Monday, December 31, 2007

A Day at the Beach

We decided that since today the sun was shining and the temperatures were warm, we would head off to the beach. It was the perfect day. We sat for hours, read, listened to the surf, shelled and just daydreamed.

I even got a photo shoot in of my new Riverside charms my brother gave me for Christmas. I love all the pieces but there is something especially fun about the surf board. Of course, I played with that one most. An older gent walked by as I was "staging" this shot with the waves and he couldn't quite understand what I was doing. These pieces are barely an inch in length. I just have too much fun.

I found a butterfly that looked like he could use a new pair of wings. The kid thinks he got caught up in a storm out at sea and fought his way back to shore. To me, he looked as though he had just come out a cocoon, wings waiting to be spread and expand for new horizons. I didn't bother him, just let him enjoy his driftwood.

As the sun began to set and the air turned cooler, we packed up and did what every other Alabamian was doing. We headed straight to the fireworks store and stocked up for this evening's festivities. We haven't quite decided what we're up to yet. Fairhope is having a "First Walk" opening up the streets until after midnight. We may head over there a little later. Who knows. The night is young. The fire is flickering, the music is playing and we have lots of fireworks to shoot off! We're in no hurry to go anywhere.

Wishing everyone a safe and fun New Year's Eve.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Lower Alabama

Everything is so lovely and festive here. Having never been to Riverside in the winter months, and this being our first Christmas in Fairhope, I wondered how spirited we would be feeling in the warmer climate. I'm here to say the lights and the decor in all the small towns surrounding the Bay truly bring the spirit front and forward. It's absolutely wonderful. The shot above is one of the corners in town. I should have known from the spring and summer plantings that Christmastime would be no different. I have to admit, I have never seen poinsettia planted straight in the ground. Isn't it beautiful? Both red and white.

Last night, we drove inland a little to hit a restaurant I had not visited--the kid and hub had and loved it--Flopper's. On our way, we pass through the little town of Silverhill. The town's intersection was decorated so pretty with lights on every corner. Of course, I had to make the hub stop so we could get out and enjoy the sweetness of it. Sorry for the dark photos.

This morning we awoke, lounged for a while and then headed out for the day. I always like hitting World Imports in Spanish Fort since discovering it to stock up on lots of food products from overseas that aren't available in Nashville (that I'm aware of anyway). After finishing up there, we headed over to the Bayway (the causeway that crosses the Bay which you can see in the above photo) to find a new place to have lunch. We ended up at Ed's which was just perfect. I ordered grilled shrimp with Cajun rice.

As we were leaving, the sun began to peak out from the clouds so we decided to head further south to Dauphin Island. The hub and kid had explored it this summer, but I had never been. I think I dozed all the way there and when we arrived, the sun was still trying to maneuver itself out. I don't think there is much more beautiful than a beach in the winter. It was so tranquil.

To end our day, we decided to take the ferry across the Gulf of Mexico to Fort Morgan. We watched as the sun set over the island and headed east. We passed several oil rigs which were amazing to be so close to.

As we hit shore, the sun continued setting and the light house lit our way. It was another good day.

Can You Help?

Not too long ago, the dear Mrs. Staggs posted about an on-going project helping lepers in Africa and Vietnam spearheaded by Junie Moon. I crochet, and I haven't made anything this year, so I jumped on board. I brought my supplies with me to Riverside but my bandages are coming out too curly to use. I have no idea what I am doing--chalk it up with my baking skills, I suppose.

Please visit Junie's site; and if you have the time, you too can knit or crochet some bandages that will help people around the world feel a little better about themselves. What a wonderful way to start the new year.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

A Riverside Christmas

We arrived yesterday afternoon to a warm humid day. It rained off and on the entire way which made for light traffic. We were pleased to find the house as lovely as ever. As we drove through town, it truly kept us in the Christmas spirit. All the old trees are lined with lovely white lights.

