Tuesday, February 26, 2013


Ah, sunshine.

Jack's favorite spot.

Curled up in the shiny bright, golden light sunshine.


A friend brought me a gift for Purim today. He's Jewish. I'm not.

It was very sweet of him to bring this gift to me.

A coffee mug filled with hamantaschen and some kosher chocolate candies. And the mug said, "A bit of light dispels much darkness."

Yes. Yes it does.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Academy Awards Thoughts

Another thrift store find.

It is now part of my Valentine decor for two reasons.

It's pink.

It's Paris.


Some thoughts on the Academy Awards. Which I normally don't get to watch since the Man hates these kinds of shows. I have to admit, they are not my favorite. But I wanted to see some of the musical performances after M texted me to ask if I saw the Les Miserables cast perform.

Rats. I missed them. 

Hmm. Off to YouTube to see if it's there. 

Yup. Nestle in to my chair and hit play. Thanks, M.

First thought: I wonder how much money was spent on clothing for this one night. And how many people that money could feed.

Second thought: It seems so bizarre to me to award people in such a public fashion for doing their job. If anyone should get a prime time awards show, it should be firemen, or police officers, or teachers, or librarians. But not movie stars. Their egos are probably fairly healthy as they are.

Third thought: Watching some of the movie clips makes me feel naive. I don't get all their clever little jokes, or the super hip cultural references.

Fourth thought: Do they give awards for all the lesser known people behind the scenes, like "Best Supporting Set Cleaner Upper" or "Best Food Caterer on the Set" or "Best Porta-Potty Supplier"?

Final thought: Barbra Streisand can still sing. Good for her.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Tiny Rainbows

One of our local thrift stores sells plastic ziploc bags filled with odds and ends. 

You never know what you're going to find in those bags whenever you stop in. On this day, I found some treasure.

Crystal chandelier jewels.
I have them in a {very} old canning jar on my windowsill above the kitchen sink.

When the light hits them in the morning, lots and lots of teeny, tiny rainbows come out to play. 

I'm completely enamored with blurry photos right now. That explains the first shot. That, and I think you see the rainbows better when it is blurred.


For all that have asked: the Man is doing fine. We are so thankful he was not injured badly and that he's cleared to go back to work on Monday. 

Friday, February 22, 2013

Random Likes and Unlikes

In which I post about random things.


Things I like:

* Best friends who bring me fresh eggs. At work. Because we both live in the same small town and she lives almost next door to the library. 

* Coworkers that make me laugh. L and I were talking about ordering lunch out today and I said I was going to get the gorgonzola salad. She thought that sounded good so she ordered one too. As I was leaving to pick up our food, I said something about gorgonzola cheese and how much I liked it. She looked at me and said, "Cheese? I thought we were getting salads with chickpeas on them." I must have given her an odd look because she said, "What do you call chickpeas?" "Chickpeas," I answered. Which made us both laugh. Then I thought of the other name. Garbanzo beans. That made us both laugh again.

* Spending time with friends and family. Especially when I know we'll be laughing a lot. I like to laugh. A lot.

* My dog curled up by my feet. Oh yes, I like this one very much.

* My soft, warm fuzzy blanket. Need I say more?

* Watching my children step up to the plate. The Man had a slight accident at work yesterday and had to spend some time in the emergency room. J went with him and stayed by his side the entire time. He also took him to the doc's office today for a follow up. He remembered all the things the doc had told the Man about after care and medication and made sure to tell me. He is a great son. Truly.

* Watching The Walking Dead with K. It is not my favorite show but I do love doing something together with her. And laughing at zombies. Always a good time.

* The Man.


Things I don't like:

* Saying mean things. Sometimes my tongue gets the best of me.

* Forgetting something at the grocery store.

* Cooking. Except when I want to.

* Gas prices. 

* Not having enough time in my day to shoot some photos. I really, really don't like this one. And that's been happening a lot to me lately. Pooh.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Reeling, Downton Abbey revisited

I am still reeling from the last episode of Downton Abbey, season three.

Even though I knew it was coming.


After the first episode of season three aired, I was looking for a spoof of Downton Abbey to post on this blog. You know, because people take this show very seriously. I wanted to lighten us all up a bit.

