Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

I won't be up at midnight, I hope, so I'm sending everybody a seasonal greeting a bit early.  I have a busy day planned.  I'm meeting my friend Lynne for lunch at the Ram's Head Tavern at Savage Mill.  Neither Lynne nor I have been to Savage Mill for some time.  They used to have wonderful antique stores, but only one is left.  However, they have many craft shops as well as a few studios for artists.  We'll eat a wonderful lunch and then browse for a few hours.  Tonight, I'm going with Patty and her mother to the light display at Brookside Gardens.  It's a walking display, so we'll be able to go at our own pace and take photos without holding up a line of traffic.   I imagine that by the time I get home from that, I'll be exhausted and will fall into bed.

Tomorrow I'll start taking down the Christmas decorations.  Will do the outside ones first, as it's supposed to be fairly warm.  I'm ready to put all the wonderful Christmas stuff away for a year.  A month of them is enough for me!  It will mean a lot of trudging up and down the basement stairs, which is good, as I need more exercise.

My only New Year's resolution is to get more exercise.  I'll try walking by myself around the neighborhood or at a shopping mall.  I really hate indoor walking, but it's awfully cold in the winter to walk outside.  If walking isn't enough, I guess I'll sign up for the aerobic class at the senior center.  One way or another, I've got to get myself into better physical shape.  Wish me luck!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

after Christmas blahs

I really hate the week after Christmas, especially when I am at home rather than visiting Kate and family in England. So far the seasonal blues haven't set in, but I expect them anytime now.  We may have a snow storm today or tonight.  That would be a lovely distraction, as long as it isn't so bad that it closes roads and really messes up driving anywhere.  I love to sit inside and admire snow falling, as long as I don't have to go anywhere.  Andy (my ex) called last night.  They have snow down there in Hampton, VA.  That's surprising, as when I lived in that area, we almost never got snow, certainly not in December.  But then, that's true here in Maryland too.  December snows have been rare.  Funny how 'global warming' seems to be producing colder, snowier winters! 

Last night I went out to dinner with my friend, Lynne.  We ate at Friday's because it was open, whereas most places are closed on Christmas.  We even saved room for dessert.  I had cheesecake, one of my favorites.  It was nice to eat American food on Christmas for a change.  Usually we end up at Chinese or Indian restaurants because they are among the few open.  I splurged on steak and salmon and now have leftover steak to eat today.  I brought the french fries home too, but am not convinced that they will be fit to eat when reheated.  No great loss either way.

This ornament is my Christmas present from Lynne.  The design is created using reverse glass painting, done through a small hole in one end of the decoration.  I can't imagine how anyone could paint so beautifully using that technique.  Of course, I'm not a painter - far from it!  My hands work very well with clay, but put a paintbrush in them and the results are pretty bad! 

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

Yesterday a friend and I had lunch at Applebee's.  The place was nearly deserted, so we didn't feel guilty because we sat and talked after eating.  We had steak and carefully left room for dessert. Sometimes it's nice just to meet a friend one on one, rather than in a group.

Last night the choir sang at our Christmas Eve service.  We (choir and congregation) sang about 8Christmas carols. The choir did a processional (we only do this once a year); sang three anthems and then walked to the back of the sanctuary while singing a really neat song which uses Silent Night as a counterpoint melody.  Cookies and cider and socializing afterward.  On the way home, I watched the moon with clouds drifting across the face.  It was a beautiful sight.  Wish I had been able to take a photo.  By the time I got home, the clouds were covering it completely.   All in all, it was a lovely evening. 

This morning I have spotted a half dozen snowflakes.  We may get a white Christmas after all.  I filled all the bird feeders this morning.  The way the birds eat, most of the seeds will be gone by tonight.  Anyone who talks about someone 'eating like a bird' hasn't watched birds eat.  They spend most of their time eating, except when they are chasing other birds away from the food!

Today I will be listening to various Christmas music presentation on the radio.  I can get two stations that play classical music, so have lots of wonderful seasonal music to enjoy.  Later I'll call some of my family and then go out to dinner with another friend.  Should be a good Christmas, despite being without visiting family.  I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas filled with joy and love.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas is coming

Yesterday, our choir sang a Christmas Cantata during the church service.  It replaced the sermon, which I think is a nice change.  Don't get me wrong - I enjoy the sermons, but I LOVE music and singing.  We'll be singing again Friday night at the Christmas Eve Service, but not providing the sermon.

After church, a friend invited me to have lunch with her at Vantage House, the continuous care building where she now lives.  The apartments there are really nice and amazingly large.  She has a grand piano in her living room!  Kitchens are very small, but since meals are provided, who needs a kitchen? The place has several lounging areas and a nice collection of books in their library on the first floor and outside the dining room as well.  The dining room has small tables and very comfortable chairs, and a waitress took our orders and brought our food.  The menu started with soup and salad and included dessert. It was interesting that the portions were small.  That suited me just fine, but I wonder if some of the men who live there would want more to eat.  The men I know would certainly have wanted larger servings.  I doubt if I'll ever move to a continuous care community, but in some ways it would be wonderful - no cooking, lots of books, no home repairs, transportation to local mall, etc. However, I have a LOT of stuff and don't think I could ever part with most of it.

