Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Blogger Comment Block

I've been distracted from the blogging world by having to return to work. It put a crimp in my style (for all of 2 days). Yesterday three of us took a field trip at lunch to a nearby thrift store, and everyone came away with something:

- one book and two disney videos for a grandchild (he's finally old enough to enjoy watching movies)
- one monogrammed ice bucket, one cut glass platter and a small cut glass bowl (possibilities are endless)
- one pair of wing back chairs (5.99 each)

Guess which was me?

And then there was my mother's phone emergency. Let's just say that this whole marketing thing of "all you need is a cell phone, land lines are so yesterday" falls apart when said cell phone keeps ending your calls and you can't call customer service for help because you get cut off mid-sentence! Then they say "you need to call us from another phone that works so we can help you".

["I want to say my sen tence". Name that classic tv program.]

The wind is picking up outside. Could this mean that we are going to get some cooler weather? It's disconcerting to have 70 degree weather at New Year's, but, hey, plenty of years we've played outside in shorts on Christmas and New Year's, so I'm not sure why I'm always surprised by warm temps on major holidays.

Did anyone besides me notice when PioNeer Woman said something like "I'm making some changes to the front of my blog so if I don't have anything to say blah blah blah"? What did that mean exactly? No fair getting me hooked and then walking away.

And, and, and do you feel pressured to come up with witty or insightful or meaningful comments on your favorite blogs? Oh boy, do I ever. That's why I lurk. It's hard to always be a contributor. Come on, some of us in life are just takers not contributors. We read the blog, laugh or admire the artwork or ponder the deep thoughts shared and are better for the exposure. Sometimes we snort coffee out of our noses at an unexpected funny (no, I have no experience with that, just want to be inclusive). So for those of you who haven't heard from me, I'm behind because of work, and I'm facing blogger comment block.

If I hadn't given up making New Year's Resolutions, I would resolve to only say Hi, I enjoy your blog or Thanks for the blog on the days when I have nothing to contribute. Because the blogger likes to have comments! I totally get that and covet comments too. But sometimes all the good comments are taken by the people who got there first.

Just like thrift stores. See how I tied two of the random things together? Cool, huh?

And the answer to the question is that I bought the wing chairs because I saw an article in Cottage Living or Domino or somewhere about someone who got thrift store chairs and recovered them in a linen piped in black with a black monogram. Guess what my plan is? The chairs were in good structural condition, didn't smell funny and I think the scale fits my miniscule house. Pictures later.

Celebrate safely tonight if you're going to be out.

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas Flashback

There are many things I'll treasure from this year: the cards that didn't get made and mailed until Christmas Eve, the new lens that's smarter than I am, the fun of having the dogs around, the kid's faces, my BIL teaching my mother to play the Wii with her new coat on, playing Legos, my neice and her Dora umbrella...all the simple things that made this a wonderful celebration.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Taking Stock

I don't know why, but I'm drawn to these lists. So for once, I'm playing along.

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland (Disney World)
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied (in general)
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Read an entire book in one day

So, I could check of 38 of these. Some of these I don't care if I ever do. But the travel related ones, yes, I would like to do many of those.

But, hey - I'm not getting credit for some things I have done, like these:

101. Been chased by a snake
102. Eaten rattlesnake, turtle and squirrel
103. Eaten scrambled eggs and pigs brains (not sure why my grandmother thought this was a good idea)
104. Been burned on both legs by the muffler of the speeding motorcycle in # 78 (different times, indicates doesn't learn from experience)
105. Been thrown off a horse in my grandfather's pasture, landed on a rock and couldn't breathe for eons (wasn't supposed to be on said horse...)
106. Fed peroxide to a dog to get him to upchuck the latex hamburger he just ate
107. Swept leaves off the carport roof
108. Picked up pecans for money
109. Met best friend at age 7
110. Used sunglasses to win at Spades (on a church trip, no less)
111. Seen the original cast of The Producers on Broadway
112. Seen a shark from the safety (?) of my float (in the gulf)
113. Canned strawberry preserves
114. Took apart something to see how it worked
115. Failed to get #114 put back together so threw the whole thing away and bought a new one

How about you? What have you done that's not on the list?

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Hooting

I put off leaving the house today for as long as I could.

I invited Cindy to join the dog walk this morning, did another couple of loads of laundry, napped, and finally saw fit to venture out. I only managed to make myself by including a trip to the bookstore which is next to the grocery store.

