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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Thoughts about the New Year

In just three days, it will be a whole new year! I'm excited about the arrival of 2013. I can't help but feel that the universe owes me some karmic balancing good fortune this year, after what 2012 has been like!

Do you make New Year's resolutions? I love the idea of a whole bright shiny new year, full of possibility and a chance for self improvement. I have a whole list of things I want to do and accomplish in the next 12 months. I'm trying to break the list down into small manageable steps to be spread out throughout the year; I don't want to do the classic resolution thing: a big burst of initial enthusiasm followed by increasing apathy and then finally total abandonment of the goals by mid February! The only changes that stick are the ones born of slow, steady, consistent small steps. So those are the things I plan to concentrate on, small changes that can be easily incorporated into everyday life. I'll let you know how it goes!

In the meantime, with the New Year only 3 days away, I have things to get done to accommodate the superstitions my family implanted in me growing up. Certain tasks need to happen before January 1st: the Christmas tree must come down, the laundry must be done completely (including sheets and towels), and the floors have to be swept, mopped, and vacuumed. Failure to do any of those things could lead to bad luck, according to my crazy superstitious relatives. My mom will call me up without fail on December 31st to make sure I've done the laundry and swept the kitchen. Doing those tasks on New Year's Day, according to her and my late grandma, will "wash away" or "sweep away" a family member in the upcoming year. Then on January 1st, you have to eat black eyed peas (for good luck) and greens (for money) and "whatever you do that day you'll do all year" and so on and so forth. Of course it's all nonsense, but I can't help myself!

Does anyone else have superstitions and rituals about ringing in the New Year? Are you making resolutions? If so I'd love to hear about it!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Finally, some rest

As usual, I am glad to see the holiday season winding down. Work has worn me out.

Between extended holiday hours, crowds of shoppers, cranky overextended coworkers, relentless traffic, and my own personal holiday preparations at home, the whole period between Thanksgiving and Christmas seems to go by in a blur of caffeine fueled frenzy. Yesterday I had to go to work at 5am (which meant getting up at 3:30!!) to set the post-holiday sale at the bookstore.  Even though I had to get up at such an ungodly hour, it ended up being kind of pleasant. We didn't open until 8:00, so almost half of my shift was spent in the quiet, peaceful, empty store working on first one task, then another, with no interruptions. Even after we opened I was off working alone, removing holiday signage and consolidating leftover merchandise and re-setting empty tables and endcaps. Then I got to leave at 1:00pm. After swinging by a friend's house to check on his cats (he and his wife are out of town visiting relatives) I went home, ate a big plate of leftover Christmas dinner, and went to bed for a nap.

And what a  nap it was! I slept hard for four hours, and woke up confused and disoriented because it was dark outside and much later than I expected. After some of the grogginess dissipated, GB and I went for our nightly walk with Ginger, then came back and feasted on more holiday food and sweets. We watched Netflix for a couple of hours, then went back to bed. I was afraid that after such a long nap I would be wide awake, but I fell asleep immediately and slept a full eight hours. I must have been more exhausted than I knew. Since yesterday afternoon I've slept more than 12 hours!

Today I am off, and it's wonderful to feel so rested. Our home could use some TLC, but I'm only going to do the most necessary chores. Then I'm going to take Ginger out for a long winter walk, and when I get back I plan to make a homemade pot pie with the last of the leftover turkey. Marco is so very happy today; he got two big new toys in his stocking from Santa! That bird loves new toys as much as a human child.  He's been playing nonstop since we put them in his cage. Ginger got a new leather collar, a large meaty bone, and several smaller doggie treats in her stocking. GB and I also have lots of holiday goodies: movies and books and way too many sweets. There are Godiva chocolates, cookie platters, chocolate covered cherries, peanut butter fudge, and boxes of hard candy taking up room on the dining room table. Far more than we need! But the house still feels festive.

It's going to be a good day to be at home!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve



It's Christmas Eve, the day when we await the imminent birth of the newborn sun (or son, if you happen to be Christian. I am not.) I love the sense of anticipation, possibility, and magic that always permeates this night, no matter how old I get. I love the deep, quiet joy that always seems to arrive in the wee small hours of Christmas morning. I love knowing that although the night is long, and dark, and cold, the sun is already returning, albeit slowly.

