Idyll #413 The Snowy Owl

dodgerdudetteDecember 7, 2008

Winter, birds and the message of hope.

Carry on Idylls...

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I'd better post before the day is done.

I spent the afternoon collecting greens and decorating the pillars. It was in the 30s and sunny, which made it a pleasant task. We found some fabulous lanterns yesterday while Christmas shopping. I put pillar candles in them but will probably replace those with battery operated candles that go on at dusk. The gifts that we shopped for are all wrapped and under the tree. I talked with DD and Kenzie this afternoon and told her that I had put up my tree. She insisted that she "see" it. I told her I would email her a picture. IÂm not sure she knows what email is.

IÂm enjoying some Christmas CDÂs played in my computers D drive. No Ipod here.

I have candles in the front and side windows, as the side of our house faces the road and the front faces toward another road (we live on a corner) Mine are the type that come on at dark and go off in light. The only problem is that if you have too much light in the living room, they go off. Its no problem with the upstairs rooms as we are hardly ever up there. Last week was especially busy for us in the evenings that IÂve gotten very little decorating done in the house.

I never got out and finished cleaning up the garden shed this fall. It was quite challenging when I went to dig out the urn that I put by the front door with a topiary in it.

I have paperwhites in a square glass vase and IÂm enjoying watching the roots grow down through the gravel to reach the water.

LOL on Spike. Kenzie surely wonÂt have that on her list. She called me one day and said "we have to get out of Florida  there are dinosaurs everywhere!" She seemed quite animated about it.

Marian the sky pictures are wonderful with the trees appearing nearly black.

Kathy, how do you stop at 2 gifts for Aiden? I would never have that much will power. I just remembered today that I picked up a botanical coloring book for Kenzie at the Denver BG. Perfect for my little gardener.

Eden, I love the chandelier! I should do something similar in our LR. I agree with Bella about being Fancy Nancy LOL

Chelone, there is very little fabric to be had around here either. There are a couple shops locally, one for quilters and on specializing in wedding/prom type fabrics. When I made my new kitchen curtains I actually ordered the fabric on line. It was a Waverly fabric and you could send for free samples ahead of your order.

Âbug, from experience I know how tough mediation is and how tough the situation must be to get to the point of needing it. IÂm glad IÂm past those days.

Saucy, the gingerbread houses turned out fabulous. IÂm sure itÂs a memory in the making.

For quite a few years Rick and I havenÂt given each other gifts. I just got too hard and with 6 kids and spouse and 10 grandkids it was just another stress that we didnÂt need. Yesterday though when we were at SamÂs he picked up 4 solar garden lights for me. They are round glass mosaic.

Nighty night


    Bookmark   December 8, 2008 at 12:03AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Monday mornings in December aren't as dreary as the rest of the year. What do you think? :-) Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend. We were busy with one thing or another. We saw a few snow flakes yesterday but it didn't amount to anything at all. I can't believe I didn't get my wreath up, but we did manage to get a bow last night but it was too late to fool with it. It's at the top of the priority list for today.

The internet is running slow for me this morning, which is unusual. Anyone else? I finally called Comcast who didn't answer for 45 minutes and of course, as soon as they finally picked up, the computer problem cleared up.

No, we haven't bought a car yet. We managed to test drive three on Saturday and have narrowed our search. Now it is just finding the one we want and despite thinking it would be a good time to buy, I'm not seeing any amazing bargains. Honda has evidently taken on the policy of Saturn on used cars, that they set the price low to begin with and don't negotiate on it. Prices seem to be in line with the Kelly Blue Book or a little lower. Incentives are $400. off the price of the car and some dealers have fairly low financing rates. We are looking at 2006 models hoping for low mileage and an extended warranty. That's the news on the car front.

We all had dinner together Friday night and refined our gift lists. Yesterday we managed to order the main gift for DD and picked up the sewing machine from repairs. We have gotten our first invitation to DD's on Tuesday night. She has been waiting for me to feel well enough to have us over and make dinner. We decided instead to go out to eat because we have a gift certificate to use up that we've had too long. Then she will have us over for dessert and coffee. I am looking forward to that.

Kathy....could you find me a You Tube link to any of your Christmas collection? What about some of your Jazz instrumentals? I like the idea of a thread on local architecture photos. I will be looking for opportunities. Your Infinity Speakers sound amazing. I love a great sound system. I end up listening to tracks while on the computer more often than not. We have a Bose set of bookcase speakers in the Living Room that are great for their size but nothing like yours I am sure. DH had speakers the size of yours when we first met, I wonder what happened to those? Wondering about the paintings on your wall...are you collecting someone?

Mary...also want to add my congratulations on the guitar loan for David. I agree that his teacher must not only see a lot of talent there, but believes David to be responsible and reliable to care for it. Such a nice time of year to be given such a gift. :-)

Congrats on the new hard drive Deanne! Let's see how long it takes to fill that one. [g]

Chelone....I am really feeling the chandelier vibe for over your stairwell in the Salon. [g] I saw a home with very colonial architecture yesterday with a very 'Williamsburg' type decoration on the door and it made me think of yours. I didn't have my camera with me, but I will try again. We have also never managed to get everything set up with one remote. I have it down to two on each of the TVs. One on the stereo system that I can't find. [g]

The astrological sight the other night. Well... I'm not sure I saw it or not. I didn't remember about it at the time, but we were sitting at a traffic light and it had just turned dark and I saw what looked like two bright stars close together very low in the sky right above the roofline of a building in my line of vision. I remember trying to figure out what I was looking at. Maybe that was it?

Beauty of a sunrise Marian!!

Eden...hope hubby is feeling better. :-) I like the idea of a Christmas decorating thread too and maybe we could all post some of our favorite Christmas music links. I seem to have a lot of luck finding everything I'm looking for on You Tube. I wonder if you can take videos with your camera? I would love to see one after the holidays of 'Spike meets Bud' in living color with

Martie...It's nice to be 'gotten', I 'get' you right back...[g].

Michelle....Great lanterns! Those pillars are certainly coming in handy. So Kenzie is referring to crocodiles maybe? That was so cute. We had the best Fabric store nearby that just closed. Fabric Place. I was so surprised. Are people just not sewing any more? I haven't sewn in a long time, so I haven't tried to interest DD in it. She is not one to sit still to do any crafting, but I wouldn't have the skill to teach her anyway. I haven't tried to order fabric online yet, how has that worked out for you?

Hellos all around... :-)

More Williamsburg....


    Bookmark   December 8, 2008 at 6:42AM
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I instantly thought of Michelle, Eden, Woody, and bug when I stepped over the threshold this morning on my way out to the Salon to dial in the preferred working temperature. Brrr! The wind was howlin last night and the air mass is very different this morning than it was yesterday very dry and very cold (low teens). Spencer was having none of it and was a little irritated when I gently prodded his backside, turning to me and spitting at me! (debated shoving the little ingrate out as a "touch of reality", lol).

OK, you guys, I "went for it" yesterday. I methodically inspected the wet saw, collected my hearing protection and safety glasses, and redrew the cut lines using a Sharpie. I cut a large hunk of used greenhouse plastic to cover the floor and set the saw up on two sawhorses with a board across them. I filled the tub with enough water to cover the pump thoroughly and turned it on. It made a helluva racket so I shut it off quickly and proceeded to set Rexs bed up downstairs, away from the noise, gave him a bone and told him to stay. Then I donned the sensory protection and started out with some easy cuts. The tray on the saw was not quite large enough to accommodate the diagonal of the 13" tiles so I had to turn the tile around and come in from the other side to finish those cuts. I fitted those pieces into the dry layout and moved on to some of the tougher, "inside" cuts. I should know by now that whenever my brother sets me up with equipment for any project I will have EVERYTHING I need. Including the coping saw cousin with the diamond blade for cleaning up inside cuts! J I then labeled each tile in accordance with my plan, vacuumed the cement board and applied two coats of pickling to the trimwork that will contain the grout. I was ready to "hit the hay" by the time I drained the wet saw and cleaned it thoroughly (they do make a mess), along with my brush. This morning I have to sand the trimwork and put on one coat of clearcoat to protect against the thinset and later, the grout. The helpmeet was surprised to return home and find everything cut, including the toughest cuts of all those that return to the wall in narrow parts of the hearth. (good to keep them wondering about heretofore unrevealed talents!)

I wonder what our miserable cur would do to something like Spike. I sincerely doubt he would be frightened by it and I rather suspect such an encounter could easily spawn a You Tube quality spoof of the late 50s Japanese sci-fi flicks, "Spike meets Wrecks". Funny about Kenzie remarking that there are dinosaurs everywhere in Florida.

I have done nothing with respect to my Christmas decorations. But those pictures youve posted, PM, are really getting me thinking about rearranging my arsenal of simulated fruit for a "fresh" effect. I am really enjoying all the decorating thats going on in other homes, too. I love the lantern, Michelle. As a nod to Cynthia, Jerri (where IS she?), and Cindy I noticed there were Camellia leaves available at (of all places) the local lumber yard! They really caught my eye, too. There was even some variEgated Holly, but it was variEgated with that "dog pee on snow" yellowish border. I prefer white trim, thank you! Speaking of Holly, the damned birds are eating all the berries off mine and now Im feeling guilty about the possibility of trimming it back and depriving them of a food source they obviously relish. What do you think? Should I let them have them all since it IS the season of giving? ;)

Its time to rustle up some chow, clean the "sand" from my eyes, and suit up for the next round of construction. Later!

    Bookmark   December 8, 2008 at 7:41AM
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Good morning

PM - I love seeing the Willimasburg decorations and hearing about everyone preparations is putting me in a festive mood.

Our gift buying here is very, very minimal. Not because we don't have family we care about and love, but because we have all decided Christmas this year will be about just being together. A while ago DH and I made a pact that spending money would be just for the children. Even DS with Ivan (6) and Iris (5) said they had as many toys as they want or need but would love books. Annie told me the one thing she would really like is a subscription to Rolling Stone magazine which sounds rather cool (I might be reading it after her!). David doesn't know yet, but the PS3 DH won at a charity raffle has been hidden in a closet and will make its appearance Christmas day. I still have very mixed feelings about introducing it to the household but DH is kinda excited about it. Oh well...

Yesterday David played so beautifully at his recital I found myself tearing up. Like Eden, some of my best memories growing up are of violin lessons and teachers, musical activites and friends. I toured Europe with a Youth Orchestra when I was 16 and had what was probably one of the best times of my life. I had hoped Annie and David would share similar experiences and they certainly have in terms of the wonderful people they have met and friendships that have devopled through playing. With David it has gone a step further and he has deveoped a true passion for what at this point he wants to pursue as a career. I actually have very conflicting feelings as making a living as a classical musician is just so incredibly hard, and nothing I was ever intended to push him towards. But if that is where his heart is, I'll do what I can to nurture his talent.

It's a chilly 13F here and I need to head off to work.

Stay warm and safe


    Bookmark   December 8, 2008 at 7:47AM
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Good morning!

I spent yesterday unattached to the computer. Nick had it "undone" while he retrofitted a closet in the office to hold the wires of the operation, as well as some office supplies. Things are getting a little roomier in here :) The armoire that used to hold the office supplies will now hold the kid's pc. Their pc stand will now hold my all-in-one printer. Musical furniture!

PM, my inlaws are car shopping and having the same experience. She leased a car while they were in a job transition period and now it's time for her to buy. There are no deals to be had because demand is so low right now.

Kathy, I really like it whenever I get a glimpse inside your house! I love your reindeer idea and the results of its execution! Wonder how they'd look covered in cranberries, lol!

Eden, I love peeking in your house, too....I didn't go in while we were there for the first IU. I don't know why....I must've been busy poking around your garden. I just looked over at my wrought iron light fixture and I'm not sure what I could hang from it....

Maybe cranberry covered reindeer! I'm goofy this morning!

I baked off the rest of my gingerpeople yesterday, and I baked a few surprises that I will share with you after we decorate.

The gingerbread houses are hilarious because we came home from a neighbor's Christmas party to find that the kids had ripped the roof off and began the feast! The recipe, apparently, was a good one! I just imagined Mr. Bill's voice from inside...."oh no!"

It's time to get this day started. I have to go see Denise's thread, too, and I'll be thinking of things I can photo for Kathy's new thread.


    Bookmark   December 8, 2008 at 7:48AM
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Meant to comment on speakers above but forgot. We have a large pair of KLHs, a wedding gift from my brother, lo those many years ago. They still sound wonderful and like Kathy's Infinitys they supported plants for several years, too.

I was astounded at the sound delivered for not a lot of money. And the necessity of large sound boxes is no longer requisite as innovations in materials have allowed wonderful sound reproduction in smaller cases. The brand I purchased are made in Baltimore, MD.. I brought along Ella Fitzgerald and Handel to conduct the "taste test". The young salesmen seemed surprised by my musical taste, lol. But the sound of Ella's clear voice drew several older patrons into the sound room, I let one man select his favorite track on the Cole Porter Songbook and take over the chair to enjoy it... .

I haven't set anything up yet, though. I am going to have to play musical components to get everything on one remote control. There will be a good deal of clambering over trusses in the attic to snake the wire down the length and breadth of the building Too cold for that nonsense today, thanks! The helpmeet was surprised by my purchase, though I suspect he will appreciate it greatly when it's time to work on trimming out the windows.

OK, now it's time to skeedaddle.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2008 at 8:06AM
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What a trip to the mall yesterday. Turns out after I got Bella all dressed up in her holiday finery that Santa's taking reservations now and was already booked up for the rest of the day when we got there. So we tried taking some pictures on our own in front of part of the mall's holiday display. Bella was not cooperating. You couldn't pay me enough to photograph children I don't think.

First try...

Let's try again...

Nope, going for #3...

What will she think of next...

And lastly...

She had cute white sparkly tights to go with her outfit but insisted the ones she's wearing were better. Not sure I agree but don't want to cramp her sense of fashion :) Megan's going to have to choose from one of those to have cards done today, lol.


    Bookmark   December 8, 2008 at 9:41AM
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I think a montage in the order of 4, 1, 2!

    Bookmark   December 8, 2008 at 10:08AM
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Eden, I think a montage of all those shots would be great for the card, since everyone would know exactly what Bella's up to these days, lol. What a character, but adorable. Love those tights!

I was fooling around with the last photo on photobucket. I'm not sure about the highlights on her face but can't change it any further:

    Bookmark   December 8, 2008 at 10:12AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Oh Bella, you are a sweetie!

    Bookmark   December 8, 2008 at 10:21AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Wow, Denise, that is so cool! I think that would make a great card. I didn't know you could do that with Photobucket. I like photo #3, and I like the idea of a montage too. She seems pretty cheerful for a little girl who discovered she couldn't see Santa.

Saucy...thanks for sharing about your inlaws' car shopping experiences. Good to know it's not just us.

Mary...I enjoyed hearing about your experiences growing up learning to play the violin. Having the ability and talent to pursue has to be there, but a parent's support and commitment has to be too. They have had 'Music From the Heart' with Meryl Streep on cable lately and I watched it the other day. I had forgotten what an uplifting movie it was. What a difference that violin teacher made in the lives of so many kids. sounds like you are pretty pleased to have the cuts behind you. I imagine that is the hardest part. Sounds like you are going to be finished with that before Christmas. I have a few more Williamsburg photos to post too. Only one more with the fruit, so since you are still planning your decorations, I'll post it now...actually I found I had two more. One wreath looks almost the same as the first one, but has a slight variation...

And here is the last one....

    Bookmark   December 8, 2008 at 10:35AM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

Good Morning, I will attempt to continue my catching up...
The wind is mighty brisk this morning, so I am hopining the power remains on. :-(

I will start with the links that I missed in the last thread.
Eden, the dogs greeting returning soldier is touching. Such doggy love! Our cats are no that affectionate.:-)

Denise, I haven't watched the one you posted on "wisdom", The TV is on and I can't listen to it now....

Woody, no surprise about who talks more, men or women. :-) As pointed out, we just talk about differant subjects. Last night, following our every first sunday evening singing, the women gathered in one group, and the men in another, and there was non stop yaking in both groups. There were not many of us there, but it was a very pleasant time. Although the two groups were very close together, neither bothered the other. :-)

Saucy, I enjoyed the pics of your two making their gingerbread houses. Great job by both, but I must admit...the houses look good enough to eat! LOL .

Marie, beautiful fabrics. I wish I were into sewing, but it was never my expertise, or even an interest. :-(

RE: cold weather in the No.east, I hear on the news that is worse than 'normal'. Ours has been below norm temps, but nothing extreme. An even colder spell is to arrive tomorrow afternoon, with more possibilities of snow. I am going to stock up with more than the usual supplies. I do not want to caught lacking in some needed stuff if the unexpected comes.

Julie, is is good that your DS is wanting a meaningful job. My brother's 40+ step SIL moved in with them some time ago, and apparently is content to live off of them ! I see that in other families of friends also.

