Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! I hope the coming year is better in every way for everyone reading this. I'm wishing you a happy, healthy and prosperous 2010.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.
~Alfred, Lord Tennyson, 1850

Monday, December 28, 2009

I had fun with my new camera at Christmas. I took many pictures and here are some of the silliest. Enjoy:

Sunday, December 27, 2009

I'm glad Christmas is over. I was hoping to have a Merry Christmas, but for the second year in a row, Christmas was tinged with sadness. I was originally going to write that it was "filled" with sadness, but I can't really say that. We had some happy moments and made nice memories, too. We started out Christmas eve by visiting Robert's Mom, who was busy with her grandchildren cooking for Christmas day. Then we went back home for a while and then went up to Auburn to see my family at Sarah's house. Christmas morning we went to Mrs. Gaimari's for breakfast and then back to our house for a while and then up again to Sarah's. Mrs. Gaimari slept over on Christmas night. We took her out for breakfast the next day. Yesterday we were so tired we did nothing all day. We did drag ourselves to the movies in the evening to see "Up in the Air". It was good.

Today we woke up to rain, but with mild temperatures, so the snow was melting and turning slushy. I wanted to go to a new yarn store I saw a couple of weekends ago, so Robert came with me. On the way over, we decided to go out to lunch at Pickity Place in Mason. It's a cute restaurant in a cottage from 1830 or so. They serve a sweet little luncheon which is always quite tasty. Then we went to the yarn store where I bought a few notions and some very soft merino wool. Here are some pictures of our day:

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Here's a poem from Keith, our contractor:

I have to be honest there is a part of me that feels cheated
Not enough time for us to cover all the things that were needed

Listening to his stories again and again, smiling all the while
His sweet sense of humor would always leave me with a smile

What a good man I was able to fall in love with so quickly
I would constantly pray for him who was so frail and so sickly

I loved to stop by unannounced just to spend time
Praying that today was the day he would start to feel fine

His advice always came if I asked for it or not
Blessed with his loving intentions was the feeling I got

I would sit with him for hours and cherish each minute
Wanting time to stand still with both of us in it

Being introduced to this man was truly God's gift
The moments spent with him would always give me a lift

He was a man you could not help yourself but to love
So gentle and kind, an obvious gift from the One above

I want him to still be here, to talk with his some more
To sit with this man I could not help but adore

I would do anything for him, any time, any place
Always a blessing to see a smile on his face

I am a better person for having known him this is definitely true
Being generous enough to share him with me, to all of you I want to say "thank you"

Thursday, December 17, 2009

My parents-in-law on their 55th anniversary

My father-in-law passed away this morning. It was not unexpected, but it's still a shock. I'm glad his suffering is over, but I will miss him and his hearty laugh for a long time.

I know I'm just a daughter-in-law and not a blood relative, but I feel like he was my second father, especially after my own father died. I started dating Robert at age 16 - almost 30 years ago - so I've been around my husband's family for that long, and when you're that age, you can't help but see your boyfriend's parents as parents. You look up to them. It's part of nature. And when I married into the family, that just cemented the relationship.

I have such fond memories of him. One of the earliest times was of going to Robert's house to have home-made (by Dr. Gaimari) pizza. Robert had bragged about his father's pizza-making abilities and he didn't lie. Another early time in our relationship, Dr. Gaimari and Robert picked me up at my house to go to the lake for the weekend. We stopped at the Mall for pizza at Papa Gino's, which we ate on the way up. While ordering, Dr. Gaimari advised me to always get the soda without ice because that way, you get more. I will never have a Christmas that I don't think of him. He loved to buy presents for his girls, of which I was one. He'd find some cool kitchen gadget and buy 4 and be tickled at how much we all liked them. He had a twinkle in his eye and a keen sense of humor. He loved to joke and flirt. He also loved to get me going. He knew my buttons and he loved to push them to watch me go. But it was done with love.

