Thursday, December 30, 2010

5 more ways to live a better life…

Play more games and read more books than you did  last year.

Make time to practice meditation, and prayer.  They provide us with daily fuel for our busy lives.

Spend time with people over the age of 70, and under the age of 6.

Dream more while you are awake.

Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants, and eat less food that is manufactured in factories. IMGP0640

~~So this afternoon Dick and I will finally be on the road, heading to Florida.  Warm weather, here we come!  Woohoo!!! 

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

5 ways to a better life…


Take a 10-30 minute walk every day.  And while you walk, smile.  It is the ultimate anti-depressant.

Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day.

Buy a DVR and tape your late night shows and get more sleep.

When you wake up in the morning, complete the following statement, 'My purpose is to __________ today.'

Live with the 3 Es—Energy, Enthusiasm, and Empathy.

Life is good, y’all!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Rest in peace…

stained glass dove

Roger Watson

1948 – 2010

My sweet, annoying, irritating, lovable, funny brother-in-law lost his battle with diabetes and kidney disease yesterday.  He will be sorely missed, but he is healed and whole now.  Those of us left behind will miss his laughter and abundant love of life.  My heart aches for my sister Nan as she begins a new journey into widowhood, a place us gals don’t want to think about, much less visit.

So I am on the road heading to Albany today.  Dick will follow tomorrow in the moho…if the roads are free of their snowy burden, with Missy for company.

Life is short, my friends.  Enjoy each day, and be kind to one another.  Hugs to everyone…

Monday, December 27, 2010

Winter wonderland

So yesterday began with Amy texting—wanna go to walmart? Me: yes,  if Dad will drive!  And so we did and had the place practically to ourselves:
We did our shopping; bought milk and Dick delivered it to a neighbor:
milk delivery
Missy tested the deck…for all of three minutes…and quickly came back inside.  This shot was between snows.  It started again mid-afternoon…P1000933and Dick had already been out scrapping the driveway and roads yet again.   On top of the 6-7” accumulated, we got at least another half inch or so.
It was pretty…but we’ve had enough snow, OK?! 
Even Dick has been cold.  We are both wanting to head south and thaw out.  We’re getting wimpy in our old age, but that’s allowed, right?  Right!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas in Dixie

plow boy

This was the first white Christmas in Mayberry in over 100 years, so they say.   Dick and I made it safely over to Haley’s house for her annual Christmas morning brunch for the family, but it was slow going getting back home in the already accumulated snow.

Maytag Man turned plow man and spent the whole afternoon pushing snow off our driveway, the local road, a neighboring road…pulling folks out of ditches…and generally staying cold and wet!  Diane was up visiting sister Susie, now a neighbor, and they rewarded Dick (and lucky me) with a very nice dinner as thank you for clearing their road.  And maybe mainly for getting John and Mark safely up to the house???  Whatever, it was fun seeing them.  Diane and I met as roommates in Bethesda Memorial Hospital in FL when we birthed our first borns, um, just a few years ago.  Do we have a little history together?  You bet!

Brian’s truck had gotten stuck at the very top of that photo, and Jason had to pull him up several feet to get on level ground…while Dick was away clearing the main roads.  Everybody cooperates during times of bad weather.  And they TRY to stay home…and keep warm.  And hope/pray the power stays on!  Snow laden tree limbs are beautiful to the eye, but not so welcome when they break and fall onto power lines.

How did you spend Christmas Day?  Stay warm, y’all!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas to you!

Christmas blinking banner
From our home to yours!
Update:  The snow just began falling at 8ish AM.  We finally are getting a White Christmas here in Mayberry!!!

Dick and I love Switzerland, so at his request, we would like to share a little bit of  'real' snow, and that country with you.
Switzerland 090 Stitch
This photo was taken atop the Schilthorn a few years ago.  This area is in the Bernese Alps, high above the small village of Murren.  You take a series of cable cars to reach the summit from the valley floor below, where you’ll find the Piz Gloria Restaurant.  A James Bond movie, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, was set here.  The restaurant revolves a full 360 degrees every 55 minutes.  And the food is pretty good...the views are outstanding!

