December 6, 2017:

Hola!

It's COLD here. Cold and windy. But the Sun has been out for the past 2 days so it's bright, and that helps me to bear the cold and the short days. Only 15 more days to Winter Solstice, and then each day, a few more minutes of daylight will magically begin to be added, and even though the cold and snow will continue, the "worst" will be over because I know we are over the hump and headed toward the Spring Equinox.

Meanwhile, I am busy decorating the tree. I dug out an old collage of photos from the former Maison Newton (above). Gosh, that was a beautiful fireplace. My current gel fuel fireplace is great, but no match for that large and lush gas fireplace in my former home. In my case, downsizing meant not only much less square footage and a single story (which IS nice), but no fireplace until I purchased my gel fuel fireplace. I love it, but there was only one wall I could put it on, and this current living room is much smaller than my former living room, so I sized the fireplace accordingly. (It was also much less expensive and did not need to be installed by professionals).

Yesterday I womaned up and muscled, huffed, puffed, cussed some, breathed heavily and heaved mightily to get my Christmas tree up the basement stairs and dragged into the living room, and then into position in front of the picture window overlooking the front of the house. Whew! Quite the work-out. But I wasn't ready this year to switch to a "single woman of a certain age" (4 foot tall) tree. Maybe next year...NAH!

Jan

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Pahties, Pahties...

Hola darlings!  This is a very busy time of year for many of us because of the upcoming holidays; at the place I work, we're in our end-of-the-year push, so in addition to doing all of the holiday prep outside of working hours, etc., work is a non-stop exhausting whirlwind of activity and stress.  What's a gal to do, though?  I need to work to keep a roof over my head.  The mortgage will be paid off in August 2018, but I'm retiring on January 1, 2018 anyway.  One thousand eight hundred seventy one days or so to go -- yes, I'm counting down.

Last Saturday found me shopping for Thelma's house-warming gift.  The party was a lot of fun -- here's a pic from it.  These are the ladies with whom I ride the bus home from work five nights a week, and a wild and wonderful bouquet they are!  I would not have believed it possible that we could form such a tight-knit and friendly, loving, supportive group, but during my various health and other issues during this hellacious 2012 year, these ladies have been an absolute Gift from the Goddess:

From left to right, front: Pepper Spray, Thelma, Jannibal (me).
Back row: Anni a/k/a Little One, Ginger Snap. 

Bob the Bird is looking on with approval.  He was very engaged during our pahty, happily chattering away with all of us :)   Why do I always look so damn fat in these photographs???  Honest, darlings, I've lost 25 pounds from my heaviest just a few years ago, and when I look in the mirror at myself, I do not see the same Jannibal who is in this photograph.  Of course, it may just be because I'm sure I'm going blind now...  I got the heart issues that occupied my entire summer and part of autumn more or less out of the way, so now I'm losing my eyesight! At 61?  I don't frigging think so, and if that patriarchal storm god up there in the sky thinks he's going to do this to me, he's got another thing coming. 

The day after Thelma's house-warming pahty, I tackled back yard clean-up.  What a mess it was.  I had the hulks of the stripped down limbs left from the last windstorm still to deal with, and since last Sunday was warmish although windy, I counted my blessings and tackled the chore at last because we won't be getting many more of those days -- although today, one week later, is also a winner!  I'll be headed out shortly to do some shopping but I want to get this post done first!  So, this is what the yard had looked like after the last big storm in SEPTEMBER:








You get the idea...  Yep, I'm never one to just rush out and start sawing up tree branches in freezing cold and/or cold rain!  I had spent a couple of weekend days here and there when the weather permitted stripping down those hulking branches/limbs to bare bones, so all that was eventually left was this:




Finally, last week Sunday, I prepared to do battle and saw those suckers into 4-foot long or shorter lengths, so in the spring the yard waste haulers will take them away.  Unfortunately, I missed the last yard waste pick-up this year, so now the sawn up wood will rest in a container inside the garage until the first pick-up in March:




My tools:  my shark hand-saw and my sturdy yard work gloves.  I don't own a gas-fired chain saw, which would
have made short work of those branches/limbs.  I got a good work-out instead, although in truth, if you use the
hand saw correctly, it does most of the work.  I didn't even break a sweat!




In the end, that's all that was left!  I worked off and on over 3-1/2 hours to get the job done.  So, today I can rake and mow, the final cut of the season.

But I had another party to go to this morning.  That's right, ladies, pahty pahty!  One of my neighbors has been hosting a get-together for the past few years where she assembles various crafters and sellers of various items, and she also makes the loveliest bead jewelry. Her daughter, Emily, sells Mary Kayt products. They serve mimosas and lots of good brunchy breakfast things.  What's not to love?  The mother/daughter duo also collect canned goods for a local food pantry during this party.  Lots of ladies in the 'hood visit and we all get a chance to chat each other up, people I normally only wave to as I pass walking to the bus stop in the morning, or home from the bus stop at night, or to/from shopping on the weekends, or out doing yardwork in the front.  Whew, I think that covers it.  Anyway, activities not usually given to much get-togetherness cuz I'm usually on a Mission and can't stop to chat.

So, this morning about 9:30 a.m. or so I went to Jan and Emily's pahty and spent about an hour munching and viewing the offerings.  This year I found out about Scentsy.  Maybe you all have heard of it, and even have it in your houses, but it was new to me.  I really like the concept.  It's scented wax that melts, but no flame is involved - specially designed little lightbulbs are used, instead, to provide heat to melt the wax, which releases the scent to fill a large space.  The wax never heats to above body temperature, so it's impossible to burn oneself even if there is an accident, and the risk of a fire from a burning candle is eliminated.  This is NOT a sales ad, and I was not paid or entered into a sponsorship to write about Scentsy.  I just think it's a pretty neat concept.  Read more about Scentsy

I purchased a mini-plug-in scent warmer (it plugs right into a power socket like a night light) and three different scents.  Here it is:




I'm a sucker for what I think of as "Christmas-y" scents during the holidays (although one is a more generic not-necessarily-holiday scent), and I have burned plenty of scented candles over the years.  Now, with Scentsy, I won't have to worry about forgetting to blow out a candle!  Best of all, since I'm a cheapskate and did not see the need to buy a second plug-in scent warmer, I can easily move the Scentsy plug-in from room to room; downstairs during the day; upstairs at bedtime.  I may buy a second one so I won't have to do the constant moving up-and-downstairs --

But, before I buy a second one, I'll try out the one I ordered and see if it works as advertised.  Not that the lovely young lady with the Scentsy display at Jan and Emily's pahty was in any way pushy, nope!  She answered my questions cheerfully without trying to sell me a single thing, and gave me some brochures and a catalog to look through. Ordering can be done in several different ways, and products are delivered via the mail, usually in 7 to 10 days.   

The scented wax-melts I ordered -- one smells like cinnamon apples; one smells like a walk through pine woods; one smells like everything good when you're sitting before your fireplace.  Can't wait to try them, woo woo!  I especially like the scent of pine during Christmas, because my artificial tree, while beautiful and convenient, lacks that distinctive fresh cut-tree scent that I remember so much from my childhood. 

I've been doing other shopping, too.  Will write about that later.  Now I've go to head out and go - shopping!

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