Tuesday, December 29, 2009


My golden angels and cherubs mantel.
(As I look at this photo I realize that this year
my two tallest angels are missing. What the??)

A blogging friend recently listed 55 things in honor of a 55th birthday. At the end of this year of 2009, during which I turned 60, I thought I would list 60 things -  about me and my life, what I love and what I don't, what I think and believe, what I feel and know. I borrowed a few of these things from my blogging friend's list, but not many.

And along with these 60 things, I thought I'd show you what my house looks like at the close of the year.

My tree of glass-blown ornaments,
with a vintage angel tree topper.

1. I am missing Kristen so much after putting her on a plane early Monday morning. Kristen, that jammie-loving, water-drinking, kitty-missing girl. Except when she went out, we seldom saw her dressed in anything but pjs, reading a book and sipping from her water bottle. I'm sure she gets her full 8 glasses a day, and more. (She quit drinking pop years some years ago.)

2. I learned an interesting fact from Kristen this year: If you are craving sugar, you're probably just thirsty.

3. I have only been in Kirkwood Mall three times this entire year. Twice, it was to get my hair cut at the JC Penney Salon. (Which shows you how infrequently I get my hair cut.) That hardly counts, as the salon is very close to one of the mall exits. The third time was early on Christmas Eve Day. I slipped quickly in to get a gift card and avoided the crowds.

4. Now I have a mall gift card to spend. What will I find to spend in a mall? I hate buying clothes. Boots to get through the 14 inches of new snow would be good though. And lord knows I could use another haircut. There's no longer a bookstore in the mall, but Target sells books, bless them. Or maybe I could finally get some new speakers for my computer. Now there's an idea. I wonder how much they cost?

This photo was taken a few years ago. Sadly, the violin
was broken when I pulled it out of storage this year.

5. Speaking of books, I also have a gift card to Barnes and Noble. No problem finding something there. The dilemma will be choosing just one hardcover or a couple of paperbacks. (Note added later: I found a doggie calendar and the book "The Elegance of the Hedgehog", which I promptly started reading and find to be wonderful!

6. We haven't gone out for New Year's Eve in many, many years. Instead we stay home and pig out on Alaskan King Crab. This year we'll probably be eating that fake crab meat.

7. 2010 had better be a better year for us than 2009, dammit.

8. This year, I was employed full time for 3 months, half time for 2 1/2 months, and unemployed for 6 1/2 months.

My little "English" corner in the kitchen,
featuring English Portmeirion Holly and Ivy
china, snowmen and the Christmas Robin.

9. Dan and I often say that Gracie thinks she is a human, but actually I think she thinks I am a dog.

10. Dogs are pack animals and Gracie considers me to be one of the pack. When I'm reading or watching TV on my bed, she comes up to me, turns around three times in a tight circle -as all dogs do -and plunks herself down as close to me as she can.

11. I like my name. I like the way it sounds, the way it looks on paper, and the person for whom I was named (my Grandma Julia). I started out life as Julia but was always called Julie. It was officially changed when I was adopted by my stepfather when I was 12.

12. I have a real tendency to lose my car keys. And to lock my keys in the car.

My Winter Garden. I have since added more
white flowers to this white and green garden.

13. I have a Celtic and Nordic soul. I am 1/4 Scottish, 1/4 Irish and 1/2 Norwegian. I have a strong sense of the mystical world.

14. I grew up in a village of less than 100 people.

15. I received unconditional love in my life from one person: my grandmother.

16. I have the same birthday (June 25) as my great-grandmother Margrete Wangen, who lived in Norway.

Half of my Christmas Angel collection.

17. At this point in my life I don't have a lot of friends. That doesn't mean I haven't had great friends in the past. My sister is now my best friend. Of course, I have my wonderful blogging friends.

18. I am not a joiner. I belonged to a book club and the local garden club but have quit both because neither met my expectations. 

19. My best achievement is having raised a wonderful, smart daughter. I think it would have bothered me a great deal if she had not been smart. Or didn't love to read.

20. I have a love-hate relationship with North Dakota.

The other half of the collection.

21.  I am a very empathetic person. I am compassionate and kind and am a good listener.

22. I am overly sensitive, although not as much as I used to be. I also have really good feminine intuition.

23. I have two psychological traits that I hate: Approach/avoidance and passive/aggression behaviors. I am getting better at the first, still not good on the latter.

24. I threw my visiting Aunt Mary out of my house on Christmas Day one year. I had had enough of her nasty comments about me and my family, made while she was eating my good Christmas Dinner. I lost my temper and told her to get out. (She didn't have to sleep in a snowbank - she went to stay with my sister.)

