December 2019:


Winter has arrived. We had early snow Halloween weekend (3-4 inches) and about a week later we got another 3-4 inches on top of that, and cold weather. The snow melted (thank goodness!) but winter caught autumn unprepared - a surprise ambush!

The house is now decorated for Christmas season and I snuggle underneath a thick throw blanket on the sofa at night admiring the Christmas tree. It's cold enough now to fire up the fireplace, brrrrr!

I hope everyone has a wonderful and blessed holiday season. May we all be jolly and bright and happy.


Saturday, August 25, 2012

Venting, Venting, Venting! I Survived the Heart Cath

Hola darlings!

I survived the heart catheterization.  Geez - thought I truly was going to expire from an exploding heart and hyperventilation while laying on the operating table staring up at the ceiling - with no sedation in me whatsoever - while the nurses were doing their 'prep' in the "procedure room."  I think my heart must have been going about 200 miles per hour.  One of the nurses started rubbing my shoulder, and she or a different nurse (there seemed to be four of them but as I did not want to be staring up at the ugly ceiling and the equipment dangling down over me from up there, I mostly kept my eyes shut and so I can't tell you exactly how many there were) wiped the sweat off my brow and she or another nurse kept dabbing at the tears leaking out of my eyes with tissues.   It was probably 40 degrees in that room (I understand why they keep it cold, because tension causes one to sweat profusely) and I was sweating bullets.  Leaking tears too.  I cry when I'm scared, I cry when I'm happy.  I'm just a regular cry baby, I guess.  I broke down when I had to move from the bed to the operating table, and cried my eyes out for about 30 seconds, and then got up on the table.  Fortunately, it was heated and that was a distraction.

I received no sedation until the doctor who was to do the cath finally appeared in the room about 15 minutes after my arrival.  Then it went into my IV - they told me they were doing it.  I can't say that I was knocked out, but it certainly did help "relax" me and it did work quickly.  I felt like how you feel when you're just going into a nice deep satisfying sleep, and the procedue did not hurt - and I really didn't even feel when the made the holes to put the tubes up into my artery, just as they'd promised.  I was absolutely terrified of feeling any pain or, well, ANYTHING at all.  The thought of things being snaked up inside my body through arteries into my heart just freaked me out, and still does!  If I NEVAH have to undergo another such procedure, it will be too soon, let me tell you!  I do not understand why I was not given a mild sedative before I was ever wheeled into that OR, or why it took anyone so long to realize that I was shaking so hard I was about to shake the whole damn hospital building down in a giant quake as I shook my poor terrified body nearly off that operating table! 

The entire damn procedure was unnecessary, as it turned out.  I had NO BLOCKAGES at all in my heart arteries, and NO WEAKNESSES in my heart arteries requiring the insertion of stents.  Heart was also healthy enough to not require immediate insertion of a pacemaker. The only thing they ended up doing was taking some photographs (I declined to look at them, thank you very much) and measured various pressures inside my pulmonary arteries.  I already knew I have PAH; the only thing this procedure did, therefore, was give the doctors more information about the level of pressure inside my arteries and eliminated two possible causes of the PAH (blockages, partially collapsed arteries). 

So, back to square one.  I still have PAH, which will kill me slowly or quickly, I don't know which and neither do the doctors. I have a leaking mitral valve, which may or may not need surgery (ain't happening, I can tell you that right now, darlings). And I have a-fib which one doctor says he can fix by doing "x" and the second doctor says cannot be fixed by doing "x", he must do "y" and then I must do "z" and who the heck knows what else for whatever remains of my life, all the while, of course, as I continue to die from the leaking mitral valve and the PAH. 

Darlings, is it any wonder I haven't been in much of a mood to blog lately?  I'd been living in terror for two weeks since the heart cath was first scheduled, and yesterday was the epitomy of the House of Horrors.  Oh I received excellent treatment, don't get me wrong.  And it wasn't as if any of the nurses or even the male doctors were callous - but to them this is all old hat, and I know my terror and horror at even the thought of the procedure I was there to undergo just puzzled them more than anything else.  Oh geez, even now, just sitting here thinking about it, I'm all of a sudden broke out crying.  One moment...

