Month: December 2004

New Years Eve Traditions

What New Years Eve/Day traditons do we have?

Well only this:

DH: FOOTBALL

ME: Feel a clean-up cold-gray day no matter what the day outside is like. It’s like a clear-slate, clean-slate, whatever one wishes to call it. It’s like a New Year … and it’s organization day. It’s not that I’m good at it or get much done, but it’s this time every year that I absolutely get anxiously on that train.

It really is weird, but if one can imagine what goes on in a Visual-Spatial person’s head, the outside is colored by what’s inside the head. I see, feel, taste, hear, the day as being Gray and Cold, Empty, Blah, Emotion-Robot-ish.

It sure makes sense in a bit, with FOOTBALL blaring all day πŸ˜‰

I used to like to watch football during the loooong drawnout season, and during holidays. I did it since he wanted me to and if he told me about players, stories about them, I got interested enough and rooted for this or that, yelling more than him most of the time.

Over the years I grew away from that though, even my own delight in Pro-Baseball waned over time. I have never liked Pro or College Basketball. I only like street ball, the kind that regular folks play for fun. I have a husband that is into Sports watching. It’s just a drain on me, but that’s life πŸ˜‰ It’s that I tried to like some of it with him. Did for a time, but just consider it “not fun” and “not worth the effort” and just a waste of time –for me.

So how does that affect my New Years Day tradition? Badly. I work best with the kind of stuff that needs done with helpers, partners. Etc.

So the bug has bit early, and I’ve been on the children’s case for the last week to get their stuff in order or lose it. But also it has bit DH and he’s doing a great thing, while watching sporty on TV in our bedroom he’s getting the horrible Master Bedroom of Messies cleaned out.

Oh we’ve done this before together, and he’s done a lot alone. I’ve done less alone. I just can’t stay motivated and my bones weary and tell my brain “Sit or die”.

So I’m happy that with the work he’s doing now, I can finish stuff up and put stuff where I want.

The hard part is keeping things off the floor. Putting things away. Finding a home for everything, even if it has no possible home. Keeping the children’s stuff OUT of our room. Keeping the LAUNDRY OUT of our room.

A big thing that needs homes is my Boyd’s Bear collection. It’s not that large, just larger than the average woman’s stuffed animal collection, probably. I mean by that, most women aren’t into “stuffed animals”, right?

I am! πŸ™‚

It’s been awhile since I’ve gotten a NEW bear, but my big hope is to have the funding to start finding custom made bears out of natural materials, and to get into making that and soft dolls as well.

So meanwhile, I have two large baskets filled with Boyd’s and stuffed to tightly. I need to get shelves in our bedroom somewhere. It’s only held up by the fact that boards and brackets don’t exactly grow on trees, and neither do we have the trees nor tools to cut shelves out of trees … πŸ˜‰

We don’t have the bucks to do it right. So they sit in these baskets and collect dust and get smooshed with more stuff piled on top and all that. Poor things.

I have dressed bears. Naked bears. Dogs. Cats. Cows. and a Rooster. Nearly forgot him.

I love my cows and naked bears the most. I’ve toyed with selling off the bears I don’t like as much, but I have them because I liked them originally and still do, just not as much as I like the classic naked look in a bear. So there’s a problem I see in what to do, how to display them on shelves and blah, blah, blah, it’s just easier to not think about it most of the time, since I can’t really put money to the solution process.

One thing I’m excited about is that if we can get the right amount set aside, we have closet changes coming in a few months. Lowes sells great stuff now. And with the addition of four items and some hanging bars, we’ll have a super closet, compared to what it is now. Right now it’s a mini-walk-in, with wire shelf on the right that’s a high hanging space for dresses, and to the left there’s a high wire shelf and a mid-hung wire shelf –both for hanging shirts, etc. Straight ahead in-between is a tall wire shelving unit with several shelves.

It’s the closet of monster-homes. It gets stuffed with anything and everything and clothes end up on the floor in mountains and it’s horrible.

Lowes has the magical solution in corner units of shelves, beautiful style, and we can fit one stacked (that’s two units on top of one another) in each corner, and bars between each set and between the wall and each set on the other side.

Our closet is like this:

_______
| Inside |
| Closet |
Space

So the back corners will get stacked units and the dresses can hang between them, and then shirts on the side bars will install in the little space left.

Most stuff can be folded and put on the shelves. But it’ll be an organizational dream, for me and DH.

What would happen with an organization pro coming in: They’d say: “Too much furniture in this room” “Too much stuff, you don’t need this much stuff” “Children’s stuff belongs elsewhere” “Collections belong elsewhere” and on and on and make us sort through things and throw away, give away and such piles. We can do that ourselves, but are limited to the “throw away pile” and throwing it away. And then the “stuff this elsewhere pile” and the “fix it later pile” and so on. πŸ˜‰

Everything in it’s place and a place for everything. Nice phrase.

Impossible in many homes, no doubt, like ours, not enough space to have a sewing/craft room. That’s just for starters. We made our “living room” into our “dining room” in the last year. It was way too small for a living room, mostly a fireplace and room for a table and stuff next to the fireplace, like bookshelve and armoires, and then the back side of it is really the entrance of the house, and then steps down and then steps up and then the kitchen right there.

So we have myriads of stuff in our “kitchen” now. Lots of books and lots of my computers stuff. I recently moved my laptop spot into the old TV armoire that’s in the dining room (TV downstairs now) and in it is the sound system, some games, books, and stuff stuffed in it πŸ˜‰ Before that my laptop space was in the kitchen on a small table that was “our first kitchen table” over twelve years ago now. It fills up with junk over a short space of time, being my “desk” and so it was a relief to move the laptop into the TV armoire where there’s just enough space for it and a cup next to it.

My big job tomorrow is cleaning off that old kitchen table, clearing out the short, long bookcase there, and the old black audio cabinet that is holding MORE of my computer stuff and pictures and such.

Then put together the NEW bookcase DH brought home today, and put the good books, literature, education related, paper for projects, etc. on those shelves and get the rest of the stuff into boxes or what have you and the pieces of furniture OUT OF THERE, to nowhereland. I have hopes of trying to re-invent parts of them to something more useful elsewhere.

I understand that my computer stuff and photos have no home, and just must put them in cardboard boxes until I can get shoebox photo boxes or plastic stuff to hold stuff … at least I do have a book to hold loose CD’s now, DH got me one for Christmas. That’ll be helpful, but not the total computer solution since it’s more than CD’s and CD’s in cases and not and all that … it’s much more. :rolleyes:

I already have my “main stuff” in a box. It’s got more stuff on top of it now, so I can’t get into it. It’s just a little explanation as to why it’s so hard to get things straightened out. I have my kitchen, schooling, literature, computer hobby all in one tiny space, and it’s not an office. At least a separate room would make it work some, but this room has no wall on one side and french double doors as the wall on the other side, and one long back wall, and the kitchen right behind it, it’s supposed to be the “dining room” but even smaller than our present “living room converted to dining room”.

I mean it’s not that small, just all walkways, that’s our main floor, it’s all walkways. Very frustrating and it’s what’s made me want to re-do the kitchen, flip the kitchen so that the garage and deck doors are near each other, and the kitchen can become a dead end with in and out of it, but no through-fair to anywhere else! πŸ™‚ It’s doable, we are partway there with moving a couple of appliances to better spots meantime, but we have to move plumbing and electric and cabinets. We’ll re-use what we have, cabinetwise, painting them differently, and building new ones to match as needed, and get new countertop, just cheap laminate bullnose kind. New sink and faucet. That’s all doable by us. Frank can do the plumbing, it’s all over a crawlspace. We just need to do it, and have the funds for some extra wood, the sink and faucet and countertop. It’ll come together this Spring, hopefully.

So tomorrows work entails for me the clearing out of that future kitchen spot of the kitchen and doing that will enable us to put tape on the floor to position out where we want things to transfer that onto a paper design.

New Years work.

Hopefully this new year will show forth my realized dreams of finishing a few things in the house, decorating and re-doing the kitchen to be much more cook-friendly.

With cooking being mentioned, then do we have any food traditions for the New Year holiday? No. We don’t. Tonight just making a beef noodle casserole that I found online in the last month that we have loved and made three times already. Tomorrow who knows. Surely not I πŸ™‚ In any case, maybe split pea soup, seeing as I have a nice Honey Baked Ham bone with generous meat left on it, from Christmas.

