Sunday, March 11, 2012


This weekend we had a going away celebration for the man's youngest son,
who is going into Job Corps.

A good decision on his part
to help him get a good start on his adult life.
We are all very proud of him and wish him success!

The whole gang showed up, minus his mother.
Sadly, she had to work.
His brother and family came down from the P'land area.

Sister and niece and nephew who are local.

Grandma and Grandpa from a bit to the north.

We had baked potatoes with a variety of toppings,
salad and some yummy dessert pizza.
Like most family get togethers,
it got a bit loud... with one louder than the others.
The man tends to get loud when happy.
It's part of who he is.

(A wee bit crazy.)

When it was over, I fed the man and sent him to bed.
Then turned my attention to the mess that remained.
There is always a mess isn't there?

But not too bad this time.
The left over potatoes will make good o'brians
and I am glad for the salad.
I never get tired of salad.
Besides... I got to use my great new storage containers!
And nothing fell out of the Fibber McGee cupboard.

All in all, a good weekend.

How was your weekend?

Did you trip over your feet in the morning when you sprung forward?

Was your weekend quiet... or loud?

Sunday, December 4, 2011



All Christmas tree lots looked pretty much the same in the city.
They popped up in vacant lots and parking lots all over town.
Bright colored lights and spot lights swung on wires to beacon you in.
A small forest of trees in tidy rows, sprinkled with sawdust on the ground.
The aromas of firs, cedar and pine was strong and fresh.
The smell of Christmas!

It never snowed at Christmas where I grew up.
Not even once.
But it did drop below freezing...
sometimes icing the trees with frost and sawdust.
Other times fog swirled around,
making the forest even more magical to my kid eyes.

The salesmen stomped their feet and warmed their hands
over an oil drum fire... lurching toward any car that entered the lot...
eager to make a sale.
The old man waved them off saying
"We're just looking for now."
All the little bunnies would look at each other, worried.
What did he mean by that?

The bunnies scattered...
the oldest two could wander as they wished.
The next two had to stay together.
Being the youngest,
my mother's hand firmly grasped my coat hood like a leash.

I tried in vain to steer them to the "manger" that held the flocked trees.
I honestly believed that a bright pink fuzzy tree was just the ticket.
"Too messy."
mother would say,
tugging me toward the long rows of unflocked trees.
Well, it never hurt to try.

The idea was for each of us to pick our tree...
and try to remember what row it was on.
Once everyone had chosen, we would meet
and show off our choices to each other.
Then the parents would be the judge who picked "the tree".

My parents would give me clues.
"Look how full this one is."
"Doesn't this one smell fresh!"

I had my own criteria.
Different things caught my eye.
One had a bird's nest.
"Birds nests have germs."
Another had a neat crooked trunk.
"We want a nice straight tree."
A skinny one might leave more room for presents.
The parents laughed at that idea.

When we reached the end of the tree rows...
the other bunnies had returned, begging to show off their choices.
Father made a big deal out of looking by age...
we started at the oldest and made our way down.
Each tree Father would pull out into the aisle.
Mother would walk around it,
searching for holes or flat spots.

It went that way for four trees...
then it was my turn!
I would sadly turn my gaze at the bright pink fuzzy tree,
saying good-bye in my head.
Then try to recall which of the trees seemed to have made mother happiest.
I might have been the youngest, but this was a serious competition.
I was out to win the honor of picking "the tree".

I didn't always win,
but being with the parents as they talked about them
helped me to pick a number of winners over the years.
Of course it got easier as I got older and the other bunnies grew up and away.
But much of the luster of the game was gone by then...
along with belief in that old guy in the red suit.

My father would string us along...
sometimes pacing back and forth and returning
for second looks...
Mother would whisper in his ear...
letting the tension build.
Then he would announce their choice.

One of the older bunnies would go for a salesman
while the rest of us guarded our tree.
Father would dicker the price, if he could.
Accept it if he could not.
The tree had been chosen and no other tree would do.

The salesman would try to sell him a nice
wooden cross stand to hold it up.
Father steadfastly refused.
Money exchanged hands...
and all the bunnies followed the tree to the car.
Father would wince as the salesman tossed it on top of the Buick,
worried about his paint job more than the tree.

