Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year 2007

Posted by Picasa Happy 2007!
Doesn't Mousie look celebratory?

I am happy to let him be the one out in formal attire.
Sweats for me, and off to bed as soon as I post this blog.

New Year's Mouse started as Millenium Mouse.

He belonged to someone as an only mouse. His owner met my mom, and when she learned of my mouse collection, she handed him over, stating "One mouse does not a collection make."

New Year's Mouse is the last mouse added to my collection.

He and I wish that you and yours receive every good thing in this new year!


Another of the original All Soul's Episcopal Church Christmas Home Tour gift shop mice.

Those mice each came with a poem. I'd love to know who dreamed up each mouse and poem.

This mouse is "Gabriel."
His poem reads:

"Gabriel, Angel of the Morn
Shall he, or shall he not
blow his horn?"

His little horn is a gold painted wooden pod from a type of eucalyptus tree.

Very clever use of natural materials, don't you think?

I wonder how many people would understand the literary reference to Gabriel's Horn?

Gabriel Mouse was created in the 1960's. By the 1970's most people were pretty convinced mankind was doomed, and the earth would be drowning in overpopulation, starvation, pollution and cataclysmic events by 1990.

Hal Lindsey's book The Late Great Planet Earth was being read by most Christians, and "End of Times" peril was discussed constantly among the college aged population, which included me.

Most non-Christians had decided that having children was just plain wrong, due to environmental and population issues.

US population growth tanked from 1970-1980. The thinking was so pervasive that when I got my positive pregnancy test back in 1977, 10 months after I got married, the test provider asked if I would like to schedule an abortion., what ever happened to "Congratulations?"
(You're welcome, LauraRN.)

All my Christian college friends were 180 degrees out from contemporary thinking.
We all wed, and had kids chop-chop, feeling as though Gabriel would be blowing his horn any day, and if we wanted kids, sooner was the only option.

By 1982 the tide had changed. "Baby on Board" was trumpeted from yellow plastic diamond shapes hanging proudly in car windows.

I always rolled my eyes at those I was planning on ramming your car just for the heck of it, but oopsie, you've got a baby in your car? Shoot, now I've gotta go find ANOTHER car to T-bone. RATS!

Or maybe "I'm driving like a distracted moron only because I can't stop making worshipful glances at little Jeremy..."

Having kids in the 1970 was an act of social protest. The demographic upshot is interesting to extrapolate today, especially in terms of employment and housing markets.

9/11 launched another round of apocalyptic perspective. For awhile I was checking the online news sources hourly, and reading international news publications, trying to stay abreast of the alarming trends.

From 2001 to 2005 it seemed like we were back to imminent doom.

Maybe I've just hardened. Maybe I've just gained perspective with age. Maybe I just don't have the emotional energy to dread anymore. North Korea launches a nuclear weapon our way, and I barely blink. Tsunami, earthquakes, fires, floods, yup, sure enough, they've happened and the world hasn't changed all that much.

(I do keep a close eye on the avian flu though....)

So here I am, on the last day of 2006, and I realize that I still believe there is a Gabriel, and that he shall, indeed, eventually blow his horn.


Posted by Picasa

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Titles are fun!

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
Entirely Miss Reverend Lady Jill the Extemporaneous of Grasshopper in the Hole
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title

I think I can live with that. I like the "Entirely" part.
My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
Reverend Earl Bernie the Innocent of Withering Glance
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title

Bernie always looks so innocent too. How did they know?

Painting day...more later!

Friday, December 29, 2006

First lines: A restrospective

A challenge from Dawn, to record first lines from the first posting of each month.

June: Amazingly, half of the year 2006 is over.
(A visitor was kind enough to point out that the year would be half over July 1st....oops!)

July: Ever read Ellen Goodman?

August: These first two pictures are a close up of the Sally Victor panama straw.

September: It's pretty busy around the gardenia bush these days.

October: It was an interesting week.

November: I'm in.