So, maybe no one will ever read this, or maybe lots of people will somehow find their way here some day and read this, and go YEAH, that happened to me, too, and NOBODY UNDERSTOOD or, some poor unfortunate soul who is waiting for the time to tick down until they have their own heart cath will read this and kill herself rather than undergo it.  What a horrible thought.  What a horrible thing for me to even write down.  I'm leaving it, anyway.

These doctors, they are all about treating the mechanics of my body, which right now are become the enemy of ME - the essence of ME - the person.  I am not my body.  I am - my mind, soul, consciousness, whatever it is that creates the life spark that is unique and is Jan Newton.  They do nothing about how this affects the ME -- the way they act, they don't even seem to realize that this is profoundly affecting ME - or that there is, actually, a ME.  The mechanics are all they're interested in.  As if I'd be able to live forever if only they can just get it "right."  As if! 

Thank Goddess my youngest sister was there with me yesterday.  I don't think I could have stood it if I'd had to arrive at the hospital yesterday by bus, check myself in before 7:00 a.m. and then call a cab to take me home in the afternoon after I'd sufficiently recovered.  She was so calm and collected, she helped me keep it together.  But let me tell you - it HURTS when they take a ton of blood out of your arm even though the blood tech was the sweetest lady.  It HURTS when they take your blood pressure every five minutes.  Why is it necessary to crush the hell out of my fat upper arm?  I know my arm is fat.  It's a Newton trait. It was fat when I weighed 117 pounds.   If you don't want to deal with the fat, then COME UP WITH A BETTER WAY TO TAKE BLOOD PRESSURE. It HURTS to have the IV thing put in plus it was put into my left hand - and I'm left-handed.  I had to go to the bathroom 3 times.  Have you any idea how how it is to well, do what you need to do and then wash your HAND with only one HAND? 

All of which is screamingly hilarious, actually. LOL!  I was laughing my butt off when I wasn't otherwise feeling terror!  My right hand got a real work-out yesterday, let me tell you. 

P.S.  It hurt every single time I tried to move my left hand, and hurt whenever I tried to use said hand to like help push myself around the bed, or leverage myself this way or that way, or do anything even half-way normal that you take for granted in using one's hands.  You would think they'd come up with a better way of putting IV fluids into a person.  Like how about shoving the IV into my big fat upper arm, where it wouldn't hurt half so much as on the skin and bone where you found the veins in my hand? 

I couldn't eat anything after midnight Thursday night so I was already hungry before I got to the hospital yesterday morning.  My stomach started making loud protesting noises around 8:30 a.m.  The only time it quieted down was when I was wheeled through tunnels and hallways and eventually arrived after coming out of a maze into the OR -- it was probably too terrorized to issue even the tiniest gurgle at that point.

Afterwards I was able to order lunch, but since I had to be nearly flat on my back and was not allowed to even budge anything below my waste for fear of bleeding starting for more than 3 hours, it was a little hard to eat.  I tried anyway.  I NEEDED FOOD!  And try drinking water through a straw at that angle -- geez!  In the end, I felt like a sick Cleopatra, my sister feeding me grapes and bits of fruit from a fruit cup we'd ordered.  Was only able to eat a few bites of cottage cheese - didn't go down very well.  The ham and lettuce wrap was more successful as I was able to get that between my teeth and chew it up sufficiently before swallowing. 

Karen, the nurse who was there when I was first admitted, went off shift while my sister and I were feeding myself lunch.  She was a great nurse, let me tell you.  She made me feel about as relaxed as I was going to feel, and was very matter of fact about explaining how to keep my "wound" clean, signs to look for things going wrong (if it does go wrong) when I'm home after the procedure, she checked for bleeding afterward every 15 minutes like clockwork, she helped me sit up the first time and gave me plenty of time to get the dizziness out of my head.  We laughed together as she helped me wheel the IV thing to the bathroom the first time because, well before the procedure, the doctors wanted to make sure I was pumped full of saline solution.

