Thursday, December 31, 2009

Bon Voyage 2009!

Here it is - the last day of 2009. I can't really say that I'll miss this year - it was not a stellar year as years go. Well, for me it was a pretty monumental year: I did buy a house - that was awesome - and I did ring in my 30th year of life in style, but a lot of people out there had a pretty sucky time of it. For those folks, I'm happy to see 2009 come to an end, and I have every hope in the world that 2010 will be better.

As an historian, I love New Year's. I love looking back on a year, or in this case an entire decade, and wondering about what events will be the lasting historical moments. We have no shortage of memorable moments to choose from in the last 10 years, and somehow I think this past decade might someday be viewed as the one that changed it all - its not often that those living through history realize it at the time, but I think we all realize that we're living in extraordinary times.

So, that's my philosophical moment for the day - now on to the fun part of New Year's Eve '09! I'm going to be spending my evening at a James Bond-themed party at a local pub. I'm going as Bond-girl Strawberry Fields - aka, the agent who was drowned in oil and left on Daniel Craig's bed in Quantam of Solace. I chose her mostly because her signature look consists of a trench coat and brown boots. This is a costume I can pull off without too much trouble, and I should be fairly comfortable for the evening!

I hope you all have a good time tonight - be safe, and I'll see you in 2010!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Pepper vs. The Little People

I'm the first to admit that my cat Pepper is a little, well, odd. She is extremely clutzy for a cat, and she has a habit of suddenly noticing things that have been right in front of her for weeks and taking a new dislike of them for no apparent reason. This morning was a prime example. We got back from our holiday vacation up in PA last night, and Bailey immediately curled up for a nap in his usual place. Pepper, however, started staring intently at the arrangement of Christmas caroling dolls displayed on top of my secretary desk in the living room. Within half an hour she was growling at them. And by bedtime she was pacing anxiously back and forth in front of them. These dolls have been up on top of the desk for nearly three weeks, and she'd never given them a second glance. This morning her paranoia reached a new level when she started attacking the desk by leaping from the back of the sofa towards the dolls. As I mentioned, she's clutzy, so she didn't make it to the top of the desk, but rather hit the front of it several times and slid down to the floor with her nails imbedded in the wood. The dolls and much of the pine were knocked down, and she seemed pleased with her work. I put everything back in place, and now she's started the whole process again. The picture is of her staring at the dolls from the sofa just a few minutes ago. Anyone wanna lay bets on how long it takes before she starts dive-bombing the dolls again??

The holidays can be stressful...

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Winter Wonderland

As promised, here are the pics from my walk in the Winter Wonderland that appeared overnight! I'd say we have about a foot of snow, and its still coming down. I had planned to walk all the way to the bridge over the river that separates my neighborhood from the downtown area, but I got to the point where I could see the bridge and quickly discovered that if I ventured any further I wouldn't be able to get back up the hill to my house, so I took a picture of two cars attempting to cross the bridge. One made it, and the other one turned around.

Its gorgeous outside, though!

Friday, December 18, 2009


So, I think its for real this time. Its not just a bunch of Southerners freaking out about the possibility of a little winter weather. I think we might get a real, honest-to-God snow storm tomorrow!!!! I cannot wait! I have nothing to do all day but bake cookies and watch the snow fall. Aaah, snow flakes, cookies and a Christmas tree. Does it get any better??

On another note, I just got back from the local hardware store, Earl's, where I went looking for a shovel and a bag of salt. I do have a driveway now, so I should have both of those items on hand. The neat thing I saw at Earl's was a huge stack of those old fashioned Flexible Flyer sleds. I love those things! I have one at home in Mom and Dad's basement somewhere. I'm sure Miss Bess recalls our many near misses careening down the hills of East Wash on my old trusty Flexible Flyer. Apparently today's parents don't have the same warm fuzzies for these sleds that I do - while standing in line at Earl's, the cashier took at least three phone calls from people asking if they had any sleds left. The cashier kept saying, "All we have are Flexible FLyers, and you probably don't want one of those." What?!?!? Why wouldn't you want one of those?? For any amount of snow over 6 inches, you don't just want a sled with metal runners, you NEED a sled with metal runners! Its a necessity! Otherwise your little saucer sled or plastic toboggan thing is just going to get bogged down and go nowhere. Every child born North of the Mason-Dixon line knows this. Geez, Southerners...

Anyway, I hope to have some beautiful pictures to post after the storm tomorrow - keep your fingers crossed that none of the pipes in my house bursts!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Beauty... in the eye of the beholder, or so the saying goes. Its funny how your idea of what is beautiful changes after you buy a house. Yes, I still love arranging knick-knacks and finding the perfect curtains for a room, but other things have caught my fancy more and more lately. This weekend, my dad and I braved the frigid temperatures in my attic and insulated the WHOLE DARN THING by ourselves - no professional help or anything. It was a long, laborious day, but just look at those photos! Beautiful, snowy-white, fluffy insulation rolled out as far as the eye can see. Gorgeous!

The shot of my dad and I (taken by my mother, who wisely decided not to venture into the attic, and instead finished my living room curtains which also look gorgeous) before we climbed up the rickety little ladder to the attic, however, is not so attractive. I included it because of the funny factor. Apparently, fiber glass insulation is one of the most annoying materials ever created - the little glass fibers stick to you, and your eyes and even your lungs! And if you sweat while using the stuff the fibers get into your pores and you have a horrible itch under your skin until the fibers disintegrate. Needless to say, I was terrified of this happening, so I bought respirator masks, safety goggles, and leather work gloves to keep us safe, and we wore our Gore-Tex raincoats to keep the fibers off our skin. Afterwards, we took ice cold showers to get the fibers off our skin before they could get into our pores. Yes, it was one fun day. But just look at those beautiful photos!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Tree is up!

It took three nights after work to accomplish it, but the 2009 Christmas Tree is up and decorated! Looks pretty good, too, if I do say so myself. I also set up my annual display of caroling dolls (I'm sure Miss Bess is happy to see them again!) and sprinkled some candles and pine around the house. I failed in my grand plan to have a big house-warming/holiday party, but it seemed a shame to have the house all decorated for the holidays and not have anyone see it, so last night I had the girls over for happy hour and tomorrow all of my family members who live in the general area are coming over for a little Christmas cheer. Unfortunately, in getting all of this decorating and entertaining done, I've completely neglected everything else, like, oh I don't know, maybe ALL OF MY XMAS SHOPPING! I now have one week to get all of my presents. The scary thing is I only know what I'm getting for 2 people. I can feel the panic setting in.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


IT'S CHRISTMAS TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yes indeedy, its my favorite time of year, and I've already got a steady stream of holiday tunes flowing through my, ahem, CD player (yes, I am still stuck in the 20th century, despite Phil and Elizabeth's best efforts in donating an iPod to the cause!).

I'm gearing up to go all-out in the new house with the decorating. Well, as all-out as you can go without any money and some residual packing boxes STILL acting as furniture. But, before I start going hog-wild with Christmas deco, I've promised myself that I will finish painting and unpacking my spare room. As you can see above, I've put up my first set of shelves (after which I smacked my head on the corner of one, and gave myself a goose egg the size of a baseball - fun!), painted one wall, and decided to go with the dark teal color on the trim. Unfortunately, as you can see in the second picture, I still have a long way to go to sort through the piles of crap that have been building up in that room. Bailey promises to help.

Stay tuned...