Sunday, December 30, 2007

The Thief of Hearts...

It is really unfair you know, that a heart can be stolen so easily by a child. I couldn't stop looking at her, being charmed by her smiles, her looks, and her huge saucer eyes.
She is Lily. And she is a precious child like a flower.
She just turned three years old before Christmas. She is my youngest son's daughter. A joy to behold in so many ways.

She and her dad visited for 4 days.
I so hope that it will not be another whole year before I see Lily again.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Back in Time

I'm taking a moment to take a leap back in time. These photos were sent to me by my brother after he read about Uncle Freddie and Santa. He said these would have gone well with that blog post and I have to agree. I am the one in the glasses.
Always wanted to be a cowboy, yes I did!
I noticed the stick horse in my cousin's baby carriage. I have to grin. My sister and I were dressed as cow-girls and my cousins are well, little girls.
Guess I was just meant to be a 'tom' boy.
And wow check out those great cowboy boots I am wearing!

Um...I still have a stick horse, but not the kind that grandma used to make. That particular horse had to have it's stick replaced by midsummer.

Great memories. Thanks Brother!!!

Monday, December 24, 2007

The Incredible Journey

I awoke from to the noise of gale force winds Sunday morning. I looked as I let Morris outside as quietly as possible-- so as not to awaken my son and his wife.
Poor Morris went flat on his back when he hit the concrete driveway. Overnight it had rained leaving ice in spots. I listened to the winds howl overhead and the branches creak and clatter. The sounds were ominous.

By 1:30, I'd decided that I'd go ahead and drive to my Stepdaughter's house -- generally it is only a two hour drive. The DOT site had said the roads were in good driving condition.
Gee, little did I know.

I'd told Steph my route I planned on taking and stated *If I'm not there by dark come looking for me*.

What I didn't know is that it had begun to snow and the 50mph+ wind gusts were creating whiteouts and blizzard conditions on the route I'd chosen.
I was in the Gallant Cavalier, as I now have dubbed it. [I'm sure this will amuse my son who was the previous owner of the Cavalier]

I had planned on driving with music playing, but with the roar of the wind and the rattle of the GC, I was terrified of something being blown off the car. Bits and pieces of trees were pelleting the vehicle along with occasional periods of pure white blindness. At one point I wished I could find a spot to turn around and head back to my son's house. But the section of road I'd just gone over was so bad, I was too frightened to face driving it again.

Morris curled up quietly on my heavy winter coat on the passenger seat next to me. He'd lift his head when I cursed or nearly came to creeping crawl. He was a comfort, although I'm not exactly sure why, it wasn't like he could save me!

The roads in fact didn't get better, they got worse. I didn't think I could drive in worse. But thank goodness the other people on the road were not in a hurry or foolish. Perhaps they were afraid as I was.

When I finally pulled into my 'daughters' house I was exhausted with relief. I was pleased though, that I'd just made their place--before darkness.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Uncle Freddy & Santa

This is a true story as best as I can remember since I was a 4th grader.
It was getting to be that age where Santa was questionable.
My schoolmates of course had told me there was NO such thing as Santa.
I was one of those modest, quiet types in school ... but this generated a call to arms and resulted in some punches being tossed and a trip to the Principle's Office.

That Christmas Break we traveled North to where Grandma and Grandpa lived. A long trek in the 60's.

That Christmas Eve we went to Aunt Marian's house to stay. I can remember groaning a bit at first, then getting excited for the opportunity to spend time with my two girl cousins! The only drawback to the whole scenerio is that my aunt and uncle had not yet put in 'indoor' plumbing. The outhouse was a long walk through deep snow.

The tree was magnificent of course, it must have been 100 feet tall. [kid memories are distorted, you know].
Our mom's could barely get us to bed, we were so excited! But finally under some sort of threat, we ended up in the bedrooms, each of us bunking with a cousin. Of course we couldn't go to sleep right away, we were too excited.

We listened to the adults talk downstairs through the heating vents.
Then IT happened.
We heard sleigh bells. We looked at each other wide eyed! Jingle Jingle Jingle.
Then the tell tale: *HO HO HO, Merry Christmas!*

We leaped out of our beds and ran downstairs. There he was as big as life itself. Santa! He had a sack of toys that we ripped into all the while watching him grin through his beard. [If memory serves me correctly, I think my Dad was somewhere with his camera.]

Too quickly Santa told us that he had other children to visit and needed to go. His reindeer were pretty fired up and wanted to get going.
We heard more sleigh bells and hollers of *HO HO HO!*

While we sat on the floor and played with our toys, Uncle Freddie came in from the barn, his face flushed from the cold. We excitedly told him WHO he had missed! He seemed amazed by it all, why Santa must have come while he was working in the barn!
In fact, that would probably explain all the reindeer tracks around the house.

