Friday, December 28, 2007

After the holidaze

It's over,Christmas is over, I have two large trash bags full of just wrapping paper!It was amazing and exhausting,do I find it depressing? No!
I'm a little baffled by the post holiday Christmas blues, but that's said more out have never experiencing it, then incredulous outrage at the thought.

Our family gatherings were split and separate this year, His family on Christmas Eve, mine the day after Christmas, and Christmas we spent at his sister's, lots of fun, lots of good food,and a nice pinot noir.

I served a spinach lasagna, and italian meatballs, and garlic bread, plus a table full of things to munch on; nuts, cheeses,chocolate graham bunnies. On Christmas Eve we tracked Santa via NORAD ,yes that's right, Virginia... NORAD! Who knew that the North American Aerospace Defense Command, also kept track of Santa. If you've ever believed in St.Nick, or have kids that believe in him,this is a lot of fun, especially if you have a partner to view it with, like say my 4 year old nephew, who was so happy and excited, and dropped the greeting" Feliz Navidad", often.
I received some really nice presents, a blooming Christmas cactus was one of them, and one of those easy to use corkscrews, no more pieces of cork to spit out.

On Christmas day we opened our presents, My husband still thinks I wear post earrings, which i haven't in a decade, luckily no feelings were hurt. I find with work , and having to wear a mask that posts get caught, or torn out, and french wires, may be removed just as easy, but no one looses an earlobe over it.
I received a great iPod docking receiver, my son and I both own iPods, and we can put either one in it, it'll be nice for up in my home studio. To crank those playlists.We also had our annual cinnamon rolls. Don't be too impressed , they are the Pillsbury kind, that come with the little can of frosting, but they're a fun Christmas memory.Then in the afternoon, we went to his Sister's house, she had some good food, and snacks to nibble one, the pinot noir was flowing. It was another relaxed day, plus we had turkey.

On the 26th, my family came with lots of presents in hand,see above photo, my mother is a force to be reckoned with, and she buys everything you want and then some. My sister too, and myself we have learned well from my mother. It was kind of cool to see the amount of gifts, but oy! all that paper. We also got to meet Zoey the littlest puppy, too cute and fun, and my dog Wilma didn't mind her much, though when she got too close to her when she was eating, she gave her a growling little smile, that put the puppy in it's place. Of course there were also dog gifts as well as people gifts, Wilma received a squeaky raccoon, and Zoey received a squeaky pheasant, which was as big as her, but she attacked and gnawed at it happily.We had ( in the house that night, but it was a lot of fun.

And yesterday, finally it was over.
The tree is still up, and will stay up until New Year's Eve, I'll take it down on New Years Day, it's a safe activity, if you've had some fun, maybe too much fun on New Year's Eve.
All in all it was a very nice holiday.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

happy holidaze

Have yourself a Merry little Christmas.

Saturday, December 22, 2007


zoey, originally uploaded by ms.Tea.

this is my sister's puppy, zoey. this picture was also taken by my sister, I merely enhanced it a little.
Isn't she too damn cute!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

christmas music

There is a lovely group at Flickr, called my Monday music advice. I try to post to it, but sometimes I forget and miss my Monday post.
I guess when that occurs and I need a subject to write about , it'll be my Wednesday music advice, but I'll post it here.

So lets get down to it.

Christmas music can either numb you, with bland Muzk, where you're not exactly sure, what the song is because it sounds the same,as the one before.
Or it can fill your heart, bringing back good Christmas memories, the same way really food can.
Here are my recommendations for the Christmas season:

1."Christmas around the world" by Putamayo
this collection covers all the bases from"Joyuex Noel", to "White Christmas", to a wonderful Cuban influenced version of "Deck the Halls", and a awesome Cajun version of St. Nicholas. Everyone will like this from your Gram to your gothed out niece. It's just that good. People will be toe tapping and enjoying Christmas time traditionals, and you'll put this CD on the carousel, and play it for hours.Think of it as an international retelling of songs that you already now.We may all celebrate the holidays differently , but there are some things that unify us, and music is definitely one of those things, and this CD presents that beautifully.

