Thursday, December 31, 2015

Lazy morning, and then around noon I made trip to Winco in preparation for tonight's goodies.  Yes the store was crowded, but the biggest bummer was that I thought my car had been stolen when I came outside!  I did pay attention to where I parked, but still had great difficulty locating it.  Stress, anyone?

We'll be having dinner up the street at Jeannie's with a couple of other couples (I'm in charge of appetizers and dessert) and then it's an evening of Mexican Train.  As for actually ringing in the new year, who knows if I'll make it to midnight....   

Irrigation is due any second, so I've just finished my last soak until things dry out in a few days.  Of course we are expecting precipitation in a few days... but at least it'll be rain and not snow! 

Now I guess I'd better start working on my bruschetta for tonight... 
could take longer to make than I think!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Apparently Alex decided to be a penguin while snowboarding today...

I'm tired this evening, in part because of my vigorous leg workout (which I'm 'likely' to be feeling in a day or so.)  Also mailed a package (I actually got the self-serve kiosk to work!), and made a library run.  I enjoyed seeing Lisa and Chas this afternoon (I'm still full from that lunch!) and look forward to her return visit in mid-February for the Tucson Gem & Mineral Show.

Much of the rest of my afternoon was spent at Plato's Closet, where I took bags and bags of the clothes Alex is getting rid of.  I was surprised that they only bought 17 items (the rest I dropped off at the nearby church for their frequent rummage sales) but assume Alex will be glad to get the $ they offered.

I did well at Jeopardy tonight (and surprised myself by getting the final answer in the category of German Scientists) but now feel like crawling into bed and reading. So that's what I'm going to do!

Of course I started off this morning with a splendid soak - and was also happy to see that the hummers have discovered the newly filled feeder in the mulberry just outside the tub.  Good thing, because it was pretty nippy this morning, with serious crunchy frost on the ground.

Last evening Alex invited us to the guest house to see how nice it looks - Aja had cleaned it within an inch of her life, and then given it a woman's touch.  Let's just say it hasn't looked that nice since Bana and Grandpa left!

Patricia is on her way home from visiting Nora, and on FB yesterday shared this pic of her first grandchild showing off my handiwork.  I'm thinking Nora is saying the bib might be tad big at the moment... but no doubt she'll grow into it by the time she really needs it!

Cheri is stopping by this morning to pick up The Matriarch (I'll be curious to hear how far she reads before getting bogged down.) Then I'll be off to the gym (today in place of my usual Friday, when the gym will be closed.)  I expect the gym to start out really crowded in January with everyone making New Year resolutions - but also expect the crowds to thin out fairly quickly. <g> 

Lisa and Chas will joining us for lunch before they fly back to California sometime later in the day.  Alex won't be able to come to the 'party' because he's headed up to Flag for a day of snowboarding.  Judging from all the snow pix folks have been posting the past few days it should be a great day up there for the guys.

Time permitting I hope to make it to the post office sometime today to start the Texas package on its travels. The lines shouldn't be that long this week, right? 

Also need to swing by the library to drop off/pick up books, but thankfully that errand never takes long... as long as the library hasn't confused me by closing on one of their 'open' days!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

It was not surprising that, tired as I was, I only read until 9:00 last night before turning off my light.  It was also not surprising that I woke up this morning 8 hours later, around 5:00.  But it was surprising (to me, anyway, since once I awake, I'm awake) that when I didn't get out of my warm, snuggly bed I fell back asleep - for another couple of hours!

This morning's agenda includes wrapping and packaging the gifts for Texas, and this afternoon I take Carol for pedicure.  But first, I think it's time to soak!

Monday, December 28, 2015

I was surprised when Jim wasn't at the gym this afternoon. It turned out that for some reason he didn't have my standing Monday session on his calendar.  So instead I spent the time on the elliptical, and was pleased to see my heart rate stay fairly low.  

Then I headed over to Wanda's because she had asked me for some help on the computer. (Tom rolled his eyes about that!)  However it turned out to be very productive, and she said I had helped her a lot.

During the couple of hours I was there, my cellphone (which usually goes days, if not weeks, without a call) rang 3 times.  First was Alex, then Cheri, and lastly Colleen.  Guess  I'm popular today - and I came home with more fudge!  

