Category Archives: Special Days

January Hijack by Hobbes

Hobbes here. Jillian is a bit stressed over a litany of things happening in her life so I told her I’d take over her post this month—actually, I hijacked it. 😀 I know I haven’t helped her out much lately other than to sit on her head in the mornings to wake her up, knock things off the table for her to pick up and constantly assist her in exercising by having her get up and down to open the door to let me out on the porch or back into the house. I’m pretty helpful that way. 

We’re in a new year now but man, did we have some adventure—well, I did—in December. 

It started the month the Sunday after that weekend they call Thanksgiving when the humans brought in the tree. I love, love the tree. I don’t know why they don’t leave it up all the time. They put this brown blanket under it and I love snoozing under the limbs with the scent of pine— or whatever that tree is—in my nose. Maybe a fir? Doesn’t matter. I love it. I never mess with the pretty baubles on it. I’m dignified like that. 

Wrapping boxes is another thing Jillian does while that tree is up. Don’t know why. It’s kind of a weird habit. She hides them under the tree like she thinks no one will see them there. She also gets a bit peeved at me while I help. I mean, she needs that tape and the scissors batted to the floor, right? And the pen she uses to write on sticky little sheets of paper is just so tempting. It rolls quite nicely. Biting the paper and sitting on it to cut it for her is also fun but she fusses at me to get off of it. Testy woman. 

The biggest adventure of the month was this small human coming to visit with his parents. He squealed every time he saw me and chased me. Little terror, he is. I tell ya. I’d get the nerve to venture out of hiding and, as soon as he spied me, he was after me. Crazy little human. He also couldn’t say Hobbes so he called me Bob. Bob? Oh the indignity. 

They stayed for what seemed forever but Jillian said was only seven days. God created the world in seven days but I bet his seven were more peaceful than mine even with all the work he was doing. 

Anyway, they eventually went home and I was able to enjoy free rein in the house again without living in fear of a tiny human chasing me and yelling, “Bob.”

Life is sort of back to normal now. They just took my tree outside after Epiphany so, I’m sad about that and about the brown blanket being back in that cabinet at the end of the hallway. 

Here’s a picture of me hiding on Jillian’s bed on my favorite blanket, with the door closed, so the Bob fanatic would leave me alone. 

Happy New Year to all. Hobbes

Gallery

I Finally Found It!

This gallery contains 6 photos.

So this is December, another year almost over and we have had snow. Not a lot, at least not where I live, just a dusting of the powdery stuff but enough to look pretty. But boy, it has been cold … Continue reading

Merry Christmas Trees from The Richards-DAR House

Jillian here. Happy December. As some of you may know, I am a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution. My ancestors on that side of the family came over in 1690. We’re from the Gresham family in England with Sir Thomas and Sir John as two of our illustrious ancestors– they contributed greatly to the City of London. My ancestor, another Thomas Gresham, fought in Washington’s Army in the Revolutionary War. He was one of the brave souls at Valley Forge.

This past weekend, 14 members of my DAR chapter in Pensacola rode over for the Christmas tour of the Richards-DAR House. It is a beautiful home built in 1860 for Captain Charles Richards, a sea captain. It is 10,000 square feet of gorgeousness. It has a Baccarat crystal chandelier in the dining room and another in a bedroom, Carrara marble fireplaces and a cantilevered stair case, among other treasures and items of beauty. It’s now owned and maintained by the four DAR chapters of the Mobile area.

Since there is so much there, I decided to focus my post on the Christmas trees in the house this time of year. So, I am attaching those pictures here. To find more about the house, click here.

We had cookies and lemonade in the courtyard after our tour and then lunch at a local seafood place. An all around fun day full of love of history, Christmas and the company of friends.

Merry Christmas to all who celebrate.

Nanovember

Winter draws ever nearer here in the UK and the exceptionally mild weather we have enjoyed slowly creeps down the thermometer to normal temps for November. Five days ago, the back garden was bathed in warm sunshine. We took advantage to be out there tidying, weeding, putting pots to bed, mowing the lawn and pruning a few shrubs. This was followed by mid-morning coffee enjoyed on the patio – a first in November for us. Today, the difference is apparent. The sun has reached a low in the sky meaning the back garden is now in permenant shade until next March. I try to keep smiling and keep busy. It is the only way I can cope as I hate winter and the cold.

