Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Questioning Face........

He is ten months old and you can tell that talking is his next need.  He chatters all sorts of things but his expressions give you a good idea of his wanting to understand.  I hope he is feeling better by now as he had been treated for ear infection a day before this photo was taken. He was so sweet to his grandparents in spite that we have not seem him very often.

Button is such a great little guy.  He is older now and sometimes he wishes that I would just leave him alone.  Put the camera away now and let me sleep.

A chip off the old block.  He is a creative guy who now enjoys the memories of his youth.  He found the Charlie Brown tree for a good price and it was his.  Andy is AJ's father who lives in the Chicago area. Yes, Andy is tall at about six foot,  four inches.

A gift to us a few years back our Pastor gave us this Christmas tree.  He is creative also and he know we would appreciate the statement of this minimal tree.  It is made from wires with bells hanging on the end of each minimal wire branch.  I thought of this tree when I saw Andy had purchased the tree in the above photo.

Our schedule has been filled and we still have not seen the new second Hobbitt movie.  Hopefully we are going in tomorrow for a matinee showing.  The snow on Monday proved a real challenge as we went with our neighbor out to eat a noon meal.  I drove and it was a mess with falling snow and cars speeding around everywhere. Our prime rib was great and we stopped at Menards afterwards before we returned home.

Thanks for stopping by today.  We will be safe at home new years eve.  Take care and I will be back in 2014.

Monday, December 30, 2013


I like things with history and one single ornament that I have on this tree is the oldest one. The ornament was in my wife's collection when we married and I assume came from her parents' decorations.

I was reminded of it yesterday as I saw new larger ornaments at Walmart in which the manufacturer is now duplicating the exact texture of the green acorn. It was a round shape with acorn texture. In one of my ornament history books, it shows that the acorn is one of the earliest produced ornament for Christmas.  It is interesting to me that the companies do duplicate the idea but changed the shape of the ornament to be more natural shaped as you can see with the yellow ornament behind the green one.  I have purchased the acorns in two different sizes in the past years.

This was a gift to us many years ago from distant friends.  The little cherubs on the different letters are all musicians.  I have to wait for the light to be just right or I can't get a good shot of them.  I have snapped a lot of bad pictures of them because of low light.

Barney has always been camera shy.  He doesn't trust the camera pointing at him. He has a flopped ear  that is slowly healing.  He gets summer allergies so badly that he scratched too hard on his left ear causing rupture of the blood vessels.  I am believing that some of these day we are going to see it back up in its regular perky position.  It has improved so much the past two months and the blood vessels are rebuilding. His skin condition is perfect now in the winter and his hair just glows from his skin being healthy.

It is Monday and our neighbor is planning to take us out for a special noon lunch meal.  I think it is prime rib sandwiches.  We don't eat a lot of meat so we will enjoy that.  We know from the past that we will be going to other stores to shop after we eat.  We are always expectant of requests but she doesn't tell us about our adventure until we get on the road.  It will be an good day.  We have a trip to get meds the next couple of days and also flu shots.  Perhaps if we get home soon enough this afternoon we will journey to Perry to take  care of those two things.

We have light snow coming down right now and also it is very cold. The minus numbers vary from time to time but it is too cold.  The wind chill yesterday was almost unbearable and we didn't linger in the out of doors.

Thanks for coming by today.  I have finally finished this blog for the day.  I started it last night and have been interrupted all morning from various things.  Have a good day today.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Sculpture in the Yard.......

We have not sat in these chairs for a few years.  They are my sculptures or one could say lawn ornaments.  I do use them in the wetter season and lay them on their sides in the corner of the fence to keep Barney from getting too muddy.  Barney has the grass worn down in the corner of the fence and when wet he just coats himself in mud. We had two warmer days an the snow has melted off of them.  Forty degrees really isn't warm when there is wind.  I was out filling feeders with just a long sleeve shirt, not coat, and I was cold. 

Button has always loved the blue winged back chair.  We moved it around in the living room because of the tree and he has finally accepted its move.  I had moved these dolls over there for some reason so they were all lined up next to the chair keeping Button company.

This is a newer light blue ball that shines nicely on the tree. We only have one of them and I guess we picked it up after Christmas  a few years back.

Here is a quick shot of my mason jar full of shiny brites.  You think I could take a straight photo but it leaned in the photo, meaning I leaned.  I cropped it down until I could get it looking straight with the world.

A quick shot of a rocking horse.  I didn't notice the light in its position or I could have moved it out of the photo. We usually leave our trees up through January, taking them down one at a time spread out in time.  Some take their trees down immediately right after Christmas day but we let our decorations last for a while.

Our temperatures have dropped by 23 degrees. The wind is blowing out of the north and maybe snow on Monday.  It will be a shock to go out into it now after two days of better weather.  We rested all day yesterday from our long day at Chicago.  We will be resting today too but we do have to venture out for Sunday school teaching.  The kids show up so we show up too.  We had a storm last Sunday so we have missed our boys and girls.