As soon as the car was unloaded, the kid began assembling and decorating our little Riverside tree. We were unable to find any fire wood when we arrived so we settled for the logs you can get at the grocery stores. It does the trick. Any fire is better than an old gas fire like we have in Tennessee.

It's wonderful being here and I think we are all ready to have our batteries regenerated. In fact, the hub has already been to the local book stores and I hear a sofa calling me by the fire.

I do have to say though, I feel the presence of all of our friends and family that visited with us here this summer and fall. And with that comes a pang of loneliness. I wish we could be together all the time. But for the time being, I will settle for my precious memories of each and every one of you.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

A Little R&R

We are heading South for a little R&R--Riverside & Rest, that is. I wish I could just snap my fingers and be there. The long drive, I'm not looking forward to. I think it's up to the hub to do the bulk of it this time, I'm afraid.

I have felt completely drained these past few days and getting very little done. Our Christmas dinner was postponed until last night. The hub made steak and lobster tails with baked potatoes. I wish I had been able to taste it, but unfortunately, the head stuffiness is still lurking. I was supposed to make a Caesar salad--I forgot. And I never did go back to making that chocolate pie that troubled me so on Christmas day. I stick my tongue out at it.

I've pulled my muck buckets and already have them filled to the brim with necessities and not-so necessities. I found a few pieces of woodwork at the American Folk Art Museum in NYC which I will share with you once they find a proper place at Riverside. I can't wait to open them again. One piece is even made in Alabama. I must look up the artist this summer and find his whereabouts. I'm taking my old computer (which was then passed down to the kid until he got his first new one for his 14th birthday) down to stay at Riverside. All of the travels back and forth can't be good on my newer model and I have decided to leave it here from now on. Once you lose a hard drive, you don't ever want to lose another one, let me tell you. This little iMac is all that is needed there. And, as I got a new printer for Christmas, which I haven't even played with yet, my old ink jet will be finding a new home at Riverside as well. This is our first time there during the winter months and while it won't be too cold, I'm still taking a quilt to keep us warm in the cooler evenings. I believe the forecast calls for rain off and on all weekend which is fine by me. I think that's just what the doctor ordered. I'm hoping there are less bugs this time of year, because I was really starting to get freaked out a little towards the end there with all the critters running about. (Thanks to the kid--filling me with facts I don't even want to know.) I know, I'm going to have to get a tougher shell (ew); and eventually I will. But for now, I will still enjoy a little less of those creepy things.

Trying to get everything finished up tonight so we can just head off in the morning without much to do. I have the teenager all set up and mom didn't even seem to care that we were leaving. Perhaps she understands this time. I think as long as she knows the teenager is here, she's absolutely fine with it. My trips are going to become shorter and shorter, if not non existent, once he leaves for college. I don't think she should be left alone any more. Although she is still independent physically, I think mentally, she needs someone around. We'll cross that river once we need to.

I'm off to get Bella a new kennel. She has outgrown her old one and the others we have for vet visits are way too big. I need one perfect for her little self--the princess she is. Perhaps gilded with gold. lol. I still remember her first one. Look at the baby! What a cutie. This picture was taken after arriving at Riverside for her first trip. (And after she viciously attacked me en route when she thought Roo dog was after her!) We only had her for a day before we hit the road. And, of course, on the way back home, she figured how to get out of this little carry on.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

A Merry Christmas Was Had By All 2007

Hoping you and yours are enjoying this wondrous day. We are slowing down to a snail's pace, which is just fine by me right about now.

We began our traditional Christmas Eve with the opening of one gift. The teenager wanted us to open what he had bought for everyone--his first time on his own. What a delight to find a lovely Japanese tea set wrapped in plain brown wrapping. The kid got a computer program and the hub received a wonderful writing pen with his name engraved. It's nice watching your oldest begin to mature and take on little responsibilities. It does a mother's heart good.

