Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 In Review

This is a big is one of those "Blue Moons" ..that's what it is called when we have two full moons in the same month. The next time it happens will be December 31, 2028 and I will either be deader than a door nail or 87 that year. There will be a minor lunar eclipse in Europe..lucky ducks. I hope to bust out the tripod and get some full moon shots..hope it isn't below zero..or overcast this evening.

Last year I wrote about intentions instead of resolutions.. Quote " How about some one word intentions ..Like mine! Laugh, Smile, Hug, and Dance. Easy to remember, easy to do, I can have that accomplished a few seconds after midnight, and be free the rest of the year. Easy..peasy!"--Far Side December 30, 2008.

This year I will add a word to my intentions..exercise.  This one may just require a bit of a commitment beyond the few minutes after midnight.  I am bound and determined to have firm fat,
Lets do a check up: 2008 in plain type    2009 In BOLD

The children are all employed, and reasonably healthy. Trica our oldest daughter still struggles with Pancreatitis. Ditto..Trica is still struggling..she might just be a tad more cranky too. She has pancretitis from a Gall Bladder surgery years ago.

We still struggle with Doctors and Far Guys Trigeminal Neuralgia. We are comfortable with Dr. P. he seems adequate. There are no miracle cures..Trigeminal Neuralgia is a rare disorder that you must just learn to live with...easy for me to say..Far Guy is the one with continual pain.

No new Grand-babies..No divorces..a few deaths (two cousins and a very dear friend) This year five friends died.. Rhonda, Jim, Sam, Charles and Pat. Two family members, my Uncle Delbert, and my cousins fiancee.

Paige stole her sisters new kitty for a photo.
No new pets, and no pet deaths. In 2009 Madison got a new kitten that she named Ziggy. Trica found a new home for her Pomeranian Daphne or "Daffy". Daffy now gets to be the Queen of her castle and no longer has to tremble in fear and hide under the couch to escape her terrorist companion Dakota who had a stroke a number of years ago and has an ongoing thyroid problem and is just not right in the head. I miss Daffy..she loved me. When they all lived with us..she was my constant companion.


Biggest Adjustment..Far Guy's Trigeminal Neuralgia and how it affects our day to day life. Ditto..we must always be flexible.... it just may not be a good day, or a good week.

Biggest Change..Closing the Greenhouse business, a very wise decision. I miss it, but I am getting over it. Well I am way over this one..this years biggest eating..more exercise.

Biggest Frustration.. Doctors that don't know their butt from a hole in the ground, and the phone ringing. Ditto.. and gaining weight because I quit a nasty habit..that I enjoyed..but now my metabolism is all out of whack.  For now and since July I have been an ex-smoker.  It ain't has been one of the hardest things I have ever done in my entire life.  I have however curbed the desire to lick every ash tray I see..and those smokers outside freezing their skinny butts off..I envy them..perhaps I will get over that with time..old habits die hard..I began to smoke as a teenager..that was well over forty years ago.  My daughter said "Mom we would rather have you alive and healthy looking and a little fat, than dead and skinny."  

Happiest Moment..a very nostalgic Ferris Wheel Ride last August with Far Guy. Playing a little "kissy face" stopped at the top! I had to think on this for quite some time.. I had many happiest moments this year and if I had to pin it down to just one moment it would be watching Chance and Far Guy on the lake shore of Lake Superior..watching Chance run between us.

Happy New Year Everyone! :)

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Wistful Wednesday: New Years Eve 1963

This must have been taken by Far Guys is Far Guys Sister and her beau who she married five years later. She must have been in her first year of College. She was off getting straight A's and making life miserable academically for her goof off baby brother. This young couple must have hit it off pretty they have been married for forty-one years. They do argue some, especially when one of them is driving..I thought once that they should get a car with dual controls. Oh darn I suppose she will call again..I told her to take whatever photographs she wanted..she must have left this one behind because she wanted me to blog about it. She lives in Indiana so it is unlikely that she will run right over and demand her photo back. I wonder where they were going for their New Years Eve celebration?  Probably out to dinner. They look really young, and my brother in law had hair! :)

What are your plans for New Years Eve?

