Saturday, December 01, 2007

I'm still a Beaver believer!

Yesterday a group of Oregon State Alumni met in a local sports bar right here in Houston to cheer on our beloved Beavers in their yearly scrimmage against the University of Oregon Ducks.

Yup...we "plucked" those dastardly ducks 38-31 in overtime, thereby winning the 111th Oregon-Oregon State annual "Civil War."


I had never met any of these fellow Beavers before, but the lady in orange graduated a year after me, and the guy in black next to her was in my 1976 graduating class.

We laughed at our excitement; when we were at OSU watching the games in person, Dee Andros was the couch, and he was about the most exciting thing about the whole team, as Andros was as wide as he was tall and went by the name of "The Great Pumpkin,"
Dressed head to toe in orange, coaching from the sidelines, it was an apt moniker.

The team, however, was terrible back then.
I remember playing bridge with my dorm mates to pass the time in the stands.
That's bad. Real bad.

So of course now we are ABSOLUTELY making up for the lost years by enjoying every second of our Fighting Beaver's games.


I even took my Benny Beaver stuffed animal along to this game, cuz he plays the OSU fight song whenever you squeeze his paw.
The OSU alumni association gave us the Orange and Black school color spirit sticks to wave.
It was too hot here to wear my OSU sweatshirt, so I made do with wearing my Benny Beaver earrings and baseball cap.
Let me say it again: We WON!!!!!
Beaver by marriage Bernie even wore his OSU ski cap to celebrate the victory.
In other news...Laura and Jeff lived through this in Salt Lake City. Some snow, huh?
The ski slopes have been opened, Jeff has made his first run. Bernie is glued to the ski resort webcams, and counting the days until he gets to start skiing too.
My grandcat Meowsie is not quite so thrilled.
I think he is sticking his tongue out at Jeff for putting him outside in the snow.
Can't say as I blame him....
Let me just say it one more time:
(And my grad school, Texas Woman's University is STILL undefeated for yet another year!)

Season's greetings: Happy Autumn?

I liked this color combination on display at our local Hallmark store.
Liked it enough to pull out my camera and take a picture.
As I did so, I thought about how as a child I would have been very unhappy to have a brown and turquoise themed Christmas.
Christmas just had to be red and green.

Now brown and turquoise looks just right to me.

Each year market research goes about deciding what colors will be the key colors for Christmas a few years later.
Did you know that?
They decide if the green will be lime, or deep pine, if the red will be mango or tutti fruiti pink. If gold, silver or bronze glitter will be in.
Then babbles and card stock. sweaters and dishware are created (mostly in China, because everyone know China is all about Jesus' being born, right?) about a year in advance.

Even as I type this, there is someone in a factory somewhere in China slipping a tiny golden oval sticker proclaiming "Made In China" on something that will just be perfect for Christmas next year.

The year I got married I was tasked at work with putting up something like 24 Christmas trees. Pink ones with ballerina theme, baby blue ones with choo choo trains. Golden ones, bird ones, icy crystal ones.

They were all absolutely gorgeous.

This year I was tasked with decorating two trees in our library. The ornament were varied, a few were gifts to "the tree" (????whateverthatmeans???) the rest were the most common red, blue, green and white balls ever to be seen.

This month I will not, for the first time in my life, be putting up a Christmas tree in my home at all.
Not a fresh one (although I was sorely tempted to get one as I walked past a Christmas tree lot) nor our massive artificial tree either.
Not even our traditional tiny one in our bedroom just for us.

This year we'll holiday with our kids. And as much as I think Tiggie and Hart would like a tree to explore (again!) I'm going to skip putting up our ornaments just for their enjoyment.

I never thought I would not put up a tree. I'll probably succumb to a fresh swag or wreath, just for the fragrance, and I will definitely be putting out some of what I call "Winter" decorations.
But most of that won't be happening until it gets closer to "winter", which by my calendar, means almost three weeks from now.

Right now, we are still enjoying having morning coffee and the newspaper in the autumn splendor of our patio. The bird watching is simply terrific right now.

In the meantime, I want to thank everyone else who IS decorating every inch of their homes and posting their pictures on their blogs.

I love seeing it.
I appreciate it, and your efforts.