For your continued viewing and listening pleasure, click here.  Most of the pictures are from the valleys above Interlaken, Switzerland.  For those of you who have been to Switzerland, you will recognize many of these places.  But more importantly, for all of you who love great music, Sarah Brightman and Andrea Bocelli are always worth listening to and enjoying.  You won’t be disappointed!  Go click up there…

We wish you a blessed Christmas, and a very happy and healthy New Year!

Friday, December 24, 2010

"O Holy Night"

These ladies are awesome--Celtic Woman (don't ask me why it is singular--woman--instead of plural--womEn--when there are clearly several women on the stage).  However you spell it or say it, they are fabulous singers and musicians.  Period.

So, today is finish everything and food prep for after church.  Here is the recipe for Tortellini Soup, and it is simply delicious and will be ready for when we get home:

1 lb Italian sausage (with the casings taken off)
1 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1 tsp oregano
½ tsp basil
1 Tbsp dried parsley
½ cup water
½ cup red wine
5 cups of beef broth
2 cups chopped, peeled tomato (I don't peel them)
1 cup thinly sliced carrots
1 ½ cup sliced zucchini
1 med green pepper, chopped (optional)
8 oz. tortellini

In a large kettle, brown meat, onion, garlic. Drain. Combine rest of ingredients. Simmer until vegetables are tender. Top with Parmesan cheese when serving.

Serve along with hot bread, and a wonderful dessert. Tortellini Soup is a much requested favorite. This is a large volume recipe.

Remember that JESUS is the reason for the season.  Merry Christmas to all!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Eve eve

Yes, it is already the day before Christmas Eve, and I’m still making a few things that will be under the tree tomorrow night.   I need to remember to take photos of a couple of items before they are wrapped up.  I’m already too late on one thing already.  Dang.  Unless I unwrap/rewrap…Naw.

And I need to go to the market today for soup makings.  Yes I do.  I’ll post the recipe tomorrow if I can keep my brain straight.P1080310

Check out Haley and Faith in matching sweaters here on my birthday !



Doodlebug was into trucks, not fashion…and sticking close to mom.





Faith and lil Haley have been over making fiber-art scarves, and rightly discovered I needed some vertical storage for all my stuff!  Brian was a great assistantSmile  Thanks bunches.  Y’all come on back and help me sort and fill up those drawers!!!

All in all, it was a great birthday season.  It was fun being the Birthday Queen.  The greatest gift of all was family and friends…and an abundance of love and hugs all around!  And presents.  I got presents!

Life is good, y’all!!!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas traditions

Christmas bouncing gift

Family traditions.  We all have them, to one degree or another.

When our three were little, December 21 marked not only my birthday, but the day that they could begin opening ONE present under the tree daily until Christmas Eve.  They would spend serious time weighing thoughts on just which present to open.  They would appreciate this one gift, without all the frenzy that happens when multiple gifts are opened.

Moving on to Christmas Eve, we would all attend the family church service, then go home and open up all the rest of the presents under the tree, giving Santa a clear area for the next morning.  Each child picked out the spot where Santa should leave his/her loot (everything arrived unwrapped…Santa doesn’t believe in wasting wrapping paper!).  Location is everything…no dispute over ownership when your property is staked out.  No sirree.

Fast forward to our now empty nest.   We still attend the family church service on Christmas Eve (it is the children’s pageant, and the older ‘grands’ are in it—priceless).  A crockpot of soup (more on that on another post) awaits the church goers  when the whole family gathers here to eat and open up all the gifts.  That leaves the kids free to visit their other families the next day.  Just peachy.

So…please share some of your family Christmas traditions.  I love reading about them.  Seriously.

Have a wonderful Wednesday, y’all!  I’ll be beading…again.Smile

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Party people

Jennie sent me a few photos of the cast of characters:

Dick and the Birthday QueenIMG_2098

Jim and Janet, our chauffeursJim, Janet

Helen, and hostess-with-the-mostest JOANHelen, Joan

Dinah, moi, HaleyDinah, Sandy, Haley

hugs from AmyAmy, Sandy, Dick

and Joy…Sandy, Joy

And a good time was had by all!  This “birthday season” is awesome.  I’m celebrating good times…and am very blessed.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Monday, Monday...

