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Idyll #412 The Spirit of December

Posted by saucydog z5MA (My Page) on
Mon, Dec 1, 08 at 10:34

It seems that as soon as the calendar turns to December 1st, I begin looking for evergreens and red berries hang for decoration. I have been busy with cranberries....what are you up to?

Saucy


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December

I like your Idyll Tydll, Saucy. :-)

I was just going to visit a website of a local farm stand that offers greenery to see if they have it for sale yet. What are you doing with the cranberries?

Marian...I hate when that happens. I just want to offer this suggestion...you know I post some of the longer posts, [g] and I have lost posts in the past that took me an hour to compose. It happened a couple of times and then I decided it was easier to get in the habit of composing the post offline and copy and pasting it when it is ready to go. On my Apple, I have a small program called Text Editor. There is an icon for it on the desktop and just one quick click and I have a blank piece of paper in front of me. On a Windows PC, I used to have WordPad. It is not the Word program, which takes so long to open and is more complicated to use, but a smaller easier and faster to open program, that works just like the Text Editor on Apple. Click on the icon and you have a blank piece of paper in front of you in a blink. Then I have the blank piece of paper on one side of the screen and the open Idyll post on the other and makes it much quicker to write down your comments. Then I use, Select all, Copy and Paste it to the Thread. I am in such a habit of doing that now that I don't even have to think twice. Most computers have WordPad or something similar. When you have muscle issues, you can't afford to have to post twice, once is hard enough. [g]

Hope you feel better!

pm2


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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December

I left the dooryard today! I went to the bank, the library, and then to pick up some greens for decorations (inspired by Martie, Saucy, and Monique). I bought 3 bunches each of Boxwood and some sort of native Cedar. They posted the 11th. Commandment near the door to the shop area. "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's red berries." Followed by the exhortation to plant Ilex verticillata, cracked me up. :)

I hope to have the greens conditioned by next weekend. I plan to pick White Pine and Hemlock in the yard and I have a Holly and a creeping juniper to trim back, too (Blue Rug), so there shouldn't be much lack of material. I didn't see any varigated Holly, though!

I'm tired and want to have a shower. But I have to wait for the helpmeet to get home and help put away the groceries. :(

And I'm waiting for lots of news from a rejuvenated Marian. ;)


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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December

Mystic and Sunrise thought that orange flagging tape would be the perfect holiday decor.

V.


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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December

Michelle, Kenzies gifts sound perfect for her.

V, the tape does add a festive color. LOL I really like that rug. Where did you find that?

Totaly wasted day here. I wasn't feeling up to par.

Norma


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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December

Ai yi yi, what a day at the awfice todayyet another RIF ironically my boss knew it was coming and gave me some advance warning , what he did not know was that he was one of the victims. My first phone call this morning was from him telling me goodbye as he had been let go. Not what I was expecting to hear as a start to my day! This was also our first full day of our annual vendor meetings, and since one of the buyers went adios too, we had to rustle up some appropriate attendees , circle the wagons and go on with the show. A rough day. One does prefer to ease back into work after a 4 day hiatus.
So very nice to come home and read the Idylls-how did I get by BI ? (Before Idylls) . Reading the paper would have put me in overload today.

The garden center at my place of employment sells fresh garland by the foot, and my employee discount is very attractive. I think I will fashion a swag for the front door using that and probably some Eucalyptus borrowed from the WalMart or the grocery stores parking lot. I have always wanted to plant a variegated holly Chelone ! Wish Id done it 15 years ago when I moved into this house . I could probably buy a 1 gallon Holly plant right now for less that it would cost me for a small bundle of stems from a floral dept. In addition I will make some sort of mantle display . Since I will not be home for Christmas I will have scaled down dcor this year.

Marian, I second what PM said; I type my posts in MS Word ,save them into my documents a couple times during my typing ( I type 10 key numbers quite fast, but much slower with words) and then copy an paste into the GW dialog box. Works like a charm. I meant to mention to you this weekend that when I did my demolition project on my Cl. Cecile Bruner rose my orchid window had a substantial increase in the amount of light .. So, I took all my Phals and fertilized them hoping that they will actually spike in the next couple of months since they are now actually getting a nice western exposure with nothing blocking the sun. The CB rose had become so gargantuan that my poor orchids were basically living in the dark . Not to mention the fact that I had to sort of bend over and peer thorough the branches to see out my window to the back yard, lol .I always think of you as the guru of flowering indoor plants.

V, flagging tape happens to be a product category that I am intimately acquainted with. Think they may need some lime green, yellow and hot pink to complete the look. Why is it that dogs can be so adept at feigning total innocence ? Im sure you have taken Chelones advice re : corporal punishment, and hope you did not have orange tinted doggie puke on your lovely rug.

Ok, thats all I can manage tonite

Where are you Cindy ?? Denise ? Brenda?

Kathy in Napa


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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December

Kathy, I've got a little hot pink; perhaps I'll shred it and add it to the mix. Funny you should mention bright orange doggie puke - that's what I thought it was a at first. Discipline was not up to Chelone's standards, as by the time I realized what I was looking at, all I could do was laugh.

Sorry to hear about your crummy day at work!

I felt rather crummy most of the day, so I spent it cleaning out some files. Not the kind of task that you need to spend your best energy on. I came home and quickly dealt with shoveling the sidewalk and driving the trash and recycling down the driveway before I could think too hard about it. Then DH called from a Southern state and said, "Oh, you're still not feeling good?" What is it with men that makes them clueless?

'bug, have you scraped the rust off those tools yet? :)

Norma, thanks for the complement on the rug. I have to admit, I don't remember where I got the rug! I bought it on the internet, and I looked at rug sites until my eyes crossed. Obviously a couple of brain wires crossed as well.

Time to take my ibuprofen and call it a night!

V.


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Norma

Of course as soon as I posted I was able to find the rug. It's from the Bob Timberlake Pinewood collection by Capel. I still don't remember who I bought it from - I know I looked at several places that all carried the same rug and got the best price, including shipping.

If you need to add the orange accents, email me and I will send you some flagging tape for your dog to chew up.

V.


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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December

Sorry, Chelone, I just have not got into the mood to "chew my tobacco twice" !!! It feels as though I already told you all my news... Maybe I will be " rejuvenated" tomorrow.

Pm2, I do not have MS Word. I have Notepad, and Wordpad. Neither one have the option to Select All, or to Copy and paste. If I had previewed my post I would not have lost it. I frequently have a problem with it when I delete a mistake and type in the correction. It starts deleting the following letter, and makes it where I have to retype all that follows the mistake. I have refreshed and corrected it, but this time I did not put it on preview before I refreshed, and wiped out my post!

It really was one of my more interesting posts, too. :-(

Ennyhooo...Here is a pic of what I saw before going to bed last night :
Image Hosting by PictureTrail.com

And, speaking of Phals, here is a pic of the one from Ei that opened a new bloom just in time for our company:

Image Hosting by PictureTrail.com

This is it's second blooms for this year. Another one is throwing up it's second spike, plus another start of more blooms on the old spike. Out of 7 Phals, 4 are preparing to bloom, but most will be later on.
I appreciate what you said, Kathy, but my orchids are pretty scrawny compared to the pics of Deanne's that she posted some time ago.

It is now my bedtime....I will talk to you all later.

Marian


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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December

Hi Marian, I've been reading about how you lost your post and that Wordpad and notepad don't have the copy/paste functionality. However, I just typed this message in Wordpad to try it out and then I highlighted the whole message (or you can hit Edit/Select All at the top of the page), then choose Edit/Copy, go back to the GW message window and click your cursor in the box and hit Edit/paste at the top of the screen. Hope that makes sense. Good luck!


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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December

V, the rusty tools were last seen on the kitchen counter. ??? I asked why and was told they were on their way to the basement. I don't get it. They usually live in the back room where I put them. Sooo, I can't answer your question about men. ("What is it with men that makes them clueless?")


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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December

It's back to the salt mines today. And I don't want to go (like I ought to complain after 6 days off). Oh well.

The helpmeet is going to finish up the balluster insterts today and I should have some little finish nail holes to fill. Then it's another coat of bleaching oil to the covers for the bedroom windowboxes (keeps the rain from spattering mud all over the glass and keeps snow out of them) and maybe another coat of blue to the trim around the pull down ladder to the attic area. Maybe the tile came in yesterday?

I wonder how much of that surveyor's tape is inside those miscreants, and will be redeposited around your yard, V.? It's never too late to beat your dog, that's why we have them.

I'm impressed that the tools are going ANYwhere, 'bug. Around here they just stay where they were last laid down. Kinda like the poor Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz. On Thanksgiving the helpmeet proudly called my brother out to the bahn to show off his work area. It was in its usual state of near chaos (an affront to all OSHA regulations). Later, my brother casually questioned how long it took him "to get ready" to finally work, lol.

Wow! snow at Marian's house already. Wonder when it will find its way here? (still no houseplants here).

I've been stewing on where I could put a couple of varigated Hollys and how I ought to go about planting around them to maximize the "party" effect while making them part of the scenery here. I'll stew on it some more while slogging through the clutter and chaos at work... it'll keep me occupied until I can get home and condition my decorative greens.

Any shots of your decorations, Monique?

Have any of you ever tried to prune a shrub into a very formal shape? I've been looking at the Blue Princess Holly on the corner of the house and know I have to cut it back. For years now I've been toying with the idea of pruning it into a narrower silhouette, forcing the growth up to achieve a taller, more columnar effect. Ideally, I'd like to see it sheared as well, so the geometry of the shape is very obvious. I'm freaked out that if I screw it up it will suck for years to come... thoughts?


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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December

Good morning....still no snow here yet, but the trees are bare.

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Chelone...I am still kicking myself that I didn't pick up a 'Honey Maid' Blue Holly when I saw a choice specimen of one a few summers ago. I keep looking for one that looks as good and no luck. I will be trying again in the spring. Beth Chatto uses a lot of variegated Holly in her garden, but of course, they are mostly the English Holly, that is not as hardy here. What did you mean by having 'the greens conditioned'?

Norma....Hope you feel better soon. :-)

Kathy....you must be getting apprehensive driving to work these days. Wow, your boss is going, but they are keeping you! I wonder if this will change the nature of your position? I hope that is the end of the cuts. Good thing you had so much sleep over the weekend. :-)

Marian....what Monique said....lol. There is a select all/copy/paste option in all word processing programs. I believe it is under the Edit drop down menu as Monique pointed out. You can also bring up a menu with the copy/paste option on it with a right mouse click, when your cursor is inside the document. Another solution for the other problem you had, when you accidently delete more than you want to, you can find the option 'Undo' or 'Undo Typing'. On my computer it is the first option under the Edit drop down menu. Clicking on Undo, will restore what was deleted without having to type it all again. Which comes in handy when I can't remember what was there. [g]

Gosh...where did all your pots go, Marian? lol Very pretty orchid! I like the yellows with the markings.

On the subject of 'men' and putting away tools and shutting off lights and closing doors...[g]....I have to say that in my experience it is not a 'man' thing. It is more of a question of being a person, male or female, who is disorganized, or forgetful or distracted or all three. We have three men in our family and two of them have no problems doing any of those things. One, has trouble with all three. :-) We have two women and one has only a slight problem with any of these and the other finds it difficult. Although our difficulty with the doors is consistent slamming, rather than not shutting. [g] We have reduced the conflict over such things in a couple of ways. I drew the line at losing certain items that I always need and refuse to go looking for. Tape measure, scissors, screw driver, pruning shears. I keep them in one kitchen drawer along with the scotch tape and elastics and not with the rest of the tools. Humorously exaggerated stern looks and emphatic notes on the kitchen counter have produced the habit of putting these items back in that drawer from everyone in the house, without any yelling. The lights....are a minor issue. But the TV being left on when no one is watching it...I have resigned myself to shutting it off when I find it on. I am trying to 'love the slamming door' :-) After all, it is evidence of a loved one returning home safely or getting out to do something important. It is also an excellent way to keep track of the comings and goings around here...lol.

Okay...time to start another day, fresh.

pm2


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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December

Good day-after-incredible-celestial-event morning!! Did anyone else catch the moon, Jupiter and Venus in the western sky last night? I tried for pics, even attempting manual settings(!!!!) but don't think the results will be good. As Rich said, though, "we'll have the memory."

Have been waiting to suggest this combo and Chelone gave me a perfect opportunity: Variegated holly underplanted with Cerastium tomentosum is striking as the white foliage "turns down" the holly during three seasons and lets the holly stand out when it should -- in the winter. A landscaper I know came up with an entire bed based on this combo and interplanted bright blue bulbs (there's that blue and white, again :-) followed by blue Scabiosa and then Russian Sage. Heck, let'em stand out!!

Don't know about pruning a holly that much, Chelone, it might be worth a try to just go for it starting from the inside and working out.

Am in serious orchid envy mode here, friends. Closest thing we have going here is a supermarket Amaryllis. LOL

What a horrible thing to have happen, Kathy. If your boss is gone, does that put you in charge? We are still feeling strong effects of our RIFs......

Sure there's more to say but have a recurrence of V's malady, Eden's and other's, too. Time to hit the OCD meds and get cranked for a busy work day. No way I'm complaining, though!!

Waving,

Martie


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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December

What does RIF stand for? (Here it means Retirement Income Fund :-) From the context it's obviously a layoff/severence situation, but what do the initials stand for? Just curious...


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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December

Thanks for the advice about the Edit and the Right Click. I have been using both for years, but my system does not have the options that you mention. Edit does have Select All on the Edit menu, but not the copy and paste. But with the Select All I 'can' copy and paste as I do with pics, by using the ctl+c and ctl+v keys.
I may try the split page thing the next time I start a long post. :-)

Time for me to get ready to go to town.
TTYAL
Marian


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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December

RIF = Reduction in Force

Another beauty of a day on tap here. I hope to find a way to enjoy some sunshine.

Kathy, remember the cactus flower that you showed me on your potting bench? What was it called again? Mine shot up a flower stalk! I wonder what color it will be....

Sarah and I have done some creative things with cranberries, but I want to wait to show you because I haven't quite put the finishing touches on yet. We got the idea while watching HGTV. If it works out, I think they'll make great gifts.

Hello to Deanne who I think I saw fly by....hope you find some time to put your feet up after the big feast! Thank you for the beautiful pictures.

Mentioning birthday pictures brings my mind to bees. Yesterday they did more housekeeping....it sure is interesting to watch. I would like to have an observation hive in my office, I think. Then I could see the inner workings, much like an ant farm. I should investigate....

With the lack of snow on the ground and the generally mild temperatures, I have been able to get the garden cleaned up more than I normally would for this time of year. I hope (knock on wood) to keep it going for at least another week.

I just finished my weekly work out with Margaret the personal trainer, I must admit that I am pretty impressed with myself :) I can do push ups again....hadn't been able to do those since boot camp :)

TTYL
Saucy


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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December

I am in a snarky mood this morning..and probably this month or more. So beware!
First on my agenda is the spelling of variegated. Note the "e". What a pain school teachers can be. You'd think they never made mistakes either...But it is nice to be reminded that variegated does not only refer to plants but more generally too it applies to anything marked by variety or diversity...such as Idylls!

Speaking of mistakes, guess what I did yesterday! I sent a note to my brother whining about our mutual sister and her thoughts on DD & DSIL's situation with regard to the ex-wife. None of my business, no less hers, etc etc etc. Well sure enough, I sent it to my difficult sister instead of to my brother by mistake. So today I must deal with the fallout. I've always worried about actually doing such a thing, but to my knowledge, this was the first time. OYYYYYYYY! DH has done it several times, once when it actually worked to his advantage.

In terms of "putting away tools and shutting off lights and closing doors" I agree with PM2. I was rather surprised yesterday because when we began the matrimonial roller coaster, DH was one to warn me that everything had its place and that he would use his pliers to remove fingernails one by one for articles not returned to their homes. And so I was somewhat surprised to see the tools turning to rust out there, but also I am more and more aware of the aging of my spouse and dreading the process. Now I see me doing such things as well and it is a dreadful business to contemplate. So "distraction" is the third item PM2 considered, and I add "aging" and even "stress" as the fourth and fifth components.

Today Ms Phoebe has been given lasagna for breakfast. How much leftover lasagna can one family eat??? Phoebe will have more today and tomorrow, mixed with kibble however so she doesn't forget the basics.

I am waiting a bit before entering into The Lace Reader discussion.

I have anticipated the celestial event Martie spoke about, but no way could we witness it with slush pouring from the heavens over the past weeks. This morning I was dismayed to see the Mennonite kids pedaling their way to the schoolhouse across the road from us. You can imagine their cold sloppy journey with trucks splashing them on their way. :(

I am not seeing our usual number of birds and wonder whether to be alarmed or simply wait for the nasty weather to go away.

Off to get something accomplished.
'bug (grump grump)


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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December

Well Marian....that's great...you DO have copy/paste with 'Select All'. You just use it differently, from the keyboard. My daughter does the same thing with hers. So that may help you to try composing offline with the split page. I use copy/paste so much, it is one of my favorite features. I sometimes think about the days when I used to type on an electric typewriter and had to use carbon paper to make a second copy and had to use 'white out' when I made mistakes....oh my....such a difference!

'bug....I think of it as when I was young, I had a new computer [brain] with a huge empty hard drive and the older I get, my hard drive is full and I can barely hold on to all the details. Maybe we all need a 'reformatting' as we get older?!! If I didn't have lists for everything, I would get nothing done. :-)

pm2


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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December

Well, I just spent over half my lunch hour trying (in vain) to catch up!!!!! All good intentions blew away when I realized by the time I read the last 3 threads (not counting "asides") I'd lose the opp to say hello!!! so I did manage to see some long-losts -- HI Cynthia & Hope!!! but missed the last half of the last? thread (was there a Deanne and Monique in there somewhere, LOL???) -- I know I saw a Wendy and deer poop comment and Jerri and a concert. Im also certain there was a pig that was no longer -- when did pigs replace turkeys??? Is this a prairie tradition? Isnt it odd how my mind retains the oddest memories with speed-idylls reviewing?

