Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Deck the Halls Part 2

The holidays are typically a joyous time of goodwill and good spirits.

Then, sometimes, you hit a wall.

I've been rushing around in a holiday haze. You know, stopping at green lights.

So much to do. Hand making some of my gifts and procrastinating at it.

Last minute errands. Just a quick stop at the mall yesterday proved to send me over the top. I couldn't believe how many people were at the mall at 2:00 on a Monday. When I shop, I am on a mission. I do not do well behind lollygaggers. I walk fast.

One reason I have so enjoyed sharing photos of my Christmas trinkets is because I just have little vignettes set up around my place this year, rather than a full home decor. Why? Because my landlord decided to have some remodel work done in my apartment this week. I will appreciate the work when it is finished, but I am not appreciating the disarray and mess during the holidays. Luckily, I am not hosting family or entertaining guests this year.

Yesterday, I heard the news of young actress Brittany Murphy passing away at the age of 32. Then, I get onto Facebook and learn that a friend of mine from college, age 36, was diagnosed with breast cancer two weeks ago. She is recovering from a mastectomy and starts chemotherapy in two weeks. And....still then, today I hear that my aunt's husband (she lost her first- my uncle Teddy- three years ago) passed away from his battle with cancer. They had two short, but wonderful, years together.

And so, I just started crying. Staring at my computer screen. Perplexed that such a joyous time of year, can also be so sad. My mom posted about this last week. Around the holidays, there is so much loss. So many memories of deceased family members that bubble up. Smiles for remembering the good times. But heartache and tears, still. Sadness that they are not here with us.

Thorns and stings

And those such things

Just make stronger

Our angel wings.

~Emme Woodhull-Bache

{Fake snow in photo alert! I couldn't resist.}

On to more cheerful things. There is still much, much to be thankful for. And a new year soon on it's way. New promises and hopes and dreams.

I sprinkled more photos of my decor throughout this post. I have to tell you a funny story. I intended to cut some greens from the trees on the back of Paint Girl's farm the other day and completely forgot.

I got home and checked in on my email and my Blogger dashboard. I saw a post from The Lettered Cottage. When I went to open it.....it wouldn't open. The tab just said "loading"......and flashed that way forever. Which has been typical of my Internet as of late. It gets stuck and won't load web pages. Frustrated, I left the computer, grabbed my gardening gloves and scissors and went out to my yard.

I don't have much in the way of greens on my property. There is this tree/bush thing that looks like an stumpy evergreen and drops these red berries all over my walkway every autumn. The name escapes me. It's the closest thing to "greenery" that I've got. I started snipping it's branches.

I arranged them in an old galvanized milk pail that I got at an antique store over the summer. I wanted to bring them inside, since I don't have a fresh tree. In the chaos of the home improvement project, there just wasn't a space. I moved a pot of dead perennials from a stool beside my front door and put the pail there. Still, it was missing something. I didn't know what to add to it that would be relatively weatherproof. I remembered all the pine cones I had and tossed some into the center.

Back inside, I got my web pages to load properly (after rebooting my computer.) I checked out The Lettered Cottage's post on Christmas decorating. And almost fell off my chair! One of Layla's charming ideas (actually, I think it was her mother's) was to fill a metal mop pail with greenery and pine cones! You can see the post here. I also had filled a silver bowl with moss leftover from my Twilight project, and silvery Christmas balls, which reminded me of a bowl Layla has on her mantel. She shares other thrifty decorating ideas that are just so simple and wonderful. I've been following Layla's blog for a long time and find her and her husband just so adorable.

Well, one thing that helps us get through the rough spots of the holidays.....all the yummies out there. Someone at work gave me a bag of these cookies.

You can't eat just one. They are scrumptious, especially with a glass of eggnog.

Then again, everything goes with eggnog, if you love it as much as I do. Here is the recipe for the cookies:

Chocolate Supreme Crinkles

2 squares unsweetened chocolate- melted
1/4 cup soft butter
1 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
powdered sugar

Mix all of the above ingredients together and chill in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours or overnight. Roll into small balls and roll the balls in powdered sugar. Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes.

I blanketed my pony in a downpour yesterday, as drier, cooler temps are on the way. In fact, Paint Girl, bless her little stinkin' winter heart, may even see more snowflakes. Seriously, I might be moving into her garden shed if she keeps getting the snow and I keep missing out! We don't even live that far from each other, and it's like we live in different climates. Here is a little video of my poor drowned rat boy.