A shining light has gone out but the stars in heaven burn a little brighter now. Rest in Peace.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

I'm trying to take a picture of the dogs for my Christmas cards. It's not working out well. I bought them some little hats - one is a Santa hat and the other is antlers and all they want to do is eat them. I'm afraid to put them on them, because I'll have Bobby dragging Java around by the Santa hat. So these are two of the most promising pictures, but I think I'll keep trying.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

It is just beautiful out today. Everything is sugar-coated with snow, the sun is out and the sky is blue. I guess I'm ready for winter now. We just had a generator installed so we'll be OK if the power goes out for days at a time. Hopefully it won't. We've said that before, though, and look at what happened last year. Luckily we were on a cruise when the storm hit, but if we had been home we would have been very, very unhappy at our predicament. I think the power was off for 8 days total.

Last night we went to see the movie "The Blind Side". I thought it was great, and I definitely recommend it. It was a good distraction for us from the realities that are going on in our life right now. I highly recommend a movie or two when you need to get away mentally. It helped me back in 2007 when my Dad died. It's even better when the movie is uplifting like this one was.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Here's a picture of the first hat I've ever made. I did the pattern wrong and did knit 2, purl 2 instead of knit 4, purl 2, knit 2, purl 2. So it looks a lot smaller than it actually stretches to be. Here's a picture of the second hat, in progress, made in the proper pattern.

The wool is from New Zealand and seems like it'll be really warm for whoever gets these hats. I think the colors are pretty but also could be for a man. I'm having fun making them.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Great news! We took Bobby to the vet this morning for a heartworm test, and he tested negative! I was very happy to hear that news, because I didn't want to have to put him through another treatment. The treatments are so severe; basically you poison the dog with arsenic. Then the dog has to be quiet for 6 weeks while the worms in the heart die and decompose. If the dog isn't kept quiet, he can have an embolism and die from that. I'm just glad the first treatment worked. Stupid people letting him get heartworm. I'm glad he's with us now.

Java is doing much better as well. We're taking her off the anti-inflammatory to see if the swelling comes back. So far it has not. She even let the vet look into her mouth, so that's good news too. I have no idea what it was that was causing her pain and facial swelling. I wish dogs could talk sometimes.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

December 3. We're coming up on the anniversary of Barney's demise. One year ago tomorrow was the first time we rushed him to the e-vets because of a fainting episode. That was an awful time, but for some reason I do tend to relive these memories. It doesn't help that on Sunday, Java seemed to be in pain. She bounced back quickly, but Monday morning she was still exhibiting vague pain symptoms. I brought her to the vet, who noticed that her face was swollen. She gave Java a shot of penicillin and sent her home with some antibiotics. We were thinking it was a sore tooth or an abscess because she'd take food and then spit it out. The next day, she was even more swollen and refused to eat, even her cream cheese with her pills, which she never refuses. I brought her back to see the vet again, who gave Java a 2-week antibiotic injection and an anti-inflammatory injection. This really seemed to help because by that afternoon she wanted to eat and even chew on a bone. Now her face is back to normal but we have no idea why or what. I'm bringing Bobby in tomorrow for something else, so I'll bring Java back with me for a re-check.

Monday, November 30, 2009

I made it! I posted every day in November. I hope that I'll post more often now that I'm in the habit.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

We try to go for a couple of walks a day. It's about 2 pm and the sun is getting low in the sky so we're heading out. Robert and Bobby are ready.

My street looks pretty and rural but it's actually really busy. I feel like I take my life in my hands when I walk along it. Cars don't slow down when they pass us even though they should. It makes me nervous.

A lovely stone wall borders our neighbor's property. I wish we had one.

Some fun berries that I tried my macro out on.

Soon enough we turn onto the side street, which is a cul-de-sac and very quiet. Bobby has just seen the German Shepherd Dog that we call "DangerMax" so he's very excited.

Coming around the cul-de-sac, we are in the sunshine! It feels good.

The sun is out as we make our way home.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Well I don't have a picture because I didn't bring my camera, but we just spent a wonderful evening at my sister Sarah's house with our extended family. Cousins who I haven't seen in years and years were there. It was really nice. My best friend from grammar school was there. The last time we were gathered like that was for a funeral. I'm just happy that we gathered just to be together for once.

Friday, November 27, 2009

The dishes are done, the leftovers are doled out and the house is quiet again. Here are some photos from yesterday's festivities.

Mom and the turkey:

Me pouring the water:

My wonderful parents-in-law. Today is my father-in-law's birthday! Happy Birthday!!:

My Mother-in-law, Elizabeth, Martha, Stephen & Robert:

Sarah caught snitching from the dish:

We love you anyway!

