Sunday, December 31, 2017

How Does Your Garden Grow?

The weather for this week was Brrrrr

A couple of inches of snow predicted for Christmas Day turned into a good four to six inches of snow. While shoveling the stairs and walkway I pondered the fact that if Christmas snow is so *#%#%&^# magical, why doesn't it ^&*%^&$^# disappear by magic?

This Jack Frost painting looked better in real life. The condensation on the windows looks like many triangle shaped trees with snow on top. 

So we had Brrrrr followed by more Brrr.

This was one of the warmer morning temps this week.  And the extended forecast. Oh, joy, more snow predicted for Thursday and a daytime heat wave. As of this post, 171 days until the First Day of Summer. Happy New Year to you.

How does your garden grow?

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Bombas Socks

One of my Reggie classmates was extolling the virtues of Bombas socks. She said they were the only sock she would wear. Well, I was in need of some socks (yes, more socks) for cold weather so decided to try the Bombas socks. I liked the idea of the company. For every pair of socks sold, they donate a pair of socks to homeless shelters.

Even better than their philanthropy is Bomba's customer service. I like a company that stands behind its product and does everything to make the customer happy.

I ordered 4 pair of socks before Christmas. The socks are a bit on the expensive side, but the material is substantial and the socks well made. They also seem to run small for my Hobbit sized feet even though I order men's socks in Medium. I wanted socks that wouldn't bind around the ankle.

An email to customer service went out and a reply came back promptly. I wanted to exchange the socks for a larger size and return the socks that were too small. Even though they had been washed and one pair worn. No problem. Bombas wanted to make sure I was happy with their product.

Two of the sock patterns ordered were no longer available and customer service suggested alternate patterns. The service rep patiently answered questions as to did I have to order the suggested patterns and was there a difference between mens and womens Bombas socks. No and No. I could order any pattern I wanted. Even though the website is set up to market socks to men and women, the sizes and patterns are the same.

I asked how I should return the unwanted socks and was told to give them to a family member, someone else, or to donate them. Wow! Since The Young One was in need of socks and has tiny feet, these socks fit her perfectly. Replacement socks were sent and no extra charge for shipping.

So I'm going to recommend this company to you, if you are in need of socks. They have a referral program. If a friend buys socks, they get 25% off their purchase, and I get free socks. Win for you and win for me. You can never have too many pair. So, if you're interested, send me your email, and I'll put the referral in.

Friday, December 29, 2017

The Friday Five Good Things

Five good things that happened this week.

1. Ice storm wasn't too bad. We didn't lose electricity as some areas of town did. As Martha would say, that's a good thing.

2. Because of the ice storm, the annual Clan Gathering was cancelled, but Himself's brother's wife invited us over for Brunch on Christmas Eve.

3. Christmas night, I settled in to watch The Doctor Who Christmas Special to say good-by to the Twelth Doctor.

4. New warm socks arrived just in time for very cold weather.

5. Before running some errands, Himself and I went out to breakfast at Friendly's. Can't beat the 50% off breakfast special.

How was your week?

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Throwback Thursday - The Notebooks

To clear up some confusion, the Notebook passages posted on Throwback Thursday were written by my father and found by me after he passed away. They were his attempt to tell the family history. He was in his late 80s or early 90s when he wrote them. Today's chapter:

My mother's father, Euplio, came to America and he opened up a restaurant. All the paisani went to eat but did not pay for their meals. He closed his shop and went back to Italy to his job as a postmaster.

My mother, your grandmother, was born in Grottaminarda, and I remember when I was still little that she was one happy woman. She sang while she cleaned house and in Summer the neighbors would ask her to sing a song. She had  beautiful voice.

My early impression were that I had a toy two wheel cart and ran up and down over the piazza [ed: back porch/deck on a triple decker house] and banged in on the door. She [ed his mother] would ask me to stop. I never remember her hitting me or my brothers and sisters. No matter what.

At an early age, I had a girl playmate she was the landlord's baby and we played in the yard. She lived on the first floor and we on the third floor. In a four room flat and share the bathroom with the other tenants. Called a cold water flat. I don't remember my brother Mario's, Olga and Emma's birth. They were just there.

