Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Happy Advent

Looking for winter in 60 degree heat? We got a start on decorating right after Thanksgiving. Nothing's really up to snuff outdoors, but I think that's just the lack of snow and cold. Besides, Husband RJ only just begun to hang the tinsel and lights. Go to the Photos blog for more. Or don't--if you are already soured on the season. Your own fault for insisting on doing the Black Friday thing.

Little Pond Posted by Picasa

Monday, November 28, 2005

First Completed Array of the Season

Advent in silver and blue. This is the one time of year I'm not fond of my wallpaper. Determined to decorate appropriately, yet regretting even my favorite selections.

The couple on the left are Cecilia and Stephen Baker, my folks at the wedding of yours truly and Husband RJ, June 1980. The duotone at right represents the Daffodil Mart in Virginia, I think, during the 1960's. Don't know the children.

Calling all cowboys (and cowgirls?)! Got a question for you on the MSCompanion site.

Little Pond Posted by Picasa

Friday, November 25, 2005

Get thee to Five on Friday

...immediately for your first official infusion of Christmas spirit in the Little Pond. Courtesy of Criminal Grace. We are hanging our wreaths today. Husband RJ has already decorated the stockade fence in the back yard. Nothing effusive, just a start that's not ready for photos. So get going!!

Spunky Spooky made it to Thanksgiving just fine. She eschewed the heating pad setup under the computer for a place in a sunny window. A few T-Day photos here, and yes, Bad Boy Bubba is on the freshly set table. He is very interested in all the niceties we accord the aging female, usurping even her heated nest under the computer desk. So naturally she's jealous of our fancy feast, thinking he's getting something special.

Little Pond Posted by Picasa

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Today is dedicated to hearth and home.

But the baked bread is going to the stuffing and I forgot to purchase cranberry sauce. A tiny one, since absolutely no one else is interested in eating it. I just have to have a touch of all the components of the traditional meal.

No problem: the people in the stores are in a festive mood. And I'm in no hurry.

What a lovely quandary! My biggest problem this year is how to have a touch of everything without indulging in too much.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your loved ones.

Little Pond

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Hurricane Dogs

Let's start with a sweet photo taken by Jeff Richards to hightlight a followup to the SPCA Hurricane Rescue. Been linking to the Elmira Star-Gazette regarding our wonderful SPCA folks going to the scene of the disaster and returning with rescue dogs.

The latest installment is here, with a new batch of
puppies being born to a rescue GulfGirlie. You know you want one, but can't come to the SPCA in Big Flats, New York to claim him or her. But a donation would go a long way to "virtually" claiming one. They'll get mine, for sure.

Meantime, how about a
mini-pet-fix? Our StarGazette Online Gallery runs them regularly. All locally owned and loved by super Southern Tier pet lovers. I have the pleasure of seeing them as I tone the photos for the press. (The photos on the site are untouched by me.)

Little Pond

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Update on Spooky

To those who suggest I take my old cat to the vet: no thank you. I know she's failing, but she's just plain old, old, old. She still quite alive.

Picasa's giving me no end of problems today, so I'm sending you to Webshots. It just gets easier and easier to use. Too bad our Compaq is on its last legs. Oh, well, Christmas is coming.

Little Pond

Friday, November 18, 2005

Different sort of pet fix

can be had at Five on Friday. It's up and it's fun. Keeps me coming back to Criminal Grace. So, which are you? Don't ask me: there are four very vocal cats and one extremely pushy dog here to grumble over either choice.

Little Pond

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Summer Sqash Chowder

I still have a freezer full of Petit Pan and striped zucchinis. And it's taken me a good, long while, but I have finally concocted a decent meal with them. Just in time to be a side dish for Thanksgiving:

Four cups diced summer or petit pan squash. If using petit pan, puree the tough little fellars. I pureed the whole lot.

Baby peeled carrots, sliced the long way.

Large yellow onion, cut very coarsely. Maybe making rings, if you like that sort of thing in soup.

Large red potato, washed and diced. Leave some big chunks for the guys.

(If you insist, you can add celery and garlic. For VeggiGirl, nothing is soup without garlic. Heck, nothing is worth eating without garlic, in her book.)

