Secret Garden

Saturday, December 31, 2005

Auld Lang Syne

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Stevie, this is for you:

And I'll email you a ghost story, I promise. Soon.

So, I went shopping today for boots. The pair I saw in the store the other day weren't (:::Gasp:::) leather, so I looked around online at one of our local cowboy stores, and found several pair that would suit me. We headed out to CowtownBoots, and I got a whiff of leather when we opened the first set of doors. It made me giddy! Giddy, I tell you!  We walked in and I felt an adreniline rush, kinda like you'd experience when you're getting ready to do your first free fall base jump or something.  I haven't felt that way in years.  I have wanted to replace my cowboy boots for forever.  Silly, I know, to get so excited about a pair of freakin' boots.  (Or maybe it was the thought of all those real live cowboys who might be inside.)  I spent way more than I wanted to, but they should last me a good long time.

I bought this lovely pair, and put another on hold in my mind for a later date:

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I forgot to mention, when I picked up my check from work on Thursday, Doc had added on a very generous Christmas bonus.  I was both surprised and shocked.  Maybe I can afford that other pair of boots after all.  Heh.
    Just fooling around with the camera, but I liked these two pics:

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I took this picture the other day, just before the sun was to come up.  Yes, it looks lovely, until you realize that's "The Brown Cloud" of smog that hangs over Phoenix on most days.  It's been particularly bad the past few weeks, as there's been no wind. 

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A nearly smog free sunrise looks thusly: Image hosted by

I reckon that's about all I've got for today!


Auld Lang Syne

Should auld acquaintance be forgot
and never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot
and days of auld lang syne?
For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we'll take a cup of kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

Should auld acquaintance be forgot
and never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot
and days of auld lang syne?
And here's a hand, my trusty friend
And gie's a hand o' thine
We'll tak' a cup o' kindness yet
For auld lang syne

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Friday, December 30, 2005

Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire

Image hosted by I saw another shooting star tonight. Go me!

    I ran out to work this morning to check the mail and return phone calls. I have trained our patients well, I reckon. There was only one phone call to return, and that was someone I told to call me this week and let me know which day his partner had off so I could schedule his appointment. I posted all the checks that came in on the computer and the ledger, and I was out of there before I knew it.

It's that time of year. Sales. Mark-downs. Close-outs. I had to go and pick out my color theme for the presents next year. (i.e. pick out my wrapping paper for next Christmas.) I got rolls (and rolls!) of paper with light blue, medium blue and teal colors. (A few even have a little bit of lavender, oh, so pretty!) I like the colors a lot. I can't wait to start wrapping. (I'm kidding!!)  I bought some bows, too, and some "gossamer" ribbon with a few shiney threads interwoven, in light blue that matches the paper perfectly. 
    My watch stopped December 23 at two thirty and four seconds.  I bought a new battery but I can't get the back open. I knew you wanted to know.
    Bryce has a friend coming for the weekend.  He's really quiet, they'll spend the entire time in Bryce's room playing PlayStation, and we'll hardly know he's here. 
    Yesterday while taking Bryce shoe shopping, I saw a pair of cowboy boots I really really want.  I might have to go get them tomorrow.
    Random thoughts from a random mind tonight, I'm afraid.


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And a Partridge in a Pear Tree!

You've been tagged (by Sie)

Here are the rules; the first player of this game starts with the topic. Five weird habits of yourself and people who get tagged need to write an entry about their five weird habits as well as state this rule clearly. In the end, you need to choose the next five people to be tagged and link to their web journals. Don’t forget to leave a comment in their blog or journal that says “You are tagged” (assuming they take comments) and tell them to read yours.

5 weird habits.

(I don't know that all of these are weird, and I really am struggling t make this list. It's taken me two days to think of the first two!)

1. I take about 20 vitamins, minerals and medications each morning. I have to take them in a certain order. I don't know why!

2. If you were to give me a handful of m&m's, Skittles (Oh the horror! ICK!) , or any other candy that comes in more than one color, I would have to sort them before I ate them, and if there are any green ones, I eat those last! (Otherwise I eat them in the closest order of the rainbow that I can, starting with the darkest color fisrt.) The number should be an even number, to make me happy, and if there is only one of any color, I take one from the pile with the most and put it with the loner. 'Cause I always eat them in two's. If there is an odd number in a pile, say, seven, I eat two, then two more, then three. Never just one by itself. Yeah, I guess this one is weird.

3. I take eight itty bitty sips of water to get rid of my hiccups and it works every time!

4. I never buy anything for myself unless it's marked down over fifty percent. Edited to add: OK, well, maybe shoes don't have to be marked down.

