Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year

It was freezing here today. The wind was howling at 40 mph and had an arctic bite. I about wore myself out going shopping in it this afternoon so I'm not sure I'm going to make it to midnight this year. Be safe if you're going to a party tonight. Don't drink and drive.

If you're safe and warm at home and stopping by, here's the classic Guy Lombardo version of Auld Land Syne for you my dears.

If you're here early and want more music, here's an incredible flamenco piece with a gorgeous video of Barcelona. Brings back some happy memories for me. Hope you all end the year on a positive note and enter the new one with peace of mind and hope for better days.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Places I Remember

I had intended to post something completely different this morning, but then this happened. It all started out innocently enough. I remembered I hadn't clicked over to see the fabulous drawing done by Ina's prodigal daughter so I thought I would stop by quickly before I started posting this morning to check it out. When I left a comment, on a whim, I checked the profile of another commenter I didn't recognize. I'm always looking for new Happy Valley bloggers who post pictures of my old hometown.

Blogger has this new feature called followed blogs. I don't use it myself, but this person had the longest list I've ever seen and I couldn't resist clicking on Pink Tentacle, where I found a ten best posts roundup. They were all great links. The Styrofoam dome houses was my favorite. I could happily live in a two pod version of one of those I think.

Thus inspired, I started clicking on more of her blog list. I found gorgeous vintage illustrations and a really nice mixed media collage blog that makes me want to start doing arty things again.

I found a hysterical Christmas animation at the top of this blog and he sent me to 100 cereal box covers. Boy did that bring back memories of the sugar rush mornings of my youth.

I got lost for a couple of hours before I finally made it to secret notebook-wild pages which was my original destination. My favorite find. She lives in the hilltowns where I spent ten years on the farm before I moved to lovely downtown Noho. I know these places she photographs. I've walked in those woods. And she takes trips to downtown. Rare good tonic for when I get homesick for the Valley. This is why I love Blogtopia.

[Title inspired by this song]

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Canadian Police Chase

Needs no further commentary...

Friday, December 26, 2008

Santa Baby

Rest in peace, Eartha Kitt. Wasn't she just "teh hawt" back when wimmen were wimmen and men were men?

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

One of my favorites of the hymns, Angels we Have Heard on High.

And it wouldn't be a trip down the Christmas memory lane without the Vienna Boys Choir. Hark the Herald Angels Sing and Adeste Fidelis.

If you prefer something more contemporary, try Trademark Dave's Christmas jukebox.

Peace and joy to you and yours.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Counting My Blessings

It's Christmas Eve and I caught White Christmas on the TV last night. This is my favorite scene and one of my favorite songs.

It's good to remember that the biggest blessings in our lives can't be wrapped in a box with pretty paper and a bow. And you my dear friends and readers, are a huge blessing in my mine. Have a peaceful and joyous Christmas Eve.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Happy Solstice

Well, we made it through another dark season to my favorite day of the year. The sunlight has turned and the longest night is over. Needless to say, I didn't dance around any bonfires last night, but the foot seems to be improving. It doesn't hurt so much although oddly, it swelled up a lot more. But I'm hobbling around without having to hang on to the walls and counters, so there's that.

Meanwhile, they were rocking it out at Stonehenge. Someday I'd like to go there for the celebration.

For the moment, I suppose most of you are already sick of snow from what I see of the weather but there's no snow here and I did find this really fun snowflake generator. It doesn't look like much when you make it, but use the 3D feature. That part is really cool, it spins the flake and then when you stop it, the graphic is lot more interesting. Enjoy.

Friday, December 19, 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Limping along here today but the ice is working. I managed to decorate the deck with the cheezy dollar store stuff I saved from last year. I'm still looking for my string of Christmas lights. I want to do the ledge on the kitchen divider again this year. Anyway, I'm also still working on the mood music.

