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
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  • Danny Wright Healer of Hearts
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  • Grace
    Grace
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  • The Hymns Collection (2 Disc Set)
    The Hymns Collection (2 Disc Set)
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  • Always Near - A Romantic Collection
    Always Near - A Romantic Collection
    Real Music
  • Copia
    Copia
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  • The Poet: Romances for Cello
    The Poet: Romances for Cello
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  • Nightfall
    Nightfall
    Narada Productions, Inc.
  • Rachmaninoff plays Rachmaninoff
    Rachmaninoff plays Rachmaninoff
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  • 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
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    by John W. Harper
  • On Writing Well, 30th Anniversary Edition: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction
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  • 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
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    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
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  • 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
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  • 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
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    by Paul Kengor
  • Mind of the Raven: Investigations and Adventures with Wolf-Birds
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    by Bernd Heinrich
  • Talking Heads: The Vent Haven Portraits
    Talking Heads: The Vent Haven Portraits
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  • 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
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    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
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  • Grave Influence: 21 Radicals and Their Worldviews That Rule America From the Grave
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    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
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    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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Monday
Jan072019

No greater joy

Last night, in our church's Sunday evening service, Andrew and Brittany sang a duet for special music.

I've heard them sing together before, but only once: at Cherica's wedding, last May.

They blend beautifully. Andrew's voice is a smooth baritone and Brittany's is a creamy but clear alto.

They've both had a great deal of experience in church music. Andrew has been singing both as a soloist and in groups since he was a teenager; Brittany has sung with her mother and sister for practically her whole life.

As TG remarked when the song was over, Britt didn't let Andrew drown her out. Not that he would have, but his voice is strong.

His bride more than held her own. The song was melodic and meaningful, and its delivery was heartfelt. It was not a performance.

So naturally, as they sang, my eyes began to sting with tears.

I'm a lifelong cryer. Rare does the day occur when I don't cry at least once. I don't resist anymore; there are worse things than crying.

Like, for example, not crying.

But you know how it is. Your young'uns are on display, putting themselves out there, taking risks, contributing, giving their all, offering their best, bringing value to a situation not for their own glory, but for God's.

Your throat swells first, then come the prickes behind your eyeballs, then the veil of moisture, then the grubbing blindly in your purse for the handkerchief to dab discreetly in a bid to save your mascara.

At least, that's me.

When the song was almost concluded, Brittany was unable to sing the last few words. At first I thought she'd gotten a tickle in her throat, but as Andrew sang the last note alone, she put her hand on his chest and smiled and looked up at him.

It was a half-second -- maybe less -- but it touched my already swelling heart. It was a gesture of dependence and of love. As the amens rang out, they walked down from the platform and sat in their regular place, one pew ahead of us.

TG looked at me and his eyes were glazed with emotion. He was trying to hide it but no go. I sniffed.

I looked to my right, at Audrey. Her eyes were welling. She looked at me.

Whoa, Nelly.

(I have noticed throughout my life that if one of my children witnesses a tear either forming in or falling from my eye, they immediately begin bawling. I don't know what makes them do that. But if they're already emotional, then see that I'm out of pocket? Katie bar the door.)

It was that point in the service when our pastor bids us stand and sing the first verse of Amazing Grace, before milling around for a minute or so, greeting one another and being friendly.

Hand-shaking time, we call it. Also there's a fair amount of hugging.

So as our pianist played the Baptist National Anthem, everyone spilled into the aisles.

We Webers? We instantly and instinctively moved toward one another -- TG, me, Andrew, Brittany, Audrey, Dagny (Chad and Erica were sitting in another section, with his parents, or they would've been in the middle of it too) -- and commenced hugging and rejoicing and shedding a few excess happy tears.

We were like a clot of overgrown babies, laughing and blubbering all at the same time. Even Andrew misted. Brittany's eyes were still damp and she was shaky. 

People friends who sit near us noticed our dilemma and were smiling too. One of the World's Sweetest People -- her name is Becky -- came to us and joined our loving bubble.