December: I headed to Kroger and just got my two little trees.

My favorite post was this one on earworms , even though it didn't have any pictures.

Life is still delightful here in Salt Lake. It was sunny and clear today, and we went tubing. I still marvel at how snow glistens. The little sparks that flash from untouched snow is such a marvel. I imagined God making snow, and then at the last moment adding the sparkle. What an amazing touch!

We watched Oregon State WIN in the Sun Bowl. GO BEAVERS!

Jeff and I picked out paint for his guest room. "Iconic Sky". Whatever that means. It is kind of a turquoise color, and we went with a slightly bolder color than I first thought to. Tomorrow we paint!

Then off for Mexican food, and now we'll watch "The Devil Wears Prada."
Two nights ago we watched "The Black Dahlia." Ugh...skip it, even though it did have some great hats!

Any fellow bloggers are welcome to leave a comment to go to their site to read their first line retrospectives. And please select your favorite post from your own blog as well!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

New Year Resolutions

He looks a little sad, doesn't he?

He used to have three balloons, tiny Christmas ornaments on wires.

I'll have to get busy when I get home and make him some new balloons. Maybe that will cheer him up.

I'm not a big fan of clowns, and white faced sad clowns just make me feel guilty.

Like I need to do something to cheer them up.
Who needs guilt from a clown?

I do like big feet on clowns. That's my favorite part, and Clown Mouse has huge feet!
My only real fur mouse. It always amazes me that our cats have never chowed down on this mouse.

I do paint and draw, so of course I received Artist Mouse one year.

Nice beret!
Posted by Picasa I can't remember if this mouse was for my BS degree or my Masters.

Either way, I am happy that that rigmarole is over with.

It's funny though.

Sometimes there will be a commercial about getting your degree in truck driving or medical transcriptions or something like that, and my ears will prick up.

Or a conversation will be going on around me about "going back and getting my degree" and my mind will start rummaging around, thinking about if I should go back to school and get my degree. Then I remember...oh yeah, I already have a degree.

I also find myself listening to stories about how to pay for your kids college, then I go "Oh yeah, that's right, they're already through college, and its all paid for, we're done!"

I guess that just shows how compelling some commercials are. I actually feel stress building while I listen to them.

By the by...Re: paying for kid's college. We put ours in Community College first. Cuts the cost of a four year degree by about a third. Then they went to state schools. We didn't put aside a dime for the kid's college fees, as I was a stay at home mom with very part time jobs, there wasn't an extra dime to set aside!
Once the kids started college, (a year apart, oy!) I went to work full time and helped pay the tuition with my income for a couple of years. The student loans were paid off in five years, which included my Master's degree in the mix.

I say this to encourage those who worry about such things.

If I were to go back to college it would be to get a Phd in Storytelling.

No kidding.

There is a college in Tennessee that offers that degree. It is a fascinating field, not just "once upon a time..." stuff, but instead it looks at how people and groups tell their stories. Firemen, soldiers, nurses, librarians, teachers etc etc all have "stories".

Anyway, I'm not in any hurry to get on with getting a Phd in Storytelling.

It's just nice to know there is something I might like to do someday.

I've noticed the older I get the less I want to do. My "wanna" drive seems to be stuck in neutral.
Doing stuff is a lot of work!

Which brings me to New Year Resolution Making.

1. I will not study to be clown.
2. I will not do any painting that involves using a palette on my thumb (ouch!)
3. I will not enroll in any course work that involves semesters.

See how easy it is to make resolutions that you will keep?

I'm writing this in my pajamas at 12:30 pm local time, with snow flakes drifting outside, and my big fluffy grandkitty curled up asleep on the couch.

The DH and DS are off for day two of skiing; I am heading for curling up with a Christmas romance novel.

A cup of tea, maybe even raspberry hot cocoa, an cozy blanket, a book and NO ONE here ask me to do anything.


Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The Ladies of Mouseville, and Christmas pt. 3

Granny Petite Point and her friend Sally Stitchery.
I love the little work they've done, the reader glasses perched on the nose, and the red velveteen dress.

These three ladies were purchased in the UK at little tourist shops. I think the sled was a happenstance that made its way into the collection.

Posted by Picasa Hey, wait a minute....aren't you a MOLE?????

OK, you can stay, because you have a cute hat.

All who wear cute hats are welcomed around Jill's World you know.

So, in case you are wondering... what is really going on is this:

I knew I wouldn't be able to download from my camera to Bernie's laptop during this trip, as it is the laptop he uses for business. Pictures just gum up the works.

So I uploaded pictures ahead of time to my old blogger site that I created as a back up, back when I foolishly signed this site up for Blogger Beta last summer.

Blogger Beta: THAT was a nightmare.

I still can not load pictures directly to this site.
I have to upload to my old blogger site, publish, copy, log into this site, and then paste in the the Html from the old site.

Yup, what a pain.

But at least it works.

I am holding my breath that when the fine folks of Google and Blogger switch my back-up site to the new format that I will still be able to up-load pictures. (Hi to Kate...I feel your angst!)

I'm in Salt Lake City, where the temperatures rose during the night and melted all the snow away. It is raining now, DH and DS (those letters stand for Dear Husband and Dear Son...hi Mom!)
are up in the mountains skiing. We're supposed to get a huge amount of snow tonight! Hurrah!

This morning the three of us sat around the Christmas tree and opened gifts. I had gift opening with my in-laws on Sunday night, then gifts with my folks Christmas day, and then here we are again. I like this! Very nice to spread out the joy for three days.

I'm hoping I will be able to download my pictures into DS personal computer, and get to his Picasa. If it works, I'll start blogging pictures of this vacation.
There is LOADS of fun stuff to see.

Meanwhile, let me paint one word picture from the trip. I didn't get a picture of this, but my Canadian readers might enjoy this story:

I was invited to go to the San Diego Wild Animal Park with my long time friend Chris Stewart. She brought along her daughter Jessica and her daughter-in-law Heidi Stewart. All of our husbands went off to play golf for the day.

Now Heidi is ready to birth a huge baby boy any minute now. So we rode a tram through the park, and were entertained by the tour guide. The tour guide stopped the tram regularly to point out various new born critters, each time stating "This is another example of the successful breeding program that we have here."

I kept looking at Heidi, and wishing I could have slipped the driver some money and had him say something like:

"In the sixth row back in the tram there is a pregnant Canadian who is expecting a baby boy any day now. This was a unique breeding opportunity, with conception occurring in Scotland, between a Canadian and an American. Another example of a successful breeding program here today at the Wild Animal Park."

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The Day after Christmas

Christmas over, mommies get back to caring for their babies.

I had two babies myself, a girl and a boy. So two baby mice for my collection.

I suppose the littlest should be in a blue blanket.

I just saw my baby girl, LauraRN, an hour ago at UCSD Thornton Hospital, where she is working in the Bone Marrow Transplant unit. I got to meet her co-workers, and be reminded once again that a day of health is a gift to be appreciated greatly.

I'm writing this from the San Diego's Lindberg Airport, waiting for our flight to see the boy baby in Salt Lake.

We had Christmas Eve at my in-laws, Christmas Day at my folks, and we'll have Day after Christmas in SLC.

Three Christmas's!!!!! A record for us!

Of course as a Mommy Mouse, I did a lot of House Mouse stuff.

It would have been much more fun if I could have worn a little cap and blue gingham while I swept.

I usually wore jeans.

What was I thinking, how dull.

I loved to garden.

In jeans.

I don't think I would have liked to garden dressed like this mouse.

She reminds me of Tasha Tudor, the children's book illustrator who dresses and lives as if it is still 1830.

I'm looking forward to attending a showing in Feb. that will include a collection of Tasha's gowns from the early 1830's that she collected over the years.