We of course had to go see. And in fact, yes there were reindeer tracks in the yard!

I went back to school 'all knowing'. I'd seen Santa for real, heard his sleigh bells, and seen the tracks. My belief in Santa had been renewed.
And I made more trips to the Principle's Office for fighting about it.

What I didn't know at the time:
Uncle Freddy had dressed up ... he was not working in the barn. He led two of his tame heifers around the house to make 'reindeer' tracks. He was the Santa. How could we have not known?
All it took was a little magic and we believed.
The kid in me says--it wasn't Uncle Freddy, it really was Santa.

And I'll fight anyone that says different.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Whether or Weather

If one were to believe the people that call themselves 'weathermen'...or is it 'weatherpersons' now [one needs to be politically correct right]? ...We are in for dire weather these next few days!

In that case I will have to dig out the Tonka Truck from the garage from the last storm when I played with it...[helping hubby clean up snow...he was amused].

One weather forecasts FzgDzl for tomorrow morning and for Friday too! My question is this, what is FzgDzl? The picture looks like ice.
Ah hah.
Freezing Drizzle. We also have the following choices, Wintry Mix, and Patchy Fog.
Put those together.
FzgDzl, PtchyFg, WtryMx, and it sounds like something gone very very bad. But!
Hold on there is more! There is also Rain/Snow Likely.

The forecast has changed three times in the past 8 hours to include all of the above choices in the next 48 hours. But being from Wisconsin, we shrug and look up. If there are snow flakes, it is snowing.
If the sun is shining we simply smile and admire the blue sky.

I'm thinking the weather forecasters ought to just simplify things by saying:

We don't know, but there is going to be weather!

I'm banking on the fact that by the time I am ready to travel across the state, it will have changed again.
Just in case though, I'll take the Tonka Truck with me.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


Today I discovered a wickedly wild and funny blog, I'd read some of her stuff before and was incredibly amused and entertained. Her style of writing is witty. I wish many days I could find that kind of crazy wit.

All I have is a JRT named Morris The Cat, who isn't sure if he is a dog, a cat, or a person. He is rather sure though that things should NOT be moved in the yard without his perimission or he will have to growl and bark at it...[a pile of snow...or a vehicle parked in the wrong spot].

Then there is the issue of the dog that keeps appearing in the mirror unannounced at the bottom of the stairs. Morris will see this mirror image of a JRT who looks exactly like him, but surely must be an impostor in his house. More growling of course.

Last night he was quite perturbed that I had not re-made the bed by the time he felt I should be going to sleep. He kept pacing back and forth until I tossed the last blanket on. With a leap and a very audible sigh, he settled in for his evening rest.

Well back to my discovery...if you get a chance to stop by and visit All 23 Bunnies, do so, you might just make it a favorite like I have.
I just love the explanation about Rudolph, it makes so much more sense now!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Winter Sunsets...

I don't really know why, but as soon as I got home, I grabbed Morris and we took a walk 'to watch the sunset on the ridge'. The sunset was really beautiful ... not in the spectacular bright color beautiful, but in the subdued pastel beauty that can come with a cold winter's eve.

I wanted to see where the sun was setting so I could go up Thursday night and mark the approximate spot of the winter solstice [Friday night should find me in Kenosha].

I like to watch the sun crawl across its axis [is that the right word?]. I like to keep track of the movement in order to 'shoot' the best sunsets I can. Years of watching have been paying off. I can nearly mentally know where the sun is going to set on my landscape at any time of the year.

I think it is the job of a good photographer to learn these things. That and patience! I've been by this particular spot many times on walks, rides, and driving to work. Yet I have never stopped to look at a sunset from behind the beat up mailbox.

Frankly I was surprised at the image I got. It caused emotion. When it causes emotion to me, then I have got 'it'.

Getting 'it' is what photography is all about to me. Someone else may see the same photo and not get the excitement I did, but that fleeting moment will come back every time I view this particular shot.

Wow, I felt good tonight.

Sunday, December 16, 2007


To celebrate finishing my final exams, I took Morris and my snow shoes and went on an 'adventure'. The photo of me was taken with a remote and a tripod. I thought it would be fun to take a shot of me with my glamour outfit on.

When I took the little camera off the tripod and went to put the Olympus back in my holder, I saw that the battery door had opened! This has never happened in the four yrs I've owned it.