I know, I know, I know! Becky said, her pretty face glowing. Because she does. And we were all kind of embarrassed but not really.

And as everyone returned to their places to prepare for the preaching, Becky and I agreed that we have no greater joy than to hear that our children walk in truth.

Many years ago a wise person told me that we shouldn't say we are proud of our children.

Yes; I know what we mean when we say it. But God hates pride -- it goes before destruction -- and I have enough of it naturally occurring in my sinful obstinate soul, that I refuse to actively engage in anything that remotely smacks of pride.

And I'm certainly not going to announce to all and sundry that I have anything to be proud of.

What you should say, the wise person told me, is that you are grateful.

And I am. So grateful for my children -- each one of them -- for the ways they've grown, for how hard they work, for all that God has both done for them and enabled them to do, and for each time and any way in which He sees fit to use them.

They are all imperfect people, the offspring of flawed individuals. They've had a lot to overcome, as have we all. But I see them seeking and taking a direction opposite of the one the world encourages all people -- especially the young -- to take, and I am full of gratitude for that.

And in case you were wondering, here are the words that Brittany and Andrew sang.

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When I'm low in spirit, I cry Lord, lift me up

I want to go higher with Thee

But the Lord knows I can't live on a mountain

So He picked out a valley for me.

He leads me beside still waters

Somewhere in the valley below

He draws me aside to be tested and tried

But in the valley he restoreth my soul.

It's dark as a dungeon and the sun seldom shines

And I question, Lord, why must this be

But He tells me there's strength in my sorrow

And there's victory in trials for me.

He leads me beside still waters

Somewhere in the valley below

He draws me aside to be tested and tried

But in the valley He restoreth my soul.

= Dottie Rambo=

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Happy Monday

Thursday
Jan032019

No small thing

click to embiggen ... if you dare

By now you will have picked up on the fact that several squirrels are availing themselves of the food I put out for the birds.

Now, I know there are those among you who may think it imprudent to encourage squirrels to maraud about the property, filching seed from a feeder meant for another species of critter entirely, munching away at length and at will.

But we've lived in peace among the squirrel population for many years -- with a mature white oak towering over our house, and tall pines ringing the back yard, that's going to be a given -- and they don't bother me.

I realize they're rodents but I think they're cute.

So we're not going to worry unduly about squirrels in the bird feeder. We have more important fish to fry.

After all, they're small and they need to eat too. It's not a big deal.

Speaking of animal activities, Rizzo and I have been taking walks, something that has never been part of our routine. In the two years (on Monday) that Riz has been my dog, for much of that time I couldn't walk long distances.

A long distance in this case being, for example, from my door to my mailbox.

But now I can, and I've discovered once again that it's no small thing to be able to put your dog's harness and leash on him, and stroll down the street in fine weather.

We are enjoying it big time.

Speaking of pet dogs, Rambo stayed with us for Christmas week, as Andrew and Brittany were out of town to be with her family.

He was a delight as usual. You know (because I've told you) that he's the most docile, agreeable dog in all the world. He'd sit there with lights around his neck until next Christmas if I asked him to.

But toward the end of his time with us, it was obvious (to me at least) that Ramby was pining for Andrew and Brittany and especially for Maverick. You could see it in his big brown eyes.

He has grown accustomed to having Mav as a buddy and I do believe he was ready to resume the playful camaraderie they enjoy on a daily basis.

It's no small thing to have a friend you can count on.

Speaking of friends, it's nice to see my daughters enjoying the company and companionship of their new sister-in-law, who's a doll. An itsy bitsy one.

And if we're on the subject of little dolls, Brittany decorated her new house so adorably for Christmas.

If there was a theme, it was of the cabin-in-the-woods variety. Her nine-foot flocked Christmas tree as well as her table decorations included ornaments that reflected her love of snow in general -- snowmen in particular -- and of rustic scenes, and of nature.

There was a diminutive reindeer here ...

... a tiny twinkling truck there ...

