#464 'Tis the Season

gardenbug(Canada zone 5)December 5, 2009

Whatever you name it, it is that time of year when we think of friends, family, the person at the awfice, the man on the street.

Personally I have two friends who are in difficult times, suffering without work.

I am upset by the mean spirited, the selfish, the just plain stupid.

But you know, I also think of the very qualified, the generous, the brave and the good.

When Cyn shares her quote, "It is better to build children than repair adults", I want to agree. Yet I have worked at repairing adults, and that is a job reserved for saints. I did not last. To those who do help them go my biggest thanks.

I have wrapped gifts today, had dinner out with French speaking friends, watched the moon, walked the dog, been patient with my husband, knit....and now to bed!

Here comes winter!

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..to be jolly !
36 right now, 20's expected, but I have a roof and a heater and two cats with lots of fur an an interest in laps. there is also chocolate here.
Tomorrow I will wrap modest presents..I was in a dept store today and saw a Village display.."Martie!" I thought..

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   December 6, 2009 at 12:15AM
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4" of rather wet snow on the ground and artfully enhancing the beauty of bare trees. Some very surprised cats, too!

Perhaps it's the seasonal diminution of sunlight or the chilly temperatures that tend to keep me indoors that puts me a more reflective and pensive mood at this time of year. Dunno, but my work (basically "from the neck down" when assembly is required) allows my mind to wander freely. It's the time of year that the drives for hats, coats, mittens is in full force. And I try to do my part. But I am just appalled that any self-respecting parent would fail to provide such basic necessities for their kids, let alone produce MORE children when they clearly cannot care for one, let alone themselves! I know money is tight but I also know that if you're going to have a kid you have to actually "keep it alive", too! I hate kids (and dogs) but if they don't have hats, coats, mittens, boots how can you send them outdoors and get them out of your hair for 30-45 minutes (or at least until they have to pee)? Tears rolled down my cheeks as I read about the little miscreant in your office, Cyn.. I honestly don't know how you lace up the boots and face that crap every day. The abject selfishness of "parents" leaves me with my mouth agape sometimes. I suppose the little victories make up for the grimmer, less fulfilling aspects of your work. Likely the same for Mary. When school systems decide they need a "dope slapper" I'll be first in line with my resume!

I did a careful analysis of how I will need to operate the woodstove in the Salon to minimize oil consumption and still enjoy a cozy workspace. It will involve firing the stove when I get up in the morning (combined with taking Rex outdoors it will be do-able). To that end, I will have to train myself to bring in the wood the night before. I ran the stove very hot yesterday (550 degrees on the stovetop, which means 1100 degrees+ in the firebox) which is the most efficient way to burn the stove. It cranked out plenty of heat and this morning the space was at 60 degrees and there still coals in the stove to reignite todays's fire.

Kitchen is cleaned, cat box is mined, and when the laundry is folded it will be time to hit the cozy Salon and do some alterations.

No thought to Christmas gifts or decorations (aside from poaching Michelle's lovely topiary idea!).

    Bookmark   December 6, 2009 at 8:25AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Kids :)

Yesterday it was decided that DGS Skyler was to play the role of parent and the parents were allowed to be the kids. So, DD was allowed to phone me briefly, and this is what I heard about the start of the day.

After feeding Ivy, DD got dressed and took her downstairs to visit her brother saying, "Here's a diaper for your sister. I'm going outside to play." She then went out to play in the new fallen snow and had a blast. She built a tunnel.

I'm eager to hear the sequel!

    Bookmark   December 6, 2009 at 10:56AM
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A frosty morn-I am told by the local NPR affiliate that we are receiving the cold front from Canada Imagine that! Temps in the twenties again tonight.
I believe I have found my new speakers and only have to choose between 2 models Âthe brand I have selected is Paradigm. Did a good deal of research on various audiophile sites and these were solidly recommended . I did a store search and to my surprise, the one and only locally owned audio-video store in this town is an authorized Paradigm dealer. Lo and behold, they actually have customer service there , people who know something-and a listening room. I do like to support local business when I can .

Time to venture out to the driveway and retrieve the Sunday paperÂlater friends !

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   December 6, 2009 at 10:58AM
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If people were to decide who could be parents they might not've let me have two :)

I get what you're all saying, but I don't know who would decide. And the truth is, that we each have to find our own way in this world - some starting off with the odds stacked in their favor, some with the odds stacked against.

It's nice to hear that we care and want to end it and make a difference...that is the important part, for we all just want someone to understand us.

I've been wrestling lately with the word, "intimate" and how it applies to relationships. Someone on the t.v. was talking about how we're all more connected, but in a less intimate form. It got me to thinking about this little forum and how I struggled for a while because I felt like you guys didn't get me, and that I couldn't speak what I was really thinking because we were in a public forum. Funny. I don't really feel like we don't have an intimate conversation here, anymore. You all have become as dear to me as the friends I've bunked with on a ship for 6 months, or the friends I've held close since high school...or the ones I walk with on a daily basis.

What are your thoughts on intimacy?

I was interested in hearing about the woodstove trials, Chelone. I did like lighting a fire in the stove in the garage last winter - I guess when being homebound gets to me, I'll do it again. I have big plans for a concrete "squiggle" to come out of the garden and 6 feet tall - like a Jack and the Beanstalk bean tendril shooting out from the earth.

I don't know what got into me this morning. Time to go and deck the halls. This is always stressful for Nick and I as he doesn't like to deck the halls. I told him when the kids are gone, I'll go celebrate at their house. I think I'd like to keep the decoration simple if I didn't have to play Santa :)

BTW - we got a crusty coating of white, too. In the lane snow is glistening!

Fa La la la la....


    Bookmark   December 6, 2009 at 10:59AM
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Good morning

Cindy I'm still chuckling about toaster woman!

Saucy - I agree with you about feeling intimate with friends here. I think for me it has been the length of our knowing each other, the bonding and laughter that takes place at Idyllunions, the shared interests and the support that is offered here as we encounter life's joys and challenges.

While I feel lucky to have many fun freinds, I have just a few really intimate ones, and I count you guys here amongst them. I feel I am able to tell you things I would be reluctant to share with people I see every day for fear of sounding boastful, or over burdening them with concerns when they too have a lot on their plates.

Saucy - DH enjoys the end result of decking the halls but has never really wanted to be involved in the process. Having grown up in a Jewish household I fully understand and am quite happy to do things on my own and with the kids. (That includes all the gift buying, wrapping, cards and holiday arrangements). I do only as much decorating as is fun - some years that is just a tree and stockings, others we go all out. If we don't use certain decorations one year, they are enjoyed even more the next. Feeling over burdened does not put anyone in a festive mood!

Each year we purchase fewer and fewer gifts, opting to make things, donate to charity or bake. One year I would love to have a totally non-consumer Christmas, focussing instead on the spirit of the season. Annie and David are not quite ready for that but we're getting close.

So far no decorations are up here except garlands around the chicken house. I also gave the girls a little more insulation as the nights are getting rather frosty. When I entered their run carrying a large pink sheet of insulation foam poor Marigold was so terrified she took two running leaps and cleared the fence. Annie reassured here with some cracked corn and brought her back. The other chicks were an amusing combination of fearful and curious and clucked around me as I worked. As feather brained as ever they dived after fallen staples as I attached their evergreen garlands. To my horror they swallowed any they could get ther beaks on - talk about feather brained! I have my fingers crossed they will not do any damage as they work their way through.


    Bookmark   December 6, 2009 at 11:38AM
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Hi peeps, I always get the log in bit lately when I check in and sometimes I just don't post when I read because of it. A small thing I know and only part of the reason. I've been pretty busy and tired as well.

Saucy I love the concrete squiggle idea and can even envision how to do it. Sorry I missed your birthday. Hope you had a good one.

Mary, I missed your birthday too, so Happy Belated Birthday. Anixous for you to get back on track with the computer so we may view your christmas crafts. They are always so much fun to see.

Marie your puppets for the kids were fun. I know they will enjoy them. I would like to have seen Skylars face when DD handed him the diaper and went out to play. Will enjoy hearing how the rest of the day goes.

Wyatt spent the night last night so we are hanging out this morning. He tried to teach me to play one of his video games but it moves much to fast for me.

Our weather is cold and dreary. chance of snow and rain tonight, and we are supposed to be two places at once in the morning. Wonder how that will play out.

Decking the halls is pretty minimal here as there isn't a lot of traffic through here until christmas day. Thats what happens when you live off the beaten path.

Drema's new puppy is a cutie. I perfer to get puppies in spring or fall so I don't have to take them out in the cold to train them.

So Kathy nice that you found a local dealer for the speakers. I need new ones for my computer set up. I think they have had a few to many video games blasted through them and are staticy now. It bothers me when I listen to my music.

Just heard from Wy's mom and dad and they have errands to do so he will be staying longer today. Dad is trying to get and old truck cleaned up and road ready for big brother Jake for Christmas. I can't believe that he will be on the road by himself soon.
Saucy is your Jake driving yet? I thought they were near the same age.

I am picking up ideas from Wyatt for his christmas from us.

I better go check on the fire, it's getting chilly in here.

Hey to all. Norma

    Bookmark   December 6, 2009 at 11:46AM
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What's that great quote from "Parenthood"? you have to license to drive a car, own a dog, catch a fish but any braindead -sshole can have a kid. Ain't it the truth! But when some ding-dong 14-18 yr. old turns up pregnant and is all starry-eyed about it we need to haul out SHAME. AND, we need to start asking hard questions and demanding some answers of the would-be "parent". The kinds of questions that have no easy answers but drive home the point of accountability and it's underrated twin, shame.
How do you propose to pay for YOUR kid? (how about an "action plan"?).
Who's the father and how does HE PROPOSE TO PAY FOR HIS KID? (how about some DNA enforcement that extends to immediate family?). It's THEIR family, after all!

Saucy, if it were up to people like me you'd have been granted license for at least a dozen kids and several other foster kids. You know what I'm drivin' at.

Intimacy is a multi-level structure, I think, Saucy. The levels carry different weights and so it is with the emotional importance we place on them. I've shared some very personal thoughts here over the years. and reading your replies and thoughts has helped me through some times that were too horribly isolated for words. I mean that, and you need to know that your voices have been welcome and trusted respite in times of need. Sometimes, in a weak moment, I worry about it but mostly... I don't give it a second thought. The way I see it, it's how I feel at any given moment, not a complete encapsulation of how I feel all the time or who I am at my core. I like to think that someone who stumbles on my thoughts and YOUR replies may just think, "jeez, I feel that way, too! I'm not all alone, and how I feel isn't as weird as I may think and I'm not all alone.". It's just the internet, you guys! some of it is worthwhile, some of it is fun, and you need to take it all with a big grain of NaCl.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2009 at 11:58AM
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chloehoover(z6b VA)

Cyn - I must be just enuf miles farther west than you as I had more than 4 inches of very heavy wet white stuff -- things were aleaning much last nite; everything was covered by 1 pm and I think slowed a bit later on. I have yet to shovel; my reluctance to pull the shovel from its basement storage - of course stuff froze overnite and it will be lots heavier today -- the consequence of laziness. But another headache and lazy was my excuse.

Saucy - the ex-SIL you met has always had a husband who dispises this holiday season -- and the irony is they have an Xmas tree farm. Go figure... he makes his retirement monies from folks whose holiday spirit he hates. Isnt that weird? Time of this year is the most stressful in their lives and the season she loves the most - the festivities, decorating, parties, etc.... Relationships are very much balancing acts of opposites it often seems. 'Course her DH seems to refuse to compromise and in fact go out of his way to make the personal celebrations miserable. I've never understood it. They still struggle after 30 years of marriage....

Havent put any decorations up yet here either -- hoping next weekend will be the "feeling the spirit" time.

The thought of passing a worthy to be a parent test is scary -- most of us would never pass -- and who would make up the regs to run the test? Let's face it - kids and life do not come with directions.... it's all learn as you go.

I think the thing that keeps me optimistic about the human race is that so many people do manage to overcome childhood struggles, bad parental choices, and terrible circumstances to become functioning adults - many rise to the challenges and overcome them well.....

Intimacy online is an odd thing -- one can either keep in mind that there are many many lurkers oddly reading these things, or ignore them and open up on certain topics.... It's another juggling matter.

'bug - interesting play going on at your DD's house -- not sure Skylar's the age yet to fully appreciate the responsibilities of parenting, LOL -- but maybe he'll enjoy being a kid more after a day like that? Dont we all?

Well, guess I gotta get serious about the shovel thing -- I've had problems loading the threads from gardenweb this weekend - anyone else having problems? maybe it's my p.c. as usual....


    Bookmark   December 6, 2009 at 12:06PM
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cyn427(z7aN. VA)

'bug, you're right that repairing adults is more difficult! I just hope that there may be one or two fewer in need of repair if I do my job well. I do know that I probaly get much more back from my kiddoes than does someone working with adults. Oh, and chelone, when necessary, I do my share of "dope slaps"-figuratively of course! I also think every 11-13 year-old girl should have to spend one week with a new mother-getting up at all hours, dealing with diapers, cholic, etc. Bet that would cut down on those teenage pregnancies-at least it might make them think twice.

saucy, for my part, I find I sometimes censor myself so as not to offend. I do have some strong opinions and out-of-the-mainsteam ideas/beliefs that I think others might not quite like, so I tend to 'zip it' as DS says. That may come from childhood and always trying to please parents and especially a mother, for whom nothing was ever quite good enough. I remember a time during my college days when she sent me to a psychiatrist after finding me crying for no apparent reason. He told her she was pushing me too hard. Her response? "She needs to be pushed." Day to day, I am pretty much past that, but I guess we never completely heal. That said, as a newbie Idyll, I have found everyone here to be so kind, supportive, funny, clever, thoughtful-everything a person could ask for in friends, imaginary or not!

'bug, can't wait to here how Skyler felt about being a parent!