Did you ever notice as a few of us drop out, others manage to drop in? Kinda cool - but I'd love to see one thread where we are all there, counted and intelligible (a particular challenge for me Im sure).

I had the usual good intentions blown away by speeding events and then the couch called to me and Chloe for much of our holiday - no good excuses, just lots of bad ones.

Im sorry to see I've missed a birthday or two also -- I suspect I wont locate photos, so a much much belated to Marian and Saucy.

I was much torn between cybering for presents today at lunch and idylls -- I determined Idylls are much more important -- so trying to drop back in.

Kathy -- I did also manage to see that you are having abcess and teeth troubles -- o, I so feel for you -- I know between pocket books and physical discomfort that is NOT a welcome thing to happen at this time of the year (or any year for that). And even more horrible about your boss being the latest, saddest casualty in these hard times -- that are likely gonna be tougher...

I managed to work one afternoon of the holiday outside franticly planting the hundreds of bulbs I'd ordered and conveniently forgotten that I'd indeed ordered so many -- hmm, well the bulk of them are in now - and the remaining 100 or so may get the experiemental pots/containers done up in chilly weather this weekend if I can manage to remember to buy some soil. It's still remarkably green here, altho it's definitely cold.

Okay -- that's it off the top of me head..... Waving hi to all and hope to be back in again daily (infamous last words..).

-cindy


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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December

Job accomplished: the letter is written and sent to my sister in France. DD has just finished her course in mediation, so I attached her thoughts as well! :) So handy having mediators in the family!

Hi Cindy!!!!


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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December - # 2

Waa, I see I missed another birthday too -- Mary, I hope for a better, better one for you next year!!

Happy Birthday, Mary:

Happy Belated, Marian:

Saucy -- another happy belated birthday:

-cindy


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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December

Today has been a surprise, we suddenly are car shopping to replace our 10 yr old mini van. I haven't shopped for a car in awhile so I am wondering where to start. Anyone done any car shopping lately?

pm2


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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December

Our minivan went the way of all 12 year old vans...and DH bought himself a Honda "FIT" with which he is very pleased after a full year's use, especially in terms of gas consumption and comfort. For me, a used 5 year old Toyota ECHO was the bonus vehicle. These smaller cars are popping up everywhere and the folks we know are so pleased with them! The names are probably a bit different in the US, but check them out on Google or with Consumers Reports, etc.


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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December

Hey V, at least it's not crime scene tape...lol.

Happy Belated Birthday Mary! I'll see if I can scare up a decent card when I get home tonight.

Whirlwind weekend and despite two good night's sleep under the belt, I'm still dragging. This morning my throat came up scratchy. Figures. Had a great time at Deanne's for t-day. Food and company were fabulous but I didn't bring my camera and didn't see anyone else with one so no pics. My class reunion was interesting. You see a few people who you enjoyed in a past life, you tolerate a few drunks...mostly you people watch. One observation...the men in my class, at least the ones who attended the reunion are not holding up well at all. Yikes! I hardly recognized many of them. Biggest Loser and Extreme Makeover should do a class of '78 reunion show...lol. Anyway, lousy traffic coming home Sunday night. Remind me to plan accordingly in the future. I almost crashed at Saucy's after crawling for miles on the Mass Pike.

No RIF here-business has been cranking, at least for us bean counters. This week I have month end closing, annual physical inventory, and an ongoing budget process. Friday night is our company Christmas party and tomorrow night I have a work related dinner engagement. No rest for the weary.

Hi to all!

Sue


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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December

The new Consumer Reports came last night and highly praised my new "green" car. VW Jetta diesel. Of course there are waiting lists at all the dealerships for them. Of course it depends what you need too.


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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December

True story - I once worked at a Fortune 500 company whose head of human resources had the initials RIF. In fact, that was his nickname.

It will be a long, ugly winter here in Illinois. Budget realities here mean that the roads are not being plowed or salted as much as usual. About a third of the roads on my way to work were heavily iced. A coworker ended up in the ditch on her way to the office, and I saw someone else off the road on my way home. And a large pile of sand was sitting untouched by the road department less than a half mile away.

Off for a Christmas party this evening! TTYL,

V.


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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December

Push ups Saucy? I applaude you.
I found a way to soak up some sunshine. I moved a comfy chair into the bay window and soaked up the morning sun. I could tolerate winter a whole lot better with sufficent sun.

LOL Pm, reformatting our brains. I like your comparison.
We purchased a new Subaru Forester recently. We kept the old one as well. Just like the commercial. LOL. We have found them to be very dependable.

Bug, the critters here got a healthy dose of leftovers this morning too.
I hope there won't be to many repercusions with your sister.

Rebel got a new bed to lay on today. He was pretty leary of it. I had to walk him on to it and make him down. He has been spending a lot more time in the house since cold weather arrived and even with a blanket the hardwood floor is to hard on his arthritis.

Kathy, the cuts at work are getting awfully close to you. I hope it stops soon.

"counted and intelligible" Cindy. That's asking alot. LOL
Looking forward to your spring display of bulbs. I did not plant a single one. And come to think of it I have some lying around somewher that I dug up while rearranging some things. Ooops.
I saved the picture of the daylily and geranium. I like that combo. Is that Joylene Nichole?

Sue, I see you are still one active woman. Have you been able to return to your walking, after the foot problem?

Hoping Deanne has bird pics for us soon.

Off to pratice awhile. Time to drag out the christmas songbooks.
Hey Julie, still have the guitar out?

N


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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December

Hail Idylls, grumpy or otherwise ! Today was twelve hour one, including travel time. Was very glad to see so many chatty posts when I fired up the puter this evening.

Thanks to those of you who expressed concern for my work situation in light of the demise of the boss. I feel very secure in my position, even in this unstable environment. My (former) boss had only been with our company for about a year , and although he treated me very well , he was probably the most expendable person in our department. Our new boss is liked and respected by most of us, and our feeling is that he will leave us to our own devices within very general guidelines.

Well, Cindy, glad to see you heed the check-in call. Sounds like you and Chloe had a similarly slothful Thanksgiving holiday to mine. I was doing manual labor, but since it was garden-related that goes into a different category: i.e. gardening chores to me are actually recreation.

Saucy, Epiphyllum /Orchid Cactus. I have two, one is the bright pink flower and the other is a pale yellow. I am awestruck at your push-ups. You may be so buff for IU summer camp we may assign super-woman tasks to you., such as carrying the ice chest full of margaritas down the stairs from the Salon to the campfire.

PM , I bought my current car in 2003, much research was done. I will keep it till I hit 60k miles , and my next one will be a Honda CRV Hybrid. My criteria at this point is convenience of a warranty repair location, ability to haul some stuff, reliability, mileage , and 4WD.

Hey Sue, have fun with that Physical Inv. Im done with ours thank god. My company continues to ponder replacing the annual PI with a very structured cycle count program. Do you have thoughts on this?

Ok, time to go for tonight

Kathy in Napa


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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December

VariEgated
VariEgated
VariEgated
I'll never do it again. Until the next time. Are you feeling better today grumpy 'bug? :)

Wow, Sue, a class reunion on Thanksgiving WE, man! you sure do know how to pack a lot of livin' into a weekend. I admire your gumption, I've never been to one of mine and can't really imagine making it a "destination". I can imagine this is a busy time for beancounters... gotta figure out where all those toxic beans went, right? I'm bummed that there were no pictures of the revellers and the chow at Deanne's... did you get to go out to her "clubhouse" in the back yard and watch the birds? or did you hit the hot tub, instead?

RIF for initials when you're in charge of Human Resources is only marginally better than RIP if you're an undertaker. (hey, it's early).

Norma, how old is Rebel? We took extra care to give the elderly Springer a nice, soft bed near the stove as she grew "creakier". It was centrally located so she could keep and eye on everything without having to get up and totter around after us. I hate dogs. What's your favorite Christmas carol? I have a CD of bluegrass carols and I particularly like "God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen".

Where IS Julie? (looking for TCS's mittens and hat?).

PM, is the new car purchase something you had planned or the result of catastrophic failure of the old one? I always buy something used (Paul Kangas of the Nightly Business Report never buys anything brand new!) and usually have to do it quickly because I'm without wheels. Good luck with the hunt, I don't envy you. "Conditioning" the seasonal greens involves freshly cutting the ends off the stems, smashing them with a hammer and then plunging them into a bucket of water to encourage them to suck up as much of it as possible. This keeps them fresher longer. Unlike Monique, I don't use Wiltpruf on them. I did one year, but didn't think it made much difference overall. Possibly the moist marine climate has something to do with that.

Good to hear from Cindy! I'm extremely impressed by your diligence in reading the "back" Idylls. It's fun to do IF you keep in mind that it's not crucial. :) Thanksgiving is about sloth, I think.

Rough day at the awfice yesterday. Boss was snappy and seemed intent on reminding me how little I really know about my trade. The usual apporach is to give very minute, precise instructions for each step of a project while providing no "big picture" for the work to be done. This "micromanagement/hyper-critical" tendancy generally follows a weekend that was stressful and involved doing a lot of things she didn't really want to do, but had to because her husband had long since "signed her up". I, OTOH, had a great weekend. One that left me rested, "fulfilled" by work on the Salon, and eager to get home to do some more. But by the end of the shift I was sullen, "beaten down", and couldn't wait to get away from the withering commentary about nearly everything.

I picked up the tile for the hearth on my way home. I did a basic dry-fit with the tiles not requiring cutting and began to feel overwhelmed, a residual effect of 8 hrs. of being told how inept I really am. The helpmeet was tired and not thrilled about coming out and looking at the project with me, but bless his cotton socks! he did. He's going to help me have everything ready for the weekend (if we can) and if my courage doesn't fail me I'll be able to do the tiling. The completed railing around the stairwell looks beautiful; I'm married to a VERY accomlished man. I believe the installation of a baby gate will keep Idyll revellers reasonably safe...

Gotta head out and face another day of being told how stupid I am and how fortunate I am to work in a place that understands my failings and keeps me "productive". Can't wait!


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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December

Stop in anytime, Sue!

I have had a dull headache for the third morning in a row! Yesterday it lasted through til night. I never get headaches, so I think this is odd.

Complaints over :)

Yes! Epiphyllum! I think mine is white. I got it in an order with my brugs last spring, just a tiny cutting. Yesterday Sarah and I put Amaryllis under the lights....I think we're a little late, but hey! All of you talking about bulbs makes me realize that Sarah talked me into buying some dafs and alliums that seem to have disappeared.....hmmm.....

Norma, yesterday I was shopping trying to get Zeus a new bed. Job Lots has big beds for a good price, but none his size. While I was there I saw a heated dog bed! What would Rebel think of that?

Nice to hear from you, Cindy. I keep meaning to tell you that I have an agave pup, if you'd like. It came from a shopping trip that Wendy and I were on to the neat place I found in town.

I'd better go. Today is jam packed full of stuff. I wish I had someone over my shoulder telling me how to do my job, Chelone.....NOT! Maybe today she will be better.....she is halfway between weekends!

TTYL
Saucy


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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December

Good morning

That you for some more stunning birthday cards. Cindy - that frog is precious:0) Was he spotted on an Idyllunion?

GB - hope your day feels a little brighter. I always appreciate knowing how a word should be spelled. Especially knowing that I myself am a weak speller and an even worse typist. Unfortunately my posts here are often full of incorrect spelligns. If I had to worry about making them perfect I'd never submit anything. I do however, take tremendous care with anything I write connected with work or that might be kept. Being a poor speller is a curse - I've read everyday of my life since I was 4 years old and always studied diligently in school. Yet I cannot spell to save my life. My Mum on the other hand can spell any word in the dictionary. A spelling gene perhaps? and one that sometimes skips generations...

Well, rather than rabbit on about spelling I need to get goign on the day.

Hope yours is a good one

Mary


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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December

Good morning all,

Just a quick one as I really have to start bringing the garaged plants to the basement this week. The kerosene heater died and its getting too cold out there. Im actually hoping the banana dies of the cold so I dont have to lug it downstairs. Unfortunately it was still looking pretty perky yesterday. LOL

Chelone, so sorry but no pics from T-day. So much to do and I havent made the time to get pictures for the last couple years. A good time was had by all though. It was great fun to have an overnight visit from Sue.

The indoor plants are doing well except, predictably, the Rex Begonias! I have taken all the advice given here and am keeping them in a more humid environment as well as keeping them on the dry side and they are still dying. No clue! The coleus are growing at light speed and Ive had to prune them back quite a bit in the last couple weeks. Most of the acalypahs and abutilon are leafing out and Ive only lost two that I can tell.

OK time to get a move on and start my day! Waving hello to all
Deanne


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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December

  • Posted by jak1 4 Ontario Can (My Page) on
    Wed, Dec 3, 08 at 11:07

Oh Saucy, when I saw the suggestion of the heated bed for Rebel, I went looking for (and didn't find) my photos of Ajax with his heated bed: he ate it. Chewed it completely and tossed all of the stuffing and wires and bits out of his crate. Then sat there with the "What?" look. Thank heavens he didn't get zapped....So if Rebel is a chewer, I'd stick with the cozy pillow by the fire, which is what Ajax has now....

Chelone, I am still here - doing my usual run of the mill boring stuff. What a lousy way to spend the day at work...invite the boss to see the salon work, ask her to do some, then b***ch about every single thing she does....Or better yet, send her to Kathy's place of work and then she would be gone!!!

We have the same car criteria as you do Kathy. We hated to give up our Subaru Forester, but it was too small for TCS in the back seat, and the service place was 45 miles away so if you went for service, you would be gone the whole day. Once it hit 400,000 km. we traded it for a Ford 500 - which meets all of those criteria well. I hate it though, so I don't touch it. DH has become the family chaffeur...

Oops! The guitar is under the bed. I feel really guilty too as TCS plays the piano cheerfully every single day...

Monday was a lost day for me...the school busses were cancelled for no good reason except that the weather forecast was terrible. The bad weather never came though. So we drove TCS to school and then went out for breakfast. After that the school took the kids to see the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train. That is a train that they decorate with zillions of Christmas lights and take right across Canada, stopping at many towns and cities along the way to put on a 30 minute Christmas show and to collect money and food for the local Food Banks. It is really a sight to see at night beause it is really decorated. Not so exciting in the daylight, but fun just the same. I went woth the school to supervise kids. One of my fondest memories is walking alone in the Rocky Mountains in Canmore, Alberta late at night on a starry snowy night and seeing the fully lit Christmas train barrelling aong through the mountains. It was stunning. I was out by myself and it was just like a dream...
Anyway, took the kids back to school, did some shopping, back to pick TCS up and bring him home...supper, clean-up, day is done.

Yesterday I cut back a huge clematis that is growing on my front post on the house. I was surprised to see that the canes were still green inside - so I hope I haven't done it in by pruning way too soon. Instead of trying the chicken wire/hardware cloth approach this year, I sprayed all of my most vulnerable plants with a mix that I use to keep the deer and rabbits at bay in the summer. I intend to drench the plants every couple of weeks to see if the moles/voles/rabbits take the hint and shop elsewhere...

Today I will be doing orchid mainenance. Who mentionned that they had cut back something and the orchids would have western sun? Just in case you aren't aware, most orchids are not sun lovers, although they are light lovers. I have replaced the orchids in the solarium window with geranium cuttings and have moved the orchids to a plant stand a little further out of the sun...After nearly frying them all in the solarium window I stuck them outside all summer under the patio table on the wine deck, and they were happy as could be. Every one has thrown up a spike and I might even have orchids for Christmas!

Anyway, I will be moving the plant stand this morning to make way for the Christmas tree to go in the large front window. TCS is just about beside himself begging for the tree so we are putting it up and lighting it in the window for him to see when he comes home from music tonight. This will be a lovely surprise for him! He can then spend the evening doing the decorating...

I will find the appropriate photos for everyone and will post on a separate thread so that I don't clog up this one: more front garden photos, the heated bed, the orchid window, whatever...

See you all later!

Oh, and Marie, I hope you are feeling a little more chipper today!

Julie


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RE: Idyll #412 The CP Holiday Train

  • Posted by jak1 4 Ontario Can (My Page) on
    Wed, Dec 3, 08 at 11:16

The CP Holiday TRain:


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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December

Very cool train!! I'd love to see that for holiday display too. I think they have a mini train display at the Botanic Garden here in DC -- hoping to run over to some lunch hour, but hmmm, then I would miss the idylls.

Norma - yes, I do believe that is Joylene (many thanks to Deanne for all her recommendation/photos of same over the years); I could be wrong but I think that's what it is. I liked the accidental combo too; the white lychnis worked well too altho it's not flowering there.

ah, misspellin's -- I used to pride myself on being a wonderful speller (maybe not as good as Mary's Mom spelling the dictionary); but time and carelessness have replaced accuracy -- I whip it out here; hence the terrible mistakes too; and I have found that emailing, and attorney eccentricities over the years have beaten my spelling brain down to acceptance of what ever.... more poor excuses.

Yes, Mary -- that frog was one of our wonderful "finds" at IU at Stonecrop and I thought you'd be amused - as we all were.

It's interesting to hear of everyone's indoor challenges re overwintering their plants -- my agaves seem to have settled down a bit (or maybe the browning just all got clipped off; I did decrease the watering now to only 1 time a month; so the initial issues might have been from the drenching they got before they came inside and somehow the water sat in their pots..
but I've had a disaster with the orange tree that seems to have a terrible case of scale and is shedding all its leaves; they just seemed to all curl up and wither in a day -- Im sure it was something else - a blast of heat or sun or something... go figure. The plumbago tain't looken so great either from some other problem.... When even experts like Deanne and Julie have problems, I feel comforted, LOL.

