Friday, March 21, 2008

Miss Terry: My Childhood Puppy Angel

This post was provoked by Endsever Jen at
This is a picture of my childhood dog, Miss Terry, from October of 1971. In this photo, Terry Dog was about 2 and a half months old. Her breed? Wire Haired Fox Terrier - the absolute most wonderful breed you can have if you are a child. Wire hairs are just unbelievably good with children. This dog of mine let me dress her up in clothes, sunglasses - whatever - and she absolutely LOVED it! She also used to have a LOT of fun on my swing set. She would scramble up the slide and sit up at the very top, being queen of the back yard, surveying her domain from the top of the slide. I will scan and share more pictures of Terry and myself soon. I don't know what I got a fancy new 4 in 1 machine for from my mom over a year ago if I don't use the scanner!
Isn't Terry a sweet and lovely puppy?! She was sooooooooooo dear. She was unconditional love for me for 13 going on 14 years of my life. It makes me happy to think of her, Miss CJ Kitty, and Mr. McFierceson all frolicking together in animal heaven.
If you need a lot of tangible, unconditional love, get a dog!
Terry Puppy Autumn 1971
If you have a lot of energy, get a Wire Hair! You can read about them at
I truly and dearly wish that my dear sister-friend Apryl would share some pictures of her Jack Russell Terrier, Miss Muffyn Lyn, here at Xanga. Apryl's Xanga is at
You can check her photo blog for zoo animals plus a couple of Muffy and Mae Mae pix. I think I will be a sneak and share the URL to Apryl's SmugMug galleries here as well
Please do check out Apryl's blog and especially her SmugMug galleries! She has an amazing eye for composition. Please leave a comment and encourage her to take and share more pix of the Puppy Princesses!!  Thank yew!!

Just a notelet...

Thank you for reading my blog here at Blogger. I apologize for what is my less than perfect formatting. Please allow me to explain: I have just recently begun using Windows Live Writer as an offline blog editor, and have been copying/pasting blog entries into the editor. Let's just say that I'm not too patient with the editor's ideas of good formatting! Harumph! Until I become more motivated to mirror my Xanga vanity blog here at Blogger, please come to see me at Life Is a Polka at Xanga.
A word or two about offline blog editors: Windows Live Writer has some neat features, if one has a lot of time on their hands to explore it all. I am also experimenting with Blog Desk offline blog editor, which is a great one to use with WordPress blogs. While I think Blogger is pretty cool in some ways, I do prefer Xanga and WordPress, especially Xanga. Then again, I am paying for premium services at Xanga, and the other blogs (why does that insist on coming out "blobs"???) are freebies. Ya so get what you pay for. And with premium Xanga, I can even email my blog entries in and not have to fuss with the online editor, though I actually do prefer the online editor.
A word to those who might like to try Xanga: If you sign up for a free account, Xanga will give you 21 days of free premium, starting sometime shortly after you sign up for a new account.  There are ways of earning credits to pay for a premium Xanga account if you don't just want to shell out $25 per year. You can earn 2,000 credits for taking a survey or two, and they offer surveys every couple of days. 4,000 credits will pay for a month of Xanga Premium.

No, I don't work for Xanga, and I in no way am being reimbursed by them for the "plug". I just love my Xanga! I will keep my Blogger account open and post here from time to time, but I will mostly be at Xanga.
God bless you all.
Miss Chris

Spring Reading Thing 2008


You can read about about SRT 2008 at: Spring Reading Thing 2008 or click on the picture above. I will also put the picture-link in my custom module on the left hand side of my Xanga. I warmly encourage all of you who are "provoked" to do so, to join up!

Spring Reading List 2008
Thursday, March 20th

I have long been inspired and impressed by Jen (nyisutter at and her dedication to these seasonal reading challenges for bloggers. We should make her the Tatterdemalion Ambassador of Literacy! This spring, I am finally joining in! My goal is to spend less time computing and more time reading! Warm spring days are conducive to reading while sitting outside on the back patio.

Conversely, rainy April days are suited to curling up on a comfy sofa with my kitty, my pillows, and a pile of books while sipping Cherry Vanilla Tea and wearing toasty ragg wool socks!

I am also planning on deviating a bit from the reading challenge per se and adding also what I plan on watching for DVD's/videos and listening to for podcasts and musical CD's for this spring, as I have for the past few months especially been much too serious and need some Vitamin L (Laughter) and Vitamin M (Music) for medicinal purposes. One of my dearly beloved cats died a month ago and I have been more than moderately depressed. If it seems like I am trying to read/watch/listen to an unhealthy amount of media this spring, please know that I have to fight my way out of my grief and depression in the ways that I know have worked for me in the past, by the power of God's grace. I have cried and curled up in my little ball facing the wall long enough. I assure you I still have plenty of hours in the day (and long, sleepless nights) to pray.