Aw, cindy-we never got any accumulation. That's the bad news. My DH would say the good news is he didn't have to shovel. Will it warm enough that you don't really need to shovel. The little bit we got is melting. The four-legged fools have found the mud out back again-oh and they got another squirrel. Glad it was DH and not me who caught them before they ate it!

    Bookmark   December 6, 2009 at 3:35PM
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Im thinking that we should give Canada the cold air right back. Im just in for a walk with the hound. The Christmas tree stands but is unadorned. Somehow an afternoon nap got in the way. I follow Marys philosophy and do just the amount of decorating that is fun. Sometimes it goes on for days. Christmas music is always playing and DH hides in another part of the house. We spent the day yesterday shopping. Oddly it was quite enjoyable, the traffic and crowds werent bad. I guess its still early enough in the season. We try to do our city shopping the first two Saturdays in December and then use the rest of the month to do the shopping that we can accomplish locally. I have a "girls" party to attend Wed night so I guess that gift should be the first to get wrapped.

Saucy, Im quite interesting in the plans behind the proposed "squiggle" Ricks grandpa built many things out of wood forms, concrete, chicken wire and stone mosiac for his garden. Such as an arbor, bridge, birdbath and more. He was well know in the area for it. His house and garden were right near the city square.

Norma, I can just picture Wyatt teaching you the video game. Ive been there myself, Im poorly coordinated at that type of thing.

About intimacy, I have shared things with you, my imaginary friends that I only shared with a select few "real" people. I appreciate your feed back and support. I dont think much about lurkers. I think some just lurk for the fabulous pictures since this is such an incredibly talented group both in gardening and so many other areas. They probably dont read a lot of whats written. I found myself lurking here over 5 years ago and if you do much reading you just cant help but to be drawn into the conversation.


    Bookmark   December 6, 2009 at 7:10PM
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It was the photos that reeled me in here as well. I think the first photo thread I remember looking at was a successive photo journal of Deannes driveway garden. Seeing it in person this summer was entirely fabu-fabu.. I think the geographic diversity and unconditional friendship of this particular internet place is unique-at least in my experience. Ive been reading or participating in internet forums and mailing lists since the days of Prodigy (anyone remember that ?) and have seen many of them ruined by flame wars and troll invasions. I think everyone here is committed to keeping this a safe haven, a cordial place , and somewhere we can come and share from the most mundane details, to the big ugly stuff in our lives . Best of all we get to meet in person at least once a year !

Weather forecast : rain and 30 degrees overnight ? Sounds like snow conditions to me .

Chelone, do I infer that the pediments are to remain in storage this Christmas ? Some years are harder than others from a Christmas decorating standpoint. The year my DH passed away is one I cant remember at all-he died in late November and I think we all made a valiant effort to try to make things as normal and festive as possible..a distraction I suppose in a way, but also it honored him since he really loved Christmastime. I concur with Mary and Michelle, and no longer feel I have to go overboard unless I want to . Its been a few years since the family Christmas has been at my house, so Im probably going to haul out just about everything!

I am having fun in the evenings going through my stockpile of back issues of Fine Gardening. Friday night I looked at some from 1999-its interesting to see the development of trends that are popular now-container gardening, grasses ,using foliage etc.

Idylls peeking through the plants at IU6 From Idyllunion 6 July 2009

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   December 6, 2009 at 8:10PM
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Kathy, that photo reminds me of Wilson looking over the fence at Tim the tool Man Taylor. (Home Improvement) LOL

    Bookmark   December 6, 2009 at 8:55PM
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Kathy, I was just thinking, "ahh, think of all the pots that will be ripe for the taking when everyone figures out container gardening is so last year!" I dream of having a sort of greenhouse/conservatory room to drag them into. My banana is growing leaves into my kitchen from the basement below - if only the floor wasn't in the way!

It's not cold enough in my basement.

The amaryllis I'm growing for my MIL for Christmas is trying to open already! I'm going to have to pass it to her early, I think, so that she can enjoy it. Last year she took a picture and sent it to me. I noticed more houseplants at her house this year.

Our tree is up. My stair railing is festooned :) I like the soft glow of the little lights.

This year I bought a little blue spruce to decorate for the birds. I already dug a hole to put it in after Christmas. Sarah and I are making birdseed ornaments. We're thinking of drilling a hole through and stringing up the peanuts for the jays.

Michelle, If I get the gumption to move forward with my idea, I imagine that I will do it the same way that I did 'tufa girl: with chicken wire, and make patties out of my mixture to apply to the structure. I will probably use found junk to wrap the chicken wire around. When I was a girl, my mom used to take me to the place linked below. Sounds like Rick's grandfather did the same sort of thing.

Gotta get going - this morning is parent-teacher conference!


    Bookmark   December 7, 2009 at 7:13AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Amazing statues Saucy. There's a place in eastern Nigeria that we have visited (back in the mid 1960s) with very similar ones! DH and I were startled to view these this morning. I believe the place was Ikot Ekpene. I too like the dog, but it is much more realistic than the human figures.

Chelone, this math problem, created for Skyler by his father, may bring on a laugh:
About how many weeks are there in a month?
How many months are there between November and the end of March?
How many weeks are there between November and the end of March, about?
If Skyler receives $10 per week for allowance, how much money does he get between November and the end of March?
If Skyler loses his hat($5.99) and his mittens (#3.99) each week during that time, how much money will this cost him?
How much allowance will remain after paying for the hats and mittens?

Off to begin a busy day, with Book Club this evening. I'm always curious to know what kind of soup will be prepared. Last time it was onion soup. I have definite opinions on our read, Like Water for Elephants.

Computer woes here...

    Bookmark   December 7, 2009 at 8:24AM
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I wanted to say thanks to all of you for being there for me too. I saw early on that this was a group of people who were the kind of dream friends I always wished I had. I always thought it was amazing that here on this forum was a group of people who thought the same way I did on just about everything. Or maybe it was the overall attitude towards life in general. I could not have found you in my "real" life in one spot, I am sure. It is the perfect blend of knowledge, strength, kindness, and fun! My life has been enriched by all of you. I should say a big thanks to David for posting pics of his garden on the gallery all those years ago:) I sort followed them over here, and there you all were!


    Bookmark   December 7, 2009 at 3:42PM
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Temps in the 20s are on the agenda tonight, and we had snow this morning at higher elevations and even some of the flatlandsSacramento, Folsum, places that just dont get snow.

BILs in Portland are experiencing teens and lower-they are getting the same cold front but up there weather is more severebet T is cold too !

Talking to BILs about coming to IU to assist me in my hosting duties. Looking good on that front , they are gardeners too and cooks-what more could one ask for ?

bug, I think the customized math problem is great ! I wish I had been that good a parent , but alas my children are schooled in impractical things like musical theater ..kudos to DD and DSIL.

Saucy, Im thinking weve got at least ten more years on the container thing ! The moderate gardener is just catching up to it . I still recall the pastel era fondly, with the drifts of foxglove and Delphs. Im determined to re-introduce Foxgloves to my garden-they do really well here provided they are sheltered from the hottest afternoon sun .Looking forward to pics of the latest Saucy Creation !

Came home from the awfice today and made Potato-Leek soup, almost ready for consumption. After dining I will dive back into the old garden mags..

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   December 7, 2009 at 10:13PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Computer problems still. We'll see how this goes...

Sequel on Skyler as a parent:

Skyler lasted about an hour at the challenge. Breakfast was a real trial for him. Dad asked for hash browns and DD asked for fruit salad. They would not compromise so he had to prepare both. Also eggs, because that's what he likes with his hash browns. Well he did cook everything (the kitchen was a disaster zone of course) but there weren't enough potatoes, so he almost got none...except that DD shared hers, begrudgingly. Anyway, he learned a lot about complaining to the chef! Luckily for him, he did not have to juggle care of Ivy along with food prep. He did resort to bribery to settle things. He told DD that he's buy her something at the mall if she'd forget about the fruit salad and eat hash browns. She agreed and simply ate a banana. Then his Dad got upset that because DD whined, she got a treat at the mall, but because he was good, he got nothing. Oh brother...

Then he got stuck caring for Ivy while DD played in the snow. When she came back indoors, she left her jacket, snowpants and boots in a heap on the floor in the front hall. He didn't notice until his Dad pointed it out. So DD was instructed to tidy it all up. She only hung up her jacket and left the rest. He didn't catch on.

Caring for Ivy was too much for him, so he phoned his friend Josh to come help. (Josh's Mom is expecting a baby on Dec 16th or so...) When Josh came he was full of bossing people around. DSIL was sent to his room, etc. Eventually the exercise was abandoned, but DD felt it was a big success in many ways. It was his idea in the first place, so he discovered it wasn't all jollies for parents.

Last night's Book Club was very nice. Soup was squash with yogurt and red pepper toppings. Lots of crackers and cheeses and for dessert, a very decadent "bombe" of super rich chocolate with nuts and raspberry puree. There were different thoughts on the book...which is always good I think.

Maybe this will post???
Hi to everyone...and special hugs to Woody!

    Bookmark   December 8, 2009 at 9:42AM
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chloehoover(z6b VA)

A quick flyby --

Kathi - what grand fun it would be to meet your BILs -- that would be terrific. I do hope they can make it to IU.... I havent checked airfares yet but Im hopeful they'll have deals come winter/spring too. Cant believe those cold temps you're getting! (P.S. - I remember that photo!!)

It's crazy busy here so not much time to check in - I havent decorated a thing, and barely shopped; it seems it gets later and later every year. O well, I guess it will work out.

We're supposed to get possible freezing rain tonite/tomorrow a.m. depending on where the "rain line" falls - o joy -- I sure do hate ice....but hopefully it will just be mostly rain.

Waving hi to all.


    Bookmark   December 8, 2009 at 2:16PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

A wintry evening hello to all. For some reason, I had a hard time catching up on this idyll; I kept starting at the wrong spot and then didn't understand all the comments. I finally went back to the beginning and think I understand now!

We're getting walloped by the monster storm right now, but I have a pan of brownies in the oven to help me get over it. DH is in Florida. My new love, Todd the snow plow guy, will be visiting tonight. (Settle down - he's only coming to plow the driveway and there is NO innuendo in that phrase!)

Parenting - ah, what a perilous occupation, often taken up with little or no consideration of what's required. My SIL has a 2nd grade student in her class who is terribly disruptive and consistently behaves very inappropriately. For example, he drew a picture on a piece of classroom equipment of a male body part "in action", if you will. Yes, 2nd grade. But his mother has lost custody of her older child, had a third baby not too long ago that she gave up for adoption and struggles with many issues of her own. The father is in jail. I wonder what sort of parenting the mother experienced.

And then there is an acquaintance whose 13 year old daughter had a baby in October. I don't know the details of who the father is or what else is involved. The girl is not someone you would expect to see in this situation. The mother, D., is in her forties, and her husband has struggled for the last few years with Graves disease. And D.'s grandfather lives with her as well; he's in poor health and needs much care. Two days before Thanksgiving, D. had a heart attack. The diagnosis - stress! As she says, "Go figure!!!" Part of the problem is that she does care too much. I'm sure that this baby will end up in a much better place than the aforementioned 2nd grader because someone will be watching over him very, very closely. Sometimes even the best parented kids go wrong, but you still try to pick up the pieces in the aftermath. D., by the way, is recovering well and has a healthy outlook. Throw a prayer or two her way if you are so inclined.

I'm going to share some of what Brenda posted on Facebook a little bit ago. The harvest has been difficult to accomplish in this part of the Midwest - too much moisture throughout the fall. But as of today, Brenda is "DONE! Everyone in the area who owns grain trucks showed up so we could finish. I don't even know how much corn is sitting around different places on wheels, but it's not standing in the field anymore. We finished in a mix of snow and sleet, but we are finished! I am not getting out of bed until I feel like it in the morning." Happy to hear they are finished and how nice to hear of the neighbors lending a hand. (or a truck)

And now for a few of my thoughts on this forum. It's been so nice to see this remain a "nice" place, and it's been such a pleasure and so much fun to meet so many of you in person. You all are a wonderful shoulder to lean on, cry on and rejoice on. What more can I say? I don't "censor" myself in terms of holding back, but I am careful of certain things. For example, in talking about the 2nd grader earlier, I didn't use the explicit terms, not because I didn't think you all could handle that but to avoid them popping in a Google search.

The brownies now are cooling, and the church budget awaits my attentions. Now you know why I'm looking forward to the brownies!


    Bookmark   December 8, 2009 at 9:21PM
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Looks like a slow news day on the Idylls ..Our cold snap continues, 25 predicted tonight, it barely made it past 40 today. The Salvias and other modestly hardy plants gave up the ghost last night. I have fuchsias covered but when it hits the 20s theres only so much a blanket can do. They usually come back nicely from the roots.Rain hovers off the coast which will bring increased temps; I fear I will need an umbrella for Christmas tree shopping this year .

bug, I did so enjoy the tale of Skylers parenting experience. I particularly like DD dropping her gear on the floor, and DSIL being sent to his room..

Cindy, I bet there will be deals to be had on airfare- I was thrilled getting my RT for 399 last summer, and I think I booked it in January. Im going to start working on hotel stuff after Christmas. The Garden Conservancy has published some preliminary dates and areas for Norcal, none of which coincide thus far. I was happy to see the East Bay area is on the agenda, with no dates selected yet-this would be fertile ground if the dates jive.

All I have from the left coast- its almost time to get under a fleece throw with a lap cat and a garden magazine or two..

Waving !

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   December 8, 2009 at 10:10PM
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Bizzy, biz-ZEE! One more birthday left to celebrate for this year and a couple of work related parties later in the week and then we can truly enjoy the spirit of the holiday season.

The Idylls long history together speaks volumes for a special group of people, doesnt it? Connecting with others can be very superficial, but being intimate with friends delves into a deeper level where they hear you and can respond in kind. Whats the old saying? The best friendships age and mellow like good wine - or something close to that!

