Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Road Trip

Since Cody had to work Christmas Day, he called me on Christmas Eve, and we talked for a long time.  Somewhere in that conversation, I said, "When is your next day off?  I want to drive down there and visit you."  Turns out, his next day off was yesterday.

I packed up a few things for him -- Christmas cookies, some of the bread I made, and about half of my Christmas ham-- and drove down to Jackson to see him.

Oh, we had a good time.  I saw his little house.  Quite frankly, I was shocked at how small their space is considering how much he and his roommate are paying per month for it.  Seriously, it's a very old house.  The living room is tiny, the bathroom is seriously outdated -- there isn't even a bathroom cabinet.  There is only one bedroom.  They've converted the dining room into a second bedroom, and the kitchen is horrendously small.  Since it's only a couple of blocks from MS College, I guess that's why the landlord was able to jack up the rent so much, but to me, it seems outrageous that they are paying nearly $800 per month for it.  I'm sure they could get a much bigger place for the same amount in Jackson, but they want to stay in Clinton.

Anyway, I picked up Cody and his roommate DeJuan, and we went and did some stuff.  First thing, I had noticed while waiting for DeJuan to get dressed was a blanket and pillow on the couch.  "Are you sleeping on the couch?" I asked Cody.  He admitted he was.  He doesn't have heat in his dining room converted into a bedroom.  They have gas heaters -- you know the old kind that used to be in your grandmother's house-- and they haven't gotten the gas turned on.  He's been sleeping in the living room to stay warm.  I briefly wondered why he didn't just move the space heater from the living room into the bedroom at night, but decided not to badger him about it.  Since I'd planned on buying him a space heater as part of his Christmas, the first thing we did was to go down to Wal-mart and let him pick out which one he wanted.

While he was studying the heaters, I snuck off into the Christmas clearance section and found some lights for my house.


Once Cody had picked out his heater, we drove to Jackson to eat and shop.  We were driving along, and Cody was talking.  I was only halfway paying attention to him, because I was concentrating on driving, but I heard him say loudly and clearly, "Cracker Barrel".  "Let's go to Cracker Barrel!"  I practically shouted. 

"I'm in," Cody said.  "DeJuan is in, too." 

We ate at Cracker Barrel, then went to Michael's, because I wanted to try to find some fountain pen ink.   I did find said ink, then went over to look at sock yarn.  I was thinking of picking some up for my blanket, but then I thought about how fast my store bought socks were wearing out.  I'm talking weeks, and they've got holes in them.  I picked up enough yarn to knit myself three pair.


I've already cast on with the two skeins at the bottom.  I don't know what I'm going to knit yet.  Right now, I'm just doing the ribbing.

We went to a few more stores, then I took them home, and came back home myself.  When I got here, Cody's Christmas presents to me were here waiting for me.    He got the scarf I wanted.


And a new Christmas sweater.  He picked this one out himself.


It's really not specifically Christmassy, so I can wear it all winter. 



Well, for the three days it gets cold down here, that is.






Monday, December 26, 2016

One More Present

A couple of weeks ago, I was chatting with my sister in law, and in the midst of that conversation, she asked me what I wanted for Christmas.  I gave her a few ideas, one of those being something for my house.  What she did was to send me a check, and told me to pick out what I wanted.  Well, it just so happened that the amount she sent was almost exactly what the comforter set I want for Cody's room costs.


This is the set I was looking at before.  It'll fit the hunting lodge theme I want for that room, and will go really well with that sideways paneling.  OK, technically, it's not the paneling that is sideways.  It's just printed to make it look that way.  I hope when I get that room redone, whoever I contract to do it can find the same thing, or something very similar. 

Back to the set, it's got a comforter, 2 pillow shams, a sheet set with 2 pillowcases, and a decorative mini pillow.  The first time I looked at it, I thought it just had the comforter and shams, so that was a nice surprise.  After getting the set, I wandered over to the curtain section to see if they had something that would match them.  I didn't get anything today, but I found some curtain rods that have little antlers on the ends.  There was another set that had bears.  Cool.  I might get one of each, since he does have two windows in that room. 