I remember playing with my playmate. She had a pink dress her hair was done nicely. She shared her candy with me, while I just stood on the garden side of the of plants and swung myself on the gate.

I also remember when my playmate died. My father told my mother to dress me with the new pair of trousers he made for me. She didn't want me to go down. He said it was alright. Not to worry. She didn't want me to be acquainted with death so soon. Anyway she did dress and I went downstair and walked into the parlor. In those days wakes were held in the homes.

When her mother saw me she said "Joe you lost a friend." I was able to look up and it looked like she was asleep to me. After a while I was sent upstairs.

Many years later at my sister Olga's house. Her brother in law came to visit. He lived around the corner. He married Uncle Tony's [ed Olga's husband] sister, Lillian. I forgot who else was there. The conversation was about the Massimino brothers and sisters. He rattled them off one by one as to what they were up to. The parents had deceased. When he was through, I said you hand another sister who died. He said yes and stopped for a second or two. Then he said you remember that? I said yes and he described the little sister in the casket. He then said you were 3 years old..

[ed: out of curiosity I went to look up the 1920 census to see if I could find this family. Dad was 1 year old. There was a 1 year old daughter listed as Armenia. That must have been Dad's little playmate.]

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

T Stands for Gumby

Earlier this month, I went to visit my friend, Teague.  Since she lives near the town of Bellingham, I thought I'd ask her if she could take me over to Neighborhood Friendly Comics on our way out to lunch. Since she had an errand to run in Bellingham, my request was perfect timing.

Why a comic book store? Well, my friend, Andy Fish and his wife, Veronica, collaborated on an issue of Gumby, published by Papercutz. Andy wrote the script, did the pencils, lettering, and Veronica did the inking and coloring.

I loved Gumby as a kid. Gumby was a claymation  cartoon and got into all sorts of adventures with his pony pal, Pokey. I had a Gumby figure, a green slab of rubber with wires running through it. You could bend and twist Gumby into all sorts of poses. I loved and twisted Gumby so much, the wires poked through. I wanted a Pokey, but never got one.

Now, in my mind, the comic book was released a week or two before I went to visit Teague, But a check on Andy's website showed the comic was released way back in September. Would this issue still be at the store?

The fella on duty in the store must have wondered what the hell an old lady was doing in his store. Seemed even more surprised when I asked if he had Gumby issue #3. He went to a rack saying this is where the Gumbies would be. Let's see. And he had two copies of #3 and he pulled the second one from behind. The fresh copy. The one, no one had thumbed through.  I thought that was excellent customer service.

At the cash register, he asked why I wanted Gumby. Probably expected, oh my grandchild wants this for Christmas. I think he was a little surprise when I said, well, I worked with Andy at the art museum.

I was ridiculously pleased with my purchase. Why? Well, this was the very first comic book I had ever purchased. When I was growing up, comics were verboten. Dad didn't see them as suitable reading material or appreciate the artwork. I did read comics. Himself was a big Marvel comic fan. Had lots of comic books. Super heroes, cartoon characters, classics done in comic form. So when I wanted to read comics, I would go next door and hang out with Himself.  So having my own comic book was a little on the wild side.

It was also pretty cool holding the comic book in my hand and knowing two of the artist that created one of the stories. This particular edition had 3 different stories.

So I was all set to take pictures of me reading my comic book. I'd have a picture of the cover and then pictures of Andy and Veronica's story, The Treasure of the Obellos. But then I caught the copyright warning on the inside front cover. You can see the cover here

You can also go to Andy's blog.  Click on the blog link and scroll to the bottom of the page and on the right hand side you'll see a search box. Search on Gumby and you can read about Andy's project.  Or just read Andy's blog, he's interesting and a pretty savvy guy.

So instead of pictures of the comic book, a picture of me wearing my Gumby and Pokey socks while Erich, the butler, brings me a cup of tea in my favorite mug.

The comic book was so different than the ones I remember as a kid. The price was bigger for one. ๐Ÿ˜‰The pages were nice,heavy-weight, glossy paper, and the colors really popped. I seemed to remember comics with cheap paper and pictures made up of colored dots.

 I enjoyed relaxing with the comic. I could hear the voices of the characters from the claymation television show. Too fun.