My second nurse was Kathy, and she was a sweetheart, too.  She thought it was hilarious about how eager I was to jump out of bed and get dressed when I was given the "okay" to do so. But honestly, darlings, do you have any idea what it is like to go without your underwear for an extended period of time unless you're sleeping or in a swim suit?  I mean - geez!   She was in and out of the room a few times and during that time I'd quickly pulled on undies, jeans, bra and shirt, and had my sister remove the hospital "booties" from my feet (because I was not allowed to bend over or do anything to put any strain on the groin area where the holes had been made, in case bleeding should start up) and Sis put my fake Sketchers on me and tie them up.  Now that's family devotion, let me tell you.  LOL!  Nurse Kathy lauged and laughed every time she came through the curtained "door" and there I was with another piece of clothing on and then was standing there with shoulder bag and sunglasses on ready to GO after giving my "do" a quick once over with my hairbrush and adding a touch of make-up and Chapstick to dry lips in the mini-mirror on the inside of the locker-like "closet" where I'd stashed my clothes and bag hours before.

You won't remember any of this tomorrow, she cautioned, as she grinned from ear to ear.

Guess what.  She was wrong.

We'd used valet parking. Thank goodness.  It was hot and muggy outside, even though we were under a shaded canopy.  Early morning, it had been cool and damp.  Late August weather at its finest. I'm glad I did not have to walk through the blazing sun, dodging cars going this way and that in the busy hospital parking lot, and on the steaming asphalt, to get to our car -- even assuming we'd have been able to find it.  Nice to have a young man hold the door open for me and help me with my seat belt.  Well, I had gauze and bandaids on my left hand and right arm (where they'd drawn the tons of blood) and it was a little hard NOT to see that I'd just been through a hell of an ordeal.  Thank you, sweeties, just the nice touch I needed, to feel a little pampered. 

So, now for 48 hours I am restricted from doing anything too strenuous, including lifting 10 pounds or vacuuming or, heaven forbid, shoving my gas powered 6HP lawn mower around, LOL!  I do understand about not straining the groin area where the holes were made for the tubes, because I could start bleeding and it could quickly develop into a crisis, so I am being a good girl.  No mowing the lawn until tomorrow afternoon, and that's assuming the rain holds off long enough so that I can get a start on it at least.  Instead, I raked up lots of dead grass from the damaged front lawn areas to give my upper arms a good workout early this morning while it was still shady out there, and made sure that the hike back from the supermarket was under 10 pounds in each bag.  I can shower soon and change my dressing to a bandaid :)

But for now, I'm going to sit out on the deck with my feet up, and sweat a little bit in the hot humid weather.  Summer isn't over in Milwaukee yet!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Homestead Simple and Apple Pie

I don't do this very often but today I made an entry at one of those "linky parties" Erika and Rowena's Homestead Simple;   I don't really know much about linky parties but do enjoy visiting them. 

I am a great fan of Homestead Simple.  I like the mix of subject matter and down-to-earth approach .  I am happy to see that more and more people are joining up with their linky parties and (I assume) visting the blog!

My entry there is an old one from 2011 - and it's a mixed bag, but the point of it was for the apple pie recipe, not the info about the family tree stuff or cutting the lawn stuff, LOL!  It occurred to me after the fact that I should have created a post here first with the recipe that I wanted to share, and THEN do the linky thing.  Well, duh Jan! 

Live and learn.  I will do it right the next time, I promise!  Meanwhile, I hope you will enjoy Homestead Simple and the linky party! 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Decorating a Room Using World Market Online

One of my favorite routines on Sunday morning is to settle into the sofa with a cup of coffee at hand, smooth jazz playing softly on the computer (substitute for radio since we don't have any local smooth jazz stations anymore, alas), and the big fat Sunday newspaper spread out before me.  A cushion goes on top of the coffee table, feet go up, and it ahhhhhhhhh time.  I can spend 3 hours easily just reading the paper page by page (not including Classifieds, most of the Home Section or the car ads) and then looking through the colorful enclosed ads and flyers.