Believe me, as the girl who usually decorates EVERYTHING (changing the tooth brushes to match the holiday colors has even been done...) I know that while it is fun to decorate for Christmas, it also can mean a lot hard work.

Especially when it comes time to take it all down again later....

Thank you fellow bloggers. I will leave my computer screen open on my coffee table to some of your Christmas themed blogs and if anyone asks, I'll tell this this year, I'm decorating cyber style.

And if they want to see how I usually decorate, I'll suggest that they travel backwards in time in my blog.

Last December I posted it all: My Christmas china, my mouse collection, angel collection, both the family Christmas tree and our yearly "wedding anniversary" tree.

If you missed seeing it all, feel free to take a look in the archieves. If you saw it before, well, take another look and pretend that I put all of it up again this year.

Do feel free to drop by my place during the holidays, and join me in a cyber cup of tea.
Since I'm not really decorating, I've got plenty of time to visit!

Friday, November 30, 2007

I'm dreaming of a White Christmas

I'm dreaming of a White Christmas....

Just like the ones I always spin.

Where tree tops glisten...

And spiders listen...

To hear footsteps coming near.

May your day be interesting and bright...

And may all your spider webs be white.
And hey look...someone has been out throwing snowballs already!
(Pictures taken yesterday morning after a heavy fog during the night. Everywhere I looked the spiders had been spinning, and their webs looked like clumps of snow stuck in the pine needles, or like frost covering the ground. Simply magical. I took a slew of pictures and showed them to B. later, without explanation.
He looked puzzled, then asked "Did we have a heavy frost or something last night? Is that snow?
Wouldn't the spiders been pleased to know their efforts to create "snow" was successful.)
PS: The "snowball" is a white mushroom, in case you couldn't tell, and you are looking at tiny mushrooms caught under the web "frost" in the fifth picture.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

The other species of neighbors

I hate to admit it, but I don't know very many of my neighbors.
Around here people come and go in and out of their garages, rarely are they seen outside for any reason.
Some days I wonder if any humans live on our street at all.

Now the neighborhood cats are an entirely different story.
As I mentioned before, they feel free to drop by any time and are usually available for friendly conversations on the front lawn or driveway.

On Thanksgiving Day, while all the humans were nowhere to be seen, Giovanni was lounging around on a freshly washed black car, clearly belonging to some guest who was busy eating turkey, and unaware of the feline situation outside on his car.

I told Giovanni that I knew a guy up in Canada who would be pretty steamed to see a cat walking around on a freshly washed car.
"Well he's not here, now is he?" G. replied, standing up to make his point. "Sounds like some one who is bigoted against cats to me. He probably has dogs, right?"

I had to admit that Giovanni had the guy pegged.

Giovanni's co-cat was available for conversation as well.
Her name is Donut.
Says so right there on her pretty red name tag.
And she is the sweetest little tailless calico that you have ever seen.
She's quite stylish too...gotta love that tiny purple gingham bow on the side of her collar.
Donut let me give her a few pats and hugs. She did a little bunny hop, and rolled around on the pavement. It is good to be able to relax like that with friends, don't you think?

Donut loved having her picture taken, but G. decided enough was enough. He decided to show off with a stunning action shot, leaping down from the car and sticking his landing as a perfect 10.

(Giovanni and Donut. How ever do they come up with these names?)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Counting, re-counting, magic...or...?????

A few years ago I inherited my dad's step-mom's fine china and matching crystal.
My mom had the set for awhile, and then decided that since I didn't have a fine bone china set of my own, I should have it instead.

(Well, that isn't completely true, I actually own a set of Haviland Limoge china that was made in 1890, but Bernie refuses to eat on it. It freaks him out to think about how old and valuable the dishes are, so they are still stored at my folks house, almost thirty one years after we got married. Not that I am bitter or anything...and NO DAD, DON'T SHIP THEM TO ME NOW.)

Mom especially felt that I should have the china set because we had just gotten a dining table and a dining room, years after I had finished raising a family in a house with just an eat-in kitchen and a plain kitchen table.

Now I had never actually seen my Grandma Fay use these dishes, so I don't have any memories of the dishes from when I was young.
The pattern is called Rhodora, it was made by Lenox, and from what I can learn, it was "new" in the mid-1950's, (just like me, snicker.)

