Monday, December 31, 2012

Hidden Objects!

 Look close.... Can you spot 'em? I can count at least 12 people in this photo. Dozens more... lounging in the chairs!

That should keep you busy on this super chilly NYE. ; ))

Here's wishing you all a Joyous Celebration + a Happy and Healthy New Year. Thank you so much for visiting my humble blog during 2012. I'm glad we're connected. Stay warm, my friends.

Hint ~ It's a ski run, and a chair lift, photographed from afar. :) HNY!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Old Bitty Orchid

Taken on my iPhone. I'm quite enamored with her velvety purple color.
 It's so hard to capture but her leaves sparkle in the setting sun. This is the very first Orchid I ever purchased. Oh... maybe 5 years ago. But, I fear the old gal might be running out of steam. She re-blooms every year, though her flowers don't last nearly as long as they use to.

Any thoughts on that subject? I have very good luck getting the Butterfly Orchids to re-bloom though I don't quite know what should be done with my geriatric gal here. :) If you have suggestions, please let me know.

Tip: If your Orchids are living in bark chips, they'll need lots more nitrogen. The bark gobbles up most of the nitrogen, creating a nitrogen deficiency for your little Orchid. I soak mine for 30 minutes, once a week with a highly diluted 30-10-10 fertilizer.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Insta-Blog 2: The Full Cold Moon

Taken with my iPhone up near the Deer Valley ski resort.
 Last night was the last full moon of 2012. Called the Cold Moon because it's the time of year when all we have to celebrate is the long, dark of an icy winter. That and the fact that it's an absolutely fabulous time to bundle up and go for a snowshoe. Sure, it's cold out there but it's also quite peaceful. An ideal setting for a snowshoe adventure ~ by the light of a bright full moon.

What is an Insta-Blog?
 Oh, it's just something I made up. I've been having so much fun goofing off with Instagram: A free app for my iPhone. The pics I take with my phone are posted instantly on Facebook, with the push of a button. (And, if that was the measure of my blogging frequency, people would see that I blog every single day.) It's not as easy to post these pictures over here on my blog. But, I have found a way to fix that! Long live the old copy and paste routine. :D

Friday, December 28, 2012

Insta-Blog: Who could it be...?

This little fella was spying on me as I was gathering up all the junk, overflowing from my rural mailbox. What is he? Who is he?

Do you goof around with Instagram? I love, love, love that app! Such fun :)


Thursday, December 27, 2012

Holiday Wrap Up! And, a Question for the Ages

My Jaquie Lawson Advent Calendar
As of this afternoon, I'm wondering if I should celebrate Epiphany. Not because I'm deeply religious or anything. Mostly because it doesn't happen until January 6th, so I could drag Christmas out a wee bit longer. This turned out to be such a wonderful holiday, I'm sad that it's already over.

We celebrated Christmas in the City. Not much of a city - Salt Lake City. But, it's better than nothing. I'm a bit of a country hick with a huge hankering for the civilized things that cities have to offer. Such as sidewalks, twinkly lights, neat little houses, in sweet little rows, all along the boulevard.

That is precisely the type of neighborhood where my daughter lives. So, she took on the happy task of entertaining this year. What a wonderful time we had. Sleeping in, cooking all day, opening gifts that make you giggle. It was just a marvelous magical time.

But, it didn't start out that way. And, I've been thinking about this ever since I arrived back home.

About how age can be a blessing. 
Or, a bane.
However you choose to deal with it...

My favorite holiday movie
We celebrated Christmas Eve doing the same thing we've done every year for as long as I can remember. And every year the same grumpy old curmudgeons do their absolute best to rain on our holiday parade.

It becomes more apparent every year. Half happy/half hopeless, there's no better way to describe that dividing line in our extended family...
There's the "I expect you to buy me a gift every year though I will never ever thank you for your thoughtfulness" Mr. Baseball Obsessed Bad Dad. He reciprocates by handing me a crappy bootlegged cd wrapped in newspaper.
I don't much care that he never buys me anything.

When you get older, if you have lived a good life... your wants are few and far between. I take much more joy in giving, than receiving, the perfect gift.

