Moans & Groans Friday, May 30 2008 

Oh, dear, Auntie M is up to her ears!

In party prep: Friday: Pig picking at neighbor’s, one coconut pie, one lemon poppy-seed cake, 80 deviled eggs to bring.

Saturday, Steak Bday dinner for 12 for Paramedic son–(Could I really be old enough to have a child 32?)with  chocolate-cherry cheesecake.

Sunday: Family-from-NJ dinner for 8, cinnamon cake, leftover cheesecake, big meal still deciding.

In work: One 240 pg manuscript finally done and sent out today to SI group; 300 pg one to edit this weekend (see above) and start reading three others for writers group.

In her head: a nasty sinus infection, complete with headaches, streaming nose, sneezing, tired and ugly.

In her computer: which has suddenly decided it does not recognize some things and throws out others.  Hence, my inability today to get comments to anyone else’s blog (Hen: ANY High tea and I’m there~faves: The Parsonage, Oxford, and Helmsley Palace, NY complete with harpist.  MEL: Kudo’s all around on Mr T, plantings, soil samples and wild violets.  Can you make blueberry buckle in Colorado?)

I am turning the bloody thing off so it can have a well-deserved rest (maybe it’s just too hot?) and hope when I get back to it Monday it’s fixed itself, the head has stopped streaming, the food is eaten and the guests gone, the manuscripts are getting read and all is right with the world.

Free Shipping Saturday, May 24 2008 

Now why, you might ask yourself, would Auntie M bother to write a  blog with that title?

If you live in a very, very, very (only 3 very’s will do) rural area, as I do, you find yourself doing most of your needed household, clothing and gift shopping online.  And whilst the gas prices soar, that kind of shopping includes the added charge for shipping, which I understand they need to charge but which sometimes sounds vastly higher than UPS is really getting.

So, in the interests of passing along A Good Find, check out: freeshipping.org.  This site lists over 700 establishments where you can find codes which give you free shipping on your items.  I hope it works for you–with four grandchildren in the Midwest, this NC Nana has used it often, esp. at Christmas time.

Have a good weekend, friends~

Colin Firth Update~ Friday, May 23 2008 

News from the local newspaper magazine: Dear Colin, who can be seen in the newly released film “Then She Found Me” with Helen Hunt and Bette Midler, will also be seen in June’s release “When Did You Last See Your Father?”  This film was already released in the UK and also stars the wonderful Jim Broadbent, so some of my UK pals may have seen it.

https://i1.wp.com/www.murphsplace.com/blogpics/colin-blogpic.jpg

Then in July comes the musical “Mamma Mia”–no kidding!  Pierce Brosnan and Meryl Streep, along with Julie Walters and a few Scandanavian actors I can’t pronounce all star with Our Colin.   Produced by Tom Hanks and wife Rita Wilson and a few more Scandanavians, along with the songs ABBA, this one promises to be a hoot!  Is Colin the father of Streep’s child?  He could father mine if I still had a uterus. . .

https://i2.wp.com/www.pemberley.com/photos/firth/IBM_ColinFirth.jpg

Girl’s Night In Wednesday, May 21 2008 

Auntie M has been off line a bit; a lightening strike got our satellite and I couldn’t get our Internet to work until Doc returned from his Tx/Mx trip last night and this morning all is right with the world once again.

Last Friday night I had Girls Night In here: five women friends came in their pj’s/robes/slippers.  We ate cheeses, olives, fruits and hors d’, drank a tiny bit of wine, and went in the hot tub (4 of the 6 of us).  Then we adjourned to the living room and put in the chick flick Caro had brought us: “27 Dresses” a most absurd movie not made for anything but brain candy time.  Did I mention we ate a bit more, brownies and tiny pecan pies and mini-cinnamon buns and trail mix and chocolate candy, along with a wee bit more wine?

They each had a goodie bag to take home, with a tiny summer wreath made by yours truly, a good-smelly lavendar soap, and their first initial picked out in faux pearls and hanging on a ribbon to tuck somewhere.

Three slept over and the next morning we had breakfast together and sat with our coffee on the porch.  It was an absolutely lovely day and we lingered there, drinking and talking.  When they left by 11AM I felt like I’d really had some time alone with these delightful women.  One thing we all have in common, despite differences in many other things, is that we are all of an age to be taking care of our parents–some in nursing homes, some still in their own homes, all experiencing the role reversal that occurs at middle age and above.

Call it female bonding, call it escapism, whatever you call it, it was just good plain fun!

Mother’s Day Wednesday, May 14 2008 

This M day was different.  Sean was working, Doc is away at a lacrosse tourney with Mn son, and Mom and I were alone.  I decided I would try, really try, to give her my full attention and see if that made any difference in how the weekend fell out.

Don’t get me wrong: I love my mom.  She taught me to read before I started school, has been a firm supporter and a good babysitter when I needed it.  She is also emotionally immature, is only happy when she has something to worry about, is chronically pessimistic, and is a hypochondriac.  So time together tends to wear thin on me after a few hours.

