Bring Me That Horizon

Welcome to jennyweber dot com

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Home of Jenny the Pirate

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This will go better if you

check your expectations at the door.

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We're not big on logic

but there's no shortage of irony.

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 Nice is different than good.

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Oh and ...

I flunked charm school.

So what.

Can't write anything.

= Jennifer =

Causing considerable consternation
to many fine folk since 1957

Pepper and me ... Seattle 1962

  

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Belay That!

This blog does not contain and its author will not condone profanity, crude language, or verbal abuse. Commenters, you are welcome to speak your mind but do not cuss or I will delete either the word or your entire comment, depending on my mood. Continued use of bad words or inappropriate sentiments will result in the offending individual being banned, after which they'll be obliged to walk the plank. Thankee for your understanding and compliance.

= Jenny the Pirate =

Hoist The Colors

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I am a Blue Star Mother

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Insist on yourself; never imitate.

Your own gift you can present

every moment

with the cumulative force

of a whole life’s cultivation;

but of the adopted talent of another

you have only an extemporaneous

half possession.

That which each can do best,

none but his Maker can teach him.

= Ralph Waldo Emerson =

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Represent:

The Black Velvet Coat

In The Market, As It Were

 

 

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Contributor to

American Cemetery

published by Kates-Boylston

A Pistol With One Shot

Ecstatically shooting everything in sight using my beloved Nikon D3100 with AF-S DX Nikkor 18-55mm 1:3.5-5.6G VR kit lens and AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 G prime lens.

Also capturing outrageous beauty left and right with my Nikon D7000 blissfully married to my Nikkor 85mm f/1.4D AF prime glass. Don't be jeal.

And then there was the Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-200mm f:3.5-5.6G ED VR II zoom. We're done here.

Dying Is A Day Worth Living For

I am a taphophile

Word. Photo Jennifer Weber 2010

Great things are happening at

Find A Grave

If you don't believe me, click the pics.

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Dying is a wild night

and a new road.

Emily Dickinson

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REMEMBRANCE

When I am gone

Please remember me

 As a heartfelt laugh,

 As a tenderness.

 Hold fast to the image of me

When my soul was on fire,

The light of love shining

Through my eyes.

Remember me when I was singing

And seemed to know my way.

Remember always

When we were together

And time stood still.

Remember most not what I did,

Or who I was;

Oh please remember me

For what I always desired to be:

A smile on the face of God.

David Robert Brooks
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 Do not regret growing older. It is a privilege denied to many.

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Keep To The Code

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You Want To Find This
The Promise Of Redemption

Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not;

But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.

But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:

In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake.

For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;

Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;

Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.

For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.

So then death worketh in us, but life in you.

We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I BELIEVED, AND THEREFORE HAVE I SPOKEN; we also believe, and therefore speak;

Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you.

For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.

For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;

While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

II Corinthians 4

Freedom is a fragile thing and is never more than one generation away from extinction. It is not ours by inheritance; it must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation, for it comes only once to a people. Those who have known freedom and then lost it, have never known it again.

~ Ronald Reagan

Photo Jennifer Weber 2010

Not Without My Effects

My Compass Works Fine

The Courage Of Our Hearts

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Daft Like Jack

 "I can name fingers and point names ..."