I had waited until after lunch to go to the store, thinking that the initial rush of people returning gifts would be over by then, and it pretty much was.  It was still crowded, but it wasn't a total madhouse.   The Christmas clearance was packed, but I braved it anyway.  There was really only one thing I wanted to get, and that was this:


I was thinking maybe I could drape one around my front door, and hang just a plain green wreath with a bow on said door. I bought these two little things, thinking I could hang the star with the bells in the center of the wreath, but I'm not sure how well you could see it from the street.   


I'll just have to see how it looks when I hang it up next year.   The other garland, I might hang over the door between my kitchen and living room -- on the living room side, and put red bows up at each corner.  I think that'll look really nice.  

I'd said I wasn't going to buy any more wrapping paper.  I don't need any more wrapping paper, because I'd really loaded up a few years ago.  Despite having enough to last at least 10 years, I still picked up two more rolls, just because I thought they were pretty.


I always try to pick up a box or two of lights on clearance.


Seems like every year, a string that worked perfectly the year before suddenly no longer works, so it's always good to have extras.  I'm working on replacing all my lights with these LEDs.  To me, they have better color than the old kind of mini lights.  They're supposed to have better longevity, too.  We shall see. 

Since I actually managed to get cards sent out this time around, I picked up another box. 


I probably shouldn't have shown them, but if you're anything like me, you will have forgotten what they look like by next Christmas. 

In knitting news, I picked up two more skeins of this Scarfie yarn.  I really like the way this grey and red go together.


I'd wanted to get another skein of the red and black that I'm using on my other scarf.  I'm getting worried that I won't have enough yarn to make a decent length scarf, even though the picture says one skein makes a scarf.  I went back over there to see if they still had some in the same dye lot.  They didn't.  I guess that's just going to be a short scarf. 

I hear short, fat scarves are back in style now.  I still like long, skinny scarves myself, but I've always walked the road less traveled when it comes to fashion. 

 

Sunday, December 25, 2016

My Christmas

This was a very different Christmas for me.  What with all the family having moved away, and Cody having to work today, it's the first Christmas that I've been alone.  For a brief moment, I thought about skipping Christmas altogether.  I mean, Christmas is all about family, right?  Right?

Wrong.

Family time, lights, decorations, gifts, the warmth, and all that are effects of Christmas, but they're not what Christmas is all about.  So, what is Christmas all about?  I can tell you that, too.

For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a savior, which is Christ the Lord.  Luke 2:11

That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown, and that's reason enough to celebrate.  That reason is no less valid than it would be if I had a house full of people here with me.  So, though I didn't make as much as I normally do, I did make me some Christmas Eve cookies, and my Uncle Lavergne's peanut butter fudge. 



I was thinking, there are easier recipes out there -- microwave recipes with only a few ingredients, but they aren't my uncle's fudge.   They aren't the fudge of family tradition.

I followed that up this morning with my traditional Christmas morning breakfast of monkey bread and sausage balls. 


After breakfast, and reading through the Bible story, I had lots of presents to open.  This year, I remembered to lay everything out and take a picture of it.


In the interest of full disclosure, these were originally going to be Cody's presents. 


When I found out he had to work today and wouldn't be able to come home, I got online and ordered him some and sent them to his house.  I was planning on taking these back for a refund, but alas, one of my old pairs of flannel pants just happened to blow out in the booty.  How convenient that I just happened to still have two brand new pairs under my Christmas tree.

The shirt is one of those lined with the wool/sheepskin stuff.  I can use it as a jacket.

This is what I bought with the money my mother sent me. 


I have a bucket I've been putting all my change in.  By the time I got it all sorted and rolled, I had $73.  That made a nice little Christmas bonus.

Santa sent me these two:


Back before I got cable, when I only had two channels -- PBS and NBC -- every Saturday night, Cody and I would watch Keeping Up Appearances and As Time Goes By on PBS.  Lawrence Welk came on at 7:00 PM, then those two shows at 8:00, and The Red Green Show at 9:00.  I got the complete series of Keeping Up Appearances several years ago, and this year Santa saw fit to bring me the other show.  Plus new house shoes.