I missed the pic of the remote control dinosaur, but I will take everyone's word that is is not to be desired. :-)

Chelone, a lot of our furniture is things Nolon brought home from either his exbosses rental houses (Given to him, of course) or things from fire jobs, that the ins. co.s, said to dispose of. Nolon restored several of the items, to where they are quite acceptable in my house. :-) I love being frugal, and would probably be so, even if I did not need to be.

WOW, Marie...a moose! I do not recall ever eating moose meat. I winder if it is similar with elk? I have eaten it, and bear. I found bear to be rather strong...and dark. Too bad about the dog getting the frozen deer meat. Way back in our younger years, we had deer meat in a public locker. It was horrible meat, and I was not unhappy when it was destroyed by a fire that burned the lockers!
Re: recycled windows...a good many of the ones in our house came from Nolon's remodel jobs. Some are defective, and I would really like to have them replaced.
Some of our light fictures came the same way. Our ceiling fan was one of the best deals. The lady who ordered it said it was too fancy!!! and just gave it to Nolon!
Well...something has gone goony on my computer...I can not find the last of my post...sooo...
Excuse the mistakes...I will try to find the lost stuff..I 'did' put this part in my documents, but the 'preview' option did not work on GW !!!!!


    Bookmark   December 8, 2008 at 11:02AM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

After I 'saved' the part that I have now posted, I added some more to each person, but that part was lost also... For some reason, the "preview" option would not work!I am wondering if selecting all, and saving it into my documents, had anything to do with the mess-up? Even after I put the saved part back in my box, it still did not make the corrections that I tryed to make! I hate seeing all the mistakes that are still there! Anyway, I looked at all the links that were posted, and enjoyed them all....

Now, instead of being discouraged, I am just plain mad! and I haven't even got to today's thread!

    Bookmark   December 8, 2008 at 11:40AM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

I will post snippets that aren't so discouraging to lose!

This one is all about

We watched "Jack Frost" saturday afternoon, and enjoyed it, even though it turned out to be quite strange. :-)

Yesterday eve, I watched "Front of the Class". It was interesting because my oldest GD was diagnosed, some years ago, with Tourette's Syndrome. Either the show really exaggerated the man's symptoms, or else my GD has a very mild case. She is also on medication that controls it. Something that the movie did not address.
I have not done any Googling on it, so it may affect the afflicted very differantly. She has never had a problem in school because of it.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2008 at 12:04PM
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flowerluvr(Z5 IN)

A quick pop-in-post to say howdy to all! We finished harvest last Saturday, and the past week has been full of catch-up work, wedding shopping, and DB's doctor appointments. There were a few spots of cancer on DB's brain that the doc thought would dissolve with chemo. That didn't happen, and a larger spot that they thought was scar tissue from a stroke several years ago, turned out to be cancer as well. They've put him on a series of radiation treatments, then will go back to chemo. Trying, trying times to say the least.
DD is just about ready for her wedding. It's the 27th of this month. We went shopping for me on Saturday, and miracle of miracles, found something that looks nice and didn't break the bank. And, shoes, too!!!!
I have to run, but have been thinking of you all much, and missing chatting with you.
Take care, all...I'll be back!

    Bookmark   December 8, 2008 at 4:01PM
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Another long day for for me, got home a little after 6. Lots of posts today too..good thing because I dont feel up to any chores tonite after so many hours at the awfice. Got me a glass of mediocre chardonnay and and turned on the heat . Its 57 in the kitchen.

Michelle, if I lived across the street from you the pillar arrangement would always be a source of interest. I love what youve done this time with the lantern-thingys. Bet you got a deal on those if I know you ! I figure that Aiden will be oblivious to Christmas festivities at his age- I think hes only 9 months or so. I got him some books and will probably get 1 toy type item. There will be a monetary gift as well for his savings account, but that will be discreetly under the table.

PM, Ive really been enjoying the Williamsburg photos that you have been posting. I wold say that 98% of my Christmas CDs were salvaged from the used section at the Wherehouse . I do have Nat King Coles Christmas album, and the Chieftans Bells of Dublin probably the only 2 that I actually paid full price for. I will dig out the jazz-xmas cd and give you the info from it. I think I got it on a 99 cent post season close-out at the grocery store several years ago.
I had to lol when you asked about my art collection ..I must tell you that most of those paintings are forgeries done by me. I am looking at adding some things and doing some re-arranging this winter .

Chelone, kudos to you on plunging into the mysterious arena of tile cutting. Between you and Mary we have some serious home improvement creds going on here.
It looks to me like PMs pics of the Williamsburg displays are featuring real fruit? What would happen to real fruit outside over Christmas in your climate ? When you think about it, apples, citrus , etc are pretty inexpensive-the only really pricy items are the damn pomegranates, which are of course wonderful in arrangements.
Speakers: the interesting factoid is that the components for the system (amps, pre-amps, equalizers, tuners etc) became a niche for Japanese manufacturers, but the very best speakers were always US made. You are so right, Ella is a perfect speaker audition sample.

Saucy, I cringe to think of trying to cover my reindeer in cranberries ! One can only imagine what they would look like when pulled out of the storage box for Christmas 2009 !

Eden, I truly love Bellas socks. I want some. I meant to mention also that you and I are squarely on the same page when it comes to lighting. I have lots of small lamps around that I actually have 15 watt bulbs in. I really enjoy the cozy glowy warmth they provide on winter evenings.

Marian , what version of Windows do you have ? I wish I could figure out what is happening with your posts. If you type a post in MS word and save it , and then the copy-paste goes haywire on GW it shouldnt matter because your post will be in your documents and you can just open the file and copy and paste it again. I am surveying my Phals daily for any sign of spiking. No luck yet !
Hi Brenda..sorry to hear of your DBs health issues. How hard it is for families to juggle the excitement and optimism of a wedding and deal with these health problems at the same time.

On that note Im going to eat some dinner and do some mindless reading .. nite all

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   December 8, 2008 at 10:42PM
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It's back to the salt mines this morning. It's cold there as well as cluttered and dirty, no wonder I'm counting the days until we break for Christmas! (colder than your kitchen, Kathy, at least until the sun come up, but if it doesn't it'll be cold all day long).

The cold weather here renders real fruit "toast" within a few freeze/thaw cycles. I used real fruit the first year I did the decorations, then "wised up". "Faux" is a beautiful thing. I spent some quality time with my stash last night, coming up with a newish twist on the basic idea. I have to find a few more pinecones, go cut some White pine, and wire a few things but then I should be able to roll along on the assembly aspect. I was all set to get going last night, but the missing pinecones threw a wrench into the works. I'm on the fence about the lights. Last year I skipped filling the windowboxes and put little candles in each window (I like that effect too!). Not sure what "look" I'll shoot for this year. When I was a kid, we used the candles in the front windows, but the windows in the living room and the dining room were treated differently. We added one candle for the first Sunday of the Advent season, a second for the next Sunday, and so on until the Epiphany. Did any of you do this, too?

Brenda it's lovely to hear your voice, but I'm mightily sorry chemo-therapy wasn't able to deliver maximum effect for your brother in the first go round. I'm sending positive thoughts for many "good days" to come. Talk about cramming a lot of activity into an already busy month! I'll bet it was a huge relief to find appropriate attire for the wedding, better yet that it didn't break the bank. That's great. And I'll bet you're glad to be out of the Combine, too. (don't forget to restock the toilet paper, lol).

The last shot of Bella was my favorite, Eden. And she definitely was stylin' with those tights (I'll bet the white ones are darling, but no way would I have created a scene over them, either). I think PM's take on the disappointment of finding Santa Clause "all booked up" factored into the overall level of cooperation with photography.

I am going to pick out the grout for the hearth today. I'll let the thinset dry for a few days and then tackle the grouting later in the week. I asked the helpmeet if we could get the stove in place and hooked up by next Monday and he said it saw no reason why not. I'll be really glad to see an end to this project, pick up some added floorspace, and be able to see and USE the stove.

Marian, I caught about 3/4 of "Front of the Class", too. I enjoyed it. I knew a couple of people who were stutterers or had severe speech impediments and it was disconcerting at first, but it quickly became a non-issue and with acceptance the stuttering diminished greatly and my comprehension of garbled speech improved, too. Living in a small community teaches you to be gentle with those who face greater challenges in their lives.

I've been wondereing if Deanne has set out here collection of decorations yet? I love the artful way you arrange them. I've been drawing Yuletide spirit from all the Idyll descriptions of decorating.

I'm hoping for a report on TCS. I was hassled pretty badly one year in school. It sucked, even though I knew the kid doling it out was basically an idiot. She was considerably more physically mature than I was and seemed to have such poise with boys (to me, anyway). I realize now that she was insecure and trying to look "bigger" than she actually was, but those long bus rides with snide remarks from the back seats were pure torture. No one stuck up for me, but that didn't stop them from calling me later in the evening for help with their homework, which I always delivered. What the experience did teach me was how to identify an a--hole from 10 paces. ;) It also taught me the importance of going to bat for a friend when someone did that to them. I rarely minced words when it was time to "say something". (some things stay with you over the years, too, lol).

OK, I have to go now. Soon, this day will be over, too!

    Bookmark   December 9, 2008 at 5:41AM
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When I got home last night and saw it was 16deg, I decided that the idea of true hibernation is one to be considered. Anyone have a cave??? LOL

For the record, the pineapple hanging on the mailbox seems no worse for the wear since Thanksgiving. Then again, it's only been snowed on once so far and if the blackbirds don't do it in first, it should last at least through New Year.

Came home on Sunday afternoon to find a fully decorated (faux with sparkles) wreath on my wall. Rich had decided to get crafty and with his design sense did a really good job. Pics later, along with the celestial event pics that are kind of okay.

Good for you, Chelone!!!! I knew you could do it! When you and Mary start your custom tiling biz, know that my house is about halfway in between you two and you can stop in here to redo my bathroom Any time.

Glad you found a dress, Brenda! Pics??

Very much in work mode this week. Getting ready for 2009 is the focus. That and continuing to work with three more people who won't be there after the 19th. All attempts of quietly and gently suggesting they go now (by their bosses who are being encouraged by "above") are in vain. There's a lot of denial like, If I show up everyday maybe they'll change their minds?? It's getting more and more sad.

On an extremely happy note, Kyle finishes his Bachelors in 7 school days!!! We're planning a pot luck gathering for family and life-long friends in January since he won't walk until May. Other than lots of hugs and prideful gazing, is there anything a Mom is supposed to do when DS accomplishes this?

Time to get going but given all the idiocy in the world of late I'll leave you with this great piece of advice, given to me years ago and steadfastly adhered to: "If there's going to be an a&()ole in the room, don't let it be you."


    Bookmark   December 9, 2008 at 6:41AM
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Good morning

Annie used to have lots of colorful stripey tights just like Bella's which she wore with her jumpers. I miss those days!! The pics are wonderful Eden - she has such an adorable face.

Brenda - congrats on completing the harvest and finding a dress. I glad you have some bright spots with all your brother is going through. ((Brenda))

Martie - many congratulations to Kyle too. You must be feeling very proud.

Marian - what a bummer to lose so many posts:0(

I work with children who are bullies, those who are bullied and a most important group - the bystanders. They are the ones who play a vital role in helping break the cycle of bullying. Good for you Chelone for going to bat for those who needed it.

My Mum arrived last night in DC and will be staying with DS for a couple of weeks, then down to New Orleans to visit DB. She come to us for New Years. We can't wait to see her.

My bowl of home made mueseli and yoghurt is almost finished so I should make tracks. We're warming up to the 40's this afternoon so perhaps I'll get the last of my bulbs planted.

have a great day


    Bookmark   December 9, 2008 at 7:37AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Brenda...I find it amazing that you are not grumpy and crabby right about now. With DB's challenges and a wedding at the same time all at Christmas time! I completely understand how happy you are with having found a dress and shoes you like and can afford. I have always found shopping for clothes that I actually like a challenge but especially for something fancy. Once you have that done, maybe a lower level of stress is possible. Hoping everything else just falls into place for you. :-)

Marian...sorry you continue to have problems with posting. I think your idea of composing smaller posts and posting a few times might work better, maybe? Might's well try it. :-) So sorry about your granddaughter's diagnosis but very glad to hear it is a mild case with medication that can control it. How old is she? Is it something they grow out of at all?

Haven't seen 'Jack Frost' or 'Front of the Class' yet. We watched The Polar Express last night. DH and I watched it for the first time last year. Who needs kids to enjoy some of the new animated movies they come out with. I could have sworn I was watching the real Tom Hanks for two hours. I think this is going to be a classic Christmas movie too.

Kathy....aha! I had an inkling of a thought, that you might be collecting paintings from a friend or family member that painted, but it was YOU!! lol Oh, now I am going to have to go back and take a closer look at those paintings. You are full of surprises, Kathy. :-) Among which is that you are quite the audiophile.

Aiden is way too small to be any fun this year. I remember being impatient for the second Christmas which was a whole lot more interesting. The year our middle son was three and the baby, DD, one year, and we had a new dog that was hyper, it was 'quite' interesting. DD was already walking and we just didn't have enough eyes in the back of our head, so we put one of those accordion like wooden corrals around the Christmas tree. Not quite the effect I was looking for in the Christmas photos that year. [g]

'Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire' one of the all time essential songs at Christmas time. You mean you haven't had your jazz Christmas music playing yet? [g] Seriously though, I try to time starting to play Christmas music so that I get enough of it and don't get tired of it by Christmas. I do have to make opportunity to play my favorites on my own, because we play a lot on Christmas tree trimming night and then again on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning, but then I have a lot of competition for which song gets air time. :-)

I've been very interested in the Williamsburg photos too. I am disappointed Chelone in your report that real fruit doesn't cut it around here. What about citrus? I saw a local house with a triangle of lemons above the door last year. It is much warmer in Williamsburg at Christmas, for sure. I still see some other ideas that are is another....a great use for all those gingerbread men being created this year...

I've just realized that December is a month with abundant opportunity for finding great images, so I hope you all will indulge me if I start posting more than my usual.

Well...that's about all I have time for this morning, but I will be back. This is from a series of vintage Christmas images called 'Moonlit Village'....

We are going out to dinner tonight and to DD's new apartment for dessert tonight, which we are all looking forward to.

Enjoy this cold Tuesday...brrr..and it is very gray out there right now!


    Bookmark   December 9, 2008 at 7:41AM
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I agree, Chelone, the holiday spirit here is infectious. I pulled down most of the remaining grapevine yesterday to make a wreath, which was surprisingly easy since the vine just wants to go in circles and grab hold anyway. The grape is a purpurea and the leaves were still gorgeous. I'm not sure I'd have the will to pull it down every year, since the spot looks forlorn now. Saved the leaves in a phonebook. And I'm experimenting with the inky berries of the fringe tree, drying them in a microwave lightly first. This is where you guys are taking me, microwaving branches!

Brenda, I'm so sorry to hear your brother needs a second round of chemo.

Congrats to both Martie and Mary, for their boys moving on to bigger things.

I've always known from my mom that Holyoke, Mass., was a paper mill town, but other than that, the much talked about manufacturing base we've lost, esp. in the Northeast, is a bit hazy in my mind. Until we start talking fabrics. Woof & Warp was my teenage hangout, and it still exists but is now mainly decorator/upholstery fabrics, very pricy. Other than that, all the fabric stores I haunted as a teenager are closed. Couple Joannes around town I never go into. Downtown LA has a garment/fabric district, but all imported fabric I suppose. When I lived in San Fran, I discovered Britex, linked below, and it's still there. So if you're ever in SF, bring an extra empty suitcase. The remnants used to be fantastic, but I wonder if there are still remnant barrels?

Gotta catch a train, but I want to apologize to Eden for altering Bella's photo -- in hindsight it just seems wrong somehow...

My mom loved her 56th anniversary boat ride Sunday through the canals, enjoying the Pear cider we brought and viewing the holiday decorations. Saw a sparkling "Oy to the World" amongst lots of other stuff.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2008 at 9:53AM
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Oy to the World got a snicker from me :) I have been enjoying pears this week (leftover from a bag for the hostess gift) and pear cider sounds good!

Hi Brenda! It's nice to "see" you. I never realized how far into the winter harvest can go. I had it in my head that it had to be done before really cold temps arrived. I'm sorry your brother's news was not better, but hope that everyone is keeping their spirits up. Hugs from me.

GB, Marcy sits in the little window at my desk which has a radiator below it, and watches the bird feeder that I have set up right outside the window. I imagine Phoebe would have as much fun watching her as she would have watching her Jays! Marcy's butt sure is dirty....she leaves a big ring of dirt where she sits on the sill! I just cleaned it yesterday.....

PM, I really liked the persimmons on one of the wreaths you posted, but I would imagine they would be dripping off of the wreath up here :) Just like the cranberries stuck to the reindeer :)

I have a few more cranberries to play with, and then I am moving on to cookie people....who are all baked and waiting for adornments.

I have to think of a craft for Sarah's class....I am thinking snowflake suncatchers....a play off an idea I saw on Martha's website....I'd use pipe cleaners and larger glass beads where she used fine gauge wire and teeny glass beads. I don't know....

