Out with the Old Year….In with the New!

With a title like the one above, one would possibly expect some sage and profound words to follow. Alas…I have none!

I was awakened this morning with a revolting stomach!  Last night, as I fell asleep, my stomach was making sounds as though churning butter!  This morning,  it is quiet,  having dispersed any annoying  intruders!  I don’t feel “sick” at all, but not exactly “chipper”, either…

Thus, I am spending time lying on my bed, as suggested by Michelle.  I am following her advice, as I hold her in high esteem after she received her grades from her first semester at college yesterday.  She achieved six A’s for a perfect 4.0 average.  I am so happy for her but I knew she was a serious student!

Just before plopping back onto the bed,  I decided to (finally) photograph a rather interesting phenomenon. Interesting to me, at least. 

See the area where all the leaves are rustled about?  That is where the deer spend their nights.  It is only about a hundred feet from our house.  I think it amazing they want to be so close to humans!  I must admit, though, this is the side of the house the birdfeeder is mounted on, so perhaps that might be the draw. 

While I was taking the photo above, a little squirrel scampered up a nearby tree, acorn firmly clenched in its mouth.  While that in and of itself isn’t really photo-worthy,  I was impressed that I actually caught the outer piece of the acorn as it was about to fall!

Oh, and the squirrel does *not* have a bad case of dandruff….it is snowing!

Yes, it IS Cold Outside

I was awakened this morning at about 4 to the sound of wind gusts slamming the side of the house.  From the sound of the blows,  I was expecting the house to leave its foundation and float off eastward.  We have had hefty winds here before, but this one really took the cake!

I did what any sane person would have done under the circumstances and rolled over,  falling back to sleep.  When I did awaken later,  I wondered if perhaps the earlier arousal was merely a dream….

I went downstairs and fed the two hungry Scotties and prepared the woodstove for a fire.  It was still warm and cozy from the previous fire, so there was no hurry.  As the Scotties finished their meal,  I pulled on a down coat and boots. It was then that I looked out the front window at the thermometer on the porch.  Yikes! It was zero. Zero, Fahrenheit, or about -18, Celsius!

The Scotties and I went out and the blowing snow stung at my eyes.  Thankfully,my short-legged companions went about their business in a timely manner and we headed back inside!

Late in the afternoon, the skies finally began clearing and the winds died out so it wasn’t quite as painful to slip outdoors!  I thought I would have no photos, but when I looked out the upstairs bedroom window, the trees looked almost “pretty” against the setting sun.

After taking the photo, I noticed a small band of frost on the outside of the double-pane window….I have never seen that before, but this cold arcticlike blast came on so suddenly, the house wasn’t probably warm enough to counteract the effects of the big chill!

My, oh my, What a Wonderful Start to the Day!

After hearing rain pounding on the rooftop the past couple of nights,  it was refreshing to awaken to a less damp start to the day! Yes, I generally grumble too much because of our lack of snow, but this morning,  the temperature had dropped after the deluge of rain and the results were quite pretty!

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I walked about the yard, enjoying all the scenery….

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But I just loved what Jack Frost painted on the hood of the Explorer!

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The sun was brilliant and the skies a crystal sapphire blue!

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As I walked the wooded path behind the house,  I couldn’t help but think how springlike everything was looking…and feeling, as the temperature rose!

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In all my euphoria, I noticed a ziplock bag lying on the ground behind the house.  I walked down and snatched it up, only to realize what it was.  You might remember me mentioning here that a beautiful bluebird had met an untimely death trapped in our woodstove.  I had taken a ziplock bag and placed it inside, then placed it inside another bag.  Well, the winds apparently whipped the thing about and it ended up behind the house. (not sure where the outer bag ended up!)  Anyway,  I thought since not everyone has seen an Eastern Bluebird up close,  I would show the beautiful coloration of the bird before I took it to the dump today.

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Kudos to Nikon for lenses that are spot on! The color of this bird is perfect…I did nothing to “doctor” the photo.  I am sorry if the photo is disturbing…I know Mark and the kids would probably balk if they knew I showed this. These birds are fairly hard to find.  Their natural habitation is open fields and orchards.  Their population had fallen so that people were encouraged to build Bluebird nesting boxes.  The last I heard, their population had been increasing because of the boxes people placed on fences and poles.

I will leave you with something far more pleasing!

