Saturday, December 31, 2005

Off to the Mountains

After a very busy month, we are preparing to head up to the cabin for New Year's.  Time for some well-deserved R & R in the snow.

H A P P Y   N E W    Y E A R ! ! ! !

Found some very cool photos taken at the World Ice Art Championships.  A must see!  Click >here<.


Be safe and aware out there this weekend.  TTFN!


Sunday, December 18, 2005

Easy - #31

Easy - like Sunday the evening.

Okay, I'm really late for this.  What can I say, I've been decorating for the holidays.  So on that note...

Tell me...

Is there a person or a group in your area that really gets into the spirit and takes Christmas decorating to a whole new level?

Where to start?  There are so many.  People around here really get into it.  Not just families, but whole neighborhoods.  We have a street that eleven months out of the year is called Sunset Drive, but in December it is transformed into Candy Cane Lane.   Almost everyone on that street participates and every home has a 3 foot red and white striped wooden candy cane attached to both sides of their mail box.  There are Santas, snowmen and snow women, reindeer, elves, white trees...the entire neighborhood glows with the festive lights of the holiday.

We have several Christmas parades and even the local boat owners have a parade on the river titled Reflections on the Snake; each and every boat is decked out in lights, all with different themes.  There are some very clever and artisic people living in this area.  Many folks brave the cold night temperatures and line the banks of the river to watch the boats float by, brilliantly decorated with hundreds of lights.

Down town the local chamber of commerce presents their annual display titled 'Winter Spirit' and each year it grows bigger and better.  Every tree in Locomotive Park is decorated with thousands of miniture lights in every color of the spectrum,. lighting up the night sky as Christmas songs play endlessly over a stereo.  Children dash under lighted arches rigged with motion sensors that change colors as the children move beneath.  In the park center a massive oak takes center stage, draped in a rainbow of colors dancing to the beat of the music.  It is an awe-some experience.  A couple of years ago the display was featured on A & E television for a program highlighting the top 20 Christmas displays in the nation.  Ours was #14 or #15 and it was such a treat to see all the hard work of so many volunteers showcased on a national television show.  Here's just a small sampling of the display this year.




Okay, now it's your turn.  Tell me, and if you have photos, post those to your journal too, then come back here and leave me a link back to you.  I'll post your answers next Saturday. 

The Fiver 12.16.05

Hi guys!!! 

It's Friday and it is time for what Robin calls "THE 5'er!"

If you want to play all you do is visit Robin by clicking >here< and follow her directions.


Robin thinks with Christmas so near the 5'er theme will be all about Naughty or Nice.


Let's play!!!


1.  Do you ever go to someone's journal and just think to yourself, "Oh they go again...get over it already!"  And do you think your answer is naughty or nice? 
Yes, I do it.  It doesn't happen very often, but every now and then I find myself thinking just that.   I do try to see people in a positive light, but I also know there are those who can drain the essence of another's good will.  They thrive on throwing daily pity parties where they can wallow in their woes and in these journals they found the place to feed that need.  So, is my answer naughty or nice?  It's honest, that's all.   


2.  I kinda think naughty can be fun and nice can get boring. Tell us something you have done lately that was naughty. 
I am so not going there.


3.  Have you ever used the "If you are naughty Santa won't bring you any presents" line on your kids?  And if they remained naughty did you ever withold their presents?
  No, Amy and Kari were a bit too old for that when I met Sam...but my mom was another story.  She was shameless and famous for using that line.  And we believed her, because there came a time when we knew she wouldn't just say it, she would just do it.

4.  If you were at the work Christmas party and your "naughty" boss gave you a squeeze on your back side would you tell anyone?
Absolutely, right after I grabbed his drink and threw it in his face.

5.  Tell us about an unexpected nice thing someone has done for you this December...or something nice you have done for something else that wasn't expecting it. 
Well, shucks, since I haven't been on the receiving end of any nice acts this month...yet, then you'll have to settle for what I did.  Actually what Sam and I did.  We have some new neighbors across the street and good neighbors are hard to find but this couple have impressed us both so far.  Last weekend they found a tree they really liked and we refused to take their money when they asked us how much it cost; they were not expecting it and it was just our way of letting them know we appreciate having good people as neighbors.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Answers to Easy -- #30

Going to try to get this quickly completed before more customers show up at the tree farm; already had one show up right at 9.
Last Sunday I asked,

Tell me...

