Monday, November 30, 2009

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas



April and I got the tree decorated and I've started decorating the rest of the house.   Mac, as always hauled the tree in, attached the stand, tied it to the wall (see earlier notes on cats and Christmas trees) and put the angel on top.  He also found the power cord for the lights.  Then we got to work.  While I was fixing dinner she also  put together my Gingerbread house.  Swearing all the time she had not handicraft skills she did a great job on it.
All the Christmas bears and critters have come out of their boxes, I particularly enjoy the cow that moos a Christmas song.  The stockings are hung, but not stuffed.  My next project will be to 
start wrapping packages and I'm so not good at it.
It was wonderful having April here, I really miss having her to do things with.  When people ask me if I had a good Christmas or Thanksgiving I always say that if our daughter comes then it was a good holiday.






Friday, November 27, 2009

Let Christmas Begin...


Thanksgiving was wonderful, we had prime rib and it melted in your mouth.  Though April's plane was more than 4 hours late, fog in Virginia--she was flying from Dulles--, she arrived safe and sound and we stuffed ourselves and watched really bad football games and great Mythbusters.
But Thanksgiving is over and Christmas begins, not just 12 days, but lots and lots of days.  I love Christmas I love buying presents, wrapping them, watching my family open them in delight, dismay, shock or awe.  I love Christmas carols and the story of Christmas.  I love the smell of Christmas, the colors, Christmas trees with packages underneath.
I don't do Black Friday, except online, but we'll be off tomorrow to shop and get a Christmas tree.  We always have a real tree, I know I could save a lot of money if I'd just break down and buy an artificial one and they have some gorgeous ones, but I love the smell of a real one.  This will be the first time in about a million years that I'll have April here to help decorate it.  When she was growing up it was always she and I who did the decorating.  Mac drags it in, I always get a huge one,  secures it to the wall--cats you know always want to climb your tree-- and places the angel on top, that's his job, the rest is mine and now I have my favorite assistant to help  me.
I have on the first of my many Christmas sweatshirts, so let Christmas begin!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

New Paintings




Mac is such a talented artist!  He has just completed two wonderful paintings for our Bonus room.  The first of a female Flamenco Dancer is extraordinary, the light in it is just beautiful.  The male Flamenco Dancer is excellent too, if it were not for the female painting I'd be raving about it more.  
I think the female painting may be the finest painting he has done, and he has done many good paintings!  The pictures don't do the paintings justice, but they give you some idea of how fine they are. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving Almost ...


Thanksgiving tomorrow.  I like Thanksgiving, always have.  It's the time of year when, to me, things slow down, just before they go racing off to Christmas and New Year's. I love the colors of Thanksgiving, the browns, yellows and oranges, all the colors I can't wear (they make me look too weird) but I can decorate the house with.  I like cooking a feast and sharing memories of Thanksgiving past, of drinking a toast to family and absent friends. 
 For many years it has just been Mac and me for dinner, but last year April, our daughter, started coming again and that makes it even more special.  For many years she spent Thanksgiving with friends.  I've always tried to not be a nagging Mom or dump guilt on her about family, so though we missed her very much we never said anything about her coming to us instead.  And then last year her plans changed and she came, and though we all got sicker than dogs, no it was not food poisoning, it was so good to have her here.  She'll be in tomorrow morning just in time to devil the eggs.  Having her here is one of the things I'm most thankful for.  That and the boatload of food and football games, can't get too mushy!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

It's Been Funghi




Mac went out and took a load of pictures of the mushrooms growing in our yard yesterday..  Now I don't want to say we've had a wet year, like h**l I don't,--it's been wetter than h**l this year, the ground never dries out-- and  our backyard is beginning to resemble a funghi smorgasbord.  
I like eating mushrooms, fresh or from a can, but I would never eat a wild one, even after reading about which ones are safe and which are poisonous and looking at about a  million pictures I still think I 'll leave them to the squirrels.  I know that deaths head are the worst, but to me they just look like mushrooms.  Mac says he doesn't think we have any poisonous ones and truth to tell I haven't seen any dead squirrels with bits of mushrooms clinging to their paws, but I rather be safe than sorry.






