A Haven for Vee

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Deep Cold

To be warm in a warm room is nothing; but to be warm in an icily cold room is to taste a very special pleasure, a security in danger, peace in a storm. ~Elizabeth Coatsworth

Exactly. This is just how it is every sub-zero winter morning in the upstairs bedroom. There is no heat  there. Still, with fleece sheets, a comforter, a very heavy quilt, and another 98.6 body, it's perfectly delicious.

I used to feel sanctimonious about surviving deep cold. After all, I'm up heah in northern New England and it's flippin' freezin' and we're tough. Now that there are lots of folks way south of here who are struggling with snow and more snow and dipping temps, my superior attitude has had to be adjusted. I laughed so hard reading Sandi's post called Temper Temper! She describes this northern weather visiting the South so well. If you like a bit of spunk, spice, and sass (as I do), you'll love reading this.

Thought I'd answer any lingering questions...if you have any, feel free to ask. My sister stayed this week to help get some final things accomplished. Unfortunately, she became very ill with the flu. It'd be great if she could take another week, but I don't imagine that can happen. My nieces both have been ill as well so I'm hoping that it stops with them. (I've just learned that my daughter is also ill. Where's my echinacea bottle?)

My sister Molly has now become our little pup. She is 14 years old and I'm hoping that she'll be around for a good while longer. I couldn't handle another upset just now. She missed my mother terribly for the first four or five days, but seems to have settled down and has really bonded with John, though she's pretty fine with me, too. Anyone who has tips for living with and caring for a geriatric miniature poodle please comment.

We are finding that grief comes in waves. Sometimes we're fine, then we'll hear a song, be given a hug, receive a special card or call... Don't ambush me in the dairy aisle and tell me how sorry you are for my loss if you don't want tears. Tears come at the most inopportune times.

I am looking forward to getting back to normal blogging though it won't be for several more days. Until then, I hope to catch up with you in Blogdom. You're so entertaining!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

A Memorial Celebration

Today we will celebrate my mother's life on this earth and rejoice that we will see her again in Glory.

Thank you so very much! You have been more than kind, more than loving, more than good to me. I appreciate so much every comment, every note, every email. It is actually overwhelming in a warm and wonderful way. God bless you. 

The song below will be played today. It's become such a favorite with me and perfectly echoes my sentiments on this day.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Psalm 139

One of My Favorite Photos of My Mom

My beautiful mother passed away January 15, 2011. When I am able, I will share one final "Behind the Scenes" post as a way of documenting the experience.

Because her favorite scripture was Psalm 139, I share it with you now, even the parts where David tells exactly how he's feeling and leaves nothing unsaid.

You have searched me, LORD,
and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
you, LORD, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand—
when I awake, I am still with you.
If only you, God, would slay the wicked!
Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty!
They speak of you with evil intent;
your adversaries misuse your name.
Do I not hate those who hate you, LORD,
and abhor those who are in rebellion against you?
I have nothing but hatred for them;
I count them my enemies.
Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
This has been a long journey. I am in such shock that my mother is taken from us just ten short weeks after her own mother's death. Mother's passing this quickly was totally unexpected by any of us, including her doctors. My family and I are standing in need of prayers. Thank you and God bless you...

as always, Sunday comments are closed

Thursday, January 13, 2011

After the Snow~A Silent View

By the end of this little picture story, you'll see the dilemma I am facing. I've been mulling it over since 11 last evening when my first thought was to lob my sweet little kissing ball at his windshield. Then I planned to call the town office first thing this morning. Now that I've cooled my jets a bit, I'm not sure what to do. Perhaps you have a suggestion...

 Kissing Ball and Whipping Flag

Evergreen Basket and Skinny Snowman

A Cleared Path

Yesterday's Footprints Covered

Take Off the Red Bow and It's a Winter Wreath

The Well and Birdhouses

Chippy Barn Star and Chippy White Fence Wearing White

The Icicles Finally Match My Header's

Neighbor Cleared His Yard

And this is where it gets interesting...Last night between 10 and 11, my neighbor across the street plowed his yard directly onto my front lawn. All of it.

The back edge of this snow is in my garden! Ackkkk... The town plows don't even do this!

Another view of how far off the road the little scamp went...that's my front lawn.

Oh yes! Mrs. Kravitz strikes again. Here he is right outside my window. The nerve of some people!

A look east toward the river and at the end of the drive

Plastic Snowflake on Front Door

The plastic snowflake makes me laugh.

Going in Now

And thus ends the wee tour...

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Fun in the Snow~ Vid

Fun in the Snow~ Video (not the best quality as it was uploaded to Google docs...couldn't get it uploaded any other way.)

This video is dedicated to Lorrie who loves to encourage me to get out and enjoy winter. The little video cracks me up. Nothing like being highly amused by one's own antics. Anyway, if, when you hear the sounds of prancing reindeer hooves, you aren't laughing as well, just let me know. (I do consider myself rather lightfooted, but this is ridiculous!)