Saucy, your squiggle sounds really interesting and so are those statues! I admire your determination to get involved with labor intensive projects. I vividly recall your leaf castings (I think Michelle, too?) and am still in awe at how professional they turned out. Do you have a large workspace?

Speaking of workspace, Michelle Your shed must be good sized if I thought it was a house in the neighborhood! Im hoping youll take some photos featuring it this spring as the interior must be as chock full of your creative touch and items of interest as the exterior. You probably got some - or a lot! of snow today, whereas we had cold, cold rain.

bug, my favorite part of Skylers parenting duty was the attempt to avoid fixing fruit salad only to have it backfire on him. There was a lesson there when his other child cried not fair! showing the error of bribery!

Kathy, thanks for the idea of potato leek soup!thats just what well have tomorrow night.

Vbrownies are always a good choice! They fill all the criteria; quick to make, chocolate, and just the right kind of chewy.

Tis the season for

Multifaceted ornaments, my very favorite

A basket of Christmas Stuffies

Crustless cranberry pie, warm from the oven, ready for a dollop of whipped cream.

A sign that makes you smile

    Bookmark   December 9, 2009 at 12:18AM
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Mmmmmm - Brownies and Cranberry pie. Pass me a slice of each.

We're battoning down the hatches here but the winter storm is bringing us a feezing rain/snow mix which is far worse in my books that just snow. Also 60 mile an hour winds. It will be a test of my carpentry skills to see if the roof remains on the henhouse.

Need to leave extra time to drive to work as it will be slippery.

Stay safe and warm


    Bookmark   December 9, 2009 at 7:57AM
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It's a snow day here this morning, and I still can't get past how the white stuff is putting a kink in my carefully laid out plans. I'm trying to go with it, but I haven't gotten there yet.

I'm thinking I'll change gears and do some housekeeping - the family party is at our house this year, and I need to put lots of things away to make room for all those people!

I was so happy to read that Brenda (and company) got the crop out of the field! It did seem to run so late this year...

Both kids are sitting next to me on the couch watching the news. Odd. I don't think they normally sit next to me this early in the morning.

V., your love affair with the plow guy is totally understandable :)

I picked up my first farm fresh meat delivery yesterday. I get responsibly farmed beef, chicken, and pork...and I could've gotten lamb, but opted not to (Nick and family don't care for it - I like it, but not enough to eat that much!). I was very impressed with what was in my share: bacon, italian sausage, london broil, chicken quarters, and some chops. I also got there early enough to buy 2 dozen eggs! I think this is shaping up to be a beautiful relationship.

Have a great day all!


    Bookmark   December 9, 2009 at 8:00AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

The wind has been howling all night long and the snow and ice pellets are now falling too. DH's 6 hour long meeting in Toronto has been changed to a phone conference call. That will be very difficult and unsatisfactory I'm sure for many reasons. The members are not good listeners to begin with and the chairman wears hearing aids as well. The woman who is "moderator" is not familiar with the subject matter so her presence is annoying. There is lots of controversy at these meetings too.

I am so glad to hear Brenda's update! The harvesting here has been mighty strange as well. I hope she is still snuggled up in bed this morning!

DGS Skyler is about to receive a second hearing aid tomorrow. I'm incredibly excited, hopeful that this will make learning easier and his speech clearer. Up until now he has had close to zero percent hearing in his left ear and it was thought nothing could be done to help. New technology it seems, unless I simply misunderstood the situation. Anyway, I can't wait to hear his initial reaction to it. He may be disoriented for a while. I hope his mother deals with it well and that he does not misplace it! (A favorite trick I'm afraid.)

Ivy has perfected her crawling. DSIL is kept very busy and now understands that there are days when a parent can accomplish next to nothing.
Here she is looking for her potato masher....

Here they are on their way to a show by Stuart McLean.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2009 at 8:48AM
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The keeper of the birthdays is going to have to get on some of you slackers for not informing me of your special day.

The weather has turned nasty here, so I left work yesterday at 3:00. The trip home wasn't bad but our yard had some decent sized drifts when I got home. Today is another story we are in a blizzard warning. They are saying the snow fall was 6-9" and the wind is strong. I don't plan on going to work unless things shape up drastically. I'm thinking some Christmas baking would be a good idea. I've finished the decorating I plan on doing. I didn't do nearly as much this year. The mood just isn't right for me.

Candy, that cranberry pie looks yummy. I've included a link below of a thread I did on my shed after I claimed it from DH and made it into a potting shed. There are pictures of both inside and outside.

Good to hear that Brenda and crew have finished their harvest. We finished a week and a half ago, but there are many around here that aren't finished.

Kathy, I have large piles of old gardening magazines, which DH thinks I should toss. I enjoy perusing them on cold winter nights.

Saucy, I envy your projects that you do with your kids. I loved that type of thing when mine were young. I had really hoped to be able to do those things with my grandchildren. I enjoyed your link. I liked the dog best too.

'bug, I'm very impressed with your DD's teaching tools.
The blueberry muffins are nearly done, so I must go.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2009 at 9:18AM
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jak1(4 Ontario Can)

Good snowy morning all!

We are having 'Bug's weather too - whiteout conditions, freezing cold, howling winds. No school buses today!

Although in my heart I love Christmas, it is a trying time for us this year. TCS is having such difficulty with his medications. Last night we had a trial of a new one and it was a disaster. He had a huge meltdown over not having his mother, and DH, TCS and I ended the evening sitting by the fire at 11 p.m., the adults with a glass of wine and TCS with hot chocolate.

In addition, DS has lost two close friends in a week - one to a perforated ulcer at the age of 34, the other, younger, in a car accident. The first he found out about on Facebook, the second he dropped in for a visit to say "Hi" to his friend only to be met at the door by a family member who told him the accident had happened six days ago and everything, funeral etc., was over. DS tends to be depressed this time of year anyway, so we were not a happy bunch yesterday.

I am determined to carry on however, encouraging TCS and DS to build their annual gingerbread house, and their snowforts, have DD get TCS out on the ski hills, to continue slogging along with the meds and the school issues and the emotional ups and downs, all the while making headway with the baking, the cards, the gifts, the decorating - trying to put a warm and cheerful face on it. Some years are better than others...

It is 9:30 a.m. and everyone here is still abed. I have had my coffee and read the paper, and now am off to make some plans for TCS today. I think some Christmas baking will be involved.

Peace to you all, my friends. As others have said, it is a gift to have a place to express oneself's innermost thoughts with candor, knowing that feeling won't be denied.



    Bookmark   December 9, 2009 at 9:38AM
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A good day to stay inside here and thats just what I had planned. Only light snow with no predicted accumulation but the wind is terrible at over 40 mph. Our storm window frames are old enough to make strange hooting noises with a metallic vibration that is spooky.

VI definitely need a plow guy in my life! I often use the blower or shovel before DH gets home to keep the snow depth manageable. However we havent found a plow guy that worked out for my mothers driveway; either the truck was too big, they take too many jobs and the waiting list becomes too long or they just dont do a thorough job. The last few years I make time and shovel it myself, otherwise, waiting for DH to get home from work and load our blower wipes out the evening.

Cute Ivy pic! A girl always needs to know where her potato masher is at any given moment, lol.

Julie, so sorry to hear your family had a rough night. The emotional toll must be tremendous but your steadfast love and devoted maternal instinct are the keystone. I was hopeful the meds would continue to have a positive outcome but it sounds like another was introduced or adjustment made. Just wondering if his meltdown is a direct side effect or possibly TCS suffers periodic yearnings and episodes regarding his mother. DS must be reeling from the loss of his friends and shocked from the way he found out. Your ideas for baking, familiar activities, fresh air and exercise will benefit both of them. Its often subliminal but the ambience of a warm kitchen, being with loved ones in the midst of good baking smells gives off a sense of comfort and security when words alone cant always help. Sending good wishes to you and your family.

Michelle, wow! Big thank you for postintg the shed link! Im going to set aside time to savor all the photos and comments; first glance was absolutely delightful.

Time to get back to cleaning and decide what cookies Ill bake today.

Health tip of the day: Dry hair before going outside

    Bookmark   December 9, 2009 at 11:59AM
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I just came in from outside. The wind is nasty. The compost was piling up and the snow is already very deep on the way to the pile. DH will blow the snow on the driveway and I can take the long way around. I also remembered that I hadn't brought our wireless rain gauge in. They say it can stay out in temps down to -4, so its time to get it in. I checked in on Rick in the machine shed just in time to help him. He was going to take the duals off the tractor.(the second set of back wheels) They weigh at least 500 lbs. each so you want to keep them upright and balanced. If they fall on the ground you would need the skid loader to get them upright again. We let Rick's son use our skid loader for the winter to move snow. Then we hooked up the snow blower to the tractor. It's quite a process. Now he's out blowing snow from the warmth of his tractor.

Julie, we aren't really in a festive mood here this year either. Life is pretty rough for our family right now and somehow its hard to carry on with holiday fun. I'm plugging forward for the little ones and adults as well that will be spending time at our home this Christmas. I hope that things settle down for TCS with the meds and the right one or combination can be found. So sorry to hear about your DS's friends - that's really tough and then to find out the way he did. Does TCS know his mother? Either way its really a tough thing for a kid to deal with. My ex didn't and still doesn't make time for his kids and my daughter really suffered over it.

Candy, once again the health tip of the day brought a smile. It reminds me of DD's dog Lucky except she doesn't let his hair get that long.

'bug, I like the picture of Ivy looking like a teddy bear. Fun also to see Skylar with his hat.

I made chicken and wild rice soup this morning. I'm getting hungry and wonder when Rick will be in. I hope to get a lot of little Julie jobs done today.


    Bookmark   December 9, 2009 at 2:09PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

We've got somewhere near a foot of snow. It's getting hard to tell exactly how much we have because it's blowing around so much. When I got home from work, I saw that the plow had knock the mailbox into the ditch, but the end of the driveway was so badly drifted I was afraid to stop. A job for another day, I'm afraid.

I was supposed to have an environmental commission meeting this afternoon and then bell choir rehearsal, but both have been cancelled for weather-related reasons. I'm going to try and make it out for the church service this evening. We'll see how that goes!

Julie, sorry to hear of tough times for TCS and his dad. Hope things improve. It never helps to get such sad news at this time of year.

Michelle, I'm thinking of your family as well. I sure hope that you get some good time with Kenzie soon.

We had a "team building" meeting at work today. The boss said to "bring anything you want to the table." So I stashed the brownies in a drawer and brought them to the table when it was my turn. They were well-received! (And I kept a few a home for myself!)

Candy, I'm thinking you might need to share that crustless cranberry pie recipe. It looks yummy!

Time to scrounge up my dinner.


    Bookmark   December 9, 2009 at 6:50PM
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Please share the crustless cranberry recipe (without a crust, I'm thinking I can replace any flour with a gluten free variety!)! I think a cup of Chicken with Wild Rice sounds like the perfect start!

    Bookmark   December 9, 2009 at 8:03PM
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Yeah Candy, crustless Cranberry Pie recipe called for from this quarter too- posting food pics on the Idylls will invariably result in clamors for the recipe !

Speaking of which , Im looking for a good spiced nuts recipe to serve during the Christmas eat-a-thon. Anyone have one they are particularly fond of ? Im developing my menu plan for the season , already know that Christmas dinner will be local beef tenderloin with Cabernet Sauce, Kathys famous mashed spuds, BILs Yorkshire pudding, and still pondering the veggie dish.

The National Weather Service forecast for the Napa Valley tonight, 40% chance of snow after 4 am and before 10am tomorrow. Looks like beyond that the rain will move in and it will warm up to the low 50s daytime-we find that to be cold here by the way . I turn my thermostat down to 58 overnight and the heat cycles on frequently.

Thanks Michelle, for posting the link to the now renowned garden shed photos. I always love to see that one revived .

((Julie)).. Though we cant be in the moment with you, we can at least admire all you do from afar. I know we would all be happy to hear that adjustments to TCSs meds produced the desired effect , and that he feels better, learns better, and comes to appreciate on some level that families are not always traditionally organized not every mom is a good mom.

Bravo Vbrownies are probably much better received than the normal bi**ch sessions that team building meetings often denigrate into ! It takes a really talented leader to form a team out of people who dont always gel or work well together in the course of the day. I feel very fortunate that all the issues in my dept are external to it, and we are a group of adult professionals that that get along well and actually like each other.

Time for some potato soup with Sauv Blanc and saltinesWith all the weather we are having how about a nice flower pic ..roses !

Mary Rose , taken April 2009 From Roses 2009

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   December 9, 2009 at 9:41PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

I'm feeling on the down side these days. Today in particular, lots of garbage from Skyler's Mom. Some days I wonder if he has any chance at all. I think Kathy is right, TCS is lucky not to have his mother I'm sorry to say. Poor DSIL even phoned DD at work to unwind from the tension and lies. DGS has heard some of her scathing diatribes on the answering machine too. You just can't keep things from a 10 year old. Lots of other garbage...but it will never end.

Wind and rain and snow still happening here. Phoebe just can't contain her happiness when outside. I have a hard time restraining her too. DH just laughs at her enthusiasm, even encourages it, and infuriates me.

I need to find a pretty picture from a warm day....How about this baptisia with a bee!

I think I need a good sleep too.
Night all!

    Bookmark   December 9, 2009 at 10:21PM
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GB, it's easy to see how the situation could get you down. It just doesn't seem fair.

I'm feeling pretty down in the dumps this morning, too. I had typed out some long diatribe about how hard it is to be married, but I know that you all must know where I'm coming from.

I've had to delete remarks over and over, this morning :) I think I have a bad case of hormones this month, which allow me to see the world around me for what it really is! The rest of the month I'm wearing my rose colored glasses, obviously.

I am going to remove all the unwanted furniture from this house tomorrow, even if I have to carry it all by myself (and that is not unlikely)! I have decided to set myself up a little desk in my room in one of the eaves (my room is the old attic space). I like the laptop and all, but I need to be able to sit at a desk sometimes! It's hindering my picture uploading abilities, this not having a desk!

