Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year

Don't know what all your plans are for ringing in the new year, but I'll be home watching movies on the couch with the dog which is fine with me. I don't like being out on the road with all the drunk drivers.

Happy New Year and wishes for a healthy one (and no lay offs)!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

PTO Days

Why is it that when one is out on PTO (paid time off = vacation days) that the days fly by but when one is at work, it's just the opposite? I've been off the past two weeks and just loving it. Pretty much I have not had any schedule and it's just what I needed. One day has flowed into another. I could get really used to this but alas I'll be back to work on Monday.

I'm sure my four legged buddy will not be happy to see me getting ready for work as that means no freedom for her while I'm gone.

The last two days I've worked on several scrapbooks for my granddaughters and they'll be going over to Moscow with an exchange student at my daughter's school. Tomorrow I'll be packing a box to mail to him with things to bring over.

I had had great intentions to get several big projects done while I was off but ....

Monday, December 27, 2010

Bitter cold

It is bitter cold here in CT and very windy. I am so glad that I am safely home with my doggie and that I was not out in the storm yesterday.

Liesel is so funny in the snow. I shoveled the front walk but no, she leaps into the snowy yard and jumps through the snow. It's funny when she digs her nose down into the snow and comes up covered with snow. She doesn't mind the snow and is so cute jumping through it.

After watching stranded motorists or travellers at the airports, I am so glad that I'm warm at home with my dog.

Storm is over

Well the weathermen were wrong again about how much snow we'd have dumped on us. At my house there is only about a foot. Winds are still high though.

My plowman came at 1:30 this AM but I never got up. He'll be back later today I'm sure as a lot more fell after he left. I didn't plan on going anywhere today so it's fine with me.

I have been out to clear off the car, shovel the deck, two sets of steps and the front walk for the dog. The snow is really too deep for her to jump around in. She came back in and is stretched out right in front of the hot air vent (her favorite place). She asked Santa for a pellet stove to stretch out in front of but he didn't bring her what she asked for. Instead she was given a chew toy.

Guess it'll be another day puttering around the house all snug inside.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow....

We are having our first storm of the season and it's going to be a big northeaster. The weather reports are for a foot and a half to more of snow, drifting and high winds.

Since today was the big after Xmas shopping day, I was pulling out of the driveway at 7:15 and hit some stores along the business road a mile or two away. I started out at two drug stores and moved on to other shops and the grocery store. I did very well finding things at 50 - 75% off for gifts for next December, for my granddaughters and for my daughter to have to stock up her gift box for gifts the girls give to school friends. After quite a few cell phone calls to Moscow asking, "Do you want this, how many, what sizes should I get, etc?", I drove home with my purchases and groceries. I was home around noon and the flakes had just started sticking. I was glad to be back home to beat the storm and with all my "finds".

I made a really nice dinner and have enough for the next few nights.

Laundry is done, dishes are washed and I'm ready to settle down on the couch with the dog to watch a Xmas movie.

Our blizzard is suppose to last until 5 - 6 PM tomorrow night so you can bet that I'll be outside quite a few times shoveling off the front steps, path for the dog and back deck steps. I get plowed so imagine that will be some time tomorrow.

I am so glad that I'm on vacation from work all week so I don't have to be out on the roads.

Let's just hope that the high winds don't take out the power as sitting in a cold house with no lights is no fun.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all my blogging friends!

Sunday, December 19, 2010


I've had the TV on in the kitchen watching Christmas movies while I wrap gifts. They are all done but for the 3 that I need to go to the ATM for. It's a good feeling to be done. I did not have as many to wrap this year as my gifts for the kids (big and small) already are in Moscow or are flying over with my daughter's friend on Wednesday. Things going in airline luggage cannot be wrapped.

I really do enjoy gift wrapping and making the gifts look pretty with coordinating ribbons - metallic, real ribbon or paper for curling. I use paper that is appropriate for the person too. I also wrap my cranberry orange walnut breads in aluminum foil and use metallic ribbon (with silver in it) to wrap it up like a present. This year I added a bell to the center of each bow to embellish them. Can you tell I'm a scrapbooker - embellish?