He was being more neurotic than usual. You see, Paint Girl had the veterinarian out earlier that morning to do booster shots on her filly. And My Boy knew something had been up. He could still smell vet in the air. And when I blanketed him inside his run-in shed, instead of taking him out to the normal grooming area, it felt different to him. He was worried about needles, I could just tell. Horses are so funny sometimes!

I am excited, the family is heading to Paint Girl's the day after Christmas so I will get to see My Boy again soon. I'm trying to decide what to get him for Christmas! And, my little cousin is coming along for the ride this year. Quite literally- I am thinking Paint Girl and I might give her some pony rides on My Boy and Brandy, if she wants. I am sure she wants. She is a pony crazy little girl! Surely a photo opportunity!

I hope you are all finding a moment of reflection and peace as we head into the final days before Christmas!

What is Christmas? It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future. It is a fervent wish that every cup may overflow with blessings rich and eternal, and that every path may lead to peace. -Agnes M. Pharo


  1. Hey! Thanks for the sweet shout out! Your photography is STUNNING, and your posts are always a treat to read. Hope you have a very Merry Christmas and a fun-filled 2010!

    Layla :-)

  2. Don't worry, the snow that fell didn't stick, so you aren't missing anything. It rained way to hard yesterday!! I had to dump 6" of rain out of the grain buckets.
    Your boy always plays with his tongue. Cracks me up!

  3. He, he...I'm like you...totally walk fast! People are ALWAYS in my way! It's inefficient to walk slowly! ;) Great post as always...love all your pics. Wishing you a very Merry Christmas! :)

  4. The "greenery" you picked there is Yew. Very poisonous to horses but pleasant to look at.

    Christmas can be a hard time. Last December was the worst month of my entire life. Everything went wrong, a lot of people died. Theres was a lot more sadness than anything. Things will look up, 2010 is just around the corner.

  5. LOVE the bucket with the greenery! How fun that you did it before you read it! It's like confirmation that you're cool! :) I'm so excited about the prospect of a new year! I can't wait for a fresh start!

  6. I love the quote on what Christmas is. Quite frankly, I am totally disillusioned with the feeding frenzy this time of year.

  7. Sorry that there is much sadness mixed in with Christmas this year. I hope that you have many good memories and create new ones this year to help ease the sadness. Certainly the pony rides will be fun! I have 2 nephews ages 3 and 6 who just love to visit Auntie Brenda and her horses... :)

  8. lol! lol!The video of My Boy cracked me up. I had to play it twice! His tongue licking and his snorting were just so cute! I just wanted to give him a hug! I also loved hearing your voice, too.
    Your holiday arrangements are all so lovely. You have great style, PG.

    Merry Christmas to you!


  9. {Lisa}~ His tongue licking was because he'd just eaten a bucket of cookies and carrots, of course! I'm not sure why he was snorting so much. Probably because he "inhaled" some of it, LOL! ;)

  10. I guesss a time of reflection is inevetable with so much going on. Hugs to you for your sad times and tears. The decorations are lovely.(I have snow if you want to come decorate my place lol)

  11. Your greenery is lovely. The moss is the bowl is a great idea. Hearing about Virgil's passing and knowing your Auntie is grieving made me wish Christmas would just dissapear this year. My day didn't get any better for various reasons. My boy looks so cute!

  12. Your post was just great...Pictures are beautiful, and recipe looks yummy! You've inspired me to grab my shears, go outside and look for my rusty old bucket... :-)

  13. I love your decorations! We don't have a tree because there's no place to put one so I have a few little things scattered around but not as gorgeously done as yours :)

    Got a giggle in the video when you were talking to him and he lifted his eyes and stuck out his tongue, pretty close to a typical teen eye roll lol

  14. Sometimes the holidays can be dark with some sadness - but somehow I think that's part of the time of renewal, and winter, and waiting, that belong to this time of year. I find much that is hard about this time of year, but then there are splendid things as well.

  15. Thanks for such a great and inspiring post. I love the photography (as always) and can relate to a lot of what you have to say. I especially like the Pharo quote at the end. Hope you enjoy your holiday and maybe even get a little sprinkle of snow!

