Saturday, December 31, 2011

Surprises Along The Way

We had a surprise this morning when a son we haven't seen in years called to ask if they could come over and visit.  Sure, I said.  They have three beautiful children now, two we had never seen.  It was good to see them and catch up with their lives. 

He has a twin brother...

Imagine my surprise 40 years ago when I delivered twins.  No sonograms back in the days - just a stethoscope to hear heartbeats, and possibly one deaf obstetrician. 

We had unseasonably warm weather today for our area and I soaked in the sun and springy temps.  You know, you have to store up the good things when they happen upon your path. 

Today is New Year's Eve.  Another year gone -- ka-bam -- sure seemed to be a short one too.  Not sure if that's the speed of the seasoned citizen's calendar or what.  But it was a good one, no complaints, other than an occasional grumble or two.  2012 will probably have some other surprises along the way, but we'll face them with a smile and a prayer. 

Our day started with homemade Belgium waffles...

And will end with...

...a styrofoam bubbly.  Happy New Year everybody!

Friday, December 30, 2011

The Tapestry of Our Lives

Mom started my day by calling to say she wanted to talk to Linda and me about some things.  It was quite a chat from thoughts to questions to decisions. I understand that it can't be easy to know you're 90 and not know what the future holds.  Even though she is in good health, we have no guarantee how things will be day to day.  Of course, the bottom line is that I love her and only want what's best for her.  

Life is such an unknown entity.  There are no guarantees on this earth. Well, maybe death and taxes...But our God is there for us and will take care of His own. 

I reviewed the pictures from mom's birthday reception this morning while I was trying to save my pictures to Linda's memory card.  Not sure why, but some would transfer and some wouldn't. Thought that was strange.  But we know it was a memorable day and we all thought it turned out nice and mom certainly seemed to enjoy being with her friends.  Within a few days, I need to start on a scrapbook so she'll be able to remember her special day in
pictures and other memorabilia.  Doubt I ever live till 90 - and personally can't imagine I would have the great health she does.

We received our real estate tax listing form today.  We just finished paying last year's taxes and it's already time to list for another year.  It's like a treadmill that never stops.  I did receive some good news today...someone gave me a two-year planner - does that mean I'm guaranteed a couple more years on this earth???  Oh yeah... there are no guarantees.  Oh, maybe I could use it to keep up with my healthy eating plan and weight loss.  Gracious, where did that thought come from!  There are no guarantees - pass the cookies...

Thursday, December 29, 2011

90 Plus One Day

A sneak peak at 3 pictures from the BD reception.

We've spent the day with Linda since I think she plans to go home tomorrow.  It's been a chilly day but it's been nice to be around and about visiting and looking at places around the county.  We stopped at the cemetery where my dad is buried - walked around awhile and talked about old times and memories. Seems to be a perfect day to reminisce.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Big 9 - 0

Today is mom's 90th birthday and Linda and I gave her a nice birthday reception at her church this afternoon in a special room designed for just such events.  We invited some of her lady friends and three of her grandsons attended with their families.  The food was catered and delicious so that was nice that I didn't have to prepare the nibbles.  We gave each guest little bags with goodies and the ladies all seemed to appreciate the extra effort. There were pictures of mom through the years and a digital photo album running pictures while we were there. 

I took some pictures but with it being so late now, I won't post any tonight but hopefully tomorrow I can get a few posted. In fact, I haven't even looked at them yet.  Linda gave me her memory card tonight and I'm to save them for her.  But that will also wait for tomorrow.  Now...I'm going to bed. Good night all, pleasant dreams.   

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Light Rain

My sister-in-law called and is on her way here, will take her a couple more hours, so I'll be updating my to-do list and making sure everything is in order. All three of us ladies are getting over colds, so we're trying to stay away from the food.  We definitely will all be using antibacterial hand wash - sure don't want any sharing of germs during this trip.  The cold and light rainy weather isn't perfect for her drive but as she said, "At least it isn't snowing"!  It's always a good idea to see the optimistic side.

One thing I need to do is charge my camera battery pak!  Sure don't want that to die right as I'm trying to capture the perfect shot!  OK, I'm off to start on my to-do list...

Linda arrived and stopped here first and we discussed everything pertaining to the big event.  She seemed to like everything I had done.  She went with mom to get something to eat and is to come back by here to help with some last-minute details.  Everything is coming together.  Lock, stock, and damask. 

Monday, December 26, 2011

Holding My Breath

Plans for mom's birthday reception has been clicking right along.  The one remaining question mark was the caterer.  I knew Loretta would be taking a few days off during Christmas, but never did I imagine she would be cutting it this close! Her business had been working overtime and she was stressed to the max so she definitely deserved some time off. But me...I was getting edgy and nervous not hearing from her for a week as the calendar rushed on to mom's special day.  By 4pm today Sweetz and I had decided we obviously would be doing the food prep ourselves since it was too late to contact another caterer...

It was at this precise moment the phone rang!  She was calling to say she was back from their vacation and she had everything on schedule.  Obviously, there was no reason to doubt her planning since that's her business and always has everything under control.  She just needed my final ok that it was still a go.  I had a few questions and she answered them efficiently and professionally. Nice lady.  I'll use her again.  But hopefully never to be this close to hitting my PANIC button.

It was during our phone conversation that I realized I had exhaled.  Never did I realize I was holding my breath for so long.  But worry should never have been part of the plan.  As a professional, she always has things totally under control and really only needs a day to bring it all together.  Well, she's the best in this area so why was I worrying? 

This afternoon Sweetz and I cleaned off the dining room table and laid our goodies in piles and started filling the bags.  They are now ready (one for each family) sporting purple ribbons tying them to the rest of the decor.  This reception should be a piece of cake! 

