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cute budgie stories, cute terrier stories, and anything else I can think of.
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» Friday, December 28, 2012Well, It's Been an Uneventful Two Days...
...until this evening, which was how I like it.
I've spent the past two days listening to Christmas music and doing things around the house. Did some sweeping yesterday, and two loads of laundry, and mopped the kitchen floor. James worked all day yesterday, but I did go out and get more storage boxes and greeting cards. I also bought bourbon chicken from the hot bar at Publix, which I had for lunch (today, too) and stopped at Costco, which appeared to have a thousand copies of the DVD of the movie Ted.
Also started a craft project, but the paint pen died on me. I was pretty disgusted anyway, since I had to keep pumping it to get the paint out—my wrist started to hurt.
Today I cleaned out two drains—one can now shower in the hall bath without being ankle-deep in water—and vacuumed...again. Trying to put things away slowly, but it's taking a while. Everything seems like it's been "up in a heaval" since the end of fiscal year. James came home about two and we went to Publix and...well, I think you can finish that one by now. He also bought black-eyed peas since New Year is coming up.
We had a treat this afternoon and evening: our friends Anne and Clay were up from Warner Robins to go to Home Goods and to Fry's, and when they got done they joined us for dinner at Giovanni's. Good meal and great company.
We found a show tonight on television we'd never heard of before, I Love the 1880s, what was described by the History Channel as a humorous look at American history. It didn't particularly concentrate on the 1880s. We learned some facts: Jefferson and his compatriots were prodigious drinkers, for example, but it was short on true humor and long on stupid jokes. How far the History Channel has fallen!
» Wednesday, December 26, 2012Only 364 Days Until Christmas!
And one, of course, must be prepared, so I dragged myself from bed at 7 a.m., had breakfast, and was out the door by eight. I didn't know what time anything opened, as the stores I wanted to go to were not the ones which had advertised in yesterday's paper. I was so surprised that neither JoAnn nor Michaels were having the usual after-Christmas sales!
Well, I knew one place that would definitely be open and items discounted: Hallmark. I headed to the Town Center store via Walgreens, where I bought enough tinsel to replace what I used on the tree and some new Christmas hooks. I would like to replace all the silver hooks on the tree with the stronger green ones, especially those newer, cheap thin silver wire ones that collapse at the merest squeeze. At Hallmark I bought a Wile E. Coyote for James, a Merida, the two turtledoves, and the miniature Chessie system steam train. Also found some gift ornaments, and some Christmas cards. Then went next door to Publix, which was advertising storage containers as a twofer. Wow, and good storage containers, too, the 66 quart clear Sterlite ones. I bought two as well as two twofer Hallmark cards. Also stopped at Barnes & Noble to check out their clearance items. Not much there, though; many Hallowe'en leftovers.
I did go to Garden Ridge briefly to see if they had any more strings of blue lights. One of the new strings on our bushes is already half out! But, alas, they were pretty well stripped, and, as I shuddered, they were already putting out spring garlands. Ugh!
From there I went to Michaels to see if they still had plain single-color wrapping paper. Success! I bought three rolls, red, green and blue, plus three frosted picks for winter decorations. They had no bows, and neither did JoAnn, which I left without buying anything. I did get some bows, tissue paper, and shred at Hobby Lobby.
On the way home I stopped at the Publix at Barrett Parkway and Old Highway 41 to buy two more storage boxes, plus the twofer greeting cards, and then at the Walgreens at Dallas Highway for more tinsel—who knows when it might become extinct, just like the Woolworths I used to buy it in? and how could I have a Christmas tree with no tinsel—and more hooks, and a few half-priced candies, including sugarless for James. The Publix at Dallas Highway didn't seem to have any containers, but they did have cards. I'm stocking up for birthdays right now, but at least one Publix was stocking Valentine cards when I went in. By the weekend I should be able to get some Valentines, too.
As I emerged from Publix #3, James called. They'd let him out early again and he was at Kroger picking up something for his supper. Did I want something? Sure did: when I left the house it had been 51 degrees, and when I left JoAnn it had already fallen to 43. It was getting colder and windier by the minute. So I told him to get me a loaded baked potato soup.
Oh, and it was very good, too. I ended up having half of it for lunch. He also came home with more Christmas lights and a cute little snowman lamp and a York peppermint patty cake for desserts.
