31 December 2011

Goodbye 2011

HELLO 2012!!!

I'm so looking forward to you.

Happy New Year Everyone!

29 December 2011

SkyWatch Friday

It's almost worth getting out of bed for this...

I'm sure my boss appreciates my getting to work on time too, 
but it's the sunrises between rain storms that make me happy.

More beautiful SkyWatch Friday here.


27 December 2011

Bits o' my week...

One of my holiday weekend events was dinner out with some cousins.  A couple live near me, but one flew in for the weekend, so we jammed an early dinner in before other obligations.  We hit a local Mediterranean place (Mazah) because a couple of them are vegans and this place has a wonderful selection of all kinds of stuff.  More importantly, the food is fabulous every time. It's a slower paced place, which gave us time to chat and catch up while enjoying our samplers.

One of my wonderful gifts this year was the good knife with a matching cutting board.  My nieces picked out the perfect green color to go with my kitchen.  I promptly christened it by cutting myself when I took it out of the safety guard to wash it.  Clearly I don't have much practice with really sharp knives!  I'm excited to use it.  I like to cook and bake, but realized that all of my good kitchen stuff has been given to my by my family.  Good knives, nice stainless steel/aluminum pots, pyrex glass baking ware - I think they are trying to send me a message!

 This is peppermint ice cream time of year. (yes, it's pink, but apparently the iPhone camera has trouble with that color in overhead light). I love it, can't get enough and try to stock up before it's gone.  Which reminds me, I need to grab a few more containers this week!

My friend Anna and I were heading out to lunch the other day and I told her I'd bought several containers of this ice cream - and then ate one of them the first week.

She asked "they only sell them in small containers?" 

My response, "Umm, nope!"

Apparently, I'm a book snob.  Who knew?

I just recently joined the wonderful world of eReaders with a Nook simple touch.  It's fantastic, light, easy to use, holds tons of books, has a long battery life and most importantly allows me to download FREE library books at will.

The snob part reared it's ugly head when I read one of the free books I downloaded from Barnes and Noble's collection.  It was a mess.  Not an editor to be found in association with the book.  It was 360 pages of typos, bad grammar, inaccuracies (it was based in Wales) and spacing issues.  After about 3 pages I was annoyed beyond belief.  It was also a really interesting story - so I read it anyway.  I almost wish I had the paper version, so I could have edited it myself and shipped it back to the publisher.  I imagine it was either an inadvertent release or it was free because the final copy was not available in the e-version.  I'm through venting now, thanks for listening.

I chose the eReader over a new sleek tablet for a few reasons.  It fits in my bag (and even small purses), it has a non-reflective and non-back lit screen which is easier on my eyes after 10+ hours a day in front of a computer, I got a really good deal on cyber Monday (not at B&N), and I can travel with it without worrying about the potential replacement expense of a tablet. 

I hope everyone is recovering from their holiday and getting ready for the new year.  I know I'm looking forward to it!


24 December 2011

Merry Christmas!

Hark the herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!
Peace on earth and mercy mild
God and sinners reconciled"
Joyful, all ye nations rise
Join the triumph of the skies
With the angelic host proclaim:
"Christ is born in Bethlehem"
Hark! The herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!"



22 December 2011

Holiday fences

I found a few fences decorated for the holidays this week. 

(This next one is a little blurry, sorry).

You can find more fab fences with Jan and friends.

Happy Friday!

21 December 2011

Sharing the Nativity

A friend's church does a live nativity event.  In addition, they have a room where the members can loan their personal nativity to share with everyone else.  It's spectacular to see in person.  Here are just a few of the wonderful ones on display.

They were all different sizes and styles, some were figurines while others were lighted or wall hangings.  Some of them looked handmade.  What fantastic traditions all gathered together.

This last one is one of my favorites, although there were many to choose from.  This one just spoke to me with its simplicity.  Remembering the reason for the season.


19 December 2011

Surprise Angel

I have such wonderful friends. 

I've always known that, but once in a while I'm reminded through a whisper, a kind word, or an action.  This beautiful Remembrance Angel found its way to my door and my heart.  My friend N. sent it too me, to reach out across the miles and share a memory of the friend we lost 3 months ago.

This little dear will sit over the fireplace, near the Nativity and keep some very good company through the Christmas holiday season.  I think she may even stay there longer, keeping me company through the cold winter months.

Some days I think about the future we have lost.  But more importantly, I think about the amazing gifts we have.  We have memories of a beautiful woman, we have her family to watch grow, and we have the friends we would have never met without her.  These friends that stretch across place and time, to share a story, vent about their day, or laugh about the good things.  Because of her, we will never not be family again, we will forever be bonded and that is a surprise gift as lovely as my surprise Angel.