Something to look forward to, for certain.
Posted by Picasa Hmmm...I suppose it would have been fun to clean up the house dressed like this.

She's also one of my original mice, and has a poem, which ends with Merry Christmas and Happy New Year in French.

Cleaver little mousie.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Joyous Christmas

Angels came....
Kings came too...
Posted by Picasa Santa Claus....he came waaaaaayyyyyy later:

Come! Worship the Son of God, He whose Name is Emmanuel.
He Who is STILL and ETERNALLY able to Save Us!

The BEST Gift ever given. Ever. Let all creatures great and small say:


Friday, December 22, 2006

Lady Mice

Just some of the ladies. It is raining today here in La Jolla, and we're rushing about...time to get nails done and a little last minute shopping.

Talk later!


Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Of Mice Men (Almost a famous novel...)

In case you are wondering, I have fifty mice.

I didn't count baby mice held by mommy mice.

The train mouse; how cute is it that Bernie's grandpa, the one who started the Christmas dishes, retired from the Union Pacific Railroad. The little lantern fascinates little kids (and me too!)
My brother-in-law Mark played drums for years. He even had a video on MTV and a picture in the Rolling Stones magazine. Of course, he dressed in rock and roll drummer garb.

I think this is MUCH cuter on drummers.
Ski mouse was a gift the year Bernie wanted to start skiing; finances, small children and common sense kicked in. If he broke his leg we would have had no income as he was in construction at the time.

Bernie skis a lot now. In fact we'll be in Salt Lake City the day after Christmas so he and Jeff can carve the slopes together.

I eschew skiing. Ow. Scary. Cold. No. I've tried to like it, and tried it several times. Last trip capped it for me.

But wait! Just skiing???? Posted by Picasa

Oh no. We're in San Diego right now, visiting LauraRN, my folks and Bernie's folks and his sister's family. Saturday Bernie will head to the links with friends.

Skiing and golf. Ah, life is good for a Bernie.

Monday, December 18, 2006

December 18, 2006: 30 years ago today....

That's Bernie and me, on December 18th 1976 at 2 in the afternoon taking our vows at La Jolla Presbyterian Church in Southern California.

A perfect setting for a Christmas wedding!

Maid of honor Jennifer wore red, the bridesmaids were wearing deep green.

I remember walking down the aisle and being just so amazed that I knew everyone in the place, that everyone there loved me, and that I would probably never have so many people that I loved in one place at one time ever again.
Back up the aisle, the deed is done. I have a new last name!

I know what we were looking at in this picture. My friend Chris was holding her baby boy Josh, who was squirming in the back row. Josh is expecting his first child any day now, maybe Tristan will be born on our anniversary!

Bernie is wearing a dark green tuxedo...which was very cool back in 1976. I'm carrying a Mother of Pearl covered Bible from Jerusalem that my grandmother loaned me. It figures that a future librarian would get married carrying a book. A few roses were wired on top so I could have a bouquet too.

This site about the 1970's bridal fashions shows a dress almost identical to mine.

(And by the way, am I the only one who thinks sleeves on wedding dresses are due for a come back? These strapless gown brides doing the funky chicken move to pull up their, cover your shoulders, and save the bare look for the ball room, its not a good look in church.)

Our cake has a story. The smiling gentleman is Dodd Burright, a friend of my dad's. He was a baker, and made fabulous wedding cakes for his family members.

When I was born, he told my dad he wanted to make my wedding cake when it was time.

Twenty two years later he kept his promise. As soon as I got engaged, he called and said to come over and help design the motif for my cake.

Between each layer is a mirror, on the top of each layer and on the underside as well. The mirrors were decorated, and created an infinity effect when you looked at the cake.

It was the most DELICIOUS cake I have ever eaten. I still have the doves holding tiny rings that perched on the edge of the glass holding the fresh flowers on top. The cake was white, with pale green leaves as its only color accent.

Another friend of my dad had a 1934 vintage Rolls Royce. Ken donned chauffeur livery, and drove us slowly through La Jolla.

