Bring Me That Horizon

Welcome to jennyweber dot com


Home of Jenny the Pirate



This will go better if you

check your expectations at the door.


We're not big on logic

but there's no shortage of irony.


 Nice is different than good.


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



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


I am a Blue Star Mother




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 =



The Black Velvet Coat

In The Market, As It Were






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.


Dying is a wild night

and a new road.

Emily Dickinson



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



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


Keep To The Code








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




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
    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
    Temporary Residence Ltd.
  • The Poet: Romances for Cello
    The Poet: Romances for Cello
    Spring Hill Music
  • Nightfall
    Narada Productions, Inc.
  • Rachmaninoff plays Rachmaninoff
    Rachmaninoff plays Rachmaninoff
  • 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
Daft Like Jack

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

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
    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
    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



Columbia's Finest Chihuahua

Simple. Easy To Remember.

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One Word, Luv: Curiosity


The loveliest of days

Ah. It was beautiful and special and sweet, the wedding day.

The bride- and groom-to-be prayed for weeks that there would be no rain. Their prayers were answered.

I prayed for temperatures in the mid fifties and overcast, so that we'd have the silvery light I love, without the too-eager sun causing everyone to squint me to be too hot.

My prayer was answered too. It was a Goldilocks kind of day, weatherwise: just right.

Amidst the blur of bliss enfolding the happy moment, I took time to be grateful. And I told the Lord so.

Yes, I cried too. I almost always cry at weddings but when it's your own beloved child making those promises, it can become intense. The tears felt good.

Everyone was there: family members from far and near, as well friends of many decades or, no less precious, of the last few years. People who have been special to Andrew and Brittany, and therefore to us.

Our Stephanie and Joel and their three darling children, Melanie, Allissa, and Andrew; our Audrey and her Dagny; our Erica and her Chad. All were present to lend love and support. As ever.

The venue chosen by the bride and groom reflected their love of nature, and particularly Brittany's love of being near water.

The sound of the French Broad River rushing on its unhurried way past the land, under the sky, was enchanting. 

At Olivette Asheville -- specifically, a portion of it named Rosebay Park -- there is a small bridge leading to a long and narrow island, where the wedding ceremony took place.

Olivette is a new development where million-dollar houses are being built on the banks of the river. You'll see in-progress construction behind the kids as they feed each other wedding cake. 

That lovely cake was made by the bride's mother, and it was as delicious as it was pretty.

We also had fresh, hot barbecue with scrumptious sides, served by kind and courteous local folks. Pork and brisket with sauces, potato salad, green beans, mac and cheese, soft rolls -- it was all heavenly. 

The party pavilion, a mere twenty feet from the river's edge, was warmed by standing heaters and a roaring fire.

Rambo served as Dog of Honor. He was as comfortable at the wedding as he is on his blanket at home. And as universally loved.

TG and I, following the bride's parents, lit the candle signifying Andrew's life. The wind had played up, extinguishing Brittany's candle. We re-lit it and the flame endured.

Major Derick Wakefield, a chaplain at McGhee-Tyson Air National Guard Base, home of Andrew's unit, the 134th Air Refueling Wing, performed the ceremony with grace, emphasizing the sacred solemnity of the vows about to be taken.

But before the bride entered, Dagny as flower girl was to strew petals on her grassy path.

She threw out too many at the beginning and, halfway down the aisle, became concerned.

Oh no! I did it wrong, she was heard to say.

She retraced her steps -- backward -- and began gathering all the petals back up. Audrey zipped around and hustled her out of the way.

So darling. So so darling, I cannot tell you. You'll have to imagine it. A three-year-old taking her office so seriously.

Andrew had turned his back as Brittany approached from afar -- brought on a golf cart (I thought of Rebekah, who lighted off the camel when she lifted up her eyes and spotted Isaac) -- so that he wouldn't see her until she was all set to walk to the altar.

Another genesis.

Then Brittany drifted toward Andrew to the strains of All I Ask of You played on classical guitar. Like Rebekah, the damsel was fair to look upon. The moment was laden with exquisite emotion.

Andrew cried a tear or two but quickly stopped. She was there, her hands in his. I'll never forget the way she looked at him. It's the way she always looks at him: with love shining from her eyes.

It isn't the sparkling, laser-beam look you sometimes see; it's quiet and deep. I believe it and it brings me joy.

TG said a few words about the bride and groom's relationship, and about their commitment to cherish one another forever.

Then the promises had been made, swiftly and publicly.

The couple used their individual candles to light another, larger candle, then snuffed out their candles. The two become one.

I was snapping these photos from the front row; I was so happy to get a picture of the smoke against Andrew's dark blue uniform as the candles went out. I love pictures of smoke.

They returned front and center. Andrew kissed his bride and dipped her. It was done: Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Weber had been established.

And then we all posed for posterity as the photographers did their excellent work.

Of course, my camera was never out of my hand.

As the reception got underway, everyone was ebullient as is usually the case at such times.

