Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Misleading Image

I walked into the kitchen this morning to make my mug of tea and went "AAAKKK!" Not out loud...just in my head...the boys are still sleeping after all! But the snow stuck on my West window made it look like we were in a total blizzard! I walked into my living room with the South window to see what was happening outside. While it is indeed snowing and blowing, it's not a blizzard by any means...yet...it could change by the time I leave for work! So as I stood waiting for my water to boil I looked at the snow on the window, at the green Gerber daisy (Fake...but it looks quite cute doesn't it?? 94 cents at Wal-mart!) and the dragonfly and thought "I wish!". Don't you find after Christmas that January, February and even sometimes March can be such a drag! I guess unless you like winter sports...which I do NOT! Of course...I don't like summer sports either!!! :-) I just don't like winter period. I hate the cold. I hate the snow. I hate how dangerous it makes for driving. I hate the fact that the stray kitties are somewhere outside shivering and hungry. I know it's good moisture for farming...but so is nice warm rain! ...hmmm...I am very whiny this morning it appears...

Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas Morning Santa

Our Santa had to be woken up this year. Oh how things change. It seems only a short few years ago that he was waking us up Christmas mornings, already having discovered what Santa had left under the tree. For at least the last 8 years it has been Kurtis playing Santa Christmas mornings, passing out the presents to everyone. We always take our time Christmas morning. Each person (and cat) takes a turn opening a gift while everyone watches, admires and comments, while sipping on a hot french vanilla coffee, or something of the sort. It took us over an hour to open our presents. I know there will come a Christmas where we won't be able to continue this Christmas tradition. Kurtis will one day have his own family to start his own traditions. But until then, we were lucky to get one more year of all of us together. Wayne and I decided, that when that 1st year comes, he and I will go on a warm holiday vacation to Hawaii or something!

Crafting Under Pressure

I don't usually like to craft under pressure, but a friend from work called the other morning and needed a couple of "Thank You" cards and I didn't have any. I ran down to my craft room at 7:56 am and made these in 6 minutes. Still plenty of time to go through the "Timmy's" drive-thru and get to work! Not bad I think! :-)

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Mix & Match

We received for Christmas a decorative piece along with LCD lighted twigs. Along with a $2 pot and some decorative grass I bought from Wal-mart on Boxing day, I put them all together and this is what I came up with. I like it!

Spoiled Kitty

Banjo was a very spoiled kitty this year receiving more then his fair share at Christmas. And like all naughty pets and children at Christmas time, had one of them almost wrecked by the end of the day. He received two "crinkly ants" from Santa. The one on the left is what it is supposed to look like. By the end of Christmas day, the one on the right had lost one antenna, a leg, an arm and had a hole in the back of it's head! He also received a new brush from mom and dad, a new mouse from Kurtis, Grandma Sykes bought him a "cat book" and a new mouse with cat nip and Nana and George bought him a "sock full of toys". Of course, even after receiving all those new toys he soon left them in the middle of the floor and started playing with the wrapping! Funny Cat!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

It's All Over

It's all over....Christmas is done for another year
I took my tree down yesterday morning
I love getting my livingroom back to "normal" after I have had it up for so long
We went out to Rosetown Christmas morning for the day and had a really good time
All and all, it was a very lovely Christmas

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas From The Sykes'

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Stray Cat Watch - Day 44

I came home from work today to a VERY good sign. Little kitty paw prints in the snow and an almost empty stray cat bowl! I am too excited! It was a bit nicer today - minus 18 with hardly any windchill. I am sure hoping it was one of my stray kitties rather than one of the non-stray cats. I will keep watching and hoping! UPDATE: Wayne just got home from work and told me the big black, not as stray looking cat was sitting on our doorstep at lunch time. He just crushed my excitement. But, I will still keep hoping that Barney and the others will show up. (Way to put the "bah" in "bah-humbug" Wayne....!)

