Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Passage of Time

It's New Year's Eve! I am having a small party this evening- I hope! Due to the wintry weather it is very much in doubt. We're having a snowstorm and it's icy and freezing outside. Windy too!

I have all the food ready, the party hats and the makeshift Times Square ball. But possibly no party guests. One person has already called to cancel. I told her that safety is more important than any silly little get together.

So this evening if I have no party guests, Molly, me, and Oscar will reflect on the year 2008.

The year I bought my first home, added Oscar to the family, had one great vacation to Martha's Vineyard, celebrated a birthday with a zero on the end of my age and started my blog! Careerwise, a very good year considering I work in the financial sector.

Ok, dear readers tell me about your year! And have a very Happy New Year!

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Year 2008 in review

I am participating in Cindy of My Romantic Home's Blog Party. I am supposed to create a photo collage of the year in review. So here are some significant snippets of my life from the year 2008.

I bought a condo and added a new kitty to my family. Vacationed at Martha's Vineyard and took a business trip to Philadelphia. Took daytrips to Maine and New Hampshire and enjoyed Autumn in New England.

Wishing you lots of photo opportunities in 2009!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas Tradition

One of my favorite Christmas Traditions is to visit the Bedford Village Inn in Bedford, New Hampshire during the week after Christmas. The inn is exquisitely decorated for the holidays and so this is the best time to make the trip.

I always make the trip north with my sister and we meet up with our friends Lori Lee and Duane. Lori Lee used to own a vintage clothing shop so she has the most spectacular outfits and jewelry. She looks like she could have lived at the Inn in Victorian times.

We had a wonderful evening at the Inn last night. What a dining experience! My meal was delicious. I had orange dusted sea scallops with tomato orzo and sauteed spinach. We had a tiny shrimp salad compliments of the chef and several breads (anadama, focaccia, lavash, and multi grain). For dessert, I had a chocolate bag which had a chocolate exterior and chocolate mousse, white cake, raspberries and blueberries on the inside. Yum!

Our server assembled my sister's dessert table side. She had a warm ginger souffle with cinnamon ice cream and caramel sauce. It was fabulous! (She let me have a taste).

After the meal, we took a tour of the various rooms of the restaurant, looking at all the decorations. Each room had it's own designer. Some rooms were very elegant, others more simple. All were beautiful.

I photographed the rooms but my pictures do not do the Inn justice. You can click on the photos in the mosaic for a larger view. I tried to use available light as much as possible but some of the rooms were too dark.

I hope you enjoyed your tour of the Inn. If you find yourself in New Hampshire, specifically Southern New Hampshire, I would encourage you to visit the Inn for lunch, brunch or dinner.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Hope, Faith and Peace

When my sister saw this photo she commented that it looked Biblical, as if the animals were in a manger. I agreed. Actually it was taken at Island Alpaca in Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts last August.
Anyway, the scene was peaceful and so this Christmas evening I wish you all Hope, Faith and Peace for the season and the coming New Year.
This evening we saw a very bright star in the east.
Until next time....

Monday, December 22, 2008

Running out of Time

I didn't need to be reminded by a tree in a Christmas store that it's almost time for Christmas.
Where did the time go this year? I always save vacation days from work for shopping and doing fun activities. This year I used them for moving and now I find myself scrambling to get all my Christmas "stuff" done at the last minute.

I don't have any gifts wrapped. I just finished my shopping today. Usually I'm done weeks before Christmas. No Christmas treats baked, yet. I finished my Christmas cards on Saturday.
Oh boy, what a line at the post office for stamps. And the line was at the automated machine!

After I finished my shopping, I decided to take some shots of the beautiful aftermath of
yesterday's snowstorm. That's storm #2 in 3 days. Anyway, I hope my camera has conveyed the snowy loveliness I witnessed.

I love this snowman! First of all he's made of real snow and second of all, he's not one of those
huge plastic inflatables that deflate every time the temperature gets a little mild. Also, he's
got a heart! Too cute.

