Most of the photos here at Rabbit Run Cottage
can be enlarged just by clicking on each one!
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Thursday, January 31, 2008

Gung Hay Fat Choy!

Gung Hay Fat Choy!

(May prosperity be with you)

Xin Nian Kuai Le!

(Happy New Year)

This year is the year of Wu Zhi.

The Year of the Rat...

Just for fun, how would you like to see your name in Mandarin Chinese? Pop over to Your Chinese Name and try it!
Well, it is February 1st ya'll (Eh, so I still have a few more hours before it is *officially* February but let's just ignore that fact okay?) and it will soon be the Chinese New year! We have a few fun things planned...Saturday we will be participating in a wonderful celebration with many other families of adopted Chinese children. On Thursday we will have dinner at our favorite Chinese place, as we do every year for Chinese New Year's Day!

This year, 2008, is Year 4705 by the Chinese calendar. Chinese New Year, also known as the "Spring Festival", falls on a different date each year, ranging from late January to mid-February, (basically on the second new moon after the winter solstice.)

If you were born in 1912, 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996 - you were born under the sign of the rat!

Unlike our western New Year, celebrations aren't tightly focused on one particular date.

The big day itself will be February 7 2008 but festivities can occur on weekends before or after that date!

Chinese New Year is the longest and most important celebration in the Chinese calendar. The Chinese year 4706 begins on Feb. 7, 2008.

Chinese months are reckoned by the lunar calendar, with each month beginning on the darkest day. New Year festivities traditionally start on the first day of the month and continue until the fifteenth, when the moon is brightest. In China, people may take weeks of holiday from work to prepare for and celebrate the New Year

.

A Chinese proverb states that all creations are reborn on New Year’s day. The Chinese New Year is a celebration of change ... out with the old and in with the new!

The Chinese New Year falls on a different date each year because it is based on a combination of lunar and solar movements. It usually occurs in January or February. On February 12, 2002, Chinese communities around the world will ring in the Year Of The Rat!

Ratatouille Anyone?

Legend has it that in ancient times, Buddha asked all the animals to meet him on Chinese New Year. Twelve came, and Buddha named a year after each one. Those born in rat years tend to be leaders, pioneers, and conquerors. They are charming, passionate, charismatic, practical and hardworking. asked all the animals to meet him on Chinese New Year. Twelve came, and Buddha named a year after each one. He announced that the people born in eac

h animal's year would have some of that animal's personality. Those born in rat years

Fireworks and Family Feasts

At Chinese New Year celebrations people wear red clothes, decorate with poems on red paper, and give children "lucky money" in red envelopes. Red symbolizes fire, which according to legend can drive away bad luck. The fireworks that shower the festivities are rooted in a similar ancient custom. Long ago, people in China lit bamboo stalks, believing that the crackling flames would frighten evil spir

its.

The Lantern Festival

In China, the New Year is a time of family reunion. Family members gather at each other's homes for visits and shared meals, most significantly a feast on New Year's Eve. In the United States, however, many early Chinese immigrants arrived without their families, and found a sense of community through neighborhood associations instead. Today, many Chinese-American neighborhood associations host ban

quets and other New Year events.

Chinese New Year ends with the lantern festival on the fifteenth day of the month. Some of the lanterns may be works of art, painted with birds, animals, flowers, zodiac signs, and scenes from legend and history. People hang glowing lanterns in temples, and carry lanterns to an evening parade under the light of the full

moon.

In many areas the highlight of the lantern festival is the dragon dance. The dragon—which might stretch a hundred feet long—is typically made of silk, paper, and bamboo. Traditionally the dragon is held aloft by young men who dance as they guide the colorful beast through the streets. In the United States, where the New Year is celebrated with a shortened schedule, the dragon dance always takes place on a weekend.

Tangerines and oranges are given as gifts, as their Chinese names sound like "gold" and "wealth".

One of the most popular dishes at most Chinese restaurants is a stir fry. Here is one that is easy and good.

~Garlic Chicken Stir Fry~

Crunchy vegetables and chicken are treated to a quick garlic-ginger saute, then tossed in a lightly sweetened soy sauce for a quick and colorful stir-fry. Dish it up over rice or noodles and you're done!