And We'll Sing It All The Time
  • Elements Series: Fire
    Elements Series: Fire
    by Peter Kater
  • Danny Wright Healer of Hearts
    Danny Wright Healer of Hearts
    by Danny Wright
  • Grace
    Grace
    Old World Records
  • The Hymns Collection (2 Disc Set)
    The Hymns Collection (2 Disc Set)
    Stone Angel Music, Inc.
  • Always Near - A Romantic Collection
    Always Near - A Romantic Collection
    Real Music
  • Copia
    Copia
    Temporary Residence Ltd.
  • The Poet: Romances for Cello
    The Poet: Romances for Cello
    Spring Hill Music
  • Nightfall
    Nightfall
    Narada Productions, Inc.
  • Rachmaninoff plays Rachmaninoff
    Rachmaninoff plays Rachmaninoff
    RCA
  • The Pity Party: A Mean-Spirited Diatribe Against Liberal Compassion
    The Pity Party: A Mean-Spirited Diatribe Against Liberal Compassion
    by William Voegeli
  • The Art of Memoir
    The Art of Memoir
    by Mary Karr
  • The Gorgeous Nothings: Emily Dickinson's Envelope Poems
    The Gorgeous Nothings: Emily Dickinson's Envelope Poems
    by Emily Dickinson
  • Among The Dead: My Years in The Port Mortuary
    Among The Dead: My Years in The Port Mortuary
    by John W. Harper
  • On Writing Well, 30th Anniversary Edition: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction
    On Writing Well, 30th Anniversary Edition: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction
    by William Zinsser
  • Green Hell: How Environmentalists Plan to Control Your Life and What You Can Do to Stop Them
    Green Hell: How Environmentalists Plan to Control Your Life and What You Can Do to Stop Them
    by Steven Milloy
  • The Amateur
    The Amateur
    by Edward Klein
  • Hating Jesus: The American Left's War on Christianity
    Hating Jesus: The American Left's War on Christianity
    by Matt Barber, Paul Hair
  • In Praise of Stay-at-Home Moms
    In Praise of Stay-at-Home Moms
    by Dr. Laura Schlessinger
  • Where Are They Buried (Revised and Updated): How Did They Die? Fitting Ends and Final Resting Places of the Famous, Infamous, and Noteworthy
    Where Are They Buried (Revised and Updated): How Did They Die? Fitting Ends and Final Resting Places of the Famous, Infamous, and Noteworthy
    by Tod Benoit
  • Bird Brains: The Intelligence of Crows, Ravens, Magpies, and Jays
    Bird Brains: The Intelligence of Crows, Ravens, Magpies, and Jays
    by Candace Savage
  • Gifts of the Crow: How Perception, Emotion, and Thought Allow Smart Birds to Behave Like Humans
    Gifts of the Crow: How Perception, Emotion, and Thought Allow Smart Birds to Behave Like Humans
    by John Marzluff Ph.D., Tony Angell
  • Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me While I Save the World!
    Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me While I Save the World!
    by Andrew Breitbart
  • 11 Principles of a Reagan Conservative
    11 Principles of a Reagan Conservative
    by Paul Kengor
  • Mind of the Raven: Investigations and Adventures with Wolf-Birds
    Mind of the Raven: Investigations and Adventures with Wolf-Birds
    by Bernd Heinrich
  • Talking Heads: The Vent Haven Portraits
    Talking Heads: The Vent Haven Portraits
    by Matthew Rolston
  • Mortuary Confidential: Undertakers Spill the Dirt
    Mortuary Confidential: Undertakers Spill the Dirt
    by Todd Harra, Ken McKenzie
  • America's Steadfast Dream
    America's Steadfast Dream
    by E. Merrill Root
  • Good Dog, Carl : A Classic Board Book
    Good Dog, Carl : A Classic Board Book
    by Alexandra Day
  • Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation
    Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation
    by Lynne Truss
  • The American Way of Death Revisited
    The American Way of Death Revisited
    by Jessica Mitford
  • In Six Days : Why Fifty Scientists Choose to Believe in Creation
    In Six Days : Why Fifty Scientists Choose to Believe in Creation
    Master Books
  • Architects of Ruin: How big government liberals wrecked the global economy---and how they will do it again if no one stops them
    Architects of Ruin: How big government liberals wrecked the global economy---and how they will do it again if no one stops them
    by Peter Schweizer
  • Grave Influence: 21 Radicals and Their Worldviews That Rule America From the Grave
    Grave Influence: 21 Radicals and Their Worldviews That Rule America From the Grave
    by Brannon Howse
  • Lyrics of Sunshine and Shadow: The Tragic Courtship and Marriage of Paul Laurence Dunbar and Alice Ruth Moore
    Lyrics of Sunshine and Shadow: The Tragic Courtship and Marriage of Paul Laurence Dunbar and Alice Ruth Moore
    by Eleanor Alexander
Easy On The Goods
  • Waiting for
    Waiting for "Superman"
    starring Geoffrey Canada, Michelle Rhee
  • The Catered Affair (Remastered)
    The Catered Affair (Remastered)
    starring Bette Davis, Ernest Borgnine, Debbie Reynolds, Barry Fitzgerald, Rod Taylor
  • Bernie
    Bernie
    starring Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine, Matthew McConaughey
  • Remember the Night
    Remember the Night
    starring Barbara Stanwyck, Fred MacMurray, Beulah Bondi, Elizabeth Patterson, Sterling Holloway
  • The Ox-Bow Incident
    The Ox-Bow Incident
    starring Henry Fonda, Dana Andrews, Mary Beth Hughes, Anthony Quinn, William Eythe
  • The Bad Seed
    The Bad Seed
    starring Nancy Kelly, Patty McCormack, Henry Jones, Eileen Heckart, Evelyn Varden
  • Shadow of a Doubt
    Shadow of a Doubt
    starring Teresa Wright, Joseph Cotten, Macdonald Carey, Patricia Collinge, Henry Travers
  • The More The Merrier
    The More The Merrier
    starring Jean Arthur, Joel McCrea, Charles Coburn, Bruce Bennett, Ann Savage
  • Act of Valor
    Act of Valor
    starring Alex Veadov, Roselyn Sanchez, Nestor Serrano
  • Deep Water
    Deep Water
    starring Tilda Swinton, Donald Crowhurst, Jean Badin, Clare Crowhurst, Simon Crowhurst
  • Sunset Boulevard
    Sunset Boulevard
    starring William Holden, Gloria Swanson, Erich Von Stroheim, Nancy Olson, Fred Clark
  • Penny Serenade
    Penny Serenade
    starring Cary Grant, Irene Dunne, Edgar Buchanan, Beulah Bondi
  • Double Indemnity
    Double Indemnity
    starring Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck, Edward G. Robinson, Porter Hall, Jean Heather
  • Ayn Rand and the Prophecy of Atlas Shrugged
    Ayn Rand and the Prophecy of Atlas Shrugged
    starring Gary Anthony Williams
  • Fat Sick & Nearly Dead
    Fat Sick & Nearly Dead
    Passion River
  • It Happened One Night (Remastered Black & White)
    It Happened One Night (Remastered Black & White)
    starring Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert
  • Stella Dallas
    Stella Dallas
    starring Barbara Stanwyck, John Boles, Anne Shirley, Barbara O'Neil, Alan Hale
  • The Iron Lady
    The Iron Lady
    starring Meryl Streep, Jim Broadbent, Harry Lloyd, Anthony Head, Alexandra Roach
  • Wallace & Gromit: The Complete Collection (4 Disc Set)
    Wallace & Gromit: The Complete Collection (4 Disc Set)
    starring Peter Sallis, Anne Reid, Sally Lindsay, Melissa Collier, Sarah Laborde
  • The Red Balloon (Released by Janus Films, in association with the Criterion Collection)
    The Red Balloon (Released by Janus Films, in association with the Criterion Collection)
    starring Red Balloon
  • Stalag 17 (Special Collector's Edition)
    Stalag 17 (Special Collector's Edition)
    starring William Holden, Don Taylor, Otto Preminger, Robert Strauss, Harvey Lembeck
  • The Major and the Minor (Universal Cinema Classics)
    The Major and the Minor (Universal Cinema Classics)
    starring Ginger Rogers, Ray Milland
  • My Dog Skip
    My Dog Skip
    starring Frankie Muniz, Diane Lane, Luke Wilson, Kevin Bacon
  • Sabrina
    Sabrina
    starring Humphrey Bogart, Audrey Hepburn, William Holden, Walter Hampden, John Williams
  • The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer
    The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer
    starring Cary Grant, Myrna Loy, Shirley Temple, Rudy Vallee, Ray Collins
  • Pirates of the Caribbean - The Curse of the Black Pearl (Two-Disc Collector's Edition)
    Pirates of the Caribbean - The Curse of the Black Pearl (Two-Disc Collector's Edition)
    starring Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley, Jack Davenport
  • Now, Voyager (Keepcase)
    Now, Voyager (Keepcase)
    starring Bette Davis, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains, Gladys Cooper, John Loder
  • The Trip To Bountiful
    The Trip To Bountiful
  • Hold Back the Dawn [DVD] Charles Boyer; Olivia de Havilland; Paulette Goddard
    Hold Back the Dawn [DVD] Charles Boyer; Olivia de Havilland; Paulette Goddard
That Dog Is Never Going To Move

