It’s better to give than to receive…

Recently on a forum I belong to, a conversation was started about Christmas gifts, and budgets and all that fun stuff. (Understand please, that on this particular forum, a posting about the shade of blue that the sky is today is enough to cause major eruptions of anger and argument.)

The supposition went thusly: You have $10 per person, and a list of people that included children, adults, relatives, friends and a charity.

What would you buy for each person?

(Not surprisingly, a number of posters chose to stand in front of the gift card display at WaWa on Christmas Eve….)

Others began by listing toys—shopping for kids seemed easier to do at that dollar amount.

Edible gifts were good for the adults often enough. Handmade items worked well, too.

And then, another bunch of posters began by saying they’d be ‘calling the adults in the family and cancelling the gift exchange’ so the extra $10 could be rolled into the kids gifts. And their friends, too. No Gifts For You!

That’s not playing by the rules.

Of course, Christmas magic in the eye of a child is a wondrous thing! I’m no Scrooge. I can and have and do appreciate the wonder and happiness when the child sees that SANTA didn’t fail them.

But. How can one teach a child about giving if they are the only ones getting? How can a child learn about appreciation of the small things (that ONE $10 gift from above), if they are treated yearly to a pile of Christmas gifts whose value rivals that of the salary of a person in a third world country?

How can a child, who possibly threw out the orange their mom packed in their lunch last week, begin to IMAGINE that had they lived in another time and place, that that orange could have been their Christmas gift? (btw, NONE of the children of the posters on this forum would EVER throw out food. They are all angel children. Just so you know.)

If you were to say to this child, “Child, we have $10 to buy a gift for each of the people on this list, what should we get?” don’t you think that the child (especially a younger one) would find  joy shopping Dollar Tree, and be bouncing up and down with excitement, waiting to watch the grown-ups in their lives open their gifts??

Can you imagine them deciding that Grandpa doesn’t need a gift so that they can spend more money on Grandma?

Children are selfless, until we teach them to be selfish.

Now, an exercise. Could YOU shop for everyone on your Christmas list with $15 per person? (I’m not Scrooge, remember??) Not counting taxes or shipping charges, could you find meaningful, unique and desirable gifts for everyone, using that as your budget?

(To keep things honest, if you spent $12.99 on Johnny, the change goes to charity, not to embellish the gift for Janie….)

Can you do it if you ONLY get to shop at Kroger’s?  (Kroger’s is my downfall. I walk through there and $100 jumps out my pocketbook. I begin to think I like to cook. I am fascinated by all of their wondrous international foods. Kroger’s is dangerous.) Well, quilt stores are dangerous, too. But fabric doesn’t go bad.

However, pick your favorite upscale grocery—Wegman’s, Ukrop’s, Harris Teeter. And cross off anything that is perishable and requires freezing or refrigeration—(there goes the easy gift…ice-cream for everyone!) And it doesn’t HAVE to be food.

Could you do it?

PS Thanks everyone, for the well wishes as our two new kitties move into our home. Gandolf? and Roar-y? (Who knows, yet) But they are settling well. Gandolf especially, who has made himself quite at home, and is driving Miss Tatiana to distraction. Roar-y just hides. Pictures….

Things that go bump in the night…

(It’s Halloween week, so it seemed appropriate)… Halloween hasn’t been very much of a big deal in this neighborhood. This year it’s on a Saturday, and I HOPE that means that trick-or-treaters will be coming on the 31st. It’s odd here, in that they MOVE the trick-or-treat day…don’t get it at all….the 31st is All Hallows Eve…not a different day.

(And who knows, maybe this year I will even have trick-or-treaters in COSTUME, not just a bunch of teens in messy t-shirts with rumpled Ukrops bags…)

What DOES go bump in the night around here are the acorns…acorns It sounds like gunfire, a steady machine-gunning of the house; a good stiff wind in the deep dark night can be incredibly disorienting when you think you are alone in the house!

We removed some oak trees two years ago, and left others, but pruned them. Apparently the gentle pin-balling action of the acorns from the branch down, leaf by leaf till they gently and quietly plopped onto the roof has given over to a rapid-fire falling and smashing against the roof! And they fall. Fast. The squirrels can’t keep up with the feasting (…although they try, really, they try.)


(The remains of a squirrel feast on the corner shelf of our gazebo, also known to the local bushy-tailed as “The Squirrel Day Spa”)

I’m expecting other things to go bump in the night, as well.

Our two new kitties (Rory and Thaddeus, maybe? Sebastian and Delos? Dale and Squirrel for the moment) are here …somewhere. They managed on arrival to fit their fuzzy Maine Coon butts under the trundle part of the bed in the guest room. I’m being generous when I say its 5 inches of clearance, but they had to climb thru the bars to even gain that much. And yet they pulled their 11 and 14 lb bodies down there!

IMG_5396 copy IMG_5390 copy

Since then, they have moved to the bottom shelf of the CD case and behind the living room couch. Where they are now, I couldn’t tell you.

But something tells me that in the middle of the night, they will come out to explore the house under cover of darkness…(and they may find Miss Tatiana doesn’t approve…) Things could certainly go bumping around tonight!