I’m baking bread right now, so we’ll have some nice bread with dinner and some with the soup tomorrow, if indeed that’s what I make.

I know some folks have traditions for good luck and stuff, to eat certain things. We don’t do “luck” stuff. We might have a tradtion just as a tradtion, but we don’t have a specific one, just a varied whatever tradition. And it’s not for luck, there is no such thing. Providence is what there is. πŸ™‚

May God’s Name Be Praised Evermore Than Usual Worldwide in The Year of our Lord 2005!

Year End Update

It’s been mild again, weather wise, and it looks to hold out through the end of the year, as well as the first week of the new year. Very odd, very nice though.

Highs in the 60’s, lows in the 40’s … great weather for me! I’d love it to be like this most of the time, but alas, it’s not. It gets hot in the late spring, and then nicer again in the late autumn, with some times better than others during the summer-like months. It’s a rare treat though to get this lovely spring-like weather off and on late autumn and early winter. I mean, the last few days of the year being for yard work, no sweaters, and so on … πŸ™‚ It’s that we usually have cold now, and the fact is we have not had to use any heating for days, and won’t need to if weather stays as is said to be the next week+ … that’s up to Jan 6 being nice, nice, nice.

No chilly bathroom to use the electric heater in to take the “edge” off. No fireplace fire to take care of, to roast in front of to relieve the chill of the main floor. πŸ™‚ I like fires, mind you. I love taking care of them. Just the novelty of having some very cold days, and fires roaring, and thinking of Spring-Time, and then “here it comes!”.

So this year was our first FULL year without Central AC/Heating. This is our second “winter” without it. All is well. It’s been tough some times, but the worsed is definatly “SUMMER”. When temps get over 70 F. my body knows it. It gets very hard to stay sane. So the higher it goes, the worse it gets for me. Imagine any temp that YOU know is the passing point of comfort. Now understand that for many it’s much higher than my own is. Imagine that yours was in the range that meant most “normal” temps are too hot for you to function well under. I’m like photo’s, negatives, paper, books. I stay good in cooler dry places. 72 is the most, as long as it’s dry.

I don’t mind colder to a degree, it must be in the 50’s or 60’s for ultimate comfort. But there is a combo-with other conditions that makes or breaks that working well. If my internal is cold, I need warmer than warm, for a while. That’s why fireplaces are great. And hot baths. Just stay in or near long enough to get warm internally and than scat! I’m a reptile, I guess too. πŸ˜‰

People’s Thermostat is at the back of the neck. To fool mine I must, in heat, have ice on it. That’s really hard to make happen in the house at 85 F. But that’s something I am just thinking of since talking of Spring, and thinking over the last year. I feel like “hot times” are close at hand, but really they aren’t. We have more Winter to deal with, no doubt.

So then, our Hens. They have been a trial this year, in that they just went into eating and not producing too much. It’s time to end the Leghorns. They were born in Oct before we got them in Feb of 2003. They are two years old. Have gone through Spring 2003-Autumn 2003 as their first Laying Season. Then Spring 2004- August 2004, and nothing since then, just MOLT MOLT MOLT. No fun. We just are chicken to do anything with them. πŸ˜‰ A few have died, we have 7 now, 10 to start with, has the same first 10 with no deaths the first year. Amazing, so I understand from others.

We have two GLW (Golden-Lace Wyandotts) hens, and they were born Spring 2003 and started laying mid-Summer 2003 and layed into December, I think, but that was three of them then. They laid a bit in 2004, but stopped in August, as the leghorns did. They began molting too. So they’ve had two seasons of laying, but not FULL season as the Leghorns. I’m more forgiving of these GLW. Anyway, one of them died suddenly for who-knows-why just this past month, and so we are down to two of them, and they are LOOKING like they might be close to laying again. But one of them has a chunk of tail feathers missing now, so she has to grow them back before … laying.

We have one that lays green eggs. She looks GLW but doesn’t. At any rate that’s “Hawklady” and she laid more than the GLW’s this year. She’s a good one, but then again, not since she ALSO started molting and hasn’t given up much since Sept. 2004.

We got five black Australorps Spring 2004. They hatched early 2004 Spring. They started laying late and didn’t do a whole lot (but did for the times that they were laying). They have not had a full laying season, but started molting and did that for a couple of months, then laid again for about a month then quit again, which was just a few weeks ago. Sigh. We lost one of the Australorps during laying time, just a day after a HUGE egg had been laid. We figure that was her.

So we have had less eggs this year. I’ve bought too many store eggs. We JUST found a source not too far away for fresh eggs. As well as they being the distributors for organic layer feed. The only ones around πŸ™‚ So we have our first of that we’ll be using, and getting our birds onto that will be nice.

We got the A-frame hen pen finished recently, and the Australorps are happily content there, but not laying still. I just today got the three odd-balls out of the pen of leghorns, so Hawklady, Pointsettia, and Trinity are in the dog carrier today, sitting by the Australorps, for them to all get used to each other and that tonight or tomorrow night they can go in together.

I am tring to get a light out there for them, to supplement daylight and “fool” them into laying now, especially since they all haven’t done good enough all year from Spring to Autumn

Frank has started doing more work on his own, having some thing change this past year with his work. Too much confusing for ME to talk about it here, as if I have any idea … it’s just his thing. πŸ™‚ But it’s going better. We have a large hole to climb out of, and with The Lord’s help we are doing it and will continue to do so.

The Children each had birthdays this year. Russell turned 8 the end of April. He’s reading well. Asa turned 4 mid-September. He’s growing up, but still a young boy! Victoria turned 6 the end of November. She’s turning into quite a young lady, but has years to go, of course!

I also, of course, lost our 4th baby at 10 weeks gestation the end of March. It was a hard event, and still stikes horrible emotions in me to this day any time something strikes me that way. It’s hard to know when I’ll be that sensitive, when I won’t. It’s not a mystery, it’s just that sometimes baby stuff bugs me so much, all I can do is cry and run away.

Why? It’s just the horror of losing something living, that you longed to hold and love and see grow, but losing it before being able to feel it even. But knowing it was alive and it was there. Seeing it, but not in the way that one would wish to see their child.

Why else? This was our fourth child, not our first. We know what happens when a baby is growning and is born and grows up to crawl, walk, run, laugh, smile, talk, and so on.

This child was our last, maybe we will have another, but at this point it’s our last. We are older. It’s not impossible to have more children, but being older, I’m 38, Frank is 39, we have no surety of anything, but never did in the first place about children. God opens and closes the womb. It just hurts my soul to see things about babies. It’s nearly sufficating for me sometimes if I see a baby the last few months, or end up too near the baby section in a store, or read something that just sends me down the pathway of what is horrid.

My babe is with God. My babe is safe in His Arms. But my arms long to hold him/her. My arms ache at the emtyness of this season when the babe would be small and perfect, sweet to smell, cuddly to hold close. Warm, gentle, young. Youngness invading the household.

Instead it’s older-ness. Our youngest living is 4. That’s far from being a baby. He’s been out of diapers since turning 2 for the most part. So part of having a new babe is the delight of going through my diaper stock and getting them ready, I love cloth diapering! But for me it’s now sufficating to think upon almost. This is hard enough to write.

Through this past year I’ve stopped getting email-lists, each one just too much to bear the references and different attitudes that weren’t meant to cause pain for anyone, but definitely have done so for me. I understand ALL too well how just bragging or complaining about anything, seemingly innocently can cause others much pain.

I already know it about people bragging about their riches and all that comes with that attitude. I grew up in a poor family, always lower-mid class, or trying to be. Things in our marriage have been mid-class, but worse than that in many respects over the years, with the last three taking the cake.

But we have so much. It’s just that the lack of somethings or the loss of some things, causes pain when others pooh pooh about the good things they have, the things we don’t or have lost. It’s really no fun having money troubles. It’s no fun not being able to have a baby. I know both those. We struggled getting pregnant for the first time. I had two full years of anguish that nothing had happened already. That was after the anguish of the first many months of waiting to see if something would happen, as every young couple is promised “it’ll be soon”. But God did bless us with our first child eventually. The pain I had ceased, but the understanding of others going through that has continued. I know the pain of having no children and wanting them and waiting on God for Womb Opening. I understand the joy of motherhood. The joy of birthing children, and the joy of homebirthing, clothdiapering, the joy of natural approach to children’s health. I have had to add to my sorrow of understanding others though, and fill the niche of having children, but losing one early, and just feeling loss heavily. My first three children were 2 years apart. My last baby would have been more than four years junior to Asa. This was a special baby.

