Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Day After

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas!  We had a really great day.  It started'd think an almost 18 year-old and a 14 year-old wouldn't be up at the crack of dawn, anxious to see what Santa brought, but they were.  I'm actually grateful for that...I know eventually we'll have many, many Christmases without kids asking, "How early can we get up?" or cracking open the bedroom door with a "Wake up, it's CHRISTMAS!"  I'm gonna enjoy it while I can! The day ended with the Doctor Who Christmas Special...and a new Doctor!

We ventured into Historic Annapolis on Christmas Eve for a walk around, a warm beverage and some fun.  It was cold!  Well, the temps weren't that bad but the wind was burrrrr!!

The Pirie Five.

When we got home from Annapolis we got out some snacks and Clue and had some fun indoors!  While we were playing, it started to SNOW!!  We're always hoping for snow and when the flurries started, we got so excited.  Out on the deck...catching flakes and taking pictures.  The neighbors must think we're nuts.

The snow didn't last long and there was no white Christmas this year.  Maybe next year...hope springs eternal.

Mike and the kids got me the COOLEST's a print of a drawing of the City Dock in Annapolis.  And it's signed ("To Brenda") but the artist!  I can't wait to get this framed and hung in the house.  

Day after Christmas today.  Not much going on...
We'll probably watch a movie or two.  I'll knit (duh). I finished Veronica's sweater last night so photos of that will be forthcoming. I'm starting a new sweater with yarn Mike gave me for Christmas.  We have some returns to take care of but no way am I going anywhere near a mall today. I need to bake a cake for our knitting get together tomorrow at Dolly's house.  I'm really looking forward to seeing the gals and hearing about their Christmases.  

A new year is around the corner and I'm throwing around ideas for what needs to be considered a priority in my life in the New Year (can you tell I'm trying NOT to say resolutions).  haha
Plenty of time to think about that...for now.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Five for Friday: Didn't Do

This Five for Friday list is 5 things that I didn't do this year for Christmas.  In an effort to put less stress on myself (and my family), capture that elusive Christmas Spirit, hang on to it with all my might...and smile more this season.

1.  I'm not sending Christmas cards. Sorry if you're disappointed.  I'm considering sending a Happy New Year's card with a photo of the whole family sometime in January.  I know many of our friends and relatives like to see how the kids have grown so I'd like to send something. Being so far away from a bunch of people we love, I really need to send something.  It can wait.

2.  I did A LOT of shopping online this year.  In fact, most of my shopping I did online.  It's wonderful when you can shop in your comfy-cozies; no crowds, rude people, nasty sales people and weather to contend with.

3.  We FINALLY bought a new fake Christmas tree.  The last one we bought while we were living in the house on Stanford Avenue in La Mesa...let's least 12 years we had that tree! We bought a pre-lit tree.  I was poo-pooing it because I was concerned about the lights not working when we unpack it next year.  Who cares! It was so easy to get the tree unwrapping the lights, laying them out to see if they still worked, running to Target to get more lights, stringing them on the's all done for you! I highly recommend a pre-lit tree, you will whine less and smile more.
4.  To say that I have a lot of Christmas ornaments is a gross understatement.  I have hundreds!! I have enough to decorate two 6' trees, easy. They're all cute...very few actual Christmas "balls" and traditional stuff like that...they're stuff you'd buy at craft fairs or hand make.  Really beautiful to look at...I love them all and each holds a wonderful memory or story.  BUT put all these ornaments on the tree and you can't even see the TREE!!  In fact, it's so many, you can't even see the ornaments when looking at the tree...just looks like a sea of stuff. Ok, so this year, we only put up about half of them.  Now you can see each ornament and the tree as well. I store them in two large one box was unpacked and each one lovingly placed on the tree.  In the other box I placed a piece of typing paper (yes, I call it typing paper not computer or printer paper, so there) and wrote "2014" so I'd know which one to use next year.  Nice, huh?  I have to admit, I was a little sad about this but I decided it was more fun (less grumbling about too many ornaments and not enough room on the tree) and I'd probably appreciate seeing the ornaments in the 2014 box even more.

5.  And lastly, I didn't make myself crazy this year trying to knit a bunch of stuff for Christmas presents.  It's very stressful to knit with a deadline, which is closer than you think if you have to mail something across the country. Oh, people will be getting hand knit stuff because I knit up and set aside certain projects throughout the year.  It's called planning ahead and every once in a while I actually do just that.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Five for Friday

I love to watch Christmas movies.  I love them so much that I watch them all year round.  I usually stop in late summer so that when Christmastime comes around they're a bit fresher and I won't be able to say, "Oh, I just watched that."  Here are my top five favorites.

1.  The Santa Clause
     "Just because you can't see something, doesn't mean it doesn't exist."
     "Can we take a direct flight back to reality, or do we have to change planes in          Denver?"

2.  Elf
     "The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear."
     "Um, your father...he's on the naughty list."   NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

3.  A Christmas Story
     "I TRIPLE-dog-dare ya!"
     "Only I didn't say "Fudge."  I said THE word, the big one, the queen-mother            of dirty words, the "F-dash-dash-dash" word!

