Monday, November 30, 2009

Not the Ideal Way to Start the Season

Christmas 1977 - I was 23, Daniel was 16 months old and I was pregnant with #2

Sunday afternoon my sweet son (child #4) came over to bring the Christmas tree upstairs and hand boxes of decorations down from the attic to me. Right away I tested the lights on the tree because there was one strand last year that kept going out. This year only one small section of lights was working. I decided that all the lights would have to come off and I would buy new ones.

Let me tell you, I cannot think of one thing that I hate doing in this life more than putting on or taking lights off the tree. In the past, I have been known to cry like a baby after spending hours putting lights on the tree (which I tested first) only to find that they wouldn't work when I was done. Yesterday, after struggling with unwinding them only to feel as though I was getting nowhere, I abandoned the job to reconcile my checking account instead (another thing I don't enjoy). Don't ask me how long I have put doing that off. Are you seeing a pattern here.....yes, it's true....I put off jobs I hate until later all the time. That is why I have so many things that need doing around here. I chose to wash dishes and load the dishwasher afterward, in order to have an excuse not to take the lights off the tree.

So, more excuses I told myself. Get up and get those lights off the tree. Half way through the job, I realized....wait a minute....this is not the smaller tree I bought last year. This is the old tree. The one that is too heavy for me to slide it back against the wall. At first I thought I would just use it since it was upstairs anyway. Then I realized....the new tree only had one strand of lights that needed replacing...I was not going to go out and buy all new lights for a tree I don't even want to use anymore.

So I called my son up....guess you think you could...thank're the best! The sweetie said he will come by before work tomorrow and switch trees. Bless his sweet heart!

Since I had partial strands of lights hanging out of the tree everywhere, I went ahead and took them all off. Once off the tree 3 strands still work. I'm thinking that I'm just going to throw them up along the mantel and over the entertainment center Charlie Brown Christmas style....messy, no fuss decorations...that's the ticket for me this year.

Do you Cyber Shop?

I got all my shopping done for the grandchildren, except two, on the internet this weekend. Yahoo!

I tried shopping locally, but everything I wanted was already gone. Besides staying out of the stores keeps me from buying something for myself for every gift I get someone else. When I went to Target, I left the store with a fleece jacket for $15 (which I really needed), a new change purse clutch (which I just wanted), mascara (for which I had a $1 off coupon), 3 bags of Archer Farms Basmati Cashew rice (yummy), one Hernandez salsa (which was on sale) and some gift tags and ribbon. See how much safer it is for me to cyber shop?

What about you? What websites do you like to shop?

Be sure to check out for store coupons and great buys online. (shameless plug for where #1 son works) My DIL said Matt Lauer on the Today show plugged them last week and they had over a million hits on Black Friday. WooHoo!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Can You Believe It?

These are still blooming on my front porch. Usually by the first weekend in November all plants have been brought inside to avoid the frost. We might make it to the first weekend in December this year.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


I count my family as the greatest blessing that God has given me.

Last year's Thanksgiving wishes from them to me.

Elijah makes his first card for his Gramma.
Elijah's palm, forefinger and thumb...Rachel's little finger is the yellow, green and red feather because he was done cooperating.

After lunch last year we made this video for the TX girls.

This card arrived yesterday.

And next year, it seems there will be a new member of the family.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


I like the way Norman saw the world.

His work was fun.

He sometimes poked gentle humor at our roots.

He never forgot the wonder of youth.

He celebrated love.

And family traditions.

And reminded us not to take ourselves too seriously.

He might have staged it all, but I like his vision.

Monday, November 23, 2009

10 Things I'm Looking Forward to on Thursday

listening to the Macy's parade on television while I cook in the kitchen
cornbread dressing
delicious smells
the warmth of being with family
joking around and telling stories
the best dishes on the table
pumpkin and pecan pies
the leftovers
counting my blessings
giving thanks

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Small Screen

I live alone. The television is my white noise. It is my company. It keeps me from talking to myself. It entertains me. I control the channel changer.

I've found a few new shows I like. White Collar on USA. Castle on ABC. Glee. V.

I used to read a lot, but menopause fried my concentration. How about you? What do you watch? How do you entertain yourself?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Blind Contour Friday on Saturday

my entertainment center

“There are hundreds of languages in the world, but a smile speaks them all.”

