Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year's Eve Celebrations I Have Known

I've been  fortunate to celebrate New Years in many styles. For a number of years I worked for a bank and had to work on New Year's Eve. The bank fed us and with any luck we made it home either shortly before midnight or not long after.  After I left the bank I attended some parties at restaurants or clubs and sometimes  house parties. My favorite New Year's celebrations were far from home.

In December of 1984 I traveled to The Soviet Union with my cousin Missy. Under  Communism Christmas was not an official holiday so we were just in time for the big New Year's celebration. Here is a New Years's tree in front of the Bolshoi Ballet Theatre. There were festive trees in our hotel and even in our tour bus.

Here I am dressed for the Russian winter weather.

I toured my favorite building in the world, St. Basil's Cathedral. I spent most of the day there wandering from chapel to chapel. Every inch of the interior is brightly painted.

The hotel we stayed at, The Kosmos, threw a wonderful New Year's Eve party for us. We celebrated with tourists from Japan, Finland and several other countries. Every hour was New Year's somewhere and we celebrated them all. We had a nine course meal with the most wonderful melt-in-your-mouth chicken Kiev served somewhere around midnight. The ice cream ( there is nothing like Russian ice cream made with pure cream) arrived around 2AM. There was a balalaika band playing and we all danced well past dawn. The special Russian traditional drink that we shared was an Aurora Borealis. Here are the direction, if you want to try it tonight.

Into a large punch bowl pour one bottle of champagne and one bottle of vodka. Then pour in another bottle of champagne and another bottle of vodka. Now pass the punch bowl around and each person drinks from it. Continue passing the bowl around till either the punch is gone or everyone has passed out. Cheers!

Some of us, including me, stayed up all night. Early in the morning those of us who could manage it went to Red Square to join the long line of people touring Lenin's tomb.

This is a forbidden shot of the changing of the guard at Lenin's tomb. We were told that we were not allowed to photograph certain things and any shots of soldiers were strictly forbidden. That's why you can see that I'm standing behind someone to hide my camera.

Then it was on to visit Catherine The Great's carousel.

When we got there we were treated to a troika ride. Six of us snuggled into the sleigh under blankets and rode thru the fields. We sang Jingle Bells at the top of our lungs and the driver was so pleased that he took us around again.

The trip lasted about ten days and although the temperature was colder than anything I'd ever experienced and I got very little sleep because I didn't want to miss anything, it was one of the most exciting times of my life. I fell in love with Russia, the people, the customs and the history.

If cold (-36 degrees) doesn't turn you on, maybe you'll prefer my New Year's Eve in Trinidad. In 1991 Rob and I flew to Trinidad on New Year's Eve day. What a contrast to Russia!

The Caribbean drink that we shared at midnight was a Bentley. I liked them immediately and continued to enjoy Bentleys throughout the trip. If you'd like to try one, here are the instructions. They aren't as deadly as an Aurora Borealis.

        1 measure of freshly squeezed Caribbean lime juice
        2 measures of cane sugar
        4 measures of club soda
        2 dashes of Angostura Bitters per serving
        1 red Maraschino cherry
Enjoy, they're really good!

On New Year's Day we went to the annual horse race which was conveniently right across the street from our hotel. We then took a walking tour of the city and listened to steel bands practicing for Carnival.

We walked thru the botanical gardens. Notice the size of this wild Poinsettia. It's the national flower. We also went thru the zoo which is next to the gardens.

But when you're on an island, you must go to the beach. The beaches of Trinidad and Tobago are the most beautiful that I've ever seen, including Mexico and Hawaii.

Maracas Bay, Trinidad

Mt. Irvine Bay, Tobago

Rockley Bay, Scarborough, Tobago

Mt Irvine, Tobago   The beach nearest our hotel.