Today the flyer from World Market caught my eye.  They always have nice stuff, but today I went wow - I like that and gee, I like this, and oh my, I would love to have that!  So much so that I decided hey, try putting together a room just using stuff from World Market. 

I pulled up World Market's website and lo and behold, on orders over $150, there is free shipping for a limited time.  So if any of you are interested in making a substantial purchase, the time is right!

My inspiration is loosely (very loosely) based on this room from the July/August 2012 House Beautiful edition on small rooms.  Now I don't think this living room is exactly small, but it's not as large as many I've seen that people have labeled "small."  The "little cottage" in the article is 1,650 square feet, which happens to be the square footage of my be it ever so humble Maison Newton.  So it caught my eye.  Here are two views:

I love so many things about this room.  However, my room won't necessarily be a Rasphody in White.

So, let's see what I can find at World Market Online.  I'm shopping right as I'm blogging:

The I fell in love with this little loveseat in the print ad, the Erin button-tufted with turned legs in dark stain.  It's a sort of mini-sale since the regular price is $450; sale price is $400.  Well, better than nothing:

As you can see, it's not exactly pristine white like the inspiration sofa and its, well, not a sofa!  But I love its lines and proportions.  Dimensions:  60" (5 ft.) long, 30" deep, 32" tall.  The buttons are not covered in the same linen as the upholstery.  Nope, they are all in different prints and colors.  I don't like that,  but they could be covered over or painted.

The inspiration photos boast three comfy looking chairs, including a piped skirted club chair and two sleek arm chairs in a greige sort of textured upholstery with a white "stripe" down the center. They remind me of a wing chair, without the wings.  Very cool!  Well, I don't think I'll find the white stripe, but this style of chair really appeals to me and I think would make a fine substitute:

This is the Caper Elliott Wingback chair.  Ain't he a beauty!  Look at the profile, and the nailheading, oooooh, my heart goes pitter patter (even without my arrythmia).  Full price is $330, on sale right now for $270.  Dimensions:  31.7" wide, 31.7" deep, and 40" tall.

I like this style of chair so much, and the color too, that I'm tempted to go with three of them arranged in a semi-circle facing toward the love seat, which is, of course, the place for the Queen of the House to hold Court!   My only qualm is that, at 40" tall, The Elliott Wingback chair might be a little bit too tall for the 32" tall Erin loveseat.

I didn't find any skirted club chairs at World Market, but I did find a companion chair to the "cute as a button Erin" loveseat!  Here is the cute as a button Erin chair!  It's regularly $280, on sale for $240.  Dimensions: 27" wide, 31" deep, 36" tall.

A couple of them on either side and the Elliott wing chair opposite the love seat in a semi-circle would work too.

As would this neat little chair, at a neat little price of $150 on sale (normally $180).  It's the Green Ikat Darby chair and would look very well with the Elliott wing chair, while its dimensions and its color would also go with the Erin love seat:

At 26" wide, 29" deep and 31" tall, two of these would fit nicely side by side at a 90 degree angle to the love seat, and one Elliott wing chair in the gorgeous caper color would anchor the opposite side.

I didn't think I would, but I also found a round coffee table.  It's not a white marble top but the color would go very well with the wood tones of the furniture legs.  It's 34.5" in diameter and 19" high, so not skimpy (but not as large as the custom made table in the inspiration photo), and I love the look of the iron campaign style base!  And, the dark wood top could always be painted a complimentary creamy white color and distressed...  Best of all, this is also on sale for $120 (regularly $150), the Walker Campaign Coffee Table:

Can I find a rug at World Market Online to give me the "look" of the Berber rug in the inspiration photos?  Let's see --

Well, there is this wool Floktati rug (100% wool pile with polypropylene backing) in ivory:

