Saturday, November 30, 2013

A Cupful of Blessings

Among which is home-made pumpkin pie topped with whipped cream and sprinkled with Aunt Edna's Spiced Pecan Recipe ( be shared later...)

Enjoyed sharing the holiday this year with my grand-daughters and their Mom (Tanya) and Chris and The Leprechaun (Tina) well as James and Nicole (by phone)...and how very pleased she was to have James home for the holiday :)  and Lennon (Skyped in with his holiday ham)

And a wonderful time had by all!
The girls enjoyed Grandma Rose time...and getting to talk with Dad and Uncle Lennon and seeing Uncle Chris. And I loved having everyone for the holiday :)
We listened Christmas songs by Chris (on violin and guitar)...and Coloring and Grandma Fridge Art and a couple of Thanksgiving books I picked up earlier in the week at my library.

And The Feast, of course. We still have leftovers...realizing this morning as I enjoyed another piece of pumpkin pie...and Tina attacked the leftover devilled eggs (...hey...don't judge me...they're's breakfast...people eat eggs for breakfast..right?) and Chris circled the honey BBQ-ed pork, vulture-like. Tucker settling in to a bowl of whipped cream licking his whiskers...and all is right with the world!

Looking forward to seeing Donna and the boys in mid-December for an early Christmas :) Donna send me Thanksgiving pix and "Hello" from the boys, as well!  Can't wait to see all of you!

They are all getting so big!

Oh...and a new term made up on-the-spot for the Thanksgiving/Hannukah cross-over this year.


Thanks, Arlene!

This week's book an e-book written by a wonderful funny friend of mine (Sal) and just released...

The Day God Spoke To Me: The Miracle that brought a Jew to Jesus

by Sal Duenas

A warm wonderful spiritual journey of the soul. A story detailing one man's search for The Truth. Sal, I LOVED this book. Of course, I "heard" the whole book in your voice...making it even better! Sometimes you will laugh till you cry. And sometimes you will just cry. Excellent, thought-provoking book, guy!

So...back to today. FOCUS. And clearing away the Fall decor and beginning the Christmas decorating...and for god's sake somebody toss those poor pathetic half-frozen pumpkins into the compost box!

Now please!

And it is easy to get in a deck-the-halls mindset's 15 degrees outside! If there were snowflakes falling it would be perfect.

And lastly...

Aunt Edna's Mississippi Spiced Pecan Recipe

(...Aunt Edna...long since passed on...always made a huge batch of these for the Holidays...)

Three Tablespoons White Granulated Sugar

1 teaspoon of water

2 pinches of Ground Cinnamon

1 cup Pecan Halves

Add all to a shallow non-stick skillet over medium heat stirring constantly until sugar begins to caramelize...then add a pinch more white sugar for sanding and stir. Remove and let cool. Break apart.

Good to add as a garnish to desserts...or just to nibble by themselves. 

I'm off to redecorate :)


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving...

So, of course, we've ordered pizza delivery. Doesn't EVERYBODY?

And I have to admire my Jewish friends (and Yentas by proxy...or honorary like me) for this year's alignment of the holidays. Thanksgiving and the beginning of Hanukkah falling on the same day! The first candle lit tonight and it is Turkey and Kugels and Potato Latkes for EVERYONE tomorrow!

"Someone please help your Uncle Hermy fish the dreidel out of the gravy boat...I told you kids not to spin that thing on the table. Oy vey..."

We are having our feast on Friday...Southern Style. And boy, is the Turkey ever grateful. The pig, however, could not be reached for comment.

A huge pork loin marinaded in honey-BBQ...Mashed Red Potatoes...Whole Green Beans...Mac and Cheese (kind of an emergency back up plan for the Grands)...Devilled Eggs...Biscuits and Baked Apple Butter and, of course, Sweet Tea.

For afters: Pie and coffee. Chocolate French Silk and Traditional Pumpkin with Whipped Cream and Aunt Edna's recipe for Spiced Pecans. 100 years of Mississippi cooking- you really can't go wrong!