I was wondering about a turn-out for reunion over t-giving weekend too, Sue -- an unusual time of year. Only ever been to 1 of mine and doubt I'll ever go again -- it was an all girl's school so I cant remark about the men; most of the women however were definitely fightin the fight against time (losing of course as we all do no matter how hard we try!).

V -- send some of that doggie deco, the brite orange - we could use for the inauguration parade here -- I suspect there will be interesting budget issues for that event and the masses of people they're expecting -- we have daily outages of escalators on the metro (that requires one to walk up huge flites of stairs; most of us are guessing they're cutting back on electricity bills under the guise of "equipment repairs") -- the infrastructures for the Capital are increasingly ailing and failing and will definitely not be in good working order by Jan. 20.

Kathy -- I suspected re the RIF'd boss that that might be the case -- the manager gets cut so his employees take over the responsibilities -- that's often the case in this area. Im sure they know they've got a gem in you and the longevity factor and "knowing it all" re the biz probably helps a lot... so if only you can make it thru til next year for the move, or real estate improvements.

I went to the Mall last nite to return some mail order items -- boy, the stores were Empty - there were people wandering around generally in the mall central, but few customers. I guess if I could make a list, stick to it and get it done, it would be a great time to go shopping - altho Im not sure about the bargains. I think some people are thinking there will be bigger bargains closer to the end.

Well, it's actually a bright sunny day here, altho only touching 40 degrees -- but unusual to see sun; it's been a while.

I managed to see Saucy's design thread altho I havent yet checked the other "alter" separate threads sadly -- that was a great thread and Im so impressed by your drawings and combos, Saucy -- congratulations!!! Hope your headache goes away (and of course I'd never say no to an agave, agave -- save it for spring for me, please!).

Hope it's sunny for everyone else today...it's amazing how much better one feels just w/ the reflected light.

-cindy


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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December

Okay, I will tell some things about our holiday weekend...
The 4 of them arrived about noon Friday. Much earlier than I had expected them, but Tim had called when they were about an hour away. I very hastily prepared the rest of the meal. He had said they were going to be hungry when they got here...and they were. :-) They even willingly ate my terrible lumpy soupy mashed potatoes!! LOL . ( I had cooked them the day before, but when no company had called to say they were coming, I put the cooked potatoes, still in the cooking water, in the refrigerator ( I was too sick to want to go ahead and mash/whip them.) I do not advise doing that with potatoes! They were awful!

That afternoon we all watched my "Fly Away Home " DVD. It was their choice, and I can always enjoy seeing it again. :-) Then later we watched their "Pay it Foreward" DVD. I was not as fond of it.

Saturday they left for town a little before noon. They shopped, and spent a lot of time with the widow and son of Tim's best friend that passed last Dec. from cancer. They all went up to Branson, Mo.. to see the season's lights, and it was after 8 when Tim and the girls got back to our house.
Before they left for town, Nolon had secretly given Tim a chunk of cash and asked him to get a scanner for me!!! Such an unprecedented occurance! Nolon didn't know it, but Tim had secretly asked me if that 'was' what I wanted. ;-)
So, I was not surprised when Tim carried it into the house, but I did not let Nolon know that I was expecting it. :-)

It is a 3-way combo...an HP Photosmart Scanner, copier, printer. I have not hooked it up as of yet. I need to get a USB cable, and paper. I will also need another powersurge cord. I will need a table for it, and saw one I really like at WalMart, but it was rather higher in price than I was willing to pay....yesterday. :-) I may still get it.(g)

Sunday they left for their respective homes around 1 P.M.

It had started snowing very lightly early sunday morning, but was no problem. The total accumulation was less than one inch.

I had several 'words of wisdom' about things that you all had posted, in my lost post, but it is now past history....so I will let you all pretend that I already did it!!!!!

The only addition I will make at this time, is a thank you for the belated BD wishes and pics. I have put all my pics in a 2008 folder, except Chelone's which she already deleted!!!! So...I put a pic of the deleted message and said what the pic was of in the folder!!!! LOL !

Marian

P.S. I forgot to take pics except a couple of them lounging watching the news on TV. :-( Sorry.....


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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December

Buenos noches amigas(and amigos if there are any dude lurkers about) . I am fried again tonight after another exceptionally lengthy and somewhat chaotic day. A plan is being formed and hopefully by next week things will have settled down- the new boss is refreshingly computer literate (our industry is peppered with old-timers and even younger men who are terrified of embracing technology ) and it was very pleasant to show him some features of our system today that he immediately got and was able to use-I have rarely had this experience with a new boss in the past and have I ever gone through bosses in the last 20 years !

Deanne, I guess everyone has to have a nemesis, and apparently the Rex Begonia is yours! Mine is still outside in a pot with a coleus and and Plectranthus and we are expecting temps of 39 degrees tonight, so I wonder what I will find tomorrow.

Julie, that was me that had the Orchids in the west window. This window will not get direct sun mid-day and of course the sun is pretty weak now . Whats left of the climbing rose I cut back will still continue to diffuse the light somewhat, and our winters are usually pretty gray . I also grow cymbidiums and can leave them out all winter since most of them can tolerate temps in the high 20s . I keep them against a south facing wall. Last year I lost a couple because we had several nights in the 20s which is not typical for us.
LOL bringing Chelones boss into my office ! That was a good one . Our office today resembled the floor of the stock exchange in its level of activity , phones ringing multiple conversations etc etc. and she may have not even made it through the day!

Cindy, I always take Inauguration Day off work-a tradition Ive held to since I was a teenager- so I will observe the deteriorating infrastructure from the comfort of my home.

Marian, how cool that your family time included your gift of a scanner ! No more photos of photos for you ! Glad that you enjoyed your time with them, soupy spuds and all.

All for me , Im going to read the paper and watch a French film.

Big wave to those ungreeted

Wheres Denise got to ?

Kathy in Napa


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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December

Nice to hear a favorable Thanksgiving report from Marian. Exciting news about the scanner, too. I confess, however, that when I first read "scanner" I immediately thought of one of those devices that allows you listen to police and fire dep't. calls! I really like the movie, "Pay it Forward"; good lesson contained in it for every single one of us.

My boss is a very nice person and we really do like each other very much. We are secure in the knowledge that if a crisis hits either of us or the shop it will be "all hands on deck" and we will both do what is required to get it under control. That's never been an issue. And we've both prospered because of it. But sometimes I chafe when asked things like: you're going to trim those threads, aren't you? it looks like hell right now. Don't forget to burn the teeth on that zipper we don't want so&so coming back without the slider! If it had been me, I'd have done it this way... . (answers: No, I thought I'd leave the threads for a nice fringe effect. Oh, you mean the way I've been burning the zipper teeth for the past 18 yrs.? It wasn't you doing the work, if you wanted it done a specific way you should have written on it the work order that you never wrote up in the first place... ). It's the same old thing, two different personality types and the way they approach a given task. I'm the one who will invest 15-20 minutes of what looks to her like SALATing, but is actually formulating a multi-pronged approach to getting the job done; she is more likely to just forge ahead and "go for it". Usually, I simply ignore or reply with a smart-ass response, but there are times when I don't really want to hear it. Like bein' married. ;)

PM, I thought of you last night as I clipped and smashed the stems on the greens, plunging them into their respective buckets of tepid water. I looked over the selection of simulated fruit and began rearranging it on the frames before deciding to head off to bed instead. I wound up the day watching "Rudolph The Rednose Reindeer" with Spencer. :)

The helpmeet was dadoing the trimboards for the hearth, and wasn't very happy about it. I understand that he's tired when he gets home, but I can't do the tiling until the trim is cut and fitted, and I'm not willing to wait until his next day off for it. As he said, "you're right, it HAS to be done". So we put together an easy, step-by-step plan to get it done with minimal aggravation. They don't call it sweat equity for nothing. I'm nervous about the tiling. I should have enough tile IF I plan carefully and make no mistakes in the cutting... it's just something I've never done before, and the worst thing will be I'll have to buy another box of tile.

I love the train, Julie. Looks like a long one!

OK, off to the salt mines, you guys! Be brilliant today, OK?


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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December

A quick good morning....how quick can I go...? [g] I am car shopping non stop. Chelone asked if our car had died, no, it is a 10 year old van and running fine. Our DS's car has died and figuring we would have to replace ours soon, we are passing it along hoping he will get a couple of good years out of it while he is still finishing school.

Thanks for all the input from everyone on their cars. We have been buying Toyotas or Hondas for the past 30 years and see no reason to change now. I wasn't aware of the 'Fit' so we are going to check that out. Thanks G'bug and Michelle...I am looking over the CReports car issue. I guess we won't be waiting for something that has a list of people wanting them. [g] Thanks Norma...you are not the first person to express satisfaction with the Forester. Wow...and look at that, Julie too!

Kathy...what is your reasoning behind keeping the car until it hits 60,000 miles? We have kept all three of our cars a good 10 yrs and then passed them on, but my Dad used to trade up every couple of years. I used to have GM cars when I was just starting to drive and for the next ten years, went through torture with them in one way or another. [g] We bought our first Toyota after we were married, based on the Consumer Reports car reviews and were just amazed at the difference.

Glad to hear things are looking up at work. Working without computer literate workmates is the pits so, that is good news.

Chelone....We just bought a swag for the front door and I am wondering if it is too late to 'condition' it? Who knows when they were cut? Well, no matter, I think I will give it a try today anyway. I was going to try to make my own but the car shopping encouraged me to let someone do it for me, also I found a very inexpensive one that looked very much like the way I would have done it, but now I am waiting to get a bow.

I am smiling at how happy you are with your railing and especially how happy with TAH [the accomplished helpmeet] for installing it! :-) I am going to be pretty annoyed if I am not able to make the Idyll Camp next summer to see the magnificent, finished Salon that we have watched unfold. I have complete faith in how well the tile job is going to come out, whether on the first try or not.

Julie...what a great photo of the train! I hope you will post some photos of your orchids.

Nice pics Cindy!

Marian...We also love 'Fly Away Home' and we enjoyed 'Pay it Forward' but it was an intense movie and the ending was sad. How exciting about your new scanner! I confess I first thought it was a 'police scanner' like Chelone. lol Now to get it up and running and learn how to use it, right? [g] I've had a scanner for months and haven't touched it yet. :-(

I have not watched 'Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer' in quite awhile. [g] Actually, I had burned out with watching holiday movies and have skipped the past few years. This year, I am again in the mood for some. Our DD introduced us to 'Elf' last year. For some reason, found that one of the funniest holiday movies in awhile. I recorded 'White Christmas' the other day and plan on watching that soon.

Once again, it is clear, I cannot go quickly. :-)

This car shopping is putting a crimp in my Christmas spirit, so I have to take a few minutes more to post something Christmasy...

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Toodles!


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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December

We've had snow since November 16th here. A twin photo to join with PM2's.

Nov 20th, 2008

Scrooge


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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December

LOL...well look it IS a twin! All you need is to get out and make a snow man, G'bug. :-) Or eh...Scrooge. :-)


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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December

The first holiday music I've heard was at a Starbucks yesterday, a brief interval before the next job commenced across the street at a hospital (neuropsychologist who testified his reports showed the plaintiff was the starkest case of malingering he'd ever seen). I'm embarrassed to write how much I enjoyed the music; Satchmo, Norah Jones, you know, the hipster's holiday music, swaying in time working on the laptop. My boys would have been mortified. Didn't take the train due to early start time so it was first gear&braking for a solid hour down the Harbor Fwy to downtown, playing PJ Harvey for company. Still in news detox mode after the election and can't bear to listen to much of it.

Chelone, your finger as usual on the pulse of the nation. We're awash in toxic beans! The nice boss sounds like an unreformed backseat driver, just can't keep those bleedin' obvious comments to herself. My BIL said his holiday trip was nearly ruined by such a person, so he told the offender, "For every comment you make, I'm going to drive even slower," and that seemed to shut him up. The offender would have preferred constant lane-changing, tailgating, etc.

Martie, I wrote you a long idyll in the shower the other day, congratulating Kyle on the London job possibility. Ein was outside barking incessantly, then there was a bang bang bang on the door, so I grabbed a towel, flung open the front door, where Marty stood scowling, locked out of the house. Possibly for 15 minutes. This ingrained habit of mine is a cause of much irritation around here. Screendoors, everything gets locked by me.

PM, while you shop for cars I've had the unusual experience of shopping for bathtubs. In short, there aren't any to be seen. Our is to be simple: freestanding, no faucet holes drilled. Yes, they can be ordered over the Internet, but shouldn't I sit in it first? And Calif.'s Code requires overflow drains, omitted from much Internet stock. We are zeroing in and may possibly order by Saturday. Yes, the bathtub porch idea has not been abandoned, as good sense would have us do...the dream of sitting in a tub without someone banging on the door in this one-bathroom house pulls me forward. Maybe a little sink too -- no more brushing teeth at the kitchen sink.

Michelle, I'm so impressed by your after-work swimming schedule. I'm this close to taking the plunge myself, and now your example gives me courage.

Write yourself an email, Marian. That's how I save stuff, whether it's draft idylls or website links, letters of readers to the NYT, recipes.

We've rented a little electric boat, more life a marine golf cart, for my folks' anniversary this weekend. Champagne and orderves -- trying to drive 'bug crazy ;) -- hors d'uvres while viewing the elaborate Christmas decorations of the good people of Naples in preparation for the Christmas boat parade the next weekend through the canals. The homeowners on the canals really go "overboard" with the decorating...

I was feeding Ein holiday carrots while Phoebe gets lasagne. No problem digesting carrots, just makes yard cleanup more colorful will all that carotene coursing through him ;)

Kathy, what grim times at work, hoping it all stabilizes soon.

Julie, that's a lovely memory of you walking alone in the Rockies while the train...wait a minute. What the heck are you doing out alone in the Rockies?! kidding...I absolultely loved your front garden photo. You cold-weather gardeners get that lovely hummocky effect as things burst into growth at the same time, never a sight seen locally here.

What nice creatures V has, getting in the holiday decorating spirit. Give 'em some more tape, V, and maybe a ladder...

Cindy, I can't even get my paperwhites to grow. Plants curl their toes the minute they cross my threshold.
Waving to all.


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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December

LOL Denise - I do the same thing re locking doors! I've locked Randy out a few times - several neighbours have keys so he has some options because, of course, I don't hear him when he pounds on the door wanting to get back in :-) Usually I eventually notice Misty making a fuss at the door but it could be a dangerous situation in winter - hence the keys...


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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December

Woody, this was the screendoor. No access to inner door, which was locked too. Plus all gates had been locked, no access to backyard. When he first told the story, it was 10 minutes locked out. Next time, 20 minutes. I can see how that could be less than funny in your climate. Old habits die hard!

'bug, you just posted my Christmas card this year. It's been rendered black and white. I'm not kidding, 'bug...


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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December

  • Posted by jak1 4 Ontario Can (My Page) on
    Thu, Dec 4, 08 at 12:11

Some orchids. But *sigh* I am having some difficulties with Photobucket...I will work some more on this later...


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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December

Wow Julie! That's pretty awesome!

I'm putting together the gingerbread dough today for a weekend of baking. I hope I have first time luck :) Sarah's got her heart set on a gingerbread house.

Denise, nice to see a post from you. I totally know what you're talking about, composing posts to idyllers throughout the day....even in the shower. If only I could get it all down on the forum so that they could be the recipients of this mental conversation.....

GB, how's the wood stove working out? Still have that funny "new" smell, or is it warm and cozy now?

I'd better go don the apron. I want to have the dough chilling in the 'fridge before the kids get home. That way we can roll it out tonight and bake....decorations tomorrow. YES....my kids are out of school again tomorrow. Another parent/teacher conference :)

Saucy


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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December

Hi All, I'm starting to think about the Christmas decorating here. I've done some shopping, mostly online. Remember Bella and Butterscotch last year? Well this year it's pretty much the same sort of request for Santa but in the form of a large, remote controlled dinosaur named Spike. I don't know about that girl! I also got her an American Girl baby doll because I like it :) We've recovered from our nasty colds and have mostly completed the kitchen for the time being. I'll get some pictures up as soon as I get a minute.

Not much else to contribute. I'm too far behind to comment on what you've all been up to.

Oh and I wanted to share this video clip. It touched my heart.

Hope to be back again sooner rather than later,

Eden

Here is a link that might be useful: dogs greet soldier returning from Iraq


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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December

A dusting of snow here, but only 9 this a.m.

Swimming is going quite well for me. Last night I was the only one in the pool and then later the hot tub. Now if I can find time to get there more than twice a week.

No RIF here either. In fact one position that is part-time will become full time soon.

I dont see a lot of greens for sale about here so I will just cut from trees in the grove for my pots. I did get my tree up last night but the rest is just sitting around. Tonight and tomorrow night we have school programs for grandkids.

I type my posts in Word and hopefully most of the misspellings are pointed out to me before I post. I do like correct spelling. Grammar on the other hand is not my long suit.

Deanne, interesting about your luck with the rex begonias since you are so good with indoor plants. I have one rex that has survived about 3 winters indoors. I do nothing special though. The other 2 that I bought last summer didnt last the summer.

Marite, I did see the evening celestial show, thanks for the ID. (I did recognize the moon LOL)

Saucy, Id love to see what youve done with cranberries. Ive had similar thoughts.

Julie, what fun the holiday train is. My DS was a huge train lover as a child. He always set one up around the tree.

Norma, your chair in the sunny bay window sounds like a lovely spot.

Ive been working on this during my breaks today and I'm sure I could comment on much more, but its time to get it posted.

Later
Michelle


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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December

Just a quickie here. It was 5 degrees this morning and supposed to be colder tonight. But I have a morning flight to Mexico! I will survive...

Gotta run, but I'll be back Tuesday. Stay warm!

V.


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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December

Consider that you may return home next Tuesday to find it colder OR snowing.

Do the lizard thing and soak up some rays for me, willya? Bon voyage.


