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O.K. yes, I know the Holidays are over.

Can you bear just one more cheery image?

How about this?

A real bird was decorating our little outdoor tree!

Birdy Tree Topper

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Home Fires Burning 2This week came and went – fast!

How can that be with nothing exciting happening?

New Year’s Eve

Bill and I were supposed to go to our friends’ home for nibbles before heading out to dinner.  Plans changed since our friends had to put down one of their favorite horses they described as  “a good girl.”  They were in no mood to host so we did the honors.

We watched a possum exploring our deck and that drew some laughter.  Dinner was fine.  And we managed to stay awake for champagne to welcome in the New Year.  It was an evening of mixed emotions; the sadness that comes with loss and the joy that comes with hope.

 

 

This Wednesday night was bitter cold.  

We lit the wood stove to give the generator a little rest and it was truly cozy inside

while we listened to the wind howl and the temps dropped to 5 degrees Farenheit.

The wild birds have finally arrived at our feeder!  I am so glad to see them.  This morning a big red headed woodpecker actually swooped in and out, along with a female cardinal, and a bunch of little finches.  It is still in the teens today.

Maybe people like to flock too.

Plans are also in the making for a Neighborhood Pot Luck Party.

Somehow my friend Phebe and I get involved in the invitations and organization, and another of our neighbors, Anne,  hosts the party.  So I have been on the telephone and emailing folks to help pull the whole thing together.

Here it is a week since New Year’s Eve and tomorrow our son is coming all the way from California with our three grandgirls.  That should be fun since nowadays it is getting harder and harder to get everyone together at the same time.

ORGANIZE!

What is it about the first week of a new year that inspires a huge urge to organize home and hearth?   I’m into that too – organizing.

Starting with one little desk file drawer, I spent this morning reducing paper.  Well, at least I concentrated on that one file,  so full I can hardly pull it up without four other files coming along with it.

Then I realized I am behind (way behind) on blog posts too.

This week went by so fast.

How can this be when nothing exciting is happening?

 

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The Hand

Thank you son for the odd thing you sent to Dad for Christmas.

Some holiday gifts just stand out –  like this strange sculpture I call “The Hand Out.”

I wonder if anybody out there in the blog-us-fear will know The Hand Out’s real purpose.

I will even provide some helpful Clues:

The Hand 2

  1. It is a manly gift.
  2. It is certainly not fine art.
  3. It is not supposed to be in an elegant living room but I can’t resist.
  4. It should be in a “man cave” maybe.
  5. It can stand on end and looks like a wave, “hello or goodbye.”
  6. It will hold about 10 pieces of M & M peanuts.
  7. It will hold  a few small coins as a hint for visitors to leave gratuities.
  8. It does not come in pairs so it is not meant for prayers.
  9. It is heavy.
  10. It is a fairly ugly object that invites derision.
  11. Uppity people will talk about your decorating sense when they leave.
  12. It inspires laughter but polite people exercise restraint.
  13. Impolite, ignorant  folks laugh out loud.
  14. Bill and I laugh each time we pass it by.

In the end, son, The Hand Out is really an inspiration to guffaw.

Because after all, laughter is the best gift of all.

H  A  P  P  Y        N  E  W         Y  E  A  R  !

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I baked more cookies yesterday.  And then it was time to rest.

Bill announced he was going out to get the mail (a mile or so down our unpaved country road).  I was about to doze off when he returned carrying a sweet faced little Beagle, and we both forgot all about the mail!  I wish I had taken a picture but the lost dog looked something like this:

Beagle

Bill found him wandering the road, stopped, whistled, and the pup came right to him and wanted to be picked up.  At our house he had a  big drink of water and then we began our search for his owners.  We thought the Beagle might be a guest dog with a visiting family at our neighbor’s house.”  Not so.