I had time for another soak before Tom, Alex and I went out for dinner, and once home again watched Jeopardy.  Now I'm yawning from my lack of sleep last night, and feel ready to crawl into bed even though it's only 8:00.  Don't expect to read very long tonight...
It was only 39 degrees out when I 'trekked' across the yard to the hot tub, barefoot, so the water really felt delicious on my popsicle toes. 

Once again I could really relate to this song, which I first heard sung by Steve Goodman when he performed with John Prine at the Celebrity Theater, an intimate theater-in-the-round, in the 70s.  

What an incredible concert that was!!!

You can read more about this amazing song writer here:

This was my view of the (still almost full) setting moon this morning out the front of the tub, 
taken with the (very basic) camera on my dumb phone.

While soaking I listened to a very interesting segment on the roots of a cancer treatment (the one credited for curing Jimmy Carter) from more than a century ago.  I learn SO much from listening to that station!

Now it's time to work on Gail's leaves, which (in theory, anyway...) 
really shouldn't take that long...

While I am enjoying my current book, Citadel, by Kate Mosse, I was still surprised to find myself  reading until after midnight last night.    That was the same reason I was surprised (and considerably less than thrilled) to find myself awake before 6:00 this morning.

  Historical fiction has always been one of my favorite genres, and I prefer longer books since otherwise I'm finished with them too quickly.  This large hardback, with small print, is almost 700 pages long.

"Citadel was inspired by a plaque in the village of Roullens, outside Carcassonne, commemorating the Martyrs of Baudrigues, the nineteen prisoners who were executed by fleeing Nazi forces on August 19, 1944  Over time, most of the victims have been identified.  There are three commemorative stones at Baudrigues: one apiece for two leading members of the Aude resistance - and one listing nineteen other resistants, including 'two unknown women.'  Wondering about who these women might be was the starting point for this story." - Kate Mosse

It's starting to get light, so I'm pretty sure it's time for a soak in the hot tub!

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Today turned out to be a very nice day - at least out in the direct sun.  Yesterday's 35 mph winds had blown cottonwood and mulberry leaves into the pool, making a mess and clogging up everything. This morning I spent time scooping out all the floaters that virtually carpeted the water's surface, then this afternoon Alex sucked up the water-logged mess of leaves from the bottom of the pool while Tom cleaned out all the filters.  Thanks to the group effort the pool is happy once again.

During this morning's soak in the hot tub I talked with Marilyn, and caught up on all the Kerrville news. Since the water temperature is finally perfect I popped out a couple more times to take additional soaks during the afternoon; during one of them I listened to a very interesting segment on Ravel and his composition of Bolero.  Have I mentioned that I'm SO happy to have the hot tub fully functional again? <g>

While I 'helped' Tom watch football games today (the Carolina Panthers are no longer undefeated, and the Arizona Cardinals scored yet another win, seriously whooping the Green Bay Packers) I finished binding the second gift. YAY! Now once I finish the leaves for Gail's flowers (maybe tomorrow?) I can mail off those presents.
I did actually finish up one gift yesterday.... Yay!  And today there is hope that I will finish up yet another, though the final stages of blind-stitching the binding do NOT make my hand happy.  Obviously I will need to work in short bursts, with long periods of resting (reading!) in between.

One of yesterday's accomplishments was to try out the baking soda and water paste on the oven.  No I did not take a before picture. 

(just take my word for it... it was BAD!)  

It obviously needs a second round of paste in spots, 
and the racks still need to be scrubbed down.... 

Still, the baking soda made an incredible difference, used no toxic chemicals - and was so easy! Here is what it looks like now after I wiped it down later in the day.  MAJOR improvement!!!!!!!!!!

Now that it's light outside I plan to venture the few steps to the hot tub.  The thermometer on the back porch is only reading somewhere in the 30s (!), so I'll have to make a run for it in my robe.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Yesterday was such a wonderful family day, which is just as it should be.  

I had a lazy morning, finishing up in the kitchen (while watching various scenes from A Christmas Story, which was looping on TV all day) until all the kids were up.  Alex dragged over some big boxes, and we started in on the pile of gifts.