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup sliced cabbage
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups sugar snap peas
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch

Cooking Instructions

  1. Heat peanut oil in a wok or large skillet. When oil begins to smoke, quickly stir in 2 cloves minced garlic, ginger root, green onions and salt. Stir fry until onion becomes translucent, about 2 minutes. Add chicken and stir until opaque, about 3 minutes. Add remaining 4 cloves minced garlic and stir. Add sweet onions, cabbage, bell pepper, peas and 1/2 cup of the broth/water and cover.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the remaining 1/2 cup broth/water, soy sauce, sugar and cornstarch. Add sauce mixture to wok/skillet and stir until chicken and vegetables are coated with the thickened sauce. Serve immediately, over hot rice if desired.
Sound good? To all our dear friends, Happy New Year! Gung Hay Fat Choy!

Some of the pictures, designs and information comes from:

Activity Village

Kaboose

Recipes

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

It's A Jungle In Here!

Last weekend we decided to make a run down to the Cincinnati area and Jungle Jim's. A grocery store but a big one...and one filled with all manner of delectable goodies from around the world. And, some slightly nauseating ones as well...or so said my daughter. But then, what to tweens know about sophisticated cuisine anyway? We were there for 3 hours and had a good time perusing the foods of the Netherlands, England, Ireland, China, Italy and more. Their row of hot sauce alone is amazing....
Hot things need their own fire equipment right?
Hot Sauces from around the country and the globe, sauces with Scoville ratings ranging from 0 to 4,000,000 Units, collector series hot sauces, and the hottest sauce legally available in the U.S.. .... and yes, it HAS been featured on the Food Channel and Good Morning America so it must be THE place to be seen right? Of course, no one really saw me except these fish and they weren't talkin'.
Lookin' at them lookin' at us lookin' at them...
Near the store's entrance, two life-size plaster giraffes are surrounded by a family of plaster elephants in a shallow pond. Brown plaster chimps hang from the roof over a stand of giant plaster fruit. There is a 5-foot tall Gorilla hanging "King Kong" fashion on top of the enormous Greenhouse. At this point you realize this is no ordinary supermarket...aw come on. What gave it away? Oh..the gorilla...yep. Does it every time.So sit right down and you'll hear a tale...
There's a forty-foot boat in the fish department labeled "S.S. Minnow." Cartoon silhouettes of the Gilligan's Island crew are painted on the windows. Stuffed monkeys dangle over the banana display, and you select the fungi of your choice from a giant mushroom. When automatic sprayers turn on to mist the vegetables, they're accompanied by thunder and lightning. A full-size authentic horse-drawn buggy looms over the Amish-style meats and groceries section, and a large animated lion dressed like Elvis sings every five minutes on a glittery stage. Now, let's talk about the restrooms. Uh huh. Restrooms. At first glance, a Jungle Jim’s restroom might confuse new customers. What appears to be handicapped-sized port-o-lets are actually faux entrances to a hallway, adorned in a jungle motif, leading to an exquisitely decorated 10 stall restroom, complete with flowers, marble, soft green tile, tropical pictures and more."I’m all about putting smiles on people’s faces," said Jungle Jim’s Owner Jim Bonaminio. "People are so tense these days. Those bathrooms just seem to make people laugh and that’s what we’re all about: laughing and having fun."
And uh huh. It WAS fun.

It's Alive! It's Alive!

