Friday, December 27, 2013

New (to me) Jane Austen blog

I've just found a most delightful blog about Jane Austen's novels, thanks to my Bookcrossing friend, GoryDetails. It's called "Bitch in a Bonnet" and I've added it to my "Blogging Friends" list over in the right margin. He's nearly finished them; he's on Northanger Abbey now, but I plan to read all his entries. I won't do it all at once, so it may take me awhile.

(By the way, the "B" word is not a word I use, but it is the name of his blog. He doesn't use off color language, it's just funny.)

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas to all!

It feels like we had Christmas already, Saturday the 21st when our son and d-i-l from out of town came down, and our son here and his wife and three small children came over. We had a big dinner together: ham, sweet potatoes, rolls, and one d-i-l prepared roasted cauliflower and Brussels sprouts and the other prepared corn casserole. We had non-alcoholic sparkling cider to drink, and banana pudding, chocolate cake, and cookies for dessert.

First Christmas

Early Christmas

After dinner, we exchanged gifts. My gifts were a big hit; I think everyone was delighted, and of course that meant I was delighted too! Almost six-year-old granddaughter got a Sorry game and a joke book; three-year-old got a Princess play set (generic princesses, not Disney), baby grandson got a set of three vehicles, car, train and boat. One d-i-l got a whimsical owl clock for their playroom, where she already had a decal mural of a woodland scene, and the other d-i-l, who is from Texas, got a large Texas star to put on her wall. I think she was the most thrilled; it will be interesting to see where she decides to hang it!

Husband was in charge of our sons' presents. One got an electric tool, a drill or something (I'm very vague about tools), and the other rejected all our suggestions, and we couldn't think of anything, so he got cash.

My son's gift to me was a very special and thoughtful one. I have a small collection of little cat figurines, and have tried to match them to individual cats. A black cat cut-out with a votive candle for Shadow; a clear glass cat for Crystal, a wooden cat for Woody. (Of course, not all our cats' names lend themselves to a figurine.) I have long been keeping my eye out for a frosted glass cat for Frosty, and son found one! However, at home he noticed that it was clear, not frosted. So he found out how to "frost" glass, and did it for me!

Frosted cat, "Frosty"


Oh, and husband gave me a small gift even though I had shown him a long list of all the new and new-to-us things we had bought for our house since moving in - rugs, buffet table and lamps, framing of pictures, etc, etc, etc. He gave me a plastic duck call from Duck Commander! The girls had a ball with it!

The children played, ate M&Ms, and we halfway watched a Christmas movie on TV. (I don't even remember which one.)

Sunday morning, out of town "kids" went to church with us, and we were all going to eat together at a Mexican restaurant. They (son and family in town) never showed up, and finally called. They were at the other one of the same name, a small, local chain! So, each group stayed where we were after all.

It rained all day Sunday; we got over 5 inches before it was over. Son and d-i-l left shortly after lunch, and husband and I just relaxed with books and movies, coffee and comfortable clothes the rest of the afternoon and evening.

Today, we drove about 2-2 1/2 hours to visit my aunt, my father's sister-in-law and one of the only two left to either of us from our parents' generation. She is not doing well, is completely dependent on friends and housekeepers/sitters. She remains cheerful, though, and still has her mind, and we had a good visit! Afterward we took our friends (the ones who take care of her) out to eat and to see their daughter at work. We hadn't seen the daughter in a long time; she's always been at work when we've visited before.

Tomorrow, I'll catch up on laundry, taking out garbage, and vacuuming and cleaning the house again, and visit some neighbors. We'll wait until next week, maybe after my birthday to take down the Christmas decorations.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Christmas is coming to our new house!

December, and the colorful autumn leaves are falling, falling, falling, faster than we can get them raked up and netted up out of the pool. We haven't yet got a pool cover. I hope we get one before next autumn.

The colors are fading from the brilliant hues of October and November to a gentle hint of color, very soft in the morning mists we've been having lately, and many trees are bare already. Just in time for Christmas decorations! ( I always thought it was odd when we lived on the Gulf Coast that the trees stayed brilliantly colored among the Santas and snowmen in the front yards.)