Christmas is coming…

…and I am aware that I’ve been slacking… Did you know almost 40% of your holiday prep time is GONE gone gone… and here I am, neglecting the posting of my “Christmas is coming, the sky is falling!” blogs…

My excuses, such as they are, are as follows:

  • I’ve been hanging out with friends.
  • I’ve been traveling.
  • I’ve been taking photos (Almost 600 images that I have shot over the past few weeks are grinding around in the computer waiting for processing so you can buy them!)
  • I’ve been fondling my quilting fabrics, thinking, planning, plotting….
  • I’ve been buying out the book section at Goodwill, so I have many more excuses not to do housework.
  • Oh, and housework.
  • And work-work.

Yet, time waits for no woman to prepare for the holidays. I DO have my Christmas cards already. They aren’t signed or addressed or stamped, mind you, but they are HERE!

I have the gifts for that list of ‘just a little something’ people almost completed, and I do have a ‘short-list’ of gifts for the majority of the family. Which is really a SHORT list this year (No, not the family–I haven’t off’ed anyone! Just the quantity of gift$ per person…)

The biggie is always Timmy. As I usually get one REALLY GOOD IDEA. And then, his birthday occurs on December 2 and I end up giving him the REALLY GOOD gift then, and have to hit the drawing board again….


Of course, since these two beauties will be joining our family on Sunday, I may just buy him stock in lint rollers—meet …well, Nameless and Nameless Jr.- (25 combined pounds of FUR)

I posted a poll last month. You responded that you feel that handmade is better. You preferred to give and receive thoughtful (and possibly handmade) gifts.

So, share with me, and the thousands (lol) of other dedicated readers…What are some of your favorite gifts you’ve received –and why?

And, one last thing…if you are looking for a bit of spiritual whimsy to add to your holiday stocking, check these out…my brother’s newest cool venture!



(This post was supposed to be about our great adventures in New York this past weekend. That will come another day.)

We didn’t even want a cat. Not at that moment. We were newly married, living in a rented house, and more importantly –cat sitting for Michelle. The resident cat at our home was Miss Bugly. She was not—um, well (no offense, Michelle)—lets just say old age didn’t mellow her. She was a grumpy old lady.

So, we didn’t want a cat.

But when someone tells you a tale, of how when driving home in the icy, wet night, he spots a dead kitten on the side of the road, and goes home, upset, and then gets back in his car and out into the night to go back to find the kitten, and when he does, he is not dead, but so sadly abused, and he asks if you would take him as he already is over his limit at 15 cats (23? 38?)…how do you say NO?

Joe brought us this little scared, long-haired, scared, bushy-tailed, orange, scared, copper-penny eyed, scared abused boy.

For a good number of weeks we didn’t know if there had been amateurish attempt at de-clawing or if he had simply dug himself out of whatever he was locked in. His paws were scabbed and he had no claws when he came.

He came with this sock. Hamish 001

He took to Timmy immediately and it soon became apparent he was Timmy’s cat, although he bonded with me. Beyond that, he came out after much prodding for approximately 6 people. Everyone else was sure we were delusional when we stated we had an orange cat.

In that first home he loved to sleep on the bar in the closet that held hangers (Yes, the skinny round one…quite hysterical to watch him aim for it)

Quickly however, he was banned from the bedroom because he did not come in to lie at the foot of the bed, nor did he even simply want to sleep on your head.

He felt himself on duty, as Skimbleshank was in the TS Elliot poems. He spent the entire night on a routine patrol of the bedroom. Up, over and across every surface, continually. There was no sleep in our household.

We moved into our new home, and Miss Bugly moved back to Michelle’s, and our new bedroom door was thought to be a battering ram that he must destroy, in order to rescue and be with us.

From the earliest light (4 or 5 am on), he would begin by hollering at us, a crescendo of wails and pitiful song; then his paws would appear, pulling on the bottom edge of the door, rattling it loose. When that didn’t work (and it didn’t) he would begin with a running leap and attempt to use the door knob. Repeatedly. He KNEW that was the way in to rescue us. See?

door 2 door 3

(You may need to click on these to see the determination with which he applied himself to rescuing us from the closed door.)

There were nights I can recall Timmy sitting on the floor in the hallway with the boy, holding him, trying to calm him.

Eventually, we decided that what he needed was a pet. So we found a beautiful black little lady and brought her home to be his companion, so we could sleep nights.

(She couldn’t be bothered with him… and he didn’t get the message. It made for entertaining evenings.)

For the most part, it did stop the attempts at breaking down the door. But when you opened the door in the morning, you were sure to find him, sitting, waiting; determined to anticipate where you would head next, he would run forward and back, checking on your progress.

He was loud—he didn’t meow, but instead he chirped. The number of tales that could be told, have been told, will be told,… well, he was a funny boy. Timmy has many funny thoughts over on his blog. And there are other little stories and pictures here on this blog, if you look in the tags for KITTIES.

His name was Hamish McCloud Green.IMG_1482 copy

But we called him Hamish the Red, or Hamish the Bad, or Hamish the Scared (or Fuzz Butt….)

