Saturday, December 25, 2010

. . . and to all a good night!

Great Christmas here in Kansas! We slept until a reasonable hour and then attacked the presents under the tree. We balanced out the remainder of the day by eating way too much and plowing through several episodes of Dexter on DVD.

A couple of my favorite parts of Christmas:

The wreath that the kids and I made out of clothespins in Hawaii. We use ours to display cards received throughout the season:

And the stockings my grandmother knitted for the kids:

Each year I love shopping for stocking stuffers. I keep 2 bags going in the weeks leading up to Christmas and toss in goodies as I find them. Then on Christmas Eve, Fred and I wrap what we can of it in special paper (you know, so the kids won't wonder why Santa is using the same paper that we are) and fill up the stockings, which are the first thing the kids head for on Christmas morning. This year's stocking stuffers included some yummy stuff (chocolate-covered espresso beans and a few Reeses products), some sensible stuff (hand sanitizer, pencils, and printer ink, some fun stuff (books and movies I find on sale), and some bizarre stuff (Battle Hamsters).

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Fred is downstairs finishing up some last-minute wrapping, and the kids are waiting upstairs for us to come up to the man-cave for our marathon Dexter viewing session. I just wanted to pop in here quickly to wish everybody a Merry Christmas!

We're having a low-key holiday and are mostly just happy to all be home together:

I thought we were going to have a white Christmas this year. It briefly looked like this from my office window:

But it mostly looked like this:

And then it all just kind of washed away.

Annabelle just came in to inform me that our friends in Kentucky ARE getting a white Christmas. Hmmm . . . they had one here last year. Maybe I really am bad luck when it comes to weather?

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

New meaning to the phrase "cat's pajamas"

Eddie likes to burrow down under the covers on our bed during the night. He hangs out there for a while and then slinks out when he gets too warm. Well, last night he was under the covers between me and Fred. I was lying on my side with my back to him, blissfully unaware that he was even there . . . until he tried to crawl out and wound up crawling into my pajama top. All of a sudden, I had a frantic cat trying to make his way out the neck hole of my top! Somehow I managed to get him out of there and went right back to sleep, and Fred slept through the whole thing.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Hunkered down

Oh, lordy, it's cold out there! Today has been fiercely windy--right now, for example, it's 24 degrees with 24 m.p.h. winds. Yuck. The kids and I ventured out briefly around noon to hit the commissary for a few much-needed items, but aside from that we've all stayed inside.

Mike got home Thursday night and went shopping with me yesterday. One of the things we did was stop by Oklahoma Joe's, which is this amazing BBQ place in Kansas City. It's in an honest-to-goodness gas station. Fred and I tried it out last weekend--I couldn't believe I stood in line 30 minutes to eat in a gas station, but it was so worth it. Anyway, Mike and I called in a carry-out order yesterday and brought home smoked chicken gumbo for last night's supper and 2 racks of ribs for tonight's. This morning I tossed the ribs in my crockpot with a little bit of water, and they were just perfect by the time we got around to eating them.

This afternoon I sat in the man cave with the guys. They were watching the Army-Navy game, and I was using it as an excuse to sit down for a couple hours with my knitting. I cast off the collar of the sweater that I started a year ago, and now all I have to do is graft the underarm seams closed and weave in my loose ends. I'm hoping to wear it to the library holiday party next Friday.

I had a little excitement after supper, but it turned out to be nothing. I was taking the trash out through the basement so I wouldn't have to go down the back stairs in this horrible wind. Our basement, which is usually fairly toasty even if it is creepy, was FREEZING! And then I saw these glittery flakes floating in the air. I thought for a moment that perhaps I was seeing some sort of supernatural happening, but then I realized that, no, it was SNOWING in our basement. Turns out the wind had blown a window open (the window opens inward like a door). So much for my spooky encounter!

Wednesday, December 08, 2010


Ha ha, you stupid computer, who's laughing now? Me! That's who!

I did it. It wasn't easy, but I did it. I reformatted that sucker (multiple times) and reinstalled the operating system. I am now downloading 5 years worth of Windows updates and will soon start reinstalling the basic software.

One thing that was immensely helpful to me in this whole horrendous process was the Ultimate Boot CD. It is a set of free programs including the Western Digital diagnostic tools. (I tried getting the WD tools from their website, but it was an exercise in frustration, as the instructions and the experience seemed to have little to do with each other.) It was this set of tools, however, that assured me that the hard drive was in fact fine and allowed me to do that one final reformat.

I think the CD drive might be on its last legs. Reinstallation of the operating system hung up at disc 2 (of 16), so I wound up plugging an external CD drive into a USB port and installing from that. Worked like a charm!

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Caution: hall-decking in progress

The big news from around here this weekend is that Fred and Annabelle put up our Christmas tree. We established a couple years ago that Mike and I are not very enthusiastic tree decorators, so it kind of became their thing. They did a very nice job:

That's not the best picture though. If I use my flash, you can't tell that the tree lights are on. So I did it without flash, using the fireworks mode on my camera.

I've spent the past 2 days engaged in an activity I figured would take me 2 hours at most. Now that I have a new desktop computer, I wanted to reformat the hard drive on the old one. Well, I reformatted it, all right. I reformatted it so hard that apparently it doesn't know it's a computer anymore. So now I'm busily tracking down fixes and trying this and that. It's kind of become a point of pride that I SHALL conquer this stupid computer.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Let there be lights!

Hello, again! I took a few days off to recover from blogging every day in November. I also had to recover from the cold from hell, which hit me like a ton of bricks on Saturday and stayed with me through Tuesday. I slept until 10 Wednesday morning but have felt pretty good since then. Tuesday night I swabbed the inside of my nose with some of the medicine we give the cat when he gets a cold, and I swear I think that's what did the trick.

Tonight was the official kick off to the holiday season here on post. We live right across the street from the park where they were having the big tree lighting, so Annabelle and I took the dog for a walk to check out the scene. I took my camera along to capture some of the festivities and decorations.

This is the Thomas Custer house, which is just down the street from us. It is a DVQ (Distinguished Visitors Quarters), and sometimes you can tell when foreign DVs are visiting from the flags that hang outside. A few weeks ago, for example, we saw the Israeli flag flying there. Anyway, here it is all decked for the season:

They had carriage rides around the park tonight:

Annabelle made a green friend:

We got bored waiting around for the park lights to come on, so we took Ginger and walked around the parade field to see those houses. I liked this one:

Just a little while ago, Fred and I went out to see the lights in the park. Here is the chapel on the other side of the park:

Another nicely decorated home:

And the gazebo in the middle of the park:

Very pretty!