Hounds, the common denominator

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Baby Sissy celebrating her spin on Boxing Day, 12-07

Happy Boxing Day!   I miss December 26th at my stepmom’s homeplace.  I miss the spoonbread, the Virginia country ham biscuits (really… all ham biscuits should be two-bite-sized and feature thinly sliced, very tender country ham), her SPECIAL egg nog, cheese biscuits (think cheese “cookie” with a half pecan pressed on top), and tremendously good cheer.  Knowing Boxing Day would happen made it easier to be a good sport and work Christmas Day when I was a paid firefighter.

Courtesy of Write Meg

Courtesy of Write Meg

Am I the only one who has food associations for holidays?  Even though I don’t like goose, I’m still a little sad there’s been no Christmas goose for years and years.   When we were much younger (read: teens?) my lone male cousin on my maternal side and his father provided said goose for our family fete, straight from their own river access, right there on the farm.  Now, I’m quite accustomed to my sister’s beef tenderloin for Christmas dinner.  I’m also all about local food customs, and some say spoonbread, along with the Virginia country ham, originated right here…  The same formerly-goose-getter cousin introduced us all to his adult hometown’s stuffed ham.  (Don’t judge.  I hate kale and still thought this was quite tasty.)

photo.JPGNext up is a pretty basset stamp a friend used on the envelope of her Christmas card.  I think I need to find one!  I just love a freckled basset… 

I’m sure Sissy would love to have a stamp.  Of course, then Gretchen would want one too…  hmmm…  I think I’d get plenty of use out of them though, don’t you?

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Next up is this fun floral arrangement.   I got my first “mum dog” when I had back surgery, so when another local basset-mom was in the hospital, I knew just what she needed.  Our florist asked only for an extra day to figure out the ears and other basset modifications, and the result was definitely worth it!   Wouldn’t that cheer you up?

Well, this post is long enough, so tune in tomorrow for the final chapter in our tale of how the love of hounds makes the world go ’round.  We hope you had a great Christmas.  Here in the Woods, this is the second day of Christmas, and my true love is giving me – well, my beloved car – a transmission flush and some other necessary maintenance.   Does anyone else celebrate Christmas through Epiphany?

A good day…

July 2012 002I’ve said since I learned that a local friend was due on July 17th that the 18th is a good day to be born.  See, my teen years BFF was born today… a few years ago.  (Hem.)  No, you don’t get a photo, because all of my photos for the last few years include her precious boy, and I don’t put kiddo photos on my blog.

Instead, you get a pretty photo of one of my birthday flowers. 

Now… what’s your go-to baby shower (or just welcome baby) gift?

Birthday Highlights

Why yes, it is well over a week after my birthday, and nearly two weeks since the birthday festivities kicked off with the arrival – in my office – of my first gift.  gMarie and the Knight were in cahoots, and a pink pearl wisteria (not in bloom, so no photo) has come to live in the woods.   I can hardly wait to see it in bloom, but I hear that indeed…  I’ll have to wait.  Hrmph.

That was followed by quite the birthday eve eve on Friday.  My sweet sis sent my packages to work for me to open early, and I didn’t wait a moment to slap on my Count Me Healthy bracelet.   I’m currently using it to count my veggie servings, but I can also see it being used to count rows in a short lace repeat (knitting)…  The beads slide.  Not too easily, but that’s the point; they’re counters, not floating charms!  

She also gave me a really pretty commerically made lace bolero, but you’ll have to wait until I wear it and get good photos.

The Friday goodness continued with lunch with Amy.   While Amy’s gifts – and cards – are always thoughtful and spot-on, I’d much rather share a photo of her fabulous made from a vintage pattern (by her talented mom!) attire. 

It was beastly hot and I will confess that I feared the heat would cancel our date.  I think Amy was pretty darned close to miserable, but she looked great and we had a fabulous afternoon together.  I suspect that will be our last lunch before Zoe arrives, so it was an extra-special way to kick off my birthday celebrations.

I’m glossing over the flowers and Edible Arrangements that also arrived at work on Friday.  That’s not to say I don’t treasure them, but this post is long enough without me reconstructing every moment of my birthday giftings.

July 2012 010Grace also sent a special birthday package with much goodness, but Sissy has insisted that I share the cute monster, who does happen to be napping on the shawl, also from Grace.  As with the felted basset I got in May, the purple monster is currently hiding out in a safe, high-up location.  The girls have never bothered one of my “toys” but I do have to take measures to assure they understand that certain items are MINE, even if they do show up in a color that MIGHT lend one to believe they were intended for a fur-girl…

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Sue and her pack also sent a very special box, and I’m sure some of the goodies will show up in other posts, but the card she sent was without a doubt the most must have been made for me commercial card ever.  If not for the apple-green collar I know Sis has NEVER worn, I’d wonder if someone stole a photo of the DIVA on a sand crab hunt!

There will also be a special post on another day…  the Knight found me what appears to be the bag of my (current) dreams.  But you’ll have to wait until I finish putting it through its paces…

Thanks to everyone who helped make my birthday one of the best ever.   I wish I could thank each and every person who sent a card, gave me a gift, or left a note on my Facebook wall, but there are only so many hours in a day…

Bake, Wrap and…

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Glittery Gerbers from MJ

Something’s wrong. 

