Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009-Year in Review

2009 wasn't such a good year for me. I got hurt at work requiring a trip to the ER, much unbelievable pain, and I'm still not right. I missed work for 8 months (not such a bad thing). I was unable to ride my horse for 8 months (bad thing) and still have lots to go to be able to ride as I once did. The worst loss was saying goodbye to my wonderful dog Barrett. We had 13 years together and I was able to be home with him for a good part of his last months-I'm grateful for that. His death and the deaths of Paulie and Vinnie were bad parts. There were good parts. Seeing my Ohio friends, both here and in Ohio. Doing some day trips, alone and with my folks. Seeing my good friend Vinnie 20 years. Celebrating Halloween with my first taste of a ghost hunt. Adding Aquinas, Harrison, and Dylan to the family. Joining my friend and working on a web magazine, writing more...all good things. So here's to 2010-my it be a year of peace, prosperity, and joy! Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Eugenics is an interesting and controversial topic. Basically it's the belief of bettering the human species by not allowing people with certain disabilities reproduce and not performing life saving surgeries or otherwise taking herculean efforts to save babies with serious genetic faults. In regards to the infants, the concept was seen as saving them from a lifetime of misery-and, my thought, saving the rest of the population from paying for their care. Forced sterilizations were common in institutions for both the mentally retarded and mentally ill. Eugenics was popular in the 1930s and 1940s and had well known supporters such as Charles Darwin (no surprise there-survival of the fittest and all) and quite surprisingly Helen Keller. Although I'm sure many people will think I'm wrong, or immoral, or going to hell in a hand basket, I agree with a lot of the thought behind eugenics. Some people...many people... should not be allowed to reproduce. I deal with some people who are a complete drain on society and whose existence is a burden to all. Better that they should never have been born. As for some other people, honestly, what quality of life do they have? Of course, this does not mean that all developmentally disabled or mentally ill people fall in this category. Certainly not. A lot of mentally ill people have a great life and make a positive difference in the lives of many. They can and do lead productive lives. But there are others who you see who never had a chance-families riddled with disease, born while their mothers were institutionalized themselves. The problem is-how do you know if the children will be able to lead a great life or just one of pain and suffering. An interesting and volatile question and debate.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Sore Throat

I have a sore throat. I've had it for 2 days now. Other than that, I feel fine. Let me amend that statement, my back is still bothering me, but as for cold symptoms-it's just the throat. It's not super sore-like strep throat (I've had that-awful) it's just sore. Hopefully a cold will not follow.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Bad Back

My back is really bothering me today. It started last evening and feels worse today. I could only ride Harley for just over 10 minutes. It hurt to trot (it usually doesn't) and even walking was bothering me. I put his blanket on and let him out in the pasture to play with his friends. He'll find a Christmas apple from Grandma in his food bucket when he comes back in. I'm going to take a bath and nap before work. Hopefully, I'll feel better.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

My Christmas

Today was the day I really celebrated Christmas. I drove to my parent's house. As soon as I arrived it started to snow; just lightly so it looked really pretty instead of threatening. We had a delicious breakfast-fresh Polish sausage with beet horseradish, rye bread and butter, peaches with cinnamon and freshly squeezed orange juice. Then it was time to open presents. I got some wonderful things-highlights being an autographed copy of the book Haunted Buffalo, the DVD of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, and a case of Andre champagne! ...along with lots of other great stuff. I think my folks liked their gifts too. After basking in the glow of presents we ate potato chips and leek dip while drinking champagne and watching one of Mom's presents-Julie & Julia, a great movie. We called our aunt in California, then ate French onion soup...yummy. I had to take a nap then. After I woke up we had dinner-beef tenderloin in a horseradish wine sauce (phenomenal) with salad and mashed potatoes and gravy. Mom's stunning chocolate mousse for dessert. Then it was time to pack up the car and drive home, listening to Christmas music. Another wonderful Christmas. Thanks Mom and Dad!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Boxing Day

I hope everyone had a merry Christmas. Just remember-it's not over yet! I get so upset when I see Christmas trees out in the garbage the day after Christmas-or shortly thereafter. The twelve days of Christmas refer to the 12 days AFTER Christmas, not the days leading up to it. I plan to party to Epiphany (January 6) AT LEAST. In fact my real Christmas celebration hasn't happened yet. That'll be tomorrow when I visit my folks. So keep Christmas in your heart all year long and your decorations up at least until Epiphany.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Photo Phriday - Merry Christmas!

Christmas morning 2009. I still can't believe it's here. Calumet is checking out the goodies. She made out quite well-and she hasn't even gotten her grandparent's gifts yet!

