Wednesday, December 31, 2008

mein auto ist kaput

My German isn't any too good either! However, my car is now in the shop, having it's transmission removed in order to have a rebuilt one put in early next week. (The shop is closed for the New Year's Holiday). I haven't been driving it much anyway, but you don't realize how dependent you are on a car until you don't have one. There is a bus stop near my house, so I have been trying to see if I can use the buses to get to where I need to go in the next week. It's an exercise in futility. I can get to church on Sunday, but it requires going to the mall in Columbia and catching another bus from there to the church. I could walk if the weather is decent, as it's probably less than a mile. I'm not sure the buses even run on Sundays. Anyway, I'll call the person who gave me the ride Christmas Eve and see if she can take me again. If not, I'll just stay home. Monday, I teach a ceramics class in Beltsville, which is about 10 miles away and in another county, which means different bus systems. It turns out that I cannot get to the Beltsville Rec Center by bus. The software they have to plot your journey informed me that it could not be done! Not too surprising, I suppose. Luckily, I remembered a class member who lives near me, so she will take me. Tuesday I have a ceramics class where I am a student. I actually could get there by bus, but it would take about an hour and cost about $6 round trip. Not worth the effort. I hope by Wednesday I will have my car back. It's an adventure, being without a car, but not one I would care to repeat. I can walk to the post office and the grocery store - both of which I did a few days ago. However, the weather is very cold and windy now, so staying home is the wisest choice. I will miss the regular Friday lunch with my long time friends, unless one of them is willing to drive way out of their way to give me a ride. I want my car back!

Well, enough complaining. So what have I been doing with all this at home time? Well, I have been doing a little discarding. I sorted out some winter clothes - slacks, jackets and sweaters - to donate to charity. There are probably more, but I find it very hard to discard things that I still like, despite not having worn them in a year or more. I didn't used to have pack-rat tendencies, but they seem to have developed over the years! I also went through some of the far-too-many unread paperbacks that I have in the basement. I tried to be ruthless and discard the older ones and ones by authors I don't know or don't much care for. It makes me wonder why I ever bought some of them. I have managed to find 23 that I will donate to charity. I didn't go through all the unread books, just the first shelf of them. (Yes, I know that I have far too many books!) There were another 29 books that I put on the list for trading via BookMooch. This is a wonderful online book exchange place. ( Basically you list the books you are willing to send and get points for listing them as well as points for sending books. In return you can search all the lists of the other members and receive books from them. It's a bit more complicated than that, but it's a wonderful way to acquire cheap books. The only cost is the cost of mailing the books you send to others - averages about $2.50 per book, which is still less than the used book stores charge, and less than the online used bookstores that I have dealt with.

Of course, the books I list on bookmooch are still in my house, but they aren't taking up good shelf space, just piled up in the storage room in the basement. Of course, you can see the problem with using BookMooch - it doesn't reduce the number of books one owns, just changes the titles!

I think I will start taking down the Christmas decorations today. I have had enough of them, having seen them for a month now. I'm ready for a much less-decorated house. The winter pictures will stay on the walls, but the Christmas knicknacks will be gone from the shelves and tables. and lamps and everywhere else. I will replace them with items that are white or black with just a few red accents. (I might leave a few snowflakes hanging around....) Makes for a much less busy house - serene and restful after the bright, shiny Holiday stuff. I won't be taking down the outside decorations, however, as it's way too cold today for that.

I won't be staying up to greet the New Year tonight, so I'll wish everyone here a Happy New Year now!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas baby

Robert (my former step-son) and his wife have a baby boy - born on Christmas day! I haven't talked to them, but Andy, the grandfather, was thrilled and excited when he called me. The baby has Andrew for a middle name - after his grandfather. So, yesterday, I went to the mall to find a baby present. I was a bit nervous about driving there, although it's only a few miles. My car is still running - barely. I think it doesn't even shift out of 2nd gear now! I drive very slowly and stay on the back roads. I really hope it gets fixed this week, but have my doubts that will happen. Anyway, the only department store open in the mall when I got there (10:30 AM) was Lord and Taylors, which is not a store I usually shop in. It's too pricey for my budget. However, I thought I would just browse. Amazingly, I found bargains in the baby section, so bought two cute little outfits for the new baby. Hope to get them into the mail today. I may even walk over to the post office - about 3 miles round trip - if the day warms up. Yesterday the temperatures were in the high 60s, maybe even reaching 70! What's with this December weather, anyway? It's crazy, although truly not that unusual. I remember several years when New Year's Eve was sweater weather. Today is much colder, but the sun is shining, so hopefully the day will improve.

