Wednesday, December 31, 2008

iPod Fame

I'm heading over to Best Buy today to spend the $30.00 Rewards Certificate from buying the computer back in August. It expires Jan. 9, and I'm darned if I'm going to let thirty bucks slip through my fingers. I've decided to get either a set of speakers for my new iPod, or one of those radios that you can plug it into.
(Can you tell I've been brainwashed by all the accessories available for iPods? Never saw them before I owned one!)

In my sewing room I have a huge boom box that J-Man gave me a couple of years ago, and it's nice in that it plays audiocassettes as well, (and I still have a bazillion of those), but it's way larger than what I really wanted. A smaller one would be easier to maneuver and leave more room for something else up there.

In preparation for this re-arranging, I've started downloading all my CDs onto the iTunes program DD was kind enough to get started on our computer. My plan is to create different playlists, such as Music to Sew By and Exercise Music (ummm, yeah,) and Halloweeny Haunted Stuff and Dentist's Chair Escape songs.

Now, Pinky's comment gave me an idea : I'd like to add a Bloggers' Favorites playlist, too! This could be a really weird mix, but what I'd love for you to do is to let me know your favorite song, (or version of it), favorite group, or something that would represent you. There must be a way to label it to show which reader suggested it so I can think of you when it comes along.

What do you say? Wanna be memorialized in my iPod?

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Listening to the Quiet

It's after 10pm here and the house feels larger but emptier now. For the last couple of days we've had 5 adults, 2 dogs and a baby in the place and it's been noisy and chaotic and fun.

Wed. afternoon, J-Man woke me to tell me I was being put on call and didn't have to get up yet. Good thing, as my alarm had been buzzing for 20 minutes and I hadn't heard a thing. But then DD came in about 15 minutes later, and I was too excited to go back to sleep. Isabella had to model her new Christmas sweater:

After supper, J-Man went to bed and DD and I participated in a long-standing Christmas Eve tradition: wrapping presents. I had more to do than she, so I was up til 1am before collapsing into bed, still not finished.

The phone rang at 2am. Of course. I got called in.
As it turns out, 2 of the 3 admissions ER was promising us were cancelled, so they really could have made it without me, but who knew? So I finished wrapping when I got home and then we unwrapped them all again 5 hours later.

Tandi got yet another ball, and guarded it carefully, unwilling to share more with Isabella than she had to:

She didn't like sharing her moose either:

J-Man and I went a little overboard on DD this year, but when you only have one, and she's working her heart out--that's what you do.

We tried for a low-clutter Christmas this year, since she is in such a tiny apartment. Beside gift cards, and a few wearables, we bought her a Kindle from Amazon so she can read to her heart's content without trying to find more room to store books. She was totally surprised and thrilled.

DD and J-Man conspired and bought me a purple iPod with my name engraved on it! Now, I'm sure most of you are yawning over this one, but, unlike J-Man, I'm not constantly panting after the newest electronic toys. (Remember the 20-yr-old Bernina? And the 8-yr-old computer we finally replaced?) But it's been fun trying to figure it out, and in a week I'm sure I'll be wondering how I ever did without one!

That night and the next morning I busted my butt cleaning out the sewing room for brother and his wife--and their 8-month-old grandson. He was such a hoot! He loved Isabella--thought she might be good enough to eat:

Looks mighty pleased with himself, doesn't he?

Isabella had to howl about it, egged on by my SIL, of course:

This little man only took power naps--20-30 minute sleeps and that was after fighting it for at least 15 minutes. But he was so good-natured you couldn't be upset with him.

Do you think the grandparents doted on him just a bit?

Then again, so did DD; after all, they have practically the same color hair:

We ate, we laughed, we shopped a little, we ate some more, we played with the baby and pulled the dogs apart when jealousy got the best of them, and now it's all over til next year.

I pulled out the 11 quilting magazines I haven't had time to read yet, but didn't even thumb through them. It's awfully quiet here now. I think I can hear my thoughts echoing.

There'll be time enough to put the rooms back together later. For now, I want to remember these past few days.

Sleep tight tonight, baby boy.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

Hope you're all making wonderful memories!

Thanks for the friendships this year. I can't express how much I've enjoyed getting to "know" you all. I'm trying to quickly surf through the 70-odd posts on my Reader, so if I don't post a message, please know that I'm visiting everyone and wishing you a day of joy!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Remember the Definition of Insanity?

Why does the time from Halloween to Christmas seem so short? I swear, I spend so much of September and October getting ready for Halloween, that by the time I clean it all up and pack it away, it's Thanksgiving, then Christmas and all my plans have fallen by the wayside.

I have books and magazines and notebooks with ideas for cute gift tags, pretty bows and clever decorating tips and I happen upon them at odd times of the year. I think I'm going to remember that when it comes time to get ready for Christmas, and visions of storybook Christmases dance in my head: wreaths hanging in every window, extra meals waiting in the freezer, the house full of the scent of baking cookies, handmade gifts for everyone from the daughter to thevet to the mailman, each room decorated to the hilt with Christmas quilts and wallhangings.

Then reality asserts itself and I don't remember to hunt up those cute Christmas buttons I've been saving, or where I put that magazine page with how-tos on creative bow-making. We use fabric bags or yardage to wrap for the family here, with gift bags or paper-wrapped gifts going outside the family. I want to dress them up, make them special with little floral picks and bells and vintage ornaments, pinked edges to the fabrics and tulle bows, and handmade fabric gift bags with appliqued Christmas trees and stars and nativity scenes.