Speaking of special midwinter births, a distant cousin of mine became a first time father three days ago. His son was born on the day of the solstice, the 21st of December. My (small) extended family is just thrilled with this little boy's arrival.

This photo was taken shortly after the baby's birth. This is the new dad, embracing his mom (the new grandmother). I love this picture. The sense of joy and relief is palpable, and beautiful to see.


Photo


And here is the new baby, going home just in time for Christmas. The reason for a whole lot of joy in our family this year. A special midwinter blessing. His name is Cohen.




Happy Christmas Eve. May you be filled with all the joy and hope of the season!


Friday, December 21, 2012

Solstice

 
Wishing everyone peace, hope, and joy today as we await the return of the light.

"Winter Solstice Sunrise at Stonehenge Just Hours Ago!" <3 @[127510390611984:274:Spiritual Networks] and www.spiritualnetworks.com
Winter solstice sunrise at Stonehenge, 2012



Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Scenes from a morning walk

Today is sunny and only slightly cool, so Ginger and I went out for an early walk. I took my camera along and got a few photos to share. These were taken around the neighborhood.



Mourning dove and mistletoe.



Mistletoe in a sweet gum tree.
 
 
Loaded with potential kisses!
 
  
Woodpecker in the pear tree outside our kitchen window.



Blooming in our backyard.




 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Our little tree

Our little Christmas tree has been up for over a week, and I finally got some pictures to share!

It's a very small tree, with only a few sturdy ornaments that can withstand Marco's attentions. Still, it makes our kitchen and den cheerful, and I smile whenever I come  home and plug in the lights after a long day at work!




 

 
Glitter fish.


We own lots of bird ornaments.


Santa has dreadlocks!
 


Marco loves the tree.


 
Christmas is one week away!

Monday, December 17, 2012

One year already

Today it's been exactly one year since my husband came home from seeing the doctor and said, "I have cancer." Without a doubt, it was the worst day of my entire life so far. We didn't have any information at that point beyond the fact that there was a tumor in his lung. I choke up whenever I remember that day, the fear and despair and sense of unreality (like a waking nightmare) of the hours and days that followed. Life changed dramatically, unequivocally, forever. We were so frightened of what the future would hold.

Now here we are, one year later, and the tears keep flowing again...but they're tears of happiness and gratitude this time. Gregg is healthy again. The cancer is gone. He continues to improve each day, and life is almost back to normal....but held so much more dear. What a wonderful Christmas this is going to be for us! All we need is each other.

Hold your loved ones tight during the holidays, and every day. They are your most precious gifts.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Words fail me

Yesterday there was yet another mass shooting here in the USA. This time the gunman targeted small children in an elementary school. At the end of the day, seven adults and twenty children were dead.

Words fail me. I don't understand how or why this kind of thing keeps happening. I just can't wrap my head around the fact that twenty little kids are dead today after going to school yesterday morning. How can even the sickest of sick mentally ill people do such a thing? What is wrong with our culture that we keep producing these monsters? And how do we stop it?

This country has gone utterly mad. My heart is heavy for the victims of this latest tragedy, as well as their families. And for all of us.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Marco and the Christmas tree

A few days ago I finally got some  lights for the little Christmas tree I bought and put it up. We decided to put it in the corner between our kitchen and den this year instead of the living room, which means we get to see and enjoy it more (the living room windows have a better view of the street, but we're rarely in that room). This placement is also very close to Marco's cage, and it turns out that he loves the Christmas tree.  Really loves it. From the moment I plugged in the lights he began to "ooh" and "ahh" with a few "woo hoo!!"s thrown in for good measure. He sang snatches of his little song (a silly tune we invented when we first got him) and flew over to the tree and clung to it once or twice while I was working on it. I never considered that a parrot would enjoy looking at a Christmas tree as much as he has! He's like an adorable toddler that's excited by all the lights and sparkly things.

I haven't finished decorating the tree, because I've had to sort through ornaments to find only the unbreakable ones. With Marco nearby and fascinated with everything I dare not use any fragile or cherished ornaments. Tomorrow I plan to go through some more boxes and put the finishing touches on the tree, and then I'll post pictures. In the meantime, here's a picture of the little guy last week hanging out with me in our office.



Marco is always dressed in Christmas colors.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Three weeks!!