Thanks for the smiles today Google Images .

"The happiness of life is made up of minute fractions - the little, soon-forgotten charities of a kiss or smile, a kind look, a heart-felt compliment, and the countless infinitesimals of pleasurable and genial feeling." - Samuel Colridge

Do your part to promote world happiness today. Give some smiles away.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Random Thoughts While Listening to the Phone Ring

-wondering why a different password is required for every site I use in the course of the day..too much to remember!

-wondering why so many people think they can drive their car for free...I'm really tired of calling the same people day after day.

-wondering why I always feel so bad...really I would like to get to the bottom of it so I can fix it.

-wondering what to cook for Thanksgiving. We are all going to my sister's this year and she said cook whatever you want to cook. Too many decisions....need to decide so I can go to the grocery store this weekend.

-wondering why I never remember to bring some snacks to work...I'm hungry...or bored...or both.

-thinking about this thinking about the weekend.

-thinking about the finale of Project Runway last night...thinking about what it takes to visualize a whole cohesive line of clothing....thinking about the hats that Irina do you know how to do that?

-thinking that I'm cold in this office.

-thinking that I didn't get the football gene...everyone else in the office loves discussing the games...we have a lot of Alabama fans in here....if I do any routing it's for Auburn.

-thinking I need to start my Christmas shopping.

-wishing my favorite scrapbook store didn't close. I miss wandering around looking at the pretty designs. I need some new inspiration.

-wishing I had a big piece of chocolate cake and a glass of milk.

And that's the way my day goes.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

10 things I wish I knew how to do

1. Dance (I'm pathetic)
2. Sing (I'm not pathetic, but I'm not good)
3. Play the flute (I admit it, I have a Pied Piper fixation)
4. Calligraphy (this is on my list of things I plan on actually making an effort to learn)
5. Write a book (I think about doing this every now and again, but have no idea how to do know plot, tension, action, dialog...etc)
6. Knit (I can crochet, but I think knitting is elegant whereas crocheting is everyday)
7. Swim (I was too afraid to let go and learn when I was young. Over the years I developed a weird dog paddle/frog kick kind of stroke)
8. Math (Okay, I can do math, but I forget so easily. I wish it stuck in my head)
9. Home repair work (because I have a ton of home improvement projects that need doing)
10. Computer technical stuff (wish I was a wiz because I'd like a IT job...they make pretty good money and everyone needs one, also I could wear one of those cool t-shirts like my sons do)

enlarge to read shirts

Monday, November 16, 2009

Hand and Eye Coordination

I continue to be frustrated with my inability to draw exactly what I see. I fear that is because I have not yet trained myself to really see.

Maybe one day practice will make perfect.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Groomed and Fed

On Thursday I groomed the yard, swept the porch, steps and driveway clean. I bagged leaves, pulled weeds and trimmed some bushes. It was only a drop in the ocean compared to what remains to be done, but I feel good that I got so much accomplished before I pooped out. The bad news is that there are still tons of leaves in the trees. The backyard is still covered and the back deck has a couple of inches of leaves on it as well.

Rachel spent Thursday night and the day Friday with me while her hubby was away on business. I got lots of sweet baby time and I got to finally see him sign his first word....more. More food, more fun, more milk. Priceless.

On Friday we clipped coupons and went to the grocery store together. By combining coupons with buy one, get one free offers I saved $46 and some change on my total bill....thanks to my saving guru Rachel.

One of my goals for the weekend was to do some cooking. I wanted to get some meals put up in the freezer and some REAL food cooked for myself. I'm sick of eating fast food and frozen meals. At the end of the day, I had 10 meals in the freezer and 6 in the fridge. I also sent 4 bowls of food home with Rachel.

One of the recipes was something new, Summer Squash Soup. I altered it a little to suit my taste. Altogether, it took about 35 or 40 minutes for prep and cooking.