I'd better go get to work. I got my weekly beating this morning and I'm slow to get going and here it seems half the day is over!



    Bookmark   December 9, 2008 at 11:38AM
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Denise, apologize? No. I really liked it and want to thank you for taking the time to do that! I sent it on to Megan along with the suggestions of a montage of those goofy photos. Thanks for all of your input everyone. I'm always grateful for being able to pick all of your brains for ideas. I don't think Bella was upset about not seeing Santa. I explained to her we still have plenty of time for that.

I don't think Bud will get the opportunity to be introduced to Spike. We'll take the dinosaur over to Jen's where Bella will open her presents. I know Bud would cower and be frightened by him but Jen's dog Magglio, now he's a different story. He's young and will probably have a quite different reaction. Stay tuned...

PM, I'm so enjoying your holiday photos. Keep 'em coming! I especially like the added touch of the gingerbread men hanging in the window. Enjoy your dinner with dd tonight. Jenni invited Brad and I and my dad over for dinner the Fri after Thanksgiving. It's so nice to be the one who gets to sit down and eat and not the cook for a change. And Jen's becoming quite a good cook. Side note on her. She had an OB appointment yesterday. We're at 22 weeks now. Results of her latest ultrasound were good and mom and baby Kate are both doing great.

Chelone, I'm very interested in seeing the new design you've come up with for the holiday decorations. How exciting that it's almost time to fire up the new stove!

Martie, congrats to Kyle and you too! My lantana topiary is still hanging in by the way. I finally think the stem/trunk has enough height so now to work on growing some foliage on the poor thing.

On Christmas movies, my favorite is White Christmas. I like Polar Express too. And you all know that we watch The Grinch around here alot. I try to pick up a couple of new holiday movies each year to add to the collection.

On Christmas music, Chicago's Christmas album, I think it's #25, Peter White's Songs Of The Season, one I have called Twilight Piano, all carols played beautifully on just a piano, James Taylor's At Christmas, Sarah McLachlan's Wintersong, George Winston's December and my all time a sing along with Mitch Miller that we had on an LP when I was small. I searched for it until I finally found the CD a few years ago. When I listen to it it takes me straight back to being a child, just like watching Lawrence Welk does. When I'm doing holiday baking I always put on The Nutcracker or Handel's Messiah. Now Brad's list is totally different than mine. We have to compromise when we're both home.

Michelle, so Kenzie's not a dinosaur girl. Neither were my girls. David went through a dino loving stage. And it looks like Bella is too. She's fascinated by them but a little scared too I think. I just hope she doesn't chase the new baby around with a dinosaur. Your pillars are really pretty. Those lanterns really set them off nicely. What's the spirally plant in the urn by the door?

Kathy, I love everything about the speaker photo you posted. The tree, the tables, pictures, clock. What a cool room! As for speakers, I've been fighting for years to get them all downsized around here. I love the little ones that you can just sit on a shelf. We got rid of the last pair of big ones a year or so ago. They were monsters that Brad thought were very cool because they had liquid cooled woofers and as he said "You could feel the bass".

Saucy, isn't it nice to reorganize a room and come up with more space? I'll be interested to see what craft you decide on. I've got a whole list of Christmas crafts for myself and for Bella to do. I never feel like getting involved in Christmas crafts until the season actually hits and then run out of time. Keep meaning to mention I love the cranberry wreath too!

Brenda, I'm sorry your brother has to go through radiation now. It's a rough road your family's on now I know. Concentrate on the bright spots like the upcoming wedding. That helps. Hugs to you!

Marian, you are having a run of bad Idylling luck. Frustrating I know. Keep trying ok? I haven't seen Jack Frost. I'll have to look for that one.

It's raining steadily here and is supposed to get cold again later and snow. Sounds like a mess! At least the rain is melting the last snow we got over the weekend.

I'll end with a couple of more Bella shots from Sun. These are from Build a Bear. In the first one she's warming the bear's heart and making a wish on it before the tuck it into him. The second I just think captures her perfectly. Just scroll by if you're sick of looking at her :)


    Bookmark   December 9, 2008 at 12:36PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Lost a long one Marian! Did it to myself too! Sheesh!

Rain and snow here today, sloppy stuff.


    Bookmark   December 9, 2008 at 1:09PM
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Okay, I just got my Heifer International catalog and I know what I'm giving as a donation this year: Bees!

Just had to share :)

I have gotten off on the wrong foot with the other room mother. This is going to be a long school year.


    Bookmark   December 9, 2008 at 1:16PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Saucy, I think bees are great! My cause is the expansion of the Peace Corps. I wrote to the future Pres about it this morning. I have details if you care too.

I lost a description of a nice craft project for you in my post. Maybe I'll have energy for that again later.

Last night I instigated a project...OYYY to the World! I insisted on lesson #1 on communication with DH. (We've been married 40 years...) I came up with 2 recent examples of botched communication and talked about them., but when it ended I was completely dissatisfied because there was no conclusion, no resolution. SOOOO, I sat down and wrote my summary of the discussion in an email and asked him to do the same - just to see if we were even in the same room at the time! After all, I feel entitled to know if he hears what I say and feel. Am I wrong? I'd like some affirmation that he listened to me, digested what I said and maybe even cared a bit. DSIL is a great listener. He not only listens, but says "Thanks for sharing that". Then later in the day he returns to the topic and either adds to it or makes a joke about it. But he hears the feeling behind what people say. DD is very lucky and I am jealous. ;) So we'll see if DH gets any of if I haven't tried before.

Step grandson is full of Christmas talk. He insists (perhaps with his Mom's prompting) that he is celebrating the REAL Christmas at her place. DD is smart enough to leave all this alone. You can imagine his response if they didn't celebrate again at their place once we arrive! I thought perhaps she could say "Yes, you're celebrating Christmas Day with your Mom! Pretty exciting!" Then she could offer how happy we are that he is celebrating the Christmas Spirit with us later on. We must work so hard for every little thing....

Leaving for now, but with thoughts of Brenda's days ahead, Bella and Spike, Kyle's proud family, Jenni's belly (Sarah's at 19 weeks), and more...including all the "missing persons". Do you suppose Hope is wearing Jingle Bells and a red outfit???


    Bookmark   December 9, 2008 at 2:10PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Good afternoon.... :-)

Hoping to squeeze in a few more comments, but have to hop in the shower soon. Had some unpleasant news this afternoon and we are all trying to ignore it and go out and have a nice night anyway. Job troubles in the family brewing. *sigh* I am going to have Christmas spirit...I am going to have Christmas spirit...

Well, if I keep reading Idylls I am. :-) Have you noticed little spurts of excitement in everyone's posts picking up speed?

Chelone....I'm getting excited about the wood stove up and running in the Salon, something about doing so much of it yourself that is fun to follow along with. No we have never done the Advent season at our house.

I don't think I have seen Deanne's decorations in the past, so I look forward to those pics too. I was going to take a photo of our humble little wreath this morning but it was so gray outside. I am happy it is up. I can remember one Christmas that it was so crazy around here, that the Easter hat was still on the door at Christmas. So we are doing better this year to have any wreath. [g]

Where did Julie disappear to? And what happened to Woody?

Martie...I know that sometimes it is so common place for kids to graduate from college, but to me it is still a big deal for someone to finish and receive their Bachelor's degree. Yay, Kyle! Take a lot of photos and put it on the calendar to celebrate the anniversary every year? Breathe a sigh of relief that tuition bills are done? :-) Martie...tell Rich I am very impressed with his crafty wreath project! Wow!

Exciting news about Mom's visit Mary. What a nice long trip she is planning and getting to see everyone. Have you made her a gift for Christmas? that is exciting...a purpurea grapevine! I absolutely fell in love with that particular vine and wish I had someplace to put one. I would love to see the wreath when it is finished.

Saucy...I thought persimmons were juicy, I wonder how long they last even in Williamsburg.

Eden...nice to see a long chatty post from you. I like to feel I am not the only one that can do that. :-) Okay...Magglio vs Spike...that will work too. So Jen must be getting so excited. A spring baby it looks like. I think I already told you that we almost chose Kate for our DD? Love that name. White Christmas is another favorite Christmas movie that I never tire of. DD talked us in to watching 'Elf' last year. I was not eager to, because I was not a big Will Ferrel fan, but now it is a new favorite. I found it absurdly funny and charming for some reason.

Just about all of your favorite Christmas music is new to me, Eden. I will have to check out some of it. I do remember Mitch Miller though. Wasn't he the one that had 'follow the bouncing ball'? I also enjoy the Nutcracker, although DD and I are the only fans here. It is great music to play while sitting down to Christmas dinner. My mother wouldn't miss a Lawrence Welk show. :-)

Never going to get sick of pics of Bella, Eden. With all grown kids in our house, I enjoy being reminded of how great it is to have the little ones around.

Ok...I'm running...see you all tomorrow.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2008 at 2:26PM
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Is winter over yet?!?!?!?! Freezing rain on the way home yesterday. UGH! The only good thing is that the further north I went it was only snow.

Our church denomination does work similar to Heifer Int. so my gift will seeds and tools for beginning farmers, which I thought appropriate.

Eden, I hadn't thought of it in years but one year we went to a traveling dinosaur exhibit at the childrens museum for my DD birthday. They had huge dinosaurs that had very life like movements. I don't know if they were actually to scale but very large. My dd who was probably Bella's age was just a bit scared too. Tired of Bella pictures - I think not! The Christmas pics are great - I think its great to have more natural pictures. Kenzie's was from a tailgating party a few weeks ago. She has face paint that says on one cheek "go" and "Vikings" on the other.

That is my version of Christmas spiral topiary. Ill have to post a better pic of it. Actually, it was getting pretty dark when I finally got around to taking the pictures.

As a nod to Brenda I have to mention the guy that was still picking corn last night in the near blizzard conditions. Most have been done for sometime around here but this guy is notoriously slow.

Brenda, glad to hear you arent harvesting in the snow and that the dress is checked off the list. Sorry that it is such a stressful time.

Saucy, the snowflake sun catchers sound like a wonderful craft. I remember making some pretty gaudy ones when I was younger. I actually bought something similar last year, they were made with all irredescent beads in various sizes.

Denise, a boat ride, pear cider and Christmas decorations sounds like a lovely way to spend an anniversary.
LOL about microwaving branches.

Pm, I love the pictures you find.

Congrats to Ky.

Chelone, my mom and dad are tiling their new shower now. They found a wet saw on a garage sale and were thrilled. My BIL did the floor and they are doing the walls. Im getting more inspired by all of you to do a tile backsplash sometime.

Kathy, I like your cozy room and wow on the artwork. So many talents here.

Back to the grind


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

Wow everybody! What a prolific bunch! I have managed to read everything (!), but am only going to comment on today's stuff because if I say all that I want to, I will still be sitting here tomorrow and it will all be out of date *grin*

Eden: Bella is aptly named (belle is French for Pretty) and she is a doll. Her spirit just shines in that series of photos!

Chelone: ha! No way for real fruit decorations here! Today we have had 15 cm. (6 in) of blowing snow . I have TCS home with a sore throat; I have been feeding the birds and, much to my family's disgust, the squirrels. Fruit would be gone in an instant...
Good for you with the tile and grout! Having done some of this with the man I have been married to for 35 years - well, let's just say it's not an experience I wish to repeat! By the way, TCS is just fine. The school has taken some good measures to deal with the bullying issue. The other kid has had some tough times and her situation is a sad one...We've had a good chat with TCS and he kind of understands that it is not really all about him...

Martie: Ooooh, work situation sounds grim..But how great for Kyle that he is almost done! You are justified in your happiness!

Mary: how interesting, to say the least, your work must be. And I bet you see some tough and sad things too. Planting bulbs today? Haha - see my weather report above...

PM2 - love the gingerbread decorations...One year I decorated our whole tree with homemade gingerbread men - only to come home from work to see that our dog Teaser, who never ventured into the living room, had decided to try it out just that one time....guess the rest! Funny memories of Christmas past in our family!

Marian - I empathize with you on the posting woes...You know why you don't see many photos from me - they are all floating around in cyberspace somewhere..

Brenda: What fun to have a holiday wedding! It is sad that your brother is having such a difficult time - I hope he can come to the wedding...

Denise - microwaving branches? Half of my Juniper is in the fridge...

Hi Saucy!! Chin up dear - some school years are better than others....I never thought in a hundred years that I would be doing this again *LOL*

Eden again: OMG that Bella is adorable!

Oh 'Bug, the communication thing is just impossible. I hope you can break through...Aside: This morning I asked DH to get me three things at the store: Triaminic for TCS, waterproof mittes for TCS (not wool ones, not gloves, water proof mittens, very specific), and some gingerale for him. DH was gone for ages: Came home with three pairs of dollar store woolen gloves, a large Murphy's Oil soap, sliders and pucks for the Air Hockey table (used) that we are giving TCS for Christmas, some tomatoes, the gingerale, and Dimetapp because he forgot what medicine I wanted (we have two bottles of Dimetapp already, TCS won't take it). *sigh*

And PM2 again - it is very hard to hear unpleasant news at any time but espeically at holiday time...We too had some today - DD's neighbour is taking his 26 year old daughter off life support this afternoon after a car accident on Saturday; and one of DD's police officers that she dispatches has died along with her entire family from carbon monoxide poisoning at their home....While a weepy DD was telling me this TCS was dancing around the Christmas many conflicting emotions....I will repeat "I will have the Christmas Spirit...I will have the Christmas Spirit...I will have...."

I hope to go out with DH on Thursday and do all of our shopping in one fell swoop. Used to do that on Rembrance Day when the kids were little because we government workers got the day off and the schools didn't...So I hope TCS is recovered enough to go back to school, and the weather abates. Going to go now and "light the drinking lamp" (Thanks, Deanne, I love that!) and put the spareribs in the oven. It's tht kind of blustery day!



Sorry if I missed anyone....

    Bookmark   December 9, 2008 at 4:43PM
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I was shanghaied into recovering the woodpiles this afternoon. The recent windy storms have been tough on the covers and they have to be beefed up to deal with the remainder of the winter. We had a good laugh about how rednecks "batten down the hatches", there is quite a variety of stuff stacked on top of the woodpiles, lol. Welcome to Dogpatch!

Therefore, I have not yet located the necessary pinecone for the pediment that will go over the door (it has to be a cone from a particular conifer that is on the golf course). The style in high vogue during the heyday of Williamsburg was the Georgian style and symmetry is a central precept of it; "mirror images" everywhere! If I fail in procuring the missing cone (I can't quite come up with the species name) I shall have to switch gears and go into Eastern White Pine mode instead. ;) Citrus definitely holds up better than apples do, PM. But since the decorations are not "in your face" Christmas-y and our home tends to be rather spartan without vegetative garnish, I leave them up for much of the winter, and that's why I've opted for the fake fruit. I have tried to stick with the sorts of fruits that would have been available and long-lasting. I have permitted myself a certain artistic license within that framework, however, sometimes selecting things because the color will have nice impact when viewed from the road. I'll bet Rex will be thrilled to go out with Mummy to cut greens tonight by the light of the flashlight. More thrilled than Mummy, most likely (if she goes out at all) ;) . I'm running out of steam fast.

I picked up the grout on my way home this afternoon. I'm not really looking forward to doing it, though. Memories of the dreadful thinset mortar are too vivid right now. ;) It takes a fair piece of time to do the things that we have to get done to complete the Salon. I am reminded of it every single time I check one more step off the list or have to wait until the next series of days off to get something that requires a lot of time done. I will be glad to see the end of the hearth caper, feels as if this one has gone on for just about ever. Such is the nature of sweat equity. It IS gratifying to look at something and know that you did it yourself, though.

Oy to the World got a good laugh from me, too, Denise. I'll bet I could squander many hours strolling the floors of Britex, letting my fingers "do the walking" over the bolts. I truly miss being able to "touch, feel, buy" in a nice quality fabric store. I used to love The Fabric Place, PM... I don't know if the one in Woburn is still there. The last time I was there the store was a mess, not what I remembered from the store in Framingham.

And Saucy's gift of bees seems too perfect for words. :)

OK, it's time for me to plan my next move here... shall I put in some time with the decorations or shall I simply settle into a pile on the couch? Dunno.

Eden, I love those shots of Bella, esp. the pensive first one. Look at that perfect skin! "Ella Wishes You a Swinging Christmas", Ella Fitzgerald and the Frank DeVol Orchestra is absolutely sensational. Jazz at its best. I would love the Chicago LP, too, I'll bet.

Clear communication is an artform, I believe. You'd think it would be easier the longer you've been with someone, but NO... I think there is something to "familiarity breeds contempt". It's always easier to say something to placate the speaker so you don't have to really tune in and listen. We all do it and usually with no grave consequences. But when a crisis hits and our emotional lives are thrown into flux being "blown off" and knowing you've been blown off can really cut you off at the knees. I have used the written communique, too, 'bug. I think it's a great idea. It's easier to hit all the important points without losing your cool and it gives the reader the time to read, digest, and really consider the message. It may feel strange to do it that way, but I think it's brilliant. Reed's death has required the addition of several layers of personal insulation for everyone involved and getting through it can't be easy. But you will succeed. Hang tough!

