Monday, December 24, 2007

Night of Wonder and Magic

What a wonderful Christmas Eve! There is a bright, glowing full moon. I came home from church, pulled up the blinds on the French doors and lit candles on the patio. Perfect moonlight to guide Santa through the night. There is something magical about Christmas Eve! If you squink just right, you can imagine that you have seen Santa and his sleigh fly across the front of the moon! If you put yourself in the right mindset you can imagine all sorts of things happening. For example, one Christmas Eve as a child, I woke up and walked out to see if Santa had made his visit. He hadn't. As I was getting back in bed, I looked out the window and noticed that there were red and green blinking lights on top of the distant neighbors roof. I had to be Santa -- but why did he stop at that house? They had no children! I stood and watched and waited to see the sleigh take off for our house. I waited and waited, then decided Santa must be waiting for me to get to sleep. Sure enough the next morning, Santa had made it down our chimney and filled my stocking! Years later I discovered that those red and green lights were at the Naval Air Station that was west of our house. On any given night you could have seen those lights blinking. That Christmas Eve, my imagination was working overtime and I would have bet the bank those lights were on Santa's sleigh! I think we should never get so old that we lose that magical feeling that allows us to believe that reindeer can fly. This should always be a night of magic and wonder and excitement. A very Merry Christmas to you all.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Day Before, The Day Before

This is the day that I try to get a head start on all the cooking for the next two days. So far, so good. I have only a couple of stocking stuffers left to wrap - then I'm finished! I just delivered goodies to a couple of neighbors. It's not just rain outside. It's a down pour! I was thinking how nice it would be if it was snow! I know it would pose all sorts of problems for the holiday travelers, but wouldn't it be wonderful?!?

Tomorrow we will prepare a couple more items for our Christmas Day dinner, get the table ready and join our son for Christmas Eve services. He doesn't realize that I don't need a gift. My gift is having him with us. I know that there are so many families with loved ones elsewhere. I treasure every year that we can celebrate together. I know one day that will change and I will have to deal with it. So, right now I am thankful that, like Thanksgiving, I will have my chick at home eating hot cinnamon rolls and bacon on Christmas morning. Much merriment and wonder to you all!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Little Christmas Village

In an earlier post, I mentioned that my husband always creates our little Dickins village. Like everything else this year, it has been a little late in making its appearance. He didn't seem to fuss and struggle trying to create a vignette different from previous years; yet it is different. I love all the trees - evergreen and bare branch. He makes little streets and alleys in the main area and individual scenes in the cubbies on either side. Not pictured in the space above, is a Father Christmas figure with his sleigh surrounded by scrawny trees near the North Pole. I haven't found the hidden Dickins figure. I should go do that right now! Here are some pictures of it and a couple of the village maker (I was careful not to say the village idiot -- just kidding honey!) and a very bored Miss Zoe.

Friday, December 14, 2007


I have finally accepted the fact that we are about 2 weeks behind in getting our usual Christmas activities accomplished. For once, I'm not stressing over it. If it gets done, great. If not, so be it. We will still enjoy the holiday. Is anyone else experiencing this same situation this year? It almost seems more important (or attractive) to just not worry about it and enjoy a movie with my husband. The Christmas cards can be used next year, when I start preparing for the season earlier - right?!? As long as the stockings get filled, a feast is on the table and we are all happy, healthy, and together - not much else matters. I'm going with this theory and enjoy the upcoming week without trying to play catch-up. I'll let you know if I am able to let go of the usual expectations I place on myself. If I can do it, then maybe for once I will be able to actually sit down and relax on Christmas Eve with a glass of cheer and experience the peace that we are supposed to feel and enjoy during this season of celebration. Let me hear from you as to how you deal with getting it all done (or not) for the holidays. Have a merry weekend!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Jolly Chicken

My friend Diane had the most beautiful chickens. One day, unfortunately they met their untimely demise. I don't know what type they were but they were fluffy and wonderful. To be around them and hear their noises seemed very soothing and peaceful to me. Ever since admiring them, I wanted to make something "chicken". So one day I experimented until I came up with this little creation. I found an image of a chicken online, copied it to my computer, then altered it in one of my programs. I couldn't resist adding the Santa hat. This is my little tribute to Diane's sweet chickens. I look forward the day when Diane has a new brood to enjoy. I've also pictured a little figure that I made several years ago.