It wasn't exactly comfortable walking outside today as you can see by the icicles on this house.
The sun was shining brightly but no sign of melting here!
Well, I must leave you now because there's some serious wrapping to be done and a list to be made for the trip to the grocery store.
I hope all of you have a relaxing few days leading up to Christmas! Watch one of those great old Christmas movies, or list to some Christmas music. Chill out, there's still time!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Snowy Weekend

I have a long weekend off from work. I was supposed to be off Friday and Monday but Friday I did do some emailing and returning of phone calls. I met my friend Kim for coffee then did some work. Then met my sister for lunch, a little shopping and work and then Kim invited me for dinner at her house. Wow, it's sounds like all I do is eat!

I took a picture of Kim's home's snowy front entrance. At Kim's we feasted on baked ham with fruit compote, scalloped potatoes, green beans, and brownies for dessert. It was warm inside as we watched the snow fall. She has a very cozy home with good smells of cooking, wonderful family, and great pets. The conversation was easy and it was great to spend a relaxing evening with them. Since they live only a few streets over from me I didn't worry about going home in the storm
Today is Saturday and everyone is cleaning up after the storm. By the afternoon, I was ready to do a little shopping. I have certain places I have to visit at Christmas time. I guess you could call them rituals. One of them is a trip to Harvard Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts. I love to visit the cool shops and see the interesting mix of people. There's always a lot of students walking around as the university is right there. MIT is not too far away either.

I took some photos of snowy Cambridge. Brrr, it was cold, I saw on one girl's Iphone that it was 20 degrees. It was windy too. Harvard Square is best enjoyed on foot. On a good day there is limited parking so today with all the snow it was quite the challenge. And when I did find a space, I had to climb the snowbank to put money in the meter. Oh I love Winter!

But it is beautiful! The red doors against all the white drew me to this church. Quintessential New England to my eyes.

Next to the church, there were Christmas trees for sale.

No trip to Harvard Square is complete without walking by Harvard University or Hahvid as we Bostonians call it. As you know we don't pronounce our R's.

As I mentioned, the shops are really cool in this area. This is the outside of a sock store. I heard a woman say they had the best cashmere socks in this store so I had to check it out. I am a cashmere addict. I have at least a dozen cashmere sweaters. I also have cashmere gloves and cashmere sheets. It's one of my indulgences.

I also went to a Holiday craft fair in an old church. Phenomenal stuff! Oh I could have gone crazy but I didn't. I got a funny card for my friend Don for his birthday, a pin for my friend LoriLee and of course, I didn't forget me. I bought myself a clock. The vendor makes clocks out of all sorts of old things like colanders. muffin tins, teapots. I bought one that looks like brass and is made from a mirror. The kind like the women of olden days had, a hand mirror they put on their dressers. It's so cool.
All this shopping made me tired so I decided to take a break and stop at Burdick's chocolates for some hot chocolate.

As you can see this is no ordinary hot chocolate. You can order it in dark, milk, or white chocolate. It's thick like a European drinking chocolate. I ordered 4 luxembourgers with it.
Two were to take home for later. I think they are sort of a meringue cookie. I got two cinnamon and two coffee. Delicious!

I bought a couple of gifts here. This shop is visually beautiful. I am sure I will be back soon.
That's it for today. I had a wonderful time all by myself. I am so happy I made it to Harvard Square at Christmas time because I said it was one of my rituals at Christmas. Just a few more days left until Christmas. I am almost done my shopping. But I'm not worried I still have Monday off. Of course more snow is predicted for Sunday, so I hope we don't get snowed in. Oh well. on the bright side, we are virtually assured of a white Christmas.
Until next time...

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Getting Ready

We're getting ready for the big storm. Boots by the door-check. Four new tires on the Highlander-check. Full tank of gas-check. Batteries check, cell phone charged check. Food, enough to survive. We're going to get hit by a snowstorm tomorrow. A foot of beautiful snow to give us the White Christmas we've been dreaming of.
Oh no! The caroling party was cancelled. We'll have to wait til Christmas Eve for Mary's gingerbread cookies. It also gives us more time to practice!

We'll have to hunker down and stay in all day. Maybe have a cup of tea? It makes one cold looking at all that snow and ice.

After the storm, maybe we can go ice skating and perfect our triple toe loops!

Or build a snowman! And this time we'll give him two eyes!
It's going to be great fun to have a Friday snow day! Then we can do it all over again on Sunday when the next storm plows through. (No pun intended)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

It's a Wrap!

