Archive | December, 2010

My Winter Companion

December 17, 2010

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It’s been awfully cold this week– down into the single digits at night. Yesterday, when we got gobs of the lake effect snow, it was freezing, not even 10 degrees. Today the sun came out and it warmed us to 20 or so.

Thank God, since we turned off the forced air furnace and installed gas heaters, the house is incredibly warm. I have never lived in such a warm house. Actually, I’m not used to it at all– I am often sweltering when the others are comfortable. I’m very used to cold weather.

ANYWAY, I’m really happy with our heaters. And so is someone else.

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I have never had such an affectionate, loving cat. I love her to little bits, you know that? She follows me wherever I go, anywhere in the house, and she is openly dejected and broken-hearted when I leave the house. When I work downstairs, she either sits on a high shelf (where all the heat goes), waiting for me. When I work upstairs, she nestles up on my legs or next to me.

Here she is, laying on my leg. She likes my plush bathrobe, and kneads it. Them she stretches out and snoozes (she snores sometimes, too).

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Sometimes she will rouse, climb up to my face and nuzzle me or try to sit under my warm neck. When she was a kitten, that was how I kept her warm. She’s a LITTLE too big for that now. Besides, the house is warm enough now. At night, she sleeps on my feet or sometimes climbs under the blankets when it’s cold. I have never had such a cat!

She’s a wonderful buddy.

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Adorable Animal Christmas Video

December 17, 2010

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I am definitely not one to watch viral videos, especially all the goofy “talking” or “singing” animal videos out there.

BUT.

This one is hilarious! Whoever made this video did an exceptional job! Not only is the video entertaining, the creator really captured the personalities of the various animals (especially the cats, LOL). It’s a little lengthy, but waiting until the end is worth it. I think this is the best animal Christmas video. So to all my animal-loving pals, this one’s for you!

We’ve only got two more weeks left! By mid-December, I am ready to relax and enjoy the holidays. We don’t celebrate Christmas like most people do (gobs of decorating and presents). When the kids were small, I decorated and we gave gifts. But we all wanted the holiday to be more low-key. I personally love the traditional Christmas– you know, Victorian carolers in fur muffs gathered around mailboxes, Meet Me in St. Louis-style, you know? I have always loved the Victorian era– the architecture, the art, the sense of family, Jingle Bells, old-fashioned Christmas cards! I have a Vistorian boot scrape on my front porch (quite rusty, now, but it was beautiful when I got it). I always dreamed of owning a Victorian house. It was not to be, but I am pretty happy with my pre-Victorian Greek Revival.

So are you ready for Christmas? Will yours be an old-fashioned one with a big family gathering and caroling?

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Das Boot Goes Kaput

December 16, 2010

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Ugh! We’re still paying for the summer’s kitchen renovation! No, I don’t mean for the walls and floors (well, YEAH, we’re still paying for those!). I mean still paying for DOING the renovation.

tornboot

That’s the latest casualty in a long line of shoe cataclysms in the family this year. It’s my daughter’s boot. She wore them during the renovation (I would not let the kids wear sneakers, lest an errant rusty nail find their way into their tender feet), and it looks like the renovation wore them out. Can you believe that I went through FOUR pairs of sneakers and one pair of excellent boots? BLAST those nails! The sneakers were Walmart cheapies (never doing that again), with an average life span of 4 weeks per pair. I didn’t expect them to last long, but sheesh, four weeks? My son also tore his boots to shreds over the summer, and I just found out that the husband’s sole fell off his boot. Feast or famine, I tell you!

My own beloved boots died, too. 🙁 I loved those boots– a combination of hiking, work and athletic boots. I liked them so much that I got my other daughter a pair, too. Mine weren’t that old, and they were made of genuine leather, too. But last week, I walked outside into some wet, cold, slushy snow… and I rapidly realized that they were no longer waterproof on the bottom. NUTS. I must have stepped on a nail.

Oh well. I’m not much of a shoe shopper, but I did see a very, very sweet pair of Nike at Zappos.com. Zappos also has some nice shoes and sneakers, too. When they get my order, they’ll probably wonder what army is being outfitted, lol.

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Super Gifts For the Home Owner

December 16, 2010

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Well, have you finished your Christmas shopping yet? Maybe you’re stuck with a few of the “hard to buy” people on your list. Ooo I have got some great ideas for you! I found a wonderful website that has LOADS of home products and more stuff.

I have four teens. I NEVER know what to get them. I mean, they can *only* have *so* many mp3 players and earbuds sets, right?

How about some bedbathstore.com new bedding by Egyptian Peddler? I love these! The purple zebra striped set is stunning.

For the in-laws who seem to have everything… I’ll bet they don’t have this! Isn’t it adorable?! It’s one of the new products by Heritage Lace– a lace door panel for Christmas/winter season. I love it!