And busy is what this past month has been as with no excuse to spend time outside, I keep writing. Writing, writing, writing for NaNo (I’ve decided to call this month Nanovember!) a 10-week writing comp, and other items including blogs, reviews and next week an article for my art group’s website. And, of course, painting, with my latest effort framed and hanging on the wall at my art group’s venue. I am pleased with it and have begun a larger version, although at present that is not going well and I will have to start again. As long as it is ready for next year’s exhibition, I am in no rush. Called “Clifton Autumn” it is of the famous Bristol landmark Clifton Suspension Bridge.

It is also the time of year when things have a habit of going wrong for us. Two weeks ago, our new large-screen TV broke down yet again, the second time in less than twelve months. As you can imagine, Dave was not happy. It was taken away to be repaired a week ago on the promise they will give it priority. We are still awaiting its return. I would rather the supplier replace it, Dave wants to give it a second chance. As he is the one who watches it most, he is a huge sports fan especially cricket and rugby, it is his decision. Meanwhile the bedroom TV, small screen, half the size of the other, is assigned to the lounge so we are not without. Unless we hear today, I feel a rather irate phone call will take place.

Yesterday evening Dave was in a rare mood to go non-food shopping, which we did. Among other items, we purchased a set of 3 stoneware casserole dishes of different sizes. Not cheap but needed in order I can stock the freezer with ready-cooked meals for over the Christmas holiday as I have taken to bulk cooking with my Instant Pot, which I love. Back home, I took the packaging off to find the largest dish had a long crack along the bottom which was not apparent when we took it off the shelf. This morning, Dave is back at the mall to get a refund.

We are waiting for the next thing to happen. It always comes in threes for us. My money is on the heating boiler, his on the tumble dryer or washing machine breaking down. I hope it is none of these but all three are getting on in years, a bit like the two of us!

Did I mention Christmas? Yes, it is all around us already. Shops full of festive food and Christmas ornaments. Television advertisements full on. And near to us, a house has its outside decorations up and lit at night already. And why not. It brings delight and cheer to the people to see, it is something to look forward to in the dark and dreary days. My mother has said she wants to come to us for the holiday. We would love this as she has not been here for 2 years but I fear our stairs will be too much for her. Dave has said if she comes, he will buy a Santa outfit to wear when we go and collect her. She would love that.

Meanwhile, I wait with bated breath for the carols to start, and whilst waiting, I must get on and paint this year’s Christmas card. I hope I haven’t left it too late to get it to the printers in time. Wish me luck.

Kit Domino’s websites and blogs

August Musings

Here we are already in the middle of August. It seems unbelievable to think in a few weeks’ time we will be in the ’ember months of the year. Before you know it Christmas will be upon us again. It has already arrived in some of the stores here in the UK, and the children haven’t even returned to school yet from their summer break. But enough of that.

I missed posting last month; my apologies – major meltdown due to extreme heat! Heat that has only today started to climb back down the thermometer, and we have rain. Not a lot, admittedly. We do need plenty here as, like many countries, we are in a drought situation. Keeping the flowers and plants alive in the back garden has been hard work, but we’ve made the most of our grey water from the kitchen, about the only real exercise I’ve had, backwards and forwards several times a day. The vegetable garden and annual flowerbed at the front has, I’m sad to say, been a failure because of lack of rain; we have avoided using the hosepipe. As a consequence, we’ve written this year off on the gardening front and back, because the back garden will be given another make over.

The reason being, we have demolished our large koi pond and intend turning the area into another flowerbed. Whilst we both had a lot of pleasure from the fish, which had grown huge, it was becoming increasingly hard work for Dave to keep it going despite so-say modern filters and UV lamps and fitting a new pump each year – not cheap. We were plagued with pond weed, the water never clear. The fish loved it; we didn’t. We agreed back last October that we would run the pond down as each winter we invariably lost a fish or two. Needless to say, this past winter they all survived.

