Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

Let's all hope for the best for the new year and the new decade!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


This is exactly how I feel after the Christmas rush! Shopping, wrapping, packing, baking, hauling... I am wiped out! I've been mopey, headachy, and grouchy. Longing for one day when I can just relax, with no schedule and no rushing around.

My kitchen was a mess... stray bits of sugar, sprinkles, and icing here and there. Yesterday, I put on my wristwatch and discovered a blob of cookie dough stuck to the back. This morning I spent thirty minutes decluttering the kitchen. That's all it took, but I had not had thirty minutes to stop and wipe things down before that. After cleaning my kitchen, I had a leisurely cup of coffee and a hot shower, and am beginning to feel human again.

Next year, I would love to join our President and spend Christmas in Hawaii. My family would not approve, and I would probably miss being with them... but it sounds heavenly. Christmas day on a beach, soaking up the sun and drinking mai tais. What could be better?

Friday, December 25, 2009

My Santa Secret

Every Christmas I get to be Santa for my three nieces. When my sister buys gifts for Santa to give the girls, she and I meet with our cars in a neutral location, and she transfers the packages from her car to mine. Then I take them home and wrap them in special "Santa" paper. I keep them at my house until Christmas Eve. This ensures that the girls will not find them if they go "snooping" around their house. It is true that no hiding place would be safe from them!

On Christmas Eve, while my sister and her family are having dinner with her in-laws, my husband and I take the packages over to her house and hide them in the basement. Then after the girls are asleep, the Santa gifts are taken upstairs and put under the tree. We also provide the stocking stuffers and candy canes that Santa hangs on the tree. We think the oldest niece, Sarah, is beginning to catch on. Last year she asked her mom: "is Aunt Judy Santa Claus?".

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Kitten Update

My neighbor and I have been catching feral cats from our back yard and having them neutered at a not-for-profit clinic in our town. So far we have brought in SIX; and they have all been females. I feel good that there are six fewer potential mother cats that could have given birth to new litters of feral kittens.

Two of the kittens we caught are now resting in our basement, recuperating from their surgery. They are both little black kittens with gold eyes. We are thinking of adopting one of them. She is the friendliest one. She loves to be petted and purrs when we rub her neck. We are calling her "Ivy". The other one in our basement might be adopted by a friend of my neighbor's. We just brought her home from the clinic today. The other four have been released again outside, and they mostly live on our deck. We feed them and put out little "kitty cubes" for them to sleep in at night. They sleep in them two at a time, and we can see little gold eyes peeking out from the opening.

Monday, December 21, 2009

My Very Sad Christmas Story

It was a little blue elephant. A little blue, glass elephant ornament. It was an antique, given to my brother-in-law when he was a little boy. It was his first very own Christmas tree ornament. My husband and I were at my sister's house helping them set up and decorate their Christmas tree. My husband dropped the elephant ornament and it broke. My sister and her three girls would not admit how upset they were, how much it meant to them, because they didn't want us to feel bad. But they saved the pieces in a little plastic bag. My brother-in-law was not at home at the time, and they decided not to tell him.

I decided to look for a replacement little blue elephant ornament on ebay. I spent hours, looking at hundreds of ornaments. But there was nothing like their little elephant, with his painted on face and little white tusks. The next day I searched some more. The next day and the next day and the day after that. Finally, one day there it was! The identical ornament! Exactly the same! It was an antique, from the 50s, made in Italy. I bid on it and won. When I received it I was so happy... it looked exactly like the one that broke! I told my sister and her three girls. They were so excited. We decided we would put it on the tree and see if he noticed. I packed the little ornament safely in its box and waited to take it to my sister's house.

In the meantime, I was busy wrapping Christmas gifts. The floor was strewn with paper and packages. The box with the ornament was among them. A few days later I noticed it was missing. I searched all over the house. I called my husband. "Did you notice the little white box sitting there?" I asked. No, he didn't remember it. But he had taken some empty boxes that I had set in the hallway out to the trash last week. Oh no, it couldn't be! Had he thrown out the little ornament? It appears he did. We searched the house again, together. No sign of it.

He had also taken some papers to the recycling bin up by the library. Could he have taken it there? He couldn't be sure. Today, he and I went to the recycling bins. We went "dumpster diving", looking for the little box. It wasn't there. I have come to the conclusion that the little elephant ornament that I found against all odds is gone. Of course, we had a fight. I asked him how he could have picked it up when it wasn't with the other trash? He asked me why I didn't put it someplace safe? Now, he has gone off to a movie to get if off his mind. And I am here, writing the story.
The End.

Sunday, December 20, 2009


This is the little black kitten we caught and brought into the house. She is settled into a crate with food, water, litter box, and a cat bed. She loves the cat bed! She got into it and settled right down. I can reach through the bars and scratch her neck, and she purrs. Tomorrow we are taking her to the clinic to be spayed and get her shots.

This is my Hawaiian quilt. I bought it in the little town of Paia on Maui. The hotel where we stayed had much larger quilts, framed in glass, hanging on the walls. They were gorgeous!