She came out Saturday at noon for a mother-daughter dinner at a local church that has become a tradition.  we spent the afternoon watching HGTV shows she likes and relaxing before dresssing.  It was a nice evening, neither of us had to cook, and she even won a prize for being the oldest mother there with the oldest daughter…no comment.

We came home and watched a movie together, Hugh Laurie in “Maybe, Baby,” and even her snoring on and off during it didn’t phase me.  There was a younger, gentler Hugh trying to make Joely Richardson preggers and several humping scenes held me just fine.  After a full evening, we both retired to sleep.  I’d ignored her worrying about a predicted storm for Sunday, boosted her worries about her new BP meds.  So far, so good.

The big Sunday dawned on a horrible storm hitting us, tornado watches, roaring winds, TV satellite going in and out, all 3 dogs shivering from thunder.  Plans to head to a MDay brunch at a local restaurant followed by a visit to the nursing home were squashed.  I defrosted two hefty steaks and smiled a lot.  We stayed in.  We watched “The Thin Man Goes Home” (love NIck and Nora).  We napped.  We watched “Stranger than Fiction” and Mom only snored a few times.  I did the Sunday crossword puzzle and walked the dogs in between showers.  We ate those steaks with pasta  and pesto sauce and on a whim I whipped up a batch hot chocolate chip cookies and we ate those, too.  I left the novel and the wash and the chores and the cleaning alone and just spent time with her.  I clipped her dog’s toenails and checked the balance in her checkbook.  I even got her to sit on the ledge and put her legs and feet in the hot tub.  I gave her my total attention.  I felt like a saint.

She slept over Sunday night, too, but sat through “Wire in the Blood” with me, which was DVR’d on my bedrm TV.  We laughed over her having to use two stepstools to get into my high bed–I need two steps, too.  Moderate snoring but I kept the volume up high.

The next morning she was packed early and ready to leave for home (25 minutes away, but hey, I live in the ‘country’ and she lives in ‘town’).  She kissed me and told me she’d loved spending quality time with me and that it felt like a mini-vacation.  She left and I got ready to buckle down to all of the work and things I’d ignored for two entire days.  It took me half of Monday to get them done, and when I sat down at the computer to get back to work, I had trouble getting into it.  It took me a minute to realize what was missing.

No snoring; no clicking on the weather channel every five minutes to check the storm progress, no small dog terrorizing my own two.  It was quiet, and peaceful, and strangely lonely.  I realized I had allowed myself to enjoy her company, and all it had taken was a heavy dose of patience on my end and a determination to relax and enjoy her company.

And I had.

Spring on the River Thursday, May 8 2008 

It’s true: spring is finally here and I’m wearing my birkies and had shorts on today, despite having legs-that-should-never-wear-shorts, completely decorated with matching scars from my knee replacements.  This tells you something about my (lack of) vanity on most days.  The birds are riotous here, purple martins screeching in their apartments (Radar likes to chase their shadows) and barn swallows nesting under our stairs.  The blue birds are here in abundance and Doc has already had to refill his hummingbird feeders several times.

I’m feeling pretty satisfied tonight: got EVERYTHING on today’s must-do list accomplished and now when I go outside I am a smiling gal.  There are flowers in the cement heads that hang off the pilings, more on the back steps going up into the house.  I sanded and spray-painted two vintage metal flower holders that remind me of the antique store we bought them from in Virginia (primer and two colors, no less).  these sport alstromeria and grace our front steps going down to to the river.  I found a window box that fits over the porch railing across from the door we use daily and filled that with draping perennials in blues, yellow and violet.  And weeded the verbena and put coreopsis in the Tuscan planter that hangs by our drive.

Then spent the rest of the evening finishing the dress-up clothes Granddtgr R asked for: 3 Colonial maids, ready to keep her busy with her American Girls, boxed up and ready to mail out for her 8th birthday next week.

Doc put our two new porch benches together and installed a low railing around the hot tub, so little ones can’t walk across the top and sink in.  After he finished getting the rest of the veggie garden seeds started.  It just feels so good to have so many things accomplished and to see the house ‘waking up’ after its winter sleep.

My mood is high, can you tell?
I think I’ll sleep well tonight!

Christening, NC style Monday, May 5 2008 

Yesterday Auntie M and Doc were invited to the christening of a much-wanted baby boy, (Mum is 40 and after four misses, her final chance before adoption).  The church was the one she and her mum were baptized in, built in 1842 and still going strong, lovely in its simplicity, with beams and dark columns that supported a three-way round balcony where the slaves originally sat.  Someone had the foresight to put on the AC, so it was comfortable, too.  A huge vase of white flowers from Gram’s garden graced the simple altar in this Methodist church.

