Thursday, December 31, 2009

This Year's Animal

It started year before last when I gave my sister and myself sterling silver dragonfly charms.  Dragonflies symbolize transformation and I thought 2008 needed to be a transformative year for both of us.  My sister hasn't changed her animal since; she loves the idea of constantly transforming herself.

I, on the other hand, chose the bumblebee as my 2009 animal.  Bumblebees symbolize persistence, steadiness, diligence and winning against all odds.  After all, aerodynamically bumblebees shouldn't be able to fly at all.  All of which I need to work on as I have a bad habit of "flitting" and never "landing".  I think I've done better this year.  Not great, but better.  I wore my bumblebee often throughout this year to give me a boost when I needed it.

For 2010, I have chosen the turtle as my totem.  I love turtles and tortoises.  They just look wise to me.  So, for Christmas I asked for a very pretty little bracelet I had seen with turtles and turquoise beads.  It really helps me to have a reminder that I can wear.  Turtles signify "groundedness" and they are the oldest symbol for planet Earth.  The turtle is a reminder to create and hold your ideas and plans till they are fully ready to share; and, that being bigger, stronger or faster aren't always the best ways to get to your goal.  Remember "slow and steady wins the race"?

This year I'll try to give myself the time I need to do the things I need or want to do.  And I'll have these sweet little turtles to help me along.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Monday Musing

Christmas is over.  I'm sure there are people out there very sad about this.  I am, however, not one of them.  The relief that I felt on the 26th getting that Christmas tree down was huge.  I'm not a total Grinch:  I do still have the wreath on the front door.  But it will soon be coming down, too.

That being said, I had a wonderful Christmas.  The company was sterling; the food was wonderful (and fattening); the presents surprising and satisfying.  My sweet Significant Husband gifted me with a Barnes & Noble Nook e-reader, which I ordered yesterday.  It will actually be a Valentine's present, too, since it isn't shipping till February 1st.  But hey -- something to look forward to in the dreary grip of winter.

I am ready to move on to a new year.  Well, I'm ALMOST ready to move on.  I need to get my office and craft areas cleared out and rearranged to meet 2010 with conviction.  Betcha can't guess what I'm going to be doing for the next several days.

Friday, December 25, 2009

You Can Quote Me

O, Come All Ye Faithful to the Little Town of Bethlehem in the Silent Night to celebrate Joy to the World.

                                               ~~~ Donna Noland


Monday, December 21, 2009

Monday Musing

Christmas traditions really can be fun even when you've done them for years on end and you may think they are getting rather stale.

Yesterday, the women of the family(along with one lone boyfriend) trekked downtown to the grand old Alabama Theater to watch "White Christmas" on the big screen.  We can't remember precisely, but it seems that this must be at least the 7th year for this.  And every year -- even though we can quote whole scenes worth of the script -- it's just as much fun.  The mighty Wurlitzer organ is played superbly for a half hour before show time.  Then comes the audience Christmas carol singalong.  The organ disappears under the stage, the lights go down, the velvet curtains open and the event begins; always with a classic Disney cartoon.  This year it was Donald Duck's turn at bat.

Throughout the movie, you can hear people (usually me, but others, too) softly singing under their breath.  The laughter comes easily.  We love Bing.  We love Rosemary.  We are in awe of Vera Ellen and her teeny, tiny waist.  But oh, how we ADORE Danny Kaye.  I really think it's the only reason my mother continues to attend.  Well, that and she loves all the 50s ambiance.  She says it reminds her of "how much fun we used to have......y'all just don't know how to have a good time now."  The Sisters's song is probably my and my sister's highlight.  Both the versions. 

And at the last when Bing, Danny, Rosemary & Vera Ellen stand before the glorious Christmas tree and encourage their film audience to join them in the last chorus of "White Christmas", the Alabama crowd is THERE and we oblige.  The theater rings as we sing out and enjoy the White Christmas experience for another year.

Friday, December 18, 2009

You Can Quote Me

May the spirit of Christmas bring you peace, the gladness of Christmas give you hope, the warmth of Christmas grant you love.

                                              ~~~ Author Unknown

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Christmas Icicle Crunchies

I thought I was going to get away with no Christmas tree-dog mishaps this year.  Yes.......I was wrong.  Over the weekend, Vivi determined that the nice, sparkly plastic icicles I put on the tree must be new doggie treats sent from Santa just for her.