Picked up a couple of Thanksgiving Books in the Children's section of my library for the occasion and after the meal Chris is going to play some of the Christmas songs he has been learning on violin and we're going to let the two oldest grand-daughters trim the tree

And a huge surprise for Nicole...headed her way. 


 Who doesn't have to be back to class until he caught a ride home for they won't be spending their first Thanksgiving apart! Shhhhh...

Wish I could be there to see her face when he shows up at the door :)

And tomorrow...for me...well since we have scheduled everything for Friday...I am especially "thankful" for tomorrow. A day of peace and quiet. Of prep. Of starting the Holiday Cards. Of reading and a long bubble bath complete with one of my guiltiest pleasures these days...the new JetSpa...and maybe even A NAP...and indulging in Filet Mignon with grilled onions, a baked yam, fresh asparagus and an ice cold Coke.  Did I mention peace and quiet and solitude? Or the fact I will have to fast both Saturday and Sunday!

It's a small price to pay.

Oh and Idgy (and my) solution to (temporary)

                           which would be the official P.O.E. kit as seen below

Also useful for alterations to the waistline of your clothes during the holiday season & unruly relatives...

Wishing Everyone a Happy Thanksgiving...not just for tomorrow but for the other 364 days as well!



Saturday, November 23, 2013

A "Magical" Cup

And altogether amazing Friday night and Saturday morning spent with my 8 year old grand-daughter. What a magical age, eight!

The evening filled with us cooking pasta together and making Playdoh refrigerator magnets and bath time with washable markers...and her turning the tiled bathtub walls into a work of art. The movie "Water Horse" and story-time and hot cocoa then snuggling with Tucker and several of the stuffed bears until she was fast asleep.

Up early to help fix "Pigs in a blanket" and hot tea...

and then to plunder the scarves, and coloured hair extensions and curls kit, and paint our nails together before our morning ended.

and ending up with Safari hand zebra and the other leopard!

"Grands" keep you young.
 (at heart anyway!)

She and Hannah are going to be able to share our (late) Thanksgiving next week with Chris and Tina.

The kids, who came in the other afternoon after work and collapsed on the sofa they were so tired. When I covered them up they looked so cute laying there sound asleep I stole a shot!

                                          (...not a creature was stirring..)

Exciting news as Nicki will be finding out if "The Bump" is a little girl or a boy today! Hoping to know before the day is out. And I may just go with pink or blue hearts on the quilt. Hearts go with everything!*

My bedroom an absolute disaster with all the Christmas stuff everywhere...inside from the patio room. Waiting not-so-patiently for the seasonal change after Thanksgiving this year. I have got to weed out and pass some of this on to the Senior Center. A much much better place to donate gently used items. The Goodwill put a price on things that it ridiculous since they were donated. The Senior Center keeps the prices low so that the elderly can actually afford them.

And Tucker...who is spending most of these cold days...indoors...on the sofa...and snuggling with his stuffed fish. One of the first plush toys he really seems to like. Of course the tail is stuffed with catnip! (...thanks Pam!)

This week's book "The Wedding Gift" by Marlen Suyapa Bodden set in the deep South during the times of slavery. The story of a young slave girl who is "gifted" to the plantation owner's daughter (as her maid) on her wedding day...and the girl's struggles to find her way to the North and freedom. A nice twist at the very end of the story elevates this book to a must read.  Excellent period piece!

So back to cleaning the house and preparing for next week's holiday...looking forward to hearing from Nicki and have ALREADY received the first "HOLD THIS DATE" for an early Christmas Party at Donna, Dane's and Eric's, and hopefully the 12th for Christmas with both my Grandsons! Planning an afternoon Christmas High Tea with Judy, Loretta and Ola as well!

December's shaping up to be a busy month, already!

Have a wonderful weekend!

* And a tiny the kids just told me according to the ultra-sound...maybe...

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Windblown Cup

Yeah it looked a lot like THIS yesterday.

To compound matters, the oldest was on his way to campus for classes being in Iowa. Where does he stop on his way through? Peoria.
Luckily they kept them at the bus station until the worst of it cleared. After which a small nearby town (minutes away) ended up gone. Wiped off the map. Looking like this after it was over.

