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


Saturday, December 9, 2017

Christmas 2017 Tree and Mantle

It's finished!

Hola!  Finished at last (yesterday).  I need to shovel - we got 2 inches of fresh snow overnight:
Looking out from the front door.
Here's the mantle!  You can see the snow blowing outside the window and one of
two pine trees along the driveway.  I am going to add another string of LED lights, and maybe
some ribbon; it's just looking a little bare to me right now.  Maybe I'll remove the clock and
put something else there, too.  The balance is off.  The candles and votives are all lit at night.
The deer are looking up toward the Shining Star.  There's another one hiding underneath
the Norfolk pine on the coffee table, also looking up at the star (not shown).

This was taken the day before yesterday, before I decorated the mantle.
Here's the same shot angle taken this morning, the now decorated
mantle is in the background.  I also added a few extra gold pine cones
here and there and tweaked the French ribbon a bit although it doesn't look like it.
I kept it simple again this year (but not as simple as last year).  I used the French ribbon and decorations I haven't used in several years, along with a collection of hand-blown crystal ornaments purchased at the "Egyptian" store at Southridge Mall on Christmas Eve day in 2008.  Inexpensive gold pine cones, a dozen white frosted "tear drops" (from Oriental Trading Company online), and a dozen silver glitter snowflakes were also used to fill in some gaps (all purchased in past years). The topper is a concoction of five beaded picks, two ancient feather sprays at least forty years old, one each gold glittered "wheat" and "floral" picks and two gold painted pinecones on long picks, purchased in years past from Pick 'n Save supermarket's floral department.

I took my time decorating over two days and tweaked yesterday, enjoying the process while listening to jazzy Christmas classics on Radio Tunes online.

You can probably tell that my "theme" was gold and silver in the living room.  The kitchen and dinette, pictured in previous posts, were done in red, black, gold and green, to accompany my beloved two-foot tall countertop tree decorated with cardinals and my collected cardinal decor.

The rest of the photos are close-ups of the tree.  Warning: I'm not a good photographer and my 5 pixel camera is now 12 years old :)

Champagne colored crowned bird, silver glitter snowflakes, gold pointsettias
and lots of gold French ribbon.

Egyptian hand-blown crystal elephant. He is
one of my favorites.

The tree topper mash-up.  You can see another one of my elephants on top
of the curio cabinet filled with my chess sets in the background.  Yep - chess.
One of four gold birds bought on clearance at Macy's in 2014 or 2015.
The tree looks a bit bare during the day but at night, when the tons of lights are
on, it lights up half the house (rather like an airport runway) and individual
ornaments are then highlighted.
Here's the tree topper at night - see how bright those lights are, wowsers.
This is what you see when you come in the front door.
Acrylic "crystal" beaded snowflake, acrylic snowflake (side profile),
glass frosted tear drops, gold pine cone (tucked in).
Egyptian hand-blown bell and gold-tipped final.
Close-up of my little Egyptian hand-blown glass ornament:
my elephant.  The gold decorations on him really show up.

Here's my little crystal elephant at night.
Another Egyptian hand-blown crystal finial.
Gold-striped Egyptian crystal ornament.

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