Sunday, December 28, 2008

The wind is a-howling here today. Woke up this morning to the
wind thundering around the house and wailing through the trees.
There's a strong wind warning posted by the Weather Network
that will last until late afternoon with gusts up to 100 km/h. In
other's a good day to hunker down indoors.

Actually, the past week weather wise has been an excellent
argument for humans to hibernate. Take Christmas Eve for
example. In the morning we woke to about 20 cm of snow
that had fallen overnight. We grimly dug out the car and
headed off to work, with a fine mist pattering against the
windshield. During the day the temperature rose, so that
by the time DH picked me up from work it was a somewhat
balmy (for us) +4 and it was bucketing rain. It was foggy
in some areas too.

When we got home we discovered snow had piled from the
main roof of the house onto the smaller roof over the front
entrance to the house. The rain was making that snow very
heavy and we were worried about the weight so DH got out
a ladder and stood on it while shoveling/pushing snow off
of that roof. And all the while it continued to pour rain. He
also shoveled out a bit of the walkway to the backyard and
cleared a path on the deck in case we needed to get out the
back door. By the time that he came in he was soaked to
the skin and had to change into dry everything before sitting
down to dinner.

After dinner we were going out to a local horse/riding stable
to watch a nativity play put on by the folks from the Ballinafad
church. By that time the rain had stopped, of course, but the
wind had come up and was beginning to blow. All during the
show the wind could be heard roaring around the high roof
of the riding arena where we were located. And when we
came outside afterward the wind blew us back to our car
and pinched at us with chilly fingers as the temperature was
dropping. It was good to get back indoors again.

The rest of Christmas Eve was spent with friends visiting
and lots of chatting, pots of tea and wonderful chocolate
covered English biscuits from Loblaws/President's Choice
to eat. The seven of us devoured the entire package actually!
DH went to his church's nine o clock service to sing with
the choir and then joined us afterward. It was a great
evening and perhaps the highlight of the holidays for me
at least so far.

Christmas day morning I spent making pastry and then
pumpkin pie, and turnip casserole. After lunch we put
the turkey in the oven and left my SIL to turkey-sit
while we went to visit my Mom and give her her
Christmas presents. My SIL had a cold and so couldn't
go with us.

Mom's back at the rehab facility, having been
transferred back there on December 23rd. She was
quarantined there for two days but is now free to go
to the dinning room for meals and practice her walking
in the hallways. She's doing well and was thrilled with
the clothes that we got her for Christmas. We stayed
with her as long as we could and then had to hurry
home to finish preparing the turkey dinner.

We opened gifts during a narrow window of opportunity
while the potatoes were cooking and the turkey was
resting and the turnip casserole was warming in the
oven. Then it was dinner time at last!! Yum Yum!!!
Everything turned out well, if I do say so myself.

Of course clean up took three times as long to do as the
eating of the meal, and I thank God for dish washers.
My SIL left after clean up and DH and I spent the rest
of the evening....resting.

My question is.....where did the time go????

I didn't have all that much left to stitch on Kitty Cottage and so
finished it last evening. As I said before, it'll be my final finish
for this year. And here it is, all pressed and everything so you
can get the full effect. I used Colonial stitches for the mouses
eyes and am pleased that they turned out pretty good. I put
in a few stitches on Halloween Short Stack last night too but
there's not enough progress to warrant a picture. Next time.

Now I have to start going through my stash and choosing a
new traveling project. What shall it be???

A few reading finishes to report. Both are light reads, which
is all that you want at this busy time of year. I've read one
book by Robin Pilcher before and enjoyed it so when I saw
this one on sale I grabbed it. Yes, this is the son of author
Rosamund Pilcher who is a great favourite of mine.

Another book from the sale pile. I actually got two hard
covers by this author from the sale pile and this is the
first one that I read. It was a lovely, amusing read with
lots of Southern charm. This was the first time that I've
read Deborah Smith and I look forward to reading more
by this author in the future.