All three of the stories were like modern versions of Medieval morality plays. Each story had a lesson or lessons to be learned. Don't try to be someone you're not, apologize and own up to causing a misunderstanding, and you can't always pull the wool over an old person's eyes.

[update: if you want to read Andy and Veronica's story, The Treasure of the Obello's, Andy has provided a link. ]

So, Andy, if you're reading this, enjoy your Andypalooza and  your special day which starts tonight at midnight. (It's Andy's birthday tomorrow).

Drop by hosts, Bleubeard and Elizabeth's blog to find out what the rest of the T Stands For gang is up to. If you want to play, include in your Tuesday post a beverage or container for a beverage. Don't forget to link your blog to Bleubeard and Elizabeth's page.

Monday, December 25, 2017

If Mrs. Claus Needed An Interior Decorator

She would hire my friend, Lambie. Lambie has such a knack for decorating especially at Christmas, so I was thrilled when she invited me to her house for Christmas tea.

I haven't seen Lambie for quite some time as she went to school to become a massage therapist. If you're in the area, book an appointment for a relaxing massage. Maple Edge Massage. 

I also wanted to bring Lambie a little hostess gift. Lambie spins, weaves, knits. Used to raise her own sheep. Hence, my nickname for her. I found a cute, little lamb applique that used a new to me bobble stitch.

 A dry run to see if the lambie could hold a teacup. It works!

Lambie lives in a large, log cabin home in the middle of the woods. This is the Welcome sign that greets guests. Everywhere you look you will see lambs.

In the foyer, a glass case filled with village houses and my feet.

This country Santa was begging for a hug.

One side of the great room.

The other side has the magnificent Christmas tree. This year's tree was on the small side only 13 feet tall instead of 20 feet tall. Trees this size are so heavy, Lambie's husband has a pulley system to raise the tree and to anchor it so it won't fall over. This year's tree though not as tall was extremely wide. Lambie's husband, had to remove  the back French doors from their hinges  so the tree could fit through.

Every where you look there are all sorts of decorations.

And a tree in each room. This tree is  in the breakfast nook which divides the great room from the kitchen and main house. 

The island in the kitchen serves as the buffet for Lambie's neighborhood and family parties. I love how she uses the old sled as a server.

The other side of the nook looking towards the great room.

The fireplace in the great room is beautifully decorated with white lights and poinsettia. I was especially charmed by the little white lamb, sound asleep.

My mug of tea and treats on the coffee table Lambie made from an old door. Lambie is an exceptionally good cook. She even makes her own marshmallows. Heaven in your mouth.

The newest addition to the family is Laila, a dog Lambie rescued. She was well-behaved (for a dog =^,.^=) She has pretty, soulful, dark brown eyes. Lambie describes Laila's eyes as teddy bear button eyes.

A candle in a front window. I really liked the shape of the flame. Very unusual.

A spinning wheel

An antique loom.

The upside down Christmas tree in the dining room. Each Christmas tree has a theme. This one is sheep.

The mantle in the dining room and stockings hung on the railings to upstairs

Santa (I forget which room)

Teddy is the greeter and also bids you good day. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Sunday, December 24, 2017

How Does Your Garden Grow?

The Eldest captured a couple of ravens hanging out in the tree.

A welcome 46 oF (7.78 oC) caused an avalanche.

 The threat of a storm must have had the squirrel in a panic. Too bad he shut himself out.

Snow finally melted off the West array. Too bad the sky was cloudy. No electricity making for you.

I toss seed on the ground for the ground feeders. Looks like they've been busy.

Surprised to find not all the snow has melted from the South array.

The beginning of the ice storm. Luge run, anyone? Oh, and a funny story about the Christmas bells lining the walk. They are on a motion sensor and light up and play a selection of Christmas carols. We had a FedEx delivery  and the driver told me they nearly made him jump out of his skin. ๐Ÿ˜ธ Poor fella.

Not venturing out, that's for sure.

How does your garden grow?

Saturday, December 23, 2017

The Little Christmas Tree

Himself is having issues with his back so going up and down stairs and bringing up boxes of ornaments and the Christmas tree was a bit of a problem. We weren't sure the tree would be any good as we thought it was in its cardboard box under the stairs in the basement. The basement that flooded. The good news was the box was on top of plastic boxes that hold the bajillion lights Himself has amassed over the years. The bad news was it looks like a little critter that had come into the house over the Summer had made himself at home in the branches of the tree and possibly enjoyed snacking on the prelit Christmas tree lights. (Wouldn't have happened if Ink was still here.) We would have to get a new tree.