These gifts were from Beverly and James.



They said the blanket is very soft and warm.  Now I'm ready for it to get cold again, so I can use it.  It has been up in the 70s for the last two days. As soon as I picked up the mugs, I could tell by the shape what they were.

I said, "Oh, I hope they say something about Texas," and sure enough, both of them were Texas cups. 


I've been drinking out of the one on the left all day.  I just keep washing it out and reusing it.

These are the gifts my sister and her family sent me.  A new Navy hat, a journal, a fountain pen, and lighthouse prints for my bedroom. 


The journal is really cool.  It's hand made in the medieval style, with even the paper made they way they used to way back when.  I have a feeling that it, like the one Kristine sent me, will never, ever be written in. 


I haven't tried to write with the fountain pen yet, as I need to buy some fountain pen ink.

Finally, from my brother Scott and sister in law Paula, new towels for my bathroom and the Ninth Doctor POP. 


I enjoyed and appreciate all my gifts, but that Funko POP! is the one that made me squeal like a girl.  He's my favorite doctor.  I've been carrying it around all day. 

They came in these really cool gift bags that can be used for knitting projects, so they're almost like gifts themselves.


And finally, when I was in the store buying ingredients for my Christmas dishes, I knew one of them took Italian Seasoning and garlic powder.  I thought to myself, "I think I have some, but let me pick some up just in case."

Apparently, I did that last year, too.


The irony here is, I needed more almond extract, but was sure I had enough, so I didn't get any.  Aaaand I ran out.  Let's just say that one of the cookie recipes got vanilla extract instead.  The good news is, I couldn't really tell a difference in the taste.

And that was my Christmas.  I hope yours was just as blessed as mine was.































Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Used Book Sites

Used book sites are going to be the death of me!  Well, maybe not of me, but of my checking account for sure.

A few days ago, I suddenly remembered one of my favorite childhood books, about a woman who had a pet alligator named Sam.  The book was called Days And Days Of Darling Sam.

"Hmmm," I thought to myself.  "I wonder if they have that book on Amazon."

Onto Amazon I jumped and sure enough, there was the book in a used book store.  I promptly ordered it.  Then I poked around a bit more and found another one of my childhood favorites, Jeanie Goes Riding

It was scheduled to arrive today, and yes, I did the Hyacinth Bucket version of mailman stalking until finally it came.



I was a bit concerned because there was no picture of the book on the website.  The description said it was in good condition, but without a picture, you can't really tell.  However, when the book arrived, it really was in good condition.  It's got some wear, but no more than is to be expected in a 48 year old book.

The story is about a little girl named Jeanie who loves horses.  One day her mother signs her up for riding lessons, and she gets to go riding.  I loved the book as a child.  Reading it as an adult, I thought Jeanie was somewhat of an obnoxious know it all.  Still, it's one of my favorite books, and I'm thrilled to be able to add it to my library.   

Back in the fall, I found clumps of spider lilies popping up all over my yard. 


I'd planned on moving them once the ground softened up enough.  The recent rains we've had have done just that, so this afternoon, I started moving some of them. 

 
I started putting them on the west side of my house.  I haven't figured out where I'm going to put the rest of them, and I've got a LOT of bulbs.  I've got several other clumps that need to be thinned, too.  I may post in the local yard sale groups on FB and see if anyone wants some. 

The good news is, I've made it this far on my new scarf and haven't found any knots yet.


I'm keeping my fingers crossed. 


Monday, December 19, 2016

Jesse

This is Jesse.


Jesse loves his bed.  Sometimes he lets me sleep in it, but it's his bed and he loves it.

What Jesse doesn't love is the day I wash all the bedding.  Now, this is different from just changing the sheets.  That's pretty quick -- just strip the old sheets, put the clean sheets on, pull the comforters and blankets up, then throw the dog blanket on top and we're done.

No, this is not like that.  This is the day I strip all the bedding and wash it.  All the bedding -- blankets comforters, afghan, even the mattress pad.  As you can imagine, it takes pretty much all day to do all that washing.  During this time, Jesse is not allowed on the bed, or even in the bedroom.  He doesn't like this.