I then proceeded to make my chocolate chip cookies, which I make every Christmas Eve to make sure Santa gets the "good cookies" as the teenager used to call them when he was little. Can't give Santa the bad cookies, Lord forbid.

The kid turned on A Sound of Music, which we have to watch every Christmas Eve. Just listening to the music and singing along made the cookie cooking go by so fast. Gee, I'm going to have to start using the larger oven when cooking cookies. Three to a sheet just ain't right. We never did make it to the second tape. Lordy, yesterday went by in a whiz! It was 1 a.m. and I still had presents to wrap. Not many, mind you. And, I'm not one of those fancy shmancy wrappers for the family. I know they're just going to rip it off anyway.

The doc had given me some cough syrup for nighttime with some sort of narcotic in it. I tell you, I sure did dream. Like in ALL night! The next thing I knew, the kid was in our room, turning the lights on ready to hit floor! I think I was still pretty dozy and decided to put off making Christmas breakfast until later. I normally like making it before the sun rises, but not this year. Maybe that's a thing of the past. We'll see.

As promised I started my country cooking, albeit later than usual. Ok, you know about me and baking. There's just no chemistry there. Still isn't. I'm not going to give up. I'm not going to give up. That is my New Year's resolution, and I will NOT GIVE UP! Gee whiz. I was all ready for some homemade biscuits and they just stuck to everything. I was just ripping those puppies as I tried lifting them off the liner. Pout. Thank goodness, I had my trusty rolls in the freezer. hehe.

No one seemed to notice, or care after we all sat down. The teenager's friend (also known as my other son because he lived with us for a little while and practically still does!) arrived just in time to sit down to a hearty breakfast. OMG, look at all that hair between the both of them! (There is fruit at the other side of the table, really!)

Mom wasn't awake at the crack of dawn like we were this morning, so I waited to give her her presents. She is always so excited about everything. I know she's been missing me--my being quarantined and all; so it was good to sit down and enjoy Christmas morning. Even her dog, Frankie, got a little something in his stocking. That dog cracks me up!

I think Bella has it right. This is what I want to be doing right now. Maybe if I use that plug and plug myself in, I can get a burst of energy. I need it. I have a chocolate pie to make and I don't want to--whaaaaaaa. Maybe there will be time for a nap afterwards. Let's hope! I'm pooped!

Hope you all are enjoying your Christmas Day.

Update: Of course there's an update, being the worst baker ever. I am here to say that the Baking Gods are truly testing my eagerness to get it. Gawd. Can it be so hard? I simply amaze myself each and every time I go to bake. I don't have any problems cooking; but when it comes to baking, OMG!! Case and point: I start making my chocolate pie. Make the Oreo crust. Bake it. BURN it. (Remember, I have no sense of smell at this point.) OMG. Ok, I had to use the large oven because my PIE PLATE WON'T FIT, yes, that's right, it WON'T FIT in the small oven. Ok. Granted, I have only cooked meats in the large oven, but I pulled out the thermometer, got the temp exactly and it still BURNED!! Ok ok, no prob. I'll just make another one, plenty of Oreos where they came from. Put them in the blender and darn if I don't chip my wooden spoon into the mix! Mmmm, that's nice and crunchy! Ya think I should have just gone for it? LOL. (And it was one of my favorite spoons.) UNBELIEVABLE! Am I a riot or what? Givin' up. For tonight anyway. Even postponed Christmas dinner until tomorrow. Lord have mercy. I'm walking away shaking my head. Just don't get it. Literally.

But through it all, my sidekick stood by me. She's my angel with fur.