Last evening, I went to a book club meeting at my former church. I was afraid to drive my car that far after dark, but got a ride from someone who comes practically past my house on her way to the meeting. The book we had read is 'The Christmas Box'. I wouldn't recommend it, frankly. It's very sentimental and rather simplistic. Very short, which pleased some members. Not everyone in the book club wants to be challenged by the choices. Once a year, we vote on the books from a list that everyone in the club can nominate books to. (That sentence is very poorly constructed, but I hope you get the meaning.) As a result, we get a variety of selections, mostly with a religious bent, but also books about the environment or other aspects of science, which I enjoy reading. Anyway, this meeting was particularly enjoyable because the hostess brought a huge assortment of Christmas cookies - all beautifully decorated and delicious tasting. Next month we will be reading Hilary Clinton's "It Takes a Village". That should be interesting to discuss. I'm actually in two book clubs, both in churches. The other club is very small and the members read somewhat unusual books. Being in that club forces me to read things I would NEVER pick up otherwise. One that I can remember we read is "On a winter's night a traveler" by Italio Calvino - a book I would not recommend, as it is very hard to follow the plot, if there even is one. However, for February, we will read Mary Renault's "The King Must Die" - a book I have actually read. I read all of her books when I was in college, so it will be fun to re-read this one and see what I think of it. I must admit that except for the two book club books, I just read junk fiction - i.e., romance and mysteries!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

treasure hunting

Yesterday, Patty and her mother and I drove up into Pennsylvania to visit some antique stores located between Ephrata and Adamstown along route 272. There are a LOT of antique stores on that route! We got there when they opened at 10 AM (which meant we left home at 8) and stayed until they closed at 5 PM. A long day, but what fun! Unlike the malls, the antique stores weren't over-run with customers, so we could browse at our leisure. Most dealers had reduced prices, too. Patty has a car with a large open back area, not quite as big as my van, but since my car is not in service for long trips, she was the designated driver. We filled that back area, but could have put a few more things in the back seat next to Irma. However, the stores were closing, so we had to stop buying! We had eaten a quick picnic lunch in the car, but for dinner, we stopped at a Cracker Barrel Restaurant. Those places are a real experience - half is a store and half the restaurant. The store had all their Christmas stuff reduced by 70 percent! Who could resist? - not us! I guess we weren't quite shopped out, after all. I just got a few Christmas ornaments, which of course I need like a hole in the head! Dinner was really pretty good. Not gourmet, but just good old country cooking. They served green beans made like my mother always cooked them - with bacon and cooked a long time. The berry cobbler that Patty and I shared for dessert was excellent, too.

I have to tell you about my brother Jack's experience in selling his home. He and Kit decided this year to move into a continuing care community. They aren't that old, but their house was huge and they had five acres of partly wooded land to maintain. When I visited them in mid-November, they had signed for the new house, but had not even gotten a realtor to list their house. They were having a yard sale the next weekend, and had moved some boxes into the new house, but that's as far as they had gotten with the selling/moving process. (The new house is lovely and has all new appliances, floors and paint.)

I can hardly believe what happened next. At the yard sale, a neighbor came over and asked what the occasion for the sale was. On hearing that they would be selling their house, he said, "I'll buy it!" So they drew up a contract and voila! - the house is sold. Isn't that the darndest story? In today's housing market, I thought it would take months to sell their place. So, now they are happy living in their new place, where the community takes care of the houses and property. I do wonder, however, just what my brother will find to do, now that he doesn't have to mow grass every day!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas Everyone!

I was able to go to the Christmas Eve service at church last night, after all. I had told the music director that I would not be there, as I am unwilling to drive my car after dark. I have visions of the transmission locking up and leaving me sitting in the car, in the dark, waiting for a tow truck. No, thank you. Anyway, one of the other altos from choir called me and said they lived not too far from me and would pick me up. (I go to church in Columbia, which is about 15 minutes from my house. Most of the church members live in Columbia, not close to me.) I'm so glad I was able to attend. The service was beautiful, full of carols and a number of pieces from the choir. I think it's my favorite service of all the year.

