Archive | December, 2012

Complain, Complain, Complain!

31 Dec

I know women lie about their ages (Like many women my age, I am 39.) and what size they wear on a good day, but I didn’t know men did it, too.

I asked The Squire what size trousers he wore, and he told me. I confidently went to the store and bought him two pair of badly needed slacks – one Haggar and one Old Navy. Christmas Day, he opened the package and informed me they were too small! Because I had gotten the sizes straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak, I had disposed of both the sales slips and the price tags, so they cannot be returned.

I must love him. I didn’t kill him on the spot.

And still with the ants. Baltimore’s weather is erratic, to say the least. We are just about midway between the Atlantic (not the Bay) and the lower slopes of the Appalachian Mountains, and weather systems bounce back and forth like crazy.  Yesterday morning, I got out of bed and it was raining, and by the time I got to the kitchen it was snowing to beat the band, and snowed most of the day. Today was warm, but very windy. Every time the weather warms up above 40-F the ants become active, and then if it rains or gets cold, they come inside the house to get warm and dry.

Last weekend, I was decanting some punch from a samovar into empty soda bottles and didn’t notice that I had spilled a few drops on the carpet. A couple of days later, The Squire remarked that there was a stain on the rug, but when I went to blot it up, it was a mass of ants, parading from the corner of the room, across the carpet and back. It’s almost January, kids! What’s with this ants stuff, anyway?

My iris are coming up. Not crocus – iris.

It’s going to be a long winter, folks. And then again…

Home for Christmas

27 Dec

Back in November I posted that our nephew’s wife had delivered a little girl, ten wCardie home 2eeks early.  Little Miss Cardie has done spectacularly well, doubled her birth weight in a month – went from two pounds to four! – and the doctors sent her home in time for Christmas.

Cardie does spend a lot of time sleeping – she has a lot of catching up to do! – but big sister Brooklyn just likes to sit and watch her.  This is our very own Christmas Miracle.

Lo! He comes…

23 Dec

Today was Grubby Sunday at Resurrection. Most folks came in work clothes and we stayed after service to hang wreathes and swags, run the vacuum one last time, make sure the hymnals and prayer books are properly lined up – two hymnals on the center and a prayer-book on either side, fill candles, wash sconces, on and on. Fortunately, a fair percentage did stay to help, and we had coffee, mulled cider and donuts to keep us going.

Our new rector is a former Roman Catholic, and he had us in stitches telling stories of Christmas Past. My favorite involved the midnight service at a Polish church in downtown Baltimore. The crèche had been set up in front of the altar, all but the infant Jesus. At mid-night, the priest cried out “Chrystus Rodzi!” and the Baby Jesus came flying out of the choir loft on a zip-line, knocked over the crèche, scattering figures everywhere, and prompted one server to simply flop flat on the floor.

And we thought Resurrection had a lock on fun and games!

Way Down, Way Up, and Up in Smoke! (Almost)

17 Dec

Like most of the world, The Squire and I watched in horror on Friday as the news in Newtown unfolded.  We read the names and ages of the victims in church on Sunday, and our local Cub Master became visibly upset. He said later that he has 40 youngsters in his Pack, all the ages of the children killed, and he was just mentally coping with the idea of having half of his troop ripped away.

We had a shooting here on the first day of school, when an unbalanced young man walked into the local high school an opened fire in the cafeteria. Fortunately, he was known to the guidance counselor, who tackled him immediately. Only one student was injured, and there was no other loss of life. It is time to do something, and it is very telling that thirty-one pro-gun senators refused invitations to appear on national TV to discuss this.  Frankly, I don’t think it’s going to stop until one of their kids is involved.

Well, they won’t let me handle it, so how is it going to be done properly?

We had our annual Open House yesterday, which started off with a bit of a bang. I have a habit – a bad one, so I’ve been told – of putting odds and ends into the fireplace. Dead leaves from houseplants, wooden scraps from dollhouse kits, what-have-you, figuring it’s all kindling. The Squire laid a fire and lit it just as the first guests arrived. My “kindling” went up with a whoosh, and the cold air in the chimney forced all the smoke back into the living room. What a mess! Short discussion. I will try to stop being so “helpful” and The Squire will try to look before he lights.

The crowd was smaller than usual, but the weather was yucky and the Ravens were playing their do-or-die game. They died. I asked one fellow why the team even bothered to show up. He said they had to – it was their home field.  One man actually dropped off his family and went back home to watch the game! I’ll bet he regretted that, on a number of levels.

In spite of the weather, my cousin came up from “almost Annapolis” and another old friend came down from Pennsylvania, which were delightful surprises.  My cousin and I were talking about my mom when Old Friend arrived, and the conversation continued for a few moments after he arrived.  I think he was really surprised to discover that the things I had always said about my mom were true.  Let’s put it this way – another cousin once remarked that after spending a week with my mom while his parents were away made Army boot camp a snap.

