We have been birdwatching all day, while drinking coffee and me working. It is soooo quiet here. When we see a bird, google it for identification and songs ... (well, Chris uses the old-fashion research of "The Sibley Guide to Birds". Curve-billed Thrasher (a wonderfulbird-call), Western Meadowlark, Quail, Cardinals, Roadrunner. Lots of birds! I squealed when I saw a Jackrabbit rush by in the desert part of the 'backyard'.
I have been trying to put a calendar together for myself and a friend, for 2012 ... but my time doesn't feel like it is my own right now. Don't you hate it when the holidays are coming to a close and you realize how many fun, creative things you *didn't* do?
I am taking a quick trip but getting ready to go is just stressing me out. Taking laptop to work, packing up Brantlers to possibly show galleries. Packing from a completely messy closet, bedroom. Let's just say, my house feels in chaos right now. And I am trying to put that aside and concentrate on task at hand. Finish illustration, load up files on the LaCie for work, emails to send out to on-going freelance projects no yet finished, iron a pair of pants and shirt, return some clothes, pick-up refills at pharmacy, figure out how to get all of this into one carry-on ... the list goes on. I keep telling myself, the mess will all be here when I get back so don't concentrate on that right now. ;)
Finished up a ornament exchange last night to get into the mail today ... (yes, it was an after-Christmas exchange). I used some of the smaller Brantlers and added a red nose bell and a ribbon to hang it with. David LOVES it. Okay, gotta go!
What a day of eating, laughing, unwrapping, visiting with friends (near and far)! Crepes for brunch and standing rib roast for late dinner, homemade potato soup in between! It was a great day. I guess no one listened to my "no-Christmas-present" policy this year!
The family decided I needed more fun in 2012 and brought me lots of game devices (that I have been addicted to in a past life). Bri and Matt gave me a Wii and we "Zumba"-ed last night. Learned how to use the wheel while playing Mariokart. David played with his HP tablet. I took advantage of the new "Vinturi Red Wine Aerator".
Here is the aftermath for Maggy ;) Unfortunately, it is all still there to be cleaned up today.
Santa brought Sophie a pink sweater. I found Pixel's Surf Dog shirt from long ago ... she once walked right through this T-shirt ... now it fits her more like a "muscle shirt".
We didn't manage to get the "family Christmas photo" taken yesterday. Thankfully, Tara took this one of David and me. New Year photos? this year?
Maybe because I haven't really left my computer for so many months, I actually enjoyed the pressing holiday crowd today. Hunting for a parking spot. Planning my route to optimize my shopping experience. Me, humming Christmas music and smiling, and shoppers smiling back. We were all out there panicking together and I didn't feel so alone! Checked off a lot of stuff from my list. Just think, I still have one day of shopping I could use if I needed it!
Purchased gift cards for the postman, garbage collectors and recycle guys. Makes me feel so much better, since in my grief, I totally forgot them last year. Got my neighbors baked packages together. Went grocery shopping (mom usually does, but I have taken that over for now).
Made Raspberry and Blackberry compote (from leftover berries from earlier this week) for Christmas morning crepes (when the kids will be here).
Made a carrot soup for Christmas eve for just us, without the kids. ;0 We will have soup, good cheeses and bread, play some board game. Feels weird to think of Christmas eve without my son here with us, but we grow and survive.
As for me in the kitchen. I admit I had to have mom remind what button to push on the oven to start it. And we have very different cooking styles. My mom cooks from years of just doing it, never measuring, substituting this for that. I follow the recipe and never sure exactly what I am doing. Mom's always taste better! Is it her cooking? Or that someone cooked it for you that makes it taste much better? I am guessing both.
I re-discovered all the cool cooking gadgets we have! Used them all. I have the big mess to prove it. Remembered how I really love to cook. Dogs love it when I am in the kitchen and not sitting at the computer, ignoring them.
Do you think applying for jobs the December 23rd looks desperate? Well, whatever ... I applied for a few jobs today because my freelance contract is coming to an end.
Okay, got to go clean up my *big* mess in the kitchen! And wrap a few more gifts.
I am feeling a pressure today!
So much to do, so little time. I was definitely *not* prepared this Christmas season! I had a dream I was driving my old truck down the highway, looked down and the gas gauge was all of a sudden on empty! The other cars were buzzing past me and I was trying to work my way the shoulder. I am off to finish some freelance, baking and last minute shopping today. Between freelance and mom being really ill ... I am struggling to keep up. ;0 I am going to dream of making this meal but really we are having soup on Christmas eve. Christmas morning, crepes when the kids are here and David will whip up something fabulous for Christmas day.