And I'm trying to figure out what to wear.  The reception has been tagged "classy" by the florist - well, that's probably right and the type of event that mom would appreciate.  After all, she's 90 and deserves to have an event worthy of her age.  No balloons, no crepe paper streamers, no cake with candles, no games.  OK, mom, we'll not have those.  It's your party, and we want you to enjoy your special day. 

Wonder if I will live till 90?  If so, will my son give me a birthday party?  I have no doubt the answer to that question is a no. Well, maybe I should hang on to these decorations, pull them out of my cedar chest when I turn 90, close my eyes, and pretend...

Sunday, December 25, 2011

So Precious

Christmas Day is nearly over and it's been a wonderful one.  Lots of time with family and we seemed to have gotten closer.  I missed my brother but the memories today were precious.  Christmas is more than gifts.  This Christmas was extra special.  I love you so much mom and Sweetz - my two favorite people in this world! 

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve has about come and gone.  Guess ol' St. Nick is up in his sleigh delivering packages to all the boys and girls around the world.  Surely by now they are all tucked snugly in their beds with visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads.

We went to our son's home today to share in the Christmas joy with him and his family.  It was a good time first around the table for a delicious ham lunch and then some family time as we exchanged gifts.  

  Even Champ, the beagle, was a charmer and well behaved.

There are cookies on the tray, chips and dip on the plate, and a mug of hot tea on the table. Soon it will be time to check the night skies and see if Santa's sleigh can be seen.  Merry Christmas everyone! 

Friday, December 23, 2011

Eve of Christmas Eve

Well, the ol' 2011 clock is wearing down.  What hasn't happened so far doesn't look like it's going to happen in the next few days.  But there's another year. Of course, we don't know what 2012 will bring! This year was full enough for me since I don't care for lots of action.  If there's too much action and excitement, I usually get blown away from my comfort zone. 

The gifts are all wrapped, the cookies are dwindling, my cold is hanging on, the dust bunnies seem content living under the bed, the Christmas CDs are comforting, the tree is cheery, the katz are sleeping... What else could one want?  Ahhhh, I can feel the peace!  Well, it won't last - but for the moment it's here and over there and all around. 

Hey, what's that sound?  Oh, yeah, my cough.  Hopefully, this is the final stage of the cold.  Time for this one to move on. But it did give me the opportunity to slow down, to rest, to be lazy. 

Tomorrow we will see our son and his family - it will be fun.  We'll eat and share and laugh.  We'll exchange gifts and check out what the other ones receive.  Memories will be made to keep us warm in weeks to come. 

They have a dog now which I haven't seen.  Not being dog fans, this will be an experience out of my comfort zone.  Now, katz -- they are quiet and generally don't need any attention unless they curl up in your lap.  About the only noises I hear from them is the patter of paws on the hardwood floor, soft purring, and the occasional meow reminder of empty dishes. 

But a DOG - whoa, now they are different.  But I'll refrain from pre-judging this new addition to the Sweetz family but there might be a photo or two of him in tomorrow's blog.  A beagle.  What do I know of beagles?  Nothing.  What do I know of dogs?  Nothing.  Does he bark, bite, nip, jump?  Ummm, guess we'll find out tomorrow. 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Must Be the Zicam

Wow, I feel better this evening.  Today has been a rough one with this cold but I must admit, it does appear to be getting better.  Sure hope so since there's much to do and little time to get it done.  I have been lounging around with little energy so not much has been accomplished except to take meds and rest.

Sweetz heard me say that I missed baking cookies this time of year so he found a sugar cookie mix in my cabinet and proceeded to add some butter and an egg to the bowl.  In a few minutes, he presented me with a little plate of freshly baked cookies.  Now, that was sweet of Sweetz!  Think I might have to keep him.

It's been unseasonable warm the past few days, even had 1/2 inch of rain, but little chance to see the sun.  Not sure how Christmas Day will be, but we will accept what arrives and be happy for it.  Wasn't sure I would be able to see the little ones Christmas Eve, but if I keep improving, I might be able to be around them without spreading germs!  And just imagine the sights and sounds of Christmas with two grandchildren in the house.  The drive home is always nice with warm memories of a happy time with family while we also enjoy seeing Christmas lights on homes we pass.  

Merry Christmas to All  

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Tissues and Zicam

I'm still fighting a nasty cold.  I haven't had a cold in several years so was surprised when I caught this one.  Thought I was getting more immune to them or else successfully staying away from anyone with germs.  But, sometimes we get thrown a curve ball so I'll accept this and will work at getting over it as soon as I can.  Zicam has become my best friend.  And yes, it does work - if I take it.  And at this stage in the cold process, I have decided to take it faithfully.  Plus, I decided it would be a good idea to keep up with when I take them, so I'm jotting down the time on a chalk board to keep me organized.  I took the last one about 15 min ago so I should be ok to head to the library in a bit. 

My library books are due today -- the three-week loan period seemed extra short this time.  But at this time of the year with Christmas prep in full swing, I shouldn't be surprised.  So, off I will go to the library today to exchange these for another batch.  With the winter months staring me in the face, I predict I will be reading a lot to help fill some hours till spring returns once again.  It's lightly drizzling outside but I still need to head out even though staying inside where it's warm would be easier. 

I finished the little sewing projects I was working on to put in the bags with some other goodies for the people who come to mom's birthday reception so they can remember her special birthday.  That sure is a relief to get that project completed.  Things are coming together now, although there are still a few last-minute things to do, but most of the weight is off me at this point.  Haven't heard from the caterer lately but I'm sure everything is fine.  She's probably still overwhelmed with cooking for Christmas events.  

