Sunday, December 31, 2006

A Grand New Year To All

It's a five furkid pile-up. Wishing you a blessed New Year. And a quote I found last January, in a calendar (where else), that I really liked:

"We spend January 1 walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives... not looking for flaws, but for potential."- Ellen Goodman

Saturday, December 30, 2006

It's a SHE

Finally. Says Lisa who was 41 weeks pregnant. I, the proud great-Auntie, am ecstatic to introduce you to Morgan Campbell. Born December 29th at 9:22 am and weighed in at 8.11 lbs. Healthy and happy all around. Sweet, sweet baby girl. A red-haired beauty like her Mom. Those newly minted toes will look extra special in the booties this Auntie sent, although those toes will need to grow a wee bit, first. May Abba Father guard and grow this new one into a Daughter of the Most High. In Jesus precious name, Amen. (contented Auntie sigh)

Monday, December 25, 2006


Tomorrow. Tomorrow. I love you tomorrow... I always take the day after Christmas as a vacation day. I must go shopping. Will I buy shoes, clothing, Christmas decor and ribbon- all at those astonishingly-low prices? No. Those don't call my name. I have a confession to make.

I'm a page-a-day calendar junkie. I make an early-morning pilgrimage to Barnes & Noble or Borders the day after Christmas. Huh? you say. These bookstores have all their new calendars at half-price on the 26th of December. I love ripping those little pages away and seeing a new, daily dose of information or humor. The shelf above my workspace has hangers for 6 and desk space will accommodate 2-3 more. I do have a couple of perpetual ones that I have been flipping-over, for +6 years.

The Joy of Cooking, Get Fuzzy, A Little Joy- A Little Oy, Mary Engelbreit and Ziggy are must-haves. I also get a mini magnet one that resides on the fridge- Chocolate. I fill in with whatever subjects that catch my interest. I also get wall calendars for the various spaces in my life that need a little brightness or daydreams. Usually Pics of Ireland, Pics of France and this year- A dragon calendar. I saw it before Christmas and I hope it can still be found. It's like an Audubon' field journal on dragons and their habitats.

So if there are people on that Christmas List that weren't crossed off- try a little trip to your local B&N or Borders. Just make sure you breathe deeply upon entering the store. There's just something about the smell of books gathered together, ready to impart knowledge. Ahhhh.

I Wish You The Merriest

This is the pin I wear whilst I decorate City Hall. I thought it a nice blog pic for this day. A very
Merry Christmas to everyone who stops by The Antique Whisk. Please leave a comment if you
would care to. Blessings to all and to all a Good Night.

In Case You Wondered

In case you wondered who was on the other end of the keyboard. Well then. I figure what-the-hey, I'm me and no one does it better. Cheers, everyone. (disclaimer: no eggnog was harmed in the making of this pic.)

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas Eve

There were many things I did not find the attitude to do this year. One being the hand-drawn card that features the Furkids and me, all grinning ear-to-ear. I sent these two pics, to all my 'wired' friends and family, with the subject line of "consider yourself carded for Christmas". That's my front porch and a view of the 'river' just about a ½-mile from my home. We had ice the last week of November, so I paused long enough to take a shot through a rolled-down car window.
I am not going anywhere for Christmas this year. Everyone I know is having company or being company today. And I am so not of the mood to sit through a triple-dose of my Daddy's second wife, Nell, and her daughters, Cheryl and Donna. Uncharitable? Yes. But I have struggled to keep my sanity during the past three weeks. Someone pass the Zoloft®, please.
I know there are many, many people who have no one and nothing at this time of the year (or anytime for that matter). I also know that I always have Someone, and I have everything through my faith in Jesus' life, death and Resurrection. I am never alone and never will I be forsaken. There are times, though, that I cry out to the Father for 'skin-on' encounters. A voice besides my own. Affirmation. And, oh, how I miss Christmas as it once was, but will never be again. Ever. But I know this is the way the journey road is traveled.
Mommie's been gone for 28 years now. Sometimes the pain clawing at my soul is that of a tiger, bringing down its prey. Gripping agony, strangling me. Mostly now, however, it's the soft, gentle tickle of a kitten's paw. And I giggle. Oh... for a stocking filled with: an apple, orange, banana, mixed nuts ( in shell), assorted mini-chocolate Hersey's® bars (removable paper sleeves, then), and a dollar bill. Actually it was no fancy 'stocking', but truly just a sock. A well satiated, 100%-cotton snake, with various-sized lumps bulging out from under its 'skin'. A sweet, sweet memory. (sigh)
I declare to the world (and to myself): I am blessed. I say, Merry Christmas, and The Lord's joy and comfort be upon you and yours. May you find laughter in remembering dear ones and for the ways they showed their love to you. And sometimes, just sometimes, comfort is found at the end of your own blog entry. And it was, really, there all the time, I just needed to let it in to nestle. That familiar 'soul-kitten' I mentioned before: is purring loudly, ecstatically now. And is that wonder-filled joy I detect shining in its eyes? Peace... Abba Father's peace be unto you all.