Addendum: In my Nonfiction book goals for this season, I am putting the emphasis on more than a few areas which will continue on into the Summer and Fall Reading Challenges. My primary concerns are reading my homekeeping/home comforts books in the attempt to keep house better, learning how to better affirm my boyfriend and communicate holy and chaste and affectionate love to him in ways that he can be most blessed by, honing some basic digital photography, digital printing, and digiscrapping skills, as well as soaking in Frances Mayes's books on life in Tuscany, Italy. I also seek encouragement and inspiration from the letters of Mother Teresa of Calcutta. I want to serve "Jesus in His distressing disguise" as Mother Teresa talked about and lived so well.

Nonfiction  Books:

Come Be My Light by Mother Teresa of Calcutta
The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman
The Kodak Most Basic Book of Digital Photography by Jeff Wignall
The Kodak Most Basic Book of Digital Printing by Jenni Bidner
Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes
Bella Tuscany by Frances Mayes
In Tuscany by Frances Mayes
The Healing Power of Affirmation by Fr. Ralph Diorio
A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis
Home Comforts by Cheryl Mendelson
Martha Stewart's Homekeeping Handbook by Martha Stewart

Scrapbooking Digitally by Kerry Arquette, Andrea Zocchi, Darlene D'Agostino, Susha Roberts

And... dabbling in various Italian cookbooks! We'll save serious reading of those until the Summer Challenge!

Fiction Books (including Audio Books for when I am too migrained to keep my eyes on "real" books):

Bleak House by Charles Dickens (audio book)
The Incredulity of Father Brown by G.K. Chesterton (audio book)
The Cat Who Brought Down the House by Lilian Jackson Braun
Mrs. McGinty's Dead by Agatha Christie (audio book)
They Do It With Mirrors by Agatha Christie (audio book)
The Cat Who Went Bananas by Lilian Jackson Braun
The Magician's Nephew by C.S. Lewis (audio book)
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis (audio book)

DVD's and Videos:

Green Acres, Season One

Green Acres, Season Two

Perfect Strangers, Seasons One and Two

The Odd Couple, Season One

Hetty Wainthropp, Volume One

Monk, Season Three

Nero Wolfe, Season Two

The Sound of Music

The Russians Are Coming

It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World

Mel Gibson's The Passion


Our Miss Brooks

The Great Gildersleeve

Fibber McGee and Molly

The Jack Benny Program

Burns & Allen


The Saint

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

My Daily Phrase Italian
from Radio Lingua

Pray As You Go, from the Irish Jesuits
Pray Station Portable, from SQPN - the daily Liturgy of the Hours (psalms, prayers, readings, intercessions)

And, while I'm at it, how about what I'm putting in my CD player?! :)

What a Heart Is Beating For by Chris Rice
Short Term Memories by Chris Rice
Run the Earth, Watch the Sky by Chris Rice
Amusing by Chris Rice
Hymns and Meditations by Fernando Ortega
Fernando Ortega by Fernando Ortega
Love Will Rise by Mitch McVicker
Audible Sigh by Vigilantes of Love
Cross the Big Pond by Vigilantes of Love
Slow Dark Train by Vigilantes of Love
Summershine by Vigilantes of Love
Lake Effect by Liz Carroll
Lost in the Loop by Liz Carroll
Soft May Morn by Bonnie Rideout
Scottish Inheritance by Bonnie Rideout
A Scottish Fiddle Collection by Bonnie Rideout
Scottish Fire by Bonnie Rideout
Gaelic Storm by Gaelic Storm
Together Live! by Randy Stonehill and Phil Keaggy
Jammed! by Phil Keaggy
The Song Within by Phil Keaggy
Castles of Gold by Frank McCourt, Roma Downey, and Pan Morigan
Lots of various pieces by Mozart, Strauss, Handel, and Chopin - heavy on the Mozart!!

Every CD I own by Waterdeep: Everyone's Beautiful, Waterdeep Worship, Heart Attack Time Machine, Waterdeep Live at the New Earth, Waterdeep Live at Muncie, Indiana 3.23.03, To Chase Away the Birds

And trying to cut down on the Josh Groban, Andrea Bocelli, and Il Divo for awhile! The combination of spring and of men with gorgeous voices singing beautiful Italian songs would simply be too much! ;)

I also plan on listening to cardinals, robins, and chickadees serenade me outside our windows, and in the yard while I garden. My favorite "concerts" of all are listening to my kitty Maggie McGee purr contentedly at my feet while I read. >^..^< ... and my dad picking out tunes by ear on our piano in the dining room.

