Thursday, January 31, 2013

Daybook entry 1-31-13

Outside my window it’s dark and chilly.

I am thinking that I’ve put off paying the monthly bills long enough.

I am thankful that I can pay the monthly bills.

From the kitchen come the sounds of silence. We just finished dinner and I was hoping for dessert.

I am wearing Black jeans from Chico’s, gray lambswool v-neck sweater, a scarf, and a long sleeveless thick knit Ann Taylor sweater.

I am reading The Book Thief. Very interesting.

I am going to get my monthly bills paid in time to watch the last episode of 30 Rock which comes on at 8:00.

I am creating a montage of photographs to share with you after this post.

I am hoping that my husband can get his hearing restored.

I am hearing an annoying commercial about Celebrex.

Around the room are the remnants of George’s last fetch game. I have got to get him to pick up his toys.

One of my favorite things is having my husband make dinner for me.

A few plans for the rest of the week – or rather the weekend, include the possibility of seeing a movie.

Here is picture thought I am sharing.


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I took these last year at this time on the property where I live with my husband and a dog named George.

How are things in your neck of the woods?

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Monday, January 28, 2013

Quick update

I wanted to stop in real quick to let you know the update on George, who had a visit to the vet today. It’s really no big deal – for now, anyway.

Last Wednesday, my husband and I noticed a very small bump on his face. Within four days it had grown to over three times the size and is soft to the touch. My husband, who loves this dog like there’s no tomorrow, was so upset and worried which is why I took the dog to the vet today just to put his mind at ease. He thought it was a tumor.

It appears to be what I suspected, which is an abscess. He’s on a strong antibiotic, and had a shot for the inflammation. We’ll keep an eye on it because it could be due to an old chipped tooth that he has. Chipped teeth are prone to bacterial infections and, although it’s a long shot, it could be that this is the issue.

If it is, they’ll have to put him under and remove the tooth.


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I had no intention of taking photos and showing you our dog’s lump. That sounds funny, reading this back. But if you look closely, you may notice it in the photo below.


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Under his eye,, you see where the white fur is, it’s sticking out on the right. He is in no pain at all and is happy and calm.

And he loves riding in the car with the window down as we go up the driveway.



We were at Hopkins last week for an issue my husband has been having. He has gone deaf in the one ear where he had the radiation last fall. We’ve been trying to deal with it through a local ENT but it came time to call in the big guns. And luckily, they’re only an hour’s drive away.

I have hope now that some of his hearing can be restored. They said that they see this sort of thing all the time, when people have radiation to the head.


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On this snow day, which was really an ice morning which eventually warmed up, I made the most delicious potato soup. Seriously, I love this soup. I sprinkled cheese and a little bacon on mine and also some fresh parsley.

Here’s what my husband said about it: “It’s ok, I guess, but bacon is for breakfast.” I told myself that it was creamy and delicious and I thanked myself for making it. The only problem is that it’s not recommended if you’re trying to lose weight. Which is what I should be trying to do. Right now though, I’m into comfort and I’m not going to beat myself up about it.

Perfect Potato Soup

So bottom line – George is ok. Husband is ok. And I have enough soup to last a month.

Thanks for stopping by ~

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A cold winter’s day

I am writing this from the comfort of my favorite seat in the house on a cold winter morning as ice falls outside. The schools have all been closed, which means I don’t have to work. The weather will clear up soon and the roads will be fine but for now, I feel snug and warm.

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Hot coffee and cold winter mornings are two of the best soul mates who ever did find each other. 

~Terri Guillemets

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The frost on the storm windows, taken yesterday morning when the sun rose. I couldn't have gotten the same photo this morning, as there was no sun.

The frost is there, however.

I am blessed to be one of those people who loves wintertime. I’m sure that as I age, I may come to loathe it but I love days like this, for without winter and without longing, the spring would be so much less sweet. At least, that’s how I feel anyway.

I’m taking George to the vet this afternoon. The wee bump that I mentioned the other day has turned into a much larger lump on the side of his face, the white side. It’s probably an abscess but my husband is rather obsessing over it so I’m taking him to the vet today. Not my husband, mind you. The dog.

Downton Abbey last night. Oh, my Lord. I will not say anything more because I won’t spoil it for anyone. But I sat here and bawled.

I went to my niece’s baby shower over the weekend and took lots of photos. At first, I was so dismayed with them. The home where it was held is in Federal Hill, a beautiful and historic section of Baltimore, but the houses are long and narrow. This means that the light comes only from the front and the back of the house and the living room is in the middle. So I had to use the in-camera flash. I really need a better one, but I’m pleased with how the photos are after some edits.

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My beautiful niece, Kim. I have many nieces ~ they are all beautiful ~ but this is the first one who is going to have a baby. And I’m so glad. Especially after all that has been so sad.

We had an event at our school yesterday which required most of the faculty and staff to be present, so today is rather a gift. I plan on getting some things done around the house, editing the remainder of the baby shower photos, doing a little grocery shopping once the roads get better, and of course – taking George to the vet.

I spent the morning reading and have finished my book.