Vee's Very Blustery Day

I'm talking about myself in the third person. That can't be good. Perhaps it comes so easily to me because Vee is not my name. Course, I've been called Vee for so long that it comes quite naturally to me now. It can honestly be said that I wish Vee were my real name. I know people with my real name and they are perfectly normal gals. Wonder why I feel so odd about having the name and always have. Doctor? Is there a doctor in the house?
By the way, what's up with that show V? Lost got me for six long years and it appears that I could be sucked up into the mother ship on this one, too.

But I digress. I want to chat about the weather.

Last night as we were watching the reports on the evening news, the meteorologist repeatedly called the coming storm a "bomb" and an "explosion."

"That guy better watch his language," John said.

By morning's light the explosion looks more like a great day for baking cookies and having an extra cup of coffee.

Even if you're having a blustery day, keep it cozy!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

What Isn't Working for You?

Aha! That is the question of the day. You may remember my saying that I'd save furniture arrangement for another day. This is the day.

Right in the middle of the Christmas season, I noticed something for the very first time. I am a bit slow. Can you see what it is? I'm sure all those numbers all over the place make it a challenge so I'll just tell you. The chair, the big blue Volkswagon of a chair, is right in front of my hubby's bookcase, the one he uses all the time. Right. I can be quite slow about what isn't working when I am not the one affected. That day, as I watched him leaning in trying to retrieve a book, I finally noticed. (Let us not discuss the fact that I hadn't for two and a half years.)

It was such a simple fix. Why hadn't I thought of it before? Now you may say that the hassock is causing grief, but John uses it to sit on while he's looking for his book or he simply backs it up. It's nowhere near as heavy as either of the Volkswagons. And, trust me, this is a cozy little arrangement. (Please forgive the unattractive fleece blankies...it's cold up here!

Here's a slightly different angle...

So that's the story, now tell me, is there something in your furniture arrangement that isn't working for you?

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Embroidery Patterns~Mosaic Monday

January and February bring many quiet hours for a lot of us. Bad weather, cold temperatures, and the cozy comforts of home all contribute to those quiet hours. (We shan't mention the Christmas let-down.) I always try to have some embroidery to work on in the evening or late afternoon. This year, I will find myself doing plenty of waiting and so I have made up an embroidery kit so that some dog-eared magazine doesn't get too much of my attention.

I thought I'd gather up some free patterns. If you visit the site given, you'll find the patterns ready to print out.

*Bustle and Sew  (Though no patterns are shown, this site offers some really terrific free items. Check out the sidebar!)
*Pattern Bee Free Patterns 1 and 2
*My Transfers 6, 7, and 8
*The Baby Gardner 4
*Stichado 3 (The link no longer works.)
*Tip Nut  5

(#9? I can't find my source and I have actually worked this pattern and love it. If anyone knows the source, please let me know so that I may give proper credit. Julie tells me that this is on Flickr *here.* That's not where I found it, though it's a better representation.)

Should keep me going for some time to come.
Wonderful patterns for embroidery are available for purchase at some of these sites. You'll find the prices very reasonable. (No one has asked me to endorse her products nor have I been paid.)

Please join Mary at Little Red House for more fun mosaics. (Thank you, Mary, for all you do. Mosaic Mondays are so much fun.)

Enjoy a great week...

No, Lord, I Have Not

This question has kept coming to me over the past few months along with some others that God asked Job. I'm no Job, but I have asked God many questions and sometimes with a fair amount of "attitude." When the tables are turned and He is asking the questions...


Some giant snowflakes, eh? John told me that when they start getting this big, we're definitely moving to Florida. This idea was lifted from inspired by Terri and Bob at Lakewood Manor right here on *this post.* Yes, the weather does get cold down there in Missouri.

Friday, January 7, 2011

It's Come this Far

Dishes are done; supper is ready for the oven when it's time; final decorations are down; beans are gathered, clothespins, too. (More on that later.)

I awoke to find John already taking down the lights on the deck as fast as he could. Guess he's ready to get on with the year.

Lower resolution

Higher Resolution

Now all that's left is my little angel standing guard over the Christmas aprons or else she's joining John in a hallejulah.

Lower Resolution

*Higher Resolution

Wish that my pumpkin pie would finish baking so I could carry on with the day.

Hope that you're having a great one!

ETA: *Experimenting Again

Thursday, January 6, 2011


A dark picture taken last evening showing what it'll be like this evening when we settle down to honor the day. Peeking closely, you can see that the clock high on the wall says a little after 4 in the afternoon. I am already noticing the lengthening days. (Happyone keeps me well informed on length of days.) Because you can't see it so clearly, I'll save the furniture arrangement story for another day when the tree is down.

I'm certainly going to miss my Christmas things, including my newly inherited Christmas village. This is a little church with the manger scene outside. The wee worhippers are just about lighted out. I love how the door is open a crack allowing the glow to spill out and giving another peek inside. 

As always, I'm comforting myself by saying that Christmas is not a day of the year, but a matter of the heart. And before this very year is out, we'll be celebrating all over again. Have a Merry 12th Day of Christmas!