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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December

I've read back, skimmed really. It's cold here tonight and we've had snow flurries. I think Marie and I are having about the same weather. I'm thankful that I don't have to leave the house often. I remember the days when I had to drive the kids to two different schools and lots of lessons every day. I didn't mind then, guess I was used to it but I'm sure glad I don't have to do it now.

Michelle, good for you starting up swimming. We have a health club membership with an indoor, and in the summer, outdoor pool. Brad swims among other exercise there but I don't think I've ever used the pools. They have swimming lessons and a swim team for children that will be nice for Bella. I read the gifts you listed for Kenzie. I'd never heard of the FP art center but looked it up and it looks like something Bella would like. Maybe for her birthday. How do you go about making the garden puzzle? Bella's a puzzle lover, she's does 100 piece ones by herself, which I think is pretty good for a 3 year old. It would be nice to have some personalized ones for her. She'd like that.

I try to watch my spelling here and check words that I'm not sure of but I know some must slip through. I think I'm a fairly good speller, winner of the 2nd grade spelling bee at my school:) Now grammar is another thing. I know I make lots of mistakes with that. I notice misspelled words but figure if we're all getting our point across that's what really matters. I remember once someone here called me on misspelling fuchsia. I won't forget how to spell it again:) But I don't think I'd ever point out a spelling error. Unless I was grumpy:)

Marie, I hope S and W have gotten things more resolved with ex. How's the pregnancy going? She's about half way through now? Jennifer's getting really excited for Kate's arrival. They plan on working on the nursery over Christmas week when they're both off work. I think someone asked if my mom was able to make the baby quilt. She wasn't. She was in the hospital when Jen found out she was pregnant and was never able to come home. It would have been a quilt filled with love...

Denise, I'm excited to hear that you're going ahead with plans for the outdoor bath. That will just be the coolest thing!

Saucy must be baking with the kids about now. Hope they're having fun!

I read with great interest the recommendations for a PM's new car. Not a good sign for us here in Detroit that no American cars were mentioned. In our area, buying a foreign car is pretty much viewed as an unamerican thing to do. Five new cars have been purchased by people in my family in the last year, a Hummer, a Saturn Vue, a Pontiac G6, a GMC truck and a Chrysler 300. I think it's interesting how different regions of the country see things so differently as far as Big 3 reliability goes. We've got 2 GM cars, one with over 200,000 miles and one with 120,000 and no problems. I think that was more the case many years ago. Just some of my thoughts on the subject.

I too am a door locker by habit. I do it without even realizing and have locked out Brad a few times. We have a key in a hidden spot outside for just such occasions.

Marian, glad to hear you had a good visit with Tim and the girls. And how great that you got the new scanner. Hope your fibro has settled down again. You must have been pushing yourself too hard getting ready for Thanksgiving.

Julie, love the Christmas train. We have a train called the Huckleberry Railroad near here that does a holiday ride. It's always too cold for me though. Like you I always try to go with Megan on Bella's field trips. I enjoy that alot. Oh and your orchids are just beautiful.

Well, that's enough blabbering from me tonight. Have a good evening and stay warm!

Eden


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RE: Idyll #412 Fun in the sun

Luck you V! Have fun and enjoy the sun!

Eden


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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December

What we need is a Dictaphone in the shower that mysteriously populates MS word as we speak. I have written untold dozens of newspaper columns in the shower, all of which go down the drain (so to speak) the minute I am dried off and at the keyboard. What is it about running water that frees the creative writing side of the brain ?

PM, my car has a 50k mile warranty however I have had it since 2003 and have only 48k on it. It still looks like new. So once I get to 50k I will keep it another 10,000 miles. Since I am single I need a very , very reliable car and am not willing to run it into the ground like I have all my other cars. I will either trade it in or give it to one of my kids depending on my financial situation at the time. I would also like better mileage than I have at the moment-my car is a V-6 and I really dont need that much power. Already decided my next car is a Honda CRV.

Julie , your orchids are fabu !

Denise , I have some pretty oddball Christmas music in my CD collection.. With the exception of Nat King Cole, most of it is either classical or jazz. For many years Christmas was conducted at my abode and I carefully selected the soundtrack for the event.

Eden , I was very touched too by the soldier and the dog. In fact I heisted before watching-I have always found dog stuff to be very emotional for me. There is no way I would be able to sit through Old Yeller . I could never ever do what Jerri does. ..and by the way, where IS Jerri ???


Last night I watched the Jean Cocteau film of Beauty and the Beast from 1942 ish. It was really quite wonderful. I have a boatload of French films in my Nextflix queue .

Going to sign off now.

Kathy in Napa


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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December

Eden, the puzzles can probably be made from a number of websites. I made mine on Walmart's photo center. Just upload your picture. I think Walgreens has it as well. I remember getting one as a child and thinking it was the coolest thing.

I do feel for the auto workers and basically purchased my VW because it was the best fit for me driving 70 miles a day. Our other 2 vehicles are GM/Ford.

Michelle


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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December

(trying to figure out if Kathy "hoisted" a few before watching the dog video...What a sweet video clip, Eden. How's the kitchen coming along?)

Cocteau's B&B is on the dining room table here too. An idyll coinky-dink. Maybe for viewing tonight.

V heads south again!

PM, did you ever put together your evergreen pots for winter? Much more fun than buying a new car, right?

The Jupiter/Venus conjunction was noted here with much jubilation. It's said to possibly be the of the Star of Bethlehem?

At the end of a job today, a cell phone went off with a ring tone that sounded like an alarm when a nuclear reactor core has been breached. A self-destruct countdown or some such dire emergency. I mean repetitive and LOUD. My heart nearly leaped out of my chest. We all stared dumbfounded at the atty, who before answering the phone said, "That would be my wife calling." He had three young children at home and one had an abscessed gum. She couldn't decide whether to take the child to the doctor or a dentist and needed a second opinion from DH. Something new every day in the battle of cell phones vs. civilized society...

To those shopping for little ones like Bella and Kenzie, I don't have a clue what to buy for that age set anymore, so I'm paying attention for tips for my 3-yr-old niece Katie. I want to buy books, but she'll no doubt consider me the dullard aunt if I do.

Mitch was telling me tonight that his best friend is thinking of breaking up with his girlfriend because she talks too much. Marty immediately shouts from the kitchen "All girls do." So I asked the obvious: Do I talk too much? The cowards hemmed and hawed but avoided a direct answer.

I heard the photographer linked below interviewed yesterday. He put together this film and a book called "Wisdom." You had to be over 65 to be included in the project. Click OK and it should go straight to the short film.

A dreamy winter scene in England, which reminds me of a beautiful photo Michelle posted last winter:

Photobucket

G'night

Here is a link that might be useful: Wisdom


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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December

I have always owned an American car. They've all been used "rats" (as my brother refers to them), and I've found that routine maintenance has kept them working for me with a few hiccups here and there. Overall, I have never had a Detroit "lemon", and the relative quality of American made cars is actually very high. The troubles in the Detroit Three are the result of bad business and shortsighted decisions, pure and simple. None of them bothered to read the OPEC memo that landed with a crash on the desktops in 1973. Instead of using entrepreneurial spirit and thinking LONGterm, they hunkered down and continued building the same products and wondered why the public wasn't buying them. Wah. They kowtowed to the UAW and signed on for wholly unrealistic retirement plans for retired workers and now their legacy costs are killing them. They couldn't have foreseen this? c'mon. I am very disturbed by the events overtaking the economy and the diligent, hard-working people on the line in the American companies. But no one raised more than a whimper when my own industry (and the shoe industy) was decimated throughout the '70s and '80s and I watched my friends (mostly single mothers) lose decent jobs with benefits and have to settle for "would you like fries with that?", hoping that maybe they could get on a health insurance plan. I watched those bloated, arrogant CEOs sit in front of Congress 2 wks. ago asking for billions of taxpayer money and they had the gall to do it without even so much as a business plan. Maybe working for a dollar a year would be a good "learning experience" for each of them, but they should surrender the executive washroom key and clock in for 3rd. shift "on the line" for their year. Grow up boys. And once more, what are they doing? focussing on automobiles... how about shifting the focus to light rail and more environmentally and user friendly mass transportation for LONGterm viability in a world of shrinking resources. Nah... too radical. And, as ususal, it's the person who showers after work that takes the hit. If they want me to become an investor in their industry then they'd better come up with something different than the "program" they've been clinging to for the past 35 yrs.. I foresee a lot of very painful change in our future.

The helpmeet was alone in his misery last night. I left him to patiently fit the mitred corners of the hearth trim by himself. I think we're going to lay out and mark the tiles to be cut tonight. Then I will gird my loins to fire up the wet saw.

We have a free trial of Nexflix and the helpmeet has requested a string on adolescent comedies. Last night he made an impassioned plea that I look over the listing and select a few things of interest. I see my absence from the "screening room" has been noticed. I am less than excited about the prospect as I'm rather enjoying working in the Salon and reading instead.

Off to work I go. I've enjoyed the anecdotes, the pictures, and the usual chitty-chat very much. I need to make myself decorate, Eden, it'll be a nice boost. And I want to know more about the cranberries, Saucy.


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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December

  • Posted by jak1 4 Ontario Can (My Page) on
    Fri, Dec 5, 08 at 7:13

Wow! Chelone! You could (should?) take your whole first paragraph above in its entirety and send it off to the editors of large national newspapers! You are an excellent writer and I think you voice the opinions of thousands there! I am truly impressed. I think I'll even print it out for my DH to read if you don't mind...he seldom comes to the office or computer these days, although at one time that was his career path.

Had a call from the school yesterday - TCS got punched by a little (actually let's put that another way, a very large seven year old) girl. His teacher fears that our little blond slight boy has become a target of the other child and feels that we should be aware of what's going on....so off we'll go to the principal's office to discuss and to make sure that TCS's other teachers (they rotate for music, phys. ed. and French) have a "heads up", as well as those teachers unlucky enough to draw recess and lunch duty. In some ways I am glad that we have wended (how's this for a cool word?)our way through the school system twice already....much easier to have a calm and ordered approach, instead of telling the little guy to just bash her back (which of course solves nothing and only causes more nastiness in the school yard...and which was never our approach anyway).

Have been feeling less than cheery for the last few days - too much to do maybe? Miserable dreary weather? Money stuff at Christmas?( although we are fine in that respect, I just have a hard time parting with it), mostly I think having crabby son mooning around the house because he isn't working...to his credit he is not that happy about receiving Employment Insurance - he doesn't want money for nothing, he wants something to do...and heaven help us if we suggest anything....

TCS is just thrilled with Christmas...the tree is up, the mantel is decorated, the gingerbread house is complete, wish lists are posted on the fridge, Christmas music plays softly on the stereo, and the house smells nice as baking is in progress (and eating too!). He has two advent calendars, one with the chocolate Batman figures behind each door, and a more religious one with stickers that you put on to tell the Christmas story, with the Mary-Joseph-baby Jesus ones at Christmas. Much to my surprise, he is really enjoying the stickers...I had never seen one like this before...Maybe chomping on a chocolate Batman enhances the joy of the Christmas story???? Anyway, great excitment at our house.

Denise, and the rest of you looking for gift books for little ones, might find one called "The Gruffalo" - a book about a mythical monster and a mouse, with each of the full-coloured pages a puzzle that you can take out and put together....our little guy loved that book. There is also a sequel, the Gruffalo's Child, which he didn't like at all...just thought I'd mention it...

Also, what a beautiful winter scene...not at all what I see when I look out into the gardens today. I would actually welcome a great big snowfall to cover up all the brown and mucky stuff...

V: off to warmer climes....you lucky dog!!!

Doors - we're lucky if they even get closed here *LOL* with all of the small boy comings and goings. In the winter at least the inside doors are usually shut even if the scrren doors are left ajar. Drives me nuts!!!

Marie, I hope you are feeling a little better - I miss you.

Cheers,

Julie


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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December

Good morning

Thinking of V heading off to Mexico:0) Have fun.

Last night was such a fun evening. David's new guitar teacher was giving a candlelight Lute recital in the sanctuary of a downtown church. I have a friend who is housebound after a car accident and on a whim I called her to see if she would like to come hear music with us. It was such a treat - Bach and another baroque composer Leopold Weiss. Dozens of flickering candles lit the interior and the music was exquisite (Bach has to be my favourite composer). My friend loved it every bit as much as we did.

One other thing I wanted to share with you guys and hope it is OK to do so. I've sat on it a while not quite sure if it breaches some of the topics we steer clear of. Please skip if it is.

I posted a month ago about the death of one of our third grade teachers. It was a profound loss made all the sadder by the fact that the young man took his own life. Work was a very emotional place for a while. Anyone who knew the teacher knew that his bird was a snowy owl. He loved the owl in Harry Potter, had pictures of snowy owls in his classroom and a white stuffed owl toy by his desk.

A couple of weeks ago a snowy owl appeared outside the school, opposite the third grade classrooms. It sat there for 2 hours much to the excitement of everyone in the school. I think every child had a chance to come and see it, the whole building was a buzz. The colleague who had found the man the day he passed away said for her it was the first time she realized normal emotions such as joy would return. It is very rare to see a snowy owl, many people only the opportunity once in a lifetime. There is also a belief that someone who has died can send a bird to let people know they are OK. Everyone drew their own conclusions - for me it still sends shivers, but of the good sort.
Image Hosting by PictureTrail.com

Have a good day everyone

Mary


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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December

Friday, and I'll be happier about it later in the day.
I have been lurking a bit, but mostly been very angry and annoyed lately, and hoping to improve my outlook. Perhaps Julie and I are cursed by the gloomy skies?

I so enjoy reading Chelone's voice on CEOs, foresight, transportation, etc Wish you would write a daily morning column for me. I hate reading the news these days. Of course I only get a small town crappy paper.

I also enjoyed Denise's comments on Chelone's "boss". The woman "just can't keep those bleedin' obvious comments to herself" so reminds me of DH, the professor with a lesson (PWAL) for anyone withing hearing distance! Grrrr. Hard to believe he could have been a rock and roll star when I met him, but no, turned into a prof just like dear old Dad.

And then Mary, of course your story does not disturb anyone's comfort zone. It is a beautiful tale, a wonderful experience. I think it is fantastic that the children could share the experience too!

This morning is another mediation session for DSIL. I had a long talk with him last night on the subjects involved, though I hadn't expected to talk about that. I guess he needed to practice on me! I'm sure this business is part of my negative mood. But, we did manage to get tickets for a Christmas visit and Woody & her DH are going to be having a visit with "semi-huge one". Last night Phoebe was disciplined for chewing an electrical cord. As Woody says, her size is deceptive and makes you relax your guard, thinking she is more mature than she truly is. Her first birthday comes in about a week's time.

I am off to the naturopath for my second visit. I'm enjoying exploring a second approach to things.

Later,
'bug


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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December

I too have that deja vu moment as Denise and Kathy whereby I've answered and posted many a reply to idylls in shower, or even bed sometimes when I am not able to sleep -- but seldom does it ever all get put to cyber-paper, LOL...

Saucy - I meant to comment re the cranberries -- I made a fresh cranberry wreath years for my front door ago that I still recalll fondly (a Martha idea that was terrific) and often think I'll find time to redo one another year - but yet to be repeated. I love the look of berries at Xmas and try to cut holly, etc., to decorate accordingly. I look forward to seeing your decorations.

Kathy -- I confess I think it has something to do w/ that singlehood idea -- I too dont keep my cars much past their warranties -- in fact, re American made -- I've been burned many a time after their warranties were up and I just couldnt deal with their issues. When we're single we often dont have another person handy to chauffeur us around for picking us up to/fro repair shops, or stuck somewhere -- while that may sound "girli" I think it's a fact of life, that women on their own worry about being secure -- and being stranded on a highway somewhere w/ a broken vehicle is a serious cause for concern -- and a pain to have to ask friends for aid. Everyone leads such busy lives, it's hard to feel you're asking them favors allt he time. I've just sadly had way more luck w/ foreign cars re reliability and getting more "years" out of them -- or having to turn a car in shortly after the warranty before big issues crop up.

Well, Im a bit down today -- recall the houseguest of last year? Well, she got laid off from her job yesterday - along with 20 other people at her law firm. These things right before Xmas just are horrible decisions companies make -- and knowing law firms, it more likely had horrible things re not wanting to pay bonuses out or holiday pay -- it just stinks. Horrible selfish business decisions - like Chelone's commentary re the auto industry. I heard on the radio this a.m. on the way to the my "awfice" that this is likely to be the worse unemployment rates in 30 years... very scary. I dont know what she's going to do -- and I know she desperately needs health insurance which she's not likely to be the COBRA option for....

Hi, Eden -- glad to hear you're feeling better!! Look forward to seeing your kitchen.

Mary - beautiful owl and lovely story.

Well, have to face this work day - I am thankful to be employed and include that in my thanks every day now.

--Cindy


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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December

TGIF!

Another busy one here. Somewhere along the line I managed to pick up a sore throat/postnasal drip deal this week so I'm not up to par. Company Christmas party tonight. I think I'll just go for a drink or two and dinner then bug out before the dancing and other realted frivolity begins. Tis the season.

I have alot of thoughts on the auto debate but unfortunately not enough time to collect and compose them. I drive a six year old Acura SUV with 75K miles on it that I purchased new and have never spent a dime on above and beyond preventative maintenance and normal wear and tear. I'll probably keep it for a couple more years then buy a used one-two or three years old. Like most of you I've had much better luck with Japanese cars than American. My Acura was built in an assembly plant in Ontario and many of the Honda models are built in the US so by purchasing these cars you are not putting an assembly line worker in this continent out of a job. Like Chelone I think the current problems facing the US auto makers are due to many decades of poor and short sighted decisions by boards of directors and high level executives.