Thanks for stopping by today. Take care.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Saturday's News........

It is a nuthatch.  I never thought I would get a photo of him as he never stands still.  Earlier in winter I would see him walking up and down the main post with ease.  He travels or should I say scampers up and down tree bark with ease in all directions. Gravity doesn't effect him with his walking around upside down.   When I was processing this photo I thought I had a chickadee but once I cropped it and enlarged I was pleased that it was not a chickadee.

On the second level you can see the nuthatch taking off in a hurry.  The female robin at the bottom is picking out the select sunflower seeds and the junco at top just hangs around not being in any hurry to move on except when a flock of sparrows land all over and push him away from the feeder.

We were in Chicago on Friday for a Christmas get together with our oldest and son and his wife. Aj was a little under the weather but he still was Mr. Personality.  We were surprised how much he had grown since the last time we had seen him.  He is a super kid who enjoys so much in all that is going on around him.  He isn't walking yet but he is  scooting all over the floor starting to keep his parents busy keeping him out of things. We had a great time with great food and great conversation. 

When he starts walking he is going to be tall. He had a good time when it came to opening packages. The boxes are good for him.  He did like our blue teddy bear that played music.  He seems to like all the music things that he received for Christmas.

I think he must be reading the directions for his new teddy bear that plays music. He is ten months old now.  We were glad to see the whole family.  We had two dogs that were really happy to see us when we returned.  My wife's brother did some periodic babysitting for them.

We are going to have a warm day today allowing a lot of snow to melt.  Then by tomorrow it will drop in the freezer outside. We have had two warm days but the severe drop will be hard on humans and beast.  Thanks for stopping by today. Enjoy your Saturday.

Friday, December 27, 2013


The feeder is busy this time of the year.  It snowed earlier last week and now the extreme cold means the birds need to eat to keep warm.  If the feeder looks like it is crooked, it is.  I think that the slant of the patio adds to the slanting look. The sparrows fly in in flocks and attack it and then all fly away again quickly.  Me standing in the window making any motion makes them be scared and they all fly away.

Shiny Brites always look good in the jar.  There are three sources from which these could have been originally owned and used.  My mom had some red, silver and gold ones. My brother was in college in the late sixties and bought ornaments for a tree and he brought those all home later. I remember them being many different colors.  That is probably where the greens and violet ones had been added to all this. I did buy some for my self in 1973.  They were probably all red as it was a theme thing to have all the same colors of Christmas balls. I guess there could have been gold ones too. We have a scant few of them on the big tree and the rest are in jars.

I am trying to photograph the different cardinals that come to the feeder.  We have this one male cardinal for sure that we can identify.  We have another smaller one that has a large amount of brown on it with red.  We think it is a female but it could be a young male that hasn't full change to red.  The third one is a female as she is all tan colored brown.  She looks like a smaller young one as she looks small next to the big guy in the photo.  I have not been able to photograph her even though she sits on the patio chairs to rest while waiting to take a turn at the feeder.

The raccoon hangs on to the branch as he looks out at people passing by the tree.  I bought my wife a soft brown dog this year for her tree that has textured ears like a spaniel.  We have time to enjoy the decorated trees now that it is past Christmas.  We actually were wrapping presents on Thursday to take to the Chicago kids.  We just waited until all the other things were out of the way and we had fun wrapping them without stress.  We have a new little guy to buy Christmas gifts for this year.  We are anxious to see him.  Thanks again for stopping by today. I hope all is well with you and your family.

Thursday, December 26, 2013


We do impromptu arrangements on our tables.  We grab whatever is around or in the cupboard that can makeup an interesting center decoration.  We actually took a lot of this from another arrangement next to the table.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas.....

There were no toys under the tree this year as our kids are all grown up and live away from home. The memories are still there each Christmas as the guys loved to open all the presents and try out the new things.  I remember the toys of my own that I received from under the tree.  The toy barn set or the toy train along with the erector set was those that I remember.  My oldest brother lived in Kansas City and bought me a large set of tinker toys that I played with all of the time for years. There were a lot of lean years and the used skates and pellet gun of my counsins were still good gifts. The basketball and a road building set was also fun.

Toys were great but the learning about giving to others became more fun for me. The special gits, the thoughtful gifts and even the zany gifts made the holiday memories fun. I stopped at a house of a customer a few days back and the tree  at his house was filled with so many presents under the tree. His two daughters were probably in a panic to get them all opened today.

As the traditions change in our house we still do some things together as empty nesters to make the season fun.  The village grew by a couple of pieces this year as our oldest son found a couple of buildings at a Chicago garage sale. A barn and a candy store were added to my wife's collection.  We were too tired to put them up and had decided not to do it.

