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Monday, December 31, 2007


Diane gave me this Nantucket basket filled with paperwhite bulbs for Christmas. We went to Cape Cod last September and we saw baskets all over the place, but didn't purchase a one. I was thrilled to get the basket. I just added water and the bulbs sprouted. I can't wait to smell the sweet aroma of the paperwhites. Today I will try to get some of my Christmas decorations down and put away in the attic. It's always good to get the house back in order after the hectic time of the holidays.

Sunday, December 30, 2007


Chris looking wistfully...Danny playing his new guitar hero Wi game.

Scott in the hot tub. Charlotte and Rose after dinner
Yrsa and I holding the baked Alaska we had as dessert Christmas eve.

The Hoopla is over!

Well, Christmas is over for another year. It seems the months of preparation are finished in just a quick morning. As always this was a wonderful holiday spent with family and friends. The cookies and candy has almost all been eaten and it is time for new year's resolutions. I've been making the same resolutions every year now for about 40 years so this time I think they need to be different.
First, instead of saying I'm going to lose weight, I think that I will just say I want to eat the healthy way and have more energy to do all I'd like to do.
Second, instead of saying I'm going to get more organized I think I will just say that I'd like to put things in their proper place and know where my things are.
Third, instead of saying I'd like to be a better person this year, I think I will just act better in my daily life by being less critical and more giving.
Fourth, instead of complaining that I don't have enough time to do all I want I will prioritize and do all I want to do.
Fifth, instead of saying I want to make more happy memories, I think I will just go out and do all I want to make the best memories possible.
There's always room for improvement so I hope that I can make 2008 a productive and happy year.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Waiting for Linda

What a nasty, rainy, windy day. The wind has blown away a lot of the snow, but more is expected for tomorrow. Linda is on the way up from Virginia and called to say she was lost. I got out the map and helped her find her way. She needs a Garmin. We bought one for Christmas and love it. It is really going to help at garage sale time. I'll be able to find anyplace! I'm so looking forward to Linda and Chris and the boys being here all week. Today I made homemade turkey noodle soup. One thing I have learned lately is that I have to use up leftovers. It's too easy just to put something in the freezer and forget about it. With the rising cost of food I need to be a little more resourceful. Don is grinding leftover ham into ham salad. We'll have a great dinner!

Friday, December 21, 2007

A Christmas Card for You

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Every year I say the same thing..This is the best Christmas ever. How lucky can I be? When you think of all the problems that other people have you realize that your life is so blessed. It has been a challenging year but my problems are few compared to some others in the world. I have such wonderufl people around me to lend me support and love when I need it. My husband is always there to lean on and is remarkable in his ingenuity and resourcefulness. My two sons give me laughter and energy and are always there for me. My grandsons whom I adore to spend time with provide me with such happiness. My new daughter in law is so very sweet and makes my son so happy. My sisters give me the steady accepting love I sometimes need to get me through the difficulties. My wonderful second family, the Lashers, have been such a blessing in my life for they have opened up their hearts to us. My friends are there to listen to my successes and my failures. I am the luckiest girl on the planet.


Every year I think that I may not get in the Christmas spirit. Sometimes it seems that the decorations are put in the stores too early and by the time December rolls around I can't even think about all the things I have to do. Each year I swear that I will keep it more simple but as the snow flies and the middle of the month descends I find myself wanting to do all the traditional things that always make Christmas special..like make cookies, a tea ring, have people in. It is those traditions that make the holiday not just another day. I look forward to visiting with family, entertaining friends, and fixing special meals. This Christmas my sister Linda will be joining our family for the week. It will be so nice to have her up here since she doesn't visit that often. Chris and the boys will arrive the day after Christmas and we will have such a fun week. Just a few more days until Christmas and I have wrapping to finish. Is yours done?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Flying at last!

Don purchased this remote control airplane at an auction quite a while ago. Recently we gave it to Ryan who had a new interest in the hobby. Ryan & Don took the plane to Ryan's local flying club field (he is the president of the club). while we were in Tennessee Ryan had a chance to fly it for Don. Don was very impressed with Ryan's flying aerobatic abilities. Ryan was so excited that he could fly for his dad, since his dad got him interested in the hobby.


Today I went to Jenny's second grade classroom in Seymour. It was great to be back in school again. I helped her with a craft activity. In small groups we made gingerbread pins and candy cane magnets. This is my last day to visit with Ryan and Jenny. I have had a great time here in Pigeon Forge. Tomorrow it's back to the snow.

12 Random Christmas Thoughts

1. I remember exactly when I learned there was no Santa Claus. I was 12 and I had suspected for a few years and listened to the talk at school that the jolly old elf was just fictitious. When I confronted my mother she admitted to me that it was true. So I sat on the bottom stair and watched as my mother and dad put out the presents for my sleeping sisters. I still remember the disappointment I felt that my childhood illusion had been vanquished.