It was the weekend before Christmas, and the village streets were packed with holiday shoppers. Everyone stopped and clapped and cheered for us as we went by.

I felt like royalty. Princess Diana had nothing on me!

It was a perfect day.

Sunday, December 17, 2006


Guess who showed up in my Christmas stocking thirty years ago?
Their married friends include Albert and Victoria, who arrived in the stocking the year Mom and I went to Jolly Old England together.
Miles Standish and Priscilla, who arrived the year I finally got to visit New England, and my family's ancestral home in Haverhill Massachusetts (ca 1684)
Posted by Picasa These two arrived separately, but paired up right away.

He's was one of the first few mice, from the church tour collection, so he has a poem:

"I'm a happy Christmas Elf
In Santa's shop I stay
I hammer, paint and fix the toys
That Santa carries on his sleigh."

(or at least he did until Little Red Riding Hood batted her big black eyes at him and offered him goodies from her basket...)

Red and Green: Yupon, Mice and Time Magazine's Person of the Year: Me!

Pretty blue skies! The berries get brighter every day, especially as the leaves fall from the other trees in the background.
Tiggie checks the gifts under the tree each morning, rubbing his nose along the present's corners.

You never know, there might be something from another cat or something.

It pays to be careful about that.

Tiggie doesn't like surprises from other cats.
One of the earliest mice in the collection.

His poem reads:

Hobo's the King of the Road.
No place to call his own.
His home's out under the stars
The old church has been torn down.

Kind of sad...

I love his little bandanna satchel held on the end of a stick over his shoulder.

Posted by Picasa St. Lucia!
I received my Lucy mouse the year we joined the Swedish Covenant Church in San Diego. As a child I born into the Covenant church, and grew up thinking Swedish food was church food. I especially liked the sour cream pickled herring; I occasionally get a craving for some, and have to eat the whole jar by myself as no one else in the family enjoys the treat like I do.

I think girls born into Swedish families are lucky to get to wear the white dress and have the candles and everything on Dec. 13 each year. They look so pretty dressed in their St. Lucia gowns.

Now, about the Time Magazine's naming me as Person of the Year.

I quote from the December 13, 2006 issue, an article by Lev Grossman entitled:

Person of the Year: You

Yes, you. You control the Information Age. Welcome to your world.

"Who are these people?.....I'm going to blog about my state of mind or the state of the nation or the steak-frites at the new bistro down the street? Who has that time and that energy and that passion?

The answer is, you do. And for seizing the reins of the global media, for founding and framing the new digital democracy, for working for nothing and beating the pros at their own game, TIME's Person of the Year for 2006 is you."

I'd like to take this moment to thank TIME for acknowledging my efforts, both as a blogger and as a person with a Master's degree in information management. I will be including this honor on my resume, and hope that you have a picture of me to post that doesn't make me look old or fat.

(If you'd like to read the whole article, and kick yourself for not blogging this year so YOU could have received this honor as well, click here. Meanwhile, high fives go out to my fellow recipients:
Kate, who got me into this, Laura, Dawn, Erin, Rose Buttons, Heidi, Matt, JillyTee, Jason and the many more whose writing inspire me and keep me in touch with the wonders of life.)

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Friday night date night, camels and candles

We're a pretty dull couple, to tell the truth. Bernie will slump in front of the TV most evenings while I read or surf the Internet.

Occasionally though one of us will get up the energy for a date night that goes beyond just heading out for Mexican food and a run to the mall.

Last night, whoo-whee! Middle agers gone wild!

First we took a walk through the woods and lake front down the street from our home. The mosquitoes were tolerable, and we needed to get our heart rate up, so by walking briskly we avoided being bit and simultaneously enjoyed the warm foggy late afternoon.

I guess that invigorating walk pumped my creative energy up too.

After returning home I was messing around in the kitchen, trying out a new bread recipe when the door bell rang.