Eventually, celebration sparklers were lit. TG made sure our grandson, Andrew, had one to hold out.

A freight train went by on the nearby track. The wedding guests gestured for a whistle, and got a double one from the conductor. It was thrilling.

Before they left for their honeymoon, Andrew and Brittany took a few moments to be alone by the river's edge.

It was happy-sad when they drove away; I'll never forget it.

Then it was time to break up the party. Folks were already leaving. It was time-change Saturday; an entire hour would soon be gone wherever it is that those hours go, not to return until next November.

TG and I went back to our hotel and crashed. I lay in happy exhaustion propped on three pillows, looking at my pictures. The next morning, my left foot was swollen and painful.

I think I overdid walking on hard surfaces in black velvet boots with no cushion in the sole.

But I've rested now; my foot is much better.

The newlyweds will soon return from Jamaica. It will be so wonderful to see them.

And now we have another wedding on the horizon: Chad and Erica, in seven weeks. The invitations have been sent.

I may expire of happiness. What a way to go.

If you'd like to see the entire wedding gallery -- my pictures, that is; not the official ones -- go here. They're in the process of being edited but you're welcome to look, and to rejoice with us.

And that is all for now.


Happy Tuesday


And Rizzo is his name-o

Recently I read the shocking story of a young woman who had occasion to travel from one place to another via commercial airplane.

Something I would never do.

And that's not all I wouldn't do; reader, read on.

Said female had acquired, during the course of an illness (of the non-life threatening sort) a medically-certified emotional support animal.

You've heard of that, surely? Like, someone who comes home from war afflicted with PTSD, is paired with a lovely canine companion whose presence calms and reassures the soldier? It's wonderful.

And I'm sure there are as many other iterations of that scenario as you could come up with in your spare time. Cats and birds -- maybe even ferrets and sugar gliders, bunny rabbits and three-toed sloths -- can fill the role as well as dogs, I imagine.

But even I didn't know that a peacock* (called Dexter, no less) could serve as an emotional support animal. And as much as I try to imagine the circumstances of not only how that could come about, but why, and of the ongoing ramifications of same, I cannot.

But the young lady of which I spoke at the beginning of this post was perhaps even more imaginative than Dexter's needy owner.

Her emotional support animal of choice was a one-ounce dwarf hamster. Name of Pebbles.

Pebbles, like most wee beasties of her ilk, resided in a wire cage lined with cedar chips and outfitted with an exercise wheel and a colorful plastic bowl brimming with hamster vittles.

It was in this cage that Pebbles' young owner transported her to the airport to board her flight.

She had called ahead -- not once, but twice -- to inform airline personnel of the existence of Pebbles, and to make sure that as her certified, card-carrying emotional support critter, she would be allowed to accompany her as she traveled from point A to point B.

And she was assured -- not once, but twice -- that the presence of Pebbles by her side on the flight would be not only permissible, but absolutely no problem.

Pebbles was welcome as a passenger. Bring her on, cedar shavings, exercise wheel and all. Nothing but green lights from here to Bedrock.

Except, when the young woman arrived at the airport and presented herself at the check-in desk with Pebbles riding shotgun, she was greeted with significantly less enthusiasm.

As in, she was told that in no way was Pebbles welcome to fly. Pebbles must remain on the ground. Most definitely not cleared for takeoff. No exceptions would be made.

Panicked, the damsel began a frantic search for a solution.

She said later, through her lawyer, that she had tried to rent a car so that she could drive with Pebbles to her destination.

But she claims no cars were available. Taking the bus was not an option, as she had only so much time to get home for a doctor appointment.

She renewed her earnest pleas for Pebbles to be allowed on board the flight. Again and again, her entreaties were met with stony refusal.

Finally, about to miss her flight, the desperate young emotionally-challenged would-be traveler arrived at the only conclusion she felt was available to her.

She figured she had no recourse but to execute her pet.

And that's exactly what she did.

Carrying Pebbles in her cage into the Ladies, our adventurer extracted her emotional support animal from its comfy safe nest and ... pitched it headlong into the potty.

And flushed. Sent the creature whirling to the sewers below.

It is not clear to me what she did with the empty cage, afterwards. Perched it atop the trash can? Left it, wire door ajar, on the soggy restroom counter?

At any rate, she boarded her flight, Pebbles-less, and got to where she was going.

Once there, she lawyered up. To explore the possibility of suing the airline for -- wait for it -- emotional trauma.

Rather predictable, wouldn't you say? I'd give anything to read the complaint in that case, when it's filed. Perhaps it would go thusly:

Feeling she had no recourse, and faced with the harsh reality of missing her flight, client was forced to endure the emotionally shattering experience of flushing the very animal who existed to provide her with emotional support. And it was entirely the fault of the airline, ergo they are liable for causing client excessive distress and pain and suffering, and should be made accountable by law and should pay damages in the amount of $$$.

Or something like that. You get the general litigious idea.