~ RIP JAVIER ~

1999-2016

Columbia's Finest Chihuahua

Simple. Easy To Remember.

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Tuesday
Dec112018

Don't come in but do have a bite

While I wouldn't qualify as a bona fide all-in birdwatcher, I do love the wee winged things as much as the next person.

As you know, I invite hummingbirds throughout the warm months, to sip nectar from hanging feeders outside my kitchen window as well as on my front porch.

They come every day and I delight in them without fail.

The hummers have gone to Mexico and beyond for the winter, but there are lots of birds still loitering about and I got the wild idea to tempt them to feed in my window.

It happened when I saw a feeder made specifically for that purpose -- as in, the clear acrylic feeder attaches to the window with suction cups and when the birdies come, they perch right there just inches from your face and enjoy a meal as you marvel at their sweetness from the comfy confines of your heated home.

So I got said feeder -- Wild Birds of Joy is the maker -- and attached it to the window. TG was dispatched to buy the appropriate seed and he came back with not one but two kinds, and I thought, what bird would not be ecstatic to see this buffet on my window?

Surely the cardinals and blue birds I see all of the time in the trees and prancing along on our fence will waste no time in eating their fill, I reasoned.

Except, I plastered the thing up there and filled it with seed, and no one came.

Day after day after day, no one came.

I Googled it. Search term: How long before birds come to window feeder.

The answer is as simple as it is frustrating.

Seems there's a rule of twos in such things. The birds may show up at the feeder in two seconds! Or it may take two minutes. Or two hours, or two days, or two weeks, or two months.

There's no predicting how long it will take in any particular instance. Will the birds see the feeder and desire a taste of what's on offer?

Maybe; maybe not.

Perhaps there are lots of good feeders in the neighborhood and they're getting plenty to eat in their known feasting spots.

It's possible that they feel threatened in my yard; I do not and would never own a cat, but there are at least two such critters that seem to love our place. They skulk all over (front and back) and stalk along atop the privacy fence, scaring away our cardinals.

Drives Rizzo crazy. He develops springs in his legs and a shrill manic bark when he spots a trespassing feline.

So could it be that the birds sense cat activity and would rather not chance dining on my windowsill?

It's hard for me to believe that would be the case, but it's been a month since I put the feeder up and so far, nary a seed has been touched.

However.

Last night I opened my front door to peer out -- I don't know why I'm compelled to do this several times a day, but I am -- into the dark and cold.

There was a forty-percent chance we'd get a snowflake, so maybe that was why I looked. I can't remember.

What I do remember is that I had been in the doorway for less than five seconds when I heard a whirring beside my ear and felt the unmistakable touch of feathers on the skin of my neck right about where it meets my shoulder.

