January 31, 2018:


Today is the Super Duper Blue Red Full Eclipse Partial Eclipse Moon, depending on where you may be viewing from.

Three years ago this day was my last day of working and I retired after 46 years of full-time work. I've enjoyed every single moment of my retirement since then - three years and hoping for twenty more, we'll see how things go...

February and March can be cruel months in southeastern Wisconsin where I live. January itself was nutso here weather-wise, with two separate thaws. I don't ever remember getting two January thaws before, and many years none happened at all.

Before I know it I'll be headed to Las Vegas to visit my friends and celebrate some sunshine and warm weather, and see a show (I always try to squeeze one in). Meanwhile, I am continuing, slowly, to make this smaller retirement ranch into a home that makes me smile in every room. I still have lots to do, including major painting projects. I keep putting them off. Seems at 66 I'm not so keen on painting as I was at 36. Gee, I wonder why...


Sunday, December 9, 2012

Final Touches to Christmas 2012 Decorations

Today was our investment club meeting and gift exchange.  This year we opted to keep it simple and we met at Meyer's Restaurant (Milwaukee) for breakfast instead of having bring-a-dish and then adjourned to Maison Newton for our meeting and gift exchange. 

Before I left the house I had put on the battery-operated lights on the tea lights, wreath and around the live greenery centerpiece on/around the mantle, turned on the flameless candles on the coffee table, etc. so that when the ladies walked into the front room (the front door opens directly into the room), they saw the full glory of my decorations, LOL!

Well, things were a big hit, and that makes me so happy.  We had our meeting in the kitchen/dinette area where I did minimal decorating this year (not that I ever went full out in prior years!):

Fresh-clipped juniper fronds from my gigantic juniper out back, with barberry clippings
(with berries still attached) from out front.  Ruby-red beaded snowflakes hang from
the chandelier over the table.  Christmas cards (not shown) are taped to the side of the fridge.

I took several photos of us, but all of them turned out too blurry to use, except this one:

Guess you can see just how much my hands shake as I tried to take these photos at low exposure -- look at the path the little light on the t.v. (on the fireplace mantle/mantel) took!  LOL!  As for the spooky white smoke effect - I've no idea what caused that!  Hey, Gay!  And not-quite-half of Angie!

Gayle is on the right and I'm on the left, nearest the tree. 

Presents are under the tree, and fresh greenery was clipped and added (left upper corner) yesterday, in an old basket I had on hand.  This is the first year I actually thought to utilize the evergreen resources that reside in my front and back yards!  Last year I had used clippings from the barberries out front, but those are red with berries, not evergreen.  This year, I combined both in three separate arrangements and the house is now filled with the fresh scent of juniper.

Close-up of the arrangement on the kitchen/dinette peninsula (now back in the center of the table underneath the light fixture, as our meeting is over).  The barberry is so pretty, and so ouchy with its sharp thorns!

Above, a photo of the mantle/mantel.  I added two gold-glittered tall picks to the Norfolk pine and added the feather boa as a garland across the bottom of the mantle/mantel shelf above the firebox.  That was one of my St. Nick's gifts from one of the Ladies of the Bus/Crazy Cougars.  She brought each of us a special St. Nick's gift bag filled with goodies :)  Thank you, Pepper Spray. 

The kitchen/dinette greenery looking toward the kitchen.

New this year, I decorated the top of the tall curio cabinet next to the staircase.  I framed a new greeting card I received showing a cardinal on it (to add to my fledgling collection of cardinal greeting cards) in an old frame (you may recognize it from my bedroom), added some clipped juniper, a bit of Mugo pine, and a barberry branch arranged in a woven basket (one of those holding fresh fruit at a Christmas past) lined in tin foil, and one of my Home Interiors candleabra. 

Yesterday I pulled out this very old basket that was given to me (filled with goodies!) when I moved into this house 21 plus years ago!  I stuffed it full of juniper clippings and some barberry and planted it near the northeast corner to hide the power outlet and electrical cords.  I'm going to add some battery-operated mini-lights to it tomorrow after I stop at Walgreens to buy some (on the way home from the office).  It adds color and a wonderful scent to the room!

I am loving my white feather boa -- it reminds me of snow and angels' wings:

My decorating scheme this year was a big hit with the ladies of the investment club.  In January I will be hosting a party for the Ladies of the Bus/Crazy Cougars (actually we're the Rockin' Crazy Cougars). 

My decorating is now totally complete, I will not be adding anything more, well, unless I get another feather boa or two for Christmas...

A view of the tree from the staircase.


  1. Jan,
    HELLO!! I am so sorry that I have not been by sooner but I have been so busy!! Your home looks lovely!! Have I told you how much I love your fireplace and how I would love to have one of my own?????

    Wishing you a Happy ans Healthy New Year!!


    1. Hi Deb,

      Thanks for stopping by! I have visited you a couple of times to admire all of your Christmas decorations. Where on earth do you get all of that energy and find the time to do it all? I had the fireplace added to the house in, I think it was 2002 or 2003. The original model had a fireplace with a stone facade that went all the way up to the ceiling! At the time I couldn't afford the extra, so I opted to build without it, and was always sorry after the fact that I didn't come up then with the few extra thousand to have the fireplace put in. But then I would have had faux stone all the way up to the ceiling, eek! I don't know, though, that I would have considered leaving it off and going with a more classic look (like I ultimately installed); at the time (1989) the stone "chimney piece" and hearths were very popular. Have you considered an electric fireplace? It is amazing how advanced the technology is and how realistic the flames look. My youngest sister and her hubby bought a 60" LED flat screen some months ago and decided they didn't like it mounted on the wall in their family room, so they found a beautiful t.v. stand at Colders that was not only long enough to comfortably seat the t.v., it provides lots of storage and also has a fireplace effect - digital! - that throws out lots of heat and can be temperature controled with a remote! I was skeptical but my sis fired it up for me when I was over at their place helping decorate for Christmas and I was amazed at how realistic the "fire" looks. Just amazed! I would like to install a fireplace in the family room, perhaps an electric one with a realistic flame effect rather than another gas-fired like the one is in the front room. Maybe someday. Now that I am getting older, I feel cold more easily than I used to, LOL! Happy Holidays to you and your family. I will be dropping by your blog soon, because I figure you've been adding things and moving things around, always doing something new and interesting with your Christmas decor. I will miss mine this year when I finally take it down (I really got into it this year and enjoyed putzing and putzing with the mantle decoration and the tree) -- but I keep it up until Super Bowl!!! Talk to you soon, girlfriend!