Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Cookies and Tea

Today was one of those dreary overcast days although the temps eventually rose to 65*.  There was a bit of sprinkling off and on although no accumulation. Bare branches where once was summer green then colorful fall foliage could hamper my attitude so I decided I was going to do something productive today if I was going to stay home. 

So, I dug out my molasses spice cookie recipe and the ingredients were gathered on the counter. 

They seem to be my recent cookie of choice,
at least for the past year.
They smelled delicious when they came out of the oven
and I just had to taste one (ok, 3 to be honest)
to make sure they were as good as they looked. 
Yep, they were.

I packed up a container and walked over to my neighbor's house where we had a great time chatting over a cup of tea and sampling Christmas goodies.  She ate some of the cookies I brought her while I had a piece of her zucchini bread with a bit of cream cheese spread on the top.  We didn't solve all the country's ills, but we enjoyed being together.  I always leave with a promise to visit her again.  She's a widow and lives alone, so it's fun to check in on her from time to time and I figured my cookies would be welcome too.

My bathroom rug was beginning to fray on both ends, so decided today was the day to see if I could tackle some mending.  After checking the underside, I decided fabric glue would be a suitable solution.  Well, if it doesn't hold, I'll try Plan B -- a BIG needle and some heavy thread.  I turned the rug over and generously glued the loose flaps and chose the versatile wooden clothespin to hold it closed until it dried.  Haven't tested the bond yet - I'll give it until tomorrow.  Surely, it will hold...

What a lovely plant!  I do love the poinsettias this time of year.  So beautiful in their festive reds and greens.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Pen and Ink

I started addressing Christmas cards today.  Many years ago, this was such a pleasure - reconnecting with people known over the years - separated by time and distance.  But now, with the advent of the internet, we use social networks and email to keep us closer to those people in real time.  So, the card and inclusion of photos or a newsletter may seem unnecessary now. 

There are several people on my list who aren't into the internet scene, so I will send cards to those and await a card in return from them.  Snail mail to and from with possibly one snippet of their lives  scribbled on a greeting card exhorting me to have a joyous Christmas season.  It would be great if they had an email account so I could connect with them more often, to share experiences lost in a few scant lines of greeting.

There are even family/friends who will send their Christmas cards with merely a name signed under the obligatory "Merry Christmas".  So, we learn even less of them.  Well, only that they still breathe and can address an envelope - not to mention lick a stamp.  We can only guess what they have been doing the past year.  Perhaps we don't need to know.  Perhaps they think their life is uninteresting to us - but more likely the truth is they are squeezed in the hustle and bustle of life in the modern Christmas season and their time is precious.  Of course - I am grateful to get a card! 

And the cards are all read and reread - then tucked lovingly away to read again throughout the cold winter months as we appreciate the precious time they took to address a beautiful card just for us.

I was curious - so I looked to see where my cards were made... YES, "Made in USA"! 

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Ornament Hooks

Well, this is a year of firsts for us.  The short version is Black Friday I bought an artificial Christmas tree.  The rest of that story is that I came home, put it up, decorated it, and to top it all off, I put the rest of the decorations out around the house.  Now, I've always been one  who decorates about mid December with a live tree (we haven't had even one of those for the past 5 years).  And the decorations get placed around a few at a time.  You can blow me away with the fact that I, Ms. Sweetz, have my tree up and decorated before the calendar even flips to December.  Wow. 

As artificial trees go, this one is right pretty.  7.5 ft tall and pre-lit with 700 little white lights.  Hard to argue with that gracing the front windows.  In preparation for downsizing, two years ago we gave our son some of our Christmas decorations so as a result, the storage containers were slimmer.  But I found plenty to put up/out and the house looks festive. We even had Christmas CDs playing in the background.  The only thing missing was the hot mulled cider and cookies but I struggled through with a glass of tea.  Now I should have plenty of time to get some Christmas projects completed.  