2. The first year that Don and I celebrated Christmas in our own house he decided to go and cut a tree for us. He brought back a long needled spruce and set it in the stand. This was not your typical Christmas tree. ..not the perfect conical shape that you see today. This tree had long spaces of trunk between the branches. I loved it! The ornaments that hung were clearly visible and the tinsel wrapped itself around the tree in long strands.

3. I still cherish the tin ornament and the crayoned ornament that my sons made for me. Each Christmas I put these two things out as part of my memories. Chris made the colored ornament once in art class in junior high. Ryan made the tin ornament with its punched out letters...BEST MOM.

4. Only my loving husband would climb up on the roof with an oar to make the tracings of Santa's sleigh in the snow and tap out reindeer footprints..

5. One Christmas eve it started snowing and never stopped until the next day. We awoke to knee deep snow that covered the roads, the sidewalks, and all the hills. Don had a plow on his jeep and spent the entire Christmas day going around to all his friends and family and plowing them out.

6. Don doesn't have a lot from his childhood. There are two toys that we put out every Christmas that belonged to him...an old leather football and a wooden flat car with wheels.

7. Don always tells the story of how he peeked at a present...it was a bb gun. When Christmas morning came he felt so guilty and had to pretend to be surprised. To this day he wouldn't look for a present even if it was out in plain sight.

8. My father and my husband had a special holiday gift tradition. They were both coin collectors and there was a special buffalo nickle that they gave back and forth to each other every Christmas. It was always a trick to see who could disguise the nickle so that the other didn't suspect. Once dad suspended it in a shirt box by attaching it in the middle of the box by strings. Once he put it in a long telescoping box.

9. We once made a Mission Impossible game for Ryan to find his present that year. He had clues and went all over the house reading the clues and chasing down the next clue. finally he was led outside and had to climb a tree to get down his present...a climbing rope for rappelling.

10. When Chris was young I took him to the local elementary school for a Christmas program. Joking with him on the way back I said, "Look I think I see Santa and his sleigh in the sky," to which he replied, " and I see Rudolph in the front!.

11. Ryan and Chris have always had a tradition of opening the presents from each other on Christmas eve.

12. Nothing is better than to have family around at Christmas.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Oh, Christmas Tree!

How many of you are old enough to remember this tree? In the sixties it was the fashion to have this "modern" tree in your living room at Christmas time. Along with the tree was the revolving light which bathed the branches in colors of red, green, blud, and yellow. I borrowed the tree to put in my dorm room when I was in college at Clarion. Many nights I would turn off all the lights and turn on the colors and sit by the tree and dream Christmas thougths. My roomate was Greek Orthodox and her grandmother would send up a boxful of goodies to her and we would enjoy homemade cookies and dates stuffed with walnuts and rolled in sugar. Seeing this tree brings back a lot of memories of college...walking in the snow with my girlfriend sharing deepest secrets, traveling back and forth every weekend to Bradford to wait for my boyfriend, now husband, to arrive from Newport RI where he hitchhiked home, and studying for finals. Those were the days when all I had to do was think about myself and no one else. I was so self involved.

Is your shopping done?

Here I am in the outlet center of the world. There are many outlets here in Pigeon Forge. I think today I'll stop in TJ Max and look around. And look around it will be. I think most of my shopping is done for this Christmas. It seems like I've been buying less presents this year because I've bought things that were big gifts. It is so much fun to see that happiness on the faces of those who unwrap the gifts. This year is more about making memories than getting gifts. I love spending time with family. This year I'm having time with Ryan and Jenny and Linda, Chris, and the boys will be up home for Christmas. I can't wait to have a full house, (dog and all). I love having company, fixing meals, playing games, and just spending time with my family. That is the best Christmas gift I could get.

A few more shots of Biltmore

Here we are in front of
Biltmore. The
architecture of this mansion is unbelievable. In the picture to the left you can see the conservatory to the right of the entrance with its large glass windows and its glass dome. People were already lined up when we arrived at ten. Each person got an entrance time and only so many people were allowed in the house at once. In addition to visiting the house there were gift shops and gardens to see as well as the winery.

