Thursday, December 31, 2009

...a gift...or is it two?

My friend John supports himself by growing cherries, something he does very well. What I didn't know about him (since we'd been out of contact for 30+ years) is that he is also an artist. During the busy years of raising a family and making a living John let his art go by the wayside. Since his life has been turned upside down and given a good shake he's returned to his passion to help keep him grounded.

I am the lucky recipient of one of his creations--a blown glass, cobalt blue ornament.

I am in awe of his talent. I am impressed that he heard me when I said, "I love cobalt blue."

The Christmas tree is no longer up, but I hated to pack the ornament away. Instead, it is now hanging in my front entryway where rays of sunshine will make it shine even brighter.

Thanks, John!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


2756. That's how many miles I put on my bike this year. I was hoping to round it off at 3000, but it's not to be. I didn't keep track of my miles in 2008, my first full year of riding, but know the number was much smaller than 2756. This past Sunday the roads were clear and dry, and I went out for a short jaunt. I hadn't seen the weather forcast, so envisioned getting out each day this week to bump my number up. But now there's snow on the roads, and the only seat time I'll be getting will be in my living room. Rats. There's always next year.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Just a few days ago my house was busy, noisy, crowded, and filled with merry-making.
Nate brought his girlfriend Genavieve and his roommate Anthony home for Christmas this year.

On Christmas eve we packed five adults, one medium sized dog, presents, and goodies into a smallish car and headed over the mountain to my folks' house.

Once there, we played games, laughed a lot,

ate non-stop,

sang songs,

(Good King Wenceslas is "our" song. We know all the verses and have been singing it together for many years.)

and exchanged gifts.

On Christmas day my brother Tim and his family joined us,

and my brother Dave came for dessert.

(We shore do loves us some pie!)

Taylor (one of my birthday twins) and his newlaptop from Santa.

Anthony had mom in stitches. "Sounds beautiful!"

A fun Christmas.


This morning my house is quiet, very quiet, and I am enjoying the solitude. Happy New Year, everyone!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

...gingerbread houses

When the kids were small one of our Christmas traditions was to make a gingerbread house. Somewhere around the teenage years when sports ruled our lives, spending time and money on this activity somehow lost their appeal. Last night Katie and I were at loose ends--shopping and wrapping complete, friends too busy to socialize--what to do, what to do...

We popped in "Elf," scrounged around for gingerbread house building materials, poured a little wine, and....voila! Not quite as elaborate as they used to be, but they turned out pretty cute, all the same. A delightful evening.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

...a trip to Seattle

Katie and I have been incredibly busy this fall--she, with classes and work, I, with...that place I vowed not to think about for several days. And since we live 3 hours from each other, insane busy-ness means that months go by before we get to spend time with each other. So we planned a weekend getaway to kick off our Christmas vacation. She wanted to get out of Portland, and I wanted to get out of Dodge. It didn't take us long to agree--Seattle it was.
We got in late Friday night, walked throught a questionable neighborhood to see the Space Needle all lighted up,
got up early Saturday and spent a fun, fun day seeing the sights,
and enjoying each other's company.
This may just become a new tradition!

It was Katie's first time up to the top of the Space Needle, but it was so foggy that there was nothing to see. Did that stop us from having a good time? Not in the least.
Dear Santa, Please tell mom that I really, really, really like those boots!
Accapella singers and little children busting out the moves.
The "gum wall" at Pike Street Market. Ew.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

...a welcome phone call (or two)

...and a lazy day.

The phone rang at 5:21 this morning. I missed the call. It rang again at 5:28. Again I missed the call. My sleep-addled brain thought it was just the alarm going off. But...yippee, skippee! Both calls were to let me know that school was cancelled for the day. Freezing rain had coated the roadways overnight with a thick layer of ice. I listened to the messages left by my coworkers, wondered why two of them had called (we do have an established phone tree), called the next person on the list just to be sure she knew, then snuggled back under the covers. At 10:00 I felt rested enough to haul myself out of bed, but it took another hour to brush my teeth, wash my face, and put on something that wouldn't embarrass me if the doorbell rang. I spent what was left of the morning drinking coffee and gazing at the Christmas tree. Finally, I decided that I should do something. A stack of insurance paperwork has been sitting on my desk for a couple of months--it is now gone. Why did I procrastinate about something that took all of 15 minutes to deal with? Then I straightened my fabric stash, and thought about doing some sewing. Instead, I curled up on the couch and dozed to "It's a Wonderful Life."
I almost beat myself up for not getting much done today, but then remembered my often repeated lament that there isn't enough time anymore just to "be." Today was a gift and I am grateful.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

...a trip to the city

John and I left here Saturday morning and took our time getting to Portland. It was still pretty cold out, and there were clouds to the west. We guessed we were heading into a snow storm. What we got instead was freezing rain. Yikes. We stopped at Multnomah Falls to take a look at the ice formations but didn't get too far up the walkway. When a large man in front of me starting slipping backwards I made a hasty retreat. If he went down I didn't want to be involved in any way!
At Wakeenah Falls I decided a quick picture from the comfort of a warm vehicle would suffice.
We made it to Portland without any mishaps, although many other folks were not so fortunate. I drove v-e-r-y carefully and got us to our hotel just fine. (My little truck didn't know how to act with valet parking--she's more of a small town girl!) It was a delightful evening with a friend--walking to an early dinner, enjoying the lights and decorations, and then...The Nutcracker. What fun! I'd never been to a ballet before and honestly had never seen this story in its entirety on TV. (How is that possible??) I cheated and took some quick pictures (minus the flash) before the curtain went up.
Since this was my first ballet, it all seemed magnificent to me--the music, the sets, the costumes, the athleticism--but I must admit, I enjoyed watching the children the most. It was over too soon.