Monday, December 30, 2013

In which we're still here and Happy New Year!

It's been quiet. The good kind of quiet. Not quiet as in "OMG, what is the cat/parrot/degu doing NOW?" quiet.

I spoke too soon about no snow for Christmas, though. This was Christmas morning. We had just enough of a snow squall to dump about an inch and a half overnight.

John-John has a styling chair and setup now, so he's really happy.

We did have a little holiday drama when one of the garage door locks broke on Christmas day. Maddy used very heavy clothesline wrapped around the track to jam the door until someone could get out to fix it. It worked almost too well. From some of the language she was using, I think she had a really hard time cutting it off after they called to tell her they were on their way to fix it - almost an hour earlier than scheduled. (The earlier part she didn't mind. It meant she got to run some errands she wanted to squeeze in this week. They're saying "whole lotta snow" for Thursday and Friday, so that kills two days.)

We're not planning much for New Years' Eve - it's going to be super cold here, anyway, which is no fun. According to Maddy, it'll be 2014 in Australia when it's 8 AM tomorrow here. She told me that one of her favorite New Years' moments ever was in 1999, watching on TV as the year 2000 arrived in England. She said that over the fireworks and the crowd and the announcer and everything, she heard, quite clearly. Big Ben striking midnight at the turn of the century. She also remembers people lined up for gas like they were after superstorm Sandy and her older relatives all utterly convinced that the world was quite literally going to end at the stroke of midnight. She also said that the whole Y2K computer thing may not have been hype - an old, old, old computer that had been around the house, un-upgraded because it wasn't even being made anymore would no longer boot up the next morning. Like McCoy always said, "It's dead, Jim."

Happy New Year, everyone! 2014 is going to rock. And if it doesn't, we'll MAKE it rock.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

In which it's Christmas Eve....

None of that "White Christmas" stuff here, thanks to winter storm Gemini. We were very, very lucky to be well into the warm sector of the storm, but while we were enjoying 68F, northern NY and New England (including my ancestor Hitty's home state of Maine) got whalloped with a nasty ice storm.

We're all hoping everyone gets their power back on for Christmas....

Meanwhile, back here....

Me: Don't you look festive?

Cat: Prepare to die.....

Shel: And when Ebenezer Scrooge looked around, who did he see but the ghost of his late partner, Bob Marley....

John-John: Wait. Is that right?

Tiny Hitty Caroline: So are we leaving Santa milk and cookies?

Samantha: No way. A big fat guy who's driving all night isn't going to want milk and cookies.

Tiny Hitty Emeliee: So what are we leaving him?

Samantha: A huge pot of coffee.

The Woodlee girls and friends: We wish you a merry Christmas, we wish you a merry Christmas, we wish you a merry Christmas and a happy New Year....

Leonora: he whistled and shouted and called them by name: On Dasher, on Dancer....

Tiny Hitty Caroline: Wait. What about Rudolph?

Leonora: He didn't join the team until the 1930s.

Robin: There. That should do it. That's the last ornament back on.

Tiny Hitty Emeliee: Did we find all of them?

Samantha: I think so.

Me: The cat stays in the bedroom from now on.

Sohalia: So this is a poinsettia?

JT: I think I like this better as a doll. I don't have to do all the shopping.

Val: You don't have to wait until Christmas Eve to shop, you know.

JT: Yeah, actually, you do. It's part of the Guy Code.

Val: Humans are weird.

So, from all of us to all of you...

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

In which we wrap presents.....


We just got through with Electra and now, here's Falco. So this time I've been going around with "Rock Me, Amadeus" stuck in my head. Oh well, at least I like the song....

"Wait. Is that right?"

Maddy's got this book about making dolls, and one whole chapter is devoted to paper dolls. John-John thought he'd give making a string of paper dolls a try.

"Are they supposed to have three legs?"

"No," he said, looking a little bit dismayed. "They're supposed be holding hands, not conjoined."

Okay, so he isn't always good with scissors. At least he leaves the running with scissors part to Weird Al Yankovic.


"What's this?'

Maddy looked around from taking one last item out of her closet. "Want to help me wrap presents?"

"Uh - sure." It looked like a pretty big job, especially for a Hitty,

"You got your mom Uggs?" Shel looked skeptical.

"Those aren't Uggs. They're just furry lined boots. She's always saying her feet get cold. And what's wrong with Uggs? Apart from the fact that they don't come in triple E width?" Maddy looked at him.

