Wednesday, December 25

Merry Christmas 2013

HO HO HO! I hope your season is merry and bright. Thank you for your friendship and hanging out with me over the years. You mean a lot to me.

I came across this photo from a few years ago and decided to post it. Riley is with the angels now. Our tree is dark this year but we have a lot of decorations around the house and it's festive.

I visited Facebook this morning and it seems like the speed and ease of smart phones and social media have surpassed old-fashioned blogging. I still enjoy the process of writing to the ol' blog, just for the simple joy of doing it. Gosh, times have changed. Remember memes? And badges? Maybe you still have them. Once they took my blog reader away I stopped visiting blogs. I'm bad.

Today is Christmas across the world, and I hope every child is happy. There have been so many ads with sick and starving children (and animals) on's heartbreaking.

We will celebrate Christmas two days after the fact when the kids come in. It doesn't matter to me what day it is and it makes their busy lives easier.

I got Netflix hooked up--it wasn't easy, but after much sweating and swearing the two wireless thingies finally shook hands across the airwaves and it works seamlessly. I love it! I have a stronger internet signal and I can watch MY kind of stuff in the bedroom when Jim's basketball and football games are on. Yesterday I watched a biopic about Nilsson. What a voice.

I'm still sick and on a second round of antibiotics. Whatever I caught in Asia really leveled me. I don't feel too bad now, but I'm cautious. I'm resting as much as time will permit and I dialed down the elaborateness of the dinners. I had planned to get some golf practice in before I play a couple of rounds next week, but that just ain't gonna happen. Being sick during the holidays is a royal pain in the ass.

We are having short ribs of beef with mashed potatoes for "Christmas Eve," braised chicken breasts with a zillion cloves of garlic for "Christmas Dinner," and, for a dinner party with friends on the 29th, Pork roast with brown and wild rice and spinach salad. Simple stuff that pretty much cooks itself with a timer.

I called our agent and told her to lower the price on the house. The curtain goes up for our encore open house on Saturday, January 4. Maybe the new year will bring new energy to our endeavor. I hope so. I know you are all keeping your fingers crossed for us.

I wish you the best of holidays and a happy, prosperous, and healthy 2014! With love.

Thursday, December 19

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas


This is not my dog, obviously. I just liked the photo.

SPOILER ALERT: This is not the most cheerful of posts, it’s somewhat of a rant, and not very interesting. I have had a string of curious bad luck lately. Nothing major, thank goodness, we’re all healthy—well pretty much, the cold lingers annoyingly, but we have no broken bones and the roof is still on the house, for which we are grateful. But challenges.

It started with the tree shorting out. The beautifully decorated tree still sits dark, waiting to be kicked to the curb in a couple weeks.

The carpet shampooer, which as been stored in the garage, developed a major leak and went kaput in the middle of a job, soaking the bedroom carpet. Everything stored in this heat falls apart or dies. It’s a tough world out here, I tell ya.

The doorbell/intercom system developed a short, it clicks all the live-long day and music goes on in the bedrooms at odd hours—it has a mind of its own. I tried to fix just the clicking part, but we had to unplug it to shut it up. Now we have no doorbell, not that that’s a huge deal, but we’re trying to sell the house.

The garage door frame decided to warp and now the garage door sticks at one spot and makes an ominous, frightening bang when you open it.

We bought ourselves a blue ray player and hooked it up successfully, but it needs to be hard-wired to the internet. We only have wireless in this house. I’ll figure it out eventually (or not), but it’s just one more brick in the wall.

The printer has been giving me fits for months. It dries up so I need to replace the ink cartridges often, but it kept getting worse. I finally spent some time with it yesterday and cleaned the heads (who knew), and it’s better, but my pictures still have green stripes at one inch intervals.

We had the windows washed and, shortly thereafter, while the golf course rainbird sprinklers were spraying huge plumes of reclaimed water, a wind storm blew it toward our house and the windows are covered with tiny white dots. The wind never comes from the south.

But the fireplace, which wouldn’t light last year, goes on with one click this year. Bizarre! Makes a high-pitched whistle, though.

Our house is still for sale. I buried a St. Joseph statue in the front yard but the magic hasn’t happened. We’ve had several showings in recent days, and our hopes and expectations have been high (highs are usually followed by lows). But yesterday our agent said “we’ll talk after the holidays.” That had a fatalistic ring to it, so we reassessed the game plan and our strategy. We still want to chase the dream. We’re going to drop our price and hang in there. I’m not giving up! Roar!

I haven’t played golf and I haven’t sewn a dang thing. My days are pretty much all about keeping the house perfect and prepping for the holidays, and trying to fix things that are broken. We’ve seen a lot of movies, though. The most recent one, Out of the Furnace with Christian Bale and a top-notch cast, was bleak and dispiriting. It is set in BRADDOCK, Pa. — This tiny steel town offers a perverse message of hope: Things cannot possibly get any worse than they are here.

Whew! Over here on the sunny side of life, the gifts are all wrapped, the holiday dinner menus decided, we have healthcare insurance, and despite these little challenges, life is very, very good. I’m looking forward to seeing friends and family, partying, and playing some golf over the holidays. It’s all good.

I hope your holidays are full of fun, frolic, and family. And feasting. Can’t forget that.

Tuesday, December 10

It’s Pretty, But….


It’s dead.

Dead as in doesn’t light. Well, it will light, but it burns out after about one hour and melts the fuse. It has a short somewhere. What we learned is, pre-wired trees have a shelf life. Who knew! Of course you don’t learn it’s in it’s final hours of life until you get it all decorated. I am not getting a new tree. Maybe at an after-Christmas sale. Hey! Great idea, Ri!

Life has its little disappointments. Another, slightly larger, one is that we have not sold our house. We missed the deadline for the release of the lots at the place we want to buy because our house is not in escrow. But there is one more [final] release coming in February, so we have one more opportunity. But it’s a drag to have open houses every week. It gets old.

We’ve got big plans for the holidays, the kids and grands are coming, and we’ll do our usual party-til-you-drop New Year’s festivities.

I hesitate mentioning how cold it is because I know everybody is suffering way more than I am, but it’s really cold here, too. 

Well, that’s all the news. I’ve been working on another photo book, this one on Asia, but there’s nothing quilty going on because I don’t want to mess up the studio. It’s staged.

Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you and your loved ones can be together for Christmas.