Instead, I slap a stick-on bow and stuff in some tissue paper and voila!--grab it on the way out the door. Or, it's 1 am Christmas morning and I'm blearily trying to find those gift tags that came in the mail from someone pleading for donations this holiday season. (I have no shame. I use the tags and the address labels and only send money to those I have already chosen to support).

Next year, I tell myself. Next year I'll start in February or March, making my own Christmas cards, making my gifts, crafting cute little beaded ornaments to attach to gifts for co-workers and friends.

But February comes around and dozens of seed catalogs fill my mailbox, and then it's April and I'm digging in the dirt and turning my face to the sun, and suddenly July is here and it's hot out there so I stay in and quilt, but only bright colors, or maybe even fall colors come late August, but just can't get the Christmas thing going. Then boom! -- I'm in the same boat as last year, and the year before, and the year before that.

Maybe I'll just start as soon as my company leaves on the 28th...

Yes, that oughta do it!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Baby, It's Cold Outside

At 9am, it was 12 degrees out, with 12mph winds, making the wind chill factor 1 degree.

Mount Mitchell, the highest point in our mountains, registered a wind gust last night at 89.9 mph.

Our heater has not kicked off since J-Man woke up this morning, which means it probably ran all night--and it is set at 69 degrees. I don't know what it would do if we didn't have thermal windows.

I know this is NORTH Carolina, but we're still below the Mason-Dixon line. BRRRRR. How do you Yankees stand it? lol

This was the scene in my back yard this morning:

We have a line of some sort of spruce trees right behind our house. The blue jays were puffed up to about 3 times their normal sizes, huddled in the spruces, facing the sun.

Those are the only birds I've seen today.

Thank goodness it's supposed to warm up to the upper 40s by Wed--and then it's predicted to rain.

I'll take it, thank you.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Paying for the Vet's Christmas

Sorry for the unrelenting number of blog posts with no pictures--especially no holiday photos. Just can't seem to get myself together here.

The good part about no TV in the living room right now? I don't have to listen to those boring news shows, commentaries and TVland reruns! Hurray!

The downside? J-Man's been monopolizing the computer. As soon as he got up, I jumped in. He's had it all day!

Finally had to take Tandi to the Animal Hospital this morning. (Ka-ching!) It had been 36 hours since she'd eaten and over 12 hours since she'd had anything to drink and she looked to me as if she was getting a little dehydrated. She was so pitiful.

Poor baby, she usually prefers to sleep in her crate with its door closed and the blanket draped over it. I guess she's still a little traumatized from having to sleep in it after she upchucked while I was at work Fri. night, because, although I coaxed her into it, she gave me such a mournful look I didn't have the heart to close the door.

Within minutes she was back on the loveseat, and just before I fell asleep, I felt her get up on the bed next to my legs. Now mind you, she has never slept more than an hour on the bed, and that's when I'm lying on it and reading or talking on the phone. This morning I woke to find her snuggled up next to my back. She really was feeling bad.

I called before I went to the emergency hospital, but before I could get there, someone brought in a dog who'd been hit by a car and they were trying to stabilize her, so we had quite a wait. The vet didn't seem in the least bit surprised to see a 50-odd woman sitting in the floor with a dog in her lap when he walked in. Obviously he's a dog-lover and understands.

I could hear a woman sobbing in the lobby and then in the ladies' room, which was right next to our exam room. Having gone through a similar situation with my last dog, Libby, and recently reading about Penny losing Jezebel, my emotions were pretty near the surface. I never saw the lady, but I shed tears behind a closed door for the loss of her companion right before Christmas. Tandi leaned over and gave me a sweet little doggy kiss. She was sick, but she was comforting me. Dogs are so wonderful that way.

Fortunately, she didn't have a resurgence of her pancreatitis, as the vet had feared. He says although the symptoms can seem to disappear, sometimes they keep a low-grade inflammation going and can have flare-ups. She was dehydrated as I'd suspected, so he kept her a couple of hours and gave her fluids and started her on antibiotics. He's predicting some diarrhea, but we're hoping to prevent that and further vomiting, with medications. He doesn't know what set this off, as there's been no change in her diet or anything we can put our finger on, and we may never know, but at least she wasn't debilitated before we got her there.

Everyone marveled at her sweet disposition despite all these "strangers" had to do to her. That's my girl: barks like the fiercest dog on the planet if you come near her house or yard, but has the gentlest nature of any dog I've ever known. Right now she's sacked out on the sofa, exhausted from her day. I'm thinking I'll have a bed buddy again tonight.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Twisted Christmas

This is not turning out to be our typical Christmas.

As I mentioned before, I am miles behind where I usually am in my Christmas preparations. Last night at work I made a revised list of what I need to do and anything I think I might reasonably be able to accomplish.

So, on my way home from work this morning, I decided to stop by the little curb market to look for ornaments and/or stocking stuffers for J-Man and DD. This is a little building where lots of vendors set up their wares, and everything must be either made or grown in our county. I didn't find any ornaments, but found a couple of soy candles. The man and his wife use all kinds of containers, and will fill the small containers you bring in if you like, and will refill candles you've bought from them for only $2.00.

The thing is, DD has 3 odd teacups and saucers I bought years ago at an estate sale, but was going to get rid of when we decided to move. She asked for them, so of course I gave them to her. I'm thinking, if she has them out and not packed away, they'd make wonderful candle holders, as the soy candles burn cool and won't damage the china. I may get her to bring them with her so we can have the guy fill them with the color and scent she wants and I can ship them back to her.

