Saturday, December 31, 2005

Decoration postscript

Here are a few more pics from mom's Christmas decorations. The angels are closeup views of the larger orchestra pictured below. Sorry it has taken so long to post-- on dial-up it took more than ten minutes per picture for uploading!

Sunday, December 25, 2005

A Christmas sampler

Happy Day, everyone! I hope it's a wonderful Christmas for those celebrating, and for those whose day has already come and gone, happy recovering! We're off to spend the day at my brother's, but in the meantime here are a few pics of the decorations at mom's. Merry, Happy!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

a new look!

I've been frustrated by some things on the orginal template I was using on the blog, so decided to make a change. For starters, I can now include links, which I wasn't able to do before. Now if only someone would let me know how to establish a counter... Give me a few days to figure all of this out!

A few weeks ago when I was in St. Louis Kathy and I joined two other friends for breakfast one morning. Listed on the blackboard of daily specials was "Eggs Jesus." Hmm. Turns out you're supposed to pronounce Jesus according to the Latin, but if that's the case, why wasn't "eggs" in Latin? So we proceeded to pronounce the special according to the English, reverently, of course! I also decided that, as a priest, I should honor the savior by ordering his special. Here's the description, the delivered breakfast, and a picture of the fabulous four (our nickname of old): (l --> r) Me, Kathy, Maureen and Barb. Hey, what are blogs for if you can't post about the minutae of the day?

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

busy day at the ranch!

Except for a few undetermined addresses, Christmas cards and letters are finally done! Australia and New Zealand friends, sorry yours got sent so late, but with any luck they'll arrive during the 12 days, so they'll still count, LOL. Also got a card order completed and sent on its way, as well as got state sales tax computed and paid. We've made chocolate dipped peppermint sticks and oreo bark and put together gift baskets for a couple of friends and our neighbors/landlord and lady (whom we can no longer refer to as the milkmaid since she's stopped milking the goats!). Tonight we're having dinner with my last seminarian and his family, which should be too much fun with their five kids!

As for a photo...

How about this one from our visit to the Atlanta Botanical Garden last month? I love this frog!

Hope these last days leading up to Christmas aren't too crazy for everyone!

Saturday, December 17, 2005

who can resist this wee one?

She is just too precious, and I haven't even had the privilege of meeting her in person yet. Here are a few more pics of our dear Ella Noelle.

And let's not forgot our Katie!

(and can I just say that I can't stand the way this blog host is so inadequate when it comes to formatting entries with photos!)

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

it's a girl!

Kathy's new grandchild, Katie's new sister, and Carrie and Dave's new daughter, Ella Noelle, came into the world on Tuesday at 4:14 PM, pink and punchy! Here she is!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

back at the ranch!

We're back from our weekend in St. Louis, where I visited with my friend Kathy and Ken spent some time visiting with relatives in the area, some of whom he hadn't seen in about 30 years! Kathy begins her chemo treatment today, so for all you pray'ers out there, please keep her in yours! It will be a megadose, the first of four given once a month. She is in remarkably good spirits, and was getting around better than when I saw her last. We were able to get out to do some errands, join some friends for breakfast on Saturday (pics from that in a separate post), and I helped with odds and ends kind of projects, as well as with getting presents wrapped for her.

We had the treat of Katie overnight on Saturday (see pics!), and she is as adorable as ever. Kathy had gotten her a snowsuit that she tried on, and looked quite a bit like a marshmallow! She's a wee thing, ordinarily. I'll ask that you indulge me in one Katie story. We had put her to bed at her usual time, turned out lights and retreated to adult territory, but she had had a long nap that afternoon and wasn't quite ready to call it a day. Via the monitor from her room we could hear her chatter and her attempts to draw us back to play with her. "Let's read another book!" she'd try. Or, "Katie has a poopey diaper" (that little ploy worked once, LOL). But we couldn't contain our giggles when she tried, in a sing-songey voice (you'll have to imagine the inflection on the basis of my attempts to emphasize syllables), "GIgi, GRANtee, everybody... HellOOOOOooooo." It was just too cute. I wish I could remember some of the other dear things that she said, but such is my addled brain this morning!

