would be so terrific! V. usually comes in from Chicago for the weekend. Its always a blast when we get together.

Michelle, I love that pic of Kenzie with the bears. Toooo. Cute. Its hard to believe how grown up Bella and Kenzie are looking these days. ~~ Glad the story of my hauling rocks as a youngster made you laugh. Makes me laugh too. My mother was so furious with me for putting a hole in the carriage. OH well I really did need a wheelbarrow. I guess that moving rocks has always been in my blood and growing things as well. Before I ever had a place to garden I always had a jungle of house plants.

Bug sounds like you had a great trip. Toronto is a great city. I taught in a town just outside the city about ten years back.

Eden, I just LOVE your decorations, especially the shelves with the Let it Snow vignette. Marvelous! Oh yes, Ive been meaning to ask you, when you repaint your living room are you going to re-do the lettering on the walls? I hope so, thats one of my favorites.

Another great coyote pic Marian.

V. how lovely your DD cooked dinner for you! Neat! Have a great time at your party.

OK Ive got to get off this computer and like Eden get to the grocery store. Ive not been all week and the cupboard is bare. Its so funny, when there is a storm coming the grocery is stuffed with frantic people buying food like its going out of style. I really dont think there will be a food shortage because there is going to be a snow storm. Ive never understood that behavior. Maybe we should wait until tomorrow during the snow then there wont be any crowds. LOL

Have a great day everyone

    Bookmark   December 15, 2007 at 9:38AM
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V, take your time with that snow. I can wait! Isn't it great when daughters take an interest in cooking? Jenni's became quite the cook too. Like your dd she tries recipes she's seen on the food channel. She especially likes Rachel Ray. I get calls for my recipes too which I love. She's doing Christmas Eve dinner for her fiancee's family and Christmas dinner for our side this year. Have fun at your party. Stay safe driving in that stuff!


    Bookmark   December 15, 2007 at 9:42AM
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We went out for dinner last night with the crew from the helpmeet's workplace. It was good fun; a nice bunch of people, lively conversation, and lots of laughs. I was ready for beddy-by-lo by the time we got home.

So, over breakfast this morning the helpmeet confessed his stress level is increasing hugely with every day. I asked if it was about work? no, turns out he is freaked out that he hasn't gotten me one Christmas gift this year. I just laughed and said I hadn't done any shopping for him, either, adding that if he didn't FEEL like going shopping he didn't have to as far as I was concerned. The reality of our lives is that we have everything we could possibly need and a nice, relaxing morning with the pets and tree and a relaxed dinner would be just fine with me. I pointed out that we have a very large "gift" to the side of our home. "You wouldn't mind if there were no gifts under the tree?". NOPE. "I married the finest person I know.". SO DID I. Christmas should never be overrun by stress and unrealistic expectations.

Bella and Kenzie are getting so BIG; they don't look like "toddlers" any more. Patty Play Pals "come to life"!

Deanne, your photos are just wonderful. I am actually rather excited about getting a tripod and moving away from the "take aim and shoot" mindset. I can swing either Wednesday you mentioned. I will not, however, be doing any driving if the weather is inclement.

Wendy, I thought of you as the snow overtook my area and I began to hear reports of dreadful driving conditions on the highways in your area! I can't even feature being stuck in your car for 5 hrs. trying to accomplish what should have been a "slow" commute. I do understand the concerns about allowing a kid to fall on his face academically. And I, too, am regularly shocked by disciplinary problems. But, when I was in school, there were still teachers that would hit a kid. The helpmeet received a ruler across the palms of his hands for being a jerk in class when he failed to "cease and desist". And a solid dose of shame and humiliation at the dinner table that night. Certainly I don't advocate corporal punishment, but it rather highlights the differences between the 50s, 60s, 70s, to present; and what does it all say about "family life" or the lack thereof? Dunno. I am concerned that we are working steadily toward raising another generation in constant need of praise and unable to endure the necessity of criticism and accountability. I know you understand that.