In a moment of a pause in our life on Sunday I said that I would force the issue and I brought up the now 14 boxes of buildings and two extra boxes of people novelties to set up the village.  The hardest part was trying to find the snow.  Ir was in a box at the bottom of shelves in the dark corner of the basement.  It all went together quickly and I inserted the lights the next day.

We had breakfast out this morning and are having a quiet day.  Mince meat pie is in the house and other good snacks so we are settled in for the day.  It has been a good day.  I hope you all had a good day too.  Merry Christmas and thanks.........for stopping by.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Eve..........

Our grandson is fun to shop for and we found just the thing.  When you press the note on the yellow circle you get ten minutes of music and low light.  My wife found another stuffed animal and an outfit for him to wear.  He is just ten months old now and we buy larger sizes by many months bigger as he is growing fast. We are told that he has seven teeth now.   We will see him in real life in a few days.

We did complete the bench on Monday.  The guy came to pick it up while the paint was still drying.  I did get a call about an hour later and he said the name Alex was Alexa.   We had Christmas shopping to complete so I stopped by his house on the way to Des Moines and put an A at the end of Alex.   The shout of joy I was going to give didn't happen as I didn't get time to finish the walnut frame.  I will do it on Thursday and can deliver it over the weekend.  Then by that time I won't want to shout for joy anymore.

Looking out the large picture window I can get a shot of the snow fall we had a few days ago.  It shows that I don't have the sidewalk cleared.  It was -11 degrees F. last night and our high today was to be 15 degrees F. I have a downstairs bathroom that I replumbed a few years back through two closets so that the pipes wouldn't freeze.  The wall between the one closet and the bathroom next to the north wall of the house gets cold and it did freeze the cold water shut.  It was not a very hard freeze and two hours after placing the heater near the closet door it thawed back out.  It was crystalized cold but not pipe breaking freeze.  I was glad the cold water was back open as it shuts that bathroom down for good.  I will leave the cold water dripping tonight and by tomorrow night we will have warmed up outside.

My bird picture for the day features this junco.  I took these feeder down from outside the dining room window and it was too ice covered out there to put it back.  So we watch the birds feed here outside out kitchen window. On my Larry's Photo a Day I have a shot of a red-bellied woodpecker enjoying the suet at the free standing feeder.

We have Christmas eve services to attend this evening.  We will be alone so we will come back to chips and dip, crackers and cheeses, and some crab salad on crackers.  We have a large supply of fudge and cake around and my wife fixed her traditional mince meat pie.  It smelled so good when it was baking.  We have wrapping of presents left to do for each other and for the Chicago crew that we are going to visit at the end of the week. Christmas eve is the end of the rush and time to enjoy the next few days.  It will be fun to just unwind now and rest.   I hope all are well out there.  Thanks for stopping by today.

Monday, December 23, 2013

A Snow Day.......Sunday's Post on Monday

We are snowed in today.  It isn't horrible but south of us there is a lot more snow.  It has stopped snowing now and by this afternoon people will surely be out driving the streets.  Our potluck at church was canceled due to the weather.  The majority of the Asians are Khmer Cambodians and they are elderly now, having fled their country many years ago (1976). They wouldn't want to board buses to come for a potluck even though they love large dinners like this. The kids and grandkids wouldn't care but there are more older ones to worry about. I am going to miss eating all of that Asian food. Maybe not all of it but most of it.

The photo is  one from my glass blown ornament tree.  I have a second small tree to handle the smaller ones in my collection. The tree in the window makes it a challenge to shoot picture as there is too much shade on the back side of the tree and almost too much light on the window side.

I am so busy that I forgot to post this yesterday.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Checking in Late!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I feel like this penguin looks.  It has been a long busy day.  Shopping in the morning, delivering a frame job, visiting a neighbor, and painting on the very last project before Christmas. 

The last minute project that was brought to me a few days ago and put into the trunk of my car lays on the work counter waiting for decoration.   My wife and I have given two coats of white paint on this concrete bench. I will share the painting part when we get done.  It isn't fine art so don't get too excited.

This is a closeup of the legs of the bench.  We made them look a lot better as the raw cement was not in good shape.  We are hoping the bench actually stays inside in the person's foyer.  Did I say they are heavier than a cow?????  I carried them, three parts,  into the house and had to go rest afterwards.

Thanks for stopping in today.  It is a late posting for me as I have been busy.  I did get some photos processed after supper. Thanks again for hanging around my blog.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Friday is Fine........

Television was bad last night for about an hour,  so I finished decorating the tree.  I am glad that I haven't added to this collection as the tree is loaded. In fact the tree decorator dropped one of the ornaments so there are less to hang. Enjoy the moving picture above. We have decided that I am hitting a button that takes multiple photos when I hit the button.  It is translating into a movie and we are working on correcting the problem.