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Best Gift Giver Ever

My youngest daughter is a shopper..she obviously got this ability from someone else..perhaps from her Aunt Jan..she is a shopper. My Mother is a shopper too.. I do like to shop just not where everyone else does..I can spend hours in an antique shop, and I love the thrift stores and garage sales.

Jen always strives from one year to the next to out do herself..she is an overachiever. She also likes to see me bawl..then she knows that she did great. I think she starts plotting and planning immediately after Christmas how she is going to be the best gift giver picker outer the next Christmas. She is also sneaky. A few months ago..she sat at my computer and said "Mom, I need some photos to make cards, can I have some of yours? " Sure, I was for a fundraiser at the school... little did I know that she was going to take one of my favorite photographs..and have something made for me.

I took a series of photographs one beautiful summer evening. Far Guy and I took Chance for a walk down at the lake. Chance was on lead.

No one was around so we took him off lead..he is usually well behaved off lead..he played in the water awhile and then he began to pose for me. The light was fading was one of those moments that I was glad that I wear crocs in the summer as the dog and I were both in the water. Some of the photos turned out just smashing! He loves to pose..and he is getting pretty good at it too! Some days he is really on!

I captured his reflection perfectly. I was so pleased.

Chance must be famous now... his photo became a flag! Jen wins the best gift giver award once again...I tried not to cry when I opened it..but I immediately recognized the colors and those ears... forever on a flag. You woulda cried too if it happened to you! :)

Monday, December 28, 2009

I Am Two Years Old!

Well today is the day, I have been bending your ears for two years..731 736 days. ( The blogspot numbers are 499 posts today.. I didn't start this back up blog until September of 2008.  You can find a link to my archived posts at the bottom of this page.)  Not bad for a cranky old woman. I missed a few more days this past year due to illness..we hope that doesn't happen again this year. I had a pneumonia shot the other we will is supposed to be good for seven years.. yeah right.

I guess I will keep on, keeping on.. so doncha think I deserve some flowers?

How about these?? Lovely aren't they..I really miss green and warmth..

How...I write differently now that I first did, I used to write everything out longhand. Now I just sit down and type...( hunt and peck..that darned Poison Ivy that covered my entire body and made my fingers swell so badly they didn't want me in typing class during summer school.. I am not quite sure why I didn't take it during the real school year..probably because I had better things to Biology and Latin) I still do write blogs in my notebook sometimes in the car..when Far Guy is driving, I wrote one on a paper napkin in a restaurant one day. Sometimes I write really brilliant ones during the night and then when I wake up in the morning I have forgotten what I was going to write. Sometimes I just sit here..staring blankly onto the computer screen..if my screen saver takes over it is quite obvious to me that I am not relaxed or going with the flow of the words. I write late at night..actually in the middle of the night is quiet..the phone never rings then. I also write early in the morning..then I save ..but publish later. I do sometimes schedule things to publish..if we have to be gone early in the morning. daughter the English Professor says I should look for a common theme.. a thread of sorts that will bind it all together. She writes too..I recall something she wrote a while back..blogging is like having your own room..your own place to do what ever you want. I sometimes write about strange things that no one else writes about. I love to write about flowers and birds and pets and childhood memories. I love my photo blog..but I don't spend very much time there.. but my photography skills are improving. My newest blog Forgotten Old Photographs is and continues to be a daily adventure. I do have some stories that are just aching to be written..some will never see the light of day..but some will be forthcoming.

Why..I still blog for the they have some stories. I also blog for me..for the connections to people who live all over the world. I have made many new friends, laughed and cried with many bloggers. Recently a blogger that I was quite close to died.. let me tell ya..that really sucks. I rejoiced with the Grandmother of an eight year old whose tumor was benign...that news totally rocked. I get to meet brand new Hope, and Mr. Higgens. I got to follow Renee from before her premature birth to a  happy and healthy little girl and home with her family for a Minnesota Christmas! What a treat it was to meet her! I visit lots of Farms and Ranches..they are the lifeblood of America and Canada. I visit Sweden nearly everyday. I visit lots of gardeners..I so enjoy other peoples gardens..especially the southern ones during the winter. I am having a whole lot of fun reading. I am also are never to old to learn something new.