One of the koi (28lbs)

We gave the fish, some as long as 2-3 ft and weighing many lbs, to a local koi keeper so we know they would be going to a good home. Catching them was another matter. All three of us got soaked! Then
began the fun part, demolition of the pond walls. The pond was/is over 8ft deep, with half of it above ground, so we were hoping the bricks and blocks would fill that below ground level. Miscalculation. We now have to dispose of a lot of rubble. This Dave will do in the autumn when the weather is a lot cooler.

Before
After
Demolition begins

The extreme heat here has meant I have not done a lot of art. A special request for a contemporary flower painting was completed and I began working up one for my students to copy at my next workshop at the end of September. They had requested a waterfall, so waterfalls I did. Several of them. It became clear to me that each one was a little too adventurous for some of my group, but I finally came up with a much simpler version that hopefully will stretch them without any duress.

“Pastel Pastures”
“Autumn Waterfall”

Other than these efforts, I have to admit nothing has been done. Hardly any writing because my office was too hot even with a fan running. No housework other than the basics – no point with all the doors and windows open; little laundry to wash – thank goodness for kaftans to lounge about it in all day. On the plus side, we’ve spent most days and long into the evenings in the garden. Our patio is in shade from midday so it has been comfortable, and I have been able to enjoy uninterrupted reading, getting through 5 books, unusual for me in a short space of time.

We treated the month as a long holiday, being exceedingly lazy and relaxed. It was fun while it lasted; now it’s back to normality. I hope your month has been good too.

Kit Domino’s websites and blogs

August!

Jillian here. Can you believe it’s already August and will be in the double digits of August tomorrow? Where is the time going?

I have completed (with my editor) edits on my newest book which will be under my other name. I hope to make a series of this one, but I am having a dickens of a time figuring out a cover plan. I used a lot of local places in the story and lots of local ghost lore with the historical buildings and areas being visited by the heroine. I don’t want a cluttered cover and am not sure about the new covers out there for cozy mysteries and so I am just at a standstill with the book. Gotta figure it out! LOL!

My mom and sister both are August babies so I actually went out shopping (!) for their gifts last week. I am not a shopper at all so this was big.

Premier league football (soccer for the USA crowd) has started back and I am cheering on the Liverpool team as I have for over 20 years.

The air conditioning has been out at my office and we are sweltering. Have had my fans going and windows open– a small breeze is always an “ahhh” moment. We have had two estimates for a new unit and waiting on a 3rd. Over $8,000.00 is what we’re looking to have to spend. UGH! But it has to be done. We’ve had some rain too so that helps cool it off. It’s decision time, though.

The best news of the month is that my husband will finish his cancer treatment this week and we can’t wait for him to ring that bell on Friday. We have kept it on the down-low on FB as he didn’t want all his extended family to tell the whole town where he is from. A small town in Alabama where he only had 18 people in his graduating class. He hates even when his sisters call to check on him so he sure didn’t want the whole town to know. 🙂 (and I’ve now told the whole blogger-verse!)

Happy August to all!

My Sweet Baboo!

Jubilee Fun

If there is one thing the British do well, it’s pomp and circumstance and having fun. The Queen’s 70th Jubilee was no exception. The crowds in London loved it. As did people up and down the country holding street parties, house parties, beacon lighting etc, the celebrations lasting a lot longer than the 2-day bank holiday assigned for the occasion. During the week beforehand, many town and parish councils put on their own celebratory Jubilee Tea Parties for local residents, and I was fortunate to be invited to one at the centre where my art club meets.

The room was strung out with Union Jack bunting, the groaning food table laid out in temptation just inside the main door to the room. All the cakes on offer were homemade by volunteers, including a very large one iced in the Union Jack flag. On entering, I couldn’t see anyone I knew, even though I arrived a good half-hour after the start time. I hate that, being a stranger amongst many others in company they know. Years ago I would have turned and fled.. A gentleman stepped up, offered his hand, introducing himself to me as a local MP, not one I knew as the centre is in a different area to where I live, not that it mattered. Nice chap, asked my connection to the centre, so I was able to proudly tell him I had painted several of the pictures hanging around the room.