It's only three weeks until Christmas, a fact that  occurred to me this morning with a tiny twinge of horror. I somehow had failed to notice it was getting quite so....close.  How have I missed this? The following is a list of the holiday preparations I have made thus far, as of December 5th:

1. Gifts bought/made: 0 (unless the Of Monsters and Men CD I bought myself yesterday counts, haha)
2. Holiday cards mailed: 0
3. Plans made for Christmas Eve goodies and Christmas dinner: 0
4. House decorations up: .50

All I have really accomplished so far is buying a super cheap small fake tree. We put it together the other night, then realised we only have two strands of lights that work. We'll have to go buy some before we can finish decorating the tree. Right now it's sitting in our living room looking bare and kind of forlorn. As for holiday cards, I have bought some and even filled out a few. I still have to finish writing them, though, then find all the addresses for the envelopes, and then mail them. Gifts will have to be small, simple, and mostly homemade this year (and for only a few select people) as we are still trying to recover from GB being out of work for so long. Small, simple, and inexpensive gifts take more thought and time than regular gifts, though. I have a few half formed plans, but I definitely need to get started soon. On everything.

I can't believe the holidays are only three weeks away! How are your holiday preparations coming? Am I the only one that's so far behind?

Sunday, December 2, 2012

O Christmas tree

December is here, and I am finally in the mood to do a little bit of decorating. I just went out and bought a super cheap little fake Christmas tree to put up. It's small (only 6ft by 3ft) and it won't ever be as nice as a live tree, but it will serve the purpose of lighting up our living room with some holiday cheer. And more importantly, there won't be any danger of a repeat of the Ghastly Tree Incident of '10, in which the huge live tree we had picked out went crashing to the floor one day, creating an ugly mess of fir needles, water, and broken ornaments in our carpet. I had to call a neighbor in to help me right it, as I was alone that day and it was too big and unwieldy for me to fix without help. It soured the whole experience for me that year!
 
Hopefully the cheap little tree I bought today won't end up looking too much like a Charlie Brown tree! I will, of course, be posting pictures either way!


                                                       

Friday, November 30, 2012

Winter fields of white

Yesterday was clear and cool and sunny, perfect for going outside and soaking up some (much needed) early winter sunshine. I decided to go take some pictures of the small cotton patches I had seen outside of town on Thanksgiving day. I went just in time; some of the fields around me were being harvested as I was taking my pictures. I felt kind of silly, standing knee-deep in a cotton field with a camera, but I have a feeling some of my blog readers have never seen cotton plants.

When you drive past these fields, it looks just like snow has fallen.

 

 


 
 
 
 
 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Bleak November days

Winter is settling in early this year, or so it seems. Nighttime temperatures have already been hitting the freezing mark, and the days have been damp and chilly. The almanac is predicting a cold, snowy winter this year and I wouldn't be surprised if it's right, based on the weather so far this month. I would dearly love to see some real snow this year.

Today there is a cold, intermittent rain falling outside, and the wind will chill you to the bone. It's certainly not a day to go out and take pictures, which is what I had planned to do with my day off. On the way to see my family last week I saw some interesting landscapes about 10 miles outside of town, cotton fields blooming and abandoned tobacco barns and swampy areas with bare cypress knees reaching up out of the water. I promised myself on my next day off I would pack a lunch and a camera and go get some photos, but unless the rain lets up soon it will have to wait until later in the week. Possibly Thursday will be better (that's my next opportunity).

Meanwhile, it's a good week to enjoy the comforts of home. Pajamas at night, the fireplace lit, movies to watch, warm home cooked meals, and books read in bed are how we're passing the time on these bleak early winter days.

A poem for November I wanted to share:

"The wild gander leads his flock through the cool night,
Ya-honk! he says, and sounds it down to me like an invitation:
The pert may suppose it meaningless, but I listen closer,
I find its purpose and place up there toward the November sky."
- Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass, 1855, I Celebrate Myself, Line 238

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Stuffed

A quick post before I fall into bed and attempt to sleep off all the food I ate today. We had a huge Thanksgiving meal with my parents.

Mom cooked: Roast Turkey, southern cornbread dressing, rice and gravy, biscuits, deviled eggs, and banana pudding.