But I still didn't find any ornaments, and this is a serious tradition in my house. It would never do for me not to buy each of them an ornament. I figured my best bet was to run home and get my Christmas money and head back down to the little shops on Main Street in search of unique ornaments and stocking stuffers. By this time I was getting a little hungry, so I hit the drive-thru at Micky D's for a chicken biscuit and coffee. While waiting to pay, I glanced in my rear view mirror and saw an older man in the car behind me. When I paid for my food, I asked how much his order was; it was $3.80. I still had some money in my wallet, so I paid for his and told the gal to just tell him Merry Christmas. It was fun to watch him drive up to the window and be told his order was paid for. He kept peering at my truck, wondering, I'm sure, if he knew me. I couldn't wipe the grin off my face. Made my whole morning.

Until I got home, that is, where the TV is still not working. J-Man decided to upgrade the satellite dish to HD, so the guy came out on Thurs. and did whatever he has to do. Since I had to sleep before work, I didn't get a chance to check it out. J-Man was able to watch a little that night, but by yesterday morning, the TV gave up the ghost. He'd turn it on, and it would be on for about 2 seconds and audibly click itself off. It's the same thing the little bedroom TV was doing a couple of months ago, and that one was old enough the part needed wasn't available any more. Right now it's still sitting in the bedroom floor, waiting for me to haul it to the dump. In its place is a new little flat screen with a terrific picture.

We have an agreement with Sears that covers maintenance visits and service visits on 13 different appliances for one flat fee--and we just renewed it last week, so J-Man called to set up an appointment. Thing is, Sears contracts out on the big screen and we always have to wait for the guy to call us to schedule his visit. Sears always says he'll call within 24 hours, but he never does. And today is Saturday. I doubt he'll call before Monday, and if he does, who really believes he'll get out here to fix it before Christmas Eve? Could I see a show of hands? Of course, it is the season of miracles. Then again, it would be a miracle if he actually carries whatever part is needed to fix the TV and won't have to order it.

So here it is, Christmas specials and movies all over the place, and the TV isn't working. Since J-Man is disabled, the TV is his primary form of entertainment. Fortunately we do have one in the bedroom, but there is nowhere to sit in there, and he gets tired of lying down to watch television, even on the adjustable bed. Me, I've got plenty else to do, so I'm just playing Christmas music and burning a CD with some new favorites on it. Oh, and burning some scented oil. To get rid of a very un-Christmassy odor. A very sour odor. While I wash slip covers and crate pads and spot clean the carpet.

When I came home, J-Man casually mentioned Tandi hadn't eaten her breakfast yet, but he didn't think she was sick or anything. DUH! She's a little foodie--if she isn't eating, she's sick! Sure enough, she'd upchucked in her crate, and got it on her ears and the carpet and now everything smells a little sour. Before I could get her outside, she upchucked again. Two of her doggy friends came around while we were out there, took a couple of sniffs of her and left. Even THEY knew she was sick, but not the J-Man. Sometimes he can be so obtuse.

So there's a load in the washer, one in the dryer, and I'm boiling rice water on the stove to feed her. I'd really rather not spend another small fortune at the vet hospital (weekend again!) if I can manage this myself. Later, I get to haul her little self into the tub for a bath.

It's the guest bath.

I needed to clean it anyway.

There goes my nap.

So, since I can't watch any Christmas movies, we won't do the trivia thing this week. Instead, I'm going to do a survey here.

There have been many versions of Dickens' A Christmas Carol through the years, and I thought I'd seen pretty much all of them, til this year I saw a version with Cicely Tyson as "Ebonita" Scrooge. J-Man's favorite version is Scrooge, the musical with Albert Finney. I can't decide between the one with George C. Scott and the one with Patrick Stewart.

What's your favorite version?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Meme and TCB

Karen over at Short Story Long tagged me for a "photo" meme. (Thank goodness she did, too, because I've had precious little to talk about the last couple of weeks!) I'm to find the fourth photo folder on my computer, and post the fourth picture in it, then explain it.

This is a photo of a rogue lily I found over in my side yard, where there's never been one before. I have no others like it anywhere in my yard, so some little critter must be responsible for its existence. I hope it comes back next summer.

So, what have I been up to the last couple of weeks? Well, there's been a long dentist appointment, a staff meeting, a meeting about new insurance, a groomer's appointment for Tandi and subsequent major cleaning session, (looking for fleas), a guild holiday luncheon, a quilting bee potluck, some grocery shopping, thrift shop donation, and the ever-present job--in which I've been kicked in the cheekbone by a dementia patient and called an angel by the fiance of a dying patient all in the same night--but not much Christmassing. I'm feeling overwhelmed.

The tree is assembled and "fluffed" and the lights are on--but nothing else. I did get the yard card set up and a make-shift manger and the 3-foot electric candles in the front yard. No gifts are wrapped, there are about 4 items placed around the house, I have to work 5 of the remaining 7 days til Christmas, and I have to empty the sewing room in preparation for my brother and his wife to come visit a week earlier than usual. And yet, I promised the rescue organization where I bought Tandi that I would make some crate pads to keep the dogs warm this winter. Fortunately, the weather has been unseasonably warm in our part of the country so far, but I'm feeling very overwhelmed, and very tired.

My efforts to Take Christmas Back have failed--I wasn't able to get to the mall to choose a name from the Angel Tree before the deadline, I couldn't find time to volunteer to be a bell-ringer, I bought items for a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child--only to find out it was too late for this Christmas, and I've only made and delivered one batch of cookies. I think I overestimated what I could do, and no matter how good my intentions were, my plans became yet another list of duties, responsibilities, "should-dos". There was no joy in it anymore, and that was defeating the whole purpose.

