Monday, December 22, 2008

Monday Dog Ornament Blogging

It's hard to believe, but here we are, just a few days before Christmas, and fortunately, in the gifting department ... both of us are almost finished shopping (at least I am) and for me, only the wrapping remains and preparing and shopping for the Christmas Eve nosh fest we have planned. I tell you, if cold weather puts people in the spirit of the holiday, they should have been delighted, but for the rest of us who are less fond of dangerous wind chills, high winds and blowing snow, it was a miserable weekend weather wise. My sister took me on our annual final shopping blitz and when we set out, it wasn't too bad out --a bit chilly but not brutal-- but by the time we emerged from Target not long later, the wind had kicked up and was blowing snow all over and just plain chilling us to the bone! But since this has become an annual outing for us (which allows me to finish up without Fernymoss around), we decided to brave it and also stop by Big Lots and see what was left there, just for fun. I ended up finding quite a few fun little stocking stuffer items (mostly food items and fun doodads for Fernymoss) ... I also splurged and bought myself an electric warming throw blanket to have when we're watching TV after the heat has cycled down for the night. I tried it out last while we were watching How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and it's a welcome addition for lounging around! I'm glad I broke our rule (e.g. no personal purchases of potential gifts after Thanksgiving) and got the usual scolding from Fernymoss, but I just couldn't pass it by!

On Sunday, our high temperature was -2F with a windchill of -17-20F due to the high winds, which also undid all the sidewalk shoveling Fernymoss had slaved to accomplish on Friday after our most recent sleet-ice-snow event ... So Sunday he set out to clear them again, only to discover that due to the cold, it was impossible to get all the way down to the walk due to refreezing. So at least they're not slippery and are passable again, and we just hope we get a bit warmer so that we can put the ice melt down and let it do its work.... But that looks to be (from the forecast) no earlier than Thursday (+27 predicted or Friday, +31), so here we are still in the deep deep freeze. Needless to say, we only ventured out Sunday to go to our nearby supermarket to stock up on what we need for the Christmas Eve get together with my sister and her boyfriend, a very small family gathering at which we exchange a few gifts, have some good food and wine and mark a very low key celebration. I'll have more details on that Wednesday night, so check back later in the week

Now, on to the dog ornament blogging! The two ornaments featured in this post are new this year, and Fernymoss picked them up a while back where he works now ... we had vowed no new ornaments this year (we have way more than will fit on the tree!), but he couldn't resist these and a couple more you'll see soon. I call this first shot "Terrier Ensemble," because though it features a clearly terrier breed (we think it's supposed to be a wirehair Jack Russell), you can also get a nice view of some of her neighboring ornaments ... namely, one of our (many) blown glass old fashioned baubles, one of our set of golden pine cones and one of my favorites, our cuckoo clock ornament. There are always stories about how we acquired certain ornaments, and this one is no exception.

Back in 2005, on December 22 or 23 (I don't remember which) during one of my many trips for work, I got delayed for several hours in the Denver airport ... due to a snow delay (no surprise!). So I was reduced to wandering through some shops to try to while away the time before my flight ... Now if you've ever been in the Denver airport, there are a fair amount of shops, though most are ones I'd rarely (if ever) enter, but happily I spotted a Discovery Channel Store, which kept me entertained for the better part of an hour or so. Also fortuitously, they had marked down their glass ornaments by 50% (sounded great until I saw the original price points!), so I picked up a few that I found particularly pretty and worthy to go on the tree. That little shopping spree ended up with a rather pricey total (I think it was like $30-40 for about 5 ornaments), but now we're glad these are in our collection, because I've never seen comparable ones since. That's where the cuckoo clock, our smooth hair Jack Russell Terrier (not pictured here, but to come), our frosted pickle, our peacock and a moon/star combo which has since gotten broken. So, in the pure sense of a souvenir ("memory" in French), I'll always remember when and where I got these and they always get a prominent spot on the tree!

It's easy to see why this particular little girl came home to our house, isn't it? It clearly reminds me of times when Pepa would be working a favorite bone, put her paws over it to guard it, and took a little snooze in that position. So, short of finding another ornament that is closer to a more realistic depiction of our dear departed Pepa, this will have to do for now. Close enough for me, though and we'll always remember Pepa in future years when we hang this ornament in its prominent place....

