Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Just for fun?

I found this on Oreneta Aground and thought "What the heck, why not?" so here it is. Let's see who has some time on their hands to read this. HAHA!

Things I’ve already done: bold
Things I want to do: italicize
Things I haven’t done and don’t want to - leave in plain font

1. Started your own blog. Yes.
2. Slept under the stars. Slept in tents and on boats, but never out in the wide open with dew on my face in the morning.
3. Played in a band. Never.
4. Visited Hawaii. Yes, a one week cruise around the Islands and it was fabulous. The most memorable moment was walking through the air terminal in Honolulu, after arriving, and all of a sudden this breeze of the most wonderfully scented fresh air swept in through the open walls of the concourse! It was incredible!!
5. Watched a meteor shower.
6. Given more than you can afford to charity.
7. Been to Disneyland/world. Yes to World, no to Land. I was at Disneyworld when they were breaking ground for Epcot. HA!
8. Climbed a mountain. I would certainly like to and, living in British Columbia now, find there are many more opportunities to do so than there were in Wisconsin.
9. Held a praying mantis. No, I don't do bugs.
10. Sang a solo. Not while there is breath in my lungs will I EVER sing a solo!!
11. Bungee jumped. No.
12. Visited Paris. Yep, and want to go again, some day.
13. Watched a lightening storm at sea. I love thunderstorms and I think this would be cool. Unless you get hit, then not so cool.
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch. Macrame, many years ago. Gee, should I admit that???
15. Adopted a child. Are you CRAZY!!???
16. Had food poisoning. Not that I am aware of. Maybe a mild case.
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty. No, but I sailed past it.
18. Grown your own vegetables. Yes, tomatoes this past year and who knows what for 2009 when the greenhouse is up and running!
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France. Yes, on my one and only (s0 far) visit. It was a MOB scene!!
20. Slept on an overnight train. That would be SO much fun, traveling by rail.
21. Had a pillow fight. Yeah yeah yeah.
22. Hitch hiked. No way.
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill. Um MANY times years ago.
24. Built a snow fort. Of course.
25. Held a lamb. Nope, but they are all over the place in the area where I work so who knows.
26. Gone skinny dipping. That might be fun but the water around Vancouver Island is a bit chilly.
27. Run a marathon. No desire to do that.
28. Ridden a gondola in Venice. Some day.
29. Seen a total eclipse. yes.
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset. Almost daily sunsets from home.
31. Hit a home run. Nope, never was any good at sports. Go figure.
32. Been on a cruise. Three so far:Hawaii, QE2 from Southampton to NYC and the Carribean.
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person. Yup, and liked the Canadian side MUCH better.
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors. That would mean going to Russia.
35. Seen an Amish community. Yes, in Wisconsin. They made wonderful oak furniture!
36. Taught yourself a new language. Getting close to taking French!
37.Had enough money to be truly satisfied. Yes, I think so. I have simple tastes.
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person. Some day I will get to Italy.
39. Gone rock climbing. No desire to do that. I'd probably fall.
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David in person. On that future trip to Italy.
41. Sung Karaoke. No. I know better than to do this.
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt. Nope, maybe some day.
43. Bought a stranger a meal in a restaurant. Nope, but that might be kinda neat to do.
44. Visited Africa. Maybe some day.
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight.
46. Been transported in an ambulance. Once, in High School, when I ran into a car and snapped my leg in half. My foot was facing the wrong way. OY!
47. Had your portrait painted. WHY would I want to do that. It's not like I'm Brad Pitt or something.
48. Gone deep sea fishing. Not a big fisherman.
49. Seen the Sistine chapel in person.
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Yes,almost. I did not go to the very top level, just the one below. I was afraid I would miss my bus because we were on a time deadline. Arrgh.
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling. Snorkeled in Tahiti and loved it. Except for being chased by a giant jellyfish!
52. Kissed in the rain. Hmmm, sounds fun.
53. Played in the mud. As a kid.
54. Gone to a drive-in theater. Loads of times in the 1960's when I was a kid. I could never stay awake for the whole movie.
55. Been in a movie.
56. Visited the Great Wall of China.
57. Started a business.
58. Taken a martial arts class.
59. Visited Russia. Maybe some day.
60. Served at a soup kitchen. Nope.
61. Sold Girl Scout cookies. Nope, just bought and ate them.
62. Gone whale watching. YES! Twice this year and it was incredible!!!
63. Gotten flowers for no reason. I wish!
65. Gone sky diving. Nope. And I plan to keep it that way!
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp. No, might one day.
67. Bounced a check. MANY years ago, in my reckless youth.
68. Flown in a helicopter. Waiting for that one.
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy. Yes of course.
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial. Nope.
71. Eaten Caviar. Yes, on vacation once. It was OK but not something I'd rush out to purchase. I'd rather have escargot.
72. Pieced a quilt. Nope, that's a girl thing.
73. Stood in Times Square. Nope.
74. Toured the Everglades. On a guided tour. We did see some 'gators and I found out later that I got WAY too close to one while we were waiting for our tour to start. Ooops.
76. Seen the Changing of the Guard in London. Yes, during the summer of record heat. It WAS HOT!!
77. Broken a bone. Yes, Tibia and Fibula snapped in half when I was 14. PAINFUL! Pinky finger on right hand a couple of years ago.
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle. Never ever want to.
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person. Yes, at sunset and it was fabulous!!
80. Published a book. Nope.
81. Visited The Vatican. No desire to go there.
82. Bought a brand new car. Three, if I remember correctly.
83. Walked in Jerusalem. Nope and not sure I want to go there.
84. Had your picture in the newspaper. Not that I am aware of.
85. Read the entire Bible. No.
86. Visited the White House. No and not sure if I'll ever do that.
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating. NO WAY! I am a city boy.
88. Had chickenpox. I think so.
89. Saved someone’s life. Not that I know of but that would be cool to do.
90. Sat on a jury. Got called for jury duty years ago but never on a case. Whew!
91. Met someone famous. Just saw Phil Donohue at O'Hare.
92. Joined a book club. Yes but had to stop after a few years.
93. Lost a loved one. MANY!!!
94. Had a child. Not physically possible for me.
95. Seen the Alamo in person. No desire to go to TX, sorry.
96. Swum in the Great Salt Lake. No. The Dead Sea? Yes.
97. Been involved in a law suit. Thankfully, no.
98. Owned a cell phone. Ummm, yeah.
99. Been stung by a bee. Never.

