Friends in All the Right Places

Gift-wise, this has been an interesting Christmas.

I mean that in a good way, of course.

The first gift Hubby and I received came all of the way from Alaska. And, it arrived in the middle of a blizzard, which was awesome. It, by the way, was a box of home-made goodies from Mike’s cousin, June, and her family. The box contained yummy cookies–oatmeal, pecan sandies and chocolate chip (made with pretzel stix)–trail mix (a variety of nuts and dried fruits) and some homemade soaps.

There’s nothing like homemade goodness. The oatmeal cookies served as Hubby’s fuel on Sunday as he shoveled a path down the driveway through the 23 inches of snow we had. And Joey LOVED the trail mix. We all liked it, but he loved it!

Another very nice surprise gift was this intriguing and way cool object d’art.

It is made out of super-compressed graphite. That’s the stuff they make pencils with. So, not only is it cool to look at, every surface of the object writes like a pencil. Neat, eh? I LOVE stuff like this.

The leaf is about 6 inches long and fits perfectly in my hand, for when I need to write something of course.

This bath scrubby of mine was selected and paid for by my granddaughter, Brianna (age 9).

Our oldest grandson, Gaige (age 6), shopped and paid for Hubby’s gift…

… a small, ceramic dog. It’s about 5 inches long and 3 inches tall, at its tallest point. Gaige apparently knows that Pop loves dogs.

Meg is wearing one of the gifts I got from Hubby. The big blue and white thing hanging from her collar is my new Pet’s Eye View Camera, also known as a doggie cam. We can’t wait to go to the WV place so we can see what she sees on the way to and from Buddy’s house. Hubby also got me a digital picture frame, which I have wanted for years. Oh yeah, and a teleconverter lens for my camera, among other things.

My parents really surprised me with 3 bags of Seattle’s Best Hazelnut Coffee, which Mom had shipped direct from Washington state with the help of a wonderful friend. I got some shopping money, too. And a short story book. I’m addicted to short story books, in case you didn’t already know.

A dear friend sent Hubby and I a gift, which was accompanied by this card…

…that for some reason made her think of me. LOL!

As awesome as the card is, the gift is even cooler…

… real Belgian chocolate. YUUUMMMMMMM.

Oddly enough, we received it on the same day we received this…

This is the chocolate Mrs. Mac posted about that inspired me to try, and quickly become addicted to, Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramels.

According to the Lindt Web site, this stuff “will surprise your taste buds with an unexpected alliance of nicely bitter, silky dark chocolate refined with tiniest crystals of “Fleur du Sel” – the flower, or the crown of the sea salt.”

It was personally hand-delivered by Mrs. Mac, who came all the way from Switzerland just to see us, and her family, and her friends, and her former co-workers, etc.

It is quite delectable. You have to like dark chocolate, though, which I do. Hubby and I may be fighting over this one.

Speaking of chocolate… I couldn’t resist taking a picture of the Rheb’s candy, which Hubby and I gave several folks for Christmas. We bought ourselves a box, too, of course.

This image shows chocoholic Meg who is simultaneously wondering “Why, oh why, is Mama taking pictures of all of her chocolate?” and “Is she going to give me some? Is she? I like chocolate!”

This is a snowman ornament I’ve had for years. I can’t remember if it was given to me by one of my girlfriends, or if I bought it myself.

I have the same issue with this ornament. Though I am pretty sure this was a gift from a girlfriend in a previous year.

I couldn’t resist sharing this doggie picture. K and Belle were jealous that I was taking Meg’s picture. So they joined in.

Wanna know why K looks so short?

It’s because she sits on the steps with her butt on one step and her front feet on the step below that. We think it is easier for her to sit that way because of her very long forelegs.

I hope you enjoyed this little gift recap. I hope you have friends in fun places, too.

Blizzard Aftermath

So, wanna know what my world looked like the day after the blizzard dropped about 23 inches (58 cm) of snow on us?

People tend to get cabin fever and do weird stuff when trapped by snow. I decorated the Christmas tree (finally!) and, while doing so, took some pictures of FibroDuck with some of our more unique ornaments.

I also took lots of pictures. Lots and lots, I should say. A blanket of snow just makes things look so much more interesting.

I took the above shot around 6:30 AM from the front window of our house. On the far left, covered in snow, is my car. In front of that, toward the center of the frame, is Shannon’s car.

This is the view from our front door.

And here’s what it looked like from inside our garage moments after Hubby started to shovel.

That’s my car in the foreground. It’s still snow-covered. So is our front sidewalk. I might have to clean my car off soon so I can get all my last-minute Christmas stuff done.