Monday, December 10, 2007

My Two Sharons

Today was a special day for me. I got to visit with two of my best friends - both named Sharon. One I have known since first grade and I'm not telling you how long that has been! She lives in Kansas where we both grew up and ended up college roommates. We have known each other so long that there are things only the two of us know about each other. The only other people alive that might know are her father and my sister. The second is a neighbor that I have known for about 6 years. I met this Sharon on my morning walk. We ended up walking partners. The funny thing about these two women is that they have so many similarities. Their birthdays are only days apart and both very active in their churches. They both were raised on farms and still practice housekeeping, gardening and child-rearing the way our mother's did. Family is very important to them. I feel very lucky to have both of them in my life. They each have a special place in my heart.

I'm posting some pictures I took around the house. Hope they put you in the Christmas spirit!

Friday, December 7, 2007

5 Random Things

Okay, Aleta ... I am doing as you asked. Now you all will know just how truly weird I am ...

1. Both of my parents were twins. No, I didn't have twins and no their twins didn't marry each other. I just took it for granted growing up and didn't realize how unique it was.

2. I used to participate in horse shows when I was in middle school. I used to wear avocado, suede chaps with white buck-stitching and had a matching felt hat. Yee-haw!

3. I'm not a big fan of egg nog, but a few years ago we were introduced to a ready-made product called Pennsylvania Dutch Egg Nog. Like drinking liquid gingerbread with a kick. We haven't been able to find any in Oregon - just California. My cousin just brought us 3 bottles at Thanksgiving. Yum! Saving it for Christmas celebrations.

4. My first car was a 1967 turquoise metallic Chevy Corvair Monza. What an odd little car it was, but it got me where I needed to go. My dad thought it was a wonderful car since the engine was in the back. Kept me from sliding all over in the Kansas winters.

5. I love sitting in the doorway of my french doors to the patio with my coffee in the morning. I miss it this time of year, but look forward to it again in the Spring.
Well, there you go. Let's hear from more Oregon gals - take the tag!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Pie, Pie... Me Oh My

Since it is the holiday season, I was going to share a story with you and show you a picture of a piece of pie that my mom made. This has been a special piece of pie as it is from the last pie that my mom made before she died over 10 years ago. Yes, 10 years ago. Christmas of 1996, my mom made her traditional cranberry pies. My sister placed one of them in her freezer. Mom passed away in April. On my sister's birthday in October of 1997, she said lets thaw the pie and have it instead of cake. What a great idea! Well we thawed the pie and sat at the table with the pie in front of us. We just couldn't bring ourselves to eat Mom's last pie. How could we preserve it? So I came up with the bright idea of trying to dry it in my food dryer. What did we have to loose? Well, I dried two pieces of the pie for 3 weeks. They were dry, but still looked like a pretty fresh pie. I didn't want it to get damp so I sprayed the two pieces numerous times with an acrylic spray sealer. It worked like a charm. We stored them in a plastic container with silaca gel in the off-season. So for the past 10 years, my sister and I have each had a piece of Mom's cranberry pie to place on a special plate to display throughout the holiday season. Until today. Today, my beloved Miss Zoe ate Mom's 10 year old, plastic covered, cranberry pie. I was devastated. Then I was worried that Zoe might be in some danger so I called the vet. The vet was rather entertained by the whole story and asked what kind of pie it had been. She said it wasn't something that they had covered in veterinary school, so just watch her and make sure that everything that goes in, comes out. I assured her that Zoe had munched on it and hadn't swallowed it whole. There were crumbs strewn about. I finally got the nerve to call my sister and tell her the bad news. She was almost as speechless as the vet. Then she offered to cut her piece of the pie in half and share it with me. What a great sis I have. I said no - just make sure she wills it to me. I know her piece will be safe. She has no pets and stores it under a glass dome. Glass dome ?!? I have several of them and it never occured to me to store my pie under one of them. Whether the glass dome would have discouraged Zoe, we will never know. The good thing is - yesterday after decorating the house - I took a picture of the infamous pie. I was going to share the story of Mom's traditional cranberry pie with all of you. I guess I'm still sharing the story, just altered somewhat. I don't have the piece of pie, but I still have the memory of the day my mom and I made that pie. So here is a picture of the pie (before Zoe) and a favorite picture of my mom.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Deck the Halls