You can throw them all into a crockpot and walk away for a few hours, or you can toss it into a microwave-safe, covered casserole and nuke them for about thirty minutes. Either way, start with a non-stick spray coating, and add about two tablespoons vegetable oil. I use sunflower or olive oil. (My mother would have started with salt pork and bacon, but hello....we're already on blood-pressure meds.)

Add a can of whole kernel corn, liquid and all. Some fresh ground pepper (and salt for you lucky, lower blood pressure people!) To make it pretty, thinly slice a baby-sized zucchini and drop it in. Let it cook until the zucchini is al dente. Yep, just like pasta.

Adding cream (or non-dairy creamer) is de rigeur for traditionalists, but I didn't really think it needed it. A sprinkle of sweet, Hungarian paprika makes it look fancy.

Little Pond

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Is anyone listening?

Afghan Warrior lets us know how much our efforts there are appreciated. Specifically the liberation of Kabul. And read the comments, too. I believe that Afghanistan today is a preview of Post-war Iraq.

Little Pond

Monday, November 14, 2005

First of the Season!!

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A quick tour through the West Elmira neighborhood yields this, the first decorated home of the upcoming season. Generally the older folks will hang the boughs early, to avoid working in the bitter cold of late November.

Want something a little more seasonal? We walked along the levee to see the Chemung south of Water Street.

Little Pond

Sunday, November 13, 2005

A Most Elegant Ephemeral

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Classy-looking in a taupe tuxedo, one of my favorite birds is featured in Shelley's Birding post at Burning Bird. Husband RJ liked it so much, he insisted we set it as wallpaper. And then I had to give my two cents' worth on the Apple/Microsoft post.

But it's Sunday, and appropriately enough, our local Elmira Star-Gazette had a page dedicated to the unfolding controversy regarding gay priests in the Catholic church. Can't thing of anything that makes me angrier, or sadder. Centuries, of honest, holy service denigrated because the actions of sickos. Sexual abuse is never about sex, and always about power. Appalling.

Update: The local diocesan newspaper, the Catholic Courier, features a column by Bishop Matthew W. Clark. This week he addresses the situation is a carefully worded assertion of his own views, and how they relate to homosexual priests in our own diocese. The message resonates again and again: "We deeply value your ministry." Sexual maturity is the important issue facing seminarians, not sexual orientation.

Exactly so: celibate chastity is the commitment required of any Catholic religious, regardless of orientation.

Little Pond

Saturday, November 12, 2005

My Everloving BlogMother

Sissy Willis wants to be the Queen of Hearts! Well, she already is for me, so here's the deal:
AaronsCC Deck of Bloggers is accepting votes. Please go vote for Sisu, in the left hand column. I already have, and will not be blogging today because that damned garage is still not fully cleared for winter.

Little Pond

Friday, November 11, 2005

They Also Serve Who Stand and Wait

Eighty-seven years ago a young woman rejoiced to hear the bells ring out the news of the Armistice. World War One ended this day in 1918, and the Lamb family celebrated in anticipation of the return of their loved ones.

Josephine especially looked forward to embracing both her brother Henry and her beloved John. The bloodshed had ended and Europe was at peace.

Only my grandfather John returned safe. Henry died the day before the Armistice.

My father Stephen entered the Army Air Corps, during World War Two. One can only imagine my Grammy’s suppressed fears and hidden tears. He was so young he required parental permission to enlist. She must have only very reluctantly given hers.

What courage and grace in adversity! My gratitude and reverence grows as the years pass and my family becomes all the more precious to me.

Thank you, Grammy. And Grampa. And Dad. And Great Uncle Henry.

Little Pond

Two links:

How about a hero from after the Civil War? The groundswell is building, especially around Elmira, New York, to recognise this extraordinarily unselfish man.

And a lighter note: visit this site for its latest "Five on Friday.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Friday is Veteran's Day

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My Grampa's engagement book. A gift from his widowed mother.

There's one entry that catches my attention today. Saturday, July 1 (1916):
"Saw the ocean again."

A young man, away from home, facing unknown, but certain, danger. A view of the ocean would be refreshing to the soul of a New Englander. All the more so for a young man from Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts.

I will post again for Veteran's Day. Some links for the meanwhile:

Friday, start the day with Five on Friday. I found this when I was trying to locate my post on earworms. I intend to visit every week. Here's another that's lots of fun, especially for the bloggers. Thanks to LaShawn Barber.