Hope you are enjoying your Sunday too.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Vacation Time

Yesterday when I walked out the door at 4:30 from work, I let out a big sigh as I am off on PTO and don't have to be back at work until after New Year's Day! I am sooooo ready for this down time and thrilled to have all this time.

I'd saved the last two weeks of December to go to Moscow but decided this fall that I just wanted to stay home so I now have the time.

What to do? I'd need a year to get done what I'd like to do but will have to settle for a few projects, maybe cleaning the house (if I'm in the mood), doing a lot of reading, spending time with my cousins and friends and sleeping late in the morning. I started right off with sleeping late this morning and reading in bed. Plan to do it again tomorrow. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh.........

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


White or colored Xmas lights?

I vote for white.

P.S. It is bitter here in CT. It's a 2 dog night but I only have 1 dog. Gotta take the dog to bed for warmth in those fleece sheets. She loves it.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Happy 8th Birthday Natalia!

Eight years ago my daughter called me at work mid morning and told me she was in labor. She was due on New Year's Eve but since she was having a scheduled C-section, it was going to be on Dec. 26th. The plan was for me to bring Katya home with me on Christmas night. Well, Natalia had other plans.

My first response to her was, "You can't be in labor as I can't leave work." Real bright, huh?

Natalia was born that day (Friday the 13th) and I didn't get to see her until about the next morning. The dog and I were driving out the driveway before the sun was even up on Saturday so we could get to Brooklyn early in the AM.

Happy 8th birthday Little Boo. I love you and wish I were with you to help celebrate your special day and see the fantastic cake you and your mom made for your party at school today.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Packing box for Moscow

Bing and Elvis are singing Christmas songs on the radio as I pack the box to go to Moscow with Xmas gifts for the Muscovites. I'm sending it to Tami's friend in MI who is going over with her two daughters to visit for Xmas and New Year's.

Liesel was trying to get into things so she's been banished to her crate.

I'm wondering how I am going to be able to carry it out to the car as it's heavy. It needs to go out UPS to MI tomorrow.

At this time last year, I was frantic with all that needed to be done before I flew off to Moscow. This year I've decided to stay home so all I need to do is get this one box packed.

P.S. Just finished the box. Took me over an hour. It must weight 50 lbs so I now need to jump in the shower. Taping it was a chore.

So much for the dusting of snow....

I woke up to rain this morning and stayed in bed reading (love Sunday mornings). It is now pouring and it's so nice to be inside.

I made a big breakfast of freshly squeezed OJ, maple cured bacon and fried eggs. Oh, all that cholesterol was so good.

Washer and dryer are going, crock pot has two chicken breasts slow cooking with carrots in teriakyi sauce, a big pot of chicken soup is simmering and the dog is sleeping curled up in her blanket in her crate.

I'm not venturing out at all today as my errands were done yesterday. I have Christmas movies on the kitchen TV and soon will flop on the couch with another book to read.

Hope your day is as good.

Friday, December 10, 2010


I just went out the front door with Liesel so she could do her thing. I have a spotlight on my front door for the holiday season. Because of it, she could see the very light snowflakes coming down. She immediately started jumping in the air trying to catch them. It was so funny and she wasn't very successful.

She's still a pup.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Christmas Traditions and How They Have Changed

I've had different Christmas traditions during my lifetime.

As a very little girl, my parents and I would go to the early Christmas Eve service at church and then go to my grandparents in the next town. My maternal grandparents were from Holland and Germany and the tradition was to exchange presents that night. Christmas morning I was wide eyed with what Santa brought. I also put my wooden shoes on the hearth for St. Nicholas on Dec. 6th to be filled with candy.

As an older child, my grandparents would come to our house as we then lived in a period colonial from 1760 that my father and grandfather restored. My dad had a roaring fire in the dining room fireplace (large enough for several adults to stand in with room left over), had a nice dinner and opened some gifts. The next morning we had a nice breakfast and opened more gifts. My grandparents came over and my aunt, uncle and cousins came in the early afternoon and we had a roast goose with sweet and sour red cabbage to keep with the German tradition (and many other sides and deserts). We exchanged family gifts. This continued through college. My last holiday with my father was my senior year in college as he died on Dec. 9th the following year. It'll be 41 years this Thursday. I think of all he missed in my adult life and never got to know his granddaughter and great granddaughters.

