Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year ........

I hope 2009 brings each of you happiness, peace, and prosperity.

If you are celebrating tonight, please be safe. I will stay at home and if still awake, will watch the ball drop on Times Square on TV. We have never gone to New Year's Eve parties - preferring to see the old year out and new one in quietly at home.

Monday, December 29, 2008

My planner ........

When I worked in banking, I used a planner to keep track of appointments and meetings, to organize tasks, and to keep notes.

When I retired, I wanted to continue using a planner, but I could not find one that had the features I needed. My time is flexible - I have very few set appointments, so I don't need a daily schedule broken down by hour. I wanted a place to list things to do, a place to plan menus, a place to record expenses, and a large area for notes.

I designed the above planner in excel. Each month, I change the clip art to suit the season, then print out sheets for each day that fit my binder. I usually do a month at a time - it doesn't take long.

I also designed other sheets for my planner to suit my needs. I have sheets to record donations, medical expenses, vehicle mileage and maintenance, household maintenance, etc. They are all decorated with clip art and are colorful. I keep copies of all forms on the computer so I don't have to redo them.

I've been working on setting up my planner for the new year with forms for 2009 and sheets for January.

I'm one of those people who love to organize. I spend more time planning and organizing that I do on actual work. It's a great way to procrastinate.

Feels like spring .....

It feels like spring here in Southern Virginia. Today was sunny with the temperature near 70.

H and I decided to get back in the yard and work on the leaves. We've gotten almost all of them up except for the pine needles under these trees by the road and the leaves in a corner of the back yard beside the woods. They were still a bit wet and were stopping up the hose to the leaf vacuum. Tomorrow is suppose to be pretty, so we should be able to finish then.

I did a lot of raking around things while H was on the mower. I have blisters on both hads tonight. I never think to put on gloves until after I get blisters. You would think I would learn.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas is over .......

I hope everyone had a safe and happy Christmas!

I got all my cooking done on time. We always have fried oysters on Christmas Eve, along with Virginia country ham and all the fixings. I had everything cooked except the oysters before going to my Dad's. I fixed them once I got there. My Dad is in a wheelchair, so it is easier to take the meals to him than to try to get him up steps into my house. We didn't have but four for the meal - Dad, Hubbie, my brother, and me.

My brother has learned to cook a turkey, so he put the bird in the oven at Dad's on Christmas morning. I took the rest of the meal to Dad's and we had a feast early Christmas afternoon. Still just the four of us, but it was an enjoyable meal for everyone.

Christmas afternoon, we finally got in the yard and worked on getting up leaves. It was a warm afternoon here in Southern Virginia and we couldn't pass up the opportunity. We also needed to work off some of that turkey, stuffing, potatoes, etc.

Yesterday my sister, brother in law, and two nephews visited. Then today, I took down the tree and put all the Christmas decorations away. Christmas is over for another year! Yeah - now I can get back to my usual routine.

The tree did not make it until Christmas. Around 5 AM on Christmas Eve, I heard a crash in the living room. Maggie May had knocked down the tree. I propped it back up and put all the balls that were still in one piece in a basket. She also got into her stocking and pulled out her new mouses before Christmas got here. Now she is sulking, because I took her tree down - she liked to sleep under it.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas! .....

May your holidays be filled with love, peace, and joy!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Vegetable Salad .........

My Dad loves this vegetable salad, so I make it every holiday for him. It's easy to make and will keep for a long time in the refrigerator.

1 can peas (I use leSueur with mushrooms and oions)
1 can french cut green beans
1 can white shoepeg corn
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
1 cup chopped celery
1 large jar chopped pimento
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup oil
3/4 cup white vinegar
1 tbsp. water
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper

Drain water off vegetables and mix well in a large bowl. Mix sugar, oil, vinegar, water, salt, and pepper and pour over vegetables. Refrigerate for 24 hours, then drain off liquid and serve.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Where is the Sun? ......

Another cloudy, misty, damp, and cool day. This is not my kind of weather. I need the sun - preferrably with warm weather, but I'll settle for cold as long as the sun is out. I've had an almost irresistable urge all day to curl up under my furry throw and take a nap. That is not an option the week before Christmas.

I waited all morning for a young mother to come by and pick up my old Christmas tree that I posted on freecycle. She has four children under six, so I was happy to see the tree go to a home that would enjoy it.

This afternoon I went grocery shopping for the Christmas meals. We always have fried oysters on Christmas Eve, but the grocery store only had standards (I need selects) and Wal Mart didn't have any. I may have to go to Richmond to find some. One of the joys of living in such a rural area is that the local shopping is limited. The town I live near doesn't even have a grocery store. I have to drive about 15 miles to a neighboring town to buy groceries.

The tree is still standing, but has no balls or decorations on the bottom third. Maggie May really showed herself last night. She was totally wound up and was running rampart through the house. She insisted on climbing the tree. When I would get her out of it, she would get mad at me. She even tried to bite my cheek once when I picked her up. I had to put her in the garage for time out for about three hours until she calmed down.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Checking off the list .......