One thing is for sure, I'll be glad when Christmas is over and I can relax again.  The Reason for the Season is being squeezed and that's not a good thing.  Then another year awaits in the wings - and we must ponder what events 2012 will bring us.  We definitely have no choice in the matter as time ticks away faithfully and we must move with it. 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Where Are The Candles?

Since I'm under the weather with a "cold", I was restricted from entering the kitchen today.  That can have its benefits since MainMan fixed the meals today.  Yay

Poor Babe, it's his birthday and even had to bake his own birthday cake.  Fortunately, I had an emergency cake mix in the cabinet so he decided he'd make it himself rather than take the chance he'd be challenged with a fight against my germs.  So, a bit later we celebrated his big day when mom arrived - but there were no candles on his cake.  Didn't seem to bother him getting the fork in his mouth - along with some vanilla ice cream on the side.  Yum.  I'm not a fan of chocolate, but must admit this was a great cake.  One piece will probably do me though.  He and mom ate two pieces of cake!  Where do they put it?  And my mom told me today that she was still losing weight.  So, I encouraged her to eat a second piece - which she did - every crumb.

Zicam works - well when I remember to take it.  When I'm feeling better, I tend to forget them.  Sweetz bought another box of them which is labeled "ULTRA" so I'm prepared now with 3-hr lozenges and 4/6-hr soft gels.  That combination should cover the 24 hr period enough that I can get well.  Let's hope - since life isn't much fun in sick bay. The box's claim is that this product will shorten the length of a cold and relieve a sore throat.  So, how long is "shorten"??

I received a slideshow of a friend's decorating skills. Her house is so beautifully decorated that I can only drool.  So, I decided to remove my feeble effort at decorating a corner table to see if I could accomplish something of the Jean Look.  Doubtful it is successful, but maybe it shows some improvement. Now, that I see the picture --- I'd say I still need lessons... 

Sunday, December 18, 2011


What's Purple all over?  Well, it's the colors for mom's 90th birthday bash.  Bash?  Naaaah, it's not a bash, it's to be a proper reception.  She seems to be getting a little more excited about it now.  Just talked to Linda and we're still clicking off items on the to-do list.  She's coming down with a cold so isn't quite sure she can make it.  Hope so - but if not, I have Plan B waiting in the wings.  It's always a good idea to have a backup plan - maybe even two.  I just peeked at the weather report both for her end of the trip and also for the venue and looks like it will be ok: cold but clear.  Don't want the little geezer folks slipping on any icy patches - nor me, for that matter. 

Linda found a list of advice written by a 90-year-old woman from Ohio that seems appropriate. So, while she was on the phone, I Googled, located, edited, and printed a copy.  I'm planning to make sufficient copies to include one in each guest bag.  One day next week Sweetz and I will head out to buy the remainder of goodies for the guest bags - thinking of little bags of peanuts - not sure what else.  ??? microwave popcorn bags.  And definitely something sweet.  Do I dare trust myself to make cookies and decorate them?  Ahhh, ideas are flitting through my brain. 

Tomorrow is Sweetz' birthday - gotta get through that day first.  Next is Christmas...THEN all hands on deck for the final Purple
details.  Too bad we didn't have daughters - they are usually so nice to help with things like this.  But God didn't favor us with daughters - but I plan to ask Him about that one day...

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Christmas is Getting Closer

Christmas is around the corner, getting closer.  The smells of Christmas are in the air, neighbors visiting neighbors.  Christmas trees are sporting their beautiful lights and gifts begin to pile under its majestic branches. Yep, Christmas is coming.

A neighbor came to visit today and brought a Christmas gift just for us!  A homemade loaf of rye bread.  And we sampled it at supper.  Ummmmm, good.  She tucked in some cookies and candy too.  Food fit for a king and queen.  I had just finished wrapping her gift and she opened it and loved it!  Nice choice, Mrs. Sweetz!

Then about an hour later another neighbor came over to visit.  He said he hadn't seen us in awhile and wondered if we were ok over here.  Imagine that, a thoughtful neighbor!  I need to wrap his gift and go over one day next week to give it to him.  Hope he likes it as much as neighbor #1.  I'll include some pictures of them after Christmas, just in case some nosey folks on my Christmas list look at the blog - surely don't want to ruin their surprise.    

Friday, December 16, 2011

Christmas Cards

Well, last night I addressed the Christmas cards on my list, signed them all and this morning I composed and printed my annual newsletter to stuff in most of them.  Whew, that's another item crossed off my to-do list.  Now, as I look at my edited yet-to-be-done list, things don't seem too far out of hand. Or maybe my brain isn't seeing the true picture.  Well, don't correct me, I need this moment of satisfaction to maintain my sanity...if only for this moment. 

My life will be enjoyed in segments and I intend to look at this stack of envelopes and smile...

4pm:  I've saved lots of my photos to a memory card for our son.  He's giving his grandma a digital frame and wanted the memory card already loaded with some pictures so she can use it right away.  Sounds like instant gratification to me!  So, I've spent some time going through thousands of this year's pictures and picked some I think she'll enjoy seeing over and over again.  I've watched the slideshow twice just to make sure everything was in order.  I did delete two pictures that seemed too much alike and changed the orientation of one picture to be viewed realistically (although I have kept my original slanted for emphasis).  I tried to include many of her and also the family so she should enjoy the show!

It began raining a little while ago while I was copying pictures to the memory card.  It's a chilly wet day outside, but I'm inside and staying warm.  Mr. Sandman skipped out early on me last night and I think he's sprinkling sand on my eyelids now.  The bed is waiting - do I dare attempt to take a nap? 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Checking My List

Sweetz and I went to the big city today to shop till we dropped for Christmas.  I made a list and checked it twice,...figuring I've give to the naughty and nice.  The prep for events this time of the year has wrapped its gnarly tendrils around my legs and arms and sometimes I feel unable to move.  But things are getting done one step at a time and that's really all I can ask at this point.  