I probably didn't see this one live since it's from 1958 and I'm not quite that old that I would remember, but certainly Perry Como was a big part of the holiday teevee experience of my youth. I really liked him.

Meanwhile, I'm not going to get a tree but Mike and Irma are doing it up in style again this year. When I lived in lovely downtown Noho, they would always invite me over to help decorate. I really miss that tradition, but they send me photos. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a way to save it to my Kodak program so I couldn't rotate the shot. But here it is. Just turn your heads sideways...

You did a great job kids. It's the best one yet.

Ow, ow, ow....

I managed to fall down last night and twisted my foot. These stupid old slide on slippers stretched and I caught the front of one on the rug and went down like a ton of bricks with my foot headed the wrong way. I don't think it's broken. More likely I pulled some tendons or strained some ligaments. Not much swelling. The pain is centered at top of the foot where it bends, just in front of the ankle. The ankle seems fine.

It didn't seem so bad at first. An hour later I couldn't walk on it. Oddly, I've been experimenting and if I can stand the pain, since I've woke up walking seems to help some if I don't put too much weight on the front and keep the weight on the heel. It's more bearable than it was I woke up anyway. I thought for a minute I'd have to crawl to the bathroom to pee.

I had to drop my health insurance months ago so I can't go get it checked out since I'm already almost $8000 in debt for medical bills. I really need to keep what's left of my credit limit in case the car breaks down. I can't believe it's all that serious anyway. I think it would hurt more if I broke something and the internet doctor sites say the treatment is rest and ice in any event so I'm going to try that for a day or two and see if it helps.

I wish I had some crutches. Ironically, most of my life I've always had a set of crutches around since I've broken toes occassionally and then they just take up room for years on end. Now that I really could use a pair, I don't have any.

Oy. What a life. I can't wait for my luck to turn.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Silver Bells

I'm really lagging on the Christmas carol thing, so here's another of my favorites. This is not the best cover of it, but I couldn't resist the early video of the Lennon Sisters. I'm sure I must have seen it when it was orginally aired. Certainly Lawrence Welk was the list of weekly shows we watched in any season.

Here's the Bing Crosby version. It's a much better cover but it doesn't come with video.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Once I had a life...

Rex is putting together a Christmas card of bloggers and asked me for a picture. I'm really unphotogenic, so I avoid cameras in general and since I've been here, I'm so alone in some ways that I have no one to take a photo of me. I had to send him a picture of a picture that's about five years old, but as long as I had to save it to send it, I guess I may as well post it for those of you who have never seen what I look like.

This is me in the Florida Keys feeding a manatee that came up to the docks. That was a happy time in my life.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Happy Birthday Sis

I can't let this day end without leaving a little birthday greeting for my sister, who is now officially old no matter how much younger than me she is. (Just our little joke.) She's started blogging, so you can click over and wish her a happy day. Some may recognize her nym from their own comment sections.

And happy birthday to my mom as well. Yeah, they're born on the same day. Mom however, does not have a blog. She doesn't even want to learn how to use a computer. I sent her a card.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Something strange in the air

I meant to blog about this the other day when it happened. I find when I'm getting anxious that sitting out on the deck in the fresh air for a few minutes really helps a lot. I was out there and it was really cold but there was no ground wind at all.

All of sudden a huge mass sailed in, rather high over the McCompound. I thought at first it was flock of birds but then as the various bits started to fall out of the sky, I realized it was a flock of oak leaves. One eventually landed on my little deck.