Yes, Frankie baby, she is alive. Okay. Now, let me first say that I have had more visits clocked here while I am NOT Posting then I do when I actually post. Hmmm....are you all tryng to tell me something? Yes? Aw gee...okay. But I never listen anyway so I will just go ahead and post. Phooey. Why have I been away for awhile? That is a hard one to answer. Or not. Or maybe no one cares or is out there at all. But I talk to myself all the time anyhoo so why should this be an exception? First though I would like to send hugs to my dear blog friends who have checked on me and I want to let you know how much I appreciate it. I also want to send a hello to a few friends to whom I owe an email....Mama P? I will be writing you this evening. I send hugs to you all as well. It has just been one of those weeks. Nothing horrible, no hard core reason to be so down and out. Just was. I can see our Brenda at Country Romance smiling and saying good for you. Be yourself and be real. Yep. This is as real as can be. I was depressed. I have never wanted to be one who shared all my woes on blog. That would get rather boring right? And I really do not have oh so many woes truth be known. This started small and then snowballed. Okay, So it turned into a major avalanche. It was not one thing but a series of them. You all know what I mean. Or you don't. Or maybe I should know when to hush but that has never been one of my strengths. I was going to do one of the lists on blog, specifically the "Why It Is Good To Be Me" list. I have a fondness for doing such things you know and was really looking forward to writing this one. I sat and thought, and sat and thought. Then I thought and sat. Then I sat and thought some more. What came to mind? Nothing. A big fat zero. Isn't that awful? Yes, yes, I know I have a lot to be grateful for and I AM. But when I needed to come up with a list of reasons that are jolly good about being old Susie Q I came up short. And empty. M.P.T. Oh yes, I could come up with a trunk full of things with which I have been blessed. And yes, I am happy about them. I love my husband and kids. Perfect? Nope. They are messy and forgetful and overly opinionated and I love them for it and in spite of it. But I am still easily hurt and often misunderstood, even by them. And I always get mad at myself when it happens. I blame myself. It must be MY fault that *insert name* does not realize how much I need *insert word*. I am blessed to still have my mother with us and in pretty good health even as I miss the others that have gone on ahead. I love my brother and sis in law, I love my nephew. I am usually quite upbeat about Boo's prognosis and firmly believe that this special school for children with Autism will be successful. Still, there are those days when someone, anyone, says all the wrong things and I end up mad...mad at the world that allows children to suffer the consequences of a disability, once again blaming myself for being so easily upset. I love my pets, my neighbors and my little town. I love my friends, even when one of them lets me down as one did last weekend. I cry and I sag. And as usual, instead of letting this friend know that my feelings were hurt, I took it on myself. Beat myself up because I was too sensitive, too quickly dismissed, too much of a sap. I blamed myself. I really do love my house but in trying to spell out how good it is to have a home, all I could think about was what was wrong with it. Small, in need of pretty updates like new counters and floors and lighting fixtures. I started thinking about how much I want to get a new dining room table and chairs and how resistant Bill is to that idea. I envy the beautiful homes of others and nit pick my own rooms and pieces, each chair, each pillow, every little scratch and stain. In short, I blame myself for being so difficult and materialistic. I have never been able to feel the pride a long career would have given me. It is easy to say that living a Navy wife's existence was the cause but that would be the simple way out. I love being a stay at home wife and Mom but I get lonely. I am too often unfulfilled, isolated and feel left out of the proverbial life loop. Once again, I blame myself for it all. I so love to write but lack the strength to do something more profound with it. One of Bill's Navy buddies has been diagnosed with brain cancer, an acquaintance's 17 year old son has only weeks to live due to the same disease. Another Navy friend's son was so injured in Iraq that he has lost his leg and continues to fight infection and a high fever. In short, I have nothing to whine about. Not. A. Thing. And that just makes it even harder for me at times. Maybe I need to cut myself some slack. But, instead, I blame myself for being weak and greedy. So, there you have it. Something that should have been easy became difficult because, well, I am a sap. It was a simpleton week of feeling sorry for myself and that is not something for which like to brag. But, in short (or long as you are all now thinking), I am human. I get down. I get depressed. See Brenda? I can be authentic! An authentic bore but authentic none the less! Yeah me! Life is not fair, bad things happen to good people and Paris Hilton is still a celebrity although I have absolutely no idea why. Stuff happens...and happens again. So, I pulled myself back up and have dusted off the greasy grime. I have given myself a good talking to and kicked myself in the rump. NOT easily accomplished at all let me tell you. Now, let me get at that "Good To Me" list again...let's see...ah. 1. Can kick herself in her own rear end. I have missed you all....I hope each one of you is enjoying a good week.
Love and hugs, Susie Q

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Eighteen Candles

Cake is from:Maisie Fantaisie
Jacqui, Jenn's daughter (both can be found at the Bowerbird's Nest!) just celebrated her 18th birthday! What a special time of life for her! She is talented and beautiful and has the world at her feet. I wish her blessings aplenty and a magical year filled with all manner of delights! Please join me in wishing her a special day!
Love and hugs, Susie Q

April In Paris

It was damp & cold....the sort of stinging, bitter cold that gets into your bones and stays there. Trembling and tired, I went to sleep and dreamed of France in the Spring where it's colorful, poetic spring landscapes stretched before me for miles. Streets and parks in which I ambled happily along and lazed about in for long, delightful stretches. The light seemed soft, the people seemed...soft. I found myself humming the old Doris Day song...
"I never knew the charm of spring Never met it face to face I never new my heart could sing Never missed a warm embrace 'Til April in Paris Whom can I run to What have you done to My heart..."
It was the time of year when sweet Paris truly resembles its most appealing of cliches. It was a day to discuss life and all of it's wild twists and turns over a glass of wine at a small outdoor cafe. It was a time when the city was suddenly awash in cherry and apple blossoms, daffodils & tulips, painting itself in the brilliant pinks, reds, yellows and greens of a Van Gogh masterpiece or, at least, that of a 1950's Hollywood technicolor musical. Paris in the Spring was worthy of the legendary songs and poems that pay tribute to it's beauty. I smiled as I remembered the line from "Sabrina",
"Paris is always a good idea..."
It was here that pure joie de vivre was found. And then the alarm clock rang...ah. Being in Paris IS always a good idea, even if I only get there in a dream. Photos courtesy of Flickr.com

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

A Trip To The Keys For A Little Pie...