So I cry a lot still. I know it will ease with time passing. This is the first tough year, of it happening, baby should have been born about now dates, baby would have been this old dates. Baby’s miscarriage 1-year-ago date is still in the future, not that far away, but that date should have, if nothing had happened bad, been the baby being a cutie time. 3 to 4 months of age.

Baby right now would be newborn stage still. So sweet. So darling. So heartmelty. My heart is partially invisible now. πŸ™

I’m A-OK otherwise. Yes, I know, sounds weird.

That’s the quirkiness of it all. I’m alright with it, it happened, it’s alright, baby is with God. But I’m paralyzed by it, but yet not. It’s the way of it:

One day planning for babies arrival.
Next day mouring loss
Next day must put on happy face and pretend life just goes on as last year. As if nothing ever happened.

It’s the pain of silence. A suffering alone, comforted only by God, and the people He sends to comfort, true empathizers. No one else offers much comfort. And it’s the quizical ignore/don’t ignore condudrum of don’t do either . Don’t ignore the baby loss, don’t talk to me about the baby loss. Both apply. 😯

So on to cats.
This past year we lost Samantha, my dear pet of 12 years. It was a hard loss, having lost as well a puppy from a dog attack, and some hens as well. I mean, couple that with my MIL dying in February, puppy dying while DH at funeral, me losing baby about a month later … it hasn’t been so good.

So recently we got two new kittens. They are on my lap right now. They love to cuddle on me as I surf the ‘net or type on the computer. They are gray blue kittens, brother and sister. So sweet. They’ve had colds though, twice since getting them. They are recovering now. But it’s so sad to see precious fluffies miserable.

The boy has longer fur. He’s messy looking a lot of the time. He looks so big because of it. But he’s just got longer fur. His sister looks a lot like him, but her fur isn’t so long. It’s the easiest way to tell them apart. Their eyes are the same color and shape. Her pupils look different at times though, much smaller than his. That’s another tell-apartism.

These kittens are a joy to have to fill empty spots left by all the things in the last year. But they don’t ease all pain. They just help a lot.

Ok then, the house. The house is clutter-flutter needs de-cluttering and organization, which is a major chore of way-too-much for me alone with three little tornadoes living here with two organizationally challenge adults. Lack of money is very apparent in this venture, as money aides organizationally challenged individuals, buys them gadgets that work, drawers, shelves, furniture, boxes, baskets, do-dads galore. We sometimes are able to waste money in that direction, but being organizationally challenged makes for bad choices sometimes, but not so much that but that it’s not enough to help … KWIM?

We have a house that needs painted inside and out. Outside really needs it. Inside parts of it really need it. We live on sub-flooring having taken out the carpet due to ickyness, and allergies and wanting to install wood flooring, so just living on this until we can get wood flooring installed. It’s not bad at all. Just transitional. I have much decorating I’d love to do, but shabby chic is too expensive to do even. 😯

We just have stuff that needs to be tossed, but the energy to sort that out of the good stuff, and what to do with this and that … and clean daily, well, stuff goes undone, and things like Christmas just add to the load. It’s sad how much poor people can accumulate! πŸ˜‰

I’m not complaining about being poor. Just talking about the challenges it presents to “organizationally challenged” individuals. I like the thought of living minimallistically. It’s just hard to implement. One needs to be on HGTV’s “Mission Organization” and have someone gift you the funds to do what the expert tells you to do. I actually have plenty of ideas, plenty of brain power, just not enough physical resources or physical power to implement. It’s just that my creative way or organizing is one that needs raw materials or materials to re-transform, and in a house with no ageing attic full of stuff, we have no materials of worth to work with. So our visual-spatial gadget happy family just accumulates stuff that needs to go places but have no where to be put. It’s a curse. Have thing, it’s sure to be something with no home spot to live in.

Have thing with a home spot to live in, something else will take up residence in it. Or maybe it’ll just be a space that dissapears into thin air … and the thing will be homeless and that leaves less space in the house.

Rule Number One. Stacking is important. If one sees an empty flat surface, immediately fill that with whatever is in your hands, or what one can get their hands on soonly thereafter. And be sure and repeat often on top of that. Stacking on flat surface is number one.

Second Rule stack on non-flat surface for balancing games and fun. Same as above, only more challenging.

Oh, just imagine the fun. No need to go on. We are stackers. We are absolutely classic Visual people with all the classic symptoms of Messy/Organizationally Challenged People.

One must understand it’s not fun, it’s just the way it is. To be organized and stick with it day in and day out is stifling. What so tough about it is that it’s like living in Boot Camp when I try to get it happening here. It’s not worth the stress. The stress of mess is easier, softer stress, if that makes any sense.

So there are rules I have printed out and posted on the wall, more than one place in the house. Rules that everyone must follow. They are largely ignored.

So this is it. I will be devoting time and energy to de-cluttering as I can, but largley doing a Lite Boot Camp and instituting executive decisions about stuff left, stuff not cared for, junk dropped on the floor, clothing not cared for, etc. Lose it, must do something to get it back. Not take care of something, won’t get new something until care for old somethings. And so on.

It’s something that we are trying to do, is get better bookcases to fill up with books and papers and supplies. Frank got me a new one today, on sale at Target. It’s not solid wood, but better than the bookcases we used to have, that found their way into the garage to be filled up with stuff that NEEDS to be organized πŸ˜‰

So eventually it’s my desire that we’ll have enough tools to build out own stuff cheaper and better, or just better. We now have a circular saw, and a jigsaw. Big improvements to add to our cordless drill and screwdrivers and manual saw. πŸ™‚ We need a few more things, saw horses, work table, miter box at least, etc.

I’d love a Dremel tool set too. It’s just my size for doing lots of projects. So that’s a dream gadget of mine.

We have much to do in the coming new year. Rooms to get fixed up, painted decorated. Rooms to organize and make nice and shabby chic in a french or italian country way. I also like some Japanese elements to furnishings. What an ecectic mix, and throw in the perfectess of Victorian decorating as well. :veryshocked:

We are so thankful for the Life God has given us. For the marriage God has given us. For the Children God has entrusted us with. We are thankful for all He has taught us and the things He will teach us. We seek to follow His paths. We are grateful for His Complete Choosing of Us, for the sacrifice of His Son, Christ Jesus, and all He did on the cross and rising from the dead to conquer death so that we may Live Eternally in His prescence.

Thanks be to Him for this Visual Messy Life. It’s ours and we love it. It’s from Him, we know that. It’s for our perfecting to live and try to gain more, but it’s not that gaining that earns us salvation. Salvation is through Christ Alone. πŸ™‚

Happy New Year Y’all!

Merry Christmas Everyone!

It’s Christmas Eve, the tree is trimmed.

It’s just a little trimmed, it’s a little tree. 4Ft. Tall, it looks like a minature Christmas Tree, it’s like a Full Fledged tree, just small.

It’s also ALIVE.

Alberta Spruce, of some sort, it’s going to get a couple or so feet taller, and end up about 4 to 5 feet wide. We’ll plant it in our front yard somewhere.

It’ll be something in future years for us or someone else to decorate for the season outside. We’ve not really had anything to do that with before.

I have a long strand of cranberries on it, and mini-white lights, 1 and a half strands of those. Also a couple of other little things. Most of my Christmas stuff is just too big for that tree.

I made a paper star for the top. [It’s a kid’s site, but the star was the only online directions for anything that’d work for a tree that I could find]

http://www.dltk-kids.com/usa/fold_and_cut_star_shape.htm

I made two of them, pooked out the fold lines of the stars after cutting the folded paper, to give it more depth, then used a stapler to attach them together, bizarre, but I figured at night it’s not visible, and even if they are, in day or at night the tree lights will add sparkle, hopefully πŸ˜‰ At any rate that’s the only way I could figure to get them together with what I had available .

It looks alright, kind of nice. I have a light from the light strands inside of it.

The Gigantic Star atop our Huge Tree is nice. πŸ˜‰ That what it looks like if one doesn’t think about it being a minature tree in the first place. I don’t have any other large ornaments on it, just a few smaller things, but most of my stuff is in the garage. It’s just too much, too big and heavy for this little tree.

