Photo Monday, eventually. First: a bunch of words.

Why hello, ‘bloomr peeps! Remember me, the one who supposedly runs this thing? Yeah, that one.

Well, this morning when I grudgingly woke up at dark-thirty to take Charlotte to school, I started  thinking… which as we all know can be dangerous for everyone involved. But as I was making my coffee and thinking my Deep Thoughts, I decided that I needed to do a slight mental adjustment for my own good in terms of what actually constitutes writing and posting on this blog. The thing is, sometimes I let a post percolate in my head for long time before I actually sit down and write it out. And by ‘percolate’, I mean ‘obsessively turn it over and over in my mind and re-write it a few dozen times.’ The problem with that particular behavior is that by the time it finally comes out I am exhausted because I am such a delicate artistic flower AND the post has morphed into something roughly the length of the Constitution (see: anything written about my sweet dad). Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but the thing is I’ve found myself holding off on posting sometimes because it feels like I need to spend some more time with it and flesh the idea out more blah blah blah instead of perhaps being a wee bit more spontaneous and spur-of-the-moment and just POSTING for crying out loud, like the things I mindlessly post over on Twitter or Facebook. The fact that both of those formats are limited in terms of space seems to free me up to write more on the fly, instead of feeling like everything I fire off there needs to be completely thought-through and double-edited. What I’m trying to say is that with your permission I’m gonna keep posting like I have always posted here, BUT with the addition of some smaller, less time-intensive, off-the-cuff entries as well, just to keep the dialogue flowing and the party going. In other words, how about I try to post more often with the patent understanding that sandwiched in between my usual Pulitzer Prize-worthy entries of staggering genius there will also be the occasional  flufferbutter side dish that’s the literary equivalent of, “So… what’s up with you guys? How ’bout those Titans, huh?” This could also possibly include some posts about my underwear, or burping the ABCs, or maybe a few nekkid pictures of Bill Gaither because let’s face it, random inappropriateness is not exactly wild, uncharted territory for me. So whaddya say, gentle readers– you in?

And now for something completely different. Photos, baby! From Thanksgiving, Christmas and who-knows-when and in no particular order.

**Let’s start with food, shall we? Here is a spectacular buttery/shortbread/glazed pear tart as rendered by my brother Joel and my nephew Daniel The Computer Genius. Madi is in the background obviously not as impressed as she should be, rocking the side ponytail and wearing her yellow duckie pajama bottoms:


**Finished product, and yes it was as good as it looked:


** I contributed the entree to that particular meal, an old family recipe known as “Chicken and Dumplings I Stole From Momma Lloyd Because She Introduced Me To The Wonders Of Frozen Dumplings.” I’m still working on the name, that one won’t fit on the recipe card.


** Since Russ is a big ol’ Christmas fanatic, this year I put a little tabletop tree up in our bedroom this year. It has these gorgeous, handpainted-from-the-inside biblical scene ornaments from China (no, I’m not making that up) that Gloria Gaither gave us for Christmas one year. They are unbelievable, I’ll show you a close-up too. That lady in the background is a tapestry I found in a little antique store a few years ago when Madi and I were driving home from Family Fest.  (I just love her. Apparently from looking around this house I have a thing for art that prominently features 1920’s-era dark-haired exotic gypsy women. I have no idea why.)


**Aren’t these exquisite, in a blurry-photo kind of way? This one appears to be the angel telling Mary she’s pregnant. She looks very surprised.


**Speaking of ornaments, my sweet reader (and longtime friend) Tanya Goodman Sykes surprised us with this one that for some reason she thought was particularly appropriate for the Taff family– hello, it’s a shark! Not just any shark, however, this one is wearing sunglasses, a grass skirt and carrying a purse. Perfect.


**More Christmas decorations. I bought these three kings two years ago at one of those day after Christmas 75% off sales at T.J. Maxx. I almost didn’t because they were still not cheap (enough for my cheap standards), but now I’m glad I did. They are marching across the mantle in front of my recently-painted-over brick fireplace.