We've been planning and deciding where we're going to put our tree and other decorations in this house. We put wreaths on the front gate, one on each side, and husband stringed up lights along the top of the gate. However, they are the bright bluish/white LED lights, and I'm not real happy with them. I prefer traditional yellow lights. He said he won't mind taking them down and putting up our old icicle lights.

He set up the outdoor Nativity in the side yard, but it's behind a fence which partially blocks the view. I think it might do better in the front yard, where passers-by can see it through the gate.

The tree is in the living room, in front of a window. We have a tree skirt, but I'm afraid Woody the cat will make it into a bed. He decided to help me decorate:
Woody the Christmas tree skirt

I put the Nativity on a table in the living room, and my little village on a card table in the den. The two little elves of my mother's that I kept are in the kitchen windowsill, making it merry and bright!

Our older cat, Spite, is no longer allowed inside the house. He stays in the sunroom now. It's heated and air conditioned,and protected from the elements, and in the daytime he can go outside. He kept using our den carpet as a bathroom, and it doesn't smell so nice unless I keep spraying with deodorizer every day and light scented candles. I'm really sad for him, because he's a sociable cat and enjoys company. We go out there with him several times in the day and evening. He's the first cat we've ever had that gave us this kind of trouble. He's gotten worse since we moved, but he always liked to use the bathroom and kitchen rugs for his "business".  We could pick them up and wash them, but this is a big room-size rug. The sunroom has a brick floor, and he does use his litter box out there!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Here it is mid-November

A pond down the road

Thanksgiving will soon be here. Our son and daughter-in-law are coming from a city just north of here, possibly will stay overnight. I hope so, we don't see enough of them. (Of course we could go there just as easily.)

Son here and family will be going to spend the holiday with his wife's mother and other relatives.

Winter has arrived; we have had our first frost. The leaves have been pretty here, especially the popcorn trees, which are invasive and not welcome, but I still like the fall colors!
Sunlit popcorn tree (Chinese tallow)
We also have a small crape myrtle growing under the oak tree in our back yard. It had lovely dark pink long-lasting blossoms last summer and brilliant red foliage this fall. I would like to transplant it where it can grow larger, but don't know if hubby is willing or able. Maybe we could at least clear out the undergrowth where it is. 
Back yard

This Sunday is Shoebox Sunday at church. Ours are ready, and I've paid the shipping online, so I can "Follow  our boxes" with a bar-coded label.
/http://www.samaritanspurse.org/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child/

I have Christmas cards and newsletters ready to send early, to let friends know of our change of address. Most of them know already, but they may have forgotten, and a few may not know.
I will not start decorating until after the first of December, though. I feel that Thanksgiving is important enough and special enough to have its own time, a quiet time with orange and gold colors, pilgrims and turkeys, and thankful prayers.
Thanksgiving decorations

After the holidays are over, around mid-January, I will have knee replacement surgery! I have severe arthritis in both knees, and have been in pain, sometimes more and sometimes less, for more than 15 years. I will have them done one at a time. I am so looking forward to being able to walk and stand without pain again!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Early lesson in sacrificial giving

My 2 year old granddaughter's shoebox gift (Operation Christmas Child) was a true sacrifice, albeit not a willing one. She really wanted to color in the coloring book meant for the child who lives far, far away!

Overly indulgent grandma (me) quietly offered to her daddy (my son) to let her have it and I could easily buy another one for the shoebox. Wisely, my son said, "No, she has to learn." Quietly and gently he explained to her that she has many coloring books, but the little girl who lives far, far away has no coloring books or toys. Unconvinced, my granddaughter left the room in tears.