So that’s that. Tomorrow is Christmas Day. Presents to open. Then in the afternoon we have a present for the whole family, we’ll be going to see “The Incredibles” at the theatre. Last Christmas we did that for the first time, we saw Peter Pan, so it’s a new tradition that we will “try” to keep each year. We don’t have any family around here, so it’s just us and since we love movies and are visual, it’s a nice thing to do. I used to think it a terrible thing to go to the movies on Christmas Day. But after all I always didn’t like Christmas Day much past the morning, it was dull and boring. No more excitement. No mystery about what presents you might be getting, or about the ones you are giving to others. The pleasures were had and gone. They linger, not entirely gone, but the newness of it all wears off, and a little time together seeing something new at the theatre seems to get our attention off of the “Stuff” and onto enjoying the time together, without being sprawled out in front of the TV or something like that.

Since we hadn’t seen The Incredibles yet, it was the one we decided to do this year for Christmas. We are looking forward to it!

Christmas is closer, ready? Not us!

It’s Wednesday evening, well, still late-afternoon, but FEELS like evening, or has for the last half-hour plus. It’s 5:15pm right now.

We are into Winter now, but it was kinda warm today, up to the mid-50’s. The house moderated out the last few days, with a space heater in our upstairs (master) bathroom, that seemed to help the whole of the three bedrooms and hallway up there, for some reason, but that was coupled with having the fireplace going down in the “dining room” from at least 6am until 8pm, if not earlier and later. Today I felt fine dressed normal for Winter, denim dress, slip, silk shirt, cotton thick tights, and sneakers, so I didn’t light a fire … but by 3pm I was a little more chilled that desirable, so I set to making a fire, and it was nice. It roared, I sat down to watch it, catch some heat, and make sure it caught well once the initial rush to consume paper and bark and small wood died down.

I called “here kitty, kitty, kitty” a couple of times to invite the cats to enjoy the fire with me, and in short time I had a cat and a kitten on my lap, and Victoria sat down by me the other kitten and another cat climbed on her lap. I ended up with THAT kitten climbing over to my lap a few mintues later, and we all snoozed cat nappedly in the glow of the hot flames. It was nice.

But didn’t last, mind refreshed from short nap sitting up, I had to get up and had to interest the cats in leaving. A nudge here and there and they got the picture. I hate dumping a cat unceremoniously off my lap πŸ˜‰

The fire did the trick and warmed the dining room space fairly well, taking the edge off, that had been starting to get to me.

The temps out today were fine for no fire to be made, but since the sun didn’t make a good appearance all day, we lacked in solar heating on the South Side of the house, which is the room next to the dining room, the kitchen. So once moderate turned to bitey, fireplace is the nicest thing to be next to in the house, except for a warm bed, but even flannel sheets are warm when one first gets into them in a cold room! 😯

So it’s just a few days until Christmas.

We MIGHT be getting a LIVE tree. Might. Not sure yet. At any rate, we have no Christmas tree at this point. Frank’s been busy doing work stuff out of the house this week so far, and we’ve not been able to make any joint decisions about that and other Christmas Day stuff yet.

Maybe we’ll be able to get dressed up and go see what the Methodist Church around the corner is doing on Friday Night. Maybe we won’t. We don’t know if they are hosting anything. (Our church practices Regulative Principle of Worship and doesn’t do Christmas in the church, as Christ is worshipped each Sunday as His Birth, Life, Death, Resurrection, and Ascension are part of that in confession and creed and word.)

We haven’t done much Christmas, except get some gifts for the children already. But no tree, and no special events. I didn’t send cards, didn’t last year either. It’s just a job I gave up on. I used to send them, but you know, two years in a row not sending [maybe more!] we got the same amount of cards as always. Just the relatives who send cards, and a couple of friends.

I will send some kind of Season’s Greetings in return to them, if I can make myself do that! I’m so disorganized with all my writing stuff. I did used to be better with it, but the rubbermaid boxes I kept some of it in have broken and that messed the organization all up, as well as some stuff buried with other boxes … ho hum.

I need to buy something new to send anyhow. I used to make my own cards, on the computer, or that plus rubberstamping and embossing. My embossing things and stamp colors were *hrum* destroyed in series of unfortunate (for me) mishaps with children. Urg. But that’s that.

I still have my heat gun, and … well, stamps that aren’t applicable to what I’d do, always need new ones, you know? Maybe I can garner enough sympathy to get some new stamps, powder, stamp pads … and of course, blank cards.

OK, already made cards is cheaper and quicker.

I have holiday paper for letters, but it’s so gaudy I don’t know why I ever bought it. I mean, it’s definitely the kind of thing to print out a nice family letter at Christmas time, if one has good news to share. We don’t have anything particularly wonderful to say, and really me, I’d just drone on about the misery of losing a baby, dog, favorite cat, MIL and blah, blah, blah. Everyone knows the only reason to write a Christmas letter for mass mailing is to brag up the family members. That’s just not me in any case. πŸ™‚

Christmas is dull this year, and was last year. We tried harder other years. It’s just hard to make traditions alone, IMO. Christmas runs on my power in our household, I mean the “decorations” the “way it feels” the “way it sounds”. My disorganization has only grown as the children have grown, of course! Visual-Spatial people struggle with organization and I can attest to the truth of THAT!

We need to find outlets for cultural Christmas is we want to get revved up. We just haven’t done that. We don’t view Christmas in the way that many Christians do. So it’s an odd mixture of Celebration of Christ coming to earth so many years ago, but not only that also it’s a cultural celebration for the cold dark part of the year. It’s mostly that. We have our identity in Christ daily. We don’t put him back in the manger once a year, but have no problem in reading Luke 2, etc. It’s hard to explain, so I’ll leave it at that.

I’ll be putting Handel’s Messiah back in the CD player tomorrow. (I overplayed it for months on end the other year, and took it out finally, literally listened to it for hours and hours and hours for the better part of a year, most days. :veryshocked: ) The full story of the Messiah, that’s worth celebrating πŸ™‚ All Year Long, every year.

So, I am thinking for a tree, if we get one, I’ll make some gingerbread shapes to hang and we have a partial red/brown/green paper chain I had the children make yesterday and today. That and who knows what else.

A LIVE tree can only be in the house 3 days, the store people say. A cut tree is cheaper this late date. A LIVE tree would be planted outside to live and grow. A cut tree would become a leaning things for wildlife to shelter in and let it age until it crumbles to nothingness over the years. A LIVE tree is more money, a cut tree is less money, so a cut tree MIGHT be something to go for if I can go to, say Cost Plus and get some nice old-world ornaments … I love that store. Cost Plus is it’s name, but it has “World” and maybe something else in it too. It’s a neat import store, if you don’t have one that you can visit. It differnt IMO from Pier One, for instance. Cost Plus is an affordable store, for one thing, just different too.

Well the final about the tree is that a LIVE tree would probably live and grow to be a big tree in our yard somewhere. Frank looked at some today, but made no decision. A dwarf spruce something-or-other is available, 4-ft high, will grow taller, but also end up being 10-ft wide. Not too big, just nice, I think about 8-10 ft tall, maybe just 8ft. Anyhow, he liked it, said it looked GREEN. I couldn’t determine how green, if it is anything like I require [a blue-green, not anything lesser, yellowy, emeraldy, not me!]

We always, when we have had trees, which is every year since our marriage, Christmas of 1992 through 2002 we had a Noble Fir once, maybe a spruce once, but I don’t usually like those in stores. Every other tree was a Frasier Fir, and that’s my prefered look, High Victorian-ish, yet style with minimalist classic decor. I’ll see about gathering past tree pictures and post about what my ideal way to decorate would be, given my druthers of money and time and energy to gather the right ingredients together.

My tastes have changed over the years, but have been the same basically since marriage, but I haven’t had the means to explore and extract that dream in my visionary mind. I’m not very resourceful with no resources to exploit πŸ™‚

So for me, I settled on having a year ornament every year, since 1994 we’ve done that, minus last year. Black-hole Christmas that one was, in a way. Descriptive of how it was in some angles, not all. Just the dullest of all of them at that point.

September of that year we lost our cat Cinnamon suddenly, she up and died. That settled a fog over me, but it wasn’t depression. It’s lasted as well, since losing so many other things since then. But again, it’s not depression. I’m not depressed about losing the baby in March. I’m totally at ease with it, My emotions have utter loss attached to them forever though, and the dicotomy of that emotional-me/normal-nothing-wrong-me is distinctly super weird. I’m fine then crying, then fine, when faced with something that reminds me of the whole affair. My problem too is my vivid imagination has created indepth films and horror shows that no words could describe. So it’s a totally different me since the end of March, I’ve molded, I’ve aged, I’ve changed for the better, lost a little gloss but gained another type of gloss and glimmer over there. I’ve mellowed, I’ve grown an old soul where I thought I had one but must not have. I’ve learned much more and more than that, and have so much more to learn. Sigh. I’m just so different, and Christmas has suffered in the midst of it all.