2 More Sleeps

Unbelievable isn't it? 2 more sleeps until Christmas? It is the day before Christmas Eve. I like this day even better then Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. It's still far enough away from Christmas where you can still believe that you have time to do all the last minute things you need to do. To be able to run down town and buy that last little stocking stuffer. To make one more batch of those favorite cookies. Time to run to the store for that one ingredient you forgot for your salad. Everyone is still in that "I best be nice just in case Santa is watching." kind of mind set. Perhaps it is just the sugar "high" that everyone gets this time of year but you really can feel the difference around the office and out on the streets. Everyone is just that little bit extra of 'nice'! If we could just bottle the mood in the atmosphere and save some of it for when we are in the middle of January when everyone is 'grumpy' from doing year-end reports and they are sick of the cold and the snow. Hmmmm....now there's a thought.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Stray Cat Watch - Day 43

UPDATE: Yesterday around noon, Wayne came home from hockey, walked in the house and said "Get your stray cat food ready, Barney is outside." Now first let me say, how cute is it when your husband roles his eyes and shakes his head at you when you buy food specifically for the stray cats, but then calls them by their name you gave them! He's a big softy too! So anyways, I poured some food in a new bowl (as the cat's bowl was covered with snow outside on the deck) and watched Barney walk up to the bottom of the deck stairs. I opened the door and showed him I was putting food out. He tried to climb the stairs but it was so thick with snow that he couldn't. His little paws seem to be hurting him. I quickly got my coat and boots on to go shovel off the deck. I am kicking myself that I hadn't already done that! When I got outside, Barney had moved out to the drive way. There was for sure something wrong with his one paw as he was limping. I am hoping it is just an ice crystal stuck in his paw or something equally as simple. But the sad part is that he began throwing up. Twice. Not that it was anything in particular, just a bit of bile. By the time I shoveled off the deck, put the food out, Barney was gone. I then got Banjo's old carrier, put a blanket on the inside, wrapped blankets around it and put it as a little shelter, hoping Barney would come back. I watched for him all day. He never came back and the food bowl is still full this morning. It makes me very, very, sad.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Love of Animals

Ok...so let me clear the air before I start talking about what I was going to talk about for these pictures. Yes...there it is...a picture of my beloved Schultenheimer with tinsel garland around his neck and his tail. (I guess I thought he would look cute 'decorated' for Christmas...what can I say...I was young!) I am ashamed and embarrassed but there it is. After all my 'preaching' the other day, I too used to be ignorant to the dangers and horrors of having that stuff near pets and children. (I won't even show you the picture I came across of Kurtis when he was itsy bitsy sitting in front of a tinsel laden tree! AAKK!) Anyways, my apologies. Forgive me for I did not know any better but have since seen the errors of my ways!
So anyhoo...my point being was that I have always loved animals. Cats, birds, dogs, rabbits, as mentioned before, pretty much anything. The very first cat I can remember way back when we lived on the farm, was a calico cat named "Kitty". (Hmmm...not very original name!) The very first dog I can remember was "Rusty". I remember two hawks (Charlie & Henry) who would come when my dad whistled for them. After Rusty, we had a German Shepard named "Dart" who knew how to play "hide and seek" with us kids. And along with a rabbit named "Dusty", there were numerous other animals on the farm that their names don't stick out in my mind: a horse, another dog, cats, guinea pigs, gerbils, a raccoon, baby fox, and I am sure the list goes on. Then when we moved to Edmonton, I only remember two pets: a black cat named "Bartholomew" and a black poodle named "Sammy". Both succumbing to the dangers of letting your pets run loose on the streets. In Rosetown I remember a German Sheppard pup named "Kojak" but I can't remember what happened to him. (Update: My mom has since phoned me and told me that as we were moving and couldn't keep him, he was given to a very good, loving family with children. He was meant to be an outside, farm dog, but after awhile, as well loved pets often do, he was granted permission to live inside the house and was known to "lay on the couch" with the rest of the family. He lived a long and happy life!) The one and only cat I had at that time was my beloved Schultenheimer above. Again, loosing him to the unknown as he was allowed out of the house without a leash. Which of course, is why Banjo has been on a leash since day one! And has never known the difference. He will often wait at the door and won't walk out until he hears the 'click' of his harness snapping onto the leash. It's whatever they get used to - don't you think?