The choice of cake was too much to decide so I gathered myself a cup of tea and joined a small group of people I did not know at a table. This might not sound very much to you, but for me, doing such a thing is a big affair for a shy, introverted lady. Normally I would have headed for the nearest empty table, of which there was only one, all the other 20 or so were full.

Having settled into conversation, enjoying the music in the background (all from the 1950s, which I love), two people arrived from my art group and beckoned me to join them at the empty table. Within ten minutes, 10 other members arrived. Back I went to the cake table to choose, made all the more difficult because the lady serving offered me multiple slices of anything I wanted. I love cake but resisted the temptation, enjoyed only a large slice of lemon drizzle cake with another cup of tea.

The atmosphere was jovial, friendly, and noisy. There was also a small competition in which one had to guess the years in which various photos of the queen were taken. The prize, a large box of chocolates. I didn’t partake as I did not want the chocolates, but did help my art friend Jeanette with guessing some of the years.

Talking of photos, it was only nearer the end of the occasion I thought to take a few photographs, so sadly the cake table is virtually empty. It was as I took a few shots I realised everyone had dressed in red, white and blue or various combinations of the three, something I never gave a thought to when dressing to come out; there was me dressed in a black skirt and top with a bright green jacket. Doh…

Over the Jubilee weekend Dave and I stayed home. There was no street party here, although many residents had their own in back gardens. It was enjoyable listening to them. Not far from me is our local sports playing field where the council had put on a free festival for residents on both the Saturday and Sunday. The music was loud but not disruptive, and most enjoyable. The festivities culminated in a spectacular firework show to music which the whole of our town must have heard if not seen. They were tremendous, some of the best I’ve been fortunate to witness. Well done Patchway Council.

All-in-all, a lovely time had by all for our Queen.

The following week at art group, a note and a small box of chocolates had been left for me as a thank you, by Jeanette – apparently she won the prize!

Kit Domino’s websites and blogs

A Month of Celebrations…

It’s been a great month with lots happening in my little corner of paradise 🙂  There have been parties, new cars, cinema trips, a wedding: it’s really good to be venturing out in the big bad world again.

It was lovely to catch up with Kit recently when we were invited, along with other members of our writing group, to celebrate one of our members’ 90th birthday. What a super time we had, too – great conversation, fabulous food, a lovely happy atmosphere – and the birthday girl, Rosemary (the beautiful lady with the silver bob), had a day to remember. She’s amazing and still very much a creative, despite some health and mobility issues. Her energy and enthusiasm has always inspired us and continues to do so. She was very keen for us all to get back to our writerly meetings, or should I say lunches which always stretch way into the early evening 🙂

I had to leave the party early as I had a wedding reception in the evening. My friend’s beautiful daughter, Kelly, looked absolutely stunning when she married Alex, her handsome groom, and of course Max their fur baby was there for the photographs! It was a really happy occasion and everyone had a great time. The couple left next day for their honeymoon in Mexico.

It was also our wedding anniversary this month and we celebrated with lunch and then went to collect AJ’s new car. The showroom staff knew it was our anniversary and placed a huge red bow on the car to acknowledge the day, as well as presenting us with a bottle of champagne and a ceramic feeding bowl for Vivvy, who of course had to vet the new car to make sure she was happy to ride in it 🙂

Speaking of the love of our life… it’s Vivvy’s birthday next week which will be celebrated with lots of pressies, treats, walkies, and many, many cuddles and kisses.

Hope you’re having a great spring!

What A Show!

The last few weeks have been busy, busy, busy but in a delightful way leading up to my art group’s 26th annual art exhibition. First came the conundrum of deciding which paintings to put in, then the pricing (always a problem). Because of the current economic crisis, one didn’t want to set them too high as people might think twice about a frivolous purchase when they have worries over fuel and food bills. Our exhibitions have always proved popular but the usual concerns as to whether anyone would come let alone buy anything are constantly there. Then came the hassle of obtaining frames and mounts etc, not normally an issue but stores here supplying these, like many outlets, are struggling to obtain stocks or have limited choice. Finally having everything I needed, I set to work preparing my paintings for hanging, only to discover one had a damaged frame, necessitating another trawl of the art suppliers locally.