As I read this tragic no-happy-ending story, Rizzo lay snoozing on my lap. I idly stroked his soft ears. Every now and then, he opened his eyes to gaze up at me, which he frequently does.

I thought about the day I rescued Rizzo rescued me, exactly fourteen months ago. Having lost my beloved Javier to old age and renal disease on April 11, 2016, I'd made it nearly nine months without a pet.

And I came to the realization that all pets are emotional support animals. Because whether you're a cat or a dog person, or any-other-kind-of-animal person, you wouldn't take on the considerable responsibility of caring for a pet if you didn't have a need for the special, unconditional love they give.

My Rizzo has never traveled on an airplane (I don't think); he whimpers when he's asked to hop aboard an automobile. He's not much of an adventurer; mostly he prefers to be either napping in the recliner, basking in warm sun on the deck, or snugly ensconced in my lap.

I do believe his favorite spot is in my lap. He likes for my hands to be on him -- rubbing, petting, scritching, massaging. He's insistent on this point. He needs me.

And I need him. There is no need for Rizzo to ever fear plumbing.

The only thing I fear when it comes to Rizzo, is the inevitable sad day (unless I go first) that he's no longer with me.

But I won't think about that.

Instead, join me in mourning for poor unfortunate Pebbles, the emotional support pet grounded from flight and subsequently dispatched to a watery grave, drowned out of desperation by her no-doubt distraught owner in a cold and lonely, echo-ey airport restroom.

Rest in peace, Pebbles.

Oh and ... your former owner already has a new, replacement hamster. Just so you know. 

*Dexter the peacock was not allowed to fly either. Even though his owner had bought him his own ticket. Boarding pass denied.

I don't know how Dexter got home but I hope that in the process, not one bright feather was harmed.

Whatever transpired, I'm reasonably sure that he was not flushed.

And that is all for now.


Happy Monday


Eighty degrees ...

... and robins in the trees.


Happy Wednesday


Setting the record straight

So, on a recent Saturday I had a day with not much to do. It was cold out; I wasn't going anywhere.

Since I am an avid user of Amazon and I'd ordered many things throughout the holidays and for the weddings, I decided to do some helpful product reviews.

I took pictures of things I'd bought for Christmas and birthday presents, of the pretty dresses Melanie and Allissa and Dagny will wear in Erica's wedding, of some bridesmaids' gifts, and of a few household items I'd recently purchased.

The purpose of the photos was to enhance my reviews. I always read reviews before buying something on Amazon. I rely on them. And I love the ones with pictures.

Black on black, talking smack

Remember when I redesigned the photo table, in time for Christmas? That re-do involved buying a new tablecloth. The old one was a black shadow stripe; the new one is a black-on-black plaid.

I wrote the review, explaining that since the tablecloth stays on the table under glass and doesn't get whipped off and washed on a whim, its drape was important to me, and the ability to spot-clean it when necessary.

As the tablecloth was black, I knew that, like its predecessor, it would eventually fade and have to be replaced. So I praised my new tablecloth's design and fabric, declaring it pretty wonderful for my purposes, especially at the price point.

You get an email shortly after clicking submit, thanking you politely for contributing, and providing a link to your live review.

Only, my review was rejected. I was told it did not conform to the rules of the Amazon community.

? ? ? ? ?

I read over my review again. What rule had I broken? In what way had my language wandered beyond the pale?

Was it the word black? Was it black-on-black? Was it the descriptive term shadow stripe? Was it the word drape? Spot-clean? Who knows?

And aren't the rules more or less guidelines anyway?

I changed my review, randomly removing a few of my statements. There was no logic to what I removed and what I allowed to remain in the second version.

The new, shorter review was published.

So all is well, I suppose ... as well is it can be in a world so insanely politically correct, simple words are no longer acceptable because they may offend someone.

And yet, I would be embarrassed to even discuss here some of the products that are available for purchase on Amazon. Suffice to say, you can get just about anything. Anything.

If you read the reviews of a product called Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay, for example, used for a face mask? You'll find an eight-hundred-word review that is embarrassingly descriptive when it's not being out-and-out boring. With gross pictures too.

It passed through the censors, and was approved. So go figure.

But be careful of your wording when you review a black tablecloth! Beyond here, there be monsters.

Pirates be warned

In a similar vein, recently I was conversing briefly on Instagram with a friend from up north who was visiting Charleston for a few days.

She mentioned having pimento cheese at a Chucktown restaurant, and pronounced it delicious.

I said: How would you like my recipe for Pirate Pimento Cheese that you can make at home?

She said she would love to have that. So I quickly listed the ingredients and clicked to publish my comment.

The post was rejected by Instagram. Once again, I had violated the rules of the community.

? ? ? ? ?

Truly flummoxed, I checked to see if it was the word "pirate" that was being objected to. But no; there are several versions of #pirate hashtags within millions of posts.

Was it the word mayonnaise? Pimentos? Jalapeño? The racially charged lemon pepper?

I don't remember what I changed, but I re-wrote the recipe -- identical ingredients as it is, after all, a recipe -- and was able to post it.