Happy National Pie Day! If you too would love to participate, please just click on the picture above....then thank dear Tammy for getting this all together!

Key Lime Pie originated in Key West, Florida by the local residents referred to as "Conchs". The original version was made before the days of refrigeration. There were no cattle in the area so the only milk available was canned milk originally brought in by ship, later by train. This is why the recipe uses canned milk and not fresh. Also, the traditional key lime pie would not be cooked. The acid from the lime juice would set and thicken the egg yolks. Because of the potential of Salmonella bacteria it is best to cook the dessert and bring the yolks up to a temperature of at least 110 degrees.

Key lime pie is a dessert made of key lime juice, egg yolks, and sweetened condensed milk in a pie crust. The pie is topped with meringue, then baked until the meringue is a golden brown. Some key lime pies use other types of whipped toppings or none at all. The dish is named after the small key limes that are naturalized throughout the Florida Keys. Their thorns make them less tractable, their thin yellow rind makes them more perishable, but they are more tart and aromatic than the common Persian limes seen year round in most U.S. grocery stores.

Key lime pie is made with canned sweetened condensed milk, since fresh milk was not a common commodity in the Florida Keys before modern refrigerated distribution methods.

Key lime juice, unlike regular lime juice, is a pale yellow. The filling in key lime pie is also yellow, largely due to the egg yolks. Some cooks add food coloring to give the pie filling a green color. This practice is frowned upon by those who make traditional key lime pies.

During mixing, a reaction between the condensed milk and the acidic lime juice occurs which causes the filling to thicken on its own without requiring baking. Many early recipes for key lime pie did not instruct the cook to ever bake the pie, relying on this chemical reaction to produce the proper consistency of the filling. Today, in the interest of safety due to consumption of raw eggs, pies of this nature are usually baked for a short time. The baking also thickens the texture even more than the reaction alone.

Easy, Schmeasy Key Lime Pie

Stuff You Need... 4 large or extra large egg yolks 1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk

1/2 cup fresh key lime juice (approximately 12 Key limes) 2 teaspoons grated lime peel, green portion only Whipping Cream For Garnish (Optional) 1/2 cup whipping cream 2 teaspoons granulated sugar 1/4 teaspoon vanilla

How To Do It... Use an electric mixer and beat the egg yolks until they are thick and turn to a light yellow, don't over mix. Turn the mixer off and add the sweetened condensed milk. Turn speed to low and mix in half of the lime juice. Once the juice is incorporated add the other half of the juice and the zest, continue to mix until blended (just a few seconds). Pour the mixture into the pie shell and bake at 350F for 12 minutes to set the yolks and kill any salmonella in the eggs. Eatin' It... If you are using the whipping cream garnish, prepare the cream. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream. Now, I must tell you there are absolutely NO calories in this pie. It will reduce your level of bad cholesterol, improve your blood sugar, give your complexion a lovely glow, your hair a silken sheen and remove wrinkles. It will cure arthritis and hammer toes and dandruff. It could aid in establishing world peace and intensify your love life. BUT if none of these things actually happen, I CAN promise that a bite will make you smile and say, "Awwwwww....." Happy National Pie Day! Now, go make a pie! Love and Hugs, Susie Q

A Little Conversation Anyone?

Conversation Hearts are one of America’s favorite Valentine’s Day candies!

Although it is impossible to credit a specific person with their invention, the company responsible for their popularity is the New England Confectionery Company also known as NECCO.

In 1847, the Peppermint Lozenge cutter was invented by Oliver Chase. Mr. Chase teamed up with his brother, Silas Evan to create the Chase Candy Company.

Thirteen years later, Daniel Chase, the brother of Oliver Chase, came up with a brilliant invention that allowed him to print text on the peppermint lozenges. The first “conversation” candies were not in the shape of hearts but rather shells and text and were inscribed on a foil wrapper and not the candy itself.

In 1900, one year before the Chase Candy Co. merged with three other candy companies to become the New England Confectionery Company, the first Motto Candy was invented although, again, it was not in the shape of a heart. The candy was, however, called Sweet Hearts.