Some people don't realize how a small gesture can make such a big difference. I needed a boost to start my holiday decorating. My friend Diane offered to come this morning and get me started. How fabulous! What a luxury! What a great friend! We started with a bagel and some really strong coffee, then started pulling things out of the holiday totes. Find some greens, look for a platter, tie some ribbon!! And, voila -- it's wonderful! I know I'm using lots of exclamation points, but that is how I feel. By 11:30 we had tackled most of the rooms and were on our way for some lunch at the Wild Pear. After lunch, I added a few more little details inside and worked on a basket of fresh greens and holly for the patio table. The potting bench got a few boughs too. All in all it was a very productive day. I'm off to work tomorrow, so getting the tree decorated will have to wait. It doesn't seem as overwhelming since the rest of the house is done. A big thanks to Diane and here is a picture of one of our little groupings.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Weathering the Storm

Rain, rain, go away ... Take the wind with you too! Well, we managed to weather the storm pretty well; only a couple of problems. The wind loosened the flashing around the vent for the furnace which allowed rain to pour into our furnace. It doesn't like to run when it has water in it. We discovered all of this about 10 last night. We really appreciated sleeping under the down comforter and having Miss Zoe on the bed for warmth. The furnace repairman was out this morning and we are warm once again. Then there was the matter of a section of fence blowing down. My sweet husband came home from school mid-day to repair the fence and take inventory of anything else that needed attention. He never takes leave, so I knew he must have been concerned. The fence could have waited but there was the problem of letting Miss Zoe out to do her thing in the backyard. Other than a few shingles that needed to be renailed, we faired pretty well. My heart goes out to all those families with flooding and no power. I hope they can recover quickly. We forget about all those repair people that go out and make it possible for us to have lights and heat. I am most grateful for them and the sacrifice they make so we can have our comforts. Tonight will be much quieter ... and warmer.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Snowflakes, Antiques and Good Friends

What a day!!! My friend Diane and I left before the crack of dawn to shop at Tarte and Apples and Antiques in Sherwood. Knowing Cindy and Karen, we knew their shop would be wonderful and we weren't disappointed. Many, many fabulous treasures. A few came home with me to adorn my workroom. If the antiques and holiday decorations weren't enough - we had snow showers! Not enough to complicate travel, but just enough to set the mood of the day -- Christmas shopping! After leaving Cindy and Karen (with a jam-packed parking lot), we had breakfast with friends Isabel and Lisa. By the time we had eaten, the snow showers turned into great, big fluffy flakes. Again, nothing accumulated, but how beautiful! From Sherwood we headed to Sellwood to visit our friend Randy of Madison Park on 13th Street. What a lovely shop! It was good to see Randy and, of course, do a little shopping. Our last stop was the Monicello Antique Mall, which was having their Christmas sale. Yowser!! There was so much - it was hard to know where to start. Of course we figured that out quickly and managed to fill the back of my SUV. As our shopping day ended, so did the snow - which changed to rain -- and wind. After such a fun day, no amount of rain could dampen our spirits. We are officially in Christmas decorating mode! Here are pictures of Cindy, Karen, Diane, Isabel, Lisa, Randy and me. Enjoy!

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