April 6, 2019:


The income taxes are finished and were taken to the Post Office yesterday to send out via certified mail, which now costs nearly $16 for two 8 1/2 11 envelopes with return receipt. Yikes! But worth it because I have proof positive once I get the little green cards back that the returns were delivered and received. And just in case, there are tracking numbers that I can also tap the U.S. Post Office for to verify that delivery was made. In these times, it's better to be safe than sorry

I have been working in little bits and pieces outdoors whenever a window in our crappy weather has presented itself. Today, however, was the first day where I was able to spend an extended period of time outside. First, I cleaned up areas on the sidewalk and driveway along the edges where pine cones and branches tiny branches blown off during the seemingly wind storms we endured over fall and winter 2018-2019. After resting for a bit, and removing the winter hat, gloves and jacket, I moved to the back yard because I'm sick of feeling sick to my stomach every time I look at it through the patio doors in the dining room and window above the kitchen sink. This winter left it a true disaster zone. I worked steadily raking small areas and filled two trash can size black trash bags full of debris blown down from my arborvitaes and neighboring trees over the winter, in addition to about half a ton of nut shells. The nut shells are my fault because I feed all the neighborhood squirrels. They are so entertaining, and very smart! I also made a small dent in starting clean-up of the flower beds, where the "mild" (ahem) weather and thawed earth has encourages perennials to start popping through, whether I'm ready for them or not!

All in all, a somewhat decent start to making a larger dent in clean-up operations. I worked outdoors about 4 hours off and on. I didn't want to overdo it, and truth be told, I'm pooped! It's humbling to not be able to work as long or as hard as I used to. I can get it done, but I have to take lots of rest breaks so it takes quite a bit longer now. Good thing I'm retired


Sunday, December 7, 2014

Christmas Tree Finished In Time! Christmas Tree Reveal

Whew!  Hola everyone.

The 2014 version of our investment club's Christmas get-together came and went successfully!  I'm happy to say that, despite my anxiety over being able to bring a decent-looking tree together yesterday, the Christmas tree was a big hit with young and young at heart.  We had a wonderful breakfast out and then our gift exchange back at my place, seated around the tree.

Gayle's granddaughters got a tour of this new Maison Newton and gave me their seal of approval.  Ahhhhh, vindication!  The older granddaughter, Josie, pronounced "I like it" in a very decided fashion.  I said well, it's not as big as my former house, but it's okay for me.  Josie said "It's bigger than my house."  That took me aback for a second, I have to tell you.  Yes, things must be tight in a 3-bedroom rancher that is less than 1,000 square feet for a family of four with two growing girls.  Dad must feel way outnumbered, too.  I've got an abundance of space by comparison with my 1,073 square feet plus the wreck room and all the extra storage in the garage and covered storage behind the garage, and truly, the former Maison Newton with its two stories and huge yard was getting to be more than I wanted to handle at this stage of my life.  A few years from now, maybe I wouldn't be able to handle it at all!  So, I said to myself, "Self, stop bitching and moaning about your lack of space here, and just deal with it."  Message to Self received.

Without further ado - the GREAT CHRISTMAS TREE REVEAL!   Lots of pictures. I'm not the best photographer, and my camera is "old" (2005) - probably considered an antique by now; I've never learned how to use it properly despite reading the directions many times, and my hands shake sometimes, too.


View of the tree from the dinette/dining area.

Another view of the tree from the dinette area, near the patio door.

One Christmas several years ago (I don't even remember when, me bad!), Mr. Don surprised me with a trinket he'd found on the street near his Montreal apartment.  It was a silouette in stamped metal of the beautiful Egyptian Queen Nefertiti. Nefertiti is still considered one of the most beautiful women to ever have lived, and if you've ever seen a portrait of her bust excavated from the dry sands of Egypt, you'd understand why.  She is a Helen of Troy a thousand years before Helen of Troy was even a gleam in her daddy's eye.  Thousands of people flock each year to the museum in Germany that holds the original sculpture/bust of Nefertiti.  When Mr. Don presented me with this little treasure (he'd even cleaned it up!), I was so touched! He didn't have to say it, I knew then that I was the most beautiful woman in the world to him.

Another Christmas, Mr. Don presented me with a tartan pin that his twin sister bought for him as a souvenir at Castle Duart in Scotland, the ancestral home of the McLeans.  I had done their family tree for them and was able to trace their McLean ancestry back to the 1700s, but no further.  He wanted me to have the tartan pin as a keepsake.  It's been treasured ever since.  

Ach, getting all sentimental here.  Anyway, Nefertiti has been on the tree every year since she was given to me, and when Mr. Don gave me the McLean tartan pin, it was a natural pairing, with a glass heart in between. I really am sentimental :)  It's a little hard to see her in the photo, above, but Nefertiti (me) is there, in front of the sparkly silver snowflake, the heart is center, to the right of "me", and Mr. Don, represented by his tartan pin, is upper right of the glass heart.  I miss you, Mr. Don.  He passed away in his sleep, unexpectedly, on October 12, 2012.

I don't relay this information to be a downer, hope you don't think that, anyone who read this.  He was such a special person in my life for over 13 years, and there's not a day goes by I don't miss him and my heart aches.  But life goes on, and life can be a powerful force for good.  When I see those little trinkets on my tree, I always smile, because our good times were very good.  They're front and center on the tree this year so I am constantly seeing them.

Some close-ups of the rest of the tree:

A close-up of one of the feathered and glittered birds I bought from Gump's on clearance a few years ago.  The faux-filagreed snowflake ornament near the center of the photo is one of four on the tree (one is placed on the "side" of the tree facing each direction) that were hung from the mantel in 2012 and 2013 at Maison Newton II. I bought them during a sale at Boston Store (half off plus another 40% off with coupon) and love, love, love them!  

This year I went all out and put both the feather boas and the long faux partridge feathers on the tree at the same time -- like I said in Saturday night's post -- Sputnik!  But I knew it would work once I was able to get the top of the tree together.  

I knew I wanted to keep the tree "simpler" this year - ha! - and I am proud to tell you that I actually stashed a number of boxes of unused ornaments back down in the basement storage area - miracle! I'm so happy with how it turned out.  Originally I was thinking I'd go more of a "natural/rustic" direction this year - birds, feathers, pinecones, snowflakes.  Not sure this tree qualifies as a natural/rustic look, but it works for me :) and, as I noted way at the beginning, it was a big hit with my guests!  So happy!

Here's the blinged-up tree topper, once I discovered the box that had some gold sprays I used on one (or more) prior year's trees:

I was up really late on December 6, into the early morning hours, trying to pull this all together for the December 7 get-together (which was originally scheduled for December 14!), and very happy with how the tree turned out, especially the topper :)

If you would like to see more of my Christmas decor for Maison Newton III, please check out the next post. (Hint: I explain about the white dove perched on the china hutch/bookcase in the photo above -- you can just make her out in the background).

1 comment:

  1. Hello there! I LOVE your tree! Thanks for visiting The Family Fun Spot and for your kind comment. I wish you the merriest Christmas season!