As I opened the car door, I heard the "whoo-whoo, who, who." of the local owl. I saw him once in a tree over the creek, enormous, sitting on a branch near the trunk of the tree.

Again as I got out groceries: whoo-whoo, who...who.

And as I got to the front door, a more muffled whoorgh-whoorgh, whoomp.

It's so evocative. Is he calling for a mate? Is he warning his prey? Is he feeling good?

In the damp, cool, misty night it's easy to imagine it's a solitary, plaintive cry.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Farmer in the Dell

It's damp, gray and fretfully spitting rain this morning, so after two wonderful, whirlwind days of making merry (i love that phrase), I woke up this morning and had two leisurely mugs of coffee. For breakfast I dined on a chicken dish that had the same ingredients as a breakfast casserole, so I thought "why not?".

Deciding that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single load, I scaled the laundry mountain and started a load. Then the dogs and I went for a long walk to work off the kinks from being inside for two days and feasting for the same two days - and in a car the day before.

So here at Casa de Shedding Retriever, we will be burrowing in and taking it easy. There might be a late afternoon excursion, and I will do some internet shopping for more RAM and more hard drive space, but other than that, it's going to be a low key day for me. I also need to look through the photos I took and evaluate the difference in the lenses and figure out what to share and what to discard.

But for now, I will leave you with the newest family member on the occasion of his new occupation: The Farmer in the Dell.


P.S. The photo is a little blurry as the Farmer would not be still and the center of focus is somewhere over the pig sty. I imagine that's a trait of farmers everywhere, as there is so much to do before sleep.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Belly

What does this have to do with anything, you ask? Nothing. I'm just touching down between Christmas visits...off on a day trip tomorrow to visit family and I think I'll be fasting. How about you? Full to the gills with Egg Nog and Whoville Roast Beast and Great Aunt Velma's casserole and Red Velvet Cake? What's always at your Christmas feast?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Bridge Tour

Last Friday night was monthly bridge night. My turn to host. I was ready. One of us came down with a bad cold and wanted nothing more to go home and hibernate. That left 3 of us to eat yummy snacks and drink wine.

Then I suggested a light tour.

We started with the major display I pass every night during the holidays when I pick up the most spoiled dogs in the world from doggie day care. It is synched to a radio broadcasted set of holiday songs. This doesn't do it justice as some of the items aren't lit yet.


Next we visited this place. Look familiar? Look harder. No? Okay, click here (and scroll down a bit) and then come back. Yep, presto change-o: converto-decor. What do you think? Notice the nativity on the porch (it's in a papa san chair).

I've never really noticed before, but I've decided I'm not a fan of the candy canes.
















Below is my favorite house - it's a couple of neighborhoods over from mine.













I liked this one too. I think it's charming and not overdone.







Careful - this one always gets me when I drive by. I was happy to see the intensity of the blue translated to the photo. If you look at it too long it's sort of mesmerizing. Not good when you are driving by. These lights always go up Thanksgiving night.





Lovelovelove this place. It looks good undecorated, too. (this is a merged photo because it didn't fit in the frame, hence the funny top left corner).





Another merged one: the teeter totter just didn't fit.





Hope you enjoyed the Bridge Tour highlights. I know my passengers did. Right until they drained their wineglasses.
Then they became surly and complained about the chauffer.

Christmas Past - in puppies

2003





2005

2006

2006

2007

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Twelve Days - Must See

The Twelve Days of Christmas is one of my favorites and I happened on this today. Enjoy!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Wrapping it Up


Okay, it's been a while since I've come up with an Poverty Post offering. Let's not waste time thinking why that might be.

Tonight I came up with mine: wrapping paper.

You know those premium rolls you buy from co-worker's children to raise money for schools?

The kind that's great quality, heavy duty and beautiful?

And they are stored safely upstairs in your attic/bonus room?

And you had your family over at Thanksgiving?

And went upstairs to see what was so amusing that it kept the cousins upstairs running around for a looooong time?

And found them using the premium wrapping paper rolls as swords in their mock battles?

Well, alrighty then, you know about having to come up with an alternative to that paper since you don't want to buy more.