Monday, December 29, 2008


The holiday time gets me thinking about the move to Canada just over a year ago, and how my life has changed so much in that time. Large holiday gatherings with family have not happened for me in a while, due to the distance now and the fact that many of those family members are no longer alive, and that is one thing I really do miss. I guess that comes with the territory when one has a large extended family. Even though I am an only child my mother was the youngest of 15 and my father was the youngest of 9, so there are relatives all over the place! It's funny but when we were deciding to make the Big Move I really didn't think of it as starting over, and I still don't. It was more like something that we HAD to do and I view it as a new chapter in my life. Same book, new chapter, new country. Christmas was kind of a non-event for us this year. The excitement over finding just the right gift for all those relatives and friends is not there anymore for me. The excitement over putting up a tree was not there. I was hoping this year would be better, mentally, but I think the weather, and being snowbound at home, kind of did me in. I was off today and tried to hunt for some after Christmas bargains but I just don't have the patience for the crowds, and not being able to find a parking spot in the haphazardly plowed lots did not help either. Funny thing tho...I have heard from a few friends/relatives who kind of had the same kind of Christmas - sort of ho-hum. Some blamed it on the economy, others had no explanation. Maybe with the state of things people are perhaps reviewing their priorities? Could it be the start of something? I was raised Catholic but drifted away from that years ago so Christmas for me is more of a generic thing - practicing good will, appreciating people in my life, that kind of stuff - nothing really religious. Maybe next Christmas will be on track for me. I did manage to bake a lot of cookies though, which I have not done in ages!

In the meantime I am really looking forward to going to work on Tuesday, after way too many days off, and I am really excited about 2009!

I wish you all a healthy, peaceful and prosperous New Year!