I'm going to go before I change my mind and hang my laundry out to dry :)


    Bookmark   December 10, 2009 at 7:32AM
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Good Morning Idylls! Only 14 more days until Christmas. I have to confess I haven't read anything on this thread so this post will be all about me.

We've finally got some snow on the ground, probably a couple of inches. I was hoping I could keep the no snow thing going all winter but I guess that was an unrealistic expectation, lol. It is Christmas time so I guess a little snow to decorate outside is appropriate. But after that....:)

I've been a little slow with the decorating this year but am almost done. I'm hoping to have it all finished by the weekend. Bella loves helping and Kate is fascinated by the sparkle and lights. Christmas is such a magical time for children I think.

I have my shopping done for the girls. For Bella this year, a highchair and changing table for her doll, doll clothes, a child size grocery store, and doctor kit and uniform. She's really into playing make believe these days and her "what I want to be when I grow up" answer is a veterinarian and a pediatrician. Big dreams! For Kate, lots of baby toys and a stroller and dolly for taking walks with mom and the new baby this summer. I love buying for the children and have to pull in the reins on myself.

We've got a couple of Christmas excursions planned too. Bronner's is a big Christmas store where Bella's excited to choose ornaments for her and Kate and then Build A Bear where we're going to stuff some Frosty Snowmen. Bella has a cold though so those trips have been pushed back to next week.

Still haven't started any baking but there's lots of time for that. Brad and I are really enjoying the Christmas season with our little girls this year. It's so much fun seeing it all through their eyes. Hope you're all having a fun time too! Now I'm going back to read what you've all been up to. Have a great day!


    Bookmark   December 10, 2009 at 8:49AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Today would have been my Mom's 97th birthday. Reading "Like Water for Elephants" at the same time was perhaps not a wise move, bringing up all those issues around children of the aged and nursing homes. Instead I tried searching for her on Google for some of her recognized accomplishments. Among other things she was a professor of Art History and wrote in various books on particular areas that interested her. There's but a single page of one work which I'll post below. I own others. My interests were not always the same as hers, but she knew everything it seemed to me (and I still feel that way!) and I wish we could phone each other still.

Today is also the first day when the snow plow arrived to clear the lane. Now the sun is trying to peak through the clouds and it is 23F out there.

Last night DH decided to offer Ivy her next set of music lessons for a Christmas gift. DD is happy about that! DSIL & DD have been taking her together these days and having lots of fun. DD & DSIL are also hoping to find a martial arts program to attend together in the new year. Not only do they need time together having fun, but DSIL has a bad knee and ought to be exercising it more.

Skyler's Mom is limiting our time with her son this year to 2 days (too complicated and stupid to explain) and this is affecting how I feel about gift giving. I really do not want to give a bunch of gifts on a single day and have him run off without having time to enjoy them together. I need to think this through some more. Skyler tends to be a kid who counts the quantity of presents, which I find offensive, and I really want quality time or only one gift... or something! His Dad wants to celebrate on Christmas day...not at a later time, so that has me in a muddle. So much drama around a holiday that is supposed to be about entirely different things. I can just see Marian nodding her head on this one!

OK, I'm off to do some therapy knitting!

    Bookmark   December 10, 2009 at 10:26AM
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Sorry to read that so many Idyllers are feeling down. Yesterday I woke with a headache and not much Christmas spirit but Brad surprised me and put up the outside lights while I was out and then Bella and I had so much fun putting the decorations on the little pink feather tree we put up in her room that I quickly got over it. I think sometimes it's the expectations of what Christmas should be that gets in the way of the enjoyment of living in each moment of whatever Christmas turns out to be.

Marie, you wishing you could call your mom struck such a cord with me. I still often times find myself wanting to reach for the phone. If I think about it I can pretty much have a conversation with my mom in my head though and know what she'd tell me. Ivy loading, or is it unloading the dishwasher, is adorable as always. I enjoyed Water For Elephants.

Saucy, maybe life really is more rosy and the hormones are what's making it look dark? Just a thought...

Michelle, I hope things turn around for your family soon. Hope you get to spend time with Kenzie too! I know that must be hardest for you.

No more time for commenting. I'm thinking of all and hoping we can all find those moments of joy in these next weeks. We won't get them back again! Take care friends.


    Bookmark   December 10, 2009 at 11:26AM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

Marie, is there no way it can be proved that Skyler's mom is not a good mother, and have the total custody given to his dad? Maybe if the messages are recorded and given as evidence?
BTW, our granddaughters met Nellie,at a pizza dinner with their dad, and they apparently hit it off well. Tim said the youngest almost talked her legs off!! LOL
The romance continues, although she is back in Alaska. She is back out on the ship, and will not be back to her home for a few more days.

I too, am sorry that so many are down spiritually. As most of you know, this is a bad time of the year for me. I will be so glad when the first of the year comes.
We are having unseasonably cold weather. It was 8 degrees this morning. Keeps me busy stuffing wood into the stove. ( Nolon calls it a "wood converter", it converts wood into ashes!)Our high yesterday was only in the mid 20s. It is now 32.The sun is bright, and that helps considerably.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2009 at 2:09PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

OK Candy, we NEED that recipe! Where are you? 'Tis the season for cranberry pie you know...

Yes Saucy, I have to agree that matrimony has its weak moments. (weeks? years?) I wonder why I feel that the male doesn't put as much effort into the partnership. He certainly feels he does in our case. Conundrum there. I think for DH a lot has to do with the fact that his Dad was away in the navy when he was little, that he wasn't around much when he returned, and that they later divorced. Not much to observe as a model there! Yet both DH and his brother idolize the man. Go figure.

Marian, thanks for your support on the parenting issue. Although at first it seems to make sense to have the custody issue solved as you suggest, we really believe that it is in a child's best interest to know his mother...as long as he is safe and happy there. We just feel that he should also have his father, and that is where the courts enter the picture in this situation. Long, emotional and tedious. Good to hear that Nellie was a hit with the girls too!

Today was very gusty and windy and the temperature went down to at least 14F. The feeders were refilled this morning and there was a lone male cardinal out there much of the time. Many juncos, sparrows and woodpeckers too. Poor guys! Meanwhile Phoebe adores the snow and wind. She is really awful about obedience as she is pining for exercise. It is hard for me to work on obedience in this stormy frigid weather. I can't risk being hauled down the driveway and breaking something. I get angry with her and that isn't the way to go about things at all!

Tomorrow is the big squeeze test as well as H1N1 day. I finally decided to go for it, but it is an unusual move for me to do so. I think even DH is going to get it too. He just can't afford to miss classes next term.

Eden, I enjoy hearing about your fun with the girls, both young 'uns and older 'uns. ;)


    Bookmark   December 10, 2009 at 10:13PM
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A brief visit for me tonight, Ive been working on a photo-related Christmas gift and between the awfice and home I think Ive spent about 12 hours in front of a computer..I did break for dinner and dish-doing

It warmed up a bit today , and we did get some snow here but only at elevations above 300 ftIm basically at sea level . Still cold and rain coming in.

Marian, I hope you will continue to visit here this month ;I know that you dont support some of the goings on around this time, but I hate to think of you feeling blue. I will have to post a pic of my Marian Marbles next to my Marian African Violet as a cheery greeting-though the violet is not blooming at the moment-this is a failure to achieve a certain Marianness on my part , lol!

Hi Eden! You are so right about the expectations of Christmas. I get the most enjoyment from decorating the tree and doing flower-greenery arrangements its so nice to bring nature indoors during the times when we would rather not be outside. Im an awful pilferer , taking the pruners to parks and vacant lots and the riverside to gather things for arrangements. We have really toned down the gift stuff in our family over the last couple of years (we refer to it as a Tiny Tim Christmas) and we open what gifts there are on Christmas Eve at an extremely leisurely pace , with frequent food and drink breaksyou can spend about 5 hours opening up about 10 gifts this way ! Champagne is sometimes involved. We will have Aiden with us this year ..and Im afraid my BILs have bought too many gifts for him ! I only bought one.

((Saucy))..we support your hormones and your rose-colored glasses.

All for me ..gnite and hope all are warm and cozy !

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   December 11, 2009 at 12:17AM
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"Here I is!"bug; thats what DS used to say when he was a toddler. Yesterday was my day for rocking babies in the crisis nursery at the hospital. Sad and unfortunate stories to be sure but I just cant dwell on that and try to focus on doing something positive. There have been poor, indigent, struggling people throughout the centuries and I doubt that will change. I do believe small acts of kindness can be contagious though, and its an easy thing to spread around.

So, now the question iswheres everybody else around here?!! Ive been out shopping for dressy black boots with a heel for this party tomorrow, without much luck. Owweee, everything seems to hurt my toe - joint or knuckle, whatever its called. Where are you Drema? Wasnt it you who was complaining of a similar problem? What to do, what to doeven if it doesnt snow its too darn cold for traipsing around in strappy shoes through a parking lot.

Happy to share the recipe for Crustless Cranberry Pie! Got it from a friend last year who said it was all over the internet. A few comments to share first in case the name mislead you. Its not really a pie; warm from the oven it tastes like a fruit coffecake. The next day ( should you have leftovers) it will taste more like a nut bread with very moist fruit topping. Warm with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream is heavenly but, as a shameless chowhound, I have no qualms about whacking off a cold hunk in the morning with coffee. Sometimes the berries remain whole and sometimes they blow up as seen in my photo. Not sure why, possibly the ripeness of the berries. Also, I make it with fresh blueberries in the summer, substituting the almond with vanilla extract or a bit of lemon zestoh, yeah.

Crustless Cranberry Pie
Oven: 350 degrees

1 cup of all purpose flour
1 cup white granulated sugar
¼ t. salt
2 cups of fresh cranberries ( NOT the whole bag)
½ cup of nuts
½ cup melted butter or margarine
2 eggs, beaten
1 t. almond extract

Combine flour, sugar and salt. Toss the cranberries and nuts around in this mixture to coat them a bit. Stir in the melted butter, eggs and almond extract. Spoon batter into a greased 9 inch pie pan. Bake 40 minutes. Test with toothpick.

Now who is pulling up in the drivewayI wasnt done here.
Health tip of the day: Smile, you'll feel better.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2009 at 5:12PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

I'm smiling!

I'm smiling because the toffee that my DDIL brought me last night is really good.

I'm smiling because it's FRIDAY.

I'm smiling because it's above 10 degrees for now.

I'm smiling because Candy shared the recipe and it looks both good and easy!

And I'm smiling because the photo calendars I ordered turned out really nice.

Now if I just would stop coming home from work and falling asleep! I think the answer is more sleep.


    Bookmark   December 11, 2009 at 7:00PM
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Hi Everyone. I was skimming, and saw my name pop up from Candy asking about my toe knuckle problem. I finally found some Adidas I can wear. I bought one size larger, two pairs. I haven't found dressy boots that I can wear. There are a lot of really pretty ones out there right now. What do you think of wearing some comfy boots and switching at the door to shoes you can wear? Nothing is worse than forcing it, and then being in pain all night. I can sometimes get my foot in, but when I take it out, it really hurts. Not worth it to me. I can tell I am getting older, lol. When I find something I like, tshirt, whatever.. I buy a bunch of colors. Ditto on pants, shoes, etc. The shoes I like best are Borns. TJMaxx has them for a decent price.

This has been a really busy week, the new puppy is a little sweetheart, we lucked out. But, she is still a puppy and a lot of work. I took her to her first vet appt on Tuesday, and signed her up for Classes that start in January. It was definitely easier this week, because Skip was in town. It makes a huge difference. He was gone the first week, and is leaving again next week. I have been trying to get things finished for Christmas. Sunday we are getting our tree. December is a crazy month for us. We have 7 birthdays, starting with Skip 11/23, Brandon 12/1, Mikey 12/13, Mary Kate 12/16, Charlie 12/22, and lastly Bobby (other SIL) Jan 2. It repeats sort of in April. Funny that the kids married people whose BD fit in, and then Charlie Boy came along too. Adding this to everything else is a little much.

Okay, well now this post is all about me, I will try to check in tommorrow. I know I will have more time next week while Skip is gone.

Hope you all have a great weekend! It is sooooo cold. I don't like it.


    Bookmark   December 11, 2009 at 8:20PM
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Here I is too. I'm really feeling like an Idyll slacker.

The cranberry pie sounds pretty good, and I would try it if I weren't doing without desserts these days.

Candy I like your multifaceted ornaments and the christmas stuffies.
I was thinking of putting out some decorations this weekend while the grandsons are here, but I will have to be careful what I put out because Niki is a little rascal with anything she can find to play with.

I really like the glimpses of summer from Kathy and Bug.

I bought a DVD and VHS recorder unit so I can transfer my home movies to DVDs, so I have been watching some of the tapes. My goodness how the gardens have changed. People too. LOL

Marian, we have been having weather about like yours. Today it moderated somewhat and didn't feel half bad because the sun was shining.

Not much going on here. Trying to keep the plants I drug in watered. I sure don't like being couped up in the house.

Thinking of you all especially ones with challenges right now.
I hope everyone is enjoying bright spots when they can.


    Bookmark   December 11, 2009 at 8:29PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

I is here too!
Even with smiles.

The new hearing aid is exciting business and we are all very hopeful.
Skyler's bell ringing concert was a great success last night. DD was very proud of him.
Ivy has started climbing the six stairs to the upper level of the house. Big trouble! ;)
DSIL put up their tree, as yet undecorated.

So far the aches from my H1N1 are no big deal.
The blanket I am knitting is about half finished.

I hope Kathy is lounging with a glass in hand this Friday evening...smiling.

Candy and Drema, I am a member of the ugly footgear club. But I am comfortable and can smile!

Working, like Norma, at keeping indoor plants green. No decorations here so far though. Somehow I think that will only happen at DD's home this year. I still need to find "that perfect gift" for DSIL. This is a very tough one for me. So far I have given him money for his presents and I really don't want to do that anymore. Hmmm.