**This is Charlotte’s beloved Snow Village that the two of us lay out every year all over the top of the piano. We (OK, I) spend a ridiculous amount of time meticulously placing and re-placing all of the townfolk around the village, creating imaginary scenarios to determine where they go– should the family of sledders go in front of the Paramount Theatre or would it make more sense if they were over by the Village Resort? (*asks myself why I do that, considers possibility of control issues, decides naaaah*) Anyway, painstakingly setting up Snow Village marks the official beginning of the Christmas season in the Taff household for Char and I.

Seriously, who wouldn’t want to live in this tiny, twinkly little imaginary town? (Just me? OK.)


**And here’s our slightly cheesy front porch angel. We happen to live in a neighborhood that goes all-out for Christmas decorations (some of them even HIRE companies to come deck their porches and yards), so this is the Taff’s Home Depot contribution to the holiday spirit. Please note the following white-trash elements: a) two milk jugs half-filled with water and wired to her skirt to serve as ballast to keep her from being blown over by the wind and b) her bent-up trumpet that resulted from a fall off of the porch before I figured out the milk jug thing. Now she looks like she’s blowing sweet jazz on her horn, Dizzy Gillespie-style, which I actually kinda like.


OK, that’s probably enough for now  this post about how I was going to make shorter posts! I’ve got a bunch more random holiday photos, I’ll post them later in the week.

P.S.  The latest report on Betty: Momma Lloyd emailed me this morning after talking to Betty’s husband Dennis, and said that the doctor said there is so far no evidence of a stroke (which is always a major concern with this kind of surgery), and there will be a scan done later today to further ascertain this. She has a temporary pacemaker in now and will probably get a permanent one later. She is still not awake, but again, this is still considered normal for this kind of surgery– the doctor said some people don’t wake up for a week or two. She is moving her arms and legs frequently, which Dennis says probably means she’s ready to go to a concert! Please keep praying.

32 Responses

  1. LindaB

    Yeah!!! Go ahead and post anyway and anytime you feel like!!! We’re with ya!

    HEY! You DID really paint your brick fireplace!!! Can we please see the results? Do you like it? I keep looking at mine and wondering how it would look painted.

    Love your Christmas decorations. Mine are still up. I want to pretend it’s the holiday season for a few more weeks! Our neice didn’t get to come here (she lives a hour or so away) over the holidays and I told her I’m keeping everything up until she can get here. Great excuse, huh? Thank you, Mellie!

    Those ornaments are exquisite! I’ll have to send you a picture of the ornament my daughter gave me!!! You’ll laugh! It’s not as classy as yours, but it works for me.

    Your chicken and dumplings look delicious!! And so does the pear tart. I’ve tried those frozen dumplings and I love them! But my hubby loves the big fluffy ones—–which explains why he likes me! So that’s the kind I make. And they’re really easy, too.

    I’m so thankful that themema is showing improvement! Thank you, God!

  2. LindaB

    Is it “neice” or “niece”?? Huh oh. I think “niece” looks right. Sorry.

  3. swerchon


    Love this blog entry – it is chuck full of fun; words, pics, fun (oh wait I’m repeating myself – that can’t be good) etc. Great job. Missed ya.

    First off, I am working from home today and I ‘took a break to read your blog with cup of green tea – aahhhhh” so don’t tell anyone (ssshhhh) , I’m suppose to be deligently working on a project.

    Next thanks for the update on Betty – I’m continually praying for that sweet soul!!

    Your brother the chef is AMAZING how come he doesn’t weigh a gazillon lbs (fyi gazaillion is Canadian for “frillion after converting to Canadian $$$’s”). That pear tart had me scratching the screen (thought it was a scratch and sniff thing) YUMMY !!!!

    The ornaments are INCREDIBLE (from Gloria), also loved the Shark one (how cute was that !!!). The three kings are also quite nice – I must come to TN to do some shopping there real soon – wow great stuff.