And as I have always attested to; I enjoy the birds. I had two budgies through the years. "Harry and George". I loved those birds. They were allowed to fly about the house. They didn't really make any mess outside their cages. (Perhaps my mother remembers that differently!) One would sit on the top of my dad's book he was reading and lift his little feet (do birds have feet?) when my dad had to turn the page. Cute! I cried and cried when the one accidentally flew out of the house. The top right picture is a bird that hit the window one day. I picked him up and put him in a shoe box and brought him into the house until he was well enough to let go back into the wild. So that's my "pet memories". As for the UGLY picture of the Pheasants in the background that I remember us having displayed in our livingroom for years and years....I leave that to my mother to explain...!

Kurtis' 1st Christmas

Kurtis is only 11 days old in this picture.

Nana is only 16792 days old in this picture.
(Give or take a day or two!)

If I recall correctly, he was soon bawling from being put into this Santa outfit. Kurtis, from day one, never liked to be too warm.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Banjo's Self-Actualization

"Hmmm.....I simply can not believe that picture is of me."

Friday, December 19, 2008

Tarnishing Tinsel

WARNING: If you are a 'lover of tinsel' please do not be offended by today's blog. It is not meant to offend anyone, just to educate. And of course, it is purely my simple opinion!
Above is a picture of my 1st Christmas. The year was 1970......well OK...1965...I had to try didn't I? On my right, in the dapper sports sweater, my brother. On my left, wearing the snazzy sweater vest with the sticky up hair, my cousin. Behind us, Grandpa and Grandma's Christmas tree. Please click on the picture to make it larger so that you can get a good look. Focus in on the tree...do you see it? AGAIN WITH THE TINSEL!!! WHAT is UP with THAT??? For the love of Christmas, how long has that crap been around? With that thought in mind, I just had to investigate the history of Tinsel. Of which I shall share with you:
"Tinsel was first invented in Germany during the early 17th Century. The first pieces of tinsel were made from silver. A special machine that shredded the silver to be used for tinsel was used to make strips. As the silver soon lost it's shine, years later tinsel would be artificially manufactured. Until the early 1900s using the glittery decoration was a status symbol." What? Are you kidding me? "In the 1920s the cheaply made aluminum based tinsels made it affordable for everyone." Oh joy! "By the 50s the aluminized paper used to make it became a fire hazard when coupled with copious lights, decorations and dry Christmas trees." Do ya' think? "Today, it's mostly made from PVC-that's Polyvinyl Chloride. PVC is a controversial vinyl used in many products. It's difficult to recycle and there have been questions about its toxicity because it must be mixed with toxic additives to be of any use." Oh good, more toxin's for the environment. And let's not even get started on the hazards of having tinsel around children and pets! What kitty wouldn’t want to play with something so shiny and pretty? Tinsel is an extremely lethal holiday danger to cats. Once swallowed, tinsel may cut into the intestines or cause them to twist. That would result in surgery or worse, an untimely death. And something I learned from a friend who's cat ate tinsel: NEVER pull tinsel out of a pet's butt if a piece is hanging out as it may be twisted around their intestines. Just let it come out 'naturally' and snip off pieces as needed.
So that is my thoughts on tinsel. Again, it's not meant to offend anyone and if you have tinsel on your tree this year and love it - then all the power to you. But do give it some thought for next year on skipping the tinsel. The environment as well as all the children and pets of the world will thank you for it!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Good Christmas