Where.. well as you may know I live in Minnesota. I blog from our computer desk which I share with Far Guy he custom built the desk for is in the center of our home between the living room that we actually live in and the dining room that is the only place to sit down and eat in the entire house. My blog appears locally on a newspaper web site..and on the big old world wide blogspot. I maintain two blogs that are exactly the same because if one site should go down, I will always have the other..I also try to print out hard copies of each of my daily posts..but I am way behind on that project..six months to be exact. It is on my list of things to do!

Thanks to all my readers out there, and a special thank you to the people that comment.. today I will answer any questions you may have about me or blogging.  Just leave me a comment and I will answer in the comment section! :)

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas 2009: Part Two

More about Christmas 2009...

Game playing..there was lots of it..some on the computer..individually and as teams ..but we did gather them all for a rousing game of "spoons". They are all a pretty competitive it got a little also was a source of many giggles...I love games I thought it was just perfect.

Hugs for suckers..I have been having an issue with Adam..withholding hugs..and I just grab him and hug him and kiss him..he is the baby after all.. well my Tootsie Pop Jar is accessible now only after a hug..I have Adams currency..finally!

One liners.. Paige observing her Grandpa .." I can't believe actually do have a pair of jeans without holes in them!"

My beautiful ten foot tall tree for holds my Shiny Brite ornament collection.. I think it was guilt..I told Far Guy one day that if I croaked before I actually got to see all my decorations on a really tall tree that it would be all his fault. He does what he can to make my life memorable. It is a pretty large tree I can keep going to garage sales and antique shops..looking for more Shiny Brites. I think I will make it a tradition to decorate it with all the old ornaments each year..and then wait for the grands to come to decorate it with the new to me old ornaments that I have collected during the year.

Gifts received, everyone seemed pleased no one bawled because they were sad. I admit it I had two gifts from Jen and Andy and the boys that made me see Jen is the best gift giver picker outer ever. It is a skill she did not get from me. The first gift I will leave you guess at for another day..or two. The second tear bringer was a book I had as a child..The Bobbsey Twins at the Seashore. It was a very thoughtful gift..I am reading evokes lots of childhood memories. Now lets guess what gift could make me the point of almost sobbing? No, It wasn't a Sheltie Puppy..they teased me that they had one in their vehicle for me..I told them if they had one outside they just better be bringing it in before it got too cold. Nope it wasn't a live gift..but it was a gift that I unwittingly helped to create..that's enough hints for now.

I had a six hour nap on Christmas Day..after everyone left..I crashed on the couch..I was exhausted. Far Guy and Chance had a nap too..Chance is pouting..he wanted everyone to stay forever:)

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas 2009 : Part One

Well I for one am glad that Christmas has come and gone. It is now another whole year away. There were parts of it that I enjoyed.

 Like the grands!!

The Shopping..I was glad when it was done. Far Guy was a saint..he hung in there..I could not have done it without him. He was also the driving force behind gifts instead of my preferred gifts of cash. I figured if I procrastinated long enough, they would all be happy with cash versus no gift at all.

The Wrapping of the gifts..I went into hibernation mode upstairs and finished it all..Far Guy has finally learned how to gift wrap..after forty years! Between the two of us working as a team..we got er done!

The House Cleaning.. Far Guy vacuums..I scrub and dust..I could have dusted more..but no one probably noticed. I did clean the downstairs bath extra good..Far Guy said "I don't know why you are doing that bathroom will just be a mess in a little while." Sometimes I can be a bit anal about cleaning..probably part of my OCD...I am trying to overcome it..and let me tell you I have come a long way toward total recovery..but the holidays get me every time.

The Christmas Cards went out on Christmas Eve..many cards were sent by email for the very first time... some still had to be mailed..and notes written. I do like writing special notes to long time friends. My pencil in hand is still a comfy feeling.