Well I tried with making cookies, got one batch baked on Monday, and two fridge chill batches, but haven’t gotten them out yet. Too much cleaning to do that I can’t quite conquer. So yesterday the paper chain idea I got I implemented mid-afternoon, and that made a huge mess and continued into this morning. I let the children do it after a couple of hours of it yesterday, meaning, I let them do it all themselves and I did other stuff. They did fine, having never made one before. So today, they finished up the strips I’d made, and we had no more brown paper to continue the pattern, so that was all of the chain. They got more paper out without asking and started cutting other stuff out, and that led to me making “Crowns” for them all. Something I’d not done before. So this all ended up being a kind of creative time that I’d snuffed out for so long.

I also cut out some hearts joined, cut out of one piece to get several in a row, like any other shape you can do that with, people, stars, whatever. I tried pasting it on a ribbon, but they dried and ending up falling off. Dark Pink, I was going to hang it in Victoria’s room.

In any case, it awoke a paper decorating monster in me, and ideas are flowing to get wacky stuff made for our cheap decor, at least until we can get other “REAL” stuff going. In any case, it’s perfect for the children’s rooms to make paper decorations out of whatever paper we have. So that’s not Christmas stuff, but flowed out of a Christmas thang.

First Day of Winter

Happy Winter Season!

It’s official today. πŸ™‚

Some Pics of the Occupied Pen

I got outside earlier to take some pictures. I did it as fast as I could, the wind chill was something! Also, Lothar was acting WILD and really being a pest for attention and all I was out there to do was take a few pictures of the new pen and hens inside.

Here’s him looking in. I saw him later run up to them on that side and try to scare the hens, as well as actually go on the other side and jump right at the door and that scared them AND me!

I got him right into his own pen rigth then and there.

Lothar the dog

Here are some others then:

A view of the Australorps in their new digs

Here’s the Cypress-Side all done and occupied, as you can see the A.’s in it.

Here’s the egg collecting side, with the big door on the right, egg next door on the left. Panel of plywood next to the big door on the right, meant to be another door in time for spring. (with storm coverings for bad weather, as we can tell before it comes πŸ˜‰ )

The Australorps from inside the pen. I put the camera into the pen through one of the doors.

And here are the part of the Wyandottes. One and a half, precisely. That’s Pointsettia on the right, and Trinity’s back side to the left. They and Hawklady will be going into the A-Frame soon, I hope.

Cold and Hen Pens

Oooh it’s a cold morning, and will be a cold day, just getting out of freezing maybe, maybe up to 38 degrees F. but then again, who knows. This is the country! I do mean: we are out in the boonies, ok? Weather people don’t have the snuff for what it takes to measure weather here as accurately as they do in cities πŸ˜‰

If the weather is sunny and not too brutal later, and warmer than the now below 20 F., then I’ll see about taking some pictures of the nearly finished but occupied A-Frame out back.

Since we put the Australorps in it on Saturday at dusk, and were at church yesterday and didn’t spen much time in the back yard, I haven’t had much of a chance to look at it all, admire it, take photos, try and fix up a few more things, etc.

I really wish we could have finished this thing on a moderately temped day, but so it goes as it did.

I need to come up with hardware to fix the doors and such closed.

The egg door and the big door next to it are key, and then the lift-off back needs some securing mechanism as well, but is heavy enough not to be a problem per se, for now at least.

A-Frame is really cool. I love the way it is in looking through the door or side with chickenwire, much nicer than crouching down to the two-feet above the ground level and peering over and down from there, especially when it’s COLD! πŸ™‚

I don’t mind laying in the grass in the spring and summer and watching the birds at the low ground level, but crouching, nah, ugh!

Once Winter is finished, we’ll go ahead and get the pen outfitted with green bird net instead of chicken wire, and make a door for next to the one big one that’s there now, both will be “screen doors”. We may also make a screen change-out for the back side where the Cypress-Side now resides. That’ll be nice for super duper clear moderate times.

Internal things we need to do is get a hook and chain to hang the waterer, and maybe devise a feeder box to attach to the side of something … right now we throw the crumbles on the ground, which I dislike having to do. Once the waterer is hung though, it’ll mean no having to get it out before moving the pen. πŸ™‚

We also have to get a roost in there. We are thinking of drilling round holes in the handle end of the pen, and inserting a new large dowel, aka broom/mop handle.

Then we will get an artificial light in there too, and modify the nesting area as it presents problems … which I’m hoping it won’t.

The best thing about this A-Frame though is ACCESS to my birdies! I can open doors and touch them, grab them if I want to, pet them. πŸ™‚ Thus far the past has had my birds fairly free inside barriers that kept me on the other side. Not my plan from day one, but how it happened to play out.

So we are online with our third pen, and it’s a grand one compared to the other two.

We will be moving the three remaining Wyandotte-like birds into the A-Frame, if they can live with the Australorps, that is. The A’s are bigger than the W’s, so we shall see.

Then the scrappy whities will go into the superyard, and then Frank will tear apart that old first hen pen and re-invent it. Then back in the whities will go, maybe, if they aren’t stewed or dog food by then. πŸ™‚ I really am hoping just to keep them a bit more for a few big eggs. I could really use them.

Which Artist Would Paint You?

I found this quiz via Carmon’s site.

RG
You have the Reynolds girl look. Reynolds girls had
the typical British beauty. The eighteenth
century British portrait painters would have
been attracted by your brilliant complexion and
your classical features. Sir Joshua Reynolds
loved to paint girls like you in white dresses
with blue satin sashes. Reynolds and other
portrait painters of his time also portrayed
blue eyed, dark-haired girls, and golden-haired
ones too, plus the occasional red-head. The
following painters would have painted you; Sir
Joshua Reynolds and Sir Thomas Lawrence.

‘Pretty As A Picture’ – Which Artist Would Paint You?
brought to you by Quizilla

I must say, I’m thrilled with the answer, as I LOVE one particular Sir Thomas Lawrence portrait what I knew as Pink Lady, but is really called Pinkie.

My maternal grandparents had a grocery store bought production of that, and my grandpa made a frame for it, and they also had what I knew as Blue Boy by Thomas Gainsborough and paired them in matching frames in their living room. That had big impact on me as a young child, and I’ve carried a love of both those portraits every since.

Here’s link to Joshua Reynolds portraits on Allposters.

I most honestly don’t know what the picture attached to the quiz is of. It’s a Reynolds, apparently, but Allposters, as far as I’ve researched thus far, has nothing like that. [edit] I also found just now a few other sites and here’s one with many of Reynold’s works, but still nothing of the above featured there. http://www.artrenewal.org/asp/database/art.asp?aid=406&page=1

[UPDATE: 12:54pm Dec 20, 2004]I find, upon further reading, that Sir Thomas Lawrence was a student of Reynolds. Here’s a link at artrenewal about him, and his portraits are there too.
http://www.artrenewal.org/asp/database/art.asp?aid=866

Here’s the page with Thomas Gainsborough’s portraits on that site too: http://www.artrenewal.org/asp/database/art.asp?aid=189

[End UPDATE]

This is Pinkie: by Sir Thomas Lawrence

It’s really nice, IMO. And very much me, in a way πŸ˜‰ I was young once. Also, England is ONE of the places my ancestors come from. I feel akin to my English roots πŸ™‚

New Hen Pen coming soon!

It’s a fine day, sunny with a few clouds, supposed to get up to 59 degrees F. So the day is come that Frank and I will finish the old project for the “new hen pen” which began last Spring, and fell away to do-nothing-status as it became a giant that I couldn’t move anyhow, and was just “overkill” IMO.

So we are now fitting it out with finishing touches for Winter use, and plan on making it so useful as to be more “modular” friendly, a super proto-type for future better building practices.

I did some work the other week, and I was well pleased with it.

I made a lift of side for the back of the A framed unit, out of our fence extra pieces, cypress.

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The Cypress wall is only over the top half, and below that is ugly chicken wire, bulking out, not flat. πŸ™ I couldn’t get it right all by myself that day, but it’s just there and can be taken off and made better in the future. Over that we’ll be putting a metal roofing panel for Winterization.


I also fitted on a piece for a door to the egg laying nest area. It’s hinged.