Now it's back to the grind to complete a few more projects before Christmas. Hope it's a great day for one and all!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Christmas Chapel

Ken has wanted to take a Christmas picture of the two of us to send to people, so this morning we "dressed up" and headed over to All Saints Chapel on the campus of the University of the South to get a picture. We had been there on Sunday and it was beautifully decorated for their legendary Service of Lessons and Carols. It was the perfect place for our picture (I wish I looked a bit more that way myself--omg, the weight gain shows!), and to get some pictures of the chapel interior itself. There was a woman in the church who was straightening up, and she offered to take us up into the bell tower, too, so we took advantage of her gracious offer! That's a picture of Ken at the keyboard. I've also included some pictures from inside the church, so feast your eyes!

Today is slipping away and I've gotten almost nothing accomplished that I had planned to do. Forgot a chiropractic appointment this morning, so there goes an hour of the afternoon while I scoot over there to make that up. Eek! Gues I have my work cut out for me this afternoon when I get back.

Hope y'all are having a good day/week!

Monday, December 05, 2005

A manic monday

Don't ask me why, but for some reason I'm particularly chipper this morning! Have lots to do to get organized for a wee road trip. Our clergy women are gathering for dinner tonight in Nashville, so I'm headed up for that, and will spend the night. I have a little shopping to do en route to get the few remaining things on my list, so will have a meandering ride. Tuesday I'm detouring to Lebanon (my old haunt) to meet with the owner of the coffee/bake shop who wants to use my cards with her gift baskets, then will join one of my dear friends for lunch before heading home.

Yesterday the newest batch of photos arrived for the latest additions to my photo card choices. One of them is included here. I'm also posting the pics I took of the pyracantha at our farm in SC. Mom wanted some cards using one of them, but can't remember which one. Okay Mom, door number 1, 2, or 3?

---------One-------- ---------Two--------


Thursday, December 01, 2005

A good day!

Hey y'all! First, Ken says thanks to everyone who offered bday wishes. The best part of his day was when his son call from that-place-over-there. It meant the world to him, and of course any time we hear his voice we know he's safe, and I toss up a silent Alleluia.
Christmas-wrapping central is beginning to wind down here. It isn't that we're particularly efficient getting this done, we just can't afford to yield the space to all these packages! As I type this all gifts are wrapped, five packages were shipped a couple of days ago, three more boxes are sitting by the door to go out tomorrow, and the rest will soon follow, or will be delivered in person. Phew! There are a handful of things on order that ought to be here within the next week, and I have one or two things still to buy, but we're in very good shape. Now I have the time to enjoy doing some baking, and we finally got the Christmas CD's out and had them playing today while I wrapped and packed.
I'm including a picture from our Thanksgiving travels--a cross on a tombstone at Magnolia Cemetery in Augusta, GA. My great-grandparents are buried there, and we took a driving tour in hopes of finding the family plot, but the place was just too big for that kind of luck to come our way. I have a picture taken of their gravestones about 20 years ago that might be helpful visually, but I think our best bet is to contact the office and get specifics. Some other trip, maybe in the spring. I'm also including a few more orchids.

It's been beautiful here today, and brisk. Finally feels like late fall! Hope your day has been pleasing to you!

Monday, November 28, 2005

holiday recovery

Ordinarily I enjoy road trips, but I'm really ready to stay home for a while. We've been gone the last two weekends, and between now and Christmas, when we head to New England, there's another trip to St. Louis. I think it wouldn't phase me except that this last homecoming has been frought with physical ills (of the GI type), fatigue, and what may be the onset of "the change!" If only Clare had dispatched her cleaning fairy to tidy up in our absence I might not feel quite so overwhelmed by all the clutter that interferes with my productivity. There's just no place to put this stuff, which is why I live in such a constant state of chaos!

But enough of my whining. We had a lovely Thanksgiving holiday with our friends Jimmy and Barbara in Augusta. I've included a photo of our feast, minus the rolls and waldorf salad. The weather wasn't nearly as chilly as was forecast, so we survived at the cottage during the night with the space heaters and residual heat from the living room fireplace. The weather Thursday and Friday was spectacular, and the evening we arrived there was a magnificent sunset (see photos!). The only downside was that the dogs saw so little of us, but as we reminded ourselves, it was better than the alternative, which was not to be there at all.

This morning I am thankful to be home, even if it means a day of cleaning. It's also Ken's birthday, so I am trying to attain a spirit of festivity to honor him. But now, off to put on my domestic diva tiara and get busy!

Hope it's a wonderful day for everyone!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

there must be a shopping fairy...

I had such great success yesterday shopping for Christmas, and though I had a handful of things I went looking for specifically, I got all sorts of inspiration once I got to the stores. I absolutely cleaned up at Books-a-million, seeing all sorts of things that made me have to put the brakes on! Now the challenge is to find a place to put all these goodies before and after wrapping! I actually bought a small, collapsable table to set up to handle the overflow. thank goodness several of these things will stack well.

