So Lazy I (almost) Feel Guilty!

Since the weekend was dedicated to the kids’ activities,  I decided I needed to take a bit of a breather today.  We were going to move the camper back to its “pad” down the driveway, but as soon as we made our way outside this morning, the snow began to fall! Mark has never driven the camper in snowy or icy conditions,  and wasn’t about to check it out today!

Instead of moving the trailer, we worked a little in the garage, freeing up one of the bays so we can now pull the Explorer inside.  That gives us a lot more space at the top of the driveway in front of the garage.  It will make plowing much easier,  but we still need a little break in the weather so we can move the camper!

After getting the Explorer tucked neatly into the garage,  we piled the recyclables into the back of the pickup and Mark and Ben went to the dump, then on to Canandaigua.  Michelle and I stayed home and did a little picking up, straightening, and putting away.  I made a couple of batches of soap….I have not made any in such a long time!

Mark and Ben reurned home and Michelle and I decided we would watch a new movie I picked up at Sam’s Club yesterday.   Every year, I try to find a new Christmas movie to buy to add to our collection.  I love seeing some of the old classics, but one of my favorite all-time Christmas movies is The Muppets Christmas Carol. Michael Caine was such a great Scrooge in this version and I see something I hadn’t seen previously with each viewing.  The kids now think it is infantile,  so I guess that is further verification of my resistance to grow up!

Oh, the movie Michelle and I enjoyed today was called The Christmas Card . It is about a young man in the army in Afghanistan who receives a Christmas card from a young woman stateside…it would probably be best described as a “chick flick”,  but I also think a real he-man might just enjoy it as well! It features Ed Asner and I have always enjoyed his acting.

We did a litle bit of decorating around the house, although I am not given to a great deal of elaborate decorating.  I love all the pretty colors and decor, but just cannot get myself to going “overboard” with all the stuff involved.  Call me Mrs. Grinch.  I did get out the little Scottie Christmas tree!  I have it displayed in the bedroom as I am afraid it would be broken if placed in the living room!  I really enjoy turning it on in at night and it gets too warm in the living room, anyway.

We used to always buy a fresh Christmas tree every year. Oh how I love the scent of the pine! However, it has gotten a bit harder to secure a fresh tree, so Mark bought a little “skinny” artificial tree last year at Wegman’s.  The tree is prelit and ready to put together, so it alleviates some stress of setting up a real tree. It also fits into most any room because of its petite footprint.

I spent over an hour securing LED lights onto some artificial greenery for around the front door….

As Michelle and I were absorbed in the movie this afternoon, Mr. Murphy (also known as the Murphinator or Doodly Too) squawked and complaned until we lifted him up onto the bed where we were lounging.  Poor Murph.  He had no idea Michelle would torture him! She loves to squeeze his nose and kiss his head.  As she placed him into a trance while tickling his belly, we giggled and laughed as he raised his nose high into the air!

I’m not sure I could get used to a life of little activity,  but this leisurely day really was a nice break!I will probably be receiving payback….it has been precipitating freezing rain this evening.  It is supposed to warm up during the night and turn to just rain, before getting more snow tomorrow night!  Yes, we do enjoy some WILD weather!

Oops, Was I Snoring?

After yesterday’s outing into the Wonderful World of Retail, the last thing I wanted to do was arise early this morning.  However, the agenda did indeed call for an early awakening.  The kids went to the Turkey Skate last night, and we were to pick them up at 7 am today.  The center they were at is located about 40 miles away, so Mark and I needed to leave home by 6 to allow enough time.

I stayed up last night until after 11 pm. Mark and I watched the Buffalo Sabres play the Pittsburgh Penguins last night, and I was thoroughly wound up after the game.  The Sabres came out like gangbusters early this season,  but their past several games, it seems they were in a downward spiral, losing quite a few games.  The last two games, however, have been nail-biters, leaving me on the edge of my seat until they came out victorious in both games!

I always think that the referees in the games are very biased AGAINST the Sabres, but Mark tells me to calm down.  He assures me the refs are doing the best they can out on the ice. Well, last night was hideous. There were so many STUPID and I DO mean stupid penalties against the Sabres while the Penguins were not penalized for the very same infractions.  I was getting so hot under the collar, and threatened to leave the room, I was so upset.  Well, the Sabres won the game 4-3, but I got the surprise of my life AFTER the game.