Monday, November 23, 2009

Vet Visit


Miss Kitty has her annual Vet visit today and it got me to thinking about all the animals we'd had through the years.  Some came and went while others are still with us, at least in our memories.
The first was a cat that Mac had given me before we married, his name was Ping and he was unloved by everyone but me, and in return he hated everyone.  Before we married we found him a new home with, of all people, the head of the local Hells Angels in Oakland, California, who knew they had a soft side. 
The first time Mac was sent to Georgia in the late 60's we had a little mutt named Major, cute dog.  Don't know how we could afford to feed him we could barely afford food for ourselves, Army pay being so generous.
We briefly had a cat and dog while at Ft.Ord in California but had to give them up because we were going to Germany.  Giving up pets was a theme of Army life.
Returning to the States, Texas to be precise, we got a small black dog named Pooh who disappeared.  We then had rabbits and hamsters who lived in a chicken coop in the backyard.  The cutest thing in the world is a baby hamster, they're born "motoring".
After that we had a pair of German Shepherds named Duke and Duchess, one of them, can't remember which, use to steal Mac's underwear off the clothes line and sleep on it.
We also had a Manx cat named Tiger, named before we knew which sex she was.  She survived being bitten by a cottonmouth snake and when we sold our house the people who bought it took her too.
Our next home, after Germany again, was in Colorado and we went to the pound and got a cat we named Fang.  He stayed with us until we'd made an appointment to have him neutered and then he disappeared.  We replaced him with another pound cat we named Louis.  His name had been Dooley, but that was just too lame.  Louis was around 2 years old when we got him and stayed with us 16 more years, moving to Germany, Georgia, Turkey, back to Georgia and finally out to California.  He was quite a cat!
April had her first pony while we were in Colorado, his name was Waco, sold when we left for Germany.  I also  had a horse,  Partner, who had to be sold.
Also in Colorado we had a rabbit named PRab.  He was given to friends when we left.
In Georgia Boober joined us, he was the only cat friend Louis  ever had, not being very fond of cats himself, but when we went to Turkey we could only take one cat and that was Louis.
Returning to Georgia we had  several cats one of whom, Mudge,  was the mother of Bear one of our very special cats, loving in ways that cats usually aren't.  We also had Nisa a long haired beauty and I can't remember what happened to her, gave to our daughter or the pound I think.  Louis hated her as he hated all female cats. Bear and Louis moved to California with us.
While living in Georgia during the 80's we also had the only dog I ever claimed as mine, an English Sheepdog named Charlie.  He was only with us a year or so but became very dear to me.  I cried for a half an hour with the Vet when he died.
We also had a couple of horses, a minature Sicillian burro and a couple of goats.  We had a couple of horses who I don't remember very well.  I do remember that Mac built a barn right over the top of one of them.
In California Louis died and we got a cat to replace him, though Louis was irreplaceable.  The new cat was Oscar, a strange young man who never improved.  When we moved back to Georgia we brought him and Bear with us.  Bear died that summer and Oscar several years later.  I cried, and said I'd have no more pets, but Mac made me go to the animal shelter and pick out a new cat.  I decided I'd get a Tabby because that's what Louis had been and a Tuxedo because that's what Bear had been.  I definitely wanted male cats, they're cheaper to neuter.
Well at the Shelter a small female Tabby stuck her paw out, cried,"Take me home."  and that's what we did, her name is Miss Kitty, frequently called The Kite' and she completely stole our hearts.  We had never bought toys for a cat before and now our house is full of hers, she rules the house with a velvet paw and we couldn't imagine life without her!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

My Christmas Cactus...Or Not


I have a Christmas cactus with an identity problem.  The first year I bought it in bloom around Christmas, so it was a Christmas cactus.  The next year it didn't bloom until almost Easter, masquerading no doubt as an Easter cactus.  The next year it didn't bloom until Martin Luther King Day, thinking it had a dream I guess.
Last year it bloomed at Christmas and it was beautiful, we even took a cutting off of it and started another one.  But, alas, this year it's back to its old tricks and it looks like I'm going to have a Thanksgiving cactus.  It needs to make up its mind!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Bug Man Cometh