...can't trust that day.  Mamas & the Papas...remember them?

Apparently I can't trust my hubby, children and friends either!  They got me good with a surprise party last night.  I was totally clueless.  Totally.  Until we pulled up at Dan and Joan's house to supposedly drop off Dan's vest that was left here at our house last Thursday night.  This little scheme had been in the works for a LONG time, people...and they all managed not to spill the beans.  But the abundance of recognizable vehicles in the driveway finally busted them. 

Note to Joan--just wait for the other shoe to drop, girl friend.  Joy and Jennie:  you two are sneaky!  As are my family.

Dick made clam dip to take to Joan as a gift, and was dropping it off, along with the vest.  I fell for that.  Joan and Dan couldn't go to dinner with us and Jim and Janet because they were finishing up leftovers last night, but they said to stop by for a drink first and leave Dan's vest.  I fell for that.  It was all in good fun...and a fun evening it was.

Chef Joan prepared a dinner fit for a king.  Or queen, in this particular case.  Dinah remarked during our fabulous dinner that she has eaten in lots of good restaurants, but that meal last night rated right up there with any five-star restaurant.  And for dessert, Amy made a carrot cake, and Haley made triple chocolate cake.  Jason and I were the winners in our birthday season!

The food...the decorations...the camaraderie...the laughter...WOW.  Everything was great.  But most important of all to me is your love. 

Thank you, guys and gals.  I love y'all.  Now send me some photos to post or your names are MUD!

Life is definitely GOOD.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Athiests Don't Have No Songs

Brought to you by Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers, for your listening and learning pleasure.  Or not.  I'm glad our hymnal has more than one page.  How 'bout you?

So it is birthday day for Jason.  Happy birthday, honey.  I know the wee boys will enjoy your celebration, just because kids like birthdays, no matter who the honoree is.  And cake.  And ice cream.  Big smiles here.

It is a slow news day, but that isn't all bad.

Enjoy your Sunday.  Do something nice for somebody today, y'all!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

iBand...who knew?

This is a whole new Christmas experience!  Who needs pianos or expensive, three-octave hand bells any more?  I can only handle 2-4 hand bells at a time, and this guy is ringing multiple bells,with no danger of dropping a single bell!  Amazing!  And no, I have never dropped a bell either.  That is a cardinal sin!  And I can get a tambourine app for my new iPhone?  Who knew?!!!  Shake, shake, shake...

So Joan, Joy and I went shopping Thursday and pretty much finished up with all our Christmas shopping.  Woohoo!  The loot is now bagged and tagged, and now I get to play with my beads!   And go to a Christmas party.  I like those...friends, food, fun---Fantastic!

We may get a bit of sleet/snow tonight...which will be fine if it doesn't stay around.  Dick had to wait for that stuff to melt the other morning before he could even get up our driveway. likey.  Remind me of why we are still here in Mayberry and not in warm(er) Florida?  Oh yes................... kids and Christmas.  I remember.

That's about all that's going on in Mayberry.  What are you doing for fun this weekend?  Whatever you do, stay safe and warm, y'all!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Support our troops!


If you go to this web site, Let's Say Thanks, you can pick out a thank you card, and Xerox will print it and it will be sent to a soldier who is currently stationed overseas.  You can't pick out who gets it, but it will go to a member of the armed services.  How AMAZING it would be if we could get everyone we know to send one!!!

It is FREE and it only takes a few seconds.
Wouldn't it be wonderful if the soldiers received a bunch of these?  Whether you are for or against the war, our soldiers over there need to know we are behind them.

This takes just 10 seconds, and it's a wonderful way to say thank you. Please take the time, and please take the time to pass it on for others to do.  We can never say enough thank yous.

Thanks for taking the time to support our military!  Don’t forget, freedom is never FREE.

Hat Tip:  Comedy Plus

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Quiz answers

Here they are, answers to A Christmas Quiz, as promised:

 1.  To, From
 2.  Upon the roof
 3.  Charles Dickens
 4.  Gaspar, Melchoir and Balthasar
 5.  Because they are actually called snow globes
 6.  Gabriel
 7.  Epiphany
 8.  To be enrolled for the taxes
 9.  Queen Victoria
10.  Spring
11.  Six (6)
12.  White Christmas
13.  In the year 1895
14.  There are nine (9)
15.  Mistletoe

So, how did you do?  I knew most of them, but not all.  Interesting.  Now you know more stuff.