Creature Comforts has a wonderful selection of free gift tags. I didn't do any new ones this Christmas but have these *old* gift tags from last year - Let it snow.
Keeping the fun spirit of the season is easy when watching this video.... thank you Maggy. We should all feel the unharnessed joy of the moment..
I love to hear the wailing of the Common Loon. I also am very attracted to the black and white patterned feathers. I have a few cd's of birds songs that I love to have playing in the house. A great resource for Loon Sounds. More information at BirdWeb and All About Birds at The Cornell Lab of Ornithology. I get their wonderful newsletter, which makes me stop working for a minute and go read about one of my favorite subjects, birds and ducks!
The other day I was poking around on shift collaborative links and found so many terrific local blogs and artist. Honestly, there are so many blogs out there, just reading them could be a full-time job. Love to find local artist blogs! So here are a few things that really caught my eye.
Maggy and I were whining about lives little nuances via email this morning. Then Maggy ran across this story of faith, hope and and God's grace and sent it to me so we could keep our little problems in perspective. A great Christmas love story.
Karen and her family adopted Cami who was severely burned as a young toddler and has been an orphan in China for the past seven years. You can be part of the story by donating a little something for Cami Ai Liu. A part of her recovery and history! It's a family affair, a worldwide family.
Okay, I am so busy that I don't really think I am going to get Christmas finished!
So here is a little story I am sure David or mom would not like me to share. But, it is so funny (to me) that I must. Rick (I work with my neighbors, Rick and Laura) came over last night. I had gone over a couple of days ago, in my "work clothes" and wooly house slippers (ie, the clothes I have been wearing for days). There was Rick, unshaven, in his wooly house slippers wearing the same clothes he had had on for days.
Last night when he walked in and we saw each other ... we both said ... you haven't showered or changed since the last time I saw you! And laughed, thinking we should document the state of us in our "self-employed" attire with a photograph and wishing it could be a "scratch & sniff". No iconic, stylish black, designer turtle-necks. No high-heeled boots or fashion-forward prints. We keep it real. ;)
These made me giggle this morning! How much do I love these little spent seedpods?
YES! I am lame. I forgot to include the rules for the Versatile Blog Awards: ;)
Nominate 15 fellow bloggers.
Inform the bloggers of their nomination.
Share 7 random things about yourself.
Thank the blogger who nominated you.
Add the Versatile Blog Award picture on your blog post.
7 random things about me (that you haven't heard before)
1. Everyday I wonder where the crows go to roost at dusk, and want to jump in my car and follow them to their final sleeping location. Why can't they stay in Edmonds to sleep over?
2. I have always felt like I don't belong (to this society). Sometimes I think I live in another realm or time. I have almost always felt like an outsider and shocked when other people understand or really get me.
4. Sometimes, if I can't concentrate on work because of (home) distractions ... it helps me to turn on a Netflix movie online. I don't watch the movie, it just keeps my attention focused on the computer screen. Weird, I know.
5. I can't go to sleep in complete silence because my head keep me mulling over ideas/problems. I must have outside noise, be it home noises, TV, radio. I thought I was weird until my neighbors told me they go to sleep every night listening to audible books for the same reason.
6. I love learning and being a student and could have stayed at university for a lifetime. I think my curiosity drives most actions in my life.
7. I don't smoke marijuana but I believe it should be legalized. Think of all the tax revenue it could generate for state governments.
Forwarding this award to other Versatile Bloggers.
Shelly Noble's Notes from Halfland. So much work and attention to detail keeps you reading for hours and wonder, "how does she do that?"
Although Kathy has taken a break fromMeggiecat, it is a great source of everything interesting.
Catherine, deeAuvil Photography and I share many loves ... vintage photographs, Indian heritage, just to mention two.
Something Undone- a single Father I'm frighteningly familiar with that sinking feeling that you must have left something undone. A sweet take on life!
To cover one of my favorite arts - fiber arts, Deborah Boschert, a talented fiber artist, artist, teacher, author, blogger and mom. That's a lot of talent in one petite person! Both started blogging the same time. So that makes us "unmet" friends for over 7 years.
Another busy, very talented mom, Amy of Life in the Lyons’ Den. Funny how the internet brings you so close to your roots it is scary. Amy and I have lots of sacred Texas real estate in common.
I have so many other blogs I could list, but I really have to go back to work!