5. Appropriate footwear must be worn if leaving the house. (This one's for you Duke!)

I tag the following to do the above "Thingy" (if you haven't already! I think most have done it)

1. Christa

2. Ken

3. Stevie

4. Margo

5. Connie

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Image hosted by The annual making of the "Santa Cookies" was a lot of fun this year. Brock was very appreciative that I saved he and Dee some dough to make their own batches. I think he got tired of decorating after the first two sheets, so the remaing cut outs got a sprinkling of green sugar and that's it. That was OK though, because we had dozens of beautiful cookies that they had spent their creative imaginations decorating. Of course, we alk had to make fun of Hub, because he decorated "The Best Cookie of the Year," as usual. He's such a perfectionist. I mean, look at the candy cane! He probably measured each little jimmy to make sure it was the same size as all the others he was using. He even had to doctor up the cookie before I took the second picture (the first one was blurry) by removing the brown jimmies he had started to use for Santa's boots.Image hosted by

We were beat by the time we fell into bed. We had warned Bryce not to wake us up a minute before seven, otherwise we'd call the North Pole and have Santa take back all the gifts. Turns out he slept the latest of us all. I got up at around five to get the sticky buns out of the fridge so they could warm to room temp by seven, and ended up staying up. I had been tossing and turning, anyway. Brock had heard me coming down the stairs, so he got up, followed by Blaine who had been awake since four thirty. Hub was down the stairs soon after, followed by Dee. We all sat down here laughing and joking until Bryce came down at precisely seven a.m. He said he'd been awake for hours, but none of us believed him. Hee!

Christmas was wonderful, but I always feel a sense of disappointment in the end. Not because of the "things" I got or did not get, but more because there's such a build up to the day, and then it's over for another year. Maybe I am left wondering why we can't experience that happiness year round. Why does it take a tree and dozens of presents to make us all sated?

Shouldn't we be that happy every day?

I leave you with a few more pics of our holiday.

Bryce and his girlfriend decorating cookies ... Image hosted by

Bryce with the guitar he thought he wasn't getting ...

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Dee ...

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Blaine ...

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The tree on Christmas Eve

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Monday, December 26, 2005

What Child is This ?

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Happy Birthday, Jesus.

Santa Claus is Coming To Town

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    Well, here it is, the dawn of Christmas Eve day.  I couldn't sleep.  I've been awake since about three thirty this morning, but I tossed and turned in bed until five thirty or so.  I think I was afraid I'd over sleep, and I have a ton to do today.  Over-sleeping would have really put a damper on the beginning of the day, but it wouldn't have been the end of the world.  This is ridiculous!  I don't want to be tired all day, and I certainly won't have time for a power nap!
    We have to go grocery shopping this morning on the base, and we want to get there when the store opens to avoid all the crazy last minute shoppers.  We, ourselves, are not last minute shoppers, oh, no!  Ha!  I'll be sure next year to time my bimonthly grocery trips so it doesn't coincide with Christmas weekend!  It just turned out this way, it's a shame, I know, I prefer not to go out at all today!
    We have the "Santa's Cookies" get- together this afternoon.   Bryce's girlfriend will be coming, and Blaine wants to decorate when he gets home from work, and Brock and Dee said they will be here around nine thirty tonight (YAY!!) so we will probably be doing the whole decorating deal in shifts, which is fine by me. I was really hoping Dee and Brock could make it over tonight instead of in the morning.  I am pretty sure Dee was really looking forward to the "Santa's Cookie" event, and I wanted her to be able to participate.  I don't think she's ever decorated cookies before.
    My Mom's package arrived yesterday, and she sent a present for Dee, too.  Wasn't that thoughtful?  I thought so. 

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    So, today I have to make the Cappucino Cheesecake, the pumpkin pie, and tonight Ihave to make the sticky rolls so they'll be ready to pop in the oven tomorrow morning for our traditional Christmas breakfast of sticky buns, orange rolls, orange juice and coffee.  I'd like to get the house sparkling, but I'm not sure that will happen!  I did tidy up some last night, did a tiny bit of dusting, but I need to vacuum and finish dusting.  (Ick)  The boys need to clean their bathroom, and I need to pull out the hide-a-bed from the couch, remove all crumbs, pens, coins, guitar picks, bird seed, ribbons, bows and various other items that have made their way into the cushions since the last time I cleaned it out.  I need to wash the linens, too, and remake the bed so Brock and Dee have a bed to sleep in.  (His room, i.e. my craft room, is chock full of boxes at the moment.  The tree box, empty boxes from gifts arriving in the mail, etc, that need to be taken to a dumpster.)