(about) 10-31-2002—–10-13-2009

The house will not be the same without him. Our hearts wont be either.waiting1

He’ll rest just outside this window— his favorite spot to watch the world, dream about being brave enough to go out there and chase the squirrels, and to wait for his people to return. He’ll have his sock with him. (Timmy posted some of his own thoughts on his blog here ….)



…just random bunches of fleeting thoughts…(they get more entertaining as you go through them….)

This past Sunday, thanks to someone linking my blog post, I had my all time high of readers. Almost 300 people visited this site that day, almost 500 over the course of the weekend—and I got ONE response. (from my husband) Just curious, folks. At the bottom of every post, there is a place to leave a comment…

Have you tried and it’s too difficult? Do you have to do something like register? (NOT be rude, I just sometimes don’t realize that it’s so difficult, because “I” am signed in….)  I totally get not responding to everything I read. It just seems like pretty low percentages…

Three or four people did search out my email and take the time to privately comment….which seems like much more bother….

A few people have asked me how to Subscribe to the blog. That makes me happy. (Will they comment though?? Ah, that is the question! LOL) To subscribe there is a column to the right, titled “Subscribe Here…” If you choose Entries RSS, you can subscribe via whatever Reader you use (I have a Google homepage, with a tab set up just for blogs I follow. Whenever someone updates, it shows up. There are other types of readers that I know nothing about. But, that is the button to get you started! )

More importantly, that little countdown clock I mentioned I had on my homepage indicates that there are only 90 days left now till Christmas!!  Did my post of 10 days ago shock your system into thinking about the holidays? Have you done any list making? Bought any gifts?

I  have!  Sitting in my studio are almost all the makings for the gifts for my employees and co-workers, my quilting buddies and stocking stuffer-ish things for the family in general. Obviously since they all READ the blog (let me re-phrase that… I guess they read it…lol.) I can’t really say what it is… but I’ll take a pix and post it after Christmas—then you can use this idea next year!

And, because he is a cute, but dimwitted creature, who has for a friend a cute, but somewhat prickly creature, here is a story about our cats. IMG_3740

(Hamish, ‘the Red’ or ‘the Bad’ or ‘the Scared’, hiding in the vanity in the master bathroom, because of a thunderstorm. He opens the cabinet door with his paw, and climbs in to cower behind my personal products)


(Miss Tatiana, with evidence of a recent kill beside her)

You have to go to my husband’s blog to read the story of the little excitement at our house the other night around midnight…

Anyway, back to the comments thing. (I know, let it go!! LOL)

I opened my Photo website up the other day, and have had some serious inquiries from people interested in purchasing my art!! Yippee!!!! And, although there have been in the past week or so, over 5,000 hits, there has been ONE comment.

So, to summarize. Silly Cats. Christmas—it’s coming, ready or not. Subscribing and commenting. Buy photographic art as Christmas gifts from home in the comfort of your jammies.

Remember, comments are like virtual HUGS. High fives! Or, as Sally Field once said, it shows, “ You like me. You really LIKE me!”

(I promise to come up with a more entertaining post next time. Really.)

Where is your Christmas card?

I know. It’s Sunday. It’s Christmas eve. You are sitting there, wondering, ‘where is my card from Trish and Timmy?’ You haven’t wondered? I’m hurt 😉

The only response I can offer? Last year’s card wiped me out! How to top that has left me with no ideas, totally drained of creativity. And so, as I head off to work in a few minutes (yes, on Christmas EVE) I decided to do what any self-respecting photographer would do.

I took some Christmas photos, and you can choose your OWN card!
They all come with the best of Christmas wishes, with thoughts of joyful laughter, with the spirit of peace and love, and the hopes for a happy healthy holiday season and a bright new year!

Peace and Love, Trish, Timmy, kids and kitties

Has Hamish been good?

This honeycomb ornament belonged to my grandma Elaine

An icy, snowy sled

Miss Tatiana was a good girl, Santa

Our Tree

Christmas Cards recieved

Ornaments on display

Our Kitties

I realized I have shown only one photo of these two sillies, and it really wasn’t too flattering (although it was SOMEWHAT true to their personalities.)

Mr. Big Eyes here is Hamish The Red, or Hamish McCloud. (William Wallaces friend in Braveheart)
Or Hamish the BAD!!!! He came to us in 2003, found by a friend of Timmy’s out on the road during an ice storm. He was scrawny, and had worn every nail down to the quick….his pads were bloody, and we were unsure if he had been declawed or something.

He obviously had gotten himself out of some very bad place, and to this day he is skittish with strangers, and insists on opening the cabinets
in the bathrooms. Closed doors in general bother him.
Miss Tatiana was brought home in the spring of 2004, as a pet for Hamish, in a last ditch effort to get him to leave us alone at night. We thought he needed a friend.

It turns out that Tatiana has no use for Hamish, and Hamish considers her less than entertaining. He still would prefer our attention over hers.
They do get on well enough; they share food, and toys, but don’t spend too much time together.
Miss Tatiana named herself. I tried names day after day, attempting to find one that she would respond to, and when I asked if her name might be Tatiana, she came out from behind the couch and over to me.

These two kitties certainly make our house a home! Posted by Picasa