He likes it when I'm all done, and all the bedding is back on the bed, and he can finally get back on it. He snuggles down on the bed and breathes a sigh of relief.

Sigh.."I wuv you, bed," he seems to be saying.

In other news, I am finally ready for Christmas.  I mailed the last box along with most of the Christmas cards I'm sending out this year.  Since I was in town anyway, I went by the store and picked up some gumdrops to make my gumdrop cookies.  Since it's just going to be me, I'm not going to make all the stuff I normally make, but I do want to make the gumdrop and snickerdoodle cookies.  I'm still hoping that Cody can get a day off and come home at some point.  If not, I'll just pack some up and send them down there to him.

(BTW, you can find those recipes online.  Just google them.)

While I was in the store, I wandered into the Christmas section to see if I could find something to go in those empty shelves.  I came out with this poinsettia garland.  I got out two old red pillar candles, that I've had forever, and wrapped the garland around it.  Simple, but it looks pretty good.


In the spirit of Christmas, I decided to give this yarn one more chance.


If you'll recall, the first skein I bought was full of knots.  I wasn't even 1/3 of the way through and had already found three knots.  I got frustrated and stuffed it into a bag in the craft room.  I picked up one more skein today, hoping that first one was a fluke.  If this one has knots, I'm done with it.

I hate to say it, but Lion Brand yarn is known for it's poor quality, knotty yarn.  This is their penultimate opportunity, at least as far as I'm concerned.

Finally, it looks like my Christmas cactus is going to be blooming just in time for Christmas.


That's such a relief, especially after I thought I'd killed it.






Friday, December 16, 2016

All Done

I've got some good news and some bad news.  The bad news is I spent a lot of money today.  And I do mean a lot.  Not as much as the day I bought the recliner, but still, it was a lot.

The good news is, I'm done with my Christmas shopping!  The better news is, the plant finally gave us our annual incentive bonus, so I had money with which to do said Christmas shopping.  I still have one box to mail, but I've got something else I need to put into it.  I'll take care of that thing probably tomorrow, because it's supposed to be rainy and icky all day.

In anticipation of said rain, I got out these last couple of days and moved all the twiggy stuff I use to start fires inside the chicken coops. 



Once the rain passes through, it's going to turn cold, so I lugged a pile of wood up closer to the house, and covered it with a garbage bag.  Maybe it'll stay dry enough that I can get a fire going. 


I also filled the inside wood box, but how many pictures of wood do you need to see?
 
For those of you who don't live in the South, let me tell you what winter is like down here.  Tomorrow, that is Saturday, it's supposed to be in the mid 70s.  Day after tomorrow, that is Sunday, it's supposed to get down into the teens.  The TEENS.  It probably won't get quite that cold, but in anticipation of the potential of such frigid weather, I bought a suet cake for my birds.


This one is the high energy cake.  I thought it would help them stay warm. 


I'm a bit bummed that I broke my 3/32 drill bit off in that post when I was putting up the hanger, but the bright side is I finally figured out how to adjust the tension in my drill.  Yes, the drill that I've had since March.  That drill.  I had never really paid attention before, but today I found the ring with all the numbers and the picture of the drill bit on it.  After thinking to myself, "Huh, I wonder what this ring with all the numbers on it is for?  And look, a picture of a drill bit.  I wonder if that's where you're supposed to put it to drill."   I might have known that if I'd read the instruction manual.  But noooo, I had to figure it out the hard way. 

All right, then, moving right along.

Here is something more interesting.  You know how I'm going to decorate Cody's room in a rustic/hunting lodge theme?  I was wandering around Walmart today and wandered over into the bedding department just to see what they had.  I found a couple of possibilities. 


I'm really leaning towards the one on the left with the canoes and pine trees.  I figure if I can find curtains to match the darker green of the canoes in the comforter, it'll really bring that color out.  Then all I'll have to do is finish cleaning that room out and hang a few do dads on the wall, and it'll be done.   Until I can save up enough money to have it completely remodeled, that is.

So, Cody texted me and asked for hints as to what he can get me for Christmas.  I sent him this picture:


And also this one:


Because that's just who I am. 



