Friday, December 31, 2010


I spent the last day of this year shopping with my sister for a big staging job we have later next week.  We overflowed  3 shopping carts at the Home Goods store.  Others in line guessed that we must be staging a home - that or just having way too much fun!  We then re-grouped to a restaurant to have lunch and gather our thoughts about what we have and what we still need - this job is a big house with a mother-in-law unit downstairs which we decided to stage with a man cave/party room theme.  And yes.  It is fun!

We are certainly hoping that these two jobs are a signs of a busy new year in our new venture - the shopping is enjoyable, but expensive and it is hard to know what to keep and what to return when we are unsure of the number of jobs we may have at any given time and how long the homes may remain on the market with our inventory inside! 

My "day job" may go full time soon, too.  As I know I have mentioned over and over, Tom wants me to be the one to bring in the medical benefits so we don't have to fund them through his business.  The hotel offers benefits for 4 shifts per week and someone has left - unfortunately, she is the other Saturday/Sunday person.  We are trying to figure out if there is a way to make me full-time by working double shifts every weekend for the time being.  Crazy, but I would do it...

As for the New Year's Eve happenings - we are home, I am cooking and I can't say if I will see the ball drop as 2011 is welcomed.  I will say that I am much happier and healthier going into this new year than the last.  I wish the best to all my friends!

Monday, December 27, 2010


1.)   Hilda keeps going over to the packages Maggie sent and sniffing them.  She has shown no interest in the gifts until Maggie's were put under the tree.  She can smell her missing person.

2.)   My sister and I got another call for a staging job - who knew the holidays would be our busy season?

3.)   At our company holiday party there was one of those gift drawings where people can steal the gift you got. I opened a 15 pound box of See's candy!  I had no idea they even made them that big.  I felt very sure someone would steal it and it would not cause a temptation for me or a sugar coma for Tom and Ally.  And what did I end up with after it was stolen from me?  A scale!!  Much more appropriate.

4.)  Zac and Maggie cooked up a plan to have Maggie home for Christmas!  She visited us live via Skype on Christmas morning.  We got to share our usual morning of oohs and ahhs and thank yous while we opened each other's gifts.  It was really great!

5.)  It seems that all my hard work and thought going into gifts for the family paid off.  Everyone seems to be happy with their stuff and there is only 1 size exchange necessary.

6.)  With Maggie across the country, Ally took on some of the "Santa" duties (meaning filling my stocking which was empty for many years as my hubby is not up to dealing with it.)  She remarked at how much work it was to come up with stocking stuffers.  Bit by bit they start understanding the amount of work that goes in to making the "magic" every year!

7.)  On to the New Year's festivities and taking down, putting away all the decorations and new things.  The house always seems so plain for a few days after everything is packed up...but it is a good start to the new year to clean up and organize.


Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Christmas tree options wall sticker.   Can you imagine how easy?  Just peel and stick to the wall, stack the gifts underneath and done!

I think a small flock of these flamingos would be very festive on the front lawn.  Beats the heck out of those deer...

Or maybe this creepy ornament for the tree?

I love this bunny doorstop which comes unadorned in simple white ceramic.  He comes with a pair of boots and the Santa hat beard combo to be added during the holiday season!

A non-traditional gingerbread house for those on the skids...

A wreath decorated with obsolete computer parts - we all have obsolete electronics around the house.  This might be my DIY for next year!

Monday, December 20, 2010


I am feeling my weekend today.  My sister and I  had a staging job which we completed this weekend because of her hectic schedule during the week.  So I spent most of the day Saturday and Sunday moving furniture and making beds and running out to various stores for things ( light bulbs, plants, bathmats, etc.),  and then came home, changed clothes and went to work from 3-11 at the hotel.  I am pooped. 

I have 4 days to recover before our big family dinner on Friday night.  I hope that we have as much fun during our get together as these folks in this story my mom sent me:

This is an article submitted to a 1999 Louisville Sentinel contest to find out

who had the wildest Christmas dinners. It won first prize.

*Christmas With Louise*

As a joke, my brother Jay used to hang a pair of panty hose over his fireplace before Christmas. He said all he wanted was for Santa to fill them. What they say about Santa checking the list twice must be true because every Christmas morning, although Jay's kids' stockings overflowed, his poor pantyhose hung sadly empty. One year I decided to make his dream come true. I put on sunglasses and went in search of an inflatable love doll. They don't sell those things at Wal-Mart. I had to go to an adult bookstore downtown.

