SNOW! Well, at least a LITTLE!

Yesterday, as I looked outside, I wondered where the expression “green Christmas” came from….here is the Bristolwood, it was more like UGLY gray and BROWN! This was the view from the side of the house……

Even my little stream that cheerfully wanders in the front yard was looking pretty frumpy!

Well, I guess in looking at this picture of the house, you CAN see SOME green………………

I was going to upload these pictures and use them yesterday, but then felt a twang of guilt….shame on me for feeling SO sorry for myself…after ALL, it is ONLY *S-N-O-W*! Then, when I woke up this morning, the pallette was “changed”!

Here is a picture from the front porch.

And, the back yard!

Yes, this little “dusting” of snow made me feel a WHOLE lot better! And, I felt more “Christmasy”! hehehe Too bad this wasn’t here two days ago. Ah well, we did get SOME snow!

As I was snapping pictures, I took a picture of my “Scottie Wreath”. I made this about three years ago, and I love the way it adds so much color to the door!

If anyone can tell me exactly HOW to do a NEAT blanket stitch, I would greatly appreciate it! I made the little Scotties for the wreath out of black felt, stitching around the edges, and lightly stuffing each little fellow! Here is a closeup of one…..

You can see my stitching skills are lacking!

Late this afternoon, we met Carly. I had some soap I wanted to give her for her new pup, Joe. Carly said the little fellow needed a bath, and she wanted a mild soap. I had made one up for my boys, and I figured she might like it. I also packed up a couple of small oxtail bones to greet the new man. Oh, is he DARLING!!!!!

Carly brought Joe out to meet us. Poor little boy began to shiver….Carly said he is NOT fond of the cold, so her daughter, Sarah, grabbed a little blanket to wrap him up! He is so cute and you can tell he is very trusting and sweet!!!!

Now, tell me….does Carly look HAPPY??? She is just totally taken by this little guy. Does it matter that he wet on her son Kyle, her NEW chair, and her yesterday? NOPE….it was an accident! Does it matter that he spent 2 1/2 hours HOWLING last night? NOPE….he was LONELY!!!! The whole family is SMITTEN with this fellow, and he already has EVERYONE wrapped around his PAWS! I am so happy that Carly and her family and Joe found each other!
The kids all told me the BEST Christmas present of all is Joe!

The Day After Christmas

Well, today is the day after Christmas and we still have no snow! Over at the mountain, the snow must have degraded quite a bit. There was no activity on Christmas Eve and the lights were out last night as well. We have lived here since 1992, and there has never been a year like this.

The weatherman had promised some snow last night and today, but the forecast was changed to all rain today. Everyone talks about a “green” Christmas, but here in the Bristolwood, everything seems to look gray and brown!

The good news is that Carly must travel today, and the rain will be easier for her than snow! She has been nearly BURSTING, as she awaited yesterday to announce the good news to her kids. She made a card and hung it on the Christmas tree….inside was a picture of a little black and tan Dachshund. She wrote that his name is Joe and tomorrow he is coming home to live with you!
Carly said it took a minute for the message to register, then the kids went NUTS! Her middle child, a daughter, was reduced to tears! The kids have been wanting a dog so much, but the timing was just not right.

Carly’s husband told her a couple of weeks ago that she might have to pick out her own present this year. She called me and told me she had an inkling that perhaps he was speaking in “code” and maybe he was going to get her a new dog? She took him lunch later in the day, and he finally told her that was his plan.

Carly needed no further words….she went straight to work, fixing up some little things that needed done and cleaning up all the floors and rooms in her house! She went through her closet, ridding out things that hadn’t been worn in ages. I think the thought of a dog catapulted a whole lot of nervous energy, as she moved through her house like a tidal wave!

She called a breeder she had previously spoken to and asked if she still had a certain little fellow. He is almost 2 years old (his birthday is December 31) and has been to obedience classes. He sounds wonderful and is all housebroken. With her busy schedule, Carly was thrilled beyond belief when the breeder said, yes, Joe is still available.

Carly and her husband went out last Sunday to meet Joe, and it was love at first sight for all involved. The kids knew nothing about the covert meeting….they were told their parents were Christmas shopping!

The kids wanted to know if anyone else knew about Joe. Carly told them yes, EVERYONE knew! She had told the people at Starbucks, her in-laws, and we all knew! She went on to tell them that our kids knew about Joe, too. HOWEVER, they were instructed that under penalty of DEATH they were NOT to even HINT at this! The youngest looked Carly right in the eye and said, “Your mother is quite harsh, isn’t she?” When Carly told me this, I nearly fell over laughing!

