Thursday, December 13, 2007

A Day Off to Shop and Feel the Rain


What a surprise! The fish are hungry and the water lilies couldn’t resist rising above the surface to soak up the warm, summer breeze.

A day off from work is what I needed and I took it. I don't do holiday shopping on the weekends. My tradition is to hit the malls early in the morning on a weekday and knock out my shopping in a few hours. Pre-planning and organization is the key. Finished. Done. Shopping is much easier for me now, compared to the years when I had a long list of gifts to find for teachers, bus drivers, coaches, Gina’s little friends and teammates, and babysitters. The nieces and nephews are grown now and I visited the toy store today for only one eight-year old nephew. I was amazed during every aisle I visited. Man, the toys are so sophisticated today. It made me smile to see some classic toys - a Magic 8-Ball, Etch-a-Sketch, and Dot-to-Dot workbooks. Slinkies (the metal ones)! Candy Land! Mouse Trap! Connect Four! I bought him books. He'll love them.

What’s a shopping trip without a little gift for me? I always treat myself while Christmas shopping and it’s usually a gift related to pricey skin care or cosmetics. Pamper, pamper, pamper. Oh, what a day!

The summer breezes didn’t stop me from decorating the pond yesterday (in shorts and tee-shirt)...


I have always loved multi-colored lights and decorated with them for a few decades. Several years ago, it became more fashionable to use white lights, so I, a non-conformist at heart, grudgingly went along with the trend and still decorate with white lights. They are boring! My colorful pond lights delight me and they twinkle, very slowly.


Chloe & Bella are decorated in their Christmas outfits, begging for a taste at the dinner table. It’s the only time I can get a photo of them together, holding a SIT.

We are completely decorated now.


When I came home from my successful and glorious shopping trip, the feeders were silent. Not a bird in sight. The sun was breaking through dense clouds rolling in from the north. Ah-ha! Cooper never misses a visit.

Only two birds had the nerves to take advantage of free roaming at the feeders, but both of them eluded me.


Sounding its alarm makes the rest take cover. Even ravaging Starlings and Mockingbirds scatter. Chickadee-dee-dee is always unafraid, willing to take seeds alone, and my God, I love this little bird.


And then there is the little squawking brat. I’ll get a grand photo of a Tufted Titmouse one of these days… (click to enlarge - you might see it).

I enjoy watching the birds at work, doing what they do, rather than seeing them hanging from a feeder.

That being said,


She flew in quietly while I was photographing the water lily. Ahhhh…. Shhhhh! I fumbled the camera and lost my footing on the pond rocks. Woodpeckers get me all excited, every time.


After all was done – spending a little time with the birds and filling their feeders, decorating and cleaning the pond, I felt the strong and quick-moving winds bring a chill with it and I found a jacket. The clouds brought rain


for ten minutes. I let the rain drip from my eyeglasses for such a brief time...


thailandchani said...

That photo of the lights near the pond is just beautiful! :)

JeanMac said...

You are just so smart - do it all in one day! (And a treat to boot for you.)

Alyssa said...

Sounds like you've got your shopping down to a science. It's great when a chore can be enjoyable. I like colored lights too. Those white lights always remind me of a business or institution - where they have to be serious. Nothing like a ton of colored lights to make things fun and festive! It reminds me of when I was little. Your decorated pond looks really nice.

The seasonal scarves on Bella and Chloe are very cute and they look proud to be wearing them. I think they deserve a treat for being such pretty girls.

I hope you'll get more rain. I keep watching the weather and checking to see if North Carolina is getting any precipetation.

mon@rch said...

how much I would love to do my shopping in such warm weather! I agree weekends are not fun at all! The lines are just way too long! Love your photos and the lily is perfect! BRAVO

Carol Michel said...

Mary... I don't have my shopping done yet. I'm planning to finish it all up on Saturday when we are supposed to get a bunch more snow. Nothing like snow to put you in a spending mood!

Carol, May Dreams Gardens

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

Oh, May, I'm so glad you got some refreshing rain today. I'd been thinking about the drought and wishing clouds your way. The girls look so cute in their Christmas scarves! What did you buy for your splurge?

entoto said...

I love the multi colored lights. Nope, I don't do the white fairy lights. I like them on other's things, but not mine.

You pond tree is beautiful.

Jayne said...

Sounds like a really wonderful day Mary! Love your pond lights! :c)

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Sounds like you had a delightful day and to top it off with a good rain. I don't blame you for soaking up the rain. I know you are relieved to get some. I can just imagine how your garden feels getting that much needed moisture. I think I heard a loud sigh of relief comeing from over your way.

I totatlly agree that one deserves a treat after one does a big christmas shop.

OOOOOoooooooooo that water lily is just to die for. My eyes took a little time to adjust since they aren't used to looking at all that color saturation in one spot. ;)

Bella and Chloe look like they are ready to party with their pretty scarves on.

I feel the same way looking at toys anymore. It seems they have taken the imagination out of so much with all the sophisticate gadgetry.