    I love love and love the snow village – this is my kind of thing. Yes count me as one of the “residents” in that town. Great job the two of you !!!

    Your snap of your front porch begs a question from this Canadian girl, “Where is the Snow???”

    Keep the snaps coming – love PHOTO Mondays. Ooops got to go……
    (looking at clock on ‘puter, time for a conference call, better log off this blog and do some work)

    P.S. – Madi’s off to the side ponytail reminds me of Chrissy from Three Company (remember that show)?

    Susan (bloomr peep extroadinare)

  4. jonny

    Well, I support more quickie, ‘shorter’ posts! They seem to leave more things in there for my editing eye, and ego, to feel all warm and superior about = )

    OK, I’ve been sooo wanting to share this since last week!! But, first the network problem with my phone, which is my modem as well, then I didn’t believe it appropriate to post in Betty’s prayer request, health up-date thread. Well, since there is now an open window of opportunity, and since at least a few others seemed interested in this area of my life earlier, I just have let those interested in knowing know, I’m so not embellishing here, I may have met THE woman, the ONE I may have been prepared for all my life to meet!! Sorry, LindaB = / BUT, in all fairness, you were already taken when we met, you fluffy dumpling, you! Anyway, almost everything we’ve shared has just left the both of us blown away, a little spooked and at times just speechlessly stunned, discovering that a member of the opposite sex so fits what we would’ve considered for a mate for one of the other’s life. And then some. Even in areas were it seemed impossible for certain ‘qualities’ to co-exist in the same being, or how certain concerns that had been so beyond understanding could all be so easily, clearly possible in another person. But I babble. There is still much to consider, go over, discuss, discover, see where the Lord leads, directs a few things, but ‘wow,’ very comforting to be reminded that He really, seriously knows what He’s doing with our lives, and ALL of it being allowed, orchestrated for His good purposes!! Thanks for reading all that! Oh, and how many things turn out the next month or two in both of our lives seem to effect many things for the both of us, including, possible, the nature of our relationship. Prayers would truly be appreciated. But only left overs after one has prayed for Betty!!


  5. rachelbaker

    Why hello chief bloomr lady, and welcome back, you have been missed.

    Great photos and its so lovely to read your meanderings again.

    I think your proposal will work. In fact you can’t lose, and neither can we. Instead of you feeling the weight of expectation as we wait eagerly for your next insightful, funny and meaningful blog for days and days (weeks and weeks) so that you end up needing to produce a blockbuster, we will be entertained by your witty thoughts regularly and then when that blockbuster comes it will be totally unexpected. We’ll be happy anyway and then have our brains expanded and guts wrenched and funny bones tickled to take us to the next level of happiness. Noone will ever be disappointed, not that anyone was anyway, but you know what I mean, maybe.

  6. rachelbaker

    Oooo Jonny … exciting. Will certainly pray for you and your friend .. after praying for themema of course.

  7. LindaB

    Why Jonny! I can’t say that my ego likes the fact that you have found someone you like better than me, although it is true that I’m already taken. But I really am happy for you and her!!! Can we know her name so we don’t have to refer to her as “her”? I will be praying that this is truly of the Lord and that you two will be hilariously happy together as you serve the Lord in tandem!!! God bless you both!!! (You’ll still be coming here to post, won’t you?)

  8. bettyrwoodward

    Tori absolutely love the decorations. Your home looks really Christmasy!
    As for the blog anything you do will be much appreciated.
    Jonny – so pleased for you and yes would love to know her name.
    Still praying for Betty (my name sake!)


    Praise God for the updated report on Betty!

    And, you’re such a silly, funny person! I love you. I truly pray to meet you this year in person, shop, eat and giggle. (though, I am usually the “throw my head back and hollar” ype).

  10. jonny

    That true D, I had actually forgoten how funny Tori can be!! There were a few gut busters in that last one, for use = ) Been awhile.