Today I saw corn still standing in the snow and it made me think of Brenda and Michelle. Brrrrr. I bet Rex loves it though!


    Bookmark   December 11, 2009 at 9:15PM
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So is I

After the awfice today I bought my new stereo speakers and spent the evening installing them-sure is nice to have music in the house again, I was getting weary of my little kitchen radio, and was about to rip it out of the wall if I had to listen to one more Kaiser Permanente commercial. I find them incredibly annoying for some reason. The speaker hook up also presented a nook-and cranny vacuuming opportunity, and since I will be getting my Christmas tree tomorrow morning I also shifted some furniture in preparation. I didnt haul down the ornaments yet, its been raining since about noontime and it is supposed to continue all night so the tree will have to spend a few hours in the garage drying out. Ill spend that time getting all the decorations prepped.
The garden is a pathetic slimy mess- our cold(20-ish) temps and then the rain has presented me with an area I have no desire to visit, lol. I will go out and fill the bird feeders though ..

And speaking of birds, cmon Deanne , we need a check in from you ! How goes life in the blind ?

Thanks for that recipe Candy ! Im going to take it to our awfice Christmas potluck next week.

V, I too am working on a photo calendar gift, I hope to finish it tomorrow, pending all the other stuff I want to do. I dont know about you, but the enjoyment I have gotten out of my camera has been well worth the price-and since I bought a reconditioned unit it was about half what new one would cost. I want a macro-lens !

Smiles out to you bug, glad to hear the good Skylar stuff in todays post ..Im with you, I sure like to give something other than $$ - The easiest is if you have a family member who collects something..

Hi Norma, glad to see youdid you see the kitten video Sue posted on FB tonight ? Pretty cute ! I wonder what your pond looks like this time of year-bet its pretty in a wintry sort of way. Our winters are so muddy, nothing looks like much right now.

Waving at Drema, hoping to see Martie, Chelone , Anita, Julie, Marian, Eden, Mary, Deanne, Wendy, Cindy this weekend. And everyone else.

And I miss Cynthia.

Nite all..

Kathy in Napa

The Way Back Machine IU5 , Godesses ! (or is it Godessii ?) From Idyllunion 5 July 2008

    Bookmark   December 12, 2009 at 12:58AM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

Kathy, where are you doing your calendar? I saw Elliot's post on Garden Rant and used Zazzle like he did. I'm very pleased with the results. Like you, I would love to have a macro lens for my camera!

I have a "job" to complete this morning, and then off to the beekeeping class this afternoon. DH gets home this evening and then we are off to a Christmas party. Somewhere in all of that, DD gets home as well. So it will be a busy, happy day.

Hope you all have some sunshine today!


    Bookmark   December 12, 2009 at 8:28AM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

That would be Amy Stewart's post about the calendar done by Craig at Ellis Hollow. Ellis, Elliot - I knew there was an E involved. I'll link the post below so the rest of you can drool if you have not seen this already.


    Bookmark   December 12, 2009 at 8:32AM
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French Roast loaded in my commuter mug, and Im off to get the Fabulous Christmas Tree.

V, Im doing the Calendar on Walgreens we site-believe it or not. Remember the photo book that Deanne brought to IU5 ? She made that on their website. I made a couple of the books last year for Christmas gifts and this year Im doing a calendar. Thanks for the link, I might fool around with Zazzle and see which one I prefer ! I need to finish it this weekend.

Ok , see yall later

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   December 12, 2009 at 11:05AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

A busy weekend here!
Got lots accomplished but I'm wiped out. Lots more to do as well!

Kathy, yesterday DSIL played with the car speakers a great deal to test Skyler's hearing aids. All very new and mysterious to the young boy! It will be a relief if the volume can occasionally be turned down soon! I hope yours are a great success too of course, "music to your ears". :)

Looking at the amazing ravelry website, I came across this item which had me thinking of Mary! Take a look below! (I hope it works for you!) If you are at all crafty, this is a wonderful site.

I've printed off the cranberry pie recipe for use next week.

Photo calendars can be quite wonderful! I of course thought of Deanne's super bird calendar of a few years ago! I checked out the Ellis Hollow beauty....and it is GORGEOUS.

I'm still at a loss for DSIL's gift. He buys whatever he wants whenever he sees things....Maybe I'll go grocery shopping with him and buy a huge container of real maple syrup or something. We'll see.

Kathy, your goddess photo reminds me of Ms Saucy's back garden! :)

Hoping the freezing rain predicted for tomorrow is not a problem for us with our many activities. More knitting now I think.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2009 at 7:36PM
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A big day of shopping today, but I think there will be something under the tree for everyone. I need to get the Florida gifts sent off soon. Each year Ive bought a special ornament for Kenzie. This years is a pink flamingo dressed for Christmas. One of Ricks 5 year old grandsons asked for a guitar, bells and "real drumsticks" for Christmas. We were able to find a beginners acoustic guitar. I plan on playing with it a little tomorrow. We took group guitar lessons from a nun when we were young. My parents bought my uncles electric guitar, which was quite fun.

Last night I made some cutout cookies, which I hadnt made for a few years. I plan to send some to FL.

We dont have any corn in the field but I did spend some time this evening vacuuming the corn out of the bottom of the dryer. Ill bet Im the only one that completed that JJ job today.

Norma, Rick has been bugging me for several years to transfer our videos. We bought a computer program that does it. I believe it comes with some kind of adapter that connects a VCR to your computer. The box has sat on my desk for the last year. Maybe this winter.

Candy, thanks for the recipe. I think the blueberry version sounds yummy too.

Kathy, our family has played games while opening gifts. We havent done it for a few years and should really start again. The one that I remember was Trivial Pursuit. The person who guessed the answer first could open a gift or chose another person to open a gift.

I think I'll put my feet up with the latest issue of FG.


    Bookmark   December 12, 2009 at 10:38PM
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cyn427(z7aN. VA)

I have just skimmed all the messages. Sorry to have been gone-getting to the end of the quarter and crazy-busy with grades and IEP meetings that always seem to come in clumps.

Kathy, our Christmas dinners are almost identical, except that I usually do a Bearnaise sauce. Your Cabernet sauce sounds fabulous, though, so I may try that this year. It just seems very Christmas-y to me. I'm also planning that cranberry pie (yummy), but since we usually have plum pudding with hard sauce, I may do the pie for Christmas eve or maybe New Year's Day.

We got our tree yesterday and decided to put it on the deck this year. It is the first year since getting the pups that we have had one. I actually like having it outside the windows here (back wall of the living room and dinning room is all glass). I have been sitting here in the dining room all morning-cold and rainy-watching the birds flitting around and landing in the trees branches. DH plugged in the lights on it before he left this morning, so I was pleasantly surprised when I got up. Morning tea (up to four cups at this point and only an hour to go before I have to cut out the intake of caffeine if I plan to sleep before the wee hours of the morning) with the paper and now all of you while watching the birds is a joy!

Of course, the four-legged fools are in and out and in and out which keeps me getting up and keeps scaring away the birds, even though fools are not in the least interested in them other than as diversions when lying inside. The squirrels on the other hand...

As always, enjoying all the photos and news.

Next weekend, I hope to start our calendar. I use the photos from throughout the year on the corresponding month for next year. November is always lots of photos, old and new, of DS. Just can't let go completely of the little boy and it is always fun to see that sweet face when we get to Novemebr, his birthday month.

In addition to the tree, we bought two wreaths yesterday. Can we find the wreath hangers I bought to simplify the whole process? NOOOOOOO. DH has a habit of 'reorganizing' stuff in boxes, so I have no idea where things are. He asked me yesterday, after listening to my complaints, if duct tape might work. Seriously?! Anyway, think I will take my last cup of tea out to the garage and start the search. Ugh.


Oh how I wish all this rain were snow!

    Bookmark   December 13, 2009 at 11:35AM
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Hello Idylls!!

Holiday central here with all sorts of projects underway and a weekend that has includued two parties, guitar recital and a visit to the theatre to see the Santaland Diaries (any other David Sedaris fans out there?)

GB - that hat is fantastic!!! I would love to put one on as I head out in the morning to the chicken coop.

I'm in the middle of making a batch of orangettes - chocolate dipped candied orange peel. Its taking me a long time as I keep eating the sugared peel before I get to the chocolate stage and having to start over. (I have a thing for citrus peel)......


    Bookmark   December 13, 2009 at 4:43PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Played Ms Claus at this morning's environmental group brunch, then listened to DH perform his guitar & voice of Go Tell it on the Mountain...where he got the audience to sing along at the end.
Now walking Phoebe and then off to dinner with friends.

And here is Ivy to say hello to Kate, Bella, Kenzie and Mr Baby...Antonio and all the gang that the old lady can't come up with at the moment!

    Bookmark   December 13, 2009 at 5:32PM
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Hola Idylls..Looks like the hustle and bustle of a couple weeks before Christmas is keeping things quiet around here. My house and garage are a shambles , but the tree is up and 95% decorated, the Fabulous Mantle Display installed, the groceries for the 2 awfice potlucks purchased ..no laundry done though .

I bought my tree Saturday morning and started decorating it last night, continuing this morning. came into the kitchen to make some lunch, heard a crash, went back to the living room, and there was the tree, on the ground, all 7 ft of it. What a mess ! I knew it was listing and had a plan for stabilization which I should have undertaken about 4 hours sooner. It was the front side that was on the ground too- I was really afraid that I had lost some ornaments that I had for many years with lots of sentimental value , miraculously I only lost 3 that were important to me . I have a large stockpile of the basic round shiny balls (I keep buying more , for which I am often ridiculed but hey, I always wait till they are 50% off ) and these took the biggest hit. I always put them on last , and had several boxes that were not put on yet. Needless to say, everything was askew and I pretty much had to re-decorate the tree. Sure wish this was a three day weekend-lol.

Candys Cranberry Pie will be the offering for one of the potlucks this week- Thanks for posting the recipe Candy !

Cyn, I found another Cabernet Sauce recipe a few days ago , involving finely chopped mushrooms that I would love to try, but Im going to stick with old one as I know it works. When I win lotto Im going to add truffles. Ive never forgotton a sauce I had at restaurant in Chicago at least 20 years ago (bet the restaurant isnt even there anymore Biggs on Dearborn I think) which was some sort of red wine-truffle sauce served over filet. Mighty tasty !

Mary ! Hi, glad you checked in.. love David Sedaris here too.

Waving to all,

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   December 13, 2009 at 9:03PM
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Todays project was gift wrapping, mixed nut clusters, (far superior to peanut clusters), making up a fruit basket for the retired missionary who is serving our church while we are without a minister. Jaden and I walked through the grove which is much warmer than in the open. The pheasants probably didnt appreciate us though. Many were roused from their roost in the trees.

Kathy, I anxiously await mantle pictures. Oh, no on the tree topple! I had a hard time with mine this year. Its artificial, but I have this urn it goes in and I had a hard time getting it straight. I dont know how you restrain yourself so when buying Christmas gifts for Mr. Baby. Although, several of Kenzies are clothing along with a few books, a necklace and a Barbie whos a veterinarian.

Cynthia, I love the idea of your outdoor tree. Im curious as to how you have it decorated.

bug, that Ivy looks like such a sweetheart.

Here's how the pillars look after the snow. Its kind of hard to see but there are battery operated candles in them that flicker. The topiary is now flocked.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2009 at 11:18PM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Morning all,

Things are very busy here as usual and winter weather has finally arrived. It was pretty strange because we got a foot of snow four days after having a day that broke records for December at 70 degrees. Very weird weather. The winter birds have finally arrived and are in the feeders again after the fewest feeder birds Ive ever seen in the fall after 30 years of living in this location. Yesterday I had nineteen species of birds here including four species of Woodpeckers. Ive got five Cardinals coming in to the feeders now, three males and two females. Very neat!

Im enjoying all the photos and stories of Idyll holiday preparations.

OK must run and get my day started, take care all.


    Bookmark   December 14, 2009 at 6:26AM
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I just lost my post and I'm running out of time this morning...I'll try to check back in later!


    Bookmark   December 14, 2009 at 7:39AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Michelle, what a lovely entryway!! Your snow looks fresh and white. We are at 33F so far today, so things are melting a bit in the drizzly rain and starting the dirty snow look.

I'm told it is MINUS 58F in Edmonton Alberta today. I wonder why we are planning to go there next week?!!*^~#&@??? Today is the day that DSIL was planning on working on insulation after finding a mysterious large hole in the basement wall that went to the outside. They too had the horizontal Christmas tree look for a while...:(

Last week the kids saw "Food Inc" billed this way: "'Food, Inc.' does for the supermarket what 'Jaws' did for the beach." So yesterday they went food shopping at their Farmer's Market. In the afternoon they were pickling beets.
Ivy, I'm told, has discovered the little girl in the mirror and gives her kisses.

Yesterday was food overload for us with three different events. Clear broth for me today!!!

Saucy, so sorry about the frustration of a lost post.
Mary is helping me with shopping for DS this Christmas and I thank her SO MUCH! This is a very busy season for him at work.

OK, time to get moving. Maybe I'll make it back later today.


    Bookmark   December 14, 2009 at 9:59AM
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Ivy is a delight, they will have to get some pictures of her at the mirror. I did a series of my niece in the mirror when she was little and framed them.
-58 just sounds intolerable to me. They must be very conditioned to the weather there.

Michelle your entry looks so inviting. We have had no snow yet. Fine by me, but we had strange thunder storms with hail Sat night.

The GS's were here all weekend but we still didn't do any decorating. I can see where this might be the year when I throw up the little tree a couple of nights beforehand.

I'm thinking about heading out to shop today. More to just get out of the house than anything. The boys gave me very few ideas for gifts, so I am going to have to get creative.

Kathy, I am waiting to see the redecorated tree and mantel display. Sounds like you are in full swing this year.