Once again: You don't even want to know what you can find on Instagram if you go looking. Suffice it to say, there are things that decent people don't look at.

But a recipe for pimento cheese? Step off! Out of bounds. Check yourself before you wreck yourself. Be mindful of the tender eyes and ears of the community.

Hogwash. Actual free speech is being stifled in favor of all that is destructive and godless. People need pimento cheese. It is an eternal truth.

Goodness gracious, great balls of grapefruit

Switching to people's obsession with the weather -- and I am included -- it amazes me how the weather gets blamed for lots of stuff that folks cannot otherwise explain.

Beyond their ken, as it were.

I have been more or less addicted to grapefruit -- indeed, all citrus -- since the big pink ones arrived in stores in December.

TG, who does the lion's share of the grocery shopping at our house, has brought home dozens and dozens of grapefruit for me.

If I don't have one for breakfast -- peeled like an orange, divested of some of its white pithy layer, then cut into sections in the bowl so as not to lose a single drop of juice, then dressed with two Splenda packets and a sprinkling of cinnamon -- my whole quotidian experience gets off on the wrong foot.

But in recent days, the grapefruit have become scarce. One supermarket had huge, gorgeous, juicy Texas Ruby Reds for a dollar apiece. I was practically drooling over the mere thought of them. 

On some days, I ate not one but two grapefruit. Like a total hedonist.

Then, with no warning, there were none.

We were at a different supermarket last Wednesday night, after church. They have a senior discount of five percent off your entire order, on Wednesdays. So TG and I often shuffle in there, aged as we are, on our way home.

There were no grapefruit. None at all. There were navel oranges so splendid, they almost made me cry. Hundreds of them stacked like bright gleaming orbs in the overflowing bins.

But no grapefruit.

As I bagged said marvelous orange masterpieces, TG asked a nearby stock boy whether he was sequestering any grapefruit in the back, explaining that I was a citrus addict.

The stock boy came to me. In hushed tones, extremely earnestly, he told me that grapefruit was no longer available but would probably come back into season in the spring and summer.

? ? ? ? ?

I just looked at him. Then I spoke. But see -- I said -- citrus is a winter fruit. We are in the dead of winter. In summer, you get melons and berries. 

He said -- hand to God above, this is what he said -- I work in the deli! With that palms-up, leaning-back gesture that says in body language, Don't ask me! I draw a paycheck here but I have nothing to do with any of this!

I bade him farewell, trying not to smirk as I wheeled my cart away from the bins empty of grapefruit but groaning with oranges.

I went to snag a bag of broccoli florets for my salads -- another obsession.

A different stock boy, having been consulted by the first stock boy, decided to school me on the subject of lack of grapefruit. Again with the hushed tones, the earnest expression, he informed me: You know, the weather has been terrible down in Florida is why there aren't any grapefruit.

? ? ? ? ?

Actually -- I decided to do a bit of schooling of my own, since it was he who'd rattled my cage and not the other way around, and because it was clear that I was not exchanging intelligence with a fruit grower of any stripe -- the grapefruit you had in abundance up until a few days ago were grown in Texas. Wonderful Sweet Scarletts, to be exact. In season throughout the winter and even into the early spring.

Those hundreds of gorgeous oranges over there, though? They're from Florida. Where it is also winter.

He blinked.

Furthermore, I said, the majority of Florida citrus is grown in the southern two-thirds of the state, where the incidence of frost is low. The recent "terrible weather" to which you refer -- (there was a deep-south snow event in early January) -- occurred in the panhandle.

He blinked again. Speechless! Imagine that. I waved my bag of broccoli florets -- which one can find readily available year-round -- as I wheeled my cart away.

He nailed it. Oh wait.

Last week I spied a warning light on the Raven's dashboard: to wit, my right rear tire was low on air.

We outfitted the Raven with four spiffy spanking-new Michelins in November.

I was annoyed at the inconvenience, but the place that services our car is right around the corner, so I wheeled in and asked them to put a bit of air into the tire.

The young man who works behind the desk walked out into the sunshine with me (it was a beautiful day that had started out cold but warmed right up) and chatted while life was breathed back into my tire.

I mused aloud that I wondered why my tire had gone low. Had I perhaps picked up a nail? Should I be worried?

No, he assured me. It's the weather. When it's cold, tires can lose pressure.

But it's so nice out today, I said.

But it was really cold this morning, he reminded me. Like, twenty-two degrees.

But why did that affect only one of my tires, and not all of them? I asked.

The kind young man just shook his head and looked concerned, and then the car was ready and I said Thank you so much! and went on my way.

For the next few days, the Raven perched in the garage.

On Saturday, Erica and I hopped aboard to go wedding-stuff shopping.

Once again, a dashboard light. This time, my tire was all but flat. Erica hopped back out and followed me in her car, back to the tire-fixing place.

I had a nail.

? ? ? ? ?

The nice folks there repaired my tire at no charge, while Erica and I took off on her plump nail-free wheels and made some headway on the reception-table-decorating front.