Now as much as I love the decorations and the Christmas tree, I'm not happy about the cleanup. You can always find an extra hand or two willing to decorate, but when it comes time to take down all the decorations and put them away, extra hands are no where to be found. Like rats leaving a sinking ship. I was all in favor of getting a small tree, maybe 4 to 5 feet tall that could fit on the tea table in front of the window. I wouldn't have to move furniture around to have the big tree in the front window. The tree and ornaments could be stored in a closet upstairs.

Himself was not thrilled with the idea of a small tree, but conceded. Searching online, the big box stores had some small trees, but ordering was not an option as the only time we had to do any decorating began on Monday, 18. December. And you really need to see the trees because lots of times they don't look anything like the picture. Off we went.

The only trees available were 9 feet tall. No small trees. No 7 foot trees like the one we had. A 9 foot tree would never fit in the dollhouse, not without cutting a hole in the ceiling. Not an option. We asked the customer service clerk if any of their other stores had small trees. Maybe at the Milford store.

Since there was a Target store next door, we stopped there. And there was a small tree. A white small tree like the nightmare of a tree from my childhood. No.

Everyone was out and about and rush hour traffic was getting heavy. Where else could we look? To be honest, I didn't really care.

I was perfectly happy with my Advent tree. It lives on a shelf in the living room closet. Easy to take down and put away.  As far as I was concerned, I was done decorating. My over the top Nativity had pride of place.

Himself wasn't buying into it. Even though I tried to pull a Linus by telling him Christmas wasn't all about the tree. Apparently, it is.

We were near The Christmas Tree Shop. Himself thought we would be able to find one there. I wasn't sure. I thought a Christmas tree was just the logo. Inside the store, we did find giant Christmas trees. We walked around and Himself found a white twig thing with lights. What about this? You balked when I suggested my Dr. Seuss tree (a tree made out of armature wire I used when I was selling personalized ornaments at craft fairs). No!

We searched through the boxes again. 9 ft. 9 ft. 7.5 ft 9fft. 9 and then almost hidden, a small box 4 ft. pre-lit porch tree. The tree skirt fit perfectly on the tea table, and I found some small ornaments from the ornament box.  The usual angel tree topper was too big, so I borrowed the star from the small tree in the bathroom. Ta- Da!

Though we be small, we are mighty.
 Santa, Frosty, and the NOEL Santa cocoa mugs are from Himself's childhood decorations. I'm not sure where the Baby Jesus came from. I found him in my parents' attic when I was cleaning out the house when they passed away. It's a life-size Baby Jesus used in the outdoor Nativities. We never had one of those.

A year or two before Dad went into the nursing home, I remember he told me something about hearing a baby crying. Baby was cold. Dad didn't know what to do. I thought it was just one of the memories Dad had. Maybe remembering when one of his siblings was born or of himself as a young father. He sometimes slipped through a wormhole going back in time. Never thought anything about it until I found Baby Jesus in the attic. A sinking feeling! Did Dad take home the baby after a wander around town? I never heard a news report that someone vandalized a church Nativity, and stole the Baby Jesus. So, if you're reading this, and your Nativity is missing its Baby Jesus, let me know. I have him. He's safe and warm. You can even have the gift crate, used as a manger, the undertaker sent for Christmas after my parents passed away. Sorry. Got carried away.

So, we are officially decorated for Christmas. 

The reindeer couple, Mary and Joe, named after my parents are sitting in the chair. Readers that follow The Throwback Thursday Notebook posts may be interested to know, Charlie's wife, Doris, gave my mother the dolls. My mother admired them when she visited Doris and Doris gifted her with them. I don't know whether Doris made them or where she had found them.

The elf legs I made last year to stick out of the tree, found their way into the Chinese vase. The large package is a gift for The Brother.