It couldn't have happened at a worse time!
Morris froze his little butt of while I frantically dug and sifted snow looking for an itty bitty black battery. It isn't one of those ones you can replace with AA's. It is one that would have to be ordered if they still made that kind!

I dug with my bare hands and grew more frustrated each moment. This was looking like a total loss...and all for just a picture of me in my stupid winter outing clothes.
When my numb fingers grasped something hard and square I was so happy I could have shouted.
I didn't.
Just sighed and dried it off. I secured the battery and the camera and began heading towards home.

I still had a great time and came away with some fantastic shots.
And best yet....
School is out!!!!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Last Blog til Finals are done

I have to concentrate on getting my finals finished. My coding final encompasses 450 points. Yikes.
So until the coding final AND the Critical Thinking Final are taken and turned in, I will not be doing anything else...[sad face] least not on my blog.
I plan on taking a small hike tomorrow to try and get some good cold air into my body so I can refresh myself and dig into the last tasks of this semester with a clear mind.

Yes I am still very very tired. But I have 5 days to do the finals!!! Yikes.

Thursday, December 13, 2007


I think tonight is another one of those...just get under the blankets and snuggle in deep.
The drive home this afternoon was 'interesting'.
The high winds were blowing piles of snow across the road. In one place I came on a rather sizeable drift of snow. I could see clearly on this stretch of flat open I held on tight and drove down t
he middle of the road through the drift.

Pow! The Cav hit it sending explosions of white snow blasting everywhere. To my surprise, we came through it nice and straight and stayed on the road. I patted the dashboard and thanked the powers that be. Our gravel road was a bit worse as it is not traveled much.

I hope the town plow comes through before I have to go to work tomorrow.

I'm still not over my 'crud' me-thinks. I came home last night and after supper went upstairs at 6:30 PM to take a short rest.
I woke up at 6AM.

Today I left work early as I felt so exhausted and wiped out.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Storms & Snow

Well there is no let up today. We are either going to get 1-2 inches or 4-7 inches combined with ice? It all depends on how the front drifts.
So I elected to stay home and work on school.
Besides, my voice has not come back yet.

Well the snow kind of petered out but from wh
at I understand, those south of us were not so lucky. Ice.
Lots of it.

So I spent the day working on essays...finished all of them for this week! Coded half of my week's assignment...and only have two quizzes and two finals to take.

But then I can have OFF until January 8th I think!
Doing the happy dance....cough sputter...
But I am doing better tonight, I think all that sleep cured me...mostly.

I leave you with a piece I created tonight:

Monday, December 10, 2007

Sleepy Monday

Today was just one of those days.

Last night I had turned in my Quizzes, assignments, and was looking forward to finals week. It is a heavy load yet to do this week.
Hubby looked at me this morning and said--You are confined to bed. [I hadn't slept well, only two hours at a time before the sore throat forced me into getting up to have hot tea].

So I called my boss and he made mention that he was worried about the billings. I croaked out to him that everything was up to date on Wednesday of last week. But I'd be happy to come in and share Strep with him. He said--no, no ...just get better.
I let it irritate me for no good reason. Here is the fella who is a slacker in the worst way and then has the nerve to make an issue of it. [It could have been my clogged thinking that made me take it that way]

Hubby left to take mom to her doctor's appointment -- I took a big old heavy towel and covered the window. I fired up the vaporizer, got a hot pack, and shut the world out.
I woke up at 4PM. I'd laid down at 9AM.

Rest. What a wonderful healer. I feel better this evening, good enough to even read my textbooks and look at my assignments for this coming week.
And finals!
I also got some throat spray to ease the pain and it is working wonders. Against my better judgement, I am going back to work tomorrow. I need the $, and it will only take me about 30 minutes to get caught up!

Sunday, December 09, 2007


Red and Green
Originally uploaded by Xena~
Wow today was tiring! I did get outside to assist in opening gates for hubby while he put out round bales to the critters.

They were very happy to see him. I sat down and made this 'mandala' the old fashioned way. I took a so-so photo and used a protractor to get the measurements I wanted ... okay it was a protractor from this site:

I copied, flipped and edited until I came up with this!
So I used my brain some today...even if it still seems to be in a super fog.
I hope this sore throat thing really takes a hike soon.

Morris has been taking very good care of things around here. He makes sure I don't oversleep and that I get up at 6AM whether I need to or not.
When I get up and come downstairs, he sits and looks at me quizzically while he sits at the heater.

I think he did feel sorry for me and knew I didn't feel well, because he snuggled right up close last night...and snored.