Here's mine: paper grocery bags. I know it's not a new idea, but it's a good idea. And good ideas should be shared. Anyway, paper bag wrapping with your cool ribbon that could not be put to use in the mock sword fights looks pretty great. I briefly thought of putting the store logo on the back, but decided that treating it like a Polo, Coach, or Juicy logo could be fun.

Bonus: uses something that is taking up space in my small house!

Plus this particular package was wrapped with a bag from Trader Joe's. Did I mention I'm thinking of moving in with Trader Joe?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Rescue Me

I just saw this on Chronicles of a Country Girl. Must watch tv. SSG, how come you never mentioned these firemen?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Collections

Collections, I have collections. Here's one of my Christmas ones. And there's a story (isn't there always?).

When I graduated from college, I started work in December. Either that December or the one after, I went to the Hallmark Store and looked at the series ornaments, hoping one that I would like would be starting.

There was one called Mary's Angel's. Over time, I've gotten most if not all of them.

This year, it occurred to me to put them all on one tree. Not the tree I would necessarily choose for these ornaments, but, hey, I already had it and it has lights!



I didn't get nerdy enough to find a list to check against, but I think the cutie below was the first one. They all have flower names.

This was not part of the series, but an add on. You stick a tree light in the bottom, and look in the lamp. See the little ball of glow? I don't know how it works, but isn't it great?



I like the idea of giving this collection to one of the nieces one day. I think maybe that's what I like about collections. The idea of sharing them.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Trimming the Tree

Sunday, I trimmed the tree. Not that I finished all decorating, for some reason it's taking me a while to get it all done. Still, let's be thankful for small things.
I got this from a store I loved but it went out of business.


This one made me laugh, especially as Gus slept the entire day away.




See the resemblance?




These are two I got from my B and SIL shortly after they married. I love them.



This one is just fun. It's a Whimble. I think.



This one was a gift.




And this was a sale special that I loved the colors of. It reminds me of the little cardboard villages lit by Christmas lights from my childhood. And Martha Stewart Living had the instructions for how to make one of those villages, but I either threw away the magazine by mistake, or lost it.







These are just a few of the ornaments I have-in fact it's only the ornaments that lent themselves to being photographed in poor light at 10:30pm at night.
So many ornaments, so few Christmas trees.


Monday, December 15, 2008

Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy


This Chick-Fil-A location closed for remodeling at the end of October, and it has been a long, chicken strip salad-less 7 weeks.

This is one of my three favorite southern things: Coca-cola (now Coke Zero), Dale's Steak Sauce and Chick-Fil-A.

What are your regional favorites?

Hurry, Chick-Fil-A!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Sick as a Dog


Gus my dog is sick as a dog.

I went looking for the origin of the saying and it's not entirely clear, although it originated in the 1700s. It seems the phrase was coined because dogs will eat anything and it often makes them sick. Then they eat grass.

So Gus refused his dinner last night which is unheard of... and returned from the back yard with a blade of grass hanging off his lip. Never one to miss clues, I began watching him and sure enough, it appeared that poor Gus had gastrointestinal distress. What ensued was an all night vigil. Yawn. Excuse me.

This morning he was feeling so badly and had no interest in food again egads, this is serious..., he got a trip to the emergency vet where he was xray'd to eliminate a blockage or torsion (also called bloat and life threatening) and iv'd full of fluids to prevent dehydration since he couldn't keep down water and dosed with anti-nausea medicine. Poor old thing.

This concludes the free time I have today - I must return to nursing Gus and wrapping gifts and finally getting all the decorations up and thinking up ideas for gifts and making a dish for tomorrow's office potluck.

Think I may take a nap.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Thoughts on Justice

When I first thought about a post today, I had a collection of random things I was going to post about. But I turned on the tv to the local news this morning as I dined on oatmeal and turkey sausage. There I found the televised sentencing of Brian Nichols, who killed 4 people and injured 1, took a hostage in a suburban Atlanta apartment complex and led authorities on a metro Atlanta wide manhunt.


This is the window in my bedroom and I think it creates an interesting graphic with the window panes and the deck. Although its sort of commonplace, it's more precious now that I recall how close I came to Brian Nichols back in March 2005. I had already bought this house, and was waiting for the painting to be done before I moved in.