Friday, December 26, 2008

My random thoughts.

I must confess that I pilfered this idea from another blog. I thought I'd give it a shot.

My list of random thoughts.

1. Glad to be safe and warm at home, not trying to get through an airport or two.

2. The cat is snuggled up warm on the chair behind me.

3. Low key Christmas.

4. Anxious for rain to wash away the snow from the past week and a half.

5. Missing big family holiday gatherings.

6. Feeling guilty for missing three days of work lately due to snow and crappy roads.

7. Missing a car with winter Blizzak snow tires.

8. Do we NEED a 4WD vehicle for a few days each winter??

9. Glad the cat likes her Christmas treats and scarfs them down, something kind of unheard of from her.

10. I wish I had some seed catalogues to review on these cooler winter nights.

11. A wood burning stove might be nice.

12. I have more cookies to bake.

13. We should start upgrading our home lighting fixtures.

14. Will be glad to see my car up at the house tomorrow after a week at the nieghbors' below.

15. I wonder if family and friends in the US had a nice holiday.

16. I did a dang good job on Christmas dinner!

Eartha Kitt.

Eartha Kitt, sultry 'Santa Baby' singer, dies

NEW YORK (AP) — Eartha Kitt, a sultry singer, dancer and actress who rose from South Carolina cotton fields to become an international symbol of elegance and sensuality, has died, a family spokesman said. She was 81.

Andrew Freedman said Kitt, who was recently treated at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, died Thursday in Connecticut of colon cancer.

Kitt, a self-proclaimed "sex kitten" famous for her catlike purr, was one of America's most versatile performers, winning two Emmys and nabbing a third nomination. She also was nominated for several Tonys and two Grammys.

Her career spanned six decades, from her start as a dancer with the famed Katherine Dunham troupe to cabarets and acting and singing on stage, in movies and on television. She persevered through an unhappy childhood as a mixed-race daughter of the South and made headlines in the 1960s for denouncing the Vietnam War during a visit to the White House.

Through the years, Kitt remained a picture of vitality and attracted fans less than half her age even as she neared 80.

When her book "Rejuvenate," a guide to staying physically fit, was published in 2001, Kitt was featured on the cover in a long, curve-hugging black dress with a figure that some 20-year-old women would envy. Kitt also wrote three autobiographies.

Once dubbed the "most exciting woman in the world" by Orson Welles, she spent much of her life single, though brief romances with the rich and famous peppered her younger years.

After becoming a hit singing "Monotonous" in the Broadway revue "New Faces of 1952," Kitt appeared in "Mrs. Patterson" in 1954-55. (Some references say she earned a Tony nomination for "Mrs. Patterson," but only winners were publicly announced at that time.) She also made appearances in "Shinbone Alley" and "The Owl and the Pussycat."

Her first album, "RCA Victor Presents Eartha Kitt," came out in 1954, featuring such songs as "I Want to Be Evil," "C'est Si Bon" and the saucy gold digger's theme song "Santa Baby," which is revived on radio each Christmas.

The next year, the record company released follow-up album "That Bad Eartha," which featured "Let's Do It," "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" and "My Heart Belongs to Daddy."

In 1996, she was nominated for a Grammy in the category of traditional pop vocal performance for her album "Back in Business." She also had been nominated in the children's recording category for the 1969 record "Folk Tales of the Tribes of Africa."

Kitt also acted in movies, playing the lead female role opposite Nat King Cole in "St. Louis Blues" in 1958 and more recently appearing in "Boomerang" and "Harriet the Spy" in the 1990s.

On television, she was the sexy Catwoman on the popular "Batman" series in 1967-68, replacing Julie Newmar who originated the role. A guest appearance on an episode of "I Spy" brought Kitt an Emmy nomination in 1966.

"Generally the whole entertainment business now is bland," she said in a 1996 Associated Press interview. "It depends so much on gadgetry and flash now. You don't have to have talent to be in the business today.

"I think we had to have something to offer, if you wanted to be recognized as worth paying for."

Kitt was plainspoken about causes she believed in. Her anti-war comments at the White House came as she attended a White House luncheon hosted by Lady Bird Johnson.