I have to finish addressing our Christmas cards and write notes to include with some of the recipients we haven't seen.  Doubt that will be finished tonight, but sure need to get that job done and dropped into the big blue mailbox on the corner.  Plus maybe my mailings will help that organization stay in business another month or so.  Cards, stamps, pen...check check check.  Ahhhh, the time -- ummmmmmm, surely I can find time tomorrow. 

Yes, Mrs. Sweetz, just proceed one step at a time and things will get done.  And SMILE.  And always remember the True Reason for the season. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Sooooooo Many Birthday Candles

Today was a delightful day, starting off overcast and ending with nearly total sunny skies.  And warm!!!  What a beautiful day for a December.  If only we could order these all winter!  But  occasional beautiful days are to let us know that winter won't be a killer and we'll survive - if nothing else but to let us be treated to one of these exceptional days. 

Three generations

We picked mom up at 11:30 and off we drove to Oak Ridge to Elizabeth's Italian Restaurant to celebrate Sweet's birthday.  Not sure how many candles are supposed to be on his cake but the fire department was warned to be on stand-by with full water tanks!

It's always a great experience when we're with Brian - he's sharp, handsome, funny, and relaxing all bundled up into one exceptional son. We had our favorite waitress, Brittney, who took care of our every wish.  I told her when we left that we'd make sure and ask for her the next time we're there.

Brian made a Dad's Money Garden for his dad, who seemed thrilled with the attempt at a special handmade gift.  There are raised beds and coins in the vegetable rows, even money poles for the cukes and pole beans to grow on.  Sooooo cute.  You can't find one of these for sale in any Hallmark Card Shop! 

Dad's Birthday Money Garden

After our loooooong birthday lunch, we visited outside awhile in order to take advantage of the gorgeous weather.  When we finally said goodbye to Brian until Christmas Eve, we stopped in CVS to get some purple paper and a few other items for mom's birthday.  All the agonizing planning has paid off and things are beginning to come together.

My birthday gift to Sweetz was a pillow I designed and made to use in his man cave. 

Buck in Flannel

This one is made of khaki fabric with a buck head on the front sporting a full rack. The appliqued deer head is cut from a plaid flannel shirt that belonged to my brother. This way we have a piece of Wayne with us every day - and it's soooo cute!

After we arrived home, I worked on a couple of projects for mom's birthday celebration that incorporates some pictures of her earlier years.  I finished these tonight and they turned out sooooooo nice.  I wanted this party to be a surprise, but she's wanting to know some of the plans and details.  She even told me today that she'd be glad to help however she could.  It would be great to have her help but I'm soooooo trying to keep some of the plans a secret so she can have a surprise or two. The next projects on my to-do list are thankyouforcoming treat bags to help the attendees remember the great time they had.  She knows the colors are black, white, and royal purple, so she told me today that she was going to wear those colors!  Now, won't that help me take some special coordinated pictures!  Yep, I plan to take a couple hundred pictures hoping to catch the perfect shots of her and her guests. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Rush Rush Rush

Worked on mom's big birthday bash today.  Feel I'm running around in circles with nothing tangible to show for all the hard work.  As much as I am proud to do this for mom, it is pretty overwhelming here during the holidays. Today, I met with the florist, consulted with the caterer, chatted with my sister-in-law, visited the venue...Everyone is rushed with their own lives and needs at this time.  Hopefully, the day after Christmas I can sit and prop up my feet while I relish a cup of cocoa, maybe with marshmallows and a peppermint candy cane.  Then begin the rush toward Reception Day.  Sure wish this event was another time of the year but we must work with what we have been given and make the best of it.

I met a good friend for dinner tonight and we chatted over chicken salad for a couple of hours.  It was good to reconnect and she was so gracious to always keep me centered and uplifted.  Good friends are priceless in this hectic world.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Beginnings and Endings

Monday - another first day of the work week and this one is overcast in all hues of grey.  I had a fitful night's sleep, kept waking up, but continued to lie there and occasionally I'd wake again so knew I slept some. Hope I got enough to make it through the day.  I'll be meeting some friends for supper and wouldn't want my sleepy head to land in my Mexican chicken and rice dish. 

The invitations to mom's reception are completed: addressed, stamped, and will be mailed today.  They turned out nice with little ribbons attached to the top in pre-drilled holes.  Even the little ribbons were pre-cut so it wasn't difficult to thread them through the holes to mimic bows.  Yep, and I even followed protocol and hand addressed them. 

Now, I have a stack of Christmas cards to work on.  Need to write notes on them too.  It's nice to open the mailbox and receive them from family and friends - so hope others enjoy receiving mine as well.  My list will be pared down this year - and it's a special treat to be able to email Christmas greetings to some on my list.  That doesn't help the post office stay in the black, but they will have to pare their business plan just as we do with our home budgets.  

I'm still not back to normal after my brother's unexpected death and that bears a heavy weight on my Christmas joy this year.  Grief takes time but does allow the living a chance to relive the memorable moments. I'm so glad that Wayne and I were able to bond after some rough years in the middle and those last years were sweet. I'm thankful to have those experiences and memories so I have no regrets.  But life continues for the living and we have to keep our nose pointed straight ahead looking for joy even in the little things along the way.

May you always keep Christ in your Christmas. 

