Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Happy New Year, y'all.

I don't do charity work. I should. I have the time. I disagree with Gary Farber often. He is in bad straits. That is MY Paypal button he has on his site. I will be buying the money order for his rent this Friday. If y'all don't help him out to the tune of a dollar or two, I'll make up the difference myself. From Delaware to Kansas, Louisiana to Colorado, it is the season of love.

What are the odds that there was another girl in Bloggerville cutting mustard greens this afternoon with a parrot on her head?

Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Oh, and I got some kind of yucky respiratory crap that put me to bed for two days. We were right when we were young. Those other kids did have cooties.

What did I get for Christmas? A generous envelope from my in-laws, a Dremel, and a pretty little chest with two nested boxes inside that I once might have called a stash box, but in my mature years call a "decorative accent".

The box really is a pretty thing and goes perfectly well on my coffee table. Michael picked that out. I try to discourage the boys from buying anything for us. When he brought the gift in on Christmas Eve, I started with the "You don't have to buy anything for us. That's not what Christmas is about" speech. He said, "Janis, wait. I just want you to see this." "OK, I'll look at it tomorrow."

When we did the Santa routine the next day, we put it on the bar and he helped me open it because it was tightly taped. He stood over me and instructed me how to look inside to find the smaller boxes. I was delighted. As I told him, it's not something I would have bought, but it suited my taste to a tee. He was thrilled because he had pleased me.

The box is just a box (or three) even if it is exotic, but his thrill was a real gift in the Christmas spirit.

You see, Michael was 25 when Lyman and I married. There's no particular reason for him to pay attention to me.

On the other hand, when Jason came in, he gave me a big hug and said, "I'm sorry, Janis. I've been broke. I don't have a gift for you." "Oh, I don't care, Jason. That's not what Christmas is about."

Way cool, Mr. Stinson. Best wishes.

Tony Woodlief has the first new post up for months. The baby, Eli, is talking now.

This is a loss. Goodbye, Iranian Girl. Be safe. Come back when you will.

Saturday, December 27, 2003

Here 's another thing that Nicole brought from her home. Aside from being lovely, and having a pretty voice. Her mother has three children. Nicole has boys on both sides. Her mother saved her change for a couple years and threw it in a box and gave it to the children with a stack of coin wrappers. Nicole loved it.

Shoot, yeah, darlin'. That sounds like home.

For the record, Nicole said, "My family doesn't do stockings. This is fun."

Friday, December 26, 2003

Christmas? "It was the bestest day of my goodest life," as Jason said as a child.

Thursday, December 25, 2003

Michael has laid a fire. Lyman's in the kitchen. All is right with the world.

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Merry Christmas, y'all.

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

I remembered something for the kids' stockings that I thought of a long time ago: a book of postage stamps. It's hard for busy young'uns to make it to the post office.

Lucy is harder to buy for. It's Christmas every day for her. I did find a pack of 150 popsicle sticks that should keep her busy for a day or two.

A threat of rain in the south brought us home a day early. Good thing. We had .72 inches last night and the front is heading across our driving path. The trip was good, though we were jammed up at the intersection of 59 and 98 in Hattiesburg, MS. That's a shopping district, and people were lined up at the turn-offs. Made me feel a little better. The weather at the coast was conducive to nothing better than sitting on the balcony, so I haven't accomplished much in the way of shopping.

Time now to go into high gear cleaning, shopping and cooking. There will be seven for dinner on Christmas Day. Michael will come on Christmas Eve, Jason and Nicole on the day, and Lyman's parents are joining us for dinner. And, of course, Lucy. Make that eight.

Saturday, December 20, 2003

Must say the drapes are better with a holdback. The new washer-dryer is in. Do you know how much these stack units cost? So that's the bones. This has been a three-year project. Thanks to Ginny and Bob Reynolds of Michigan, who have been patient with us, and Ann and Bill Fitzroy of Mississippi, who have been wonderfully helpful.

Irrelevant question: "Why is the vent hose too short?" Sometimes I want to wring his neck.

Thursday, December 18, 2003

The Gulf is beautiful today. Seagulls are bathing in the swimming pool. Lucy is afraid of gulls.

I also don't think a lot of Mark, the maintenance man. But he lost a 16-month-old granddaughter to pneumonia recently. At Christmas.

The drapes are well-made. But I don't like them. I don't like drapes. But I think they are OK for a few years. I'd leave the windows open. But there's a modesty in renters that demands privacy, even on the fifth floor.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

We passed a place today in Columbia, Mississippi, with a sign that read "Vernon Beale OK Body Shop".


Tuesday, December 16, 2003

I've been tummy-tossing sick. Today I feel like I've been stuffed in a tow sack and beaten against a fence post.

Tomorrow, we depart for the coast a for few days to replace the washer-dryer stack unit and look at the drape$. Renters tell us we need to install some kind of hold-back for the one in the living room. Then there's a bit of stocking shopping to do.