We sang carols all the way home
with slightly less enthusiasm.
The excitement of the day was wearing us down.
My own eyes would begin to droop.
By the time the station wagon rolled up the drive,
I was ready for bed.

Buying the tree was a very big deal.
But it never was decorated the day of purchase...
inspite of the decorations neatly laid out.
Father would have to drag it inside,
stand it up and wait for my mother to decide
where the top and the bottom needed to be trimmed.

Once that was done,
it needed to be wrestled into it's stand
and the stand filled with water.
Father had worked a full day.
It was time for a beer.
The bunnies were sent off to bed.

I lay there and listened to the parents below.
They laughed about different trees and things said by silly little bunnies.
If I could keep my eyes open long enough...
I would hear the happy sounds of my father swearing
as he tied the big old heavy strings of lights onto the tree...
mother giving him directions.
The magic of Christmas had begun.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011



Let the season begin!

While I have been taking my break...

I decided to work on some stories about Christmas

the way it was when I was a kid.

Because Christmas is special to children...

and infects all their thoughts and ideas...

in a way that does not affect adults.

So here is my warning...

these are stories,

and they are wordy!

If you are looking for short posts,

I do understand and you are welcome to look elsewhere.

But these are memories near and dear to me,

about a time that was magical.

I credit each and every one with to my parents,

who worked very hard to make

Christmas very special to all of their children.

They were the best parents that I could possibly have had.

I believe you will see why.

Here we go... I hope you enjoy the ride.


Oh Christmas Tree!

The first weekend in December was dedicated to our traditional activities...

It began with boxes and boxes of decorations for the tree and house,
pulled out of their home in the closet that ran under the stairs.
Mom would set them out on the dining room table,
the big coffee table and here and there on the window seats.

Mother hated messes...

and this was a messy business.
But for once, it was a mess that she honestly loved.
Each item was taken from its nest in the tissue,

newspaper and paper towels,
and gently inspected for damage.
There was always damage...

bulbs that were broken or burnt out,
fragile ornaments that had shattered or cracked.
She morned each and every lost reminder of her favorite memories.

Between the balls, bulbs, light strings, garlands and angel hair...
lay her favorites;

all the dopy, sappy ornaments made at school
from bits of paper, glitter, photos, macaroni and pipe cleaners
and the baker's dough ornaments made at home by our little hands.
There was a set of glass birds with spring legs attached to alligator clips
with feather tails from her own childhood trees.
One bird had lost a leg and flopped to one side,

but still made his home in our tree.
Dad called it

"the drunk bird".

She would work through the morning...
enjoying the memories they conjured up,
sharing them with us.
We laughed and smiled

and shared our own stories as
each ornament came out of the boxes.
"I made that!"
The house smelled like oranges poked by cloves,
cinnamon, gingerbread,

always bayberry,

and her stew perking in the kitchen.

This was Christmas tree ornament day!
We were kept busy hanging up and

laying out the house decorations.
Setting up small winter scenes...
a pair of ice skaters on a mirror...
snow men conversed in their snowy angle hair fog
("Don't touch your eyes!")
on the sill of the window at the place where the stairs landed and

split toward the living room

or the breakfast room on the other side.

There were candles here and there...
angles, santas, snowmen, gingerbread boy and girl...
and always fresh bayberry candles in

the giant brass candle sticks on the mantle.

Red satin bows were tied to their necks
to match the big bow on the front door

with it's cascade of sleigh bells.
The following few days fir boughs and

sprigs would find their way
around picture frames, mirrors, and across the mantle...
and cedar garlands

would be hung in swoops under the crown molding.
Mistletoe was hung in the center of

the french doors to the dining room.

We peeked out the windows...
waiting for Father.
Hurry, hurry, hurry home!
The bigger girls would help mom push
the love seat around the room,
until mother was satisfied with its temporary home.
This made room for the tree between the
built-in bookcases with their leaded glass doors
and the high,

short and wide window with her antique bottle collection,
that would glitter with the reflected tree lights.

