Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas 2015 is Here!

I wasn't expecting to be able to post again, but my trip to NC fizzled and I seem to be ahead of the game!  Rosie and I took off early, as planned, but things didn't go well.  I "cut through the woods" (Southern for taking local secondary roads) to I-95, not realizing there was a detour.  Before we had gone very far, Rosie began to pant/hassle.  I really couldn't stop until we got to Ridgeland, where I did stop, took her for a short walk, rearranged things a bit, and took off again.  We hadn't gone far when she started panting again.  I knew she couldn't do that for hours, so I turned around and came home.  I called Laney and explained what had happened and she understood.  The pet sitter couldn't keep her until  after Christmas, so I'm going to go up on Dec. 28-30.  I was very concerned for Rosie and disappointed that it happened, but I think I can get her more comfortable with traveling.  The dog trainer said to put her in a plastic crate where she can't see as much and to take her on long rides to get her accustomed to it. Dramamine might her, but that would be the last resort.  So, I haven't given up hope.  I never thought that would happen as she loves to ride locally, but then we never get over 45MPH!  Going at 70 on unpredictable roads is a completely different thing, even for me.

 Since we didn't go to NC, we did get to attend Rosie's last Puppy 1 class, which she completed satisfactorily.  You will notice all of the other puppies were BIG puppies and of a breed that is accustomed to taking commands from it's master.  Rosie would often be given concessions due to "a breed issue", which I eventually took to mean that she is stubborn and un-trainable!!  Abby, the dog trainer, said that "sit", the very first command we were to learn, was a hard one for Dachshunds and Dachshund mixes to learn; however, Rosie has it down pat.  She does have her little quirks though - she is much better at a side sit than my asking her to sit right in front of me.  She also responds better if I cam crouched down, closer to her level, than standing tall.  She will pick and choose when to respond to "focus".  If she is really interested in something (usually a smell) and I try to focus her, she will purposefully raise her nose and turn her head when I put the treat to her nose!  Both Dachshunds and Chihuahuas are supposed to be stubborn and she does have her moments, but I can identify with that so I understand.  She is a real joy to have around.

In the fervor of the holiday season, I began the most time consuming, least
productive project you can imagine - scanning all of my photos and storing them on a storage disk!  You can't imagine how many photos I have!  I bought a photo scanner about 3 years ago and this is the first time it has been taken out of the box, and it is definitely worth the money. This will be a long-term project and I've set it up on the laptop in front of the TV so I can scan photos as I watch TV at night.  I couldn't imagine doing this on a regular scanner. The box of photos to the right (1983 - Spain, Portugal and Morocco) had almost 600 photos.  Believe me, not all of my photos are as well organized as this box!  Not only are these filed, many photos had info written on the back!  So, I took the time to label seemed the right thing to do!  Most of my others don't even include the date and I'm the world's worst at remembering when things happened, so most of the others will be less labor intensive.  Anyway, what I expected to be a mind-numbing, thankless job has really been pretty enjoyable.  I was reminded that I've camped in Death Valley and canoe-ed down part of the Colorado River, that I've actually seen (from afar!) in person the Queen and Prince Phillip (and the Britannia), King Juan Carlos and the Queen of Spain, as well as both Bill and say nothing of so many beautiful places in the world.  It is almost like reliving the past and remembering many wonderful experiences and people, which takes the tediousness out of the task......and I haven't even gotten to Abqaiq yet!!  

Yesterday was my day to spread Christmas cheer by delivering my vino to friends.  It was lots of fun and everyone seemed surprised and pleased, especially when they saw the label.  I hope they feel the same after they've actually tasted the wine!  

Today, Christmas Eve, should be about 80F (sun-room door is open, fan is on!) and the sun is shining....what more can we ask!  As I dithered around the house this morning I listened to On Point on PBS where people called in with their favorite Christmas stories and it was wonderful.  The stories ran the gamut - funny, heartwarming, heartbreaking, tender, sad, meaningful, unforgettable.  My thought was that I'd like to hear something like this every Christmas - maybe every day!  It was a wonderful array of human experience.  As that was winding up, I got a short email from Ann with a listening recommendation from Katie - Ludovico Einaudi - Islands.  He's a very handsome, talented pianist and I'm listening to him as I write.  Thank you, Katie.  So, what could be a sad, maudlin Christmas is shaping up to be peaceful and nice.....just by going with the flow. I do have invitations from friends for Christmas lunch, drinks in the afternoon, etc.  I will go with the flow on that, too, and do what feels right at the time.