Sounds like you can say bring on crhistmas now.

NCmountainwoman said...

Wonderful blog. And just a few days ago you worried about being a grinch. We're all in the holiday spirit after seeing your pictures.

Susie said...

I envy you having your shopping done. I have so much left to do with four young ones to buy for.
Your pond decorations are lovely and that purple water lily is stunning.

Marvin said...

Beautiful photo of the water lily. Good that you got a little rain. Hope you'll get more. Deck the halls.

Chrissie said...

Hello Mary, I'm pleased you've had some rain at last. Your pond still looks great. Lilies in Dec! Is that usual for you? Ours have vanished under the water until next year.

Anonymous said...

Mary, that lily shot is nothing short of astounding. I love the crisp details you captured.

I quite agree about the shopping - to be avoided on the weekends at all cost!

Mary said...

Chani, I'll try to get the lights' reflection on the water next time.

Jean, it's a fast trip with no time for a lot of browsing. Whew.

Alyssa, C & B have scarves for every occasion - even for the fourth of July!

Monarch, weekend shopping during the holidays equals a lot of time wasted!

Carol, more snow? Good luck with the crowds!

Linne, Merle Norman is next door to Wild Birds Unlimited so I stopped in for a facial cleanser and samples of everything else they make. I've never use their products before.

Trixie, I agree. Multi-colors are the best!

Jayne, it was a great day but very busy!

Lisa, it rained lightly for ten minutes then stopped. Oh, well - it was better than no rain at all.

NCMountainWoman, thanks for visiting! I guess you are feeling effects of dryness, too?

Susie, that's a beautiful lili, isn't it? I didn't think I would see one again until next spring.

Marvin, yes deck the halls!

Chris, the pond is very dormant now - don't let that lily fool you!

Mary said...

Nikkipolani, thanks for the compliment - coming from you is the best. I've taken many nice lily photos during the summer but this one is special.

Q said...

Dear Mary,
Christmas Water Lily!
Only you would have one. So beautiful! Perfect photo! Wow, the color just burst off the screen.
Rain! Ten whole are an inspiration. You keep your spirits up even when nature is zapping all the moisture right out of you. I too would stand and soak up as much as I could.
Taking a day off work was a great idea. Best way to enjoy the holidays is figuring out how to reduce the stress. There is so much to do and so little time after Thanksgiving to do it in. I think we should move Christmas to January or North Carolina! I like the idea of shopping and decorating in flip-flops. We could bring our own water.
Always I enjoy your photos of the girls. They are so cute in their holiday outfits.
Bird time is the best time.
Maybe more rain will come this weekend for you. That would be a nice gift from nature.

possumlady said...

Now, I have to ask---how did you stop buying for your nieces and nephews? I've been saying for five years that THIS year is the year I stop. The youngest is 21 and the oldest is 33!! They are all out of state and I never get a thank you card or call but I always feel guilty at the last minute and buy a bunch of target gift cards!!

It's amazing that DC and NC are really not that far away from each other but your weather makes me feel like you are thousands of miles away! We are expecting a possible freezing rain/sleet/snow storm starting tomorrow afternoon and ending with rain on Sunday. Just in time for all those holiday shoppers! Online shopping is the way to go for me. Although I will be out tomorrow looking for some last minute things.

Love your tree lights! Personally, I love white and blue lights combined. Very polar and cold looking to me.

Larry said...

I remember you had quite a drought for a while so I guess you don't mind the rain much. I always like slinkies and etch-a-sketch when I was a kid-heck-I still do like them.-Nice buch of photos you've got there too.

~Red Tin Heart~ said...

beautiful photos. xoxo nita

NatureWoman said...

I love the scarves on your girls! Ohhh, to wear shorts right now. We're expecting a blizzard this weekend, argh! Good idea to get your X-Mas shopping done like that! I kind of do the same thing, except I have two presents left to buy.

Unknown said...

Ah Mary the water lily is beautiful and as always love the bird photos.
My husband loves the colored lights. He says it is not Christmas without them. So we have a mixture of both white and colored. Your pond lights look beautiful.
So glad you got a day to feel free and shop and let the few moments of rain refresh your face.

NatureWoman said...

Tag, you're it Mary!

Naturegirl said...

Mary what a JoY to see a waterlily in December!! Here we have the biggest snow storm brewing!!
Aww..look at those two sweeties all dressed for Christmas!
I have so much ~TIME~ on my hands as I hibernate because of my latest (((CRACK))) so between Q's place and yours I'll be popping by regularly!!
hugs hop along NG xoxo

dmmgmfm said...

Great pictures as always Mary. Glad to see you are getting some rain.

sonia a. mascaro said...

I am glad you got some rain, Mary!

Chloe and Bella are so cute in their Christmas outfits! Love the photos!

Susan said...

Your mention of a metal slinky brought back a childhood Christmas memory. After playing with my new metal slinky for a very short time, I managed to get it hopelessly tangled. My Dad worked for hours to untangle it for me. Dads are great!