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!