Wait.  Back up.  In my former life, I always had it together and was never caught unprepared or rushed at Christmastime.  You need to know that, because that’s why my still pinches like new shoes that are too small habit of being a last-minute everything Christmas gal is so uncomfortable that you have to hear about it over and over.

Hem.  Anyway.  It seems that after I finish up a surprisingly short shopping list tonight, I’ll just need to bake and wrap.  How ’bout that?!  It’s not my former glory where I did cards while I watched the parade on Thanksgiving morning, but it’ll do.

So.  About that baking list…

There are the traditions:

  1. Nannie’s orange balls – I actually have my grandmother’s recipe, and yet, none of us are surprised that hers were different.  She was known for holding back a step or a secret ingredient… Hem.
  2. Grandma Vallie’s strawberry cake – One of the Knight’s grandmother’s recipes.  I now make them in cupcake form so it’s easier for everyone to take the leftovers home.
  3. Fudge.  My own recipe… sorta’.  A co-worker’s grandmother pointed me to the back of the right marshmallow creme jar…
  4. Cheese straws – out of the JL Bristol cookbook, because yours truly would rather have savory than sweet most of the time…

And the oooh, shiny!!  temptations I have to try this year:

  1. Pampered Chef’s chai something cookie
  2. Something gingerbread (but soft… I only like SOFT gingerbread treats)
  3. Probably something else chocolate… maybe a brownie or bar cookie?

Do you have any recipes that just make Christmas for you?  Will you share?

Not Seeing Red

So far, Project Spectrum isn’t inspiring my knitting mojo.  I’ve visited a lot of the reds in my stash, and nothing wants to jump on the needles.  I have a tomato cotton not logged in my stash (how does this happen?  pfst… it just does) that might want to be a tank, vest or cropped, short-sleeved cardi or something. 

I did smile at the first blooms on Mugsy’s rose bush this year.  That’s a rich, stunning red, but I don’t have any yarn that color, nor would I feel inspired to knit with it, so it seems. 

I do have some coral in my stash, but … nothing is jumping up and down to get on my needles.

Dress Barn

Instead, here’s a dress that doesn’t precisely hit the red mark, but as out of character as it is for me in both style and color, I think I want this dress!

What shoes would you wear with it?  I have a couple (well, three) pairs of shoes that might work with it, but as you know, I’m really loving wedges right now, and I think pink wedges would be lovely, or these

Sigh.  MJ and I just spent I don’t know how long looking through multiple shoe sites for pink wedges.  Pout.  Nothing, unless I want to pay $200 for some Lilly P … and I don’t.

Where do you see red?  Do you have an inspiration for me?

Easter at the Beach

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Monster tulips at cousin's house

Sigh.  No, we didn’t head to the Outer Banks for the weekend, but we still got to see water and something that passes for a beach.  See, my cousin has a new home in Colonial Beach, and that’s where we did Easter dinner. 

Now, Colonial Beach isn’t new to me, but I confess that I’ve never had time to be a tourist there before yesterday.  Yesterday’s little drive made me very curious!  Alexander Graham Bell maintained a vacation home there and the Bell House is now a bed & breakfast.   The house has quite a history, having been built by the son of the Civil War General Ambrose. 

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The town of Colonial Beach even has a little fire boat after the big marina fire.   It is the first fire boat I’ve seen in person.  Yeah, that is the wee police boat to its left, and there was a State Police boat elsewhere in the marina too.  I suspect before long, those boats will be in the water!

Did you do anything special for Easter? 

Oh – and be sure to visit the girls’ blog for a fun Easter photo.

Pending…

Thanks, Wiki! I needed a photo for the post...

I took lots of photos yesterday.  Photos for Dogs on Thursday.  Photos of the most awesome Christmas gifties from Anners.  (Yes, Christmas.  What of it?  Don’t you like getting gifts all year?)  Photos of the Virginia Bluebells I bought from Ann’s son for Fred’s side of the garden, which lacks any of HIS blue hues.

Take my word for it, and I’ll post if ever the planets align and I can upload photos from the EVO that never has a signal, or after the photos are transfered to the iPhone that will make the world a better place.

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Shadow 2 & Fred, 8-07

Are you wondering how a dog in Wahoo country ended up with Carolina Blue as his non-green color?  Well… see…  There was this awesome basset-owner in my provisional class when I joined the League, and of course when she started making custom dog collars, Fred NEEDED one – with a matching lead, you know?  Hem.  She knew our “house color” was green, so she asked what second color I wanted.  Something blue, because blue was Freddie’s color.   I should have been more specific; I knew she was a Tarheel! 

Now that she’s moved back to Carolina and Fred’s moved on too, I’m glad for the joke that turned into a warm connection, holding us all together even though time marched on.

I also have a finished object I’ll share on Friday, and I will not be one of the ones clogging up the internet on Friday night, filing my tax return.  Whooot! 

Anything pending in your life?