Saturday, December 29, 2012


A few months ago I found that ComEd, our electric supplier, has some new energy data on their website, including a comparison of one's electricity use to 100 neighbors within close proximity (3 miles) and with similar sized homes and natural gas, rather than electric, heat.  So, apples to apples.

When I first looked, I was not in the top 20 (called Efficient Neighbors) for least electric use, though I was getting close.  When yesterday's bill arrived in my inbox, I checked my account on the website to see where I stood, and, at last!  I used 5% less electricity than my Efficient Neighbors.

Besides there being one less person in the house (not insignificant, as Gerrit was home most of the time, which meant the television was on a good part of the day), I finally started turning off the power strip for the TV and cable box, as well as the power strip for the computer/printer/monitor, when I wasn't using them.  The only downside to turning off the cable box is the TV guide program listing takes about 20 minutes to refresh after the cable box is turned on.  All the programs are there, I just can't see what's coming up next until that 20 minutes or so has elapsed.

I can live with that small inconvenience to reduce my energy bill.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas, one and all!

I'll be holding my loved ones tight and counting my blessings.
And hoping you will have the same opportunity.

Sunday, December 23, 2012


Flight Behavior, the newest novel from Barbara Kingsolver, is set in Appalachia and has a marvelously imaginative scenario involving climate change.  It has wonderful, complex, flawed characters who still manage to be likeable.  As the main character, Dellarobia, struggles to find her place in life, she is reminded of the Bible verse, "Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares."

I read it twice: once for the plot and the second time for the imagery (which sometimes distracted from the plot).  A very satisfying book.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Oscar loves Dora

Dora and Oscar at Dora's house
I don't know if Oscar actually loves Dora or not.  But I love Dora's family.

They took care of Oscar for a long weekend in October when I was with family in Washington, D.C. 

Dora's family was so enthusiastic about having Oscar, and it was wonderful for me to know he was in such loving hands.

 So - a Christmas present from Oscar for Dora (there were some goodies for Dora's people, too).

Friday, December 21, 2012

My amusing choir friends. And sun!

 The view out the front door at first light this morning

Despite dire predictions, our area wasn't hit that hard by last night's snow.  We woke up to find just enough to coat the grass but leave the streets and sidewalks clear.

Our choir director is in the hospital, so the following email exchange between choir members occurred over the course of several hours yesterday afternoon. 

Elizabeth:    Peter provided a card with this photo printed and I thought we could sign it tonight and send our greetings to Charles.  I'll bring it to rehearsal.

Lea:           The photo is fabulous!  Would someone please forge my signature as I don't plan to come tonight.  It's all about the coming storm.

Judy:         Me, too------regarding forging my signature.  I am home with a voice lower than Lauren Bacall!  I hope to be okay by Christmas Eve.

Elizabeth:    hell, if snowed in I will just forge for everyone.

Tricia:        When you dot the "i" in Tricia can you make them each a little heart?

Elizabeth:    yes and if only one of you had a q in your name I would make it into a cat

Christina:    Lucky for you my middle name is Shaniqua

Elizabeth:    you rock shaniqua

 Oscar and squirrel enjoying today's sun.

I love our choir members.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Draco who?

My Wisconsin sister emailed mid-morning to say she and two of her sons had just finished shoveling the seven inches of snow that had been dumped so far and that another seven is expected.  (Mrs. Micawber, thinking of you!) 

I haven't listened to much news the last couple of days beyond hearing we are supposed to get our first snow later today.  We have been having dreary, rainy, gloomy skies here, which is not helping my blue mood.  So I clicked over to see the Weather Channel's forecast and was surprised to find out they are naming winter storms

From the Weather Channel website
Draco sounds like an appropriate storm name - as mean and nasty as J.K. Rowling painted him.

I'll be glad for the Winter Solstice tomorrow - I'm really feeling like this week is the dark before the dawn.  My brain needs sun - luckily it's predicted for Saturday.  Come on, sun!

Saturday, December 15, 2012


 Greens from my yard, instruction by my dad

My cousin and her husband and my parents coming for brunch this morning 

was good motivation to create some festivity.

Egg casserole with two cheeses, mushrooms, & green onions
Our favorite breakfast sausage
Brussels sprouts cooked crisp-tender with bacon and garlic
Fresh cranberry-orange-apple salad
Tea bread

A delicious morning.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Happy memories

The temperature today is in the high sixties, 
very similar to the unseasonable weather we had 
on our wedding day 24 years ago.


Having pictures taken outside the church before our wedding 
was a pleasure.

The warm temperatures continued into the evening 
at the beautiful old house where we had our reception.

It was a wonderful, wonderful day.

I miss that man.