The 8' x 10' size is $569.  Two 4' x 6's would cost 2 x $120 or $240 and give you coverage on an 8' x 6' area (also easier to clean in a large commercial washer at a Scrub-a-Dub) or you could even go wirth a third rug to cover 12' x 6'; if you wanted to get "crafty", you could perhaps stitch the seam(s) together (temporarily) with some dark colored braided yarn to get the "look"

A little less budget friendly is a wool/cotton blend shag rug in "natural":

The 5' x 7' size is $229; the 8' x 10' size is $599.  Two 5' x 7's would cover 10' x 7' for about $460.  Of course, being cotton and evidently reversible, it would last forever!  Cleaning would be an issue though (as it could also be with the floktaki rug) -- can't vacuum it, must be professionally cleaned.  Guess that excludes throwing it into a large commercial washer!

One final touch for major furniture:  a bookcase.  There is a bookcase in the inspiration photo that sort of looks built-in (at the end of the staircase wall) but I'm not sure it isn't free-standing.  I saw this Campaign Bookshelf at World Market and thought it would be a great addition to my fantasy room:

It's on sale for $240, normally $280.  Dimensions: 29.9" wide, 16.3" deep, and 72" tall, so it's a big bookshelf, but the open sides and back, in addition to the creamy color, give it a "light" appearance. 

If I were decorating my living room, I would buy two bookshelves, to flank the fireplace.  The loveseat would be opposite the fireplace (just as in the inspiration photo), coffee table centered on it; I think I'd choose the Green Ikat Chairs, and those would hold down the staircase wall at 90 degrees to the fireplace and loveseat; an Elliott Wingback Chair would be placed opposite the Ikat chairs.  I'd add a small table between the Ikat Chairs and a larger side table next to the Elliott Wingback and perhaps a round tufted ottoman (in a complimentary shade of green) close to the fireplace that could be pulled over to put one's feet up.

So, there you have it!  It took awhile (I was doing laundry in between and kept running to the deck to throw more nuts to my squirrels -- I have two little ones in the big tree and they are so adorable!) but I did find the room essentials all online and all at World Market.

It's Back to Plan A!

Hola darlings!

Oh, I am so excited!  This coming Friday is my neice's wedding and, as you know, I had wanted to drop some pounds for it in the hope of being able to fit into a certain suit that I have not even tried on in probably 9 years! 

Before I was diagnosed with my heart issues recently, I had already determined to try and eat a healthier diet, with more whole grains and high fiber foods, more fruits, vegetables, less red meat, more fish and low fat pork and chicken.  That began some time in June, but I don't remember exactly when.  I sort of eased into it, adding more lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers, for instance, to start out.

Anyway, I was stuck like forever at 180.  Yeah, I'm not proud of that figure because it's a good 45 pounds too much for my rather petite under 5"4" and small boned frame.  Back in the good old days I used to weigh 117, and after I quit smoking in 1989 I shot up to 135. I stayed there for several years.  But once menopause struck, disaster came with it.  I packed on pounds and pounds and pounds.  AWFUL!  At my peak weight, I was 195 and sooooo unhappy with how I looked. 

So, I started the long slow trudge to getting rid of the excess weight.  I got down to 180 without making as many changes as I needed to.  Duh!  Finally I saw the light, after just about throwing up every time I saw myself in a mirror - from the profile with that big fat belly sticking out and the multi-inch fat handle or doughnut around my middle.

So, the pounds have been coming off.  I am now at 172!  That's about 8 pounds in a couple of months.  Slow but sure.  This morning, I pulled on a pair of shorts and they were large in the waist.  Well, they were a little large in the waist when I put them on last weekend to cut the grass, and this weekend they were even larger!  Joy!  So, on a whim, I decided to be really brave and try on the tan and black suit that I would love to wear to the wedding.  Here are a couple of not very good photos of it -- it's dark in the house today because it's clouded over outside (I should be out cutting the backyard now before it starts raining instead of doing this, eek!):

Unbuttoned jacket and buttoned jacket.