Suddenly, the smoke alarm sounded! I thought Godson (who was acting butler for the day) had left something in the oven, but it turned out the pink candle on the Advent wreath burned about three times faster than the others, and the fresh (thank God!) greens on the wreath had begun to smolder! Three quick pinches, and the candles were out, and the wreath transported to the patio.

As the rector said, “Lucky it wasn’t a menorah.”


15 Dec

squirrel 2Unlike most folks, The Squire and I are very fond of squirrels. They are playful, intelligent, curious, and just plain funny. Blue Jays, on the other hand, are bullies, stealing whatever they can get, and shoveling most of the seed out of the feeder to get the sunflower seeds.

We put out peanuts for the squirrels, and the Blue Jays grab them. We used to put a peanut on each solar light down the walk, in addition to the ones we spread in the leaves. The Jays would land on the wall, swallow the peanut whole, and then fly away. I started tapping on the window to scare them off, so now they just swoop down and grab the nut without ever landing.

This young fellow sort of reminds me of the lawyer for the defense. “Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury…”  Or maybe an old preacher. “Brothers and sisters, the Lord said He would deliver us from eagles…”

We are Now Wearing Our Own Clothes

11 Dec

Cardie is now three and a half pounds, and large enough to wear preemie size clothing. She is still on a feeding tube, as she is not strong ecardie 12-9nough to nurse, but she is getting her mother’s milk, and coming along beautifully. When she weighs four pounds she can get out of her isolette, and then home.

It just occurred to me that she weighs exactly half of what my girls weighed when they were born – and I thought they were tiny!

Some People Never Grow Up

8 Dec

When I was in my early teens – 14 or 15 – I belonged to our church’s youth group. About once a year, usually in January, we’d have a District Convention at a city about three hour’s drive away, pre-Interstate.

On one trip, there were three of us kids in the back seat, one in the front, and the driver was our church’s Youth Pastor. About a half an hour out, he pulled over and suggested we all take off our coats and stow them in the trunk. “The car is warm, and you’ll have more elbow room. We can put them back on when we get where we’re going, and we won’t be over-heated.”

Well I just thought this was a wonderful idea. A few weeks later, my sister and I were riding with my mom and I unbuttoned my coat and began to shrug out of it. (I can point out the corner, to this day.) My mother asked me “What do you think you’re doing?”

“Oh, Pastor Geesendaffer said….”

We don’t do that.” And with that she reached over and turned off the heat. We rode the rest of the winter with no heat in the car. One Sunday morning, my dad reached over to turn on the heat, and my mother flipped by knob back. “Audrey, it’s cold in here.”

“We’ll be there soon.” (It was five miles from our house to the church.) He simply shrugged and didn’t say anything. That afternoon I explained what had happened, and he just heaved a big sigh.

To this day, I seldom wear a coat in the car.  So there! Take that! I am just sooo mature.

The Last Luddite

7 Dec

Well, not really, since I am posting this on my computer, but I don’t take kindly to change, and the “latest technology” only leaves me bewildered.

Anyway, I had a little cell phone, not an iPad or a Smartphone, just an ordinary cell phone, so old it still had a rotary dial. I’d originally gotten it when my dad was ill, then kept it after he died because my sister and my mom were both dying. About two or three weeks ago, I misplaced it. It was one of those pay-as-you-go plans, so no big deal – I wasn’t going to get a gazillion dollar bill because somebody had sent a thousand text messages to Nicaragua or something (besides, the battery is probably dead by now anyway) but it was plain and simple – like me. It took me over a year to figure out I could simply punch “call” to reach somebody. I’d find their number in the on-line directory, write it down, and then key it in to call them.

I liked it, and missed it, and hoped it would turn up because it was discontinued.

That was OK, because I discovered I actually enjoyed being able to go places without having anybody bug me. Most of my calls were from the grocery store – which also has a “Honey Do” phone up by the customer service desk – to ask if we needed anything besides milk and cat food.  My out-going calls amounted to about 15 minutes a week, and I seldom gave out my number because the phone spent most of the time in my glove box.

The Squire got me the least complicated phone he could find at Target, got my number and minutes changed over, and told me it was “pretty easy to use”. You’d think, after almost forty years…well, it took me four tries to get his cell phone number keyed into my cell phone’s contact list. As far as I’m concerned, that’s really the only one I need.

Don’t call me. I’ll call you.

Baby Update

6 Dec
Two weeks old, and still two months short!

Two weeks old, and still two months short!

I spoke with my nephew last night, and Cardie is doing beautifully. She is now just over 3 pounds, off IVs and oxygen, and the doctors say she is acting about a week older than she actually is. They hope to have her home for Chrismas, but probably nearer the first of the new year.  Thanks for all of the prayers and good wishes.