Ivy is lonesome and needs some grandkids to play with on this thread. I confess I haven't taken any pictures of Wyatt lately. Need to correct that.

Wondering how TCS (guess he will always be TCS to us) is doing. Julie I hope things are smoothing out.

Waving to all. Gotta get moving. Norma

    Bookmark   December 14, 2009 at 11:07AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Norma, yes, they ARE conditioned to cold weather. They love it too. Luckily, I was mislead about the actual temperature and it was minus 27F, warm by comparison! High of minus 13F expected for them today.

And of course, photos to oblige!

Lots of preparation needed before our travels. Hoping Phoebe's checkup on Thursday turns out well. I need to pester the propane people to come deliver a load before our trip. We've run out twice in the past over Christmas...not fun!

Good to have Deanne checking in!

    Bookmark   December 14, 2009 at 2:36PM
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Well, I think the tree decorating is done, and I have started to stage the empty ornament boxes to return to the garage-I took a pic of the mantle tonight , but it was very blurry-I hate using the flash..Im going to set up my tripod Thursday night and see if I can get a better photo. Have 2 nights in a row of awfice Christmas parties, so Thur will be my 1st free night. Still lots of disarray in the house, and I look forward to the weekend so I can get the place in shape. At the very least the guests will have clean towels and sheets, and I need to put my mom hat on- what needs to be moved to baby proof this place ? I have bought exactly one gift for Mr B by the waybut the packages sent by BILS are piled up they showed no restraint . I will buy one more gift but more important to me is the event of Christmas itself- the food , the tree, and the family.and bug, that Ivy is pretty cute..for a baby.

Michelle, fabu-fabu entry ! It almost makes me wish I had some snow ..All I have at the moment is mud.


Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   December 14, 2009 at 11:52PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

This is the week for wearing Yaktrax! Lots of ice and danger walking Ms Phoebe.
Off to the post office and grocery store for soup fixings.
Hope you are enjoying the season!

    Bookmark   December 15, 2009 at 9:42AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

YEAH! The DSIL gift issue is now solved.
1. saffron and recipes for his cooking addiction.
2. a round of golf with his brother next spring.

Maybe I can give him the same gifts every year?!LOL

    Bookmark   December 15, 2009 at 1:49PM
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Saffron sounds wonderfully decadent to me...something I'd never buy myself, but would love to have.

I think you could do it every year :)


    Bookmark   December 15, 2009 at 2:15PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Thanks Saucy, that's just what I hope he'll feel. I really do love him! (even though I think chasing a little white ball around is dorky...)

    Bookmark   December 15, 2009 at 2:26PM
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I was going to write, Where is everyone, on skiing holiday? But there's Saucy and 'bug discussing saffron. Excellent gift choices.

Temps are in the 40s at night, 60/70s during the day. The tree has been up a week or so, and the mantle display, if not fabulous, is filled with odds and ends of interest. Outdoors, the huge triangle palm's trunk has been wound with lights, and there's a work in progress on a tall bit of salvage iron that strikes me as shaped like a grandfather clock, involving lights and chandelier crystals. How's that for holiday spirit? Still debating whether to launch into tamales this year. Cut-out cookies were something new this year, splurging on a decorating kit and cookie molds capable of making custom irreverent messages like "Go ahead, bite me" and "Cant catch me" (from the "I'm the gingerbread man" story.) Duncan opted for moralistic messages like "Maximize the Good." Fridge holds a couple bowls of other cookie dough too, some dough baked for the neighborhood cookie exchange on Sunday. This all-female yearly event was expanded to include an adjunct "beer exchange" at another neighbor's house, then we all met up for chili. When the beer exchange hooligans arrived for the chili portion of the evening, the sedate cookie exchange was blown wide open! But, truthfully, so much more exciting than previous years...

We did finally get torrential rain the past weekend. A couple days before, the ground was still workable, and I managed to squeeze in some Scilla peruviana among corsican hellebores. Trying to establish forget-me-nots in this area too. Some more iffy choices that were planted elsewhere were Ornithogalum dubium, some nectaroscordum siculum bulgaricum, and a real long shot, some lemony eremurus, very doubtful in zone 10. Then the rain gave everything a good soak. Perfect!

I thought of the idylls scoffing as I opted not to drive to a holiday business brunch on Saturday due to rain. It was pouring buckets, and I later discovered my route had been closed due to an accident fatality, which happens all too often in this kind of weather here.

I understand Brenda has been held hostage by a very late harvest, so congrats on accomplishing that. Little Ivy grows more impish by the photo. Lovely snowy photos, Michelle. A temporary outdoor ice skating rink has been set up in town, and I'm very tempted to experience whizzing around on skates again.

Just read a piece today on "dandelion" children vs. "orchid" children. Fairly self-explanatory, the first group being able to adapt to pretty much any circumstance and thrive. But the new findings involved how both groups are integral to a healthy human population, that the "orchid" children, given careful nurturing, will thrive and in many cases surpass the dandelions. Linked below.

This bloom of Bouquet d'Or was nearly missed, facing the neighbors at the top of the fence

A very odd experience today reading a mosaic blog I follow, the amazing work of Emma Biggs. She's apparently been traveling in the Mediterranean and had a brief teaching stint in Oakland, this week heading to Chicago. (Attention, V!) There's a photo of a man asleep, probably on BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit). She's captioned it "dead head, dead beat. Me too." That anonymous-to-her man is my BIL! The oldest of Marty's seven siblings. Probably just back from the Gulf, where he works long shifts captaining a research boat. He always flies home through Oakland then drives down to Paso Robles. And yes, he is mired in the sixties just a bit...

More winter wonderland photos always welcome. Mitch and a large group hiked up Mt. Baldy over the weekend, about 1-1/2 hours' drive. Lots of snow arrived on Saturday. Since he rarely goes anywhere without filming and/or photographing these days, there's amazing video footage of them arriving in their little Sierra Club cabin near the summit where, once indoors, clouds of steam billowed from their rain-soaked, chilled bodies.

I hope Mary's chickens are warm and safe, and all the rest of you too ;)

    Bookmark   December 15, 2009 at 3:01PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

A sleepy post from a fellow dead beat. I couldn't figure out what a Mosaic blog was. . . "flashing back" to the old days of the internet when Internet Explorer was called Mosaic. I get it now. But how funny to "run into" your BIL that way!

Yesterday, in a fashion that give Jeff Foxworthy hours of material, we installed the Insane Christmas Tree.

You may notice that there is a table lamp sitting on the floor, because there was a tree on the table. There's tree everywhere because this is a giant, humongo-enormous tree. We even have the little auxiliary tree in the dining room.

I'm thinking I will just put the angel on the end of this branch - no one will see it on the top of the tree!

And Kathy, please note the fuzziness of the photos. I'm not good with the flash either.


    Bookmark   December 15, 2009 at 6:29PM
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My Yaktrax have been in use for a good week.

I have to admit that the snow is quite pretty, but I could do without the subzero temperatures. Good grief its only December.

Awww, Ivy has discovered a playmate.

Norma, you should have had the GS decorate for you. My mom and sister went shopping the day after Thanksgiving and left my dad and nephews who are 8 & 10 to decorate the tree. She said it was "interesting"

Hmmm, roses in December how nice.


    Bookmark   December 15, 2009 at 10:05PM
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Zooming in tonight after round 1 of awfice Christmas partiesway too much food consumed today !

Once again I swoon over Bouquet dOr .. If I had a couple hundred extra square feet,, BDO , Crepuscle, Lady Hillingdon..the list goes on. I do have a couple that are coming out this winter , notably Charlotte Armstrong-who has been in serious decline the last couple of years . She will be replaced with the same-I am ever so fond of her . Amber Queen will be gone, undecided as to her replacement, same deal with Tuscan Sun.

Lol Denise, when I worked at the garden center in San Diego many many moons ago, we sent everyone home when it rained- everything seemed to just shut down.

Waving- in awe of Vs tree, happy that bug solved the present dilemma, and glad that Yaktrax are not needed herejust Wellies and an umbrella

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   December 15, 2009 at 11:44PM
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Many plans and Christmas activities underway here! Tomorrow Im baking cookies that freeze well; saving the cut out sugar cookies and simple candy making for the 22nd. Need to finish wrapping some presents and tweak the menus for next week, one more day of working a food drive for a homeless shelter and then a couple of days to just putz around before the kids arrive. As busy as it gets, DH and I love being able to keep our family traditions intact because at some time in the future - weather, careers, distance or circumstance is sure to bring about a change for the holidays.

Love the baby smooching, Ivy pictures bug. Have a wonderful visit with your family and I think DSIL will really enjoy the gifts.

Kathy, geeesh! So glad the toppled tree didnt cause major ornament damage. Waiting too see the photos you promised, Im sure theyll be stunning. Hope your awfice gang likes the crustless cranberry pie; remember 2 cups of cranberries are not the whole bag!

Michelle, Im enchanted by the pillarlove the look. Beautiful how you captured the snow adorning the greenery. This is what makes west coasties (Kathy, lol) believe snow remains white and pristine. Cold and windy here but Im not complaining since theres no precipitation . Can you try for another pic with the light on? I know night shots are tricky, at least for me.

Vyour tree just knocks me out, WOW! That is so great, it reminds me of the Griswold tree in Christmas Vacation. Please do a running commentaryI just know this tree of yours is going to provide many an anecdote.

Yaktrax? While they do look like they give good traction, what happens when you go inside to shop in the stores? Do they clatter or slide?

Health tip of the day: Have regular dental check ups.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2009 at 12:05AM
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jak1(4 Ontario Can)

Good morning all! What an organized and industrious bunch you are! Gifts bought and wrapped, trees up and decorated (well, sort of in Kathy's case), baking done, home clean, lights and outside decorations in evidence. Then there's Julie....most gifts bought, a few cookies made, three cards sent, a not-very clean-or-tidy house, one teeny string of lights outside, and the tree still in the basement!

We, of course, have had the complication of a small boy who cannot eat or sleep due to his medication. Yesterday we took him off all meds, he went to school, and was sent home for bad behaviour. He slept most of the afternoon, all night, and is still abed. Making up for lost time. We are keeping him at home today and starting a new round of meds, hoping this one will show the benefits and fewer side effects. I was a little iffy about the drug route anyway, and am leaning more and more to a more natural holistic approach. Time will tell.

DS is coming over today to build the yearly traditional Gingerbread house with TCS.This is a hugely fun activity for the two of them, taking all day, and reminding DS of the many many years that I did this with him and his sister.

I may actually do the cards and cleaning while DH lugs the tree up. Anyway, Christmas will come whether we're ready or not!

Oh, I hear the patter of little feet - dogs, likely. Will check in later!

Love you all!



    Bookmark   December 16, 2009 at 8:07AM
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A quick hello- Im trying to squeeze in some laundry tonight , the house remains in disarray , and I am starting to ponder the Christmas floral arrangements and the tablescape. I will have 4 full days to prepare and clean this place up before the guests arrive. It occurred to me tonight that I have yet to order my beef tenderloin for Christmas dinneryikes ! Fortunately we have at least 3 very good meat markets here, and I may be able to just walk in buy what I want. Ill make some phone calls tomorrow.

Julie, Im so sorry that you are still struggling with TCSs medication- I hope a solution presents itself soon. So many experts out there ..I guess trial and error is the lot for all of us. One so badly wants success with young lives.

Candy, the pie was well received ! I doubled the nuts though, and we hid the couple of pieces we had leftover. We are having a breakfast birthday potluck tomorrow and I am going to cut them up into bite-sizes, warm then up and top with whipped cream. We have been eating constantly this week, and we have all pledged to eat nothing but salads for a month after this Christmas season is over !

All for now.

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   December 16, 2009 at 11:56PM
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For the Agavephiles in our midst..

    Bookmark   December 17, 2009 at 12:44AM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Morning all,

Busy, busy here as usual. Ive still not gotten the Christmas tree decorated. Arrgghh!!! Taught a class a week and a half ago and have to prepare for a seminar the first full weekend of January. Its getting to that time when I have to water the coleus under the lights every other day. Methinks its time to pot some of them up so they dont take so much upkeep.

Its pretty cold out here this AM with temps down to 11F and winds gusting to 40, with chills are brutal. I dont think Ill spend any time in my blind today! LOL

Im enjoying all the pics

V. are you insane???? That tree will band together with all those logs from your home and get them to rise up and overtake the humans. LOL Can we get a pic of it decorated?

Kathy, I just LOVE those Christmas Agaves. Pretty clever! ~~ Love the Mary Rose shot! What a beauty. ~~ I think Ill zip over to your place for Christmas dinner, Yum! Tenderloin with Cab sauce. ~~ Love that pic from Maine! What a hoot, I cant believe those Actaeas were that tall. Amazing!

Candy, love your Christmas decorations and love the cranberry pie!!!! Looks wonderful.

Bug, love the Ivy pics. What a cutie! And that bee on the baptisia is a classic!

Michelle, I really love your pillar and door decorations! So pretty! ~~ Also wanted to tell you that the lovely pelargonium you sent me years ago is still looking great. I didnt get to it until very late and didnt think it would make it this year but its growing beautifully under the lights and makes me smile and think of you every time I go down there to work with the plants. Oh yes, the Crocodile is also doing well. It didnt have any problems getting cut back and repotted and is now sporting some new growth. Im really happy about that as Ive not gotten any cuttings of it to root for me this fall.

Denise, what a gorgeous rose! That Bouquet dOr is awesome. Love the link about "dandelions/orchids".

Ive been really happy to see I have five Cardinals coming into the feeders daily, three males and two females. Ive never had this many in the yard at one time before and its a real treat to see the three boys in the birch trees in the sunshine. They look like Christmas ornaments.

Here are a couple photos Ive taken in the last week.

This fellow is eating the seeds from the Sweet Autumn Clematis

OK must run, have a great day all

PS V be very careful of that tree!

    Bookmark   December 17, 2009 at 7:26AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Mornin' All!