Sat down and watched White Christmas on DVD the
other night. It's one of my favourite Christmas movies
and I never tire of it. I love Bing Crosby's and Rosemary
Cloony's singing and Danny Kaye's antics. And the
costumes, by Edith Head, are gorgeous!! And of course
there's THAT song! Gets me every time.

Well, guess I should go and do some more of my Christmas
baking. I've made ginger/butterscotch cookies and short
bread so far but still have a few other old favourites I want
to make. Didn't have any time to do baking before the big
day but now I'm on vacation and am getting into it.

Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and best wishes
for the New Year!!! Take care.


Sunday, December 21, 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas....
And I love it. I've been slow to warm to the season
this year, but yesterday I started to wrap presents
and to make gift tags out of my old Christmas cards,
and I started having FUN!! Recycling last years
cards into this years gift tags is a great way to reuse
paper (good for the environment) and get the
creative juices flowing. Not to mention the Christmas

I'm in the final hour or so of stitching Kitty Cottage. I back
stitched the stool cushion and the fence to make them stand
out and the walls and roof of the cottage are in place. And
just in time too, considering the winter weather that we've
received in the past few days....but more on that later. I
think that this will be my last finish for this year.

I've also been working on Waxing Moon's Halloween Short
Stack. I finished most of the cat, except for the eyes and
the whiskers, and have started stitching the ghost. It sort
of looks like the cats got wings in this picture, doesn't it?

Every other year at Christmas DH's church choir performs a
cantata to celebrate the season. This year was an extra special
occasion as the church was also celebrating it's 50th anniversary
at around the same time. The cantata, called Ceremony of the
Candles, was a bit of a complicated selection and the choir has
been working hard to "get it right" since the beginning of

Last Sunday evenings performance was the culmination of all
their efforts and it was a rousing success. DH claims that there
were a few minor "flubs" that the audience wouldn't have been
aware of, but all in all they were well pleased with how things
went, and very relieved that it's over.

The church was filled with an appreciative audience that enjoyed
every note of the music, and expressed their appreciation at the
end with loud, enthusiastic applause. And then we adjourned to
the reception area for hot apple cider and cookies and good cheer
to end the evening with.

Last night was the annual dinner for members of DH's other
choir Kahilla and their families. It was held at a choir members
home and was a sit down meal with real china, real cutlery and
real glass wine glasses. No paper plates and plastic cups and
cutlery for this special evening. And a lot of work for the people
who put it on. But they seemed to enjoy doing it, and do it
every year, and the rest of us truly appreciate their efforts and
hard work. Considering there were over 50 of us, including the
kids, that made quite a crowd.

It was a fondue dinner, with chicken and beef and potatoes
to put into the pots of hot oil to cook. And desert featured two
birthday cakes (for Jesus) made into the shape (sort of) of
Christmas trees, with jelly beans and coloured sprinkles for
decoration. There were other home made deserts as well
which were so delicious and got scarfed down pretty fast.
After dinner there was singing and lots of laughter and
good fellowship.

This picture shows our birch trees full of gold finches eating
the little seedlings off of the branches. The cats love watching
them from the back door. Click picture to make it bigger.

Today may be the first official day of Winter, but Friday was
the unofficial and much more visible sign that we're into the
cold, white season again. We got hit with a storm that
dumped about 20 cm of snow and caused raging chaos around
Southern Ontario. It began to snow around 7:30 in the
morning, just as DH was dropping me off at work, and within
a few hours it was a whirling, whipping, white world outside.

We were allowed to leave work as soon as our work was done
so I was out the door at 2:30, bundled into coat, scarves,
sweater and mittens, to try and keep as warm and dry as
possible during the trip. And what a trip it was. I got home
at 6:50, just as the storm was coming to an end....of course.

One of the side tables in our living room, all decked out
for the season. My friend Linda made the big hearts for
me many years ago and I hang them on my lampshades
every Christmas.