Tonight's subject is gift wrap for the holidays. Before I share my ideas on the topic, I thought I
would post a picture of Winchester, Massachusetts. I was sitting in my car with my freshly brewed Starbucks and I happened to glance out of the rear view mirror. This is what I saw-
a pretty little scene of a town getting ready for Christmas. I love this area of town and since
I've moved I'm right over the city limits of Winchester. I am sure to spend a lot of time there.
Not to mention the Winchester Starbucks is open until 9:30PM!

Back to gift wrap, in an earlier post I mentioned that I pride myself on my gift wrapping skills.
This year all my stuff was packed up from moving. I couldn't even find the scissors! I have hat boxes filled with snippets of ribbon, buttons, holly berries, you name it to use as package toppers. Do you think I could find it? Of course not, and I needed to wrap two gifts for tomorrow.

So for the first gift which by the way is a gift card, I put it in a snowglobe gift card holder then tissue paper and then this faux fur bag. I love this bag. Last year after Christmas, I went to Pottery Barn and bought every last one at half price. I have espresso colored faux fur bags, white like the one in the photo and one that has black and brown markings. They're supposed to be wine bags but I actually used one as a purse last Winter. Anyway, I attached a cinnamon scented vintage look sachet to it and voila instant gift wrap! I hope Lorraine likes it!

I love the look of calligraphy and fancy script so last year again after Christmas I bought this paper. It has a bit of a sheen to it. Again, no scissors. I had to improvise by folding the paper back and forth until it would tear easily. I added another one of the cinnamon sachets and a little
gold jingle bell and that wrap job is finished. This one's for my boss, John. He has small children so I picked out the sachet with the kids on a sled.

Molly was supervising as usual. Or as my dad would say, "doing the heavy looking on".
That's ok she's such a cutie!
Well, that's all for this evening. It's a wrap!

Monday, December 15, 2008

A Pretty Little Christmas

I am participating in A Pretty Little Christmas Blog party. Check out We're all posting about our home decorations
and ways we are having a pretty little Christmas. So open the box and look inside.
This is a chess set handmade and purchased in Krakow, Poland. The story behind it is very special. In August of 1986, I went to Poland with Cardinal Law's entourage from Boston. One of my fellow travelers was an older woman named Irene. We were both traveling alone so we spent time together. I was quite young at the time and she kept an eye on me while we traveled through a Communist country.
While in Krakow, we visited a market where all the goods for sale were handmade. Mostly embroidered pieces but one person was selling items made from wood. Irene and I both eyed the same chess set. There was only one. I wanted it because it was so different. Each piece was handcrafted and there were pieces carved to look like Polish women and men. I thought it would make the perfect souvenir. I was thinking of only myself. Irene wanted to buy it for her son
who actually played chess. First she was going to let me buy it but then she said her son would really love it. I backed off and she bought the set for her son.

In December of that same year, I came down with a nasty flu which would not go away. It got me quite down during the holidays. I remember just having no energy to do anything. On one of those days, the mailman left a package for me. I thought it was a get well gift from my boyfriend. I opened the package and there was the Polish chess set! Irene said in her letter that she wanted me to have it. She knew I really loved it so she decided to wait until Christmas and send it along as a gift.

Irene has since died. She had a stroke a few years ago. We did keep in touch and even had lunch together a few times over the years. I always think of her at Christmastime and I have fond memories of our trip.

My Pretty Little Christmas wouldn't be complete without some pretty little gifts for coworkers.
Like these sets of 6 taper candles dressed up in their holiday finery.

I like to use this brass plated reindeer and sleigh as an ornament display or sometimes as
a candy dish. He's prancing around proud as can be, isn't he? I got him years ago at the Bombay Company. How I miss that store!

This swan was purchased at my friend's shop last year. Sadly, she closed her doors this Fall.

A red fur trimmed skate ornament from Victorian Trading Company. My skates should look so good!
So there you have it! Memories, decorations, friends and family all make for a pretty little Christmas. I really would love to have photogaphed my nativity set but it is among the missing. The victim of my recent move. I will find it before the season is over. And when I do I will post
a photo of it. It's a fairly big set, packed away in a big box so it shouldn't be too hard to find.
That's my contribution to the party. I wish you all a pretty little Christmas! Don't forget to check out everyone's posts. This is going to be fun!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Decorating for Christmas

Yay! I found some of my Christmas decorations and so I was able to decorate a few of the rooms in my new condo.
No close ups of the tree this year. It's a prelit tree and one of the strands of lights doesn't work so as you can see
it's painfully obvious! Oh well, maybe some big ornaments and garland as fillers.