Wednesday, December 14, 2016

I Survived

I survived the long, long day of meetings at work.

I call them meetings, but most of them were safety classes -- the same training we had last year, and the year before...complete with the same videos and everything.  We even had the same very expensive out of town motivational speaker that we had last year. 

It was kind of weird having these meetings in the middle of the week.  I'm guessing that has a lot to do with when they could schedule that very expensive out of town motivational speaker.  Still, it feels like a Friday.  As I was walking out the door, one of the HR people told me to have a good weekend.  Then she realized what she'd said, and said, "Oh, no!  It's not even the weekend!"  I hope I remember to get up and go back to work tomorrow. 

Speaking of tomorrow, it's my last day of work for the year!  Woo Hoo!  I had a brief moment of panic when I was looking at the computer printout of my approved vacation days, and saw that next Wednesday, December 21, was not on there.  I was freaking out, thinking I'd missed putting in for that day.  Seriously, I was going to have to go back to work on the last day the plant was working.  It couldn't be!  I was sure I'd put in for that day, and it was handwritten on my work calendar on my refrigerator.

I went and dug out my vacation request forms, and sure enough, December 21 was on there.  Apparently, the HR people had overlooked that day when entering them into their computer.  After my long, long day of safety training and meetings, I took my handwritten form to the HR office and showed them.  They added that day to the computer, so I'm all good to go.  Tomorrow is my last day of work for the year.  And I'm breathing a sigh of relief. 

Ever since those men came and got that old recliner, I've been sitting here looking at these shelves. 


I'm thinking that they need more Christmas decorations, since they are no longer hidden behind that huge chair.  I don't have anything that would work there, though.  I'll have to look when I go to the store next time. 

Yesterday, my mother sent me a check for Christmas.  "Cool,"  I though.  I'll just go get the check she'd sent me last month for my birthday and cash them both next time I go to town.  Only, I couldn't find the check she'd sent me for my birthday last month.  I thought I'd put it on my computer desk.  I absolutely tore up the computer room looking for it.  I finally found it, or so I thought.  "There it is!" I exclaimed as I pulled said check out from behind the printer -- only to discover that it was my check from last year, which I had never cashed.  Sigh, I give up.  I just give up.

For what it's worth, I did finally find this year's birthday check.  It was under a box of old 8mm video cassettes.  How it got there is quite beyond me.  Nevertheless, it has been found and I will cash them tomorrow or Friday.

If I don't lose them again before then. 


Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Yesterday's Post


What I posted yesterday was not what I had planned on posting yesterday.  Oh, it started off as planned, but after telling you about how I'd thought about taking all my Christmas decorations down, I'd planned on telling you how I ended up putting even more out, though I hadn't planned on that.  Putting more out, I mean. 

I was going to tell you how I went into Cody's room to find some wrapping paper, and found these birch bark candles that I'd had forever, and decided to put them out.  Then I was going to tell you how I went out to the shed to get the pine garland to put around them, and found some picks Beverly gave me last year, and added them to the display.


Then I was going to tell you how I wrapped the other thing of pine garland around the bowl of balls and book on the bottom shelf, and added a few picks to that.  And I was going to tell you how, when I took the box of garland that I wasn't putting out this year back out to the shed, I found a box of small glass balls, and thought they'd work well in this vase.  


 I was going to tell you how I put the small balls in the vase and took the gold garland that was in the vase and wrapped it around the bottom, and it looks pretty good.  Then I decided Santa needed something, so I gave him a carpet of garland, too. 


I was going to wrap it all up by telling you that I'd gone that far, so I might as well go all the way, and put up my wreath and stockings.


And this wreath and these stockings.


I'd thought about mentioning that I'd made those stockings when I was a little girl and had given them to my Mammaw, and after she died, I got them back and have put them out every year since I got my own home.  Finally, I'd planned on telling you that I wanted to put up Santa and the two elves, but haven't figured out where to put them yet. 


That was what I'd planned on posting yesterday, but things didn't quite work out that way.  Once I got to writing, the post took on a life of its own.  Sometimes, when the words flow, all you can do is ride that river all the way to the ocean. 