However, the majority of my list consisted of things that don't have to be done at Christmas--they can be done anytime. My fire department would undoubtedly love a big batch of cookies in January just as much as they would at Christmas. And anonymously paying for someone else's meal might be more welcome after the holidays. I think I'm going to postpone this list for now. Other opportunities may arise that I can fulfill between now and next Thursday, and I will try to keep my eyes open for them, but for now, the best way for me to Take Christmas Back is to not over-commit and therefore spoil it for my family.

I'm hoping you all are having a joyous, but peaceful week.

Saturday at the Movies 12/13--Oops!

Ooops! I made 2 goofs!

1. It's Wednesday. But you knew that, didn't you? Well, I let Tuesday just slip on by me--sorry!

2. There apparently is nothing that indicates the population of Bedford Falls. I remembered it wrong! While getting the tree lights sorted (blech!) and put on the tree yesterday, I watched "It's a Wonderful Life" beginning to end, AND the extra features we have on the disc, and it just isn't there. I could have sworn it was 3060, but it must have been a dream or something.

However, y'all got the other answers: Bedford Falls became Pottersville once George Bailey ceased to exist, and the 4 children were Pete, Janie, Tommy and Zuzu.

There were some interesting bits of information on the DVD we have. Did you know a man named (I think) Philip van Doren Stern wrote a short story entitled "The Greatest Gift" but couldn't get it published, so he printed out 200 copies and gave it to his family and friends in their Christmas cards that year? A couple of years later, RKO radio bought the story for $10,000 and hired some writers to turn it into a script. They came up with 3 different versions, but none of them was good enough. In one of the rejected versions, there were 2 George Baileys--a good one and a bad one--and the good George kills the bad George on the bridge. (Pretty violent for a Christmas story, don't you think?) So the story just gathered dust until Frank Capra bought it--for the same $10,000. And you know how it all turned out.

New question on Saturday! (Somebody kick me if I forget the day!)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Saturday at the Movies 12/13

I know this movie has to be on the top 5 of everyone's favorites during the Christmas season: It's a Wonderful Life. I tried to think of more challenging questions, but I doubt seriously that you all could be stumped.

So, here are a couple to quickly answer and then go about your preparations!

What were the names of George and Mary Bailey's 4 children?

What is the population of Bedford Falls?

What is the name of the town if George doesn't exist?

Answers on Tuesday!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Saturday at the Movies 12/6

Well, I guess either the Blogger goof threw everyone off or no one but Libby and I have ever seen this movie!

Okay, back to "The Gathering".

Adam Thornton finds out he is dying. We're never told what it is, but it's a rapid thing. He has been estranged from his wife and children for years, and feels the need to see them all again before he dies, but doesn't want anyone to know what's going on. He goes to his wife to get contact information for his youngest son, Bud, with whom he had a major argument over the Vietnam War. Bud defected to Canada, and no one knows where he is.

Wife finds out what is going on, and that a road trip will take too much time. So they plan an old-fashioned family gathering for Christmas. Of course, there are hard feelings that must be dealt with and relationships that must be patched.

The gift from Adam's friend, the doctor? A huge box of Fourth of July fireworks that Adam and his oldest son shoot off at about 2am Christmas morning. This is when the son figures out what is going on--and he's the only one who does.

What Adam gave his wife, Kate? A leather-bound album of family photos found in the attic.

What Kate gave Adam? A telescope. He'd always wanted to learn more about the stars and constellations, but had been too busy with his business to take the time. (We learn about this when he's thinking, but he doesn't know that Kate remembers)

Okay, do you have those Kleenexes out yet? If you get a chance to rent it from Netflix or somewhere, don't pass it up. Like I said before, it's a great story without being all maudlin and mushy. Ed Asner's character is dignified and crusty enough to keep it from deteriorating.

And you thought the Christmas category would be easy, didn't you?

Okay, more familiar movie highlighted on Saturday!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Opportunities # 2 and #3

I love Christmas cards. I love sending them and I especially love receiving them. I love the colors and the artwork and the way they look all grouped together. I love the photos of families and I even (mostly) love the newsletters that come with some of them. Some of my friends and family members are extra creative and make their own and I look forward to seeing what they chose to do this year. I used to make my own, but haven't in a while, though I want to get back to doing it again.

Email cards are convenient, and for those who have small children, multiple jobs, busy lives, I understand the advantage. But when Tandi and I go out to the mailbox, and I reach in and pull out a hand-addressed envelope, I'm tearing it open before I get back to the porch, eager to see what lovelies have been sent our way, and what bits of family news might be there. I know we should be staying in touch throughout the year, but if we don't, then I'm glad Christmas cards are there to remind us to at least touch base once during the year.

Every year I exchange cards with a couple I assisted when I used to do Workers' Comp case management--and I haven't done that work since 1993. One year, he sent me a signed copy of a book he wrote about the Inn in Bethlehem. I love it. And I send a card each year to the parents of a 32-yr-old breast cancer victim I cared for who died in 2005. We shared many hugs and tears over several months, and that family really touched my heart.

When we nurses get an occasional thank-you card or Christmas card from former patients and/or their families, we invariably smile and melt just a little. It's nice to hear they are doing better, or even that their loved ones are coping with their loss. So I imagine the staff at my doctor's office or my vet's office, or even my dentist's office feel the same way. (Chocolate is always appreciated, too, but let's not get greedy.)