I cooked: baked macaroni and cheese, green bean casserole, real cranberry sauce with toasted pecans and mandarin oranges, pumpkin pie, and pecan pie.

After we drove home, we went for a short walk with Ginger (who got lots of turkey with her dog food tonight) and then watched a bit of tv while eating leftovers. Now it's time to turn in early. There's really nothing else to do when you're as stuffed as we are!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Cleaning and shopping and cooking, oh my!

Today is going to be busy! Since tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and my mom is cooking a large feast for our family, I plan to make some dishes to take along. Unfortunately, I wasted a day off yesterday when I should have been taking care of business, so now I have to clean my messy house, go shopping (the grocery store will be a madhouse today) and then cook the dishes I promised to bring.

Time to crank up some Pandora radio and get my rear in gear!

I'll be making homemade cranberry sauce from my own special recipe, baked macaroni and cheese, and a couple of pies (probably pecan and pumpkin). If I can get the cleaning and shopping out of the way early, I can spend the afternoon in the kitchen sipping a leisurely glass of wine while I cook. That's the plan, anyway.

  Tomorrow I will post pictures of all the glorious food we'll be enjoying! Stay tuned!



Ready for turkey!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Friendly feline walking companion

I've mentioned here before that there is a friendly neighborhood cat that we've been making friends with on our nightly walks. To begin with, it would just follow us at a distance for a portion of our walk. After awhile it would come closer and even sometimes let us pet it when we passed by. These days it will run to meet us, tail straight up, meowing loudly. Then s/he will rub against all three of us (Ginger the dog included!) and purr loudly before walking with us for awhile. This has been going on for months! A few days ago it did something I've never seen a cat do: stood up on it's back legs to get petted, like a small dog. Crazy cat! We're beginning to love this little creature, and despite my allergies and Ginger's inclination to chase smaller animals, I sometimes wish it could come live with us. It has a home already, of course. But still. What an awesome feline!!

I was finally able to get some pictures when we were out uncharacteristically early one afternoon recently. The cat ran out to greet us when we passed it's house, as usual.


 
 

Living proof that not all cats are aloof!


 
 
 
 
 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Beautiful November skies

A couple of days ago I was out raking leaves in my front yard and was struck by how pretty the sky looked. For once the batteries in my camera were fully charged and I was able to get a few photos. These were taken from my front yard and the street in front of my house.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Too much cake!

Friday was my husband's birthday, and I ordered him a a special cake for the occasion. What I didn't know was that his workmates had done the same thing! So we've been eating cake all weekend and I really need to find someone to give the rest of the leftovers to. Too much of a good thing is still too much!

They were both awesome looking cakes though! Check out what our local bakery came up with for the "fish dude":


By the time his work cake made it home, it was missing some parts!!



The inside has chocolate layers with raspberry filling.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Red state blues.

It's election day! And here in South Carolina, it's also "show off how racist, uninformed, homophobic, and misogynistic you really are!!" day. The one good thing about election day finally arriving is that no matter who wins, it means the extreme right-wing teabaggers will finally quiet down a bit and get back to their small, miserable little lives. They've been spewing venomous hate and contempt for months now, and it's difficult to be a liberal in this kind of atmosphere. (To give you an example, I once posted something on facebook about supporting gay marriage and I got blasted by  people I once considered good friends who said I "supported perversion"and  "was completely misguided" and worse...all for suggesting that everyone should have the same civil rights in this country!)

In any case, today I actually get to stay at home in my pjs and avoid the lines at the polling stations, because I voted two weeks ago! I didn't actually intend to do the early voting thing. I went to the voter registration office to change the address on my voter ID, and discovered that it was going on. The nice man that took care of updating my address urged me to go ahead and cast my ballot. What a great idea! It's only 9 am today, and people are already filling up my facebook news feed with reports of standing in lines for over an hour. I waited a grand total of 10 minutes! That was a lucky break for me.

I don't think there's a chance in hell that my vote will actually make a difference in my state. The "red" candidate always, always wins in South Carolina.  Still, I consider my vote and the vote of others like me important, if only in principle, in this area.


Thursday, November 1, 2012

November is here!

November came in on a cold front this year! This morning dawned clear and cold, but with bright sunshine and the bluest of blue skies. This month contains my darling GB's birthday, Thanksgiving, and the start of the holiday season!