Here’s my happy Hubby in the newly shoveled driveway.

The view of our street from the bottom of the driveway.

One of MANY dog pics I have to share. Belle and K have been chasing each other and having a blast in the snow.

Meg has fun in the snow, too, despite the grumpy look she has in this picture. (I’ll post more snow-dog pictures eventually.)

I actually took this photo at about 11:00 PM on Saturday night, not too long after the snow had stopped. Because it was nighttime, the camera shutter stayed open for about 4 seconds. I am not sure why the sky is so pink, but I think the overall effect is pretty cool.

And now, I need to get to work.

Happy Monday everyone!

Taste-Free Christmas Videos

These videos aren’t all taste-free (aka “tacky”). The ones that are not taste-free, however, are pretty annoying. In a cute sort of way.

Oh, and remember they are videos. They do have sound. So if you’re trying to be at all inconspicuous, you may want to come back later to watch.

If you are starting to believe I am obsessed with animals, you are not alone…

Ten Taste-Free Gifts

Looking for something to buy that no-so-special someone this holiday season?

I figured I would help you with ten totally taste-free gift ideas. Here they are, in no particular order.

1. Here’s a very special COFFEE MUG.

2. Is there a man in your life who is very proud of his big, manly truck? If so, here’s a fake magnetic BUMPER STICKER for him.

3. Here’s a neat gift for someone AT YOUR OFFICE who is frustrated by visitors dropping in, unannounced.

4. This one is sure to be a hit at the office. The recipient will no longer have to struggle over TOUGH DECISIONS.

5. Speaking of executive decisions, this one is sure to be a HIT AT MEETINGS.

6. For your perpetually single friends, here’s one for the LADIES. And we can’t forget one for the MEN.

7. This has got to be the perfect gift for someone that just moved into a new house/apartment/parent’s basement that can’t afford FURNITURE. If you really wanna splurge, you should get them A COUPLE OF THESE, too.

8. Looking to LIVEN UP the holiday family photo?

9. Know anyone that already has every Christmas decoration imaginable on display? You really can ENHANCE THEIR COLLECTION.

10. This one is really for those of you that just like to pull stuff over on people and/or see HOW OBSERVANT folks really are.

You can’t say I didn’t try to help solve your gift-giving dilemmas.

– – – – –

FibroDuck made THE NEWS!

Remember FibroDuck?


Then click on that link. The one that says “see all my FibroDuck images”!

I Just HAD to Share

Every now and then I come across stuff on the Internet that I just feel compelled to share with people. It could be something that touched my heart, or that I found disgusting, or humorous, or unbelievable. It could be anything that I read and thought to myself, “This is so good/interesting/funny/amusing/unbelievable/sad that I have to share it.”

Like this secret I saw when I read this week’s PostSecret blog:

Dear Frank,

Sunday I was with my boyfriend (we are both young Christians). I grabbed his laptop to go to the postsecret website. As I typed in the postsecret address the computer filled in the url with a pornography website.

I used my boyfriend’s laptop again to look up postsecret and the computer filled in the url with recently visited sites about pre and post nuptial agreements.

In my attempts to read other people’s secrets, I discovered his.

New secrets are posted every Sunday, which I why I didn’t just link to this particular secret.

Hopefully the person who submitted this secret has sense enough to RUN, not walk, away from this man.

Here’s something completely unrelated to the secret I shared with you above…

Now that we have three dogs, Hubby and I decided it might be a good idea to do some actual dog training.

Hubby has already started working on K so that she comes when he blows the whistle. She’s getting it, but is easily distracted and, therefore, much harder to train than Meg and Belle.

It’s not that Meg and Belle aren’t trained. They know the basic stuff like “sit” and “down” and “come.” But they’re both bad about jumping on people to greet them. Belle is a barker. Neither of them know how to “stay” when told.

Since K is a more-challenging dog, I decided to look for a good, comprehensive dog training manual. I even went to the bookstore the other day, but didn’t find one I liked. Then, last night, I stumbled across this ASPCA Web page, which has lots of articles on dog behavior. It is not just about training dogs either. There’s a whole list of topics on understanding various dog behaviors, too. There’s also information on rehoming a dog to help people decide if getting rid of there dog is really necessary and, if so, the proper way to go about rehoming.

There is a lot of good information there. If you have a dog, please visit the aforementioned informational page to see if there’s anything that can help you.

Now, you know I had to share at least one video, right?

Following is the most inappropriate zoo commercial EVER…

Yes, it’s a real commercial. And there are more like it for your viewing displeasure at

Let’s not forget my mission to find totally taste-free Christmas stuff…

I think that’s enough sharing for today.