 Later, after peace and calm were restored, she happily helped her sister and me pack the shoeboxes. I added pictures and notes, and together we prayed over them yesterday.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Google's Shared Endorsements

This is for other Blogger/BlogSpot users, in case you didn't know that your name and face may soon be used to endorse products. There is a way to opt out, but it's not easy to find. I don't see it under "Privacy Settings;" I only happened to find it on Facebook, as I have "friended" Naked Security from Sophos, and saw this posting on my FB "newsfeed":
http://nakedsecurity.sophos.com/2013/10/15/how-to-remove-your-face-from-googles-upcoming-shared-endorsement-ads/

Monday, September 30, 2013

Autumn's coming

Tomorrow will be October 1. The leaves are beginning to turn and the weather is getting comfortable, even brisk in the early mornings. Now I wear my heavy bathrobe to sit on the patio in the mornings, and cover my legs with a beach towel we haven't put away yet. The pool is as clean as it's ever been, beautiful, but not tempting in this cooler weather.

Got an email today from the neighborhood Homeowners' Association. This community believes in caring for others; it was a note letting us know that one of our neighbor families is going through a hard time and may need some help. I went over there to see if I could take their garbage can out to the curb for them, but they weren't at home. I'm wondering if they were in a hospital.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Prayer

The following is in response to Mark Love's blog, unfinished (a woodworker's blog) http://marklovefurniture.com/blog/2013/08/30/prayer-is/ :

Prayer is a wonderful gift that God has given to each of us, even me, that we can approach Him, that we can come into His Presence just as we are, full of fear and worry, lacking faith and love. He will accept us just as we are, and will give us wisdom, the peace that passes understanding, joy, love, unity with Him, salvation, forgiveness, reconciliation, understanding, blessing, faith. He makes it possible for us to do everything He has required of us. “Everyone who asks receives; who seeks finds; and to he who knocks, the door will be opened.” Matthew 7:8

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Pool update

The pool's looking like a swimming pool again! We have to let the chemicals and salt mix, but maybe tomorrow or Monday we can swim! Temperature's still in the 90s Fahrenheit here, so it's plenty warm/hot!


Husband has been working like a Trojan all week, mixing, vacuuming, adding water, pumping out water, driving across town to the pool company, then doing it all over again. Gradually it changed from dark green to medium, then light green, then we could see bottom! The vacuum for the algae on the bottom is a strange contraption attached to a tube that suctions it out onto the ground. He has it piped away from the house, and our yard it big so it's not going into our neighbor's yard either. It hasn't rained for 2-3 weeks, but the salt, etc probably isn't good for the grass.


Now it's blue and pretty again! Looking like it used to:
Pool looks a lot better now!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Summer's ending

It's already beginning to feel a little less hot, a little less oppressive. We can sit outside with our coffee in the mornings, and it's pleasant. In the evenings, a little breeze stirs up, tinkling the wind chimes and refreshing our faces and necks.

I'm hoping we'll be able to use our pool again before it's too late. The filter pump broke and it's been in the shop a week. Husband decided to buy a new one so we'll have a spare and won't have this layover again, but he forgot that the adapter is still on the old one, at the shop! Meanwhile, the water has turned completely green again, dark green. Not bad for a reflecting pond, but not what we want in a swimming pool! It didn't take long to turn, it was amazing.
We miss it, we did enjoy it in the late afternoon, after the sun went behind the house. Then we didn't have to bother with sunscreen. The pool exercises for arthritis were helping my knees, the "noodles" are helpful and fun; it's fun to just sit on one and float all over the pool, too!
Daughter-in-law (the new mother) hasn't yet been able to use the pool; she was "out of commission" for a few weeks after childbirth, then it rained hard every day for awhile, and now the filter pump's broken. Frustrating! The children have only been swimming twice. I hope we'll be using it more next summer. The baby will be one year old and we all can enjoy it together then!

The older girl has started kindergarten, and loves it. She's happy with her teacher and with her classmates, and enjoys learning new songs and games and all the activities. She looks so grown up in her uniform! And she wears glasses at school, but not at home. I've seen pictures of her with her glasses, and she modeled them for me. I told her they look good on her; she looks very smart, and she said, "Why, thank you!"
The two-year-old is a happy child. She loves kissing her baby brother and playing with her sister. She misses her sister on school days, and says she's going to school, too! I think she's referring to KinderMusik, which she loves.