They counted 65 tornadoes yesterday through Illinois and Indiana. Where I am...very little damage...terrifying winds...torrential rains...all of the leaves down (...Fall has fell...) and a few dead limbs and roofing shingles...but otherwise unscathed.  Nearby, one of the automotive plants reported damage. Kokomo Indiana was hit fairly hard and Lebanon had an edge of the town Starbucks coffee shop damaged pretty badly

 (...of which, Lennon immediately quipped "One down...several thousand left to go.")

but overall we were so very lucky.

Nicole and I engaged in kind of a telephone/email (((hugfest))) until we heard that James had reached the dorm safe last night. Huge sigh of relief. November.  It's flat. It's bare. Oh...and it's flat.  Apparently, there is a pool table in the commons area though (which thrilled him to no end). And like Chris' experience with the AIOI...not your father's "Smuggle in The Hot Plate" dorm-room. A full kitchen and bath/shower. Three of them to his cube. Space to sleep and study and relax. A damn pool table! LOL!  He will be back to Nicole for Christmastime, though!

And an early morning call this morning before his class started...which made me a little misty...reaching out to Mom before his first day "...back to school..."!

They grow up so quick!

One out of mid-way...and one just beginning trade-school.  So proud of all of them...and feeling so very blessed.

And speaking of blessed...the above picture sent by the girls' Mom...four of my (soon to be) 7 grandchildren. Three natural (Hannah, Kaylee and Brenden)...Three Honorary (Preston, Emma and Jasmine) and One on the way (...still too early to know yet!)  And the girls will be coming for an afternoon this week!

So happy!

Some "Grandma Rose" Time!

Which will be a welcome respite after this week's MRI follow-up I am sure.

"Don't bother me I am coloring with the kids and having brownies and milk in our tent-fort"

This week's book a non-fiction selection  All About Techniques in Acrylics part of the Barrons Series. Interesting and informative and something I learned at the end of last year/beginning of this one...that I really enjoy...a LOT. Who knew.

Tried oils. Dries way too slow for me...requires more patience than I admittedly possess.

Tried watercolour. OMG @@ They start school-children out with these unforgiving blotch-monsters...??? Really? My painting resembled a Rorschach inkblot.

Experimented with the pastels Idgy sent. Looked like something done by Monet...when he was the kitchen with crayons...after spilling his milk on the a word...terrible! 

 LOVE the acrylics, though. Beautiful. Very forgiving. Easy to thin to transparency or apply with a palate knife. Mix with a medium for Impasto. Glaze. Make a small mistake...paint over it. Make a big the whole canvas and start again!  

Have a vision of turning this shot

Taken this summer at the Nature Park while she and I visited and hiked away an afternoon...into a painting. I love the Impressionistic style and think it would lend itself very well to that.

We joked recently together about my trying pointillism sometime. Think Seurat. Once again...although she has been known to do the whole 9 million dots in Pen and Ink and when she finishes it looks like a black and white photograph of the Carroll County Courthouse, or some such. I am pretty sure the dedication to dots will end up something like this...'s a close up...don't judge me.

And a box early Christmas from an old friend. Thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou!!! A Personal Jet Spa to enhance the whole "bath" experience!  If anybody needs me, I'll be in the tub...till Wednesday!

And a quickie of Tucker squishing his little playtoy gold fishie.

I think we've found Nemo!

Possibly a Polar Bear in a Snowstorm??? IDK.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

An "Almost The Weekend" Cup

And after this crazy week...I NEED it!


                                  Je Presente':

                                                 Mr. and Mrs. Hurst

And the beginning of their "...happily ever after!"  Not losing a son but gaining an amazingly sweet daughter-in-law! And in May...a grandchild! Both of them sound so in very happy. Nicole asking me yesterday if I would come down to stay for a week after the baby is born :)

And snow already.

                                         Boston Fern is Not Amused!