I went to YouTube to see what was out there. I found something that SNL did with Jimmy Fallon and started to watch it. As I was watching, I noticed a video on a side screen titled, "Sybil's Death Scene" or something like that.

Ah, another spoof. Great.

So I finished watching the SNL skit and then clicked over to "Sybil's Death Scene" and settled in for a quick chuckle.

It was surprisingly very well done. The acting was so sincere I wasn't really laughing much. And how did they get the real actors to do a spoof?

Click. The light bulb went on.

This was no spoof. This was an actual future episode. Someone posted a spoiler and I did not catch it immediately.





As I'm reeling from this video, I see a second video titled "Matthew's Death Scene" on the same side screen.

Of course, this time I realize it is NOT a spoof and since I already know what is going to happen ("Matthew's Death Scene" is pretty clearly spelled out), I might as well watch it and prepare myself for the future.


Knowing these two things should have ruined the season for me. And in a way, it did. But in a much better way, it prepared me for the horrid things that were going to happen. Things that were going to blindside so.many.viewers.

I kept my distance from Matthew and Sybil this season. I knew not to get too attached. And even though I did all these things to prepare myself, I still cried over all the emotion surrounding these losses.

So while Anna and silly Rose are reeling around the dance floor, I am reeling from all those lost this season.

Reeling. Not so happy a word after all.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Fun with Felt

Impromptu sleepover with my nieces tonight. 

They loved the felt flowers we made yesterday and wanted to make some more today. They opted to turn theirs into pillows.

So cute.


D testing the strength of the hot glue.

Yup. It holds.
E pushing down on her flower to hold it in place while the hot glue set.


I made up a cheer for her.

"Push it down, push it down, waaaaaay down!"

She giggled.
The finished pillows. 

Taken with my iPhone. Just saying.


Downton Abbey tonight.

Two words.

Horrid mess.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Crafty Cousins

Cousins and crafts. Two things that go together in our family.

One of my cousins is visiting for the weekend. I love, love, love getting together with his family. My cousin is one of those really. nice. guys. And his lovely wife, T, is an absolute joy to be around. She's funny and helpful and generous and patient and kind. And funny. Did I say that already? 

Their four year old daughter is a ticket. She's got a deep, throaty Etta James voice and loves to laugh. When she's not Irish step dancing. Honest to Pete, to have half her energy would be wonderful.

Sissy and her family are part of the mix so we always have a big crowd of people, laughing and talking and teasing one another. Lots of beer and wine. And food. Good, good food.

The only thing missing was Other Sissy and her family. She had plans for this weekend and couldn't join us. We missed her and her family.
So every now and again, we plan a craft weekend for the ladies, while the men and their little girls go off and have fun doing other things, like bowling and playing arcade games.

Sissy, T, and I each pick a craft and bring enough supplies for everyone. This year K joined us. After she finished making us home made mac and cheese for lunch.

Just call her CinderKate.

Sissy brought the heart bag craft above. I have posted the Pinterest link below if you'd like to try this for yourself. Very easy. And gratifying.

There is something about dabbing a pencil eraser in paint and than dotting the canvas bag that is a wee bit cathartic. Try it.

I love how all the bags turned out.

Great project.

Fun. And full of love.
The guys were taunting us about drinking wine and hot gluing our fingers together. 

We did the first and not the last. But I will tell you right now, it was close. That glue is hot. You have to move fast to keep those fingers from sticking together.
T brought lots of felt and buttons and pin backs and we made some beautiful felted flower pins.

We discovered that you can cut the felt multiple ways to get different looks. There are so many different kinds of felt flowers to make. Try typing "felt flower" into the search field on Pinterest and you will find oodles and oodles of them.

I want to make a whole bouquet of them.

Good day.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Heart Happy

Playing with some felted hearts I made a few years ago.

Strung them on the laundry line and let the wind play with them for a while.
Some favorite quotes from children when asked, "What is love?":

"When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you."
~ Karen, age 7

"Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen."
~ Bobby, age 7
"You really shouldn't say 'I love you' unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget."
~ Jessica, age 8

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Loving Someone

You don't love someone because they're perfect, you love them in spite of the fact that they're not."
~Jodi Picoult, My Sister's Keeper


And isn't this how our Father loves us?