There's also a surprise addition to the decorations. I won this cute, Winter wreath in a raffle from Lady Caer Morganna from The Wiccan Life. I was feeling a little blue on the day the winner was announced so a wonderful pick me up. She also timed the mailing to arrive on the Winter Solstice. Perfect! I'm not a fan of Winter but this wreath makes me smile. Thank you, so much, my Lady, and thank Lady Tabitha, too. ๐Ÿ˜บ

Friday, December 22, 2017

The Friday Five Good Things

ATC, April 2007, Shades of Grey.
Five good things that happened this week.

1. After running errands, we went to lunch at Uno's and then to see Thor:Ragnarok

2. After looking for two weeks, I found my sunglasses under a pile on the flat file.

3. I bought a pizzelle (pits-say-lah) iron to make Italian waffle cookies.

4. Had a delightful tea with my friend, Lambie

5.The Young One's procedure went well , and we were out of the hospital to avoid the holiday traffic rush from Boston.

How was your week

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Throwback Thursday - The Night Visitor

 If you read Sunday's How Does Your Garden Grow?, you may remember a mystery of pawprints at the front door. Himself thought they might be from a cat. I thought they were from a racoon. Himself saw an article about a possum, and the picture of the possum's feet looked like they could have left the prints found on the front steps.  So today, a reprint from 24. December 2013

Christmas Eve, ten years ago. The Eldest was 16 and The Young One 12.

 A week or so  before Christmas I was downstairs playing on the computer. I don't remember where Himself was, perhaps he was teaching his night class. Suddenly, from the garage, there was a loud bang like one of the storage boxes falling to the floor. I was shaken, but did not stir. I do not venture into the garage where the spiders live.

When Himself came home I told him about the loud noise. Himself poked his nose in the garage as it is his domain. Nothing looked odd to him so he decided I must have heard a mouse. From time to time, I have heard mice scrabbling in a wall. It was not the same sound unless this was a giant mouse.

The next night, I'm sitting at the computer and Himself is watching television. Whump!

"That is not a mouse, unless, it's a giant mouse." I felt like Sylvester the cat trying to convince others about the giant mouse.

Himself agreed. The next morning he went to the hardware store and bought a trap. A humane trap like a cage. One way in, but no way out.  He baited the trap with some leftovers. When he checked the trap in the morning, the bait was gone, but no critter in the trap. This went on for a few more days until Christmas Eve late in the afternoon. A loud bang signaled the trap had been sprung.

Himself opened the door leading from the playroom to the garage.He called us all downstairs to see.

"Aw, he's cute," cooed the girlies.

Inside the trap, worse than a mouse was a giant, rat of a possum.

"Let's name him Chris!"

"We are not naming a rat, and we most certainly aren't going to keep it."

I called the town animal control only to be told they only take care of dogs or cats. I was told I would have to call the Department of Fish and Game. Fish and Game told me it was Christmas Eve, and they wouldn't be able to do anything until a day or two after Christmas.

"Listen. I have kids. The last thing I want for them to do is to come downstairs on Christmas morning to take a peek at the critter to find he chewed his paw off trying to get out." I might have sounded slightly hysterical.

"Okay. I'm not supposed to tell you this, but you can take it out and let it go.  You can't drive it out of the area, because it might have a disease, but you could let it go on your property."

And so began the big expedition. I got the flash light. Himself got a golf club to tap on the back of the trap in case Chris was too scared to budge. We got dressed in winter jackets, mittens, gloves, boots. In the dark of night with much muffled laughter, shushing, and stumbling knee deep in snow, Himself carried the cage to the corner of the woods at the back of our property where The Leaf Lady's property adjoined ours.

I was hoping we would be inconspicuous, but there was a lot of laughter, and flash light beams bouncing all over the woods. No back door lights from The Leaf Lady's house illuminated the darkness. No one screaming, "What the hell is going on?!"  A good sign. Himself opened the trap, and Chris, petrified with fright, wouldn't budge. A gentle rap on the back of the trap and Chris bounded out of the trap, across The Leaf Lady's back yard to the woods on the opposite side.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

T Stands for Reunion

A few weeks ago, I mentioned I had reconnected with a high school friend through Facebook. We met for lunch at an Olive Garden that was located about half way from where we live. We had decided to meet for an early lunch and arrived at the same time. So fun to meet up with each other.

