Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Happy Christmas

Here are DD and Darcy Blue on Christmas morning, just before tearing into the gifts. I just put up these three itty bitty trees instead of the mammoth 10-footer that better fits the scale of this room to keep things simple. Well, that plus the fact that I can't wrangle the big tree in from the garage by myself. We have done the teddy bears every single Christmas since DD joined our family so they were required elements and the woodland Santa seemed to tie in nicely with all the other woodsy/rustic items. This theme seemed much more at home in our last place, up in the Sierra Nevada mountains of northern California but we've held onto them because they remind us of our time there. We got the carved bear on one of our trips to Lake Tahoe.

Darcy has been eyeing her stocking for the past several days and has occasionally even stepped up on the hearth to try and give it a sniff. It's funny how she's able to remember that she gets fun things from it every year. She was very impatient to find out what goodies she had this time but DH only let her have them one at a time. Sorry she's so hard to see in these pictures.

Her favorites are always toys that squeak and, of course, things she can chew. Miss Kitty was camera-shy today but she's snugged up in her new kitty bed with a microwaveable buckwheat insert. Isn't that a great idea?

There was a very distinct horse theme to many of DD's gifts this year, including this western-style ultrasuede shirt in a horse print, a hatband, several horse figures, and even a Horsez 2 game for the PlayStation. My sweet sister sent a whole box of wonderful little gifts like this necklace and other girlie things which were so much fun to open.

It's been a very nice Christmas morning here, if a little quiet. We're always so aware of being a long way from our families at the holidays especially. We hope you're having a wonderful day with people (and pets!) dear to you.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

A fond farewell

Thursday night the ATC club hosted by The Stamping Grounds in Royal Oak met for the last time. After 25 years in business, TSG is closing its doors this weekend. This has been my most favorite shop for artful rubber stamps and supplies since moving to Michigan and I've made some wonderful friends through the club.

Here are Dot, owner of The Stamping Grounds and Ms. Maggie, her right-hand woman. I'll miss the shop and all the great classes and ATC club meetings I've been able to attend. For our last get-together we enjoyed appetizers and desserts, chatted and then sang Christmas carols. Maggie brought her guitar and led the singing. A bittersweet occasion. Gals, please stay in touch!

It's beginning to look like That Time of Year

The three of us had a nice, quiet Thanksgiving at home. DH surprised me by agreeing to turn in early (he's a charter member of the Midnight Oil Burner's Brigade)and get up at dawn-thirty the day after to hit Kohls post-turkey sale. We thought we were so good rolling up to Kohls at 6am, only to find the parking lot of the entire shopping center SWARMING with cars and people. We were stunned to find that the 2 checkout lines ran around both side aisles and met at the back of the store.

Taking a deep gulp, each with a copy of our needy family's wish list in hand, we plowed into the crowd. It was so much fun! Everyone had a great attitude and there was lots of laughing and joking. When our arms were overloaded with stuff (not a shopping cart to be had at any price), DH agreed to take a stand in line while I continued to work down the list. He literally shuffled our mound of stuff along for about an hour and a half till it was finally our turn to check out.

Once we recovered from the shopping, DD & I got everything festively wrapped and tagged, then loaded it back in the car for delivery. Adopting a couple of needy individuals or a family has become one of our favorite family traditions, so we were especially glad DH started his new job in time to do so this year. What special traditions make it feel like Christmas for you?

Fire in the sky

This was one of those gorgeous late-fall sunsets we get up here. There were a few stormclouds off to the north so the contrast of the steely grey punched up the contrast.

This is looking off our back deck with the neighbor's house in the distance.

Back in the saddle

Yes, I know I'm a very erratic blogger. Sorry 'bout that. But priorities are important, too and blogging is fairly far down the list. But I'm trying to be a bit better. I have at least been making an effort to snap more pictures as I go along, and will then have posting sessions when time allows. So the posting dates may have no correlation to when the photo was taken, okay?

Lessee, I think my last post was around my birthday. Lemme look to see what the next picture is.

This was the scrumptious meal I made for my birthday. Fried oysters (my most favorite food in all the world) topped with a brown-butter panee of mushrooms, onions, garlic, spinach and white wine on top of mashed potatoes. I make fried food about twice a year so it was a very special treat, especially since you cannot get fried oysters within 500 miles of here. As they'd say back in my hometown, it was so good it make you wanna slap your mama!