Angie and Elizabeth:

Elizabeth making monster faces:

Martha and Elizabeth:

Thursday, November 26, 2009

This morning dawned foggy and cool. We took Bobby for his walk and came home and had homemade pumpkin bread (made with fresh pumpkin puree) and coffee. We washed and prepared the turkey and then stuffed it with the stuffing we made yesterday. Now it's sitting on the porch, relaxing and waiting to be put into the oven.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Mom is here and making stuffing. Yesterday I made the potatoes using the recipe I posted, along with a sweet potato casserole. Robert made the cranberry sauce this morning. So after this afternoon, all that's left is the turkey itself, stuffing it and when it's cooked making the gravy. Martha is bringing some veggie sides and Mrs. Gaimari is bringing the pies.

I hope everyone has a happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Once again we're hosting Thanksgiving at our house. It's a nice tradition, started the same year that my Dad died. It was nice to have a new tradition so that doing the same old thing wouldn't be as painful. My mother is coming over tomorrow and she'll spend a couple of nights. It's good that she comes over because she knows how to do all this stuff and what order it has to be done in. Today I'm making the do-ahead potatoes, a recipe I got from my mother-in-law. I told my husband this recipe is why I married him. They are so good and so easy because you can make them a couple days before and refrigerate them until the day you heat them up and eat them. The flavors get to know each other better while it's refrigerated. Yum.

8-10 Medium Potatoes
1 cup sour cream
1 8-oz. pkg cream cheese
1 tsp garlic or onion salt
butter & paprika

Bake at 350 degrees 45 minutes or so
Serves 6 to 8

Boil potatoes until soft. Drain. Have sour cream and cream cheese at room temperature. Beat them until well-blended. Add cut potatoes gradually, while beating (potatoes should still be hot). Season with garlic/onion salt. Put in 2-quart casserole. Refrigerate for a couple days. Dot with butter and paprika (optional). Bake at 350 until hot.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The internet at our house still isn't fixed completely. We have it, but are unable to have TV in the kitchen as well. They're coming again tomorrow to check things over.

This weekend was my birthday. The whole family went to the Bedford Village Inn for dinner. It was really nice. We had our own private room. It was a very pleasant evening.

Here's a gratuitous picture of Bobby and how he likes to share my chair. There's not much room, but he squeezes himself in. He was sound asleep and snoring when Robert took the picture.

Here is the coolest set of mittens ever. They were made by my friend Becky. They have a thumb and a finger as well as the other place you put your other three fingers. These will be great for walking Bobby when the weather gets cold!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

I have no internet at my house. The technician came this morning and found that the problem is with the cable at the street, not a problem in my house. So I brought my netbook to my mother-in-law's and father-in-law's house to make this post. I can't ruin my perfect record of posting every day in November.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Today we bought the two big wreaths for the house and the bead cottage. The owner of the Grain & Hardware store where we bought them was nice enough to deliver them. Now that I don't have the BMW, huge things don't fit into either of our little cars. We hung them up and I think they make the house look so festive. I think I've posted a picture every year. Here is today's:

I used to not decorate for the holidays, but now I like to. I especially love candles in the window and the wreaths lit up. I think it makes the house look so cozy. I also love driving around at night and seeing other people's decorations. It's fun to ooh and aah at the nice ones and trash the tacky ones.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Today the fresh local turkey we ordered for Thanksgiving is being "processed." So thank you.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Off we go for a girls' day out to the yarn store!

"Buckle up Elizabeth," says Grammie

We stopped for lunch at the Longhorn Steakhouse, Elizabeth's favorite restaurant. After lunch, we did the "tour" of the restaurant to look at all the different animals.

The yarn store is way out in the country. It took us a whole hour to get there, but Elizabeth passed the time by falling asleep. There was a nice feeder out front that this nuthatch was busy visiting.

This is the Wool Room in Antrim. Very sweet looking. I found some wool to knit hats for sailors on ships in the Navy. That way I can knit to my hearts content and I don't have to find people to give them to, the Ships Project will do it for me! If you are a knitter and have a second, check out that link. It seems like a worthy cause to knit for.

Auntie Ellen had to spoil little Elizabeth and let her pick a new friend. She also got a new book about how wool goes from sheep to sweater. Fun!