Thursday, December 18, 2014

"E" as in EXCUSES for Alphabe-Thursday

This is a busy time of the year, but I'll spare you all the EXCUSES.  Everyone is busy!

I wanted to feature Houston places for this round of Alphabe-Thursday, but I didn't have time this week and probably won't have time next week to ride around and take pictures, so I decided to share a little of our Christmas with you.

We haven't had a normal Christmas in while.  In 2012 my husband died and my son was in the hospital for Christmas that year.  Last year we had just moved into this house.  So, I wanted to get out my Christmas decorations and decorate!  I have a lot of sentimental things.

I don't have a Christmas tree.  I have a Memory Tree filled with things the kids made, ornaments that have special meaning to us, pictures of the kids with Santa, and even some things that I made as a child and my mother saved.
Of course, one of my dolls had to get in on the act.  She's wearing the Christmas Boy hat.  It's been a family joke for a number of years.  Whoever passes out the packages is the Christmas Boy.  You don't even have to be a boy to get the honor.  It's something we picked up on a television show.  I don't even remember the show anymore.
Any tree of mine has to have a doll on the top!  A Madame Alexander doll is the angel.

The tree us full!  It would be difficult to find an empty space to hang anything else.

Another family tradition is the Christmas count down calendar.  I made this when the kids were little.
Back in 1980 we were living in a house with a large picture window.  Macrame was a popular hobby back then and I made this macrame Christmas tree for the window.  However, we moved and I've never had a picture window again.  This tree has been in a large plastic garbage bag for all those years.  I decided it's now vintage and collectible, so I'd find a place to hang it.  The kids told me one of the cats would probably hang from it, but so far nothing has happened.
Of course, I had to put up my vintage silver tree in the den for my Chatty Cathy dolls.
And the mangers.  The large one we bought in a department store in Catania, Sicily.  It's now 40+ years old.  It used to play Silent Night but the kids wore it out.  We even had a cat at one time who used to climb in and sleep.  The smaller one was my mother's.
In the 1970's ceramics was another hobby phase I went through.  We were living in Virginia Beach and they had a great recreation department where you could go and take ceramic lessons.  Some have broken over the years but I still have the tree, choir boys, Santa and a few other pieces not shown in this picture.  The red punch bowl was my mother's and it's filled with vintage ornaments.  The gold tree on the left my mother gave me while we were living in either New Jersey or Virginia, so it's also pretty old.
Did you ever make a stuffed tree?  I did!  That was also many years ago.  I decided to put that out this year too.  Some of my decorations hadn't seen the light of day for a long, long time.
The bells on the door I bought at a craft show in Oklahoma.  They're made out of canning jar lids.  They had some really good craft shows in Bartlesville, Oklahoma.  I don't find those really unique items here.
I decorated the mantel, but can't hang stockings there anymore.  The mantel in this house is lower and I'm afraid the cats would play with the stockings.
My sister knitted stockings for each of the kids when they were born.  I hang them on doors now.
I love Norman Rockwell and I have a Norman Rockwell Christmas Village.  In the other house I set the village up on a large table that Jim built, but I don't have room here.  So, I set the village up on the bookshelf.  The bottom shelf is the main street in Stockbridge, MA.  I always joke that before I die I want to go to the Normal Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge!  (My son added something to the village as a joke.  See if you can find it.)
Of course, I have the Grinch sitting around.  I love the Grinch!
My sister-in-law sent us a little live tree.  It fit perfectly on the kitchen counter.  I love it!
This is where we'll have our traditional Italian spaghetti and meatballs on Christmas Day.  Then we'll play Christmas bingo.  We did it last year for the first time and everyone had a good time.  I've got even better prizes this year!
I've been busy.  Please accept that EXCUSE.  It took a while to lug all the Christmas stuff over here from the storage place and then put it all up.  I have no intention of taking it down for a while.  I'm going to sit back and enjoy it.  It's staying up until at least mid January.

The day after Christmas some people here put their live trees down at the curb. I've never had much luck with a live tree here.  They dry out so quickly.

Now head over to Jenny's blog for a list of this week's Alphabe-Thursday participants.  Thank you for visiting and MERRY CHRISTMAS!













Saturday, December 13, 2014

How The Grinch DIDN'T Spoil Christmas

I took a picture of a Christmas tree in the Cardiac Pulmonary Clinic at MD Anderson Cancer Center this past Wednesday.  Some of the people that work there decorated this tree and made the Grinch.  I wish I could have gotten a picture of the entire tree, but there were a lot of patients in the clinic which made it difficult to stand back and take one.
I know in past years they've had a contest among the different departments.  I don't know if they are this year, but if they are the Grinch would definitely get my vote if I was a judge.  Is this the cutest tree you've ever seen?  I love it, but I'm a real Grinch fan.

This is the year that the Grinch will NOT spoil our Christmas.  Reid had all his tests and scans this week and is cancer free!  On December 21st it will be two years since he received his brother's stem cells in a stem cell transplant.  Two years is a mile stone since usually the tumor will grow back within the first two years.  The doctor said three years will be even better, but two years is very good.

The graft vs host disease has also improved.  He's got a very mild case.   It will still have to be watched closely, so he'll go back in four months.  Meanwhile, we're celebrating the good news!

I was putting up Christmas decorations last week and came across a set of reindeer antlers that I must have bought at one time for the cats.  Murphy happened to be nearby and Reid put the antlers on her head.  Needless to say, she hated it!
Doesn't Reid look healthy?  I call him a miracle.