4.  Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
     "No doe of mine is gonna be seen with a Rrrrred-Nosed Rrrrrreindeer!"

5.  Love Actually
     "Let's go get the shit kicked out of us by love!"
     "Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals         gate at Heathrow Airport.  General opinion's starting to make our that we live         in a world of hatred and greed, but I don't see that.  It seems to me that love is       everywhere.  Often, it's not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it's                 always there - fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husband and wives,         boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends.  When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as         far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people on board were                     messages of hate or revenge - they were all messages of love. If you look for         it, I've got a sneaky feeling you'll find that love actually is all around."

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Boogie your blues away with Mr. Santa

It's hard sometimes to get into the Christmas Spirit. This year, I think, is very hard because it's such a short season. Only 20 days till Christmas Eve.  Sorry I said that now. 

Here's video to help put you in the mood.  Bob your head or shake your tail feather...but put a smile on your face and embrace your inner Santa!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Five for Friday

Five reasons I love having Veronica home from college:

1.  I have a friend to hang out with all day.

2.  She'd rather have a home cooked mean then go out and eat.  That's me too.

3.  This time she asked if I had any leftover yarn from the school-colored stuff I knit her and Alan last year.  I did (plenty, as I'm a yarn snob and will only knit with acrylic as a last resort). She said she wanted to knit a UF color hat for her friend.  I gave her the yarn and a needle and she's knitting away! She remembered how to cast on and everything!  In fact...she's almost done. Awesome.

4.  I love having her under my roof and not far away.  There's a calming feeling I have when all my kids are together under my roof.

5.  When she's home Gracie is so happy.  The best is when V's holding her and Gracie is sound asleep in her arms.  The both look pretty happy, in fact.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Chance of Showers

So when mom was visiting, she treated me to this beautiful yarn! We picked out a pattern called Chance of Showers and both decided to knit it up. I finished mine last week! Mom is starting her after her current vacation.  Great pattern, well written, full of short row shaping and easy construction (Not totally seamless, but short seam under the arms.).  Here's my project page on Ravelry if you want to add it to your queue.  
(Non-ravellers just ignore. My heart weeps for you, but ignore all the same.)

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Colorful Neighborhood

 The neighborhood is filling up with leaves.  
And some of the trees look like they're on fire.
 Random leaves on the ground.  I'm particularly fond of the brilliant red sprinkled among his dry friends.
 And orange, too.

 Sometimes the "oops" photo turns out to be interesting too.
 My favorite tree in the neighborhood.

 Watercolor maple leaves.

 The wooded trail back home has stretches of bridges and raised walkways...all covered with oak leaves in every shade of brown imaginable.

 Many leaves still to fall and soon this water will crack with ice. And ducks will put on a funny show, slipping on the ice.

 Weird, huh?
 Beautiful view from our dock.  Enjoying every minute before I turn around twice and the trees are gray with bare branches.  

Friday, November 8, 2013

Andy on women over 40

This was posted on Facebook but I know a lot of people don't do FB, so I'm posting it here so you won't miss it. It made me laugh out loud. I think you will too.

CBS commentator, Andy Rooney on women over 40: "As I grow in age, I value women over 40 most of all. Here are just a few reasons why: A woman over 40 will never wake you in the middle of the night and ask, 'What are you thinking?' She doesn't care what you think. If a woman over 40 doesn't want to watch the game, she doesn't sit around whining about it. She does something she wants to do, and it's usually more interesting. Women over 40 are dignified. They seldom have a screaming match with you at the opera or in the middle of an expensive restaurant. Of course, if you deserve it, they won't hesitate to shoot you if they think they can get away with it. Older women are generous with praise, often undeserved. They know what it's like to be unappreciated. Women get psychic as they age. You never have to confess your sins to a woman over 40. Once you get past a wrinkle or two, a woman over 40 is far sexier than her younger counterpart. Older women are forthright and honest. They'll tell you right off if you are a jerk if you are acting like one. You don't ever have to wonder where you stand with her. Yes, we praise women over 40 for a multitude of reasons. Unfortunately, it's not reciprocal. For every stunning, smart, well-coiffed, hot woman over 40, there is a bald, paunchy relic in yellow pants making a fool of himself with some 22-year old waitress. Ladies, I apologize. For all those men who say, 'Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?', here's an update for you. Nowadays 80% of women are against marriage. Why? Because women realize it's not worth buying an entire pig just to get a little sausage!

Monday, October 28, 2013

History Revisited...and the Band, of course!

Our visit to Fort McHenry was one of the most interesting things we did during her trip. I'd been there before, once when Veronica was here visiting, in December I think...because it was super cold and windy and we pretty much ran from building to building freezing our butts off.  This time we took our time, weather was lovely, and really got a good look.  

Do you know the significance of the place? It's where Francis Scott Key saw the Flag and was inspired to write the Star Spangled Banner.  Yup, the place and time...and the STORY behind it all is so interesting.  

The day we visited was just a few days after the 199th anniversary! So you got year, September 14th, you know where we'll be...on the 200th anniversary!