We're gradually getting more active in church. We're in Sunday school and "Forever Young" (the senior adult fellowship group), and attending a Bible study on the Book of Revelation. Very deep and interesting!

We are having a little flurry of doctor and dentist appointments, getting established with new ones here. Bought tickets for a Labor Day jazz fest, looking forward to that! Also, we'll probably attend a patriotic festival and fireworks later that day, postponed from the Fourth of July as it was raining that day (and it was also the day our grandson was born).

We had visitors today. Husband's brother and sister-in-law stopped by on their way home from the beach. (They live north of here, and the beach is south of here.) We had lunch with them, and then went to the park and spent time with our children and grandchildren, so they got to see them, too. It was a nice afternoon! I hope they'll come back when they can stay longer!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Beginning to settle in

We're making progress but had/are having a minor setback; Saturday evening we came home and I turned on the kitchen light, but it popped and blew out! Not just a light bulb; both ceiling lights and fans in the kitchen and breakfast room were out. Husband checked the circuit breakers by flashlight, and they were fine. He's been working on it every day since then, and has finally decided he needs to call an electrician. At least we do have our appliances, so I can cook, make coffee, etc. We've moved lamps into the affected rooms, and a fan, so we're not miserable, just inconvenienced.

We brought two blue Lazyboy chairs when we moved, and have added a chocolate brown loveseat and a multi-colored area rug, with large flowers of brown, red, and blue, with green leaves on a tan background. It pulls in the blue and brown of the furniture, and brightens up the dark wood floor. The cats like it too! (That's very important, you know.) I do want to get drapes for the large window and French door on either side of the fireplace, but that can wait.

Taking a breakCats testing new rug


The children and grandchildren have been over to swim, and we've swum without them, too. I copied some pool exercises for arthritis from the internet, and looking forward to doing them. We bought "noodles" (brightly colored flexible foam long noodle-shaped pool toys) that I will use for some of my exercises. One of them; the other one is husband's, for fun!
Family

We joined a church, the one our children belong to. It's a little further away than others, but it'll be more convenient to go where the kids go, and be there for their special times. This past weekend they had a note-burning ceremony, in appreciation and celebration that all the buildings are completely paid for! Saturday night was a hamburger supper, a balloon release,  and a musical program. Sunday morning the Sunday school classes had refreshments before the lesson (I took biscuits, and was very glad that my oven was working!), and a very meaningful church service. Representatives from each generation came forward and we were reminded of each generation's contributions to the church fellowship and work of Christ in the community, and the future represented by the youngest generations, the teens and children. The young woman presenting this part of the program got choked up, and I had to wipe my eyes. 
Paid in Full celebration at Eastmont Baptist ChurchBalloons aloft!

I'm learning to make wind chimes! I repaired one, a bamboo one, and remade a small tinkly brass one! A little tricky, but just takes patience, not hard at all. I like the sound of the bamboo ones (we have one that didn't need repair, also), and the tinkle of the small brass one will do well with them. Now I'm waiting for a little wind!


Saturday, July 13, 2013

More family news

Our little grandson was born July 4, he is dear and sweet and precious. He had to spend a week in the hospital due to congestion in his lungs right after birth and an episode of apnea two days later. He's fine now, and much loved by his parents, sisters, grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousin.

My husband made a return trip to our "old" house and came back with a truck and flatbed trailer full! He says we need to make one more trip.

Fortunately for us and for our friends, we were able to offer our house for them to live in while they build, as their current house sold much faster than they anticipated. We didn't want to put ours on the market until we had emptied it, and now we know it will be lived in and taken care of.

My aunt has been ailing. She apparently had a stroke and was unable to put any weight on her legs. With therapy at a rehab center, she has improved greatly and called me this morning! She sounded good, and is hopeful about returning home!

Our older son and his wife came to visit today. We spent the afternoon with younger son and his family (the one with the new baby). Then we came home and swam in our pool for the first time! We had a new liner put in and converted it to a salt water pool a couple of weeks ago. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

We have moved in!

