Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year to you and yours!

 From Grandma's 1920s postcard collection.
The sentiment still fits.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Battling Keyboards

So, did everyone get all they wished for...and maybe more...this holiday season?  I know I did and the most fun was surprising Hubby with a gift he'd thought about but didn't think was realistic.  As some of you may recall, he once traded a customer some archery work for an old golf cart that had a BMW emblem on it.  We're not the types to drive a real Beemer, but living on 5 acres with a mailbox a fair distance away and a Hubby with a bum knee, it comes in handy.  Recently, however, the old Beemer was crawling so slow short little me could travel farther, faster.                                               

So for Christmas I got Hubby a new one.  Well, "newer" one as in 2008 vs. the 1980 model of the Beemer.  Which meant we had to go pick it up 2 days before Christmas because they don't deliver and were leaving town at 5 p.m. that day.  I guess when you have to pick up something you want, it's okay to mess with tradition a little.

Now about this title.  Santa brought me a new toy too: a digital piano with a full size keyboard.  This is where I learned that sometimes when I least expect it, Hubby is paying attention to every word I say.

I inherited the piano I learned to play on....the same, second hand piano that my Dad had learned on.  I ended up with it, not because I was first born but because out of the 3 of us, I'm the only kid who learned the old fashion way: by reading music.  Dad, Sis and Bro all played by ear, which, during childhood, I found annoying at best and frustrating when trying to learn a tough piece.  She's a beautiful old upright, "honky tonk" style piano and once I stopped taking lessons, I played her even more.  Over the years she moved in with Hubby and me and for a while, I played her on a consistent basis.

Yeah, you guessed it.  Life threw more and more into my schedule until she began to become neglected.  To tell you the truth, she'd become a little too out of tune and made hitting the correct notes sound like stumbling into a piano in the dark.  To spare her feelings, I dusted her more than I played.

And yet after owning the latest Hugh Laurie CD, I felt that itch to play resurface.  Oh sure, I knew I'd be out of practice but I could do it again.  Just like before...practice.  I'd mentioned having the old gal tuned in the past but Hubby gave me one of those parental looks that meant, "And you'll play with your new toy for a month, then find a new toy."

This year, however, unbeknownst to me (until Christmas morning, when all the good, spy worthy tales of shopping for each other get told) I found out he'd actually had a piano tuner come check her out.  Granted, she's probably close to 100 years old but I loved her, in spite of the fact my 4 year old brother once took a wooden hammer to her ivory keys one day and chipped away more than a couple.  He thought the sound was "pretty".   I considered them battle scars that never kept her from singing.

After checking her over, evidently the piano tuner offered Hubby $25 for use as parts!

I married a smart man.  Our house is filled with antiques lovingly collected over the years.  He told the piano tuner, "Thanks, but no thanks".  Which is why on Christmas morning I unwrapped a digital piano with a full keyboard.  I'd already thanked Hubby when he told me about the piano tuner and I threw my arms back around him when he'd turned down the "big money" offer.  Because he knew the sentimental value of that piano was, to me, priceless.

And so while I practice on the new keyboard (and boy am I rusty!) in the shadow of the old gal who trained me to love the sound, we are both comforted in knowing she's not going anywhere.  She's a part of my childhood, of memories forged from playing while Mom cooked Sunday dinners, to singing "Won't You Come Home, Bill Bailey" at her side while Dad ear.

She might be a glorified display shelf for my collection of kerosene lamps which rest on top of her, but she's still keeping me company, just out of the corner of my eye.

So although my computer keyboard may get a little jealous during my 2 week vacation ( work!), the new one will make a piano player out of me again.  Soon or later.

Don't worry...I won't totally desert you.  After all, you can only practice so much before it becomes work.

Sunday, December 25, 2011


To all my invisible friends here in Cyberland, I wish you and yours the best and merriest day ever!

Friday, December 23, 2011

2 Days before Christmas and...

...instead of the normal 40-50 degree temps (4-10 C) common this time of year, today it's sunny and currently 73. (23 C)

No, I'm not complaining.  But it does seem a little odd to walk out the front door and discover that the one little azalea branch leaning it's head on the warm brick steps thought it was time to put on it's finery BEFORE spring.