There was a group  of women from Manteo who played the bells–they had traveled over an hour to be here for this special baby’s day.  These handbell ringers practice once a week and with their soprano bells, sweetly played ancient hymns before the ceremony and in the middle of it, Amazing Grace, a lovely touch.  We sang along with “Joyful, Joyful” which is the recognizable bit from Song of Joy and to a hymn I didn’t know, but appreciated, about the planting of seeds and flowers in bloom and innocence.

Little Walker Samuel Breckenridge behaved admirably, wearing a long white dress over his cute white romper with bare feel wiggling  when he kicked it up (is there anything sweeter than baby bare feet???) and totally enjoyed his moment in the sun.  He listened to the music with rapt attention, esp. the bells, and smiled up at the preacher when he took him to do the actual baptism.  When said minister dipped his hand in the water and rubbed it on his head three times he frowned once, then chortled, cracking us in the pews up.  He smiled serenely when we repeated prayers for his health and happiness, closing long-lashed lids over startling blue eyes

By the closing hymn he had fallen gracefully asleep in his daddy’s arms.  Adjourn to Grams’ house, surrounded by blooming peonies and trees for delicate dips, nuts, spreads, hors d’ and the required mini-ham biscuits.  Lovely day, sunshine all around, proud mum and dad, truly grateful for this tiny baby’s presence in their lives, the only grand to both sets of proud grandparents.

It happened to be our own wedding anniversary (17 yrs to those of you counting and we think this one will last) and it was a great way to spend the day: being in that lovely old building, reminded of the innocence of children and the awesome responsibility we carry as their parents/grandparents/elders, thankful this baby had survived and made everyone so thrilled–just one of those days where everything is a positive and the ugliness that is also a part of everyday life recedes and we know we are truly blessed.

What brings out these feelings in you?

Kitchen show and tell Saturday, May 3 2008 

OK, looks like maybe I got the snaps in but the captions and text didn’t take.

Told you I was a techno-illiterate!  GGHC will straighten me out this June~

Show and Tell Saturday, May 3 2008 

I’m trying this out for the first time…GGCH has encouraged me after I managed to get Radar on the last post, so here goes:

My kitchen:River viewTo the right of that sinkThe stove, not an Aga, Hen.Opposite side of room from stoveFridge and Freezer.

Going to the Dogs Thursday, May 1 2008 

Thanks to my friend, Green Girl Conservationist Homemaker, hereafter known as GGCH. I learned to upload a snap to my post.  Now for those of you who do this on a daily basis, this is No Big Deal.  However, for those of us who are computer illiterates, trust me, this is a Biggie.

The pup in question is our Italian Spinone, Radar, now 11 mos and a delight with his Muppet looks and winsome ways.  (See Westminster blog).  At 99.6 lbs and counting, we are doing training as lugging him around or wrestling him to the ground is not in the cards, esp. for Auntie M at 5′ 2″ on a good day.

Things are going very well: Come, Sit, Stay, all the usual.  Has been housebroken for yonks.  Sleeps well,  and keeps us laughing with his silly grin.  Radar’s only negative is a human-created one–our only neighbor across our marsh bridge on one side who ties her dog up and doesn’t want ours to visit.

For dog owners everywhere, you know most of them are friendly and like to play with each other.  Our rescue mutt, Murray, is aging and with arthritic hips, just doens’t fit the bill for an active pup like Radar.  Judas, however, a 2 yr old athletic lab the neighbors own, does.  The resultant rescues have not gone down well with the neighbors, so we installed a gate with side wings to keep Radar from ‘visiting’ his friend. Sad, really.

Yesterday said Lab found a way over here, and promptly showed Radar a sneaky way to avoid the gates and bridge altogether by cutting earlier down our driveway and through the marsh (and mud) between us.  To say my neighbor was not happy is an understatement.  Ditto Doc, who had labored long and hard to make this fencing out of lightweight PVC piping so I could easily manage it alone…

Back to the drawing board.  We may extend the fencing down our drive.  So silly, isn’t it?

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The Life of Guppy

the care and feeding of our little fish

dru's book musings

Reading is a wonderful adventure!

JoHanna Massey

“Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.” ― Carl Sagan

MiddleSisterReviews.com

(mid'-l sis'-tǝr) n. the reader's favorite sister

My train of thoughts on...

Smile! Don't look back in anger.

Make

make Your House a home

K.R. Morrison, Author

My author site--news and other stuff about books and things

Wicked Cozy Authors

Mysteries with a New England Accent

Some Days You Do ...

Writers & Writing, my own & other people's; movies, art, music & the search for a perfect flat white - the bits & pieces of a writing life.

Gaslight Crime

Author and reviewer of period crime fiction

Crimezine

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John Harvey on Books & Writing - his own & other people 's - Art, Music, Movies, & the elusive search for the perfect Flat White.

A thrilling Murder-Mystery...

...now being made into a radio drama

BOOK SHELF

"Tell me and I forget-Show me and I remember-Involve me and I learn"

Past Offences: Classic crime, thrillers and mystery book reviews

The best mystery and crime fiction (up to 1987): Book and movie reviews

forensics4fiction

Forensics demystified for the fiction writer

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