It was a little harrowing the first day; I got stuck in a collapsed aluminum folding lawn chair, inside the sunroom. I had left a door unlocked, so when the movers arrived about a half hour later, they were able to come in and help me up. I was all right, nothing hurt but my pride!

Husband followed the movers in his pickup truck, but it overheated and a three hour drive took ten! It was better after he stopped for supper, and the sun went down, and he and the truck had a chance to cool off.

But, all turned out all right all right, we're here now and getting our pictures and knick-knacks arranged just how we want them.
We splurged on a major purchase this afternoon. An oriental rug shop nearby is having a sale and we went in "just to look around." Well, we both fell in love with a Chinese Aubusson rug with colors and patterns that go perfectly with our living room furniture. We did get a good price on it, but it was way more than we had planned to spend this afternoon!

Living room with new rug

New living room rug!

Friday, May 17, 2013

More pictures of our new house

New home, before we move in
Welcome, come in!

New home, before we move in
Entry

New home, before we move in
Kitchen

Sunroom and pool
Sunroom and swimming pool! We've never had a swimming pool before, the
grandchildren will love it!

Husband is looking forward to using this barn for storage!Barn

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Yes, we are moving!


The house we are looking at passed all inspections: home, termite, and septic tank! We will close soon, and will start moving soon after! I will show pictures after it's officially ours. I have pictures now, but they show the current owner's furniture and possessions, and I don't want to put that out on the internet.


Exterior:
Brick two story

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

House-hunting: signed another contract

Signed another contract. Waiting for another inspection. Trying not to get our hopes up, but it's hard not to! See previous house-hunting post, "Not Moving Yet" for list of things for which to be thankful.

Friday, April 5, 2013

A Love Divine, by Alexandra Ripley

A Love Divine, by Alexandra Ripley

A historical fiction based on Joseph of Arimethea, the one in whose tomb Jesus was buried. He was described in the Bible as a "secret follower" of Christ. This novel describes what the author imagines could have been his life before and after his encounter with the crucified Christ.
 
*see rest of entry on Book Reviews page

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Not moving yet

The house we were looking at will not be ours. The contract was contingent on home inspection and septic tank inspection, including a perc test. The inspection reports were negative: several serious problems in the house, including electrical wiring, but the septic tank was overflowing and the ground didn't perc. So, we are starting the process all over again.

It's a disappointment, but we're counting our blessings:

1. We discovered the problems with the house before we bought it! And could legally back out of the contract.

2. We have an excellent real estate agent who really knows her stuff, has good connections with relevant professionals, has a ton of patience and doesn't mind working hard, and a good humored, pleasant personality.

3. We haven't sold our house here, and so have a comfortable place to live while searching.

4. We have had safe traveling up and down I-65 at least twice a month for about a year now. Nothing to take for granted! We still take note of the exit near our accident in 2007.

5. Our son and d-i-l have a room in their home for us!

6. We can afford to do this.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Friday, March 8, 2013

Moving

Our decision to move to be closer to our grandchildren is final, and we have finally agreed on the house we want. Ironically, it is the very first house we looked at when we were beginning to think about moving! We looked at several others that were newer and more glamorous than this one, but ruled them out for one reason or another: too far away from our son's house, too many steps for our aging backs and knees, not enough room inside or outside, one we really liked was taken off the market, one was beautiful but structurally unsound.

This one is not especially beautiful outside, but is very nice inside and fits all our needs. I can envision where we will place our furniture, and where the grandchildren will play!

So, the process will begin very soon. I have already begun throwing away old magazines and papers (or recycling), giving away books I will never read or read again, giving unwanted items to thrift stores. We may or may not have a garage sale, probably not.

We'll miss our friends and our church here, but I'm sure we'll be happy there once we get settled in.

*********************
Update: Closing date is set for April 29!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Pages

You may have noticed that I've added "pages" to this blog. They are tabs at the top, just below the header picture.

I thought I'd do this to  organize my entries, since I write about so many different facets of my life.