    Sorry my fluffy dumpling *said, of course, with a Pepe Le Pue (sp?) ‘wooing’ type French accent* no name yet. Too soon in many ways, plus don’t have her permission to do so. Maybe she could simply be referred to as “the potential woman who may be stuck having to live with our jonny the rest of one of their natural born lives”??

    Oh, and I’m not going away any time soon, Lord willing. At least not that I’m aware of = /

  11. tori

    **Linda: I’ll definitely post fireplace before-and-afters. I’m so glad I did it, it lightened up the room considerably. Also? Please send me your big fat dumpling recipe, I’d love to try it!

    **swerchon: Love the mental picture of you and your cuppa tea, curled up with the ‘bloomr… Joel and Daniel (and Joel’s wife, Kri) are unbelievable in the kitchen, and the rest of us are the MOST appreciative audience! And as for the snow? We had awhopping 1 inch last week and they cancelled school on Friday!

    **jonny: WOW!!!!!! OK, I am LOVING hearing about this! Your smile is even visible thru the internet, all the way across the ocean! Trust me, you will have our heartfelt prayers– mainly because we all love a love story, and we’re all really nosy. Seriously, we are hoping for the best for you and your Ladyfriend (how’s that for a nickname?), and we will all do our best to comfort poor jilted Linda…

    **rachel: Thanks for the encouragement, I’m thinking this is a good plan, too!

    **betty: Yeah, I just took it all the decorations down this week and I kinda miss them…

    **DELIVERED: Bring it on, sweetie– we could do some damage!

  12. LindaB

    I think I’d feel better if I had cookies. Lots of them.

  13. auburn60

    You can kinda get an idea of the richness of that tart from the stack of butter by Daniel’s hand.

    Jonny-let us know when it’s time to throw a shower. Not sure how a virtual shower works,but we’ll figure it out.

    Now I remember that I used to have a snow village. I really wonder what happened to that thing? Like I need more Christmas decorations to put up or take down around here.

    One of our pipes burst this afternoon so we are enjoying a water-free evening. (No,not really enjoying it–it’s a pain in the rear.) Hopefully the plumber will be here early tomorrow.He said he’d come early ’cause he likes me. [That is so what he said!]

    So pass the cookies,Linda.

  14. LindaB

    Oh no, Alyson!!!! No water??? That’s the pits!!!
    How nice of you to offer to throw a shower when you have no water!!! LOL

    Hope that situation if fixed VERY SOON!!!

  15. LindaB

    LOL Silly me! I mean to say, “Hope that situation IS fixed very foon.”

  16. MostlySunny

    Tori – whatever and whenever you post, I’m in!

    By the way – I just read your article in the Homecoming Magazine about the husband/wife Greene’s and the kidney transplant. Great article. How are they doing? (I’m finally catching up on my reading materials. Took me 2 years to get to the book I’m currently reading! I’m so slow.)

    Love the ornaments – they are so personal and special.

    The angel looks like an all gray Jay Leno!

    The pear tart – my mouth literally watered! Oh my!

    The chicken ‘n dumplings – DITTO!

    The shark – perfect!

    The kings – loooovvvve them!

    The tapestry – beautiful!

    The snow village – has “Christmas” written all over it! I’ll live next door to swerchon.

    The herald angel out front – just doing his job. (I also have some balast that keeps me from blowing away! Still trying to get rid of it!)

    So glad themema is improving. She’s on my heart.

    auburn60 – hope the pipes are fixed.

    jonny – you are a man and you are babbling. This has true love written all over it! Can’t wait to hear more…

    MY NEWS – my last of work is February 26th. I’m retiring early! It’s time. Counting the days…

  17. tori

    auburn: OK, I didn’t remember the stack o’ butter until you pointed it out… Sure hope you have water again by now. Rationing flushes is SO not fun.

    MostlySunny: Wasn’t the Green’s story incredible? At last report they are doing fine, still getting stronger. I loved your comment to jonny, that is SO true! And give us the deets about your early retirement– how fabulous!