I'm even sending one to my trash pickup service this year. It's a couple-owned business, (in my area, we have to contract with a garbage service of our own, as we are in a "village", not part of the city) and I doubt they get many thanks. I mean, how do you give them fudge or cookies? And I DO appreciate what they do. Boy, do I appreciate them!

As part of my Take Christmas Back effort this season, I decided to buy faith-based cards to send out. There are many things I enjoy about the season--Santas and trees and angels and candles--but without the birth of Jesus, we'd only be celebrating "happy holidays" or "winter" or some such nonsense. I'm not out to offend anyone, and I'll wish Happy Hannukah to my Jewish friends, but I celebrate Christmas, and I'm not ashamed to say so.

Besides the ones I bought this year, we've received blank cards from organizations hoping for donations, and I have a few stray cards left from years past. The American Red Cross has a program entitled Holiday Mail for Heroes, in which they are aiming for one million cards sent "to American service members, veterans and their families in the US and around the world." So I have put a short message in 8 cards and will be dropping these off at the Post Office today, as they need to be postmarked by tomorrow.

Sure, it takes time and effort to write a note, address and stamp envelopes and get a few dozen cards into the mail in this busy season, but for a few hours each year, it is nice to slow down and think about specific friends and families and acquaintances and what they mean to me.

Edited to add: I guess the cards had to be individually postmarked by 12/10--meaning they need to be ready to send out from Maryland tomorrow--because the post office couldn't pull up a zip code for the address on the site. I'm going to search online and see if there is somewhere I can send these out myself, probably individually.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Feeling Creative?

It's time for me to get my next year's sticker for my tag--and I have the opportunity to get one of those vanity tags that I've always wanted for my truck for not so much money.

I want it to reflect my love of quilting, and/or something about nursing and/or cocker spaniels, and be a bit clever.

Do ya think I'm asking a bit much?

Well, anyway, this is what I've come up with so far:

COCKERMOM (but I'm afraid that one will be read wrong)



NITEQULTR (which is an abbreviated version of my yahoo name)

O2BQLTNG (Is this too obscure?)


Any ideas? Ummm, quickly? I have to do it this week.


I procrastinated again.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Saturday at the Movies

One of my absolute ultimate all-time favorite Christmas movies is "The Gathering", which came out in 1977 and stars Maureen Stapleton and Ed Asner. I remember being 2 months pregnant, sitting cross-legged in the floor (yes, that was a VERY long time ago!), making sequined ornaments while the tears ran down my face. Okay, pregnancy hormones were probably contributing slightly, but this story of an estranged husband and wife reconciling and bringing the family home for what was to be their last Christmas together is made for Kleenex.

I know it sounds maudlin, but the crustiness of Ed Asner struck just the right balance. On Christmas Eve, as the oldest son suddenly grasps what his parents haven't told him, Ed Asner opens a Christmas present from his old friend, the doctor.

What was it?

Bonus questions:
What did Ed Asner give Maureen Stapleton?

What did Maureen give Ed?

Usually I say no looking the answers up on the internet, but I will make an exception this time--because I don't think you'll find it there. But the movie was made for TV and was never put on DVD, so if you can find a copy, it'll be VHS. And it's not being broadcast this season.

Umm, yes, I have a copy, a very grainy copy, but no, I don't loan it out!

Answers on Tuesday!

Edited to add: I wrote this Friday night and had it set to post at 7am Saturday morning--and just now, at 3:30 MONDAY morning, discovered it didn't post!!! Boo on Blogger!! Sorry, Libby--it wasn't your old eyes after all!

Friday, December 05, 2008

Holiday Program Schedule

Thought you all might find this a little handier than the local TV Guide:
It's a listing of the broadcast times for all the Christmas movies, animated and real-people ones, this season.

Now we can plan when to sew on those bindings and address those cards!

TCB--Opportunity #1

Angie, over at Poppy Joy, is looking for ways to "Take Christmas Back", by doing things that will help her teach her girls the real meaning of Christmas. They've made Verse Books with verses about the birth of Jesus, but also the hope and joy the world can have because of Him. They are making cards to send to an organization called Make a Child Smile, that features three children each month who are battling chronic illnesses.

My daughter is grown, and fully understands the meaning of Christmas, so my purpose is different, but the same. I mentioned I was going to try and come up with 25 ways to Take Christmas Back and attempt to do one each day. I'm a little behind, but I haven't forgotten nor am I giving up on this. While at the grocery store last week, I picked up extra items for the season: such as boxed stuffing, jarred gravy, biscuit mix, cranberry sauce, etc. and today I carried a couple of bags over to Interfaith Assistance Ministry.

When I got there, they were bustling! I could hardly get in the door. The man who took my bags to weigh told me the children from the local Catholic school brought 600 pounds of food just a little while before I got there! WOW! That rocks!

On the whiteboard above the computer are handwritten numbers--the number of people serviced each day. On Monday assistance was needed for 72 adults and 23 children in our county. The man told me he'd been volunteering there 5 years now, and this is the largest number of people he has seen IAM service. We have a lot of elderly in our county, as many people come here to retire, and lots of migrant workers who end up staying here after the apple harvest is over. Lots of unemployment.

I've noticed I get more requests in the mail for donations this time of the year than usual, I'm sure because organizations know to capitalize on the feelings of "good will towards men". And maybe because people are rushing to catch up on charitable donations for tax purposes. (Sorry, that sounded cynical, didn't it?) But places like IAM need donations year round.