2."Jazz to the World"
This jazz collection is great a wonderful glimpse at how well Jazz can enhance old Christmas standards, my favorite is a version of "Baby, it's cold outside" with Dianne Reeves and Lou Rawls, when ever I hear this song, it makes me want to look out the window and see the snow falling fast and heavy, plus it very playful, and flirty. Another favorite would be "Il est Ne, Le Divin Enfant" by Dr. John, this bluesy New Orleans based version is fun, and down and dirty, just like the holidays can be especially if you have that extra glass of pinot noir. I also want to curl up under my Christmas tree and listen to only Diana Krall singing "Have Yourself a Merry little Christmas", her version it's just sublime. Another favorite that'll make you stay there is Michael Franks version of "Let it Snow! Let it Snow!"

3.A Very Special Christmas 3
This is the third in the series of A Very Special Christmas Cd's. I own most of them, but this is one I put on often , In this this Cd, some unexpected artists, like the Smashing Pumpkins, and their song "Christmas Time", is beautiful, and timeless. Also Natalie Merchant singing "Children Go Where I Send Thee", maybe the only reason you need to buy this Cd, it's gorgeous rich and gives me the chills, this woman knows how to arrange a tune.
The other unexpected treasure in this collection is "Santa Baby" led by Rev Run and the Christmas All Stars, that include Mase, Puff Daddy, Snoop Doggy Dogg, Salt and Peppa, Onyx and Keith Murray, before you get all, " those are hip hop stars, I don't do hip hop", you need to just listen , and then I'm thinking you won't make that statement again. It has an infectious beat, and isn't it time to listen to another version of this fun song, that might even be a little naughty.Other highlights are Jonny Lang singing "Santa Claus Is back in Town" this is raucous, and flirty and bluesy, and might make you want to start dancing, or have Mommy doing more than kissing Santa Claus, if you know what I mean. (wink wink, nudge nudge)

All and all I hope this music just makes for a happy, stress free holiday for you and yours.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

snow days

Last Thursday ,we had a really good snow storm, well I guess the people that had to drive in it, maybe weren't so thrilled, but I was home it was my day off, and I was psyched!(translation excited.) My son was equally psyched, as he got released early from school, and they had a two hour delay the next day.

Then comes this weekend, and on Saturday night more of the white stuff arrived, except this time I was at work.Was I afraid to drive home in it? No, secretly it thrills me, what was not so thrilling, was that the city I work in and the surrounding towns, hadn't really thought that plowing should be their first prerogative. It was Sunday morning, maybe they hit the snooze one extra time, or had one more cup of the delicious coffee, before they went out and started clearing the roads, or maybe they thought who works on the weekends?

Me, I work on the weekends, and holidays, etc, and if you want me to get to my job safely, and take care of your sick loved one in the hospital, I have to be able to get there. Hospital's are open 24/7 they don't close down on holidays (wouldn't that be nice for me) they don't close on weekends, especially Friday nights, when college students feel the need to do one too many shots, and pass out cold, and then their frightened, but drunk friends, call the ambulance to bring them in. It also doesn't close during a snow storm , for those people that feel they need to climb a ladder to clear, the snow off their roof, and end up clearing themselves off too, into a bank of snow , bruised to a royal purpleness. No we're there to take care of you. How about returning the favor? So my one small request, clear the roads, when it's been snowing for the last 3 hours.

Did I get home that Sunday, of course. It puts another notch in my snow driving belt, I can now sign an affidavit, for the Subaru Forrester people, and tell my funny story how I drove home through mostly unplowed roads, in one of the lower drive gears, I didn't slip or get stuck. I did have some precarious drive and dodge moves where I had to avoid, people that were out in the snow and should not have been, but that'll be another charming post for some other time.

Do I have snow tires for my AWD Subaru, you betcha, but that's because they don't plow much at night either, just like on the weekends. When I had to return to work that night, and the big fat fluffy snow flakes were streaming before me, was I concerned, about the less than perfect visibility, No! Because the roads were plowed perfect, and after my drive in snowy cookie dough that morning, and few thousand snowflakes were nothing.

ps: to you snow plow drivers that were out before I was on the road Sunday morning, Thank you.

Monday, December 10, 2007

enlightened |day 104

enlightened |day 104, originally uploaded by ms.Tea.

"A lovely thing about Christmas is that it's compulsory, like a thunderstorm, and we all go through it together."
-- Garrison Keillor

Sunday, December 09, 2007

my perfect tree

, originally uploaded by ms.Tea.

I know your saying to yourself, "no, i have the perfect Christmas tree", but I'm sorry that's not true. I have the most perfect tree, full of ornaments from the last 20 years.It's perfectly shaped, and fits in the room perfectly.
I'm all about the whimsical ornament, many are from Hallmark, with the little date mark showing. I also have an attraction to painted wooden ornaments.