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I loved this one. I love literature, and gothic tales of mystery, and this story-within-a-story was magically written. I will not do a book review here but the following is from the cover:

Reclusive author Vida Winter, famous for her collection of twelve enchanting stories, has spent the past six decades penning a series of alternate lives for herself. Now old and ailing, she is ready to reveal the truth about her extraordinary existence and the violent and tragic past she has kept secret for so long. Calling on Margaret Lea, a young biographer troubled by her own painful history, Vida disinters the life she meant to bury for good. Margaret is mesmerized by the author’s tale of gothic strangeness – featuring the beautiful and willful Isabelle, the feral twins Adeline and Emmeline, a ghost, a governess, a topiary garden and a devastating fire. Together, Margaret and Vida confront the ghosts that have haunted them while becoming, finally, transformed by the truth themselves.

It is one of the best books I have ever read. It is a bit dark, and the perfect book to read on a cold winter’s day (or night). But it’s time to come to the light ~

So with that, I will bid you adieu. And hope your day goes well.

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Thursday, January 24, 2013

I’ve been aware of the time going by

They say in the end it’s the wink of an eye

And when the morning light comes streaming in

You’ll get up and do it again.


I heard that old Jackson Browne song on the way to work this morning and it’s been running through my head all day long. It’s pretty, and I used to love Jackson Browne.

I had nothing today as far as photos to share with you. So to amuse myself this evening, I posted a single photo I took during each month of 2012. After the first three, I realized I had a bird thing going on, so I kept the photos strictly to birds. I should make my own calendar. Ha.


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Female cardinal



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Black-capped chickadee



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MARCH 2012

Tufted titmouse



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APRIL 2012

Downy woodpecker



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MAY 2012

Eastern bluebird, male



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JUNE 2012

Northern mockingbird



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JULY 2012

Juvenile house finch



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Ruby-throated hummingbird, female



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Black-capped chickadee



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Hairy woodpecker



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Male cardinal




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Sharp-shinned hawk


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Hope you liked.


There’s some snow a-coming.


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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Neither here nor there

This is completely random, but due to the lack of anything interesting going on, I’m just going to ramble on. I do hope you don’t mind.

I am sitting under a throw and have not one, but two sweaters on. And a scarf. And I’m happy.

George has a small bump on his nose and we don’t know what it is yet. My husband noticed it today and is hoping it’s just a small bruise. He says the dog was playing pretty rough yesterday with the stick.

I got my hair cut and colored last night. I wish it could always stay this silky and soft.


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I took this photo of a geranium bloom the other day.


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And the sunshine coming through the lace curtains in the dining room.


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Same feather, but taken last year.

I collect feathers.


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My husband saw me sitting outside over the weekend, so he helped me by enticing the birds with a little extra sunflower seed sprinkled around.


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And they began arriving right away.

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Thank you for the movie suggestions in the post a couple down from here. I’m planning on watching some of the ones you mentioned. Over the weekend, I watched A Bronx Tale and loved it. I cannot believe I’ve never seen it before in all these years. Classic. I have Secondhand Lions in my queue, another really good movie that I’ve seen before. And I believe I’ll rewatch Buck tonight. It’s a documentary about Buck Brannaman who was the inspiration for the movie, The Horse Whisperer. My husband worked with horses all of his adult life, and got along better with them than he did most people and I swear, he was a bit of a horse whisperer himself.

I’d also like to recommend Ondine on Netflix stream. It’s different but I think you might enjoy. Check it out for the synopsis and see if it’s something that could be up your alley ~

Have a great week, all.

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Monday, January 21, 2013

Very good

Thank you so much for answering my movie question. As many of you know, the comment section is always interesting here and part of my reason for asking in the first place was to get new ideas for viewing – not just for myself, but for all of you. So thank you for your honesty.

First, as far as Beasts of the Southern Wild went, it was definitely interesting. Set in a fantastical place called The Bathtub in the Louisiana Bayou, just beyond the reach of the governments levee protection area, it is the story of a fiercely independent little girl named Hushpuppy and her relationship with her alcoholic father, Wink. After the squalid settlement where she lives is washed out by a hurricane, Hushpuppy imagines that wild beasts who resemble giant boars have melted and broken free from the polar icecaps and are coming for her.

I didn’t love the movie. But I didn’t dislike it at all. It was definitely a raw look at Hushpuppy’s reality, the prettiest place on earth, as she called it, and her struggle for survival in her cast-off universe. She misses her mother and sometimes calls for her with a piercing scream that’s enough to break your heart. The entire movie belongs to this child, though, and she is truly amazing.

Secondly, it was a beautiful three-day weekend for me. And Saturday and Sunday were incredibly lovely as far as weather and relaxing were concerned. Temps dropped dramatically today and it’s actually snowing out there right now which I hadn’t realized until I let the dog in and he was wet.


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Here are a few photos I took of him the other night when he was dry ~


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It’s time to put away the holiday toys. He’ll be excited to see them out next year, I guarantee you that.


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Do you do that with your dog? George has a number of toys, some that are still from his puppy days and I’m always switching them up. He gets really excited when I take something out that he hasn’t seen in months.


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He is such a beautiful dog, our George is.

And the best thing is that he’s also a good dog.