Last weekend I went shopping locally for gifts and got about half of them purchased.  Yippee.  I exclusively bought from local small businesses and craftsmen.  I like knowing my money is staying here in America and not flown overseas.  Ah hem...of course, the tree...well, yep, it was made in China.  Surely, it would have been better to buy a live tree from one of the tree stands around town, but it's here now and decorated.  I will enjoy it and maybe next year I will keep it in the box and buy another live tree.  Well, a cut, dead, "live" tree  - which after Christmas is placed in our backyard and hung with treats for wildlife and birds.  Sounds like it's time to put more thought into my purchases and buy locally.

Mom came for an early supper tonight.  We had rehashed Thanksgiving dinner but it was just as good, if not better, than it was on Thursday.  Turkey, dressing, gravy, sweet potatoes, a couple of casseroles, rolls, etc.  Then for dessert I served pumpkin cheesecake made by a new local baker/catering business. Yummmmmm, it was delicious! Many memories plus many calories consumed.  I sure need to do something about eating these large meals.  They must come to a screeching halt or I will soon be buying clothes in the Big Mamma section. 

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving with lots of food, family, friends, and fellowship.  I have much to give God thanks for this year.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving With Son & Family

We had a great day celebrating Thanksgiving
with our son and family. 

The food was delicious and the hours flew by. 

Look at those faces...aren't they the cutest guys ever!! 

We have much to be thankful for. 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Lunch At A Hunting Club

Sweetz, Mom, and I were invited for lunch at an exclusive hunting club out in the country.  The estate was originally owned by a local  family and used as a dairy farm.  About two years ago it was sold and has been redirected as a elite hunting club.  There is a huge and stately country home, a separate lodge, numerous outbuildings for 4-wheelers, trucks, equipment, etc.  There are spacious rolling country vistas 360*.  Wow, nice.  I took a few pictures but no photos can truly capture the essence of the place.  But I tried!

There is a large fireplace with deer, moose, reindeer, ducks, etc. stuffed and hanging on high walls, an antler chandelier, knotty pine paneling, antler/metal/slate coffeetable, massive comfy recliners, a camo telephone...

I could write on and on about all the unique things in the lodge but hopefully a few photos can fill in some of the sights we saw in the lodge, gun club rooms, and expansive views for miles across private rolling hills.  Who knew all this beauty was hidden behind a set of touch pad gates!

Oh, and the lunch was beyond fabulous! 

As an update on our son's condition following his auto accident last night, he is doing fine, no broken bones, sore in his lower back, resting on ice packs, with only a couple of Motrin to ease the discomfort.  We are so thankful God protected him during this time. 

Monday, November 22, 2010

Tom and Me

Tonight I cooked Tom.  He's a beauty, not far from the coveted spot of perfection, if I say so myself.  He's out and resting as the good cooks tell me.  Sweetz just waltzed through and admired Tom so see that if I don't stand firm to watch Tom, he might be sampled.  Tomorrow I will make the gravy and dressing.  All these recipes are from my maternal grandmother.  She was one terrific cook and I love all her recipes. 

Our son's wife called tonight to inform us Brian was involved in a rear-end accident tonight on his way home from work.  The paramedics took him to the ER for x-rays just to be safe.  Bet he'll be sore tomorrow and for a few days to come.  We are to go to their house Thursday for Thanksgiving so I think he should have the option to prop his feet up and rest his back in the comfy recliner.  But he will definitely eat good Thursday.  I'm to take the turkey, gravy, and dressing.  Figured I would fix everything early and have it ready to tote so there's no Thursday morning rush - no dried turkey, lumpy gravy, or overcooked dressing. Grandma would be proud!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

A Bit of Christmas Shopping

For the females on my Christmas gift list I like to find unique items at area craft sales and Church bazaars.  Today I headed out to two such places - one was our county's Cooperative Extension craft sale where I purchased several items which I will give as gifts.  The second stop was a church bazaar in town where I found several great deals.  I did notice very few people were shopping.  Too bad, because there were some quality handmade items at decent prices.  Plus they were made right here in America.  It was a good feeling to support US citizens instead of buying things shipped in from other countries.  Bet the big box stores were full of shoppers.  That's ok for some things, but wish others would take advantage of the homegrown crafters in the area too.