The bug man is coming today.  It happens 4 times a year.  If you live in the South, in a swamp, the reality is that you'll have all kinds of insects coming in to live with you.  Mac is a kindly soul and catches them in a jar and puts them back outside.  Ms Kitty rips their little legs off and spreads them about.  Me, well I have pest control come in and spray enough insecticide to do in every crawling critter for at least 3 months.  Between us we keep most of the natives out of the house.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Allergies

It's autumn and our allergies are running wild.  Mac has been living on Benedryl forever and I'm using prescription eyedrops for allergic conjuctivitis.  It's miserable.  The weed pollen count has been very high all month and now the mold has really kicked in.  Of course the 97% humidity couldn't be a factor in that. The lagoon out back is yellow with pollen, it's fall Mother Nature, not spring, get over it.
I know that living in the South means you'll deal with allergies, but they were almost as bad when we lived in the desert of California.
Quite frequently I end up with laryngitis in November from allergies.  I need all the plants, mold spores and pet dander to move to Florida for a while.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Monday, Monday ...


It's a beautiful Monday in the neighborhood (with apologies to Mr.Rogers).  We didn't get up till 9, though we heard our neighbors all leaving for work much earlier.  It's partly cloudy, big fluffy clouds in a high, blue sky.  I'm retired now and have the time to appreciate mornings finally.  I've never been a morning person, hate alarm clocks and would have taught Elementary Night School if there had been such a thing.
But now I wake up, have coffee and toast in front of my computer, instead of standing at the kitchen counter and trying to curl my hair and sip a bit of coffee.  After checking to see that the government hasn't completely given the country away I wandered off to the kitchen, searched for the cookbook that goes with my breadmaker (Mac finally found it shoved away in a corner of a rather obscure---meaning I don't use it for much---cupboard), and made some chocolate chip/walnut zucchini bread.
While that was cooking we went for our 2 mile walk through our neighborhood enjoying the antics of squirrels and the smell of fall.  Coming back to our house I noticed that I should probably give the lawn one more mowing before we put the mower away for the winter.
Now I'm eating my warm zucchini bread and thinking life is grand.  Do I miss working?  Yeah, about like a fish would miss his bicycle.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Dining Room

The paint turned out to be much bluer than I expected, but I like it.  The white makes everything so clean looking!
I like painting, I don't like setting up to paint and I hate the cleaning up, but I actually enjoy the painting, it's fun to watch the color unfolding.  
No more projects till after the first of the year then we need to finish the bathroom painting, put wood floors in our bedroom closets and install a closet system in Mac's closet.  Until then, enjoy the holidays!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Painting


The good news is that I like the new color in the dining room and so does Mac, it really brightens the room up and makes the crown molding stand out.  The bad news is that after 2 coats of primer and 2 coats of white paint it looks like the bottom half of the wall may need another coat.
We thought we'd be through today (Mac, bless his heart is helping with the painting), but it's 3 o'clock and we're calling it a day.  
Didn't get home till late last night, and I do mean late.  It wasn't that we kept dancing, we only danced 2 sets, but we went to eat afterwards, and it took forever to get our food from the snarly cook (the rest of the staff is great, can't be fun working with someone that hateful---she was throwing dirty looks everywhere and making ugly remarks), then when we got it it was inedible.  The meat was hard as a rock and the french fries were cold.  That cook went off duty,  YEAH, and our waitress Teri,who always takes good care of us,  took the food back and the regular cook made us a great meal.  But that all meant that it was about 1:30 before we got to bed, so tired, tired, tired!
Hopefully all will be done tomorrow, and no more projects until after the first of the year.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Fighting With the Classics


For the last week or so I have been fighting with Pachebel, in particular with his Canon in D.  It's not that I haven't played it before, oh so slowly, it's that I've decided that it's time I began to learn it properly.  I don't mean memorize, I don't memorize anything, I'm too old and too lazy.  What I mean is that I'll learn the pattern of it so I can play it smoothly and not need to read every single note because I'll know what's coming next.
Well the bass part was easy and the treble coordinates well (which means my brain likes the pattern) with it.  My problem is the finger extension required.  I have little stubby hands with even smaller stubby fingers.  I can reach the notes but my fingers aren't yet comfortable doing so.  That's why instead of playing Pachebel we've been fighting and that's a shame because I think this is such an incredibly beautiful piece of work.  It was originally written for 3 violins and it is wonderful when played by them.  The strings draw the notes out so much longer.
But I'll keep plugging away and maybe my cat will stop moaning when I play it for the 19th time in a row.