Well, Santa was very gracious to our family, bringing lots of goodies and things that we need! We were supposed to travel to visit with my parents, but with Ben coming down with whatever it was that Michelle had, we stayed home. Thankfully, I had taken a turkey breast out of the freezer a couple of days ago. Our Christmas fare was small, but tasty! No one complained, and it was very informal and nice.

After we had opened our presents, we watched the movie The 12 Dogs of Chrsitmas. It was cute, and I never tire of watching Christmas movies. They are the best in my opinion! Too many movies today leave you feeling uninspired and with a sick feeling….I love Christmas movies because they always seem just the opposite! I guess I am a sucker for happy endings!

It seems like Christmas came far too early this year….how can we possibly be heading into 2007?

Am I Brave, or What?

Ah, yes. Late yesterday afternoon, I did something I have not done in years and years! I braved the world of the SHOPPING MALL! Wow!!! OK, so I have been to the mall, but not three days before Christmas!

I had several things to do before I could leave….I set Michelle up with the vaporizer. She said her throat felt tight and dry, so I filled the vaporizer and set it up for her. As I thought about it, I asked if she might like some Vick’s or perhaps some Eucalyptus EO in the air. She opted for the EO, and within a few minutes, her room smelled so nice.

I had made a meatloaf in the Crockpot around noon, so it was nearly done. I put it in a 5 quart oval pot and it looked and smelled so GOOD! I have been using the same Crockpot recipe for years, and it is always good. Mark said he never really liked meatloaf until he tasted this one!
The recipe is from the book Crockery Cookery, which was published in 1975! I poured the ketchup-based topping on it, and set it to warm, hoping it would be good when we arrived back home.

I quickly wrapped up a parcel I intended to send after Christmas, but hey, I am AHEAD for once! Ben grabbed three letters that needed to be sent, and we were off! We HAD to be to the post office (about 15 miles away) within 25 minutes, so we hustled along!

We made it to the post office with about 3 minutes to spare! It was totally empty and it was a quick stop! Hurrah! Off to the mall!

When we arrived at the shopping mecca, I felt my hands grippping the steering wheel tensely. WHAT was I thinking? I caught myself and took a deep breath to try to relax….We pulled in and even though the line of headlights looked as though it went on ad infinatum, we found a parking slot about 10 spaces from the mall entrance. It was pouring down rain in sheets, so we scurried to the door!

At this point, I must interject that Ben is a serious shopper with an intensity….he knows exactly what to get everyone, and he hones in on gifts as though being driven by a homing device! Last Sunday, I bought a paper, and before we knew what hit it, he had cafefully cut out pictures and descriptions of each item he intended to purchase.

We walked around the mall, finding several items we thought would be good to buy. We went inside a few stores, combing the aisles, and although there were many, many people, it really didn’t seem too bad! We spent about an hour and fifteen minutes at the mall, then decided to leave.

Ben had only eaten a cookie yesterday. He was excited about going shopping, so I picked him up a sandwich from Wendy’s for which he was immensely grateful! We headed home and arrived at nearly 7:30.

As soon as I was in the door, I took the boys out into the downpouring rain. (WHY couldn’t it have been SNOW!!!!) After they finished, I grabbed a bag of red-skinned potatoes, and cut them into small pieces and boiled them for mashed potatoes. I loved mashed potatoes, but I really don’t like them “plain”. I looked up a recipe on the internet for Applebee’s Garlic Mashed Potatoes and they suggested adding roasted garlic to the potatoes. Well, I don’t always have roasted garlic, or the time to roast garlic. So, one day, I decided to just add freshly minced garlic to the potatoes. They were GREAT! So, last night as I hustled to prepare the potatoes, I was a little annoyed when I found no half and half to add. So, I grabbed the heavy cream, adding very little….OH WOW! I ground fresh pepper and sea salt….added a dab of butter….YUM!

By 7:50, we were finally eating! We had the meatloaf, potatoes (I leave the skin on and use the “wire whip” on the kitchen aid mixer…it does a terrific job of mincing the skins into small pieces) and brussel sprouts. For dessert, we had Shortbread Scotties from the mix my Secret Santa had sent. They were such a tasty way to end the meal! Michelle came down and only ate a cookie, saying her throat was too sore.