It's not blogging, if I don't visit my Everloving Blogmother, Sissy. And she has a new subject! Or rather, Goomph does.

And if you want more of Veteran's Day, it's being celebrated to the max at the Cotillion. Because Elmira, New York is home to Woodlawn National Cemetery, we are always in touch with our military past. The price of freedom is always close at hand here.

Little Pond

Sunday, November 06, 2005

PeeBee Says:

You must click over to Shelley's lovely photo essay at Burning Bird! Lucky for us, she's been traveling again, this time by train. As always, you'll be able to click directly on a link for a Flickr slide show. But read the whole thing for what sounds like some very uncomfortable traveling conditions. More photos, too.

So how do you like PeeBee? My Avatar was born in 1999, created by Jon Miller, an online artist in Upstate New York. I believe he has at least one site, and I will post the link when I find it. Like many of my coworkers, he is an avid video game player and a lot of his artwork gives away his fanboy-ness. And I mean that only in the nicest way. Being a fan-girl and all.

I never did play online, though, so I've never before posted the avatar. Don't care to do battle with the game hackers, and I'm way too attached to my games to lose them to some addle-pated idiot who wants to show the world his hacking skills.


Little Pond

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Blog Birthing Alert! Congrats, Darlene!

Preoccupied with my wetware, I neglected my own blogs and their links. While my back was turned, my friend Darlene of NatureInfo has begun her own new blog, Human Nature Nuggets. In the same forum style as NatureInfo, HNN deals specifically with the effects we as social animals have on the Biosphere.

I am especially pleased to link to Human Nature Nuggets on my walking-tour blogs. The forum style gives commenters the center stage and everyone is encouraged to contribute. Every little bit helps, and people are wonderful in their generous contributions. Congratulations, Darlene. Hope Human Nature Nuggets is as popular as NatureInfo.

Little Pond

Friday, November 04, 2005

My Blogfather's Book

Mommy Knows Worst has been out a while now. I've read it a few times and can heartily endorse it. I give it four stars out of five. If you've never read any of James Lileks' books, go to his website to get the flavor of his work. When you buy, Mommy would be a good place to start.

Perhaps a little distance from the subject would have made me like the book more. Born in the early 1950's, I remember some of the stuff, left over from the Post-War period. Makes it a bit less hilarious, mixed with some bad memories, I guess.

But the Gallery of Regrettable Food left me helplessly giggling for days on end! I also remember some of that crap, but am somewhat less traumatized by it all. And Interior Desecrations was a hoot--an excellent followup: of course it helps to have a sister who is a professional decorator. All the above books are reasonably priced and shipped immediately.

If nothing else, spend a few hours on the website. My favorite is the section on the Gobbler.

See, BlogFather? I love you, even if you do not acknowledge me.

Little Pond

Thursday, November 03, 2005

De Facto Fall has finally arrived...

... and we are officially on the road to Thanksgiving Day. The asthma-like symptoms are receding, blood pressure is dropping. The side effects from all the new drugs are also abating. I am feeling better, thank you very much.

So naturally I am gaining weight again. The cure is exercise and activity. Both of which should no longer result in a huge coughing fit, followed by minutes of gasping and panting.

Primed the porch deck this morning. The sun was gorgeous, and awfully hot for November. The awnings are cleaned and tied up for the winter, and the light is streaming into the front windows unobstructed.

So naturally the streaks are painfully obvious: it's time to clean and wipe the windows. Fall cleaning is in full swing. Thank heavens I have my daughters who gladly take (nearly) anything I wish to toss. The rooms should be lightened of clutter before the holidays.

We are trying to divest ourselves of all the extras that were accrued for the sake of the girls. I am not a packrat, but Husband RJ is. Multiple Sclerosis makes me clumsy, and I find a sparer home is easier to navigate. Out goes anything we won't be using!

So naturally the garage remains stubbornly full of the (you guessed it!) girls' stuff. Let alone anything we would need to add. Oh, I don't know, maybe a car or something. Rain or shine, the garage gets it this weekend. If rainy, I will make a few trips to the recycling/milling center. If sunny, an impromptu garage sale is in the offing. With "Free--You Haul" items only. First come, first served. The garage gets emptied before the first snow. That's the drop-dead bottom line.

So naturally I'm getting tired just planning it. Ugh.

(But it's not all work: took some time for a pet shoot in the sunshine.)

Little Pond