And how about a simply smashing gift for your favorite home improvement blogger, eh? 😉 😉

That’s a “Gustav Becker Cineca Melodies in Motion Wall Clock.” I’m nuts about clocks, especially Rivercity clocks. I love that one!

Anyway, the site is BedBathStore.com. They have some really nice stuff. Some of it is a little pricey, but there’s a holiday sale right now, and the prices are very reasonable. There’s free shipping on orders over $55 (which will not be difficult to obtain) with coupon code HOL55. Enjoy!

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Sixth Folder Sixth Picture

December 11, 2010

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I’m doing that “Sixth Picture” meme that circulated around the Internet a year or so ago.

Here are the rules:

1. Open your Picture Folder. It can be on your computer, or some online venue. Choose the sixth folder, and open it.

2. Now, select your sixth picture. Post it on your blog and tell a story about the picture!

NYPDsecur

This photo is from New York City. I used to live there (went to acting school for a year). I loved living in NYC, but it is a lonely place and I did miss the country. I hadn’t been to the city for 20+ years until this past summer, when one of my gracious advertisers sponsored a trip for me to see a special movie screening. I was in the city for two days. It was SO MUCH fun! I wanna do it again, lol! This photo was taken on West 57th street, as I was walking toward Central Park east side. There were a BILLION vendors when I got there. 20 years ago, they used to sell cassette tapes. Now, they sell calendars, t-shirts, and retro tin signs. I got this one for our new kitchen.

drinkcoff

😀 I love it.

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Livvy Goes Out… and Marches Right Back In

December 11, 2010

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My cat Livvy has been BEGGING and BEGGING to go outside with the rest of us. I feel sorry for her, because she is such a good cat, and loves our company. She’s more like a member of the family, and not *just* a pet. So, I’ve been bringing her along on brief car trips around town. She doesn’t like the motion of the car very much, but she loves looking out the window. She’s such a smart kitty, she loves the change in scenery and her curiosity is boundless.

It was not even 10 degrees one day, and she was BEGGING us to take her out. I kept trying to explain to her that it was too cold, she wouldn’t like it, but she didn’t listen to me! (CATS these days!). Plus, I was wildly busy, writing articles and such… but when she planted herself in front on my computer monitor and would not budge, I decided to take her out. She’d find out just how unpleasant it was…..

First reaction as soon as her dainty toes touch the frozen ground.

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She is momentarily distracted by a critter (“Squirrel!!” -remember that from Up, LOL).

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But then the wind started blowing. Ooooooooooo….

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Immediately after getting a lungful of that icy air, she made a beeline straight to the door.

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I told you she was a smart cat. 😉

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My Kids Sure Can Have Fun…

December 11, 2010

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…in the snow.

Here’s the “snowpow” coming through… ha!

snowpow

The boys like to play King of the Hill, where the opposing forces duke it out on top of the mountain, to see which one is worthy of the honor of securing his mount….

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We made some videos, too, but I’m too busy to edit them today. These kids are just hilarious! They must have inherited their wacky sense of humor from their father! 😉 I don’t dare publish on my blog– my neighbors might read this blog, and they think we are weird enough already! LOL

Sorry I haven’t posted here very much this week. I’ve been horrendously busy, doing a billion and one things for work like writing articles about everything under the sun, like honey locust trees, gas dryers, and etc, doing school with the kids, taking care of the husband who has been under the weather, and etc. But then again, YOU guys seem busy, too, with Christmas preparations and etc. I like the Christmas season, but I don’t like the busyness of it. It messes with the normal routine. I miss everyone’s regular blog posts and comments– it seems that everyone is away during this time.

Well, at least it gives me time to fool around with the kids in the snow, eh? Livvy took a jaunt out there, too. Hang in there, I’ll have photos!

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A Little Walk in Town

December 6, 2010

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Had to go to the post office this morning. Since The Hubs took the vehicle, I decided to walk. It’s not too cold (25F) and was only a little windy. My coat and boots are warm, so I eagerly loaded up and headed out the door. I decided to take the camera to snap some shots to share with you.

A view of down the street. There used to be magnificent elm trees along the streets here (so I heard). They were giants of trees, and made the houses look teeny-tiny. It must have been so beautiful. But the elms were stricken with Dutch Elm disease, from a little bug, in the 1950s and 60s. 🙁 So all the elms were cut down. And nothing was planted in their places.

snowtown

Snow decorations. Cute. It’s nice to see a splash of color on an otherwise very gray day. Although I personally think those inflatable things are tacky, lol, especially when they are deflated. They look like Frosty and Santa have been shot and collapsed on the snow or something, only to pop up in the evening….

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The local mailbox, winter edition.

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Snow prints on the sidewalk.

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The folks around here have a very bad habit of a.) not shoveling their sidewalks, and b.) plowing the driveway snow ONTO the sidewalks. It makes walking down the street very hazardous, for you either have to clamber over the mountains of cold snow on the sidewalks, or walk on the edge of the street with the cars. I wish folks would shovel their walks.