This morning, when I checked on Michelle, she said she is feeling a bit better. She has spent two days in bed, sleeping. She has eaten precious little, and I was worried about her. Well, she wanted to know if there was any food left over from last night. I assured her there was, except the potatoes were gone. She sighed, and I assured her I would make some for her!

Last night when we had returned home, the wind was absolutely HOWLING! Today, I grabbed my winter coat and took the boys out. I was shocked….it was so WARM! When we got on the porch, I checked the thermometer, and it said 40! The stream in the front yard is running quite well, and everything looks so clean! And, it should! With the RAIN we have been getting instead of SNOW!!! I did hear the weatherman say there is a chance we might get some “measurable snow” on Christmas Night. Ah well, I guess we take what we get, eh?

The First Day of Winter

The calendar proclaims (rather boldly) that today begins the first day of winter….the shortest day of the year, and the *coldest* weather? Today we are told we will be reaching into the 40’s. I do NOT live in the Carolinas for pity’s sake!

Yesterday, as I was walking around the house, something caught my eye….the poor daffodils have obviously mistaken the warm weather as the heralding of SPRING, and have sent up beautiful green shoots!

As I closely observed the garden, I also saw that the Columbines were tricked as well by this freakish weather we are experiencing! Cruel, I tell you…pitifully cruel!

We went out into the amazing world of holiday retail yesterday afternoon. I was nearly fearful at what we might find, but instead of crazed shoppers with eyes glazed, frantically digging through merchandise, I was surprised to find many civil, smiling faces!

I had to run to the post office to ship a box and add some postage to a Christmas card filled with images of our Murphy…I just KNEW that the breeder would love to see how the little fellow has grown into such a charming young man! She only lives about three hours from here, so I am sure the card will reach its destination in good time! The box was for a friend. I had made her some soap specifically for her, but getting the box to the post office was so hard! I always send out UPS, as it is much easier, but this box was light, and needed to be sent postal. The worker there was apologizing that the box might not reach its destination in time for Chrsitmas. I assured her that was OK, but she suddenly smiled and told me that many post offices hire extra workers to help push through express and priority boxes at the last minute. Perhaps the box MIGHT get there before Christmas! Either way, it was refreshing to see someone who was so concerned!

As we spent time running around, it was obvious that Michelle was not feeling well. She had awakened with a cough and sore throat yesterday morning, and it was making her slow down. She and I sat in the truck while Ben and Mark shopped….at one point, she was so chilly, I covered her with a blanket, and she fell asleep for a little while as I tuned in the radio to some “Traditional Holiday” music. The dogs were up front with me, and it was so cozy! The darkness had set in, and it was rather fun watching shoppers hustle along with their packages.

When we arrived home, we put things away, and Ben and Mark stayed outside for some time. I thought perhaps they were out in the garage, planning a project or fixing something. After about half an hour, Ben came in the house and asked me to come outside. He and Mark had picked up some multicolored net lights, and Ben decorated our two Dwarf Alberta Spruces! They are so pretty. I am a TOTAL nut when it comes to Christmas lights. If I had my way, I would spend hours, days…driving about, looking at the lights!

After our busy day, we came inside and Ben turned on the television. TNT happened to be on, and of all things! A Christmas Carol happened to be playing. Funny! I had bought a small paperback of this work yesterday at Border’s! We watched this version, circa 1999, and once again, enjoyed it. We had watched the Muppet version the previous night. I will never tire of this classic….

And, as Tiny Tim exhorted, “God Bless us, everyone!”

I’m Screaming for a White Chrsitmas!

Just like the ones I used to know…………….

Well, I gave up crying and feeling badly about not having any snow. I haven’t mentioned it in DAYS! I tried to even FORGET about thinking about snow! But….as I passed the ski area tonight, I witnessed snow blowing about and people swishing along down the hill. As I watched, it seemed so surreal….so artificial. I mean, there is no snow anywhere else…just those silly trails coming down the mountain.

I know that the weather we have been “enjoying” has made a lot of people happy. They are thrilled to not have to deal with slippery roads, wet clothing, and cleaning the ice off frozen vehicles.

I don’t know if it has to do with the fact that I hurt my back, or if it is the weather! I am so crabby and miserable! AND, I admit it!

I have done precious little shopping and it really doesn’t seem to matter. Somehow the missing element….SNOW!….has left this year feeling so “UN” Christmaslike! I know that Christmas isn’t about the weather, but it just doesn’t seem like Christmas without snow.