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve is here. Probably the most anticipated night of the year. Sadly, I worked last night, will work tonight and tomorrow night. Sigh. The curse of 24/7 professions. I'm going to try to enjoy the holiday. I've been drinking my Cerise (carbonated cherry wine) and munching on ribbon candy. But now it's time to turn off the Christmas tree lights, blow out the candle, and go to bed. Have a wonderful Christmas Eve!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Missed a Day!

For the first time since I started writing this blog I missed a day. I never blogged yesterday. Completely forgot to do it. Didn't even know I missed doing it. Sigh. Well, one day missed since September 13, 2007 isn't too bad! I hope you're all set for the holiday. I'm about as good as I'm going to get. I got my dinner from the grocery store. (I'm going to do something with lamb and wild rice.) Still need to wrap some stuff for my folks, but I won't see them til Sunday anyway. I want to get rid of some of the Christmas boxes and clean Vito's cage-the other boys cages are all ready for Christmas! Then if I can get more cleaning in....we'll see, tomorrow is Christmas Eve.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Joyous Yule!

Here's wishing you and yours a most wonderous holiday. Tonight is the Winter Solstice. Enjoy the longest night of the year-Joyous Yule!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas Lights

I love seeing all the holiday decorations and Christmas lights. As a kid, one of my favorite holiday activities was hopping in the car and Dad driving so Mom and I could see the Christmas lights. The last 2 years I took Barrett, but sadly, I went alone this year. Not near as fun. Plus it's hard to drive and gawk at the same time. But, I did see some nicely decorated houses before I stopped to get a hot apple cider at Tim Horton's. This one was one of my favorites!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Benefits of Winter Clothing

I had one last Christmas card to mail, so I took it to work with the intention of dropping it in the mailbox on my way home. Well, I got home, got in my pjs, brushed my teeth, and lie in bed when I saw the card peeking out of my book. The Card! I didn't want to wait til Monday-so I got up, slipped on my jeans, threw a sweatshirt on over my nightgown-which I just rolled up a bit), kept my slipper socks on and pulled on my winter boots, coat, scarf and hat and went to the post office to drop off my card. I came home and divested myself of my outerwear, still in my pjs. There are great benefits to winter clothing!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Photo Phriday - Aquinas in his Christmas Tree

While the big live Christmas tree is in the living room, the rats have a small artificial tree in their room. It's decorated with the Charming Tails 12 days of Christmas and gives their room some nice Christmas cheer. I decided to let the babies explore the tree. Here's Aquinas, checking out his first Christmas tree.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


What goes around comes around. I was trying to take a nap before work last night. I was lying quietly and Aleister was on the pillow next to me. I heard a hiss and felt Aleister leave the pillow and come to my other side. I looked at the pillow and there was Seneca, getting comfortable. I thought to myself, "I wouldn't be so cocky if I were you". Sure enough shortly thereafter I heard much louder hissing and swatting. I felt Seneca get up and go to the foot of the bed. I glanced at the pillow to see Callie-looking quite pleased with herself. Yes, what goes around comes around.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

It's Beginning To Look. . . .

The snow is gently falling and it's cold outside. It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas! I had a quick ride with Harley-he had icicles on his muzzle! Now I'm home warming up. Time for a bath and nap before I go back in to work tonight.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Getting There

The last of the Christmas presents have been shipped. I still have to finish decorating the tree and manger, and put up any other decorations I decide to put out. But now it's time for A Charlie Brown Christmas before I do more editing...with some wine and peanut butter popcorn from Oliver's!

Monday, December 14, 2009


I am traumatized. This morning I had to go to the dentist to repair a chipped filling and a cracked crown. We started with the drilling. Easy peasie. He could drill on me all day, and I couldn't care less. I don't use Novocaine either. Why bother? That hurts more than the drilling. OK we drilled without any problem-heck, I didn't even feel it for the crown, the other was a little sensitive-but certainly no biggie. However, what came next was my personal nightmare. They had to take an impression of my tooth for the crown. I don't deal well with getting those impressions. I have a major gag reflex and when I have to bite down and it oozes all over....hideous. I warned them. The doctor put it in and left and I started gagging and fighting the assistant while trying to get the thing out of my mouth. She had me in a headlock to keep it in. When she finally took it was no good. We had to do it again. Kill me now. The tears were already streaming down my face. We tried again. It was still awful, but doctor stayed a bit longer, holding me down as well and both of them telling me to breathe through my nose. I calmed a bit and he left. She eventually took it out. Better. But they needed to just do a bit more-"just a drop of gloop, it won't be bad", the doc then told me to think of it, not as taking an impression, but this was my mouthpiece and I was getting ready to fight Muhammad Ali. It was still awful, but not as bad. I thought we were done, when she took this caulking gun and squirted goop around my bottom teeth and told me to bite down. What the hell?!?!?! Fortunately that took mere seconds. The poor assistant just shook her head, "You do drilling without Novocaine, but have issues with impressions." I'm weird, what can I say. I go back in January to get the real crown, I have a temporary now.