The first crunch that I heard, I couldn't really place what it was.  I kept on with what I was doing, but then I heard it again.  I got up to check and there she was, the evidence strewn around her in several small pieces.  As I bent down to look, I quickly realized that there weren't enough small pieces to make a whole icicle.  Uh oh.  I resumed what I had been doing and an hour later, I heard the telltale crunch again.  I ran this time to the scene of the crime.  Now, I picked up the top and two-thirds of the bottom.  When I picked her up, Miss Viv gagged up the other half-inch.  This time I went to find the baby gate (used in emergency cases like this); removed all the remaining icicles from the lower third of the tree; and, closed the pocket door in to the dining room effectively sealing off the temptation.
I spent the next two days watching for signs of intestinal blockage, which thankfully, never materialized.  I would have hated to spend all of Vivi's Christmas present money on a big, fat vet bill.  As far as I can tell, the tree ornaments have now lost most of their glowing appeal.  We have 10 days.  Keep your fingers crossed.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Monday Musing

That soft little breeze whispering by your cheek just now was a sigh.  From me.  I think I'm finally to the point in the holiday season where I can begin to unknot the kinks in my shoulders.  I think.

There are two more presents to wrap.  There are 3 bottles of wine to pick up sometime this week.  I have two gifts left to mail today. The Little Black Dogs get taken to the groomers tomorrow for Christmas Cleanup (just hope that lasts a little longer than 36 hours).  I know which food items I will be attempting this year for our Christmas get-together.....all easy recipes, thank God.  So right about now, I'm feeling pretty good.  Tomorrow could be another story, but I'm not looking ahead.

Well, actually that's a lie.  While doing all those housewifely chores this morning, I was contemplating what I'd like for 2010 to be like.  Maybe by New Year's Eve, I'll have some kind of list.  Not that much ever gets checked off each year, but it makes me feel positive about turning over that new leaf.

Right now though, I think I'll just enjoy some holiday breathing space.

Friday, December 11, 2009

You Can Quote Me

"One kind word can warm three winter months."
                             ~~~ Japanese Proverb

Thursday, December 10, 2009

We Interrupt Christmas........

I hate to interject anything truly "serious" at this jolly time of the year, but the Soapbox calls.

This morning on the Today Show, there was a segment about the BBC's video from last year -- the one that prevented Crufts from being aired...the "expose on pedigreed dogs".  (See it at  BBC America is showing that documentary tonight at 7 o'clock CST.  I think it would behoove all of us to watch, make notes and then be prepared to ask questions, make noise, etc.

I also believe that NBC needs to hear from the breeders and supporters of responsibly bred purebred dogs.  For example, I plan to send an email requesting that they actually do on-air interviews (in the interest of FAIR AND OBJECTIVE reporting) with reputable breeders who have years of HANDS ON experience breeding and raising dogs instead of interviewing Ivory Tower professors who probably wouldn't know which end the damn puppy comes out of.  It burns me slap DOWN that no network, no group, no anybody ever wants to hear from the people who actually are involved in the activity being vilified.  Yes, there are crappy breeders......and have been for hundreds of years.  But there are plenty who try very, very hard to breed sound, healthy dogs.  And without good breeders, just where are our liberal, hand-wringing friends going to get their next Lab or Golden or Cocker Spaniel....or whatever breed they have happened to fall head over heels in love with?

And by the way, has it never dawned on any of these yo-yos that one of the reasons it APPEARS that purebred dogs have more health problems is because the purebred community is terribly aware of their breeds and actively watch and test for problems so that they can do whatever they can to eliminate them?  Mixed breed dogs have plenty of health problems, too, only nobody recognizes them for what they are because nobody's looking or keeping track.

And AKC:  oh boy!  They issued a "statement".  Great.  Those boys up there need to get their heads out of their asses and formulate a PLAN that involves going on the offensive instead of constantly playing catchup.  Don't y'all think that Wayne and his minions over at HSUS are going to have a damn FIELD DAY with this?  They'll tie it right in to their "war on puppy mills" that they are ramping up for 2010.  (The latest is their national toll-free hotline to report suspected puppymills.  Somehow they've managed to delude folks into thinking that HSUS has law enforcement powers!)  And of course, to HSUS, anybody that has more than 2 or 3 dogs and breeds more than once a year is a puppymill. 

So, in the battle to keep purebred animals in our lives, if y'all thought 2009 was tough, get ready.  And take your heads out of the sand..........

Sorry.....back to our regularly scheduled festivities.........

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

O Christmas Tree......

O Christmas tree.......... 

Well, I have finally managed to get the tree up and decorated.  So many things have happened to prevent this, that I am beginning to think I wasn't supposed to have one.  For one thing, my beautifully STRAIGHT tree at the lot somehow began severely listing to one side within minutes of being put in the tree stand.  Repeated attempts to fix this were all for naught.  It's still listing to one side.  Of course, now that I think of it, this could have been from the tree falling over several times while I had it in the garage "drinking" out of a 2-gallon bucket.  I kept trying to prop it up; it kept falling.  Hey, at least it's still nice and green and fragrant.