Tidied up some during the afternoon, read Facebook, finished another book, and finally went on to the news. Now watching factual Christmas specials: Gavin Weightman's Christmas Past about Christmas in Great Britain, Christmas: Behind the Traditions, and I think I'll go on to the best of the Andy Williams Christmas specials.
» Tuesday, December 25, 2012
MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL
» Monday, December 24, 2012One Christmas Eve...
...in Holiday Harbour.
Oh, by the way, a miracle occurred. I ordered a gift for James at the last minute, like three days ago, and it arrived today! Good show!
» Sunday, December 23, 2012Sunday
» Saturday, December 22, 2012A Saturday of Shopping
Despite wanting to sleep in, we did get up early this morning, as it was the final Farmer's Market of 2012 and nothing starts up again until January 19. We had to bundle up, because it had gone down to the 30s during the night, and a sharp, keen wind was blowing in from the northwest. I do mean keen! I put on my heavier jacket (I don't pull out my coat unless it gets really cold), a scarf, and my hat plus an earband over it, plus my new gloves with the capacative fingertips, and we were still freezing. The breeze went through the top of my hat as if it wasn't there. The market was held on Mill Street, and the wind funneled right down the street, from one end to the other. The vendors were red-nosed and buried in scarves and either fumbling with gloves or struggling with stiffening fingers. The owner of Big Daddy Dog Biscuits had brought the eponymous Big Daddy [a laid-back, gentle pit bull] with her, complete with dog coat; nevertheless the poor guy was cold and she had to cover him with her coat as well. We had to laugh when the guy from Capra Gia ("goat cheese guy") came by with a two-week old female kid (a miniature Nubian goat.) tucked in his jacket; he said they were keeping each other warm. He said she was ready to go to her new home and he was keeping an eye on her till then. Did you know you can housetrain a goat? He said she has already been housebroken and will be a pet. Too cute.
So we got dog biscuits (including some Christmas cookies), goat cheese, some Christmas bread to take to the folks' house next weekend, some cake, chicken salad for James, and a baked rigatoni for Christmas Eve.
From there we went to the Whitlock Avenue Kroger. I wanted some bread for the week, even if I wasn't going to work, and theirs doesn't have cornmeal all over it like the Smyrna Kroger. The store was still a happy tangle of baking supplies, poinsettia plants, fruits for Christmas, and other holiday color. We bought some boneless pork ribs for a future supper, got yogurt, and also the baking powder we need for this afternoon's baking orgy.
So we were home, and things put up, and we had changed into clothing for baking, and James started his prep—he was planning to bake some low-sugar chocolate chip cookies to start with—and I started mine, going downstairs to fetch the wine bottle. There was one in the closet downstairs.
Well. No, there wasn't. I was remembering the year before; we were completely out of wine. James discovered at the same time that, while we had baking powder, he needed baking soda for his cookies. Two different animals. So...we had to get dressed again. It was already past lunchtime and neither of us had eaten, and we were pretty grim going out to Mink's for hearty burgundy wine (but I did find it immediately...and I bought two bottles as well). On the way back we stopped at Publix for the baking soda and picked up supplies for corn casserole, too.
By the time we got back it was 2:30, so it was a long afternoon baking. James turned out a batch of chocolate chip cookie drops (they were supposed to be cookies but they didn't flatten) and then he adapted the recipe to make cinnamon-chip cookies...uh, drops. These are both very light and tasty! I mixed out my first batch of wine biscuits while he was baking. Wow! I haven't seen hearty burgundy this dark since my Papà made his own wine; it was purple, a deep amethyst color. And boy, did it turn the dough purple. I baked two batches (about 70 cookies) and it was hard to tell they were done because the dough was so dark, with the result that they are slightly overcooked. They take a while to bake, too, so James' last batch, his butterscotch drops (he's been jonesing for butterscotch), went in the oven late. We didn't get out to supper until way after six, but we left the house smelling heavenly!
James had stuffed a couple of flatbreads with meat and cheese sometime during the afternoon; I'd just nibbled on cookie dough, so I was starving by the time we got to Hibachi Grill. Afterwards we went to Barnes & Noble to use up my second coupon and James' first. I found a linguistics book and he got a card game.