1 tbs olive oil
1 pound yellow squash, sliced 1/2 inch thick (I used 4 large squash)
2 ears corn, corn removed from cob. Cut cobs in half and set aside. (I used 4 ears because that is what came in the package I bought)
3 large shallots, chopped ( I substituted large green onions)
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 fresh jalapeno chile, chopped (if you don't like the heat, try a banana pepper instead, the fresh jalapeno I used didn't add any heat, I removed the seeds...for more kick I'd use 2 fresh instead of just one)
1/4 tsp ground cumin (since I love cumin I used about 2 tsp or more...suit your own taste)
2-1/2 cups water or broth (I used 1 cup low sodium chicken broth and 1 1/2 cups of water)
Italian parsley sprigs for garnish (I used cilantro instead)

In a 5-quart heavy kettle, heat oil over moderate heat and saute all ingredients (including cobs) except water or broth for five minutes. Stir in water or broth and simmer until squash is very tender, about 20 minutes. Discard cobs. In a blender, puree mixture in batches until smooth. Note that a food processor doesn't make the mixture smooth enough! Season with salt and pepper to taste. (I added a dab of reduced fat sour cream and some grated cheddar cheese) Without the sour cream and cheese the soup was a bit too sweet for my taste...with it the soup was delicious.

If desired, garnish with sour cream and fresh Italian parsley sprigs. (I used cilantro) It made 4 servings.

Now, I'm off to clean out my closets. Then it's back to work tomorrow...... : (

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Thrilled Thursday Fruitful Friday

I plan on enjoying being at home today and tomorrow, while getting a lot done. My to do list is uber long. Anybody want to come help?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Blue Monday Black Tuesday

It's time for a couple of days away from work. Today is my Friday.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Some Recommendations for You

Avenue Montaigne - charming French comedy

Enchanted April - it enchanted me

William and Mary - what happens when an undertaker falls in love with a midwife? watch this BBC series and see

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall - adapted from a Anne Bronte novel

Mostly Martha - every foodie should see this one

Falling for a Dancer - set in remote Ireland

Her Majesty - delightful coming of age story

Jean de Florette/Manon of the Spring - another set of French movies...very good

The Boy in the Stripped Pajamas - startling

The Chorus - first time teacher teaches delinquent boys to sing like angels

Arranged - two arranged Muslim and one Jewish

Big Night - fantastic cast, fun movie

Bread and Tulips - unappreciated housewife makes a new life for herself

Lost in Austen - fun for all Jane Austenophiles

Miss Austen Regrets - based on her life and letters

Cranford - wonderful English period piece

Ladies #1 Detective Agency - you'll love it

Must see movies that I give 4 and 5 stars for being either heartwarming, thought provoking or just plain entertaining.

Sunday, November 8, 2009


I took this picture because these two patterns together make me smile.

How about you? Do you decorate with lots of color and pattern or do you tend to use mostly neutral colors. Has your style changed much over the years or do you mostly stick with the tried and true things you've always loved?

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Blind Contour Friday on Saturday

Stapler and Mono Correction Tape gadget.

See more blind contour drawings here...better yet, do one yourself and participate. It's fun!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Happy PFF from Amish Country

About ten years ago when my oldest son and daughter in law lived in Ohio, we made a couple of day visits to Amish country. We toured a Amish home, had some homemade bread, ate at some good family style restaurants and toured a cheese factory. We also meandered along a lot of country roads. The Amish countryside is quite beautiful. One of my favorite sights was lines of their clothing drying in the wind. Another favorite sight were the conical hay stacks. Here in Alabama, farmers roll them into big bales of hay...there they were shaped like the haystacks in Van Gogh paintings.

My daughter recently gave me a few of the postcards she had purchased as souvenirs.

For more Postcard Friendship Friday posts check put Marie's blog Cpaphil Vintage Postcards.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Road Trip Sunday

We went North in search of fall color and adventure.

We found color under our feet.

And above our heads.

Our destination for the day?

The biggest used bookstore I've ever been to.

I took a sack of books with me, traded them for credit to use for my purchases...a new sack of books to take home.

EDIT: The McKays that we went to is in Chattanooga, TN. They also have locations in Knoxville and Nashville. You can take in books, CDs, videos, etc that you would like to trade. They will give you cash or credit for trade. The Chattanooga location is easy to find, but they recently moved and the map on their website isn't up to date. The new location is on the same road as the old location so it isn't hard to find. Email me for directions if you are going to make a trip. The store is easy to navigate. It is set up in sections much like any bookstore. If you love books you've got to go! It didn't take me long to bust my budget. I picked up 6 or 7 Little Golden Books that I didn't have, 2 childrens books for the grandkids, 3 art books for moi and 3 novels for myself.