I've got so many wonderful orchid photos from our visit to the Atlanta Botanical Garden that I'll post a few at a time over the next few days (or posts, I guess I should say, since I won't be able to post over Thanksgiving). I'm thinking of offering a boxed set of some of them on the web site. But first I need to find an envelope that will fit into a standard stationery box. The envelopes that are carried by my present source (and from whom I get the cardstock) are 1/8" too long! Hopefully I can get some of the envelope companies to send a sample, since there are a number of shades of white out there, and the cards and envelopes need to match. It's always something, eh?

In the meantime, I hope everyone has minimal stress preparing for the holiday, and that it's a wonderful time for all.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

a lovely respite

We're home from a weekend in Atlanta where my cousin, Molly, was married. Her sister, Suzann, graciously offered to put us up while we were there, and we arrived Friday in time to help with last minute preparations for the rehearsal dinner, which was held at Suzann's wonderful home in Decatur. I'll include a few pics from that dinner, and the wedding. We also had some time on Saturday to visit the Atlanta Botanical Garden, which has a wonderful climate controlled orchid garden ( lots of pics from there, stay tuned!). Can't wait for another trip to Atlanta to visit the garden at a more "seasonal" time of year! We also learned that Emeril just opened a restaurant in mBuckhead, so we're eager to go there for a meal, as well. Molly and her new hubby are off to New Zealand for their honeymoon. Clare, if I had known, I would have put you all in touch so that they could have a more personal experience of your wonderful country!

On our travels we also did a little more Christmas shopping, and we're making good progress on crossing items off our list. Now to unpack, organize presents for wrapping and shipping, and get ready for out next road trip in a few days for Thanksgiving.

Hope y'all had a great weekend!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

small victories

As you all know, I've been having an agonizing time trying to get my web site functioning properly. I have discovered that the "two P's" (not to be confused with two peas, for all you online scrapbook fans), is the secret to survival in this endeavor: patience and perseverence. Sometimes others don't take action to do their part in a timely manner, or what one might think ought to be an automatically generated response to a technical request gets caught in someone else's bugged system, and delays ensue. Patience is necessary, to be sure, but not to leave the ball entirely in someone else's court is also a part of this game. Today we have progress. The "lock" on the registration with the original web site host has been removed and the domain name and host has been switched to a new one. Authorization to do the deed has been granted and the process has begun. Now my poor web master gets to learn the new system and bring me on board with it so that I can do my part. Patience. Perseverence. I'm not going to hope to have things running smoothly before Thanksgiving, but maybe by December 1? Is that too much to ask? Still plenty of time for people to do their Christmas shopping online!

And speaking of small victories, today's picture is of young Miss Katie taken during my visit to St. Louis. She is now 22 months, loves to dance, and play with the lego tower. Her grandmother suggested that I overconstructed the tower (hey, I come from a family where we learned early to measure twice and cut once, so what can anyone expect but solid construction from my gene pool?), which Katie was eager to "deconstruct" once it was complete. Part of the game.

Here's hoping that your day contained victories large and small!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The value of friends

Maybe the stars are in friendship alignment, but Kip's post about the friendships that have formed through scrapping parallels, in part, my desire to comment on the subject of friends. I've just returned from a weekend in St. Louis where I visited my friend Kathy, recently diagnosed with metastatic lung cancer. The evening I arrived I was invited to join Kathy at a Brazilian dinner for 12 that was offered at a church "auction" to raise money to support a mission trip to Nicaragua. The dinner was prepared by one of the priests at church whose parents had been missionaries in Brazil, where he was born and grew up. I knew all but two of the other women there, and it was a luxurious evening for me to enjoy the company of this group who had been part of my life and ministry when I lived in St. Louis six years ago. It wasn't the nostalgia that was so special, but the reminder of the joy of sisterhood. I am blessed to enjoy a sisterhood with my scrapping friends, and revel in the daily contact and interaction that we share online through the CK message board, MSN chats, and blog "to-ing and fro-ing." With them, and with the other women who have enriched my life, there is nothing more joyful to me than the opportunities to be together and share common places, events, laughter and the exchange of everyday concerns. I am grateful for the many gifts of friendship that have touched my life, and I am humbled by the expressions of friendship that I see shared as each of us encounters bumps in the road. Hugs and hearts full of love and compassion reach out to break through barriers of time, space, and circumstance, raising spirits and comforting hurting souls.