I peeked out, and there on our porch were four boys, the "Our Gang Comedy" set that plays ball and ride bikes and generally does all the stuff that eight to ten years of age boys ought to do. Complete with a crazy dog named Sunny.

I opened our door, preparing to be hit up with a candy sale or some other kind of fund raising pitch. Instead, the boys opened their mouths wide and belted out a rousing chorus of Jingle Bells!

What a hoot! WHY didn't I take a picture??? Grubby boys in sneakers and tee shirts caroling, with nary a parent in sight. How delightful!
I rewarded them by offering them chocolates our candy dish, and they seemed genuinely amazed that they would receive anything for their serenade.

Is that wonderful or what?

So with "dashing through the snow" music still lingering in my ears, I asked Bernie out on a date.

"Wouldn't it be fun" I told him "if we could drive our illegal as heck Honda Trail 90 bike around the neighborhood and look at all the cool Christmas lights?"

Yes, that would be fun! So we put on our helmets and like Heck Angels, putt putted around looking at all the pretty lights. Children playing in the streets laughed hysterically at the sight of us tearing along at 20 miles an hour.
The neighborhood really does have some wonderful displays.

And as long as we were out running around, how about we drop in on our church's living Nativity scene and Bethlehem market?

Yeah! Let's do that too! That did mean actually going on Kingwood Drive, a four lane road, for a little bit. Daring!

The Living Nativity had sheep, goats, and a patient camel named Teddy.

His fur was wonderfully soft, and his odor was terrifically pungent.

While we were enjoying listening to the Nativity reading we bumped into our neighbors with the one year old.

Joseph was dancing and bopping around, but was not about to touch the camel.
Uh uh. No way.
Every time we suggested it, he grabbed his hands to his chest and violently shook his head. He did put his arms up for me to hold him. That was really neat...with all the people milling around I was surprised he recognized me.

I loved that small town feeling that came from running into neighbors at such a homey event as a living Nativity. There was even a real baby as Jesus!

Posted by Picasa Once we got home we lit our Hanukkah candles.

We celebrate Hanukkah because Jesus did, as recorded in John 10:22. We like the celebration of a miracle that followed a group that stood up for their beliefs so long ago.

And we like how simple it is; light a servant candle (the middle one) and that candle is used to light the candle to commemorate the days. The idea of The Servant is so ingrained in Christian theology, it is lovely to have it so delightfully demonstrated in this ceremony.

That's why there are two candles burning for the first night of Hanukkah in case you were wondering.

Bernie went to Israel in 1974 while he was in Bible college. He bought what he thought was a menora, but it actually was a Hanukia. Menoras have seven candles, Hanukia's have nine.

This is a different Hanukkia than the one Bernie got in Israel. I usually use this white one when I use my fine china. Last night Bernie requested we use it, I don't know why. Just a whim I suppose.

In today's paper I learned something new about Hanukah. I'll quote the lesser known story here:

"On the first day of Creation, God created light. It's a special or "hidden" light that only lasted 36 hours. During Hanukkah, every Jew has a way to tap into the hidden and special light. At the end of the eight-day holiday, the candles have been lit 36 times."

Bernie and I had to get out our Bible to figure this out. At first we thought three days of creation before the sun and moon were made to make light as we know it. But that added up to too many hours. But then we re-read the first day of Creation, and indeed there was dark and light, evening and morning, so that would make the math right...three twelve hour portions of light that was present before the creation of the sun.

Interesting. I had never noticed that before!

While the candle burn we have a quiet family time, and often it is the most peaceful part of our Christmas season.

Tiggie likes the candles too. Orange cats look good by candlelight.

I usually make latkas one night during the season, and we enjoy spinning a driedle or two.
Tiggie really likes that part. He has his own dreidle that he likes to spin under things, so we have to go find it for him each night.

We haven't told him about betting on how the dreidle falls. Knowing Tiggie, he would probably find a way to win each time. Even if it took giving a little nudge with his whiskers.