My white wooden snowmen and flocked trees. (The
little conservatories are now in my winter garden.)

25. I once had a subliminal experience.

26. I believe in the afterlife. I believe in ghosts AND spirits, though I have never seen any.

27. I was raised in a very strict sect of the Lutheran church, even though my mom was a Presbyterian and my stepdad was a mainstream Lutheran.

28. I was the religion reporter for my newspaper and learned a lot about religious tolerance.

The arch between my living and dining rooms, featuring
a garland with a Renaissance angels theme.

29. Except for a wish to visit Scotland and Italy, I don't have a bucket list. I'd like to just keep on doing the things that I do.

30. I hate self-help books. They are just a bunch of empty words to me. It's all psychobabble.

31. I grew up in a messy, dirty, cluttered house. I was ashamed to have friends over. My family was considered poor white trash. We lived (figuratively) on the wrong side of the tracks. My Grandma and Grandpa's family, the Munros, on the other hand, were well respected and planted firmly in the middle class.

32. I only learned who my biological father was four years ago. It turns out he knew about my existence but chose not to be a part of my life or have any contact with me. I always hoped my real dad would come and rescue me from my stepfather.

Some Father Christmases, which I prefer over Santa Clauses.

33. I can keep secrets. For years, if necessary.

34. I can't stand control freaks, especially when they want to control me. 

35. Machines and I do not get along well.

36. I hate cell phones and I can't stand people who use cell phones in inappropriate places and at inappropriate times.

A "feather" tree with 1950s vintage glass balls.

37. I consider myself to be a lady. Every day I strive toward serenity, grace and class.

38. I wish I could have romance back in my life.

39. Gracie has stolen 10 ornaments from the Christmas tree. At the rate she is going, I won't have to un-decorate it!

40. I love the full moon and feel very connected with the phases of the moon.

Not our usual tree. This tree is from
the year when we could not find the
bubble lights. I loved the white and
gold theme but "someone else" did not.

41. I am a homebody. I am perfectly happy puttering around, tweaking my house, napping, reading, watching tv, listening to music, spending time with my dog.

42. I enjoy my own company and have no problem spending time alone.

43. I believe that the wheel of God grinds exceedingly slow, but it grinds exceedingly fine. (i.e. I will get my revenge but it won't be me that exacts it.)

44. I came into my own in college. I was the most true to my real self at that time.

Some of my vintage Gurley candles.

45. I wish I could draw and paint, and play the guitar.

46. I used to love the color blue the most. Now I think I love shades of green the best.

47. I come from American farmers and small town merchants, Scottish shepherds, Irish peasants and Norwegian mountain dwellers.

48. I used to be terribly impatient when I had to wait in line, etc., but now handle this in a much more Zen-like way.

Some of my vintage Christmas figurines.

49. I used to write poetry but now feel as if my inner censor won't let me.

50. I don't need things to define my life.

51. I love cemetery angels.

52. I am not a person who likes to chat on the phone.

My flocked cardboard houses and bottle brush
trees. And a frosty crescent moon!

53. I love to poke around in antique stores and at flea markets, and in a limited way, thrift shops. However, thrift shops have gotten very savvy and very expensive regarding antique/collectible items.

54. I like to turn the music way up when my husband is gone and dance wildly around the house (with my dog joining in).

55. I love to turn the music way up in the car too, and sing along (badly) to the songs.

56. I'm in better physical shape than I was the past two Christmases. Two years ago, I had carpal tunnel syndrome and my hands were screaming in pain. Last year my right knee hurt badly. And in February this year I hurt my left knee and had to use a walker for a month.

White and gold angels.

57. I got better due to acupuncture and housecleaning! I spent a lot of time this fall cleaning my house from top to bottom, and although it is not all finished, it looks a lot better. All that bending, stretching, reaching, getting up and down, etc. seems to have made me more limber and loosened my joints!