Biltmore Estate

A pair of stately lions guarded the entrance to Biltmore. Ryan and Jenny pose before him.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Greetings from Tennessee

I'm blogging today from Ryan's house in Tennessee. Aren't computers wonderful? We are having such a great time. Yesterday we got up at six to meet Ginger at the Cracker Barrel for breakfast. Then we traveled two hours over to Ashville, North Carolina to visit the Biltmore Estate. It is the former home of George Vanderbilt, heir of railroad money, who built this home modeled after the French chateaus when he was a bachelor at 27. It is the size of a castle and each room was decorated for Christmas with multiple trees and period toys. My favorite room is the conservatory with it's high glass ceiling, tropical plants, and pots of white poinsettias. It took us two hours to go through the house with its four floors of rooms plus a basement with a swimming pool, bowling alley, cook's quarters, kitchens, pantries, and even two rooms for floral decorating. Afterwards we went to the estate winery where we had lunch at the Bistro there. Our appetizers were artichoke dip with crositini and brie with cranberry chutney, green apple slices, and pecans. We ate mufalleta sandwiches and various kinds of pizzas. Then we shopped a little at Biltmore villiage. On the way home the weather got worse and we drove in the rain most of the way. Today it is threatening snow and nasty. I think we will stay inside most of the day.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


Things to be joyful for:
1. Having a loving family and good friends...nothing can be better than knowing there are people who know all your flaws and accept and love you just the way you are..imperfections and all.
2. Wanting not...looking around and realizing that you have all you need.
3. Feeling contentment...just to sit still and be filled with happiness.
4. Realizing how lucky you are. ..so many are so much worse off this holiday season .
5. Having the freedoms that living in the United States allows.
Until one feels the spirit of Christmas, there is no Christmas. All else is outward display--so much tinsel and decorations. For it isn't the holly, it isn't the snow. It isn't the tree not the firelight's glow. It's the warmth that comes to the hearts of men when the Christmas spirit returns again.

Monday, December 10, 2007


Isn't that sign adorable? Linda made it for me last year. I created a little vignette with ice skates and cotton snow on my baker's rack. I found some old black and white photos of me as a child in the snow and put them on display along with the ice skates. Most of my decorations this year are winter themed instead of Christmas oriented. Maybe I'll leave them up for awhile.


What is your favorite kind of Christmas cookie? Peanut Butter Blossoms are mine. Today I baked cookies to take down to Ryan's house on Thursday. Each year I knock myself out making many different kinds of cookies as treats. There are so many that we all get almost sick of eating so many sweets during the holiday season. The leftovers get put in the freezer since you can't give them away. (everyone else is sick of eating sweets too).

Nothing means more than family

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Here is a picture of my family taken at Boiling Springs in November when we were down at Chris' visiting. Chris and Ryan are "cutting up" as usual. Scott is growing up so tall and is getting more handsome by the minute. Dan is a typical teenager. Jenny, my new daughter-in-law is so pretty and I enjoy having her in the famly. Don is my honey. We were getting ready to go to a TSO concert that day. We always enjoy being together.

Sunday, December 09, 2007


Yrsa, Kay and I have been best friends since high school, 45 years ago. We've been through a lot together, the bad and the good. We've cried on each other's shoulders and howled with laughter at some of our antics. Today Kay had us out to see the new red couch she bought. The color is crimson and looks so nice in her living room.


Yeah, it worked! I am slowly learning how to get pictures from the web to my blog. This might make it a little more fun. I liked this picture because it reminded me of my childhood. We always loved to be out in the wintertime, regardless of the weather. I guess we didn't feel the cold back then. I grew up in such a super neighborhood. All the kids were friends and we couldn't wait for school to get over so we could get on our playclothes and run outside with our friends. There was a big hill behind our house and we went sledding there. Across from the elementary school there was a house back in the woods with a long paved driveway. We loved to sled there but at the end was the road. Then the tragic happened. A little boy slid onto the road and was killed by a car passing by. That ended our sledding there. I was so small at the time that it didn't have the huge impact on me that it had on my parents. I can't remember the last time I have seen kids out with their sleds. They don't seem to do that anymore.


tHIS is the season for the hunt for just the right present. The disadvantage to living in a small rural town is that the shopping is so limited. If you are content to buy everything at Walmart you will have no trouble shopping in Bradford. But there is a whole world outside with wonderful things to buy so yesterday Don and I went to Erie (about 90 miles away) for the day. We shopped in stores that you can't find around here...Best Buy, Lowes, Macy's, Gander Mountain, etc. Since it a Saturday in December there were lots of crowds everywhere you went. The lines at the counters were long and getting to a place where you could see an item was difficult. The traffic was also bad. Next time I'll remember to go on a week day when I don't have to put up with all of that. We did well with our shopping and even bought ourselves a Christmas present...a Garmin. That's a GPS locater for our car. Now I will be able to find all the malls in all the ciities. LOL We ate a Smokey Bones, a rib restaurant, for lunch.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Random questions