A bird had flown past me and into the house. 

Upon cursory inspection I saw no evidence of nest-building in my real-greenery wreath, which may have explained why a bird had been startled into sudden flight by the opening of the door.

Nevertheless, my avian visitor -- a fat Carolina wren -- was perched on a tall leaning mirror at the shadowy far end of the front room. I began walking in that direction.

As I approached (I don't know what I planned to do once I reached it), the terrified little thing flew back to the door, which I had closed to keep out the cold.

And keep in the bird, apparently. Because it flew to the jamb above the door and sat there like Edgar Allan Poe's raven, except it was the wrong species, size, and color, and did not utter Nevermore or anything else.

I walked back toward the door, thinking I'd ease it open and, Bob's your uncle, my feathered guest would go back out into the cold night.

Instead, it flew upstairs and perched on a hanging mirror in the landing outside the guest rooms.

I called to TG, who came up from his perch in the TV room and took a gander. As we discussed what to do next, the bird flew back down, past our faces, and returned to the front room.

Once there, it stationed itself on a blade of the ceiling fan. I jumped up to nudge the fan. 

The wren headed for the only exit he knew and this time, when TG gently opened the door, the bird flew back out.

As I went to bed, I pondered why it is that a bird who will fly right into the house -- where there's nothing for him -- will hesitate to partake of free food on offer outside the house.

It's a mystery. But I hold out hope that the birds will flock to my drive-thru in time for their Christmas dinner.

Where they may enjoy all they can eat, and we never close. That is a promise.

And that is all for now.

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Happy Tuesday

Friday
Dec072018

No wire no wire no wire

Not long after we moved to South Carolina in the dawn of the aughties, a representative of the cable company was summoned to our house -- for the usual reasons.

The work commenced. In due time we noticed that said cable guy, while working in our sun room, often repeated these words in run-on fashion:

No wire no wire no wire no wire no wire ...

And if you know anything about the -- ahem -- speech patterns in South Carolina, you may imagine that it sounded more like this:

No war no war no war no war no war.

Finally TG asked the good man why he continually intoned no wire no wire no wire while he worked.

And I don't remember after this long span of time exactly what the cable guy said in response, but he admitted that it amounted to a sort of prayer. Or a cable-guy mantra.

As in, Please don't let there be no wires in this here wall for me to hit or cut or break or nothing, while I'm loadin' up this here length of cable for these folks.

Many times over the years since then, when TG and I have found ourselves in a situation where an action taken may go either one way or the other, one of us will say:

No wire no wire no wire ...

Sometimes it works; sometimes it don't.

Them's the breaks.

Speaking of breaks.

Yesterday Audrey and Dagny were here because, as I frequently do, I'd retained Audrey's excellent services to do some things for me around the house while I completed various tasks of my own.

Around mid-morning, a large crew of workmen with many trucks and several pieces of heavy equipment had stationed themselves a stone's throw from our house, and began digging a huge hole in our neighbor's yard.

Somewhere around lunchtime, my daughter came and found me where I was, in my room.

Mom, she said. There's no water.

I flipped up a blind slat and observed that out of the hole in the Franklins' yard was gushing many hundreds of gallons of water.

Oh, there was water. Just not coming out of our taps.

They did it, I said, pointing.

I went out onto the front porch (I needed to be out there anyway because the battery-operated lights on my door wreath were fading and I was tired of worrying about their brightness level -- just as I am often concerned about my own -- so I planned to change the lights over to a new strand that hooked up to electricity) and glowered over in their direction for several minutes.

That didn't make the water come back on, but it was reasonably satisfying.

I fixed my lights and went back inside. Still no water.

I called the water company and was told that a water main had broken and there would be no water for two to three hours more.

? ? ? ? ?

You may want to commend me for NOT revealing to the nice lady on the other end of the line that, in all probability, the workmen had CAUSED the break in the water main.

Because they'd worked for hours with no disruption in neighborhood service, and THEN created the gusher which coincided with our water supply being cut off.

Also: The break was reported at two o'clock, the water company lady said.

Hmmmmm. They'd begun working long before noon. So we know they didn't come out there because there was a break in the water main.

(No; technically I don't know what I'm talking about but there's a thread of common sense here. Stay with me.)

And there was this incontrovertible evidence: As I struggled to re-light my wreath (which took longer than it should have; don't ask), the workmen continually shouted to one another, rapid-fire fashion:

STOP STOP STOP STOP STAAAAAHPPPP!!!!!!

Or ...

HEY HEY NO HEY HEY HEY HEY NOOOOOO!!!!!

Or ...

WHOA WHOA WHOA WHOA WHOA HEY ... !!!!!

These cries continued so urgently, ringing out so loudly across the land -- I'm pretty sure they could be heard as far away as Paducah, perhaps in Poughkeepsie and the Poconos, or even across the Pond -- that more than once I dropped my Christmas lights and had to start all over again installing the blasted things on my recalcitrant wreath.

(Remind me in future to always go with fake greenery, the branches of which can be bent and shaped to accommodate and hold a string of lights. Thanks ever so.)