In hockey, there is a (gag) rule which states that commentators and coaches are not to publicly criticize the referees.  During last night’s game, there were boos welling up amongst the fans as the refs either unfairly penalized the Sabres or seemed blind to the Penguin infractions.  It was blatantly obvious there was a real bias against the Sabres organization.  After the game, many, many of the sports reporters brought up the faulty (poor!!!) job done on the part of the referees! They were not hiding or trying to disguise their questions. They boldly made references to the many shoddy calls! Surprise, surprise! I was not seeing things!  The good news is that our team was able to not only beat the opposing team, but the team of referees, as well! Well done, Sabres!

As you can see, this all added up to some adrenaline flowing out of control in the confines of my body! I just couldn’t simmer down and get to sleep for a long time!

I opened my eyes at 4 am this morning, and realized I really needed to get up! I fed the Scots, took them outside, then began scraping some of the icy snow from the sidewalk and to the truck. I had to use some salt, as the ice refused to break off the sidewalk.  I finished, helped Mark get ready, then we were off to get the kids.  We were also picking up two of their friends.  Last year, the kids went to the mall after the skate, and they begged to go once again.

We arrived a little after 7 to gather the quartet and then we headed off to the shopping center!  We dropped the kids at the mall and Mark and I went to Sam’s to pick up a few things…and to enjoy a slower, more relaxed shopping trip.  We paid, then went over to WalMart to get an oil change and tire rotation.  Afterwards, we picked up four very tired but silly youths, and headed off towards home!

As we drove along the highway, we experienced the tiniest sliver of sunshine poking through a seemingly endless sea of gray sky!

After dropping off the first young man, we went to the appointed dropoff for the second fellow. As we awaited his ride, Mark spotted a gorgeous Ring-Necked Pheasant walking in the bramble across the road.  You can certainly see he is dressed in his camos!

Everyone came home and after settling in, they all fell sound asleep. Everyone but me!  Even the Scotties are sacked out, happy that we are all together at home again!

Tonight, there is another Sabres game. It will be interesting to see if there is any difference in the refereeing after the atrocious performance of last night!

The Great Black Friday Sacrifice

Well, I knew it was coming, but how does one prepare for a pre-dawn shopping excursion?  Michelle had made up her mind that she loves doing the-day-after-Thanksgiving-thing and there was no stopping this determined young woman!

I was awakened shortly after 2:30 am to the smell of Cotton Candy Cologne tickling my nose and the buzz of the hair dryer running.  I opened my eyes and told myself there was no way I was getting up *quite* yet!  Mark and Michelle had agreed that 4 am was the magical time that we would slip out into total darkness and face the crazed world of glossy-eyed , cart-pushing bargain shoppers.

To her credit, the dear young woman had made up a shopping list as she slowly worked her way through the nearly endless pile of ads in yesterday’s newspaper.  She carefully  worked, writing down the  “giftee”, the item she wanted to purchase for them,  the name of the store, and how high of a priority it was.  I have never seen such organization and was shocked as she methodically worked her way along.  Unfortunately, when I am faced with a stack of “possibilities”,  (or, fill-in-the-blanks)  I nearly seize with fear….it seems too overwhelming a task to properly answer all of the questions. Perhaps this is a throwback to my school days, when I would spend far too long on multiple choice questions,  reasoning that every answer given “could” work, given the right circumstances!

I finally crawled out of my warm bed at 3 am, wondering about our collective sanity.  Michelle worked on getting her dad up and ready, then went into Ben’s room.  She plugged in his guitar amplifier, then strummed a few chords that shook the house and would have caused the dead to arise!  Ben grumbled and complained, then arose and got himself ready for our trip to the mall.

We finally left at about 4:30…only half an hour late…not bad for our family!  We arrived at the mall shortly after 5, and it was amazing to see many other folks who need to have their heads examined! The steady stream of headlights was a telling sign of things to come.

This was Michelle’s trip and Ben was her companion on the mission. We dropped them off at Sears. Michelle assured us she would be back out by 6, and she was true to her word. She did divulge one little secret…she toldBen to stand in the checkout line as she scrambled about seeking  and grabbing up the treasures she had so carefully listed.

The next stop was Target. We arrived there at 5:56.  As we drove up to the store, we gasped simultaneously! The line awaiting the 6 o’clock opening was so long, it snaked around the plaza.  Michelle, being a wise and smart shopper, changed her course of action, requesting Mark drop her and Ben off at JC Penney’s instead. As soon as they were inside the store, we relaxed with the Scottie boys.  After a short time, the kids returned to the truck, shopping bags in hand.