Sunday, December 14, 2003

Here are gorgeous gifts for the person who has everything.

Given the behavior of his sons, he is lucky that he was taken by men soldiers.

On my mother's deathbed, my sister, sister-in-law and I talked about his family. We have daughters, collectively.

Friday, December 12, 2003

Egads, that's done, except for the dishwashing. Next year this stops. No reason this meal can't be served at 6 rather than noon.

Thursday, December 11, 2003

I do have problems with girl stuff. For Christmas, I want a pair of cross-trainers and a Dremel.

I've heard through the grapevine that the lovely Nicole will be joining us for Christmas Eve. Story goes that she and Jason will come here for the 24th then travel back the two hours to Ponchatoula to spend Christmas Day with her family.

Of course, I don't know this officially. I just wash sheets and cook and make sure young'uns feel welcome, all within an hour's notice.

I'm not comfortable with the thought of buying her a gift, but I will be happy to give her a stocking. The boys get one every year, and this year Lucy will, too. In the boys' stockings I put pens and notepads and toothbrushes and Chapstick (so they'll stay out of mine) and emory boards and other assorted useful junk. What to put in the stocking of a good-looking 23-year-old woman? I mean, apart from condoms?

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

Now, for Miss Francesca. I'd like to say I'm not impressed with the upholstery attachment to the Hoover Steam Vac. But I think it's just because my first use was a little sloppy. Better judgment will reduce what I thought was leakiness. Such spots as I treated are gone, though I think I could have done as well with a spot cleaner. (You must understand, in a fit of madness and over-optimism I bought furniture in off-white chenille.)

I started this experiment at about noon. Such fabrics as I cleaned are nearly dry. In another hour or so they should be dry. And that's in a house with 46% humidity. (Yo, Lyman's weather station.)

And, well, shoot, since I had the machine out anyway I did another run on the worst traffic area in our bedroom. Had I the time, I might have popped outside and done a car or two. Once you drag it out, it's a little addictive. Go for it.

Monday, December 08, 2003

I owe Mr. Smith an answer to a question that he asked in October. What would Lucy eat in the wild, I think he meant.

According to this expert she would eat nuts, fruits, berries, leaf buds, and blossoms when available. He says they don't often feed at ground level, unless their population has lived on the edge of a village for some time.

I've read in other sources that the reason African Greys are so smart is that they ARE ground-feeders and need to keep their wits at all times.

A little story in The Baton Rouge Advocate includes this bit:

Perhaps the only disappointed member of the LSU family was Saban's 13-year-old daughter, Kristen, who was hoping to ring in the New Year in Pasadena, Calif., the site of the Rose Bowl. That the Tigers will play for a national championship was apparently lost on her.

"She wanted to go to California," Saban said wryly. "None of that matters to her. It's strictly geography."

Lyman thinks that she might not be the only one disappointed. New Orleans businesses would have preferred an OU-USC matchup. Hotels, restaurants and souvenirs, you know.

Uh oh. Lucy has another appointment with Dr. Debbie today. Her wing feathers have grown enough that she swooped up to the kitchen the other day. I can just see a crash-landing on the dining table set with Lyman's grandmother's china Friday afternoon if we don't take care of this now. Last time the experience nearly killed her. Hope it's better today.

LATER: That was okay. The vet used the same room as the first time Lucy visited, and just clipped her wings. Toenails and beak will come later. Lucy is still taking a nap, though.

Saturday, December 06, 2003

My father-in-law, Big Daddy, 84, is a fine, warm, sensitive Christian gentleman who tries to do right in all things. It's kicking him pretty hard that he has to attend a Christmas party in Alexandria tonight rather than pile up in bed and watch the SEC Championship game with Georgia.

And the boys are in a wedding at 4:30 in New Orleans this afternoon. Wonder what that reception will look like?

Thursday, December 04, 2003

Time to bring in the Norfolk pine and dress it up for Christmas. We started a live Christmas tree tradition in this house nine years ago. We buy a small one, then use it until it grows too tall to fit in the house. Our patio out back seems to provide a perfect environment for these trees. They grow by leaps and bounds. The one we bought two years ago as a 3 ft. runt is now well over my head.

The unhappy thing is that they eventually grow too tall to bring in or protect and fall to a freeze. Sometime this season we are going to buy a Leyland cypress, which can survive such cold as we have in this climate. When these guys grow too tall we can plant them in the yard to replace some of the 40-year-old pines that are dying.

I love my living trees.

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Lyman has his Christmas present, and he is thrilled. He is talking about it with his friends. It's a weather station. He chose it, but he falls into my hands.

NOAA will be glad to have the information. I've long said that we under the Natchez bluff have a unique microclimate. Now we'll measure it.

I've just returned from having my hair trimmed by the sweet auburn Nancy, and understand that I need to institute a "Gray Watch". Gray 1, Brunette the rest. It really doesn't bother me much. I've thought for several years that I'd earned a stripe or two.