Not exactly confidence-inspiring, the water company workers constantly screaming at one another as though, with their backhoe, they'd just unearthed their long-lost grannies all milling around down in that red-dirt hole and were afraid of drowning or otherwise maiming them.

And yes; it took three hours for water service to be returned to the neighborhood.

And no; there's no larger, philosophical message to be drawn from this experience. No precise takeaway, except maybe:

Give thanks today if water comes out when you turn on the tap.

And if you have occasion to do something risky, don't forget the code phrase:

No wire no wire no wire no wire.

And that is all for now.

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Happy Friday :: Happy Weekend

Tuesday
Dec042018

Take your pick

There are two ways of handling this situation.

You either put the tree up before Thanksgiving and light it on Thanksgiving night to usher in the Christmas season, or you get the Thanksgiving dinner dishes done, eat some pie, stash the leftover turkey and cranberry sauce in the fridge, get a good night's sleep, and start in on Christmas the next day.

Or the next, or the next. You've got a whole month to accomplish Christmas.

This year, I did it the first way: I Christmas-shopped throughout November and I put the tree up during Thanksgiving week. On Thursday evening, grandson Andrew lit the tree and we sang We Wish You a Merry Christmas and all the kids got a present.

I know; right? Super imaginative. What was I thinking? But there's more.

After the house had gone quiet on Thanksgiving night I boxed up every orangey-autumny decoration on the table and put out the glittering reindeer and the battery-operated lamppost beside which he stands sentinel.

I had installed the twinkly white lights on the front railing earlier in the week; Stephanie brought me a 24-inch real-greenery wreath (we'd bought it in a fundraiser from the grandkids' school) which I festooned with colored lights and hung on my door the night before Thanksgiving.

(We needed those props for our Christmas pictures.)

By the time I slept on Thanksgiving night, the house had been purged of everything turkified and pumpkiny and harvesty and give-thanksy. The fall-leafy wreaths were off the doors. The horn-of-plenty candle holders and the decorative gourds and the rustic baskets had been put away for another year.

Autumn was banished inside the house, even though outside the house, the leaf color was just getting good.

(Last Sunday, our temps were in the seventies. We are often bewildered in South Carolina, not least about what to wear during the "cold weather" months. And no; our befuddlement is not limited to seasonally-appropriate wardrobe.)

So yeah. All of that was dumb. Next year I'm doing it the other way. I think. Check back with me in twelve months.

But as of today, here is my advice: Don't mix your turkey legs and your sleigh bells; it can be overwhelming and less than gratifying. Don't ask me why; in the final analysis, what difference does it make?

The one positive, however, is I can now enjoy the entire month of December without scrambling to get ready for Christmas.

We are prepared. The tree is up, way up; the presents are wrapped and bagged and even now are stationed under and around the tree. Christmas cards almost ready to go out.

Speaking of trees, for several years I have put up a full-size Christmas tree in the kitchen, over beside the desk, and decorated it in the teal color and with ornaments of cupcakes and donuts.

But a few months ago we bought a big fancy popcorn popper to add to the festivities around here since it has been established that we pawty all the time, and who doesn't like fresh hot theater-caliber popcorn?

It's been a pretty big hit.

The popcorn tastes fantastic, it's fun to watch it pop, and even though it looks as though it would be, the machine is not difficult to clean.

But it is big, so its new home is that corner. I gave the tree that used to stand there, to Audrey and Dagny for their new house, so they wouldn't have to go out and buy all that stuff.

Dagny liked those donut and cupcake ornaments even more than I did, so there's that.

I did buy some old-school-style oversized multi-colored lights (they're LEDs) and draped them around the doorjamb as a Christmasy backdrop for the popcorn popper.

I may leave those lights up for the duration; I like how they look all happy there in the corner.

So here we are; December fourth and I've got nothing to do but enjoy a warm December.

Don't tell anyone, but I'm still (as always) dreaming of a w h i t e Christmas.

And no; I'm not a r a c i s t. Don't even go there.

That is all for now.

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Happy Tuesday  ::  Happy December

Wednesday
Nov282018

Mugged while Christmas shopping

I mentioned that we'd gone shopping on Black Friday -- something I ordinarily never do. 

Our trip turned out to be both entertaining and productive.

We didn't set out until at least noon, after having a pleasant morning drinking coffee and talking.

There was no more traffic than usual, and when we got to the stores, they were no more crowded than any normal weekday.

We speculated that maybe lots of folks had gotten the majority of Black Friday shopping out of their systems the night before. Because for years, Black Friday has started on Thursday. Just go with it.

At any rate, I was hunting for gifts for my sons-in-law and TG. My son-in-law Joel was with us and I asked him to go and find a few things for himself because it was clothes and he's particular about his outfits, and I was glad to just get him whatever he found that he wanted.

While looking around, I saw a mug that was bright red and featured an adorable snowman wearing a big black floppy hat. Our Brittany loves the snowman motif, and the mug was inexpensive so I got it for her.

There's a wee bit of a backstory.