He shook his head. "I think we need a new show. "Queer Eye For The Straight Girl."

(For the record, sometimes Shel's fashion sense is on target, sometimes - not so much. You should see the red espadrilles he wears sometimes.)

"Is this what you're using?"

"That and the silver and white," she said.

"Okay." John-John, ever helpful, measured out the paper so she could cut it.

"Okay, now we tape it over the box, then make hospital corners...." Shel explained.

"Hospital corners?" That sounded ominous.

"Like this." He folded the sides up around the box neatly - or tried to anyway. The paper is really stiff and heavy, but it tears easily.

"Not the best paper," Maddy said, handing him the tape and a bow. "Maybe the silver will be better."

"This is okay. Just kind of stiff." Shel said, arranging the bow.

"And this isn't paper..." As it turns out, cellophane isn't clear if you wrap enough of it around a tube. Oops.

"Oh well. So much for not wrapping them all in the same paper," Maddy said with a shrug.

Maddy's mom doesn't read the blog - she isn't into computers - so I won't be giving anything away by saying we had the boots, a a pair of super fuzzy slippers and a pair of really nice sneakers for her. Yes, she needs shoes, but keeps putting off buying them. I do know there are a couple of presents for John-John and Shel hidden *somewhere* around the house, but obviously I'm not saying what they are.

So anyway, it's finally stopped snowing and we're sitting here listening to accident reports on Maddy's scanner app on her tablet. Apparently they're also on the lookout for some dude walking down the middle of the NYS Thruway. Somehow that doesn't seem like such a great idea.....

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

In which I find the most perfect tree ever....

 "I'll take it home and decorate it. They'll see. It'll be perfect for our pageant....."

".....All it needs is a little love."

Learning to see the beauty in everything, not just the obvious things.

Peace on earth and good will to everyone. 

It all sounds good to me.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

In which I now have a living room....

We started getting my living room set up today!

I still need a couple more pieces - a couch would be nice - and for the moment one of my quilts is doing double duty as a rug - but it looks great!

The screen behind me came from eBay. We expected it to be plastic, but it's metal with painted glass panels. The desk and chair are from a Gail Wilson kit. The feather is courtesy of Maddy's cockatiel, Belle. No, I don't actually write with it, but it looks cool.

The back wall is foamcore held on with Velcro strips. The wallpaper is scrapbook paper. The lights are the rest of the string that we're using to light the top floor. They just reached. I'll probably end up rearranging the furniture as I get more pieces.

I was going to use the little pink hutch as a bookcase, but it's a bit small. I think I'm going to give it to either Magnolia or my baby sisters and figure out something else. The end table is from a bin of fairy garden items. The butter churn was in the same lot of stuff that my clothing rack came from. I just think it looks kind of cute sitting there,

Although not as cute as the hot guy sitting next to it.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

In which the snowman gets it....

I told you, have the money in an unmarked bag at the corner of North Hamilton Street and Clinton Avenue no later than six PM or it was curtains for your friend here. Well, it's 7:45 PM and no money so.....

Say sayonara, Frosty.....uh wait.

How do I do an evil laugh again?

And I need minions if I'm doing this evil overlord thing, right? Cute little minions like in "Despicable Me."

Okay, back to the proverbial drawing board....

Maddy: Never mind that North Hamilton and Clinton don't intersect....

(Seriously, this weird little snowman head ornament is from Lowe's. I'm not sure if they're cute or kind of creepy.)

This is what we got from ol' Klingon. Mostly rain, but just enough freezing rain to turn the trees into the Swarovski National Forest. According to Maddy, though, there's a fine line between "ooh, pretty" and the power being out until after New Years'. Speaking of New Years', John-John and Shel were talking about the ball dropping. I thought they were being rude until they explained it to me. Maddy said I seem to have inherited her talent for taking everything the "wrong" way. She said that years ago, one of her journalistic writing professors told her that was actually a good thing. It lets you see the inadvertent innuendo in the headline while there's still time to do something about it.

And if anyone's wondering what to get me for Christmas, the one on the left will do just fine....

Maddy: Caroline, behave....

Hey, I'm kidding. Sort of kind of maybe......

Friday, December 6, 2013

In which I find the perfect tree....

Told you....