The past three nights I've worked very late, doing holiday merchandising at the bookstore. We've pretty much completed the bulk of the work, and I'm very happy that tonight I will finally make it home before midnight. Last night I finally understood why we have so few trick or treaters at our house....the mall was packed with little ghosts and goblins and princesses looking for goodies. I never knew Halloween at the mall was such a big event. I'm still not terribly impressed, I think the old fashioned door-to-door thing is better, but it was nice to feel that I got to see a little of the fun. Our store gave out candies, pencils, and stickers.

I'm happy to see November arrive, and more than anything I am looking forward to New Year's Eve. It's been a rough year at my house, and we're going to have to do some major celebrating when we finally see the end of it! Actually, we plan to do some major celebrating throughout all of the winter holidays this year!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Book review: Cloud Atlas

It occurred to me recently that I almost never recommend books on this blog, even though I'm an avid reader and typically finish a new book about once a week. I have lots of old favorites that I reread regularly, but it's rare that I find a new book or author that really appeals to me. Last week I purchased a copy of Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell, and it turned out to be one of the best fiction novels I've read in a long, long time. This book is brilliant!

The setup of the novel is clever, although a bit confusing at first. There are bits and pieces of stories set up like a puzzle that must be solved to make sense of everything. There are characters from different times and places that are all interconnected despite their profoundly different lives (a young man aboard a 19th century whaling ship in the south Pacific, a college aged journalist investigating a corporate cover up from the 1970's, a genetically engineered worker female clone from sometime in the future, a post-apocalyptic man in the distant future living a primitive sort of life in the mountains of Hawaii, and others) they are all connected and are basically the same soul, connected through time and space. Each story is told in it's own character's unique voice, and the way the whole thing ties together by the end is nothing short of amazing. Some of the passages are simply beautiful and insightful, and the story is an incredible journey back and forth through time.

This is not a quick read (or it shouldn't be) and must be read carefully to understand what is happening. In fact, I was fairly confused until the middle, when the stories recommenced in reverse order and all of the peices fell into place. David Mitchell is a genius, and goes right to the top of list of new favorite authors. Four stars!!!

The movie version of Cloud Atlas was just released here in the US, starring Tom Hanks. I've heard that the movie is excellent, but as always, I would recommend reading the book first. Here is a passage I love that seems to sum up the book quite well, with it's theme of rebirth and reincarnation:

"...I watched clouds awobbly from the floor o' that kayak. Souls cross ages like clouds cross skies, an' tho' a cloud's shape nor hue nor size don't stay the same, it's still a cloud an' so is a soul. Who can say where the cloud's blowed from or who the soul'll be 'morrow? Only Sonmi the east an' the west an' the compass an' the atlas, yay, only the atlas o'clouds."

Saturday, October 27, 2012

October marches on

It's already almost the end of October, and I can't believe how quickly this month has come and gone! Between a long, nasty cold I was fighting for two weeks and extra projects at work, the past few weeks have gone by at light speed. I haven't done a single thing to get ready for Halloween this year, and it makes me a little bit sad. Last year I had the front door decorated with strings of lights, furry spiders and spiderwebs, and hanging plastic skeletons. There were also four really awesome carved pumpkins, after Meg and I got together for a little pumpkin carving party. Check out our handiwork:



Meg and I also made a witch hat for me to wear to work on Halloween. We made a big mess, and got glue in places it's best to not speak of (ahem) but the hat turned out nice. We added a bit of purple veil and a fringe of tiny dangling spiders and purple beads to a plain black hat purchased at the dollar store.


This year I just haven't had the time or the energy to do fun craftsy things. I am also scheduled to work from 4pm-midnight on the 31st, to do a Christmas set. There will be no handing out candy for me this year, except at work. Our store is signed up to be one of the retailers handing out treats at the mall. I didn't know that this phenomenon of "mall" trick or treating even existed until I got this job, and frankly it disgusts me. So many wonderful traditions in our country have been hijacked by the great mindless consumer culture, and are being turned into a chance for corporations to make more money. It's kind of pathetic. People dress up their kids (mostly in costumes purchased at Walmart) and bring them to the mall so they can drink Starbucks' overpriced, over roasted coffee, talk on their cell phones (with only one eye on the kiddos!) and shop while their children trick or treat. Don't even get me started on Thanksgiving and Black Friday. Lots of families now have a "tradition" of gearing up and joining the mad rush of people hitting the stores in the wee hours to shop shop shop. You see these families at around 8 or 9am and they're exhausted (yet still jacked up on the $8 lattes from Starbucks they've been drinking for hours) with wild eyes and short tempers. Black Friday is a horror, if you work in retail. And the worst part is seeing how many people now consider the mall the place to have meaningful time with their loved ones. It's sad, really. I hope that by next year I will have a new (non retail) job, and I can totally avoid the whole repellent scene during the holiday season!