This little mouse runs up my clock (hickory dickory dock) every December:

And there is an angel who lives inside the clock:

This elf sits by the fireplace in my living room:

And these elves sit on the other side of the fireplace, in the hearth room:

Here is the hearth room:

And the table in the hearth room:

So, that's all the photos I took today. My eyes are better, the conjunctivitis is gone. I have all my Christmas shopping finished, and all the gifts are wrapped. Now there are cookies to be baked and dishes to be prepared for our family gathering.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Snow Day!

This is what it looked like this morning outside my back door. Everything was covered with snow:

White everywhere:

White on holly bushes:

White on evergreens and pinecones:

This old guy sits on my porch. He is bundled up to stay warm:

So are these little creatures and friends just inside the front door:

Stay warm today, and enjoy the holidays!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Only if You Are Interested in Cats...

We have a litter of four little black feral kittens that have been living on our deck. We would like to adopt one, and our next-door neighbor would like to adopt one.

Today, we lured one into the house. She is now sitting in a comfortable cat shelter with food and water. She is meowing to be let outside with her littermates. I feel bad having her trapped inside, but I hope to acclimate her to being an indoor kitty. We will see how it goes.

Tonight my neighbor and her daughter (fellow cat people) are coming over for a glass of wine. I will ask them for moral support in keeping this little cat for adoption.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Giving My Eyes a Break

I am taking a brief break from my laptop. I have conjunctivitis, so my eyes are irritated and tired. Looking at the computer screen is hard on them. I think I spent too much time on ebay looking for Christmas gifts. I will be using my break time productively, wrapping gifts and baking treats.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

A Lot To Look Forward To...

Christmas is beautiful! The lights! The music! The food! The presents! Being surrounded by family and friends! I've been wrapping gifts and listening to Christmas music. I am preparing to bake some treats to share with neighbors and take to family dinners. It's a lot of work to prepare for Christmas, but it's also a lot of fun.

Then there is New Years Eve! When we were young, it was like this:

Some years we went to big parties:

Some years we have a quiet evening at home, by the fire. For me, there is only one absolute requirement... a champagne toast at midnight!

After New Year's Eve... there is a long, cold stretch of winter. The holidays are over. The weather is bleak. Valentine's Day provides a little break, a reason to celebrate (unless you're not in love; then it's kind of sad). Then... the rest of February, then the long, featureless month of March. It's a long wait for Spring.

But this year, we are taking a break. This year I am really looking forward to this:

Mexico! The beach! A spa! Friends!

Dining by the sea! Drinks by the pool! Listening to the waves at night! Aaahh, heaven! I love vacations!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A Big Pet Peeve!

It seems every time I find a product I really, really like, it goes on the old "discontinued" list! This is especially true with cosmetics and hair products. It's a long, painful process for me to find just the perfect one; I buy it, use it, then when I run out and go to find a replacement... it's not to be found! Then I go from store to store to store, trying to find it. No luck! WHY do they do this?

So now, whenever I find something I really like, I buy extras. Of course, my husband complains: "Why do you have to buy SIX of everything!" he wonders. My answer: "Because I might not ever be able to find it again!" Probably the biggest problem is where to store my stash. I am still using little tubes of blush that I bought about eight years ago. Sure enough, they have been discontinued for many years now. I have only two of them left. I don't know what I will do when they run out.

The most recent one is a Redken hair product that has been discontinued. I have tried many substitutes, but nothing works as well for me as this one. I am still using a package that I have had for over six years. The price tag is still on it; it cost $8.00 when I bought it, but it can not be replaced... discontinued! I went on ebay and found one package. Guess what the price is? $34.95! The original was $8.00, and the ebay seller wants $34.95 to replace it!

Why do companies have to keep discontinuing perfectly good products? Especially my favorite ones!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Inside, Outside, All Around My House

We have indoor decorations and outdoor decorations! We have indoor cats and outdoor cats! I have been busy with them all.

When I'm not arranging decorations, I've been taking outdoor kitties to be neutered so the feral cat population around here doesn't get out of control (my neighbor and I have been doing "TNR" which stands for "trap, neuter, release" which is what humane societies recommend.)

What have the outdoor kitties been up to? They have been hanging out on our deck. They don't let us get too close to them, but they are becoming braver and getting closer by the day. Now they have discovered the swing!

Look at this little cutie, peeking at me from her perch!

Those blue things are two of the little kittie shelters we put out for them. There are two more down below, plus a tent. We think they have been sleeping in them at night. In the morning, I can see little eyes peering out from them.

Inside, we have stockings hung on the fireplace. The big one says "Merry Christmas" in Hawaiian (because we love Hawaii). The little one says "Meow" because we love kitties.

I put this arrangement on an antique marble-topped table that I inherited from my great aunt.

The arrangement below is on my dining room table:

And this one is in the kitchen:

So, that's what has been keeping me busy around here. Along with picking up my nieces from school, Christmas shopping, cooking, sewing and reading!