Wednesday, December 31, 2008

One Year Ago Today...How very (un) X-pected!

Can you imagine? I've actually stuck with something for more than a week or two! Very (un) X-pected, if you know me!

I started this blog thing one year ago today! I started it by making the mistake of creating a New Year's Resolution list. Bad idea. Below we'll revisit said list and see how I did. Please leave now and get some kleenex. You will either be laughing so hard you'll cry, or simply crying...well, read and you'll see why. I'll let you in on the state of each of my resolutions after one year - that'll be in red! (By the way? I am embarrassed to share this, to say the least!)  

Behold the very first blog:

~

Here I am, once again at the end of another year.... Could it have possibly gone any faster? NO - it seems like just yesterday! I think not! So many changes this past year, most good, some not so good, and all happening in record time it seems. As I've done every damn year since my teens (that was loooong ago), I've spent this last day of 2007 thinking about and making a list of all the deeds I most definitely will accomplish in 2008. (This, of course, includes most of the deeds I most definitely was going to accomplish in 2007.)

1. I will finally exercise religiously and regularly (stop laughing!!)  didn't happen, dammit!

2. I will finally find a damn diet that actually works. Hmmm....I'm beginning to suspect that diets might actually work better if you follow them for longer than three days. I promise I will follow this new diet for every day of 2008.........I have never made that promise before......well, maybe I have......oh well......I'll be honest about my progress or lack thereof........I promise!! didn't happen, dammit!

3. I will pick up my clothes in my bedroom and put them where they belong EVERY NIGHT. My husband had the nerve to tell me today that the floor was not considered another closet...didn't happen, dammit, unless you count a few days here and there and not consecutive days at that!

4. I will find a pair of blue jeans that actually fit me and don't fall down. When you have no waist (because of age and weight, not preggers stuff, thank God!) it is very difficult to keep pants up. Of course if I fully embrace #'s 1 and 2, I could actually re-find my waist and then keeping up my pants won't be a problem...didn't happen, dammit!

5. I will pass my damn real estate test. And isn't it a brilliant time to do that?? The worst house market we've had in years and I want to get my damn real estate license. I have never claimed to be practical, didn't happen, dammit! POOH!

6. I will clean out my basement. Actually my husband and I have to do this as we're close to having our house declared a booby-trap hazard. How did it get so out of control??? Didn't happen,dammit!

7. I will start auctioning off all of our stuff from the booby-trap basement on eBay to get rid of it. Didn't happen, dammit!

8. I will learn to record every episode of Brothers & Sisters, Men in Trees, The Biggest Loser and Private Practice. I will also learn what word has replaced the old fashioned "record". That happened and it's a good thing???

9. I will teach my idiot dog not to spend a way too big part of every day barking her damn head off. We're working on this - some success here and there, but not on consecutive days...

10. I will keep this blog up and running and current.....I promise...well, I've tried hard.......and can honestly say I've succeeded! Can you imagine? I've actually stuck with something for one whole year!  Yippee!

~

12/31/08:  What an Xceptional blogging year it's been! I've met lovely new blogging friends, discovered much, whether it's been through words or photos/pictures, and have had just a whole bunch of fun. Thank you, blogiverse for a most Xcellent year! Let's try for two! As for the other resolutions I made...X them out already!

No resolutions this year - just heart-felt thoughts and prayers for a new year that is full of promises realized, new beginnings, happiness and security for all. That's not asking too much, is it?
~~~
xoabb
expect anything!
 

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Carrots...

Stella does not like them...
She is very content without them...
She'd like to know if you have a problem with that...
~~~
xoabb
expect anything!


P.S. I still haven't done anything about obtaining that 
"doggy-green-eye-killer photo-shop thing".  Sorry!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Sunday Serenity

It's been our family tradition for years to have Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas day feasts to rotate between Jules', Kimmy's and my home. I lucked out this year - no gift shopping involved along with this holiday - and did Thanksgiving (had loads of help, was exhausted none-the-less). Kimmy hosted Christmas Eve and Jules Christmas day.  During the beginning of our Christmas day feast, Jules announced in no uncertain terms, she was never doing this again. Kimmy and I concured we weren't doing ours either. From now on everyone is on their own!

Six hours later, at the end of a most wonderful evening, the three of us looked at each other, got a little weepy, and knew we would continue our lovely holiday traditions together indefinitely.

(Above, another ornament from my childhood Christmas tree.) 