  18. delightedabroad

    Tori, I agree with the others: just go ahead spreading posts as you like !
    The snow village is really nice. (Here we have about 15-20 cm snow which is a lot in this mild valley !)

    Good to hear about Betty, keeping on praying…

    jonny, this is incredible news ! And I totally agree with MostlySunny in terms of man & babbling :-) … anyway, I’m glad you seem to have found your “tpwwmbshtlwojtroootnbl” !!!

    It’s late here, telling more tomorrow…

  19. jonny

    Well, we were just on the phone together for over three hours, both of us thinking it had only been about an hour and a half. Need I say more??

  20. tori

    Oooh, buddy– you got it bad!

    (Hey there, delightedabroad!)

  21. LindaB

    Okay, I’ve gotta ask this: why is it that men can talk their hind ends off to their girlfriend/fiance/significant other, and once they get married, the babbling comes to an abrupt end. After that, you have to pull everything out of them!! Why is that? I’m just askin’.

  22. jonny

    It goes both ways. How can women be such caring and attentive listeners, as well be SOOO understanding, before marriage??

  23. delightedabroad

    Since I have no idea how to start/structure I’ll just throw in pieces of information as they occur;
    – tomorrow afternoon I’ll do a German-French translation (the grade will be a basis for the French exam in summer)- I’m just a bit scared… “removes cold sweat from her forehead”
    – my English exam (written form) will be during the first week of February meaning 4 translations plus 1 essay (500 words minimum) in 2 days; the orals will be around 4 weeks later.
    – my participation in this blog seems to contribute to my daily routine: I’m spreading casual remarks which cause laughter (have no idea why :-)…) at school. They look at me as if to say ‘can’t be her, she’s always so quiet and honest’. Well, times change and sometimes people change too. Actually, this new ‘me’ is a lot more authentic.

  24. jonny

    Cool. Love the new, more authentic, you!! = )

  25. MostlySunny

    jonny – You’re a gonner!

    delighted – Hangeth thou in there! You can do it!

    Tori – I’m getting really good – my husband just brought home the newest Homecoming Magazine and I read most of it. Good articles by you! Also, I always like to read Sue Buchanan’s “I Can Tell You Stuff” because she cracks me up. BUT, this one did me in! Please tell her when you see her that she is loved and appreciated and my heart hurts for her. Any new news?

  26. tori

    Linda: Good point.

    jonny: TOUCHE’!!

    delightedabroad: OK, that comment just turned me into delightedamerican! I love hearing that this community is in some small way encouraging you to be more ‘yourself’– seriously, that kinda made my whole day.

    MostlySunny: Dana died shortly after Sue turned in her column. It is heartbreaking, and when I read Sue’s gorgeous tribute to her I just lost it. I am going to be spending the evening with her this Saturday– our editor Roberta is having some of friends over so we can spend time together and lavish love all over our Sue. I will pass your kind words on to her.

  27. MostlySunny

    Thank you!

  28. auburn60

    I think I can go out on a limb and safely say — Give Sue love from all of us.
    I can’t imagine.

  29. tori

    auburn60– I absolutely will.

  30. LindaB

    I didn’t get my Homecoming Magazine yet, can someone tell me what happened to Sue? I LOVE Sue—-I got to meet her at Family Fest one year and absolutely loved her!

  31. Cynders

    Tori…I don’t get to spend time surfing through blogs, facebook, twitter, or anything else on the web much – OK…hardly ever…

    But when I do get time to take a couple of minutes once every couple of months to drop by here and read…you just have me laughing my way through your “materpieces”.

    I think you should write a book of your random thoughts – it would be a best seller for sure! And I’d be out there looking for it the minute it came off the presses.

    Write whatever pops into your mind – ummmm…is that a safe thing to suggest? LOL

  32. tori

    cynders– You’re welcome any time you can stop by! (And no, that is NOT a safe thing to suggest…)

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