Looks like sun is in the forecast for this morning here, but quite cold. I expect it to climb up to about 20F. Yesterday the propane truck got stuck in our laneway and I had to call in a neighbor to extract him. What a pain. No propane yet either!

I very much enjoyed reading about the dandelion/orchid people and the rhesus monkeys. Thanks!

The Deanne photos are special. I can identify individual birds...so much detail. Of course the clematis seed in the beak is the amazing touch for me. We only seem to have one male cardinal so far. Last year we had 3 and several females.

This final week before our trip is full of activity , starting this morning with a 9am appointment for Ms Phoebe. Our plans really center around her progress.

Thinking of Julie, Woody, and...well everyone actually!
Must get on the move here.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2009 at 7:51AM
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Gorgeous birds Deanne. I was wondering if the birds would eat the seed on the sweet autumn clematis. The one on my swing arbor is loaded with seeds. I really intended to cut it down to prevent seeding around.

Julie I hope the new meds for TCS will be the ones to work. Bless his heart, I hate to see kids struggle so.

Bug, I hope Pheobes checkup was a good one. I know you are anxious to be off on your trip to see the kids.

Kathy, will everyone be staying at your house for christmas? Sounds like a fun time and good eats.

Love the roses girls and V that tree is ginormous. I bet is is beatiful all lit up.

Woody, I 'm thinking of you too. I hope you are hanging in there. Randy too.

Hi Saucy, Chelone, Denise, Dreama, Marian and all busy Idyllers.


    Bookmark   December 17, 2009 at 5:12PM
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That third pic is just remarkable Deanne..Thanks so much for posting these here..

Tomorrow is my vacation send-off day, and look forward to puttering around the house and garden all weekend. Our weather forecast calls for dense fog- since I have no travel plans for the next few days I'm ok with it.

Norma, I am having my family here this year for Christmas; I've traveled for the last few years, so I look forward to being the hostess for a change.Nice not to have to schlep around airports !

Hoping to see some of our missing check in..off to fold laundry-joy!

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   December 17, 2009 at 11:57PM
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You know it has been a few days since you posted when you have to log in again :)

V., that tree didn't look so big to me until I looked at the tiny toy sofa in front of it! LOL...all your presents will be those Good-Things-Come-In-Small-Packages types.

I want to see it lit up, too!

Deanne, what a beautiful reminder to fill my feeders!

Candy, I believe that I need some YakTrax - they go on over your shoes, so you can remove them when not needed. I slipped and fell the other day (no injury, except to my ego) and thought of everyone here who would've had theirs on!

I can hear birds outside my window in the hedge - they like to congregate there.

Kathy, I am the hostess to our family party this year. I am in charge of the Yankee Swap rules and am thinking of changing them up a little - perhaps a Southern Swap? I have to do the research today (because I can't even remember how to do it the regular way!). So I have to pick up my ham today. Bake another one of those gluten free chocolate cakes that flew off the Thanksgiving table and make the cranberry pie! I have my house decorated and clean - I just need to keep it up for 2 more days when the partiers arrive :)

I guess I'd better go. Dry cleaning needs to be picked up and then I have a benefits meeting at the office. I bent my rule of working on Friday a bit...

Hello to all!!!


    Bookmark   December 18, 2009 at 8:08AM
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jak1(4 Ontario Can)

Gee Saucy, I have to log in every time. Maybe I should be posting twice a day ?? *LOL*

Well' the new meds for TCS are working much better than the earlier ones. He is attentive and can sleep. Whew! We'll see how things go over the holiday. He must get more exercise, so we are looking at swimming lessons and/or the free skate at the arena on Friday evenings. I would love for him to take martial arts as it stood our daughter in good stead, but I don't want to push him into something. I am hoping that he will sooner or later at least ask to see a class. DD has taught him a few moves.

And the tree is up, half the cards are done, and two rounds of baking are complete (of the six I usually do). DS and TCS built their Gingerbread house (not 6 feet high though!!!) and there is still lots of decorating to do there, something to have fun with now that school is done. I hope to get TCS back up to speed in music over the break as that went by the wayside for the last few weeks.

Anyway, feeling much more "up" now and getting into the spirit of Christmas before it is too late!

Love the birds, Deanne. For some reason I don't have any this year, for the first time. Could be because of the little beasts running around, or maybe the fence is something new that is somehow putting them off. All the more enjoyment for me from your fab photos!

That is some tree, V. I bet it will look just gorgeous when lit. I love the look of your home...

Hope you have a ball at DD's, 'Bug! What about a gingerbread house kit to build with Sky on Christmas day? Fun for all and ensures time spent together...and I am partial to consumable gifts so yuou don't add "stuff" to homes already stuffed with stuff. Also, like DS's gift, you could do it every year. And soon for Ivy too.

Waiting for the fabu mantle display from Kathy, and am getting worried about Chelone. Anybody been in touch?

Woody will soon be having her medical stuff done, and all the best wishes and hopes go with that!

I made gingerbread trees this year - cutting out stars of diminshing sizes, stacking to look like little evergreen trees, decorating them with green and white icing, candle stars, and teeny little red candy stockings. They turned out great. I will try for a photo soon - but you've heard that before :)

Happy day to you all.



    Bookmark   December 18, 2009 at 9:32AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Love Julie's report on TCS! I do hope this round of meds continues to help the little guy flourish.

I'm also enjoying all the input on Christmas preparations, culinary and otherwise. Here it is still chaos with pet plans, packing, etc. We are also still at fever pitch with environmental affairs and the ministries. As many of you may be aware, Canada is no shining star when it comes to climate change and other environmental concerns. We are trying to get some action. Do they not have children or grandchildren? No, I guess it is about making rich people richer. UGH.

Today I'll make a huge vat of soup for our French Club Christmas gathering tonight.

Next comes DH's exams and marking.

On the very positive side, a friend's 1 year old granddaughter has had very successful surgery for a growing hemangioma from her forehead. A huge relief for all.

Rush Rush Rush!

    Bookmark   December 18, 2009 at 10:12AM
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Sneaking in from the awfice , to add my vote for a pic of V's jumbo tree in it's finery--V I'm going to get out my tripod this weekend and fiddle around with taking indoor flashless photos. We'll see how they turn out !

Kathy in Napa, sneaking back out..

    Bookmark   December 18, 2009 at 10:27AM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

The lights are on the tree but no ornaments as yet. This was budget week for the church so I have not been home much. The weekend job will be to deck the monster.

I should share some of the tale of installing the Insane Tree. DH was the one who picked out the tree. Since it was rather tall, he cut it about three feet above the ground. He and DD were going to drag the tree to the house, but they could barely budge it! So he went to get the ATV. Of course, it was too heavy to lift onto the ATV, so he rigged up some straps to drag it.

Well, in the heavy snow, the tires of the ATV were just spinning. I laughed that we would have the only Christmas tree that smelled like gas exhaust instead of pine! Finally, he decided to cut off another section of trunk. I couldn't even lift the portion that was cut off, and I usually can lift a good fifty pounds.

So now he takes off, dragging the tree . . . up the gravel driveway. Yes, there are scraped branches on the tree! :0

By the time all this was accomplished, he had something else to do so the tree sat in the backyard for a day. We finally got it in the house, which added a few more scrapes to the branches, and got it upright in the stand. Once he saw the tree inside, DH immediately called our son and asked him to come over and help us tie the top of the tree to the balcony. So we now have a bruised tree in bondage!

Kathy, I tried to take some flashless photos without a tripod. The colors were great, but of course you just can't hold the camera still enough. A tripod is on my Christmas list.

DD is seeing The Merry Widow at the Lyric Opera tonight with a group college friends. They can get student tickets for a very low price. It's been nice having her home; she's made dinner for me every night this week.

Chelone, you are overdue for a check in!


    Bookmark   December 18, 2009 at 8:03PM
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cyn427(z7aN. VA)

I am so envious of those of you are have finished shopping and are so ready. I planned to get out this weekend, but we are awaiting 12-24 inches of snow beginning tonight. I am SO excited! Of course, after 48 hours, I will be ready for it to be gone. If we really get a lot, we may be able to begin our break three days early. Northern Virginia does not do well with huge snows-lots of back roads never get plowed, so schools get cancelled when lots of us could actually get there pretty easily-not that I'm complaining mind you...

As far as the tree on the deck goes, it is decorated with LED lights only. I considered adding bird seed decorations, but then it occurred to me that the squirrels would probably climb the tree to get those. Then, the four-footed fools would be climbing the tree to get the squirrels, and then, well, not a pretty picture!

Kathy, love the idea of truffles in the sauce! Which brings to mind the story of the fellow near here in Maryland who just won $1 million on a lottery scratch-off ticket. How much fun would that be?!

Fabulous cardinal photos, Deanna.

Those pictures of Ivy always make me smile, 'bug.

Woody, thinking of you and Randy.

I will post pictures of our snow tomorrow. Not a flake yet...

    Bookmark   December 18, 2009 at 8:41PM
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TGIF ! Its a little late in the day for the "Sue" greeting, but Im off for a week so Im feeling celebratory. The next few days will involve much cleaning, wrapping, menu planning etc. I have to buy a mattress this weekend too-one of the guest beds is un-sleepable fortunately its a twin , so hopefully it wont break the bank. I need Santa to bring me a winning lottery ticket, lol. I have to do some garden chores too, and we are in for high 50 daytime temps over the weekend I will start pruning the roses after the 1st but now I have slimy stuff to cut back, and sweeping of patios and walkways.

Julie, glad to hear that TCS is faring better in the latest round of meds. I took a pic of Fabu Mantle and posted it on FB-terrible pic though ! I will post here when I can get something that looks decent.

Hello to all !

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   December 18, 2009 at 9:07PM
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chloehoover(z6b VA)

A quick check in from me too - count me as the VA idyller who is NOT excited about 12 to 20 inches of snow - golly... too much to do. Altho I dont mind being forced in this weekend for some drafted cleaning and to finish decorating the tree (gee, Deanne, mine's in the same state -- about 1/2 decorated), I dislike the idea of having to try to shovel for the next 24 hours - if not, I'll not get out til February....

Good luck w/ all your holiday hecticity, Kathy - sounds like a grand time.

Love the festivities everyone is having - that cranberry recipe looks to die for, yum!

V - the is sure a tree story for the memory books!! Paul Bunyon would have loved that tree...

I think I may have nitemares tho about snow drifts.... however do you hearty snowbirds do it?

Merry greetings to all - will check back tomorrow if computer and electricity permit.


    Bookmark   December 18, 2009 at 10:32PM
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Good morning all!

So Candy and Cindy must be socked in with snow this morning! How's the winter wonderland? I'm not looking forward to it myself, and still haven't checked the weather this morning.

My family party is supposed to be tomorrow - I wonder if I'll have to cancel? I hope not. I've already baked the cake, and I don't think I can keep my hands off of it for a week :)

Today I am scanning pictures of Christmas Past to play like a screen saver on the t.v. at the party. Funny to look into Nick's family through the decades :)

I'm feeling like I'd better go ahead and get to moving so I can put the finishing touches on everything I hope to accomplish! One of the things I'm looking forward to trying is a risotto dish that allows you to cook it mostly ahead, adding the finishing touch just before putting it on the buffet. Who thought you could have risotto on a buffet? I hope it turns out like planned and not a bowl of mushy rice :)


    Bookmark   December 19, 2009 at 7:42AM
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cyn427(z7aN. VA)

Our four-footed fools/slap happy idiots have different ideas about all this snow. Clouseau loves it. First thing he did this morning was bury his head in it-followed by leaping and running and begging his mom to join him. Annabelle-not so inclined! It really is pure joy to watch him. Just makes me laugh. I will have to put on the boots and go out with him in a little while.

My "should-be-but-isn't-yet" DIL called last night to see if I would drive her to her hair appointment since her car wouldn't make it through the snow. We are waiting to see how bad it gets. I am going to trudge out to the main road (actually-not a long walk at all) to check out the situation. She hasn't called this morning yet, so perhaps she has decided to wait a couple of days. I don't mind driving in the snow, but having other cars out there, too, makes it worrisome. I imagine everyone feels that way-LOL!

Cindy, take some time to enjoy all this! I finally broke down and contacted someone to shovel/plow us out this year. I didn't want DH trying to do it at this point and I usually only get the sidewalk done. DS usually did it with friends in the past, but he sold his Landrover, so he isn't going to be getting out right now, either!

Time to pull on the boots. Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

    Bookmark   December 19, 2009 at 9:43AM
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chloehoover(z6b VA)

Well, golly -snow musings from me today --

now a blizzard warning here -- I leapt out of bed this a.m. worrying about the amount of snow (before I heard that blizzard warning)(having peaked out the windows several times during the nite) and without caffeine got out and shoveled about 12 inches of steps, walkway, cleaned the car, shoveled around the car, and the 3 foot high pile of ice crapola the snow plow lovingly puts behind our cars when he plows. I never get that - why is the side of the street with no cars totally clean,and he piles the dreck behind the cars and parking spaces for us to break our backs. It's always seemed to me that logic could dictate that he approach in a different direction if its plow direction issue - or is that a Y chromosome problem that can't solve the problem? (personally, I suspect conspiracy payback, LOL...)

I'd say there's about 12 inches in my area right now; and this is before the heavier storm really has kicked in... But I do need to get back to work this week and figure getting the snow exercise (esp when no snow plow/blower owned) is the only way to keep up with the volume, hope the back holds out!!

Saucy - I hope the snow is less for you guys so your party happens -- that would be terrible to have all the yummy food and no takers. I'd gain 30 lbs since one wouldnt want the food to go to waste!

Have had computer issues both at awfice and home the last couple of weeks and holiday errands that left me with no energy or time to idyll.. I really miss checking in - Im relieved however to see that the same thread is up and running so other folks are obviously busy busy too.

All you intrepid mid-westerners and New Englanders are likely laughing at my folly over the foot to two feet predictions of snow -- but this area generally doesnt handle it well; to say nothing of moi....