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Scarred Hearts

This heart looks beat up.

It has a few scars on it. It's weeping a little bit.


Valentine's Day isn't a happy day for everyone.

So today I'm thinking about those people. And holding a special place in my heart for them.

Monday, February 11, 2013

A Lesson in Snow Blowing, or how I got out of ever snow blowing again

The Man was home from work today. Too much snow on the ground means no work. So he had lots of time to cook. He cooked up a storm. Figuratively, not literally. 

We were treated to home made chicken and dumplings. Fancy star dumplings. He really takes the whole cooking thing to another level when he makes his famous star dumplings.
She just takes my breath away sometimes.

I look at her and wonder how she could be my daughter. She stuns me.
This is my new best friend. 

One, because it is red. And I love the color red. Especially when it is paired with white. As you can imagine, I love candy canes.

Two, because it doesn't have a big bad engine attached to it. I got into some trouble with the snow blower yesterday. The snow blower with the big bad engine.


The driveway was still a bit messy from the storm and I had a friend coming over yesterday afternoon. There was a big pile of slushy gloop at the end of the driveway from the snowplows. We had gotten stuck in it on our way to church and the Man had to use four wheel drive to get us out of the gloop. I was sure my friend was going to get stuck. It needed to be cleaned up.

But J was off cleaning up my dad's driveway and K was in the house vacuuming and the Man couldn't use the snow blower because of his sore back.

You know what that means. 

I had to use the snow blower. I have never used the snow blower before. I do not want to use the snow blower. But I did not want my friend to get stuck in our driveway.

So the Man came out to the garage with me to give me a lesson on how to operate it. "You turn the gas on  this way and you jiggle the choke that way and you wiggle the throttle up and you push the power button down and then you pull this line and squeeze this handle to make it go and squeeze this handle to make the blades turn and blah, blah, blah..," on it went. Honest to Pete, there are way too many thing-a-ma-bobbers on that piece of machinery.

So he helped me get the snow blower started and told me to back it up to get it out of the garage. I looked down at one of the thing-a-ma-bobbers that had two turtles and two rabbits on it, one pair going forward and one pair going backward. I guessed this was the speed and the direction it would move so I engaged it in the backward turtle position. 

I am so glad I did not use the rabbit.

It started rolling backward and I backed up with it, pushing the handle down, and got far enough back to turn around and head forward. 

But the Man had not told me whether or not I could shift it into forward on the fly and I did not want to break the snow blower so I just kept backing up while I was trying to figure out how to stop the darn thing. I felt my back against the wall and the handle was pushing into my gut AND STILL GOING BACK.

It pinned me against the wall. 

The Man was yelling at me to stop it, STOP IT! 

But I didn't know how. He came running over and took my hands off the handles. 

"I didn't know how to stop it!" I wailed. He looked at me, incredulously, and said, "Just let go of the handles!"

Well, he never told me that.
I got the thing moving again, in a forward direction this time, and marched on down the driveway to clear the gloop.

On my first pass I was heading out into the road, trying to blow it to the side of the driveway, and I could not remember how to reverse direction.

I almost snow blowed into a passing car.

The Man started hollering at me to back up! BACK UP AND GET OUT OF THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD!

Not our best moment as a couple. 

He told me to put it away in the garage, it was too dangerous having me operate it. 

Whew. Mission accomplished. I never have to snow blow again.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Beautiful Sunday

She was a heroine today. Well, her mother thinks so anyway.

It all started with a phone call telling us yes, there will be a church service this morning. It was up in the air with all the snow piled up in the parking lot. But God and a bucket loader last night got the lot cleaned up so we could have service this morning.
There weren't very many of us there. The Man had to make lots of calls letting the congregation know we would be open for service and most people said they couldn't come. They were snowed in. Or didn't want to drive on the still snow covered roads.

Thirty five inches of snow is a lot of snow to get all at once, you know.
Both J and K are members of our worship team. J plays guitar and K is one of the vocalists. This morning it was K and two other men singing. 

Three singers. Two guitarists. One flute.

Plus about thirty people in the pews.