One year my mother in law was getting rid of some ornaments she didn't want any more. I kept them and gave most of them to my sister, and kept the wooden ones for me. They're the ornaments i hang low on the tree, that are unbreakable. I know that's something my Mom did,but she had a lot of glass ornaments, where I have very few, mostly unbreakable, but i still hang the wooden ornaments at the bottom for the little ones in our family.

This tree is also perfect, because it's little branches can handle all different sized and weighted ornaments.Those little resin figures may seem cute, but they are sold and heavy, and not all trees can handle that.The hard thing with that is, if the branches are going to be strong most likely the needles will be pinprick sharp...and these are. So who ever said you can't put lights on the tree in leather garden gloves?

Lastly the scent, is matter how hard Yankee Candle may try they can never truly capture this rich pine scent, never.

Friday, December 07, 2007

once upon a time

There was this really cool cat, who first started as Opie (what an insult). Then we renamed him and he became Wyckett.Eventually that was interchanged with Mr. Wyck, to truly indicate what a gentle cat he was, well the birds might have had their own name for him like silent but deadly, it was survival of the fittest and he was practicing Darwinist. He was a very polite cat, he never scratched when he played with you, and loved the outdoors. You knew it was going to be a cold one if Mr. Wyck was snuggling in for the night. His only fault if you could find one was his need to be a bed hog, he never really curled up in a ball when he slept, he slept stretched out and long, like huge cat log in the bed. Initially he shot our waterbed a wary eye, but soon got over that.It was often a place he would sleep when the weather was chilly.

He was the first four legged pet we owned when we bought our house, we had always owned fish before in our apartment, but they for some reason don't really like to be petted.So when we bought a house, the next week, my son and I went to the Auburn Cat Hospital, to adopt a cat. We looked at a couple of yellow cats, one was too fresh, he bopped my son in the head,so he was definitely out. But Mr. Wyck, just waited, purred when he was patted, and we made our decision.The ride home was pretty uneventful, but I believe it was my son's coaxing at his wary meows, that helped him get through the ride.

When we arrived we brought him in the house,where he promptly hid behind the couch, once he came out, we showed him the litter box, from there he explored all aspects of the house, the room we were doing over, the crinkly tarps on the floor.He was able to open doors ,understood the theory of cause and effect, meaning if I push against this door it'll pop open. Which worked well the first night we had him, when he open one door into what was our now living room, and preceded to walk loudly across the tarps, and pop the door on the other side of the room to exit, which until I looked down, and saw his yellow tail, I was sure we had a ghost.

For our goodness of releasing him from the cat hospital we were rewarded with various mice, moles, etc, along our stone porch, as mere tokens of affection, I also sometimes got to share in the bounty in my Vegetable garden when he proceeded to eat a mouse in front of me, I just pretended the skull crunching was another noise , I may have had to hear it but I couldn't watch...ew!

He had developed into quite a character, he loved the snow, was out in all types of weather. He was very good when a few years after that we adopted Wilma our often nervous dog, he held his ground with her, never ran from her, always walked. He made it hugely easily to introduce a cat to a dog, who really wasn't sure she shouldn't maybe chase him. It was when his Zen Master qualities came to light, no matter how crazy the dog ran at him he would be still, which would make Wilma calmer, but also allowed her to sniff him all over. Which later on would leave some cowlick like furrows in his fur, from the intensity of the sniffing, but he never dignified that with anything more then a cat bath, to smooth all those spots back down.

He also wandered our neighborhood. One morning while waiting for the school bus with my son,
we observed him,coming down the hill across the street, stopping and looking both ways before crossing, the busy road, and greeting us from his nighttime journeys. I never feared his safety near the road after that.
Eventually though he must have had some mishap crossing the road, luckily he also had the strength, and size to survive this unidentified hit and run, was it a car, or a motorcycle, or someone unable to see him , going really slow, we will never know. He was missing for a weekend, but showed up on a Sunday night before I left for work with a few scratches on his nose, and either an abscess or a hernia, bulging out of his side, plus he was hungry! Off I went to work leaving instructions, don't let him back out, I'll call the Vet in the morning when I get home.The next day when we brought him, the Vet decided to keep him over night, so he could give him a thorough exam. It turn out once they shaved his belly he was bruised from chest to belly, with two fractured ribs, and a big hernia. With all that he was till healthy, purring, he just was shaved and purple. We waited a week to let the swelling go down then he had surgery, which my husband and my son, did perfect post-op care on him, as I was in London for the first time in my life.They gave him antibiotics, kept him inside, which from what they tell me Mr. Wyck didn't really push the going outside issue. When he finally was able, he never went out the front door again toward the street, it was always out the back toward our own wooded acre.