Although it was short lived and this Sunday is suppose to be back into the mid-60's.  Actually, it was kind of pretty and after Thanksgiving
                           "let it snow...let it snow...let it snow!"

Did my 2 1/2 hours " the tube..." Tuesday and glad it is over. The results a bit sobering. I may be getting thinner, but FRED is expanding. The MRI results showed a definite spread this year from the left frontal across the mid-line to the right hemisphere. And this wasn't your 1 or 2 mm at a time that we've been seeing yearly. Along with a tail...characteristic of the invasive nature of an Astrocytoma.

                                         Contrast Deepened to Show the Cross-Over

But to quote Monty Python

"...I'm not quite DEAD yet..."

Actually today I am feeling pretty good.

And it does explain some of the aberrations I have noticed in the past year.
But today, it is beautiful outside and two of my sons are in love and the third is engaged to his studies...and soon to celebrate his 25th birthday...and happy. And although I have good and bad days I am STILL walking (well...sort of...face the Zombie Apocalypse, I'm screwed...) and enjoying EVERYTHING life has to offer...I have an amazing circle of friends and family who love me and I love them...and good chocolate, of course.  Life is GOOD!

Despite FRED. Hell...truth be told...maybe because of him.

Having someone hand you an expiration date, (over and over) has the unexpected benefit of teaching you to live each day as though it might actually be your last one.

You appreciate more.

 You are full of gratitude.

The everyday chaos becomes just
so much white noise.

 You learn quickly to differentiate between an inconvenience...a problem and a crisis.

As a matter of fact...the day after the MRI...I took a total "me" day...complete with coffee and dessert at my favourite tea room...a bit of photography...perused and bought a lovely early 1900's humpback writer's trunk from the BEST antique shop because I have always wanted one (and there it was)...talked with all the kids...several close friends and family...and slipped our (Bill and mine) wedding rings off the chain where I have worn then since his death and have now passed them to my eldest and his new wife (...who was crying she was so happy and overwhelmed with the gesture...) Enjoyed some Whitman (as in Walt) with Tucker (purr therapy) and a steak dinner with asparagus and baked sweet potato...a deep candlelit bubble bath and a glass of wine and a bowl of cherry compote drizzled with dark chocolate...and...slept like a child afterwards. 

I'd like to make every day as pleasant and mindful.

Nothing like a bad MRI to pull you back to focus.

But really really ready for the weekend. 

Enjoy Yours. 
None of us have any guarantees beyond this moment.


     Talking to Lennon on the phone today...and he sent me this :)

     Either is is a great big ((((hug))) or my Middle son has become a Zombie.
     (Nice try but it still won't get you out of Exams!)

     Colleges are plagued with the living dead on Exam Week.

      Love ya, kid...and (((((HUGS)))) back!


And a Fall Shot.
Angie, only 13.5 pounds to go!  Oh, and this is the Fall look. Infinity Scarves "R" Us...


Easiest weight loss ever! 16.6 pounds since the end of July.
I LOVE the "Fast Diet"!

Happy Weekend Everyone!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Sunday's Tea

Almost "Life with Beethoven" these days around Chris...his mind whirring with musical notes and theory...and I half expect to walk in and see him writing composition on the wall.

Unbelievable progress. Taught himself to read music in one week. Picked up the first book in Berklee College of Music's: Music Theory a couple weeks ago and is grasping the contents well and even attempting some composition. Has taught himself to re-hair the violin bow and is recording his playing progress...which is considerable. I'm talking from "...mice in a blender..." days to "Section of Bouree: J.S Bach" in three weeks.

The Bach Piece

and an earlier attempt at Ode to Joy

Even made his first "tip" the other he was practicing while at a local laundromat and an elderly gentleman walked over and dropped a $20.00 bill in his case.  He was stunned.

"At first I thought maybe he was paying me to quit practicing, Mom"
he laughed.

And busy learning some Christmas Selections, now.

Son. You never cease to amaze me!

Kind of a bizarre, exhausting week...with our buddy, Jim...having an circuit malfunction with his heart causing it to STOP BEATING...luckily his dead and then brought back to life episode was after the paramedics had instead of a Jim says...he has a GREAT STORY.  I've been calling him a Zombie now.