  But what was I saying? Oh yeah....so no handing out Halloween candy at home for me this year. GB isn't interested in doing it if I'm not going to be here, since we only get a few  kids anyway. Without my usual decorations to let them know we're into it, I doubt any will show up. And the last thing we need around the house is lots of leftover candy! Although we're kind of skipping the Halloween decorating and events this year, I've been doing a few small  things to acknowledge the change of seasons. I got some new kitchen towels with a falling leaves design for our kitchen. I put out our pear and pumpkin shaped candle holders in the den. I've been cooking heartier meals lately that make the house smell good, like chili and soup and pies. Our tiny family takes a long walk almost every day, and we love checking out the seasonal decorations our neighbors put up. It's kind of nice to just quietly observe and take things easy sometimes.



Monday, October 22, 2012

Orionids

This past weekend, the annual Orionid meteor shower reached it's peak. On Friday night I was out late walking with my husband and dog, and I saw the most amazing shooting star. It was larger than average, and moved slowly, like a bottle rocket flame floating to earth after the firework has popped.

The Orionids are an annual event that occur every late October. They are named after the constellation where they seem to originate, Orion. The late autumn skies are generally clear and cold, and if the moon is in a dark phase you can end up with perfect stargazing conditions. Here in the southern part of the USA, October nights tend to be chilly but not freezing cold. With a mug of some sort of warm beverage, and a light jacket, you can sit outside at night in comfort.

 Last night I hoped to see a few more meteors, so I went out around midnight and got in the hammock to watch. (Hammocks are perfect for stargazing. Lying in a hammock helps one avoid the strain in the neck you get from looking up while sitting or standing.) It was a gorgeous night, but I did not see a single shooting star. The peak in activity is usually nearer to dawn, and I only stayed out for 30 minutes, so I didn't have high expectations. It was a beautiful night, and the sky was clear and full of stars, so I counted it as time well spent even without seeing any meteors.

Click here for a picture of a beautifully colored Orionid:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Multi_colored_Orionid.jpg

Monday, October 15, 2012

Hello Monday!

Hello Monday. Nice to see you. It's a brand new week everyone!

Yes, dear readers, I am happy to see a Monday morning arrive. After the craptastic week I just finished, a shiny brand new week seems like a tiny reason to celebrate. I sure hope it's a better one.

My job is ridiculous. I won't bore anyone with the same old complaints, since anyone that has been reading this blog with any regularity knows I hate it. Last week was just especially stressful. I coped with the stress by spending most of the week having an internal pity party for myself. It wasn't pretty, but there you go. I also spent an inordinate amount of my (non work) time lying in bed, doing nothing. Then GB caught a nasty cold/flu thing , and he was lying in bed a lot too. After a few days of us both staying in bed our house began to revert to it's natural wild state and was (to put it mildly) a disgusting pigsty. I made some efforts this weekend to clean up the worst messes, but there is a lot left to do. To cap off the week, yesterday I started to feel sick. A tickle started in my throat that turned into an uncomfortable cough last night. So far today I feel a little bit better, but I'm being cautious. GB's bug took a few days to settle in and really get down to business. I sure hope this week doesn't turn into a sick week for me. It remains to be seen, but I'm eating lots of fruit and taking vitamins and drinking lots of water. I hope I can stave off this sickness before it really takes hold.

Happy Monday everyone!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

It figures

I had an entire week off work after my Mid Autumn Moon party, and I feel like I wasted the whole thing. The weather was grey, it rained a little bit every day, and I couldn't seem to do much at all but sleep. I slept late every day, then took naps, then sat around during the times in between. I just couldn't seem to muster up any energy, and I felt kind of down, too. I feel certain that the gloomy weather contributed to my lethargy. The sun didn't peek out even once the entire week. It was damp and too warm outside. The whole week ended up being a big letdown for me.