We noticed the little guy had two collars, and while Bill was gently patting him, the pup suddenly began to scream.  I thought he might be injured but then realized the pain was from a flashing choke collar! I think the device was being used as a finding tool since the dog’s agonized barking was so loud it could surely be heard over some distance.

I removed both collars and he stopped crying and buried his head against my legs while I reassured him.  On the inside of one collar was the name and telephone number of the owner. We called and, yes, there were people looking for the little fella.  They came right out and the pup seemed happy to see them.  There were three big men in  neon orange garb who looked like hunters.

  • Bill thinks “Ace,” as we now know him, is well loved since he came and attached to us so readily.
  • I think Ace is part of a hunting pack and does not have the happiest dog’s life.

He didn’t look malnourished but there was a rash in his ears.  Mostly I hated the idea of the shock collar. Using it to find a lost dog may make some sense, but my heart went out to that poor little thing who surely did not understand.  And listening to him howl was unbearable for me.

Ace’s owner was very happy to find him and said, “You will never know how grateful I am.”  He then put Ace in a “dog box” in the back of his truck.   Bill thinks there were other dogs in the box too.  Maybe it was a pack and maybe Ace was glad to be back with them.  I hope so.  He did wag his tail when he saw his owner so that was a hopeful sign.

In the end, Ace was lost and then found, and he may have a Merry Christmas after all.

And this could be A Charming Dog Christmas Story.

But I am not so sure about that.

What do you think?

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The Daily Post:  Ready, Set, Done!

Set a timer for ten minutes. 

Write without pause (and no edits) until you’re out of time. 

Then publish what you have

(it’s your call whether or not to give the post a once-over).

Note:  Being a perfectionist, I did give this post a once-over

and made some minor corrections to  

achieve perfection.

I am really NOT supposed to be writing this morning since we have company coming for dinner.  The menu is prime rib, mashed potatoes, green beans (pre-cooked and just need to be heated) and Waldorf Salad (already made up in advance).  It’s a sunny day in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.  Sunshine is so welcome now because we have had days and days of chilly overcast weather. We even had an ice storm one night that melted the next day.

Almost everything is done except I’m not dressed and the house needs a once over to make it more than perfect.  Perfect is the key word here.

Our tree is up and gleaming.  The tiny-light wreaths are in the windows so everything looks festive as you drive up.   I am ready.  I must admit I am a perfectionist so vacuuming, dusting, setting out candles and hors d’oeuvres, and  preparing a beautiful table is next.

Noche With BabiesTomorrow we are also expecting my niece, Judy and her wonderful German Shepherd, Noche.  I am sooooo excited about this and have already bought squeaky toys for the pup and those special chew bones she loves.  We can’t wait to see sweet Judy of course, but Noche is like a favorite child coming for Christmas and she makes things all the more festive.

I am wondering if I should hide things or remove them all together from tables and corners – the decorations you know.  Will have to ask Judy when she arrives if the dog attacks things.  We will all be here so she should feel secure, but she is known to move things around if left alone.

After Judy leaves Sunday, we will wait for Christmas.  Son and grandgirls will not be here until after the actual “day” as I have just learned they will be coming  in early January instead.  That will be fun!  All the pressure for perfection will be off and we can all just let our hair down.

Barbie & Suzanne on Deck Dec. 27,2013 This Christmas Day we are expecting good friends, Barbie and Suzanne.  They were here last year too and we have such a good time playing scrabble, shopping the day after, and of course giggling and reminiscing Xmas Day with all the goodies we can manage to ingest.

Pete n Phebe Spring 2012

Our Fun Friends for New Year’s Eve

New Year’s Eve will be fun too as we share it with another favorite set of friends and try to stay awake to midnight.

The sun is shining and I must get dressed and wander through the house and kitchen to make sure everything is perfect for our guests.  I have a feeling we will all be laughing at once and no one will notice all the perfection anyway.  The old adage, “with age comes wisdom” is actually true in some cases.  I know if I were wise-er, I would relax, but I still strive to be beyond perfect in preparing for a holiday party.