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Here’s the big door into the unit, the other side of the A frame from the cypress “wall” I made. It’s hinged.


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We still have to trim out some pieces inside to cover gaps by the doors, and also make another door-like structure to fill in the space on the other side of the big door.

Complicated sounding, moreso that it really is.

Here are the two ends of the untit. First this one is the handled side. It’s not totally done yet.


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And this end is the side with the wheels. This is the side that will be changed to have a “hatch” to mate it to other pen pieces. It’s only temporarily sectioned off for winter.


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Don’t be impressed, it’s a mishmosh of everything. I’m only proud of it by the standards of it actually WORKING soon, and being better than what we have done in the past. πŸ™‚

Some of the future residents, the Australorps today:


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Bad photo of them … they are much prettier than that! The lighting and angle were both bad, I just stuck the camera inside the pen under the roof and chanced it.

We may divide the middle to put ALL the hens in the pen but not mix them. I want to get them all in there somehow. The Australorps were laying again, but the last few to four or so days they haven’t laid a thing. So I want them in there with a better laying area, and protection from the elements, and someplace where we can run a light out to them easier.

The side with the nest area is where I want to put them. And the other side I just want a door there where there is nothing currently, so that I can put the other birds there in a sectioned off area and get to them for feed, water … eggs? Yes I want them to lay!

It’s a winter thing, just want to get them in there so we can rip apart the old pen and make something new out of the remains. And reclaim the Super Yard for some chicks in the spring too.

I have many ideas for making modular pieces of A-Frame and rectangular shaped pieces, merging them together modularly as desired. Just getting them working is what we need to do.

Yes, there are plans for pens out there. But they all come about from people doing what they need to do. That’s what we are doing. Not really re-inventing the wheel, but using stuff we have for proto-type usable things, and making things as custom as we can to really work, and make that something to market sometime, hopefully. With cheap products … fancy looking, but not really fancy to make or expensive to buy, tools to use general tools. My desire is to make things that are ergonomic, esthetic, and fun to use (for people and birds). All within an Agrarian, Conservationist mindset of principles.

This A-Frame isn’t put together as the basic parts of it, as I want future A-Frames to be made [I didn’t build this, DH and FIL did] . It’s too heavy and just redundant use of big pieces of wood. It should be light, and that makes it movable, and it should then be able to be staked to the ground, hooked onto other pieces to increase weight as a sitting product, but unhookable for moving to another spot on the grass.

I think from the prospective of being small and a woman, in need of moving things myself, which would mean that younger folk could also move what I would be able to move. I am what is generally refered to as an average 12 year old’s size … in height. That makes for challenges in a giant world. Making something to the highest denominator means it’s out of my class, whereas lowest adult denominator in our family means it’s accessible by all adults and older children πŸ™‚

The weather and all that

Last night/this morning it got cold, was supposed to be around 25 degrees F. but here is was about 18 degrees around 8am or so. Considerabley colder than “city” areas around us. πŸ™‚

The day warmed up to the low 50’s and it was SO nice. But it’s to get cold again over night. Low over tonight/tomorrow morn is supposed to be 35 at this point, so they say … but right now they say it is 30 degrees … that’s now. That’s colder than it’s supposed to get at all … πŸ˜‰

Well that’s all from who-knows-where-and-who-is-taking-temps … as it’s not US at HOME. Our thermometer, the only one we have had … broke this last year. It was a digital dude that had a probe to go outside, and took that temp as well as the indoor temp, and saved low and high temps, etc. Nice, below $30 at Dillard’s some years back around this time of year (you know, all the junk the department stores have for sale in the middle of the aisle during “holiday season” for Christmas mostly …) Oh, it talked too. It’s history now though, and I try to believe what the folks in the paper, on the internet, on TV, are saying about what it is, and what it should be in the future.

I can tell relatively what temps are myself, by going out, of course, and feel good enough about my “close to nature” self to know I’m right about stuff. Like this morning, it was so frosty, I knew it was below freezing, but WAY below was my idea and when I saw they said it was 18 around this little part of GA, I believed it was about that. Below the 25 that was predicted, at least.

I can tell when warmer weather comes in and it’s just warmer weather, or when warmer weather comes in and it’s telling the tale of cold a’coming behind. Or some other kind of storm. I’m not 100% sure. Just get the feeling and come out right more oft than not. Well, I get good practice on this all in GA, with the way things go up and down, in and out. Weather changes more often in winter than in summer. But still, it’s not always hot, not always cold, not always mild, not always anything … it’s so variable here. It’s sort of always hot in the summer, but then, it’s not on a day to day, hour to hour basis, and same with the winter, it’s mild here, but not on a day to day, hour to hour basis. It really gets cold here. It was just as cold here last night, as it was in some northern towns that are cold all winter, usually.

OK then, I looked at Boston, MA on accuweather, and they had the same over night temps as the area around here last night, but today they got to 40 degrees about, but we were at 50 degrees and above. But are the same temp now again, about 35 degrees … which is what Accuweather is NOW saying about now, instead of the “30” that is said it was then as a now then πŸ˜‰

Always changing, and then that’s just it, where’s the temp from? Not here, some remote area 20 miles away, no doubt.

I’m judging house temps by how cold it feels in different areas, and seeing what the thermostat up in the hallway says it is. Lately it’s below the 50 degree mark over night, and creeps up to 53 or 55 by midday, it’s warmest and hovers then goes back down. That’s the coldest spot in the house. The back of the house gets the full day of sun, if it’s not cloudy, which helps greatly. The fireplace now in use helps to get the dining room nice, and seems to help a degree or so up the steps to the thermostat, but doesn’t get overly hot since it’s a high catherdral-ish sealing in there, and the down and up hallways are open to this area, with the kitchen right next to it with a small wall dividing it. The kitchen gets the full sun. Front dining room with fireplace gets no sun at all in winter, just a tad of late evening sun in summer. (we live with the main directions pointing through the corners of our house, visually speaking.)

At any rate, chilly inside temps of below or just above 50 are what we are getting accustomed to, and when the outside day turns to the same temps, we see it as “so mild” πŸ™‚ It’s all about inside air vs. outside air, and how much water is or isn’t in one or the other. As I’ve mentioned in another post resently, dressing modestly, for winter, means dressing warm enough to get through it fine. I like it cooler, it’s breathable air any how. πŸ™‚

What do I usually wear? Well, I wear dresses and so does my DD. We wear long skirts, as like me: I’m usually wearing one of my two Eddie Bauer thermal weave cotton long sleeve dresses, slip, with cotton tights, and tall leather boots with 1-1/2 to 2-inch heels. I may wear a denim dress instead. That’s my usualy though inside the house wearing. I have some other things to wear out, but that’s not where I need to keep warm, most places we go it’s TOO WARM in them. I do not like fake heat, no I do not. It makes me unable to breathe well. It seems to suck my breath right away, as one can imagine what it would be like if the old wives tale about “cat’s sucking babies breath away” would be like. Yes, I visualize that “old wives tale” always have. I understand what it should feel like, if it was possible … πŸ™‚ Cats don’t do that. At least I don’t think they do, they never did it to me, nor to my children, and attempt no such thing night or day here, and we have had enough cats to know.

Oh speaking of cats, that’s part of our night warming stuff on the bed. One or two or three pile around our legs and sleep all night. One gets on our legs, or goes to someone else, another takes it’s place, and on and and on. I like it. It’s great during the winter, a bit too much in the summer, but they seem to like it in the winter more themselves as well. It brings on more heat to huddle together with other living things, so I consider that we are helping them feel comfy, and they help us feel warmer, if not truly “comfy” , but I tolerate it, and so does DH, and we all live happily.

The kittens have fitted right in, spawling out on Frank’s side of the bottom of the bed most nights, moving up closer later, and sitting on my chest sometimes for part of the night. They are sweet. Think Blue, Count Two. Getting bigger, -F is a spitfire lovely cat, becoming a lap sitter with me during the day. -M is so cute and just loves belly rubs. -F is a fighter when it comes to belly rubs. -M has lovely longer hair, looks messy usually. Looks super great if he gets spooked! Bushed out to the hilt! They’ve brought young play back into the house, and from the 12 year old down to the 3 year old, all those cats are more active now. πŸ™‚ Love those youngsters.