"You send the best of this country off to be shot and maimed," she told the group of about 50 women. "They rebel in the street. They don't want to go to school because they're going to be snatched off from their mothers to be shot in Vietnam."

For four years afterward, Kitt performed almost exclusively overseas. She was investigated by the FBI and CIA, which allegedly found her to be foul-mouthed and promiscuous.

"The thing that hurts, that became anger, was when I realized that if you tell the truth — in a country that says you're entitled to tell the truth — you get your face slapped and you get put out of work," Kitt told Essence magazine two decades later.

In 1978, Kitt returned to Broadway in the musical "Timbuktu!" — which brought her a Tony nomination — and was invited back to the White House by President Jimmy Carter.

In 2000, Kitt earned another Tony nod for "The Wild Party." She played the fairy godmother in Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Cinderella" in 2002.

As recently as October 2003, she was on Broadway after replacing Chita Rivera in a revival of "Nine."

She also gained new fans as the voice of Yzma in the 2000 Disney animated feature "The Emperor's New Groove.'"

In an online discussion at Washingtonpost.com in March 2005, shortly after Jamie Foxx and Morgan Freeman won Oscars, she expressed satisfaction that black performers "have more of a chance now than we did then to play larger parts."

But she also said: "I don't carry myself as a black person but as a woman that belongs to everybody. After all, it's the general public that made (me) — not any one particular group. So I don't think of myself as belonging to any particular group and never have."

Kitt was born in North, S.C., and her road to fame was the stuff of storybooks. In her autobiography, she wrote that her mother was black and Cherokee while her father was white, and she was left to live with relatives after her mother's new husband objected to taking in a mixed-race girl.

An aunt eventually brought her to live in New York, where she attended the High School of Performing Arts, later dropping out to take various odd jobs.

By chance, she dropped by an audition for the dance group run by Dunham, a pioneering African-American dancer. In 1946, Kitt was one of the Sans-Souci Singers in Dunham's Broadway production "Bal Negre."

Kitt's travels with the Dunham troupe landed her a gig in a Paris nightclub in the early 1950s. Kitt was spotted by Welles, who cast her in his Paris stage production of "Faust."

That led to a role in "New Faces of 1952," which featured such other stars-to-be as Carol Lawrence, Paul Lynde and, as a writer, Mel Brooks.

While traveling the world as a dancer and singer in the 1950s, Kitt learned to perform in nearly a dozen languages and, over time, added songs in French, Spanish and even Turkish to her repertoire.

"Usku Dara," a song Kitt said was taught to her by the wife of a Turkish admiral, was one of her first hits, though Kitt says her record company feared it too remote for American audiences to appreciate.

Song titles such as "I Want to be Evil" and "Just an Old Fashioned Girl" seem to reflect the paradoxes in Kitt's private life.

Over the years, Kitt had liaisons with wealthy men, including Revlon founder Charles Revson, who showered her with lavish gifts.

In 1960, she married Bill McDonald but divorced him after the birth of their daughter, Kitt.

While on stage, she was daringly sexy and always flirtatious. Offstage, however, Kitt described herself as shy and almost reclusive, remnants of feeling unwanted and unloved as a child. She referred to herself as "that little urchin cotton-picker from the South, Eartha Mae."

For years, Kitt was unsure of her birthplace or birth date. In 1997, a group of students at historically black Benedict College in Columbia, S.C., located her birth certificate, which verified her birth date as Jan. 17, 1927. Kitt had previously celebrated on Jan. 26.

The research into her background also showed Kitt was the daughter of a white man, a poor cotton farmer.

"I'm an orphan. But the public has adopted me and that has been my only family," she told the Post online. "The biggest family in the world is my fans."

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Our snow.

Here is a quick view of the snow coming down in our front yard the other day.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Challenges make us stronger.