... and a wee sweater-hatted gnome to remind them of the wonderful trip they took to Sweden and Norway in the fall.

On December twenty-first, the smallest (as in shortest) day of the year, we all gathered at Andrew and Brittany's to celebrate both our Melly's birthday, and part of Christmas (the part that included those who would not be here with us on the day).

In the category of grandchildren, Melanie, although now fourteen years old, weighs less and wears smaller clothes than her sister, Allissa, who is three-plus years younger.

We tell her it's all right to be little bitty. Butterflies are tiny too but they're no small wonder, which is why they're continually marvelled at by all who see them.

Our only grandson (we call him Little Andrew) gave an impish grin during the festivities, when Allissa opened a gift that came equipped with a lock and remarked it was a good thing, because it would keep her little bother brother out of it.

Brothers can be big inconveniences until you need one to rescue you.

Our littlest grandbaby, Dagny, lives here in Columbia, so we get to see her all the time.

On the Sunday before Christmas, she came home with TG and me for the afternoon, between church services.

I told her she'd have to open a present, because she needed to change out of her church clothes. She loved this little play dress I found for her in an online boutique called Coco + Carmen.

Her Unicorn Academy jacket stays here because I keep my house cool, and I don't want her to be chilly in case she's wearing short sleeves.

Before we left to go back to church, after she'd gotten re-dressed in her Christmas-Sunday finery, Dagny posed by the Christmas tree.

She held out the tulle layer of her skirt because wearing a pretty party dress is a big thing to a little girl.

And so is cake.

Last Sunday, on New Year's Eve eve, Dag came home with us again. This time, she planned for it and brought her suitcase with a change of clothes.

On the way home, we stopped at a new store near our house: Nothing Bundt Cakes.

We had received a card in the mail for a complimentary "bundtlet" and Dagny is holding it to show you how luscious it looks with its abundance of cream cheese icing.

The ladies at the bakery gave her the pink balloon too, which was a big hit.

Later she lay down for an afternoon nap in my bed (not having brought along the dalmatian-themed sleeping bag Brittany and Andrew gave her for Christmas) and did not go to sleep.

Instead, we could hear her little voice on and off for two hours, singing and talking to herself on the cusp of a new year, the year in which she will turn five years old.

It was sweet.

Speaking of sweet, Brittany brought back for me from Florida a darling tiny bulbous jar of orange coconut marmalade (words have not been invented that could accurately convey my adoration of orange marmalade) -- which, though a small gesture, was no less a beautiful one, and made me so happy.

TG and I both enjoyed the luscious treat on English muffins -- the kind with little nooks and crannies to hold the butter (and the marmalade) the very next morning, as part of our New Year's Eve celebration.

So we embark together on a new year, which seems young and small now, but which grows larger and older every day. Join me in making the most of every single minute.

And that is all for now.

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Happy Thursday

Tuesday
Jan012019

Oh hey


May you get everything you want in two-thousand nineteen.

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Happy Tuesday :: Happy New Year
Friday
Dec212018

And that's a wrap

Two-thousand eighteen was a spectacular year, full of romance and adventure.

Next year will be even better. I promise.

Thank you to all of my readers for another year of friendship and support.

I love each and every one of you.

See you right here in two-thousand nineteen.

(For inspiration per diem, Daily Beauty will be published as per usual.)

And so on this, the shortest day of the year ...

... that is all for now.

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Happy Friday :: Merry Christmas

Wednesday
Dec192018

The gift of receiving

At church last Sunday night, our Chad's mother, Jane, let me know that she had a Christmas gift for me and TG. It was in her car, having been too bulky to bring inside.

So it was that a little bit later, we were walking to our car and saw that Jane and her husband, Greg, as well as Jane's mother, were in their car but talking to Chad and Erica -- perhaps waiting for us.

We picked up the pace and as we approached our own car, I saw that Audrey and Dagny were chatting with Jane as she prepared to hand over the gifts she had brought.