This is also the first live Christmas tree we've had in almost 30 years.  As I got the lights out that we used several years ago (the others are on the artificial tree in the attic -- the one we've had up for the past, oh, 15 years), I suddenly remembered why I've stored my tree with the lights on it.  I forgot that these old-fashioned lights have to be screwed in the string and THEN you get to string them on the tree.  And those little LIVE branches aren't nearly as strong and supportive as the artifical ones, so you must attach the lights, not merely lay them up in the tree.  Sigh.

Today is the last of Decoration Days.  I'm done.  All in.  Whatever is left undone will have to wait till next year.  There's only one thing left to do:  wrap the presents and get them under the tree.  I do so hope that can be accomplished before December 24th.


Monday, December 7, 2009

Monday Musing

This is what my poor little Knockout rose bush looked like on Saturday morning.  Yep, we got about an inch of the white stuff in Alabama.  It's probably as close as we'll ever get to a White Christmas.  It was very pretty early in the morning and then by noon, it was all gone.
We Southerners are a strange bunch when it comes to snow.  We see it so seldom in any appreciable quantity, that we all become 6 year-olds at the mention of the word, much less the actual product.  And then, after the initial "oh boy....SNOW", we get all panicky and go in to "milk/bread/eggs" survival mode.  I bet Friday at the grocery stores was crazy.  It's really amusing.  Tomorrow it's supposed to be 60 degrees.

Friday, December 4, 2009

You Can Quote Me

"A snowflake is one of God's most fragile creations, but look what they can do when they stick together!"
                                                   ~~~~Author Unknown

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Deck the Halls, Y'all!

So, I've put on my Elf Hat (if not my Elf Attitude) and begun the process of turning a country farmhouse into Santa's Village.  Ummmmm....maybe not.  But at least it might look a little bit Christmasy.  Here's what's happened so far:

I made this wreath several years ago out of a 20' lead, miniature chew sticks and dog ornaments.  I hope it's going to hold up forever because I don't want to have to do it again.  The Christmas sign came from good old Michael's about 3 years ago -- one of my "newer" Christmas decorations.

And of course, I have to have the Christmas flags outside on the walk.  And you can't play favorites.  They KNOW.

And here we have this year's "crafty thing".  Seems like I just can't make it through a holiday season without trying to make something.  There have been a few times that whatever it was got immediately thrown in the trash, it was so horrible.  I got lucky this year.  This attempt at creating actually turned out to work!  (Thanks a heap, Martha.)

And here we have the BIG EXPENDITURE for the holidays.  (This is what was in the boxes a few days ago.)  Now I know why people spring for the prelighted ones even though they're double the cost.  I think we need more lights, but by the time I got to this, all I wanted was THROUGH!  Obviously needs a little refining.

And, finally, I got to move to the inside of the house.  And scatter a couple of things around as you can see below.  Guess once I get the tree in a few days, I can complete the process.  By that time I should be pretty sick of the whole mess.  More later!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

For the Love of a Dog

Today I had the privilege of helping an Airedale rescue boy and his new owner start to build a foundation of trust.  Seems that George is a 3-year old with quite a lot of baggage.  This is his third home in as many years.  A sweet, sweet boy, but with oh so many anxieties and fears.  Fortunately for him, his new owner is committed to working with him and loving him and keeping him.  George's main problem is his fence jumping.  His second main problem is his lack of connection with humans.  For whatever reasons (which we will never really know), he hasn't learned that humans can be fun, trustworthy, caring and hanging out with them can be just as good --sometimes better -- than hanging with canine buds.

I was really surprised when George's owner asked me how much I charged for coming to "consult" with her.  She was even more surprised than me when I laughed and said, "Nothing."  Little could she know that this is for an Airedale debt that I can never repay.  I have been loved by 3 wonderful Airedales so far in my life.  If I can keep one in a home that will love him and protect him until the day he dies, it just goes toward the love loan that was given to me.  On the way home, I looked at the picture of the one closest to my heart that rides in my car stuck on the visor so I can see it if I glance up.  Today was that girl's tribute.  And only a drop in the bucket to what she gave me in her short life.

It will take time for George to see that someone is going to love him no matter what.  But he will see it.  His new owner wants that.  And I told her if she wants that enough, then it can happen.  With a rescue you can't make promises, but I think I'm right.  I hope I am.  For George's sake.  For his owner's.  For mine.