I did make another design today that was kind of it is----

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Strep sucks

Horse Ornament
Originally uploaded by Xena~
Well the low down is this, short and sweet. Step Throat & an Ear Infection which is a complication of Strep. How do I feel? Well not sociable at all.

Tea, water, and foods that don't hurt when I swallow. My head is in a fog and I have two school tests to take yet. I've been messing in Adobe Elements 5 to sort of take my mind off things.

Elements is no way anything in comparison to the commercial version of Photoshop CS? I've worked with. But with a little patience I can do everything I want with it.
Off to rest now....
Now I know why kids cry with an Ear infection. Dang, it does hurt!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Grrr. Got the Crud

Well it looks like I'll be staying home today with the 'creeping crud'. It isn't fair to go to a doctor's office and see people while suffering from a severe sore throat.

It hurts just to swallow. Yes my friend Niki, lots of juice but no elderbery...not in our neck of the woods!

So the transformation of hair will be put off and I'll stay home and make soup and drink tea...and do homework.

Oh what the heck -- we are supposed to get around 2-4 or 3-6" of new snow between this afternoon and tomorrow morning. Might as well enjoy the weather from here.
Currently we are at -10. At 3AM it was -13, so it looks like we are hitting a warm spot!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007


As a typical woman, I never seem satisfied with how my hair looks. Each season, it seems I do something different with it. For two years I let it grow out past that ugly stage to shoulder length.

Now I'm tired of the same old thing every day and am looking to 'put' something on that looks tidy and professional--gosh knows I can't make that limp winter hair look exciting.

So tomorrow, I see the scissors mistress, who has taken me from long to short...short to long. She has tinted, dyed, and permed [oh the perm was a dreadful mistake!] And onto yet another style.
I've hooked up our wireless and now can work at the long table with my school books open! This is great!

I feel a scratchiness in my throat, best not be getting the creeping crud!

Monday, December 03, 2007

The Making of my Christmas Tree

Everyone has their own specific way of doing their Christmas trees. Me? I used to let the kids toss on all sorts of things, homemade stuff that they did in school, tinsle, garlands, anything that could hang on one ... went.
Now I don't have kids at home anymore. No one really spends Christmas here, but that doesn't lessen my joy of putting up the tree.
Only I get to do it exactly as I wish. I don't always do it the same. One year I didn't bother with lights, I just decorated my 'fake' ugly tree with Christmas floral arrangements. It was pretty. The next time I experimented with just lights and glass ornaments of certain and purple. That was nice too.

This year, I went different yet again. I took the red and the purple glass ornaments and put them on with white lights [always white lights--don't know why]. Then came all the hand made ornaments that were given to me over the years, this being my absolute favorite:

It was made for me by my Daughter in Law. ;-)
Then came the horses. A Carousel horse, a rocking horse, a glass blown horse, --get the drift? Horses. All kinds. I even kept some of the ribbons and tags from last year.
I don't have a photo of it..but will soon. Since there are no donkey or mule ornaments...I took a brass colored mule off the top of an old trophy and made it my tree topper.
There you go, how I do my Christmas tree...

Sunday, December 02, 2007

December 1st comes in

December 1st came in like a monster, raging across the state with a winter storm warning. Snow pounded us Saturday morning and later changed to sleet...or should I say ice particles. It came down driven by a vengeance that only Mom Nature can have.
Our little house is located below the ridge where normally winds don't bother us much...but we were rattled by the winds and we could hear the ice hitting the house...rapid taps.
The sheriff's department asked people to stay at home and not travel. Our Emergency Management Team was called out [they did an excellent job in August!], so we hunkered down for 'a long winter's nap'.
It was even ugly enough that Morris who asked to go outside...once I opened the door...he looked at me and backed up! Bad when the dog thinks it is too awful to go out!

I did however get the Christmas tree put up. It is something I like to do...more about that in another post...

This morning found us with warmer weather. So Rich went out to do chores and begin to dig us out...when it started to rain! Immediately after that the temps dropped quickly. However, we endure the joys of bad weather after all we choose to live here!
I put on snow shoes and went up to the ridge top to check the mail. It was a nice walk and Morris went along to supervise.
When I got back we found that one of our hoses had frozen solid. We've learned to deal with this dilemma each year too. Drop the frozen hose into the shower and give it a hot bath. Then drain it and you are ready to water the big tanks for the equine [we added water heaters to them today also].
Just make sure it is drained properly afterwards.
The Joys of Wisconsin weather.

The temps have dropped drastically, the winds have picked up and we are toasty warm in the house after a long day outside cleaning up.
Yum, I smell the pot roast cooking...
shhhh...don't tell anyone that I can actually would ruin my reputation!