Merry Christmas y'all!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Santa Claus is Coming to Town

And with NORAD & Google Earth's help, you can track him.  Here's his journey from last year.  Click on the "snowflake" on the video bar and make it snow!

  Yeah, I DO still believe.  Don't you?   Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Friday 55

Ho,Ho,Ho, time for a new 55 word story.  Personally, I find staying home to write one easier than facing panicked, last minute shoppers. Make sure you share with the g-man

 “IPYPIASM?" John repeated skeptically.
 "Never heard of that condition before."

“Seasonal thing,” Luke answered.

“Like an allergy?” John inquired as Luke shook his head.  
 “Sounds like a spasm.  
 Is it painful?”

“No.  Makes you laugh.”

“You have a laughing disease?” John mused while Luke smiled. 

“If it’s done right. 
It’s Christmas spirit for shoppers.” 

IPYPIASM is the brainchild of Niamh B. and stands for “International Put Your Poem In A Shop Month”.   Short poems are left for shoppers to find, in hopes of  brightening their day.  The challenge is not so much creating the poem as leaving it without getting caught.  Plus you have to take a photo of where you leave it and post on your blog as proof. Mine's a couple of posts back.  

 So far, “the score being tracked purely for 'fun' stands at;”
 England    5
 Scotland   10
 Ireland   11
 North America  4

Friday, December 9, 2011

60 Second Break

Tired of work?  Shopping?  Crowds?   Take a moment to be a kid again.  

Thanks Mom. :)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

For Titus:

Visit Titus here for an explanation of how this stealth poetry left in a shop during December works.

This was my attempt for 2011.  Unfortunately the cell phone shot isn't that great, so I've listed the words beneath it.  And for the record, I DO NOT condone violent shoppers.  I'm just saying being a short woman in holiday crowds has left me a little less than jolly on occasion.  :)

Hunt for Bargains.
Pushed and shoved.
Women may be gatherers.
But now I understand
why Cavemen shopped
with club in hand.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Utterly Amazing!

Brain child of Ben Canales, this time elapsed video taken in Oregon will never let you take Mother Nature for granted again!

This is worth going full screen for...have a good week!

Finding Oregon from Uncage the Soul Productions on Vimeo.
Produced 2011 by Uncage the Soul Productions
Ben Canales, John Waller, Steve Engman, Blake Johnson

To plan your adventure to Oregon, visit Travel Oregon at

Finding Oregon is the compilation of six months of timelapse photography across the state of Oregon, punctuated by a 1600 mile road trip in September. We've filmed the Columbia River Gorge, Mt Hood, Mt Jefferson, the Southwestern Coast, the Alvord Desert, Leslie Gulch, Blue Mountains, Crater Lake, Eagle Cap Wilderness, Deschutes River, and more. We're proud to have touched all four corners of the state; however Oregon is the kind of place that the more you see, the more places there are to still discover. 

Friday, December 2, 2011

Friday 55

Before the Christmas rush saps all your strength, it's time to write a 55 word story.  Make sure you share with the g-man.  Good luck...and happy shopping.  I'm staying home.  :)

“You’re full as a tick.   
Keep airing your lungs and you’ll end up a cottonwood blossom,” 
Jim growled at someone in the distance.

“You understand that?” Sam asked in a puzzled whisper as Dean nodded. 
“What does it mean?”

“Means we never should’ve gotten him that Cowboy Dictionary for Christmas.”

“Igit!” Jim huffed in disgust.

I admit it: I love cowboy slang.  I once read a cowboy dictionary and some of these terms never left my head.  Translation:

Full as a tick: very drunk.
Airing your lungs: cursing
Cottonwood blossom: a man who’s been hung
Igit: Idiot

Thursday, December 1, 2011

For Ponita...with Thanks to Canada

I use to hate the Christmas song, "Santa Baby" because that Betty Boop voice quality drove me nuts!

This version, however does not.  

I'm sharing with you the Christmas gift I bought for ME a month ago...and made myself WAIT to listen to today, on Dec. 1st.  So thank you Canada for sharing the gift of Michael Buble.  And be sure you listen extra careful to what he'd like Santa to bring him.