The first imprinted candies were in the shapes of baseballs, horseshoes postcards and watches. The enlarged shapes allowed for longer imprinted sayings. As time passed, the sayings got shorter and, eventually, they were reduced to one to two lines which fit perfectly on a heart shaped candy.

According to New England Confectionery Company (NECCO), “During peak periods of production, up to one hundred thousand pounds of conversation hearts are made each day at NECCO’s headquarter.” and “if you placed the annual production of Sweethearts Conversation Hearts back to back across the United States, they would stretch from New York to Los Angeles and back again!”

New England Confectionery Company (NECCO) is not the only manufacturer of conversation hearts as similar varieties are made by Brach’s and Jelly Belly. According to the National Confectioners Association, “about 8 billion hearts will be produced this year; that’s enough candy to stretch from Rome, Italy to Valentine, Arizona and back twenty times!

McKeesport Candy Co. was one of the first companies to offer Conversation Hearts and has sold them in a multitude of shapes and sizes.

Just in case you have been staying up all night wondering...

Monday, January 21, 2008

To Warm The Tummy...

...and the soul on an icy Winter's day. Soup. Is there anything better? We all love Tomato soup and this is pretty easy AND good. 1 (14-ounce) can chopped tomatoes 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil Salt and freshly ground black pepper 1 stalk celery, diced 1 small carrot, diced 1 yellow onion, diced 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 cup chicken broth 1 bay leaf 2 tablespoons butter 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves 1/2 cup heavy cream, optionalPreheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Strain the chopped canned tomatoes, reserving the juices, and spread onto a baking sheet, season with salt and pepper, to taste, drizzle with 1/4 cup of the olive oil and roast until caramelized, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a saucepan, heat remaining olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the celery, carrot, onion and garlic, cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the roasted chopped canned tomatoes, reserved tomato juices, chicken broth, bay leaf and butter. Simmer until vegetables are very tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Add basil and cream, if using. Puree with a hand held immersion blender until smooth.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Sweet Days...

....and a happy year is wished for 2 very special ladies. Today is dear Lynn's birthday. Happy, happy birthday to you lovely lady! May all your wishes come true. Please join me in this wish.... And I must apologize to Cassie! I missed wishing her a happy day. I DO hope it was as lovely as YOU are dear friend. Please join me in this belated wish!

Oh Happy Happy Joy Joy!

Lists, lists and more lists!
I have been tagged, not once, not twice but thrice! Okay, so that is not a word but I like it anyway. Hmpf. I plan on working on these tonight and tomorrow. Ya'll know I love a good list. Heck, I love any list but these are really good. I have also been tagged to do a fun expose'. The Wendster has let me in on that....it will be fun! I am so sorry I made so many of you cry! I truly did not mean to do that...even Bill called me this afternoon and said he cried at his desk! Uh oh. Big boys DO cry! I had wanted to tie the story in with the *Home Is Best* post I had written. I stopped by the old barn to take pictures that day and it just looked sad...I wanted to remember Beau with happy thoughts NOT dark ones. He was a man who knew what the word *Home* meant didn't he? Sandi asked about pictures....I haven't any! I know, I know...can you believe that? This all happened in 2003, before I went digital. I seldom took my camera and so wish I did have some photos. I am checking with the Dayton Daily News. They did an article about it and there were pictures...maybe I can score some there. It was such an amazing sight! Yesterday was a gloomy weather day but I had a bit of fun stopping to take a few pictures. I drove onto the grounds of Normandy United Methodist Church. The church is situated on a piece of property that was once part of Normandy Farms. The land and home were owned by Richard H. Grant, one of Dayton's outstanding citizens and businessmen. For several years the Grants enjoyed weekends in a cabin on property along Holes Creek. When they decided to build a permanent home in the area they purchased six adjoining farms, totaling 780 acres. The house was constructed in 1927-30, at a cost of nearly one million dollars.

The Grants chose Medieval English Manor style for their new home. Mr. Grant's energy and constant demand for quality, which brought him success in the business world, was directed toward the construction of his home. The two-story tower and staircase with the massive chandelier add historical elegance to the three-story building with its thirty-eight rooms consisting of a main section and two wings. The eight-inch thick concrete floors and eighteen-inch outer walls topped by six inches on the roof gives the house great stability. It was literally built to last for ages. A slate roof and leaden drainpipes also show great attention to durability and quality. The eleven sculptured marble fireplaces, the massive entrance gates, many of the doors, and the stained glass window plaques were purchased in Europe . The beautifully hand carved old wood paneling in the main hall and library was imported from England and dates back to 1603.