The excitement of the day was contagious...
anticipation grew by the minute
and every car that entered our street made us hold
our breath... until it passed us by.
We'd groan and wait for the next engine sound.

Once the ornaments were all unpacked...
the boxes were filled with the wrappings and

tucked back under the stairs.
The rug under the place where

the tree would go had to be vacuumed...
and we showed a rare enthusiasm for the task.

Then the sound of the Buick in the driveway
inspired us to gape out the window.
"Don't smudge the windows!"
Father walked smiling into the house,
as we rushed him...

and he announced the same line year after year...
"Hey! It looks like Christmas in here!"

as he tired to cross the room to kiss mother,
with a five pack of little bunnies hanging on tight...

all chattering wildly.

But there was diner to eat yet...
before the best part of the day.
None of us had to be told to hurry or finish what was on our plates...
and no one asked for seconds...

unless Father did,
then you might as well have another

bit of stew or chunk of cornbread.

The oldest bunnies would snatch up dishes
and wisk them away to rinse and put in the dishwasher.
One of us would wipe the table and counters down.
Another would take out the trash...
all without being asked,

which made the parents smile.

Father would stretch and threaten to read his newspaper...
all the bunnies protested and groaned.
But instead of stopping at his chair...
he would take his jacket from the hall seat,

that looked like an oak throne...
causing the bunnies to hop into their coats as well...
and run to get the best seat available in the car.

The sleigh bells jangled on the door and swayed.
The station wagon doors slammed.
The engine roared to life and the Buick backed out.
Someone would begin to sing and we all joined in.
"Jingle bells! Jingle bells!"
Extra loud on the "Hey!"
Look out tree lot... here we come!

The story continues tomorrow...

see you then!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


I know, I used this pic before...

but I like the way that bird looks at me.



The real reason for Thanksgiving is

to be thankful for the blessings of the year.

So here are the things that I am

thankful for in the past year...

thank my friend, fellow blogger...

"lime" for this one!

In the past year many things have occurred that I am very thankful for...

The man!

Yes, I met him two years ago.

But I married him in May.

This was no mistake.

The man loves me in spite of my faults,

which are many.

After at least 11 years alone...

I sleep at night in his arms,

I spend my days in his mostly quiet,

and often humorous company.

I face each coming day with curiosity

and joy.

It is a wonderful thing to share my life with someone

so caring and kind.

I am thankful for my wonderful children...

who despite the miles between us


manage to stay in touch daily...

who make me proud to be their mother...

who have given me joy

(and sometimes frustration and trauma)

since I first knew of them

growing within me.

I love them more than I can possibly express.

For family...

my own and...

particularly for my new family!

For accepting me...

for no more reason than the the fact,

that the man loves me.

How can I not love and accept you back?

I am so blessed by you!

You have enriched my life.

I am humbled by this acceptance.

I am thankful for grandchildren...

the 5 I currently have...

and the two that we are expecting

in March and April!

I am thankful that today...

I have a shelter and food...

when so many do without those simple things.

That I am safe,

that I have health and a good life...

while others live on the street...

unsure of where their next meal will come from...

or what will happen to them today,

let alone tomorrow.

And last...

but certainly most important...

I know that some of you do not have

a faith that you believe in...

I do!

I am thankful for the faith

that sustains me when times are bad...

for the faith that uplifts me,

even when times are good...

for the sacrifice made for me...

and you...

should you believe it or not,

it is important to me.

I am grateful.

I am thankful for you too...

you bloggers who share your

experiences and opinions.

You are amazing!

You add interest and thought to my days.

Your joys and sorrows...

all that you feel...

contribute to my life...

in ways that I can not begin to explain.

Bless you all on this Thanksgiving Day.

See you after your holiday!

A special hooray...

to the Shifelys,

for their new baby girl.

I am very happy ( and thankful) for your family!

I cannot think of a more wonderful gift,

than a new born child.

May she bring you the joy and pride that my own children

have given me.

May Hayden understand the gift she has been given...

to be born your child...

and all the love that means.