Santa is one of my favorites. I love his green cordouroy robe and soft beard. I got him at BJ's Wholesale club years ago.
I also got the table runner at BJs this year.

Did you notice I even decorated my bathrobe with greenery and a little bling? Too funny!

The brush tree and mercury glass are returning favorites and I love the colors of the vintage ornaments.

The peace dove is made of paper. I put some in garland on top of my dining room hutch and some on the tree.
Last year I used them as package toppers.

I hope you enjoyed your condo tour. Have a great Sunday!
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Friday, December 12, 2008

Gingerbread Man

I knew today would be physically demanding but I got through it knowing I promised myself a treat at the end of the day.

I had another day off from work but I spent it doing a lot of physical labor. My friend Don and I were once again emptying out my old apartment. The task is almost finished. Of course, then I will have to go through all the boxes again when I get settled. Moving is the worst isn't it?

I was ruthless with some of my things, throwing scads of items out and givng away boxes full of stuff. That's what happens when you don't purge your stuff occasionally. You have too much stuff! Don kept saying bag it, box it, or toss it! This is a lesson I hope I will remember in the future. I told Don I am never moving again.

So tonight I am tired from a long day's work. I've decided physical labor isn't my thing. I've also decided that Don is a really good friend. He spent full days helping me move so I didn't have to pay a mover a huge amount of money. All I paid was $200 for 2 guys to move my bed, sofa, kitchen table and chairs, and a hutch for the dining room.

Anway it's now evening and I pulled out some of the Christmas decorations that were packed away. I have a star on the treetop and lights on the tree but that's it. I did do some decorating of the dining room hutch. The decorations are simple, just some Christmas dishes and greenery. Easy!

Now it's time for my treat. I get to eat the long awaited gingerbread man cookie. I love anything gingerbready. Like gingerbread lattes or gingerbread cookies. Today I even showered with Philosophy's Gingerbread Man shower gel. If you haven't tried it yet, you need to. It's fabulous and makes your bathroom smell great!

OK, I photographed gingerbread man and now I have to leave you all and have myself a snack!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Giveaway Winner

I drew the name of the giveaway winner and the recipient of the New England inspired mystery giveaway is.... Mary Jane Smith. Mary Jane did not enter a comment because she doesn't have a blog but she emailed me. She found my blog through Michelle @ Chocolate and Marmalade Tea and she thinks her special talent is her typing speed. I could use a little of that!
Anyway, thanks to all who participated. Stay tuned, more giveaways to come!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Home is Where the Molly is

Last night was my first night at the condo. (As you can see by the photo above, I've done a little decorating for Christmas). The movers disassembled and then reassembled my bed, then moved the sofa, armoire, table and chairs into my new condo. That's it, all the big stuff was moved and only the small stuff remained in my former residence. Actually one of the biggest things was moving my cat, Molly.

Molly lived in my old apartment about 6 1/2 years. She was rescued from a trailer park in New Hampshire when she was 6 months old. So she was not too happy at all to be moving. I tried to bring some of her toys and a couple quilts that were her favorites. When I first brought her to the condo, I put her in the bedroom with the door closed while I brought more things in. When I finished I opened the bedroom door and eventually she did the tour of the place.

With break neck speed, she ran from room to room, investigating and sniffing. No familiar smells here. Poor kitty was so overwhelmed. During the night, she woke me up every hour. By the morning, I was mighty cranky.

Over the past 24 hours, Molly is doing better. She is a little more relaxed. I've actually seen her sleep a bit today. She is obsessed with a mirrored closet door and she is afraid of ceiling fans. I think she thnks they are going to swoop down and attack her.

Last night, I did not feel like this condo was my home. It was 4 degrees outside and cold inside the condo. ( My old appartment was toasty warm ). Then this morning. I couldn't get the hot water in the shower to work. Today when I came home from work Molly was at the condo. It felt more like home. And tonight when I went back to my old apartment and I opened the door there was no Molly to greet me. I looked at the space where the couch was and the now empty space that occupied my huge bed. And I realized this isn't my home. Home is where the Molly is.


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