We started talking non-stop. After all, we had 45 years to catch up on. We started with drinks, an unsweetened ice tea for me and water for J. The poor waitress kept coming over to take our order, and we hadn't even looked at the menu.

We apologized to her and told her we were having an impromptu high school reunion before the official reunion in April. The waitress was cute told us she was having a high school reunion, too. I think she graduated last week. =^,.^=

We finally placed our order. We both had the eggplant Parmigiana which came with a side of spaghetti, a family style salad and breadsticks.

We ate and talked and talked. I first met J. in Girl Scouts in a Cadet troop, Grades 7-9. Then we went on to Senior Scouts, 10-12 grade. I think we rode the same bus to junior high school and ran into each other in high school though I don't remember J being in any of my classes.

We were fortunate to be in active scout troops. We went on trips to Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket. As Cadets on the Nantucket trip, we were working toward a challenge pin, the Challenge of Emergency Preparedness. Biking back from the beach, in the middle of the town square, the leaders decided we would do the challenge. Older scouts had been taken aside and told they would be victims in some sort of accident. We had to do first aid on the victims. I remember we used towels to tie some girl's leg to the handlebars of her bike as she had a "broken leg". She certainly would have had a broken leg after that maneuver. ๐Ÿ˜น

Most girls dropped out of scouting in junior high and very few kept up with it in high school so our Senior troop was very small. There were 7 of us in the troop. The leader had a huge Suburban station wagon so she would pile all of us plus our camping gear and off we would go. We spent a Winter camping trip at the leader's vacation home in Rindge, New Hampshire. I remember we went sledding I went down the mountain on a saucer. Everything was fine until I shifted my weight and the saucer spun around so I was going down the mountain backwards. All my friends were at the top waving and shouting so I waved and shouted back. Then the saucer turned again and I crashed into some evergreen trees. We also took a trip to Acadia National Park in Acadia, Maine. One evening as the sun was setting, we climbed down some rocks, watched the ocean and sang songs. Very magical.

I loved scouting. It was the only way I could get out of the house. I had a very old-world upbringing. So wasn't allowed to go out and do things unless it was with a well-chaperoned group. Ma would let me do anything with the Girl Scouts. I could have told her I needed a permission slip to go with the Girl Scouts to the Combat Zone (red light district) in Boston. She would not only have signed the permission slip, but would have given me some extra spending money. Hand to Gawd!

We were at the restaurant for 4 hours talking, eating, and having coffee for J. and tea for me. Yeah, four hours. J. can really talk. =^,.^= And because of all the reminiscing and talking, I forgot to take pictures of the menu, restaurant, and food. I did remember as we were packing up. So there's the remains of my lunch.

Meeting up with J brought back a lot of memories of good times and scouting, and songs sung around a campfire. Here's  a song to friendship.

Make new friends,
But keep the old.
One is silver,
And the other gold.

A circle is round,
And has no end.
That's how long
I want to be your friend.

Drop by hosts, Bleubeard and Elizabeth's blog to find out what the rest of the T Stands For gang is up to. If you want to play, include in your Tuesday post a beverage or container for a beverage. Don't forget to link your blog to Bleubeard and Elizabeth's page.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Happy Dancers

I was bored with the images on the Christmas projector. Tired of watching the cardinals, the (creepy) gingerbread family in their gingerbread house, Santa waving, a herd of puppies piling out of a gift box under a Christmas tree, and Santa filling stockings. I switched over to

I thought the happy dancers with the red and green laser lights were particularly festive. It took Himself a good fifteen minutes before he noticed.

"Really? Dancing skeletons?"

I had to change back to the Christmas films. What a Grinch! =^,.^=

Sunday, December 17, 2017

How Does Your Garden Grow?

 The 6 or so inches of snow from last weekend are slowly melting off of the solar panels.


 The squirrel running from the tree

Rush hour
 Something big this way comes

A little visitor comes to the front door.

 A little birdie stopped by, too

 Himself said a cat. I think it's a racoon.

Half of the strand of solar lights decided to sparkle one evening. The lights are haunted.

 Waiting for the avalanche to fall and if the weight load gets any heaving, the gutters will come down, too.

Looks like Jack Frost had a rousing game of Tic-Tac-To going. I think Jack had a little too much mead.

How does your garden grow?