I'm still in the process of moving entries to the appropriate pages, and I may never get around to moving all of them. I hope this won't be too confusing. Let me know if you have any suggestions. Thanks!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Testing again, with Chome

Valentine dinner for two

See if this works.

ETA: Aha, I have to post pictures with Chrome now. Blogger's made a change.

By the way, this was the setting for our Valentine Dinner Thursday night. My husband and I ate at home by candlelight, in the living room on the glass topped table with the fancy china.

Testing

I had trouble posting one of my Flickr pics here earlier this evening. Want to see if I can do it now.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/fancyhorse/8473871385/" title="Valentine dinner for two by Fancy Horse, on Flickr">http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8252/8473871385_70507c12f4.jpg
" width="375" height="500" alt="Valentine dinner for two">

I guess Blogger made the change; I could do it the same as always on LiveJournal. Now I'll try doing it with Chrome. I'm on IE now.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

We'll probably move this year - Update 1/26/13

We moved to our present location ten years ago after my husband retired, in order to be closer to my mother, who was then 89. She doesn't need us anymore; she's in heaven now. We would like to be closer to our children and grandchildren, and we think we could be of some help to them. We've been house-hunting, and it's a long and sometimes frustrating project. But we think we've found the house we like there, and will make a formal offer next week subject to a house inspection. I hope this works out; we've been spending a lot of time on the highway traveling to see them!

*****************

Update: The house we like is no longer available. One of the heirs wants to buy it. A lesson in patience!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Les Miserables, a Christian book and movie

Jean Valjean's life story is a perfect example of what salvation can do in a person's life. He was a bitter, angry man. Society had failed him, and he had no friend in the world. No one would give him a chance, or even a piece of bread, or a place to lay his head at night. Until he met the kind and loving Bishop, who took him in, fed him, and covered up for him by giving him the silver he had stolen from him the night before.

The Bishop showed Christ to him. "I was a stranger and you took me in." He forgave the theft of his valuables, and made a gift of it, telling him by his actions, "Go, and sin no more."

Jean had a struggle with his soul after that encounter, as we all do. Accept Christ and His mercy and forgiveness, and follow Him by showing His love to others? Or continue in our sin, go on hating our enemies and seeking revenge, grabbing what we can, stepping on anyone who gets in our way?

He tried by his own strength to live up to the Bishop's standard, but failed miserably when he encountered a boy who lost a coin. Stepping on it, Jean refused to let the child have it, threatening him until the boy ran away. Immediately, he was plunged into deepest despair, bitter conviction, acknowledgment that he was a sinner in need of the Savior.

It's not an easy decision, and it must be made daily. There are many temptations along the way. Jean became a wealthy man, a leader in his community. A woman was fired from his factory; he could ignore her and send her away, or choose to seek medical care for her, be with her in her last moments, care for her child after her death.

Jean Valjean, a man of wealth and power, got down on his knees in the mud to rescue a workman pinned under a heavy cart, knowing that this action would lead to suspicions from his old enemy, Inspector Javert.

Later, when Javert's suspicions were allayed by the arrest of another man thought to be Valjean, it would have been so easy to let the mistake stand. To let another man be imprisoned for life in his stead. Another struggle with his conscience, with God. In the end, he chose to do the hard thing, the right thing. He came forward and revealed his true identity, bringing himself (now no longer a young man) and the young Cosette back to a life of running and hiding.

Valjean later aligns himself with a revolution against the French government. Inspector Javert, now a spy of the government who has infiltrated the protesters' headquarters, has been discovered and is tied up awaiting death at their hands. Valjean agrees to do it, but instead frees Javert, his old enemy who had devoted his life to his pursuit and ruin. Javert, conflicted by his devotion to law and duty and his debt to Valjean, a criminal, threw himself off a bridge. He could not reconcile justice and mercy.

This is the contrast between the two: Javert is stern, unforgiving, a symbol of righteousness and justice, law and order. He knows no mercy, no compassion. The law must not be waived for anyone, for any reason. Valjean, who is shown forgiveness and grace, comes to exemplify mercy, compassion, and unselfish love.