OK, pinecones, pediments, conditioned greens... or the couch? that is the question.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2008 at 5:46PM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

Pre-winter seems to be returning with a vengeance today. It was 55F when I got up this morning, and continued to be okay until about, noon when the temps started plunging. It is 33F at 5 PM . It was foggy going to town, and even foggier coming home! The wind was very cold in town, but nicer when I got home, and we were unloading my purchases. That is partly because our yard is sheltered.

Kathy, nice title.:-) My Windows version is XP.

Michelle, I could let you, and all the others who are doing all the fall clean-up in your yards and out buildings, put me to shame....but I am not going to let myself be bothered by it. ;-)
That is funny about Kenzie and all the dinosaurs in Florida.
I am glad that you, and so many others enjoyed my sunrise pics.
BTW, I saw gingerbread house kits in the grocery store today.
I love your new lights. Things like that would be of little use here, since no one can see our place unless they drive down our 600 foot driveway.
LOL..."Is winter over yet?" I have always heard that "when the days grow longer, the cold grows stronger"! Sorry!

Pm2, I have had spells of computer slowness too, even though my computer career son says it should not do that on DSL !
The DGD with Tourettes just turned 15. I do not know if it can be out-grown. Maybe it depends on the severity of it??

Speaking of Chestnuts...have any of you had experience with roasting them? I have quite a few from our two Chinese Chestnut trees.

Eden, I did view the video on Spike. I am so happy that I will never have that monster in my home! LOL

LOL Chelone, I got a kick out of Spencer turning and hissing at you, when you prodded his backside to get him to go out. Our Tommy would do that. Our cats espacially hate it when it is windy. I was amazed when they both walked up to the mailbox with Nolon in a light shower. They, espacially Trubby, usually run for shelter if one drop of rain hits them.
I am so proud of your accomplishment with the tile cutting!
Don't you have a woodshed for your wood? I can stand under the roof when I gather an armfull of wood. The only time it gets snowed on is when we have a blizzard.

Mary, I think I can understand your emotions with David's desire to be a musician, but I like the 'classical' part. Is classical music the same as it was 'in my day'? I always liked classical.

Our 15 year old GD. the gal with the tourettes, is a writer. She spent hours while here, writing in a notebook. She was not writing letters, but I am not sure what she was writing. I presune it is a novel?? I haven't asked our son if he reads what she writes. BTW, her name is Savannah.

Eden, I am tickled at the poses of Bella. Our middle GD is like that. It is almost inpossible to get a pic of her in a natural pose. She will be 14 in March and is still that way! I get a little annoyed with her. I want natural pics.
Anyway, I think a montage of all of them would be good, except it may embarrass her when she gets older. :-) The last one of the first group is my favorite. She IS a sweetie!
Your last two of her are great! the last one makes me smile along with her...:-)

Lots of lovely wreaths. That is something that I have never had! One of the ladies has had two hanging in our church building for years. They probably came from a family funeral....

Brenda, great to hear from you. And glad that harvesting is over for the year. Very sorry about your DB. I pray that the additional treatments will get it all.
It's great that you have the wedding preps to help keep you on a more cheerful side.

Martie, how nice that your DH made a wreath for you! There was a time when Nolon could have done something like that...but never did. That is great about your son getting his Bachelors. What did he major in?

I don't know if our youngest DG could be considered a bully, but she was disciplined at school not long ago for punching out a boy. I didn't get any details as to what caused her to do that, or what size the boy was. She is 11.

Oh! Marie...sorry you lost a long one also! I sure do not envy you with the ex problems. I am so fortunate to not be involved in my son's probs with his ex. The three girls seem to be coping very well with the arrangement.

Okay, I think I have touched on all that I have any 'outstanding' remarks to make on...LOL


    Bookmark   December 9, 2008 at 7:20PM
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chloehoover(z6b VA)

Do not dare call me Ms. Behind.... even if I am ---oy oy.

Laid low by a migraine over the weekend; tis the season... but I cant believe all I missed in just a couple days!

Eden, those Bella pics remind me of Pippi Longstocking or one of those mischevious characters -- the photos are a riot; I bet you had a hard time not laughing to encourage her to be goofier! I confess I've never thought about decorating my boudoir with holiday sheets! But somehow... in your room, it all makes wonderful sense, Fancy Nancy, LOL...

It does remind me of a former tradition of buying holiday p.j.s for my daughter until she was about 18; and I did for my brother & his girls until about 5 years ago -- they always got a laugh out of them. DD recently just remarked that she complained to her husband she hated that she didnt get Xmas pjs any more, so he went out & bought them for her, LOL... so the tradition is revived. Last year was the first year I didnt fill stockings for them either; but I hope to get back with the program - but I need to downscale it to dollar store stuff, I think.

Well, re the houseguest - dont know; Im trying not to think it would come to that -- I'm working on my Nancy Reagan routine, Chelone - thanks for the reminder! Altho I got the impression she wasnt so happy living here w/ me and my weird ways either, I guess, so somehow I dont see her returning... hopefully it will stay like that, as I dont think Chloe or I have really truly 100% recovered yet,oy oy...

Brenda -- nice to see a flyby -- what a mound of emotions you're burrowing thru -- but best to keep the 27th in high mind, those wonderful moments of life that make the low ones seem to fade away.

I am trying to get in the mood to decorate - and I can see if I could hang out here, I would definitely catch the spirit. I've always adored Wmsburg holidays - one of these years I promise to be there for t-giving I think when they first break them all out - one of these years - been saying that for about 35 of them so far, LOL.

For some reason, it seems everywhere I go this year there's a contest involved in decorating -- my neighborhood is doing it, the office is even doing it - they want us to decorate our cubicles -- Im such a bah humbug - dont wanna lug the stuff in on the metro -- and dont have time -- I think I may hire someone at ofc who apparently has the time to do this -- how's that for bah-humbug?

Great for you, Chelone - to be taking the lead and doing all that in the Salon. You're gonna have it whipped into shape in no time, despite unhelpful helpmeets.

I was going to go buy the holiday tree tomorrow nite but now they're forecasting rain, freezing rain, etc., for the next 3 days - Im going to hope they're wrong -- I really do want to get the spirit! In any case, to echo years of old, my DD and I are planning a cookie weekend marathon this weekend -- we used to do that when she was smaller -- visit a former BFF house and we'd all bake there all weekend long. I think we'll have fun even if it's on a smaller scale.

Denise -- what a wonderful present you gave for your Mom's 56th anniv -- that's really special. I think you come up with the most special presents; you're very creative!

Well, I better post before I lose it....

O, 'bug - I think it's great you decided to be proactive w/ your frustraton re DH and miscommunication -- it's never too late to learn new things; just be patient w/ him if he tries but doesnt "get it" right away! - ha, that from a single person, LOL...

Love all the decorations!!! Saucy, Michelle, Eden - wowser!!

Cindy the Laggard but Holiday Spirit Being Channeled

    Bookmark   December 9, 2008 at 8:22PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Gotta be patient gardenbug!!!!

So DH saw a container of cat litter in the hallway. He asked: Is this for me to keep in the the car in case I get stuck in ice?

I say: No, it is for the cats. I gave you a container for your car yesterday. Where did you put that one?

Oh. I put it in the car.

You'd think conversation with a prof for a husband would be slightly more advanced, no?

    Bookmark   December 9, 2008 at 8:43PM
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OK Saucy, who the h**l is Marcy ?? Hopefully not a human as you have shared with us that her butt is dirty.

I thank every one who made such nice comments about my living room-I really want to paint the room but would have to hire it out since it has 2-story cathedral ceilings. This room is where all my stereo equipment is, and is my reading room. I would like to darken the walls a bit to give it more of a cocoon like atmosphere, but I hesitate to spend much money there.

Denise, canals? Belmont Shores ? How long its been since Ive been there. We have 2 fabric stores in Napa , there used to be 4 I think- I remember when I was a teenager and all the 5 and dimes (Newberrys etc) had fabric depts..seems like they were usually downstairs. I was a pretty horrible sewer in those days and mostly made shifts that I could throw on after going to the beach in the summer .

bug I admire your fortitude in trying to improve communications after 40 years.I wish you success.

This is about all I can contribute tonight. Not enough brain cells left at the moment used up too many of them at the awfice today I guess

Hello to all

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   December 9, 2008 at 9:06PM
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jak1(4 Ontario Can)

*grin* 'Bug, patience is a virtue, so they say. I have so many of those same conversations with Sr. Phil. I didn't mean to trivialize your attempts, by the way, with my rendition of the shopping today. It is admirable and worth it to pursue true communication....something I think women cherish more than men. You will get through, sooner or later.



    Bookmark   December 9, 2008 at 9:16PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

Hi-dylls! I'm reluctantly back from Los Cabos, where there was abundant sunshine, tequila and whales. More tales and photos will follow, but tonight finds DS stranded at my house due to a snowstorm, so I'm keeping this quite short.

Hasta manana,


    Bookmark   December 9, 2008 at 10:12PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Anyone for dessert?

And when I went to upload the photos, I found this one of the Chocolate Trifle from was SO good!!

Back to Christmas photos tomorrow...

Good night. :-)

    Bookmark   December 9, 2008 at 10:27PM
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I've overslept but refuse to hurry. Not worth wasting the adrenalin on something so really UNimportant. The work ain't goin' anywhere!

I was in the rack by 7:15, watched the remainder of the the News Hour on PBS and awakened in time to catch the 11PM news and the forecast of snow/freezing rain for tomorrow night (a Christmas party) into Friday. Greeeeaaaat. No point in fretting about it, if it's really crummy I'll have an opportunity to remain on the Compound with my decorations and plenty of almond colored sanded grout! (better get the missing pinecone today or it's going to be out of reach for the season, methinks).

Cindy, good that the migraine has left you... I've never experienced one but dated a man who had them and they were incapacitating at times. NO light, NO sound, and he would sometimes become nauseous. Later, he begame nauseating, but that's another story... hehehe. Wonder what kind of Christmas pyjamas DSIL purchased for your DD? I know what the helpmeet would select for me and they wouldn't be Dr. Dentons, either. :) Rather good news to report on the helpful helpmeet front, Cindy: he's been very helpful, lately. Not probably because he's filled with zeal to perform carpentry skills but because I've been a good "communicator", explaining precisely what I have to have him do so I may do my part. And he's a practical sort of guy, who knows the work must be performed to complete the Salon. The "Stairwell" thread verifies this. Ms. Behind... LOL.

Marcy is beautiful, Kathy! and I'll wager her backside is cleaner than Saucy lets on...

We have a Filon shedroof on the west side of the house, Marian (Filon is that fibreglass, transluscent roofing that mimics a tin roof). We have about 3 cord stacked under there, but the remaining cord are stacked in the sunniest areas of the back yard and have to be covered individually. They're the ones we re-covered yesterday. The cats were really enjoying the quality time with us, too. They were climbing on top of them, and popping out from in between the stacks to "attack" and amaze us. They're so cute.

I wonder how long it would take me to throw up if I began grazing my way through the bakery case in your shot, PM? Bakery items are my Achilles Heel; if I were predisposed to obesity I'd be well on my way to 300 lbs. by now. Did you have a good time at DD's new digs last night?

I noticed an article in the NYTimes magazine that I've not yet read on the merits of teasing. I'm not sure when teasing crosses the line to bullying but I'm sure there is a connection. There was a lot of teasing in our home when I was a kid and my family is full of rapier wits. And I've been "pushed" to punch someone out, too. And it felt GREAT to do it, because she really, really deserved it. I was afraid I'd be in trouble but the older man who knew me well and saw me do it quietly said to me "I've been waiting for you to do that for months now". I certainly do not espouse hitting, but it put an end to the torment in pretty short order, let me assure you. Remember the American flag with the Rattlesnake on it that said, "Don't Tread on Me"? ;)

I have to get going now. Have a productive day, friends, and try not to hit anyone, OK?

(welcome home, V.)

    Bookmark   December 10, 2008 at 6:07AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

It's quite the morning. I didn't even need the pastries to throw up. Ugh. I hate it when you can't turn around fast enough in the bathroom....


    Bookmark   December 10, 2008 at 7:08AM
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If Rich can do it, anyone can do it.....

Run by this morning but have greatly enjoyed the pics and anecdotes and relationship dialogs (you can't kille'm so you gotta love'm?????)and animal happenings and of course, The Food!!!!!

Thanks on behalf of Ky!


    Bookmark   December 10, 2008 at 7:11AM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada

AARRGH! I did a cut-and-paste from Word ancd look what happened! I don't have time to correct it all so I hope you can ran read it!

I¡¦m very behind too¡K.

Brenda ¡V what an emotional roller coaster you must be on these days! I hope things go better for your DB this time ¡V my understanding is that radiation generally works better for brain cancers as there is not the issue of being blocked by the blood-brain barrier that chemo has to overcome. A Christmas wedding sounds fun ¡V but busy!

Martie ¡V congratulations to Ky! What comes next? I remember vaguely you talking about interviews of something¡K Does he have a job lined up or is grad school in the offing?

Eden ¡V I liked the pictures of Bella! I thought she was getting in the spirit of modeling for Christmas ¡V sedate is not the right mood so I think her approach gave you better pictures¡K.:-)

Mary ¡V It sounds like David is a pretty impressive young musician!

With respect to male-female communications, Randy and I mostly do OK but there have been a few notable instances of miscommunication over the years that make you realize that sometimes we use the same words but are speaking different languages! In hindsight the incidents are usually funny, but less so at the time.

Chelone ¡V you (and Mary!) are truly a Jack (Jill?) of all trades! I¡¦m looking forward to the next round of pictures¡K.

PM2 ¡V the bakery picture made me hungry! So did the chocolate triffle¡K º

Julie ¡V I enjoy your TCS and Phil stories¡K

gb ¡V oh-oh that didn¡¦t sound good¡K I hope you¡¦re not coming down with what Barb has. She got sick at her other job early last week and has been ¡¥down for the count¡¦ ever since. Her 17 year old caught it from her. They are waiting for blood test results ¡V and results of a heart test on her daughter because her heart rate went very high. It sounds like something extremely nasty so I¡¦ve told her not to come here until she¡¦s thoroughly better because I don¡¦t want to get it! I hope you will recover quickly.

I¡¦m impressed with all the Christmas decorating. We¡¦ve become very Scrooge-like in the past few years and do very little decorating other than the tree just before Christmas.

We got the sad news that poor old Jasper made that final trip to the vet yesterday. When he was here a few weeks ago, it was pretty clear that he wasn¡¦t likely to make it to Christmas. Poor Blue will be very lonely without his buddy. Today Liam is here for a day-dare day and to keep me and Misty company. The roads were messy yesterday and still looked bad early this morning so walkies have been in short supply. They¡¦ve burnt off a bit of energy wrestling together on the loveseat. It looks like the road has cleared off a bit so I think I¡¦m going to try to venture out with them.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2008 at 9:35AM
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The snowy owl would feel right at home here. We seem to have become locked in a game of chicken over who will be the first to ask for the heat to be turned on. The house temp was in the high 40s last night. I'm not blinking. (I happen to have hormones on my side for now, and my green wooly robe of course.) But I keep asking everyone if they're OK with the house temp, and everyone seems psyched up to go as long as possible. Possibly why my paperwhites aren't making much growth progress either.

Woody, I did make that grapevine wreath, but that's all the decorating I've done. And I only did that because it was fun to mess around outdoors instead of working in the office. I am really the anti-holiday decorator but love everyone else's efforts. Marty puts up a single strand of the old-fashioned, multicolored, big holiday lights around the porch and really feels like he's putting on the dog. The rest of the neighborhood is in outdoor decorating overdrive, so we actually do stand out, in a stubborn, retro sort of way ;)

PM, my selection is second shelf, fourth from the right, thanks. Perfect for 11 o'clock coffee ;)

    Bookmark   December 10, 2008 at 12:13PM
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chloehoover(z6b VA)

O, man -- if I were to pick the bakery selections - it would be that trifle - and yum, do I want the recipe! Thinking of low cal, I'd pretend and take the fruit tart, bottom shelf to the right... but why go low cal?

Hey, great the V is back from (another) tropical jaunt - I bet it was tough to come back to your home venue, yikes! You and Eden are really getting slammed already I think.

Well, I will try to see if I can tough it out tonite in the rain and see what trees might be upright at home cheapo -- but I do wilt in the wet, so there's no telling.... one of these years I will (i will) invest in the artifical tree - but so hard to make a decision from pictures over the 'net....

Hey, Martie - maybe Rich has a second career possibility in the decorating biz? That's a very good first attempt at a wreath!


    Bookmark   December 10, 2008 at 12:30PM
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(That would be third shelf, the berry tart.)