I'm wishing I had gone to England this year for Christmas.  They got more snow a day or so ago, and are probably going to get more this week.  Amazing!  Southern England never gets this kind of weather in December.  I know my grandkids are delighted, especially the youngest one.  Kate is not as thrilled, I imagine, but I think she has done all the pre-Christmas errands and can just stay home and enjoy the thrill of a white Christmas.  I don't think we'll get one here this year, although there is a chance of snow on Christmas Eve and/or Christmas Day.  Keeping my fingers crossed.

Friday, December 17, 2010

changed background

I've been playing around with different backgrounds for this blog.  I thought the book one was very appropriate.  It actually looks a lot like my basement rec room, which is lined with bookcases.  I'm not sure I will keep this background, however, as it seems a bit too busy.  What do you think?

This is the second posting for today.  If you want to see photos of our snow, go back to the previous blog.

snow scenes

We had a few inches of snow last night.  The roads were a bit nasty, but the drivers were worse!  I got stuck behind a woman who refused to go more than 15 MPH for a couple of miles.  There was a long line of frustrated drivers behind her when the road finally opened up and we could get around.  Of course, there was at least one example of the other kind of 'snow driver' - the one who zips around the line by using the turning lane and goes too fast for road conditions.  Maybe if we get a lot of snow this winter, Maryland drivers will learn how to drive in it.  Or maybe not!

This morning, the sunrise was lovely.  The snow on bushes looks so pretty.  I'd be happy if we this snow just stayed around for a few days.  Unfortunately, there may be another snowfall Saturday night/Sunday AM.  We'll see how it goes.  Weather predictions are often wrong.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

more pottery

Here are some pieces from my other pottery classes.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Yesterday afternoon a strong wind came through and the temperature went down, down, down.  Brrrr.  However, it seems a bit warmer this AM - less wind.  We got a bit of snow, just a dusting.  Makes it look like winter outside.

Here are more photos of my latest pottery stuff.  I'll have to find a space to hang the mask up in the living room. I like having the masks where I can see them, rather than packed away.  The design on the vase was made by pressing some carved blocks into the slab of clay, before I made it into a round container.  The little guy in the barrel is a whimsical piece made when I was just fooling around.  The guy was naked, but he was embarrassed at being caught in his bath, so I added a towel around his waist.  I have no idea what I will do with him, but he was fun to make!

Monday, December 13, 2010

recent ceramics

We did a Raku firing Saturday.  I really like some of my pieces. The masks came out very well.  The little footed bowl is a lovely color. There are more photos, but I'll save those for another time.

We got a bit of snow this AM.  It melted on the sidewalk, but has left a nice dusting of the white stuff on my deck.  I sprinkled out a pit of food on the deck itself, for the Juncos and other ground-feeding birds.  Unfortunately, but not unexpectedly, the squirrels came by first and pretty much vacuumed up all the seed.

I don't envy the folks in the Midwest where they really got hit with a storm.  A white Christmas is something to be enjoyed.  A storm with wind, icy roads and piles of snow is NOT what any of us want.  Well, actually the kids probably want something like that.  I remember how we used to hope for school closings. 

It's so nice being retired and able to just sit inside and enjoy snow, without having to go anywhere!  I do have a class to teach this afternoon, but the roads are fine. 

  I have to get my Christmas cards out this week.  I'm really behind this year.  At least I have the cards and the Xmas letters.  All that I need to do is put on addresses and stamps.

Guess I'd better get busy!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

more Christmas decorations

 I showed my Christmas tree on Facebook, but forgot to put it up here.  You can see how skinny it is.  It's really loaded with decorations because the previous tree was much fatter.  I like this one, but it is a bit unstable.  I put it in a corner because I was afraid I'd bump it and knock it over if it was located out in the open.  I think next year I will secure the stand to a board to prevent tipping and allow me to put the tree where I can decorate all sides of it.  That way, I won't have to crowd the ornaments on the branches or (horrors!) get rid of some ornaments!

The other photo shows some old time Christmas postcards that I found in an antique store a couple of years ago.  I think they are charming and sentimental. The photo isn't very good - there is a reflection from the sun shining in the window above the door. 

I was supposed to be in southern Maryland this weekend, but I'm just too tired to travel.  My cold, which has mostly gone away, has left me exhausted.  My friend Deb and I were going to sell pottery at a craft show down there.  I was really looking forward to that, but just couldn't find the energy to go.  Yesterday, I stayed home,  napped in my recliner and read some 'not at all demanding' fiction.  Today, I plan to get the Xmas letter done and reproduced and buy Xmas cards, if I need more.  I always have leftovers from previous years.  I'd like to get the cards out next week. 

At least I don't have to buy many Xmas presents.  With the grandchildren overseas, it's not practical to send presents.  I'll take them shopping when I go over in February. It's too hard to know what to get them now that they are growing up, so money for shopping is best.  I've got presents for Kate and Geoff, which I will take with me.  That leaves just Steve and Christine to buy for.  I'll shop for them next week.  I used to love Christmas shopping, with the stores all decorated and carols playing.  I'm not sure I enjoy it anymore.  Maybe I'm getting too old!  Hopefully, when I actually go shopping I will get into the Christmas spirit.  It won't be long now - just three weeks!