The Cooking..I called one of my cousins, Geraldine for her Baked Beans Recipe, thanks to her phone tutorial I was able to successfully cook up a batch of baked beans that taste way better than Famous Dave's. I have never attempted Baked Beans before. I did have one small problem as I boiled them over several times during their first cookings...then when I packaged some for the deep freeze..I may have been a bit sloppy..Far Guy said I looked like a bean. I do make a mean Green Apple/Snickers/Cool Whip Salad..never fail! I did remember to put the sugar in the Pumpkin Bread..and it only took two hours to bake because Far Guy shut the oven off. Son In law Andy cooked the ribs and a delicious ham and cornbread. Jennifer baked candy and cookies..calorie free of course. My Parents joined us for a late evening meal on Christmas Eve. I was going to use real plates..but Trica said "Mother, paper will be fine..less dishes to wash.." Sometimes she just hates it that we have no dishwasher. Yup, we still do dishes the old fashioned way..sometimes we even talk to each other while we wash and dry.

The Church services.. my ONLY request of family members this Christmas was that we all attend church together on Christmas Eve. I really don't care much for all the commercial hoopla that surrounds Christmas..but the church part is important to me. Oh Yeah and before I forget, the sermon ( I would have said "Happy Birthday Jesus" Amen) was way to long..I fell asleep, the print was way to little in the handout..and Madison and I prayed that the cute little things three rows in front of us in the thinly strapped black dresses got some sweaters for Christmas...all that uncovered skin made me chilly even though I kept my parka on for the entire service. Paige and Noah almost got the giggles once..a little tap on the shoulder by their Grandma worked well to quench those giggles. Four kids and four adults..we almost filled a pew. I was extremely thankful for the family members that attended with us, sometimes you just have to let go and be thankful that someone was there..after all we could just be two old cranky people sitting by ourselves in a pew.

The weather..we got some snow..a whole months worth in just a few days. But hey people it must be warm to snow..for that I am happy!   Everyone made it back home safely..that is what counts:)

Friday, December 25, 2009

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Snow Angels

Four of the grands are here..we are missing the teenage grand..she will be here later today.  It snowed..and is still snowing..everyone is off sledding...

Before they left on their sledding adventure they left some snow angels in the yard.

Last night they all helped me to decorate the new really TALL tree upstairs!!    Someone who was feeling really guilty about that detrunking episode ..has finally redeemed himself after nineteen years!   Happy Christmas Eve Day..sometimes dreams really do come true:)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Wistful Wednesday : 1990

A long time ago..1990 to be exact.. I had a dream. No not one of those Christmas nightmares either. We were living at the area of the house had really tall ceilings..I wanted a really tall tree to go in there..why should I let the short seven foot ceilings in the living room restrict me?

I found the perfect was near the edge of the swamp..I loved had lots of cones in the top..and oh my was it tall. I had to wait for Far Guy and his chain saw... I was so excited..everything was going to be just perfect..I could see myself dangling on a ladder stretching for the highest branches..just like in the movies..maybe I would even put a dress and heels on and everything..make up too ( that is a stretch) ..but I had a lot of imagination back then. The winters are long in Minnesota. Plus that when I get it all decorated to the hilt..someone can take a photo of everyone in front of the tree..what a dreamer I was.

Finally the weekend came, Far Guy commuted back then, he left in the dark and came home in the dark..his commute was 85 miles one way..what a trooper he was..working in the city to allow his girls the best of country life! Of course I could run the chain saw..if a tree was down..if it was tall and huge and still in the air..I would chicken out. It was came down in one fell swoop..the dogs and I always waited in a spot of safety and they would sit by me and wait until the tree was on the ground then they would run and bark...silly dogs..there were four of them..all Shelties. I was so tall tree was going to be a reality!!

Then Far Guy did the unthinkable..he trimmed my beautifully tall tree to about seven feet tall..I began to bawl.. it WAS it had been detrunked. Apparently he had not been listening or I had not stated loud enough that I wanted a huge honkin tall tree in the that reached the ceiling..and the ceiling was about 12 feet tall. He offered to tape it back together with duct sick is that? He offered to cut down another that would have been I settled for another Ho Hum Yup it is a real tree and it will smell good and the needles will drop all over the floor and I will have to remove pitch from the floor. The cats will think that it is tall enough to climb anyway..they often perched in our Christmas Trees like real live ornaments.

Ho Hum Bah Humbug..

The girls posed for a photo that year..they were eighteen and fifteen..I was a real pain in the butt Mom..can't you tell by the expressions on their faces? I was a pretty rotten photographer back then too.