If you've never been in an X-rated store, don't go. You'll only confuse yourself. I was there an hour saying things like, "What does this do?" "You're kidding me!" "Who would buy that?" Finally, I made it to the inflatable doll section. I wanted to buy a standard, uncomplicated doll that could also substitute as a passenger in my truck so I could use the car pool lane during rush hour. Finding what I wanted was difficult. "Love Dolls" come in many different models. The top of the line, according to the side of the box, could do things I'd only seen in a book on animal husbandry. I settled for "Lovable Louise." She was at the bottom of the price scale. To call Louise a "doll" took a huge leap of imagination. On Christmas Eve and with the help of an old bicycle pump, Louise came to life. My sister-in-law was in on the plan and let me in during the wee morning hours. Long after Santa had come and gone, I filled the dangling pantyhose with Louise's pliant legs and bottom. I also ate some cookies and drank what remained of a glass of milk on a nearby tray. I went home, and giggled for a couple of hours. The next morning my brother called to say that Santa had been to his house and left a present that had made him VERY happy but had left the dog confused. She would bark, start to walk away, then come back and bark some more.

We all agreed that Louise should remain in her panty hose so the rest of the family could admire her when they came over for the traditional Christmas dinner. My grandmother noticed Louise the moment she walked in the door. "What the hell is that?" she asked.

My brother quickly explained, "It's a doll." "Who would play with something like that?" Granny snapped. I kept my mouth shut. "Where are her clothes?" Granny continued. "Boy, that turkey sure smells nice, Gran," Jay said, to steer her into dining room. But Granny was relentless. "Why doesn't she have any teeth?" Again, I could have answered, but why would I? It was Christmas and no one wanted to ride in the back of the ambulance saying, "Hang on Granny, hang on!" My grandfather, a delightful old man with poor eyesight, sidled up to me and said, "Hey, who's the naked gal by the fireplace?" I told him she was Jay's friend. A few minutes later I noticed Grandpa by the mantel, talking to Louise. Not just talking, but actually flirting. It was then that we realized this might be Grandpa's last Christmas at home.

The dinner went well. We made the usual small talk about who had died, who was dying, and who should be killed, when suddenly Louise made a noise like my father in the bathroom in the morning. Then she lurched from the mantel, flew around the room twice, and fell in a heap in front of the sofa. The cat screamed. I passed cranberry sauce through my nose, and Grandpa ran across the room, fell to his knees, and began administering mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. My brother fell back over his chair and wet his pants.

Granny threw down her napkin, stomped out of the room, and sat in the car. It was indeed a Christmas to treasure and remember. Later in my brother's garage, we conducted a thorough examination to decide the cause of Louise's collapse. We discovered that Louise had suffered from a hot ember to the back of her right thigh. Fortunately, thanks to a wonder drug called duct tape, we restored her to perfect health.

Friday, December 17, 2010


Welcome to our home, all dressed up for the holiday season.  This year I rested some of my usual decorations and bought aand made a few new things.  I decorated with red, green and silver. 

I was inspired to make this garland by a magazine photo.  I found a big container of these mixed ornaments at the hardware store back in October and started planning my theme back then!

This is a close-up of one of the ornament clusters made with the mixed ornaments.  The mix even included stars, snowflakes and bells!  It was a real find.  I purchased the red and silver garland from the same store.

I found some red snowflakes to add to the mix.

The view from my kitchen.

A close-up of the china cabinet.

The stockings are hung by the chimney with care, except for Maggie's which is spending Christmas in New Jersey this year.

My little collection.

A tablescape.

So that is it for this year.  I hope you enjoyed touring my little house and all the holiday sparkle.

Enjoy the holiday season and have a Happy New Year!

For more home tours, join our hostess  Jen on the Edge here.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


When we  were putting ornaments on the tree we put one for our dear little dachshund, Hilda right up front and center.  I think Hilda being 14 and a bit blind and deaf makes us all the more aware that our years with her are getting limited.

This summer we had to get rid of the area rug we had in our living room because she spent last winter using it when she didn't wait to go out to the yard and when the grass in the yard was wet and she didn't want to walk on, much less squat in, wet grass.  Believe me, I tried everything to dissuade her from that practice and to clean up after those episodes.  I really liked that rug. 

Once the rug was gone, she could no longer get enough "purchase" on the floor to jump up onto the furniture.  Which is fine,  better for her back, actually.  Except that we have never forbidden the furniture so when we were around she is constantly pestering us to pick her up, then she jumps down and wants back up, then jumps down and on and on.  We have grown tired of this.  So I have been looking for a solution, other than those cheesy, yet expensive, carpeted steps they sell for pets.

I ended up, at least for the time being, with a cat scratcher thingy.  It is the perfect size ramp for Hilda.  She climbs up and onto the ottoman and then can choose whichever seat she wants.  Usually the one most recently vacated by someone and therefore pre-warmed.