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Dinner and Four Acts

This morning after my healthy breakfast I worked on the wording for mom's 90th birthday reception and nailed it! After a trial print on plain paper, I printed up enough for everyone on the guest list. These invitations have two holes at the top where I'm to push black ribbon to make a cute bow. I did four before I was ready to find something else fun to occupy my hands. Maybe by Monday I can get the rest done. Would it be fashionable if I just include the snippet of ribbon and let the recipient thread the bow themselves? Ok, ok, I had to ask!

Sweetz and I attended a Christmas church play this afternoon.  It started at 3pm and it was a good time for us to be out and about - was still daylight going and coming, and I got dinner thrown in as a bonus.  I must have been "good" this week.  Well, aren't I always?  Definitely not overly good, but I try.

Our friend, Nancy, was playing Christmas songs on a grand piano in the vestibule when we arrived.  Never saw that done, but it was great to hear her. 

After the play we treated ourselves to dinner at an Italian restaurant where we both tried something new - gnocchi pasta with meat sauce. 

It came with salad and bread.  Yum yum yum, sure was tasty!  Told the waiter we had never had that before and he told me he knew we would love it.  He nailed it - we did - and I'll definitely order it again.  It was a huge serving and I brought half of it home for another meal.  The meal came with a salad and a big log of bread.  We had cheesecake for dessert.  Even though I didn't eat it all, it was delicious - and now, folks, I'm off for the treadmill to terminate 200 calories. I've lost 10 pounds and I don't want this to get me off track in my quest to be called skinny just once more in my lifetime.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Change of Plans

I didn't get to attend the Christmas musical tonight because of a few obstacles thrown in my path.  It's to be presented tomorrow also so hopefully things will work out for us to go then.  And no sewing got done today either, too many obstacles for that too. 

Mom came to visit this evening and brought a bag of sewing goodies.  There are LOTS of zippers in the bag.  She used to be an avid sewer so had a stash of them.  There was also another box with seam binding, braiding, rick rack, etc.  I'm talking two shoe boxes full!  I felt like I had won the lottery.  And as I was shuffling through all the zippers, guess what I found?  YES, a 9 in camel colored zipper - a much better color match for my pillow project than my cream colored one.  This one is metal and much more suited in color and durability.  So, I have to ask myself, "Why aren't you at the sewing machine, MizSweetz?"  Have no answer to that, except maybe I'm disappointed I couldn't see the play tonight.  And maybe wrapped in there somewhere is a tad of laziness?!   

Mom brought the list of the names and addresses for the guests she wants to invite to her birthday reception.  After she left, I grabbed a purple pen and addressed all the envelopes. Purple?  Yes, that's one of the colors I'm using for the decorations. I need to get the invitation roughed out and then printed on the invitations - these  invitations need to be mailed soon. 

She was kinda quiet, makes me wonder what she's thinking.  Maybe she has second thoughts about the reception!  Disappointed at me about something?  Who knows!She did tell me that she wanted to invite a couple more people so their names were added to the end of the list so that sounds like she's still ok with it.  Oh well, I shall not worry about that tonight.  I'm doing my best to have a nice birthday event for her so let's hope everything works out.  I'm sure we all will have a fabulous time. 

It's that wonderful time of the year... when our property taxes have to be paid.  Ho Ho Ho.  I'll have to put a check in the mail within the next few days so I can put that baby to bed.  If it's late, there's a penalty.  Bah Humbug.  After the first of the year I need to get with Human Resources where I used to work to get my retirement checks started.  Won't that be special!! Ho Ho Ho.  That will mean I have a few more bucks to spend on higher prices for gas, food, and...well, practically everything.  Bah Humbug.  And about that time I need to decide on Social Security supplemental insurance from my ever-growing pile of information from companies vying for my attention.  But for now, I will smile and put all that behind me.  January will come soon enough and I will then be able to concentrate on those decisions with the holidays behind us.  Wonder how long it will take me to write the correct year?  Wow, 2012 - imagine that! 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Knives and Forks

Had a good day, life seemed calmer.  Hey, but I was alone most of the day - hehe  That's it!! My problems stem from irritation from other people!  Well, not really, but it seemed like it the other day.  I was really frustrated with someone beginning Wed evening with a phone call that irritated me wildly.  Took yesterday off and just did what I wanted to, and obviously worked through my irritation.  Anyway, today was better and I think I'll be ok now.  Sometimes just a bit of reflection time works wonders. 

I made the 5 angel ornaments for our tree yesterday as a way of calming down...and it worked! Even Sweetz thought they were cute.  I can't find my stash of ornament hangers so the last 3 angel ornaments are lying on top of the piano waiting for me to figure out Ornament Hanging Plan B.  I've seen wire ones with cute curly flips and turns.  Surely, I could make 3 doing something like that.  Yep, think I'll do that tomorrow.  These 3 angels need to be gracing my tree and I would think they would adore fancy curly ornament hangers - well, I would at least. 

Today I met with Marcia whom I volunteer for.  I turned in my last project and she gave me two more projects to work on.  Seems she is updating some documentation  and these projects will involve some updating and typing but she said there was no rush, but I plan to start them in January, right after the Christmas decorations are stored for another year.  It's a good thing to have some projects ready in the wings.  Don't want to get bored in my retirement gig!! 

Went to a second Wal*Mart today trying to find a zipper a color closer to what I wanted.  Wasn't to be.  Sure miss a good fabric store!  I also went here and there including a grocery store picking up a few things we needed.  Sweetz was rewarded with a fantastic lime chicken dish for supper.  Oh oh oh, was it ever good.  I tweaked the recipe, leaving out the hot peppers and such, but substituted some ingredients more to our liking and it was excellent. Yum, might have to do that again.  Of course, it won't taste the same since I didn't write down "my" recipe. But that's ok, I'm a "creative" cook and who knows, it might taste ever better next time.  