Then I had to get my glasses fixed. The eye place no longer accepts my insurance, so I had to go to Lenscrafters...which is in the mall...11 days before Christmas. The trauma continues.

But my glasses are fixed, my teeth OK, I'm feeling ill (chills, nausea, etc) so I called in sick. I'm in my comfy clothes and I think I need a drink!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Pictures With Santa

Just because I don't have human children doesn't mean I forgo pictures with Santa. Callie has seen Santa every year of her life-this makes visit #4. She was a very good girl, though not too pleased with the whole situation. Amazingly she didn't hiss or scratch this little blonde girl that rushed up to her and started petting her. The mother was a mile away, of course, finally calling to the kid who wouldn't get away from Callie even when we were trying to get the picture (she was in the shot!) As soon as we got the shot, Santa is still holding Calumet, the girl rushes back and gloms on to my poor cat. She was gentle as she pet her, but Jeeze Louise, you don't run up to any cat, let alone a strange cat, hands out to touch. Fortunately, Callie was a lady and didn't do anything and I spirited her away from the who went to antagonize the dogs who were next in line.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

In Memory

Vinnie died yesterday-but here he is, just last month, enjoying some chicken. I'll write a full memorial soon. He was a good sweet boy.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Photo Phriday - My Phavorite Ornament

This little guy is my favorite Christmas ornament. I got him when I was little at a garden center called Sunview around the corner from my house. The store is no longer in business, but I remember going to see all their holiday decorations...and getting those sun catchers you made by pouring the colored crystals in the spaces and baking them. What were they called? Anyway, hope this guy brings you a smile. Do you have a favorite Christmas ornament?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Twelve Days of Christmas

The following was sent to me in a forwarded e-mail and I thought I'd share.

There is one Christmas Carol that has always baffled me.
What in the world do leaping lords, French hens,
swimming swans, and especially the partridge who won't come out of the pear tree have to do with Christmas?

From 1558 until 1829, Roman Catholics in England were not permitted to practice their faith openly. Someone during that era wrote this carol as a catechism song for young Catholics. It has two levels of meaning: the surface meaning plus a hidden meaning known only to members of their church. Each element in the carol has a code word for a religious reality which the children could remember.

-The partridge in a pear tree was Jesus Christ.
-Two turtle doves were the Old and New Testaments.
-Three French hens stood for faith, hope and love.
-The four calling birds were the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke & John.
-The five golden rings recalled the Torah or Law, the first five books of the Old Testament.
-The six geese a-laying stood for the six days of creation.
-Seven swans a-swimming represented the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit--Prophesy, Serving, Teaching, Exhortation, Contribution, Leadership, and Mercy.
-The eight maids a-milking were the eight beatitudes.
-Nine ladies dancing were the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit--Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness,
Gentleness, and Self Control.
-The ten lords a-leaping were the ten commandments.
-The eleven pipers piping stood for the eleven faithful disciples.
-The twelve drummers drumming symbolized the twelve points of belief in the Apostles' Creed.

So there is your history for today. This knowledge was shared with me and I found it interesting and enlightening and now I know how that strange song became a Christmas Carol.

Merry (Twelve Days of) Christmas Everyone.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

They Moved the Jalepenos!

During work last night the snow began. It was snowing pretty good, looking like 2-3 inches, but it seemed the roads were OK-at least they looked OK from the windows. As the day shift was coming in one person said the roads were fine, just a little slushy. The next person warned me to be very careful driving as she had seen 6 cars off the road and the conditions were very slippery. All rightie then. As I left work however, conditions changed. It was no longer snowing, but raining. And a freezing, sleety rain at that! There wasn't much snow to brush off the car, the rain was melting it away. So I was off-I decided to do my errands anyway. The roads weren't too bad. First stop-grocery store. I actually had a list-some dinner recipes (well ingredients for dishes I thought I could throw together) and some baking supplies. I was looking for the jarred jalapenos and for the life of me could not find them. I was wandering around forever. I found the imported jar ones, but I wanted my regular USA ones. After more wandering (and yes, this was my usual store too) I finally found them. The other end of the aisle with the imported ones, next to the chocolate animals I commented on to myself earlier. Yes, I walked by these jalapenos a few times. But I found them. And bought them. Only to discover a full bottle of them at home. Sigh. Oh well. Back home I unpacked the groceries and took off, once again, to the post office. Another package out along with all but one of my Christmas cards (need an address). Then it was off to the bank to deposit some checks (yea!). I took a few holiday pics, then back to home and bed! A busy morning, no doubt!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Errands and Snow