We needed a little kid to perk things with the wonder of Christmas in his eyes.. my Nephew Jacob was perfect..and my Mothers tree was perfect that year too.

Now that the upstairs is completed..I told Far Guy about my dream again..I also mentioned it to one of my daughters..they both think it is silly to want a tree that reaches all the way to the son in law thought it was a pretty cool idea..he offered to find one for me and drag it into the house..tall and whole. What a guy!  Our very wise daughter said "Mother, you know a real tree is just going to lose its needles and get caught in the carpet and when you walk barefoot up there you will get needles in your feet...and the pitch..don't forget about the pitch Mom." So..even though my upstairs is completely done..including does not have a tall tree this year..we are going to look for a fake obnoxiously tall tree after the Holidays..maybe even one on sale. One that I will need a ladder to decorate.. a tree large enough to hold my entire collection of Shiny Brite ornaments ..wouldn't that be a treat!

Talking about treats..the grands will be descending on us about ten o'clock this evening..and there is a storm we could be snowed in for days :)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Shiny Brite

I have been collecting the old Shiny Brite Ornaments for a number of years. A few here, a few there..after all they are just little..and so pretty. I recall them on our tree when I was growing up. I loved how they caught the light and it was bounced back in all directions. I love all the different colors!!

Some came from antique shops..

Some came from garage sales..

Some are one of a kind singles..

Some are sets of twelve.. these are special ones to me. When I was growing up we had a lovely neighbor lady and her very stern husband ..he was a Constable or a Deputy..he had a gun, he laid his gun and holster on the counter just inside the back door. Sometimes it was hung up near the back had to be ready just in case he had to leave quickly. I remember the day that a few no goods tried to kill him by slitting his throat ear to ear..he didn't die. It was a miracle that he lived. He died a number of years later..he was a big man, I had the utmost respect for him..and I may have looked closely at his gun..but I never touched it. ( My nose may have been just two inches away from it to get a closer look..but I never, ever touched it.) I had cookies there was only about a half a mile from our farm, and she was a good baker and liked kids that stopped by for cookies..they had a very spoiled dog..a Pekingese..I cannot remember it's name..I do know that I loved that their dog was allowed in the house. It was a big old farmhouse too..white..two stories and probably had a large attic. Anyway..back to the Shiny day I was at a garage sale..this lovely lady was widowed by this time..she lived in a nearby little town if you can call it of those blink and you might miss it towns. She lived on the east side of town..I stopped there at her garage sale one day..she was clearing out some of her "Junk." When I admired the ornaments, she said "Oh yes, those were quite the ornaments in their day." I bought both sets..I have hung a few of them on my Christmas Trees over the years. They are in their original boxes...I am not quite sure why I felt the need for two boxes... maybe just because I liked them...maybe it was the price..the garage sale price was 25 cents..the original price was a whopping $ is written in grease pencil on the package. The original strings are still on the ornaments.. just ready and waiting to be hung on a tree...but still two boxes..what was I thinking?

Shiny Brites were manufactured until 1962, more popular unbreakable ornaments took over about then. . Shiny Brite ornaments were originally made by Max Eckhardt. In the last few years a fellow by the name of Christopher Radco has reintroduced a new line of retro ornaments... they market the new line as a trip down memory lane. It is and was for me..the new ornaments ..are just that memories in a box. Menards has them..probably other stores too.. I think I will purchase myself a box. There are lots of different designs..I imagine that I will have to stand there like an idiot for twenty minutes..looking at them..searching the deep recesses of my mind to see which ones evoke the most childhood memories:)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Wheat Weaving

Years ago my best friend Susan made wheat ornaments for me.  She had really good luck with hers..they are holding up very nicely..of course I think of her when I put them on the tree!

I tried wheat weaving or Hvetevefting..I soaked the wheat in a bucket..I braided the stalks together..I made ornaments ..they slowly lost all their grains and were left looking skinny but  bearded.  I threw them away.  Luckily  for me I have a friend who shared her good harvest with me.  Wheat is a symbol of life and the key ingredient of bread.