Got home to find Rodney already on chat and had a nice conversation for over an hour. By the time Emma got on, though, we were both pretty well tired out from the cookie orgy. So I made my regrets early and we went off to bed, as we wanted to go to BJs early tomorrow. We need batteries, mandarin oranges, and paper towels. There's an odd combination!
» Friday, December 21, 2012Four Days Till Christmas...
» Thursday, December 20, 2012
FOR TODAY, DECEMBER 20, 2012 (goodness, I haven't really done one of these in ages)
Outside my window...
...raining, dark and dreary, while I ponder, weak and weary...wait, wrong season. It is grey and drear, though.
I am thinking...
...I wish I'd gone outside last night and filled the bird feeders. I will have no opportunity to do it today. When I first got up, there was an assortment of wet waifs perched all over it: a wren, "Mrs" downy woodpecker, two brown-headed nuthatches, and a female goldfinch. Now it seems to be all house finches.
I am thankful...
...I appear to be better than yesterday, when I was chivvied into the bathroom with multiple instances of stomach cramps. I finally came home from work and curled up under a blanket on the sofa. I am most thankful that Schuyler's right eye is now back to normal.
In the kitchen...
...nice and tidy. James cleaned it while he was off yesterday. Need to figure out something for supper.
I am wearing...
...blue "Mutts" pajamas, Earl in his basket with stars all over the navy blue pants, and Earl's face and hearts on a light blue top.
I am creating...
...well, Tuesday evening I finally cleaned off the craft table in my craft room and I am hoping in the next two weeks I may have time to work on the "me" shelf.
I am going...
...not sure where I am going. I thought after fiscal year things would quiet down, but first there was preparing for and going on vacation, then Schuyler got sick, then it was Thanksgiving, then it was time to decorate for Christmas. It's been like one big merry-go-round.
I am wondering...
...why the tape player, which was inexplicably not working on Tuesday, is now inexplicably working today, but I will not look a gift horse in the mouth. :-) Right now the Norman Luboff Choir is on.
I am reading...
...The Dreaded Feast, a collection of short, cynical pieces about Christmas. Just finished the book I bought in Williamsburg, Four Centuries of Virginia Christmas.
I am hoping...
...the time will quit going by so fast. Summer goes by like a constipated snail. Woosh...October comes and it's on falcons' wings, into November, now it's December and then it will be January and the next thing we know it will be February and getting warmer again. It hasn't really even gotten cold now. It gets cold for a few days, then goes back up into the high 60s. UGH.
I am looking forward to...
...being off for seventeen days in a row...almost as good as being on vacation. And all Christmastide, so there will be Christmas, and visiting friends and relatives, and New Year's Day and the Twelfth Night party.
I am learning...
...I don't like clutter as I get older and really want to do something about it.
Around the house...
...Christmas music, of course. I've now gone on to Mantovani. During lunch I need to vacuum.
I am pondering...
...now that all the aching back part of Christmas prep is over, should I make my back ache again by washing the dog?
A favorite quote for today...
"Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas." . . . . . Calvin Coolidge
So for gosh sakes, folks, quit knocking people over to get the last toy and putting yourself into debt to buy Christmas gifts "to show your family you love them." That's not what Christmas is all about.
One of my favorite things...
...going out looking at Christmas lights. We've been doing that for the last couple of weeks. Coming home from the ARTC performance on Saturday we drove through the side streets checking out the lights!
A few plans for the rest of the week:
Want to bake some wine biscuits. Only have them once a year. But I want to go to Richard's, too. Just a small slice left of what it was like when the five-and-ten cent stores were around. I acutely miss so many people all year round, but Christmas really reminds me of the places I miss: my grandpa's house at Christmas, Woolworths, Newberrys, Grants, the Paperback Book store on Weybosset Street, the Outlet Company, lovely Shepards...Oxford Books and my lovely, lovely Borders. I've gotten so many things at Amazon, but it's just an online store. Borders was in my heart.
A peek into my day...
"Sisters, sisters, there were never more disinterested sisters..." LOL.
If you'd like to participate, check out The Simple Woman's Daybook.
Labels: Simple Woman's Daybook
» Sunday, December 16, 2012"This Whole Place is Feeling Very Kringly..."