IT FIT!  Well, to be absolutely truthful, the bottom button was just a little bit tight, but the skirt fits without me bulging out over the top of it.

This jacket is a little bit low cut, showing cleavage without a cami underneath, so I would not feel comfortable in it unless I had a cami on, which means even a thin one would add a little bulk.  So, not sure about wearing it to the wedding.

Sooooo, I tried on my other two "summer suits" that I also had not tried on for at least 9 years and - THEY FIT TOO!

Oh Joy!

I really love how this purple one fit - no "tight button" issues at all with this jacket, and the cut is very flattering - I even look like I have a waist in it; it is cut slightly shorter than the suit jacket above, so obviously the proportions have a great deal to do with it; and perhaps there was a slightly more generous cut through the waist area, too:

It's cut high enough in the neckline so I wouldn't have to wear a cami underneath.  You can't tell from the photo, but the buttons are purple with gold-toned trim around the outer edge.

And finally, I tried on this suit - I just adore the color:

The buttons on this suit are blue to match the material, and have a silver-toned outer edge.  The jacket is slightly longer than the other two and has a slimming effect on my from-the-side silhouette. 

The material for the top and middle suits is poly-crepe.  The bottom suit is also poly but the material has a sheen and a texture that reminds me of shantung silk.  All are fully lines jackets and skirts so no hassles with slips underneath.

I believe I had mentioned a post or two ago that I had tried on the dress I wore to a nephew's wedding back in 2004.  It fit okay - actually, it looked a little big underneath the arms and across the top, but it would have been fine -- and I'll bet my sisters would have remembered that I wore that to the last family wedding, too (dang).  I didn't think it would go well with my new black shoes because it is a light floaty material with a pastel floral design.  Also, ruffles.

Hmmmm, I'm not really a ruffles type of gal these days.  My tailored suits, on the other hand, I've always loved them -- as you can tell - keeping them in my closet all these years (they were all purchased in early 2002). 

Now I've got OPTIONS!  I'm so happy!  And seeing that scale go down week after week, it really has been an incentive to keep going. 

My current goal is to get to 170.  Oh, probably not by Friday.  But once I get to 170, I'll be working on 5 pound increments.  I figure if I can keep losing 4 pounds every 4 weeks or so, in June of 2013 I'll have totally redone myself -- from 180 to 138.  Back to a size 10!

Sooooo, the question NOW, darlings, is WHICH SUIT DO I WEAR???

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Chessly Gift Bags Were a Hit!

Good old Mr. Don came through.  I didn't know if he'd be up to making the long trek to the Olympic Stadium in Montreal where "our" Goddesschess 2012 Canadian Women's Chess Championship started yesterday, but he did, and he took photos and video!  Those will be posted at our Chess, Goddess and Everything blog. 

Thanks to Mrs. Dumont who received the box of goodies I shipped to Montreal and (with the help of her daughter) actually put the gift bags for the players together and got them delivered to the playing venue:

The saga of the bags not all being the same, oy!  Originally I thought there were going to be 9 players, so I purchased 9 bags all the same (the black and white print with pink ribbon and handles) and that was the entire stock of this particular style of bag at the Walgreens near my home.  When it came time to add more bags because there were more players (I only learned that 2 days before I shipped the items to Montreal), I did not find identical bags but I was thinking no sweat, I'll just get more at the Walgreens downtown near my office.  Disaster!  The day I went to that Walgreens to buy 3 additional bags, they had only a very small selection and none of the style I wanted!  No black bags, either.  I ended up buying the white bags with the polka dots on them as a neutral compromise and added colored tissue paper and shipped those with the rest of items and bags to be assembled.  I did not want to wait an extra day to ship the box to Montreal  (it went out FedEx last Wednesday evening) just so I could go to the Pick 'n Save near home and buy three more gift bags in a similar but not identical black and white print -- it would have been my luck that the Pick 'n Save would have had only 2 bags of that style left when I finally got there!  It was nail-biting enough as it was to ship the box on Wednesday, and paying extra to get it to Montreal the very next day.