The teddy bear tree was decorated yesterday by my wife so we are almost done with the trees.  We have a few things that might not go up this year.  I will share more photos of this as time goes by but not today.

Did I mention that school was cancelled today.  We had a freezing rain all night. It wasn't horrible.  It was bad enough that it would have taken a long time to get sidewalks cleared of ice, so people would have been falling down.  I have a lot of things done already this morning and it will be like having an extra Saturday this week. We ship out the box to Maine today and we have one more box to ship to a location in Iowa.  It will ease up the stress to have an extra day.  I am actually on Christmas break and that is a good deal.

I hope all is going well with all of you and thanks for stopping by today

Letting you know.....

Please do not open any mail from Larry. Just delete it.  Apparently through blogspot or yahoo,  I received a minor virus that is sending out advertisments to make you look thinner.  I think you all look great.  I get renegade posts in my blogger readers list and I don't open them but anyone who has emailed me from blogger will get a letter from Larry.  If you open it you will be probably sending it to all your friends too.
I don't have a lot of people who email me from blogspot , so it will not be too many of you
I changed all of my passwords on google and on yahoo. 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Barney and Button........

Looking down at a pile of sale items at a Home Store in the mall I found these two items.  The one at top looked like our Barney dog and the one other one looked like Button.  By the way I will show you the one that was like Yellow Kitty which was also in the pile. We don't have her anymore but she will have an ornament on our tree forever.

We finished shopping for our two kids in Maine.  They will be mailed out tomorrow.  I doubt the package gets there in time but they should get them the day after Christmas.  After shopping we finished matting and shipping the last pastel commission that my wife had to do for Christmas orders.  It will be shipped out this afternoon.

I am finishing my four day run in the art room today.  It is getting to be long as students and Christmas break coming does effect their behavior.  I have work for tomorrow but it is a librarian job.
We are looking at a forecast of freezing rain by this afternoon.  Right now it is sunny and not so cold.  Thanks for stopping by today.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Hey, it is hump day!

Of course the camel is glad that hump day is finally here. He has a sly eye if you look closely.  He knows that he could be on television and do insurance advertisements if he wanted to do it.

The goat really isn't impressed that it is Wednesday as all the days seem the same to him.

I enjoy the animals that actually are little sculptures. I had small animals for my farm set and the they were not very detailed but as a young guy they were as close to real to me as anything.

I will conclude this post with some shiny brights in a jar.  I found some of my oldies among the big tree collection. I tried to remove them from that group to make more jars of shiny brites.

I am on my third day of teaching in the art room. One more day to go and I will be a librarian.  I am in panic mode right now. We will rush down to shop for our Mainer kids after school and maybe for the sister in law too.  They are the only two sets of people that we have to ship out.  I figure if I don't waste time and I do the best that I can do that I will see the finish line.   Thanks for stopping by today. 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Tuesday's Staying in Touch.....

I moved all of the violets into a new area where I will have a plant light.  They were in front of the window in the dining room.  I want to put my smaller tree with glass blown ornaments in the window this year.  Everything takes much longer to do than one wants it to be. All I was able to complete was mounting the light and moving the violets.  I need to return to the violets and water them.

I also spent time with the small tree that goes in the window. It had been packed away in a box and it was pretty distorted and deformed from the the stuffing process. I usually leave the strings of light on it and then unfold the tree and move the lights into better positions.  Last night I found it in such a mess that I unwrapped two sets of small light from the tree.  How I ever got two sets of lights on there I really don't know.  It was a tangled mess. It took a long time to untangle it while not disturbing the bubble lights that also remained on the tree. All is solved now and I will tonight replace only one set of small lights on the tree and then I can hang ornaments. I am thinking the tree will end up in a large garbage bag for storage this year and no more stuffing it in a box.

These are some of the oldies that I will be putting on the tree.  The green acorn is the oldest one and the others were purchased back in the 70's.  The were created to look like antique ornaments from Germany.

I also like the newer ones that they make that are glass blown.  Sadly the larger ones are actually blown plastic.  I have been watching to see what I can pick up after Christmas and I have only seen one set of these which were ones that I already have.

Maybe today we will lose a lot of the snow.  It is suppose to get above freezing today.  Tomorrow it is suppose to be in the forty's.  It has been balmy compared to the -8 F weather that we have been experiencing. I was up in the middle of the night and the furnace was not running as it was 21 degrees F. outside.

I am the art teacher again today.  Two days down and two to go.  I am firing another load in the kiln today.  I will probably fire pottery the next two days so most everything will be fired and done by Friday.  The kids are being pretty well behaved for me. There are always a couple who just are outsiders of the education process.  I am tired today with too many things to do on my list at home.  I am glad to be working here though even though I haven't been here full time in my old room for five years. Thanks for stopping by today.  Have a good day.