I'm still working on the healthier nutrition phase of my life and it's working...slowly.  Lost 9 pounds as of this morning.  Slow and unsteady but at least moving downward. 

I found a low carb cookbook this morning in my cookbook shelf and that's the method that seems to work for me and where I saw the lime chicken recipe.  There are lots of great-sounding recipes in it.  Ummm, wonder what I will fix tomorrow? Well, it's a mystery to me too, but with this little book...inspiration just moved up a notch. 

Speaking of reading - even though I have these two typing projects for Marcia, I'll still find LOTS of time to read!!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Me Time

I'm tired of the planning and clicking off items toward a great birthday event.  Took the day off and enjoyed some other things.  Worked on some angel ornaments that I saw on a craft blog and thought I'd try some.  I made five and they are pretty cute and certainly will find a free branch from which to dangle this year and hopefully for years to come.

I went to Walmart this morning to get a zipper. 
Pitiful choices!
There were 3 lengths in maybe 5 colors.
  Sure do miss the fabric shops that used to be in our area.  

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Planning Is Taking Shape

Sweetz and I went out and about, up and down the roads trying to work through some plans for mom's reception.  I picked out the paper products and put a few coordinating things together - of course, I like it ... but I think mom will love it.  I bought some invitations from the same set of paper products so just need to get them printed and stuffed in their matching envelopes. 

We went to my favorite caterer this morning and got that process started.  The owner had some good ideas and again I'm thinking mom will be pleased.  That's the real reason for all this anyway - to honor mom and to make her proud. Loretta will get back with me on the final details while I need to get with her with a sample of the motif so she can coordinate her part.  Don't want to brag.... BUT, it does look like everything is falling into place and I think I can take a chance on exhaling at this point.  Yep, our birthday gal will be pleased we are doing this. Can't wait to see her smiling face.  Yes, she knows we're doing this, but I don't want her to know any of the details until the big reveal.  Wonder if there are any opportunities in this economy to be an event planner! It's definitely a lot of work, but sooooo fulfilling! 

Talked with our son tonight for a long time.  He's just the most pleasant guy you'd ever meet!  So kind to us and even feel he's bordering on the protective side.  It's wonderful to be this close with him and his family. Yep, and I'm proud of them too! 

Monday, December 5, 2011


Good news!!
Today I was successful in my search for a venue for mom's birthday celebration.  It's already decorated and set up for most of anything I need.  How's that for an easy solution! 

Parking: good
Access: good
Decor: good
Location: good
Space: good
Restrooms: good
Seating: good
Cost: good
Mom's reaction:  Priceless

Next, I must gather my thoughts...and then I'll be off to talk to a few caterers and florists.  Still trying to locate my social secretary...she must be around here somewhere.  She didn't take this month off, did she??? 

Again, we had a nice day,  which was a beautiful late fall experience, with just a nip in the air.  Mom and I invited two lovely ladies to join us for lunch at a sandwich shop.  All the time I was out having a ball organizing a nonagenarian's birthday bash, Sweetz was slaving away mulching leaves at mom's house. So much for equality.  Well, we could have switched roles, but I doubt he would have done well in venue comparisons, but his choices would have had a bit more of a masculine tone: ball park, garage, 19th hole, man cave. Yep, that's why I went out today...

Sunday, December 4, 2011

I'm Seeing Green

God has delighted us in this area with a pleasant fall.  Oh, we've had some cold days and nights, but mostly they have been on the mild side.  The leaves are all down but the evergreens sprinkled in the landscape are a brilliant green.  They are generally overlooked during the other three seasons, but the lowly evergreen gets to outshine all the other trees during the fall and winter. 

Another plant that retains its color and majesty are our rosemary plants.  Even though I have harvested a generous amount from our two plants this year, they both are hardy and continue to have strong flavor even as the weather chills.  And the pruning through my harvest ventures only create more robust and healthier growth.  I bought a dehumidifier this summer to assist me in drying my herbs, but was extremely disappointed in it as it is too hot and scorched many a tray of fresh herbs.  I actually would prefer one that has a much lower temperature setting.  Since I'm not at all inclined to spend money on the costlier industrial version, I will continue to resort to my pioneer methods and the dehumidifier has been doomed to live unappreciated in the storage closet.  A generous use for it next spring would be as a planter!  About all it's worth to me at this point. 

Our Christmas tree is green also - and one might call it an evergreen.  Well, that's a stretch but it is always green, however it's artificial.  Not my favorite but seems to be satisfactory at this time.  With the cost of real trees edging upward, this seems to be a solution which works for now...maybe forever.  Must say, it was pleasant to get the tree up and decorated in record time.  A live tree is more time consuming...but worth it as it fills the home with its fresh scent. Wonder if we will ever get another live tree for Christmas?  I did snip some greenery outside one day and that softens the absence of the majestic live Christmas tree.  Times have changed and so must we. 

Plans continue to roam through my head as I plan a nice birthday reception for my mother.  Tomorrow I will travel into town to check out a location for the gathering, plus visit a couple of vendors who specialize in catering to see if they are available to provide the food.  Another call will be made to a friend who I hope will do an floral arrangement and a corsage.  Lists fly through my brain and most land on paper.  I'm thinking I need a notebook to keep track of everything, but wouldn't a social secretary be nice at this point!!!  Both Linda and I want it to be nice - and it will be worth the effort. And who knows, there might be some leftovers!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Moravian Candle Tea

This morning Mom and I went to a Moravian Candle Tea to  maintain the Christmas spirit.  Several members graciously told the history of the Moravians, the meaning of the various religious items, their beliefs, history, dress, etc. and sang some of the Christmas carols accompanied by a man on a guitar.  Several of the ladies wore traditional clothing to assist us to mentally return to this time period. 