So the guitarists started playing a song and were having a hard time getting the singers to come in at the right moment. The singers looked at the guitarists, the guitarists looked at the singers, a few comments were made and they all started over.

Still no go. The singers couldn't figure out when to come in. In their defense, it was a tricky song for guitars to start and it was hard to find the right timing.

Pastor kind of threw his hands up and announced we would just say the words to the song.

The singers said, No, we'll start singing, the guitars can join us and everything will work out. So brave K had to start the singing since she was singing the melody. 

She was fantastic. The guys came right in, the guitars picked it up and off we all went, singing an absolutely beautiful song.
Thank you, K.


Pastor made a point to tell us that it is not about performance but about worship. 

Such a beautiful little icicle hanging from the picnic table today.

Lots and lots of tiny air bubbles trapped inside, spinning and twisting and winding around and around.


Beautiful song.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Digging Out and Digging In

Digging out.

The snow covered everything. The wind blew it all around, leaving glimpses of things, just enough to know what was beneath this mound or that mound.

So gusty was the wind this morning, it bit right into you and took your breath. I did not stay outside for long, I got so cold. J and K saved the day. They tackled the driveway, snow-blowing and shoveling while the wind huffed and puffed and blew all around them. The Man had a sore back from a nasty spill he took on the ice last weekend so I would not let him clean up the snow.

J and K stepped up and did the whole thing.

Four hours it took them. Four hours of fighting with the snow while it blew and gusted and swirled all around them. Four hours of having it drop on their heads from the trees above. Four hours of icy wind sneaking in under their hats and down their jackets and through their mittens and gloves and boots and scarves. Four hours of cherry red cheeks and sniffly noses.

The Man and I marveled at their stamina. And their willingness to stick with it and get the whole. darn. thing. cleaned up.

They are the best.
So Mama Llama baked and cooked and got ready for the time when they were all finished and coming in from a cold, blowy morning spent outside doing very. hard. work.

I made them homemade mac and cheese for lunch. And followed it up with Paula Deen's Ooey Gooey Chocolate Chip Butter Cake for dessert. And hot cocoa. Lots and lots of hot cocoa.

They were oh-so-very happy with me. Well, not so much with me as with the hot food. Can't blame them there.
I think the Man's van is happy to be free from all the snow it was buried under.

Doesn't it look like it is smiling?
Caught the wind blowing a bit of snow off the porch roof just as the sun was coming out.

So very pretty.

Now that the storm is over.

A Snowy, Blowy Day

What a sweet, sweet sign.

I'm going to try and turn it into subway art for Valentine's Day. Just what the Man would want, I'm sure.



In the meantime, back in Gotham City, we are in the midst of a blizzard. 

A snowy, blowy blizzard.

A stay-at-home, it's-not-fit-for-man-nor-beast blizzard.

As I sit here writing this post, I'm noticing that there is snow piling up outside my front windows. I can actually see snow coming up over the window. I'm a bit frightened to look outside at the back patio and see what's going on out there.

Be right back. I'm going to go look.


Well, that was not good. The steps have just about disappeared. The cars look like huge mounds of snowball cupcakes. Remember those? And the pine boughs are weeping with the weight of the snow.

It is so very windy, with lots of teeny, tiny snowflakes swirling about. 


Time for bed. There will be lots and lots of shoveling out tomorrow.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

I Do Not Think That Means What I Think It Means

Found this beautiful Christmas table runner at Goodwill last week.


It looks hand woven, judging by the look of a few spots here and there.

I love it so.


I'm trying not to buy too much since it IS the year of simplicity. And I'm supposed to be thinning things out.

But there's no way I can let something this beautiful go by. All that work, and that gorgeous craftsmanship, and it was only $2.00.

Nope. That had to come home with me.

As well as the three plates I found in just the right colors : pink and brown.

Oy vey.

I think I better look up the definition of simplicity again. As Inigo Montoya would say, "I do not think that word means what I think it means."

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Snowy Day?

A nifty little trick I learned yesterday.

Adding snow to pictures.
I was on Pinterest.

Of course.

And I found this great tip and free download.
I love the snow overlay, especially on these pictures.
But it does show that you can't always believe what you see.


Getting ready for some stormy weather heading our way.

