December 23, 2017:


It's COLD here and getting colder by the day, brrrrr. By December 26th the high may be only 3 degrees above zero. Yuck! But it's nice and cozy inside, and filled with the scents and sights of Christmas and Yuletide!

Today I made a crock pot full of my easy-peasy Beef Burgundy, made with a soup can full of sweet red wine (to rinse out the soup can, of course), and four other ingredients: beef (this pot I used beef already sliced in the package for beef stroganoff, and then cut the long thin strips into bite sizes), a can of Golden Mushroom soup, an 8 ounce package of whole button mushrooms cut into halves and thirds (depending on cap size), and a packet plus a little extra of a second packet of dried onion soup/dip mix. I also added a generous helping of ground pepper, dried thyme and dried - and aged (a year and three months, yikes!) of whole basil leaves that I ground up in between my fingers. Then the pot cooked on the "low" heat setting for 4 hours, with only one stir half-way through. The scent permeated the house and even managed to waft out to the street - wowsers - guess I need to get some additional insulation in these 1956 walls! My mouth was watering by the time I made up my first dish (over on-purpose a bit dry mashed potatoes) and gobbled it down, then had half a second dish as well! Now I want a nap.

I have my dark chocolate covered Queen Anne brand cherries (a Christmas must!), Beringer White Zinfandel wine, plenty of new fuel for my gel fuel fireplace and a host of Christmas movies to watch. Best of all, Solstice is done and we had a bit of sunlight day, late this afternoon. Every day, although it is not noticeable right now, it will get lighter a few minutes earlier and the Sun will sink below the horizon a few minutes later each day until the Summer Solstice on June 21. The worst is over, except for the bitter cold of January and February. I think I will go visit my friend Isis in Las Vegas in March - that always perks me right up :)

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas to all, and may the Season's blessings shower you with good fortune for all of 2018.


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Going to the Dogs, Woof Woof!

Hola darlings!

I had good news from Heart Doctor #1 today, so good, in fact, that I am celebrating with a glass of wine right now instead of waiting until 9 p.m.  I do not have to see him again until April, 2013 and that will be for a check-up.  I still have some issues that need to be cleared up with Heart Doctor #2.  He's the doctor I do not like.  But I managed to coax a couple of smiles out of him when I saw him on September 21st.

Enough of that.  I received my latest issue of Traditional Home magazine in the mail last week and love looking at it on the bus ride to and from the office.  I was much struck on Monday by ads containing dogs!  Check these out:

Ad Number 1: Karastan Carpets

Forgive the ragged edge - I was not careful or slow enough in tearing this page out of the magazine (it was my first attempt).  I don't know why the bottom of the ad didn't scan.  It's an ad for Karastan carpets at  This is their interpretation of "English country charm or classically eclectic - ."  The moment I turned the page the white greyhound caught my eye.  This dog just projects personality into the photograph!  I loved the room as a result of loving the doggy :) 

It just so happens that I'm also nutso for English country but I've never really done it properly.  Ten years ago I would have coveted this room; not so much today, mainly because I find the bedding overdone and despite the injection of some light, bright elements into the room (such as the soft semi-sheer white curtains beneath the draperies and the pale tones in the carpeting), it's too dark for me now.  The bedding is fine if one can afford to have one's bedding drycleaned every few months (instead of being machine-washable) and has staff to make up the bed with it's myriad layers and fancy pillows!  I have neither the staff nor the patience for such a bed!  This bedroom is, I believe, meant to be "masculine" -- so I do not understand why the producer(s)/artists/photographer used a dog that reminds everyone of Dr. Miles Crane's ex-wife! 

No toiles and chintzes in this room!  It's neutral, but deep and dark neutrals - deep browns, tans, black, taupes, greys. Lots of glitz and glam too, though, in the brocades, gleaming silky finishes, golds, fringes.  Is that overskirt on the bedside table a pale green? I like the striped wallpaper, the opulent look of what could otherwise be a cheap fiberboard skirted table (I still have two in this house, owned for AGES), the brocade drapes and that candle lamp with the black shades!  Ooohhhh, love!  The carpet is also - what else can I say - absolutely spectacular!  I love the design, the colors used, the "feeling" the carpet evokes, and its overall sensibility.  Gorgeous! 

Minus the doggy, I might have flipped to this ad and thought to myself "nice carpet" and then continued turning the pagbe.  But with the dog, I stopped and really looked at this page for quite awhile, and enjoyed it.  Check out the doggy statue.  I see those a lot in the decorating blogosphere!  Me, I prefer the real thing; but my doggy days are over.  I say that now, but it may be a different story once I'm finally retired.  We'll see...

Ad Number 2:  Schumacher

This room really grabbed my attention, and the white dog (another white doggy (see Ad Number 1) just added frosting on the cupcake!  I'm a sucker for symmetry.  It just - speaks - to me.  While I think the dresser needs to be wider (longer?) because the beautiful lamps are too close together, I like the chairs.  Don't they look like they would be incredibly comfy curled up in with a good book or, like I often do, dangling legs and feet over one arm draped in an afghan.  Really like the lamps and the mirror.  I am not a fan of horns, faux or otherwise, used as decorating accessories, but as this is supposed to be a "lodge" evidently in the mountains (check the scenery outside the "windows", they are at least in character. In a suburban home I find them ridiculous.

The neutral color scheme based on shades of charcoal grey and white goes incredibly sophisticated for a "lodge" with the patterned wall covering that looks like one could hug it!  The styling is modern but the overall feeling is traditional.  Love!  I am not sure what's going on with the rug -- it appears to be squares of - something - pieced together but in the northeast corner near the window you can see the uneven character of the rug, which makes me think this is some kind of hide or fur (eek!) or, hopefully, totally faux.  I would prefer the ottoman have a more substantial looking base, but the upholstery (hope it's not real fur, pelt or hide) is beautiful.  If it is not real (which I would find a good thing), it sure looks real.

Ad Number 3: Shaws Floors

Lovely ad, makes it's point poignantly without many words :)  The doggy's expression says it all, to my way of thinking. 

Ad Number 4 Bona Products: 

I included this ad just because it's so darn cute!  The doggy's legs and feet and the legs and feet of the two kiddies, it's a heart-tugger.

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