Our tree is finally complete..see I had plenty of time..these days before Christmas are listed on a piece of is "The List" that we will live by for the next few days.. Happy first day of winter! :)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

December 20, 1969: Anniversary

"If you're alone, I'll be your shadow. If you want to cry, I'll be your shoulder. If you want a hug, I'll be your pillow. If you need to be happy, I'll be your smile. But anytime you need a friend, I'll just be me" ~ Author Unknown

Forty years ago I was a young bride..and Far Guy was a young groom..there are more wedding photos here.
Today I will share this is one that I did not share last year.

I will always regret getting married at Christmas time.  We have never celebrated our anniversary.  It is too close to Christmas to go anywhere.  Christmas was always more important..this year we have made a pact to go someplace further than Thief River Falls, Minnesota.. a kind of second Honeymoon! We aren't sure where yet or exactly when..but we are applying for our passports.

Our neighbor Jo came over and took a few photographs.. one for our Christmas letter..but they serve for remembering our Fortieth Anniversary too! We always have some kind of Christmas photo that we can say serves as an anniversary photo. It is the only thing positive that I can say about getting married at Christmas are likely to have a few photos!

Far Guy deserves some kind of reward for putting up with me for forty of his favorite sayings over the years is " Calm down sweetheart! " I am pretty happy that he sat in my desk one day in study hall..and I am pretty happy that he eventually asked me out forty two years ago:)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Death of a Blogger

This morning a blogger died..Flydragon.  It was a pleasure to have known her.  She was one of the first people I met in the blogspot blogging world back in September of 2008.  We became friends,  she had many friends in this big old blog world.. many people are sad heart and prayers go out to her family.
Bloggers can touch your life in so many different ways..and I am truly honored to have been her friend.

Death is one way to escape the cold, snowy winter in Ohio..she is probably laughing her butt off..and eating chocolate that has no calories.. walking among flowers that never need watering or weeding:)

Christmas Exchanges

Do you participate in Cookie Exchanges?   I did years ago, I packaged up twelve dozen wonderful Mexican Wedding Cake Cookies.  I came home with broken cookies, burned  cookies, cookies my girls wouldn't eat. It was a  total waste of time.   One time was enough for me after that I would let the children chose one or two kinds of cookies that they liked and we would bake before Christmas.   Jen liked Rosettes so I bought an iron and made them a few years.  Trica liked Fudge and we invariably would try a recipe and it would turn out to be spoon fudge..which was acceptable to her.  They both liked Star Cookies a peanut butter cookie with a chocolate star on top. I always had to hide the chocolate stars in the deep freeze or they would be all gone when it was time to bake.    I have not baked any cookies this year..the girls will bring some of their baked treasures along..I heard that one of them made caramels, mints, and  Star Cookies, she is my over achiever.  Hopefully I will get some pumpkin bread made..the grands all love it.

Jen called one day last week..she said she was going to a cookie exchange.. I said "Great, I hope some of them are edible."  She said.."Well Mother, times have changed and the women that don't bake just get gourmet packaged cookies at ten dollars a dozen..they can afford to have someone bake for them."   I thought..what a waste..good for the cookie baker..but ten dollars a dozen??  I hope they were edible..and not burned or broken.

I participated in an exchange this year!  I signed up for an ornament exchange. I got two cute little ornaments from a gal in Florida..they look great on my tree!  I sent off one of my handmade loons and a tin spoon with a painted Santa on it that said "Ho. Ho Ho" down the handle.   I was pleased with this kind of was a whole lot better than cookies.

Far Guy and I drug ourselves to a local shopping establishment last night armed with our "list".. we were confused.  Play Station Ones and Twos..DS... Wii..I pod.. all these thingys that we have absolutely no idea..what they do.  I approached one of the ASSistant Managers with my list, he said can't help you with your isn't in our computer.. I asked him if the movies are?  "Yup" the ASSistant said.  I said "WELL could you look up -------?"  OK he could..but the phone he had to talk to his friend on the STORE phone while I waited.  ( Picture me standing by the counter, clicking my fingernails on the counter to the tune of some death march) Nope, no luck,  they did not have that movie.  Luckily we ran into a group of teenagers who knew where everything was..and then a store employee that actually knew something helped us to find almost everything on our list. I remembered to get gift receipts..because I am positive we messed up on something exchanges will have to be made.  We headed home.. I have one final list..and IF I cannot find something..they are getting socks or mittens.  I have really had it with this shopping crap.  I don't like it, I hate that Christmas is a commercial holiday.  So far I have enjoyed this I am sure that when all the cooking starts next week I am really going to be happy..nothing like spending a day or two in the kitchen to perk me up.  