We saw some other kittens in Petsmark last Sat. Getting kittylitter, we saw all the animals there, of course, why not?! Two brothers, one a choc. point siamese and the other a black and brown something … both mixes (and litter mates), but the one was so pretty, and they pulled my heart strings … but we already committed to Think Blue, Count Two just two weeks prior. πŸ™ Sad for them, but happy for TB,CT and so happy for us to have them too.

Fire’s down for the night. Time for bed!

Edublog posts listed on sidebar now

I figured out how to get post title links automatically on the sidebar from my Edublog, so all one needs to do is look over there to the right and see the titles and click if they would like to read them.

I have my recent posts (entries) from THIS blog first (well, THIS blogs recent comments first, THEN the posts …) , then the Education recent posts … which I’ll probably “rename” soon enough, but in any case, they will be there and you will be able to tell which is which, most likely.

So with that, I won’t be pinging this blog with Edublog posts. Which is nice, since I was not wanting to do that any way, just started it since that’s the one and only way I could figure to get it going.

I kept thinking about it today, and thinking of MT and how I did things there … and thought about the beginning of each index here and how that would work to post any info on a blog … but would it work to include it on another blog …. YES! It works! πŸ™‚

Fine findings … I’m happy, since I think I can get things going with a Photo Log now with WP, since I am now thinking “outside the box” better with WP. Keep things separate, but make them work with other blog pages, not just their own. πŸ˜†

LoTR Return of the King – Extended

It comes out today. The final installment, the REAL movie of Return of the King. πŸ™‚

Oh, the theatrical one was good, but this one will be much better.

It’s the way of the good movies. They save the good stuff for the DVD, leave it on the cutting floor for the theatres.

It ensures people going out and buying or at least renting the movie once it comes out on DVD.

LoTR gets it better. They have released the theatrical on DVD first, and saved the Extended for months later. So how much money do REAL LoTR fans sink into the DVD’s?

I don’t know.

What I do know, is that on the day new stuff comes out, you get the cheaper prices in stores, on some discs. The one in particular, that this post is about, is found at Costco for 24.99. That’s the one to start with, the price, to gauge other stores by. Costco will have the disc for LESS than actual “List Price”, but then, no one hardly sells DVD’s at “Actual List Price”. Next consider that Costco will be pricier than most other stores on first day of selling. Costco doesn’t play the games that other stores do. So they hold steady, until they want to get rid of something near the end of stock. πŸ™‚

Since Fry’s has come to town I have pretty much considered them the next one to check prices on. Nearly always, get their price, and compare it then to Best Buy and Circuit City, and the winner will be Fry’s by $1.00, at the least. This is opening day, first day of sale, mind you.

After that day, you must compare shopping, and find it for the Costco price, or a little less, or for much more. Target is key: much more. What will the price be at Best Buy, Circuit City, and Fry’s tomorrow? They know. I don’t until tomorrow. But most likely I won’t check tomorrow, since we’ll get the DVD today. πŸ™‚

That will leave us with the full collection: Widescreen Theatrical release of all three. Widescreen Extended Release of all three. That’s a lot of discs. Add movie ticket prices in … πŸ™„

Considering it all, we’ve not gone overboard and gotten LoTR this and that. We just have the two-sets x 3. Total discs in our LoTR collection: 18. That’s a modest collection πŸ˜†

To that you can also add the inspiration for the movies: the books. So far we’ve bought a large paperback omnibus version, as well as a hardback set. That’s all of them, starting with The Hobbit. [we bought these before the movies came out, yes, much later than we should have … tsk tsk at myself, and at you if you haven’t yet read them!]

I admit fully I’ve not loaded most of the extra DVD’s into the player or computer, yet.

So now the breath is held to await further announcements of Peter Jackson and The Hobbit. I don’t mind turning blue. I like blue πŸ™‚

Fireplace in use

Last night it was supposed to get down to freezing, or lower, and indeed it did.

Right now, at about 8:21am EST it’s supposedly 28 degrees F. with a “feels like” temperature of 24 degrees F.

Suffice it to say, we have our first fireplace fire of the season πŸ˜‰

I must admit, as far as I can remember, this is the LATEST date of the late autumn season that we’ve had our “first fire”. We’ve had cold mornings this month, but not this kind of cold. The kind that may get into the lower 40’s as highs, and plunging down again soon after dark. Fireplace weather.

I’ve been longing for a fire, but hadn’t the total use for one, except perhaps to see it’s cheery face. Until today. Today it can be justified! πŸ™‚

Modest firewood stock, modest $, means: Must be modest in how one chooses when to build a fire. Dressing modestly affords ample opportunity for staying within the total modesty of all things here πŸ˜‰

With all that written, I will also say, modest or not, we didn’t really need a fire before today. I mean money stuff: If we were rich we COULD have had a fire earlier, but it would have been wasteful, something that we could have enjoyed, but didn’t need.

I see firewood as something that we can use as we see fit, but don’t use it “just to use it” –conservation is the key here. It’s not that enjoyment is wrong use of something, but when it is something that is natural –one sure will need to consider whether or not they are free to use as much as they desire. Firewood comes from trees. A tree must grow big –this takes years– before it can be cut down and split for firewood. Conservationist in me says: Fine to have fireplace fire when needed. Fine to use firewood. Just be reasonable about using it when it’s needed, and do something about planting trees where ever you go on this Earth.

I’d like to have a wood burning stove in my kitchen. But that would mean I’m not using electricity then, and so it balances out. Balance is necessity.

The Weather outside

The Weather outside is delightful, but it soon will turn frightful … it may not snow here down South, but it’ll get very cold no doubt.

There’s a cold front that will be moving in soon, and the weather outlook for the next 15-days is … much cooler than it’s been. It’ll be getting below freezing most nights, and in the 40’s or 50’s at the highest for days, if not that on some (just staying cooler).

There is actually freezing rain “on the schedule” for Dec 22 time-frame. It’ll be interesting to see what happens. πŸ˜‰

We’ve been in this “area” since winter of 1996/97 (end of Nov.) and we’ve seen cold and snow in December, but not snow every December. Ice, that’s the thing we often do get in January. Last year we got our first Ice Storm in February. It’s interesting to watch the weather, and see the patterns that emerge.

Weather of late

December 8, 2004 brought this interesting effect, low lying fog burning off so visually appealling as it moved toward the sky:

As well as this glorious BLUE above the fray!

First lovely blue sky in so long, it seemed.

Only to have that late night turn cloudy then to rain by early am, and the rest of today rain, rain, rain, rain, rain …

Here are the stats for the last three days:

space
Day
7
8
9
Actual
H/L
69/50
69/46
66/47
AVG
H/L
56/37
56/37
56/36
Departure
from normal
+13
+12
+11
space
Precip
0.06
0.00
0.56

Also this for December thus far:

TOTAL PRECIP 1.53
TOTAL SNOWFALL 0.0
NORMAL PRECIP 3.71
% OF NORMAL PRECIP 41

And compare that to November:

TOTAL PRECIP 7.95
TOTAL SNOWFALL 0.0
NORMAL PRECIP 3.71
% OF NORMAL PRECIP 214

We’ve had a lot of rain lately. This month on Day 9 1.53 inches so far. But previous month we had 7.95 inches. These are approx. for our area, but really just the readings about 20 miles [East] away, so we may have had more or less. I say more, based on what kind of storms passed over, the amount of rain on the ground, and how soggy it’s been relatively forever at one degree or level of something or other somewhere in the yard the last month plus.

In the last 12 days of November about 5 or so inches fell. So add 9 days to that and you have closer to 7 inches in 21 days, which is almost more than November in total, which means — we are in a very rainy season.

Plus the last few days, as documented higher above, have been Spring Warm to the umpteenth thinking. I mean, warm, barefoot warm inside and out. We haven’t had a real “cold snap” yet. A few nights of lower 30’s, but barely, just getting down there the last two hours of dark or right at sunrise.

We’ve had times when the house has gotten chilly, but only due to mid-lower temps coupled with overcast skies, and a few rains that have been COLD RAIN. Most of the rain storms have been very warm rain.

I’ve remarked here before about being chilly with the very day of chilly getting a storm come through that brought super balmy temps and air humidity overnight, I mean, during the night it transformed the inside the house temps to “just too hot for even one blanket” when we went to bed wanting that blanket.