In 1984 the Normandy Farms house was placed on The National Register of Historic Buildings.

It is just gorgeous inside!

But today I stayed outside and snapped a few pictures.

Have a sweet weekend dear friends! Love and Hugs, Susie Q

Thursday, January 17, 2008

A Horse *With* A Name...

...Beau. His name was Beau. He was old with a sway back and not much use for farm work anymore. Still his owners loved him, as much for his gentle disposition as for the devotion he had shown them over the years. The old farm was sold off, a bit here, a piece there until it was almost entirely surrounded by roads and businesses. The family moved on leaving this old barn behind. Now old Beau was a creature of habit. The new barn just did not feel quite right. Oh, it smelled better and was a lot less drafty but it did not feel like home. Of course, living out on the new land meant he would not be able to watch the streams of cars that passed each day, some which held passengers that waved and shouted a friendly hello. Oh and how he missed the children from the near by Day Care Center. On nice days, group of giggling boys and girls would venture out to visit, always bringing a carrot, an apple and little hands that scratched where it itched. Nope, this new place was just not home. So Beau pined. He sulked. He refused to eat. In a desperate attempt to appease the old horse, his owners brought him back to the ramshackle barn on the corner of the busy intersection. Beau came back to life! He ate like a...a...well, a horse! He whinnied at passing cars. He gleefully trotted up to the fence when his friends came to call. He was happy. When it began to get dark, or when the skies threatened rain, Beau pushed the door to the barn aside with his nose and went into his stall. At night the owners came to visit and tuck him in, well, so to speak. Each morning they came to unlock the barn and bring the old horse his breakfast. Beau was happy. He was content. He was loved. One late November morning the owners came to unlock the barn door and Beau did not greet them. The old man had died in his sleep. He was laying on the sweet smelling hay surrounded by the home he loved so much. The owners told how it looked as if he was smiling. It was mid December and getting quite cold. Snow flakes were beginning to fall, mixed with icy pellets that bounced off the hood of my car and tapped at the windows. The over cast gloom matched my gray mood. I had enjoyed seeing Beau as I passed by his corner. He always lifted my spirits and I was now dreading the sight of that empty field. The lonely barn. I began to cry in anticipation of it. Then something caught my eye. There, flapping in the winter wind, were Christmas bows. 20 or 30 of them. Red, green, silver, gold. Bows of every size and shape tied to the fence. Beau's fence. The children, the sweet children from the Day Care Center had wanted to do something to remember their friend. Bows for Beau. Such a sweet and innocent gesture. The next morning there were 20 or 30 more. That evening, another 10. The next day 30 more appeared. Soon the rickety old fence would be covered in holiday finery. Bows for Beau. There were notes and children's drawings. Photographs and stuffed horses. It was a precious memorial for a horse that had come to mean so much to so many. You may be surprised at what can bring a community together. Sometimes all that is needed is the love of an animal. The love of a horse named Beau.

Rawther Ashamed...

...now don't I sound terribly, awfully like children's literature & film heroine Eloise? And although I do not live in a room on the "tippy top floor" of The Plaza (I am rawther miffed at that myself!) and do not have a Nanny of my very own (Hmm...I DO need one I should think!) I have behaved rawther like the spoiled and mischievous lass of book fame. Eloise would never allow herself to get bored, bored, bored and I must apologize for being a bit of a bore, bore, bore myself! First let me apologize to our dear Penny! I should have deleted the name of the blog from which my Anonymous friend entered Rabbit Run Cottage. I rawther doubt that she left any sort of comment for the lovely Penny as she only enjoys leaving unsettling ones. Penny's blog can only evoke comments of the highest praise! Lavender Hill is a true joy and Penny is one of the sweetest ladies ever. Talented and of so creative, her mosaics are sure to please your eye! I will be asking Nanny for one soon...I am rawther sure she will have Mother dear get one for me. I am rawther tired of furs and jewels. For now I will ask your forgiveness for being so self absorbed! It is rawther silly I think. It looked like I was asking for reassurance and I should never have allowed myself to be so self pre occupied! Still, you are all so very wonderful and I can not thank you enough. I suppose I wanted to speak to all those who leave rawther unpleasant comments on anyone's blog. Especially those who do so anonymously. I am reminded of the comments often left on HGTV"s Rate My Space. Now, constructive criticism is always welcome. It is helpful and desired. That is what the decorating forum is all about. Leaving most unpleasant messages for those who post photos is a bit odd, creepy and downright nasty. It is unpleasant to be reminded just how bitter and angry some people are! I have seen some of the prettiest spaces be flamed by wanna be decorators....and how do they do it? Ah...anonymously of course! So I want to thank each of you for being so sweet and for helping me to see what a rawther doltish person I was being! Please do leave a comment for me if I ever write something with which you do not agree! Please do correct me if I post something inaccurate! I have big shoulders...I can take that! But reminding me that I am less than pure and perfect? Well, I DID take a bawth with Ivory Soap today. I splawshed, splawshed, splawshed and became so pure I floated! But I did so rawther imperfectly. I need no reminders that I am less than perfect. I am able to see that on a daily basis! In fact, allowing myself to get so befuddled over a silly comment is rawther imperfect don'tcha think? My apologies to you all...and especially to you Penny! I love you all. Now go out there and have a rawther lovely Thursday but do so imperfectly! Perfection is oh so boring, boring, boring!
Love and Hugs, Susie Q