Well, off to get some more caffeine and kick back for a while til I think of decorating the tree - gotta get all the deco mess put away today so cleaning can start -- just like dominos!


    Bookmark   December 19, 2009 at 10:01AM
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cyn427(z7aN. VA)

Here are a few pics. We are close to Cindy and have more than a foot on the ground now. My pics are nearly as good as Deanna's, but hope you enjoy nonetheless. The black dog is Annabelle and Clouseau is the other. He just wants to stay out in this all day-just like a kid, but messier when he comes in at last! From Drop Box From Drop Box From Drop Box From Drop Box From Drop Box

The night shot was last night around 10 pm.

It has been so long since I posted pics, it has taken me forever to remember and add these. Oh well. Hope it works!

    Bookmark   December 19, 2009 at 1:30PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

Great pictures Cyn! I want to take that dog in the first one home....:-)

No snow to speak of here. Maybe Monday...

Blue arrived Tuesday to stay until Jan.9.

Still lots of uncertainties on all fronts here so I'm sticking to participating in things that don't require much thought, so I've posted on other GW forums but not much here :-)

    Bookmark   December 19, 2009 at 2:00PM
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On break, next task will be a gift wrapping session, by the time I get that done it may be warm enough to go outside for awhile..hearing reports this morning on NPR of the blizzard woes of my east coast pals..sounds like Irish Coffees are needed all around !

Back later

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   December 19, 2009 at 3:16PM
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cyn427(z7aN. VA)

Yeah, Kathy, I've already been into the fortified egnog today!!!

    Bookmark   December 19, 2009 at 4:49PM
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cyn427(z7aN. VA)

Hmm...just noticed my spelling of eggnog-maybe there was a little too much fortification going on here....LOL. Still, I REALLY am enjoying this day and the snow...

Woody, Clouseau is without a doubt the best dog I've ever had and that is saying a lot. He is loaded with personality and is just so much fun.

Still snowing. woohoo!

    Bookmark   December 19, 2009 at 5:04PM
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Mattress for guest room bought, almost all of the presents wrapped (but not all bows done yet) Star Jasmine that was grabbing my car every time I pulled into the garage is trimmed, 1/3 of grocery shopping done, furniture gone over with the upholstery tool on the vacuum,2pm beer consumed (Bass Ale) and the plants got to spend a few hours outside in the fresh air . A glass of wine is poured and laundry is in process. Ive been enjoying the snowy pics both here and on FB..so pretty ! Especially if you dont have to go anywhere, lol.

Nice to see you Woody ..I saw some of your posts over yonder-Im a luker here and there . Sorry to hear there are still uncertainties and hope a corner is turned soon for you.

Annabelle and Clouseau are quite photogenic Cyn, and love the shot of the birds too.

Waving to all !

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   December 19, 2009 at 8:55PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Like Kathy, the job list is getting narrowed down, but still more to finish. Got the trip to the dump done, the last before we travel. Bought cat litter and other necessities and even a new pair of running shoes. This is a BIG and expensive task for me as I use orthotics and have web shaped feet (almost)...but I will be comfortable now even if not a fashion plate.

We attended a nice party last night, arriving late due to various last minute annoyances. One was the delayed appearance of yet another propane truck in our laneway. This trip was at least successful. The party was attended by many friends, but somehow all the sweets put me off. There was a Quebec maple syrup pudding/cake thing, coconut squares, Nanaimo bars, a lemon curd and meringue roll, cranberry pop corn,....I don't know, just so much sugar. Anyway, I had lunch but couldn't manage any dinner tonight after all the food yesterday.

The Salvation Army band at the grocery store was really good today and DH and I were impressed as never before with tuba playing.

Somehow, while replenishing the fire this morning, I managed to set my hair on fire. Good grief! Well it was no big problem, but burned hair sure smells awful! I wonder if my hairdresser didn't use some amazing product on my hair yesterday. The flames sought me out!

I finished the blanket I was knitting, now for crocheting an edge on it.

So glad to see Woody popping in. Hope Blue is good companionship. I was very saddened to hear that our neighbour's dog died of pneumonia in November. The poor dog was Phoebe's good companion, a bit younger than her. She'd recovered from a bout of pneumonia in October and then a second round proved too much for her. Here's to Nora:

We delivered cards and cookies to various people, then spent time by the fire tonight. Hope things are calm at your home tonight as well!


    Bookmark   December 19, 2009 at 10:08PM
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Wow, Cindy and Cynwhat a tremendous amount of snow got dumped in your area! Have you set any records with this storm? Im hearing major power outages are widespread, also. It sounds like youre pacing yourself with the shoveling, Cindy and thats wise. Weve only had snow showers here which is fine with me, you can keep it Cyn, lol. Love the way Clouseau has plopped himself in the snow and he appears to be grinning with delight. Annabelle now, has that "are we done out here yet?" look in her eyes.

Kathy, pictures please! With all your descriptions of decorating I know the house will be beautiful for having everyone over this Christmas. Ive always wanted a mantel and fireplace so Im prepared to covet yours instantly.

Julie, happy to hear of progress with TCS and his meds. Trying to regulate and adjust medication to create the right balance can be distressing but I hope the situation is on the way to leveling out. You sound as though youre bouncing back with good spirits.

Deanne, I cant get enough of your bird photos! I just love to study these close ups and enjoy making observations Ive never noticed. The fact that female cardinals arent as plain as I thought surprised me; they have subtle hues blending in with a rich caramel coloring that isnt drab beige in good lighting. And the males, not just red they have a delicate dry brush effect of silvery grey tips on some of those intricate feathers. Thanks again for sharing your photography and giving us a view we cant see from our windows.

Hi Norma! I would love to see a photo of your sweet autumn clematis on that swing arbor, that appeals to me as I enjoy clematis rambling up any kind of structure.

Saucy, really great idea of scanning photos for a TV screen saver! Thats going to be a big hit with the family thanks to yougosh, I wish I was more technical minded. But my mind gets preoccupied with things like that chocolate cake more often than it should, lol. Mmmm, how about a pic!

VI knew youd have stories about the gargantuan tree. I can see those wheels spinning trying to haul it! Didnt it scratch the woodwork coming through the door? Waiting with everyone else to see the behemoth all decked out.

Woody, still holding you in my thoughts and will continue to do so.

Yikes! Thats scary bug, even if it was just a small whiff of burning hair.

Ah, its late and I need my beauty sleep18 hours might be enough, lol.

Health tip of the day: Nap when you have opportunity

    Bookmark   December 20, 2009 at 1:08AM
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Woefully behind (no hope of catching up as the field rounds the far turn and heads down the homestretch).

I am mastering the woodstove in the Salon (where I've been puttin' in quality time). It's an interesting exercise in how to maintain the comfortable temperature without having the furnace come on to augment the heat over night. I feed the stove 3 times/day; early morning, upon return from work, and before going to bed. I have a nice bed of coals at the end of every burn and have not had to start a fire "from scratch" in nearly 5 days now.

I have asked Santa to bring me a new poker (long handle) and a coal rake. The coal rake will allow me to save the coals and empty accumulated ashes at the same time with minimal inconvenience.

Christmas decorations are not yet finished, but could be by the end of this snowy day. :) It's beautiful outdoors today which reminds me to tell Michelle your snowy door shots are terrific. I have not poached the topiary idea, BTW.

I love watching the Cardinals here. The colors of both Mr. and Mrs. Cardinal are just beautiful; one so bright and the other a restrained variation on the color scheme. I like to study the detail of the feathers in your shots, Deanne. It reminds me of Larry. Knowing a bird personally over many years (17) gave me a great appreciation of them.

OK, I have to go play with the stapler and greenery. :) Waving to all, esp. Woody!

    Bookmark   December 20, 2009 at 9:23AM
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My party has been postponed, rescheduled for next week. The only real downside I can think of is trying to keep the house clean for a week! I'm going to bring my big bowl of salad over to my MILs along with the chocolate cake and eat them up tonight :)

The Crustless Cranberry Pie was a hit! I made two gluten free versions and took one to play Banangrams with SunnyD last night. It really hits the spot, sweet and tart.

It seems I keep getting Candy and Cyn mixed up...at least I think I have been...I'll get it straight sooner or later!

Maybe I'll go find my camera and see if I can get some pictures loaded up here. It's that kind of day, I think.


    Bookmark   December 20, 2009 at 9:37AM
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chloehoover(z6b VA)

Well, the lovely part of snow is over and the reality is setting in -- 22 inches official for c'ville and it's going to be a painful day with more shovelling in the works.

Okay, 'bug - I think that's a first -- hair on fire report... geez, you're lucky it wasnt worse - how scary!! I hope you can fix the cut so that it isnt so noticeable... What a sad tale re Phoebe's friend - goes to show one never knows what's going to be serious for dawgs - That's a sweet memorial shot of pup energy.

Can tell Kathy is in manic mode - impressive list of accomplishments; I can hope to hit just a few today...

Bummer, Saucy! I'd be challenged to keep my house clean for a week and it's just me and Chloe.... At least you can take some of your goodies to be enjoyed and shared tonite. Maybe an encore dessert can be a simple trifle or something easy to sling together...

Well, Im avoiding the main task of the day; guess there are no magic elfs available to pop thru the screen here and do some chores and shovelling --

Have a pleasant day enjoying the winter scenery wherever you are today, idyllers.


    Bookmark   December 20, 2009 at 10:04AM
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cyn427(z7aN. VA)

No worries, saucy-I am happy to be confused for Candy! I love her posts and those health tips she adds are the best! I wish I were so clever!

Candy, you nailed the pups! Clouseau would stay out all day in this if he could. The only weather he avoids is rain (unless we are going on a walk, then it is grrrreat!) He is also not wild about the heat, so winter is a joy for him.

Cindy, I am relaxing and enjoying this snow for one more day. Will take a walk with the pups and maybe get out to the store if I decide I want to bake cookies-ran out of sugar and should have restocked last week! That is, if I can get out of the driveway. DS assures me (on the phone as he is driving back from Denver) that if I raise the car as high as it will go, no worries. He is always appalled that I don't put the car through its paces more often ("Mom, you don't know what this car will do!"). Oh well.

Chelone, I am jealous of your woodstove. We used to have one when we lived in NC. I am sorry we don't have one here every time I hear that furnace kick on-which is often at this point.

I, too, am looking forward to seeing everyone's pictures of their holiday decorations-especially yours Kathy-I'll be needing those wonderful California views in a few days when we are still looking out at all this snow! All the neighbors are out clearing driveways and sidewalks. we should have a party!

    Bookmark   December 20, 2009 at 11:26AM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

A memorial pic of our Tommy:

He died last night, after a terrible week of what I think was the same ailment that Trubby had ...twice. Trubby has not had another spell, and is as healthy as a horse. I am almost certain it was Heartworms.There is very little that can be done about that.
We are all 3 very sad....Trubby, Nolon, and I. He was my all time favorite cat.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2009 at 1:58PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Here's to Tommy, the all time favorite cat.

An Ode to Cats

The cat comes in at the door and then
Once more mews to be out again,
Scratches at forbidden doors,
Leaves marks on forbidden floors-

But no one will resist the plea
Trembling, mewing- "oh, help me! "
Big yellow-green eyes looking at you
Pleading or dignified, telling you to

Do their bidding, follow their lead,
Begging, ordering until you concede
To give them whatever they like or require-
Enchanting cat! To whom I aspire!

Nine-lives cat- cant die anyway-
Curious cat- always ready to play-
Kitten, dashing round the field-
Or dignified elder who will not yield!

Wonderful cat- sneaking in the night,
Shadows hiding it from every sight,
Shadow on shadow, silent pads
Bearing it to wilder lands,

Or, pampered, sleeping deep,
Lovely coat and lovely sleep,
Warm cat bed and a bowl of food,
Caresses and a gentle mood.

Orange, yellow, gray or blue,
Black, white, a mixture too,
Prowling round wherever they will-
Yet unconquered, wild still

    Bookmark   December 20, 2009 at 2:38PM
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(((Marian and Nolon)))

    Bookmark   December 20, 2009 at 2:51PM
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cyn427(z7aN. VA)

oh, Marian, I am so sad for you. I love the picture you posted. Makes me miss having a cat around! I will be giving the slap-happy idiots their heartworm meds at the end of this week.

Lovely poem, 'bug.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2009 at 4:49PM
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Oh, Marian I am so very sorry to hear you lost Tommy! Pets become such a part of our daily lives and routine that youre reminded of their absence constantly. Youre in good company here, most everyone knows the heartache of losing a beloved pet. Hows Nolon taking this sad event? Thinking of you today, Marian and wish mere words could be of more help.

I only came in to read while the almond bark munchies cool but I had to touch base after reading that news. Hope to return to Idylland later tonight

    Bookmark   December 20, 2009 at 5:09PM
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2pm beer break time. Mattress delivered, more bows made, greenhouse window(and contents thereof) in the kitchen cleaned , grocery shopping #2 done, living room carpet shampooed, bird feeders filled, 2 loads of laundry..jeesh, it sounds pretty impressive when I spell it out !
The Sunday newspaper is still wrapped in plastic-I may get to it later . Rain has started now, so the patio sweeping will be done another day.

Lovely poem you posted for Marian bug. And when is your depature for the wild west ? One hates to think of the hairdresser putting flammable products on ones head- I remember the good old days of aqua net and other aerosol propelled hairsprays that created the crash helmet look of the very early 60s. I can only imagine the result if those particular coiffures got close to wood stove fire.

Saucy, its easy to tell Cyn and Candy apart if you remember that all of our Cindys and Cynthias are in the same geographic area- I m thinkin its easier to keep the house clean for a week that it is to do the initial clean-up..Im waiting till the last minute to do 2 of the bathrooms .

Hi Chelone, glad to see you, even briefly. I was glad to hear of staplers and greenery-I infer that the pediments are moving forward.

Alright, back to work ..waves to all ..

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   December 20, 2009 at 5:59PM
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