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30 November 2009

Christmas ornaments

We won't be pulling our tree out for a few days yet. It is a
cute, scrawny thing that we've had since our first Christmas together.

I was surprised to find, in looking back at our pics, that i took no pics of our tree for 2003, 2004, 2005. The first ones are from 2006. And, of course these pics have been taken across the years, we've lived in three different houses where these were taken.

Here are some of my ornaments & decorations.

Most of the year these jars contain my "collections." I will only collect things that can be easily contained (nothing needing a display case!). So most of the time these jars hold rocks, shells, & buttons. But last year i had so many more ornaments than we put on the tree, so i put the excess in these jars. Most of our ornaments are home made.

This star was made by my granny. She made them out of tin cans. Sadly, the one she made for me was lost when a former roommate took all my Christmas decorations when we broke housekeeping. There were only a few things that i really miss & my granny's star was one. My mother, most generously, gave me the one granny made for her. She said she didn't use it anyway. However, men like twinkling things! Duane attached a lighted star to the back of it (after this pic was taken) because he likes a light at the top.

This box! I'll tell the story of this box later. But, when we first put up the tree, this box & granny's star are the only decorations for about a week.

My mother made this tree skirt. She sewed it & stenciled the holly. And i used it like that for a while, but being a thin muslin it didn't hold the shape/drape of a typical tree skirt. So i quilted it to be heavier. I didn't do a great job with the quilting. The backing is the red material with a white thread outline shown as the background in the ornament pics above. (Jazz was about 4 months old in this pic.)

And, here it is! Our scrawny little tree. This is an early December tree because it has only the box & granny's star on it. We don't usually put the tree up too early (tho by the 10th) because i usually leave the tree up until Epiphany. I know lots of folks who take their tree down immediately after Christmas day (& some on Christmas Day) but i like to enjoy Christmas! The days before that are Advent.

If we were really doing it "right" we wouldn't put the tree up until Christmas Eve, but i can never wait that long. And we're rarely home on Christmas Eve.

When we were living in OC & had friends & family near, we'd have a tree trimming party to help us decorate & celebrate. But living in BB, no family is near & we don't know many folks here that we'd invite to something like this.


29 November 2009

Post Thanksgiving

We were fair-weather Christians this morning. We've had 8 inches of snow in the past 26 hours. We didn't wake up until 8.15 & making a 9 AM service just didn't seem possible. (Most of these pics are yesterday when the snowfall was still light.)

My ILs planned to be down the hill
yesterday at Duane's step-brother's house for a 10.45 tee time. We woke to maybe half an inch of snow (yesterday), & they left almost immediately. All the roads in the BB valley & leading in/out of BB had chain restrictions except the road east into Lucerne & Apple Valleys (Hwy 18 E). ILs left about 7.30 & went down 18 E. They followed a snow plow down & were fine. My sis had planned to leave around 8 - 8.30 AM, but was hesitant with the snow. So they hung out, we watched college football (well, the guys did, Sis #3 & i knitted), & we snacked. By about 11.30 AM the snow had slowed, but it was not melting. The high yesterday was 32.7F. The low yesterday was not as cold as earlier in the week (it has been in the low teens) at 26F.

Sis #3, her friend F, & i shoveled the driveway & around her car while Duane went into town to get ch
ains for her. Duane & F helped get the chains on & they took off about around 1 PM. They also took 18 E. She called from the bottom of the hill. That road didn't have chain restrictions & they were able to take the chains off before long. (It is the law here that chains (or cables) must be carried at all times in the winter here in the mountains, but lots of folks don't. Even the convenience stores like 7-11 carry chains & cables up here 'cause lots of folks end up needing them.)

Throughout the afternoon yesterday we had snow off & on, but it didn't seem to be sticking to what we had shoveled off. But we woke this AM to new snow & it will have to be shoveled again.

This is NOT what the forecast pred
icted, however. There were "slight chance of snow" given Friday evening, & i didn't expect more than what we had a couple of weeks ago which was almost not measurable & melted quickly.

Somehow i wasn't quite ready for the snow. I knew it was coming of course. We don't have severe winters here, but i just wasn't ready. Our wood pile definitely isn't ready as we haven't been working at it
as diligently as we should have. But this might not stay around too long. It could melt off in the next week & not be repeated for another month. Or it could dump 2 feet on us.

Sissy made a snow bear for us. He looks cute on the swing.

This is what he looked like this A
M. Sis added the branch "arms" after i took the pics yesterday." Tho Duane took more pics.