People! Don't blame the weather for everything. It is after all, only weather. There's nothing anybody can do about it. It is winter, when snow flies and grapefruit appear glistening in your bowl.

But sometimes there are nails. Sometimes there are grocery store buyers who don't know where to find grapefruit in season. Occasionally there is the offensive nature of black shadow-striped tablecloths and pimentos mixed with cheese.

And more often than I'd like to admit, more and more these days it's the utter senseless corruption of political correctness that's stopping us in our tracks.

As for me? I'm going to forge ahead, undaunted. I hope you do too.

And that is all for now.


Happy Monday


My tale of woe

I sort of make it a practice not to talk too much about my health. Mainly because I fear you'll find it horribly boring. I know I do.

Also, you know how you just don't want to talk about certain things, lest they come true?

Or don't come true? Either way? The jinx factor. I believe in it.

A week ago Sunday -- the twenty-first -- as I got ready to go to church, I was thinking: I have GOT to get something up on my blog. It's been ten days. They'll think I died and forgot to tell them about it.

I felt wonderful, though; as far as I knew, nobody was gassing up a hearse for my funeral.

(And just so you know, the reason I had not posted in so long at that point, is that my blog server host was having technical difficulties. That is why if you commented on my last post -- the one about bridesmaid dresses -- I never saw your comment, or anybody else's either. So I was reluctant to post again until the problem was resolved. It's fixed now, but the comments were lost.)

We had a great day at church. Outside it was beautiful and balmy, as late January tends to be in the Midlands of South Carolina.

As I walked into the auditorium for Sunday School, I greeted some ladies who are my friends. We hugged and exchanged pleasantries. Then one of them said it (to me): How are you feeling? No sign of that flu going around?

I laughed and assured her I was feeling fantastic. Not a smidge of the flu at our house, haha, knock on wood, fingers crossed, et cetera.

(The flu has hit South Carolina hard this year. Nine people died from it in our state only last week.)

After a peaceful afternoon, TG and I went back to church that night. Later in the evening, we were sitting in our TV room watching a movie.

I began to notice that every other time I took a breath, I had to cough. You know: that tiny tickle down in your chest that triggers the reflex.

During the night, it got worse. By the next morning, I still felt okay and I told myself just to get busy and not worry about it. Probably nothing.

As I worked around the house however, doing laundry and whatnot, the coughing became much more ominous. I began to feel rough around the edges. Finally, in late afternoon, I faced the possibility that my goose was most likely cooked.

Barely one month after my Christmas cold, I was coming down with (I thought) bronchitis.

But I was wrong; what I really had was the flu. In comparison, a cold like the one I had in December is like a day at the seashore. The kind where you don't get sunburnt and nobody kicks sand onto your towel.

For several days I was plagued with persistent fever. Chills. Headache. All-over pain. Cough. Malaise. Absence of appetite. The total package. Did I go to the doctor? No. I was too sick to leave the house. Besides, there's nothing any doctor can do about the flu. It is a virus.

And that is how I lost an entire week of my life. Appointments had to be canceled and moved to this week, where they'll have to be accommodated along with others that were already on the calendar.

TG's birthday came and went on Thursday. I managed to drag myself around the kitchen (wearing disposable gloves) and made a German chocolate cake, which I sent with TG to Andrew's house that night, where he celebrated with three of our four kids plus Dagny. They grilled steaks.

Meanwhile, folks at our church are still dropping like flies. Fist bumps instead of hugs and handshakes? Not getting the job done. It isn't funny any more.

And now my TG is sick. His version is a winter cold and cough -- not flu (we don't think), for which I thank God. But TG gets sick so seldom. Yesterday it rained hard all day. He stayed under his blanket on the couch instead of going back to church for evening services. That hasn't happened since Skippy was a pup.

I didn't go at all yesterday; I am still coughing so much that the thought of being confined in a pew, unable to splutter and hack loudly and at will, practically brought on a case of the fantods.

As for my schedule, in addition to playing catch-up with appointments, wedding planning will switch into overdrive as we are now only a few weeks out from Andrew and Brittany's big day, followed by Erica and Chad's.

Between those two events, in late March, I will undergo my second (of two, haaahaha) total hip replacement.

The first one -- last March -- was so easy, it was hardly worth mentioning. Recovery was swift and I never felt like a sick person at all. May history repeat itself.

I still don't know what I am wearing for my Mother-of-the-Bride outing in May. I ordered a dress which came last week, but I was so deathly ill that I have yet to do much more than hold it up in front of me.

But I don't think it's going to work. Maybe I'm wrong; I hope so. Because if you think I looked at hundreds of bridesmaids dresses online? I've looked at thousands of MotB gowns. I'm sick of the sight of them.

Meanwhile I think at least my blog is fixed. If you comment on this depressing post, I'll likely see it.

I hope all is well in your world and that neither you nor your loved ones have the flu. Or a cold.

And that is all for now.