A happy Thanksgiving to you all!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

By the time this post hits,

it will be Veteran's Day.

That is not a day that I am personally willing to forget

or let slip past unnoticed.

My dad served in the U.S. Air Force,

too late to be in WWII...

too early for Korea.

I am glad he was here to be my dad.

Papa, my mother's father

served in the U. S. Army in WWI...

where he lost a lung to mustard gas.

But he came home relatively safe...

and still managed to smoke roll your own

Bull Durhams into his 70s...

able to be my much, much loved "Papa".

The man also served

in the U.S. Army.

Like my father,

he would have gone to war if called.

What would I do without him?

I am grateful that they were not called to war,

yet very proud that they were willing.

Many have gone to war.

Many have come home

safe perhaps,

certainly changed by that experience,

if not changed physically.

Many have died.

You cannot give more than your life.

There is no price you can put on that huge offering.

Today at our house,

we hang our flag with pride and gratitude...

our way of showing our respect

and our thanks...

to all who serve,

all who have served

and all who will serve...

May God bless them!

Sunday, November 6, 2011


Goodness I haven't been here in a long time!
Hopefully that will change now.

Friday morning is the man's Friday night.
It was the last day of buck hunting.
We weren't going to go out again,
but T was taking the day off to go.
We decided that once the man was home,
after a trip to the bank
and balancing the check book...
we'd meet up with T, B and K and try one last time.

It proved to be an interesting sort of hunt...
in that we spent most of our time hunting for the other hunters.
Never did find them.
But it made for a beautiful drive into some very lovely woods.
And it was just as well since the man was fading fast.

I had just enough time to make him a grilled cheese sandwich
before he was off to dream land
and I had my evening to myself to do as I pleased.
I did very little beyond the dishes,
other than watch the Criminal Minds marathon.
He doesn't understand why I like that show.
Worked out great!

Saturday we never got out of our jammies!
No cooking, shopping or errand running.
We watched college football all day long...
ending with our Duck game against U of Washington Huskies.
Ducks won.
We ordered in pizza.
Then had a bit of time for romance.
Ooh la la!

Today we did pretty much the same...
just lazed around and enjoyed each others company.
Watched a movie.
He's snoozing again, as he should be.
I'd call it a perfect weekend.

Roxy has been busy coming in and out of the house...
leaving muddy dog prints today...
in a path through the kitchen.
That's number one on my to do list tomorrow.
Erase the evidence of dog.

Meanwhile I am trying to plan Thanksgiving here this year.
I'm excited.
I hope everyone likes my mom's recipes.
Her gravy is a bit different...
but it's not Thanksgiving for me without it.
I've got my work lining up.
Guess I won't be bored.

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend too...
and that you got to do whatever it is that you enjoy.

Saturday, July 2, 2011


(Blogger is frightened by the skull...
and doing weirdness with space again...
so be patient and scroll all the way down past the gaps please.)


It's time for Saturday Scavenger Shots again!
Today's word is "UTENSIL".
The above photo is not mine...
I plucked it from this site:
What could be
better than...
A zygomatic bone glommed together from old sauce pots; a mandible constructed from rusty whisks; a maxilla ossified from dinner plates and moustachioed with unwashed spoons. This gloriously sepulchral skull constructed entirely from old cookware and crockery was on display in London's Regent Park a couple weeks ago as part of the Frieze Art Fair."
to fully illustrate "utensil"?

Of course, I can't think of the word "utensil" without thinking of
barbecue... and with the 4th of July coming up...
barbecue is our plan for the h

So how about some
barbecue "utensil" art?
I did not come up with that "utensil" piece.
But it certainly says...
time to barbecue!

Okay... a perfectly terrible shot of the man
There are some "utensils" there on the right...
if you can see them!

All this talk about "utensils" has made me hung
I'm thinking

Chinese food!

So grab your "ute

aka: chopsticks...
and dig in!

Happy Saturday Scavenger Shots everybody!
(I hope the man will let us get take out.)

And don't forget to use the side bar here to visit
What Fresh Hell Is This?
Eclectic Spaghetti
for more SSS and next week's word.
Then go out and take your best shot!