At another store -- okay, it was Walmart -- week before last, I happened to see a sleep shirt that was in a beautiful shade of burgundy -- that color which TG still calls maroon, like we did in the '60s and '70s -- and which featured this sentiment on the front:

COFFEE

NAP

SPARKLE

REPEAT

All in white block letters, and the word "sparkle" was actually sparkly. So I was all, like, I need to get that for Brittany because that is SO Brittany!

As you do at this time of year.

But I didn't, because as I said, I am done with my Christmas shopping. And although I wasn't quite done on that day, I was done with Brittany's Christmas gifts. Andrew's too.

All done.

(This is that potentially dangerous time when, having shopped aplenty for everyone, you're in the stores and you see little tiny things you know they'd like and who can't use just one more stocking stuffer, and similar to when you try to even up the leftover cake by "straightening" the edges with a fork which then goes into your mouth carrying bites of cake, or when you try to trim your own bangs and they just get shorter and choppier until you resemble the addle-brained cousin of Edward Scissorhands, you can do serious financial damage attempting to "even up" what you've bought for everyone.)

Takeaway: Pick a dollar amount and stick to it. If you can. I can't but that's another blog post.

But of course I couldn't keep from telling Brittany about the sleep shirt, and her face just lit up because she loves to wear burgundy and it looks well on her, and naturally "coffee nap sparkle repeat" with a sparkly sparkle suits her like little red sweaters suit puppy dogs in the snow, but ...

I didn't get it because I'm done buying for you! I blurted out, and then realized it didn't exactly sound the way I intended.

And that haunted me so much -- are you like me, replaying your words and fearing that you sounded like a monstrous malicious mean-spirited meanie when you didn't mean to? -- that, when I spotted the snowman mug, I grabbed it because I was going to see her that night and she and Andrew have bought a new place and they just moved in and I hadn't technically given her a housewarming gift.

See how that reparations thing works? Guilt can be expensive.

So anyway when I was claiming the snowman mug for Brittany and had put it in my basket, I saw another one that caught my fancy and since they're so inexpensive, I picked it up to add to my own collection of Christmas mugs. I'm sort of locked in to getting one new mug per year, even though I have so many now, I can only bring out part of them each holiday season.

This particular Gibson Home mug was adorably curvy, pale blue with Christmas red trim and creamy white on the inside, and it depicted a rustic red pickup truck with a wreath of festive greenery affixed to its grille, parked in the snow. All over the the mug were tiny white raised-up bumps of snow falling from the sky. So charming.

I took it home, removed the tag from the bottom, asked who wanted coffee, counted hands, made a big pot, and poured some into my darling new mug.

Only, while I was drinking my coffee, I noticed that my mug had a crack. I could feel it with my fingers on the outside and clearly see it on the white creamy inside.

*SIGH* It's always something. How did I MiSS that?

I drained the mug of coffee, then washed it and wrapped it back up in its protective paper and returned it to the bag, with the receipt. The next day -- a rest day for me -- TG gallantly offered to take the mug back to the store. While there, he gave a great deal of effort to finding another one exactly like it, even enlisting the help of a saleslady. But to no avail.

He did not, however, come home empty handed. As he gave me the package containing a new mug he said:

It's not the same one but it's Christmas and it's a car.

Which I thought was so very special of him, to match the general idea if not the identical mug.

As you can see in the picture above, this one has metallic glitter coming down as snow. That's my favorite kind of tissue paper too, at Christmas: the white kind with tiny pieces of glitter all over. I can't get enough of it.

I sure hope I can remember to never put this mug into the dishwasher, because that metallic glitter will melt right off (I've never had that problem with the tissue paper because I'm not tempted to put it into the dishwasher). I've ruined two mugs that way and generally avoid metallic designs on mugs because it's clear I cannot be trusted, but this one is worth it.

You may also have spotted in your eagle-eye fashion that I was steeping Chai using not one, but two Twinings tea bags. I always use two, and two Splendas, when I drink tea, which happens maybe two afternoons a week. More as it gets nippy outside.

And did you also see that thing sitting on top of my cup? That, luv, is a Primula Tea Bag Buddy. Patent Pending. It secures your tea bag(s) while covering your mug as the tea steeps, keeping the liquid hot. When you're ready to drink your tea, it squeezes the bag(s) for you, then holds them in a little crater when the gizmo is turned upside down.

It's silicone, so you don't burn your fingers. Sure beats using a spoon.

I think you need one. Or you know someone who does. But if you're finished shopping for them, don't start nibbling. Be strong.

You're welcome.

And that is all for now.

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Happy Wednesday

Monday
Nov262018

Precursors to Christmas

Webers old and new

Prior to last week, in the spirit of meticulous planning for which the Weber clan are practically famous, we had decided that our Thanksgiving feast would be consumed at four o'clock.

The time was based on how long it would take me to get everything ready -- I work alone -- as well as the time that Erica and Chad could arrive, because they planned to spend the early part of the day with Chad's family.

Andrew and Brittany stayed in town for Thanksgiving; they'll be with her family for Christmas.

Stephanie and Joel and their brood were with us for Thanksgiving as always. They traditionally go to Pennsylvania for Christmas with his family.