I have a bunch of running around lined up to do tomorrow morning after work-grocery store, bank, post office-but we're also expecting a brief winter storm. I look forward to the snow so that I can capture it in the holiday photos I'll be taking for the Spartan Opinion Holiday Photo Share (be sure to send yours in too!), but part of me is wondering if I should head out this evening while the roads are clear and dry.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Errand Running

I've been running around all day, trying to accomplish at least some of the things on my list. I was somewhat successful. I visited Harley, got needed food at PetSmart, got more mailing stuff at Walmart, picked up my Rx from Walgreens, mailed off 4 Christmas packages (a few more to go), picked up books from the library. Of course, I forgot to stop at the bank, didn't have time to get my glasses fixed, and didn't do any cleaning or decoration at the house. Nor did I call personnel, find paperwork, reply to some e-mails...hmmm. I was better off just listing the things I did do!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

St. Nicholas Day - Christmas Tree

Happy St. Nicholas Day! I celebrated St. Nicholas Day by getting my Christmas tree! My folks came up and Dad and I went to pick out the tree. We picked this beautiful frasier fir. Mom put the lights on. Callie loves having a tree back in the house. You can see she's already claimed her spot. I'll get the decorations on soon, but tonight I'm wrapping gifts that need to be shipped out.

Saturday, December 5, 2009


Today I need to be a whirlwind of activity. I need to do lots of cleaning and I need to make room for the arrival of the Christmas tree tomorrow. Fall decorations need to come down and the Christmas boxes need to start their descent from the attic. So much to do...Harley, you may not get a visit today. If only I wasn't so tired.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Photo Phriday - Christmas Lights

Here's the back of my house. See my new little candy canes lighting the way?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Samantha Stevens

I sure wish I was Samantha Stevens. I could wiggle my nose and the house would be clean and ready to decorate. Of course, if I was Samantha Stevens, I'd be married to Darrin. OK. I wish I was me with the abilities of Samantha Stevens!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Spartan Holiday Photo Request

There's a great new web magazine called The Spartan Opinion. They're having a holiday photo contest so I thought I'd spread the word.

Spartan Holiday Photo Request

It’s that time of year. Soon villages, towns, and cities all over the world will be decorating for the holiday season. The Spartan Opinion, as part of its global initiative, wants to share photos of holiday decorations worldwide and we need your help. Once your area is decked out in all its holiday glory, take a picture and send it to us. If you live in one town and work in another, take pictures of both. Visiting a nearby town? Take a picture there too. If you take a trip, send a picture from your destination. Have family and friends that live in different locations? Ask them to send a photo as well. Once you’ve taken your picture e-mail it to:

Please give the following information: 1. In the subject line please write: Spartan Holiday Pictures. In the body of the e-mail, please give your 2. name, 3. e-mail address, 4. the photographer’s name (be it you or a friend or family member-but please, make sure you have permission to use the picture), 5. the location of the photo-city, state or province, and country. If you live in a well knows neighborhood, share that information too, for example: Kensington, Toronto, Ontario, Canada or Little Italy, Cleveland, Ohio, USA, 6. and a description of the photo-Town Square, St. Mary’s Church, Sears Building, etc. and finally 7. the date the picture was taken.

Don’t forget to attach your picture, and please, send a high resolution copy.

The best pictures will be posted at The Spartan Opinion and one of the pictures will win "editors pick". Whoever submitted that photo will receive a $50 USD American Express gift certificate. So go out and enjoy the holiday decorations-and don’t forget your camera!

Deadline for submissions is December 21, 2009.

Wintry Welcome December!

A wintry welcome was given to December. While I was doing rounds at work in the early hours of the morning I glanced out the window. I stopped, took some steps back and looked again. It was snowing! It was actually coming down pretty good! When I got outside after work I had to brush off my car-the snow was a heavy wet snow. Everything looked so pretty. The roads were fine, so I enjoyed seeing the return of the white stuff. The day warmed up, so the snow is all gone now. It's supposed to be 50 tomorrow! But it'll be back...and in a few months we'll be cursing it. For now, however, it was a happy reminder of this holiday season!