The previous post shows the birdbath sans bird. Well, this shows it does, indeed, get patrons.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Recycling At Its Feathered Finest

Since moving to the country, I've never gotten around to purchasing a 'real' birdbath. When money got tight(er), I cancelled Dish Network, and now watch TV by rabbit ears. Hmm. What to do with the old dish? Well now, wotcha think? Doesn't it make the most divine birdbath, darling? Just enough water to wet little birdie beaks and splish-splash the plumage. But not enough for the mosquitoes to hatch in, as it needs to be refilled every other day. We like recycling. "Here, here, and jolly good", say the feathered ones. And besides, watching this dish network is vastly more fulfilling.

But just so's you know, there is no old commode sitting out beside it (or anywhere else) in the garden. However, I do have a red-neck gazing ball. Yep... it's a bowling ball. Ü Ahhh. The joys of country living- without Martha.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Christmas At The City With More Pics (and Pans)

This is another area I decorate- Water Customer Service Counter. I changed the color scheme for this year. And there has already been a query as to why they did not have 'traditional colored' garland this year. The Superintendent of Parks approached me with this very question. I said that there had been many complaints regarding last year's garland and decor. There is not enough counter over-hang to protect the decorations, and it was constantly getting caught on pagers, cellphones, belt buckles and so on. The poinsettias were already a 'non-traditional' hot magenta, so I went with shiny aluminum lime-green garland that would provide the "flash" without too many added-on decorations. I said they should be glad I didn't go with the aluminum hot-pink or orange choices. He just smiled, raised a Spock-like eyebrow, and said "should it be asked again, I will relay this info to the inquisitive person(s)".

There is a laughable inside story to this complaint. The Parks Department provides the funds to buy said decorations and the staff to install it (every year). And it seems the Water Department only needs to supply the complaints. Hope they get used to it, I only change-out counter decor after three years of use.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Thanksgiving and Then, Christmas At The City

Yes, I'm still alive. I have the aches, pains and pictures to prove it. I went to Austin for Thanksgiving. I left plenty of food for the kitties and bird, loaded the puppers into the car and left at 2:00 pm on Wednesday. At 4:00, we had 'zoomed' a vast 90 miles. We were zipping along at 10 mph for most of that time. We finally arrived in Austin (only 210 miles) at 7:15 that night. Whew! But, Thank you Lord, we were in better shape than the wreck-outs that were causing the traffic snarls.

I had a very blessed time seeing my friend of 35 years and her husband, of two years, Mike. (still kissy-faced, they are) They have 3 dogs, too. Zackary is Gunther's actual brother. It's kind of like red-neck families- they are brothers and cousins, at the same time. I consider Karol my sister, so, of course, our Furkids are cousins. So we had 2 dobermans, 3 Aussies and 1 Rotti-X to go with Turkey Day. And the Husband who is allergic to dogs...