Since I have to post again to clarify pastry choice, might as well mention the nice letter I got from Bill Clinton yesterday. Something about Hillary's proposed appointment, and the money I donated to the Katrina effort years ago was before a fund had been set up by the White House, so it went into a fund managed by the Clintons, and would I mind now having my name disclosed as being on said fund, please call if I do....honestly, I feel like a Washington insider.

Welcome home, V!

    Bookmark   December 10, 2008 at 12:35PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Those raspberry/blackberry tarts look just perfect to me....after I recover from whatever I've got. Mind you, why stop with just one choice? Oh, I guess so there are some left for everyone. Will these be available at CAMP?

    Bookmark   December 10, 2008 at 1:04PM
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chloehoover(z6b VA)

Denise -- well, at least they did not ask you for more money, LOL -- does that mean they're going to disclose the millions of folks who donated to the Katrina Fund? Sheesh, the insider rules sometimes....
.... I actually got a call from the "party" After the big election asking me for more $$$ -- I confess I was astonished and told the guy so (along w/ the no) - he sounded a bit sheepish -- I mean how much is enough for guys who have already set records? It was a very out of mind experience - so says someone living near the Washington insiders, LOL...

sooo, do you think they'll call the mental health folks if someone in the ofc finds me licking my computer screeen checking out the trifle as dessert to my lunch?????

    Bookmark   December 10, 2008 at 1:36PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Exactly G'bug, why stop with just one choice? :-) We went home with the Cheesecake with the strawberry on top, top shelf, the Tiarmasu, middle shelf, third from the left, the chocolate ganache, which seemed to be creamy cheesecake covered with Chocolate that is the #1 on the bottom shelf and a slice of ricotta pie not in the case. We all shared them together, but they were so rich, 1/2 of it was still on the table when we left. Very yummy and and the best part was it was DD's treat. On the way to the restaurant we couldn't come up with more than 12 times we have been in a restaurant in the past 5 years, we thoroughly enjoyed it. DH had a gift certificate from last Christmas that he had not been able to use, so we were happy he finally had the chance.

Cindy, the trifle is very easy to make. We are still refining it. We made a boxed organic chocolate cake and just tear it into chunks. One half of a 13x9 pan is all you need. Two boxes of chocolate pudding made with non fat milk. Home made whip cream, whipped fairly stiff. A few Heath Bar candy bars crushed. That is all that is in it, and you layer it. We felt it would have been better if left overnight in the fridge for the pudding to soak the cake more. We thought of using some coffee to soak into the cake somewhat before adding as another variation and of course, a layer of berries would be great too...raspberries? We've only made it for the holidays and so far have resisted making it more often. asked about the Fabric it just closed. Between that and Tweeter and Circuit City on shaky ground, there is starting to look like a lot of empty stores around here. I have heard of another fabric store a little further away that I am going to try, I would rather not have to go to Joann's. what is next for Rich....evergreen rope arrangements around the front door? I think I would faint if DH decided to create a wreath from Good job, Rich!

Woody...what happened to your post?! I remember mine doing that once and cannot remember what the deal was. I am pretty sure if you have Word, then WordPad is an accompanying program. You might want to search your applications to see if you have it. I always had a whole lot less trouble with that program then with Word. Very sorry to hear about poor Jasper. Never a good time for such news, but the Christmas season is supposed to be immune from such things, isn't it? I know I should stop thinking that. :-)

Denise...40 inside the house? Wow....hardy souls there in California. It is now all about the challenge, isn't it? [g] On Holiday decorating,we stand out in our neighborhood too. One little wreath on the door. Our neighbor directly across the street has every inch of the front of his house covered. Along with the inflatables. One caroling inflatable that plays Christmas music. We roll our eyes every time we go out the front door at night. :-) Thankfully at night we are not in the front of the house much.

Well....if I am able to make it to Idyll Camp, I could be talked into bringing a pastry assortment and/or a trifle. :-)


    Bookmark   December 10, 2008 at 3:10PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

I see I lost my place...Julie..I forgot to mention I found your story about the dog and the gingerbread ornaments on the tree, a very funny visual. I am sure you were not laughing at the time. :-) Also, thank you for sharing about the tragedies happening around your life. I always need to put my own problems in perspective. do get it...the conflicting emotions, such a roller coaster sometimes.

Marian....I did call Comcast the other morning and it seemed to be some problem with the cable modem or my router. Of course as soon as I got them on the phone, the problem cleared up and has been fine since. No, have never tried eating Chestnuts. Savannah is such a pretty name!

    Bookmark   December 10, 2008 at 3:24PM
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Incisive questions, 'bug....(hope you feel better by dinner)

Cindy, my gosh, after all you've done for the "party"! (Did you get your sticker? I got mine yesterday.) You're right, the letter was some disclosure technicality. About being creative with my folks' anniversary, we'd gone out to dinner a few weeks back, which was horribly expensive and not very good. My dad complained loudly about his food, and my BIL with the booming voice held forth on the recent pres. election to the point that diners asked to be moved away from us....oy to the world. The boat ride was much more fun, the food way better, and we inflicted little damage on anyone else ;)

PM, I imagine it's psychologically easier to keep a cold house here. There'll be no precipitous temperature drops, no feeling of fighting the elements. It's warmer outside than inside right now. I'm mentally designing a little knit cap for Ein with apertures for his ears in case we keep the heat off all winter...maybe a dashing tartan cape too ;)

    Bookmark   December 10, 2008 at 3:38PM
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Denise, I know of no self-respecting New England yankee who'd willingly tolerate a house that chilly unless it was an emergency. :) "Like wow... is that my breath I see? Cooooll...". Are you people soft?!

My limited experience at Idyll get-togethers has revealed untold gastronomic delight. There will likely be some pretty good chow. I'll provide enough watery gruel for everyone. ;) I would select something with multiple layers of puff pastry, custard filling, and plenty of whipped cream (prefer the real stuff, thank you). I would love to see you lapping the computer screen, Cindy, lol.

I think Georgian symmetry just went out the window (instead of over it!), you guys. It was nearly 60 degrees when I got home and it was pelting rain. No trip to the special golf course conifer for me! and I still have to clip some White pine for the pediments. Instead, I'm doing something very unusual for me, having coffee in the afternoon. I could use some help from Rich, Martie.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2008 at 5:44PM
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I think their might be some key lime pie with my name on it in the far back corner!

Denise, I like the idea of you warming your feet by the computer! I find myself baking a lot of potatoes for meals when it's cold like that.

I hope you feel better soon, GB!

Kathy, sorry, Marcy is short for Marcella, The Italian Cat. She's obviously got Chelone fooled :)


    Bookmark   December 10, 2008 at 5:46PM
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Well, Ill be , that is one mighty fine looking wreath ! Rich may have to rent himself out in the off-season as a Christmas décor consultant.
It got down to the high 20s here last night , but my house is still not as cold as Denises-whats up with that ? I had the thermostat down to 56 last night and the heat came on a couple of times in the pre-dawn hours. It always wakes me up because I usually turn it all the way off overnight. Since I left to go to work in the dark, and came home in the dark, I dont know what damage may have occurred to tender plants still outside. I moved a bunch of my succulents in. We have rain coming in this weekend along with below freezing temps predicted , so we are in for one of those rare occasions when we could get some snow.

Im eyeing the fruit tart too. Since we are buyers , we get a parade of vendors coming in this time of year loaded down with chocolate I usually can hardly bear to look at it by about 3 or 4 days before Christmas. Today was chocolate covered pretzels, which I find horribly compelling-I think its the combo of pleasant crunchiness, salt and of course chocolate that gets me. Hoping the janitors eat the rest of it overnight.

Speaking of Cindys charitable giving to Katrina, I sometimes fantasize about being a philanthropist, and speculate about what causes I would donate too. I would love to be able to write large checks to the local schools music and drama programs, the animal shelter, hospice, the Napa County Land Trust, the food bank etc. Unfortunately I will never be in that position, but I do always drop a few bucks in the salvation army Christmas bucket when I leave the grocery store.

Saucy, I thank you for the ID on Marcy, and am wondering how I managed not to know of her existence. I would be grateful for a photo !

Welcome back V ! Perhaps you can lead us all in the Macarena at camp.

Time for me to go read the paper, wave to all. Wouldnt it be nice if Honey and Babs came by to see us ? And where has Jerri been ?

nite all

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   December 10, 2008 at 9:04PM
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jak1(4 Ontario Can)

Another cold miserable day here, with school buses cancelled for the second day, with TCS guzzling gingerale and cough medicine, with Inter. Phil coughing and sneezing and running outside every few hours to fire up the snowblower and clear out the lane, although we simply do not intend to go anywhere...

I was feeling a little badly that Ajax isn't getting enough exercise - mentioned this to Sr. Phil. An hour later he called me to the family room to "see what your dog can do" - and there was Ajax, trotting along on the treadmill!

I spent part of the day rearranging my kitchen, so that cups, spoons, coffee, tea, kettle etc. are all located in one area away from my work space - this way we theoretically won't be falling all over each other in a kitchen that is six times larger than our old one was...
That was my JJob for today - or maybe it was completely emptying the fridge to clean up the milkshake that TCS spilled in the back - maybe I should get the silicone rolling pin award today *LOL*

I have tried to get things done using my usual approach: a little every day; but the Christmas stuff just isn't coming together. Tomorrow, I have served notice, I will be spending the entire day doing the usual dreaded Christmas letter and all the cards. One fell Swoop. Just like a Snowy Owl (what a great story that is!). And I have also told the gang that I want the computer for a whole day just to Idyll! I can take the time to photograph my decorations, post my favourite recipes, show the Christmas dishes....Heaven! A whole day!!!

Mary, may I ask how old David is? It is wonderful to me that he is displaying such talent and dedication and yet isn't quite big enough for a full sized instrument until now. How proud you must be!

Oh 'Bug, sorry for laughing but the image of not being able to turn around fast enough cracked me right up this morning! I sure hope you are feeling better tonight!

Man, there's no way we are keeping a cold house here! Our windows are covered with ice tonight...the kind of night that is great for having Chicken and Dumplings and a glass of red - which is what we did! But I'm with Saucy - we have a lot of baked potatoes in the winter!

Anyway, gotta run, like always...but my day will be done after I kiss TCS goodnight!

Cheers, Julie

    Bookmark   December 10, 2008 at 9:12PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

The only thing I've read so far is Julie's post about Ajax and the treadmill. And I can't stop laughing over the vision of the poor dog trotting along on the treadmill! Perhaps Sr. Phil also will install some astroturf so Ajax can take care of his other needs without going outside?



    Bookmark   December 10, 2008 at 9:37PM
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Probably past everyones bedtime, except Michelle and V, our resident night owls.
I am looking through some garden books and found some photos of a garden called 'Water Run' that is supposedly somewhere along the Hudson in NY. The photos were fabu, so I googled but came up empty. Are any of you NE folk familiar with this ? Do you know what town it's in and if there is a website ?

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   December 10, 2008 at 11:12PM
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I do not know of the garden you mentioned, Kathy. Sounds like a job for Monique, Sue, maybe one of the legion of lurkers?

I think Ajax on a treadmill is retty funny, too, Julie. One of the best things I ever did was buy a computer for the helpmeet with some of the money my late aunt left me. He loves it and I'm free to poke along uninterrupted here. The interior of our 'frig. is revolting. There are several spill rings that have been there for a VERY long time and there is probably some liquified vegetable matter buried in a crisper. I figure the cold keeps any living mung under control and one day either the helpmeet or I will decide it's time to clean it thoroughly. I've done really well using the JulieJob concept, trouble is, much of that "culled" fails to get as far as the kerb on trash day. Hmmm... my little packrat seems to be in full winter mode... stashing and hording those items that look too "useful" to throw away. I think that's how we managed to get into this predicament in the first place. I feel bad for TCS. He must feel crummy, let's hope he perks up soon.

The weather forecast is downright unpleasant, snow, sleet, and freezing rain (my favorite). There are warnings of power outtages, really nasty driving, etc. (nice to have a Christmas party tonight). It's always a crap shoot as to what we get here since the ocean tends to keep things warmer. But the cold air pouring into the area and the warm air flooding north above it is the perfect recipe for freezing rain. Well, at least there's plenty of wood and we have oil for the lamps.

Last night I spent some quality time with my Easter White Pine cone stash. I wired a bunch of them (congratulating myself of the foresight to cut the florist wire before handling the very pitchy cones) and added some staples to the backs of my simulated fruit stock. I probably should have collected some greens last night. I haven't begun assembling them yet, but that's the easiest part of the operation.

I hope whatever invaded 'bug's GI tract has since vacated it and today is better than yesterday.

On that note, I'm off to perform more meaningless work. The sort of work that leaves you tired, bored, and not feeling like actually doing the fun stuff you daydreamt about doing during the day. ;)

    Bookmark   December 11, 2008 at 5:35AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Now this is the way I like my squirrels. :-)

Good morning, two weeks from today it will be Christmas. We still need to do a little shopping. This would be a fun way to go shopping but we still have no snow...

Well...I am out of chit chat this I will leave it to all of you and be back later...


    Bookmark   December 11, 2008 at 5:42AM
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chloehoover(z6b VA)

Ajax on the treadmill -- egads.... Im impressed he took to it within an hour! He must be in desperate need of pretend exercise, LOL. Like V's idea of astroturf - altho a large cat box would work as well (the city pooches can be littered trained; why not the large ones? -- but still, there is cleaning pickup involved....

Thanks for the recipe for the trifle, PM -- I do love fruit in mine, so the idea of some raspberries sounds perfect on the rest of the confection.

Raining those cats and dogs here too so no xmas tree; Im trying to deal with the "c'est la vie" concept - it will happen eventually. Glad to hear even Julie is having trouble getting it all organized and in stride for Xmas this year!

I did mean to comment earlier, Denise, re your house temps -- I think 40 degree house is taking it a bit too much ... maybe you Californians are trying to feel macho re the temps or something? Glad to hear Kathy is more reasonable -- bring on the warmth. I tried a couple winters ago to tough it out; but decided being warm in my own place was one thing Im willing to pay for and since I keep things down when Im at work, I think Im not sucking too much off the grid or out of the gas lines - esp with the new furnace. In a 3-level townhouse though, it's always been a challenge to get temps even - I still wear a sweater in certain parts - at leat this year my bedroom is not freezing (which leads to more migraines..not a good way to wake up!).

I heard from the former houseguest that (no surprise) she's decided to head south to Florida where her daughter and spouse live -- I suspect she'll be staying w/ them for a bit but Im hopeful she'll be able to find a job most importantly - have no idea what the market is doing in Jacksonville in the legal arena -- but I know the daughter has a large house so if nothing else, she'll have a roof over her head and loving support. I know she's missed being near her daughter. I guess she's heading out very soon. She's had boat loads of turmoil in her life in the last number of years; I just hope she can find some success and peace in Fla. So I dont have to worry about being "strong" and saying no, thank goodness!

I hope Gardenbug is feeling better, are you, 'bug? I heard in this area the stomach flu has reared its ugly head already; Maryland has reported large cases of it -- ya think they'll be nice and keep it over the border away from Virginia, LOL?

I need to go grab some breakfast; didnt make any before I left this a.m.

Happy Thursday.


    Bookmark   December 11, 2008 at 9:21AM
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Yes, Christmas definitely overwhelms the JJ approach. The tree has been outside soaking in a bucket all week, and there are post-it notes with to-do lists accumulating. Basic stuff, shopping, cards, hasn't been done. The only task that preys on me is cards, since some years I don't get to them at all. If there's no young kids to shop for, I take a pretty relaxed view about the holidays...I'd love an early morning trip to the downtown commercial flower market. And I want to make tamales this year. We'll see...

Ajax, an idyll hero is born. What an inspiration! Repairs to the siding of the house have necessitated unscrewing the hatches that keep the critters from getting under the house, which is a sun-deprived lunar landscape of a white substance that in a previous life was once soil. We watched Ein duck inside the opening yesterday and disappear for a corgie-size adventure in the crawlspace. Marty's been doing lots of plumbing in the crawlspace, shimmying around like a snake in the tight quarters.

And I double-checked with Marty last night, and he said the coldest temp in the house has been low 50s, so the gauge I checked yesterday morning was an outlier. As I've been trying to delicately hint without belaboring, I'm running a little "warm" this year, so the cooler temps suit me fine, and everyone else is "fired" up to see how long we can go.

Rain supposedly heading here too, Kathy, fingers crossed! The last predicted rain passed us by. For some reason I never equated V's trip to Los Cabos with Baja, Cabo San Lucas, but the comment on whales finally brought it into focus.

Read a long piece on memory on the metro in the NY Review of books. Red wine, blueberries, almonds, fish oil -- the search for the compound to keep the synapses firing goes on. But what has been definitively proven is that aerobic exercise "promotes new cell growth in old brains by increasing their blood volume."

Move over, Ajax!


    Bookmark   December 11, 2008 at 10:37AM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Good morning everyone,

Well all the fuchsias are now in the basement but the banana and the brugs are still in the garage waiting for me to feel like lugging them down the basement stairs. I continue to shake my head at myself in wonder at my silliness for wintering over all this stuff. Last evening I spent some quality time looking through my garden photo galleries from last summer to convince myself that yes, Deanne, it really is worth hauling the rest of that stuff downstairs LOL. It really is time and past time to get them snuggled in. The kerosene heater is acting up and Im thinking will need repairs so if we get a serious freeze and it dies Im out of luck.