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Be It Ever So Humble...

There is no place like it in the world.
4 little letters. One syllable. Home. How can such a small word conjure up so much emotion? While a house is often referred to as a "home," the concept of home is far more broad than a physical dwelling. Home should be our personal haven. A place of refuge, of safety, a sanctuary where worldly cares fade and the things and people that one loves becomes the focus. Think of the proverb, "East or west, home is the best". These concepts of home as sanctuary and refuge are becoming more and more desirable in today's fast paced, hectic world. No matter your budget or the square footage you home possesses, your home can be beautiful. When it comes to creating a warm, welcoming home, attention to detail is far more important than budget and space. For instance, have you ever walked into a large, exquisitely furnished home and yet felt unwelcome? Or entered a modest apartment and never wanted to leave? I certainly have. But where does one start? Banish those things that you do not find to be useful, beautiful or meaningful. It is an old adage to be sure but still so true. Surround yourself with those things that you most cherish and peace will find you. Choose the colors that soothe you, not what is the most popular at the moment. The same applies to furniture styles and accessories. Your home is your nest. Fluff it, tweak it, feather it your way. Make room for music, candles, good scents and family treasures. What is your concept of home? How do you feather your nest? It is a very personal decision! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I am so late to thank those sweet blog friends who recently gifted me with special awards. I have placed them along my sidebar and want to warmly thank each one. Thank you from the very bottom of my heart! As always, I am so humbled...and honored. I love you all. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I posted the other day about our Janet's birthday. Well, today IS the day! If you have yet to do so, please pop over and wish her a happy one! And today is also a special day for another dear friend. Please skip over and wish Deb a very happy birthday as well! Her blog is filled with such delightful words and photos. It is a magical place! And, while you are there, please leave a birthday message for her wonderful dog Ben. Ben is one of the gentlest of God's creatures. It was recently his 11th birthday and he is as handsome as ever! He holds a special place in my heart... We also have a new blogger that is celebrating her birthday today as well. Please wish Diane a sweet day too! May all of you have a year filled with joy and precious blessings! Happy Birthday! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I must run now...I need to do a little clean up around the old nest. Have a wonderful evening and a sweet Wednesday!
Love and hugs, Susie Q

Monday, January 14, 2008

Emergency! Silliness!

Oh Johnny!

Have any of you ever actually been given Ringer's Lactate?

Would Ringer's have helped my poor aching heart? Oh was I ever in love with Johnny Gage! I grew up in fire houses. My Dad did this for a living. But I was so enamored with

Station 51, Johnny Gage and Squad 51, I was a very sad case.

Sad case...someone call for help. Rampart? This is Squad 51. We have a blond teenage girl who seems to have fainted. Rampart? Request permission to have Johnny give her mouth to mouth resuscitation. NO? Okay Rampart. Administering Ringer's lactate as ordered...

Squad 51? Administer 1000 CC's of Ringer's Lactate And Transport...