If you're a writer, you know what I'm talking about.  

Now, for today's news.  The big green chair is no longer in my living room.


I was going to put it out for the trash men to pick up, but someone posted on the local free-bees group about wanting a recliner.  I offered her mine, and this evening, she sent her sons to pick it up.  It's amazing how much bigger my living room looks without it.

The bad news is, Rylea isn't speaking to me right now. 

Can't win them all.



Monday, December 12, 2016

Weekend Wrapup

Admittedly, this was not a good weekend for me.  My Naval Academy Midshipmen lost, ending a 14 game winning streak against Army.  My Dallas Cowboys lost, ending an 11 game winning streak against...everybody except the New York Giants.

I found out Cody will not be able to come home for Christmas.  He has to work Christmas Day.  I'm a little bummed about that.  This will be the first Christmas, really ever, that I've been completely alone.  I started to say, "Well, what's the point then?" and take all my decorations down and put them away. 

But I didn't. Instead, I looked at my little journal


that my friend Kristine sent me out of the blue (which arrived the same day I found out Cody couldn't come home) and realized, I'm not really alone.  I've got people halfway across the country who are thinking of me, and caring enough to send me stuff.  It may seem like a little thing to some of you, but it means the world to me.

Then I put on one of my favorite Christmas songs, and approached the hallowed manger ground.



It was there I realized that whether I have a house full of people, or it's just me and the dogs; whether I have hundreds of presents, or none at all, Christmas is still Christmas.  Because of a baby born in a manger so long ago, I'm never truly alone.  So, JOY to the world, the Lord is come!




That's what Christmas is all about. 

Friday, December 09, 2016

Friday Miscellany

It was cold this morning.  Real cold.

Of course, I knew it was going to be cold, because I'm my father's daughter.  My dad was the original weatherholic. 

It's been chilly all week, and with the recent rains, I've had a hard time finding enough dry wood to start a fire.  Tuesday, I worked up such a sweat trying to start a fire with damp wood that by the time I got said fire going, I didn't need it any more.  I decided then and there that I was going to move my wood pile, which is currently behind the fence



into the old chicken coops behind my shed.


That's pretty much what I've been doing after work this week.  I get home and move wood until dark  -- which comes mighty early this time of year -- then take a shower and go to bed.  Except Thursday.  Since I knew I wouldn't want to get out in the cold today, I went on to the store straight after work.  It took me forever to get out of there, because I kept running into people I knew and stopping to talk.  But I eventually did make it home, and was able to move a bit of wood up to the house before it got too dark. 

I also started cutting up and moving some of the green wood from the tree I just had cut down into one of the coops. 


I'm putting it into its own separate coop, because it needs to age a bit before I can burn it.  It'll be ready by next winter.  You know what?  Cutting, splitting, and stacking wood is hard work.  I can't imagine depending on that to be my only source of heat.  Our ancestors were definitely tougher than we are.

There is something I discovered moving wood all week, though.  I thought there were four coops back there, but in reality, there are five.  Not that that is important or anything.  I just thought I'd throw it out there.  I also discovered that the previous owner had not, in fact, cleaned out all the coops like I thought.  They'd cleaned out two, but the other three are pretty deep in chicken...um, fertilizer.  Yeah, let's call it that.  I'm going to scrape it all up and work it into my flower beds next spring.  They ought to like that. 

Speaking of flowers, I think the ground is soft enough to start moving my spider lily bulbs.  When this current cold spell passes, I'll do just that. 

I think I've done just about all the Christmas decorating I'm going to do this year.  I got a little stuck on this vase.  I usually put fake flowers -- poinsettias and holly-- in it, but I wanted to try something different.  I put a bit of garland in it, but I thought it was a bit too dark.


I thought it would look nice with some shiny glass balls in it, but they just didn't look right.  Maybe it's because of the vase's shape.  I ended up just sticking some gold garland in the vase


and put the balls into a bowl. 


By the way, that book is the same one my mother used to read to us when we were kids.  I mean, not the same book, but the same edition.  I found it online in a used book store. 

It was so nice to find a piece of my childhood. 



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