Merry Christmas to You and Yours 2007

Monday, December 24, 2007

Alive and Ho Ho Ho'ing

I'm alive, if only barely. I survived whatever bug it was that bit me. I got up this morning after having a horrendous night and drug myself to the walk-in clinic around the corner thinking I was dying (or least dealing with an infection of some sort). No such luck. I have a cold. Grin. Just a horrible cold. Don't you hate that? You think you're on your death bed and the doctor looks at you and says, "Sorry my dear, you just have a virus of some sort, not a whole lot you can do." I have to admit while waiting in the lobby, I broke out in a sweat, meaning my fever had broke at that precise moment. Kind of like taking your car to the shop and having to say "I swear! It was making this gawd awful noise, really!!" Oh well. At least I'm on the mend--after losing FIVE days in bed! OY!

The kid and I did our last-minute shopping this morning, after finding out I was going to live. Never could find Mom's Merril's in her size (think I called them Merricks! Geesh.) Now that I had some food, first time in several days (won't do me any harm), I think I'm ready to go and lay back down. Except, I have one more stop. I bought the kid some pants--he was with me mind you--and we still got the wrong size. What a bunch of nincompoops. Fa la la la la.

Does everyone adore Carl Larsson as much as I do? When I was young, I used to get his Christmas cards and send them out (a note on each one-hehe).

I hope everyone is snuggled in their nests awaiting Santa's arrival.

Please keep Janet and her hubby in your thoughts. He just got out of the hospital and she is nursing him to back health. I hope Santa leaves her something extra special this year.

"The Day Before Christmas"

Saturday, December 22, 2007

The Flu, The Flu!

Do I tend to get sick every Christmas? Gosh darnit. Last night, as I was chatting with friends, the full flown flu (say that three times fast) hit me with a vengeance. Ow. I barely made it into my PJs without crying. Wow. It hit me so fast, I was spinning, literally.

So, I got up this morning (say 11ish) and made me some chicken soup and I'm heading back to bed.

Away flu bug, away! I'm happy to say I do have Bella tending to me. (I won't let anyone near me!!! Let's not get a sick house, please!)

No, I did not get my flu shot this year, silly me. Everyone else did, Mom and the hub, just not me. I totally forgot about it. Oy. Now I'm paying.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Food, Food, Food Everywhere!

Everyone who knows us knows we love food. And, we normally get a lot of food at Christmastime. This year, since I was unable to bring any Italian cookies back from NYC (the place was closed), I ordered some from another bakery in The Village that got rave reviews. We used to always bring them back from Hoboken, NJ, the hub's old stomping grounds, but I thought I would give another bakery a try. They arrived today and boy, I'm so glad I ordered them from Rocco's Pastry. They are as fresh as fresh can be. Sure, there were some broken ones from transit, but I say better to nibble from, no? The kid is sad because there aren't any of his favorite rainbow cookies--which are really more like cake and thus possibly why they don't ship them. Just look at those cookies, will ya! Do you spy the Jordan almond? There are always several thrown in for good luck.

Another basket came from one of the hub's brother's chock full of goodies--more on the savory side. We'll be nibbling for weeks!

And then, another brother of the hub's (yes, we are a family of 6 brothers with one sister on the hub's side) who always sends us NY delectables, sent us a NY cheesecake! Last year, it was NY pizza and the year before that, it was bagels. It's always fun seeing what's coming in the mail!

As if all that wasn't enough. The hub brings in a gift box from none-other than the infamous Loveless Cafe from a work colleague. (I'm sorry Val.) This place is notorious for it's home cooked, true Southern meals. We've never been. I know. Pretty sad, eh. But there are lines out the door and I don't normally do lines. Well, guess what we are having for breakfast Christmas morning? Country ham, bacon and biscuits. I may even make some red-eye gravy! I normally do a big country breakfast early Christmas morning, so this is absolutely perfect. Thank you Andy and Missy. Yum.

Gawd, no wonder we're all fat, me more than the rest. But we do enjoy our vittles. Sigh. Are your mouths watering?

I have yet another horrible cold, this time in the chest. The hub, the carrier, brought it home from the office it seems. I've been taking my vitamins and even took a nap today trying to rid myself of it before Christmas. Yuk. I'm glad I got it now and not on Christmas day!! Small blessings.



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