I will try to remember to take pictures of the festivities.

In the meantime, HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Love,

Dor

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Random Five Friday (The Day After-The Day After)

Happy B'day BalloonsSurprise visitors who came for Bill’s birthday returned to the Wild West.  After all that excitement Bill and I were left in total silence with only  deer for company so we decided  to take one day to recuperate.  Being Super Woman I kept  running  on empty though, and tackled clean-up duty.  I  forgot about the effects of emotional stress the “day after-the day after” and the physical toll from too much laughing.

My Friend Janet Started the Laughter

My Friend Janet Started the Laughter

  • Yes,  laughter, especiallya lot of it, can be exhausting  because on the day after-the day after the visitors left all I did was sleep.  Or picture dozing at the sink or in a flat line daze, staring at a wall  with an empty gaze in the middle of changing sheets.  Isn’t it odd how the body simply gets determined to shut down?  The signals were abundantly clear, so much so that I woke up one time on the floor.  I didn’t faint but got down there to stretch and stayed prone in sweet serene slumber for an hour and a half!

 

  • Then came work out day at the “Y,” a Book Club meeting, replenish groceries.  I woke up sleepy though, from the lack of sleep perhaps.  Fourteen hours just wasn’t going to cut it.  So scratch the work out.  I was lucky to make it to book club without lapsing back into oblivion (by the way, Factory Girls is a very interesting book).  And groceries? Leftovers maybe.

 

  • Finally the old self returned just in time for an early morning departure for an outing with a good friend.  My last blog post was about our unusual lunch at a Thai restaurant in a Victorian Inn.  We also went shopping!  Shopping for true rural dwellers is an exhilarating experience, with all the symptoms of menopause.  Think hot flashes, nervous tics, shortness of breath, unexplained hunger, and the urge to lie down (or was that still lack of sleep?).

legs-running

 

  • And then it was really time to tackle the dirty work.  My little friend Amy came to help.  She is little but she is mighty!  Amy is getting ready to run a 26 mile marathon in Pennsylvania so she said she did a practice run of 26 miles in 4 ½ hours.  It would take me 24 1/2 hours to hobble that far.  Amy is a five foot tall redhead with boundless energy who just got her license to drive a truck.  She is also going to run in a marathon!  Did you know that true marathoners don’t stop to use  portapotties! Huh?  I will leave the rest of that fascinating fact to your imagination.  Using imagination,  I may never watch marathoners in the same way again.

“Learning is growing no matter how old we are.”

~ Another sage quote from Dor.   Happy Weekend!

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Random Five Friday (even though it’s Sunday)Hull's Drive-In

At the beginning of the week Bill and I set out to downsize a white elephant piece of furniture.  It held an old television in a bookcase-desk  that stood for 25 years collecting useless items and perhaps a small smattering of dust.  We spent half a day brutally trashing unidentified papers including cancelled checks from 1989 and removing old engineering text books for donations.

The effort left us both sneezing.  Do you think it could have been a bit more than a smattering of dust?  Anyway, the result was a mystifyingly satisfying bare wall awaiting a new t.v. (another surprise birthday gift for Bill)!

Wednesday turned out to be old home week when old friends wandered in from Arizona and Washington State.  They came as another surprise for Bill’s Birthday.  But there is already a post on that.

Around that same time, a neat little console was delivered to hold the new big t.v.  That left nowhere to display all the framed photographs that were on the original white elephant shelving.  Now I am searching for a weathered wood collage frame to accommodate the pictures and to hang on the wall over the new television. One thing does indeed lead to another, requiring hours of internet searching and in-store muddling around.

Thursday evening we went to Hull’s Drive-In.   Hull’s is one of the few remaining, verging-on-extinct operational theaters that were so immensely popular in the 1940’s and 50’s and where you watched a movie from your car.  It’s a fine relic of the past that is now community owned, funded and maintained and if you are anywhere near here during their operational season please plan a visit.  This particular night was “Robin Williams Tribute Night” featuring Hull’s Drive-InJumanji and Good Will Hunting and 30% of the box office proceeds were donated to our county’s Suicide Prevention Program.