» Sunday, December 09, 2012Movie Sunday
Just a normal Sunday morning at the Young household: we went to Kroger. At least it is interesting going to the grocery store before Christmas: everything is so colorful. Big "dumps" appear in the middle of aisles with things you never see any other time of year: brilliant rainbows of boxes of dried fruit in stained glass colors; figs and nuts; chips in flavors other than chocolate (we found cinnamon chips today); frosted gingerbread cookies in red, green, and white; stacks and stacks of sugar and flour each marked by their manufacturers' colors; peppermint in various forms and all in red and white; candy canes, multicolor Christmas candy tins, and Christmas chocolates. For a while it's actually fun to go there, even if you can't buy most of it.
This afternoon we used the first of our three free movie tickets and went to see Wreck-It Ralph. This is the story of the bad guy in an old 1980s arcade game that has survived till today who gets sick of his role. When he isn't invited to the 30th anniversary celebration by the other game denizens, he is determined to win a medal in another arcade game to show his "friends" he isn't so bad after all. But his accidental invasion of yet a third arcade game sets off possible danger for all the games.
This is just a neat movie on all levels. It works best if you remember those old arcade games, since there are lots of inside jokes and referrals to characters like Pac-Man and Frogger. Qbert even has a substantial role! It also features the typical Disney "plucky child," who as always talks tough but has a soft heart. And, frankly, had I been Ralph, I would have been pissed off with the rest of the Fix-It Felix game denizens myself—he's the integral part of the game, and he's treated like a pariah!
Incidentally, King Candy is brilliant—a cross between Ed Wynn and Frank Morgan as the Wizard of Oz, and in the transforming scene I got vibes of the scary Dr. Smith transformation scene in the otherwise pretty awful Lost in Space film. Very creepy.
Anyway, we were boggled when we arrived at the theatre and there was a big long line of women, about half of them in pink shirts. I thought it might be something about breast cancer, although I didn't recall any type of movie about breast cancer being shown. But it turned out not to be for a movie at all; a group of salespeople from "Thirty One Gifts" (they sell purses and junk like that) were having a motivational meeting in one of the auditoriums. We left just as they were departing with their stacks of catalogs.
Stopped at Barnes & Noble before heading home to use our other coupon. I did get Mr. Monk is a Mess and James got Ken Jennings' new book, Because I Said So. Picked up a couple of lovely British magazines about the countryside that I'd never seen before, "Land Love" and "Landscapes." Also the January "Country Sampler," which has winter themes. This is the last one I'll buy until fall.
Had steak and rice for supper and three small dark chocolate-covered ginger cookies from Trader Joe's for dessert while watching White House Christmas 2012. Lovely as always; marvelous stained glass wreaths that were made for the gallery were my favorites. The "gingerbread" house was a bit boring this year because there was no drama getting it upstairs, but they had a neat feature: they printed views of "inside the White House" on edible paper with edible ink on the windows, so it's as if you are looking inside. Next watched the two Prep and Landing specials, and now have John Denver and the Muppets: A Christmas Together on.
» Saturday, December 08, 2012It's a Wrap!
I have finally sunken into my chair. The back support feels so good!
Let's rewind. I could tell it was going to be warm today because I woke up with aching joints everywhere. Even my toes hurt. I'd forgotten to shut off the alarm, but I just groaned, whacked it off, and turned over, basically what I'd been doing all night, because it hurt every time I tossed and turned in bed.
We only got up because Willow barked to go out, but we needed to get up and eat breakfast (and watch This Old House, which the DVR wasn't recording because it wasn't labeled "new," having already aired on PBS, but we didn't see it because of dadratted fundraising), because I had four more packages to go to the post awful. I was afraid of a line out the door and was very surprised to see only six cars in the parking lot? Is this a sign of the economy? A Saturday before Christmas that the post office isn't crowded? Wow.
So that was done posthaste (pun intended), and there were parking spaces downtown, so we were able to go the Farmer's Market, too, even though it was nearly noon. We got goat cheese, cucumbers, sweet corn, and some cookies for desserts. Also walked down to the Christmas store and got one square of dark chocolate ginger cashew bark. It was a wilderness of Christmas, all sorts of specialty items from Kurt Adler and Christopher Radko, and more moderately-priced Old World Christmas. I definitely miss Willow Too antiques at this time of year. They used to decorate with candles and primitive items and little pine picks tucked here and there, and it was so pretty.