Today is my day for being on the phone. I have talked to Kate and each of the grandkids. She is making syllabub - an old English Christmas drink which, according to Kate, is mostly whipped cream and alcohol with some lemon flavoring. Sounds marvelous. Then Andy, my 2nd husband, called me. Although he and I have been divorced for about 7 years, we are still friendly and we talk about once a month. Andy's son, Robert and his wife Susan are expecting a baby boy - momentarily! Andy lives near them, so can see their daughter, Brenda and the new baby often. Later today, I'll call Steve (my son) and Christine. The time difference from here to AZ means I don't call them in the morning here. I may also try to reach both of my brothers today. That should keep me busy most of the day!

Today it is actually warm - probably in the 50s already and even warmer in the sunshine. Seems strange for Christmas. I'll go walking soon with Patty and her mother. It's a lovely day for a walk and I need the exercise. It's been so cold that we haven't walked this week. Very bad of us, but we are wimps when it comes to cold, windy weather.

As I type this, I am sipping spiced cider and listening to a broadcast of "Lessons and Carols" from King's College, Cambridge. It's become part of my Christmas tradition for the years that I am at home for the Holidays. When I'm in England with Kate and family, we are far too busy to just sit and listen to the radio! This evening, my friend Lynne and I will go out to dinner at an Indian restaurant in Columbia. I called all the nice restaurants there and found only two open - Chinese and Indian! I guess we are all supposed to fix dinner at home on Christmas. Kate thinks this is so odd, as in England all the restaurants and pubs offer special Christmas dinners and one has to make reservations weeks in advance. Of course, with three kids, she always fixes dinner at home. They usually have roast beef with all the trimmings. Wish I were there. Next year I will be.

I hope everyone reading this has a wonderful Christmas, whether you are at home or visiting family. Take care now.

Monday, December 22, 2008

an Christmas un-present

My car has been acting strange lately, so today I took it to my mechanic. I sat for almost two hours in his rather chilly waiting room and finally walked down the road to McDonald's for a hot drink. When I got back, he had the bad news waiting for me. My transmission is in serious trouble. He will check on prices and let me know what the cost of replacement will be - quite possibly in the thousands! Meanwhile, I can drive the car, but not to go too far from home, as it could freeze up at any time. Gee thanks, just what I wanted to hear. Luckily, I have 100 mile free towing from AAA, but still at this time of year, I'd rather not have to wait in my car for a tow truck.
I have two Christmas parties to attend tomorrow, both of which require cookies. It's a good thing I did all that baking. Several of my friends have asked me for the recipe to one of the cookies. It's actually Kate's recipe, but I don't think she has published it, at least not this year. She did bake them this year, as they are pictured along with others on her blog of a week or so ago. It's a no-bake recipe - really easy. They are rich and delicious!

Kate's Peanut Butter Bars
2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup butter or oleo
1 cup peanut butter (I used creamy, but I think chunky would be fine too.)
1 tsp. vanilla
Mix and add
2&3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 cup chopped unsalted peanuts
Mix and press into square pan, lined with aluminum foil. Refrigerate briefly. (This size pan makes very thick bars. I think next time, I will use a larger rectangular pan, but Kate thinks the square is better).
Melt 12 oz chocolate chips with 1/4 cup peanut butter.
Spread over top. Refrigerate ONLY until chocolate icing sets. Remove and cut into squares. Store in fridge.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The countdown

I'm getting there - almost ready for Christmas. I have all the cards ready to mail and will get them into the post this AM, if I don't spend too long blogging! Still have some baking to do - including replacing one batch that had a problem. (Note: nuts get rancid if stored too long in the cupboard! And bad nuts make cookies taste ready icky. I never knew that you are supposed to store nuts in the freezer.) So, some baking today, and practicing the Christmas music for choir. I have always sung soprano, but have recently switched to alto, as I'm finding the high notes harder and harder to reach. Also we have temporarily lost several altos, so thesection needs some beefing up. I don't have trouble learning the alto part (usually harmony) on new pieces, but it's hard on numbers where I already know the soprano. I keep trying to sing the upper notes.

As I read yesterday's paper, I noticed more signs of the failing economy. There were more pages of ads than of news and most of the ads were from stores, advertising huge sales! Reductions of 50 percent on many items - the sort of sales one used to find AFTER the Holidays. I guess the stores are really desperate to sell things. One of the Macy stores is going to be open 24 hours a day until Christmas! I can't imagine shopping at 3 AM, but I'm sure there are some people who will be there. Probably a great time to shop - stores almost empty of other customers.