Christmas cards are done. Decorating is done. Shopping is done (this is easy since I don't shop). All I have left is cooking Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

There are no children in my immediate family. I have two nephews who are now young men - one in college and one graduating high school this year. I always give them cash so they can get what they want or need. Several years ago the adults in my family agreed to stop exchanging gifts. H and I have agreed that we will get a new mattress set when they go on sale as our Christmas gift to each other this year. I give the aides who stay with my Dad a cash bonus at Christmas. So, I bought 5 gift envelopes and my shopping was done. Couldn't have been any easier.

I know that gift giving is a big part of Christmas for a lot of people. It's exciting and fun when you have children. But when everyone is an adult - middle age or older - it gets to be a chore. The important thing is being able to get together with family and friends and enjoying each other's company.

The Christmas tree is still standing. It's missing several balls and the branches and lights are askew, but it may make it to Christmas. Maggie May is in love with the tree. If she isn't climbing in it, she is sleeping under it. Anything new fascinates her.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Maggie checks out the tree.....

She finally got up enough nerve to get close enough to give that thing a good looking over.

How long before she will be in the middle of it?

The tree is up ......

We got our Christmas tree up today. We got the tree out and I started putting it together - it's the kind you have to attach each branch to the trunk. I was only half way through when I started complaining that I still had to get lights on it before I could do the fun part of putting on the decorations.

We had talked about getting a slim prelit tree for the last few years, so H and I decided we were going to the hardware store in a neighboring town to see if they had one in stock. They had one on sale, so we bought it and brought it home. I took the old one down and boxed it up to put on freecycle. The new one was up and decorated in no time.

The slim line works so much better in my crowded and tiny house.

Maggie May ran and hid under the bed when we got the first one out and just ventured back into the livingroom. She is giving that tree some very cautious looks. She doesn't know if its safe or if it will get her.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Rain, rain, rain ......

Yesterday was cloudy, but was nice and warm - in the 70s. Today it has rained and the temperature has dropped to the upper 30s. It has rained so hard today that water is sitting everywhere.

Such drastic changes in temperature makes my arthritic joints complain. As a result I haven't been very industrious today. I did get out a few Christmas decorations and put them up.

I can't seem to get very excited about the holidays. It's not my favorite time of the year. While I was working - for 35 years - I never had more than one day off for Christmas. I'd get off around 3 PM on Christmas Eve and would be back at work at 8 AM the day after Christmas. Since I didn't have children, I never asked for time off during the holidays. I felt like those with children needed the time off more than I did. As a result, I never did a lot of entertaining or celebrating. I learned to keep Christmas simple in order to keep the stress level down.

Now that I'm retired and have time to do more, I'm just not motivated. I have learned that it's not the gifts, decorations, and parties that make Christmas, it's being with the people you love and enjoying their company. My best Christmases have been the simplest ones.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Fence garlands and bows .....

Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus .........

It was warm this afternoon, so I put up my outside Christmas decorations. I've had Mr. and Mrs. Claus for at least ten years. They always sit on the loveseat on the porch.

I also put garlands and bows on the fence at the end of the driveway.

With the addition of a bow on the light pole and candles in all the windows, my house now looks festive on the outside.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

It snowed last night .........

We got a dusting of snow last night - just enough to turn the deck white. I was a bit disappointed that I didn't get to see it fall.

It melted rather quickly, but stayed cold and windy all day. Not very pleasant weather to be on a lawn tractor, so we didn't get up the leaves.

Instead we made a leisurely trip to the grocery store, where we went down every aisle and looked for new and interesting things. (We didn't find any.) Then when we got home, we settled down under blankets and watched TV all afternoon.

It was nice to have a totally lazy Sunday.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Leaves ..........

I'm hoping that I can get H in the yard to get up leaves tomorrow. While there are still a few on the trees, most have fallen by now.

This a view looking across the front yard. The back yard has more leaves than the front.

Since our yard is approximately 2 acres, we do not rake the whole thing. We have a leaf vacuum that goes behind the riding mower. It gets up all the leaves in the open areas. Of course we still have to rake out around everything. Still takes us at least two days to get it done.

Guess we will be busy tomorrow.

OJ ..........

OJ Simpson was sentenced yesterday to 33 years for the robbery and abduction of a pair of memorabilia dealers in Las Vegas. He will have to serve at least 9 years before he is eligible for parole.

He got away with the murder of his wife Nicole and her friend Ronald Goldman. So even though he will go to jail for another crime, I think Goldman's father and sister feel a sense of satisfaction.

I don't think OJ thought he would go to jail. In his twisted mind, he thought he was above the law.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Small town newspapers ......

I've been reading the weekly paper from a nearby town. It is both entertaining and informative.

One of the lead stories on the front page is "Black Friday bargains attract whitetails". Last Friday two deer - one a nice-sized buck - entered the local Family Dollar store. They dashed in the front door as a customer was leaving, ran down the center aisle, and upset some laundry detergent. The buck turned left and exited through a back door held open by the assistant manager. The doe turned to the right and made her way to the front door, where she exited while someone held the door for her. Evidently they were just looking since they didn't buy anything.