"You were dead, but now you're alive...damn're a ZOMBIE, Jim..give it up..."

Anyway, they've implanted a defibrillator...he's part way to becoming the Bionic Man, like he has always wanted to be...and soon will be back on the Harley or climbing Denali, like nothing ever happened.

So completely Jim.


Remembering a long conversation years ago about hiking the Appalachian Trail (well part of it) together...and lamenting the fact that i couldn't get the 3 months off work it would take. Now I have all the time and much much much less of the physical ability. 

"No bring a good hiking staff and you can hold on to me and we will still do this!"

An indomitable spirit.  Hell...We may still do it..or at least a scaled back version.

                                     Is it any wonder I love this guy  :)

And a long afternoon and evening with Angie as her Mom just went through heart surgery...successfully...thankfully. Her brother making it up as well...and his wife's family who live just outside of Cebu in the Phillipines...not an optimal place to be this far we have received word from her sister (who is trying to find their parents amidst the chaos) and she is safe.

And preparing to take my annual sneak peek at FRED this week...which is always a stressful thing for me.

                                                  2012's Sneak Peek

Is it any wonder that yesterday I came to a complete stop and did...well...pretty much absolutely NOTHING for the entire day. A bit of internet time...a little reading...and shared a pizza with Chris late. That's it.
Just dropped.

And so, catching up today. One of those Cinderella Days..with everything clamouring dust me, feed me, scrub me, toss me out, launder me...Note to my friend Gail in Africa who says:

"Where I am...everyone has a maid. They look funny at you if you don't"

I may be living on the wrong Continent.

(...okay...except for the whole spitting cobra thing...and the centipedes...and army ants...and huge spiders...and torrential rains...and outbreaks of freedom fighters shooting up shopping malls... know what. Maybe I'll just stay here...maidless and all, m'kay?

But the bright spot in the midst of yesterday was finishing "Sycamore Row".
The latest John Grisham novel. A self-proclaimed sequel to his first novel A Time To Kill. A return to Clanton, Mississippi, the book opens with the suicide of Seth Hubbard. Hubbard is a white man of means in the small racially divided town. Most of the original book's characters make a Jake Brigance (the lawyer) receives a cryptic handwritten Will by post only a day after the suicide. In it, Hubbard's children and grandchildren are purposely cut from his original will and the bulk of his Estate left to his black house-maid. Grisham has a way of making a character thoroughly despicable...and before this book ends you will find little sympathy for Hubbard or his grown children. A nice twist and tying up of loose ends by the close of the story.
 Overall, an exceptional read!

Amazing the difference a week can make...with the rains and winds the leaves are dropping fast now. You can feel winter and snow just around the corner.

                                                        Last week.

                                                        This week.

And Tucker-Cat...who has velcro'd himself to the sofa most days, now. Snoring loudly.

                              Tucker's Position on The Up-Coming Winter

 Anticipating an early one. Winter, that is. My Christmas Cactus already starting to bloom. Two full weeks before Thanksgiving!


 Looking forward to Thanksgiving with Chris and The Leprechaun this year :)
And looking forward (soon) to finding out whether my newest "grand-bump" is a he or she "bump"!  
Always exciting.

Discussed school, and my oldest will begin his classes before long. Although he has headed in a slightly difference direction than his original idea of business will help him achieve a good career and provide a solid foundation for his family! Proud of him for setting this goal and working hard to build a career instead of just "working a job" the rest of his life.
 I KNOW you can do it!

Lennon's 25th quickly approaching...and laughing at my pragmatic middle son whose official birthday wish included

"My good office chair is shot to hell, Mom" 

And us perusing office chairs together on Amazon...until

"Oh...THAT one is perfect!"

And so, along with a few other will wing-its-way his way on or around the 20th!

They are all grown up now.

 Office furniture for your birthday is a tell-tale sign.


                              Even though this feels like only yesterday :) 

Have a wonderful rest-of-the-weekend! 
Back to Cinder-Ella  :)