Wednesday Wonders!

Wednesday was a great day!

I began getting over the 'flu!

I had a fantastico physical therapy appointment!

I lost a pound!

I kept on track on reducing the fat intake in my diet!

I resisted the temptation to bake and eat brownies!!!!

I had fun doing laundry, inhaling that wondrous brand new major appliance smell! How delightful! I'll do more laundry on Thursday - putting the washer to the test by washing pillows, blankets, and comforters!
I finally used my new Taste of Home cookbook which I've had for two and half months! I was going to make the Oatmeal/Whole Wheat/Brown Sugar Muffins exactly as the recipe was stated in the book, but I ended up getting the yen for some cinnamon and raisins. Thus, as per usual, I improvised. I don't know why I bother buying cookbooks! I'm always modifying recipes right away. Do any of you do that, too?

The Cinnamon Raisin Oatmeal Whole Wheat Muffins were marvelosa! Even my dad, who is not a muffin man, thought they were stupendous! I'll try to remember to post my improvised recipe over at my blog sometime this week.
I also baked French bread in the bread machine. Granted, it doesn't come out LOOKING like genuine certified French bread as one is accustomed to buy it at bakeries, but it still has a crispy crust and a chewy, substantial texture with great flavor. A 1 and 1/2 pound loaf contains only two teaspoons of fat. While some people are "foodies", I am a specialist. I am a "breadie". I gave up homemade bread for Lent, and now that the Easter Triduum is nearly upon us, I baked a test loaf for my dad on Wednesday night. Silly goomer ate half a loaf before he went to bed! That says it was good! All this to say: I realize that most of us "breadies" find bread machine bread inferior to "real" homemade bread. But, even I, breadie of breadies, like bread machine bread if it is properly prepared... and so long as it doesn't use rapid rise yeast or the express bake cycle! I think even my Italian Nani, who taught me how to bake bread the "real" way when I was a child, would approve of more than a few of today's bread machines and recipes.

I spent a long time knitting purple slippers on Wednesday evening. Knitting with the recently broken left wrist is not as easy or pleasant as crocheting. There is a fair amount of pain involved. However, I am truly determined to not only recover to the range of motion and strength I had in my left wrist and hand prior to my fall, I am determined that my range of motion and strength of wrist/hand/fingers will be even better than it's ever been before. Folks, it is a miracle that I am doing as well as I am and that I will not need the surgery (that with the nasty plate and hardware store full of screws!!!). Thank you to each of you who so much as murmured even a two second prayer for me since January 18th. I am blessed! Praised be Jesus Christ! Now and forevermore!

So, I spent Wednesday evening knitting one slipper out of what will be a pair of somewhat hideous purple slippers. My yarn stash hath almost runneth out! I am still waiting for our parish prayer shawl ministry lady to send along a box of yarn for me to crochet and/or knit prayer/comfort/healing shawls with. I guess it can wait until after Easter. The yen to knit was simply irresistible, hence the hideous purple knitted slippers! I just rediscovered my stash of Rosary making twine, for making knotted cord rosaries using the instructions from I also found a description of sacrifice beads (via the wonders of Google) at If you would like to make your own sacrifice/good deed beads, the instructions are at . For now, I want to work on perfecting my cord knot making skills. I don't like the gray cord I have; I think I will work with the black cord. That ought to be good for about 150 rosaries!

Do you ladies remember the hey day of macrame from the 1970's, extending even a bit into the early 1980's? I loooooooooved making macrame plant hangers and such.

The weather is getting warmer and I will soon be able to spend time in my hideaway in the upstairs bedroom/office and loft without needing to turn the heat on up there. I look forward to making it cozy and functional. I'm going to set up Nani's sewing machine on a desk in the loft, and if I can evade the Patience Posse™ for any length of time, I will attempt to learn how to sew flannel lounge pants. Note: Both of my grandmothers were avid and talented seamstresses. However, they were both known to say that you haven't really learned how to swear until you've used a sewing machine. Thread bobbins have been the bane of my very brief forays into the realm of sewing. They leave me tempted to swear like the proverbial trooper.