Audrey and Dagny live here, so naturally they were with us all day.

I began cooking at ten that morning and, even though I'd made my Crock-Pot cranberry sauce the night before, it still took me all day to complete the meal. 

Stephanoel plus Melly, Lissy, and Andrew

We had a fat Butterball turkey breast, a fatter Kentucky Legend ham (KL is the only kind I'll buy now; when you've found the best, no need to concern yourself with the rest. I'll leave all the Honey Baked and Smithfield spiral-cuts for the rest of you) studded with pineapple rings and maraschino cherries, Crock-Pot cream corn, a double recipe of broccoli casserole, fluffy mashed Yukon Gold potatoes with store-bought (Costco) roasted turkey gravy, sweet potato casserole smothered with Jet-Puffed marshmallows, ambrosia, deviled eggs, the aforementioned cranberry sauce, King's Hawaiian rolls, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin pie, cherry pie, soda pop, and coffee.

Yes; every surface in my kitchen was covered with treats and viands of the holiday sort, and the table groaned, and if anyone went away hungry, you can't lay that at my feet.

I imagine it was much the same at your house.

And yes; we sat down to eat promptly at four o'clock. I actually had everything ready at about ten minutes before four. That is what's known as skill of the culinary kind.

I'll thank you not to snicker. 

Audag

Funny story: At about three thirty I began placing cold items on the table. I set out two glass dishes of the cranberry sauce and my vintage amber Tiara deviled egg plate loaded with the southern delicacies.

The plate has twelve egg-shaped depressions which hold the deviled eggs. There's a space in the middle for a few extra eggs or maybe some garnish, but I had boiled only eight eggs -- two were lumpy so I threw away the whites and used just the yolks -- and I'm not into garnish so all there was, was the ring of one dozen hardboiled egg halves, each eggy bowl piled high with a rich mixture of smashed yolks, a generous dollop of Mrs. Campbell's chow chow, just enough Duke's mayonnaise, a squirt of French's yellow mustard, and to-taste sprinklings of kosher salt and coarse-ground black pepper.

They looked enchanting and as I walked away from placing them on the Thanksgiving table -- at which the children and their children were already gathering -- I admired their beauty (the eggs, that is) and looked forward to enjoying them with the meal.

The next time I looked, though -- and this was maybe five minutes later -- at least two of the deviled eggs were gone. It may have been three.

I assumed my bewildered expression -- the one that is never far from me -- and wondered aloud what had happened to the untouched symmetry of my egg plate.

Cherica

Andrew laughed. Oh Mom! he said. I'm sorry! I thought they were precursors!

Precursors, I thought -- and probably said -- and yes, I was laughing too. Did he mean appetizers?

No matter. They were exceptionally good if I do say so. And I pretended to be annoyed but I wasn't. I don't care when my boy eats the deviled eggs; and if he eats them all (he didn't) and wants more, I'll make more.

Following dinner, but as a precursor to coffee and pie and the tree-lighting by little Andrew -- yes, my tree is up and decorated and yes, we have two Andrews -- and the Thanksgiving-night gifts TG and I had gotten for everyone (festive holiday outfits for the kids and Christmas decorations for each household), we went outside for a short photo shoot.

I wanted a picture of all of us for our Christmas card. You see it above -- and some of you may receive it in Christmas card form too! So you have that to look forward to.

It was a truly lovely cool day and it didn't take long to get all of these great shots of my darlings with their darlings.

Brittandrew

The next day -- when we normally do Stephanie's family shoot for her annual Christmas card -- we were able to spend shopping and eating leftovers because she was happy with the picture of her group and there was no need to revisit the situation.

I am finished with my shopping too. And it's not even December! Which is good because it will take me from now until midnight on Christmas Eve to wrap all these presents.

And that is all for now.

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Happy Monday :: Merry Christmas

Wednesday
Nov212018

And don't forget to be thankful


Chestnut Hill Cemetery :: Salisbury, North Carolina

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Happy Thanksgiving
Friday
Nov162018

Bananas for Thanksgiving

I've been inordinately busy. Apologies for ignoring you, my dearest readers.

Because the busy-ness extends into (and will consume) this calendar day as well, I have dug into the archives and present to you here a timely re-post.

It's from 2014 and it contains recipes. Two of them, and both extra-good, because those are the only kind I like.

Without further ado, I give you this and promise new news next week.

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Nobody has asked me what I was so busy whipping up in the kitchen on Saturday.

But even in the absence of nudgings, goosings, coaxings, and arm-twistings, I am prepared to disclose the details of my weekend culinary activities.

You may recall that for several years I walked the earth oven-less.

Short story. Not remotely riveting for all its brevity.

Suffice it to say, I compensated surprisingly well -- just think Crock-Pots, lots of them -- but now that I have a brand-new oven, I jolly well use it.

As a matter of fact scarcely a calendar day elapses that I don't fire up my feisty, shiny new oven, prompting me to wonder more than once:

What did I ever do without an oven?

But the question is rhetorical. What I did year after year was, I made do.

What I did not do was, I didn't bake my annual dozen-or-so loaves of banana-nut bread, with a few pumpkin loaves thrown in for the sake of variety.