The bigger issue, IMO is our economy as a whole has become almost completely consumer based. We don't make anything here anymore. You will be hard pressed to find anything made here anymore-clothes, furniture, textiles, electronics, you name it. And alot of it is junk. Manufacturing creates wealth. Yes, it's more expensive to make stuff here-costs are higher, but in most cases quality is far better. The loss of good paying manufacturing jobs has put quality products out of reach of the average person who now has to go in search of cheap foreign alternatives. It's a vicious cycle. More demand for cheap=more loss of manufacturing jobs as companies scramble to move their operations to countries where people live in squalor in order to lower production costs and make their products affordable to the average Joe who now has to work at Walmart for minimum wage.

OK, guess you get the idea, at least from my perspective...lol.

Sue


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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December

Good grief it was only 3 this morning I wish I could just hunker in the house instead of going to work. Although, this is the first time Ive had heated seats in my work vehicle and they are proving delightful these last couple of days.

Mary, the owl appearing is quite something. Hopefully, it will aid in healing for the children.

Julie, I remember on time my DD got punched in the stomach on the bus by a boy in her class probably about the same age as TCS. That evening the mom came to our home with the little boy to have him extend his apology. It sounds like your house is all ready for Christmas.

The area we live in is mostly hard working people from Dutch and German heritage. Around here jobs arent extremely well paying and benefits are just the basics, but I do believe the businesses are run with a tight fist which makes them more stable. Ill have to remember that when I think Im underpaid ;o)

Denise, LOL if only my garden looked so lovely in the winter. Its saving grace is definitely the number of blue spruces lining it. I dont dare leave my urns out for the winter.

Eden, my 2 nieces are really into the American Girl dolls which I think is hilarious because my brother who grew up with 3 sisters just thinks its ridiculous. He did give in this summer when they were in Chicago and went with them to the American Girl Place. Its good for him LOL Im sure Bella will love it too.

Julie, Eden and Saucy, we surely need pictures of the gingerbread creations.

Have a great Friday!

Michelle


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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December

Good afternoon, how is everyone on this lovely Friday? :-)

The sun is shining outside my window which I plan to make the most of very shortly. I am in a good mood in spite of car shopping because I have been consistently attempting to stick to a regular exercise schedule and I am finally starting to see progress. I was able to get through my whole routine yesterday without being more than mildly sore today, so I am cautiously optimistic. I have a history of setting off a round of muscle pain that stops the exercise routine, so I am carefully trying to make it very gradual and not overreach.

I am not enjoying car shopping at all. We made our first trip to a dealer last night and I am not impressed with the latest and greatest. I was so annoyed to find that the minivan that we have been using for the past ten years, now offers worse gas mileage then it did 10 years ago. Huh? Ours gets a decent 24 miles to the gallon. Saturday morning we will be more productive I am sure.

Denise....I really enjoyed your very cheery post. I have yet to really enjoy the Christmas music but as soon as my decks are cleared and we break out the Christmas decorations, we will all get in the mood around here. I happen to be one of those people who can't keep 'their bleeding comments to themselves' [g] Not in a critical way, but in an unnecessarily instructive kind of way. I don't look over anyone's shoulder and give a running commentary, but my requests can be comical. For instance the other day, I asked DD to do something for me and proceeded to tell her where she would find every tool she would need, etc, etc. She was quite exasperated, pointing out to me that certainly after living in our house all of her life, she knew where the screwdriver was. My DD finds it very annoying. She is a very competent and intelligent and it evidently makes her feel like I don't think she knows what she is doing. We laugh about it mostly, because it is an unconscious habit developed legitimately due to the combination of my nature and my circumstances, which I fully understand and try to work on and she tries to understand and ignore. [g] But in my own defense, after years of giving brief directions only to have someone come back to me three times to ask where something was or how to do something, I developed this habit of just giving as much information as I had in the beginning to avoid that.

Denise, I wish I were shopping for Bathtubs!! :-) I am still not quite sure what type of second bath you are aiming for, but I would like to hear more about it.

I also send myself emails when I want to save something. [g]

No, had to give up on the idea of doing the evergreen pots and will be happy to just get my wreath on the door this weekend.

Lovely winter garden photo. I wouldn't mind looking out the window at that every day.

At our house, the girls out talk the guys by quite a large margin. I think the problem is that guys talk too little and we end up having to do our own talking and theirs too. :-)

Michelle....I am also impressed with your swimming schedule. I would love to be able to do that and hope I will be able to at some point. I grew up with a pool and I miss swimming a lot. In my 20s I could swim 50 laps at a time but those days are barely a memory. [g]

Julie...that photo of your orchid is eye-popping! What a lot of buds it has on it! It looks very happy. I am sorry to hear about TCS's problems at school. Those type of problems drove me crazy when the kids were in school. If DS is not working this time of year, I feel your pain and his. So hard to manage to get gifts that you want to give without enough cash.

Cindy...I understand your viewpoint completely about being single and needing your car to be as reliable as possible.

Mary...that is a touching story of the white owl. It is a hard time of year for feelings of loss.

Like 'bug, I enjoy reading Chelone's 'voice' on CEOs etc. I think it expressed much of my own view on the subject, but in a nice concise manner.

My own personal experience with American made cars, was extensive before changing. Some cars were a constant source of trips to the service department, expensive repairs, mechanics who would send the car home only to have the same problem continue. This happened repeatedly over the course of ten years with different American manufacturers. In reading the Consumer Reports on automobile reliability, a statement I read yesterday really lingers in my mind. A Honda or a Toyota car, that is seven years old will start to show some of the same problems that you will find in a three year old car of any other manufacturer.

I also agree with Sue's observation that we have become consumer based and don't make anything any more. This has to change if our economy is to improve and reach stability. Obviously, there are more elements to how we got into this economic position though. An eroding of ethics in corporate decision making and greed in capital letters would be two more that I think are big contributors. The American public is not exactly off the hook either.

Well...since it looks like we are not going to solve the world's ills this afternoon...I better get back to doing something productive. :-)

Yes, I would love to see photos on all the gingerbread creations! I've never tired to make one.

The weeks are flying by...the weekend again. Lovely.

pm2



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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December

Im going to ignore (shiver shiver) the single digit temps being posted -- I have a screensaver of a Greek island town by the sea photo I prefer to daydream with rather than contemplate the reality of brrrrrr temps, snow and winds. Obviously, despite my Pennsylvania upbringing, I would fail in places of "far north"...

Okay -- Im working on Xmas lists at lunch; but I have to offer up this pic that I get to see also from my desk -- 2 female attys sitting in their respective ofcs (one whose door I see directly into - we're within throwing distance of each other; it's kind of weird but you learn to "avoid" eye contact when you need to; but no teeth flossing while others are present, LOL) -- they have their ofcs crammed full of chic furniture/or handcrafted (in the case of one), photos, decorative items to make it "homey"; they both have growing plants and pots on their wonderful sunny window sills -- and they each have at least 3 DEAD DEAD DEAD plants -- ones that have been gone for months -- in the case of one -- she's got a pot that bloomed paperwhites one year -- and I am sure it's been 2 years since it died. What do you think their problem is? Do they LIKE dead plants? The other one has a large, 12" pot that was a basil plant - somehow she got it to grow in her ofc, and she transferred over here w/ it; but it died early in the summer -- it's still sitting w/ all the dead stalks leaning towards the window as a testimony to its demise. There are plenty of trashcans nearby... why is this such a hard thing to do? remove the dead bodies....?
Now, I am a lazy gardener - I know this -- but I can barely stand to look upon or go by their ofcs daily and notice these things - I would LOVE to pitch them for them, but figure it's not really my business and my parents taught me to be respectful of others' possessions... but it's really bizarre to my eye and mind... Silly city cliff dwellers' habits and habitats..you just have to scratch your head trying to figure out what the cache of dead plants offers up to the decor.

Hope you feel better, Sue, but still manage to enjoy your holiday party tonite.

Glad to hear you're starting to feel your exercise routine make you feel better, PM2; keep up the good work.

Okay, I better turn to those lists - I vacillate between being tight this year and just giving into impulse buys; so far the first has been the winning hand; but it's early days yet.

--Cindy


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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December

Oh woe is me!!!! I lost another post, and this time I did the split page and had it on Wordpad! I had several paragraphs typed, when I decided to go haul in some firewood. While I was out, the power popped off and back on. I 'thought' the Wordpad post would still be there...NOT!!!!!
I am beginning to think I may not be supposed to post here at this time??? I had only good things to say!

YARRGH!

Marie, I can certainly identify with your frame of mind! Anger and frustration are my middle names.

I post on another forum every day, many times a day, and have never lost a post there, and on a third one frequently, that I have never lost a post(except when I preview ,and 'think' I have posted..)

If I only read and do not post...you will know why.

Marian


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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December

Marian - ain't technology grand?! :- )

Mary - that snowy owl incident was amazing! I'll bet the kids were torn between being comforted and being spooked!

On the issue of gender and talking, perhaps that guy splitting up with his girlfriend should read the Scientific American article linked below....

We're looking forward to the hairy beast joining our Christmas festivities. It'll be interesting to see how much Phoebe has changed since her last visit.

Here is a link that might be useful: Who talks more, women or men?


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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December

Good Cold Evening(brrrrrrrrrrrr),

I sure wish this cold weather would break. It feels like late Jan, early Feb out there. Lots of good reading on Idylls tonight. Funny how posting ebbs and flows isn't it? Today in prep for holiday decorating I moved all of my houseplants to the basement under lights to make more room on the main floor.. In order to do that Brad had to set up another light table for me. I'm up to 6 tables now. When I ask him to do things around the house for me I think of them as his Julie jobs, though I don't tell him that :) All of the decorations have been pulled off their storage shelves in the basement and Bella's ready and willing to "help" me start decorating. Tomorrow we make the trek to the mall to visit Santa and then Build A Bear. Should be fun but also guaranteed to be a zoo.

Michelle, thanks for the info on the puzzles. I'm definitely going to check that out and do some for Bella. The American Girl doll that I got Bella is one made especially for age 3. It's a baby doll. When she's older I'd like to get her one of the others though (if she likes them) and take her to the AG store in Chicago.

Cindy, it always amazes me when I see people's dead or unhealthy (ugly) houseplants. I'm pretty relentless and pitch mine if they look sickly. Once they start going south it's hard to bring them back to anything that looks nice I think. And they're just depressing then. Sorry to hear the news about your friend's job. She's not going to want to move back in now is she???

Mary, thank you so much for sharing your story. Something very similar happened to me a few days after my mom passed away. She and my dad have always enjoyed feeding and watching the birds. Her favorites were the hummingbirds and she had several feeders that she kept full for them outside her kitchen windows from spring to fall. The first thing she did when they returned from Houston was get out the feeders even though it was July by that time and she was so happy that her hummers were there waiting for her. I've tried everything to attract them to my gardens, feeders, their favorite plants, but came to the conclusion that they just didn't like the city. I rarely saw one here. Anyway, a couple of days after mom died I was sitting at my kitchen table in the afternoon facing the back door. That's when I spotted a little hummer that flew right up to the door screen and hovered there looking into my house straight at me. I felt the same way you did about your friend and the snowy owl. It was a very special moment for me that I'll never forget and gave me much comfort.

Chelone, I must thank you for describing here how you turned off or unplugged the electrical appliance vampires. I followed your lead and have noticed such a savings. In fact I received an electric bill today that was 41% less use than at this same time a year ago. I predict that you'll really like Netflix. We love it here.

PM, hope you find your car soon so you can then begin to enjoy the holidays. I hate car shopping with a passion and always let Brad handle that all on his own. He enjoys it so we're both happy.

It was really interesting reading all of your thoughts on the auto companies and economy in general. I agreed with much of what you all said. I do still think though that there is much misinformation out there about our industry here in Detroit.

Marie, such good news that you'll be visiting the family at Christmas. Hope that's just what you need. I think it's perfectly normal for you to be feeling angry too. That will pass with time I think. I'm not sure what a mediation session is in regards to child custody. Does that mean that they're redoing their previous agreement?

Julie, good that you're on top of the bullying situation. That's so upsetting for children. Sounds like you've got the holidays all set up and you and your family are enjoying them. We do our own strange version of advent calendar here too which has evolved into something that's become my favorite Christmas tradition.

Marian, best to hit save periodically when your composing your Idyll post I'd say. Sorry you're having such trouble with that. It must be very frustrating. Me, I just compose in the message box and take my chances. I've lost a few but not many over the years.

Kathy, I feel the same way about animal shows. I don't watch them because they usually upset me too much. I never could watch Lassie as a child or anything where animals were hurt, lost or in danger. Still can't.

Sue, the winter cold is fresh in my memory. Hope yours makes a quick exit. Not fun! Have fun at your party tonight!

Denise, I think books are a wonderful gift for a three year old. Bella would rather get a book than anything (and I indulge her in that on a weekly basis). Some of our recent favorites are the Skippyjon Jones books by Judith Schachner, Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems, and a new Puff The Magic Dragon book that has beautiful illustrations by Eric Puybaret. We spend alot of time reading every day.

This has turned into a long post and it's time to rustle up some dinner for Bella and I so off I go. Have a good evening.

Eden


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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December

Woody, thanks for the link! In rebuttal last night, I told Marty that anyone who talks about a topic that the listener finds uninteresting is, by definition, perceived as "talking too much," which the article alludes to at the end, that women tend to talk more about people and men talk more about objects, though actually talking roughly the same amount. I used to subscribe to Scientific American way back when...And Ms. Phoebe better bring a roomy overnight bag for all those reward cookies she'll be coming home with (yes, you can, Phoebe! Just leave the electrical stuff alone.)

Really enjoyed reading everyone after work today. The job today gave me a pounding headache behind the right eye, but luckily some nice office staff passed on a couple Motrin, which I never take but it certainly did the trick.

The snowy owl photo is amazing. What a renewing sight for the school.

Cindy, the dead plant brigade at your office was a hoot to read.

Eden, it's great to have your input on these issues that are certainly roiling your state right now. And thanks for those books tips. Hummingbirds always seem to me to be powered by something "other," such special creatures, and how wonderful that they'll keep your mom close.

It was funny to read Sue and Chelone's posts this morning. Before falling asleep I mentioned I might post something similar, and Marty basically warned me off. It is a touchy, complex subject. I'd only add that, fingers crossed, a smart, fearless solution is on the way that integrates dealing with the health care costs that are dragging down the auto industry, that the auto plants can be repurposed for transportation that meets the challenges of this century, which would include rebuilding and rethinking our failing infrastructure to accommodate a new vision of moving us around, all of which will bring needed jobs. The only jobs we don't need are those of the auto industry executives who sided with Bush to block Calif's proposed fuel efficiency standards last year. Short-sighted defenders of the status quo we can do without.

And who says we need young kids to make a holiday gingerbread house? Where's that law written? That's going on my holiday to-do list (possibly the B list...) Tomorrow, if I can muster for the drive, a visit to the newly renovated Getty in Malibu, comp'd tickets. Camera will be in tow. (Anyone keep up with the scandal of the antiquities Getty was obliged to return?)

No, definitely not talking too much here...


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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December

After reading Denise's post I just wanted to quickly say how great I think it is that here on Idylls we can discuss things we have different opinions on. I for one welcome hearing others views, whether they're the same as mine or not. And I think I learn alot that way. It would be very boring to only hear your own thoughts echoed back to you I think.

Eden


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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December

Well, Im glad to bid this week goodbye. We finally got some peace and quiet in the office today to get a few things done. Didnt get caught up, but at least I now actually know what all the stuff on my desk is , and the most important issues were addressed. Rumors continue to fly about more layoffs, people are tense and fearful and as a manager I can only go so far to try to reassure folks- very few are safe anymore.
Frost on the roofs this morning, but no damage on the ground. Tonight is predicted to dip to 30, and judging from the way it feels right now that is not far-fetched.

Denise, of course I hoisted a few ! I am however a pushover for sad pet stories, in spite of my general insensitivity, lol. I find the sexes evenly divided on the talking too much issue. And of course the content of said talking varies widely. I know numerous men who can compete with any female alive in the vapid conversation arena. ..Thank you for the lovely little Zuckerman film-what a gem.

Chelone, I am daily grateful that my company, although undergoing painful right-sizing , had the foresight to develop a few niche business sectors that do not live and die by housing starts. Its no different than the agricultural mono-culture that cant withstand the pest or disease that rolls through with abandon. There are a core group of landowners here in the valley that are promoting diversity, and it will no doubt serve them well when folks are unable to spend 50 bucks on a bottle of wine.

Julie, hope the moping son is cheered by the warmth of hearth and home-knowing many more people than I wish I did who have no work, I can imagine the feelings of wanting to be productive instead of simply collecting a check.

Mary, thanks for sharing the story of the snowy owl. What really matters ultimately is that people were comforted by his appearance on the scene . Some things in the natural world are a mystery, and life would be cold indeed without it.

Cranberries-I made two cranberry topiaries for my mantle one year-I loved them ! I used 6" clay pots, cut a limb from a tree for the trunk, and the berries were hot-glued to one of those Styrofoam balls. It turned out great. They lasted very well too, especially in my only moderately heated house.

Sorry to hear of your friends job situation Cindy. I hope she has some sort of a safety net so that you dont find yourself back in the role of landlord. One does want to help, but I think you did your time with that lady. Boy Cindy, your atty chicks would probably get pretty agitated at my snide comments on their dead plants. The term Corpus Delecti comes to mind.

Sue, I cant even begin to comment on the subjects you touched on, re:cheap goods at Wallys, manufacturing, consumerism etc. The building contractors who shop at my company are as a rule very conservative and patriotic. I t has been very interesting to me to see the eroding of their desire to purchase products that are made in the USA (there are still some) in favor of price.

Eden, being in the lumber business for 20 years , I can relate to the PR issues and I have had huge swings in my own feelings about forest practices , sustainability, redwood, etc. Its interesting because the lumber mills were the bad guys for a long time, but things have shaken down now to a point where they are huge proponents of re-forestation-logical because they need a product to sell in the future, and wood is a much greener product than steel or concrete. How great too, that we on the Idylls can all respect varying opinions and learn from each other. I do think about you and Brad when I hear the dire reports of the auto industry, and hope that you are the among the survivors(for there are ALWAYS survivors)

Ok, I have been sitting at this desk long enough, Im going to go read the papes and maybe visit the book thread

Best to All !