The group of friends that I lunch with every Friday had our Christmas party lunch yesterday. It was fun, as usual. Each person brought something they had at home that they would never use. These items were wrapped, of course. We drew numbers and then in numeric order, each chose a gift. If you wanted to, you could take someone else's gift, instead of trying a wrapped one. This works better with larger groups. I had number 1, so I had to keep what I got. It's something I don't need, so the thrift shop will receive it soon. Interestingly, no one took anyone else's gift. Each of us just chose a wrapped item and then kept it. There were some unusual items, including a book on how to fold paper airplanes out of dollar bills!

I'd better go put those cards into the mail, now.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Ready for Christmas - NOT!

I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed this year by all the stuff that must be finished before Christmas. (It sure is easier when I'm at Kate's for the Holidays. Then she's the one who has to keep track of all the activities). Actually,the problem is stuff that has to be done THIS WEEK! I have written my Christmas letter, but not yet printed or mailed it. Christmas cards are also not yet mailed -or even addressed and stamped, although I have bought the stamps. I have to bake more cookies for a party next week as well as to give to friends and neighbors. I'm running out of time!

However, I have accomplished some things. I have mailed off gifts to my son and daughter-in-law. They live in Scottsdale, AZ, so hopefully the gifts will arrive before Christmas. Presents to Kate and her family in England will not arrive until I do - in February! We've found this works well, as it's like a second Christmas for the kids. Also, as they get older, the kids would rather shop for presents than have me pick out something for them. The MAD Holiday Chorus, in which I am singing, is almost done for the season. We have a final concert tomorrow, having sung at two nursing homes and at a luncheon for the Maryland Space Business Roundtable. The speaker at this was the director of Goddard Space Flight Center. His presentation on various space explorations, both accomplished and for the future, was very interesting, even for a non-scientific person like me.

We've been having the strangest weather recently. One day it'll be in the 60s (actually 67) and then a day or so later, it's freezing. At least we're not getting an ice storm like New England got. We're having a week of rain, which actually is good for the plants. The little stream behind my house turns into a roaring river whenever we get a good rain. It's probably close to 8 feet deep today and noisy enough to hear inside the house, if my windows were open. It's such a little creek most of the time, just peaceful and serene. Then we get a good rain and wow! I tried to take a photo, but the trees still have too many leaves and the stream doesn't show clearly. It's too wet for me to slide down the hill and get close enough for a good shot. I might end up in the water! It would be nice to get some snow before Christmas, but I'm not expecting that. Almost never happens here.

Anyway, Christmas will be here before we know it. I hope all of you are ready for it (unlike me) and can just sit back and enjoy the music and decorations and baking (and eating).

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Oh Christmas Tree

Yesterday afternoon, I got my Christmas tree up and decorated. I also added a few surplus decorations (i.e., those that didn't fit on the tree) to other displays, on walls, on tabletops, etc. I think I am done now, although I do have a lot of silver tinsel left.....

The lights are on - white lights - but they don't show much. I have far too many ornaments, but seem to keep adding more and never discarding any. I did give some of the family ornaments to each of my kids a few years ago, but I have certainly acquired more since then. So, ornaments also hang or sit on each of the baker's racks and shelves that also hold plants, some of my glass collection, books, and family pictures. Believe me, I have a lot of stuff crammed into a rather small living room. Professional decorators would have a fit, but I love all my stuff, so there it is.

I have some ceramic stuff to show as well. Some of it has just been finished, some has been around for a while, but not pictured. The stacked up faces are parts of totem poles I am making to disguise some support posts in my front yard. (The posts are supposed to keep my flowering plum tree upright after a wind and rain storm. Or, at least, pull it back up when it falls over!) Anyway, I decided the posts were ugly, but could be turned into totem poles. So I've been making hollow tubes with faces on them. I have only about half as many pieces as I need, but eventually - perhaps by spring - I will have enough to display outside.

This bowl is a recent piece. It's decorated using colored slip (very thin clay). The flowers and other decoration on the inside are slightly raised as a result. (see below on right) The outside of the bowl (see below left) is decorated by covering it with slip and then scratching a design through the slip. And that's your clay lesson for today.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Christmas shopping

Mostly I stay out of the malls on weekends, especially this time of year. However, yesterday I was having lunch at the mall with some ladies from church, so I decided to wander around and see if I was inspired by anything. I needed something for my son and daughter-in-law. Usually, I just send a little ornament and a check, but this year I wanted to send something a bit more personal. Unfortunately, they live in Arizona and I don't visit them very often, which means I have a hard time knowing what they like. Anyway, I wandered around the mall and enjoyed the Christmas decorations and the music (except what was coming out of some of the stores that sell clothes for teenagers!). And, I did find presents - an idea for Steve, which I will go back and buy tomorrow, and something for Christine as well. So mission accomplished. The bad part about being in a mall is that I inevitably find something for myself, especially at Columbia Mall, which has three shoe stores that carry the kind of shoes I wear - i.e., nice comfortable, old-lady shoes! I bought a pair of shoes/boots that were on sale. (Not really old-lady shoes.) They seemed comfortable in the store, but I may not keep them. I wore them around the house all afternoon and am not sure I like the feel of them. I like the look and the price, so maybe I can get used to them.