A couple of nights ago, the weatherman said that we *might* be able to observe the Northern Lights. I anxiously searched the skies, but nada….

I did manage to sit down and actually watch a Christmas special on TV! OK, so I wasn’t “sitting”…I was lying down! My back is finally feeling much better now!!! YAY! Oh, the special I watched was on PBS. It was called Christmas by a group called Tonic Sol-Fa. This group does all of their music a’cappella and they are fantastic! Here is their their URL:

If you take a look at their website, there is a comprehensive listing of dates, times, and channels that broadcast their special. I *HIGHLY* recommend this one.

Perhaps I am not alone in my “melancholy”….I have been thrilled by the SINGLE blossom on my Christmas Cactus. As I looked at the plant today, I did notice there are several buds coming along, but it seems this plant is only allowing a single blossom at a time!!!

Only six more days…

No Need to Fear!

Yesterday afternoon, I decided to take the boys up to the woodpile…once again…to take some pictures of them wearing their snazzy new caps!

HOWEVER, we started off AGAIN just like the last “photo shoot”!

I just cannot BELIEVE these little *monsters* do this to me! I can hear them laughing…YOU look THAT way…and I’LL look THIS way….hahahahaha!!!!!

I AM the *alpha* dog, however, and what *I* say, goes!

After I scolded the boys, making them know I was thoroughly dissatisfied with their Scottitude, they decided to cooperate at least a LITTLE bit. Murphy wanted to know if I could perhaps “adjust” his cap?

After a slight adjustment, Murphy is looking so handsome in his new chapeau!

Of course, Angus assures Murphy that if he cooperates with me on this, there *will* be a payment due……

Suddenly, Angus jumps as something catches his attention! Alas, it is merely a squirrel romping about and rustling leaves…..

Okay, once the boys realized just what is expected, they began to watch diligently…WHERE is that sleigh with the “jolly old elf” and eight flying reindeer?

Well, rest assured! All children of the world will be able to sleep peaceably on Christmas Eve, as Angus and Murphy, members of the Chimney Watch Santa Patrol, shall be on guard, watching to make sure all is well!
Of course, there shall be TWO plates left tableside this year… for the jolly old elf, and one for the two sweetest little Scottie fellows in the world! Well, at least in the Bristolwood!!!

A Rather Exciting Day!

This week has been kind of somber….I guess the death of my uncle touched us deeply. Also, being “home” really left a kind of melancholy feeling with me…I have always been happy where I am, but this past time, seeing all of my cousins and their families, made me feel a little homesick.

This morning, I heard a light tapping at the door. I have been moving a bit slowly as a few days ago, I did something while lifting a box that sends an “electric” feeling up my back. This is not a good feeling at all! So, I nearly missed the FedEx guy! He had left two packages on the porch in front of the door!

Thinking perhaps Mark had ordered something, I hauled the boxes into the office. As I looked at the labels, I got so excited! My Secret Santa gift arrived! For the past three years, I have joined in this exchange on the CyberScots list. I got so excited, and so did the whole family, Scotties included!

The generosity of my “Santa” was just so amazing! Kathy is from Texas, and I guess she is compelled to do things “big!”

I wasn’t sure I could get a picture of all of the goodies, but this is what I got! Let’s see….there was a Scottish Terrier “The Dog” calendar, an ADORABLE Scottie garden weather vane, (the Scottie part is in front of the calendar), a game of Dogopoly, a tin with Licorice Scottie candy, a box of shortbread mix complete with a Scottie cookie cutter, a remote-control car for the Scotties to CHASE!, a Scottie nightshirt, 3 really cute ornaments, a special “Santa Watch” hat for Angus and one for Murphy, a cute little Jim Shore Scottie figurine, and five Scottie linens!Phew! That is so much booty!!!!

The flowers in the background were from Angus’s birthday party on Monday night. The party was short because we needed to scurry to get our sleep for our travels on Tuesday.

Here are the linens. I love the little old-fashioned Scotties on them! Aren’t they cute?

I just HAD to post a picture of the Santa Watch hat! These are made so incredibly well! We put them on Angus and Murphy, and I cannot wait until it is light out tomorrow so I can get a picture of them wearing their caps!

After all of the sadness of the earlier part of this week, this package was just such a pressure relief! We had so much fun looking at everything and “oooooohing and aaaaahhhing!”

I always tell Mark I would not even care if I never got a gift in return…I have so much fun wrapping my Scottie goodies for my recipient….but my Santa far exceeded anything I could have even imagined!