This is really exciting and really makes me smile! Inorganic Flora by Macoto Murayama and more examples on Frantic Gallery. I have been really wanting to do something similar to this ... in the old style botanical plate featuring flower anatomy ... make it look old, on old torn paper, but have the illustrations totally in illustrator, polygons and rather scientific in a modern illustration style. This is on my *want-to-do-list*.
13 is always a lucky number for me. This morning is so lovely, a little sun, a big chill, some ice to sparkle up the backyard. Put some suet out for the birds. Have been working all morning for a meeting later today. And we are warm and cozy in our almost clean house, and we are thankful!
My horoscope is great today: Today is a 9 -- The work
pace is hopping, and barriers dissolve. Good fortune seems to find you
more often over the next few weeks. Brilliant innovation arises.
Got the fake pine needles all vacuumed up ... and it is starting to feel a lot like Christmas!
Finally thought of the perfect gift for mom! (Don't worry, she doesn't read my blog so she will never know!) Midsomer Murders Series 19! We haven't seen it! So one present down, many to go.
And Sophie just wants to know what the heck is up with all the trees in the house?
Even as I am noting in my head what decorations to put in the Goodwill box in January ... I am thinking of that great tinsel (the white-silver kind) I am placing around the tree and wondering where I could get more.
God, I am tired and not quite finished. Just think, I haven't even done the shopping, wrapping or Xmas card yet. ;)
Here is my good day ....
I got an IM from my friend Christina, who I believe to be my angel ... an angel who loves me. And when I hear just a couple of words from her, I feel like a bright light has lifted me from the dark. The same happens when I talked to Kathy and Maggy. The internet has been very, very good to me. And that makes me very happy and thankful. I have people that love me and I don't know why I deserve it, but I am so glad they do.
I had a good Skype conversation with my best friend. She is a therapist and thankfully, never charges me a dime for all years of advice. We had a short conversation about the "upside" of "down-sizing" that is helping me let go. I love her so much and I know she loves me back the same. She never reads my blog so I can say anything I want and she will never know. ')
I am almost finished with the Christmas decoration. I am thankful. My knees are thankful. My back is thankful. I confess, decorating for Christmas feels empty with no kids in the house. My son assures that this is a first for all of those "empty" feelings and it will get better. :0 Husband agrees ... I "bah humbug" to them both and keep moving forward.
My son stopped by and picked up Christmas decorations that I will be giving away. As we talked ... I realized how "just" he is. He is such a moral and righteous person. I am so thankful for that. Smart and blessed with a whole lot of common sense. He might not be going to college right now, but he is working in a good job and learning real life skills. Maybe to his detriment, his dad's and my morals have been instilled in him genetically or orally. He probably watched too many PBS specials. We probably talked a little too much about politics from the Democratic point of view. I listen to him and know he has a good heart and intentions. I couldn't be more proud.
And I finally took a shower. And that made everyone thankful. :)
I wanted to document trimming the trees as a sequence ... but that didn't work. After the unpacking the 3rd box ... I ran out of energy to document boxes 4, 5 and the rest. So much for documenting ... but these are the few images I got. In downsizing ... the big tree is going so this will be it's last year being ours.
I fell into the big chair last night at 1am with my glass of wine and Ibuprofen ... and was out in a flash. Still with lots to go. I just couldn't manage to finish it all in one day as I had hoped.
We don't see my brother very often, well, never! But I know he has been reading my blog the last couple of days ... so posting a couple of picks for him! Love you, Mac! Thank you for the compliments about my new hair-do ... glad you like it. Time flew by and we all got old ;)
Mom says LOVE YOU ... She had an appointment yesterday and is feeling a little better. She always feels better when she hears from you.
David took this one of me and Pixel the other day ... Don't I look like Big Moma?
Sometimes I get good "forwarded" emails. Thank you, Carol.
Silver In The Hair Gold In The Teeth
Crystals In The Kidneys Sugar In The Blood Lead In The Ass Iron In The Arteries And An Inexhaustible Supply Of Natural Gas. I Never Thought I'd
Accumulate Such Wealth!
I took half of the experimental chocolate Pavlova over to Rick who is on a diet, with some fat-free whipping cream (on the side). I was worried because Pavlova can be very picky and I thought the chocolate would add some weight ... but I think it turned out really good! Only the chocolate will be have some fat in it. BTW, those raspberries ... to die for. ;) I did not let it sit in the oven overnight, which we usually do.
Update: Mom and I agree that was the best, lightest, low-fat dessert ever. With just an occasional bite of a chocolate piece. Wow, you gotta try it. Chocolate with the berries. ;) We have always let it set overnight but this one was perfect. A crisp, flaky exterior and chewing interior!