This morning, I awoke early, so was up in plenty of time to see a lovely sunrise. This is what I saw when I looked out my front door.

Today will be a busy day. I'm playing catch-up on my email and blogging this AM because I won't be home again until evening. At noon I have a rehearsal for the MAD Holiday Chorus. Our first performance is this week. Luckily, it's at a nursing home and they aren't a critical audience. I don't have my solo memorized yet. Yikes! Better get going. This afternoon is the last ceramics class I teach until January. The rec center has a new director now and he's concerned about the size of my class - too small. I agree with him, but don't know what I can do about it. He's very proactive, so maybe he can come up with some ideas to recruit students. I enjoy working with the seniors in the class and would miss them if the class is cancelled.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Christmas in the air

I've had a good Saturday. Bought a few items at the craft show this AM, including something for one of my kids. And, this PM, I actually did bake cookies. (Well, actually these are bar cookies, not individual cookies, but still I think that counts). And these cookies baked long enough and will be fine for sharing with others, unlike the ones I baked yesterday! My house smells of sugar and spice and everything nice. The radio is playing carols and it is actually SNOWING. I realize that is not a thrilling thing for those who live in Canada and other northern places. But here in the almost-south we get a kick out of the first bit of snow. It is beginning to stick and give us a lovely dusting of white on everything. Happiness is being inside a warm house when it's snowing outside.

This photo shows the little tree out front with its red lights. You can't see much snow on the tree, but those round white spots in the photo are bits of snow that hit the camera lens. The other photo (below) is of the decorations on the deck. A bit of snow shows on the deck.
Take care now and enjoy the rest of the weekend.


I wish someone could explain to me how to avoid those huge blank spaces that occur on some of my blogs. (See yesterday's blog) Sometimes all my paragraphs are run together and other times, they are miles apart. I suppose it has something to do with formatting and I'd need more computer smarts than I have to prevent it. Still it's very annoying, as it will look fine in the draft and then really mess up when published. I thought it only occurred when I put up photos, but yesterday's blog had no photos and was still bad.

Last night, I went to an art reception and exhibit with my friend Lynne. She is taking art classes at a community college and this was a showing of art from all the classes for the term just ending. Not everyone in the class had a piece chosen, although she did. At the reception, I ran into a woman I knew! She and I took ceramic classes at the same studio years ago. She teaches at the community college now. The world of local ceramics is fairly small, I guess. I enjoyed the art show. It was fascinating to see what students can do. Some of it was very good. The photos which were computer enhanced were particularly interesting.

After the reception, we went to a little restaurant in Greenbelt (where Lynne lives) which has good Middle Eastern food and, on weekend nights, local musical groups performing. Last night was a jazz combo with three guys on guitars, two on drums and one who played piano, keyboard and flute. (I'm partial to flute playing as I used to play that instrument myself.) The truly unusual thing about this group is that the songs were all in Russian. The music was not particularly Russion, however. The singer had a nice voice, nothing spectacular, and I enjoyed all the music, despite having no idea what he was saying. For me that really doesn't matter, because my hearing is so bad these days that I usually can't understand half the words of a song even in English!

Today Lynne and I are going to an art sale, also in Greenbelt. This will be fun and I might even buy something. It's a small sale, but some of the artists are very good. I expect to see some nice pottery.

The rest of today, I will be baking Christmas cookies, as I promised to bring some to church tomorrow. I started yesterday afternoon when I tried a new recipe for bar cookies. Big mistake! I was in a hurry to get them out, as I was running late so I took them out too soon. They looked done - meringue on top was nicely browned. The recipe didn't say how to tell if they were done. I found out, when I cut them, that they were runny underneath. I didn't have time to stay home and bake them any longer, and I was desperate, so I put them into the oven, which was turned off but still hot, and left them! I figured they wouldn't burn and they might turn out to be edible. When I got home (at 10 pm), they looked fine, but they are very crumbly. Taste good, but fall apart in your hands. I think I will save them to put on vanilla ice cream. Will be delicious that way. Unfortunately, I still have to bake cookies for tomorrow. I'm wondering if I should try another new recipe!!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Pay It Forward winners

I know I'm a bit late with the drawing, but here are the winners!