The year was 1989
I guess tinsel was big that year (OMG...t-a-c-k-y!)
Wayne and I were only 24 years old
It was and has been the only year Wayne and I
were able to be with both our families at the same time
at Christmas - No Choosing!
It was our first Christmas in Swift Current
The two of us, along with my mom and dad
Drove to Manitoba that year (my parents originated from there)
We opened presents at Wayne's house in the morning with his family
We drove a few blocks down the street to my
Grandma and Grandpa's house (my dad's parents)
And opened presents with my family
We all had lunch out at my Aunt and Uncles
(The year of the great "potatoes and gravy" story huh mom? LOL!!)
Then we had supper with Wayne's family
It was great
We didn't have Kurtis yet
{he was but a twinkle in his father's eye still}
But it was a good one!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Back To Work

8 days until Christmas
Back to work today
There's only a minus 29 wind chill this morning...that's almost tropical compared to what we have been getting the last few days...but oh to be able to crawl back under the covers with my mug of tea...to watch a movie and read my book...if only for one more day...sigh...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas "Have To's"

What would Christmas be without watching the following shows/movies:
~ "Merry Christmas Charlie Brown"
~ "The Grinch That Stole Christmas" (animated & Jim Carrey)
~ "It's A Wonderful Life"
~ "The Santa Clause" (1st one only - 2 & 3 are crap...should you say 'crap' at Christmas??? Probably not!)
~ "Home Alone" (1 & 2 equally as good)
~ "The Muppet Christmas Carol"
~ "Love Actually" (mmm Colin...need I say more)
~ "The Bishop's Wife" (with Cary Grant {LOVE CARY GRANT} but the remake with Denzel Washington is good too)
~ "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation"
NOTE: I do not include "The Sound of Music" here only because I watch that several times a year. I do not consider it a "Christmas Have To" - it's a crafting classic! :-)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Stray Cat Watch - Day 36

The stray cat bowl has sat full for 3 days. I saw Barney and Calico Kitty 4 days ago and that is the last time I saw any of the stray cats. I haven't seen the babies for way too long now. I don't want to think the worst but with this cold snap we have had the last few days (minus 49 wind chill today) I am worried about them. My hope is that they are all snuggled together somewhere cozy.
I will have to venture out later today and brush away the snow so that the birds can get at the seeds, though I suspect they too are somewhere hiding, trying to keep warm!

Living Large in an Extra Small World

While it was true that Banjo had indeed lost a lot of weight and his extra large gift bag was now way too big for him, it became all too apparent that he was not quite ready to fit into a medium size bag yet...
That's OK Banjo...you look beautiful to me!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Where Did My Baby Go?

My baby turns 18 today
At 11:08 am to be exact
People always ask
"Where did the time go?"
I can tell you where it went:
To listening to his first laugh
To watching him take his first step
To teaching him his first word
To staying with him in the hospital when he had bronchitis
To taking him to his first day of school
To watching him in his first Christmas concert
To seeing him pass his first test
To listening to him practice his trumpet
To watching him go to his first day of high school
To watching him go to his first day of work
To listening him tell you about his first date
To watching him drive out of the yard by himself for the first time
To watching him walk down the aisle of the auditorium at graduation
That's where the time goes
In little bits and pieces that you forget to measure along the way
So you trace your thoughts back and remember one of the last times you rocked him to sleep in your arms, holding him until your arm was asleep, knowing that when you lay him down in his bed, it could very easily be the last time he will fit into your lap
And you remember the last time he needed you to stay home with him because he was sick and the two of you curled up on the couch together and watched movies and snoozed
And you remember the last time he kissed and hugged you goodnight and you thank your lucky stars in heaven that it was just last night....
Happy Birthday My Boy!
You are my heart and soul.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Ready For Christmas