Far Guy is working on the Christmas Letter..the envelopes,  paper and stamps stand at the ready..I usually do them on a stormy day..haven't had one of those yet in December so the greetings remain undone.  I do have all that wrapping paper to use up..that part I don't hate..I find it rather freeing to slice into paper with a sharp instrument:)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Wrap it up!

Well we finally did it..we wandered into a store with a list. We walked out with a few presents.

A glass block stuffed with Christmas lights and topped with a bow..a gift from Jen a few years ago.

Since I guess that more packages will be wrapped this year and less Gift cards..or cash will be given..I had to pick out some wrapping paper. What a waste of perfectly good trees. The variety is endless..but if I am going to take the time to wrap this crap up and make it look good, I want some half way decent paper. I did not attend any after Christmas sales last year..I THOUGHT that my gift wrapping days were over and I would never need another box or gift bows or curly ribbon..none of those fancy gift bags ever again. One complaint and Far Guy caved, those girls I birthed for him have a way of talking him into just about anything. ....they want packages picked out with a meaning. Bah Humbug..I said..give them's too cold to shop..then they gave us a list..and THEN they shared the same list with other people so stuff got crossed off one by one..TAKEN. Last night I prayed..yes, I prayed that someone would find that Bullhorn that one of the little lovelies has on her list. No such luck..this morning it is still on her list..of course this would only be on the list of Miss Paige.. and she will "fake cry" if she doesn't get it. Of course..she will sob quite realistically..and have everyone fooled ..but me.

A tiny tin ornament from my Mother.
Back to the paper. First of all I refuse to use any hot pink is definitely out. Who are these designers anyway..what happens? Do they lock them in a room and have a contest to see who can come up with the worst paper design..only letting them out when they have successfully created an entire line of wrapping paper that I will not purchase.

A glass ornament from my Mother,
I want a simple paper, a neutral background..white or beige..some beautifully decorated little trees with some forest creatures and birds flitting around the paper. I would also like some blue paper with some Angels or maybe a manger scene. I do not want santa's, huge honkin trees, stars, squiggles or cartoon characters. Fine I will settle for Poinsettias, Mistletoe..something botanical.. that only exists in my mind..Menards has a very limited selection of wrapping papers..but they are 40% off. After spending twenty minutes in that very short aisle and while Far Guy walked every aisle in the store getting a head start on his three mile walk for the day...I bought three rolls..a plain silver that kinda looks like aluminum foil but much cheaper ..a turquoise blue with burgundy Angels..and a baby blue with white Angels blowing trumpets with some shooting stars. I also bought a whole slug of BLUE BOWS. I am once again armed with wrapping paper and matching bows. Now I am going to begin a search for a bullhorn:)

Thursday, December 17, 2009


Sometimes "stuff" just happens.

This is the farmhouse where my Dad grew up.  It was his "home-place."   My Uncle lived there for years, then his cousin.  Monday afternoon a fire erupted upstairs..the fire department got it contained. My cousin, his wife, their daughter and their grandson had taken refuge with family members just down the road. During the night the fire rekindled and the house was destroyed. Luckily no lives were lost..that is a blessing.

Yesterday Far Guy and I went over to see what it all looked like. It was cousin was there..the house was still smouldering. I asked "What can we do for you?" My cousin said.."OH..not much that I know of right now." The insurance adjuster had been there..and a check was in the works. The Local Lions Club had brought them out a check to help take care of their immediate needs. He said "We will rebuild in the spring, kinda cold to do anything right now."

The Fire Marshall was out to take a look..he believes the fire started near the chimney. There was a wood burning stove in the basement. From what I understand some of the fireman had carried out some firearms and some black powder earlier in the day and put them in a truck outside..they were the only thing saved from the fire.