Merry Christmas, y'all!  Are you ready yet?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Christmas Quiz

Grab a nice glass of wine or warm tea, some cheese and crackers, and take this Christmas Quiz:

1.  What two words are normally pre-printed on a gift tag?
2.  Where did Santa land his sleigh in “The night before Christmas?
3.  Who wrote Christmas Carol?
4.  What were the names of the three Kings that went to see baby Jesus?
5.  Why do people give water globes at Christmas?
6.  What was the name of the angel that appeared to Mary?                                                                                          
7.  What is the 12th day after Christmas called?
8.  Why were Joseph and Mary going to Bethlehem?
 9.  Who was the first English monarch to have a Christmas tree?
10.  According to the bible in which season was Jesus born?
11.  How many sides does a snowflake have?
12.  What is the all-time best-selling Christmas recording?
13.  When were electric Christmas lights first used?
14.  How many candles are on a Hanukkah Menorah (candelabra)?
15.  At Christmas, it is customary to exchanges kisses beneath a sprig of which plant?

Stay tuned tomorrow for the answers…and stay warm!  It is C.O.L.D. in paradise, y'all...9!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Let it Snow!

And so it has, since about 10a yesterday.  We have now accumulated about 3" and more is falling.  All the schools in north Georgia are closed.  It is only 21 outside...brrr...

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Where's our snow?

Snow was promised.  There is no snow.  Not here in the valley, that is.  I am sure the mountains are all beautiful and frosted over (this is an old photo), since we had rain during the night...but it is ABOVE freezing here on the lake, therefore, no snow.  Yet.  It's coming, so we are warned, and the skies are definitely looking snow laden. 

One of the local churches is presenting their Christmas Contata tonight, so I'd like the weather to cooperate so I can attend.

I have made a little Christmas prep progress--a couple of gifts made, packages mailed, Christmas cards almost I need to find my list and check it twice.  Time is running out!  There is still much to do...where has the time gone???

Stay warm.  Enjoy your Sunday, y'all!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Polar express is coming to Paradise!

cove 12.9.10

This was our view two days ago before it got above freezing.  That is ICE forming along the edges of our cove.  Rain and falling temps are coming in tonight, with the promise of snow tomorrow, even in Atlanta.  We’ll be below freezing until Wednesday.  At least.  And the irony is that we probably won’t have a white Christmas in two weeks!  That’s just wrong, I tell you! 

Dick and I will attend a Christmas party tonight…tomorrow is Haley’s scrapbook club final gathering for the year…so that is my weekend.  I plan to put on a pot roast in the crock pot before heading over to Haley’s house.  I love crock pot cooking!  Easy peasy, and done when you want it to be.

Ho, ho, ho…enjoy your weekend, y’all!  Stay warm…

Friday, December 10, 2010

Of health and other yours?

Having a sense of humor sure helps with this particular test.  December is health month for this gal.  Guess where I'm heading today?  Got yours (gals only)???

And then the Dell Dude arrives this afternoon to replace my snaggle-tooth keyboard, and my BFF in India calls me tomorrow to make sure all is well, and we are D fer live happily ever hereafter.  And if you believe that, you don't know computers!

Last night was the first of two Christmas band concerts for Ansley.  It was awesome listening to the progression of ability from 6th graders on up to the high school students.  We are mighty proud of our gal, and of all the students.  Umm, wonder how many of these concerts we've sat through over the years?!  Love it.

So, after my big test, it is a trip to the post office and other Christmas related stuff.  Not 'holiday' related stuff.  Christmas.  Make no mistake about that.

Have a great Friday.  Life is good...but COLD!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Of wine and winners…

winemaker's notes:

"Bright red.  Smoky cherry and dark berry aromas are complemented by candied licorice, dark chocolate and zesty minerality.  At once silky and lively, with impressively complex cherry and dark berry flavors joined by an exotic floral pastille quality on the finish.  This boasts remarkable focus and persistence for the price."wine
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
89 Points

So this is the bottle of wine that got rated Best at the wine tasting last Saturday (note the rubber band holding the voting slip). 