People are so stupid and selfish about driving in the snow. No common sense, they don't accept that you have to slow down and you have to PAY ATTENTION and increase the amount of space required to react and avoid. I learned that one driving 40' buses. You can't stop or manoeuver quickly when driving a fully loaded bus, so learn to control the variables you can control. Last year, I had to go for a "mammygram" in a horrible snowstorm. I thought about cancelling, but went anyway (it was a "call back" for a suspicious area). On my way home I poked along at a blazing 25 mph, noting the large 4WD truck at a respectful distance behind me. I hit the gas to power through a plowed "wake" as I pulled into the little market. The truck followed me in. I got out and apologized to the guy in truck for being such a "nannah". He grinned and said, "you drive an appropriate speed for the conditions and your vehicle, you'll get where you want to go, don't apologize.". I'm fortunate that my "commute" occurs very early in the morning with minimal traffic!

Eden, I'm glad your Mom got decent news. I don't blame her for going the extra distance and opting for radiation on the suspect area. Your sense of relief must be great. I can't wait to go back and click on the links for the trees and the arrangements when I have more time to really enjoy them. Yikes, I feel "really American" knowing the garage is probably bigger than your house... .

No porta-potty, Sue, but if you're willing to wee-wee in the puckerbrush (or a pee-nut can) and use the "main house" facilities you're welcome to bunk up in the Salon for as long as you wish. No water view, either... unless, of course, you're willing to scale the roof on a clear winter's day. Sounds appealing, huh? As for "renting out"... we would enjoy "you guys", but most "tourists" would blanche at the way we live, here on the compound. :)

I am so glad to see Katie in her jammies. But I DO want to see the zipper, too. I was surprised at how clean and neat the incision on Rex's leg was. I'm not sure why I thought it would be gorier than it was. He either removed one/two staples himself or they "blew out", but there is NO scar and I was also shocked to learn that many people never bring their dogs back to have them removed?! She looks so cute with her chicken. How many more weeks do you both have to endure confinement before embarking on PT? It's good to hear more of a chirp in your posts, Cynthia. :)

Marian, LOL about "varmints". My sentiments exactly. Rex went mental this morning and sure enough, it was Foxy Loxy blatting his/her presence to the dawn world. Had the helpmeet not been home I'd have turned him loose. Foxy Loxies and "rats with long legs" are one of the reasons we have "thatfooldog". We have coyotes in this area, too, but they seem to be more common in the more open, less densely populated parts of town. Great shots. My "germamiums" gave up the ghost and there is no live plant material in the house right now. I think I'll have to get a Christmas cactus. Any other recommendations for something "bullet-proof" for a sunny location with a woodstove?

I have laughed about Patty Play Pal and other fond remembrances. My favorite was RoseAnn Whitey (I named her). It was one of those rocking horses with springs attached to the supporting frame. I LOVED that thing. I would get it rockin' and rollin' and later, Mum confided she was frequently concerned I'd fall off. A harbinger of my penchant for fast ponies and horses in later years. Did any of you receive a tangerine or an orange in the toe of Christmas stocking? That was biggie in our home... along with walnuts (the nutcracker was on the floor under the stockings, next to the fireplace tools).

Jerri, I completely understand wanting a "change". I'm not interested in something completely different as much as I'm interested in paving the way for a smooth transition to something that challenges me more and indulges a penchant for "pretty" and "beautiful". I'm a bit of a "nervous Nellie" when it comes to "job security"; to that end, we live "closer to the bone" than many would find comfortable. And whenever I've needed a change I've had the next "gig" lined up. I actually contemplated nursing for a brief period after Mum's surgery (Stoma/Wound Care; I have all the core science classes behind me, would require about a semester+a class/two to meet the requirements for the BS, and would face the clinicals). I think you should think about it carefully; work up a PLAN and revisit it periodically. I'm not saying "don't", I'm simply saying, put the plan together and look at it carefully over the course of time. You're a smaHt cookie and you'll make a good choice. It's important to be happy with what you do for work. I love to sew, and I have that going for me. What really remains for ME is how to use the skill I love to do things that "jazz" me and make me smile when I've finished the project. I'm thinking of you these days. I understand the thoughts that cross your mind every so often and at inopportune times.