After the informative program, we headed to the Fellowship Hall where the traditional sugar cake, cookie, and coffee were served.  Chicken pot pies were sold using the recipe passed down through the generations.  I bought one and it's hanging out in my freezer to enjoy another night.  I also bought a tray of Moravian sugar cake and package of ginger cookies which were made at the Winkler Bakery which is located in the Old Salem area of Winston-Salem.  The sale included baked and canned goods to handmade items - ranging from wreaths to ornaments to scarves - all at reasonable prices.  Along the back was a row of tables where members of the church trimmed beeswax candles and demonstrated the construction of traditional Moravian stars. 

After an adjustment in our schedule, we headed to an open house at the arts market where we saw local artists displaying some of their pottery, paintings, weavings, ink drawings, and photography.
There were a few items I admired - but according to the BIG prices on the little tags, I decided to find my stash of oil paints and slap some on a canvas. 

Friday, December 2, 2011

Green, Red, and White

I didn't venture far from the house today and that was to go out into the yard and snip some snippets from some evergreens.  Time to splash a bit of greenery around the house.  And it's difficult to ever have too many fresh smells. 

And I have included a picture of the whole tree for a reader who requested a peek at our entire tree. 

This is a daytime shot but the lights are on.  It's pretty right now with the lights glowing so beautifully in the dim living room.  Sounds like I need to take another shot, doesn't it? 

A few baubles, but this shot doesn't reflect the overall color scheme being nearly totally red and white this year.  Not sure how that happened - just evolved I guess. 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Sounds of the Season

Sweetz and I headed out this morning to buy a new kitchen faucet.  There were several to choose from and we found one similar to the one we presently have...which happens to be leaking.  Is anything made with quality to last anymore??? 

We saw Santa today!  

We had lunch at a pizza joint and met a friend who ate with us.  She's a delight with a peppy personality - and she still wants me to come back to the line dancing class...and go on some trips with her...and join her bowling league.  Does the woman ever get tired!!

It was a great evening tonight as our town's Community Band had a concert of beautiful sacred and secular Christmas music.  It was fantastic.  That's a sure way to begin the Christmas season in my estimation.  I was toe tapping the entire time. Since I used to play the clarinet in the band, I found my eyes lingering on the woodwind section.  But the other instrumentalists were excellent too. There were solos by a couple of trumpet players and another solo by a flutist.  All were very good. I saw several people in the audience I knew and it was so nice to see them again.  Speaking of the auditorium - it was nearly full and I was pleased there were so many people out tonight to enjoy an evening of Christmas music.  I got several hugs from people.  What a delightful way to show your love and concern for a friend. Afterward, mom and I drove around a bit in the area to see the Christmas decorations in several neighborhoods - one of our family traditions.  She said she enjoyed the evening and wants to do other things with me.  Sounds like I'll be searching online to find some other area things to do...

I took pictures tonight without a flash but it's difficult to hold the camera still long enough to get a sharp picture so the quality isn't as good as I like.  Oh well, pictures are intended for the memories sometimes and not always for award-winning shots.  I had to work around some heads in the audience but considering the obstacles, I think they turned out pretty well.

And bosho...I'll be glad to include a picture of our Christmas tree - which I think is quite pretty.  Check back tomorrow to see if I was able to capture a decent shot.  Can't do it now since I'm charging my battery pack.  Plus the Christmas tree lights are on a timer and it's timed out for the night. 

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Around and About

Today was an around and about day - around and about the town running some errands.  Exchanged my library books for new ones.  Nothing compares to my grumpy mood when I don't have a book to read. But that situation was settled and I've already gotten deep into several chapters of one of the new ones, a second in a series.  Hope it's as good as the first one. 

I scooted around on several other errands and was back home in short order.  Didn't see anything to take a picture of, it's rather dull and drab around here during the winter months.  That's another reason to look forward to spring.  Nothing much prettier on this planet than seeing a new bud springing to life in the spring.  Can hardly wait!  In the meantime, we look forward to Christmas and the joys of our faith.  The stereo is playing Christmas CDs and filling my heart with peace and contentment.  If only we could have these feelings all year long.  Somehow life gets in the way.  

Sweetz and I put the tree up today.  Yep, and he really helped this year, right there at my elbow as we worked side by side.  It's pretty and I'm enjoying looking at the lights and the ornaments collected over the years while the music plays on.  


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Alcapella and Always In Tune

I attended a concert tonight at our community college where the 82nd Army Airborne chorus treated us to an evening of great singing.  No Christmas songs, but were All-American songs.  Loved the evening.  I went through the receiving line and shook each young person's hand at the conclusion. They were so YOUNG looking and eager to hear our comments.  I enjoyed talking with each one and to thank them for the evening and for their service. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Sights and Sounds of Christmas

Linda left this morning and she called mom to tell her she arrived safely.  She had an uneventful drive back home, stopped a few times to stretch her legs, take a break, get gas, etc.  Undoubtedly, she's glad to be home again to get back to her own routine.

It clouded over a few times today, but finally about 8pm it decided to rain - one of those light sprinkling rains, not a full downpour.  Now, we're expected to get some cooler weather for at least a week.  Bummer, I was getting spoiled with our unexpectedly warm weather.  If only winter were this nice, then I wouldn't mind 3 months of it. 