I'm still spending way too much time with my DayQuil and NyQuil bottles but hopefully this head cold will die a natural death soon.  

Thinking about my germs jumping to others, I have decided to not go to church nor eat out with friends tomorrow so they can't blame me for any sickie gremlins.  No use being in close confines with friends who might take offense.  Actually, I wish others would have the same respect for me, but sometimes we forget we can transmit them so easily.  Of course, Sweetz has not gotten this and for that I'm tickled.  I'm a stickler for washing my hands/covering my coughs, etc. all the time so I know it wouldn't be easy for him to get this gunk from me.  Plus the smooches have been air borne from afar.  He seldom gets a cold, not sure how he is able to avoid them, but wish I knew.  

Sweetz is checking out RV magazines and the atlas tonight across the table from me.  Wonder what he is finding so interesting?  Maybe I can peer over the top of this laptop to see what state he's checking out.  Ahhh, looks like Georgia, that would be the beginning of our western ho trip. Love it when he's checking routes - makes me feel the next trip won't be so long in coming... 

Friday, November 19, 2010

We've Been Framed!

Sure was a pretty day around here today.  Temp went up to 58* and we had beautiful blue skies with a few wispy clouds.  Our autumn color has passed the peak so we are experiencing colors dulling every day to the point that today we have a predominance of browns.  Yes, there are a few reds, oranges, and yellows, but the dazzling colors are over.  Ohhhh, I'm saddened to see them fade as it was a spectacular show this fall. This was my first fall since I quit work so I could view it all day from the house or outside.  Sweetz and I were outside a lot today and certainly enjoyed the warm weather.  From what Mr. Weatherman states, we will have several more beautiful days like today.  

Yesterday I bought a collage frame which holds four 4x6 pictures and a tiny hole formed in the conjunction of these is about 2.5 inches square.  I have three nice professional pictures of Sweetz and myself for three of the frames.  So, today it was my goal to take pictures for the final frame and the itsy bitsy frame formed in the middle.  We tried this and that but finally chose two of our favorite shots.  One is our of wedding bands and the other one is a shadow in the shape of a heart against a brick wall.  Nice...if I say so myself. 

I do love to look at photography on the internet so the past few days many hours were spent looking at pictures from both professional and amateur photobugs.  I didn't copy any of their pictures, but they inspired me to go farther in my quest for a better shot.  We're pleased and...that's what matters at this point.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A Good Report

We received a photo on our phone today from MilitarySon.  We haven't heard from him in months, so it was nice to know that he's ok over there in Afghanistan. 

I had a dental appt today - so went to that this afternoon where instruments, water sprayer, and of course a pair of hands made it into my mouth - mostly at the same time.  It's at that moment when they ask you questions!!  The hygienist and dentist both gave me good reports. I received a few samples and a return appt -- then I was set free. 

After leaving the dentist's office, I spent a bit of time cruising the aisles of WalMart to pick up a few items on my list and then home.  Sweetz had eaten a sandwich while I was gone.  Somehow, I'm not hungry, so I'll use this to my advantage and skip eating tonight unless my stomach talks to me later.

My knee is soooo much better today.  I noticed I didn't have as much difficulty walking.  Now, hope this is a good sign and that it's on the mend. It's been WEEKS since my fall in the kitchen and I'm ready to have a decent knee again.  I want to begin walking again.  Ahhh, maybe I can walk again tomorrow.  That's a good goal.  

The restaurant we ate in for our son's birthday last week sent us a coupon for a free dessert.  They must have loved my survey feedback.  Or could it be they would be delighted to have us return for another costly meal???    

Monday, November 15, 2010

A Soft Place To Rest Her Head

I got to mom's early and we had plenty of time to prep the house for the men to take out the old mattress and set up the new one.  She was so excited.  Yep, it was delivered today, right on time. 