Some predictions for the Winter Season I saw on The Weather Channel on TV some weeks ago, had the South being Wetter than normal, not warmer though. So far the pump is being primed for wetter indeed. Any additional rain we get seems wetter, as it has very little place to go, being so saturated. I forsee a cold winter, as has been somewhat predicted to occur in the South. We will see about that. It just feels to me that this ultra warmth coming in again and again is a predictor itself of chilly air and maybe some interesting snow/ice patterns. Last season we didn’t have snow and ice really, I re call that the actualities of it was FIRST big storm: February 2004. Absolutely weird. Snow of some variety in December is usual, with temps cold enough for fireplace usage by the end of November mostly, with odd days off during the winter for warmer into the 50’s days of full sun.

But we are almost 15 days to Christmas, and it’s not been fireplace weather yet. It’s gonna hit sometime and that sometime is coming. “Avg” temps are supposedly around 58 the first few days of this month for highs, gradually lowering to the low 50’s by mid month and beyond, and hovering just above freezing for lows. That’s only “average” though, based on more than I would consider as wanting to base comparisons on. I like to compare ACTUAL data from the last year or two to the same time this year. Since I don’t collect data from year to year, though I mean to, I never do so I don’t have that data, not wanting to subscribe to any PREMIUM services online for weather data either.

Some things about these late autumn storms, we are having lightning from them, something those Tropical storms that passed through earlier this season lacked entirely.

Redesign and Update on Edublog

I’ve done some re-design to this weblog, though it may not be apparent to the eye much, the colors have changed some, and the graphics too.

My main reason for writing today is to point out something else though. On the side bar, that’s to the right, I’ve moved the “recently commented on” section to near the top. This will fullfill two purposes:

1. It will allow me or anyone visiting the site to immediatley upon page load glance to see if anything new was commented on.

2. I want to alert folks that I now have decided on how to announce a new post on my Education Blog. When a new post is on it, my “Recently Commented On” list should have an entry titled “Edublog”, which is a post I made here the day I instituted the new Education Blog. I haven’t written much there, but now that I have thought through how to put an “alert” of new posts from that blog to this blog on my sidebar, I’m much more apt to write there more frequently. So, if you see “Edublog” on that list, check the “date & time listed right below it” then click it and see the last comment there, which will provide a pinged link to the actual new article, or click the link in that “edublog” post for the front page of the Education Blog. Either way you’ll see the freshest post, but there may be times of more than one new post in a short time frame πŸ˜‰

I don’t consider that my posts on the Education Blog will be of major interest to many folks, just a few maybe, now and then. I am journaling some things in home learning there, like sharing insights I have, things we’ve done, challenges we face, products we use, etc.

Puffy The Hen

I just check the hens and noticed some yellow legs sticking up in the air in the middle of their big pen. On closer investigation it appears that it’s Puffy. She’s the lighter colored Golden-Laced Wyandotte, the one that got her name for “puffing out” so comically in cooler weather last year, when it first came to be cooler.

None of the hens in that pen have laid an egg since August, molting, molting, molting, all of them older than a year. So I’ve just let them go. My Australorps weren’t laying either, but have been the last month, so I was hoping it’d start any day now for the older hens. Now we are down one brown layer.

WhenPuffy did lay an egg it seemed she was the weakest layer, meaning she didn’t lay very often from how well I could judge it. Seems she didn’t lay her first egg until into September 2003, when her hatch-mates were laying in July and August, and then production of those 4 would be fine if it wasn’t for Puffy, well, three brown layers and one green layer, the green layer proved out decently good production due to the color of her eggs, spot on hers and no one elses.

Taking the three brown layers into consideration then, if signs that I had when I had my finger on the pulse of how laying was going … extrapolate that with the actual egg totals and figure that the two other brown layers were laying about even with the green layer, and Puffy wasn’t laying even every other day. I’m fairly sure that’s the case. Can’t PROVE it, of course, with a basic flock setup πŸ˜‰ But overall it seemed that it’s the case: Puffy was Below Par.

So she’s gone now. Why? Don’t know. She looked fine on Saturday and Sunday, when I was out in the yard. On Saturday I was working on their “winter quarters” and making headway. I was hopeful with good weather we’d get it done this week. But it was yucky on Monday, yesterday, and today as well, more rain. So I didn’t go out there yesterday at all, sent the children to feed the hens. I just so happened to go out this afternoon since they hadn’t been fed in the morning due to the heavy rain, and it was not raining so I went out, balmy temps of near 70 degrees F, and all that, went out barefoot (oh delight of December in GA! Warm now, cold, cold, cold soon, then warm, then chilly, etc.) I was really shocked to see that bird bottoms up. She looks to have been trampled, and no doubt was. I saw the Australorps trampling over their fallen friend some time back when one of them died overnight suddenly. So in a pen with Flighty Whiteys and some Big Pushers I can venture to imagine the scenes of running over poor Puffy quite often in the last day, or since she fell and didn’t get up.

In Honor of Puffy


Never a good layer, but a Layer nonetheless. 2003-2004

Sad, yes. But she’s the best one of the four Wyandottishes to go. :sigh:

Vintage Science Fiction Mags

I received my Galaxy magazine in the mail today, and my Worlds Of IF magazine on Saturday. [I got them off of eBay recently]

Galaxy Oct 1962 with “The Ballad of Lost C’Mell” by Cordwainer Smith as the cover story.

Worlds Of IF May 1964 with “The Store of Heart’s Desires” by Cordwainer Smith as the cover story. The neat thing about this one is ALL the authors in this issue have the last name of “SMITH” and it appears as such on the front cover in large letters to the right of the stories and author names.

Think Blue, Count Two

I’ve been reading Cordwainer Smith stories and aggregating the stuff that I have, stuff coming, and what I still need to get for a full collection of at least all his stories.

So this has combined to be part of the saga of the kittens names.

Cordwainer Smith and cats go hand in hand, as do me and cats and Cordwainer Smith literature.

So the kittens have no official individual names. Right? Right. It dawned on me the other night that they are — and it’s now their official title– as a duo:

Think Blue, Count Two

πŸ™‚

It fits as the scenario that they are cats, two that are blue, and that they have helped to avert emotional turmoil and who-knows-what-else-worse for me this Autumn … if you know the story, you know the similarities of the story and what I am saying. Otherwise, if you don’t know, just trust me πŸ˜‰

Think Blue, Count TwoThink Blue, Count Two!

 

December is Here

Happy December! I find it funny to say that and then to say that today is warmer than the last day of November, so much so that on that day I wrote about how “chilly” things were.

All day yesterday I was chilly, so it was in the house. Last night it wasn’t so much as chilly, but not that noticeable, since I was SOOO very tired. At any rate I knew it might rain, and “felt it in my bones” or rather “in every bit of me” as I seem to be a total “human barometer” –plus I knew via the internet weather site I have on the side-bar here that it was supposed to rain maybe.

I awoke in the middle of the night, with the TV still on and right then it [DSS] started to brake-up, so I knew it was raining, and then I awoke more-so and heard it outside, then realised how “warm” it seemed to be. I was too warm in bed, acually, when the night before I was “cold” on night mostly, just warming up before morning enough to not feel chilled totally in my toes. Weird, yes, just the way it is for me.

So I got up and the bathroom was warm, just enough so to say “no shock” to do anything there πŸ˜‰ as it is when it’s COLD out. What a change it was, from mid-day that day to mid-night, totally opposite temps and airy things. No sunlight to warm the back of the house yesterday means that the front that came through had balmy air in it and it transformed the inside air to be nice and comfy — just a few notches up the temp scale is all the differents in the world, and the moisture helps too, of course.

But really it’s so talkable about since it’s that the house and me and the other family members were so chilly on Tuesday, last day of November and that night it became Spring again. This is so since we have NO A/C or Heat running at all for over a year. We have experience with nature out side as the “olden-days” folks did in their houses. I know others in the US live without A/C or Heat, but it’s just that this house, built in 1997, is not tight, like many modern houses are. It’s built crumby, IMO, and no air- system going makes that very apparent.

It’s the last month of the year. Just a few weeks until “Winter” is here on the calendar. Christmas is less than a month away, just 25 days and it’s here! And it’s Spring-y and it’ll be cold again, and then warm again, and just like the South as usual. Up and down, and then Spring and Summer again in full. Winter here is soft. It’s hard for a week at a time, or a day here and there. But balmy and nice most of the time.

Early and late growing seasons … with mild winters. Ice or Snow a few times on average makes it “just enough” for a nice Winter feeling. Then it’s time for Baseball Season and planting gardens. πŸ™‚

Happy December to y’all! We have it mild, others have it hot, others have it cold, wet, dry, icy, snowy, sunny, dark, cloudy … but we all live where it’s December πŸ˜‰

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