What a wonderful Christmas we've had!

Above, the ornament my blogger friend, Donnalyn sent me after I won one of her Blogaversary contests. 
THANK YOU, DLYN! (Stella, the Worlds Best Dog says thanks, too!)

~~~
xoabb
expect anything!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Wishful Thinking...

If only the glass window was gone...

~~~
xoabb
expect anything!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Peace on Earth...

May the spirit of Christmas bring you peace,
The gladness of Christmas give you hope, 
The warmth of Christmas grant you love.
~author unknown

Only joy to my most dear family & friends...
~
Above is an ornament from my childhood Christmas tree. A pine cone with many feathers attached and some sort of face that makes a bird. It's a little worse for wear after all these years, but with each Christmas that I see it, I'm transported back in time...what wonderful times they were! The Christmases of my childhood...o the lovely memories each of them hold!

~~~
xoabb
expect anything!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Women Friends....

Aren't they just the best???


~~~

xoabb
expect anything!



Tuesday, December 23, 2008

MY World - A Necessary Narration...

Saugatuck River with the tide going out. 
My school building and ~The Stuart Collection
reside along the banks of this river. 
I've close ties to both. 
Obviously my mallards have lost their way....
Excuse me!  Sasqua Pond Road!! That's your home!!!
Go back NOW!!!

All we girls gathered at Polly Rae's home tonight
to celebrate the Xmas holidays...
and also, unbeknownst to her, to celebrate a soon-
to-be birthday as well!  (Miss Kim, above).
Isn't she lovely?? (O dear -that's a Stevie Wonder song, yes?)
Holiday celebrations and birthday celebrations...
What a wonderful time was had by all of us!!!
And a very happy b-day, Miss Kim!
~~~

And now on a sad side note....
As you all know, much to my angst, ~The Stuart Collection~, the store I moon-light at, is closing. To add phenomenal insult to phenomenal injury, yesterday morning, some very unkind human(s) shop-lifted every single piece of our Vietri cutlery samples from the pictured display case. No, obviously none of we workers working were aware of the theft. (This has never been the kind of store shoplifters regularly visit.) We figure a lookout was watching the register part of the store, where most of us were, while the shoplifters were quickly - and silently - loading all the flatware into their bags...and quickly escaping. It's been reported to the police and I hope we get ~lucky~ and the baddies are caught. Not much of a chance...but still!

I think I'm losing faith in we humans.....

~~~
xoabb
expect anything!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Sunday Serenity

Not a lot of serenity for annie today...
No internet at home and for no apparent reason.
So on this first full day of winter,
And because of very limited photo resources,
I leave you with a touch of spring serenity.


Magnificent tree peonies in
my parents' MO garden, spring 2008
Emailed photo courtesy of mumbum (my mom).

~~~
xoabb
expect anything!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

One Drop

12 past 6, am
Turkeys still sleep on tree limbs...
But...sun's in the drop...

~~~
xoabb
expect anything!

P. S. If you look closely at the top left corner of the picture, you will see light reflected off of a dew drop. It's the rising sun. How lucky I was to catch that! Couldn't have planned it if I had to! You just get lucky every once and a while. 
BTW - those turkeys roost in that particular tree every sunset, and fly down every sunrise. I personally think that's quite an uncomfortable way to spend the night. But what do I know...

Friday, December 19, 2008

NOW it's Finally...The MOST Wonderful Day!

I had a very bad calendar date remembering day yesterday and wished my folks a happy 60th. One day early...o dear...As I wrote yesterday but applies to today, the 19th: 
December 19, 1948
Today, exactly 60 years ago, our most wonderful parents had the good sense to marry each other. They've abided all these years, through thick and thin, gathering family and friends along for the ride, and what do they have to show for it?? Just an enormous bunch of folks, be they family or friends (really one and the same) who love them dearly and would do anything for the two them! What a wonderful life they've had...and have given to us - actually everyone they've loved and who love them. (That loving them part is so very easy to do!) 
Sky Watch Friday, yup, also part of this post.
Above, the church where my parents were married,
 California, MO.


Dad was part of the Korean War effort - in a  MASH unit - can you believe it?!? 
He and mom had a 6 month furlough in Japan (where this photo was taken). 

~
Just love to you, our dearest parents...what a gift you've been! 

Not only to us, your children, but to every life you've ever touched. 