Thursday, December 11, 2014

"D" as in Proud Houston DAD for Alphabe-Thursday

 First things first!  I have NEVER set up word verification for my blog.  However, a friend told me that my blog was asking for word verification.  This happened once before and in the past I was able to fix it by just re-saving the settings once again.  However, this time it doesn't help.  Even though it says NO for word verification in my settings it still asks for word verification for comments.  At this point I am very frustrated.  I've done everything I can think of to do.  I changed it to YES and saved it and then went back to NO and saved it.  Didn't help.  I've shut down my computer and tried saving NO again.  Didn't help.  I've saved that darn NO over and over again.  If anyone has a suggestion on how to fix this I'd love to hear from you because at this time word verification still appears.  Needless to say...I've spent considerable time trying to fix this and I'm very frustrated.

Now on to the show!  It's time again for Alphabe-Thursday sponsored by Ms. Jenny at Jenny Matlock..."off on my tangent."
This week we are studying the letter "D" as in Proud Houston DAD.

Yes, I'm a Houston Texans football fan.  Houston Texans Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick had just completed the best game of his career when he met with the press.  However, he was one proud DAD when he introduced his son.  (Ryan Fitzpatrick graduated from Harvard and I have a feeling his son is probably headed there too.)
 Ignore the ignorant people that left ignorant comments on You Tube.  Unfortunately, these people exist in this world and have nothing better to do.

Now head over to Ms. Jenny's blog for a list of this week's participants.

Thank you for visiting and I'm really, really sorry about the word verification.
UPDATE:  I've been visiting blogs and finding quite a few with word verification.  You might want to check your own blogs because it could be appearing and you don't know it.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

"C" as in CLEAR LAKE

Welcome once again to Alphabe-Thursday sponsored by Ms. Jenny at Jenny Matlock..."off on my tangent."  This week we are studying the letter "C" as in CLEAR LAKE.

In keeping with my theme for this round of Alphabe-Thursday I am writing about the Houston area of CLEAR LAKE.   CLEAR LAKE is a lake, but it's also part of an area that was annexed by the city of Houston in 1977.  It's located about 25 miles from downtown Houston.  There really wasn't a whole lot here until NASA came to town in 1963 and the Johnson Space Center was built.  The area then grew rapidly.

According to Wikipedia currently the main employers are aerospace, high-tech (software, biotechnology, electronics, etc.) and tourism.  Space Center Houston attracts millions of tourists each year.

The actual CLEAR LAKE is a brackish lake fed by Clear Creek and flows into Galveston Bay.  Boating, sailing, and water sports are popular activities.

Some of you might remember the CLEAR LAKE area being associated with a couple of horrific incidents that made national news in recent times. 

The Nassau Bay Hilton was where dentist Clara Harris caught her dentist husband David Harris with his mistress.  In a rage she ran him over with her car three times killing him in the process. Sadly, David's teen age daughter by a previous marriage was in the car at the time.  Ironically, it was caught on film by the private eye Clara had hired to follow her husband.  She's currently serving 20 years in prison.  Because of her actions their toddler twin sons were left without parents to raise them and David's teen age daughter will have to live with the nightmare of witnessing her father's death.  Clara Harris was denied parole in 2013.

CLEAR LAKE was also the location of one of the saddest incidents in recent times.  It's where a very ill Andrea Yates drowned her 5 children in the bathtub.  In her mind she thought she was sending them to heaven before the devil could get them.  Harris County chose to charge her with murder and asked for the death penalty.  She was convicted, but before sentencing it was determined that one of the state's witnesses gave false testimony, so the state dropped the death penalty request and she was sentenced to life in prison.  The verdict was overturned on appeal and she was retried and found not guilty be reason of insanity.  She will probably spend the rest of her life in a state mental hospital.

Please go pay Ms. Jenny a visit at Jenny Matlock..."off on my tangent" for a list of other Alphabe-Thursday participants.  Thank you for visiting. 



Sunday, November 30, 2014

Why I cook Thanksgiving Dinner

There were only going to be three of us for Thanksgiving Dinner this year.  I thought maybe we'd go out to eat, but then I remembered if we did there would be no leftovers.  To me the leftovers are what make it all worthwhile.  So I cooked a big turkey and a few trimmings.  A turkey cooking in the oven makes the whole house smell so good.
Then we had what we needed for the Day After Thanksgiving Dinner.

I'm not crazy about Turkey Soup, so a few years back I searched online for a recipe for leftovers and found this one for Day After Thanksgiving Dinner.  When I looked for the link today I noticed that the recipe has a four star rating and one review given by me in 2011.  I guess this recipe is a hidden gem yet to be discovered by others. :)

I really enjoy this recipe and would like to drum up some support.  Believe me...it's really good.  Please make it and post a review so mine isn't the only one.

This recipe used leftover mashed potatoes, stuffing, turkey, and gravy.

The potatoes and stuffing are used to make potato/stuffing balls.  Here they are ready to go in the oven.
They turn nice and crispy.  Here they after baking.
Then you make a turkey sauce using some of the gravy and a few other ingredients and adding chopped turkey.  To serve you pour the sauce over the balls.
YUM!  YUM!  YUM!

While I was doing all of this Keith was trying to figure out why the lights on the tree weren't working for me.
Did you know that all the strings must be plugged together in order for them to light?