So to take this one step further, I'm going to make a concerted effort to go through papers and magazines for coupons. Usually I only clip the products I need and toss the rest, but I could take the coupons and buy these items for food banks (they told me they can't use coupons). Then once a month I'll take the bags over to IAM, or some other food bank. I'm going to mark it on my calendar to remind me.

I'm going to close the comments for this post, because as much as I appreciate you stopping by, I'm not posting about this to get a pat on the back--I'm posting because Angie's got a great idea here, and I made a commitment to carry it out to the best of my ability. I haven't come up with 25 ideas, but I did list 15 I know I can do. And I find myself looking for opportunities to give or do more--which is what Christmas all about, right?

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Movie Trivia Answer 11/29

Well there is more than one path to Grandma's house!
Or to Kevin Bacon.

I think it's fun how everyone got from Alan Alda to Kevin Bacon via different routes.

Libby and Hubby first did it in 3 degrees (see the comments) but when I reminded them it was to be 5 actors between Alan Alda and Kevin Bacon, here's what they came up with (in an email back to me):

"From Me *s*

Alan Alda was in The Aviator with Cate Blanchett (1)
Cate Blanchett was in I'm Not There with Heath Ledger (2)
Heath Ledger was in Monster's Ball with Billy Bob Thornton (3)
Billy Bob Thornton was in Primary Colors with Kathy Bates (4)
Kathy Bates was in About Schmidt with Jack Nicholson (5)
Jack Nicholson was in A Few Good Men with Kevin Bacon (6)

From Hubby

Alan Alda was in The Aviator with Cate Blanchett (1)
Cate Blanchett was in Bandits with Bruce Willis (2)
Bruce Willis was in Armageddon with Ben Affleck (3)
Ben Affleck was in Boiler Room with Giovanni Ribisi (4)
Giovanni Ribisi was Saving Private Ryan with Tom Hanks (5)
Tom Hanks was in Apollo 13 with Kevin Bacon (6)

*ta da*"

Here's mine:

Alan Alda was in Murder at 1600 with
Dennis Miller who was in Disclosure with
Demi Moore who was The Butcher's Wife to
George Dzundza who was in No Way Out with
Will Patton who played in The Spitfire Grill with
Marcia Gay Harden who was in Mystic River with
Kevin Bacon.


New question on Saturday--and it'll be Christmas movies!

Monday, December 01, 2008

Two memes and a blogthing

Mighty Mom over at My Wonderful Life tagged me for a meme/award.

First, I have to list 6 things that make me happy:

1. When J-Man says "I love you." He's the kind of guy who shows his love by making supper, or filling my car with gas, so when he spontaneously tells me he loves me, I'm that mushy 19-year-old all over again.

2. Phone calls from my daughter.

3. Watching Tandi's long ears flop when she takes a flying leap of joy off the porch, the sofa, me, etc.

4. Rainy days.

5. Time spent in the sewing room.

6. Massages. (more on that later)

And then I'm supposed to pass it on to 6 other Kreativ Bloggers---but here I'm going to wimp out. I mean, look at my sidebar. How am I ever going to choose only six of the blogs I try to read daily?
Besides, it's a busy season. So, if you're feeling 6 degrees of happiness today, make a list! And then come let me know so I can go see what puts a smile on your face.

Then Gillian who writes as That British Woman tagged anyone who was reading her blog to post a photo of his or her blogging spot.

So here is the shot from last night:

Mighty Mom also had a blogthing on her post so I had to truck on over and find myself.

You Are Thanksgiving

You are a bit of a homebody who enjoys being in the company of people you love.

It doesn't take a lot to make you happy. You're enjoying life as it is.

You have many blessings in your life, and you are grateful for each one.

You believe that life is about what you *do* have. You feel like you have enough of the good stuff.

What makes you celebrate: Family, friends, and the changing of the seasons.

At holiday get togethers, you do best as: The host of the party

On a holiday, you're the one most likely to: Spend so much energy preparing that it's a full time job

Yesterday afternoon I woke up with a really bad crick in my neck. I don't know if I slept wrong, which is very likely, since sometimes my position is decided by the C-PAP and tubing, or if it was left over from practically lifting one of my little old women out of bed to go to the bathroom; also very likely, since she had a couple of fractured ribs and getting up to a sitting position was difficult. I did the heat and Ibuprofen thing, but by lunchtime today it was only slightly better.

This is interfering with my sewing. And mopping the kitchen floor, but I wasn't too unhappy about that. But I have to go back to work tomorrow night, and this could make my life miserable there.

Each week, a massage therapist couple sets up outside the cafeteria and does chair massages for $1.00/min. Of course, this is always during the day, so we night shift workers don't get to indulge, but when I went to my ACLS class last September, there they were! I managed to get in a 10 minute massage during break and accepted one of their business cards, tucked it in my purse and forgot it. Until today.

I dug it out, called, and Salina said she could take me at 6pm tonight.

Aahhhhhh. Except for the mini-massage, I haven't had one since last December, at Joanne's party. This may need to become semi-annual instead of annual! The pain isn't all gone, but Sooo much better, and my range of motion is better, too. I knew to drink lots of water afterwards, but she also said to pour a cup of apple cider vinegar in a tub full of hot water and soak for about 20 minutes. It's supposed to open my pores to let the toxins out. Hmmm. Bet I'm going to smell just wonderful afterwards. But shall I just smell toxic or really be toxic? Guess I'll go take that bath now.