There were lots of memories for me in this house.. it was where we gathered before and after sauna on Saturday nights, playing checkers with my Grandfather, hearing him spit and hit the inside of the spittoon, sipping coffee out of a saucer, butter on fresh bread, a long table with lots of chairs, huge black leather chairs in the front room..stiff, cold and unyielding leather against a small child's legs..welcoming coolness on a warm summer night...but chilly in the winter.  My Grandmother lay on the satin covered pillow of death in the front room when I was just a little girl, it was the custom years ago to have deceased family members all laid out in the front room at home before Funeral Homes took over that part of the ceremony. I remember the night of my Uncles Wedding..we waited til dark and drove over there with cakes and cookies and pots and pans to clang together and "Shiveried " them on their wedding night. One night years later my Uncle died of a heart attack on the floor in the bedroom. Yesterday as we drove away through the grove of trees that I remember as small seedlings.. I thought of all the births and deaths, all the happiness and sadness that house had seen.. all reduced to ashes that will blow away in the winter wind:(

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Wistful Wednesday: Christmas 1957

We believe that this photograph was taken in 1957, the little boys would have been 9, 6 and 7.  That is Far Guy on the right. The other little boys are his cousins..Stevie and Jay. We had a discussion about this see the Christmas Tree is on the wall where the piano always sat. Far Guy does not remember that chair.  We believe this photo was taken at Grandma and Grandpa H's... Another thing that puzzles us is the Military Hat hanging on the wall..did it belong to Uncle Jimmy or was it Uncle Archies..and was it common to hang them on a wall? Lots of unknowns in this photo..and I do hope that relatives will help to answer some of these questions.

Grandmas plants had been moved in from the front porch..and she perched some Christmas cards in the upper window ledge..I can recall her doing that in the dining room..but I suppose she did it in the living room also. We were hardly ever in the living room, unless there were lots of people in the house..we were usually in the dining room or the kitchen, that seemed to be the hub of this old farmhouse.

Those fancy dolies on the chair..lots of women had them on the good furniture. I have several old sets that I purchased at garage sales..I don't suppose they will ever come back in fashion again..but you never know!

I can almost smell the chicken and noodles cooking on the stove, and I can imagine that these three little boys could put away a bunch of Christmas Cookies:)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

"Loony" Winner

Big drum roll.....and the winner is..

Please contact me with your snail mail address and whatever inscription you would like on the reverse email address is in my profile! Congratulations Nezzy you will now be as loony as me! Thank you to everyone who commented with your traditions..I enjoyed them all!

Today I will share one of my miserable is a clay loon..I still have a whole bunch of this was sparkly and black..Fimo clay I think. I even numbered the loons on the bottom..I believe I gave one to my Mother..Mothers usually are thrilled with whatever their children make for them. My best friend Susan may have one also.. best friends always give you the benefit of the doubt. This clay was stiff and hard to work with..I think I actually built up my arm muscles trying to form this stiff clay into something that was recognizable as a Loon. I finally gave up..well ..not completely..this was years ago..I still have the peanut butter jar full of packages of black clay and a set of special clay sculpting tools. Now if I had thrown that jar away, I could say I really gave up. Why do you suppose I kept it, because I don't like giving up? Because I am a glutton for punishment and like to be reminded of my failures? It was probably a case of "just in case" ..I keep lots of "Stuff" for just in case.

I have two of these Loons on the tree..they hang a little off center..their heads are too large and misshapen, they look a little funny. Every year I look at them and shake my head and smile...the poor little things. BUT they are mine..I guess I must have to hand down to each of our daughters..a reminder that their Mother was a little loony and sometimes she didn't do everything exactly perfect..but she tried:)

Monday, December 14, 2009

A Carved Santa

A carved ornament, My Uncle Otto gave this to me in 2002.   I used to carve with him twice a month..we had a  whole group of wood carvers.  He used to sharpen my knives for me..he kept them in great shape, he lived just a few miles away..if I got stuck and didn't know where to remove wood next..he was always available.  He was a great teacher...actually he was a teacher and a Principal all his life.  I had to learn how to sharpen my pocket knives for grafting trees a long time ago... and I guess I should take a class on sharpening wood carving knives too.  I enjoy carving..I recently took all my knives in to be sharpened...I haven't felt much like carving since he died..but perhaps it is time.  I will have to buy a box of band-aids:)