58. I am a good cook but don't care much for cooking.

59. I can't stand to be cold and in the winter I am always covered up with comforters, afghans and the like.

60. I love:  the smells of freshly-cut grass, clean baby, new lumber, bread baking, rain, lilacs, Christmas trees, floral shops in winter; rock music; my family, past and present; memories; reading and collecting books; writing my blog; Coke; fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy; soups, roast pork; red wine; lemonade; peach ice cream; going to the movies and eating Junior Mints and popcorn together; comfy shoes; cashmere socks; going to Minnesota lakes and woods; Italian food; Chinese food; tangerines; dark chocolate; wild flowers; cultivated flowers; florist flowers; going out for lunch; attending a play or poetry reading; watching one of my favorite movies on DVD; A & E and BBC TV series; having my daughter come home; northern California and the Monterey Peninsula; watching otters; bird song; dogs; the scent of Chanel No. 5 perfume; learning Celtic lore; pens that write really well; blank journals; getting real letters; pineapple cheesecake; Applebee's fiesta lime chicken; chicken marsala from Ciatti's in St. Paul, Minnesota; Alaskan King Crab and lots of it; mocha coffee.

And one for good luck:

61. "The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow gave the luster of mid-day to objects below..." And to my bedroom. With the approaching full moon on New Year's Eve and all that new snow, light radiates into my bedroom at night, even with the lights out.

Another  English/Irish (Celtic) corner.
The plaque says "Ceud Mile Failte/Nollaig Mo Duit"
(Welcome and Merry Christmas in Irish Gaelic)


mxtodis123 said...

What a wonderful post. I see we have much in common. I hate cell phones, love lounging about the house, don't socialize or have friends, but love my blog buddies. There's so much more, too, but it will take up too much space. LOL!!!

gma said...

Oh so Kristen has gone back home.
It must have been wonderful having her there with you. Among your 60 things I agree #43 No need to seek revenge, those things do take care of themselves. What was the subliminal experience? I got a bookstore gift card too... spent already. Like you say no problem finding something there.
My prediction? 2010 will be a fantastic year!

Janet said...

Great list! We have several things in common....and it's always fun to learn more about you. Plus all the photos were beautiful. You must spend a lot of time decorating for Christmas!

Annie Jeffries said...

I laughed outloud when I read #58. Welcome to my world. We are twinning on the cooking thing.

Your house is so cheerful with pretty little vignettes scattered throughout the house.

Autumn Leaves said...

Julie! We share the same birthday! Go figure! LOL A lot of what you wrote also could be from my own mouth about me. Green is fave color; I've been told I am an empath and often sense when others are hurting; I'm not much of a phone person; a homebody...the list goes on. Loved reading all about my friend Julie!

JoAnn ( Scene Through My Eyes) said...

It is so much fun to learn more about people - thanks for sharing. And the photos are wonderful - you have fabulous decorations.

Colleen - the AmAzINg Mrs. B said...

I love reading this..and I love being your friend. And yes, we do have a lot in common. I'm so glad you are getting comfortable in your own skin as am I. May the best yet to be...or something...

Lila Rostenberg said...

I enjoyed reading this. I am not a phone person either...and totally not interested in "texting"!
I'm glad you are feeling better...moving and stretching are so good for us!
Blue moon tomorrow night! Then a great 2010!

a Pocket Angel said...

Julie, What beautiful decorations! I LOVE your trees..
Such a cute idea adding your list of 60 things about you & your life.
Blessings to you in 2010.
~Mary~ :-}

Julie said...

Great list! And thanks for the message on my blog. I did like We Need To Talk About Kevin, although it was actually really disturbing too. I am going to try to review it soon. I hope you are able to read Olive Kitteridge cuz it really was great! Have a very Happy New Year!

Anonymous said...

God love you..you are a lot like me,has to be a good thing! Happy and safe

Mary said...

At first I thought, oh no, I'll never get through a long list.......BUT sweet Julie, this was an awesome list, I had to keep going, which makes me feel I know you even better now! Your honesty is what made me read to the end and then I realized, WE have such a lot in common!

Blessings to you, Dan and Kristen for 2010 - may this be a healthy, happy and prosperous year for each of you.

Warm New Year hugs - Mary

P.S. I've just started The Elegance of the Hedgehog too - one of my Christmas gifts requested from Santa baby!

Ruthie Redden said...

Happy new year to you Julie. I so loved reading this post, and now feel i know u a little. Beautiful photos too, it must take you ages to put up all those decorations, but its very worth it. Lots of the things you listed could have been describing me too. x Hope you are keeping warm & cosy x x We have had so much snow, it has painted a magical picture of the sountryside x

MISS PEACH ~(^.^)~ said...

well Julie...I made it this far back into your wonderful blog...now it is goodnight time here in the Pacific Northwet but I wanted to pop a comment to you and let you know how very much I loved your list. I feel like we could be sisters in a way. You have inspired me to make a list of my own and I hug you close for that. Might I borrow a few of yours too?
Sending you Chanel #5 brezzes...Karla