Here's the other end table, which shows another of the hearts
plus the Christmas "Profile" bear family, which Linda also
made. I love these so much. The arms and legs move so the
bears can sit or stand, and they can be posed. Linda is an
extremely talented crafter/sewer and all her pieces are
finished to perfection. Again, click on pictures for close ups.

I started wrapping gifts yesterday, as previously mentioned, and
the first ones done are for DH since he has a tendency to walk
in on me when his things are spread out on the bed waiting to be
wrapped. Above is one of my efforts, using one of my home made
bows for decoration. I need to learn how to make smaller bows.
I'll spend this afternoon wrapping the rest of the packages, which
should be fun. Note: this gold paper is so pretty, but the sparkly
bits are flaking off onto everything and the tape won't stick to it.
I just noticed that Rupert's walking around here, glittering from
nose to tail. Hmmm.....

We had more snow last night, although we're not getting as much
as was originally predicted, thank goodness!! Just a few more
centimeters to top off the 20 cm from Friday. Supposedly there
is another storm coming for Tues/Wed which may be a mix of
both snow and rain. Hope not. I want to keep the snow that we
have for a white Christmas.

DH goes out just about every day to fill up the bird feeders and
now that there's so much snow on the ground he's even more
vigilant about it. We get quite a herd of Goldfinches, who can
empty a single tube feeder in less then a day. We also have
Mourning Doves and Juncos that eat whatever falls to the
ground. DH also puts a heating coil in the bird bath to keep
the water from freezing and keeps a low level of water in it
so that the birds can drink, but won't be encouraged to try
and bath in it. You can just make out the feeders in the above
picture, I hope.

Mom is being moved back to the rehab facility on Tuesday,
hopefully before the weather turns nasty. She's recovered
well from the latest bout of C-Dificile, but is rather down
about being in the hospital for so long, and missing
Christmas back at Mountainvew Residence. We'll be
visiting her on Christmas day, of course, and taking her
presents to her to open.

I guess I should go do stuff now. So much to do, so little
time to get it all done. Hope to make another post on
Christmas day, but in case I don't have the opportunity...

MERRY CHRISTMAS to all who visit here. Your
visits and comments, and your blogs, have given me such
pleasure, laughter and inspiration this year. It's a joy to
know you all. May you and your families have a great
Christmas and peace and happiness in the New Year.

Love from Judy and Phil, Rupert and Phoebe

Sunday, December 07, 2008

I have made a change or two in this design as I've gone along.
Since the cat reminds me of my Rupert I decided to dedicate
this piece to him. (Don't tell Phoebe) So I changed the one
line of the alphabet to include his name instead of the word
Purr. I hope that he likes it. Please excuse the creases in the

Here he is so that you can see the resemblance. Of course
Rupert has white socks and muzzle and neck, but I wasn't
feeling confident enough in my skills to make changes to
the cat itself. I love the little mouse in the third line.

Following the lead of Lynn at Kearnal's Korner I signed up
to receive newsletters from San-Man Originals when they had
special designs for sale in their Secret Shop. It's a case of
first come, first receive as each item is sold in a limited number.
I was able to get three of the four items that I wanted, plus
they sent along a free design as well.

The designs are simple, pretty and colourful. The charts
are a nice big size and very clearly marked so following
them will be a breeze. I'm actually very impressed with

And then there was that little win on Ebay, a pile of charts
from Prairie Schooler. I have a couple of them already but the
rest are all new to me and wonderful additions to my stash.

More of the same Ebay win. These are the seasons charts
with my favourite being Measure of a Year.

And finally we have this months bits from Stitching Bits and
Bobs. Crescent Colours in all their glory.


Update on my Mom: Last weekend certain symptoms began
to appear which prompted the Rehab facility to run tests and
put Mom back in quarantine as a precaution. On Tuesday
they received confirmation that the C-Dificile was back.
We were advised not to visit her while she was in quarantine
and a friend of ours who is a doctor also advised DH and I
not to go.