The happiest of anniversaries to the two of you, 
with lots and lots of loves and hugs from (me!!) all of us who hold you 
so very close to our hearts!
Blessings!

~~~
xoabb (et al)
expect anything!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

For Cryin' Out Loud!

Just got a call from my mother-dearie.
My parent's anniversary is tomorrow.
Not today.
Tomorrow. 
Dammit. 

~~~

xoabb
expect anything! 
sometimes even the wrong thing!

P. S. To those who might be confused about what the above refers to: Earlier today I had posted a photo of my parents along with happy 60th anniversary wishes. If you had stopped by before 10am today, you would have seen it. If this is your first visit, just come on back tomorrow and you'll be able to see it posted on the correct date. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A V kind of Day - Verklempt

It's what I have been of late...


~~~
xoabb
expect anything!


Added 9:55 am: P. S. Such a wonderful Yiddish word - I love the way it rolls off one's tongue. I've always used to mean "I'll all done in - have nuthin' more to give - simply verklempt!"  Just looked it up and its definition is  "overcome with emotion".  Basically what I thought it meant - and definitely what I've been of late...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

My World - A Necessary Doggy Trip

Miss Stella was due for her necessary annual trip to our friendly vet for her various prods, shots and such. Took out the leash, she became ecstatic, went running for the car and leapt in. On the way, as you can see, she was as happy as a dog can be. Got to the parking lot...got out of the car...everything is still good because there are so very many other doggy smells to process. And then...we went in the door. Ohhhh noooooo. Stella knows that smell. And it's not good. All of the sudden I have a big 80 lb. baby of a dog jumping up on me imploring me to get her the heck out of here! 
In short order we did. Stella passed all her tests with flying colors and is good to go, chasing squirrels and wild turkeys for another year.
 
A small part of My World, but My World none-the-less!

And now for your viewing pleasure, a video of the most snow-loving dog I've ever seen. Someone emailed this to me and I just had to share it - it's the doggy definition of ~fun~! 

~~~
xoabb
expect anything!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Fleeting...

Bud, our good neighbor that lived in the home seen above (across the pond from our house) died last week. It was such a shock to read the obituaries and see his name. Our families weren't socially close and we weren't called upon his death - which wasn't expected - but we did come together to save and support our mutual pond, so we knew him more than just in passing. 
When I last saw and spoke to him a few months ago, he looked so, well, vibrant.  Tomorrow I'll call his widow and see if there's anything we can do for her. Of course, soup will be made and taken to their home and his memorial service will  be attended...but I wish there was something more I could do for her, his ~Dolly~. It was a second marriage for both, and now Dolly is burying her second husband. This has to be so very difficult for her, but I know she has many children and grandchildren and hope that will ease her somewhat. But still... 

Bud, if you're listening, God speed, good man. You will be missed!

~~~
xoabb
expect anything!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Sunday Serenity


Precious one,
So small, 
So sweet

Dancing in
on angel feet
Straight from heaven's
brightest star

What a miracle
you are!

~author unknown

~~~
xoabb
expect anything!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

There's Someone Else??

I thought having just Stella take over my bed was bad enough...

(sigh)

~~~

xoabb
expect anything!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Sky Watch Friday...

Day is Done....
May the Future be Good...
(Though it might take a bit longer to get to ~good~ than any of us want.)

~~~
xoabb
expect anything!


Photo: Westport, CT: 12-2-08, 5:20pm

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Snowed Under...

I've worked part-time at Stuart Collection in Westport, CT for a number of years now. The first owners, Steve and Stu, were wonderful folks who grew the store well and after 14 years got tired of the retail business and decided to sell. In stepped Nancy and Chris. The times were high - our economy was better than ever and the new owners had about a year of tremendous growth...then the economy of our dear old US of A went to hell in the proverbial hand-basket. Nancy and Chris held on as long as they possibly could, then last Saturday called all of us in and told us it was over. Stuart Collection in Westport, CT would be no more. 

I feel just terrible for these two good people who happened to get into something that should have been very prosperous at exactly the wrong time. As my compatriot Doro said - "it was the perfect storm...everything that could possibly have gone wrong did".  In spades. 

Good times will come again! 
Won't they??? 

xoabb
expect anything!


P. S. Though Stuart Collection's anchor store in Westport, CT is closing December 24th, their West Hartford, CT store will remain open. AND their online store is open as well! Do visit! Mail orders and bridal registries are their specialties! Shameless plug, I know, but I love this store and its people, so forgive me the indulgence! 'K?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

ABC Wednesday - a U kind of day...