I took a few pictures so she could remember the day. 
After the deliverymen left, we put her mattress pad on

and then sheets plus a light quilt

and then the bedspread and her decorative pillows

See her smile!!?!

She wanted me to play the piano awhile, so I gave her a long "concert" and she enjoyed it all she said.  She kept asking me to play the same song over and over again so I did as long as she asked.  We decided to go out for lunch at a new little diner so while she got ready, she wanted me to continue playing.  She never mentioned the wrong notes either!  

We ate at the little diner which features southern cooking and it was quite good, then we drove around a bit to enjoy the last few days of autumn leaf beauty.  It was raining lightly and I thought it enhanced the gorgeous red leaves. 

The red maples are ever so pretty this year and our neighborhood boasts some of the prettiest yellow maples.  And the dogwoods are soooo pretty this year cloaked in their red splendor!  And did I mention the gorgeous reds of the oaks?  Ahhh, they are heavenly too.  It's eye candy pure and simple. 

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Zipped Up Tight

Recent days have seemed to merge into a blank canvas, nothing much to write about - certainly little that sounded of interest to readers.  Maybe not even to myself years from now.  Had a couple of incidents that irritated me but I won't rant or vent.  Looking back over recent years there have been more than enough trials to fill a book, but I won't go there again.  Those incidents are behind me now, I will move forward to new experiences. 

Mom and I went shopping Thursday for a new mattress and box spring for her bed.  She found exactly what she wanted - a euro top mattress/box springs.  She even laid on it several times, comparing how it felt to others, then back to her first choice.  The set made it to the buy stage.  I went down this afternoon to help clean her bedroom in readiness for delivery.  Tomorrow morning I will go down early to see what else we can do to make the trek of the mattress/box springs to her BR easier for the delivery men.  Then I'll help her make the bed with her favorite bedding and maybe I can talk her into cleaning up some of the clutter in the room.  Ya think I have a chance of success?  I'll try to take a picture or two but they may be out of focus if those men move as fast as I saw them in the store.  Whatever, we'll survive and she will be a happy sleeper.  She's been complaining of morning back aches so I suggested she get a new mattress/box springs.  Hopefully this will be the answer.  

Church was nice today and we ate out with some new friends at a local Italian restaurant.  They are a sweet couple and we enjoy spending time with them.  They invited us to go out fishing in their boat last week, but that was the day I promised Mom I'd go with her to shop for mattresses.  Charles said he'd invite us again.  I don't like to fish, but surely I could go along as the official photographer!  Charles said he'd bait my hooks if I'd fish.  Ummm, we'll see.  Don't have a fishing license either so that would be an extra stop at the lake office.  Seems I'm feeling a bit iffy at the active fishing part - or maybe the truth is there's no lure for the lure. 

Our cable has been off and on several days last week and Larry the cable guy has been up and down the neighborhood poles a lot.  Hopefully he has fixed the problem.  My computer wireless is hooked to the TV cable so when one is out, so is the other.  I've been playing the piano, reading, blowing/moving leaves, or listening to the radio while it was down. 

Sweetz continues to look at the camping books, maps, and accessory catalog.  We are thinking we might hook our bikes on the RV a bit differently so we can attach our rear storage rack to provide additional storage space for our upcoming trip.  It's hard to get excited since we've delayed our departure date till after the winter, but it really makes sense.  No use being stuck shivering in the camper instead of being able to get outdoors to enjoy the country's sights.  I sure hope the price of gas is reasonable while we are out and about or we might be spending a week at the local lake campground instead.  While I was taking a nap yesterday, he completed winterizing it and even put the cover on.  Yeah, while I slept! 

Now, we just have to wait out the winter and hope everything's a go when we unzip it in the spring.  And we definitely have something to look forward to.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Birthday Boy

Since our son is celebrating a birthday this week, we suggested we meet him at a nice restaurant in Greensboro for lunch today.  He chose Bravo which is a lovely Italian restaurant and we were thrilled with our food and the service of our fabulous waiter, Marcus, who was nearly perfect.