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Yes, you are, George.


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A very good boy.



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As I write this, and just within the past half hour, everything has been covered with a nice coat of white. It sticks to every branch and is actually quite beautiful. It’s not supposed to amount to much more than this so I’m pretty certain we’ll have school tomorrow. If you’re new here – I work at a school. When it’s closed due to the weather, I have the day off. I love when that happens.

In other news, made this for dinner tonight and was pleasantly surprised at how much my husband loved it. He even went back for seconds.

Lasagna with roasted vegetables

Hope your week is a good one. And if my dog could talk, he’d say hello. I’m sure of it.

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Sunday, January 20, 2013

Mosaic Monday: Sunshine and birds

I haven’t played along with blogging friend, Mary at Little Red House, for well over a year on her Monday Mosaic theme. Come to think of it, it’s probably been more than a year since I’ve done this. I found that I didn’t have the time to visit all of the links, which is why I gave up Sky Watch and all the other weekly themes that are around the blogosphere.

Well, I think I’ll try it today and see where it takes me.

For the past couple of weeks, we’ve had nothing but dreary days full of either fog or rain or a mixture of both. The fog is often beautiful in and of itself, but it wasn’t until Saturday morning that I found myself smiling simply because – miracle of miracles – the sun was shining.

Today’s weather was even warmer than yesterday and I spent an hour or so this afternoon just sitting in the yard, snapping photos of the visitors to our feeders.

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Supposed to get really cold here soon. Today was a gift.
I hope your week is a wonderful one.
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To see more mosaics from around the world, visit my friend, Mary,

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Sunshine, freedom, and a little flower

I’m going to start by saying that never in my life have I put holiday decorations away as late as January 19. After New Year’s, there’s nothing that gets old faster than Christmas as far as I’m concerned. It’s just how I’ve always felt about it and so all of my adult life since I began decorating for the biggest holiday of the year, I would always have it all put away by the weekend after New Year’s.

I’m sorry to keep going on about it but glad to say that it’s all finally done.

My husband had already taken down the two small trees, putting the ornaments into a new cardboard storage box with drawers that I bought on sale last year.


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And early this morning, I walked around the house, gathering all the detritus of the holiday and depositing it on the dining room table, my staging area for packing. Surprisingly, I had it all done within two hours, my husband helping by taking all of the crates to storage.

In retrospect, I guess I really could have squeezed two hours from one of the previous weekends but with everything going on, it was all just too much.


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I did some cleaning before putting everything back in its usual place. Then I brought in some of the geraniums that have been wintering in the mudroom, cleaning them up and giving them a good dousing with water before placing them in the west windows where they’re sure to get a lot of sun.

I finished my book, The House at Riverton by Kate Morton. It was a decent read and kept me interested. Next up are The Thirteenth Tale, and The Book Thief, both of which I really look forward to. I read outside in the sunshine this afternoon in a protected spot. Sunshine can do a world of good in the middle of winter, can’t it?

"Just living is not enough," said the butterfly, "one must have sunshine, freedom and a little flower."  ~Hans Christian Andersen



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This afternoon, the light coming in the west windows was beautiful. So I picked up the camera. Here at the kitchen window, I have the remnants of the poinsettia plants on one side of the deep windowsill and geraniums on the other.


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And then I turned the camera to the window, focused on what was up close to my lens and caught the sun going down.

I love the blur and the colors.

Tonight I’m going to watch a movie that I received in the mail from Netflix yesterday. It’s up for an Oscar and a co-worker recommended it. It’s Beasts of the Southern Wild. I’ll keep you posted.

And now for a question, a single one this time.

What was the last movie you watched? Doesn’t matter if it was on tv, through the mail, at the movie theater . . . wherever.

See you in the comments.

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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A day without sunshine

Today was a dreary one that became colder as the day wore on. Raw best describes today’s weather, plus we haven’t seen the sun for over a week. I began my new book last night and am getting into The House at Riverton. So far, so good. Another Kate Morton book that I really enjoyed is The Forgotten Garden.

Season 12 of American Idol started tonight (or as my husband calls it, The Singing Survivor Show). I’ve always liked the audition shows although I’m not too sure about the judges this year. I miss Simon and I actually really liked Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler. I was not a fan of Ellen as a judge, although I think she’s great in everything else she’s done. This year sees Randy Jackson returning, along with newcomers Keith Urban, Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj. I keep the show on in the background as I read.


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I snapped this last night before I went to bed. George looked so comfortable as he lay sprawled on his couch (yes, I said his couch) sound asleep.

A favorite photo of mine that includes him and a stray cat he was in love with is below.


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I lost the original photo of this when my hard drive crashed in 2011 but I was able to download this from an old post on my blog. The cat visited daily, jumping over the fence to see his doggie friend. George was just a pup back then and the cat was the only other animal he was close with.

Tonight for dinner, I made a shepherd’s pie using a recipe from a blogging friend who lives in the Yorkshire Dales. A real English recipe, too. Thank you so much, Pat. It was delicious.

So how are things in your neck of the woods? I’m going to get back to my book ~

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“A day without sunshine is like, you know, night.” ~Steve Martin