Buenos Noches to V, dammit.

Kathy in Napa


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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December

Good morning... :-)

Well, this has been a lively thread. Eden, I am so glad you posted what you did, because I was starting to feel like I had said a little too much on the car issues. Sometimes for the sake of brevity, I leave out something important, like that I do have a lot of sympathy for people who depend on the auto manufacturers for their livelihood. I think we all worry about where the solutions will come from and try to figure out what went wrong and personally, I feel that greater minds than mine have not been able to do that.

I missed your posts while you were sick and I am glad you are back. :-) I also enjoyed that great video of the dogs greeting the soldier. Once again, dogs are amazing. I got a kick out of Bella asking for a remote control dinosaur. lol Named Spike no less! I will have to get a look at that one, my DH has had a life long interest in dinosaurs, maybe that would make a fun gag gift for him for Christmas.

Speaking of Bella....Michelle, are there any plans to see Kenzie over Christmas? I didn't know you could make a puzzle from photos. I think that is a great idea for a gift.

Chelone...I am going to have to go back and read your description of how you turned off the electric appliance vampires. After the first of the year, I am going to try to make that a priority. Thanks to Eden for sharing the excellent results you had from doing that.

Cindy...maybe you could make a little card with R.I.P. and glue it to a toothpick and stick it in one of the pots as a funny way of bringing it to their attention that their plants are dead. [g] I find that amazing that someone could possibly leave a dead plant staring them in the face for a year. Wow.

Eden...my mother was a bird lover too and I think of her often when I am watching the birds at the feeder. I remember the last week before she passed she was so excited telling me about the birds at her feeder that week. This fall, I found a crocus that had her name and I planted them around the base of the feeder. I am hoping they all come up in the spring.

Julie...you sound like you are doing a great job of creating the Christmas spirit at your house, despite the challenges. I always found when the kids were little, you could see the holiday through their eyes and it was just a little bit more magical.

Kathy...when are you traveling to your DD's for the holiday?

G'bug....I'm not surprised to hear how you are feeling. It would be hard to imagine you could be feeling any differently. It is a hard time of year for all of you. I am happy to hear that on the positive side of things, you are seeing the naturopath, which I hope will help a lot. It also sounds like Phoebe is a bright spot for you right now. :-) If you can just get through this Christmas, maybe next year has a chance of being better. When are you traveling to DD & Co.?

Well, that is all for me here. We will be heading out to car dealers first thing this morning and hope that will be productive and won't take up the whole day, so we can get a start on Christmas shopping.

Have a merry Saturday... :-)

Image and video hosting by TinyPic


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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December

Gingerbread houses are way more involved than the recipe lets on....we played all the Christmas music in our arsenal and went through a couple of pounds of sugary "glue"! My kitchen smells sweet this morning.

I still have ginger people to bake and decorate :) Maybe tomorrow. I need a day of rest from the kitchen.

World issues have been gently pushed aside, as Sarah wants to have the big girl talk. I am excited for her and want to find the right words so that I don't scare the pants off of her! LOL! Jake had his first formal dance and met a girl there! My babies are growing up....FINALLY, I say! I like them at this age....well, I guess I liked them all along, lol....

Cindy, I've seen some really great fake houseplants at my MIL's house...they even have plastic "soil"! Maybe a covert "switch"? Right now I will admit that I am guilty: I don't have the heart to just throw Jake's bonsai away....I'm waiting for it to dawn on him that it is not going to "green" up!

The snowy owl is beautiful, Mary! I would feel so honored to see one in person, as I imagine that they're hard to spot because of their nocturnal habits. That is a treat for your school, indeed! I am glad that it brought you comfort.

Well, I took pictures, so I am going to go and upload them and find a place to show you what we've been up to in the Saucy household.

Happy Saturday!

Saucy


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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December

Interestingly, with respect to the automotive manufacturing sector, I believe the Detroit companies produce exceptionally high quality vehicles. There is a ton of research and "evidence" to bear that out. My brother is a "motor head", a "natural" mechanic with a strong background in restoration of vintage vehicles. He has always owned American cars, too, and is an advocate for the Detroit Three's quality which has taken giant steps forward since the late '70s-early '80s. But like me, he is saddened at how quickly they slipped back into the production of gas-guzzlers instead of setting their sights on alternatives (like those electric gems in CA). All of it understandable as the profits on the behemoths were greater and allowed them to meet the dreaded legacy costs... the sword of Damocles that's hung over them for years now. Out-sourcing parts work to Mexico was another attempt to shave costs with an eye to retirement obligations, too. It's so sad because it never works LONGterm and now the chickens are coming home to roost. Lack of foresight and imagination and strict adherence to sound business practices in the board room and the untion halls is the real problem, not the ability to build a quality product, of that I'm convinced.

Consumerism. As one who survived the crash of the garment/textile/shoe industry I can assure you that I've been aware of the slide for decades now. A classcic example is trying to buy goods for basic clothing construction. There used to be at least 5 fabric stores within a 20 mile radius of my home. Now there are 3 and it's virtually impossible to find quality fabric. All merchandise is geared toward quilters/crafters and finding bolt goods of quality wools, rayons, silks, chamois... forget it! I used to be able to buy Pendleton wools, Liberty of London cottons, and actually be able to choose from more than 3 bolts of cloth. I recall going into woolen mills to watch the looms and then going into the factory store to buy the LOCALLY woven goods. Those days are long gone. And I see it in the way people regard drapery work or clothing alteration... "wow, that's awfully expensive, can't you do it for less?". Typically, that's the response from younger customers who've grown up in the "price, price, price" era and have very little actual personal experience MAKING anything themselves. I cannot complete with Bed Bath Beyond's pricing. But when I make drapery panels they will be exact size requested, they will be properly constructed and will last for years with proper care (my own are nearly 15 yrs. old now). If you want to change your "look" every year/two I'm not the service you want. I regularly face surprise at the prices required to alter clothing, but it's taken me years to master the nuances of quality tailoring and while I'm pretty speedy at them they still take time and require skill and "fussing".

I have repeatedly said this not a "consumer household". But that's not entirely accurate because we DO consume, though if we're going to buy something we tend to buy quality and shop locally owned stores for the item in question. I am more inclined to look into having something repaired than instantly thinking of replacing it. A perfect example of this is furniture. After looking and looking for a used sideboard I finally screwed up my courage to see if I could afford to have one made, since nothing ready-made met our requirements. I found the custom item right in line with the higher end lines I'd looked at. It's exactly what we needed, it's beautiful, and when the cost is factored over the years of service it becomes even more "affordable". I think nothing of stuffing rejected kerbside furniture into the back of my car and rehabbing it myself or sending it out for reupholstery. But this is not the general mindset of the great American consumer.

Eden, I'm thrilled that you've experienced savings by vanquishing the vampires! It's absolutely amazing; I've noted similar savings when I look at the kilowatt hour usuage on the bottom of our bill, as well. I wish more utility companies would espouse this simple method of conservation. It takes practice and a certain amount of patience to get into the habit of switching off the strips and THINKING about cutting off the juice but it works. I've been siphoning off the "savings" and redirecting it to the principle on the bahn note. (my father smiles down on me every time I do it, too)

Mary, count me as another who loved the Snowy Owl story and that lovely "study in grey and white". I saw one when I was a child (Mum took me to look at him, he was on top of a telephone pole in our town) and was amazed at the how big he was. I recall using the binoculars to study the massive talons. I had suspected the teacher in question had committed suicide when you first shared the sad news. I feel a deep and profound sadness whenever I learn that someone has taken their life because I know how it feels to lose someone you love that way. Still, though, I respect their choice to exercise such a deeply personal control over their life. I just hope the choice is made with a relaxed mind, not one in emotional turmoil. I can't think of a nicer way for the kids to remember their teacher!
I love that the hummingbirds evoke the same comfort for Eden. For me, it's watching the cats follow the sun around the living room on a cold winter's day... I can see Mum and Dad affectionately bending over them, speaking softly to them, and delicately stroking the "magic places". It's a good feeling.

We marked the necessary cuts on several of the tiles last night. I am a bit daunted as many of them are "inside cuts", meaning I have to cut away bits of tile to get them to fit around the chimney. I'm not confident in my ability to use a circular saw to execute such precise work, so am going to speak with my brother to elicit his suggestions before plunging headlong into the project and ruining my already limited number of tiles... (gulp).

I wish good luck to PM today. May the force be with you on the car front today!

And I'm filled with hope when I read your thoughts on the issues facing our economy, too. I know so many bright, accomplished, and thoughtful people I am hopeful that quiet determination and a commitment to (y)our children's futures will prevail. I have to get moving now, busy day ahead for me.

But meant to say to 'bug: you need to post daily. It may prove a useful outlet to vent anger, frustration, etc.. Simply direct it to poor spelling and grammar and we'll all be the benficiaries, lol. Don't isolate yourself because you're understandably sour. We understand and we "can take it". It will allow Phoebe time in between beatings, too.

:)


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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December

Here's one of the wreaths:

From Gingerbread2008

I'm adding a link to gingerbread fun....so you can talk yourself out of it :)

Here is a link that might be useful: Slideshow


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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December

Yesterday DSIL carved a moose so their freezer is now filled with moose steaks and roasts, as well as deer meat. Indy dog managed to sneak some of the frozen deer meat from the back of the car while they were shopping however. (No beatings, it was their fault for forgetting it was there.)

DD has bought a gas wood stove for her DH for his Christmas gift. He is SOOOOO happy about it, surprised too. He is now planning making their back sunroom (unheated) into a type of cabin. Their new good friend (sculptor and artist) has offered to help install windows in the room this weekend. It is so nice to hear about this new bond of friendship. DD met his wife through her "no diapering" experiences and they share the same doctor. The couple is from South Africa and they have two sons. So much in common, and the timing for such friendship couldn't be better.

DSIL acquired a huge stash of windows from his office building which is being updated and they wanted new all matching windows. The old windows are fine though, and so he has a huge quantity of them given to him. He wants to use them up north at the North Country Fair where he'll help build cabins for the musicians to stay in while they perform at events. He is attempting to get matching funds for this gift and that will help so much with their dream of a family stage and playground in Reed's honor. Transporting the windows will be a difficult process...

Yesterday I had my third visit with my naturopath. I am intrigued to explore a different approach to medicine and caring for my health. I am not disposing of my traditional doctor, though I have been tempted at times! He has a "one question per visit" approach to things and also tends to give treatments by making assumptions about me rather than by really checking things out. At least that is how i feel. Also, if he can give a Pap smear, it seems that he should also be able to look me in the eye and remember my name etc... So far the (young! Well, I guess everyone is young to me now...) naturopath has come up with some interesting things and we expect that after 2 more visits we'll have a plan to try. One of the tests yesterday went off the charts, a test that involves my body's responses to stress. No surprise there!

We have tickets for a short trip to Alberta, arriving late on Christmas Eve. I hope we don't collide with Santa along the way... Skyler will be with his mother this year, but should come the day after I believe.

Saucy, DD loved that Skyler asked her about the birds & bees rather than his parents. I think he chose wisely. They kept saying they'd talk to him "later", whereas she has the background in biology and physiology, all the picture books, a great sense of humor too. Being pregnant once more, he is into asking more and more two years later. His Mom says "ask your Dad". The kid of course talks with his buddies at school and comes home with the strangest ideas which DD tries to correct. They have fun though and that is more than I had at that stage! DH, the youngest of 3, remembers asking his Mom where he came from and she gave very clinical responses. HIS response was "You let Daddy do that to you 3 times???"

Last night we attended a beer tasting event at French Club. Personally, I only like beer occasionally, and only when the weather is super hot in summer. So I liked none of them, but will admit it was an interesting event.

Chelone, in Canada we were able to buy many of the things you mention just a few years longer than you...because of the love of things English here. Liberty of London is a thing of the past now though. How I loved them! I used to make small dresses for DD with Liberty fabric...back when she'd wear a dress! I then turned to French Soleado fabric made in Provence near where my parents lived.

And so Saturday is here and there's the recycling center to deal with, groceries to shop for, pet food to purchase, etc.

'bug

Here is a link that might be useful: soleado fabrics


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gingerbread fun

Saucy, years ago our Sarah made gingerbread scenes for Christmas. The first year it was a house, but then her imagination took hold and she made other things, the one I remember best being a camping scene with tents and canoes.


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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December

Good morning

Saucy - I just love your gingerbread adventures. Sarah has grown so much since I last saw her and she looks just like you! My gingerbread plans this year include making decorated gingerbread tree decorations of musical instruments to give as gifts. Both Annie and David have requested more bikinied gingerbread figures LOL!

Eden - I love the hummingbird story and enjoyed thinking about Chelone's cats and PM's bird feeder.

I'm starting the day with a run to our school carpark where used electronic items are being reclylced to raise money for Sudan. A local company is able to extract valuable parts and save much going into the landfill.
I then have a market trip with a friend while David is at orchestra with a relaxed stop at one of my favorite coffee houses.

On the topic of musical instruments David is wildly excited as we discovered this week he has grown enough for a full sized instrument. My heart sank as there is no way we are ready for a large expenditiure just at the moment. However his teacher, who is simply a wonderful young man, has leant David one of his concert guitars to play on. I cannot tell you what a generous act this is as the instrument is a much saught after and beautifully constructed guitar. There is currently a 7 year waiting list for this maker. The sound is rich, deep and powerful. I simply cannot wait to hear what David can do with it. We have to be patient as on Sunday David has a recital and will play his old instrument till then. To adjust to a new size will take time. Neeless to say we will be very, very careful, I will no doubt worry a lot and will be making a trip to our insurance guy.

Chelone and GB - I loved making Annie little dresses and smocks from liberty prints and mourn the fact that I can no longer find a source over here. The French fabrics are beautiful and a few of them just crying out to be made into bags or aprons.....

Lots more to comment on but I need to get going on the day. Hope to be back later.

Mary


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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December

Good Week-end!

I'm going to skip commenting on economics, too much like work. But will say that my sense is we are on the cusp of something great and will be better off than we were before when we emerge on the other side of this economic break down. It's a major historic event pushing us all in the right direction with energy independence a 'solution' and an opportunity to solve much of this. I said I wouldn't comment, ah well. But I think this is good. (And what I wouldn't give to work at the FDIC right now.)

Kathy, thumbs up on the Honda CRV. Mine is 5 year's old and 33K on it. Nothing but routine 'dusting' and oil changes/check ups. I was a SAAB addict when I lived in New England, but hard to find maintenance for SAABs in Maryland, so I cried on the drive to trade it at 120K for the Honda. I feel safe in any car that's been maintained and is easy to repair en route. AAA card and a cell phone are there for emergencies, as are rental cars, but that doesn't happen. So that's my 'single woman' approach to automotives.

Mary, 'Snowy Owl' story gave me a shiver and sense of peace.

Saucy, lovely wreath! But my favorite photo is 'messy kitchen'.

Denise, Had to fiddle with security settings to watch 'Wisdom' - but got there. I'm reminded of Malcolm Gladwell's 'Outliers'. Theory is 10,000 hours of work to be good at anything. (Madeline Albright in eyeliner?)

I replaced my Home PC this week and moved to VISTA OS as it's inevitable and I actually like some of the features. (Tab approach for IE is nice touch). But in vain haven't been able to figure out how to reset the EXCEL menus back to simple lists - it's full of pictures like some 'EXCEL for Dummies' version.

It was 20F when I had the courage to look at thermometer at 6AM. So it was probably colder in the night. No walks this morning. I'm a wimp and put on two robes just to take the dogs to the dark yard in their PJs. The short-furred-low-fat ones were as happy to skip the exercise as I was. Way too cold for December.

My neighbor put her white candles in the windows last week-end and I want my white candles out too! 36? candles and all the cords that go with them for Hopeless to get into. Another good reason to adopt new 4-leggeds ony in summer.

Cindy, Maybe walk in with a cup of water, tilt your head at the plant and ask her if she thinks it's too late.

Eden, I have to go find that Dinosaur to see what it looks like. I do remember 'Butterscotch' from last year. Does she still work?

Chelone, There are exactly two fabric stores within in 30 miles of me - both are Joanne's Fabric- and they're mobbed every time I go in there. I just googled 'Stich N Time' in Hyannis - the fabric store I visited weekly when I was growing up. Of course it's gone.

Sue, I skipped my 40th reunion this year, but the group established a Yahoo website, so it's been pretty entertaining to catch up there and look at who got fat and who got old. Looking at a few of the women, I'm pretty sure they've survived some facial reconstruction. A few of the guys were at my dad's funeral this summer and appeared to have held up well.

Well, the dogs are hibernating under fleece blankets which means I should be downstairs tossing laundry and letting the vacuum cleaner roar about.

Stay warm!

Cynthia


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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December

Good Morning,

Just a quick post here. I'm off to the Farmer's Market for a wreath, then to Target to find Christmas tights for Bella's outfit.

Saucy, the gingerbread houses are fabulous! I have to get up the courage to try with Bella. I'm thinking the graham cracker ones might be more her speed this year. I did buy a cool book last month called Gingerbread Architect.

Cynthia, yes Butterscotch is still going strong. Bella likes to brush her mane and I find her sitting up on Butterscotch reading now and then. Spike is much more annoying. He was delivered a few days ago and Brad and I charged up his batteries and tried him out. I'm thinking he's a toy she'll need to have at her house:) I tried to talk her out of this thing but she's insisted for months that he's what she really wants. Here's a link...

Denise, a couple more book suggestions that Bella really likes: any of the Fancy Nancy or Madeline books.

Busy day today so I'm out of here for now.

Eden

Here is a link that might be useful: Spike


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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December

Just when I thought I could get a word in edgewise here, up pops another post!!!! LOL It's so good to hear from so many and I'm hopeful I remember everything I thought of on my way back from food shopping this morning.