After sharing meals and giggles, memories and experiences with teary eyed goodbyes, our friends left yesterday, Saturday, August 23rd, and we have been sleeping off and on ever since.  Perhaps we are dreaming of the old days or maybe it’s just age reacting to emotional swings.  At any rate we are missing all that action and laughter.

And our wish is that you will hurry back old friends.  Hurry back.

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This week we celebrated Bill’s birthday.  He still looks young to me but we are beginning to resemble each other (much the same as dogs and their human companions). 

Wednesday was extra special though, because some very old friends came all the way from very far away to surprise us.  We have been friends with this family for 50 years and met when our son was still in diapers and Janet and her “younguns”, Debbie, Scott and Pam, were 4, 5 and 6 years old.

But here they all came 50 years later, barreling down our driveway beeping and shouting!

Party Boy Bill is 80

  Surprise!!!  Surprise!!!    

And what a time we all had. 

And what moments of hilarity we all shared.  The laughter could surely be heard all the way to the next mountain top.

We went to Hull’s drive-in movie one night even though it threatened rain.  Did you know drive-in movies are practically extinct (kinda like Bill and me)?

Bill made pancakes and bacon one morning to relive earlier breakfasts shared so long ago.

They were here for three nights and though we went practically nowhere, we certainly traveled back in time.

And we talked and talked, reliving never-forgotten joyful moments and lamenting the sad ones.

This morning they drove away again, perhaps not as quickly as they had driven in, and Bill and I were left in stunned silence.

Were they really here or were they hallucinations?

Thank you Janet, Pam, Deb and Scott for reminding us of the value of real friendship!

 

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I See You Lovey DoveI love doves!

They are either morning or mourning

but in any case, rather shy.

What a privilege to look this Lovey Dove in the eye.

He seems to be saying, “May I please come in?”

Darling Dove

A Dove's Outlook

A Dove’s Outlook

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Roadside RedbudA-1My friend, Janet, who lives in Arizona,  came for an Easter visit.   Janet is like spring itself.  Everybody loves her and she arrives in a dramatic flurry much like the Virginia Redbuds (and she was here at the same time). It rained on Janet’s first day in Virginia but that was fine.  Rain is a novelty for those who hail from Arizona and it gave us a chance to catch up on things.

Janet Arrives with Spring

We were so busy with old memories and making new ones that I almost forgot to open the computer for a whole week.  I was absent from cyberspace if anyone was taking roll call and I could hardly read or comment on blogger friend posts.

We visited with two of my grandgirls (who had once upon a time long ago shared pretend little-girl-tea parties with Janet).  We watched movies and shopped and dined  with other friends.  Mostly we reminisced and caught up on our lives.

On Easter Sunday we three were invited  to a  brunch at the local country club.  What a grand treat that was.  And what a lovely day too, with spectacular views and scrumptious food and genuine laughter and joy.

Vivien Leigh

Vivien Leigh

On her last evening here, Janet and I went to a one-woman presentation by Betty Kahn Taylor at Washington and Lee University’s Lenfest Center for the Arts. The performance was of Marcy Laferty’s Vivien Leigh: The Last Press Conference. 

For younger bloggers out there, Vivien Leigh  played Scarlet O’Hara in the film, Gone with the Wind.  Have you seen Gone with the Wind?  I think I have seen it seven times or more.  Vivien Leigh was British and so is Janet, who says, “Toe-mahh-toe,” instead of tomaytoe.  Imagine how difficult it would have been for Vivien Leigh to play a southern belle with a believable drawl!

The redbuds are fading a bit as if sad to see Janet go.  But she was homeward bound yesterday.  “Next time, next season,” we said, “Something to look forward to.”

 

 

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