15 December 2011

December Sunrise

No snow yet in my neck of the woods, but I still think winter sunrises are amazing.  Here you can see the bright orange trying to push the clouds away and take over the sky.  It didn't last as long as we would have liked, but made for a great morning commute.

Bits O' my week:

- I wanted to get a specialty coffee the other day and hit one of the local coffee shops in the early morning hours.  I was about 5 steps from the register and some little chicky cut in front of me and went to order first.  Now, there are many unwritten rules in life, and cutting someone off before morning coffee (especially a non-morning person) is what's known in my world as a "poor choice maker".  In the wrong place and time you could be putting yourself in harm's way.  I let it go, she ordered her medium drink and went to wait for it.  This is where karma steps in and kicks her to the curb, I had a cheap coffee deal that was being offered by the coffee shop, all you had to do was show them the coupon on your phone.  So she was in line first, but I paid less than half for the same drink.

- We had our holiday pot luck lunch today at work.  I think next year we should rename it "Crock-pot Fest".  So many delicious hot items!  3 kinds of green beans, corn souffle, only 2 kinds of meatballs this year (we've had as many as 4 different in a year), homemade chicken and noodles, homemade pizza bread, and of course desserts.  One of the most darling were these individually wrapped mini-pecan pies.  So cute - see?

- I have candlestick lights lining the walkway to my front door.  They use the old school screw in light bulbs that you used to be able to buy everywhere and in a range of colors.  Apparently now they are out of fashion and I cannot locate replacement bulbs to save my life!  So a few of my candles along the walk appear to be different colors (the paint has chipped off in the weather).  For the rest of the season I will be scanning every store in hopes of finding these bulbs - and if I do I'm stocking up!

- I took my car in for a regular maintenance trip and the guys there actually seemed a little annoyed that it was in such good condition and they couldn't even try to sell me anything I didn't need.  Good times.

- It has rained so much where I live that we a .8 of an inch shy of the wettest year on record!  And we're expecting more rain next week - I'd say we have that in the bag.  Now, if we could not repeat that for another 30 years, I'd appreciate it.

Bring on Friday!


14 December 2011

12 December 2011

Night lights

I decided to cruise through the neighborhoods and get some fun fairy light shots.  Some houses have a few, others have gone all out.  It was fun checking out the work put in by these folks.  Outlining with lights....

Santa and a friend with presents.

I like the multicolored lights on this house - very bright in person.

Two neighbors on the cul-de-sac.  I like how they are different and both lovely.

Monster sleigh!!

This one was GORGEOUS!  I have to believe they hired a team to do this (or maybe it's their company that does it for others), because otherwise I feel like a complete slacker - my house will never look this festive or pulled together.  It was a perfect combination of colors and white lights,  Not to much to take over the street, just right.  Kudos to them.

The one below had moving/blinking lights.  Ya know how much that messes with autofocus?!  I was taking shots with the camera propped on my car door, no tripod.  It took several tries (manual) to get even this clear of a shot on this house.  I really wanted a better one, but I thought my bosses might not see the humor in getting arrested for stalking the house for a good photo!

Ooo, more lights all over the bushes.

And of course, one yard Santa and friends that hit the eggnog a little early!


08 December 2011

Breaking hearts

Our hearts and prayers go out to the Virginia Tech family.

May you eventually find healing and peace in the season.

06 December 2011

05 December 2011

Autumn barn

This barn is used as an office and meeting building.  I do like the extra big porch on the side, attached to the regular barn shaped building.  It would be a great place for lunch or dinner on those picnic tables.  As you can tell by the clear blue skies and sunlight, this pic is a couple weeks old. :)

More barns with Tricia and friends.


01 December 2011

A not-so-bad-very-good day!

Yesterday I went to my favorite place for lunch.  It is an Asian restaurant with gloriously good food and friendly people that are always happy to see us.  Of course, since I go there about once a week, they know how much I appreciate their talented chefs.  On this day I had spicy baked scallops with asparagus and shrimp tempura with crab sushi.  As you can see I was so excited to get it, I ate the first bite before I took the photo!

 Then, they brought me a surprise - a frozen strawberry dessert with strawberry and chocolate sauce, whipped cream and a little cookie.  (And for the record, the sauce was pink, but the lighting in the restaurant makes it look a litte orange in the photo).  I think it was ice cream wrapped in marzipan.  What a sweet surprise and how nice of them!

So after my fab lunch, I headed back to the office for an afternoon of semi-expected chaos.  I can already tell you election year is going to be very long next year.  We did survive the events and I even received a nice thank you e-mail from a lead secret service agent for some help I provided.  I was pleasantly surprised by that e-mail, the feds don't always reach out after the fact. 

As middle-of-the-week days go, mine was a complete win.  Here's to more of those this month.