Marian, youd asked about the fumes from the heater, the garage is not air tight so that hasnt been a problem. I wouldnt use it in the house without some kind of serious venting system.

Chelone, you mentioned our charming weather reports; we are under a "Severe Winter Storm Watch" until tomorrow morning. They are predicting sleet, icing and freezing rain with the possibility of power outages. Yukko!!!!! Although Ill have some great ice storm bird photo ops. LOL

Ive not put up a single decoration yet and am waiting to become inspired. Hopefully Ill burst into a flurry of activity and get the house cleaned and decorated at light speed. For some reason Im not much feeling like spending two days decorating so I can just take t all down in a couple weeks. Ive not done any cards or bought a single present yet either. If I dont leap into action soon Ill be in big trouble! LOL

On the pet news front, the cats, primarily Luke are on a diet. Lukie has blown up to around 17 pounds this fall and he seriously has to lose some weight. So they are getting specific portions twice a day and no food bowls down all day. They are driving me nuts! LOL

I had to LOL over the thought of dogs on a treadmill! Too funny.

OK Ive got to leap into action and get to work. Time to water the plants. Have a great day all

    Bookmark   December 11, 2008 at 10:38AM
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wendy2(zone 6 MA)

Good morning all!

Yes, yucky weather on tap for us - just rain for now here in Cambridge, hopefully messy stuff will hold off until I can get home tonite.

Count me as another one that has done no holiday decorating so far. Putting up the tree this year will involve some serious re-arranging (the drum set and robot work table have taken over former tree spots) or putting the tree next to the TV which DH finds distracting (maybe he'll be OK if the lights don't blink). I don't get excited about dragging all that stuff out and then putting it away again. The rest of the family does help, but I end up being the director.

Chelone, I have to say I admire your industry and hard work in the Salon! I'm sure it will look beautiful when it is done. Can't wait to check it out in person!

Deanne, all the work you do with your plants is definitely worth it. Your CG Brugs is stunning, and it would take you years to grow another one to that size. I have to say my small collection in the basement is looking OK so far. I am watering the dormant fuchsias a bit more (instead of forgetting about them in the corner) and watering the cuttings less. Some are even ready for bigger pots already!

That dog whisperer guy on the Nat Geo channel puts dogs on a treadmill for more exercise. They look pretty happy about it for the most part. Wow, dogs on a treadmill, cats on a diet, I'm starting to feel like a lazy slug!

DD's school band concert was last night - they were really terrific! She played tympani on one number, I love the sound of those drums. I am so grateful that the school has a good music program, the kids really enjoy it. My DS started playing the trombone this year (he loves it), and has his first concert next week. There is a huge difference between 6th grade band (DS) and 8th grade band (DD).

Well, duty calls - just wanted to stop in and say hello - waving to all!


    Bookmark   December 11, 2008 at 11:11AM
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jak1(4 Ontario Can)

Hi everyone!

Well, today is Card Day and the men have been told that I will be at the computer all day checking addresses, writing the dreaded Christmas letter, and getting the cards ready to be mailed tomorrow. They have been tasked with "everything upstairs",this includes any dishes, cleaning, bed-making, laundry etc. that is usually done by me. I am pleased to report that the upstairs is vacuumed the dishes are in the dishwasher, the beds are made (well, the way menfolk make them anyway),things are more or less tidy, Ajax has been treadmilled, and I am free to continue with this job, which has not been done since we moved here in 2005.

Are you feeling better 'bug? (In more ways than one; or even two *LOL*). Thanks for the e-mails - gives us some insight concerning the growing up of a youngster in today's world.

PM2 - that's the way I like my squirrels too!

Wendy - I love it when schools provide a little something "extra" like music. Here a lot of schools don't have band activity until grade 9, but our school is fortunate to be brand new and has a music room with instruction for the upper grades (6,7,8). We have always had music in our home, and our children, and now our grandson, have always had the advantage of music instruction and just plain family enjoyment. Such a lifetime gift!!

Oh Man do we have snow!! 30 cm. yesterday - about 12". I just LOVE not having to go out to work! Added to that, the nearest city (Ottawa Ontario) is experiencing its first transit strike in about ten years. Coupled with a snow storm, nothing is going anywhere. The transit union is kind of asking a lot IMHO, but then, I'm not there, not affected, not really up on all of the issues. But it sure is not a nice week to live in the Nation's Capital. And I won't even venture into Canada's politics!!

If I go crazy sitting down here doing cards, I might try to get a photo or two outside...I must admit ahat although cold, it is very beautiful right now. And a lot of people do nice lighting at this time of year, and it is lovely.

On this cheery note, I will depart until tomorrow. I am not sure if tomorrow will be the much-heralded Idyll day, as family is going nuts without me (hehehe), but maybe.

Take care, all. Deanne - get those plants in!!!

Cheers, Julie

    Bookmark   December 11, 2008 at 1:41PM
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I'm glad I'm not the only one feeling behind on their Christmas to to lists. I have most of the decorations up, the tree's up but not decorated and we still haven't put up Bella's little tree in "her room". I'm telling myself to take my time and enjoy the process. It's so worth it when I see her little face closely inspecting everything. She just loves it all. Tomorrow Jen and I are getting together for lunch and discussing the menu for Christmas dinner and who's making what. Christmas will be at her house again this year. I'm blaming all of the rush on the fact that it's such a short season from Thanksgiving until Christmas this year. I still have shopping to do too and that I'm not looking forward to.


    Bookmark   December 11, 2008 at 2:41PM
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Weird time for me to be here but it's the time I have.

Must say that Ajax is a better sport than me.

I want the chocolate with the ribbons -- gotta wonder what's inside!!!

Rich says "thanks" and actually enjoyed using his creativeness for a bit. Now, of course, I'm waiting for him to finish everything else. LOL

No tree here this year and that's absolutely Okay since I've got enough plants in the house that if I get sentimental I'll just throw some lights on them. (I can hear you from here, Kathy, about lights on Eucs :-) The ivy tope will also be decorated, of course.

That's darn cold, Denise. Is Marty practicing for a trip to Holyoke?

Just rain here today but listening to the ice warnings all around us. Hope everyone getting pelted is okay and the lights stay on.

Woody -- Ky is applying for jobs worldwide as either a Historian or an Economist. In the US both really need Master's for positions that pay above minimum wage. Europe holds much better options but he can't get his work Visa until he has a job and he can't get a job until he has his work Visa. One alternative is to move to London for the three months he can be there without a Visa and hope to find something. He is looking at grad schools in the US and Japan, but wants to get some $$ together first if possible before he goes "back". He knows the dangers of waiting but is determined to eventually get his PhD so I'm not too worried. I think if no job comes through and a school offers him a teaching assistant position paid, that's where he'll be for Econ masters. Nothing like starting "real life" in this period of time :-(

Great gingerbread story: My brilliant, always straight-A's, award winning teacher sister decided to make gingerbread people for her class. She needed 12 cookies. She found a great recipe. Recipe said it would make 15 2" cookies but she had a 4" cutter so she doubled the recipe to have enough. After mixing, got to the end of the recipe and read "freeze half for later use, and roll thinner for larger cookies." So, guess who's going to be decorating myriad gingerbread folks for the entire neighborhood and work kids I know??? LOL -- sometimes formal "brains" don't mean squat.

Still waiting for the dress pic, Brenda.

Hoping all sniffles and coughing and stomach bugs and other ailments get gone fast, and waving to all.


    Bookmark   December 11, 2008 at 2:52PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

I've only ordered one gift so far. We scamper around at the last minute every year. I am trying to think of some ideas for pet gifts for DS's animals. Anyone have any suggestions?


    Bookmark   December 11, 2008 at 2:53PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Hi folks!

I think I was afflicted with food poisoning rather than the lasted a very short time and I am feeling better in many ways...though have other painful ailments that I'll save you all from....

Last night I enjoyed reading a blog entry about saying "no". I think it relates well to what many of us here are saying about Julie Jobs and the feeling of never finishing anything and having time for what is important. So I attach it here:

Monday, December 08, 2008
Saying no: the essential gesture of stewardship
A few weeks ago I got invited to a "women in business" luncheon put on by the business school where my husband teaches part-time. I thought about declining since my skills from managing this crazy household might just be too advanced compared to the women who are only CEO's or VP's of large companies, but when I saw the topic I realized it was an answered prayer: Finding Balance.

The guest speaker was a professor at the school who is known for getting standing ovations at the end of his classes, so I had high expectations about his presentation. And I wasn't disappointed. He covered a lot of territory, too much to summarize in a blog post, but the main thing he said that has stuck with me ever since is this:

To say no is to protect what you've said yes to.

He referred to being able to say no to new demands on your time as "the essential gesture of stewardship." In other words, if you're going to be a good steward of the responsibilities you've already been given, you must learn to set firm limits on how many other responsibilities you can realistically take on. In other words, you must learn to say no.

I thought this was a refreshing way to look at it. I've always thought of having to turn down requests to get involved in some new activity as an entirely difficult, negative proposition, but this helps me see it in a more positive light. When I say no to getting involved in that new parish ministry, I'm really saying yes to the commitment I've made to spend evenings hanging out with my husband; when I say no to creating an elaborate website for a friend, I'm saying yes to the commitment I made to put my heart into an article that's due next month; when I say no to joining some friends for a playdate this week, I'm saying yes to the commitment I made to have more relaxed time with my children where we're not rushing around to get somewhere; and so on.

I think that this message was truly an answered prayer. After my great to-do-list-slashing session in January I found such great peace, but in the past eleven months I've slowly let myself get overbooked again, leaving me back to feeling overwhelmed, like I'm so far behind on everything that I'm drowning.

So the questions I've been asking myself over the past few weeks are: "What are the essential responsibilities that I have said yes to?" And, therefore, "What do I need to start saying no to?"

After thinking about it for a long time, the answers I came up with to the second question were interesting and surprising. I'm out of blogging time for this morning, so I'll share them in an upcoming Part II of this post.

This morning I went to yet another naturopath visit and am really excited about getting things finalized and beginning my program. That may happen next week. The fact that she is excited too makes me hopeful. She has targeted 3 areas to focus on. I think that perhaps three months of this will give some hint as to whether or not I am headed in a good direction. Certainly I was never this hopeful with my physician.

On our return home, DH and i stopped "at the mall" for lunch. This was my first exposure to the mobs and Christmas music for 2008. I have zero enthusiasm for decorating this year and hope to have a little more "oomph" once I arrive at DD's house. As far as gifts, I have ordered two subscriptions for Skyler for magazines: Spider and Ask. Check out the site below if you are curious. Skyler really enjoys time alone with his magazines and photo journals I send him, so I like to encourage "alone time" which I feel makes for a happy adult.

This is way too long already. More later!

    Bookmark   December 11, 2008 at 3:43PM
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It's miserable outside. Cold, rainy, and now it's freezing on just about everything. I have this survivalist thing about having plenty of gas in the car when the weather gets crummy, so I went to the gas station on my way home. There were several "big rigs" in the lot that were nicely coated with ice, though the roads were just wet at that point. I came straight home, noting the rapidly deteriorating road conditions. I called work to give them a traffic update, but the machine was on so everyone must've flown the coop, too. GOOD! The Christmas soiree has been postponed (yay!) and the stove is now turning oak splits into cozy heat. :) And I'm having coffee (longing for an eclair or something similar, though). Not much traffic going by the Compound right now...

I've done no Christmas shopping either, but like you, Denise, I have a pretty laid back approach to it all, too. I get a kick out of decorating the facade of our domicile, but if I put the stuff up a week before I'm fine with it. There's plenty of time left, you guys!

I chuckled at the personal thermostat running a bit to the warm side... I tend to experience the quick pink facial flush. It's always chilly at work when it's overcast or windy outdoors (the windows leak terribly) and coming home and being warm is truly a luxury. I love our woodstove.

My father was a plumbing/heating contractor and he used to tell some really grand stories about crawlspaces... like rolling over to grab the trouble light and looking directly at Mr. Snake's forked tongue about 4" from his nose... or the rather large spiders dangling over his head... or a rotting prey item abandonned by something else, lol. All the sorts of things an adventurous Corgi would find intriguing.

I'm thinking it may be time to go out to the Salon and putter around with my pretend fruit stand. Later!

OH, Woody, I meant to ask you what all the oddly placed characters in your post of yesterday mean? I noted the rather precise placement of them and immediately wondered if they are connected to enhanced communication for the deaf? Would you kindly "explicate"?

    Bookmark   December 11, 2008 at 4:01PM
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Wow, life is sure busy here. I havent had much time for posting but Im following along. Personally I like the idea of the "NO" blog, but at work it really doesnt work to say no to the boss ;o)

The house is slowly getting decorated. I put up a few less decorations than usual, but then added the pillars. This year we will have Ricks kids over on Christmas Eve and Christmas day looks like it will just be my parents and us. Maybe Jeremy will show up, but since his GFs family lives a couple of hours the other direction from us Im not sure.

Im trying to think of something easy but special to serve on Christmas day. None of my siblings are coming for Christmas Eve or day which is a first. Im sure my mom will be a little down about that. My sister from WI will come in sometime late on the 25th.

Last night our Bible study group had our party. A lovely candle light meal and revealing of our Secret Pals by giving them a Christmas gift. We also have a nice program of group singing, a trio and several numbers by a small group of which I was part.

We will try to wrap up the shopping on Saturday. Im thinking a nice lunch out would be fun. Theres a local restaurant that Id like to try.

Break time is over.


    Bookmark   December 11, 2008 at 4:27PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada

Chelone - those funny characters suddenly appeared when I did a cut-and-paste from Word. I'm not sure what went wrong where but they were supposed to be things like ' or - or ! or other punctuation marks. When I got the new computer a short while ago, I upgraded to Office 2007 and that upgraded Word and Excel. I don't like the new version at all. That was the first time I did a cut-and-paste from the new Word so maybe it has something to do with the new version - I'm not sure....

It was a very mild day here today; I don't want any of the nasty weather the east coast - or Julie's area - to come my way!

    Bookmark   December 11, 2008 at 8:13PM
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I should have specified during our earlier discussion of Christmas music: I never listen to it till Christmas Eve- although I will sometimes put a couple of them into a 6 disc magazine when I am decorating the tree. I believe I will purchase a small tree this weekend-not the "bank tree" that I usually go for this is our family terminology for the jumbo size trees .Seems like banks always had big uns. Fortunately I have my trusty employee discount.

DS is off to The City tonight to see Phantom of the Opera , think its his third time. Hes quite excited about it. We are a big Broadway musical family I brought my kids up on them just like I was , so they are well versed in Rogers and Hammerstein, Steven Sondheim , etc. Frosty mornings continue here, quite tame by most of your standards..

Chelone, I highly recommend fridge cleaning-its almost (almost) fun once you get into it, and having a clean fridge is very pleasant indeed. It is way less horrible a job than cleaning the garage or a bathroom IMHO.

Cindy, maybe we Californians are in some sort of denial and thus try to tough it out with our heat regimen. However, the other sad truth is that houses here were built to very low energy standards at one time , mine included. I have replaced about 90 percent of the woefully crappy windows , but general building codes were pretty lax when my house was constructed in the 80s. So the heat, when it is on, is not very efficient. Thank god for long johns. Good to hear that houseguest has found a living arrangement that will help her through her troubles-and one that does not involve you and the long-suffering Chloe.

Denise , I have wanted to do tamales at Christmas for years. If red wine is a memory enhancer , I should be near photographic.

Deanne, what if you took the banana out of the pot and just basically pushed it down the stairs ? Of course, youd have to get it back up again in the spring. Some ropes and the Harvard Rowing Team perhaps ??? I got my first book today from Walgreens. It turned out great !! Thanks again for sharing that with us at IU5. In case you missed the post, I am putting 3 of them together for gifts this Christmas.

Hi Wendy ! I hear you on the diff between the musicians in 6th and 8th grade. High school is a big improvement too. My DS was a choir guy, and I enjoyed those concerts so much.

So Julie are you going to regale us with the text of aforementioned Christmas letter ? We may be a pretty critical audience ! Will you say that TCS has been invited into the masters program at the local University and that the Phils remain incredibly handsome, witty , athletic and charming ?

Marie, several years ago my boss was the CFO of my company, and he asked me one day exactly how many special projects and committees I was on (a lot). He told me that it was time for me start saying no . That was somewhat of a turning point in my career- I was involved in so much that it diluted my effectiveness. To this day I remember his advice and always say no when I think I need to.

Well, Im going to have some chow and read the paper

Wave to all..

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   December 11, 2008 at 9:51PM
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Woody, I have an older version of Word, but I get funny characters when I make a smiley face using :-) In my program it changes it to a cute smiley face, but when I copy and paste it here it screws up the whole post.