Karol and I did something we have never done before and it was legal, too. We got up at 4:00 am on Friday and went to stand in line at the local Best Buy. They had monitors on deep sale. Were we successful? Well, sort of. The line was all around the building when we got there. People had begun to camp out on Thanksgiving evening. So we didn't get the 22" or 19", but I did get the last 17" LCD flat screen at $79.99. Since I still had a 15" behemoth from 2000, I am very happy with the purchase. I also bought the last all-in-one Canon copier-scanner-camera docking thingee for only $19.99. Did I need it? NO. But who could pass up, for twenty bucks, a back-up printer/scanner. (and my scanner is old too)

I had to leave Austin on Saturday afternoon, to make sure I was back in town with no problems. For Monday morning, Christmas At The City began. If you call in, you'd better be calling in DEAD. The week after Thanksgiving is always for decorating the whole first-floor of City Hall before the Holiday Extravaganza, a.k.a. Christmas Tree lighting. I do have much help, but I am considered the Decoration Diva for the week. The Go-To-Girl if there is a question, problem, or 'come look at this right now' moment. While there may be enough of me to make two people, I haven't yet learned how to clone myself. Whoa Moma!! It's intense for one week.

But an oh, so, soul soothing week- both artistically and spiritually. While the City's legal wimps may have suggested Irving take the PC route and call the event "A Holiday Extravaganza" but still light a 'Christmas Tree'. (BTW- how does that work , actually?) I get to say "Happy Birthday, Jesus!" in my heart, and with a silly grin on my face, I go merrily along, decorating all week. I actually wear a pin on my city-furnished uniform T-Shirt that has "Happy Birthday, Jesus" on it. I temper it, somewhat, with another pin which reads "HO3". You ask how does this work? Because we are allowed lapel pins, I cannot be kept from wearing one that has a 'religious' message. One of the things that President Clinton did right- passing The Freedom of (not from) Religion in the Workplace Act. It also works in my wood shop, I play Christian music without restraint. If radios are allowed, stations can't be censored or all radios must go. I must admit, though, I do work in the shop by myself. No one to offend, I'm not that much of a pushy twit. Yet. ;)

Christmas At The City With Pics

I also decorated the Meet and Greet room where the City Council and Park Board members gather for munchies, before the Tree Lighting.

This is the Information Counter. The roses and gold poinsettias are new this year, as last year's stems had gotten a bit tired looking.

The main inside Christmas Tree. It's just a 12 footer.

Christmas At The City with Pics, Continued

This is a new area I designed this year. One I am quite pleased about, if I may so myself. I made the cupcakes from lampshades and expandable insulating foam. The red and green candy are plastic plates hot-glued together. The boxed chocolates are Styrofoam spread with brown silicone house caulking. The chocolate cupcakes have the brown silicone on top of dried foam. The sprinkles are party confetti and small Christmas tree ornaments dusted on before the foam dried. That's not real gumdrops you see, I found a gumdrop garland that I cut apart. And, I think you guessed, the red 'cherries' are tree ornaments placed in the wet foam. The toy soldiers are getting a bit worn, I made them some years ago. They are on the 'do over' list for 2007.

Banisters by entry ways. More controlled chaos.

Parks Department Counter and large wall wreath. I designed this area to follow a more 'natural' decor, as we are, after all, the Parks Dept. The ribbon is just tucked to add movement in the garland. A sort of controlled chaos.

Council Chamber Christmas tree. They get their own. La-Ti-Da, don't you know. I did have to re-decorate this tree. It's a girl vs. guy thing. The guys had trussed the tree, not placed the ribbon on in a flowing garland effect. I wondered if they were going to hold it for ransom, as it been tied up- not dressed up. I wish I had thought to take a before and after pic. It was funny after I got over the disbelief of what I actually saw. I'm glad there's always time for do-overs.

These are large murals painted by me on butcher paper. Sometimes original artwork, sometimes copy-free clip art blown-up on an Art-O-Graph, new every year.