Were you named after anyone? Yes, my mom said I was named after a friend of hers
When was the last time you cried? Last Saturday I woke up with the saddest feeling. I was missing my dad who passed away last February. This wil be the first Christmas of my life without him.
What is the first thing you notice about people? Their mood
Red or pink? Definitely red. I went through a pink phase once and hated it.
What is the last thing you ate? Sugar free chocolate frozen pop
What music are you listening to? Trans Siberian Orchestra's christmas music. We went to a concert of theirs at Hershey in November. Amazing pyrotechnics and laser lights.
What kind of movies do you like? I love a movie that makes you think, surprises you, is visually stimulating, has a twist ending, and resolves.
What book are you reading now? I just finished a book on identity theft. Pretty scary.
Rolling Stones or the Beatles? Even though I remember swimming in a river while attending summer school at Clarion University listening to "I can't get no...satisfaction" I love the Beatles better.
What is the farthest you have ever been from home? Frankfurt, Germany
So you have a special talent? I like to be creative..decorate, make arrangements and vingnettes, play the piano.
Where were you born? Elberton, Georgia
Hugs or kisses? Definitely kisses.
What is your favorite smell? I like the fall scents...cinnamon, pumpkin spice, tuscan scents


Put on your gloves and scarf because it's still cold out today. I walked this morning with my coffee friends. Thankfully we walk inside the fitness center at the University of Pittsburgh. Sometimes I think I'm crazy for getting up every morning so early and going out in the frigid weather. But then I think that is a good thing because not only do I exercise every day but I also socialize with my friends.
When I got home from coffee, there sat Don with a bleak look on his face. He was planning on going deer hunting with a friend a few hours south of here. After he loaded up his truck with all his hunting gear he discovered his truck wouldn't start. He looked under the truck and a pool of gasoline lay in the snow. He had a gas leak. Into each life some rain must fall. He took the van today. He will have to take it to the garage to have it fixed. He used to be able to fix anything on four wheels, but in his later life he gets dizzy and sick at his stomach every time he lays on his back under a car.
At our house we try to take the bad with the good. We know life isn't perfect and there are going to be those days when things don't go right. Life is like that. We have so much good in our life that we are thankful for it all. When something like this happens,we just say "It could have been worse".

Thursday, December 06, 2007

What, no tree?

Every year we put our tall tree in the living room. When we build the addition I knew that the perfect place for the Christmas tree this year would be right in front of the large back window. But when it came time to put up the tree I decided to put a topiary tree in a golden urn on my library table. It fits perfectly. I took down my curtains for give the room a more open feeling. I also brought in some of my blue and white china.

The computer is up and running! Hurrah!!

The new Verizon connection is finally working on my computer. After talking to a fellow in India one day, a girl from the Phillipines another..it took a good old American girl from Verizon (who just happened to be a grown-up neighbor girl from down the street ) to visit the house and tell us that the phone line from the modem to the box needed replaced. After that now I can get a signal that is stong and won't go away on me like it has been doing this week. Hopefully all my computer issues are solved.
The snow was so beautiful this morning and was glistening. I had to take this shot of the bench. Several deer wandered down into our yard last night (as we could tell my their tracks in the snow). They went over and sniffed the three pumpkins that I had thrown up behind the shed. Don is going to break them open and give the deer a treat for tonight.
Isn't Mr. Snowman darling? My father made it for me a few years ago. He was so clever with his woodworking. He would see an idea in a magazine and make a copy for all of his daughters. Last year he made us a wooden tabletop sled. I cherish the items in my house that were crafted by his hand.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Little Chicago

These are two of the "old fashioned" stores on Kennedy Street that were created for the movie "Little Chicago". Filiming continued over the weekend despite some unforgiving weather.

A scene from Little Chicago was filmed Saturday night on Chestnut street wherein three men were gunned down in front of the "Bradford Men's Club". Many Bradfordians braved the below freezing temperatures to watch the filming. Crew members for the gangster movie "Little Chicago" set off a fiery fake explosion in a home at 10 Howard St. Monday night amidst a very real snowstorm.After several takes and multiple hours of preparation in blizzard-like conditions, an actor successfully lobbed an "explosive package" - which in reality was filled with potatoes - into a half-open window at the house, giving the "bombs away" cue for special effects experts.
In the scene, Bradford native Buddy Crappio's character was driven up to the target house by an accomplice in a 1920s vehicle. Crappio exited the car, threw the bomb and got back in the car for a hasty retreat.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Just yesterday Don hung our old wooden sled
in the breezeway. I got the idea from Jan Williams a florist in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Every year when I visit my sister Linda we always make it a point to go into her shop to see what new ideas she has. THere are some people who just have a special knack for that kind of thing. WEll, the storm is over for today, the roads are plowed, my presents go wrapped, and the crock pot barbequed pork is ready to eat. All in all, it has been a great day.