December 4, 2016: Hola everyone! Winter has arrived in Milwaukee and there are snow flurries today. Despite several hard freezes remarkably my "spikes" in two of my patio planters have absolutely refused to die. The rosemary and thyme plants I nursed inside the house through last winter spent the summer in their pot outside next to the side stoop off the driveway, where they get plenty of sunshine all day long. I transplanted them into a cozy sheltered spot right next to the stoop in October and they are still green and growing, too! With the delay in getting the drywall patching done in the relatively minor "reconstruction" work I had done in my kitchen, I am way behind my time in getting the house decorated. But yesterday I got my wreath decked out with extra lights and dressed the front door of the house, and my battery-operated traditional candles were put up on the window sills all around the house Friday evening. It becomes a ritual to go around at dusk and turn the tops to the right to turn the candles "on" and at bedtime to go around and turn the tops to the left to turn the candles "off." Today I put some "glittery" throw pillow covers purchased new last month from H&M on three of my sofa pillows to glam things up a bit in the living room and add some sparkle. Later on, after I sufficiently fuel myself up with wine and snacks and probably to distract myself while I listen to the Packers game on the radio, I will huff and puff and pull my artificial tree up from storage in the basement. I will decorate it simply this year. Every year I say that, and every year I end up throwing just about everything except the kitchen sink on the tree. I am very proud of myself this year, though. I did not buy a single new ornament or Christmas doo-dad for the house (throw pillow covers don't count!!!) Happy Holidays to all, with hope and fervent prayers for 2017. I've a feeling we're all going to need a lot of help from Goddess in the coming year. Jan

Monday, November 26, 2012

Overflowing Ornaments and Memories

Oy, where did all of these ornaments come from?  I think I've got enough to decorate three trees!  And I haven't even de-boxed my Paul Michael feather garlands yet!  Look -- boxes all over the place.  And that ornament wreath I made last year, I have probably removed half of its ornaments to fill in on the inside of the tree and I'm still not finished.

Partially emptied boxes, none of those ornaments will be going on the tree this year.  And look - my
gold bead garland hanger, LOL!  It's not full -- I removed some strands to decorate the wreath
above the fireplace and the center display of Christmas greens.

The coffee table has even more stuff on it than yesterday...see the remains of my ornament wreath (bottom right).
Most of these items will either go back into boxes or find places elsewhere in Maison Newton.

Yep, no fear of running out of gold bead garland for, hark!  More in the center box!  Egad, whatever possessed
me to buy so much gold bead garland???  Gold pointsettia picks in the box to the right, more Christmas-y
picks in the box to the left, and burgundy ornaments that won't be used this year.   

The white boxes across the back of the loveseat and the Zappo's box on the cushion contain large
"fancy" glass and/or acrylic ornaments, and my pearl and bead starbursts.  I've only got four of those, purchased
in 2005 at Marshall Fields/Macy's in Chicago on a shopping expedition with the ladies of the
investment club.  We had a blast that day -- took the train for an easy 90 minute ride there and back.
I wish I could find more like them.  I've looked for years and haven't found anything close to them. The burgundy
ornaments and several others won't be used these year.  I realize now I need to start packing these by color code!
These are gold-trimmed glass ornaments purchased over the years from the Egyptian Store at Southridge Mall. 
Mr. Don and I visited there every Christmas Eve for some years.  He loved Egypt and me, well, I just can't resist a
pretty glass ornament, especially one at 50% off :)  There are a few more stashed here and there.
One of my favorites is the little elephant, upper left in the box; you can't really make her out too well.  Her trunk
is curled up in the traditional Indian way for "good luck" and she has two tusks tipped with gold, gold-rimmed
ears and gold "striping" on her sides like a blanket.  She doesn't go on the tree.  Instead, she gets hung on the curio
cabinet where she holds congress with my collection of glass and china pink elephants.

I still remember when and where I purchased many of these ornaments, and some of them hold very precious memories of festive shopping trips, Christmas Eves spent with Mr. Don going to Southridge Mall and then to Olive Garden for a late lunch, and bargain hunting expeditions.  But, the treasures pictured below are priceless:

The Bust of Nefertiti, depicting one of the most beautiful women who ever walked the face of the Earth -- a truly timeless beauty, is still admired today more than 3000 years after her death.  The real deal, a fragile and incredibly well-preserved bust, is housed in a natural history museum in Berlin, Germany, and is the subject of ongoing controversy, as the Egyptian Government wants her back, and the German Government refuses to give her back, especially now with the Islamists in power.  You can be sure the Lady would end up in a private collection somewhere, sold for millions of dollars, with a bad plastic fake substituted for her in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.  Sorry -- I digress.

Nefertiti was given to me by Mr. Don in 2005.  Even brand new it was not an expensive piece, and is the worse for wear -- she is a tarnished gold-colored metal charm meant to hang on a necklace. He found her in the "trinkets" case (holding new and not so new trinkets and such) at a Chinese "everything" store (similar to many established by recent immigrants to Montreal) near where he lived.  I added some gold glitter to her a few years ago in an attempt to jazz her up a bit, LOL.  I don't think she minded, and probably got a good laugh out of my silly efforts.  She is more valuable to me than the Hope Diamond.  On the left is another gift from Mr. Don in 2004, a kilt pin in the shape of a sword bearing the family McLean's symbol -- the castle keep at Duart, in Scotland.  His twin sister visted there and bought it back home to him.  It's not silverplate - maybe aluminum?  When I unwrapped it today I noticed that the finish (whatever it is) is wearing off a wee little bit on the left side near the bottom of the sword. 

This Dynamic Duo, representative of me and Mr. Don, go on the Christmas tree every year in just about the same spot, right next to each other, and are draped about by an old "pearl" necklace that has the most beautiful patina -- I believe they are nacred glass beads, like they used to make faux pearls almost as good as the real thing back in the old days.  The Dynamic Duo are specially situated so that one can easily see them from the love seat.

And, the most valuable iconic piece in the entire world, presented to me by Mr. Don at Christmas 2006, rests in a vault in safekeeping except for a few weeks each year when he is removed and transported (under armed guard) to Maison Newton for Christmas.  He is world-famous, darlings!  If you are interested, you can read all about his amazing discovery here.  Yes!  I speak of none other than this extremely rare surviving representation of the "Scarred Warrior" so revered by Kushan culture:

Isn't he just the most breathtakingly gorgeous hunk of malehood you've ever seen?  Oh, be still my heart, pitter-patter, thump thump (and with my a-fib, I ain't kidding).  Oh, those blue blue eyes!  Those red juicy lips and come-hither smile!  Those healthy glowing cheeks!  That manly puffed-out chest!  Oooohhh, I feel faint...

Requiescat in pace, Mr. Don, April 11, 1951 - October 12, 2012. 

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