What is the most extreme place you have ever visited?

Linda has stood in two extremes found in the western states.  She recollected about a porch in the California desert and a very ch-ch-ch-chilling train depot in Montana.  Click >here< to share her experience.

Sharon writes about time with her family hiking the trails of Mount St. Helens on a rainy day and then finding themselves in the flurry of a snow ball fight.  Click >here< to visit that time with her.

Christy grew up in the mid-western state of Kansas, where the temperatures travel between drastic extremes as the seasons change.  Heck, I even sneezed after reading about the Kansas winter!  Click >here< to visit her.

Charlie commented in the original entry about the time he visited a mission near Moscow.  He keeps a journal titled Courage and you can visit him >here<.

Gotta go, lots of people are showing up at the tree farm and it looks like Sam needs my help.  Have a relaxing Saturday everyone and thank you all for playing this week!

Friday, December 16, 2005

Tidings of the Season

Haven't had much time to write this past week.  Been on vacation all week getting ready for the holidays.  The tree farm has kept us busy, it is fun and very demanding all at the same time.  People always ask how long it takes the trees to grow tall enough to be an average size Christmas tree; they are always surprised when they learn it takes a minimum of seven years from seedling to harvest.  Pictured is the cross section of a con color fir that was between 5 and 6 feet.  You can see the growth rings, but sadly you can't smell the sharp wood-sy scent.  I save these little tree biscuits and plop them in a stove top pot of water; the fragrance is heart warming and I often carry one in my coat pocket.  Every now and then I'll pull it out, put it to my nose, close my eyes and inhale deeply.  Oh how I love that smell.  These trees can grow 12 to 18 inches per season, but they require a lot of water.  People seem to have it in their heads that Christmas tree farms are huge money makers.  We will make enough to pay the property taxes and the expenses with maybe a little bit left over; for us it's more of a hobby and a way to keep the trees growing on this land.


We spent Monday and Tuesday in Spokane and the drive was spectacular.  Hundreds of miles of wheat farms lie between the city and my home, with only a handful of small towns between.   It is beautiful any time of the year, but especially at this time when the wheat fields are blanketed in snow.  The pictures say it all.



A wheat farm in contrast.  The first, taken in August; the latter, in December.

As always, lots of blue, blue skies.  :)  Gotta love those blue skies.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Easy -- Week #30

Easy -- like Sunday morning!

Winter can bring on some extreme weather in many regions around the world. Here in Idaho it is 20 degrees outside and an icy blanket of frost blankets the frozen ground. Looking out my window at this frosty landscape got me thinking.

Tell me...

What is the most extreme place you have ever visited?

Of all the places I have visited in my life, the memories of driving through Death Valley in California stay with me, even 40 years later. It was during a family vacation, and I don't recall exactly where it was we were heading, I just remember seeing the barren landscape whizzing by the car window and hearing my parents talking about the trials of early settlers and pioneers who ended up traveling across the land during the days of the gold rush. It was so hot we had to rent an air conditioner that mounted on the passenger window of the car; it was not advisable to use the cars air conditioner because the danger of overheating the engine posed a threat to our safety. In those days, very few people traveled through Death Valley and had the engine overheated we could have been stranded in the 120 plus degree heat for hours.

It was so hot that step-dad stopped long enough for us to stick our hands out the window and I remember feeling like my hand was literally on fire!  Sitting there, I imagined what it would be like if the car stalled and refused to start and  I feared we might be stuck there in the broiling heat for days!  I think we all feared that; because when my step-dad put the car back into drive and the vehicle lurched forward, I could feel the profound sense of relief overcome every member of my family.  We were all very glad to be moving through that desert once again.

Graphic by Pats Web Graphics

Answers to Easy -- Week #29

With busy days filled with holiday activities, few of us have much time for anything.  We are all so busy.  Had only one and one-half responses to last weeks question, and I'm debating putting the Easy question on hiatus until after the new year.  I'll try one more and if interest is minimal, then I'll put the questions off until January.

Last weeks question coincided with two birthdays in Linda's family and she wrote about them >here<.