Methinks it's computer gremlins, not Karma, that's robbing your posts, Marian. Even if it's three words, it's good to hear from you!!

As a huge believer in goodness by way of spirituality of all sorts, the Snowy Owl story delights, but doesn't surprise me. If we pay close enough attention, there are wonderous happenstances every single day that can brighten us and others around us when they are recognized. Pointing them out sometimes causes rolled eyes or steps physically backwards, but in my opinion it is people who don't at least don't give such things a nod that are missing out.

I drive a 2003 Ford Focus ZTS that was custom built for me, I think in Kansas. When I went to buy it, there wasn't one exactly like I wanted anywhere in the US so off the order went to the factory. When the car was delivered, the build order was signed by every single person that worked on the lines, thanking me for believing in their product.

This little 4 cyl American built car has taken me 116,000 miles at 35 mpg for four years with only routine maintenance being needed. That and a new starter celanoid that I had been told to replace at 80K but didn't. My fault. Rich drives a Ford 350 pickup that, at 13 mpg stays parked most of the time, but there isn't anything like it out there for his business.

I've owned foreign cars and truly love my Focus more than any of them. So long as they're still available, Ford will get my order for a new Fusion as soon as our personal economic situation recovers. Now that I've hit 50 that bit of extra room will make a difference. LOL

That said, the Big Three (excepting maybe Ford) still don't get it. To come back without plans other than "we'll be out of biz if we don't get the $$ before the end of the year" doesn't reassure me that giving them huge sums is a good idea. I do agree with some pundits, though, that the banks were not required to do anything but put their hands out and though the industries play very different parts in the economy, what's good for one should be good for all.

The real Holiday gift giving fun this year will consist of finding things for less than $5 each that the receivers will really enjoy. It's not that hard to do, I'm finding, and with some shiny paper and a good bow (I'd fit into Kathy's family tradition well) the presents will seem "more" than their price alludes.

In a really pretzel-logic way, there is huge relief that we don't have $$ to spend. Each "thing" is turning out to be way more personal and thought out.

Oh, Saucy. Your slideshow brought happy tears of memory. When Ky was small we'd invite cousins and friends to the house, open up a giant box of graham crackers and edible (almost, anyway:-) decorations and let the kids have at it. If you put the "glue" in squeeze bottles it helps the process a lot. A huge plastic tablecloth on the floor soon was covered with sugar of many colors, "jimmies", mints, etc. Sometimes the buildings were buildings, sometimes they were box trucks, sometimes they were stables, but they were always treasured.

Chelone -- Those da#m double-cuts will get you every time, according to Rich. Bet your brother will be proud as punch to help you out. Did you ever find your pomegranates? Thought of you in particular this morning when a woman was trying to figure out how many bottles of cloves it would take to stick an entire orange. My McCormick's spice coupon was donated to the effort :-)

Eden -- So many exciting things happening within your family! Is Spike the one from "Land Before Time??" I could probably still recite the script word for word:-) And I'm sure your Mom would fully understand if baby Kate "borrowed" one of Bella's blankets. The same love would be there, for sure.

Julie: My first thought when reading about TCS was "thank Goodness the school recognized the problem and is doing something about it!!" This happens to so many kids and if those kids feel they don't have to tolerate it because adults are telling them they don't, it's the best possible outcome in a horrible situation. Is there a volunteer opportunity for your DS to do nearby? Rich has found that going to Habitat projects for a day or lugging cases around the food bank takes the non-working edge off, somewhat.

'bug -- Rant away. I, too, have been trying to piece together the purpose of the mediation and am hopeful that it is not a result of Reed's passing. Love, love, love that Skyler found the new baby's heartbeat and that he has the trust in S and W to come to them with the really important life issues.

Denise - Last night on CNN saw a long segment about the measures taken at the L.A. port for security, and how far ahead they are than other similar venues. Of course thought of Marty and was proud to know that one of those little dots on a boat or in an office was someone I "know." Sorry your work has been headachy but glad a quick fix was close at hand. Hooray for Office Staff!!!!!!

LOL about your two attys, Cindy. I once had a similar situation and was told when I went to dispose of the dead, bug infested remains that it was a "reblooming" plant and should come back. "After 6 months??? I don't think so." Because it was an obviously dead florist azalea, I suggested that replacing it might be a better idea. No go. I'll bet to this day that the pot, at least, is still there.

I have nothing to say to V at this point ;-)

PM - It sounds like you and I have the same bad habit of thinking it's just easier to get everything "out" and let folks use what information they need. But if we don't, how will they know what we mean???? Right????? LOL January 17 can't come soon enough and I'm really hopeful that you can be there. Put up a note on the NE Garden Forum but it appears that it was responded to so that it'd get off the top of the list. Their loss.

Sue -- Our industry organization party was yesterday afternoon and I couldn't get out of there soon enough. As a rep it was a command performance to be sure. Why can't we all just donate the $$?? Hope you don't get the full-blown illness going around.

Rich has been particularly cranky this week and though I can't blame him for feeling the way he feels, it's hard to maintain a positive outlook (desperately needed to maintain my day to day stuff) when the love of my life is so down and he doesn't have any other place to vent. For his gift I'm trying to find one of those punching bags that are weighted with sand at the bottom and bounce back up after being hit. I have no fear of it being me (I'd be loooong gone) but do you think he'd take it as a joke like intended? Just can't bring myself to give him socks.

This is getting really long, but I can use the excuse that I haven't been around for a few days. LOL. Waving to everyone, and encourage you all to look for your version of the Snowy Owl.

Martie


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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December

Anyone curious about 'bug's anxiety can get some details that were sent to Chelone and Martie.


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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December

What a busy group this morning .. Gingerbread, auto facts, fabrics-not much gardening news though !
Frost was thick on the rooftops this morning, and we have fog-an unusual combination for us . I fully expect to see black impatiens and Dahlias this afternoon. It couldnt come a moment too soon for the Dahlias as they have looked horrid for quite some time. I was on the verge of cutting them down anyway. I hope to begin Lady Banks new hair-do this afternoon after this fog burns off.

Loved the gingerbread show Saucy ! That is one thing I have never done, believe it or not. I can well imagine how long it took to do that wreath, it took forever to do my topiaries too, and there were klutzy glue-gun wounds as well.

Eden, I wholly support the plan to keep Spike at Bellas house ! Yikes, that looks like one annoying toy .

Ok, I better get busy with the internal chores , Im behind schedule

Kathy in Napa


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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December

Kathy, hard to talk gardening when the garden's under 4 inches of snow. I ended up not going out at all today. It's been snowing since morning and when Megan brought Bella she said the roads were bad. I decided there's always tomorrow. Also although Brad was about over his cold, this morning he woke up with a sinus infection. So he's been moping around here all day not wanting to leave the house. Instead I decorated our bedroom for Christmas. Since I had nothing better to do I spend a couple of hours decorating a chandelier that hangs over the bed with a big carton of ornaments that I got last year after Christmas at target. $2 for the whole lot. Bella commented that it looked like "Fancy Nancy". She's a character in a series of books who likes to fancy everything up.

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Also put the snowman sheets on the bed, got out the holiday bears and put up a Christmas tree.

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Martie, hang in there. Things have to turn around sooner or later. I hope... I need to take my own advice. I keep telling myself no use worrying about things I can't control. We're cutting down on gift giving in my family this year too. Just buying for the Bella and a $25 adult gift, girls buy a girl gift, boys a boy gift and exchange. None of us need a thing. My favorite parts of Christmas are the decorating, baking, crafts, etc. As for the dinosaur, I only wish it was that cute one from Land Before Time. I love that movie. David had a cute stuffed dino from it when he was little.

Kathy, isn't that an awful toy? Bella saw it at Target months ago. Of course they have one all set up that the children can try out. She's never forgotten about it and has asked for it ever since.

PM, I tend to think I can do things better myself. Not a good quality either.

Marie, you've been on my mind all day. Just want you to know I'm thinking of you:)

Cynthia, if you say everything will be alright I believe you. I was happy to see your post this morning!

Time to order a pizza for dinner and then venture out to pick it up along with some wine I think.

Eden

Here is a link that might be useful: Fancy Nancy


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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December

I like Fancy Nancy much better than Spike.

Lady Banks has filled the yard waste toter and one additional 32 gal trash can. One more day and Ill be done with her. It was pleasant out today if I positioned myself in the sun, probably got up to the high 50s. The frost vanquished the impatiens as expected, but oddly Charles Grimaldi still looks pretty good, and the Sungold tomato that lives in his pot shows no sign of the frosty night. The Angelonias bit the dust too.

Eden, I have been doing similar dcor action on my dining room chandelier the last few years. If I decide to do it again this year Ill have to get a pic of it. Ive done nothing yet ! Ive never really decorated my bedroom for Christmas , youve inspired me ..maybe some greens or the like.

I went out to Target this morning to see what they had in the way of down comforters. I want to put one on my bed for the winter. Now that Mervyns has gone belly-up , Target is the only place in this town to get linens (we have a Wally , but I dont shop there ) and unfortunately they had only the Woolrich brand, which was given numerous very bad reviews on their website (escaping feathers). I might actually have to drive over the hill to Macys to get what I want. Anyway, my point here is that Target was creepily deserted this morning. I went at about 10:30 . There were no lines, relatively empty parking lot- not what I expect to see 3 weekends before Christmas.

Martie, you are so right about the economic situation pushing us into more thoughtful and useful gifts. I am most concerned that the young people in our family do not feel obligated to spend money on presents for those of us who are better off financially. I am buying one present for everyone (except Aiden-he gets 2 !) which is a radical departure from the past.

Do you suppose Deanne is holed up in the bird blind again ? We need to hear from Wendy and Brenda too. Hope Marian has not become frustrated by her posting issues-

Im continuing tonight with my Winter Paul Newman Memorial Film Festival. So far have watched Hud, Butch Cassidy, Cool Hand Luke. Tonight is The Color of Money , which I have never seen. Going to watch The Sting next weekend (have only seen it once the year it came out) and also scheduled are The Verdict, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, The long Hot Summer , The Hustler, Absence of Malice.

Nite all!

Kathy in Napa


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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December

Kathy! I saved a Macy's Friends and Family mailer even though I rarely shop at Macy's. 12/10 through 12/15, get an extra 20% off with code MACYSFF. (Exclusions are furniture and electronics, technology and area rugs - good for 10% off on those.) Macys.com. Can also be used in the store, just tell them you don't have the coupon and give them the code. I do not have a Macy's account and this is supposed to be shared with 'Friends and Family', so there you go.

Eden, the chandelier looks beautiful and I'm wishing I had snowman sheets! I decorate the hall and living room chandeliers year round with little birds and crystal Xmas ornaments. I add more jazz in December.

No, my candles aren't in the windows yet. I need to make sure I have a bunch of replacement bulbs first. Usually stock up in summer as they're too hard to find this time of year.

There is a sprinkle of snow on the ground here and the girls had a blast pretending the lot was covered in sand and they were back at the track.

Cheers!

Cynthia


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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December

If at first you don't suceed....try, try again!

Kathy, I hope things are going well with your new boss. When my boss ( at Gibson's Discount Center) was replaced by the hardware manager, he was so ignorant of the running of the store, that when I needed help with my bookkeeping job he was totally useless. I guit asking him ,and figured it out myself. I quit after a few months of him...then the entire store closed down.
I am jealous of your yellow Epiphyllum. I have a rose- colored one. It may be the same color as your bright pink one???
Most of my Phals are in a southeast window year around. In the summer the Honey locust shades the window, so they never get too much sun. The Dendrobium goes out on the deck in the spring. The slipper orchid used to be in the bay window ( southwest) but is now in the sliding glass door-turned-window (northeast). It will be in bloom soon.


LOL, Chelone...do you know how to spell 'variegated' now?
I admire your way of handling your boss. In fact, I like the way you handle all situations. :-)
Your take on the Big Three is very much like our Tim's. He discussed that while here.

Saucy, I am also jealous of your white Epiphyllum. I should indulge in more of them. I love all the jungle cacti.

Deanne, good to see you surface. I am wondering about the kerosine heater. They are apparently safe around plants. No toxic fumes? I keep an electric utility heater in the plant/utility room. I am encouraged by my inability to grow Rex Begonias, since you have problems with them. In my opinion, you are the plant guru...not I.

Julie, I remember the pic of your pooch's chewed up bed.
I always get a kick out of your reports on TCS. LOL. I 'do' remember what those initials stand for. :-)
I love that pic of the train!
Oh! WOW! your orchids really put mine to shame!
My youngest GD got into trouble at school for punching out a boy! I never did get the details.

Pm2, when you asked " where did all your pots go?" I misread it and thought you meant 'where did all my posts go'! All the pots from the deck are either inside or moved to some other location. Most are indoors. The utility room is 'wall-to-wall' plants (almost). Many of the prettier ones are in the livingroom and dinningroom.
I love the winter house scene that you poated. You find the neatest pics!

Martie, I wish I had seen the moon and stars configuration. I love sights like that.

Woody, I am glad you asked about RIF. I was wondering also. A lot of the initials meanings escape me.

Marie, we can be 'snarky' together..only for differant reasons. Mine are a lot more trivial than yours.
I have to chuckle about your mispelling irks. I suspect you see plenty of them in my posts. I try to check and recheck, but still miss a lot. I use a dictionary a lot. :-)
Wow! One sending the letter to the wrong sibling! How has thet turned out?
I have a difficult niece that is wanting info on her father from me. He and her mother were divorced when she was very small, and she hardly knew him. I am debating whether to get involved. My sister, who is so tolerant of all kinfolk, has warned me against her. At the distance that I live from her, I don't think she can cause me too much harm.
I can't complain about the putting away of tools here. We each have our own. As for turning off lights, we are both getting slack on that....because we forget to.
My excuse for the inability to bring things to mind is ...that I have a very slow dial-up..LOL. It is all in there, but is very slow to download!
WOW! Your winter scene at your house is beautiful!

Cindy, your belated BD wish is noted and appreciated. :-)
I love the BD pic. Such a beautiful daylily!
Sorry to hear of the job woes in your are. How will you handle it if the former houseguest wants to return?

Re: car shopping. I bought my 'new' one a little over 5 years ago. It is a 2000 Ford Contour. I am very, very pleased with it. It had around 57,000 miles on it, and I have added enough to bring it up to 88,000. With the purchase price, and repairs plus maintenance. I have less than $6,000 tied up in it. It was paid off over a year ago. My very first car was a 39 Ford coupe. It was a great car also. On very cold days it would start when nobody else's would.
My previous car was a 1980 Toyota Corolla Station Wagon. It had 311,000 miles on it when I retired it. It is still setting in our yard, and I am sure it would run. if the battery was charged, and the tires aired up.

V, sorry to hear of the road conditions in your area. Our county road is in the best condition that it has been in years. We now have a new County Judge, so I am thinking things may be looking up in that department.

Norma, the neighbor's Great Pyrenees (Sam) got the last of the turkey scraps yesterday. I put them out in a large skillet, and he found them immediately and scarfed them down in no time. LOL
I made Turkey chowder for our dinner today...and tomorrow....and the next day !!!! I am going to have to freeze some of it. Three days in a row is enough!

HI Denise...waving right back at you. The e-mailing of your posts to yourself sounds like a good trick, bgut I am back to my usual way. I type awhile, then preview, then type some more. I am keeping my fingers crossed that the power does not flick off!
Your winter scene is gorgeous!

RE: locking doors...My dad would climb the wall if he came home and the doors were locked! I never lock mine until after dark. Of course, if I am expecting company, I don't lock them until they arrive.

Is V back from Mexico yet?? Lucky V! Oh, I see she said Tuesday....

Thanks, Eden, yes my fibro has tamed down to it's normal state. Much more tolerable.

Mary, I always enjoy reading about you and your children's activities. You sound like such a great family.
I espacially like your story of the Snowy Owl, and can I dentify with it. The pic is great!
And speaking of birds...I watched all spring for the return of the Rufus-sided Towhee, and never saw one, then today when I was at the kitchen sink peeling potatoes, there was one in the Bladdernut by the deck!

Speaking of cranberries, my fresh cranberry salad that did not jell was still so good, I think I will make somemore just for myself!

Sue, I hope you are feeling better.

Michelle, I am of Dutch/German heritage. Maybe I have kinfolk in your area!

Okay, I am not going to press my luck any farther ! I haven't got to the end of this thread, but maybe I can catch the rest later.....

Hi to all I missed...Please excuse all mistakes. I am not going to take the risk of dilly dallying any longer!

Marian


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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December

Saucy....very cute cranberry wreath and I enjoyed your slideshow of Gingerbread fun. I thought the end result was smashing! Since we haven't met, I couldn't tell if she looks like you or not, but when we do meet, I will have to say, 'Oh, you look like Sarah', instead of the other way around. [g]

Eden....decorating the bedroom is something we never get to. I am lucky if we get to the living room and dining room. Neat to have a chandelier in your bedroom to decorate, and I love the bears and the snowmen sheets!

Kathy...I added a down comforter to our bed last year and I haven't been cold since. I have enjoyed Paul Newman films over the years. I think my favorite is either Cat on a Hot Tin Roof or The Long Hot Summer. We just watched CoaHTR about a month ago. Great cast. I was not so fond of the poolhall films and Absence of Malice has some difficult scenes to sit through. Butch Cassidy and The Sting with Robert Redford were the most fun. The two of them together was a bonus. He was very good in the Verdict.