So, here we are on Christmas Eve day and guess what?? We are stuck at home yet again due to overnight snowfall. Now, back in WI, a little overnight 4 inches of snow would hardly warrant a second glance. BUT, here on The Island, it is a major event, yet again. It started last night with a few big flakes fluttering out of the sky but when we got up this morning - WHAM! - another dumping on top of what we arleady have. My car is still down at a neighbor's house because I can not get it up our common drive because there is no plan in place, apparently, for snow removal. Plus people have told me that it's not like that many people have plows anyways, because "this hardly ever happens"! If I had a dollar for each time I heard that, or the reference to the last Big One, of 1996, I would be much closer to my retirement fund goal.

Now, in addition to the snow, which is now the heavy wet stuff due to the temps being at or just above freezing, the power went out this morning at around 8am. I called BC Hydro and their estimate for it being restored was 8pm tonight. We decided to fire up the generator and hook it up to the house, which has a special set-up to take the house off-grid and plug into a generator to run certain circuits in the main living area. Hmmm, guess what? The plug at the end of the cord that goes into the house does NOT match the receptacle on our generator!! Figures! Thankfully the generator has 4 regular grounded outlets so we were able to run heavy duty extension cords into the house and up to the kitchen, to power the fridge and a small space heater. Oh, and the hot pot for Dixon's tea. (my coffee was brewed into the carafe at 5:15 am, well before the power outage). We managed to get the fridge going and brew some tea when, at about 10:40am, the power suddenly was back on. Of course you may have figured that out already, due to me posting on here. LOL!

So, the car remains at the bottom of the hill, safely off the road. Power is back on. The generator/plug situation will be addressed, when we can get out of here. Now it is warm enough that it is raining! I am not back to work now until Tuesday, as we were given Monday as an additional holiday and they are keeping that. Hopefully it will keep raining and melt the snow on the drive so we can get the car up the hill. (damn summer tires!)

At least we are home, safe, warm and fed. We are looking forward to a quiet Christmas at home with a few gifts to open. The snow even prevented us from getting each other something - nothing like waiting until the last minute! But of course we have gifts for the dog and cat! LOL!

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas, for those of you who celebrate that. For those of you where Christmas is not a part of your culture, I wish you a Happy Holdiay, which I will have to read up on. Give thanks for what/whom you DO have in your life, not what you think is missing.

Monday, December 22, 2008


Gee, talk about karma coming back to bite you in the butt!

I've tried to be not too in-your-face with friends and family back in the US, with regard to our mild weather here on Vancouver Island, but now Mother Nature has smacked me one upside the head. Or I should say all of us in the Victoria area.

We've been on the cold side of things for a couple of weeks now, locked into some misguided arctic cold air mass that just won't MOVE! It has wreaked havoc, I am sure, on some of the plants in the garden that are not really set up for frigid temps for an extended period of time. Even the greenhouse, which is not heated yet, has felt the pain of the coldness. We discovered some louvres on the side had blown open and frozen, creating a opening for cold air to just pour in. There are a couple of palms in the greenhouse as well as some Cannas that I had dug up and placed there to winter over. We found it so cold inside that there was frost on the INSIDE of the glass! A few strips of duct tape later problem is solved and the louvres are secured, somewhat. Finally today we had SUNSHINE so I am hoping it warmed up in the greenhouse sufficiently to prevent the plants from freezing out.

Then, on top of the cold, we have been getting SNOW! And quite a bit of it too! Victoria and the neighboring towns don't seem to be too well set up for snow removal so we have to just kinda wait it out, I guess. My car has been down at the main road since Friday evening because the paved road up the hill, that we share with seven other homes, is snow packed and passable only if you have four wheel drive, which I don't. We tried in vain several times to navigate the road and I can make it up maybe half of the first incline, which isn't even close to the house. A neighbor graciously offered a spot to park on their drive down below so we have been there for a few days. We were even home today because the roads were just way too slick to attempt to get to work. There was a lot of melting this afternoon and we are planning on work for Tuesday and hopefully we can get up to the house Tuesday night. There is snow but the tracks from folks that are getting up and down the road have worn down to pavement most of the way so I am hopeful. Now we have to find chains for the cars so we are ready the next time. Although I am told by various sources that the last time they had this much snow here was 1996.

Here are some pics of the yard after the snowfall.