I lived in Virginia for one year. I LOVED it. I loved the climate and I loved that the streets weren't filled with faces that looked just like mine (white). My community is homogenous, and frankly, I don't think much about it day to day until I read a post like 'bug's. And then I am reminded of how insular my life's experience has been with the exception of that one year. Yet it hasn't made me fearful, mistrustful... rather, it makes me rather sad. Rather like going through life never savoring the full variety of "taste".

I have to get moving on the day's chores, you guys.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2007 at 10:05AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Jerri, this made me think of you:
"Change has a considerable psychological impact on the human mind. To the fearful it is threatening because it means that things may get worse. To the hopeful it is encouraging because things may get better. To the confident it is inspiring because the challenge exists to make things better." --King Whitney Jr.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2007 at 10:31AM
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"...and to the living, it is inevitable. So expect it, embrace it, and thrive on it. "


    Bookmark   December 15, 2007 at 11:09AM
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Hey peeps! Keep those pictures and ex-lurkers coming!

Welcome to Anise (where's Galium, we could start an herb garden) and Anitamo. Anymore 'A' lurkers ready to come in? If not, Barbaras, Bettys, Bevs and Beezlebubs may now sign in.

Happy sparkle season to Bella and Kenzie, yes Eden it isn't Christmas with out the little ones. Love Bella's smile, and her dress too, and Kenzie's sweet cards. So that's 'Dora' on the card. I recognize the cartoon but didn't have a name for her.

Deanne, your photos could sell monitors. My screen lights up when they display. The snow looks beautiful, I'm happy to have it here as long as I'm well provisioned and no place to go. NPR just said our severe storm watch will result in 1/10 of an inch. The last time a speck of snow was predicted we had 3 inches.

Wendy, my sister was out there with you on your trek home a few nights ago. She works 20 minutes from home, and called me at 6:30 to say that she was half way home after leaving at 4PM. My worst trip ever was Maynard Mass to Goffstown NH in the late 80s. 7 hours! And of course I had to pee for 6 hours of the commute.

Chelone, the doors are perfect! When I saw the beigeness of the walls I wrongly feared siding, but on inspection see bright new shingles waiting to fade :)

I'm in "search and trash it" mode which usually doesn't occur until January. No Christmas decorating here as I've banned guests from the house until Katie is healed. She gets too excited if she hears anyone at the door. Crooning and wiggling with excitement. Perhaps there will be a February coming out party for her when I don't have to worry about damaged goods from whirling :)

OK, back to my ruthless indoor weeding.

Later - Cynthia

    Bookmark   December 15, 2007 at 11:25AM
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I was allowed to ride my bike to Maynard to go shopping with my baby-sitting money, Cynthia. There were a couple of pretty cool stores that sold "Landlubber" jeans that fit me really well. And there was always "Woolies" with mulitple entrances and wide, exciting counters replete with bins full of very cool little doo-dads. At that time, too, there were a couple of saunas to satisfy an ageing Finnish population who had worked in the mills before the downturn in the '60s.. I've not been there in many, many "moons" now; I probably wouldn't recognize the place. I sure as hell don't recognize Rte. 2A! when I was a kid it was largely faHmland and I recall the construction of the first strip "maul". Such a shame. :(

I've caved completely on the evergreens in the windowboxes, my friends! I had an "Aha! moment" while out on my errands... . I've always loved candles in the windows, so I bought 8 of them! It will give the windows the cheery glow I like to see, they won't be hidden by evergreens, the place will look festive with no cold fingers or drill. I have to set them up before dusk. If it thaws out I can always shove some greens in the boxes.

I picked up some Christmas items for the helpmeet; 3 pr. of wool socks, 2 packs of boxer briefs, a pair of lined work pants, and a lovely grey fleece vest that will not show the accumulation of cat hair too much. There were a lot of people with glazed eyes out there today.