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    I'm really excited to be able to put the gifts under the tree tonight.  I'll finally be able to walk through my room without fear of having to go through the obstacle course!  Last night I had switched the light off when I heard someone honking their horn in front of our house.  I made it to the window without incident (It was pitch black in the room, I couldn't peak out the window with the lights on, could I?!) but the trip back I nearly broke my neck a few times.  I did the Tai Chi walk after I smartened up, which is basically putting your foot out in front of you gingerly before you actually step on the foot, thus I made it to the door through the maze without tripping over anything.  I'm such a Nosy Parker, I should have just left the room without looking out the window.  Besides, I should have known it was someone over at the house across the street.  They haven't yet learned if you walk up to the door and ring the bell someone will answer.  Honking profusely is their known method of getting the attention of those inside.  And ... those inside every house in the surrounding area.  Some people are so rude!


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    I'm off to get ready to go grocery shopping.  More later, I'm sure!



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P.S.  No, Christa, it wasn't Christmas presents for the new baby, it was presents for a couple of nephews.  Go me!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas ...

THIS is why people live in Arizona.  (Thanks Duke, for sharing!)  *I do not know who took these photos, so I cannot credit the approproate person.  If you were the photographer, let me know so I can give you proper credit. 


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(HA Hahahahaha!!)

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Sunday, December 18, 2005

Hard Candy Christmas

Image hosted by          We've had a busy weekend.  Yesterday we went out to the bank, gassed up my van, then went out to the far west valley to a flea market.  We didn't find much at all, but it was fun looking around.  We stopped and ate some lunch, then came back home.  We were so tired we went straight upstairs and took  a nap.  I think we're getting old.
    Today we were going to go to CostPlusWorldMarket, but when we got there we discovered they moved the store (or closed it) with no indication of where they had gone.  So we went across the street.  While Bryce and his daddy were in the guitar store, I went in the craft store in search of dragees for my Christmas cookies.  The edible kind.  I have had no luck finding them.  Then we all trekked down to the pet store, and I always forget they don't have any dogs in there, so we talked to the birds and left.
    Brock and Dee came over, because Brock heard from Blaine that I was giving Bryce a trim this weekend and Brock needed his hair cut.  I trimmed about four inches off Bryce's hair, and gave Brock a really, really short cut so it will take awhile before he needs another cut, at his request.  They stayed for dinner (Perogi lasagna.  Messy, but really good.)  Dee has felt the baby moving now, and she's just barely starting to show.  The baby name of the week this week is Piper.  ( Love it) Everyone thinks it will be a girl, I don't think they've decided on a boy's name at all.
    I finished the baby blanket for them (pic below) and I have almost finished a muffler I've had on my knitting needles for quite some time.  It's my upstairs project, and I am rarely in the loft, so it had been sitting idle for awhile.  It's really pretty and I should have a jacket or coat to wear it with, as many as I have.  Only thing is you don't see too many people in Phoenix wearing winter scarves!  Today I started another project (knitting) and I have a crochet project in the wings.

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Cool picture I snapped this mmorning. I believe someone was trying to send a message...

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    Time for a Christmas Quiz (Borrowed from Rosie

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? Lite Egg Nog or sugar free hot chocolate, I like them both!

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just set them under the tree? He wraps them, and writes the names with Sharpies... no tags!
3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? Colored.  Oh, and as many lights on the tree as possible!

4. Do you hang mistletoe? If I have some.

5. When do you put your decorations up? When I get around to it.  Usually the beginning of December.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)?  Hmmm... my Mom used to make cauliflower with cheese sauce.  I don't make it, though it's easy enough to make.

7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child? When I was in five or six my mom and/or grandmother made me a beautiful winter coat for Christmas.  It had a faux fur collar.  I felt so grown up and special wearing that coat.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? I don't recall, but I am pretty sure one of my brothers probably broke the truth to me.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? Nope

10. What kind of cookies does Santa get set out for him? Elaborately decorated sugar cookies with egg nog.

11. Snow! Love it or Dread it?  Well I like visiting the snow ...   12. Can you ice skate? I could when I was younger.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift? A pottery wheel (Hey, me too, Rosie!)  Got it when I was ten or so.

14. What's the most important thing about the Holidays for you?   My family.

15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert?  Cheesecake, I guess.
16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? Baking cookies on Christmas eve with the kids.