Had to get home because James was due at his club meeting. So he was off, and I decided I would wrap gifts. Instead of sequestering myself in the spare room, though, I brought out one of my craft tables, the wrapping paper container, and the gifts in batches of four or five, and started to wrap while watching stacked up programs on the DVR. I watched the last two episodes of Elementary, two episodes of Lassie from Angel2, and finally the last part of the celebration of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee (yeah, I still have some of it still to watch).
When James came home I was still wrapping. I was still wrapping as he printed out Barnes & Noble coupons. I finally gave up and finished getting dressed and we went to Fresh2Order for supper (I had a twofer coupon for my birthday). The cashier even discounted my soup! That was nice.
Stopped at B&N hoping to pick up the new Elemental Masters paperback. It's always good when Barnes & Noble has coupons, because Amazon doesn't discount ordinary paperbacks. And today we both got two coupons with two different codes, so we can use both of them. Usually the codes are the same. That's good, because not only was the Elemental Masters book out (short stories in Mercedes Lackey's universe), but Mr. Monk is a Mess is out in paperback.
Came home and started wrapping again, and wrapped until I was done, except for one gift that isn't finished and one gift that's not done. The last two were the hardest because they were gift baskets. I had to make shred for them and then wrap them.
James helped me clean up and I was finally done.
Of course now I have to have a Christmas tree to put them under. I guess I will have James tow it upstairs sometime tomorrow and I will decorate it on Tuesday. It's my birthday and I'm taking it off.
» Sunday, December 02, 2012First Sunday of Advent
Most of the tale is contained in Holiday Harbour.
However, amongst the Christmas-y tumult and watching DVR'd programs, including the Advent episode of Feasts and Seasons, Schuyler sorta came out of her cage on her own. I've been putting her near the couch and leaving the larger door of the cage open. Tonight she clambered to the edge of it and was hanging as if she was going to fall, so I scooped her up quickly and set her on my finger; she let out a scold and then looked astonished to find herself on my finger. She sat looking about for a few minutes while we talked to her, then stood craning her little head toward the cage, so I let her hop back in.
Well, with Little Miss, this is something. :-)
» Saturday, December 01, 2012Another Day With "My Guy"
Ah, well, one morning sleeping in, one morning not. Even though we had nowhere to go early, we were awakened by Willow needing to go out. Nevertheless, after breakfast, I got some things done: put two Xerox paper boxes together with stuff to go to Goodwill, since we were taking the old printer today. I also found a few new toys I had stashed.
James nearly killed himself getting that awful printer out the door. We had slid it down the stairs last night (for once I am glad we had carpeting!) and now I pushed it until it was as close to the door as it could get. "All" he had to do was pick it up and get it down five steps and a few more strides to the back of the truck where we had backed it in. The danged thing must weigh 60-70 pounds and he turned scarlet hefting the wretched thing to the truck bed. But it was done, finally, and the Goodwill guy unloaded it. We dropped the toys—a puzzle I had been given once; I don't really do puzzles and two Webkinz reindeer still with tags—at Publix for Toys for Tots. We also snagged a couple of twofers for us and bought a few more to put into the Can Bank (diced tomatoes, chili, chicken broth).
We stayed so long at Publix, in fact, we barely made the Farmer's Market; we got there just as they were breaking down. We managed to get James' chicken salad (the guy wasn't there last week), more dog biscuits, and some desserts. Then we walked across the square to the British store, The Corner Shop, which was having an open house with British Christmas treats: mince pies, jam tarts, and Jaffa cake. Someone had made sausage rolls and meringues with chocolate cream in between. Yummy! We got some treats to take to the Lawsons' party and James bought a little Christmas pud because he wanted to taste one.
Had lunch at Panera, then went on to Garden Ridge. We needed to get something to make the space tree. We got a black tree with white lights and I bought some extra stars to go on it. James bought some lights to put on the columns; unfortunately they are multicolor, not blue. I also found a bargain Christmas book, Kringle, that I couldn't afford last year.
We also stopped at Five Below, and at Hobbytown, where James found at least three of the late hobby shop denizens wandering around for their modeling fix. They will be having their IPMS meetings at Hobbytown from now on.
By the time we got home, it was late afternoon, and it was very good to relax. I finally put on Christmas programs: Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol, followed by Rick Steves' European Christmas...