However! It would not kill that ungrateful pig to say thank you! Those two incredibly powerful little words ~ that, after awhile ~ can make, or break, a friendship.
Also in attendance are the two neighbor guys who lived on the same block, just down the street, and got kicked out of their homes, by weary wives, the same year. (You go girls!) That was so long ago I'll bet neither one of those guys could tell you, for sure, what year that was.
But, I can! I know precisely how many years I have had to listen to them complain about how men are perfectly well-balanced but divorced women have lots of emotional baggage. (Argh...)

[Mormon] Temple Square in Salt Lake City
I could go on and I probably should. Such a great pile o' dirt. Bachelor #3 showed up with a male date this year... And, since we're all originally from the super polite state of Minnesota none of us had the nerve to ask the burning question of... You're gay? When did that happen? :))

But haven't I gone on far too long already? 
Why, yes, indeedy, I have.

Back to my super fabulous Christmas... In sharp contrast to that crowd of Christmas Eve curmudgeons, my daughter is a newlywed ~ young, happy, devoid of baggage and I'm kind of thinking that's what made this such a marvelous Christmas Day.

Youth. That incredibly critical ingredient to a happy life ~ particularly, as we grow older. To be surrounded by youth. Vitality. Exuberance. Hope and future plans. Instead of divorce, upside down mortgages, and the ruts. Those proverbial ruts in which we lie down & give up, once the inertia of old age grabs hold of our tired bones.

Young people are happy, and happiness is infectious, so a little bit of their charm will, inevitably rub off onto you. At least, that's how I feel though I am beginning to wonder if I'm weird in that respect and if perhaps there is something wrong with me.

So where am I going with all of this? Well, I guess this is a long, convoluted way to ask one very simple burning question:

Have you ever been at a social gathering, with people you've known for your whole life and suddenly it's as if you don't know them at all? 

Because that's what happened to me this Christmas Eve. It's like I'm a ghost, on the outside looking in. Those people haven't changed so apparently I have. Doubtful that's for the better. But there's no denying that it's happened. So, now I'm wondering... where do I go from here?

Saturday, December 22, 2012

This Most Wonderful Time...?

When the phone rang this morning, I refused to answer. I've heard enough complaints for one week.

Too busy sorting through recipes. I'm baking Christmas Cookies. You whiners and complainers can go to hell.

How's that for some Holiday Spirit? :))

In truth, I'm loaded with holiday spirit ~ it's just been the craziest week.

So, I'm putzing around the kitchen, putting off what needs to be done, for just a wee bit longer.

As in... maybe tomorrow. Or, maybe never!

Ever had a time when you feel like there's a hidden camera in the room? 

And you're the laughing stock on some reality tv show? Welcome to my world!

It's all because of my Faulty Furnace...
I've had 5 - no exaggeration - 5 different furnace repair people looking at this possessed machine. A new one every day this week. Nobody can figure out why it isn't working.
But here's the kicker ~ each of these repair people have said the exact same thing: You don't need a new furnace. Okay! Great! How soon can you fix it? Oh, I can't fix it. I don't know what's wrong with it. HUH?
5 days, 5 dumb-as-a-box-of-rocks repairmen later, I finally threw in that proverbial towel. Got together with annoying person #6 and bought a new furnace. And, bada bing, bada boom. The moment that old furnace saw me hand over a credit card for a new one, it must have realized it's days were numbered and I had won the war. Because it's been heating the house, just fine, ever since. [Argh.]

Onward and upward...

Wednesday, I scurried overt to the post office with my holiday packages & I brought along a notebook + pen. Because I was pretty sure I'd be standing in line for hours. Thought I could use that time to catch up on some work.

But, when I got there, it was just me and Mr. Mailman. Where is everybody, I asked? They were on time, Kate. They mailed their packages last week so they'd get there in 2012. Ouch. That hurt. And so did the expedited shipping costs he gleefully charged me.

I'm not the only one who's late. This lazy Poinsettia should have all red leaves, by now.

I'm not exactly ahead of the game this year. Well, I wasn't. But I am now!

Breathed a huge sigh of relief yesterday morning, when, just in the nick of time, UPS wheeled the gigantic box of bliss up the driveway. Inside? Gifts for everyone left on my list.

I had the best of intentions, spending sweet days, perusing tiny boutiques and picking out the perfect presents. A leisurely lunch with the girls, la dee dah... but this month went by in a blink. Between work, illness, and exorcising the demons from the furnace, December disappeared without having much fun.