If you ladies will send me your mailing addresses, I will send you a hand-made ceramic piece, hopefully in the next few months. If you have strong color likes or dislikes, let me know and I'll try to pick something that would suit you.

You can find my email address through the blog, in the profile section.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Tis the season

We've had two lovely days this week. Mostly sunny and not dreadfully cold. Tuesday I went walking around Lake Elkhorn. There was only one other car in the parking lot. However, there were a few other hardy souls on the trail. No wildlife, except for ducks and Canada geese. I think the herons and egrets have flown south for the winter. Smart birds. Turtles must be hibernating in the mud. Frankly, I'd rather fly south.

I've been busy, although I can't see that I got much done. Among other things, I've been going to rehearsals for the MAD holiday chorus. I've decided to sing a solo in the show. This is not really a big deal, as anyone who wants to sing may do it. Mine will be "Silver Bells". Now all I have to do is memorize the words. I know most of it, but I've never sung the verse before. It's the chorus that most of us know. Good thing that I have a few weeks to get it down.

Yesterday, I did a bit more decorating. Put lights on a holly bush out front and inside along the top of my kitchen cupboards. The stores are putting Christmas decorations on sale already. I bought a few unbreakable plastic balls that were really cheap and hung them from the bare branches of my flowering plum tree out front. Thought about lightson that tree, but decided - not this year. I used the rest of the used multi-colored lights to outline the upstairs windows. They look good, but they are held in place by little rubber suction cups that keep falling off. Everytime I think I've solved the problem, I look up and find another drooping strand of lights. Perhaps this time they will stay up. Patty said to wet the cups before I stick them on the windows. I should go check on them now..... They are still up! Maybe I've won that battle.

I worked in the church library today. I'm part of a group of women who come in on Wednesdays to shelve books, change books displays and process new books. I usually work on the computer, as we are slowly computerizing the card catalog. Probably won't be done in my lifetime! Today I had more fun, as we got out many Christmas books to put on display and put up prints of famous Christmas paintings. I even borrowed a long-handled duster from the custodian and dusted the tops of the bookcases. Talk about dirt! I doubt if they've been cleaned in the 7 years I've been working in the library. The library looks pretty good now. Too bad more people don't use it. We have an extensive collection, not limited to books on religion, but very few people come in and take books out. Sunday School teachers use it, anyway.

A few minutes ago, I finished writing my annual Christmas letter. It's too long - three sheets this year. I try to keep it to two, but that's hard for me. I'm not one who has trouble filling a page, as you have probably noticed! :) I'll either cut it back to two pages or fill the back of page three with photos. I think I did that last year, so maybe that's the way to go. I hope by this weekend to get the letter done and cards addressed and ready to mail. But I have to bake Christmas cookies before Sunday, so probably the cards will have to wait. Kate just puts her Christmas letter on her blog, which works fine, as her friends are all comfortable with computers. However many of my friends are not really in the computer age, so that isn't an option for me. I could certainly put my letter up here, but I'd still have to mail out at least 25 copies to all my computer-phobic friends and relatives.

Monday, December 1, 2008

More Christmas decorations

Here, if I'm lucky, are the other photos of my Christmas decorations. We'll see what happens now..... OK! It only took about 15 minutes. I will now see if I can label them the way I want, i.e., labels near each photo.
This shows the hat/coat rack, the bannister and two Santas perched on top of my CD racks. Yes, I know that stockings do not traditionally hang from a coat rack, but I have no fireplace mantel.
At first glance, this photos looks rather odd. The background is a green screen which separates my living room from the computer in the dining room. The chair in the photo is blue, but has a green holiday pillow, which seems to blend in with the screen. If you study the photo, you can see that the pillow really isn't part of the screen! In the right background is a Christmas house that a friend made for me many years ago. It needs a bit of refastening each year, but I still love it. Thanks, Linda.
The photo below shows one wall of the living room. The ceramic Christmas tree is one I made years ago, when I was doing molded ceramics. It has lights on the branches and a star on top. Looks very pretty at night when it's lit. The pictures hanging on the wall look very much like two cats I used to have. I have no pets now, because I want to be free to travel now that I am retired, but sometimes I miss the sound of those tiny little feet and the comfort of a warm purring cat in my lap. I don't miss the cat hair everywhere or dealing with litter boxes, however!