  16. And may your cup overflow with blessings this holiday season. Enjoy your family.

  17. Christmas is......hope for the future! Yes! So true! I have been hearing of so many with sickness and cancer lately too. What is going on? So very sad. Love your pictures! Such pretty decorations. Remember not to get too frazzled over presents for others. I know it is hard not to! But being with family and friends for another Christmas is what it is about! Merry Christmas to you!

  18. there sure does seem to be a lot of heartache right now.
    may your christmas be filled with the love of family and friends~

  19. i am just now making your cookie recipe! they look just like i remember, back when i lived in america and enjoyed traditional american christmas cookies!

    ***8 minutes later***

    omygoodness gracious those are good! way better than those brownies i made the other day that turned out more like cake.

    i am bringing a tray to the neighbor right now! you shoulda seen my man's expression when he first tried one. his very first crinkle cookie, (he's not american you know): )



  20. Lovely post. I only have bits and pieces of decorating around my house too, but only because that's all the Christmas stuff we have so far! At least we are able to have a real tree, which I have missed so much in the past few years. Christmas has a way of being so emotional and not just the happy emotions.

  21. Lovely as usual. Love the picture of the ornaments with her reflection. The greenery looks beautiful. May you have a blessed Christmas with all your family.

  22. Love the bucket! Will you be making those cookies? Nana made cookies and fudge. Horse Dreams was going to do some baking too. I still need to do some. I know your dad is planning to have you help him make some oatmeal ones when you get here.

    I do hope you didn't hit the wall too hard! We need you well and able!See you when you get here, when is that by the way?

  23. I am so sad to hear that your Aunt's husband passed away...she has been through so much. I am so happy we will all be together on Christmas...With all those adoreable little babies running around us. Life is a circle...it keeps going around!

  24. I totally understand your feelings about Christmas. And I love your Christmas decorations. I will arm myself tomorrow and wade through the snow to the holly tree and cut some to bring into the house. I love the idea with the metal bucket. We don't have room for a Christmas tree, which has left us with no focal point or place for the presents to gather, so I must do something about it, and you have inspired me. I hope you have a truly wonderful Christmas.

  25. I love the photo with the your reflection in the silver ball! There's always sadness with joy unfortunately. Have a happy holiday season...I guess I know why you have not received my emails now. No big deal...I was just responding to your questions. Looking forward to great things in 2010! Your Boy's tongue was funny! LOL! Luanne

  26. This time of year can be so joyful and so sad. My husband told me today about a guy he works with that took out a loan to buy his 6 kids Christmas presents. He is a single dad. The mom walked out on him. At first I thought, "a loan, come on..." then I thought about desperation. And what some people will do to make sure their kids have a Christmas.

    I love your pictures!! You always get such great angles!!

    I am so sorry for your Aunt's loss.

  27. I wanted to thank you for visiting my blog and your sweet comments. I have been rambling to your blog for a long time and have been a silent admirer of your Pony Girl Pictures and Your Boy. I think I will take this opportunity to wish you and everybody you hold near and dear A Very Merry Christmas and a Peaceful Holiday Season.

    Oh, the Eggnog Creams are found at Fannie May Candies in their store where you can have instant eggnog-ie gratification or on line where waiting for Big Brown to bring them is truly an exercise in patience! The cookies and your Holiday decorations are wonderful!

  28. I made those chocolate peppermint cookies the other day! Yummy!
    The greenery is perfect! What could be better than a pail full of greens, I just ask ya!
    Even with the end of the year demises, there is always something to be thankful for, and to look foreward to, at this time of year. Fear not!
    Glad you are making the most of your family- we all should be so lucky!
    Merry Christmas~

  29. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the holiday. It is bittersweet for us this year too. I do try to find the joy in the season anyway.
    I can't wait to try your recipe. We are away and I don't have the right bakeware, but I will try when we return. We all love eggnog here too. We call ourselves "eggnog-hogs"!
    Happy Christmas!

  30. This certainly has been a mixed blessing of a Christmas. I hope you and your family enjoy your gathering.

  31. I love your decorations. Sometimes it's better to put a lot in one place, then they are noticed. I hope your spirits are better now. I'm glad you got some horse time.

  32. LOVE seeing you in that ornament. Too cool, my friend. Hope your Christmas was merry.


I love hearing from my readers!! I truly enjoy all of your feedback, advice, helpful tips, and stories. You all make me laugh and I learn so much from you, too. I will try to post replies to your comments as often as I can.

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