There must have been a dozen different reds for our sipping and tasting pleasure—and NO duplicates!  I’m sure there were an equal number of whites upstairs, but I never ventured up there, being quite satisfied with the variety on the lower level—and the food.  This little number cost under $7 at Costo, according to Maureen.  Quite the bargain!  Garnacha de Fuego.  Let me know if you try some.

Runner up was a bottle of red that had a big orange question mark on it.  That’s right—no name—just a big orange question mark!  Easy to remember.

We are currently enjoying a California merlot from Bogle Vineyards that sells for just under $10.  And an old fave: Columbia Crest Grand Estates Cabernet Sauvignon (even cheaper than the Bogle).

We always enjoy trying something new and different, so tell me:

What’s your favorite ‘cheap’ wine? 

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Got fever...poor baby!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Just peachy


Everything went just PEACHY yesterday with my procedure.  I got a good report, was all the doc told Dick.  Guess he didn’t want to tell Dick how cute my colon looked!  Beautiful snowflakes were falling on us all the way to the hospital, making everything  a pristine white for our ride home.  I can see a few spots left up in the woods and on the carport roof, which makes for a perfect snow, in my humble opinion…here today; gone tomorrow!

I wound up sleeping all afternoon, so I need to kick it up into high gear today and get a few things done.  Boy howdy is it cold this morning—20.  I’m staying inside till lunch time.  Brrr…come on, sunshine.  Warm us up!

The plan for today is to get out our small fiber optic tree and a few other decorations and call it DONE.  Everything has to be put away by 12/29, and I want to actually MAKE some gifts, so that is taking priority over decorating this year.  Period.

Everything in life is a balance, right?  And setting priorities.  There will be no Christmas stress allowed around here!  No sirree.

Stay well, warm, and stress free, y’all!  Life is good…

Monday, December 6, 2010

Monday stuff...

I sure hope I'll hear these sweet words this morning.

To the over-50 crowd:  Got yours yet???

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Let it snow...

And so it is.  Light flurries are gently falling outside, and I am watching the wind swirl around those first beginnings on the rooftop of the carport.  I don't think we'll have much accumulation, but we are in for a very cold week ahead.  Brr...

Please join me in wishing Sarge a very happy birthday today, and have a piece of cake with me.  That Sarge is a mighty special fella.

Stay warm, and enjoy your Sunday, y'all!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Sistas, food, friends, wine…

betagirls First, our local BSP chapter is hosting the annual NE Georgia Council Christmas luncheon today at a local restaurant.  We expect around 60 sistas to attend.  We are a loud, loving group.  And talkative.  Some of these gals we only see once or twice a year, so we have lots of catching up to do.  And hugging.  You might want to avoid Young Harris, if you are seeking a  peaceful, quiet lunch. 

And later is the annual Advent Wine Tasting event, women only, mostly from our parish, but others are also included.  EveryoneWine bottle brings a bottle of ‘cheap’ wine for a fun tasting and rating.  And lots of good food.

Make the most of your Saturday.  Wish you were here!



Friday, December 3, 2010

Friday stuff

tired kitty

This is the way Scooter acted after his nap here yesterday, poor guy.  He has big brother’s fever.   Big brother is now better.  Macey has also been feverish this week, and now Haley has it.  Sheesh.  No strep or flu, but ‘bugs’ are definitely going around.  I am washing my hands a bazillion times a day.  Germs, begone!

Project galore around here—Christmas list checking, decorations (not doing a lot this year), gift making—the list is LONG. 

Have you finished your Christmas shopping yet (I know smart Empress Bee already has finished hers.)?

And a major cold front is moving our way.

Please send hot chocolate instead!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Frosty morning in Paradise

It is 25 outside. Florida is 28 days away. Yikes! Brrr...

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

December. Already?


Yes, it is…and we had a few snow flurries here at the house this morning.  December arrived with a chilly blast, y’all!  The mountains are all coated with that white stuff, but we only had ice on the deck, thanks to yesterday’s rain.  At least the sun is out and the ice has now melted.

Brrr…29 days until we leave for Florida!