V., I am chaHmed by your daughter's dinner. And I concur with 'bug, how completely terrific that you were so delighted. It must be a wonderful thing to see your child grow, thrive, and continue to amaze. Does my heart glad. :)

The helpmeet really likes Rachel Ray, too. He thinks it's great to see a woman who LIKES TO EAT. And has pointed out the similarities between pornographic movies and the hosts of cooking shows... thought you'd appreciate the male insight, lol. ;)

Eden your home is great. I love seeing the little touches you put here and there. It must be priceless to see Bella's reaction to the things you add and she gets to discover. I was wondering the same thing as Deanne about your wall words.

I don't think I'm going to like these candles very much, frankly. They have an "eye" that is supposed to detect dusk and dawn. I'm not sure I want Christmas decorations that "think for themselves". UNHUH, I'm the cruise director here, thank you. :)

Weed on, Cynthia, and make this abode your next stop, 'K?

    Bookmark   December 15, 2007 at 1:19PM
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Chelone, I bought a few of the on at midnight, off when a car goes by candles a few years ago and didn't like them. I'm exaggerating, the house is too far from the street to catch headlights, but if I turned on indoor lights the candles went out. In the kitchen they never went on! I pat myself on the back for doing the test with a half dozen before investing in the whole house. There are too many lights to turn on and off so the candles stay on 24/7 for a month. It's less energy than the floodlights some people leave on all night year round. I'm thinking of doing the back of the ground floor today, was lazy when I did the rest of the house a week ago. But walking round the circle the leafless trees offer a view of a part of the back and it looks like I blew a fuse. Gotta fix it!

    Bookmark   December 15, 2007 at 3:10PM
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Good morning everyone. We got some snow here overnight...probably about 4 or 5 inches. My DH snow-blowed the driveway twice.

I'm tired this morning as we had a sleepover with our three grandsons last night. Ages 5,3,and 2. Our granddaughter, 11 mos. was at her other grandma's house. Brookfield zoo is open during the holiday season at night, complete with hundreds of donated Christmas trees and decorations. So we took them there last night, and had a cold but enjoyable time. The snow was falling, and that completed the cozy winter scene. All the animals must have been inside sleeping, though, so all we saw were the elephants and hippos. The parents picked them up at 10 this morning, and now I'm resting up before my youngest brother's birthday party today...he's turning 40! The baby of nine! My mom had nine kids in eleven years!

chelone, I was touched by your story of not needing your DH to get you anything for x-mas, telling him that he's all you need. That's how it should be. I'm curious as to the word helpmeet...I never heard it before you. I've been following along in your garage building experience, interesting to say the least. It's beautiful. What will you be using it for? I know you sew, but not sure if you are going into business for yourself now? I have one of those rocking horses in my basement that is from thirty years ago. My MIL bought it for my 30 year old son when he was almost one, and now his kids are using it. Springs have been replaced and MIL repainted it, but it looks brand new. Great toy.

Bug, love your city experience. Sounded like you got a lot done in a short time. I live in a very mixed area. My kids all grew up having friends from other ethnic backgrounds, which is different from my youth. And you and bug are right, it does help to experience life in a rich sort of way.

Beautifully decorated homes, Eden, Deanne and Honey. You all have the same talent inside as well as outside. Eden, glad your mom is doing well. And glad for you deanne that DH got home safely.

Michelle, Kenzi if such a cutie. You must just adore spending time with her. Bella is another cutie, too. I'll post some pics of my GK's so we can all ooh and aah together. LOL

Have a great day.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2007 at 12:24PM
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Anita, I went back and found you. I do remember now. HI! I see you just posted too so I'll go read that now.


    Bookmark   May 2, 2008 at 7:33PM
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OK I'm wacky today. I thought I was on the current Idyll thread. So the post I see above is the old one I found. It's been a long week:)


    Bookmark   May 2, 2008 at 7:36PM
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LOL're cracking me up.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2008 at 12:06AM
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