Saturday, November 29, 2008


If you've been following my blog for even a little while, you know that I am blessed to be the Compassion sponsor of two precious girls, 15-year-old Dalia in El Salvador, and 9-yr-old Aduri in Bangladesh. Besides sending $32.00/mo to support them, we can also send up to $25.00 for birthday gifts and one other gift during the year as well as a Christmas gift, and up to a $300.00/yr family gift.

Aduri's birthday was in October, so I sent $10.00 for her, and I sent a $50.00 family gift about the same time, probably early September. Today I received these two letters from her, and they brought tears to my eyes. I want to share them with you just as they are written.

"Dear Sponsor Stephanie D_________-,
My love to you. Thank's God that he give me a sponsor like you. Thank you very much for sponsoring me. Thank you for your birthday gift. Our project staff bought for me dress, shoe with your gift money. Now I have many dress. I am very happy with your gifts. Now I go to the project with new shoe. I have 3 siblings. It is very difficult to my father to lead our family. My parents are very happy and thanked to you. I go to the project regularly and my study is going well. I like to study. I like to go the project. Please pray for me so that I may study well and be healthy. May God bless you. Your beloved Aduri."

"Dear Sponsor Stephanie D__________,
My greetings to you. I pray that you are well with God's grace with your family. Me and my family are well with your prayer. Thank you very much for praying for me and my family. Thank you very much for your gift. We are benefited a lot and very happy. Me, my dad M___, my mom F___, brother J___, and two sisters R____ and R____ live in a small house in a village name J_____. It is very difficult to stay in a small house. Beside the roof of house is made of straw so when it rains, rain water enter in the house. My father is a day labour so he can't bought tins for house. Our project staff bought for us 15 tins for our house with your gift money. My family thanked to you. We made our roof. We pray for you and your family. Please pray for me so that I may stay well. Your beloved Aduri."

We made our roof. This sentence just grabbed at my heart. For the price of a couple of meals out, we bought a roof for a family of 6!

We pray for you and your family.
The Compassion newsletters always say it makes such a difference to a child to know that someone across the world cares for them. What they couldn't impart is how much it would mean to me that a little girl I may never meet, and her family in a country so foreign to me that their writing is underneath the line, are praying for my family and me.

I am so humbled, and so grateful.

Saturday at the Movies

This week will be an open book quiz--you can look anywhere you want for the answers, because, if you're like me, the L-Tryptophan and sugar combo has numbed your brains, too!

We're going to play Six Degrees to Kevin Bacon.

First degree is Alan Alda. Now, you have to find 5 actors or actresses that link from Alan Alda to Kevin Bacon.

If you haven't played before, here's a short example:
Connect Julianne Moore to Don Knotts-- in 3 degrees.

Julianne Moore was in Boogie Nights with
Burt Reynolds, who was also in Cannonball Run II with
Tim Conway, who was also in The Apple Dumpling Gang with
Don Knotts.

Make sense?

I can't do it without IMDB, either.

Answer on Tuesday!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Post-Thanksgiving Post

Catchy title, don't you think? (not)
I hope you all had a terrific day with family, friends, food and fun!

This year it was just the J-Man and me. DD is now living 7-8 hours away, and has had to do so much traveling this month, she just couldn't swing it. Besides, I have to work Fri. and Sat. nights, and she'd have to go home on Sun., so we wouldn't have much time together. Fortunately, one of her law school friends lives about a half hour away and she took Isabella the Chihuahua and is spending the night. Isabella is going to play with the boxers. Doesn't THAT sound like a Kodak moment! lol

I was all for going out to eat, because cooking is not high on my list of favorite ways to spend an off-day, and cleaning up afterwards is WAY down on the bottom, but J-Man really wanted to eat here, and he doesn't ask for much, so we did. It was only a mini-feast this year.

The dressing and sweet potatoes were frozen dishes that I heated, but we'd had them before and knew they were good. I brined a 3-lb turkey breast (first time ever) and it was so juicy and tender! J-Man likes the jellied cranberry sauce, but I made me a spiced cranberry sauce that was so yummy, I could almost have made a meal off that! I tried a new green bean recipe that I liked but hubby didn't, and picked up a pecan pie at the store.

However, I decided to try Pioneer Woman's Apple Dumplings, and let me tell you, we were both in a blissful sugar coma afterwards! Seriously, it was almost too rich for me, and that's saying something. I think next time, (oh, yeah, there WILL be a next time!) I'll use Splenda instead of sugar and maybe even diet Mountain Dew. I had to take a nap afterwards--after I took my belt off and unbuttoned my jeans, that is.

When Tandi and I woke up a couple of hours later, I worked on the Autumn wall-hanging I was going to give to my neighbor who mows my lawn, and his wife. All I lack now is hand-stitching down the binding, but I think, for all intents and purposes, autumn is over. Time for the Christmassy things. So I haven't quite decided whether to take it to them with an apology for not finishing it in time for Thanksgiving, or just keep it for myself and come up with a simpler Christmas wall-hanging for them. They have no idea I'm making them anything, so either option would be okay, I guess.

It's made from the same pattern as the one I made last year for the Fall 4 Seasons Swap, but with some different fabrics.