Robin been busy too, but included a photo of her beloved grandfather in her entry >here<.

Graphic by Pat's Web Graphics

Thursday, December 8, 2005

The Fiver 12.9.05


Let's play!!!  Time for Robin's game.  Click >here< to play along too.  Come on, you know you want to!

Today, er...tonight's theme is Jingle jangle jingle...all things that jingle.

1.  Did you ever wear jingle bells on your shoes when you were a kid? 

Oh yes...of course!  My older sister Lyn and I thought it was a special treat to wear bells on our shoes, but we were only allowed to do it at Christmas time. 

2.  Thinking about tv you have a favorite jingle?  Something that when you see it sticks in your head all day?

Lately, the new Pilsbury ad for Cresent rolls "You've got possibilities..." keeps playing in my head.

3.  Gotta little change in your pocket going jingle, jingle, jing?  Do you carry change in your pocket?  Do you toss it in a can when you get home for a rainy day?  Have you dropped any in the Salvation Army bucket yet this year?

Change usually doesn't stay in my pocket.  I empty my coin purse/pockets every night (well...almost every night) into a large container, saving away for another day.

4.  When you sing Jingle Bells do you sing the nice version or the one where Batman smells and Robin laid an egg?  Hey...for the record I DO NOT Lay eggs.

Original...all the way!

5.  Take a picture of something jingly...and old lady boobs don't count. Could be a bell...a wind creative. Post it when you are done. If you don't have the ability to take a pic, tell us about something jingly in your home.

Well, I'm taking the easy route on this one.  I have a collection of silver bells which I hang over our bar at Christmas.


Easy - Week #29

It's not too late to answer the question this week! Click >here< for the original entry.





Graphic by Pat's Web Graphics

Tuesday, December 6, 2005

Winter Comes...

What is it about snow that brings out the child in us?

Saturday morning it started to snow while Sam put the Christmas lights on the house and I set up shop for the anticipated tree shoppers.  Christmas songs played on the tabletop CD player as a light snow began to fall.  Soon I found myself standing in the front yard,...arms stretched out,, head flung back.  Earthbound feathery flakes drifted from the sky, landing on my nose, cheeks, and...I couldn't resist tongue.  I'm talking BIG feathery snow flakes.  All this while Ella Fitzgerald sang, "Let It Snow."  How apropos.

In no time at all the snow transformed the Christmas tree farm into a winter wonderland, adding that extra seasonal element.  I cranked up the Christmas music to the delight of the customers.  Found myself dodging many well-placed snow balls, and not all those thrown were by the hands of children.  Several were thrown by my bosses' husband.  They purchased a 15 foot concolor fir, which weighed a ton!  It took four of us to get it in the pick up; the guys were at the base of the tree, my boss in the middle and I at the top of the tree.  When I lifted my end it wouldn't budge from the ground.  So I thought...okay, I must be standing on some of the branches.  Check my feet,, no branches are trapped beneath the shoes.  Try again.  Several grunts later we finally hoisted the heavy evergreen into the bed of the pick up.  Whew!  That was one heavy tree!

Many of the trees experienced quite a growth spurt this year.  One tree in particular always gets my attention when I walk past it.  I've named this one my 'Whoville' tree.  I can just see Cindy Lou Who standing next to it.  It will be interesting to see if the width of the tree catches up withthe height.  Personally, I've never seen anything like it.

Business is slowlypicking up on the tree farm.  This coming weekend I doubt I'll have time to do anything but help customer and crash at the end of the day.  I've had very little time for writing or journal hopping; which is disappointing for me but there is so much to do.  In the past week I've managed to make about 30 hand made Christmas cards for family and close friends.  Now I just need to get them addressed and in the mail.

The Christmas Star is lit on the hillside; it's nice to know some things never change.  No one here in the valley ever complains about that star and seeing it shining at night, just as it has since my first winter here in 1972, is a peaceful reminder that while life may shift certain values and traditions will stand the test of time.  And this year, the 'Winter Spirit' display is enormous!  I think the number of lights doubled this year.  I'm hoping to have the time to take a few pictures of the display to post in this journal.

In the mean time, Allie is doing her best to get into the spirit of things.  She loves her festive collar cover, but not the reindeer antlers.