And speaking of pre-warmed, the bed there in the photo?  It has a heating pad under it which is switched on all winter...Spoiled?  Not our doggie.

Friday, December 10, 2010


1.)  NOW the Democratic caucus decides to, as the vernacular goes, GROW A PAIR???  They had two years, a forward looking President, the backing of the American public and they couldn't get off their thumbs long enough to keep the promises made to roll back tax breaks for the richest 10% of the country.  But now that the President has been shamed and bullied and has come up with a compromise which will allow the jobless benefits to be extended...NOW they stand up and say no tax cuts for the wealthy?  Really?

2.)  Got all dressed up Thursday and went down to the hotel for the employee holiday lunch...except they had postponed it until December 22.  The peril of working only 2 days a week is being left out of the loop...that and a wee small paycheck.

So - all dressed up an nowhere to go?  I went to the mall.  I usually avoid the mall in December but I headed for one store only with a mission in mind.  Me.  I splurged and bought myself some cute tops suitable for holiday festivities.

3.)  I have the house decorated and now I am working on my photos for the Holiday Home Tour hosted by Jen on the Edge.  Come visit next Friday to see homes all over the country all dressed up for the holidays!  If you are still looking for inspiration she has linked last year's tour.  If you want to join in, sign up by December 13.

I don't really get the angle - but the background tells the story!

4.)  Maggie had a wonderful time on her trip to France with her boyfriend and his parents.  She was not able to do all the things she would have liked since the trip was planned around fine dining and wine tasting - not that she didn't enjoy those things!  She is just ready to go back to see more sights and museums and do the shopping she didn't get to do.  I volunteered to be her travel companion!

5.)  Since Maggie took time off from her job - she will not be able to come home for the holidays this year.  I am actually feeling okay about it,  I am more worried that she won't have a nice holiday than I am about missing her. 

But Ally is having a hard time.  When I hung the stockings and Maggie's was not there she was very upset and wanted me to hang it - but she understood when I said I was filling it and mailing it to Maggie.  It has always been her favorite part of the gifts - the little goodies in the stocking.  So I wouldn't think of making her go without!  Now if I could figure out how to ship Monkey bread so it was hot and gooey on Christmas morning I would feel a lot better about things...

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


Photo taken the day John Lennon Was shot.
 I don't remember the date until it comes up each year, but the day John Lennon was killed is one of those days which I will always remember.  I was living in San Diego - I had recently moved back there to an apartment in Pacific Beach because I was preparing to start law school.  I was seeing a guy then who was a few years older than me.  He called - stunned by the news.  We shared our thoughts, feelings, memories.  Both of us recalled the feelings we had when Bobbie Kennedy and Martin Luther King were shot.  Those tragedies which marked our teens still left tender places in our hearts.

Whenever I think of this day I also think of the impact The Beatles had on my life.  My first boy-girl party in 5th grade where we listened to Meet the Beatles over and over.  The albums marked my growing up years - the years of change and evolution in my life and in the world. 

 As a suburban girl, I was introduced to a larger world by the travels and experiences of the Beatles which they shared in their lyrics.  I am thinking of the Magical Mystery Tour and the references not just to drugs but to meditation and spirituality.  I received the coveted White Album for Christmas when I was 16.  A double album.  I had the song "I Will" from that album played at my wedding.  I am not a music critic or at all knowledgeable about these things except for my feelings and memories all tied up and connected with the songs of Lennon and McCartney.

I think John Lennon was a genius.  I think The Beatles was the best and most important music group ever.  I wish John Lennon had been allowed to live longer so that we could all have experienced more of what he had to give - and so his children and the woman who loved him could have shared their lives with him.

Maybe it is partly my current mood about our politics right now - it just seems like so many who had so much promise have been taken from us - those of us in my age group feel it especially keenly because we were so touched by these men.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


 I have been reading a bit on the analysis of the reasons the Democrats in Congress did not push ahead to keep the promises to end the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy when hey had their chances earlier on during the Obama administration.  As usual, it was a failure of intelligent, gutsy leadership.  Instead of taking advantage of both their majority and the backing and support of the majority of the American people to let the tax cuts for the wealthy expire, they decided to put off the discussion until after the mid-term elections for fear they would be painted by the FauxFox News brush as anti-American tax and spend liberals and not get re-elected.  Well, they didn't get re-elected anyway and now they have lost their advantage, nerve and opportunity to bring billions of dollars into our coffers.