All three of us decided on lasagna and a salad.  Oh boy, what a fabulous meal.  Their lasagna is cooked in an Alfredo sauce.  First time I ever had it prepared that way.  And I was not disappointed.  They have a huge brick oven which you can see from most tables where things are baked right before your eyes.  Of course, we were talking and listening so much to Brian that we didn't watch the activities from the food preparation area. All three of us ordered the lasagna and it was served piping hot hot hot right from the oven.  Yummy.  Birthday Boy ordered a dessert and then Marcus brought him a delectable ice cream concoction topped with whipped cream, cherry, cookie, and a birthday candle.  And yes, he ate his lasagna, the bread, the salad, 3 drinks, and two desserts!  Yes, really.  Not sure where he put them, but I bet his afternoon at work was spent fighting sleep.  I didn't even think to take a picture of our food until it was nearly gone.  Oh well, next time hopefully I will remember.  

He also seemed to like the birthday card with a Lowes gift card tucked inside.  A guy can never have too many Lowes gift cards.

After we left, Sweetz and I drove to Winston-Salem and looked at several RVs.  None were what we were looking for so we'll be keeping our camper until the right one comes along.  We began our marriage in that town so it was neat to see a few places where we spent a lot of time during those years and one where Birthday Boy was born and spent his first days in the NICU until he could breathe and meet the infant discharge weight requirement.  He started out slow in those areas, but he's made up for it ever since!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Nearly Perfect

How can I describe today?  Gorgeous, beautiful, nearly perfect? 
Yep, all of that and more! 

Sweetz left for awhile, so I'm spending the day alone. 
Well, I thought so. 
He drove in around lunchtime on his way to the next appointment and munched a meatball sub - 
then whizzed out for another errand. 

And he found me WORKING.  He must have been impressed!  hehe  Well, probably not but I was in the front yard with the leaf blower.  Finished the front when I got those leaves in a pile and hopefully he will help me get them moved to his big leaf pile when he gets home.

Last evening we drove to a local ice cream shoppe to meet another couple.  We sat with them at a booth and talked over ice cream creations until the place closed.  We haven't known each other long, so it was fun to learn about them and their experiences and found out we used to live fairly close to each other outside of Washington DC.  Well, that was many moons ago.  We moved, they stayed.

Tomorrow we are meeting our son for lunch to celebrate his birthday.  Not sure which office he works in, but we'll figure that out tonight when we talk with him to finalize the details.  Who knows - maybe he'll suggest we meet him at a restaurant instead of us having to battle downtown traffic.  Before we get there we need to pick up a BD card and a gift card.  We're thinking a Lowes gift card is a fab choice.  There's a neat little shop around the corner from Lowes where we can get a birthday card.
Anyway, he'll tear into the card and it probably won't be read again anyway. 
It's a guy thing.

Gotta say, it's nice to be able to do things like this during the day - and I'm very thankful! 

Thursday, I'm scheduled to meet a friend for lunch. She has a physician appointment in our area so we'll take advantage of this to get together.   

7:30pm update:  I blew the leaves from the sides and back yards and Sweetz helped me move them to the leaf pile in the back yard when he got home.  When that was done, I came inside and heated up some leftover meatloaf and veggies.  Thank goodness I had them from last night's supper, or there would be Campbell's soup on the table tonight. Whew, I am bone tired.  I am so tired I do not want to finish cleaning the dishes or the kitchen.  I am so tired I want to vegetate.  I am tired... 

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Fall Back

Well, we're into our first day under Daylight Savings Time.  The darkness crept up on me kinda like... wham - it was dark.  Quite a difference from last week.  Oh well, what will be, will be. I have no control over it and must make the best of it.  At least the mornings will be lighter.  Perhaps I can get up an hour earlier to take advantage of the time difference.  Right.  Ok, so sounds like it will be easier to just adapt to this time change.  How long will it take for it to feel normal again?  Wonder why "they" can't leave the time alone?  Does it actually improve something, help someone, make life easier?  Does anyone really like it?