Also on the front page is a story about the animal control officer buying a plaster replica of a cougar and riding around with it in his pick-up. He said he bought it as an educational tool. There have been a large number of cougar sitings in this area - some by very reliable people. The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries says that cougars do not exist in Virginia, so until one is actually captured or killed they are a myth.

After persuing the major news stories, I turned to the inside to find out who had dinner at who's house - who went shopping friday - all that important stuff.

You just have to love small town newspapers.

Thanks to everyone who has commented on my blog. It's nice to know someone is out there!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Fall chores and an afternoon walk ......

We had a beautiful day here in Southern Virginia with the temperature near 60. It was just too pretty to stay inside. The weather is suppose to turn colder this weekend, so I decided it was time to do some of those fall chores I've been putting off.

The frost had finally gotten the last of my flowers, so I cleaned them out of the pots and flower beds. Everything looks so bare now.

I cleaned and filled all my bird feeders. I have the feeders placed so I can easily watch the birds from my kitchen and dining room windows and also from my livingroom. Of course, Maggie May likes to watch too. She will sit and stare at the birds and chatter at them.

I took down the bug light, closed the vents to the crawl space, disconnected the garden hoses, and covered the pool filter.

I was feeling proud of myself for checking all those pesky jobs off the to do list, so I decided to treat myself to a walk through the fields. However, I found more things to add to the to do list - two trees had fallen across the path we use. I visited with the neighbor's horses, gave a treat to their dog, and checked out the groundhog burrows.

I did enjoy my walk and feel energized by the fresh air. I'm not a fan of cold weather and do not like going outside when its cold or windy, so I take advantage of every pretty day this time of year.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Maggie May ..........

I have been trying to figure out how to post pictures all day. It is driving me crazy. I must be doing something wrong, but I can't figure out what it is. I can get one picture on here after much work, but I can't get two to show up on the same post. Aauugh!!

This is my baby girl - Maggie May. She rules the roost around here - what Maggie May wants, Maggie May gets.

Finally - I get a picture to post ....

I tried and tried yesterday to get a picture uploaded with no success. We had storm clouds and I kept losing my satellite connection. Late yesterday the clouds began to break up. The picture above shows the clouds just as the sun was setting.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Black Friday .....

Some of you may have heard about the WalMart worker on Long Island who was trampled to death last friday morning when the store was opened. I can not imagine such a thing happening in a civilized place.

Was it so important to get a good deal on a new flat screen TV, that all common sense and compassion were completely discarded? Was it worth another human being's life? I don't understand people who do such things.

I never go in a store on the day after Thanksgiving. I don't need anything bad enough to brave the masses of hysterical people who are pushing and grabbing, trying to get a deal on something they don't even need. I wouldn't stand in line for hours in freezing weather just so I could be one of the first in the door.

I like a bargain as much as the next person, but my definition of a bargain is a cheap price on something that I need and was planning on buying anyway. If you buy something just because it is on sale, you are not saving money.

OK, I will now climb down from my soapbox.

I tried to post a picture yesterday and couldn't get it to upload. My satellite service was erratic because of heavy rain clouds. I'm having the same problem today. As soon as the weather clears, I will post pictures.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Monday and an Introduction ........

Monday is my usual day for doing housework. I like to do all my weekly chores on the same day, then I can concentrate on other things the rest of the week.

So, I've spent the morning washing, scrubbing, mopping, dusting, and vacuuming. I warned you that I lead a very boring life ........

I guess I should introduce myself to you. I am a 60 something retiree from a job in financial services. I retired five years ago to care for my aging parents, who live nearby. My Mom died not long after my retirement, but my Dad is still living. I am married to a wonderful guy - H. We have no children (by choice), but have a very spoiled cat - Maggie May. We live in a rural area - 5 miles outside a small town - on 35 acres of beautiful land. I have lived in this area all my life and couldn't imagine living anywhere else.

After living the corporate life for 35 years, I'm enjoying retirement. H is still working, so I've taken over all the yard and garden work. I enjoy getting outside and doing physical work. I've been trying to catch up on all those home projects that I put off for years.

I like to read - my home is overrun with books. There is always a book lying around that I'm reading. I am curious and like to explore a wide range of subjects and ideas.

About a year ago, I discovered blogs. There are quite a few from around the world that I read regularly. While I have only been a lurker, I feel like I have come to know these people and they are my friends. While I may not have much of interest to offer to my readers, You are invited to join me and be my cyber friend.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

My entry into the world of blogging ......

I spend way too much time reading other people's blogs. There are so many interesting and informative blogs out there. They have inspired me to try blogging myself.
My life is far from interesting or exciting, so it will be a challenge to come up with things to write about, but I shall try.
This blog will be about what I am doing, what I am thinking about, and whatever is on my mind.
I hope you enjoy.