Happy Monday


Always a bridesmaid

My wedding dress. The bridesmaids wore eyelet.So last Sunday after church I asked bride-to-be Erica how she was coming along on the selection of a dress to be worn by her three bridesmaids.

She, afflicted with bride-brain, mumbled something indeterminate in reply.

It's time to make it your priority, I said. So that in the event something goes wrong, there will be time to correct it.

(The wedding is taking place sixteen weeks from tomorrow whether she/I/we is/am/are ready or not.)

The future Mrs. Chad Porter nodded in agreement but looked a trifle forlorn.

She's overwhelmed. I get it.

Naturally I decided to help out.

To accurately tell you the number of web sites I combed -- not to mention the number of dresses I zoomed in on and the number of links I copied and pasted into emails to Erica, and the staggering number of hours it all took, this search for the dress -- would be like trying to come up with how many times in my life I have watched Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.

The answer is: many. Many many. Use your imagination.

Enough that my knowledge on both subjects is near-encyclopedic.

To sum it up: If you want to find a bridesmaid dress that is the right color, the right price, features enough non-see-through fabric to cover a female who will be on display in the front of a church, and is available in triplicate in the sizes you need?

Well. You may as well set out to herd every squirrel within a ten-mile radius into your living room and make them all sit still for a showing of Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.

While wearing little pirate costumes. The squirrels, I mean.

For extra points, teach them to recite the best quotes. Like: She's safe, just like I promised. She's all set to marry Norrington, just like she promised. And you get to die for her, just like you promised. So we're all men of our word really ... except for, of course, Elizabeth, who is, in fact, a woman.

 Give up? Parlay.

Take that first part: Color. A particular shade of pink. As it turns out, a wee bit too particular. Like, you'll sooner encounter liveried valet parking at the door of your local Walmart than to unearth the dress in that color.

I do believe choirs of airborne swine would have been spotted in the cerulean skies over Columbia, singing I Love You Truly in four-part harmony, before that happened.

Take that second part: Right Price.

It's simple; easy to remember: We want a dress that looks expensive, but isn't, and/or at one point actually was expensive, but now is not. As in, name-brand (preferably designer) quality, but costing several miles south of a C-note.

Ah yes. Eternal denizens of The Bad Place want an ice cold Slurpee from the corner 7-Eleven, too.

There are scads of dresses out there ... you say. But finish the sentence: ... that are just the right color and are modest and available in all the sizes and only cost four hundred dollars.

Precisely. Four hundred dollars. Why not make it a million.

And now for that third part: Modest.

Oh dear. Somewhere, at some time, for a reason no one now knows, someone decided that bridesmaids must dress like a cross between a nineteenth-century debutante and a tart on a street corner.

I'd be scrolling down a web site, blushing, cross-eyed from scrutinizing hundreds of gowns. I'd see one (in any shade of pink subtler than bubble gum), and I'd stop. The front would look as though it could possibly, in the right light, provide enough bodice-type coverage that I'd venture my cursor over the picture.


The little internet mannequin would whip around, revealing that the gown had no back.

If it had a back, it didn't have a front. Or much of one.

If it had a top, it didn't have a bottom.

If it had a bottom ... you get the idea.

I mean, the wenches bridesmaids in question aren't nuns but they're not pole dancers either.

And so it would go. Whole dresses -- in the right color, at the right price, feminine but with the floozy factor dialed decidedly down -- were scarce as flip flops at the North Pole. 

But still I scrolled. Still I sent links to Erica, who also stayed up an entire night, scrolling.

I'd sleep, exhausted, and wake to brew coffee and begin scrolling again.

One night -- late -- I was scrolling on yet another fancy department store web site. YES we had considered all the cheap dresses on Amazon, that come from China and have skirts ten feet long and are put together with glue.

You may have ours and yours too. We may be cheap but we're not about to look cheap. And make of this what you will, but we don't want the girls to exactly look like standard-issue bridesmaids, either.

We want to put our own spin on it. Because we are ornery style makers.

In due time I began to feel the beginnings of a low-grade panic. I quelled it by reasoning that not yet in the history of the world (I don't think) has a bridesmaid walked down the aisle at a wedding naked as a jaybird.

And while I wasn't yet technically desperate, I was ready for us to find the dress. And to know we'd found it, so that we could move on to other aspects of planning the wedding.

That's when I found it. Yes. Me! I found it. I am so happy and honored to have been the one to find it.

I scrolled. I saw. I held my breath. I examined in detail. I stared in disbelief. I dared not blink lest it disappear. I clicked on available sizes. I copied the link. I sent it to Erica and to Audrey, who will actually be wearing it (the dress; not the link).

For good measure I texted both girls with news of an impending bridesmaid-dress-related email entitled I THINK THIS IS IT.

And it was. 

The crossing wasn't entirely smooth; Erica did not like the dress at first. It wasn't what she'd envisioned. I didn't push. Much. Twenty-four hours later, the bride saw the light.

The dress is gorgeous. It was an expensive dress, marked to half price, with additional discounts waiting to be applied. And free shipping.