I'm sure that all of you reading have ornaments of which you are --for one reason or another-- particularly fond, and if you'd like to share a story or two in the comments, we'd be delighted to read them! As I said in a recent previous post, we are firm believers in the idea that the decorations on the Christmas Tree are a form of very personal expression, and probably tell a lot about the person who chooses them. As much as I admire Martha Stewart (and other designer types), I can recall looking at her Macy's trees in the past, and frankly, they left me feeling a bit cold ... very artistic --indeed gorgeous-- constructions, but oh, so clearly designerly. I guess that's fine for folks with a lot of money and no time to indulge their own creativity in decorating, but for something that comes around but once a year, we are traditionalists and prefer the more clearly personal --even eclectic-- touch. Call me old fashioned or even a curmudgeon, but the finished tree should reflect the people who decorated it in the house, because after all, that's the fun part of having a Christmas Tree in the first place ... at least as far as we are concerned! So, from here on this week, look forward to more of our collection yet to appear here.... On Christmas Eve, I'll post our menu for our little get together and more of the decorations we have up (which are far less numerous than in previous years, due to our "dial down" approach to the holiday this year).

I'll confess for both of us, that due to the events of the past couple of weeks, we're much less excited and enthusiastic this year than in the past, but we're also vowing to make the best of it and try to enjoy at least a special couple of days together ... I hope we'll manage to pull that off despite it all.


Gail said...

Dear IVG,

Of course you guys are not as excited as you might have's been a rough few weeks. But you can't tell it by your tree or your gifting! I love the ornaments you shown...Pepe was remarkable and you won't ever forget her! Her ornament is a treasure!

I am totally unprepared for the holiday...we brought down boxes of ornaments and the ones that mean the most to us are still in the very cold attic along with our stockings! How I over looked them is a puzzle but the son can climb up there and retrieve them for me!

Have a good day! Be careful out there!


FARfetched said...

Hey IVG… I'm one of those that need a dose of actual winter conditions to get into the holiday mood. But we've pretty much finished up the shopping and what decorating is going to get done this year. With all the rain we had, and the current cold, the outside isn't going to get done. Maybe I'll install hooks around the eaves come spring, then we can just lift the lights into place using a pole (and take 'em down the same way).

That puppy has got one heck of a bone to chew on… what, did he catch a dinosaur or something? The other pic looks more like a scotty to me, rather than a Jack Russell Terror (sic). 'Course, I'm no dog authority… I have friends for that. ;-)

Roses and Lilacs said...

IVG, I love the photos. The colored light reflecting off other ornaments is so pretty.

Last year I found a collie ornament which was special. I agree with you, always choose the things you love to surround yourself with.
Merry Christmas

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi Gail,
Yes, we're still pretty somber here, and now that Fernymoss has a cold that I'll inevitably get too, today was pretty dreary. But we did have some festive memories tonight after he got home from work (he had to close late).

Having the presents wrapped certainly adds a lot to the overall look. We'll definitely take some pictures before they all disappear though! I'll probably get at least 2 posts up on Wed to catch up on the ornaments, along with our menu for the night.

Good luck finding those lost items! Sounds like a good job for your son! I always got put to work doing something when I was home on breaks too...

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hey dere, FAR,
I can skip the cold personally, but a little snow is always nice. I remember one year when I lived in FL, I flew up for the holiday and when I got out of the plane it was -22F (actual!), and I was ready to turn around and go back!

We didn't get anything up on the porch, just lack of spirit I guess. We did stick the big plastic Santa and puppies outside but haven't turned him on yet... we better get on that soon!

The pup does have a big bone to handle, but that's why she's so cute ... take my word the other is no scottie (they're either black or white). If not a JRT, it's a wirehair fox terrier. I know my terriers, hehe.

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi Marnie,
Thanks, and glad you like the photos! Sometimes it's hard to get good focus using the ambient setting, but it's so much better for capturing the reflections that get lost with the flash.

Glad you found a collie ornament! I'm always on the lookout for cool dog ones, and if you search a little on the web, it's amazing how many sites there are specialized in selling just those!