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Yes,  I baked a small army of Gingerbread Boys!  I have never made these before and it was fun! Ben looked at them and asked if I was really going to let people *eat* them!  He must have thought they looked more complex than they really were….thank heaven for the wonderful tubes of Wilton’s icing for decorating!

Ah, the Dog’s Life….

Wouldn’t it be nice to curl up into a ball on a soft little bed and sleep the day away?  No bills to worry you. No appointments to keep….Your only concern is when the next round of kibble will hit the bowl!  Ah, the life of a dog!

Today’s weather was miserable.  No, it wasn’t a blizzard or even a snowstorm. Instead, we were pelted by hours and hours of rain.  Yes, I can hear my Scottish readers chuckling.  Chuckle if you must,  but this is the northeastern part of the US, where we have traditionally enjoyed winter sports and fun *with* snow!  Rain?  Ugh!

I shan’t persue the murmurings caused by this ugly weather, as it is no use to grumble.  I will tell you, however,  I have not acquired a wet suit for my camera, so there was no opportunity for photos today.  It really was *that* wet,  so much so that I would not remove my camera from its cozy little nest in the camera bag!

And so….I will share two photos I took yesterday. (I have already shown these on Facebook)

Yesterday, as we did the gift unwrapping around the Christmas tree, the two Scotties were roused to come join us.  Now, these Scotties are as different as night and day.  Angus is just downright intense, while Murphy….well, he is just happy to “be”! I must make note here,  though, perhaps some of Angus’s anxious behavior can be attributed directly to Mark.  After all, every year, the Scotties get a little something. And, every year,  Mark teases Angus to rip the paper from the package!

Mark wanted to have Angus open a box of “cookies” I bought for the boys, but I pleaded with him to wait until we were nearly done.  Mark decided to wait.  But did Angus “get it”?  Well…..

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Angus randomly sat upright, begging as we opened presents!  He figured if he looked really cute, someone would take pity on his soul and open up the treats and pass them out.  Yes, he figured correctly, as Mark just had to open the box so Angus and Murphy could have some goodies.  And yes, Angus performs, and Murphy reaps the bennies!!!

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After all, Murphy just wants to look cute so everyone will give *him* some goodies!

Merry Christmas!

Better late than never, rght?

We celebrated this morning and opened gifts around the Christmas tree.  I think everyone was pleased with the goodies they received. 

We all puttered around until the afternoon when Mark decided we would have a non-traditional dinner of takeout Chinese! I was right there with him on this one as I just didn’t feel like cooking today!  Mark called around until he found a Chinese restaurant open in Geneva.

We drove out and picked up our food, then drove home and ate.  It was a nice diversion and much appreciated!

Once again, Merry Christmas to all my friends and readers here at the Bristolwood!!!

and to All, a Good Night….

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Okay, so this might not exactly be a self-explanatory photo….

When we arrived home from our shopping trip,  Angus was thrilled to be home with his family.  His little doggie bed somehow wound up in the laundry basket.  Well,  although that basket stands a good twice his height, Angus thinks nothing of making like an aardvark and hopping straight into the air and landing inside the basket.  Once he was inside, he propped his head up on the side….exposing his “gooshie” (as Michelle calls his nose!).

I’m not sure what Scottie visions involve, but perhaps a good squirrel chasing…certainly not sugarplums!

Merry Christmas!  *** I hope you will take the time to peruse my previous post as well!***

A Look at Canandaigua on Christmas Eve

Mark and I went out to do some last minute shopping in Canandaigua late this afternoon.  As we drove into town, Mark inquired what I wanted to do first.  Why, head down to the City Pier, of course!  After all, I had some cracked corn to feed my web-footed friends. 

As soon as we stopped the truck, this little fellow looked as though he was running toward me! How did he know?

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He was not alone, after all….

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Awesome little duckprints!!!

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The building that is boarded over was a good Italian restaurant. Behind it was a rather run down, dismal trailer park.  Both restaurant and trailer park have been vacated as new buildings will be going up there.  As I recall,  I think they are going to be either apartments or condos with upscale stores on ground level.  Should be interesting to see how this all plays out!

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After enjoying watching the ducks eat,  we headed over to Wegman’s where the parking lot was full to overflowing.  Mark finally found a spot far away from the store and I walked. And walked. And walked some more!  Fearful of what I might face upon entering the store,  I was pleasantly surprised to see that not only was shopping less than stressful,  but getting through the checkout was a snap!  Kudos to Wegman’s for a job well done! I must comment, however,  I have never seen so many employees in the store at one time!