I just came up from the basement and my report on the plants are that some are loving it under the lights and others have given up the ghost.

'bug, I'm quite interested in what the naturopath will recommend for you and what types of things they can help with.

I was just reading in our electric company's magazine that there are some tax credits in '09 for certain energy efficient improvements to your home. We got in on one last year with our new storm door. We are thinking of new upstairs windows.

DD called to say that they saw an armadello today. Kenzie was pretty excited.

I'm off to book a room at the inn for tomorrow night (really just a motel) DH suggested it. In the past we've gone on Friday night, shopped a little, ate and then relaxed in the hot tub. In the morning more relaxing with coffee and the paper and finish shopping. Oh, throw in a bottle of wine too.


    Bookmark   December 11, 2008 at 10:39PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Well...we pushed ourselves after dinner to get out and check a few things off the list. It is not bad here...raining steadily but not close to freezing at this point. I'm making an attempt to make a cozy place for the two kids visiting over the holiday to sleep. Since they both moved out and took their bedroom sets, now it's the couch and they don't usually visit at the same time. So I thought maybe an air mattress might work out fine in one of the bedrooms. We brought one home from the store tonight. It has one of those pumps that inflate and deflate. We'll have it here and they can decide if they want to use it or not and if not, it will go back after the holiday. We managed to pick up a few more gifts.

Now I am looking up pet toys. Last time I walked into a pet toy department in a major retailer, I was disgusted with what is being offered. They still offer rawhide chews after all the trouble they have been. I don't trust any of the plastic toys. I worry about squeaker toys. It just doesn't make sense to me to allow your dog to chew on something you wouldn't think was a good idea for you to chew on. Then all the alarm over the pet toys made in China, with the lead found in them. So, I am finding a few websites for 'eco friendly' and 'organic' pet toy offerings, but it is time consuming and you still have to think about what they are offering too. One USA manufacturer has developed toys stuffed with filling made from recycled plastic bottles which the manufacturing process has turned into this fluffy filling similar to polyester fill. Ok, so that is eco friendly, but dogs rip open the toys and could eat the filling, so why would I want my dog eating plastic, regardless of how fluffy they have made it or how great it is that the plastic bottles are staying out of the landfill. If plastic bottles are so bad, why not just stop making plastic bottles. Okay, I am getting off my soap box now [g].

I found a Hemp stuffed toy and some organic catnip stuffed cat toys using organic cotton coverings. Some deer antler chew toys and an organic wool ball, linked below. I'm also trying to find some that are made in the USA, which this one is.

With that, time to call it a day...two weeks is really going to go by fast.

Another Williamsburg image...

And a Vintage Old Fashioned Christmas scene...

Good night... :-)

    Bookmark   December 11, 2008 at 11:04PM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

WEll, the ice is a half inch thick out there and we lost power an hour ago. Doug got the generator running. Thank heavens he's home this time! It's been sounding like fireworks outside but it's the sound of trees breaking and crashing down. I'm thinking we are going to be without power for a while this time.

Tomorrow is supposed to warm up to forty and get another couple inches of rain, then, tomorrow night will go down to 13! What is with this weather? Strange that there is no power but we still have cable. Go figure.

OK I guess I'll try to get back to sleep now.

HOpe all the folks in the ice zone stay safe!
Nite all

    Bookmark   December 12, 2008 at 1:25AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

It's still pouring here and just about 36 degrees so no ice yet. So sorry about all the ice Deanne. I'd rather have 10 ft of snow. I hope none of your garden trees are damaged. Wow...that you have a generator. That comes in handy.

I would like a photo of Ajax on the treadmill. :-)

Sorry Kathy...I looked and couldn't find anything on that 'Water Run' garden either. It's nice that DS has caught the musical bug. Great to share common interests with your kids.

We are putting up our tree, hopefully on Sunday. That is when all the decorations will go up. DS and DD will help with it all and we will make a day of it with dinner together. We like to have them up for 2 weeks before Christmas and until New Year's Day when we usually put it all away. Three weeks is enough for us and by then the tree is shedding. Just the door wreath remains all winter.

Denise...there was a great program on PBS called 'Change Your Brain, Change Your Life'. Fascinating.

Julie...good for you, I think when family has to get along without you for a day or two, they come to appreciate what you routinely do, a little more. :-)

Eden, I am feeling the crunch too and starting to think that maybe next year, I will ask for everyone's list by Halloween instead of Thanksgiving. begonia topiary is more of a standard and has about 10 leaves on it with three more coming. It's looking okay, but I was expecting more by now. I don't think I have enough sunlight in the winter months. I hope Ky finds just the job he wants.

Enjoyed the 'NO' blog Gardenbug. It is not an issue for me at this point but it has been at other times in my life. Knowing you need to maintain balance and doing it are two different things. I do like the way this concept was presented in this article. Much easier to grasp. you have ice where you are?

Hello Wendy. :-)

Friday again....amazing how fast this week went by. By this time two weeks from now, Christmas will be behind us.

Have a great day...

    Bookmark   December 12, 2008 at 6:41AM
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Good morning

As of this morning there is not a single decoration up here either though that will change this weekend. Like Chelone, I love making everything look festive but am totally relaxed about when it actually gets done. And if something doesn't make it up - there is always another year. We are slated to get the tree this weekend, a ritual we all look forward to, so that will get us started.

I've been somewhat busy making gifts (felt ornaments, cards, beading, knitted dishcloths). However, most of the spare moments I can grab I've been indulging myselt in a miniatures project - a Christmas eve scene. After all the heavy work on the bathrooms, working with tiny things again is pure joy and utterly addictive. Right now I'm putting glazing in 6 inch bay windows and wiring minute 1 inch wall sconces. It is so, so, so much fun.

I too will be writing a Christmas letter as soon as the minature is done as it makes keeping up with distance friends so much easier. However, it is such a cringe inducing form of communication it takes me several goes to get something I can bear to send out. And Kathy - NO! it will not be for Idyll consumption LOL!

Julie - I think you asked how old David is? He is twelve and in every way a very typical boy. He is very proud of the fact that eight out of the ten rings tones on his cell phone are fart noises, but he can play the guitar with such sensitivty it brings tears to my eyes.

Michelle - relaxing in a hot tub and a night away together sounds a lovely way spend a shopping weekend. those things are so important and special to do together. Hope you enjoy:0)

I need to get going - today is my short day at work and a friend is taking me out for a belated birthday lunch. Yay!

Happy Friday


    Bookmark   December 12, 2008 at 7:46AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

A quick pass here....

PM2, I agree about the difficulty in finding solid toys for pets. The catnip mice for cats...with tiny eyeballs and whiskers that fall off, are simply a no go. In fact cat toys are very difficult here because the dog wants them too! They would cause serious problems for Phoebe!

For the dog, the ONLY thing that works well are the BLACK Kong toys. These are the strongest version of their toys. Because of her large jaw, her size, her incredible need to chew...these are all that works...(other than quilts, my desk, rugs, etc..) ;)

More later....

    Bookmark   December 12, 2008 at 8:34AM
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chloehoover(z6b VA)

Happy Friday all -- I think we may luck out and get little, if possible, no ice - had a ton of rain and it appears maybe a flake or two - no more than an inch....I'd love for it to stop for me to cruise & grab a tree for DD to help me put up tomorrow when she's at my house to do our cookie bakathon.

Working on the spirit thing - but the dysfunctional relatives in PA seem determined to ruin this December too like last year's - after 2 phone calls from dear old Dad discussing old unresolved distribution of family jewelry (none of it valuble but just sentimental) issues -- I just finally said I refused to let them ruin my December and I wont talk about or dont want to hear from anyone about the issues - January 5, 2009 is plenty of time. If they want to continue to make themselves crazy, so be it... I think that was saying no and putting a stop -- and working on my Yes projects, LOL. Why anyone would think 2 weeks before Xmas is a pleasant, appropriate time to argue about dividing of personal property I do not understand... call me weird -- but it's my personal stress button and Im not letting it get pushed this year.

Michelle -- here's an idea I've done a few times -- I think it works best for smaller groups anyhow -- how about doing fondue w/ your parents on Xmas? I do just cheese with my vegetarian DD and her spouse (w/ fruit fondue /chocolate for dessert); I've added a pot for meat fondue if I have a stray or two meat eater. It's fairly easy, simple, laid back and we've all enjoyed it - it's become a bit of a tradition now for either Xmas or Xmas eve. I imagine other idyllers have some great ideas like that as well.

Glad to hear you got your plants laid to rest in bed, Deanne; despite the huge amount of work -- it definitely holds lots of rewards -- for you -- and for us, LOL.... Im glad to hear Doug's with you to share in the cosy,chilly icy weather there. Stay safe.

Glad you did the turn-around thing, Chelone, and headed home! Sounds like lots of snuggling will be going on today in New England.

Wendy, I think it's great your kids love music -- the "arts" so suffer when schools have to cut budgets -- I heard that those "extras" as usual in this area are slated on the chopping blocks because of the times -- but it's sooo important for kids to be exposed to these things. For me, when I was growing up -- it was drama; I loved it; I sang but really shouldnt too; but it was the school theatre programs that gave me such reward. My DD felt more inspired in the art area - painting, etc.

Glad to hear you're feeling more the thing, 'bug -- I look forward to hearing some of the naturapath info you pick up; I have a friend who's gone to one recently for her migraines - I think they were working on her taking magnesium as she supposedly had low levels. I know my friend said she was feeling more energetic, even if the headaches had not yet improved.

Hmm, upon reflection - it appears I have a lot to be glad about today, LOL.... Im obviously stuck on that word - make it the word of the day...
Well, gotta lot to get thru here today. Im looking forward to baking cookies this weekend - havent done that probably in more than 5


    Bookmark   December 12, 2008 at 9:21AM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

Good morning all.....
I wish it were a 'good morning' for all in the path of the winter storm....espacially the ice and power outings!
Deanne, that is terrible for you. I heard the report about New Hampshire on TV this morning.

I will be going back to town today or tomorrow to stock up some more. There were some items I failed to get Tuesday, and an ice storm is predicted for us for Monday and Tuesday. I don't expect to get to town next week! And Tuesday is to be the last GY class for the year. :-(

I also need to get my monthly B-12 shot. I have started having leg cramps while in bed...that seems to indicate the need of a shot.

Deanne, I know exactly how you feel about bringing in all the outdoor potted plants. But not only do I want to have the deck and front yard scene again next spring, I also enjoy seeing them indoors. There does come days when I wonder why I have them all, and dread having to water them all. Thank God for the cement floor in the utility/plant room, with the drain in the floor! I spacially enjoy the recurring blooms all winter.
Long towards spring I get awfully antsy before it is warm enough to put them out.

Marie, I sure hope your DH is not starting to have memory problems...i.e., a touch of senility. It happens to so many, as you well know. Nolon's mind problems come and go. He has been doing fine for a while now. I have problems also. Some of my worst are connected with my fibro and the meds.
Glad your illness was short lived. Nolon calls that condition "puzzle gut" !

V, Good to see you back safe and sound! I can imagine the temp change shock! I am looking forward to pics, and reports. :-)

Pm2....shame, shame ! Placing all those temptations before us! I can almost feel my digestive problems flairing up when I see those pics!
The 3 GDs are : Savannah Autumn, Brianna Madison, and Hannah Claire! I think they are all pretty names.

Chelone, funny that we both overslept Weds morning. It was after 7 when I awoke, after being awake for a couple of hours or more during the night. I was concerned about Nolon's take on my lateness, but he said it was no problem. The cats were not raising a ruckus either.... It was a cold frosty morning, and they were sleeping contentedly.
Our first woodshed was similar to yours...a roofed shed attached to the back of the house, where our deck is now. If my memory is correct, it had the green corrugated fiberglasss on it. Nolon utilized lots of stuff that came off of his jobs.
Neither my mother or my dad were teasers. Our son goes to extremes with it, with his girls. So much of what he says is in the form of teasing, I don't know how they can believe anything he says to them! I think 'rapier wits' would be a good definition of what he says, too. I really think he takes it too far. But they seem to love it.
As for 'punching ' some one...I slapped a teen age boy on the school bus, because of his constant picking on me. We became friends after that. :-)
The interior of my frig is beginning to look like yours. I haven't given it a good cleaning since I bought it...and I think that was about 2 1/2 years ago! Right now it is so full, I cannot get the pot of beans in, without setting it on top of a bunch of jelly and other jars.

Martie...that is a very pretty wreath.

Woody, Your post IS rather strang looking. I have seem others's that have looked like that. Now I know why. I had no problem reading it...and soon hardly noticed the strange symbols. :-) I DID keep wondering if V was thinking you were talking to her...LOL.
Sorry to hear of Jasper's final trip. It is sad when that happens.

Denese, it gets down to the mid 50s in our house. I used to have no problem with that, and was mainly concerned with my tropical plants. Now it seems too cold! My old body is not taking it as well as it used to.
I had to laugh about diners asking to be moved from where you sat with your relatives! My GDs embarrassed me at times, in restaurants, but nobody moved away from us because of them (that I know of).

Julie, I chuckled at the thought of Ajax on the treadmill also. I have seen the videos of cats on treadmills. They are hilarious.
Chicken and dumplings sound good, and I almost put a chicken to cook for that purpose, but decided to go with another pot of pinto beans and ham hocks. I started them yesterday, and will continue the cooking of them on the wood stove this morning. We finished off the last of the turkey chowder a couple of days ago. It was so good, and went down so well, I hated to see it end. :-)
I have had a turkey in the side by side for months now, and did not cook it for Thanksgiving, for fear it may not be all that good by now, but the label says "Best if used by 4 27 09", so it should be fine. I got it out and am thawing it in the refrigerator. I love turkey, and all that can be made from it. It takes about a week to thaw in my frig.
Wow! 12 inches of snow! We very seldom have it that deep here.

Mary, what is the weather like in your area?

Okay, I had better not push my luck....


    Bookmark   December 12, 2008 at 10:03AM
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vtskiers(z6a CentralCT)


Just rain here. I'll take it over what many of you are getting. Could only get Nick to go out this morning so I had two poops and a tinkle to clean up when I got out of the shower...and a partridge in a pear

No internet at home this week. My laptop got attacked by a nasty virus and is currently down in the IT department and has been all week. My work laptop won't synch with my cable internet at home, wireless or hard wired. I hate this technoid crap.

Weird event of the old boyfriend who I haven't seen or heard from in over 25 years called and left a message on my work phone yesterday. I finally connected with him this morning. He asked if I would be willing to read a long letter if he sent it to me. Says he's been married since 1989 and has a 14 year old daughter but thoughts of me just started flooding into his head this past summer. What is it with men? This is the second old, old boyfriend who has popped out of the woodwork in three months. I waved off the first one with a "hi, hope life has treated you well" e-mail. Apparently mid life crises are alive and well. boss told me I should have told this guy no letter but I'm just too

Gotta run,


    Bookmark   December 12, 2008 at 11:24AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Yes Sue, mid life crises are alive and well and for women too. DS has had two very serious requests in the last 2 months to father children... Sigh..Some things never change.

On the home front, I'm hoping that tonight we can convene and talk about gifts for the gang this season. I like Michelle's approach to that, but it isn't going to happen here! I'm with DD on this topic: giving things you never thought to ask for can often be the best...if well thought out. But I'm not one to like new vacuums for Christmas. On the other hand, a truckload of compost is a great gift. Go figure!

Phoebe needs me later!

    Bookmark   December 12, 2008 at 11:54AM
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chloehoover(z6b VA)

Im not going to comment on old boyfriends ghosting out of the woodwork, Sue, LOL, but I did think this is very fitting in light of the household misdemeanors occurring at your residence. V had suggested something like this for Ajax -- I suspect we could use on a lot of our pets... Isnt it amazing what folks think up these days....

    Bookmark   December 12, 2008 at 12:58PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA


    Bookmark   December 12, 2008 at 1:06PM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Well we survived the night but Oh what a mess there is. The sound of cracking and crashing trees went on and on through the night and through the morning. Anywyere there are white pine trees it looks like a war zone. WE had many, many huge tree limbs come down in the back. It broke branches off the Mountain Ash and Dogwood trees as well as trashing my Hydrangea paniculata tree. An enormous limb fell onto it and there are only three branches and a trunk left and the branches that are left are split. I don't know if it can be saved. We also had a ton of stuff come down in the shade garden were my urn collection 'used to be'. LOL Actually all but one survived. The tall urn in that collection got whacked and has a hole in the side. Looks like there might be a hole in the garage roof as well..... I'd take four feet of snow over this. I think the air at tree top level was colder than ground level because the branches that were coming down this morning had about 3/4" of ice on them while the branches closer to the ground had about half that much. I did run out and take a few pics this AM but haven't processed them yet. I'll post a couple later on. Still no electricity, thank heavens for the generator. The cable was out until a short time ago so I do have internet. Amazing!