On Wednesday I received a call at work to let me know that
the doctor at the Rehab facility had seen Mom's lab work and
she was showing signs of dehydration and her potassium
levels were dropping again. So they were arranging to transfer
her to a hospital near their location in Oakville so that she
could receive intravenous fluids etc.

DH and I went to see her in the Oakville hospital that night
just to make sure that she was comfortable and not too upset
with all that's been going on. I know, I know, we weren't
suppose to but I just couldn't stay away. We had to wear mask,
gloves and gown to go in and see her in her little isolation room. She was so pleased to see us, and we stayed
for an hour and chatted with her and helped her to eat her

She was responded well to treatment so they hope to send her
back to the Rehab facility tomorrow. As for the C-dificile and
the quarantine, I guess we'll just have to wait and see how
long it'll take them to knock it out of her this time.

Of course all of this has taken a months worth of physical
improvement and tossed it out the window. Mom's been
confined to bed again for over a week and we're wondering
how this will affect her walking and her general improvement.
Especially since she may well be confined to bed for awhile
yet. Time will tell I suppose. We're trying to take things
one day at a time, but it's hard not to get disheartened.

I've heard from some of you who've asked about my music
selections here on my blog and specifically asking who is
singing the first few songs. It is my pleasure to introduce
Connie Dover to those of you who've never heard of her
before. She is a remarkable lady with an incredible singing
voice and a talent for both writing original music and for
taking traditional ballads and folk songs and presenting
them at their very best.

She began her career as lead singer for the celtic band
Scartaglen, then moved on to a solo career, releasing
five albums to date: Somebody, The Wishing Well, If
Ever I Return, and The Boarder of Heaven. Her newest
CD is pictured above and is all Christmas music.

She has written and produced music for movies and tv
and in 2007 won an Emmy award for music written for
a PBS production. She is also an award winning poet.

She also works as a ranch cook in Wyoming. Honest.
It says so on her web page.

I've been a fan of Connie Dover's for over 15 years and
it would be a dream come true for me if I could see her
just once in concert. But it appears that she doesn't tour
too much, and when she does she stays in the States.
Perhaps someday....


I finally finished reading Robin Hobb's three book
Tawny Man trilogy, comprised of Fool's Errand,
Golden Fool and Fool's Fate. If you enjoy lush,
well written, finely detailed epic fantasy then these
books, and the others in this series, are for you.

Now I'm reading a book by Robin Pilcher called
Starburst that I picked up from the sales shelf at
Chapters one day. He's the son of Rosamund
Pilcher and writes pretty good books too.

Got a letter from my cousin Peter in England. Hi Peter!!!
He wanted to see some pictures of DH's car posted on my
blog so I'm obliging here. These were taken in front of our
house last summer. Ah... I remember summer.....

The weather here is nothing if not changeable. We'll have
a few days of cool, rainy weather and then the temperature
plummets and we'll get cold weather and snow. It's going
to be -11 Celsius tonight so we'll be piling on the blankets
at bed time. By Sunday it's going to be +4.

The Christmas cards are pretty much done, and most of
the shopping too. Just one more trip to the mall (she says
with a straight face) to pick up a few odds and ends. Then
it'll be time to tackle the wrapping. I want to do some
baking too but time won't allow for much this year. Wish
I could have Shannon here to bake with me and give me a
few tips and pointers and perhaps some new recipes.
We'd have fun blasting the Christmas tunes and wrecking
the kitchen.


Help Wanted: Leadership skills an asset. Ability to
to put country ahead of political ambition a must.
New ideas (any ideas actually) to help deal with and
lessen impact of economic recession in a practical,
intelligent and resourceful manner welcome. Knowledge
of world affairs also required. Must be fluent in both of
the country's official languages for a change.
Belief in a united country and equal representation for all
an important necessity.
Apply: Prime Minister's Office - Parliament Hill, Ottawa.

Thank you.


Have a great week folks. Take care.