Weird. We don't even have more than a couple of oak trees here.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Hilarious spam

Too funny. I just found this in my spam folder. These guys think they're really cagey now. They're pretending to be the FBI. Here's just part of the mail:
Anti-Terrorist And Monetory Crimes Division
FBI Headquarters In Washington, D.C.
Federal Bureau Of Investigation
J. Edgar Hoover Building
935 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, D.C. 20535-0001

Telephone Number : (206) 973-2572

Attn: Beneficiary,

This is to Officially inform you that it has come to our notice and we have thoroughly completed an Investigation with the help of our Intelligence Monitoring Network System that you legally won the sum of $800,000.00 USD from a Lottery Company outside the United States of America. During our investigation we discovered that your e-mail won the money from an Online Balloting System and we have authorized this winning to be paid to you via a Certified Cashier's Check.
Their English is getting a little better but the typo in the heading is kind of a giveaway. Then you get to the contact stuff. CONTACT AGENT NAME: MR. BENSON EDWARD at a gmail address and with a crazy international phone number to call. And then they crib the "Authorized Signature and NSB SEAL." But the last lines are the most precious.
NOTE: In order to ensure your check gets delivered to you ASAP, you are advised to immediately contact Mr. Benson Edward via contact information provided above and make the required payment of $1000 to information in which he shall provide to you
The tortured sentence construction aside, they even forgot the period of the end of the sentence. Details. Details. Still it was good for a chuckle on a chilly Sunday.

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

I couldn't find a version of this song that really captured my childhood memories but this one by the Andy Williams quartet was something I might have watched as an older kid and would be singing right along in my living room in my enthusiatic but offkey manner.

I also like this Doris Day version. The arrangement is a little slow by I liked the video that goes with it. Those photos were very popular as Christmas cards, jigsaw puzzles and cheap art to hang on your walls when I just a young lass. I still really love them. I sometimes wish I could just step into the pictures and live in some of those peaceful looking homes.

[Note that the video isn't embeddable so you just have to click the links to get to it]

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Good stuff

Thanks to everyone who has been calling and emailing and sending me cards lately. I appreciate the moral support. Sometimes when you don't hear from anyone for a while, you wonder if people are avoiding you because you're such a loser that you can't find a job. It really helps to just hear, or see, a friendly voice once in a while.

It's been cloudy for the last couple of days and I've really been missing the sun but the good news is it's been warm as springtime. I've had the heat off and the window open, even at night. It was so warm the other night I slept in just a tshirt because I was too hot in my pajamas. Love that. The cold front is moving in this morning though. We're supposed to get some kind of big storms this afternoon and the temperature will drop again, but it was nice while it lasted.

Those of you know me well might remember that I'm legendary for breaking crockery. Well, I haven't broken a thing since I got here four years ago, but I finally ended that winning streak a couple of days ago. I managed to drop my favorite glass bowl into the sink and shatter it. That was sad but I'm thinking it may have been a blessing in disguise. I used that one all the time to nuke food and it was so old, for all I know it was full of lead. I'm sure it was made before they worried about such things and on the bright side, I still have all my old pyrex bowls that I love just as much.

Meanwhile, my mouse has been screwed up since I came back from dogsitting. This has happened a couple of times before. It's a miracle that it lasted this long really. It's the orginal mouse that came with the computer. I can't even remember when I bought this thing, probably in 02.

It's happened a couple of times before. The roller stops working and you have to really work to move the cursor. I do the usual stuff, clean the ball, blow out the insides and nothing works but then it's fixed itself just as suddenly as it stopped working. I'm thinking some loose piece inside falls into place or something. So far, it's still not quite right this time, but it seems to want to fix itself again. It's working a little better in the last day or so. I hope it does, because I'm not sure they even make a mouse that will plug into the back of the hard drive anymore. On the bright side, it's forced me to use the keyboard shortcuts more. That's probably good in the long run. I'm much too mouse dependent and using the shortcuts will probably save me some time.

And now back to the want ads... Maybe Santa will bring me a decent job for Christmas.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Blue Christmas

My third favorite Christmas carol.