Which way do I go? Which was do I go?

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The snow shoveler. (She’s shoveling some of the walks, by the way!)

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When I was home, I sauntered into the backyard. Rabbit tracks in a figure 8! Looks like he’s a little confused, lol.

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Snow caps on my cabbage in the garden.

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We’ll be getting about 5 more inches tonight, looks like. 🙂

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Just Another Post About Snow

December 6, 2010

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Ooo the first snowfall is so exciting! I was so happy to see it that I went outside in my bathrobe to snap some photos. I thought I’d share them here, so you southerners can see what you are missing! Cuz winter and cold temperatures are NO FUN without snow! 😀

Here is my very weedy garden. I’m so glad the snow is covering the ugliest weeds. I seriously neglected the garden this year. Next spring will be a doozy for us– we’ll have to yank out all those weeds that are so well-established and happy in my garden beds. Ugh :S

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The grill casts a lonely figure in the snowscape. The only thing I don’t like about winter is the lack of color. Everything is gray. But other than that, I do like winter a lot. Notice the blue tarp covering the snowblower and the lawn tractor. *sigh* I TOTALLY forgot to bring them in before the snow hit. I thik they may be iced to the ground by now, sheesh. I wanted to get all these chores done while we still had good weather, in November. Oopsie! Too late! Now, I’ll have to pull out the handwarmers.net and dig the machines out of the snowbanks.

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This is my little juniper shrub. It’s a dwarf something or other. I can’t remember what it’s called. :S I like the way the snow clumps on the fringed branches, like wispy white coldwatercreek.com/petites.aspx clothing.

JuniperSnow

Here’s a raspy bed of Black-Eyed Susans. I didn’t have time to deadhead them before winter. It’s nice to know that perennials can serve as artistic visual “interest” for those of us too lazy or busy to attend to the gardens! LOL

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Does it snow where you are?

I don’t even mind walking in it. My poor husband has to deliver mail in this stuff, though. The postal vehicles are marvelous inventions, but for some reason, they do not have any heater vents for the feet. His feet are almost frozen solid after driving around all day, and tromping through snow to deliver packages to doors. I’m going to invest in some kind of footwarmers.org Toasti Toes footwarmers for him, and maybe some other warm winter gear from northernoutfitters.com.

Please be kind to your mailman– shovel out your mailbox and your driveway if you are expecting mail and/or packages. 🙂

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Find the Kitty 12/3

December 3, 2010

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Golly, where could she be??

FTK 12.3

This is her new favorite place, now. We have heaters installed for the winter (yay!!) and the house gets horribly warm. (I like it cool in the house, everyone else likes it warm). The ceilings here are over 9 feet, so the top of the room is roasting. Of course, Livvy being the true feline that she is, hops up to the tallest heights of the room to bask in the warmth.

FTK2 12.3

Photo taken on Thanksgiving Day. Boy, what a great day that was, probably my best Thanksgiving, ever. The husband was home ALL DAY, since the post office was closed that day. What a treat. The next day, of course, the mailmen were clobbered with mail, frantically stuffing two days’ worth of mail and packages into whitehallmailboxesdirect.com. Yunno, I read all this hype in the news about the USPS needing to end delivery on Saturdays, how they are losing money due to less mail…. based on our experiences here, all that is false. My hubs delivers mail for three small towns, and we are CLOBBERED with mail, especially parcels. Because parcels won’t fit on those smaller mailboxes that some of the residents have around here), the mailmen are in and out of the vehicles constantly. The volume of mail has risen exponentially. And it’s been this way all year, not just for this holiday season. People may be using the USPS less for first class mail, but people are ordering items online much, much more. These online products must be delivered, and most companies use either UPS or the USPS. So the amount of parcel delivery has increased a lot– and delivering parcels takes up way more time and manpower than merely dumping envelopes into mailboxes.

Part of the reason that the post office is having financial trouble is because the USPS is required by law to fund it’s business by profits ALONE. It’s the only government department to do this. Other government departments take taxpayer money, or borrow. The USPS must operate by profits.

Additionally, the USPS has a lot of older (Baby Boomer aged) employees who make a TON of money and get a TON of perks/vacation time/pension money/sick pay. And there are some bureaucrats who game the system. I think if the USPS slashed waste and removed the luxurious pension perks, they’d quickly go into the black again.

Also, the USPS should increase the rates for sending junk mail. If they raised the rate by ONE PENNY per piece of junk mail sent, they’d make millions. And magazines should be forced to have covers on them. Pornography, by law, must be covered. But some of the magazines and racy catalogs are just as pornographic as the sleazy mags. If the USPS required that slime-mail be covered up, they’d make even more money.

See? The USPS should just read my blog! Problems solved! 😀

Anyway, it was nice to have my mailman home for a while. A WHOLE DAY. Too short, it was.

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