Rampart, this is Squad 51...
Oh my. This walk down memory lane is amazing. After all the chatter about TV doctors and then the re-discovery of Chad Everett for our Janet, well, I had to take a look back at the TV guys *I* loved. Oh my did I have it bad for one Fireman/Paramedic John Gage. I was so addicted to "Emergency" each week that I planned my life around it. Sad isn't it? Now remember, my dad did this for a living! And of course he usually found something to fault about each episode...hmpf. What did Daddy know anyway. Johnny Gage was perfect. Following its debut on January 15, 1972, Emergency! aired for six seasons on Saturday night at 8 p.m. on NBC. The show centered on the professional and personal lives of paramedics, firefighters, and medical personnel at Los Angeles County Fire Station 51, and Rampart Emergency Hospital. Each week this top-rated action/drama series followed paramedics “John Gage” (Randolph Mantooth), and “Roy DeSoto” (Kevin Tighe), as they responded, in Squad 51, to accidents and dangerous rescues. Accompanying the paramedics in Engine 51 were, “Captain Hank Stanley” (Michael Norell), Firefighter/Engineer Mike Stoker, (as himself), and firefighters Marco Lopez (as himself) and “Chet Kelly” (Tim Donnelly). Squad 51, an emergency room on wheels, was outfitted with advanced medical equipment. Paramedics “Gage” and “DeSoto” received instructions via radio from the doctors and nurses at Rampart hospital, “Dr. Kelly Brackett” (Robert Fuller), “Dr. Joe Early” (Bobby Troup), “Dr. Mike Morton” (Ron Pinkard) and “Nurse Dixie McCall” (Julie London). At the direction of the medical personnel, “Gage” and “DeSoto” performed on-site Advanced Lifesaving Techniques (ALS) to stabilize patients before transporting them to the hospital. Emergency! would then switch its focus to the doctors and nurses at Rampart Emergency as they treated the patient, while Station 51 waited for its next emergency call. Emergency! aired 122 episodes and seven two hour movies reaching a national audience that averaged 30 million viewers each week. Emergency! helped educate those 30 million viewers on the emerging concept of Emergency Medical Services (EMS). A concept that was having a hard time getting off the ground in the early 1970’s. Soon after Emergency!’s debut, viewers were demanding the on-site medical treatment that they were seeing on television. The result was dramatic. Thousands of young men and women, inspired by Emergency!, began to enter the developing field of Emergency Medical Services, thus advancing EMS by ten years. When Emergency! first aired there were only 12 paramedic rescue units in the United States. By the end of Emergency!’s seven year run, half of all Americans were within ten minutes of a paramedic rescue unit.

The pilot episode of Emergency! was centered around a fictitious Los Angeles County Fire Department station designated "51" and the establishment of the real Wedworth-Townsend Act that created the first paramedic program in the State of California, which was then used as one of the models for other programs around the country. The television scenes that took place at fictitious “Station 51” were actually filmed at Station 127 in Carson, California. Station 127 is still a working fire station today. Both the interior and exterior look very much like it did during the filming of Emergency! In 1985, Station 127 was named The Robert A. Cinader Memorial Fire Station in memory and in honor of Emergency!’s creator and Executive Producer. There is currently an active Station 51 located at Universal Studios, Hollywood, California. In 1997, TVLand began airing reruns of Emergency! renewing the interest of fans that grew up with the show, and creating a new generation of fans among the younger viewers. In 1999, Project 51, a non-profit public benefit corporation, was formed to promote awareness of the 30th anniversary (in 2000) of Emergency Medical Services in the United States and to document how the television series Emergency! changed the face of healthcare forever. Project 51 featured a very successful cross country series of events that featured Emergency! cast members. The tour also included the original fully refurbished Squad 51 along with the original medical equipment and wardrobe used on the show. On May 14, 2000 the cast and crew of Emergency! received a private tour of the West Wing of the White House in honor of their efforts in the advancement of Emergency Medical Services. Two days later the original medical equipment (biophone, defibrillator, and drug box) and original wardrobe (turnout coats, paramedic shirts, and helmets) from Emergency! were accepted by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. The Smithsonian’s acceptance of these life-saving medical devices reinforces the historical significance of Emergency! and the vital role it played in introducing the American Public to Emergency Medical Services. Emergency! Cast: Station 51 Johnny Gage: Randolph Mantooth Roy DeSoto: Kevin Tighe Captain Dick Hammer As himself (1st season only) Captain Hank Stanley Michael Norell Mike Stoker, Engineer: As himself Chet Kelly: Tim Donnelly Marco Lopez: As himself Sam Lanier: As himself (LACoFD dispatcher) Rampart Emergency Dr. Kelly Brackett: Robert Fuller Nurse Dixie McCall: Julie London Dr. Joe Early: Bobby Troup Dr. Mike Morton: Ron Pinkard

Other Recurring Roles James McEachin: Detective/Lt. Crockett (PD) Vince Howard: As himself (PD)