Mrs. Dumont did a fab job putting these together, and the white polka dot bags look great! Thank you, Thank you, THANK YOU!

It was reported to me that the bags were a BIG hit, particularly with the younger ladies.  There are a couple of 11-12 year olds playing in this important championship, and several other teenagers.  Age, of course, does not matter across the chessboard - its your skill and steady nerves and a will to win that count there. 

By the way, I don't remember if I mentioned this or not -- I did end up buying engraved silver-plated compact mirrors for each of the players, to accompany the little Sam Moon mini-purses/wallets and the cool crown style purse hangers.  The engraved compact mirrors turned out beautifully. I neglected to take any photographs, though.  That's what I get for rushing!  Next time I will plan more carefully and give myself WAY more time to execute something like this.  Whew! 

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Online Window Shopping at Gump's!

No secrets here - I haven't exactly been well lately but I'm still alive and kicking.  I see a heart specialist (a male) on the 8th and I'm not pleased about that.  I am looking for a female specialist.  Male doctors do not know how to treat female patients; well, I shouldn't stereotype, should I.  So, I'll just say that most male doctors tend to treat female patients like penis-less men.  That just isn't going to work with me and, in fact, medically it's been proven that treatments that work on men are not necessarily the best for the female of our species.

And so,  I have plans, darlings, plans.  I have a treatment regime about 95% set for myself based on experimental results I've read about recently if it turns out I have the condition that my primary care doc seems to think I have (I'm not at all sure I have what she thinks).  I just have to figure out the right dosage and I won't need any of their frigging uber-expensive poisons that really won't help my condition at all, just mask the symptoms a little bit (if and when those symptoms actually begin to appear on a regular basis). Don't worry about me darlings, I ain't planning on checking out any time soon.  You can take that to the bank.  Or you can put that in a pipe and smoke it, your choice :) 

Okay, enough of that stuff.  Yesterday I received a new catalog from Gump's and I drooled my way through it.  Such beautiful - and pricey things!  There are a couple of terracotta castes of Tang Dynasty horses that I just adore, but the smaller one (16" tall) is $199!  The larger one (25" tall) is a whopping $329.  Sigh.  I don't know what it is about Tang Dynasty horses, but they get me every time.  I have my "look for less" versions but oh, to be able to just plunk down money whenever I wanted on somehing I want, just for the hell of it, and not have to worry about budgets and a new roof.

So, to entertain myself today and because it's too hot and humid to work outside, I'm visiting Gump's online sale.  I always find cute things there and get great ideas for relatively inexpensive gifts and accents.  Here's what I like right now:

Isn't this adorable!  It's on sale for $19.99 - quail key hook.  Cast of brass, it has a verdigris finish that highlights each detail. Mounting hardware included.  8 1/2"L x 4 1/2"H.

Now I know the crafy of you out there can probably make these for less, but I'm lazy and not so crafty anyway, that's why I go for stuff like this when I can find it at what I consider a reasonable price:

Six mossy orbs (basket not included) made from preserved moss - the real thing -- for $18.99.  You receive  Small: 2 1/2" diam.; Medium: 4" diam.; and Large: 6" diam.  Set of 6 (three small, two medium and one large).

If you're like me, you WILL need one of these:

It's a hide-a-key and so cute!  A secret compartment inside this rustic sculpture is the perfect place to conceal your house key. Tuck it among garden greenery for a charming and functional accent.  Made of cast iron, 4 1/2"L.  On sale for $14.99.  There is also a froggy on sale.

This item isn't on sale but I love it -- such a unique shape and design; it sort of reminds me of a honeycomb, but also a hornet's nest (eek!), and a pine cone, too:

It's $15.00 every day price.  Handcrafted textured white ceramic vase displays your favorite flowers with modern elegance.  Approximately 4" diam. x 3"H.