I should also mention that we went to Fort McHenry the day BEFORE the Government shut down...good timing huh? 

 Mom and Mike by the armory...those are 15 foot thick walls to protect the ammo.
 O' say can you see...

We also took a tour of the Naval Academy! We were lucky enough to get there for the tour that included the Noon Day Commencement. All the Midshipmen gather (marching of course) in the court yard, with the band playing and all, and then march into the dining hall.  Can you believe the eat every meal together? 4500 Midshipmen!

Our tour guide told us to watch for men and women in different color/style uniforms because they are visiting students of other military academies from around the world.
I've taken this tour when Mike's folks visited earlier in the year but it was Commissioning Week, so there was a lot of activity going on and all the families visiting. This tour was a lot different.  We saw more and didn't have to work around stuff going on on campus. Did you know that John Paul Jones is buried on campus? He's the American sailor who during the American Revolution is famous for saying, "I have not yet begun to fight." 
"Don't give up the ship!" was the dying command of Captain James Lawrence on the USS Chesapeake in the 1813 battle just north of Boston. 

This time on her trip, we actually got to see a band competition!
The kids competed at the Navy-Marie Corps Stadium in their first US Bands competition.  That's Joey in front with the Tenor.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Back in Time in DC

The next few posts will be from when my mom came to visit, then my in-laws came to visit...and all the fun that took place!

 One of the things my mom REALLY wanted to do was try to find her old apartment building she used to live in when she lived in DC...back in 1958! 
It was so fun! I don't know who had more fun, Mike and I or her! 
So she remembered having to cross a bridge, down the street from the National Zoo and her building was on that block. Not much to go on but we were game!
 We found this awesome bridge...but it didn't seem right.  So we went the other way, past the Zoo and there was another bridge! 
 And then her building!!  But to be sure we had to walk around the corner, down the street...and to these gates!  They used to be (and maybe still are) the gates to the Indian Embassy!
 When mom lived in DC, she was 19 years old and shared a one bedroom apartment with three other girls.  She worked at the FBI.  Cool, huh?  She remembers a wonderful family owed Italian restaurant which was close to home...and cheap! The restaurant is gone but can you believe there's an historical plaque about it on the corner where it was?!  Amazing! remembers you well!
 We found a wonderful Mexican restaurant nearby with a patio and margaritas! 
What a great day!
 Then mom picked up some weird guy...

Sunday, October 6, 2013

September Socks

Forgot to mention...

I did finish my September Sock Challenge!  5 Pair in one month!  Whew!

The Remains of the Rot Chick

I'm a list maker.  Oh yes, I make a list for everything.

We always have a list going for the grocery store, Target, etc.  And I abbreviate most everything.  Rotisserie Chicken is "rot chick".  Now my story:

Recently I saw a bit on the Today show, or maybe it was the Food network, not sure, anyway it was about using those rotisserie chickens.  I mean using the whole thing.  What? I usually pick it clean and toss it out.  You know you do too, come on, admit it.  Well today I did something with the, um, remains.  I've been calling it the "carcass" but my husband gets visions of buzzards and road kill when I do, so I'm using a more "tasteful" word.  (Pun intended.)

I took the remains, threw it in a stock pot along with a couple big carrots, some celery (leaves and all...good flavor there, you know) and a couple onions (peeled, and chopped in half).  Then I threw in a couple bay leaves, a couple rosemary sprigs (from my garden), S & P, garlic, saffron, a splash or two of worcestershire and the kitchen sink.  Ok, maybe not the kitchen sink.

Brought the whole brew to a boil, dropped it back to a simmer and covered it, letting it cook for an hour or so. I pulled out the big chunks and strained the rest...Now I have wonderful home made stock to make chicken soup tonight.


Give it a try and let me know how it goes!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Cove Point Lighthouse

Next weekend is the Maryland Lighthouse Challenge.  This means you visit the 9 lighthouses in Maryland in one weekend...AND an additional +1 lighthouse in Virginia.  Sounds cool, huh?  I think maybe next year we'll attempt the challenge but reading about it did peak my interest in checking out the lighthouses in our area.  So today we drove to the Cove Point Lighthouse.  It was about 1 1/2 hours drive through the most beautiful farm land...really lovely.  The weather being perfect for a nice drive and lighthouse adventure.  Here's what we saw:
 The original plans for the light keeper's cottage.  It is now a duplex and you can rent it out for your summer vacation!  
 Starting from the left...the light keeper's house, the lighthouse, the fog house; the keeper was responsible for making sure the fog horn worked, if not the bell was rang as a back up.  These two photos were in a display of the history of the lighthouse.
 Same buildings as above as they stand today.
 The stairwell in the lighthouse.  Unfortunately, it wasn't open.  Too bad.  I wonder if it's haunted like the St. Augustine lighthouse? Hmmmm...

 Do I hear footsteps?
 No, not a ghost, just Mike who was too tall to fit in without ducking.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Sock Update

Well, I'm half way done with my sock challenge for September.  I'm knitting 5 pairs of socks in the month of September in Ravelry's Six Socks in September Challenge.  Here they are:
For Becky
 For Elsie
First sock in third pair...for me!