Tonight I go back to work, and guess what? It's gloriously sunny outside. Not a cloud in the (brilliantly blue) sky. It's cool outside again. Overall, it's a picture perfect fall day.

And I'll be spending the whole afternoon and evening at work. Inside. At my job that I hate.

And I'm completely out of paid time off until the end of January. Not that it matters really, because with the holidays coming up no one will be allowed long weekends or weeks off until late January anyway. That's just the way it is in the world of retail. I had high hopes for enjoying my last bit of time off this year, but instead I just felt sluggish, bored, depressed, and tired. If the weather had been nicer, I think it would have been a better week for me. I sure wish some of this nice weather had happened a couple of days ago!

Three words can sum up how I feel today: just my luck!!!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The cutest guest

This year, one of my friends brought a very special guest a our Mid Autumn Moon celebration. Everyone adored the new addition, with one notable exception. Ginger the dog was less than impressed.

Meet Gus:





Isn't he the cutest little guy ever? Gus is 6 weeks old and was adopted by my friend the day before our party. She brought him along to meet everyone, Ginger included. We're hoping Ginger and Gus will eventually become good friends and playmates.






Right now, Ginger mostly finds the little guy annoying. She also isn't crazy about me petting Gus or showing him any attention. I am hers, and she wants him to know it! She ended up getting way too many treats (party food) from all of our friends to distract her from the little bastard show-stealing pup. Come to think of it, maybe that was her plan all along!


All in all, we had a good time at the party. A few guests canceled at the last minute, but the people that mattered were there. We had awesome food, awesome lights and decorations, a puppy to play with, and lots of gossiping and drinking outside under the full moon. Actually, we only got one glimpse of the moon, around midnight. It had been cloudy and threatening rain all day, so I was satisfied that it at least stayed dry for our party. When we finally did get our one glimpse of the moon, I snapped a picture:





Happy Mid Autumn everyone!




  
 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Party lights

This year, for our Mid Autumn Moon celebration, my friend Marla and I got crafty. I spent lots of time on the Internet looking for cheap ideas for party lights. The very best one I found was for homemade paper mache string lights. This idea comes from a lady named Reese Dixon and her wonderful website, found here http://www.reesedixon.com/ . You should all go check this woman out. She is an amazing blogger, crafter, and mother and she has the most wonderful ideas! Besides the string lights, look for the Dr Who family costumes she created....her small son, who uses a wheelchair, had the best costume ever. Any Dr Who fans reading should go see it pronto! And the rest of the website, too. Seriously good stuff!

Getting back to the string lights, they involve small balloons covered in paper mache which are later deflated, leaving behind a small globe that can be attached to regular strings of lights. Let me tell you...this was a learning experience. It took three tries to get the method down pat for making the globes. Our first attempt was a disaster. The second was a bit better, and we actually got a few globes we could use. Our third time was the charm. Good thing we started early!!! We ended up needing  30 globes in all since the LED string lights we used was long. I think they turned out great, though! What do you think?


Marla and I are crafting superstarz!
Sparkly! Shiny!




 
Besides the globe party lights, I strung lots of plain strings of white lights around our clothes line out back. We also had lanterns, candles, and tiki torches. Here are some more pictures of party lighting.


Silver dangly stars.



Mason jar lanterns.


Floating candles in the birdbath.



Tomorrow: third (and last) party post!


Monday, October 1, 2012

Let's start with FOOD!

This past Saturday night, for the second year in a row, I hosted a Mid Autumn Moon celebration for my best girlfriends. We had a lot of fun, and one of the best parts of this year's party was the awesome food everyone contributed! So to kick off a couple of posts describing the party, I thought I'd start with photos of the fabulous food we had!

Assembling cheeses, nuts, crackers.


Autumn fruit platter.


Bean dip work of art

Homemade spring rolls made by one friend's Laotian mother in law.
Thanks Mrs. P!!!


Pumpkin chocolate chip cake.
 
 




Pretty outdoor table loaded with goodies.
 
Cranberry Pomegranate Sangria and
homemade muscandine wine.
 


A toast to our one "sister" who couldn't make it.
Hi Meg! Missed you!!
 
 
 
Tomorrow: decorations!