Now that the Republicans have refused to extend unemployment benefits ( and are threatening not to ratify the START treaty with Russia to prevent nuclear proliferation) they have the Dems over a lame duck barrel.  We all know that those benefits must be extended.  We can't have an unemployment rate of 10% and 8 million jobs gone and no safety net for those living inside the nightmare of those statistics.

Obama, who was overwhelmingly elected on a platform to extend only the tax cuts for income below $250,000, maintains that the estimated $670 billion difference between his plan and the Republicans' is unaffordable given our long-term budget deficit. He also notes that the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has found lower tax rates to be the least effective economic stimulus proposal of 11 ideas it considered.  But that will not stop this proposal from being passed.

Makes me wish there was a viable alternative to being a registered Democrat.

Saturday, December 4, 2010


My mom and I were talking a while back about our efforts to economize.  She said that dad wanted her to stop sending birthday checks to everyone but she wanted to continue with that tradition.  I must say that with 5 children, 4 spouses and 14 grandchildren - those are a lot of checks to send out every year.  But I am always so happy to see that check tucked inside my birthday card - even at my advanced age!

So what did I spend my birthday money on this year? Do you even need to ask? Shoes, of course!

I don't know why but I just wanted some oxford style shoes.  I think I just have so many cute little flats that my shoe wardrobe needed an injection of menswear style.  One of the comments on the Zappos site where I found them said that they were much better looking in person than in the photo - and they were right!  They are actually kind of dainty looking, and so soft.  Thanks Mom & Dad!!

I also had a credit at DSW and with my new job requiring me to be on my feet, like my old job did, I knew that some new Merrels were in order.  The ones I have now are about 7 years old and scuffed up.  I wear them around the house  but they are not suitable for wearing to work, so I have a new pair of these, too.

Friday, December 3, 2010


1.) Had my birthday this week.  Ally took me to breakfast and my sister took me to lunch so I couldn't kvetch much about making dinner - though Ally was incensed that Tom wasn't interested in taking me out!  The waiter at il Fornaio where we had lunch brought some ice cream with a candle.  I won't say what I wished for...but you can't win if you don't buy a ticket.  And yeah, someone else is going to have to wish for world peace...

2.)  Ally and I were talking about healthy foods and she told me that a girl in one of her classes was going on one day about how much she liked brown rice.  Ally said "Really?" to the girl (I have never been able to get her to eat it) and the girl said "Oh, yeah, I always order it when we get Chinese food."  Ally suggested that maybe she was talking about fried rice?  The girl said "It might be fried but it's brown."  Ally continues to be amazed by the cluelessness of her classmates...

3.)  I was looking through some Etsy gift Guides for some stocking stuffer ideas for Tom and Zac.  Men are so hard to buy little sticking stuffers for, compared to girls anyway.  Most of the stuff featured was way too metrosexual or hipster or expensive.  Then I found  this list "What He Would Like for Christmas."  Since the women wearing the lingerie don't come with it - I'm not sure my guys would appreciate it!  But a lot of it would certainly be small enough for a stocking stuffer.

4.)  Again I am working a job which takes me out of the house during the dinner hours.  My husband tends to fall apart if hot food isn't served on a plate to him each night.  Even though I leave instructions about what is in the frig to eat, he will make a sandwich or eat cold things directly out of the containers rather than go to the trouble of heating it and putting it on a plate.

 Last night I made his favorite Goulash in the crock pot.  I cooked the noodles and left them on the stove with instructions on how to warm them and serve up his dinner (Ally was working, too.)  I got home at 11:15 pm and the crock pot was still on - the goulash simmering away.  I guess I need to leave instructions about how to turn off the appliances and put the leftovers away, too.  Geez.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


There are two things I must do before I leave the house.  Put on some mascara and lipstick.  And even if the fashion is for pale lips - mine are painted shades of red.  I love bright lips and apparently, so do men.

In a recent study by Manchester University, men are most drawn to a woman's lips over any other facial features.  Dr Geoff Beattie, who led the research said   "The research suggests that red lips and perceived attractiveness are still inextricably linked, with red lipstick proving to be the most powerful attractor and significantly increasing visual fixation."

Manchester University carried out the research by tracking the eye moments of 50 men as they were presented with images of different women. The research concluded that if women wore lipstick, the men gazed at their lips for an average of seven seconds. Research further showed, he would spend just 0.95 seconds looking at their eyes and 0.85 seconds studying their hair.  Men spend 6.7 seconds of the first ten staring at women with pink lipstick, while red lips attracted 7.3 seconds of the first ten, the study found.

For all the natural beauties - when women wore no makeup, the male attention was spread more evenly among all the facial features.

My current favorite lipstick is Korres Wine Red.  Second favorite is Burt's Bees Fig.  What's yours?