When I married, my first holiday was spent with my ex's family in Oregon as we flew out there after our Dec. wedding and ski honeymoon. The next holidays we were back in Oregon as we were living in Berkeley where my ex was in grad school.

The next year we were back in CT and had a baby. I decorated the entire house the day after Thanksgiving. We were back to Christmas at my mom's on the 24th for overnight. Things were the same. The only difference is that Phil and I came home the night of the 25th and Tami stayed with Grandma for a visit. This continued until the year she was in kindergarten.

That holiday we were in a bigger house and one with a fireplace. Phil had also labored all fall to make Tami a gorgeous two story doll house. There was no way that we could hide it in the car to bring to my mom's house. We started a new tradition. We had started Tami skiing when she was 3 so off we went to the Berkshires for a day of skiing. It's a perfect day to go as most people are home preparing for the holiday. We had packed our thermos with hot cocoa, made yummy sandwiches and had Tupperware with an assortment of my Christmas cookies. We would get home around 6:30, shower, get on our nice clothes, have chili with melted cheddar cheese, crusty hot bread and for desssert, a Friendly's holiday ice cream roll. Then we'd take pictures in front of the fireplace, tree and on the stairs. Off came the nice clothes and we'd come back down to the living room in our flannel pj's and Lanz nightgowns to open presents from each other. After Tami went to bed, we'd do our elf things.

The hard fast rule was that Tami could not come downstairs without us and everyone's hair had to be brushed. Santa had been and we'd open our stockings and gifts from Santa. Breakfast was light and consisted of Pillsbury cinnamon rolls and OJ. I did not have time to cook between gifts and getting ready for the family around noon and a big dinner.

I set the formal dining room table the weekend before Christmas and shut the door. For two days before the 25th, I made whatever food that could be made ahead. The morning of the 25th, I prepared the rest. We had switched to turkey some years before and it had gone in the oven around 7:00 or 8:00 AM. I used to make a mashed potato casserole with sour cream, cream cheese, crushed garlic, butter and chives, a sweet potato casserole mashed with orange juice, and spread on a base of butter, brown sugar and pecans (in a metal round mold to bake), mashed butternut squash, broccoli casserole with Town House crackers with butter and parmesan cheese, brussel sprouts (for my mom and uncle), green bean casserole, tomato casserole, peas, creamed onions and rolls. My mom always made a cranberry salad that was made in a red jello. The cranberries and celery went in the old fashioned food grinder (a real messy job) and had lots of walnuts in it. I also made a green creme de menthe pie and an English truffle. My mom would bring pecan pie. All this food and there were not even a dozen of us. Mom and my aunt went home with lots of leftovers.

Things changed once Tami was grown as she was usually not home for the holidays. She was in Europe, Moscow or CO (at her in-law's). I was working full time and not hosting the holiday so told myself, "Why should I spend so much time decorating as it's not worth it?" When the kids are here, I decorate but scale it back a great deal. My holidays vary. Some years I am with the kids where they have lived (Brooklyn, NY, or Moscow), with my cousins or close family friends. One of the holidays that I was in Brooklyn, NY, Natalia (my granddaughter) was 10 days old on the 24th and had come to us via a C-section. My daughter still wanted to do our yearly trip into Manhattan. We'd started doing that the first year that they have moved to NY. We headed off to Manhattan early in the AM with Chris on his commute to work. Tami and I spent the day roaming Macy's, F.A.O. Schwartz, looking at all the decorated holidays windows and met up with Chris around 4:00 at the ice ring at Rockefeller Center. We watched the skaters, saw the tree and decided to head for home. Poor Tami was just spent and I don't know how she did it all considering she'd had a C-section 10 days earlier. We stopped at a Chinese restaurant for our Christmas Eve dinner. That sure broke with tradition.

I still do all the baking of cranberry orange walnut breads, spritz and sugar cookies. I've sent cookies to her in Europe so she'd have them the year that she did fall semester abroad. I have a tin ready to mail to her friend in MI that will be in Moscow for Christmas. It's not Christmas with us without my green cream cheese butter spritz Christmas wreath cookies.

Whatever your traditions are, have fun!