Maddy said we'd fix up my living room this weekend. She has a feeling she won't be getting out Monday with Winter Storm Dion heading our way. Right now we're getting rain and a little sleet from Klingon or Cleon or Whatever-His-Name-Is, but it's supposed to go over to snow. We're only supposed to get two or three inches, though.

We're watching the Weather Channel right now with all the ice from this storm. I wonder what Maddy's cousins in Arkansas will try to melt it with this time? She told me that after one particular storm a few years ago, one of her cousins called her and asked, "Hey, fertilizer melts snow, don't it?"

(Maddy's note: Trust me, it doesn't. And on a related note, it's a very good idea to actually READ the label on a bag before scattering its contents on the driveway. Especially if it's four-forty-five AM and you haven't woken up/ingested any caffiene yet. Miracle-Gro Organic Fertilizer granules and ice melt look an awful lot alike....)

We tried to take some pictures of the lights before it started raining. It didn't work very well. I think we'll have to wait a day or two until the weather's a bit nicer and we can go out just before dark.

I like this time of year....

Thursday, December 5, 2013

In which we remember a real superhero...

We can't find any of our "real" candles, so these are standing in....

Maddy told me about Nelson Mandela back over the summer, when he was in the hospital.

Who says superheros don't exist? He brought justice to a country that didn't have any, freed a lot of people and brought everyone together - as their elected leader. And he didn't start a war to do it. He did it through peace.

Sounds like a superhero to me....

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

In which we put up the lights in the front window...

"What are these?" Sohalia said.

"Christmas lights," John said, trying to untangle the mass we'd pulled out of the box. "These are really tangled up..."

"Oh dear..." Moriko came over to see what was going on.

(Yes, that's Jasper's cage in the background. He didn't want any part of this.)

"They're net lights. I got them by mistake two years ago," Maddy said, coming in. "They're supposed to drape over a bush or something, I didn't read the package and thought they were a string."

"Like these?" Shel, meanwhile, was getting all wrapped up in something else - literally.

"No, those are icicle lights, sweetie," Maddy said. "Like on the house across the street."

"How are net lights going to work for the window?" I somehow wasn't seeing it.

"Like this." She finished putting the stepladder up, untangled what turned out to be, yes, a fishing net of lights and hung it in the window. "Ta-da!"

(And yes that is THE rhododendron of Bigger Than The House fame.)

Turned out it just covered the window perfectly.

"So it didn't turn out to be a big-time screwup after all," she said.

Not sure what John-John intends to do with the string he was quietly untangling while we were working.

Baby was none too pleased about the interruption, either. He's about as annoyed as he looks in that photo. And yes, his beak is dirty. He just got out of his food bowl and there were broccoli florets for dinner. He's a messy eater.


Twenty more days to go....

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

In which we're still counting down to Christmas....

Me with a peacock feather ornament, my true love and a penguin who isn't in a tree, pear or otherwise....

Monday, December 2, 2013

In which Shel and John-John put up their tree....

As promised, Maddy dug John-John and Shel's little Christmas tree out of storage over the weekend. So tonight the guys decided to put it up.

I had no idea they were going to take over the night table for it, but she said that's what they did last year. There's a convenient plug nearby and the table is the right size.

We had to move a few things first, though. That little thingy with the blue Mod circles on it is what Maddy keeps her car keys in, so it stayed.

John-John told me that Maddy made them the tree skirt last year out of some very bright red velour in her stash and some lace she got as a gift with purchase from Home Sew. She was happy to buy them a small tree and ornaments, but drew the line at paying $9.99 for a cheaply made mini tree skirt when she knew she could do better. 

Okay, this is all kinds of awesome. You have to remember, this is my first time seeing this all in person. What's not to like about lights and sparkly stuff?

There was only one casualty.

Maddy said that unbreakable ornaments used to look  - well, pretty crappy - but she's found some this year and last that are really beautiful. Some of them you'd be hard-pressed to tell from glass. She loves blue, silver and turquoise together, so she's really liking the peacock theme that seems so popular this year.

And then - the guys surprised the heck out of me...

They'd been worried that Maddy and I wouldn't have my bookcase apartment finished by the holidays and/or that I'd never find a small enough tree - so they bought a box of pink ornaments just for me for their tree.

 I love these guys. Two of the best friends any doll could have.

This is Sohalia's first time seeing any of this, too.

All this and a lit-up tree, too? This is going to rock.....

And by the way, I did find the perfect tree for my bookcase apartment. Now we just have to clean up and set it up...