Which is why I didn't answer the phone this morning. Nor do I intend to until the 26th.

'Cause we've got cookies to bake! 
Presents to wrap.
Parties to go to.
Pets to pamper.

'Tis the season!
Get yer shine on... 

Here's wishing you and yours a joyous Christmas + a delightful New Year. Do something nice for yourself today. You deserve it! Come to think of it... so do I.

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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Sky on Fire

 Nope ~ I did not photoshop these. It didn't last very long but it was a remarkable sunset. :)

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Saturday, December 15, 2012

Garden Blogger's Bloom Day ~ December, 2012

 Couldn't sleep. Up until the wee hours, trolling through my garden photos. Because that's what I do when I'm sad and confused. I hide. Physically in my garden, or virtually within my garden photos.

 I lose myself in flower pics and make plans for a sunnier season. Though, I must say, it hasn't done a lick of good this time, in trying to erase the saddest of days.

It is also Bloom Day. That monthly meme that keeps us all connected. But, it's winter so I have nothing to show for myself.

Last night, when I couldn't sleep, I was screwing around learning how to make a movie. Seemed like a good idea at 3 a.m. Now? I'm not so sure.. But, it is one of my favorite songs and I'm amazed I didn't get busted by the YouTube police for using it. I hope you enjoy my feeble attempt.

Pay a visit to Carol at May Dreams Gardens to meet other gardeners in kinder climates. Happy Bloom Day.

And, please say a prayer for the devastated families of Newtown.

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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Irresponsible vs. 'Sponsible

Christmas lights a' twinkling on my walk last night.
  Truth be told, I'd choose irresponsible, over 'sponsible any day of the week. {Though that is hardly ever how I live my life.} The only time you hear me whining about such things is when my luck runs out ~ and everything that could possibly go wrong, finds a way to do so at the exact same moment.

 I'm convinced that's how so many people ended up in Hawaii. They just couldn't take it any longer, so they abandoned all of their material possessions, in favor of a surfboard and a tent on the beach.

 I was pondering this, just last night, on the long march home. Could I? Should I? I'm talkin' beach dreams, here.

Re-blooming Orchids + some dainty Paperwhites.
 It's 3.5 miles between my place and the car repair shop. Kind of a long walk on a cold winter's day. So, I don't know what possessed me to do that, vs. beg a ride off someone.

And to do it in the dark, since the sun sets so freakin' early this time of year.

I guess I was just trying to walk myself out of a bad awful mood. And, it worked!

In fact, it was downright magical thanks to the twinkly Christmas lights I encountered all along the way. (Now don't be too critical, these are cell phone pictures.*)
What is it about the month of December that inspires all kinds of inanimate objects to start begging for attention? It's as if they have a big, group meeting where they announce: Hey, it's Christmas time! The humans might need their cash for fun stuff. So, why don't we all break down and show them who's really in charge?
Got a 6 a.m. call on Sunday morning ~ the furnace was out at the rental property. That furnace couldn't have waited until January to throw a fit? Or, to die on a weekday when repairmen are available and eager to overcharge me? (See what I mean? Proof positive I'm not paranoid. These machines are up to something.) Just a few hours later, the car decided to join in on the mutiny. Hence the walk to the repair shop.

And, as long as we're having a Ms. Cranky Pants meltdown moment... I'm still waiting for the guy to come fix the deck doors, that blew off their hinges in the big storm about a week ago.

Sprucing up the house for the holidays...
On my chilly walk home, I started dreaming about an unencumbered life. Went so far as to fantasize about an enchanted life. A blissfully happy existence where I don't have tenants. Therefore they cannot wake me from a sound sleep for such petty reasons as freezing to death.

Where cars always work, doors stay on their hinges, and the only time it snows is Christmas Eve ~ to set the mood for a lovely celebration. And, then it magically melts away before I have to shovel.

Wondering what's up with all of these bad photos and dorky patterns framing them? I guess I forgot to mention that the camera is on the fritz, too. But, I am having a swingin' time with Instagram.

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Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Wordless Wednesdays: Thriving in my Sunny Window

Christmas Cactus


Kalanchoes + Rescued Geraniums

African Violets


More Kalanchoes

The big sunny window...

... keeps this gardener sane on a cold winter's day.

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