Thursday, November 12, 2009

Finally







It's finally all done, the fireplace arrived today, we put it together and the results are wonderful.
Of course, it makes the rest of the upstairs look shabby as h**l.










Monday, November 9, 2009

Sitting in the Garden Waiting for the Georgian Rain



It looks like Ida is finally coming ashore in Alabama.  Late for a hurricane, but she's not that anymore, not even a tropical storm, just a low, but my oh my, a lot of rain is forecast.  We won't get the worst of it, they're saying only 2-4 inches over the next couple of days.  But after the rain we've had this year that's more than we need.  I don't think the ground has ever completely dried out, we've seldomly had to to water and that's unusual for here.
The chance of rain is 100% for today  and Wednesday, so I guess it's time to get the paint brushes out again.  I need to prime the dining room and considering how dark the paint is I'll probably have to prime it twice.  The plan is to prime the bottom half of the room and then paint it white, then  paint the top half a pretty shade of blue (not a color I ever use, so I hope
 I've picked the right color).  Right now it's white and the bottom is , well it's hard to say what color the bottom is.    I thought I'd like it, but I hate it and after having had Mac paint this room 3 times it's now my turn.  This is the color I've picked,  so cross your fingers.



Sunday, November 8, 2009

Closet Wars

We bought three cheap bookcases and this afternoon, if Mac gets them put together, I will do battle with the closet.  I stuffed them full on Friday, they erupted twice on Saturday and they must be tamed.  I have my whip and chair, so here's hoping.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Quality Control

Several months ago we bought a new Sony CD/DVD player to use with our upstairs tv, but we didn't open it right away.  Well this week, as we put our Bonus Room back together we got the new player out of the box and set it up, very slim and modern looking.  Only one problem, there was no remote with it.  I figure someone forgot to put it in the box when it was shipped from the factory, Mac figures someone lifted it from the box, but then he's much less trusting of his fellow man than I am. 
 It has been so long since we bought it that neither of us could remember where we bought it, either Walmart or AAFES (Army PX).  If we could find the receipt on it that would tell us, and we do save  all receipts like that,  we just don't save them all in the same place.  So instead of fighting with a store about something we'd bought months ago I contacted sony.com and they had loads of remotes, all I had to do was give the model number of my missing remote in order to buy a replacement.  But of course I don't have the model number, so I sent them an e-mail, and in less than a day I had a model number, which of course matched none of the remotes on their website.  So I ended up doing business the old fashioned way, I called, placed my order and in a week to 10 days we'll have a remote.  In the mean time it's like old timey days, we operate the DVD by hand, how quaint.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Reconstruction

The bonus room is done, except for putting stuff back in it, and that's going to be a long process because what was in there doesn't fit any more.  We've taken out the entertainment center that housed our old tv and about a million books  and all that stuff has been dumped, and I do mean dumped, into the two upstairs bedrooms.  
I've spent the morning cleaning out a closet in one of the spare bedrooms and attempting to move some of the books into there.  The plan is to buy some cheap, really cheap, bookcases, put them into the closets and store the books there.  In the mean time I can't stand looking at the bedrooms, and our daughter is coming for Thanksgiving, so I'm hiding books, and a ton of other stuff. 
Both rooms look like an explosion took place.
We have a 32 inch tv, small refrigerator, and a microwave all looking for a new home .... SOON!














Wednesday, November 4, 2009

No!No!No!