From there Mr. Wyck lived his life pretty well, there we still a few bird bodies, and he taught our "new little cat", as my husband like to call her still, even though she's not new or little anymore, how to hunt, and she eventually took over as hunter cat , under his cat tutelage.
He lived his years in cat naps, and walks, he still continued to go outdoors often and would roll in the driveway or the snow to great me. He also had taken to sleeping in at night.

I was looking forward to him being a very old cat. In September we noticed he was bony, and looking raggedy around the edges, I hoped he was just showing his age, unfortunately he was and he wasn't the vet told me the kind of belly mass was common in older cats, and once you could feel it there really wasn't much they could do. They never pushed the euthanasia issue, they told me to take him home, and call them if I thought it was too uncomfortable for him. Honestly aside from the recent scruffy old cat look he took on, he still was eating and purring , and going outside until the very end. After finding out his prognosis, my husband and I, and our son, talked about our views on how heroic and how long we should let this progress. We all decided we should do right by Mr.Wyck and not let it get to the point of discomfort for him , we owed him that , being he was a very special cat, and deserved, nothing but that.

I can tell you I was with him until the end, I liked to think it was good ,he departed seeing someone he loved, when we him brought to the Vets for his last visit.
It was quick, and they were so wonderful, with the dignity, they handled putting our Mr. Wyck to sleep, I know the word is euthanize, but until you have to choose to do it, sending a beloved pet to sleep, makes the heart ache a little less horrible ,just a little.

Now it about 3 months , I don't cry much now unless I see the mysterious yellow cat walking around, the neighborhood, and it makes me tear up, oh and there's that one song on my iPod, that has nothing to do with cats, or death, but makes me cry a little too, when I hear it .

I missed him at Thanksgiving as I boiled the turkey neck, he would stay close to home when that was happening, for there was a enough meat on that to make a cat all drooly and purry, and a permanent fixture in the kitchen for a few days.

I also missed him alot today, when it started to snow, and Wilma and I noticed the yellow stranger cat again, walking in the snow, exploring things. I know from just looking at him, that it's not Wyckett, but the view blurs as one tears up, and the shorter cat looks bigger and more sleek, and it tugs a little at those heart strings.Which loosens my eyes into a river of tears and makes me able to write about our Mr. Wyck.Who I like to imagine is enjoying his life up there, amongst the endless serving of turkey and catnip.Stretched out on a warm waterbed.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

the view

Two things I sometimes do that gets me simple, but wonderful photos.One is take them out the window, when it 15 degrees, and I'm in my jammies.
Two is I also shoot pictures as I drive, before you lecture me, let me explain(rationalize) this behavior.
I shoot with my camera resting on my steering wheel and I slow down of course, and I look through the lcd screen on the back , just like it's a mini windshield, this of course means you have to have a clean windshield, and be okay with driving like an elderly person.
Now if you're elderly and taking offense at this statement, take a deep breathe and relax, I respect your wisdom to know speed kills. But so doesn't going 10 miles under the speed limit, on a sunny day, on dry roads, because all us younger impatient freaks will try and pass you in places we shouldn't. And the passing thing is worse than any speeding could be.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Why i love craigslist

Or better put, why I love, that my husband loves craigslist. We have had a lot of success with craigslist, two boats, two flat files, Mr. Bowflex. For less than half the original cost, sometimes less than a quarter of the cost. I don't care who you are, but you just can't beat that.
I look at it more out of curiosity, i haven't really found anything, but I love seeing what people are trying to get rid of. But my husband is patient and genius about it and finds really good things. Damn good things.
I am now the proud owner of another flat file, to keep my print making stuff organized and tidy, my papers flat and dust the fact that is cost was only 2 figures, and not the usual four, is something that makes me truly believe in karma, and ridiculously giddy and happy.
i love my flat file, they look so impressive stacked like that I am 5'4" and my flat file stands at 5'9"!
Perhaps my pair of flatfiles, are my next Secret really organized friend!