Today I packed the fall decorations away for another year and Sweetz put them in our storage closet.  Then he proceeded to bring out the boxes of Christmas decorations.  So, I put out a few things. A pillow here, a towel there, replaced a picture with a wreath, etc.  Doesn't seem like Christmas yet; I'm still in fall mode.  My decorations need a lift like a different way of displaying them. Certainly am ready for a unique slant to decorating with them. Time to get out of the rut of the same ol' same ol'.  Something vibrant, something artful, something uplifting.  And where does inspiration come from?  Well, I went online and found a website, not much Christmasy on it yet, but mine will have to evolve a bit at a time. It wouldn't be much fun to have the house decorated in one day.  I like to display the sights of Christmas a bit along over several days as the inspiration hits.  

Another thing I did today was to work on some Christmas
projects. They sounded like quick ones, but, of course, nothing works out to be easy.  I did find satisfaction in my accomplishment and now I have some Christmas gifts already in the hole.  Woohoo. 

Had a call tonight from our son wanting to know if we wanted him to buy some gifts for the boys for us to give them.  What could I not like about that??  Sounds like a wonderful idea to me!!! Wonder if they will wrap them too????  Wooohooo, this gift exchange thing is getting easier each year.  This could become a habit.  Rake out a few bills and the shopping magically gets done.  Not like it used to be in my childhood days - we got a few gifts, mostly clothes, and were proud of anything we got.  These days, the kids have lists of what they want and parents seem to feel they have to supply the youngsters with everything on their list.  Whatever, I'm too tired of this annual Christmas train ride so find  I'd like to bury my head and not come up for air till January. 

Mom and I are going to a concert tomorrow night - will be nice to start the season hearing a military chorus - hope they sing all my favorite Christmas songs! Maybe that will get me in the spirit.  Will soon be pulling out Christmas CDs to fill the house with the sounds of Christmas.          

Sunday, November 27, 2011


Another weekend is just about to hit the hay...oh yeah, I'm not working so that's not important anymore!! YAY!!!  Love that I'm retired and don't have to dread Monday and the work which would  always be piled sky high in my inbox - not to mention The Beast growling in my face.  Must say some things are meant to be forgotten. I'm thankful.

We went to church this morning and then met Linda and Mom at a steakhouse for a delicious lunch.  And nooooo, I didn't order turkey anything. It was wonderful to taste something different. Felt I was beginning to grow feathers and talk Gobble.  Our lunch was good and so was the fellowship around the table.  All good things for which to be thankful.  

Mom and Linda wanted to go home for a nap, so Sweetz and I headed home for a quiet afternoon.  He and I headed out a bit before 6 to our church for the evening service where we were blessed with singing by Kim Hopper of The Hoppers, a gospel group.  That woman has a terrific voice, singing from a whisper to loud and I was so impressed with how long she could hold her notes with seemingly no effort.  Just beautiful.  Afterward, I stopped in the lobby and bought one of her CDs - it's playing now.  Very pretty.

After church we headed to mom's and spent the evening visiting with her and Linda, just returned home a bit ago.  We all had a slice of birthday cake with ice cream to stretch out Linda's birthday for yet another day, then sat around the table and talked about everything from here to there.  I saved a picture she wanted to a CD and also to her camera so now she can print it out whenever she gets ready.  I tried to print it, but my cartridge ran out of ink in the middle of the job. 

I ordered new ink cartridges online at the HP website today so they will come in a few days.  I seldom print anything, so waiting a few days shouldn't be too difficult.  I could go to  W*M but HP offered me free next business day shipping so it will be easier to just stroll to my mailbox than stroll the big box store's aisles.  Anyway, I'm sure I would buy something else besides the cartridges if I went to W*M, so this will be better for hanging onto my last pennies until my check comes.  Gotta pay our property taxes in a couple of weeks - yeah, and right here at Christmas time. Terrible timing.

Speaking of Christmas, on our drive to church this evening, we saw lots of homes decorated with outdoor lights, trees lit in windows, and wreaths on front doors.  But I'm still in Thanksgiving mode!  A doe ran in front of our car tonight, she was so graceful, but I was thankful she avoided our car.  A smashed windshield is not something I'd be thankful for...

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Lovingly Crafted

Linda, mom, and I went to Greensboro to the semi-annual Craftsmen Arts and Craft Show.  Not as many shoppers this year but that made it even nicer for me.  Not many people jabbing you in the ribs, walking over your feet, etc.  Actually, today nearly everyone was real nice and there were lots of smiles and occasional gentle nudges.  Quite a nice day. I saw several items I would have loved to have bought, but finally decided to keep my wallet closed.  I'm a crafty person so I know I could create it myself.  But the real truth is, I CAN but I usually don't.

There was a section of individually decorated trees.  I meant to go over to see them but then I got waylaid and they were forgotten but I snapped a picture. 

There was a huge Christmas tree made of balloons which made an excellent place for us to sit to pose for a picture.

I only bought two things. One was a beautiful button that I want to sew on a jacket.  The other one is a metal creation that will soon get "planted" in a flowerbed.  It is of a simple nativity scene which will eventually get stuck outside to remind us of the true meaning of Christmas. 

Wayne played the trumpet and cornet.  Seeing his mouthpiece around the house or warming in his mouth was a common scene.  I saw a vendor who made wind chimes, lamps, key chains, etc. from pieces of instruments and noticed immediately a trumpet mouthpiece made into a key chain.  Mom loved it as a way to remember Wayne so she bought it.  She showed it to Linda who went back to buy one for herself. I play the clarinet and there were valves and such from an old clarinet made into the same items, but for some reason I was not so honored with a key chain remembrance.  Maybe I have to die first!  Now I have PROOF that my brother was the "Golden Child" but no one believes me!  hehe Good thing I am confident in my own skin, otherwise I could be jealous. 

Both Mom and Linda are suffering from colds, so I stopped at Wal*Mart on the way home and bought some Zicam in case their germs decide to play at my house.