My neighbors are putting up Christmas decorations!  It's bad enough when the stores do it before Halloween, but now my neighbors are putting them up the day after Halloween.  I remember when stores first started putting decorations up  before Thanksgiving and people complained, is putting them up before Labor Day coming?
I absolutely refuse to put Christmas decorations up till after Thanksgiving, of course then I go hog wild, but that's a different story. 
I've been surveying my  family to find out what they want to eat for Thanksgiving (it's down to ham or prime rib, we're not a turkey family), not what they want for Christmas.
My house was decorated for Halloween, now all the little "scare" bears are put up, but the autumn/Thanksgiving things are up till the end of the month.  I LOVE Christmas, I love buying for others and watching their faces as they open their presents, I love the smell of Christmas, I love the feelings that Christmas brings and having my family together, but I refuse to be rushed into it.
So thank you to all the Veterans out there who've served our country, including my husband, be careful that you don't get ran over in the rush to Christmas.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

HD TV


It was bound to happen, cheap though we be, we have finally joined the 21st century and now own an HD TV.  We bought a 37 1/2 inch Vizio to go in our bonus room.  We hadn't planned on doing it, but the old tv just looked God awful so we had  to.
DirecTv, who we've had for years, is coming out tomorrow to give us a new satellite dish, receiver and DVR.  We'll be ready to view the world, in High Definition.
Think TV will look any better?

Monday, November 2, 2009

Halloween

Halloween has gotten sad.  I remember being a child dressing up in a home-made costume and watching the window waiting till it was dark enough to head out in search of candy.  When we were young my sisters and I went together and then as we got older we went with friends, I don't remember our parents ever going with us, not as many weirdies out there then.  And no one checked my candy for foreign objects or tampering, we'd probably eaten a ton of it before we ever gotten  back to the house.
Now parents take their kids Trick-or-Treating, examine all their candy and as often as not find something else for the kids to do instead of Trick-or-Treating.  Many churches and neighborhoods hold Fall Festivals instead.
Fewer and fewer kids go out into the dark night in search of candy, we only had 3 come to our house and now I have to find something to do with the candy I bought in order to keep me from eating it.  If I were a kid I'd have earned all that candy and enjoyed every bite of it, now we'll just pass it on to a friend with kids.  It's sad.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Oh, the Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men ...


 We had it all worked out, new floor, new table to put the tv on, pack up some books, room will look beautiful.  Great plan, good in theory, but somehow it just didn't work out.  
The floor is mostly done, one thin row plus quarter round to go, and looking incredibly beautiful, a new table had been purchased (and delivered) to set the tv on, and that's when it began to fall apart.  
First of all the new table was much too pretty to take upstairs and stick a tv on, so we decided to take the bookcase that we'd  had made out of solid wood a couple of years ago and put the tv on that.  That sounded ok, would have looked ok, but we have one of the old boat anchor tvs that are deep and heavy and it just plain wasn't going to look good in the room unless we stuck it in a huge surround that camouflaged it. So  the more we  thought about it, we realized  that though we'd have liked to wait for it to die (the tv) a natural death, that we'd have to  replace it with a flat screen tv. So that's what we did and it looks so much better.   We got a beauty,  37.5 inches,  and it's now sitting upstairs on the bookcase.
Then becuase we'd  swung the bookcase around from the long wall (so it would be in front of our chairs) it had been on we now had an empty wall to the right of where the chairs will be. We thought about how we use the room, knowing we use it  a lot in winter  and that we usually use a small heater up there, because  it's better to heat one room instead of the whole house.  Our last heater had died quietly last year and so we knew we'd need a new one, but Mac had a brain stoke and decided that we ought to  put a fireplace in instead, that would be a much better look than a puny little floor heater.  We had put a fireplace in our bedroom  a couple of years ago  and we love it, so that's what we've decided to do and I ordered it today and it should be here in a week or so.
So what started out to be a new floor and tv stand has now turned into a new floor, new tv, new sofa table (which is now going behind the coach downstairs),  new rug and a fireplace, which is bad, but not quite as bad as the couple whose review of the fireplace I read.  They liked the fireplace so much, and it made their old furniture look so bad, that they sold their old furniture and bought all new.  
I think we're through or at least I hope so.

What's Cooking?

The kitchen smells heavenly.  I made vegetable beef soup, think it's the first time I've done that.  It's for lunch tomorrow and...