Looks like I'll be able to get some real snow pictures after all.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

A Study in Smiling

I love when K has some fun with the camera and lets me shoot, shoot, shoot.

I am calling this series "A Study in Smiling."
Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.
~Mother Teresa

Wrinkles should merely indicate where smiles have been. 
~Mark Twain

Everyone smiles in the same language.
~Author unknown

Monday, February 4, 2013

Random Thoughts

Random thoughts running through my mind tonight.

I wish I knew how to skate. It looks so graceful. And peaceful. Just the whish, whish as the blades glide along the ice and the wind goes whipping by.

And I wish I wasn't so scared of falling. And getting hurt. Ice is hard. I think if ice was soft I would try skating.
Why is my family a family who piles things everywhere? There are piles of laundry, piles of papers, piles of books, piles of outerwear. Everywhere I look I see a pile of something. 

I think when I throw everything away the piles will disappear. 

Simplicity = no piles.
My day goes much better when I practice random acts of smiling. 

Don't judge a book by its author. I'm reading a book by an author who wrote another book that I absolutely did. not. like. 

As in, couldn't finish the book because it was just not to my liking. I didn't like the subject. Or the characters. Or the writing.

And yet, I am really enjoying the second book I've attempted to read by this author. 



More pictures from ice fishing on Sunday. 

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Ice Fishing

Ice fishing with friends and family today.

Gorgeous winter day, a little bit of wind and a lot of sunshine. K brought her friend, E, with us. E had never been ice fishing. We assured her we were not hardcore ice fishermen. We have a camp to go into to get warm, with a barrel wood stove to provide heat. Inside the camp are plenty of chairs, and tables, and windows so we can see if any of the tips go up.

The girls practiced their ice dancing skills, doing "The Twist" on the ice. Very fun to watch. They were slipping and sliding all over. I don't think you'll see this in the Olympics.
J's friend, JL. He's been around since kindergarten. 

They fished all day yesterday, and if their stories can be trusted, caught quite a few fish. We didn't catch as many today. Just enough to keep it interesting.

Sissy and her hubby came along, with my two nieces and their happy, happy golden retriever. The girls brought their ice skates and had a whole lot of fun skating on the big wide open pond.
J and the biggest catch of the day. 

He would like me to add that this is a "J approved" photo. He usually won't pose for photos unless there are fish involved.



More pictures tomorrow. 

Friday, February 1, 2013

Marvelous G, Co-Worker Extraordinaire

G's last day at work.

We've been working together for fifteen years. That's the longest I've ever worked with anyone. 

I can't think about it for long or I start to tear up. 

But it was a great day, especially for G. Lots of people stopped by to say goodbye and wish her well - patrons and fellow town employees, many who have become friends. I loved watching G smile all day. She has the best smile. And it got bigger and bigger as the day went on.

And while I loved watching her enjoy her last day of work, I couldn't help but feel a little melancholy. G has been so much more than a co-worker to me. She's been a surrogate mom at times and definitely an older sister for most of the time.

She's been a sounding board as I've raised my children and a voice of experience through those years. She's been my cohort, planning lots of social events through the years - dinner and movie nights for our staff, Christmas parties, trips to see our favorite author, and theatrical productions in the city. She's been the person I went to when I had a puzzle that needed to be noodled about or an issue that just wasn't sitting right. 

She's been THE GIRL. 


I didn't really get a chance to say goodbye to her. It was busy at the main desk and she walked through and whispered a quick "See you next week!" as she left. We still have a retirement dinner left.

It was probably better that way. I would have fallen apart.

But I couldn't stop myself from going to the back door and giving her a little wave as she drove off for the last time.
My favorite photo of G. I love her smile and I love her husband in the background, watching her and smiling. 

I can feel the love between these two in the picture. And the pride. That man is definitely so proud of his wife.



Thank you, G.

Thank you for the years of advice and commiseration. Thank you for the years of laughter and tears. Thank you for the years of help and guidance, diligence and hard work. Thank you for the years of listening and the years of sharing your thoughts. Thank you for being so. darn. solid.

But most of all, thank you for being my friend. Because you are one of my dearest. 

And I know that won't ever change.

Love you. Mean it.