17. What tops your tree? A foil and cardboard star I made in 2nd grade. 

18. Which do you prefer Giving or Receiving? Giving.

19. What is your favorite Christmas carol? I like so many of them, like O Holy Night and The First Noel, but my absolute favorite is Carol of The Bells, preferably a instrumental version.   20. Candy Canes! Yuck or Yum? Yum, try putting one of them in a mug of hot chocolate!  Mmmmm!

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Wednesday, December 14, 2005

It Came Upon A MIdnight Clear ...

Image hosted by I just saw a shooting star. ( Do I have to mention that there's a meteor shower going on? Does that make the shooting star less lucky? ) Maybe today won't be such a bad day after all.

    I was so excited yesterday to read about the meteor shower. I always try to catch a glimpse of a few falling stars. I suppose it's old school to believe a shooting star brings good luck, but, hey! I'm old. I can be crazy and believe what I want.

    I've always been drawn to the sky. (As is obvious from all the sun rise and sunset photos I take, and post on here.) I've captured awesome lightening shots, dust storms, rain, snow, you name it. I should have been a meteorologist!   A weatherman, er, weatherwoman.

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I've got to go get ready for work ... but first I'm going to hunt another shooting star!
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Monday, December 12, 2005

Jingle Bells ...

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    Is it just me? We have only received two Christmas cards so far this year. Is everyone just late sending out cards? Every year it seems I get fewer and fewer. Maybe it is time to stop sending cards. Bummer. That's one of the things I like most about the holidays ... catching up on what every one has been up to the past year. It's only Monday, but it feels like it should be Friday already. Today seemed like it went on f-o-r-e-v-e-r! Kiki, just wanted to let you know your gift arrived here this evening. Expect ours on your doorstep this week, we mailed it out Friday.

    I'm off to rest my weary bones.

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Take Care of You

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Sunday, December 11, 2005

Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree

Image hosted by I have been pondering getting my hair cut for a few weeks. It had just gotten too long, took too long to dry, and still looked like a disaster after it was dried. Too many dried ends to deal with. I wanted layers. I got layers, but not as many as I wanted ... only the bottom third of my hair got layers cut in, with more layers around my face, supposedly. She said if the layers were any higher up on my head it would make my hair stringy. Ok. Sigh. I'm probably going to get it cut off to chin length in the spring, anyway. Here's the pics, before, after, yada yada. It doesn't look very different, and in the "after" photo, there really isn't a big chunk of hair missing, it's just the way it was falling. Really.

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    The other day I was writing the grocery list outside when Bryce came out and was talking non-stop about his moustache coming in. I always pretend to look, nod, and agree just to appease him. This time, though, I told him to come closer, and I drew on three or four hairs with my pen. We were laughing so hard Hub came out to see what the commotion was. Bryce went in the house and a few minutes later stood on the stairs and said something to Hub. He had drawn on more hairs, and Hub asked him "What the hell is on your face?" Hahaha! Here's what he looked like: Image hosted by

    We went over to Brock and Dee's last night for a bit to bring them a few groceries and some clothes for Brock to wear to work next week (Just stuff he had left here, we didn't buy him a new wardrobe.) We played with the new kittens (I still am a bit angry they got more animals, though.) and I saw their other two older cats for the first time. Dee is showing now, and wanted to talk to me about cramping she was having. It's been awhile since I've been pregnant, but I told her as long as she wasn't bleeding/spotting and the cramps weren't too bad, she should be OK.

    Did some more holiday baking, and today I ran out to the base to get chlorine for the pool, my (way-too-expensive) eye vitamins my opthomologist wants me on, a new cordless phone since ours died a few days ago, and picked up stocking stuffers for Hub. I am totally done shopping now. I could not leave the house until Christmas Eve (because Christmas Eve is the next scheduled grocery trip) and be totally ready for "The Big Day." Brock and Dee might spend the night Christmas Eve, as we have the big cookie decorating day planned, anyway. They may as well spend the night so we don't have to go pick them up at O'dark thirty on Christmas day. Bryce's girlfriend is coming over to help decorate the cookies, too, so it ought to be a lot of fun. One of our Christmas morning traditions is having sticky buns and orange glazed sweet rolls for breakfast. I used to just buy the canned rolls, but they've quit making the sticky buns, and the kids just don't want to do without them. I have to make them the night before from scratch, then pop them in the oven the next morning. Trouble is I have not found a recipe that I like yet. The "sticky" part is never right! It's too gritty or something. I found a recipe that sounds like it might work out lots better, since you melt the brown sugar with corn syrup, instead of just mixing brown sugar and melted butter. I just hope they turn out! (I am open for recipes, if anyone has a no fail sticky bun recipe, send it on!) I reckon that's about all from here for now.

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