Gifts are wrapped
Baking is done
OK now...don't let the picture fool you. I only did two presents that fancy. The rest are in Christmas bags or wrapped in the last bit of that 'ugly paper'. {You know the paper I mean...the 'butt ugly' stuff that you don't even remember buying but you don't want to buy new stuff until the old stuff is used up - so you use extra paper wrapping the gifts - that way you can buy some new, prettier stuff after Christmas when it is on sale!} And neither is my baking ever displayed so nicely. In my family, whatever big ol' plastic container they're in is plunked into the middle of the table after supper and everyone digs in. We are barbarians when it comes to our desserts!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Tree Topper

Two weeks
from today
I will have my tree down.
I always take it down on
Boxing Day.
I guess because I have
it up so early.
My beautiful tree topper
will be put back into
her box for another year.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Just Be

No story
No reason
Just be

Walking Down Memory Lane

A friend from work transferred our home movies from VHS to DVD. I highly recommend it to anyone who has those old VHS tapes of their precious memories sitting in a drawer somewhere disintegrating. It was worth every penny. I had a copy made to keep in our safety deposit box and a copy to be kept at home. It's only 4 hours worth of memories, basically of Kurtis from age 9 months to 6 years, but oh how fun it is to watch them. Kurtis and I watched 2 hours worth last night. {I was up until midnight!!!!} We laughed and laughed. How dark his dad's hair used to be. How big Nana and my glasses were, and the fact that all we seem to do on the home movies is eat and open presents! Mostly birthday's and Christmas'. But what I loved was Kurtis being able to see his Papa and his Grandpa again. To hear their voices and see their actions truly warms the heart. And he couldn't believe that his Papa had a Nintendo before he did! And of course, the big question always arises as you are watching home movies of yourself..."Why do I sound like such an idiot and was my butt really that big?" :-)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Mid-Week Check List

~ Christmas Baking
~ Christmas Cards
~ Christmas Shopping
~ Gifts Wrapped
To Do:
~ Photo's onto digital picture frame
~ Start Kurtis' scrapbook
~ Clean house
~ Bake cake
Ambition Level:
~ Zero
Potential To Do Nothing Today:
~ 100%
Having Nobody To Answer To But Yourself:
~ Priceless

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Evolution of Banjo

I took Banjo to the vet yesterday to be weighed. I hadn't weighed him for almost 6 weeks. He had been holding steady at 23 1/2 lbs. As of yesterday, I am very proud to say, he is down to 21 3/4 lbs!!! Yeah Banjo!!! The top left hand picture was when he was probably at his biggest (or perhaps it's just a very unflattering pose he was sitting in) at 30 lbs. The middle picture is when he was at 25 lbs and then the top right is his new weight. I want to keep him there for a bit as it was a little fast those 1 3/4 lbs. He is only supposed to lose 1 lb a month the vet said. The bottom left hand picture is from when he was only about 15 lbs. Not quite a year old. At one year he was 18 lbs. He has always been a big cat. It's hard to remember him being that color. At the bottom right hand side is his little dishes that I put less then 1/8 c of food in each night. That way, if his "lunch" dish is empty when the next person comes home, we know someone has fed him already. No fear of over feeding him. So he is eating less then 1/2 cup a day of high protein food. I had him on "Purina One - Healthy Weight Formula" (High Protein). He was doing really well. Now you can't find it anywhere! I was leery of switching his food but I now have him on "President's Choice Weight Control Formula" (High Protein). Added into that food is a small amount of "Presidents Choice Finicky Cat PH Control Low Magnesium" mixed in, which I have had him on for years as he used to be prone to urinary infections. And that is Banjo's "HURRAH" for this morning!
I think after Christmas, I will get my boys to put my food in those small little dishes as well! :-)

Stray Cat Watch - Day 30

So I'm thinking Barney does not like Banjo sneaking up on him...what do you think? Funny cats! I had ran out of stray cat food so I went to Wal-mart and bought a big ol' "Econo Size" bag of food. Wayne rolled his eyes at me. Oh Wayne...what's $6.49... ;- )
{That, I'm sure, is just ONE of the reason's he loves me!}

Monday, December 8, 2008

Cookies, Cards, Presents

17 more days until Christmas! Unbelievable with so much yet to do. Today is marked for baking cookies, sending out Christmas cards and wrapping presents! I hope when I am done that I have my Santa cookie jar full, along with a few trays of cookies to give away. The trick will be figuring out the settings on my new oven. I suspect my first batch or two will be burnt. Wish me luck on that one!