My advice if you are moving here from a cold climate - don't be too hasty to get rid of the snow shovels/tires/blowers. You just might need them when you get here. Even Vancouver was not immune and got hit with the snow.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A teaser for some Christmas fun!

You can go to YouTube for the rest of it. I just wanted to get you started!

Hmmm...what do you think?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Food for thought? YOU BET!!

Found this online and thought I'd share. It really is something to think about. I know WE have changed some food habits since moving to the West Coast but you can do this no matter where you live. It's all about being a better informed consumer and making the right choices!

The 5 Dirtiest Foods

How would you rate your food-safety IQ? I know someone who never washes their fruits and vegetables after bringing them home from the market because he believes that they're washed at the store. Um, no. Read on to learn about what some call the "5 dirtiest foods" and for a food safety wake-up call...

The dirty food list, according to this fascinating piece I found over at AOL Health include the following:

Eggs: While most eggs aren't going to make anyone sick, experts estimate that more than 2 million germy eggs (as in Salmonella infected) get into circulation each year, sickening 660,000 people each year and killing as many as 300. Um, maybe we should think twice about eating that cookie dough (or, judging by our conversation on Vitamin G, perhaps you'd rather take your chances?). How to buy cleaner eggs? Make sure the carton says they're pasteurized and never buy a dozen that contains any obvious cracks or leaks.

Peaches: They're pretty, but that's just skin-deep. Health experts warn that peach skins are doused in pesticides before they make it to grocery store to prevent blemishes. On average, a peach can contain as many as nine different pesticides, according to the USDA. This is one fruit you might want to buy organic (which may have blemishes, but won't have pesticides). (Here's How Peaches Can Help You Build Muscle.)

Pre-packaged salad mixes: Surprise! "Triple washed" doesn't mean germ-free say experts. Pathogens may still be lurking so be sure to wash your greens before tossing in your salad bowl. (Don't make these salad mistakes!)

Melons: Get ready to be grossed out. According to the article, "when the FDA sampled domestically grown cantaloupe, it found that 3.5 percent of the melons carried Salmonella and Shigella, the latter a bacteria normally passed person-to-person. Among imported cantaloupe, 7 percent tested positive for both bugs." Ewww. Your best bet: Scrub your melons with a little mild dish soap and warm water before slicing. (Stay healthy with these delicious winter fruits!)

Scallions: Blamed for several recent outbreaks of Hepatitis A, and other bugs like the parasite Cryptosporidium, Shigella and Salmonella, scallions present a food safety problem because of the way they grow (in the dirt) and lack of proper washing. While you can't control what happens in restaurant kitchens, you can give them a super-duper washing at home before cooking with.

Other dirty foods in the article include chicken, ground beef and turkey, raw oysters, and cold cuts. Click here to read 5 more.

The bottom line: Don't be afraid to eat these foods, just be aware of the precautions you need to take before enjoying them. Most food-borne illnesses are the result of hygiene carelessness somewhere in the food chain. Protect yourself!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


So, I'm reading other blogs, comparing them to mine, sorta, and I feel like I am SO out of the loop on how to communicate on my blog. Other people either lead VERY interesting lives or just have a knack for describing everyday things in the most colorful way. I gotta work on my technique.

And maybe add some relevant Canadian stuff, as my header above would indicate is contained herein but one has to really search for it.

Crazy day at work today. The Jan/Feb issue of Small Farm Canada is set to mail at the end of this month. I am taking a crack at getting the mailing lists of active subscribers ready to go to the printer. I've only done this once before so I still need assistance. All went fairly well and Thursday the info will be off to the printer, first thing in the morning. Then it's back to normal, for a while.

The weather lately has been cool and gray, temps mid 40's F/8-9 C. Today it turned sunny in the afternoon and got up to 54 degrees F at the house - WONDERFUL! But - you knew there had to be a but, right - the forecast for the upcoming weekend is calling for much colder temps with SNOW in the forecast. Of course that was a Vancouver station, and they tend to get a LOT more precipitation than we do on the Island, so I'm crossing my fingers that we avoid the Snow Monster.