Underwater
With heads underneath
the water, the mallards find
Sweet ducky treats

Underwater no more
A perfect photo moment!
STELLA! Where are you???

Do you all have any idea what a burden it is for me to 
capture wildlife around my home with Stella always hovering 
in the background, ready to protect me from any 
breathing thing - even a duck floating in the pond? Do you???
Impossible at times, just impossible!

~~~
xoabb
expect anything!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

My World (Is Annoying of Late)

Dear Squirrel Proof Bird Feeder Company, 

While your product is one of beauty and does feed the birds oh so very well, as you can see from the above photo...squirrel proof?? Not so much!  I am sure whomever designed this feeder was convinced squirrels weighed no less than 2 pounds at any time in their lives. Rest assured the squirrels of Connecticut do not fit that weight criteria. I really do think it is time for your company to go "back to the drawing board" and redesign your weight sprung spring system. Obviously. If you need further proof, please refer to the sideways-viewed video below. 

Love, TSannie

As an aside, NO one told TSannie that videos when edited can't be flipped...thus...camera can't be flipped, but must stay straight on while actually recording something. However, even a sideways video confirms above story. (Funny, sideways is part of the name of last Saturday's post as well.) 

Tilt your head to the left and enjoy!
that's one smart squirrel!
video
~~~
xoabb
expect anything!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Sunday Serenity

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas...
12/7/8

11/7/8

~~~
xoabb
expect anything!

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Sweeping Saturday Sideways

Saturday Sweeps - Stella, Socks, Turkey Struts
A Stella Invasion
GB got out of bed just a bit ago to satisfy his ice cream sundae obsession. When that business was dispensed with, off he trotted back to bed. Shortly after I heard, "Ann! You gotta come up here and see this - and bring your camera!" (He's learning, folks, he's learning!) Off I go. She didn't even move when the flash went off. Stella is the definition of utter prone relaxation. (By the way? She's just pretending to be asleep.)

My Dirty Little Secret 
(actually it's my clean little secret in this case as they've all been laundered.)
For all the years I've had more than me in a home (just about forever), I have not been a willing sock sorter, (actually I've never been a sock sorter - just ask my mother). I've finally given a lot of thought to this and have come to several conclusions:
1. It is not fun. 
2. Since their teen years, the 3 females in this family have worn the same size sock and the 2 males have worn the same size sock, and all my kids still do their laundry here. Guess what? Not a one of them likes to sort socks (I wonder why??). Thus mass sock confusion continues to reign.
3. I simply cannot throw away odd socks. I just know I'll find its mate 5 minutes after the garbage truck pulls away with odd sock in it. Case in point, some of those socks you see in the odd socks basket have been in there for at least 2, maybe 3, years. And I've found matches for some of them at times! I really have! I have a problem.
4. I spent 4 hours last weekend gathering up every dang sock I could find in the house, washing them if needed and pairing all of them I possibly could. I united many an odd sock and it made me quite happy. Let's just say the sorted and paired sock haul was an embarrassment of paired sock riches...and I really do have a problem.

Finally...
video
...the Struttin' Fancy that greeted me at 7:15 am this morning

video
Then they performed the Struttin' Snub for me...
Their way of saying, "Get back in the car and go to work!"

So I did.
And now it's Saturday!

~~~
xoabb
expect anything!

P. S. Thanks so very much to all of you for the embiggen suggestions -
 I tried several of them, and it seems to be working thus far. 
Yes, I'm so very thrilled that sock photo can be made big - just so very thrilled. (sigh)

Friday, December 05, 2008

SWF - Gold Reflections

I was off on a necessary adventure (grocery store) when I looked to my left and saw the setting sun reflected off the gold of the cross atop the steeple of Assumption Church. It was simply beautiful against the evening sky.
 Of course, I then had to see what it looked like from the other side of the church, so....

...I drove around to the back parking lot and saw this
Four illuminated specks of gold against a dusky evening sky.