We went back to Target, and Michelle and Ben rushed in to do some more shopping. Michelle requested that I accompany her on this adventure, so I did.  I never knew Target held so many people at one time.   My best guess was that over half of the shoppers were now standing in line, waiting to be checked out!  Michelle commanded me to get into line right away, but I must admit that I lollygagged, spending maybe five minutes looking at dog coats.  By the time I went to stand in the line, it snaked to the back of the store,  across half of the back of the store, and up to nearly the front of the store.  I felt a feeling of hopelessness overcome me as I reluctantly took my place.

I was in that line for 45 minutes.  Yes, I am loyal and faithful. To a fault!  After reaching the cashiering area, I decided Michelle was not coming, so I returned to the truck.  Michelle was not there.  I sat for a few minutes, then Ben came out.  He said he wasn’t sure where Michelle was, so I went back inside the store.  Michelle spotted us as she was heading to the exit doors!

We had one more stop on Michelle’s list so we dropped the kids off and made our way out of the mall area to a plaza across the road. Mark had some items that needed to be returned at Circuit City, so we went in for a bit.  While we were there, I wanted to see if they had a Nikon D-300.  As I picked it up in my hands,  I was overwhelmed with awe! What a beauty of a camera! Mark looked at it and said it was ridiculously big for me. He went on to “complain” that I rarely use my D-80. EGADS! Where has this man been sleeping?  I ALWAYS use my Nikon AND I have not complained about its bulk, although Mark has, numerous times! Argh!

We went back to the mall and sat waiting for the kids until about 9:30.  When Mark asked Michelle where the next stop was, she said “Home”!  We actually went to Canandaigua, instead.  We stopped by Wegman’s to pick up a few groceries,  mailed some letters at the post office, then went to Lowe’s to get some rock salt for the driveway.  Ben and I went into WalMart quickly, as Ben wanted to look for something.

Finally, we were on our way home, and it felt good to arrive safely back at our somewhat chilly house.  I promptly made a fire in the stove and settled in for some relaxation! 

We asked Michelle about her shopping and she told us she had gotten all of the items on her list! Mark and I smiled at one another, knowing that this little “sacrifice” was one of the highlights of Michelle’s year, and one of the memories that will stay with her!  I’m not sure I could have withstood the irritable shoppers and long lines, but the kids weathered the whole Black Friday “thing” quite well!

Happy Thanksgiving!

To all of my US friends and readers, Happy Thanksgiving!

Our family is celebrating in rather low-key fashion.  Since we had our festive Thanksgiving celebration with lots of food on Monday, today will be a much simpler meal, although we will still have turkey and some traditional fare!

The kids got up this morning and began thinking about things other than food! Tomorrow is Black Friday, and Michelle wants so much to shop till she drops!  Funny thing is, tomorrow night is the Annual Turkey Skate. This is held at the Christian center and the kids skate ALL NIGHT LONG!!!  Last year, we picked them up, along with one of their friends, on Saturday morning after they had been up all night.  We then drove to a mall and let the kids shop for a bit.  They came back to the truck and literally passed out all the way home! It was rather amusing seeing three normally chatty kids sound asleep in the back seat!

Thanksgiving is always a time to count our blessings, and we have so very many!  We have been blessed far beyond only the necessities in life, and we truly are grateful for all we have been given.  We often look around us and wonder how it is that we hav been so blessed of God,  feeling so unworthy.

May God bless you and your family, today and every day. May you count your blessings, and even in the tough times, may you always be grateful!

Wintry Morning and Missing “Home”

Yesterday,  Bill in Scotland featured the Dead Sea, where he recently visited.  I was impressed by one photo which contained a small statue-like “rock” which was identified as Lot’s wife, turned into a pillar of salt.  Well, I certainly don’t want to look back instead of ahead, causing God to punish me, (I would probably be turned into a snowperson!!!!) but as I heard stories about my hometown this morning, I found my heart aching to visit!

It seems “home” has received some large quantities of lake effect snow from Lake Erie, amounting to more than two feet.  When I think of the grand time I have had sledding with the kids, (the highlit phrase will take you to Carly’s blog….scroll down and you can see yours truly in wild mode!!!) I wish that I could take them to “Stadium Hill”, located behind the community college, and let them enjoy some great sledding! I also long to take them skating at the beautiful ice rink that was built downtown there.  The catch is that my hometown is located three hours away, and it is hard to get away.  Right now, however, folks are advised to do no unnecessary travel in western New York, as the roads are treacherous!

So….here is what I awakened to this morning….