Her enthusiasm is infectious.   

Background by Pat's Web Graphics

Sunday, December 4, 2005

The 5-er, December 2, 2005

1.  Where is the furthest you have traveled for Christmas and will you be traveling this year?

The furthest I ever traveled for Christmas was from Sacramento to Los Angeles, over 20 years ago.  This year the celebrations are at my home, so I'll be staying right here.

2.  Do you celebrate any other holiday this month? Kwanza? Chanukah? Festivus?

No other holiday per se, but December 21 has much significance.  On that day in 1985 I moved from Sacramento back to my home town, and exactly six years later on that same day, I met Sam, so that date is a big on in our life.

3. Who is the hardest person to shop for on your Christmas list and why do you think they are so hard to buy for?

The hardest person to shop for are Sam's daughters.  Not so much because they are difficult to shop for, but more because each year we buy them jammies, which they open on Christmas Eve.  They both like a particular kind, and the stores just don't stock them like they once did.

4. How old were you when you stopped believing in Santa? Extra credit if you have a picture of you with Santa!

Stopped?  Hmmm, I never stopped believing.  I'll be back to post  a pic of me and Santa.  Customers have just arrived at the Christmas tree lot and I need to help them.

5. Fill in the blank;   For me Christmas just wouldn't be the same without _______?

Christmas just wouldn't be the same without Sam.  I've celebrated so many with him and his family now it has become a part of my life.  Christmas wouldn't be the same without the spirit of the season.  I love wishing people a 'Merry Christmas' both vocally and in my cards.  For me, those words always come with a smile.

The 5-er is a weekly Q & A, originated by Robin of These Are The Days of Our Lives.  I encourage you to play along, so click >here<.

Easy - Week #29 Sunday morning.

Tell me...

What qualities do you remember about a grandparent or an older member of your family that stand out in your memories about them?

My grandpa Ab was a simple man who lived by simple means.  Born the fourth child of pioneers in a family of nine children, he learned early on the ways of living off the earth.  I can remember with clarity days of my early years eating corn on the cob at his table, and the excitement in his eyes as he watched me, delighted in his granddaughters love for his home grown corn.  My adult memories of him always take me back to a simpler time of Sunday afternoons spent in his living room, listening as he spoke of life with his siblings and parents.  They were homesteaders surviving in the wilderness with only a canvas tent to cover their heads and an earthen floor beneath them.

I have many recollections of him and he never spoke of the contrast between the values of his generation and mine, preferring to focus his attention on what made me and my cousins smile and laugh.  He found many ways to endear himself to his grandchildren, and taught all of us his love for earth's bounty.  In his later years he taught himself how to make wine from grapes and berries.  At the local county fair his elder berry wine was a favorite, consistently taking first place among all the many entrants.  Unfortunately, grandpa's wine making abilities did not improve with his age and I can recall more than one occasion where I opened one of his bottles only to find the wine had taken on a vinegar like quality.  He rode a motorcycle into his late 80s, and only quit doing so when my father and uncle voiced concern for his safety.  In reflection, I realize his lifestyle must have agreed with him because he never spent one day in a elderly care facility; and he died peacefully at the age of 88 in the comforts of his own home, sitting in his favorite chair.

Okay, now it's your turn.  Go to your journal and share your stories, then come back here and leave me a link to your entry.  Include a photo if you have one.  I'll post the responses next Saturday, and then start it over on Sunday.


~~Cherish the moment, for moments are fleeting.~~ 

Saturday, December 3, 2005

Answers to Easy - Week #28

Everyone responded to my question in the comments of the original journal entry.  You can see their responses >here<.  Next question will be posted tomorrow morning, after baby D's baptism in the morning. 

Thursday, December 1, 2005

Your Monday Photo Shoot: The Letter G

John Scalzi's getting lexographic for this week's Photo Shoot:

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Snap a picture of something beginning with the letter "G." Because I don't think the letter "G" gets nearly as much attention as it should.

Sam and I dined on a great meal last night.  My favorite seafood.  Crab.  Sweet, tasty, delicous crab, complemented with wine.  Yum-O!

Good eats.  A bit of a stretch, I know.  But good food, is good food.



If you want to play, click >here<