The Elvis version is the best of course, but thanks to the miracle of YouTube, I've discovered that Porky Pig did a pretty dar-dar-darn good cover.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

My second favorite Christmas Carol

I haven't seen the movie in many years, and truthfully, I never loved the movie that much. The kid in it was kind of an irritating brat but I've loved this song ever since I first heard it there. Ronnie used to make sure this one was on the jukebox too.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

The spirit of the season

I've been crashing for the last few days. I think walking around in the cold, or rather standing around in it while the pup did his sniffing thing, finally caught to me. I wasn't feeling that great but it seems to be passing. Meanwhile, I'm trying to work up some Christmas spirit. I've decided to start torturing you with my favorite Christmas carols. This one is my all time, number one fav.

This song always reminds me of Ronnie Sarazin now. Ron was such a odd guy. He had a reputation as a mean old man, a genuine Scrooge and God knows there were many times when I was bartending for him that I thought he deserved it, but there was a soft side to him, that most people never got to see. He knew this was my favorite and at Christmastime he would make sure it was on the juke box and he would always cough up the quarters to play it for me, every time I had a shift.

I think he may have secretly really liked Christmas carols as well, but still he did for me. Considering how really stingy he could be, I always found it touching. In many ways he was good friend and I miss him sometimes.

Meanwhile, if you need snow to get into the spirit, this is a gorgeous winter video from Finland. I'll be viewing that one more than once. That's kind of the only downside to Christmas in the south. Being such a lifelong Yankee, it never quite feels like the holiday since we so rarely see the white stuff where I am.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

There's no place like home

Well I'm back home again and I would love to have a day to decompress and poke around the house but I have a long dentist appointment again today. It was a good gig but I'm glad to be back in my own little space. I'm definitely not taking a walk today. I won't have time anyway but tomorrow is supposed to be warm so I'm going to try to take a nice long one then. It will be nice to set my own pace. The pup had a tendency to want to take really long sniff breaks so the exercise factor was somewhat diminished.

The big excitement of the whole gig was the night a huge freaking bug followed me into the house. I mean it was four inches long and black. I thought at first it was a spider but on closer inspection, I realized it was some kind of cricket even though it didn't make any noise. It had long legs and it hopped. Someone with a video camera could have made a fine YouTube of me chasing it around the kitchen with a glass and a towel trying to catch it.

I suppose I could have just smooshed it with my shoe, but I'm funny like that. I don't like to kill things if I can help it. I usually rescue spiders too.

Oh, and on the ride home last night I pass through a lot of farms and got to see the planets. They weren't in that perfect triangle with the moon anymore but they were visible for most of the ride and sometimes it looked like I was going to ride right between them. The stars look bigger down here somehow. It was a nice end to the gig.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Follow the Star

Last day of the dogsitting gig. This is a nice place and the doggie is a sweetie, but I'll be glad to be home again and not be forced to go out for a walk in the howling wind or the raw, wet cold for an hour whether I feel like it or not. Now I remember why I stopped taking these sort of gigs in the winter. Man, it was cold yesterday.

Today looks a little better. The sun came out and it looks like just a fairly mild breeze out there at the moment so my last walk with the little guy should be more pleasant. Hope it warms up a little more by walktime.

Meanwhile, Avedon tells me advent doesn't officially start for a couple of more days but the calendars of course start on the first. I've always loved advent calendars. It was a big part of our Christmas tradition when my daughter was growing up. I don't get them anymore. It's not quite the same opening up the window by yourself, but there's a whole wealth of them on-line.

Avedon collects the links every year. I'm a traditionalist so my favorites are the St Mary Margaret and the Liverpool Museum versions, but you may like the more modern ones better.

Anyway, I really like the on-line ones so if you find any while you're surfing the intertubes, please do leave me a link in comments.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Ready or not, here it comes

I'm talking about Christmas of course. My Christmas shopping is going to be easy enough. Since I'm broke, I'm not doing any to speak of but if you need ideas on what not to buy, well here's a couple.

Bras for men is the latest rage in Japan apparently. Unless you have some cross-dressers on your list, I have a feeling it probably won't go over so well with the macho men in your life. And here's a list of the 22 worst gifts that you probably shouldn't put on your list either. [h/t Avedon]