Thursday, December 18, 2014

There's a monkey wrench in the works!

Oh, I'm sick - really. (Cough, cough, ache, blah, blah, etc.) The main concern is the shelter - I can't cook for people while I'm contagious. My back up person will take over for this week. I hate that, but I would want someone to be responsible in the same way. Actually the back up person is all excited!

My neighbor will be going to Pennsylvania for Christmas. He asked me to babysit his Tropical Love Bird. I used to have three birds and they were so sweet and trained! This little bird, named "Brisbane" has no idea who the boss is - and I'm not sure I'm up for it. I'd hate for him to spend a whole week in his little house, but the last time we were around each other, he landed on my shoulder and bit me on the cheek! In fact - the scab just dropped off last week(sigh). Not to worry, I haven't given a answer yet. Maybe I should ask for votes on this? But the neighbor has a little two year old grandson that he rarely sees, (thank you heart strings - beat me up!!)

Meanwhile here's some stuff I'm making. I can't post everything or "the sweet God-daughter" will know what she's getting for Christmas!(smile)(I know you're here.)

Chocolate dipped candy canes...

Leg warmers made from sweater sleeves...

Gingerbread cake with stenciled design in powdered sugar...

Christmas gifts for the neighbors...

Copied this for my front railings - it's gorgeous!
It's also, probably the reason I am sick - outside too long...

Normally, you know this as "Thursday Wrapping it up," but I've got a moment and I feel okay - so why not make it happen?
Meanwhile... Happy Birthday, Mom - I miss you!

Monday, December 15, 2014

A wish

It's a town most anywhere,
where the snow has fallen deep,
and the people never sleep.

It's a town that has no name,
where people watch the stars a-glow,
that shed their light upon the snow.

It's a town not far away,
where people celebrate and cheer,
the love that's true and clear.

Help! What color ribbon?

Help! It's crazy - I do this for people all the time, but right now I'm blank when it comes to my own tree. I like to wrap the tree with lights around the inside trunk. It looks like it's illuminated from the inside. Then a second wrap of lights on the outer edges of the limbs. A few silver icicles... maybe... always adds a shimmer to the lights. Or maybe not(smile). Help.

A neighbor had a huge hydrangea with dried blossoms - did I want them? I'm not sure I even hung up the phone, before running out the door to get them! I really didn't want to deal with ornaments this year. Maybe one or two placed in baskets or as stand alone focal point/arrangements... but not on the tree. But I'd like your help with one final element and then the tree will (finally) be done. What color ribbon should I use? I love making bows or using it for garland. Solid, plaid, stripe, I'm game!

Dried Hydrangea blossoms

Red geraniums                                                          

Pine scented pine cones

My camera is not working so this is the closet visual I can get you...

Friday, December 12, 2014

Better not pout

You are an elf.
You make toys for Santa to deliver on Christmas Eve.
You have fallen asleep at your tinkering bench...

You sleep peacefully.
Your job is well done.

You awaken!
Oh no...
What to do?

Better not pout!

Melanie Thornton - Wonderful Dream

Melanie Janene Thornton collaborated with The Coke Company to make a special Christmas commercial in 2001. Coke wanted a song that incorporated their signature phrase, "it's the real thing," with a Christmas-time jingle. Melanie delivered one of the most beautiful songs. Packed with lyrics of peace and love - it promised to be a hit... and no one was disappointed with the results.

(On the heels of the World Trade Center events - we might not remember this. Indeed it took some research for me to realize, I did catch the commercial, but not the events surrounding this young woman's musical contribution, or her untimely death.)

Melanie held a dual American/German  citizenship. She toured Europe and went on to stardom as a solo artist in 2000. On November 24, 2001, Melanie was in Germany for a last concert before Christmas break. The singer was traveling from Berlin, Germany, to Zurich as part of a tour to promote her first (and only) solo album "Ready to Fly." (How ironic)

A plane was standing by to take her on the last leg of the tour. From Zurich she planned a "German Christmas" in Atlanta with her family. But on that cold, snowy night Crossair’s Jumbolino jet, flight 3597, went down just after 10 p.m. local time. Out of the thirty-three passengers aboard, nine people survived the crash. Thirty-four year old Melanie Thornton was among those who did not.

Ironically at the last minute, 24 people had canceled boarding the flight, due to weather conditions. There would have 57 people on board.

The following from Associated Press:

"Her latest single, “Wonderful Dream,” went on sale Monday (November 26), its scheduled release date, at the request of Thornton’s family. The song is also being used in a new Coca-Cola commercial."

I don't know that Melanie's dreams came true, but the line in the song says, "Celebrate a life where dreams come true, " and so I'm going to celebrate her life with this post. Listening to her last interview really made me think - what a message. Thanks Melanie. Rest in peace.

Remember: "Love is a reason - it's always the real thing." ~Melanie Thornton.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Thursday - wrapping it up

It could be time for a new mouse! Though I have a laptop - I need my mouse! Lately the old copy/paste function is well... not functioning as usual. Or maybe my fingers don't dance like in olden days (no!) So here I sit in blogger-town writing this. I removed two previous posts - oh boo-boos abound!

Tonight is Men's shelter night. I was asked to make macaroni and cheese. Two beautiful pans are ready to pop into the oven. The hard part will be getting them out of the door without a little sample, (to make sure they taste right... right?), but I'll succeed.

A neighbor wants help with her door decoration. This is a photo she found and that's the one! It's just a partial piece of berry garland with a tiny house. She wants the heart shape a little more pronounced. It's taking longer to type this in, than the time it will take to make her door wreath! Isn't it sweet?!