After Wegman’s, we hopped over to WalMart for a few items.  What came as a total surprise was seeing the parking lot with spaces open!  Once again, many employees working made for a smooth and painless passage through the store. The big difference between Wegman’s and WalMart  was the fact that Wegman’s was restocking and WalMart looked as though the store had been ransacked!

Another stop at Lowe’s and we were done! We picked up some food for the kids and were on our way when I told Mark I would like to stop for a few minutes in downown Canandaigua to take a few photos.  This is your lucky day as I shall now bore you to tears with photos of Canandaigua late afternoon, early evening! Enjoy!

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This is certainly not an all-inclusive look at city businesses.  I merely walked around Main Street a bit, snapping some of the *blingiest* windows.  There were many others!

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The dome building in the next photo is the Ontario County Courthouse, as Canandaigua is the county seat.

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As you can see, there were many vehicles on the road….shoppers rushing home with their treasures, just like the song Silver Bells portrays!

Jesus is STILL the Reason for the Season!

Have you noticed everywhere you go, people are wishing everyone “Happy Holidays!” instead of Merry Christmas?  Yeah, I know….don’t get your knickers in a knot…right?  It is just that it seems with every year that passes, Jesus is becoming less and less the center of the celebration. I guess the name of Christ is just so offensive, no one wants to utter it.

And, speaking of Jesus.  Well, when my father-in-law passed away,  we inherited his nativity set.  The nativity is beautiful but it takes up a good bit of real estate.  When one lives in a small house, it is hard to find empty flat surfaces to place such things.  This year, I found a cool solution when I really wasn’t looking!

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I love this nativity! Yay! Takes up little space AND as an added bonus, it adds the element of fire!!! Yes, there is a place for a votive candle in a cup in the center.  This makes the fire gently wash upon the faces of the wise men, angel, and shepherds.  It really is pretty.

You might wonder where I have been and to tell the truth, no where in particular!  I have just been busy.  The other day, we took Michelle to school and dropped her off.  We then headed to Rochester.  On the way to Canandaigua, the skies were so pretty.  They looked like watercolor paintings.  Sorry about the smudges….those are Scottie snuzzles on the glass!

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Michelle has completed her first semester of college and I am pleased to say she has done very well.  It is always a bit of a relief, as a homechooling family,  to get a good report from school.  Michelle will have her final grades the day after Christmas, but she is sure she has made the dean’s list.   She was excused from the final test in one class, as her average exceeded 100%. 

On Monday, I had to visit the dentist for three (argh!) fillings.  The dentist gave me two shots of novacaine in the upper front and then proceded to work on a small cavity on the bottom. When I nearly jumped out of the chair, he gave me one more shot.  I have a tendency to close my eyes and look as though I have stopped breathing, causing both the dentist and hygenist to keep questioning whether I am okay!  Of course I am….I am just *trying* to relax.  By the time I reached the receptionist,  I was so numb in the face,  I could barely talk!  The dentist came up behind me and massaged my neck. They all laughed,  saying he should have relaxed me BEFORE I got the work done!  Ah well….I smiled and told him “Another dental visit survived”!

Now, why I took the camera with me to the dentist is beyond me,  but when I came home,  there was a pileated woodpecker right behind the house.  These birds are so flighty, it is impossible to ever get a photo.  This time, the bird stayed put for awhile, but  I only had a short lens on the camera.  If you click twice to enlarge the photo, you can see the bird right in the center of the photo.

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Ah, one more story about the shopping trip… As I awaited Mark and Ben to pick me up at Sam’s,  I heard an elderly woman ask one of the guys gathering carts for help unloading the heavy items in her cart.  Unfortunately, the wind was blowing and the guy didn’t hear.  I pushed my cart over and told her I could put her heavy items in the trunk for her.  She was glad for the help and told me about how her son and daughter-in-law were flying out today to China to pick up a little girl with Cerebral Palsy that they are going to adopt.  They have four children of their own, but wanted another child. She also told me her granddaughter had been accepted into the pre-med program in Syracuse.  She confided she was so excited….and so blessed, this year!  As I finished up,  she grabbed me and gave me a huge hug….

Don’t you wish everyday was Christmas?