Dagny, who was wearing a gold striped Christmas dress complete with stiff crinolines, topped by a winter-white fur jacket, plus white tights and shoes of pearlescent white with bows -- she was resplendent and had been curtsying to the floor like royalty all day -- heard Jane tell Audrey that she had something for her.

And for Dagny.

I wish you could have seen what happened next. 

Dagny, decked out like a gypsy princess, bent her knees and extended her arms straight in front of her, as if she were hanging ten on a surfboard. I think the posture meant something along the lines of HOLD THE PHONE!

Because as she crouched and pointed with both hands outstretched toward Jane's car, within the depths of which, it had been revealed, there were presents, Dagny could not contain herself.

She's got something for ME! she shrieked, eyes round as banjos, face glowing, smiling through her smiles.

Never have I witnessed a child more overjoyed at the prospect of a Christmas present.

And that's fully realizing that all kids -- of all ages -- get excited about Christmas.

Jane produced a box wrapped in red and black buffalo-check paper, with a sparkly red ribbon. Dagny cradled it in her arms, enveloped in the wonder of the whole process.

A gift was given to Audrey too, and a charming basket full of goodies to me and TG.

I went home with Audrey because TG had to go somewhere and he'd be fetching me after an hour or so.

When we got to her house, I told Dagny to put the red-checked box from Jane under the Christmas tree, to open on Christmas Day.

Ohhhhhh no. Clouds gathered on the little face. Dark eyes misted and lashes grew damp. Tiny chin rested on sternum and wee white-fur-clad shoulders sagged.

Audrey tried to reason with her daughter that the present was intended to be opened on Christmas.

Dagny was having none of it.

If we'd insisted that she wait, she would have eventually recovered. She wouldn't have had any choice.

But she looked so miserable, and she'd been so good all day, and her reaction in the parking lot had been so spontaneous and authentic, that Audrey decided to let her open the gift.

She had to put on her Peppa Pig nightgown first. I went to the kitchen and made decaf to go with our snack of muffins, while that transformation took place upstairs.

When she was dressed for bed and ready to open the present, we had Dagny sit where the light was good so that I could take pictures and Audrey could make a video.

The box contained not one but two Barbie dolls. To say that Dagny was pleased would be like calling Frosty a snow cone.

She was delirious with joy and overcome with gratitude.

I LOVE IT! I can't believe I got 'em! she exclaimed, over and over. (And variations on that theme.)

She couldn't stop saying Thank You! even though the one who'd given her the gift wasn't there to thank.

I texted Jane and sent her a picture of Dag opening the dolls, and told her what a big hit the gift had been.

Later, after TG had arrived to pick me up, I told Dagny I wanted to recreate her emphatic stance in the parking lot, when she'd learned that Miss Jane had a present for her.

The picture at the top of this post is the best we could do. Except for the outfit and the setting, it's a pretty accurate representation of Dagny's reaction to Jane's news.

Do you remember being overtly thrilled at the prospect of new toys for Christmas?

Me neither.

Just kidding! I do remember. And I am still excited about everything to do with Christmas.

Nevertheless, it's a good thing that we have the precious children to remind us of how much there is to be happy about.

I hope the gift you're dreaming of is under the tree on Christmas morning, and that all of your loved ones are there to see the look of joy on your face when you open it.

And that is all for now.

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Happy Wednesday

Monday
Dec172018

Brownie points and seedy doings

Continuing our impromptu creature feature -- which began (who knew what we'd started?) with last week's why-won't-the-birds-come-to-my-nifty-window-feeder post -- I present for your entertainment a grazing goat.

Fooled you with that squirrel picture, didn't I? Haha. Here's the deal:

I was tooling homeward late last week after a day spent running errands when I made the soft right turn from Wescott Road onto Nursery Hill Road. Two minutes and I'd be at the house.

But upon straightening my vehicle in the roadway, I noticed a car haphazardly pulled over on the right, beside the Nursery Hill-side fencing of Wescott Acres, our local luxury pet resort, which occupies a large corner tract.