Martie...I enjoyed your memories of creating gingerbread houses when Ky was small. I imagine yours was the house all the kids wanted to go to. :-) Having to cut back on Christmas must be making Rich feel pretty cranky. Who can blame him. Maybe you could give him a coupon book to do some of his favorite things with him, or help him with something that might be encouraging to him. Is there some 'work related' jobs that you could lend a hand with? Organizing his tools or painting his work areas? I don't have someone in the family that is in construction, so my guesses I am sure sound pretty lame. [g] Maybe instead of socks, you could get him one of his favorite treats...special coffee beans, pecan rolls from his favorite bakery. I was noticing that part of G'bug's traditions is doing a 1,000 word puzzle over the holiday together as a family. Maybe it would take the focus off the gift giving if you do something a little out of the ordinary this year, so you don't notice so much? One year, I dragged home a huge bag of library books from the library with something for everyone. I didn't wrap them, but had the bag of them in the living room to look through Some of them were jokes, some were children's books the kids had loved when they were small. You can also take out DVDs from the library if you get your list and time it right before the holiday rush. Maybe one of everyone's favorite films for the holiday weekend with a big bowl of popcorn. Memories are always free and if you have a chance you can make some sort of special photo album. I had a friend who was very good at gift ideas on a budget and put together a 'This is Your Life' type album for her husband once, that was very well received and remembered and talked about for a long time. You can make a CD of his favorite music. Last one....if you have a video camera or can borrow one. You can tape yourself retelling how you met, funny stories from dating, how he proposed, and all the things about him that you are crazy about. Ok...that's all I could think of....you see....I'm getting everything out and you can use the information you need and ignore the rest. ;-)

Cynthia...no snow here yet. I hope we get it the week before Christmas so it will still be white by Christmas. I love watching grayhounds run, they are so amazingly fast! I would love to see a video of that. :-)

Marian...wow...you made it! :-) Good for you for hanging in there! I am amazed at the mileage on your old Toyota. That has to be a record. That is a lot of plants to have in the house. Just think how 'clean' your air is in your house all winter. All that oxygen! Yes, I love that winter house scene, too. It is a Thomas Kincade painting. He always adds that touch of light from all the windows. Reminds me a bit of Norman Rockwell in a way, although nothing alike. I'm glad to know you enjoy the same images that I do, we must have similar tastes. :-)

Well....time to quit....but I saved a photo of Colonial Williamsburg at Christmas, having reminded me of Chelone's Christmas 'fruit' arrangements....

Good night....

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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December

I didn't even get very far in reading....but NO....I find that Mervyns is G-O-N-E!

My favorite store when I lived in California.

Must go back and read now....

Saucy


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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December 2

Oh...I forgot two things...Martie...I have my fingers crossed for January 17th....from last year...

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Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Kathy...you mentioned having some unusual Christmas music in your collection...would love to try something new. Are they more Jazz or Classical? Mine run toward popular more than anything else.

It's A Marshmallow World by Arthur Godfrey from the 50's, Barbara Streisand does a wonderful version of 'I'll Be Home For Christmas'. Another favorite is Eartha Kit's 'Santa Baby'. My mother's favorite was 'Favorite Things' and my Dad loved anything by Bing Crosby. As kids our favorites were Mele Kalikimaka and 'The Twelve Days of Christmas' and 'I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus'. Perry Como can always be depended on for a Christmas memory or two. Of course, I have a lot of more recent favorites too, but no one here listens to those, do they?

Ok...now I'm done. :-)


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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December

PM, I remember the Bing C Christmas album with the Andrews Sisters-my friend George had it, and we listened to it frequently. My jazz Christmas CDs were all found in the used section at our local music store, and are all instrumental. I really love them. I also have some Elizabethan music CD's , also the Chieftans 'Bells of Dublin, The Gay Mens Chorus, and a CD that was made by my sons high School when he was in the chamber choir. I love classical acapellla groups. Have a few of those.

Kathy in Napa


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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December

Good morning all,

The snow has just started falling and Im up before the sun with the back spotlights on enjoying watching the snow fall while enjoying my morning cup of French Roast. Im hopelessly behind and just was able to skim the last thread.

Mary, how fantastic that David is becoming such a virtuoso on the classical guitar. And how wonderful that his instructor is loaning him an instrument! He must be really good for his teacher to do this for him. Brilliant! Im sad to confess Ive not played my guitar since the last time I visited you. Seems there are just too many things in my life to stay current on all the things I love to do.~ Love the Snowy Owl photo and story!!!! There are several on Plum Island right now and Im hoping to be able to photograph them this winter.

Marian, Im not unhappy to hear that you have difficulties with Rex Begonias as well!!!! LOL

Kathy, yes indeed Ive been spending hours and hours in my blind with my garden birds and enjoying every second of it I might add. Ill post a separate thread with a few of the thousands of images Ive taken in the last month. (yes I did say thousands. LOL! ) Doug has bought me a new HUGE hard drive for my lap top as Ive filled this one up yet again.

Eden, I just love your holiday decorations. I wish you lived closer. Id pay you to do mine. LOL Ive no enthusiasm to put up all the decorations this year. Seems like so much work just to take them down in a few weeks.

PM I just love your fruit wreath! Beautiful.

Cynthia, its so lovely to see you here again.

Today Im going to finally, hopefully get the plants in from the garage. With the cold temps the last couple weeks they are hopefully as much in dormancy as I can get them. I still havent figured out how the devil Im going to get that banana down the stairs. Ill do an update later.

OK Im off to do a thread of birdie pics for you guys. I thought you all might enjoy seeing what Ive been doing with my time.

Have a great day all
Deanne

So Vs in Mexico! Wow! Lucky girl!


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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December

Its snowing right now, just a light one. Just started and the kitties and cur will be thrilled to experience it when Daddy gets up.

Wow, Eden! Id forgotten you had a chandelier in your boudoir. It looks great, especially decorated for the Yuletide season. Did you use one of those plastic medallions to add the detail to your ceiling? Ive looked at them repeatedly over the years and have never used one before. Seeing yours got me thinking about the possibility of using one over the stairwell in the Salon (whenever I get around to replacing the cord and the bare bulb, lol). I have to agree with you on the annoying aspect of Spike and the necessity of him remaining in Bellas home! You could always give her a lump of coal and tell her its what ultimately became of all the dinosaurs, you know. ;) Books were always a huge part of gift giving in our home. And like Bella, my brother and I were never disappointed to receive them. I love that you and Bella read together; so, SO important, and not only for good reading skills, but also for relaxing and cementing the bond of affection and trust that will make the "tough" years easier.

Michelle, I love the idea of making puzzles for Kenzie. I can only imagine the squeals of joy when theyre completed and pictures of her favorite haunts at your home are revealed by her hard work. There are so many inventive ways to use technology to keep those distant close. Weve had none of your bone-chilling temperatures here but they will arrive as they always do! Still, though, we rarely see zero degrees F here in the "banana belt" of the Pine Tree State.

Ive yet to get working on the decorations for the outside of the house, PM. That wreath picture is so pretty. I havent decided whether or not to fool around with the wet saw today or apply myself to the task of stapling greens to frames. The helpmeet brought home a bundle of "brush" (trimmings from Christmas trees) the other day. Which reminds me that I ought to move them inside the bahn before they are covered with snow .

As usual, Ive gotten several chuckles from Cynthias post. Will today be the day the window candles are displayed at your house? Do you make winter jammies for your peach-skinned canids for the winter season? The image of the girls peeling around the yard pretending they were pursuing the "Yankee" cracked me up.

Mary, the generosity of musicians never ceases to amaze me. There is a definite kinship there, a shared experience of learning something, practicing, and mastering it. Hard work and joy in the subject elicits the generosity of such a thoughtful loan. Several years ago the cellist, YoYo Ma left his Stradivarius in a taxi. The instrument is valued in the millions of dollars and it was returned as soon as the oversight was reported. There was a similar story about another musician who left her instrument in some sort of public transport not too long ago . Hard to believe anyone could forget something so obvious, but Im sure it happens more than we know. I love the sound of the Lute, when I hear it now I always think of Mary I of England, who was the most accomplished musician of all Henry VIIIs children (all of whom were quite talented). I think my favorite composer is Handel, though I am a fan of Georg Telemann, too. I am particularly fond of the bright, cheerful sound of brass.

I purchased a pair of speakers for the Salon yesterday, having stewed on it for some time. We have rather a lot of stereo components kicking around the Compound, certainly enough to cobble together some sort of "system" for music delivery, but speakers are in short supply. I am not particularly skilled in programming remote controls but Im shooting for the Holy Grail, you guys. ONE remote to control volume and program/control a receiver and disc changer from anywhere in the room. Mind you, no such feat has ever been accomplished in this household before, so Im clearly shootin for the moon on this one.

Speaking of the moon, I DID enjoy the convergence in the heavens, Martie. It was very cool and both the helpmeet and I commented that we always think of the generations before us that looked up at the same thing, and considered the possibility of what a knowledge of the stars could provide them.

I wish Rich lived near me. The helpmeet attempted to install the staircase railings last spring. He was irritated and when hes like that he tends to hurry. Anyway, it looks like doggie poo-poo and Ive quietly decided Im going to look into hiring someone to do it with less "attitude". Ill bet itd be childs play for Rich and Ill bet he wouldnt mind if I wanted to "prefinish" some of the pieces before they were completely installed. You are so right about the importance of thoughtfulness in gift giving. The point of the season isnt the "booty", at all. My list includes several rather small items that will flesh out my tool collection and thats about it. Helpmeet has yet to present his wish list, so Im not certain whats on it. Hopefully no Spike!

I lol when Eden worried that your "out of work" friend doesnt appear at your door, Cindy, looking for another winter of protection. Repeat after me (while giving a nod to Nancy Reagan), "just say no". And I dont "get" keeping the dead plants around, either. Thats probably why there are no houseplants in this house! All the suggestions on how to address them made me laugh. Im always interested in your reports on the news from the heart of our nation.

Marian, Rex would make your yard a regular stop if you set out a turkey buffet for him. He might even bestow a certain "gift" on the edge of your lawn area, too. Speaking of which, he is giving me "the eyes". Hes had breakfast and now hes jonesin to go out for his morning constitutional. Id best get suited up to chaperone him.

Keep warm!


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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December

This is what greeted me as I was preparing breakfast:

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Image Hosting by PictureTrail.com


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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December

Good morning! No time...bbl :-)

Here is a link that might be useful: Bing and the Andrew Sisters


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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December

Great to see your post this morning, busy Deanne. I can only imagine the photos to follow. ;)

Marian, that mackerel sky is gorgeous! what a nice treat to find waiting for you.

Kathy, one word: Cuddledown . We own 3 of them, my brother owns 1, they're terrific! and you don't have to "break the bank", either.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cuddledown of Maine


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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December

Small rant here...men are such big babies when they're sick (at least mine is) and I find that I do not have the proper temperment for nursing. This is becoming a longggggggggggggg weedend.

Beautiful Marian.

Yes Chelone, the medalion is one of those cheapies from HD. I'm always on the lookout for architectural detail for my plain little house. The chandelier's one I found at the flea market years ago for $5. I've got another thrift store one that's a little larger in the living room and we just hung a little sparkly one over the sink in the kitchen. I'm not a fan of overhead ceiling lighting but am a sucker for cool light fixtures and love buying lamps. Good luck on the music setup. For me simple is best. I haven't yet grasped the concept of the Ipod sitting in it's docking station in my kitchen but Brad loves the latest and greatest with all the bells and whistles and hooking it all up too. David also inherited this trait from him.

Cynthia, I love the simple look of a candle burning in each window. Since I only have a large "picture" window and one bedroom window on the front of my house the look just wouldn't work here but you have plenty of windows to pull it off. Your home must look beautiful when they're all lit. Do you set them up to go on with a timer or go around and plug them all in each evening? I enjoy the ritual of going around and turning on all of my little lamps in each room at dusk.

Saucy, Mervyns closed their doors here a couple of years ago. I miss them too! We've also lost Linens N Things and World Market in the last few months. And then there's the closing of Frank's Nursery a few years ago which I still haven't gotten over.

For dressing my bed I usually rely on Home Goods/Marshalls or Target. I like to change things frequently though so don't worry about investing in anything of great quality.

Mary, David's guitar teacher must see real talent in David to offer his own instrument. Good to know there are still such mentors for upcoming musicians. Seeing the music programs in schools around here often makes me wonder. My music teachers were such dedicated people. Brings to mind my piano teacher, Miss Roth. Her students were her life. When you walked into her house, her living room was taken up by two baby grand pianos, side by side that took up the entire room. She expected or I should say demanded the best from her students. My violin is one my parents purchased from my violin teacher that was his college instrument. I also still own my little 3/4 size that I started out with back in 5th grade. Music lessons and performances are some of my best childhood/highschool memories.

PM, I love the wreath in your picture. So did you find a car yesterday. Hope so!

Kathy, I always do decorating, including a small tree of some kind in each room. I'd love to see your chandelier and Cynthia's too decorated up. Maybe we should start a Christmas decorating thread. I love seeing everyones decorations.

We're going to give it another try to make the trip to visit Santa today. It snowed all day yesterday but today is bright and sunny with beautiful blue skies. It's very cold though.

I've a few things to get accomplished before Bella's arrival at 11 so time to end this. Have a nice Sunday!

Eden


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RE: Idyll #412 Oh and Deanne...

Deanne, Martha Stewart wrote on her blog about getting a huge cycad moved into her greenhouse earlier this fall. It took three men and was a big deal to move it. I thought of you when I read it. Good luck on moving yours (poor Doug, lol)! Good to have a nice long post from you!

Eden

Here is a link that might be useful: Martha's method


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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December

We just came in from walking Misty - BRRR...! Temp is -8C (18F) with a windchill of -17C (1F)! Winter is here - UGH!


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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December

Happy Real December Weather Morning!! We got a dusting of snow last night and there's a wind advisory for this afternoon!!!! It's really here which means Spring can't be far behind, Right??? LOL (All this "keeping positive" is getting a bit out of hand...... :-)

Okay, if we don't hear from Eden for a bit we'll know why ;-) Gotta love what a few bucks can do to the atmosphere of a room.......

Spike needs to stay as far away as possible from Bud. That's my take on the whole thing. The poor dog will think that monstracity is going to attack Bella and it'll be toast in a few minutes. Hey!!!!! That's the idea!!!!! Open it at your house and let Bud "play" for a few minutes!!!!! What a good Grandma you are, Eden, to do what Bella wants even when it involves Spike.

Wahoo Marian! So when are you going to start using the Toyota as a planter?

PM -- I "get" you more than you know :-)

Deanne - I still have some Salvias, a New Guinea Impatiens, and a few other leftovers in the garage by an east facing window and the darn things won't die. Even a Rex Begonia that should've been mush by now is hanging in. Go figure.

Kathy - Frost and fog is New England weather, friend!! Make some pancakes, use real maple syrup, scatter some browned-out maple leaves among the Dahlias, and you're in my backyard!

Rescued a teeny, fading Poinsetta this morning from the supermarket pity pile (two days in a row is two days too many). With all the "designer" foliage varieties out there, a bedraggled plain red one just needed to be saved for posterity. That's the extent of gardening here, right now :-)

Just got an invite to a friend's for sitting around the woodstove while beef stew simmers on top and playing with her 250 pounds worth of Golden Retrievers. Sounds just right for today, and will tell the dogs that Cynthia's may not have their winter protection but can outrun them in a heartbeat.

Slipping, sliding, but waving nonetheless.

Martie


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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December

LOL Eden ! All Deanne needs is a groundscrew and a skip-loader and she'll be all set to get the banana out of harms way !

Kathy in Napa


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RE: Idyll #412 The Spirit of December

Good evening my friends, another weekend is closing up shop; its been a quiet one around here with DS on his house-sittting gig. I did nothing about Christmas decorating except to get the grape vine wreath down from the hook in the garage and hose all the dust and spider webs off of it. I may hang it plain this year .

This morning I went downtown with my camera and stated taking some pics of some of our buildings. I will continue this and then post on a separate thread; I hope others will post architecture of their regions as well. It was really foggy and damp today so I only got a few shots that were worth anything.

Chelone and Cynthia thank you , thank you for the link to Cuddledown, and the Macys sale code ! What great info, especially as it pertains to the product and choosing the most suitable comforter for your climate . I will order my comforter from them, and then use Cynthias coupon code for the cover and shams.

Marian, wonderful sunrise pics.

Chelone, if you lived down the road I could supply you with speakers for the Salon music system. Im waiting for the next electronics recycle event here to give them the heave-ho. I also have a tape deck which will never be used again. My speakers that I have with my system are Infinitys that I bought with a bonus check in 1987. They still sound fabulous, but they are rather large so they do double duty as plant stands for two of my 3 houseplants. I seem to recall that they cost me about 800 buckswhat a lot of money that must have been in 1987 ! In fact its still a lot of moneyI would think twice about spending that much on anything right now (except for dental work of course, lol). But this really speaks to the quality issue you mentioned earlier Chelone. I spent 800 bucks in 1987. and these speakers are still state of the art, and believe me they are on for hours every single day.At the time I bought them I did a great deal of research , looked at Bose, Polk, JBL etc., back in the day when there were independently owned stereo component stores. Ive never regretted the purchase.

Deanne, I just knew you were out with your birds! I know what you mean about getting up the enthusiasm to put up the decorations- Ive struggled with it since I will not be here for Christmas, but at the same time I love to make wreaths and arrangements so I plan to find a middle ground and put out only what I can disassemble in a couple of hours.

Eden, a company I worked for in San Diego in the late 70s was on the verge of being bought out by Franks. It was a chain of 9 garden centers. The deal fell through at the eleventh hour . Ive posted a pic below of some of my Christmas stuff from 2 years ago. I bought the two reindeer (they were paper) and glue-gunned sphagnum moss on them and made bows for their necks.This is not a very good photo. If I can find them I will put them up again this year, and get a better pic too.

LOL Martie, I thought about Spike and Bud too ! My dog would have absolutely freaked out. I DO have some real Maple syrup in the fridge, DS makes his own Chai tea from scratch and MS is one of his ingredients. He is very picky about the syrup (and all the other items for that matter) and only buys the good stuff from NE or Canada.
Ok, time to rustle up some dinner .. wonder what V is having tonight ?? Swordfish with salsa? Jeesh.

Kathy in Napa

(Note the aforementioned speakers on the right)

From 2006


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