Tom is pretty good at guessing what's inside wrapped packages, but not for this, which turned out to be a new (very) cushy chair for working out in the shop (because unlike most of us, he does not have much padding of his own.) 

He just bundled up and headed out to play in the shop, so once he reappears I expect to hear rave reviews about his new seating arrangements.

Tyga, who isn't good at guessing, got a camo sweater 
(which he was going to wear to Tyler's Ugly Sweater party last night.)

While he didn't seem to mind wearing his sweater...

he was much more interested in his new dog toy, and dog bone.

You know how kids often play more with a box than the toy that comes inside of it?  (All parents will understand this!) GOOGLE figured this out <g> and created a Virtual Reality 'toy' called Cardboard, which Lisa got for Alex (she wrote some of the tech help for it) and tried to explain to me the other day. 

There's an app you put on your phone, then slide the phone into the box 
(which has 3D eye-pieces)

and off you go!  (When I tried it I got walk around the Eiffel Tower.)

Alex had a Snowboarding Christmas;  
here's a flask to help keep him warm.

He also got new goggles (from Tom), gloves (from Lisa), and pants (from me), so he's all set to hit the slopes.  Now all he needs is to be where the snow is, which is almost here in Phoenix, where it's COLD... unlike the unseasonably warm East Coast.

This was a little something I found for him, 
though I certainly don't expect him to put it on his car!

Lisa liked her SPIRE

and her warm, snuggly boots 

which turned out to be a great match for her pants!

Tom was happy because (among other things) he got a lot of things on his wish list, like new socks, warm slippers, and a belt, and several interesting-sounding books. He was also thrilled with his new placemat.  "You finally found arrowhead fabric?!"  It was hard to sneak time to work on it, because I never knew when he'd pop in from working out in the shop. But it was worth it.

Marilyn always sends fun stuff.  I loved Tom's parking cards; there were a variety inside the bag, each one funnier than the last.  Maybe I can get my own set?  HINT, HINT  Heaven knows I'd have plenty of opportunities to use them!

When Tom open this, he wondered (aloud) if it came with dollar bills.  Knowing Marilyn, I was pretty sure it would <G> and of course it did!  Alex dove right in, working on George Washington.

I got wonderful padded socks (don't know where Marilyn finds all the wonderful socks she sends me), which I slipped on last night and they were really, really comfy.  

Aja got the hammock she's been wanting -

see how happy she was?

Chas wasn't able to join us until 2:00, shortly before we were getting ready to sit down and feast.    (He and Lisa had to blast off a couple of hours later.... for another Christmas dinner with his family.)  One of his gifts was a Tibetan singing bowl, which we all enjoyed playing with; it has a very relaxing effect.  He was also very pleased with the hand-flaked point Tom gave him.

Of course I got all sorts of other wonderful goodies yesterday; 
here are just a few of them.

Tom found this perfect shirt, which (surprisingly!)  I'd never seen before.  The tiny text in the book says I love to read, I love to read, I love to read, I love to read, I love to read, I love to read, I love to read, I love to read - well, you get the idea!

I also got the 'obligatory' jigsaw puzzle for our New Year's Eve 'party', which Tom wanted to open and start last night.  It does look like a fun one - but of course my quilting stuff will need to be cleared off the table first, and I still have much sewing left to do!

I'm much happier with this year's calendar, which has zentangle-like pictures to color each month, than I was with last year's Sad Penguins.

Also got some Google goodies: 
a t-shirt and (perfectly-sized for my small hands) juggling balls.

How well my friends know me... Anita knew I would enjoy these napkins.

And speaking of knowing me, I did get all sorts of chocolate goodies, and a birdcage candle holder (with lots of aromatic candles) for the hot tub.

Speaking of the hot tub, I did start off this morning with a nice soak, although I still don't have the temperature quite where I'd like it.  Checked in with Mom, who 'survived' yesterday's afternoon and evening over at Ed's.  Of course the 4 kids (his and Emily's) were pretty wound up after all the excitement of Christmas, but it sounds like it was still a very pleasant time.  Here's a shot that Andy posted yesterday.

And now I think it's time to go eat something to keep up my strength so I can do some sewing.  Would love to get the Texas gifts in the mail on Monday, and the Maryland gifts done before the New Year is upon us.