Today's photo is not a slice of mountain life, but an example of just such an expression of affection and friendship given to my friend Kathy by one of the sisterhood. A simple gift serves to remind her that she is loved and valued, and that an army of friends stand ready to deliver aid, comfort in a time of trial and need.

Today I salute the sisterhood, and give thanks for the opportunity to share in the experience of that love.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

More web woes!

Oy, what's a girl to do? I'm trying to get my web site operational, and it feels like for every two steps forward there are three back. Of course in the midst of this there are customer service issues, LOL. When I called tech support at the host site the guy I talked to was utterly uninterested in my questions. One of those questions had to do with a necessary file for credit card processing, and he claimed he didn't know anything about the file, that the person who did know (there's only one?) was at lunch, and he would have to email me the information I needed. I never heard from him. Fortunately the bank with whom I have my various accounts has been incredibly helpful, so I called them and they walked me through what I needed to do and explained it to me. Sad to say things still aren't working, even after all this, but the contrast in service was there, and I have to say that my bank has been extraordinary whenever I've needed to call them about something.

The upshot of all of this is that I am very likely going to move my web site to a different host, though I am still exploring what that host has to offer in their ecommerce package to know whether or not the function of the site will improve. Stay tuned!

Today's mountain photo is from the other day when I was heading out to take pictures at the cross. The road on which I live is just off the road where this is taken, a mere spit and a jump from the mailbox, LOL. A lot of leaves came down yestserday, so I don't expect there to be much opportunity remaining for fall photos.

Enjoy your day!

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Good Sunday Morning

Let's see if this will post. I tried all day yesterday and cyberspace was just too hungry for my words to share them with the rest of the world! Maybe it will feel more generous today. Yesterday we took a drive to a little town called Sherwood. It's in the middle of nowhere, tucked into a valley, and the only reason anyone lives there is because the railroad goes through. And would you believe in that tiny burgh of a place where there are about 30 trailers and as many tiny houses there are two churches? And one of them is Episcopal! The 'pisci church is an odd architectural phenomenon, a quasi modern structure that uses lots of undisguised cinderblock, and there's even a cute little cloister (alas, cinderblock there as well) with wisteria growing along its top. An ordained nun who is at the convent here in Sewanee serves the congregation, which, apparently, consists of all the members of three families. Attendance is either 4, 9 or 14, or something like that, on any given Sunday. Sister Lucy is getting close to retirement, so I wonder what they'll do when she hangs up her habit! She's been there 25 years or so...

Today's mountain life photo is of weather, our neighbor's goat.

Have a good one!

Friday, November 04, 2005

a feast for the eyes!

Another lovely fall day in Sewanee... These are taken from what is called "The Sewanee Cross" on the campus of the University of the South in Sewanee, TN.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Ah... fall...

Color has finally come to the mountain today, and I've got proof! Check out these beauties from a quick trip I made over to the campus of the University of the South. I would love to have some glorious sunset shots to share with you, but my camera battery quit on me! With any luck I'll be able to get back tomorrow and have a repeat of weather. In the meantime, feast your eyes!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Radical days ahead!

After having trouble getting into a pair of pants the other day I was about to throw myself out the window in despair. Except on rare occasions I do not overeat, and I have healthy eating habits. I confess that I am not on speaking terms with exercise at the moment (I find it so boring!), but even so, there is just no good reason why my weight continues to climb. So, time to consider a different kind of diet, and be diligent with it.

A few months ago I met a couple who have been on the blood type diet for a number of years, and they swore by it. I decided that it was worth giving it a go, and it seems to have a sound theoretical foundation. Got the book (need to order the cookbook), and after recovering from the shock of hearing what things I can't eat (most meat, for instance, and I'm a carnivore!), I am ready. I expect to become an expert at how to cook turkey in creative and different ways, along with how to give fish new and interesting twists. The only problem thus far is that I can't seem to track down answers to some questions I have (for instance, beef and chicken are out, does that mean stocks and broth from those are off the list, too?). There is a message board, but it's awkward and infrequently visited. Maybe the cookbook will offer some answers.

In the meantime, I am feeling hopeful that this diet will help sort out some of my weight issues, and one of these days I WILL make friends again with exercise (we don't walk in these woods, copperheads and rattlers abound!). Now to find a good source for buying a variety of fish. Shrimp is out!!!

Today's mountain picture is the rare suggestion of color in the yard this fall. It's been dismal here as far as foliage goes. Glad I have such good pictures from last year!


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