On this Christmas Eve, I'm thinking of friends and family and counting my blessings that I have you in my life.  You make Christmas happen year-round for me!  Thank you so much. Merry Christmas and many blessings in the New Year! 
Love to all.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Happy Holidays 2015!

As is usually the case this time of year, things have been hectic.  It took me the better part of a week to do the Christmas decorating that I normally do in a day and a half.  I would start and then quickly become seemed a lot of trouble just for me!  But, there are some items that I really enjoy seeing each year; so, eventually, I got it done!  Last year I sold my artificial tree and all the lights that used to frustrate me to no end.  This year I bought a pre-lit tree which makes the process so much faster and enjoyable.

Otherwise, it seems that I've just been busy with one thing or another.  Camille, Linda and I met with the Ombudsman from the Council on Aging about the goings on at Bloom. It certainly would not benefit my mother at this point, but their actions were just wrong on so many levels!!  She seemed very interested in what we had to say and wanted to get DHEC's evaluations from their last inspection, as well as contacting her supervisor in Columbia to see if she would meet with us.  We are waiting to hear from her and hope it yields positive results.

Wine-making continues.  Chris and I bottled on Saturday and Camille and I will bottle this coming Saturday.  At left is my holiday label for gift bottles.  I hope everyone enjoys it.  This batch is dedicated to friends and acquaintances, but the upcoming bottling is for me.

Rosie continues to make me happy.  She is such a character and so funny to watch.  She'll leave the room and trot back in with a squeaky toy and just give it a fit!  When we go for walks, she greets everyone as though they are there just to pet her......and usually they do!

My neighbor (Carolyn) and I went to the Choral Society's Christmas Concert.  It's about the only holiday thing I'm attending and it was nice to hear the music, blending of voices, etc.  Other than that, I'm waiting for the holidays to be over.

This has been a great weekend for catching up with friends. Jan called yesterday and invited me to visit in January.  I got online and checked for tickets.....the price was so good that I had to take her up on it.  So that is my birthday present to myself, which I'm sure I will thoroughly enjoy.  It will  be good to get together and a good change for me.

Carolyn also called and, though it has been a long time since we'd talk, we picked up right where we left off.  Unfortunately, she is at the beginning stages of going through the same thing I went through with my mother.  She said she learned a lot from my experience and I told her I'd never realized I was a trailblazer to all the places no one wants to go!  It was so good to catch up and we both vowed to be better at it!

This is my domestic/dietary tip for the day - Salad in a Jar!!  Sounds strange but it is actually great!  It is a take-off on the Buddha Bowl, but it keeps everything fresher.....including the avocados!!  I put 2T. of salad dressing in the bottom and then layer in a mason jar:  red onions, tomatoes, avocado (mashed with lemon juice), black beans, corn, red peppers, red cabbage, and spinach.  Put the top on and it keeps for days.  Chop once and then when you want a salad just open the jar and empty into a salad bowl.....and the avocado does not turn color!!  Of course, you can change up the ingredients as you like..  It also takes up less space in the fridge than trying to store all of these ingredients separately.  I'm so glad I tried this.

Tuesday I'm taking off to NC for a few days, taking my sidekick Rosie with me.  We will be staying with Laney and Julious for two nights as I told them I would come up for either Thanksgiving or Christmas.  I chose those days (the week before Christmas, in the middle of the week) in hopes of missing heavy traffic.  It will also be the first time Rosie has gone on a longer drive, so we shall see how she handles it. 

I can't finish without telling you about the glorious weather we have been having.  Summer was a real bummer, but November and December have been wonderful. I've been walking Rosie in short sleeves.  When Carolyn called, I sat out on the patio as we chatted. It has just been wonderful.....and I guess the crummy summer makes us appreciate it more.  Winter will arrive at some point, but we are certainly making the most of this while we have it.

Here's wishing you and yours a Very Merry Christmas and all good things in the New Year!