Just lovely!

~~~
xoabb
expect anything!


(And no, you can't click on the photos to make them larger, because I'm an idiot and cannot make that cute little function work! Don't know what I'm doing wrong (and will so welcome all solutions to this problem) as it used to work all the time and now, simply doesn't. I am very irritated!)

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Favorite Word of the Day...

Lament:  A song or poem expressing grief, regret or mourning...

Oh noooo....

YUM, I'll eat this up...
Thanksgiving food left alone!
Oh! I'm discovered!

Curses! A feast foiled!
They have caught me in the act!
My humans are baaaad!

~
Miss Stella-Bella spent a good many hours outdoors on the days following Thanksgiving. Suffice it to say, her  Turkey-day food haul was astoundingly ginormous and we really didn't want to know the end of that particular story...

Do excuse her ET eyes...cameras should come equipped with not only red-eye erase ability, but pet (green)-eye erase ability as well. Someday!

~~~
xoabb
expect anything!

P.S. - That tilted thing in the photo is a disposable pepper grinder I bought at Costco (wonderful, by the way). Must warn you, if you have a shelf above your cooktop, it is not a good idea to put disposable plastic pepper grinders on said shelf. They will soon take on a shape all their own. 


Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Totally Toasted Turkey...

ABC Wednesday...It's a T!

I swore I wouldn't share this pic that someone else, and certainly not me took of our Thanksgiving deep-fried turkey. To say it was a failure would be kind...to the turkey. Above is our bird just after GB walked into the house, holding up a black blob, proclaiming: "Houston! We've got a problem!"
As you know, we've been armed with many new outdoor cooking apparatuses of late. But I failed to mention that one of these is a turkey deep fryer. Little did we know just how bad our last deep fryer had become. It just wasn't getting that hot. Of our new one, as GB said, "that sucker went from 350º to 495º in just a matter of seconds!" OK, it probably was a matter of minutes, as wine was involved.

But, as we discovered, even out of something presumably terrible, something tremendous can happen. Though the legs disintegrated when merely touched, the breast meat was actually quite good. Next year we'll try harder, because if this baby is deep fried correctly, the skin and meat are to die for!
These old Turkey Birds? No deep fryers for them!

~~~
xoabb
expect anything!


Tuesday, December 02, 2008

One Lone Duck...

My "Backyard" World...Abstracted...

Wonderful neighbors to our left and our right. 
Ducks abound among other creatures,
(tho there's just one in this photo),
On this pond of ours...
Right now, isn't it just a
Perfect autumnal scene?
Ahh! That's my world!


~~~
xoabb
expect anything!



Monday, December 01, 2008

A Very Good Thing Will Now Continue...

The smoked turkey...
One of the three birds that has 
graced our Thanksgiving table over the years. 
~
Our gas grill died a stunning death just about a month ago. Stunning because we use our gas grill at least five nights a week and I really don't know what we did for all those dinners we were without it. Just before Thanksgiving it became obvious we really had to replace said dead grill, as it had become quite crucial to our (read my) sane existence to do so. 
And so GB went out on the ~Great Gas Grill Hunt~, as only a male can do. He was quite successful (surprise!)! And upon his return, he told me he also got me a present. It wasn't much of a pretty present, nor one a girl would think of as romantic, but to me, it was just perfect (because sentiments of times past were definitely getting in the way).
This is the Super Smoker GB and I received as a wedding present 31 years ago this coming April. Last Thanksgiving '07 it smoked us up one heck of a perfect turkey bird. This just past Thanksgiving, not so much...  
On Wednesday around 5:00pm, I got this year's turkey ready for smoking, (secretly thinking I'd put her on our old smoker just for, well, memories sake). GB took me to task and told me not to be such a sentimental old fool. ("Sentimental old fool" is quite easy for me to do on any given occasion, just ask The Hallmark Channel - I weep at the drop of an "I love you".) Fine!, I thought, I'll show him - we'll just use the new smoker! Well...I read the directions...and the new smoker had to be cured for three hours. Fine!, I thought, I'll show that new smoker! I'll start the turkey in the old smoker, and use it one more sentimental time. Tried that - the outlet shorted out. Tried a different outlet - it shorted out too. Oh dear - broken! Weep, weep! 30 years of service...over!   
Though I didn't want to give up the old smoker (after 30 years?!!? sacriledge!!), it seemed it wanted to give us up. Sentiment isn't all it's cracked up to be. (sigh)

The above new (bright red!!!) smoker did a turkey bird that was just over the top! 

Though I don't give up turkey secrets easily, 
maybe I will if anyone wants the recipe. 
Once you taste this....
Well, let's just say, you'll never be the same!

~~~
xoabb
expect anything!