Later all, from Icy NH

    Bookmark   December 12, 2008 at 2:14PM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

Oh! Deanne. My heart bleeds for you. I know from experience how devestating ice storms can be. We are awaiting the posibility of one next week. We still have hanging limbs from the last one.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2008 at 2:46PM
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flowerluvr(Z5 IN)

Oh, Deanne! I hate to hear of the damage from the ice storm!You seem to get more than your share of storm damage :(

There is MASSIVE Christmas decorating going on at DD and FSIL's house. So much so that I'm wondering if I'll even bother setting up the tree here. She mentioned maybe having Christmas morning at their house, so....? Their house will be "dressed to the nines" for the wedding, so maybe we'll just take advantage of it. Moving the wedding up has kind of put me in a tail-spin. I don't know if it's "normal", but since I found out about DB's illness, I seem to have trouble focusing and accomplishing anything. As a rule, I have about 25 things "started", and that seems to be worse now.
Today, I met with a photographer for the wedding. Lol, nothing like booking the photographer at the last minute, eh? What a great guy! If good Karma counts for anything, the wedding is going to be slathered in it! His work is beautiful, and he's done some good things with his talent to better the world. He went to South Africa to document the AIDS epidemic, and to Brazil to document the killing of homeless children. Turns out, he's good friends with the Chief of Plastic surgery for the Smile Train, which happens to be my favorite charity. He and another friend are working on a book to document people who are living in poverty in small towns all over America. His friend is paying the publishing costs, and all proceeds will go to the actual families that are photographed for the book. Coincidentally, just a few days ago, I ordered the Dorothea Lange print "Migrant Mother" for my yoga room. Her work was his inspiration for the book. We talked for 2 1/2 hours, and I left with the feeling that maybe, one of these days, everything will be okay. I am so very happy to have him involved in my little girl's wedding, and I expect he will be taking pictures of my grandchildren someday :) I seem to be running into a lot of "random good people" and small acts of kindness lately. The very best medicine for what ails me, I think.

Lol @ Ajax on the treadmill! DH and I love to watch the Dog Whisperer. Every once in a while, when DH is acting up I do a "CH" sound and poke him in the neck, lol!

'bug-if the midlife crisis is alive and well for women, I guess I'm glad mine involves skydiving ;) I can't imagine approaching an old boyfriend for a "donation". I'm sure it's flattering in a way, but WOW!

So much more to catch up on, but I PROMISED myself I was going to make time for yoga every day, and I haven't done that yet. Also, I haven't started Christmas shopping, and if I'm going to do any of it online, I'd better get busy.
So, a wave and a hello to everyone!!
Sidenote to Chelone....You'll be pleased to know that I'm going next week to be FITTED for a garment of torture to wear under my dress. And, since I'm an especially nice person ;) I'm going to get FITTED and purchase an array of new "slingshots"! What the hell, I'm worth it, eh?

    Bookmark   December 12, 2008 at 3:54PM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

When life hands you lemons (or ice storms) Make lemonade, (or take pictures of the birds on ice covered branches.)


    Bookmark   December 12, 2008 at 4:08PM
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jak1(4 Ontario Can)

Not a good photo, but here's Ajax!!

Excuse the cluttered background - this is the playroom, where all the bits and pieces of a small boy's world are stored....

Flowerluvr - just as you are going to make time for yoga, I am going to make time for guitar - inspired by Mary's David.

Oh Deanne - terrible memories of the ice storm that hit Ontario and Quebec in January 1998 - or was it 1999? We were without power for 8 days. Lots of loss and damage. I hope things survive for you.

Ajax has managed very well with a Cuz, a Kong, and a rubber twined kind of ball. Everything else is torn to shreds in minutes. LEGO is the bane of my existence - TCS always manages to lose a piece on the floor and Ajax always manages to find it.

Glad you seem to be better 'bug - food poisoning - ugh!

Decorations are beautiful everyone. Now that my cards are done (!!!!!) I am going for a day to photograph the Christmas stuff and spend a day with you.

The dreaded Christmas letter - Oh Darn I Forgot to Mention that TCS is Starting His PHD at Cornell on Wednesday - I Expect Him To Be Done By February....

Actually I was pretty low-key - didn't tell any fibs but didn't gild the lily either - just the facts, ma'am, just the facts.

Gotta run, as usual. Three little boys, a dog, and a treadmill - not a good combination!!

Cheers til tomorrow!


    Bookmark   December 12, 2008 at 5:25PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

Yes! Julie got a pic for me! Thank you.

Remember the photo of the dogs with the orange flagging tape? Today, one of them found a ball of yarn in DD's room and unrolled it part of the way down the stairs. I think they have decided they are cats. Perhaps they want a litter box for Christmas?

I've posted a photo heavy thread with the Mexico highlights.

It's been a typical crazy week once I got back - too much to do, not enough energy to go around as I continue to recover from this cold.

Sue, that's interesting about the letter from the old boyfriend. I guess I would be interested to see what he had to say as well.

The dogs are telling me that I have been neglecting them, so I'd better sign off. Tonight's task is to read this idyll through, instead of picking out selected highlights (or low lights in the case of food poisoning and ice storms...)


    Bookmark   December 12, 2008 at 7:54PM
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After Deannes harrowing tales I hereby withdraw all complaints of cold, frost and snow. Clearly I do not have a leg to stand on.

Be advised that if you are scrolling very fast through this current thread you will observe a flip-book animation effect with Ms. Bella !

And I am pondering which of our three letters will hold the most interesting info : Mary or Julies Christmas epistle, or the long lost ex-boyfiend of Sues.

Happy to have Friday roll around and we are expecting unsettled weather over the weekend so I will try to time my Christmas tree purchase accordingly. I still have not decided what the Fabulous Mantle Display will consist of this year, but I have some ideas. One does wish pomegranates were as cheap as apples.
We are having a Christmas potluck brunch next Thursday at the awfice , one day after my next go-round of oral surgery. I should be able to eat applesauce and cold scrambled eggs. Unfortunately, mimosas and bloody marys are not on the menu. I could eat those too as long as I dont use a straw.

Marian, what beautiful names all your DGDs have ! Sounds like you will be the next to have to hunker down for the coming storms. I hope you have an alternative in the event you lose power ? Its nice to hear that Nolan is doing well at the present, memory wise.

So nice to hear from Brenda, who seems impossibly busy ! I guess we wont request pics of foundation garments and slingshots lol !

All for me tonight, catch you all tommorow

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   December 12, 2008 at 9:16PM
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Waiting for the light!

At 5AM in backyard with the 3 stooges, plus leashed guestdog Gwen, I spotted a stoopid wabbit running the fence line. Hope saw it too. In daytime, the rabbits freeze so dogs can't see them. Santa Bunny was a big one and Hope thought it was a stuffy. (And sounded just like one when she squeaked it. Apologies to the sqweemish.) I hustled the obedient three indoors to avoid a frenzy and then went back out to see what high value treat would be needed for Hope-less to release it. Turns out 'drop it' worked fine. Not usually the case with squirrels and bunnies in my experience with other pups. (Yes Chelone, she is all trained up!) Dead bunny. Darwin's law and I'm sure it's death improved the gene pool for the species.

I have one remaining gift to dig out a box for and wrap. Then off to the post office. That's about the only reliable tradition I have anymore: standing in line. I did get the candles in windows last week-end. I pack them away with any needed extension cords or multi-plugs and all are labeld by window. That and 4 boxes by area keeps the trouble factor low. Skipped the bay in the kitchen and the old sunroom - both face the back, but I may get to them yet. It would be something to look at at 5AM when there are no bunnies distracting me.

PM, I don't know what kind of dogs you're buying for, but I bought cow tails for all friend doggies on my gift list this year. These are high value treats at my house. In the good pet food stores (you won't find them at PetSmart) they're around $16 a bag, but I stock up when they're sale through Entirely Pets. Link attached.

I see lots of Bella pictures which make me smile. I like what Denise did with the last photo. What a face!

Thought of Deanne when I heard about the New England ice, and glad to see at least one beautiful photo shared :)

Kathy, my kitchen has 3 walls to the wind (it's an addition) and since my thermostat is kept at 58F,(used to be 55F, but I'm old now) the kitchen is usually 53F in the sun. In the morning after a cold night I don't even look at the kitchen thermometer. This is why skinny dogs wear fleece in this house. I'm sure I've said before that walking through my house is like going through menopause. The rarely used living room is probably in the 70s and the cellar is really the warm spot. I do laundry down there to warm up.

Ok,there is light in my world.

Enjoy the week-end everyone!


    Bookmark   December 13, 2008 at 7:29AM
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No ice here, thankfully, but Saucy's area keeps coming up on the news as being "worst hit." 1 million people are without power in MA and NH and having been through those areas a lot, the prediction that power will be back on by mid-next week seems optimistic. Yesterday crews from the service side of my work were gathering donations to bring with them: those in-pocket handwarmers, warm socks, plastic bags to use as raingear, candles, hot cocoa and instant coffee mix, little gas grills, anything that might help them and and residents be a bit more comfortable.

I'm sure Rich will be getting in touch with some organization to see if he can help in some way -- it's just too close to us to not do anything when we were untouched.

Kyle has decided he wants "my people" for his graduation, so I'm digging out old phone numbers and making the pot luck dinner list. This should be quite fun, and today he, Rich and I will collectively decide if his paternal family will be here or if we will have them do their own thing. Two extraordinarily different approaches to celebration mean that "separate" is sometimes the more comfortable way to go. We'll see.

Thank You Cindy (I think it was Cindy) who suggested fondue. You have just resolved my "what do I do for breakfast" question since it seems that that's the one Holiday mean for which I'll be responsible. Thinking of using thick French Toast and warm syrup, fruit with lightened chocolate and/or vanilla based dipping sauce...the possibilities are endless. One less thing to think about!

LOL, Sue, about the old boyfriend. I'd be nosy too but also be careful, please!!!! It amazed and continues to amaze me how brazen men can be toward recently single women, like we couldn't possibly get along without a "dangler" by our side or at least on call. From experience, don't register on Classmates or any other from-the-past networking site, the loonies will be at your door in a heartbeat.

Thanks for the cow tail link, Cynthia, and my god dogs thank you too :-) Did Hope arrive as trained as she is?

Re the Topiarys: I still plan to post mine on Dec 20 in anticipation of the Solstice, and hope lots of others join in, semi-leafless or structured plants or not. Just sounds like fun.

This weekend will be comprised of a "putz list" of cool stuff I've wanted to do (those Salvias really need to get out of the garage and downstairs) and just kicking back. Wind chills will be in the single digits but heck, why do I have a bathtub with warm water if not to indulge after freezing my keester off to save some random terra cotta?? LOL

Waving to all, and really hope that friends to the immediate north are staying warm.


    Bookmark   December 13, 2008 at 8:21AM
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You guys are hard to keep up with :)

We had ice damage too, and spent half of yesterday with no power. Looking out the window, I couldn't understand why....but when I ventured out for coffee, only a half mile up the street was covered in ice and the street was littered with tree branches....we were right on the elusive "line" that the weather man is always talking about :)

Deanne, I'm glad you checked in....I thought about you as I watched the lead news story last night. I wonder how Chelone made out...but that's a silly question because she is such a hearty woman (roasting by the woodstove, no doubt :) Wendy?

Today is decorating day, and I'm glad to see that I'm right in line with other Idylls who haven't quite gotten into the spirit yet. Jake and Sarah are really ready, so I will follow their lead. Hopefully the spirit will move over me.

I just looked out my window (over Marcy's head, Kathy) and I can see the water is up into the yard. I told Nick that I wanted Ducks for Christmas, and he reminded me that their are duck hunters around :) I'm glad I live on a hill!

I'd better go. Time to refresh the coffee cup. I'll be back later....


    Bookmark   December 13, 2008 at 8:31AM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Good morning all,

Well we are still witout electricity. Brrrrr..... Thank heavens for the generator. My Mom came over to spend the night as she also still doesn't have power. We've got to drag that tree limb off the garage and patch the hole in the roof today. My sister over in Windham also is without electricity. The news is saying that there are still 700,000 people in NH and MA without electricity and it might be into next week before service is back.

Saucy, I'm really glad to hear you've got power back. HOpe the ice damage was minimal.

Martie, I've been meaning to tell you that the GC Lavender is budding up like crazy and will be blooming for Christmas. How fun.

Hope Chelone and Wendy are OK too but I think Wendy should be fine. Doug went to Woburn to work yesterday which is close to where Wendy is and they didn't have ice problems there.

Julie, LOVE the treadmill pic! What fun, thanks for getting that one.

Cynthia, Hope is a good dog!

V. going to try to get over to your sunny Mexico shots sometime today.

Sue, what's with this old boyfriend thing???? So the latest one is still married? bizarre!

Allrighty... I've got to finish my coffee and get outside to start the cleanup. Later all!

    Bookmark   December 13, 2008 at 9:03AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Good morning...I've lost my place and no time to find it. Loved reading Brenda's cheerful post, surprised by Sue's old boyfriends [g], thanks for the Pet gift ideas Cynthia and G'bug. I know I am missing a lot, but I'm sure I will make up for it later. :-)

Horrible the ice damage and power outages, Deanne! I am grateful not to have had the ice, but with all the rain and wind, we woke up to a leak in the ceiling to deal with. Grrr! Car shopping is only a close third on the priority list this morning, but we are 'trying' to focus on one thing at a time and be blissfully happy to be out together, Christmas shopping on a sunny day. LOL

Back later...have a productive and satisfying day. :-)

    Bookmark   December 13, 2008 at 9:50AM
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Okay, this is a rant, pure and simple, and probably not at all keeping with a Holiday spirit, but as far as I'm concerned the Snowy Owl can scoop up Ky's father and drop him into the coldest lake around. It's not often I get fired up.....

For the entire time since Ky was born I was the major financial support. Won't go into details but suffice to say that when I left Ky's dad, it was much better educationally and socially for Ky to stay with him. Child support was Always on time, was Always more than the court ordered, and "special" things like computers and field trips were funded by me.

Enter Rich, who knew the situation but also knew that with Kyle in college, whatever I had been paying for child support could go directly to Ky (what a concept!!!!!) so between tuition and living expenses it was tight but we did it.

When Kyle decided to go to Europe for a semester we knew that he would need a ninth semester here for his degree. That was fine, but he would need to fund that last semester. His dad promised help starting in September 08.

Fast forward to today: His dad has given him a whopping $400 since September (rent, insurance, food, books, clothes, etc. etc. etc. was to have been partially funded by that while Kyle did the rest with jobs and of course it hasn't come close to being enough and we've pitched in repeatedly) and the last check provided by his dear old Dad bounced -- leaving Kyle with a negative balance in his checking account, unable to get gas to get to his sometimes cleaning job, and without food. We found this out this morning after Kyle showed up and we asked why he'd want to hang with us until midnight when he could shoot the 30 miles to home between cleanups). Kyle felt terrible. Rich and I have dug in to what little we have and it'll get worked out, there will be a full tank, and Kyle will eat.

But, I Am Furious!!!!!!! For the very first time for some reason his dad's repeated antics have really pi%(ed me off and I'm ready to make some phone calls that I probably will immediately regret, so here I am instead. Until now I've been able to say: "It's just X and why should I expect differently????" but now that Kyle is so darn close to his goal it just breaks my heart that he would throw this behaviour into the mix.

You'd think that since he's single, has a decent paying full-time job with a school system, lives in a rent controlled apartment and drives a car that's too old not to be paid for, he could stop partying long enough so that his son can have what his son has absolutely earned in terms of determination and shear guts.

Okay, I think I feel better, and I appreciate anyone who is still reading at this point :-)


    Bookmark   December 13, 2008 at 11:22AM
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Martie, I have no words of wisdom to offer you, but wanted you to know that I think that this is the place to rant - here among friends :)

Hugs friend!


    Bookmark   December 13, 2008 at 11:56AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

You've done what needs to be done Martie, you've focused on the child. He can act as he chooses, but it is up to you to decide how you respond. Allow yourself 10 minutes to rage, then move on. Continue to focus on the child, knowing how hard it is for him to accept that his own dad treats him this way. Sigh. Believe me, I sympathize!!!!!


    Bookmark   December 13, 2008 at 12:10PM
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Checking in on the ice storm. Other than Deanne's awful damage, sounds like everyone is OK. Martie, that situation stinks, but after graduation you should be able to close the door on it, right?

Back to a ballooning to-do list. Stay warm and safe.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2008 at 12:11PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Taking a lunch break...well are certainly having a challenge to enjoying the holidays this year! I am sure it was a very unpleasant surprise to find out that Kyle has been having a hard time with the necessities of food/gas. That would drive me crazy with my kids too, especially if at the moment you and Rich are also finding finances a little tight. You are justifiably resentful and angry. I would have to agree with Denise and G'bug, thankfully Kyle is about finished with school and once he is working he won't need help from his Dad any more. Hopefully not from you either. It would be great if his Dad were different, but after all this time, doesn't seem likely that will change. It is his Dad's loss. :-) Kyle is lucky to have you and it would seem you are lucky to have Rich. This too shall pass.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2008 at 1:17PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Last post here... :-)

    Bookmark   December 13, 2008 at 5:20PM
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