Whatever I decided to do, I am absolutely going to finish it before I take a nap for work. Too often I run out of steam and don't do the last little bits needed to complete it--such as the binding on my own summer tropical fish wall-hanging. That's all I lack, but then autumn came and I was over the summer colors, so it's still sitting out, just waiting to be picked up again. Does anyone else have this problem?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Movie Trivia Answer 11/22

I see there is more than one John Candy fan out there. Look at the list you all came up with:

Home Alone
Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
Uncle Buck
Cool Runnings
Only the Lonely
The Great Outdoors
Rookie of the Year

Here are some others you might or might not remember:
The Blues Brothers
Little Shop of Horrors

I'm going to have to go back and watch some of these myself, because I either didn't know he was in them, or didn't notice at the time. And right after posting this--on Saturday night at work, actually--one of my patients was watching Planes, Trains and Automobiles.

Good job, ladies!

New question on Saturday--and this one will be an open book question!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Saturday at the Movies

Got a quickie for you this week:

One actor I really enjoyed, now deceased, was John Candy. Most people who knew him in Hollywood described him as a genuinely nice guy--and I'm not surprised. It just seemed to shine through in anything he did.

Can you name 5 movies John Candy was in?

Answers on Tuesday!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Maybe the birds would eat it.

In an effort to be more frugal, I have pulled the bread machine out of the cabinet and made 3 loaves of bread the last couple of days. The first, a potato bread, came out yummy.

So did the second, a raisin bread for breakfast, though it was a bit small. I used a different cookbook, and their guidelines for the size recipe to use were off.

I decided to make a garlic bread loaf to go with last night's spaghetti.

Here's how it turned out:

It looks like a science experiment gone bad, doesn't it? Should have tried it for Halloween--it would have been a perfect prop.

I think I should tweak it a little.....

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Bear with me, this is long.

Did you know a "telemarketer" can send you pornographic photos on your cell phone without your permission? Guess how I know.

While sitting in my quilting group meeting this morning, I heard the tone that alerted me of a text message. Since my daughter is about the only person who does that, I flipped my phone open--to see an obscene picture on my screen. Shocked, I immediately erased it, but had difficulty keeping my mind on the meeting after that. (No, not because of the image!) I didn't recognize the number, nor could I think of anyone who would dare to send me that, but how did they get, or choose, my number? I only give my cell number out to family and close friends, my vet, and my doctor. My work doesn't even know I own a cell phone.

Within 2 hours, I had received two more photos. I was livid. Since the subject line had Fw: Fw: Fw: on it, and had no messages with my name on it, I assumed the person was just sending these out to random numbers. If he/she was sending it to an acquaintance, there would most likely have been a follow-up text or call to see if I'd received the photos. Wrong number? Who dials a wrong number 3 times in a row?

I called my carrier, Verizon, but the only suggestions they had were to block the number (for $5.00/month) or change my number.
Why should I pay to NOT have porn sent to my phone? I'm already being charged each time it's sent to me. And why should I go through all the trouble of changing my number? If it's being randomly chosen by the sender, what's to prevent this from happening again?

Verizon was no help.

I called the Sheriff's department, as I am in the county, and they sent a deputy out. Two of them, actually. In 2 different cars. The female deputy never said a word, never made eye contact, and everytime I looked at her, she looked away. The male deputy was professional and polite, but between them both, I felt like an idiot.

He asked me if I'd called the number back. No, I was treating it like spam--don't reply and they don't know it's a valid number. Had I tried asking Verizon to block the call? They can't do that. I told him I felt it was a random dialing, but had happened 3 times and I wanted to press charges if possible. He told me it was not against the law to send me porn photos on my phone, but he would call this number and give the person a warning. I told him if they could get my number, what was keeping them from sending these pictures to children?

About 10 minutes after they left, the deputy called me back. Seems it's a telemarketing ploy--they wanted to set him up with explicit chat lines. I asked if that was before or after they found out who he was. He wasn't amused. He again recommended I call Verizon to have them block the call.

So I went to a reverse phone lookup site, found out the city and the carrier. Guess who? Verizon. When I phoned them to notify them one of their customers is sending out pornographic photos to random numbers, and asked that his/her number be blocked from doing this, they stated they couldn't do that without the owner's permission. What idiot is going to consent to that??? Just cancel the account! Nope, not possible. They suggested the same 2 options. I suggested they are irresponsible.

Frustrated, I dialed the FCC, but their recorded message recommends using their internet addy to contact them. I went online, relisted my cell with the Do Not Call Registry, printed the form for reporting unwanted telemarketer calls, and will be mailing it in.

I also sent emails to two local television stations, suggesting this might be something they would want to further investigate and report to the public, but haven't heard anything back yet.

Tonight, I received another message. I texted the number back, informing the party I was reporting them to the FCC, and had already reported them to Verizon and the Sheriff's Department. He/She made a big joke about it, used profanity, and stated they would contact me "tomarrow". I texted back DO NOT CONTACT ME AGAIN.

J-Man suggested I contact our congressman, and I'm thinking of doing that. I can't believe this is permissible by law. How do these people get their numbers? What is to prevent these porno-marketers from sending their obscene and explicit photos to teenagers, or younger children? This number is registered--it's not a disposable cell phone. Why can't something be done about it?

Has anyone been the subject of unsolicited porn via your cell phone? What did you do?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Movie Trivia Answer 11/15

Well, most of you got it right off--Johnny Depp's first movie, first anything, was Nightmare on Elm Street.

I saw that movie again late one night before Halloween, and thought he looked familiar. Watching the credits, I was shocked to find out it was Johnny Depp. Looking him up on IMDB, I was even more amazed to find out just how many movies he'd been in that I never realized: Chocolat, The Astronaut's Wife, Platoon.

He's starting to remind me of Dustin Hoffman--a man of many talents and faces.

Here are a few of the faces of Johnny Depp:

New Question on Saturday!