Oh my goodness, we are in the deep freeze here. But --
Crystal clear blue skies and sparkling ice on the tree tops! The photo above is a view from my front door across the street, taken this morning. It's so beautiful!
At the office we don't get to go home early the day before Christmas Eve -- but then, not many people do. We do, however, have the entire day of Christmas Eve off! Woo woo! I've been indulging myself ever since getting up at my usual time this morning (about 10 to 6 a.m.) But last night, oh my. Waited 40 minutes for the bus that should have been there after a 6 minute wait. It was sooooo cold. You see, from a high of about 25 degrees F yesterday morning when I left for work under partly-cloudy skies and no wind at all, and leaving the office shortly after 5 p.m., the weather had changed drastically. The winds had whipped up, coming out of the northwest (brrrrrr!) at 20 to 30 mph. The temperature was 14 degrees F, with a windchill of about 10 below zero F. I was dressed for the weather, but NOT for a 40 minute wait for the bus on one of the windiest corners in downtown Milwaukee. Oh my! But eventually, the bus did come - and then another right behind it, and then a few minutes later we noticed another 14 passing us by, LOL! Go figure. I was riding the bus home with Thelma, who got on at the stop after me, frozen like a popsicle just like me, and Darlene, and Cowboy, and a few other old and newly-made friends. We had a blast partying at the back of the bus :)
Felt so good when I got off the bus I even stopped at the Pick 'n Save to pick up a few things and save myself a trip today (pun pun!) And then, made the nine block trudge home. I was very cold when I finally arrived, but my moving parts were still pretty much still moving (fingers and toes). My thighs, though, and my dupa (butt) -- felt like they were frozen solid, LOL! I think I finally thawed out just before I went up to get ready for bed about 10:30 p.m. And that was after standing in front of the fireplace for awhile... Only goes to show how quickly LARD freezes in cold weather. I must shed myself of more bodily LARD!
It's gorgeous today, and SOOOO cold. But -- I'm snug at my family room desk which now overlooks the backyard close through the family room window, and I'm enjoying the antics of my little furry squirrel friends. I discovered today that there are FOUR squirrel babies, not three as I'd thought.
Yes, I definitely must get around to removing the rest of the wallpaper and getting the family room redo underway. Does the look qualify as shabby (chic)?
Two days ago the backyard was pristine by the time it finished snowing 9 inches on us! Now you see critter paths and tracks all over the place...
...to the deck --
I put plenty of food out for all the critters. As you can tell, I get lots of traffic :) We are forecast to get between two to four inches more snow between later today and the end of tomorrow night. More shoveling, sigh.
I think there was a critter convention taking place outside my front door last night and early this morning --
Here are my new Christmas placemats from World Market online. I am so in love with them! I got a good deal as they were on sale and I had a 10% off coupon. Total bill (including shipping) was $20.04:
They are such fun, bright colors, and tie-in beautifully with the other colors in the room I added for the holiday season. I have to tell you truly, though, I never thought I'd live to see the day I would ever mix red and teal together!
I've got a thing going with birds. Home Decorators was having a sale a few weeks ago and I found this mirror for $10 plus free shipping, and I had to have it (three):
It's not a large mirror -- 9 1/2" tall, 7 1/2" wide. It has a stand (like a picture frame), so it can stand on a tabletop or mantel or be hung on a wall. It's wood finish but it is not wood - composite - but I don't care! I'm saving one for a gift, I think she'll love it.
My dear friend, Ann -- well, she doesn't like birds AT ALL. But she tolerated my Christmas bird décor very well when she came over for supper a week ago last Saturday. (I did move the cardinal table-top Christmas tree into the far part of the family room, away from the dining table, and removed some other birdly decorations in honor of her sensitivity). We've been friends since 1991, when we met where I used to work. Ann knows that I am "into" chess. She patiently listens to me ramble on and on about this game and that tournament, and this funding effort and that one. One of her gifts to me this year was this:
I couldn't believe it! Not that Ann listens to me, because all good friends listen to each other, but that Ann actually broke out of her mold this year and bought me a gift outside her comfort zone. She is rather conservative in her tastes, while I'm a little more, er, flamboyant... I mean, I wear bunny ears and red clown noses on the bus. This ornament/plaque is so pretty! I have to find a very special place to display it. And next Christmas (planning for it already, LOL!) I want to do up a table-top chess tree. Maybe I can teach the cardinals how to play chess? Hmmm....
This year's attempt at a cardinal tree. I am very happy with how it turned out. Hmmm, my cardinals don't have any feet. How can I teach them to hold chess pieces?
Last Friday I watched "It's A Wonderful Life" on NBC, and thoroughly enjoyed it. On Sunday night I watched "The Sound Music" with Julie Andrews, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Tonight, once again, NBC is running "It's A Wonderful Life." I love Jimmy Stewart, but twice in less than a week to watch such an intense movie? No thanks! I'll dial up the Alistair Sims version of "Scrooge" online tonight. It's in black and white, and one of the best film renditions of Charles Dickens' novel, IMHO. Surely it's just a coincidence that it was filmed in 1951 (the year I was born), along with another black and white screen classic "The Day The Earth Stood Still." GORT -- KLATUU NICTO!
Ah yes, 1951 - a very good year...
We miss you, Mr. Sinatra.
I started this blog on September 17, 2011. Holy Hathor, it seems longer than that! I've had so much fun exploring this entire world of D-I-Y and decorating and home blogs, and I've learned so much! I thought I had hit a high point last year with my Christmas 2012 mantle/mantel, but I have to tell you, this year's mantle/mantel is my favorite!!!!!
Mr. Don took this photo of me at the Milwaukee Public Museum on, I believe, December 31, 2011. A few days later we left for our trip to Madrid, in 2012. It was our last trip together, although we didn't know that at the time. I think I look like I'm in love with the photographer :)
Above is my Game 3 from the Hales Corners Chess Challenge held on October 12, 2013. I got a draw against a player rated more than 2x my rating, woo woo! Of course I managed to goof up the notation. As best we can figure out, Queen to d2 never happened, I actually moved a pawn to d5 and yes, I'm the white pieces in this game, not the black pieces. LOL! Still haven't got this chess notation stuff down pat. Oh yeah, this was one of the games where I suddenly saw something absolutely brilliant on the board, and moved a piece, much to the horror of my opponent -- except I moved my opponent's piece, not my own. Totally illegal under The Rules of Chess, of course. Oops! He then made a move - with one of my pieces! - it seemed a bad move. He looked worried. I could have let it pass, since he didn't stop the clock and call a tournament director over to our table to try and straighten out the absolute jumble. Instead, I whispered oh, so sorry, I moved your piece instead of mine, and I then moved the pieces back to where they had been. Was it my imagination, or did he look relieved? And then, after studying the board for 30 seconds or so, I made a move. It was a totally insane move but I looked up at him and cracked a Mona Lisa smile. Our positions on the board were rather complicated (at least, to my way of thinking) and I like to imagine that he figured I had five or six aces up my sleeve after that move and I totally
I'm the mad woman on the far right. It was like 110 degrees that day, and freezing cold on the bus :) Far left, Pepper Spray; next left, Thelma; center, Ginger Snap; and on the right, me, Jannibal. Cowboy is sitting facing away from us on the left, pretending he doesn't know us...
To everyone who ever reads this, MERRY CHRISTMAS!