I started to bring out some of the Christmas decor. The mantle is now set up, sorta, and I decided we need a bigger mantle. HA! For a few years we had been buying yearly specialty ornaments from HRC in the US (Human Rights Commission). Sad news, so far, is that I can only find four ornaments - two each of two different designs. That means we are 'missing' 2 or 3 others. At almost $40 each that is not good. I'm hoping they are 'buried' in one of the boxes yet to be opened - NOT left back in the US and off to Goodwill in the Christmas stuff that didn't make it here. One of my Hallmark muscle car collector ornaments also went missing last year so the search will be on for that one too. If there remains a gap in my string of 18 years then it will be off to e-bay. Gee, how I miss e-bay.

LED holiday lights are all the rage here in Canada and at 95% less electricity usage it's easy to understand why. We bought one set last year and it illuminates a curio cabinet all year long. They give off a great sparkle and even after hours of being on there is no heat off the bulbs to speak of! They really are amazing. I think we are off to purchase more this weekend, to outfit the tree. Saves on the electric bill and no heat means less danger of the tree catching fire. Now we just have to find what store will take our old sets in as trade and give us $$ off new sets.

On the LED topic we are searching for LED track lights to replace some old ugly halogen models we have in the kitchen and dining room. Halogens give off so much heat and use so much electricity that we really want them gone. Problem is finding LED track lights. OY!

Even with Winter coming the garden still looks fab - all lush and green with a bit of Fall color on some plants tossed into the mix. I found someone in Sooke that is closing out shrubs for the season and they still have a great selection, and at really good prices. Skimmia is on the top of my list to buy. I saw some in a public garden, in full bloom, and the smell was absolutely intoxicating! Maybe by the front door, to greet the occasional visitor. Our Fatsia Japonica is yet to bloom. The flower stalk just keeps reaching higher but no flowers are open yet. The rhododendrons are looking very good, all setting up buds for Spring. Two dwarf models, near the front door, were very yellow and sad looking when we moved in. I've given them a few shots of Mir-Acid over the summer and they are now a gorgeous green with buds all set to go in the Spring. I guess I'm doing something right, eh?

Thanks for tuning in and please click on the button on the left to Help the Animals.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Some holiday entertainment.

I just found this and had to share! I can not even imagine the amount of energy needed for this, but it sure is fun to watch.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

All is well.

We recently had the 'children' to the Dr for their annual checkups. The first one here, Bitsy, seen lounging in her new favorite spot above a heater, weighed in at a whopping 5.9 pounds and, due to her age of 13, we decided to have a blood workup done for her. The Vet called with the good news that she is in great shape and all the internal organs are functioning just fine. Cats can tend to develop kidney issues late in life and that is one thing that was on my mind. We were quite relieved at the good news that all was well.

The second shot here is of Sydney. She has been losing some weight since we changed her food back in May, to an all natural food from right here in BC, and the Vet has been a bit concerned, especially when you factor in her Addisons disease. Apparently the food is much better for her and has caused her to drop some of what little fat there is and develop more muscle. The medication she is on has worked wonders at managing her Addisons, and with just five little pills a day. Of course that is for the rest of her life but she is very happy and energetic, a far cry from when we almost lost her at the onset of the disease. We just have to make sure she has plenty of water, and no more bananas for her, seeing that they are high in potassium and her system does not process that quite the way it should. Instead we treat her with an occasional egg and some canned tuna, which is high in salt - something she is lacking.

This is a shot I took from the deck just the other day. I got home from work in the afternoon and was just rummaging around the house when I glanced out a window and saw this beam of sunlight piercing the cloud cover and shining down onto the water. Of course I grabbed my little digital camera and clicked off a few pictures. Even with Winter approaching it seems there is always something different to look at out on the water. Most days we don't even see the mountains across in Washington, a drastic change from the clear days that are strung together to form Summer. When we do see across in the Winter it always brings a sort of sense of relief and wonderment, especially when we see all the snow that has fallen in the higher elevations. Better there than over by us, but then again we are just a couple of hundred feet up from sea level so we really don't worry too much about snow. Wind is more the threat during the intense Winter storms that blow in.