I call that “snow paste”! It  was adhered to the screen which I should have removed before this!

Michelle went down to help Cindy with the pie business this morning, as Cindy is busy for tomorrow’s Thanksgiving holiday here in the US.  As I made my way back home, I stopped a couple of times to take a few photos. They all look like they have been converted to black and white, but they are actually in color!

Here is a shot looking up the road we where we live….***IF we could convince the town NOT to plow the road, this would be one REALLY wild ride down the hill!!!!***

In the valley located at the bottom of our road……

I stopped briefly to take a photo looking up the lake at the lookout I have featured here before.  It is FAR from the scenic views shown before, and if you look closely, you will see the lake…

The gardens at the lookout are filled with some grasses that add a “sepia” note to the (almost) black and white appearance of my photo! The bench was looking very sad, covered in sticky, wet snow!

As a (total) aside…our Michelle is such a frugal shopper. She loves taking trips to the Dollar Tree to see if there are any unusually great buys.  One afternoon, she came out with a silly grin on her face….she opened her bag to reveal the most horrific little green doggie “hoodie”.  “For Murphy!” she proudly proclaimed.

Every time I take Michelle to work, she insists on bringing little Murphy, saying that he enjoys the ride. And, every time she brings the little tyke, she insists on donning the green hoodie. Poor Murph. He is such a good-natured little fellow, but I do think he secretly HATES the hoodie!!!!

My New Pet

I’m not certain where, exactly, my little pet Ladybug lives, but the little darling surfaces from time to time! This morning, when I opened my eyes to look at the time on the clock radio, the bug was walking on the device!  A little later, I found my spotted friend perched on the cap of my contact lens case!  I leave the case open every day, after emptying any lens cleaner, so it can air out.  Perhaps the little Ladybug thought there was liquid in there, as the cap is very shiny inside; or maybe he or she is just a very curious Ladybug!

Happy Birthday, Carly!

Carly and her kids came down to visit today, and what a day we had!

I was up and at it at 4:30 this morning.  We had gone shopping at Sam’s Club yesterday, to pick up many of the essentials needed for today’s “Thanksgiving” meal.   I decided to keep my photos to a minimum because:  a. GRRRRRR!!!! If I have one complaint on the Panasonic camera, it is that the mode selector, located on top of the camera,  slips into various modes with little persuasion. Panasonic would do well to lock the mode button in place, using a little slide or button so the camera doesn’t go off into another (UNselected) mode, causing terrible-looking photos! (case in point is below) and b. Carly got a new lens for her birthday and was checking it out. Therefore, I kept my mind on the food preparations!

The first photo features the brand-spanking new roaster pan I bought at Sam’s yesterday….no more mishaps with juices starting the oven on fire!

As you can see, the skin on the turkey has an unsavory yellow-look.  The bird did not appear yellow in person!

The meal consisted of: roast turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, sweet potato souffle,  homemade cranberry sauce, homemade butter cloverleaf rolls, stuffed mushrooms, green bean casserole, and broccoli cheese casserole. Oh, and I also made two pumpkin pies.  I was finishing up the dishes when Carly and the kids arrived. 

The kids had so much fun playing and just enjoying each other.  We sat down to eat at about 1:30, and Carly and I took the kids over to the park later.

Just as we arrived at the park,  so did a veritable snowstorm!

The winds howled, the snow blew about, and the kids laughed and giggled and had a remarkably fun time! I went down on the sled a few times and it was so fun! The kids reminded me of bear cubs, tumbling about and rolling on the ground.  Kids and snow were made for one another!

When Carly and the kids left, Michelle and Ben chatted on and on about how much they need to get together again!

Some More Feathered Friends

Well, this first photo isn’t  a bird, but some of the pretty Holly berries peeking out from under the snow in front of the house.

I couldn’t resist showing this photo of a cute little Titmouse.  Just look at the way he is looking at the camera for me! Couldn’t have gotten a better pose!

 I love Chickadees!  They are so sweet and unassuming! This one just sat patiently waiting to see what the nutty woman hanging out the wimdow was going to do!

Tomorrow is Carly’s birthday and she and her kids are coming down for the day.  We had some shopping to do, as we will be having a full Thanksgiving meal tomorrow! If you have read here for awhile,  perhaps you will remember last Thanksgiving Day when I nearly destroyed my new stove by catching the turkey on fire!  I have rectified the situation by buying a roasting pan!  The sides of this (huge) pan are much deeper than the shallow dish I used last year, so there should be no more excitement!

Will have photos from the day….see you then!