Rob playing tourist. The temps were in the mid eighties every day.                                                          

So, wherever in the world you're celebrating the new year, we hope it's a safe, happy, healthy one for everyone. Happy New Year from Rob and me and Morgan, Tsar and the Porties.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Always In Our Hearts

2011 has been a difficult year for many.  Way too many of our friends crossed the Rainbow Bridge this year and we'd like to take some time to remember them.


                                   Bucky 11/5/95 - 1/18/11


                                           Princess Angelina died 2/26/11 at age 11


                                              Tanner died 3/13/11 at age 14

                                              Nemo died at age 15


                                                Gabbi  7/3/07 - 4/24/11


                                            Sandy died 5/4/11 at age 13

                                                         Annie died 5/20/11 at age 7

                                                Amie Soto Blossom  1/31/98 - 6/2/11
                                                       and her best friend Mew died 8/22/11

                                                         Cinnamon died 6/17/11 at age 5

                                          Hamlet  died 6/17/11 at age 13+


                                   Ruby  died 7/20/11

                                   Rudi died 8/13/11 at age 9

                                                  Thor  5/5/01 - 8/21/11

                                              Reggie died 9/22/11

                                                Twix  6/20/99 - 9/24/11


                                    Gizmo  12/4/05 - 10/17/11

                                         Cloud  died 10/27/11 at age 9+


                                     Jake died 11/26/11 at age 13


                                  Darby  11/20/94 - 12/3/11

                                    Kendra  5/22/99 - 12/14/11

                                                 Jackson 3/21/01 - 12/20/11

Bubba died 12/30/2011 at age 12

Although we didn't know them, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the terrible event of December 16th. That morning a house fire killed five of the Houston Pittie Pack. This is something that every pet owner fears and we are all horrified by their deaths. The two surviving dogs and the family are in our thoughts.
                                                  Coco Chanel
We miss all of you and you will all live forever in our hearts.                     

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Mom's Christmas Presents

Last week Fudge told you that we always give our Dad a Christmas gift. Mom helps us because she doesn't allow us to have either green papers or credit cards. Samba thinks she knows how to shop online, but Mom says we can't touch her computer anymore.
Usually we don't give our Mom a gift in a box because we need help to buy gifts. But this year we got some help.

Miss Nicole and the Lapdogs helped us get our Mom a special Christmas present. These are the Lapdogs.
The Lapdogs are Lola, Sophie, Tut and Zeus. They had a giveaway on their blog and we won. It was a gift from jYOUly. A very nice lady named Miss Lisa makes this special personalized jewelry. We sent her a couple pictures of us and she sent back Mom's gifts. Want to see what we gave her?

This is a special little box for her to keep her cards in. She has cards to give to people so they can contact her with questions about Porties or doggy sweaters. Fudge wanted a big picture of him on the front, but we decided on a picture of us when we were babies.

We also gave her a necklace with one of her favorite pictures. It's baby Noah with his big fish.
Mom was really happy with our gifts. We all want to thank Nicole and the Lapdogs and Miss Lisa for helping us give her such a nice gift. Now if she'd only put down that silly Fire thing and stop playing Angry Birds.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Santa Came

After breakfast Rob took the dogs on the deck to wish all the neighbors a Merry Christmas.
While they waited outside, I arranged Santa's handiwork. This is what the toybox looked like before I put the lid on.
Samba always opens the box so they can see what Santa left them. The others will stand around and wait for someone to open the box, but Samba believes in doing it herself.
Everyone was interested in what was inside. Sky immediately found the new glowballs.
Bailey found a new monkey.
They kept going back. They aren't happy until every toy is out of the box.
Tsar decided that he liked the red monkey. He's usually attracted to bright colors.
Sky likes to really play with his toys, he throws them in the air and catches them.
Everyone found something to play with except Norma Jean who considers me her private toy. She sat on my lap and licked my hand and twice licked the camera lens.
After a couple house of play everyone went onto the deck for a treat. Then it was nap time while the humans opened their gifts. Santa did good.