From here I'm headed to Goodwill - I'm sure they have a mouse for me. Surely none of you are experiencing Holiday boo-boos, right?!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Carol of the Bells

One of my favorite songs, Carol of the Bells, didn't start out as a carol for Christmas. The song is based on a traditional folk chant, associated with the coming New Year, which, in pre-Christian Ukraine, was originally celebrated with the coming of spring in April.

It was introduced to Western audiences by the Ukrainian National Chorus during its concert tour of the Americas, in 1921 at Carnegie Hall. A copyrighted English text was created by Peter Wilhousky in the 1930s, and since then it has been performed and sung during the Christmas season. Its initial popularity stemmed largely from Wilhousky's ability to perform it to a wide audience in his role as arranger for the NBC Symphony Orchestra.  

There are many variations of this carol. Here are some I'd like to share. Enjoy!

Are angels among us?

Cousin Paul didn't come home from Vietnam. He "re-upped" for another tour. After that he "re-upped" again. Three tours in Nam and he wanted a fourth, but they wouldn't allow it. I wasn't in his shoes so trying to understand was impossible. It's ironic that everyone he knew he left behind, when he first left for Vietnam. Now the same thing was happening again.

When he finally hit stateside he came to my parents' home - stayed for three weeks - long conversations with my Dad. Paul's Dad had passed when he was very young. His Mom, my aunt was beside herself - unable to help him undo what life had done. She was just so grateful he'd survived.

He became a raging alcoholic and drug user. I say raging because he was always angry. I think I wrote more letters to him during those five years than all the previous years combined.  He never answered these. I don't think he could. To answer might give me hope that he had survived.

I've rewritten the above letter as best I can remember. On the year anniversary of his death I burned it. Thinking it was time for that last letter to stop eating away at me. He was a good friend, and I don't think he'd want me to hang on to old pain. This is the first Christmas I've felt real peace about him. Maybe I'm being foolish but I think he must have helped me do the tree. Either that or I've finally forgiven him for not being here the Christmas he re-upped. Funny the things we hold onto to and not fully realize that they're there, just beneath the surface.

He gave me a Santa Claus figurine many years ago. This past week while digging through old boxes, I found it. My parents kept it all of this time. Yep there he was - lying next to an angel. It made me smile(smile).

Monday, December 8, 2014

Shake up Christmas

The first time I watched this music video, I wasn't sure that I liked the music. I thought the little story it told was cheerful enough. So I watched it again. Four young people, each with requests, find that Santa can really take control. Oh! They don't realize it's him... but I know... because I'm watching. I got to see some of Santa's magic at work. By the time I watched this video for the fourth time, (yes, I'm that slow), I liked the music, I knew all of the characters with their requests, and I was pretty sure I needed a snow globe!

Let's watch it together!   (I'm sorry about the commercial.)

Train - Shake up Christmas

You might want a snow globe of your won!

Bless the children: Christmas cards for Addie

It's laundry day at dcrelief's house. While I step to the basement, please read, and consider the following post from "Children and the Earth, Inc. I'll be back!

Sending out holiday cards this week? You’ll want to add another name to your list.

Addie Fausett, 6, of Fountain Green, Utah, is likely celebrating her last Christmas this year due to an atrophy of her brain that has left doctors puzzled. And in the face of devastating news, her family has come up with a beautiful idea: They are asking people to send Addie a “lifetime of Christmas cards.”
So far, hundreds of cards have poured into her nearby post office. “We really just started spreading the word. I think it’s just going to grow and grow,” says Amber Brosig, managing trustee at Children and the Earth, Inc., a nonprofit organization that is assisting with the project.

While fulfilling wishes like this one is for the child, for sure, it also goes a long way for the parents, siblings and other relatives. “We’re creating lasting memories for the family, with the family,” Brosig explains.

Addie was just 3 years old when her mother, Tami, noticed that her girl could no longer hold a crayon or spoon, suddenly had difficulty speaking and her growth came to a standstill. Doctors found that her brain was shrinking and filling with fluid—a condition called diffuse atrophy—but the underlying cause of Addie's atrophy remains undiagnosed, a medical mystery. Even now at 6 years old, Addie has never weighed more than 25 pounds. Last month, doctors delivered heartbreaking news: Addie had roughly a year to live, and her mental state would deteriorate before her physicality—she will forget what and who she knows.
“She’s just darling and fragile,” Brosig says. “She has the sweetest little soul. We’re so glad we can assist.”

Making this time even more difficult for Addie and her sisters, Shayley, 10, and Audree, 7, is the unexpected loss of their father, who passed away over the weekend; he and their mother were separated. 

Cards should be addressed to Addie as well as her older sisters. “They are going through a hard time, too,” Brosig says. “We are encouraging the public to reach out to them as well.”

If you’d like to contribute a greeting, send it to:

Addie Lynn and Sisters, P.O. Box 162, Fountain Green, UT 84632

What kinds of cards does Addie like? All kinds—but especially homemade. “Obviously, you can go to Hallmark and get the ones that play music or this or that,” Brosig says, “but the handmade ones—or artwork, if you have a child—is even more special for the family, though, of course, they are just grateful for it all.”
Children and the Earth, a nonprofit that directly pays medical bills for those in need, is also taking donations for Addie. Donate here or send a check to Children and the Earth (write “Addie” in the memo), 252 W. Cottage Ave., Sandy, UT 84070.

dcrelief says:

I simply had to post this story. You can follow her progress on Facebook. I know Addie, Shayley and Audree would love receiving a card.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Bless the beasts (and the children)

He's such a little creature
In my yard he's quite the feature~
Snatching nuts and hey, that 's my grape!

I know you love to play
But can't you stay away~
From the table when I'm outside?

You're the one who took my cracker
I'm not the only peanut butter snacker~
Don't give me that innocent look.

Just wait until Christmas eve
I've got corn in a netted sleeve~
A blessing for you, and the little ones.