At first I wasn't sure that I wanted the set as I have never been a big fan of raspberry/fuchsia colored anything,

The rose didn't do much for me, but hey, free bone china!
You can hold them up to up to the light and see you hand right through the plate!
If they chip, the chip won't turn color like stoneware chips do!
You have to hand wash them!!! (wait a minute...that's a drawback....)

Bernie loved them immediately.
I think that was mostly because I had been making noise about us getting some real china after years of serving all our meals Dansk stoneware.

(Mom's gift sure saved him a few bucks...and my dad was glad to get at least one set of dishes out of his house. Mom owns about five or six sets at last count. Not including my Haviland. The men folk counted this gift as a win-win all the way around.)

Grandma was a woman of elegant taste. Known to me as "Momma Fay", she was born in Texas, the "girl at last" with many older brothers. Later in her life, after marrying my grandfather, she moved to Tennessee and became a true Southern Belle.
She entertained constantly, with a full time cook and gardener on staff.
Life was good.

She was my "Southern" grandma, who lived far away Memphis.
I only visited her there twice in my life, but I learned right away about the ways of the southern belle. Mentally I am all over that gig. Sign me up. Serve me grits for breakfast and call me "Sugar" all day long.

Now I'm not sure if Rhodora was her only china set, but I do know that she selected the crystal to go with the pattern.
The crystal is really a uniquely rich color, and it just makes the set sing.
Clear crystal looks so boring after seeing the table set with this particular kind of crystal.

It is the crystal that I really want to write about today.

I read about the guy who originally created the formula for this kind of raspberry pink glass.

He never revealed his formula, and since his death no one has ever been able to duplicate the deep color in any other crystal. The crystal is quite delicate, and so is becoming more rare as time goes by.

My crystal pattern is called Tiffin Wisteria. There are various numbers associated with that name to designate specific stem patterns For example, some stems have three bulb shapes, some are four sided etc.

My Mom keeps her eye on the Replacements website, the on-line resource where you can find just about any china, crystal, or silverware ever made. Recently she found two wine glasses in my pattern that were available on the site. She got them for us, and then asked me to count how many glasses I now had.
I decided after Thanksgiving to pull all the crystal out, label each shape by size, and do a count.
Good for insurance records, don't you think?

After I had taken a picture of each group, I shot a picture of each style of glass sideways with the measurements as well.
I had ELEVEN 5 1/2 in water glasses. See the picture of all the glasses a few pictures above. Enlarge, and you can see the notation.
Laura discovered that I actually had TWELVE as she helped me slip the crystal back into their storage boxes.

Now I had cleared the counter, emptied the storage boxes of crystal, and placed the crystal in groups.

I had ELEVEN 5 1/2 water glasses in the group picture.

How is it possible that really I had twelve???

(No, I had not had a little wine either.)

Well fiddle-de-de.
I do ever so much hate math.
I simply am not good at anything that involves numbers.

Hint for the day: Have you inventoried your crystal and china and silver lately, using your digital camera?
Might be a good time to do it if you have it out again for Christmas.

Monday, November 26, 2007

A rainy Saturday at home

Family breakfast...
I just love having breakfast with family!
Sitting around the table, having coffee, reading the newspaper, watching the birds and the rain outside, all of us still slightly rumpled from a good night's sleep.
No place we have to be, except to be together.
It is bliss for me.
Total bliss.

Laura is a Red Bull coffee for her at breakfast, but she might like a cup of tea later.

Jeff checks out the sports page first thing, then moves on to check the weather forecast. Rain was fore casted for Houston all day on Saturday.
So....what do ya wanna do?
How about inviting in some old friends that we hadn't visited with in a while?
Remember her?

And this guy....

Wow...Miss Scarlett hasn't aged a day!

After a quick shut down of the computer, it was time to get a clue.

Hee hee hee....Col. Mustard did it.
Jeff won twice. I personally am clueless.

(Isn't playing old old board games with family on a rainy Saturday afternoon just the best????)

For the grandparents: Here's a good picture of our Miss Scarlett.

She only got to stay a total of 50 hours. Way too short of time. We took her to the airport right after the last game.
Laura is currently working at a hospital in Salt Lake City and living in the guest room at Jeff's house. It is the first time they have lived together since they were teenagers; what a difference ten years makes.
Bye bye! Love you! Give Meowsie a big hug for me!