We found the shoes to go with it on the same web site. Not cheap shoes; good shoes. Beautiful shoes, that enhance the beauty of the modest, well-made dress that is in just about the right color.

(To be accurate, the frock is more than one color. But it is the idea of the color that Erica wanted.)

You'll see.

Within an hour, all three girls had purchased their dress and their shoes to go with it, at truly incredible discounts.

Total for each ensemble: One hundred fifteen dollars. Just add earrings.

Fingers crossed that the dresses fit, and that if they don't, the replacement size will be available. We are not out of the woods yet.

But we are at the tree line, breaking into a clearing.

As the pirate said: We're catching up.

Apropos of nothing (except that for some reason, writing this post made me think of it), I leave you with a clip from The Awful Truth (1937) starring Cary Grant and Irene Dunne.

And that is all for now.


Happy Thursday


Making the Most of Christmas Past

OK so today I realized how much in arrears I have become concerning owing you a blog post.


Mark it down to my Christmas illness, which was prolonged and most inconvenient.

I did intend to share with you pictures of my festive decorations. The ones that were removed from sight and almost entirely packed away by four thirty on the afternoon of Tuesday, December twenty-sixth.

Never before have I whisked the deck-the-hallsies away so fast but by Christmas night I was well and truly OVER IT.

In fact I told the kids after the long day of festivities, somewhere between opening gifts and watching a funny Christmas movie and eating yet more dessert:

If anyone happens to be watching my house in the morning they will see my front door open six inches and a claw reach out to jerk that lit-up wreath right down.

And that's exactly what happened. I was possessed. The trees got unplugged, the ornaments got shoved back into their storage boxes, the lights got wound up into tight balls (only way to store them), and the fake branches jammed back into giant black trash bags before they had a chance to even whisper in protest.

But let's back up the now-departed Yuletide train for a mo, shall we? Because I want to dwell on the past for a short while. I feel the need to recap that week when, in addition to it being Christmas, I had to cough every fifteen seconds and sneeze every fifteen minutes, followed by blowing my nose. Again. Rinse, repeat. 

So here we go.

On Monday, December eighteenth, I woke up knowing I was coming down. With a cold. Notice I did not say a bad cold; I just said a cold. It was neither bad nor good; it simply was.

Considering that a cold was brewing, that day wasn't too uncomfortable for me; I felt okay. TG and I even went Christmas shopping that night. Wrapping up loose ends, as it were.

By the time we got home, I was feeling rough. But the coast was relatively clear until Thursday, when Stephanie, the out-of-town daughter, and her family were to show up for Melanie's birthday celebration and then spend the night for an early Christmas the next day.

On Tuesday, December nineteenth, I worked on finishing the collage table. I told you about it. We may not have put the glass back on top that night, but it was close. And yes; I felt much worse. Thanks for asking.

As you can see by the pictures, our table looks a great deal like it did before. Only, it's different.

On Wednesday, December twentieth, I felt truly dreadful and it was a thoroughly rainy day so I finished the table and worked on some lists of last-minute holiday-related tasks, and that's about all. My voice sounded like the gritty gravel strewn over the road to death's door.

On Thursday, December twenty-first, I felt no better but also no worse. I kept a positive attitude. Since a cold lasts about three days, as we drove across town for dinner out with the family prior to Melly's birthday party, I congratulated myself on having come through the storm with no lasting damage.

We had hamburgers and fries at Freddy's (without Stephanie and her family, as it turned out. My son-in-law is a pastor and earlier in the week, there had been a death in the congregation. Because the funeral was that day, they were delayed in leaving), then drove back home and had a blast at the birthday party.

I revealed the new table and the kids loved it, walking all around and pointing and looking for their pictures.

(The Coca-Cola cake was a big hit too even though in my state of distraction I neglected to fold marshmallows into the chocolatey batter before pouring it into the pan. I don't know what the mini marshmallows do to the finished product but it was fine without them. Next time I won't forget.)

That night we all went to bed excited about having Christmas the next day. All I had to do on Friday was make a big pot of sauce for a spaghetti supper; everything else was done.


During the wee small hours before dawn of Friday, December twenty-second, I woke up having taken a decided turn for the worse. My throat was so newly sore, it felt blistered. I had spiked a temperature.

I felt so ill that if I'd been dropped off at the intersection of Live and Die and told to find my own way home, I'm not at all sure which route I would have chosen.

I got up, though. I took a shower and dressed. I brushed my hair. I did not, however, apply cosmetics. Only a good moisturizer. Even though we had a houseful of guests, including our soon-to-be new son-in-law.

And that should tell you all you need to know about how ghastly I felt. If you conclude that I was phoning it in? You would be correct.

But the day progressed and Puffs Plus stock price tripled due to my use alone, and we ate the spaghetti supper I'd prepared and we opened gifts, and Stephanie's family left to go back to North Carolina, from whence they'd depart for Pennsylvania on Sunday afternoon.