This sort of thing has been a tradition for me since time out of mind.

At Thanksgiving and Christmas when one remembers certain family members, friends, and acquaintances, and feels compelled to give them a little something to enjoy in the festive holiday mood, a loaf of homemade banana-nut bread is a brilliant solution.

Also the way I do it, it's absurdly easy.

That's because I go semi-homemade.

And this being the season of sharing, here's my recipe:

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SEMI-HOMEMADE BANANA-NUT BREAD

1 box Pillsbury Quick Bread (or generic brand) mix, banana (or pumpkin) flavor

(IF you use PQB brand in banana flavor, below are the exact directions. If you use another brand or make the pumpkin kind, read the box.)

(On second thought, read the box anyway.)

2 eggs

1/4 cup oil (I have used both canola and olive, the light-flavored kind)

1 cup water (I use buttermilk, or whole milk, never water, but you can)

1/2 cup (or more) walnut pieces (optional, but necessary if you're going for banana-nut bread)

1 fresh ripe banana, mashed (optional but if you want it to be like mine, don't leave this out)

Mix everything together well but don't overmix. I beat the eggs first but you don't have to.

Spray your loaf pan (glass works best) with cooking spray. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake in 375-degree oven for 45-50 minutes. I lay a piece of aluminum foil over the top for the last 5-10 minutes so the crust on top doesn't burn.

Test with a toothpick or cake tester. It's done when only moist crumbs emerge.

Cool, then wrap in foil to keep fresh.

If you make pumpkin bread instead of banana, use a generous dollop of canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix) in place of the mashed banana.

You can also just as easily make muffins from this recipe. Again: For exact directions, read the box.

I make these breads two-at-a-time. It takes twice the ingredients but only one (big) mixing bowl and exactly the same amount of effort, and then you have a loaf to give and a loaf to keep. Or two loaves to give. Or keep.

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While I was making bread on Saturday, I also made cranberry sauce from scratch.

No Crock-Pot will made to feel irrelevant or superfluous on my watch.

This is another impressive recipe that is ridiculously simple to make, but elegant either as an addition to your holiday table or to give away jarred in a cute bag along with a freshly-baked loaf.

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HOMEMADE CRANBERRY SAUCE

2 packages FRESH whole cranberries (12 ounces each)

1 cup granulated white sugar

1 cup light (or dark) brown sugar

1 cup fresh (not from concentrate) orange juice

1/2 cup water

2 Tablespoons grated fresh ginger

1 cup sweetened DRIED cranberries

1 Tablespoon lemon (or orange) zest

In a Crock-Pot, mix together the FRESH cranberries, the sugars, the OJ, the water, and the grated ginger.

Cook on HIGH for three hours or so, until the cranberries have popped open.

Uncover, stir, and cook for 30 more minutes.

Unplug Crock-Pot. Add sweetened DRIED cranberries  and lemon zest. Stir well.

Over the next several hours, allow the sauce to cool and thicken. Stir often.

Transfer to a glass dish with tight-fitting lid and chill in refrigerator overnight.

This is an extremely sweet-tart sauce best enjoyed sparingly.

Serve cold beside the turkey and dressing, or, to give as a gift, put a cupful in a pretty jar with some frilly embellishment or other.

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So that's what I've been up to and I'll bet you're busy fixing a bunch of good stuff in your kitchen too.

Meanwhile things are taking brilliant shape around here, which basically involves me reminding TG for the third time to get the Christmas stuff down from the attic, and working hard to retain my festive mood while de-tangling last year's strands of Christmas lights.

All of my babies will be here for Thanksgiving. Won't you have fun looking at the pictures?

Speaking of pictures, tonight TG and I will (very carefully) remove the table-top glass and prop it off to the side so that I may rearrange the photos and add more.

As yet Baby Dagny is not represented there, a situation that must be remedied before Thursday.

Also I'd like to work in several more recent pictures of my other three littles, and a few shots of Andrew in and around the KC-135 and his unit.

Everything is in a state of flux but soon enough the dust will settle. Best relax and enjoy the ride.

And that is all for now.

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Happy Weekend-Before-Thanksgiving Week

Wednesday
Nov072018

In a hurry, were we?

I voted yesterday. In order to do so, I had to show my driver's license.

Just like if I'd been at a Michelle Obama book signing instead of a polling place.

But I digress.

Judging by the scene above, if the person beside whom I parked (that's my right front fender in the lower right portion of the photo; I wisely gave that Carolina Gamecock fan a wide berth) had to show theirs, it should have been immediately confiscated.

Because no; this is not a picture of someone pulling into a parking space.

This is an accurate representation of the position of their vehicle parked in the parking space.

(If one could in all honesty call that being either in, or parked.)

True story. The iPhone camera does not lie.

No one was aboard; I checked.

Thoughts on what may have been going on with said parking miscreant (who was not only not in the car, but was nowhere in sight)?

Because I've hmmmmmmed it for as long as I care to, and have come up with nothing. I've got other fish to fry.

Your turn.

And that is all for now.

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Happy Wednesday