If you checked in on my post early yesterday and had any questions, I did some clarifying that might be of interest. 


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Creamy Macaroni and Cheese with Ham

Oh I have such exciting things to tell you...  Sure! Believe me at your own risk.

Dismantling Christmas means that I have stripped the tree of everything except the angel top and the lights. We will enjoy it this evening and tomorrow. I must think of a good Epiphany Supper. Last year, as I recall, I gathered the Nativity Set and plenty of candles and we ate by candlelight. I remember looking up at Nan as she ate her meal quietly and she smiled back at me. It was her first celebration of Epiphany and, quite frankly, she found it unusual and said so, but once she got into it, all was well.

Today I am babysitting for my little sister Molly (the poodle). Mother has a luncheon invitation. Molly can't stay behind at my niece's because my niece has a killer cat who has nailed poor Molly on a daily basis for over two weeks. Molly is quite the nervous wreck over the whole thing with my mom right behind her. Mother and her granddaughter are going to have to figure out a plan. So far, they've tried separate rooms with Molly whimpering incessantly and the cat yeowling. Not pleasant.

Friday, the baby grand (I've got to stop calling him this as he's nearly four years old and it makes him sound like a piano) is coming for the afternoon. I will pick him up at school after going through a security check even though I will have visited twice before...I'm going along for the pick-up run tomorrow afternoon as well. Believe me, if anyone took my baby grand, it'd be The Ransom of Red Chief all over again. He's a handful that baby grand. I already know what I'm serving him for supper. Every single time I ask him if he'd like something to eat he responds hopefully with "mac and cheese?"

So on that note, I'm sharing our favorite recipe for Macaroni and Cheese with Ham.

Creamy Macaroni and Cheese with Ham


* 3oz uncooked macaroni  (cook and drain)
* 3 Tbs butter
* 1 heaping Tbs flour
* ½ cup evaporated milk
* 4 oz grated cheese of choice (I use several or whatever is on hand)
* 2 eggs (beaten)
* 3 oz chopped cooked ham


* Heat butter until bubbly
* Stir in flour
* Whisk in milk
* Whisk well and cook until slightly thick stirring constantly
* Stir cheese into slightly thickened mixture until melted.
* Add a small amount of mixture to the beaten eggs to temper and then add the remaining cheese mixture and stir in until smooth.
* Stir ham and macaroni into the cheese sauce and heat until warm without boiling on top of the stove. (This is the way I prefer it; although, the ingredients may be baked in a casserole dish for 20 minutes at 325F)

To clarify, since Robin is questioning the 3 oz of macaroni... Yes, this is correct. This recipe serves four, if you are the type who sticks to such things. If not, it serves two. Sorry that I didn't share that earlier. (If you're dieting, a serving, one quarter of this recipe, equals 2 proteins, 1 bread, 1 fat, and ¼ milk.)

Printable Recipe

ETA Again: Oh my this was sooo good! I thought that I should whip some up because, truth to tell, it's been a few months and I was second-guessing myself. We don't have this often because it is too good...so creamy, so delish. It's hard to keep to a ½ cup serving. I did, but just barely. There's no way that John could though. He's getting the other 1½. For Friday's supper, I'm making a meatloaf, serving vegetables, leaving out the ham, and using this recipe in place of potatoes.  

Monday, January 3, 2011

Dismantling Christmas...Slowly

It is always difficult for me to put away Christmas. This is a discussion I've had before at Haven so I know that some of us struggle with it. We are divided between those who can not wait to get things back to order and those who want to hang on a bit longer. I'm one of the hangers on who keeps decorations up until Epiphany on January 6. Neighbors drive by slowly and ask themselves if it is Christmas lights they are still seeing here. Guilty as charged.

This year, I've decided to take a slightly different path. Each day I am taking down a little bit more of Christmas until Friday morning when the tree itself will come down. Since Christmas is stored upstairs, this gradual dismantling will help my knees, my back, and ohhhh my aching behind. (I fell down icy steps Christmas Eve and haven't been the same since.) So far, all poinsettias are put away, many bulbs, and assorted decorations. The wreath made of springs has become a train wreath for the grands, the candy canes are saved in a pitcher for hot chocolate this winter and peppermint milkshakes. And, as always, some Christmas things remain out all year long. The kitchen night light is a case in point.

Taking things slowly and steadily makes a lot of sense with other things as well. It's when impatience sets in that situations begin to nosedive. Benjamin Franklin had it right when he said that haste makes waste. The older I become, the more sense taking things a bit slower makes. It's not necessary to do it all in one day.

We are facing a number of challenges in this new year. Most are ones that we dragged along with us from last year, but somehow a bright, new year looks more hopeful than a tired, old one. You may wish to read "Behind the Scenes" in the coming days as I'll be adding more information there. Perhaps I need a "Behind the Scenes II and III" as well. Pacing myself is going to be an important part of my year.

Looking forward to doing some catching up in Blogdom today. I really do miss you when I'm away from the computer.

A blessed day to you...
Photo taken January 2010. This year the ground is almost bare. I like this year.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!