I don't send out too many cards any more but I do like receiving them. There is just something special about getting a Christmas card in the mail, isn't there? I always recycle them by making them into gift tags for the next year.
Have a fantastic day everyone!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Stray Cat Watch - Day 27

First up - early this afternoon was Barney. I actually opened the garden doors and hung outside taking his picture until I got too cold! He seems to be very used to me. Of course, Banjo was right behind me with his tail and back puffed right up! That Banjo...he's so tuff!!! :-) I put the stray cat bowls underneath the shelf of the bar-b-que so the snow/rain wouldn't get to them. That way, the kitties would have a little shelter while eating as well!

Later this afternoon (see the snow fall?) came a cat that I have seen a few times but he has always come at night when it was too dark to take pictures. I'm not sure if he is a stray or just a neighbor cat. It's so hard to tell when, as I've mentioned before, my perception of what a 'normal' size cat should look like is a little tainted with having my 'big boy' as a model. He didn't stick around too long. He didn't seem to like Banjo nor I staring at him. Besides...Barney had eaten all the food already!
Keep Warm Tonight Kitties!

11 Days of Joy

I started holidays at 3:45 pm yesterday and am off until the 17th! I have many things that I want to accomplish these next few days including start Kurtis' next scrapbook. I completed over a year ago years 0 to 5. I now want to do years 6 to 10. You would think a person who likes crafting so much would like scrapbooking....I do NOT! I need my crafts done in an hour or two. Not days and days and days..... I've got years 11 and up in a photo album (the good kind). It's not like I even put a lot of effort into them - sometimes I just slap them in with a few stickers. But over $100 later (way over $100) and many many hours, the first one got completed. I hope Kurtis will appreciate it when he is older.
My "To Do" list for the week is:
{doesn't it make you accomplish your list when you put it in writing for the whole world to see?}
~ Bake Christmas treats to give away...well OK...they won't ALL be given away!
~ Start Kurtis' scrapbook #2
~ Send out my Christmas cards
~ Update photos on my digital picture frame to take back to work after holidays
~ Finish up my Christmas shopping
~ Wrap Christmas presents (and birthday - see below)
~ Clean my house before Wayne's mom comes (Thur. 11th)
~ Bake/buy Kurtis a birthday cake - MY BABY TURNS 18 NEXT WEEKEND....how old am I?

Friday, December 5, 2008

Can You Believe...

...that in 20 days we will be eating/getting ready to eat/have eaten our Christmas dinner! Unbelievable!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Full of P & V

Ever since Banjo has lost weight, he seems to have a lot more
(excuse the expression) "Piss & Vinegar" in him!
I set a couple of wine bottles onto my kitchen table,
walked out of the kitchen for two minutes,
came back in and this is what I found!
Bum leg indeed!
I would suggest that we can take his bench
out of our bedroom because if he can jump onto the table
he can certainly jump up onto our bed!!!!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Just Dessert

I accomplished my "To Do" list this weekend, including make a dessert for my Team Potluck Party for tomorrow in NB. I hope the weather holds out as I have to travel alone. I'm lucky that I wasn't going to bake anything for dessert as my stove blew up Saturday night! Hint: Never mention in front of your old appliances that you are thinking of buying new ones. Now we aren't thinking about it - we have no choice as our fridge started to go on the fritz a couple of weeks ago as well! I guess Wayne and I know what we are getting for Christmas!


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