Thank you, Kathy! Ever think of moving to the North Pole?

Another Sad Manelick Gathering…

Yesterday, we made the drive to Pennsylvania to attend the funeral service for my Uncle Nick, who passed away last Saturday evening.

Mark, the kids, the dogs, and I all made the trip this time and it was a beautiful day for traveling. There was no precipitation and the roads were clear the whole way there and back again.

The service was held at the funeral home, and it was so wonderful. My uncle had insisted on a closed casket, and it was draped with an American flag, as he had served in the Army Air Corps during WW II. The flowers were all in Christmas colors of red, white, and greens. There were pictures of Uncle Nick throughout his life. A few people related some great memories and it was a time of warmth and comfort at a hard time.

My Uncle Nick was an outstanding man who loved his family so. Unfortunately, when my youngest cousin was only weeks old, my uncle’s wife ran off on Christmas Eve, never to return to the family. I cannot imagine how a woman would get through this…..being left with six children to care for alone, but a man? With a tiny baby! Somehow, my uncle managed, and he has five decent, good children as his legacy. One of my cousins, Laura, was killed several years ago in an auto accident.

After the service, there was a gathering for the family at my cousin, Cindy’s house. She and her husband have the most charming house I have seen in a long time! Every room is decorated in the most gorgeous designs! Christmas happens to be Cindy’s favorite time of the year, and her collection of Santas was astonishing! In every nook….on nearly every wall, there was a Santa!
She has cross-stitched many, many marvelous Santas as well!

Oh goodness! I forgot a picture of our *hostess*

Yes, this is Cindy’s adorable and very well-mannered Boxer, Pepper! Even Pepper was decked out for the holiday season with a pretty Christmasy collar around her neck! She was so fantastic, even with a house filled with people!

As I wandered around from room to room, I heard many stories about my Uncle Nick. My father and his youngest brother, Dick, were telling some stories that were so funny! One of them was that after the war was over, a crate arrived at the farmhouse of my grandparents. Thinking it was Uncle Nick’s belongings, the family was shocked to find a German Shepherd! It seems my uncle didn’t have the heart to leave behind his company’s mascot. He decided the dog had better come home with him! What a surprise! Also, he brought home other memorabilia, like shells and bomb housings….my uncle said my grandmother used a bombshell as a doorstop for several years!

Most of my cousins have remained in fairly close proximity of where my grandparents lived. I was one of the few that wandered away. It was so incredible to go home and still be recognized by everyone, and to be hugged warmly. It almost feels as though all the years melt away when with family again.

Although the gathering was for a sad occasion, I am so glad we were able to attend. It is always so good to see family again!

A Little Levity

Sometimes when things get so serious, I need to just “chill out”…I am pretty good at this, so I think I will give a little behind-the-scenes pictures of our little *photo shoot* with the Scotties yesterday.

First of all, let me tell you, when those doggies saw the scarves coming, they were not happy. OK, we can deal with that. So, we set them on a pile of basswood I had cut late last summer…..
Are you ready for the first picture?

Absolutely charming, eh? As soon as the camera came out, they looked away!

This is the second picture I took, and I really like this one. I’m not sure what they were looking at, but I like seeing their profiles.

Michelle was my faithful assistant in this venture, helping orchestrate the whole ordeal. And speaking of orchestration, I told Michelle that perhaps holding a small stick above my head and moving it would get their attention so they would look at me. Sort of like a conductor’s baton! Well, Michelle swayed the stick above my head whilst I kept my face to the camera. I was unaware she had picked a L-O-N-G stick until…………….

Yes, being a diehard Scot involves things like protecting your Mum from sticks swaying over her head! Murphy loves attacking vicious intruders….things like sticks, rakes, vacuum cleaners….you know, things that might harm us!

Note Angus’s stance….he was also on guard….however, he was looking to make sure none of those wild squirrely things came near! Angus is much too distinguished to partake in such nonsense like attacking sticks….
I kinda liked the next picture, too, but as I looked, they kinda looked like one big Scottie “blob”.
Kind of a Scottie “push me, pull you”.

By this point, I was pretty sure that I had at least one good and acceptable picture for my cards. Michelle was still trying to get both Scotties to cooperate. She then stood behind me and mentioned the word, “Cookies!”

Yes, that is Angus’s typical reaction to the word! Rather humorous!

You can see that we have some good fun with these little companions of ours! And, if you think *WE* are nuts, take a look here!

Yup, we are *NOT* alone! hehehehehe