I did physical therapy exercises for a long time, two different times on Wednesday. Some of it felt good. Some of it didn't. I don't mind working with the Theraband (I'm at the wimpy yellow level, for those of you who are acquainted with physical therapy.) In fact, I quite enjoy working with the Theraband. I don't mind doing the exercises holding a hammer; in fact, that one feels downright GREAT! But I simply do NOT like squeezing the green putty as hard as I can! Ouchies! That hurts! But I am going to do it as often as my wrist and hand can bear it. I want victory! :: theme from Rocky I plays in the background::

My dad bought lovely bright yellow daffodils for me nearly a week ago. They were simply incredibly bright yellow, like something straight out of a brand new box of Crayolas (hi Christy!). I always need bright yellow sometime around St. Patrick's Day. My mom (an interior designer) knew this about me years ago already. The bedspreads and drapes in my bedroom where bright yellow daffodils with some orange flower (tulips?) and apple green leaves. It was a very 70's color and design scheme. My mom even had the drapes custom made for me. I had a lovely room, and I was given to sleeping with my windows open as early as late March/early April. Harumph! I was a good deal heartier and healthier then!

My vase full of daffodils is now ready to be tossed wistfully into the trash. Now I crave the color RED. I wore my $2.98 St. Vinnie's red cashmere sweater and my Magic Red Slippers on Wednesday, with simple black slacks. I simply needed to see a sanguine color! I love, love, love RED right now! I set the dinner table with scarlet Fiestaware yesterday! The colors red and yellow simply feed my soul through my eyes. But, the funny thing is, I wear mostly blues, greens, whites, grays, and blacks for clothing. I would wear more pink if I could find it in just the right hue for my complexion.

I am enchanted with my red slippers. God bless Isotoner for making such gorgeous, comfortable, stylish red slippers. I feel like they are magic. If only I had a pair of Italian leather shoes in bright red.. a pair of flats. Sigh. Really, I'm not like most women. I truly do not have a shoes fetish. I did once upon a time have a BOOTS fetish. In the 70's when I was in the horseback riding club, I did have western boots (Fryes). There is a... quaint... ahem... vernacular phrase for cowboy boots, but we won't mention it here.

Then when I was a sophomore in high school, Grammy gifted me with a luscious pair of brown suede calf length Italian boots. I adored those boots so much. Would you believe I even had a dream about them this week, that I found them in the attic - still gorgeous, and that they still fit? They were terribly expensive back then. They were real suede. And they were so comfortable, too. It's not too often that a beautiful pair of boots will also be comfortable.

Well, I can barely keep my eyes open and I've chattered and jabbered here enough! Time for some Rachmaninoff. The Vespers CD by the Robert Shaw singers. Absolutely looooooooovely!
Happy Thursday, Pooh Fans!

Miss Chris

PS: Thank You, God, for the gift of colors! And eyes to see them with! And souls to appreciate them with! Thank You for Kodachrome blue skies, and thank You that soon the dirty snow will be gone and the pale green grass of spring will soon emerge.

Rambling Randomly Again!

Perhaps it was that "high" associated with the heady new appliance scent which hit me between the eyes like a locomotive. New Maytag washing machines have been known to do these things to women in my family... but after throwing a load of dark colored clothes into the washer, I felt so energized by the Secret Maytag New Washing Machine Aroma that I felt compelled to spend some measurable time on the Air-Dyne in another part of the basement.

This was not a smart thing to do, for a number of reasons. Chief of which are: (1) I'm not over the flu yet and now I've got a whopping fever and headache again - when will I ever learn to not push so fast?, and (2) my newly de-casted wrist was definitely NOT ready for the workout. Ouch.
So, here I sit in front of my favorite appliance (nothing to beat the smell of new computer... I keep on telling myself that I need to harness my dad's chemistry prowess in developing a non-aerosol spray of "New Dell Computer" or, for you Apple people, "Fresh Macintosh". I digress. My computer is one year and 8 months old. It doesn't smell quite new any longer. In fact, I think it smells like it needs to have a lot of cat hair and a lot of dust cleaned out of it. But, it smells newer than my upstairs computer, and I am happy.

Oh come ON! You know I'm not crazy! I know that numerous ones of you are so geeky that you aren't sneaking Easter candy ahead of Easter Sunday. Nooooo. Some of you are so geeky that you are sniffing new SOFTWARE before you find your Easter baskets! And frankly, I am one of the geekiest ones here. If I were testing perfume from Christian Dior or Estee Lauder, I can guarantee you that I'd be tempted to choose "New Software" over Dior's Miss Dior or Lauder's Pleasures. Then again, perhaps if I chose that, I would only be attractive to men with geekly tendencies, and that's something I don't want!!! I ABSOLUTELY DO NOT WANT MY BOYFRIEND TO BE A GEEK! I want him to notice me, and maybe spend a little time with ME instead of his mistress the computer and his gaming buddies!!! (For the record, Tom is not a geek. You may all breathe a collected deep, relieved sigh on my behalf.)