At that time I had a GSD named Piper that I dearly loved. However, she had aggression issues and I had taken to walking her very early in the morning or late in the evening to avoid children, people, and dogs. And the walks had to be long to work off her energy. So on March 11, 2005, a Friday night, I walked Piper late in the evening, say around 11 pm (when one walked with Piper, personal safety was not an issue). I was in the habit of walking her from my small neighborhood through the nearby apartment communities since they had sidewalks and open areas and my neighborhood and it's neighbors weren't really walking communities.


This is my front walk this morning. It leads to a sidewalk in my current neighborhood which is a wonderful walking community. On the other hand, you will notice the blue thing in front of my walk. It is not my car. My car is peeking in from the left side. People who park in front of my house so that I can't park in front of my house are my pet peeve. Because then I have to park in front of my mailbox and get a nasty-gram from the mailman who says "if your mailbox is blocked your mail will be stopped".

So Piper and I walked that night, and it was cold. It was a Friday night, so I wasn't in a hurry since no work on Saturday. I had been following the Brian Nichols news story, but no one knew where he was after he shot the customs official. That followed the courthouse slayings. You can read about them here.


MFC had lost a friend, Judge Barnes, in the shootings. It had been widely discussed at work that day. So, Piper and I walked. We walked and walked and returned home ready for bed.

The next morning, I got up and turned on the tv, but no new news. I dressed and left to go to the new house to check the painting or something. Possibly to go house hunting with MFC because she was looking for a house about that time. As I drove the mile from my house to Satellite Boulevard to head to the interstate I noticed helicopters swarming around the area. The closer I got to the apartments I walked through the night before, I saw deputies, sheriffs, police and if I'm not mistaken, the GBI staging in the adjacent apartments (there were several next door to each other). Brian Nichols, I thought. It can't be here. In the suburban boonies.

It was. Turning on the radio I learned he had taken a female hostage in the very apartment complex I had walked Piper through. I'll never know if he was there in the shadows as we made our way through the quiet complex that Friday night. But we hadn't missed him by much. And I've always wondered if the big black and tan german shepherd with me changed the course of events that evening, or if we never crossed paths. She did alert that evening in the apartments. But then, she alerted for rabbits, mice, rats, cats, people and paper blowing across pavement, too. So between God and Piper, I was safe that evening.


My snow people look on this morning at the special box I received. I am drawing out opening it because inside is something special and scary. Scary in the sense that it will challenge me.

So as I ate my breakfast, with one eye on the box above and one eye on the tv, I considered what the judge was saying about how it was imperative, even in the face of complete certainty that someone is guilty, that they be presumed innocent until proven guilty. That our justice system with all its flaws is the envy of the world. That we shouldn't cut corners by bringing the accused to court in prison attire - that we should accord the accused every benefit of the doubt. Until they are proven guilty. As has been the case with Brian Nichols.

It's hard to keep that in mind when we have 24 hour a day news. There's a case right now, the missing little girl in Florida, where I'm sure we all believe the mother was more than just neglectful. That the family didn't react soon enough.

So in that case too, we should let the system work the way it is designed so that we maintain our right to be innocent until proven guilty.

But it's awfully hard.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Oldest Ornaments


At Quiet Life (edited to note I had this mis-titled Quiet Times! Sorry!), Miz Booshay asked about the oldest ornament we had. I think these are mine. They don't even get packed up with the others - they live in dessert dishes in the corner cabinet. There's also a shrinky dink set (much newer - from the 70s) that I love.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Bling

Tree lights reflected in the window


Retro tinsel tree stocking hanger


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Meanwhile, at the Back Door...

Hello? Anyone there? Anybody?


Can you see anyone? I think I saw something move.


This screen makes it hard to see.


Can we come in now?

[This was the 8th time in 2 hours these two had asked to come in after asking to go out. I parked in the dark kitchen with my camera to see what would happen if I ignored the request to come back in. She wagged harder and harder, He wagged not.]

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Finer Things

Around 10 pm or so, I usually check the locks, turn off the tv and lights, brush my teeth and head for my bed, only to find the middle occupied by two tired exhausted, sound asleep pooches. Who crack an eye to see if I'm buying it.




They good naturedly move when I tell them to, amid much exaggerated yawning and stretching and easing along to see if I might forget what I told them.





I get in and get settled with my book, and they promptly get right back up on the foot of the bed. When it's cold, like it is now, they like to snuggle ( in the summertime they sleep on the floor vents).

I think a loyal dog sleeping at the foot of the bed is one of the finer things in life.

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