(You can pay to billet your dog or cat or rabbit there if you're going away for the weekend, but it's also the permanent home of assorted horses, ponies, and various other barnyard-type animals.)

I braked tentatively, thinking something was amiss.

And it was, but it wasn't.

As in, it wasn't an accident or any other sort of mishap. A lady had pulled her car over in a hasty fashion, at an awkward angle, due to a goat sighting.

Well, you may be thinking, why not? You said it was a pet resort.

Yes; it is a pet resort. But critters of the grazing variety are supposed to stay inside the fencing, not resort to escaping to the outside so as to sample the grass of freedom.

(Which, while it may be freer, is not greener. It's exactly the same color. And I'd bet my goat-watching badge that it tastes the same too.)

Experiencing a momentary but no less urgent frisson of FOMO, I turned left at the first opportunity, executed a second left turn as soon as possible, then came back out to Nursery Hill Road and made a right.

I parked in the lot of an orthodontist's office at the corner of Wescott and Nursery Hill.

I grabbed my phone and walked across the road to meet the goat, who was simultaneously snacking and having his picture taken by the lady who'd stopped to check him out.

His admirer chuckled when she saw me. The owner is coming to get him, she said.

I looked down the sidewalk in the direction of Wescott Road and sure enough, a petite lady with a bucket in her hand was walking our way.

I began taking pictures of the goat, not knowing whether the owner would disapprove. I've been told to cease and desist more than once, where my photography is concerned.

But when the goat's owner reached me and the other lady, both of us brandishing our phones, recording random goat activity, she was super nice.

The bucket in her hand contained tasty pellets designed to lure the animal into following her back to the friendly confines of Wescott Acres Luxury Pet Resort.

She told us that the goat, who goes by the name of Brownie, had been turned in by some nefarious individual to a dog kill shelter. How humiliating can it get for a goat?

He was cooling his little bovidae hooves there -- in no actual danger of being killed, we were reassured, because they hesitate to euthanize goats at dog kill places -- when the folks in charge notified some local pet farms that there was a baby goat to be had free for the asking.

(Brownie, at that point, didn't even have horns, he was so young. He was a Brownie with no points. This was about a year ago.)

So the kind owners of Wescott Acres Luxury Pet Resort took him in and let him loose on the acreage they use just for the welfare of the assortment of aforementioned farm animals.

But here recently, Brownie has exhibited a predilection for escaping. He doesn't run away; he simply wriggles out and eats happily on the wrong side of the fence.

We can't tell where he's getting out, the owner said, plucking at the wire netting nailed to one side of the running red-rail fence, as if by doing so, she would in that instant learn the answer.

Well. Not my circus, not my monkeys. But I did enjoy meeting Brownie, who, although naughty at times, is a sweetheart.

He just wants to be free to graze at will wherever the spirit moves. I feel him.

On the home front, the birds pointedly refuse to nosh at my window feeder. They prance around on the deck directly beneath said feeder, pecking at the seed I threw down there as a means of alerting them to the fact that there's a full feeder a few feet away.

But the feeder itself, they ignore.

I've seen our usual contingent of cardinals, along with a couple of wrens and maybe a mockingbird. They eat from the deck and fly away without looking up.

I'm thinking of installing a blinking neon arrow pointing to the bird feeder. That should generate interest -- I'm just not sure what kind.

Click to embiggen. You won't regret it.

Meanwhile, the squirrels have duly noted the birdseed spill on our deck and have wasted no time in availing themselves of any number of gratis al fresco repasts.

This particular bushy-tailed guest was busy acquiring a quantity of seed, then hopping onto the back of the swing to eat it.

Sometimes he faced the pool as he munched; sometimes he faced the house. The point was, he had a high old time.

Proving once again that it don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing.

Click to embiggen. You'll be glad you did.

So far as I can tell, there have been no attempts by the squirrel population to breach our window feeder and dine from its seedy depths.

But we shall see; time is on their side because that feeder's not going anywhere.

And as far as I know, neither am I.

And that is all for now.

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Happy Monday

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.

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