I digress yet again. I remind myself too darned much of Diane Chambers on Cheers who was forever and always saying "I digress". Sigh.

As a result of my over-exuberant workout, I sit here at my favorite appliance (the computer, though if you guessed my bread machine please know you are uncannily close to knowing everything there is to know about how my mind operates!), swilling ice water and Extra Strength Tylenol for fever control and headache, and bathing my burning cheeks and forehead with a cool, damp wash cloth. Darn. We're running out of clean wash cloths. This might mean that I will have to get out of my computer chair at 3 a.m. and do a load of towels in the intoxicating-scented washing machine. And we all know what trouble THAT bodes.

Did I mention that it is in the mid 30's Fahrenheit here? At nearly 2 a.m.? In Mid-March? And that my dear dad, to aid me in the throes of the chills, from which I suffered AGONIES of shaking and teeth chattering over the past four days, turned the thermostat up? And that I would gladly not only strip down to my undies, but would also gladly roll in the snow to cool down my body temperature at this moment? Read my lips: 35 degrees in the middle of the night, in the middle of March, in the middle of Wisconsin IS TOO STINKING WARM TOO SOON! It wasn't too many nights ago that we were around Zero at this hour! EGADS!

In order to protect my neighbors, I will NOT go outside to roll in the snow to cool down. I am merely changing from flannel jammies to summer shorts (which still fit! Yay!!!!) and a short sleeve t-shirt.
I fully expect to wake up at 7 this morning with a raging case of pneumonia.

Isn't God good for having invented ICE?!

Isn't God wonderful for having created mankind with the brains to invent fridge/freezers?

And God bless the man or woman who invented ice cube trays! No! I don't have a fancy shmancy ice maker on my fridge, and from what I understand from my mom, I am better off without. The ice maker is invariably the first thing which breaks on my mom's fancy fridge/freezer. Personally, I think it's because her dog has put a curse on the darned thing. My mom's little white dog HATES, LOATHES, and ABOMINATES the ice maker - to the point where this little dog practically needs what my mom calls "Puppy Prozac". Oy vey!

Where was I?

Isn't God good for giving us:
(1) Ice Cream
(2) Popsicles (especially Cherry, Banana, and Rootbeer)
(3) Ice Cream
(4) Fudgesicles
(5), (6), and (7) ICE CREAM?

Let's hear it for God!


Oh my. Am I feeling the onset of the Full Moon ALREADY? The nerve of me! I had better find a means of harnessing some of the power of this lunacy for Paula's Bloggers Ball on March 29th. I hear that I have been honored with the droll role of Court Jester. Batten down the hatches! I had better stock up on caffeine, PEEPS, and Dr. Pepper flavored Jelly Belly Beans. Remember... the first part of my healthy eating agenda this month is to cut back on my fats by 1/3. While I go through peanut butter withdrawal, I will indulge in just a few PEEPS. I know! You are not fooled by my dysfunctional, addict reasoning! I know what you're all thinking: "Just a FEW Peeps, my foot! This girl needs to start attending a 12-step program for PEEPS Addicts, and soon!"

While we're on the interesting subject of PEEPS (do you girls like the Pink Bunnies or the Purple Bunnies best? I'm undecided....) it's time to discuss something Very Important: Please do NOT treat your PEEPS inhumanely. Do not cut them with scissors! Do not fold, spindle, or mutilate them! And certainly do not nuke the poor little things! They have feelings, too! And, if you have access to chemicals - dare I say it - please do NOT try to dissolve PEEPS in acetone. It won't work, and you would cause the poor little PEEPS unbelievable pain and suffering to have you try. Please... have a heart. Be kind to your PEEPS.

Well, that was enough weirdness out of me for a little while. I am going to prepare my spring reading list. Jen at nyisutter is always involved with these great seasonal reading challenges, and I'm uncertain whether I - who am not a homeschooler - am welcome to join or not. If not, I will just post my own things here without joining the webring those ladies are in. Jen, enlighten me!

As is evidenced by my blogging delirium tonight, I really need to spend less time computing and more time reading. More time reading non-fiction. Fiction comes easily.

Good Night, John Boy!

Blessings Galore,

Miss Chris