My 7 paintings duly delivered. I hoped they would be grouped together particularly as 4 of them were on the same topic: water. I wasn’t disappointed. They had a wall all to themselves right by the entrance. I was a happy bunny, which reminds me, I must paint one of those before long; I love bunnies.

Kit’s wall of paintings, and some of our many guests on preview night

The standard of work on display from everyone was exceptionally high, leading to an exhibition that surpassed previous years. From the moment the preview evening’s doors opened the room was packed, and to my complete surprise, one of mine sold within half-an-hour. The purchaser was even more delighted to be introduced to me. A second joy came when another couple sought me out to chat about one of my works they had purchased in late 2021. It is lovely meeting and talking with people who love your work, often more so than the satisfaction that comes from selling one. I was thrilled, and if nothing else of mine sold over the weekend I did not care. There were many smiling faces as we locked up that night because 9 other paintings also sold.

Some of the many works on show

Arriving for my stewarding duty on the Saturday afternoon, I was greeted with news that 2 more of my paintings had sold that morning. Wow! I never expected that. With a total of 22 paintings sold that day, the club was close to breaking last year’s record of 27 sales.

On Sunday, arriving to enjoy an afternoon cup of tea and cake from the refreshment table before the raffle was pulled and the event closed, I didn’t notice at first a fourth painting of mine had gone. Double WOW!

It was a thoroughly enjoyable, and successful show for everyone involved, if tiring. I do not have the total figures yet but the club surpassed its record with 40, yes 40! paintings sold, not including those from the mounted tables (7+). A quick calculation put the total at well over £1,500.00 (another record). A percentage of sales plus money from donations, the raffle, admission fees, and the refreshments table will be donated to our chosen charity, this year being the Ukrainian Red Cross. Many members who sold have also donated their full sales to the charity, including myself, as has one member who ran a table in the foyer selling her bespoke, hand-crafted and beautiful individual greeting cards.

What a weekend!

My Sold Paintings

Kit Domino’s websites and blogs

A Little Adventure For Me

Jillian here. Happy March. I went on a little adventure last weekend to a conference in Orlando and got to spend some time with my son and his family. It was fun, but exhausting as the drive is always a pain- about 7 hours each way. AND when I stay at my son’s, since they took down the mattress in their guest room, they put up a blow up bed. And it tends to lose air in the night, so I have to keep turning on the motor to re-blow it up to the full air setting or it’s like trying to crawl out of a bowl of soup when I have to take my mid-night trips to the bathroom. LOL – so, good rest is hard to get. AND one time on the first night, in the dark, I turned the motor switch the wrong way and ended up flat on the cold, wood floor. That was insane, but at least I could get it back full of air in short order. 🙂 And then my hip hurt. Woe was me. 🙂

While my daughter-in-law was out with her mother’s group on Thursday night, my son, grandson and I went for ice cream to a place called Jeremiah’s. Their logo is a frog from the “Jeremiah was a bull frog” song- my son, the architect, is the designer for a number of them as they move from a regional company to expanding with franchises in a number of states, so I wanted to check them out as we don’t have them here.

The first morning I was there, when my grandson woke, the first thing he said was, “Where’s Nonna?” His mom told him I was in the kitchen. He said, “I want to see Nonna.” She said, “Let’s change your diaper first.” He said, “No. See Nonna first.” That made my heart sing. He’s a sweetie AND he likes me! 🙂

The hotel where I stayed one night during the conference has inside balconies and you can actually go out on them. There’s a rail but no safety measures. I was on the 7th floor. The lawyer in me was screaming inside at the risk factor there. LOL

While at the conference, I attended a dinner for the former state officers of the organization and the theme was Mardi Gras. We all got beads and masks so I took them home for my grandson. He had a blast with them- putting them on his mom, dad and me.

It was a great visit–too short– and I’m dragging my tailfeathers this week at work, but I wouldn’t trade sleep for time with these people I love.

Praying for the people in the Ukraine who are being bombed and losing loved ones while they live in terror. I can’t even imagine their fear and anxiety and grief.