Today Sweetz and I went to the church a bunch of our friends attend and it was great to see them.  I've missed them so much and it was great to be around them today.  On the way to church this morning we passed a llama farm and I asked Sweetz to slow down so I could get a picture of them.  Well, they weren't in the mood for posing so that picture will have to wait for another time.  On the way home from lunch with our friends, we checked out a few country roads.  On one road was a home with a bunch of windmills.  Windmill mailbox and windmills all over the yard, the house, the fence.  Wow, that owner has an obvious passion for windmills.  Wish I could have gotten a better picture of all of them.  Well, maybe I'll check out that road another day.  Don't think they are going anywhere.

With the cold temps we're experiencing right now, it doesn't look like we will be going camping with our friends this week.  Can't believe it got so cold so quickly.  Hopefully we can go another time when it's supposed to be warmer.  But it might be spring before that happens.  Again, what will be, will be.  We're to get together to play some games one night soon, and that will be nice - and much warmer! 

Sweetz and I plan to look at an RV one day this week, that should be fun.  Our son has a birthday this week and I suggested to Sweetz that we drive to his office and take him out for lunch.  We plan to get him a Lowes gift card since guys seem to always think those are perfect gifts.

There was no wind so they weren't moving.  I guesssssss they move when the wind blows.  Surely, they were REAL.  Yep, I see a return trip back down that road to see if they spin.  And hopefully I can get a better picture.  One can always hope. 

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Pizzas, Peppers, Plants, Planes...and one Piano

Today was another beautiful one in our area.  The trees here must be in their autumn peak because everywhere you turn is a pretty scene.  I doubt it will be long before the branches are bear. Bear trees can be pretty, but I soon tire of that scene and begin my beg for spring to arrive. 

There's a good chance we will experience our first frost tonight, so Sweetz has wrapped a few things in tarps to see if we can save them a few more weeks.  We picked the rest of the peppers since I doubt there will be time for the little ones to mature.  One patio pepper pot is now spending the night indoors.  It has quite a few little peppers on it so thought it would be worth the effort.  We also brought in most of the potted porch flowers (geraniums, fern, nasturtiums, begonias, impatiens, etc).  Guess they will share our den this winter, although I sweetly suggested to Sweetz that we could let them "go" and buy new ones next year.  Oh now, that didn't happen --- they are to be our winter friends. 

I cut a vaseful of pineapple sage branches and have them on the dining table.  So pretty - although we both agree the deep green leaves and the rich red blooms seem more like Christmas than Thanksgiving.  Oh well, they are pretty.  And flowers always cheer me whatever color they are. I snipped several branches of my annual herbs too since they may be the last I get this season. Nothing like the fragrance of a bouquet of fresh herbs on the window sill.

Today we received two batches of prints I ordered online and inserted them in albums with a few labels so I won't forget where the shots were taken.  I want to buy a few more albums for two boxes of our old pictures.  Most are from earlier in our marriage when funds were lacking for such frivolous purchases as albums.  Those were the days - happy ones with many memories.

Went to mom's this morning but found her lounging contentedly in her jams and robe.  She wasn't about to go out with me.  So we sat and talked a long time in  her den and finally she said she'd like to go out for lunch.  YIPPPEEE.  I played the piano while she dressed and off we went to a cozy pizza parlor.  When the younger Saturday night crowd began to arrive, quarters were stuffed in the jukebox, and our table began to vibrate.  We decided it was time to wander the roads in search of peace and beauty. 

We headed out toward the mountains and enjoyed the fall views in all directions.  I snapped a few pictures of the afternoon.  At one point, I decided to take a side road to see a community airport and watched two small planes take off and another bigger plane waiting by the terminal.  Surprisingly, I saw a car I recognized exiting the parking lot.  Lo and behold it was two friends who were also enjoying a Saturday drive in the same area.  Small world.