On Saturday, December twenty-third, I baked several loaves each of banana-nut and pumpkin bread, and made two batches of Russian Tea mix as well as homemade cranberry sauce, to jar up and wrap up and give to various friends and neighbors on Christmas Eve.

On Sunday, December twenty-fourth, I got up and went to church. That afternoon, after lunch at home, I baked a batch of mincemeat cookies. We went back to church at five o'clock for a short Christmas Eve service.

I had to leave the service in progress, however, and spent the rest of the time in the ladies room and the lobby, sneezing violently and hacking and coughing and practically strangling. Such a charming scene.

After church, we all traipsed over to the beautiful home of Chad's parents, where we enjoyed a delicious light meal and exchanged a few gifts.

We were back at the house by eight o'clock and I don't remember anything until the next morning except I prepared a huge pan of overnight cinnamon rolls and popped them into the fridge.

On the morning of the big day -- Monday, December twenty-fifth -- I continued ignoring my symptoms and baked the cinnamon rolls. Audrey, Dagny, and Erica had spent the night with us and we ate like fools, still wearing our jammies, washing all the sugar down with about a gallon of strong coffee.

(Feed a cold. I don't know about bronchitis but mine likes to eat too.)

I made a full Christmas dinner and we ate it and then it was time for presents. My wonderful family treated me to sweet things like Chanel No. 5 and Pandora charms for my bracelets and various other thoughtfulnesses.

At one point late in the evening, I announced my intention to pull everything down as soon as I'd had my coffee the next morning. No matter how bad I felt, I knew that doing so would make me feel better.

Even Chad mused: It all gets to be a bit much, the music and the lights ...

I couldn't have said it with more accuracy, more clarity or conviction. My sentiments but EXACTLY.

And so that is what I did. But I had taken pictures for you before I even got sick! And so I share them with you here in a spirit of semi-wistful nostalgia.

Yes! I finally feel better. Again, thanks for asking. I basically ignore New Year as a holiday; consequently, yesterday I did exactly nothing except make a pan of biscuits which we ate with various jams and jellies, and the requisite gallon of hot, strong coffee.

And now here we are in the babyhood of Twenty Eighteen, a year in which we have two weddings on the calendar before Mother's Day.

I hope it will be a good and profitable year for you too, full of love and laughter and all manner of familial delights, unfailing faith, new gifts, new glories, and the sweetness of dreams come true.

And that is all for now.


Happy Tuesday :: Happy New Year


I Go To Collage. Again.

So it's one week until Christmas and what am I doing?

Well, I'm sneezing, for one thing. That's because I am coming down with a cold.

Condolences appreciated. As always, timing is everything.

The other thing I'm doing is re-doing our dining table.

You may recall, it's a giant collage of black-and-white family photos, the vast majority of which have been taken by me.

This all started many years ago. The collage table in its present form has been redesigned twice, the last time in late 2014 to add Dagny. But it needed a near-total overhaul because photos and tablecloths fade.

Also, to our great delight, Chad and Brittany have joined our ranks.

So, a couple of weeks back I began curating the new pictures that will populate the table surface. I combed all of my galleries and assembled a dedicated table gallery of about one hundred fifty photos.

Then I had to edit them all to black-and-white, if they weren't already.

Next came uploading them to the site of the vendor who made the prints, and ordering all of the photos.

Then I had to order a new tablecloth.

As I mentioned, the black tablecloth that provides the canvas upon which the pictures are arranged had become faded on the ends, from the sun streaming through nearby windows.

The new cloth is a black-on-black plaid whereas the old one was a shadow stripe.

I'll have to run a warm iron over the hang-down part all around, once I'm finished and the glass is put back on top.

For now, the glass is sitting off to the side on a utility mat that TG brought in for me.

And the photos -- approximately one hundred sixty-five of them -- are now lying willy-nilly all over the table. I haven't started placing and taping them yet.

Burning question: Can she get it done within this calendar day?

It remains to be seen. TG and I are finishing up our shopping tonight. If I have to complete the table collage tomorrow between sneezes and utilization of dozens of Puffs Plus, so be it.

The family are all gathering on Thursday for Melanie's thirteenth birthday pawty.

After burgers and fries at Freddy's in Lexington, we're coming back to the house for homemade Coca Cola cake with vanilla ice cream, and presents.

We'll also have a fifties-diner photo booth backdrop with colorful cat-eye glasses to wear as props.

I know you can't wait to see those pictures. Never fear; I shall share.

At the conclusion of Thursday night's birthday party, I'll whip off the plastic black-and-white checked retro-theme table cover, say ta-daaaaa, and we'll have a family gawk-fest at all of the new photos.

On Friday we'll have partial Christmas -- and a spaghetti dinner -- with the branch of the family tree that won't be with us on the day. Actually it will be the second time we've done that this year; the first was yesterday. Not spaghetti, but opening of Christmas presents.

I'll stop before I confuse both myself and you.

What are you doing in the final days before Christmas?


Happy Monday :: Happy Christmas Week