Thanksgiving was a much smaller group this year. We had 14 total. Six were staying here at Sugarbear, & 8 at Duane's Aunt & Uncle's place. She has had as many as 23
stay there before. And that is a typical number of folks who eat there. So it was much diminished this year. We spent both Thursday afternoon & evening there, & Friday PM as well.

Here's my "little sis" dumping leaves on me. (This isn't Aunt/Uncle's house but across the street where they hadn't raked their leaves. Duane's cousin wanted pics in the leaves.)

H was the only child with us for the weekend. None of her little cousins came. But she seemed fine with it. She just chose different adults to spend her time with. She & Duane played for a long time both evenings.

Here's the whole group of 14 of
us (i'm hidden behind sis, but that's ok). Sis #3's friend F is in the red shirt on the L.

Jazz was disappointed not to be served at table.

Sis & i spent Thursday AM preparing food. She did 2 pumpkin pies & an apple. I did a spinach dip & a green bean casserole. And i didn't take either of my dishes. Before the spinach dip was really hot i had some with cornbread left over from the night before. (Sis #3's friend F had made vegetarian chili for us Wednesday night. It was so good! I made cornbread to go with it.) Anyway, i was quite ill for a little while after eating the spinach dip.

I use raw milk & because raw milk generally only sours, i keep a bottle in the fridge that might be very old
. I use it for sour milk for cooking. We figure that the spinach dip hadn't gotten hot enough when i ate it to have killed the bacteria. It certainly cleaned out my system & i'm no worse for it. I used that same milk in the green bean casserole, however. We thought it would probably be fine, but i didn't want to take a chance of having the whole group end up with problems. I did eat the one i made for myself (without the fried onions in it) & was fine. Also several other dishes had been made with that milk, but well cooked. Anyway, i can't eat the casserole 'cause of the onions (fried with flour) & Duane won't eat it. And i'm not likely to eat the spinach dip now, either. What a sad waste of food.

We did get to visit with friends J&J on Friday AM. We just don't see them nearly often enough.

We had a something else happen Friday. I think it sad, but Duane was very, very angry. I had parked just on the side of the street just above where the pic of all the people are standing (to the L of the pic). We don't usually park on that side. When we came out that night about 9 we found that someone had come by & thrown a couple of eggs at our car.
The driver's side window in the door was obscured.

I'm afraid i don't understand Duane's deep anger at the incident. I find it rude, frustrating, irritating, & sad. But an anger that, at the moment anyway, could kill someone i don't understand. Sis
#3 reminded me that it is a violation.

What i find most disheartening, however, & i don't like to think of it, is i don't think it was done by a visitor. Meaning, i've a strong feeling that local kids often resent "flatlanders" or "outlanders" & do this to folks they think are visiting. I could be wrong, but that is my gut feeling. Duane would prefer to believe it is uncouth folks who come here from the flatland & then are rude. Because we both want to believe
that where we live is in the best place on earth!

I did get it clean without too much problem the next day. Sis cleaned much of it away with snow, & i brought out a pot with hot water & soaked towels & it cleaned up without as much mess as i would expect. And, i told Sis, i'd much rather it be my car which is relatively easy to clean than have it done to my house.

H, the only child that was present this weekend, is the child of Duane's cousin. Well, actually Duane's step-dad's brother's daughter's child. Funny the way folks connect. They live in Las Vegas. H is 4-1/2 (& i can't help but think, a year older than Kaylee would be). She is a sweet child, not
overly spoilt at all. She is a delight. (And that is surprising considering how spoilt Duane's cousin has been, but the improvement she has shown since becoming a mama always amazes me.)

This pic is Sis #3 with H three years ago at Thanksgiving.

I didn't seek H out this weekend, or really try to talk to her at all, except as i would an adult in passing. I was quite content to watch her play with others. So, it was a
surprise to me to hear her ask her mama, "Can Kathryn help me make the card?" (Her grandpa's BD is in about a week & she was making a card for him.) Her mama told her she would have to ask me, & of course i was willing.

And, as i sat at table with her as she was making her card & later playing with her, i thought, if i only had a child in my life with whom i could spend some time, being childless wouldn't be so hard. H will not be the child i'm hoping for. We only see her about twice a year.

I wish i knew a family with children where we could keep the kids a few times a month. Then i could get in all my desires (a "fix" so to speak) of "story-reading, cookie-making, project-creating with children" out of my system. The parents would have respite & we'd have the joy of being around children even if they aren't our own.

Now, how do i find a way to have that happen? (I've checked into mentoring, BTW. It isn't as easy to set up as you'd think.)

When i took some of the pics earlier today the sun wasn't out. Wow. Sun on snow is stunning!

Now, i need to go shovel snow before long.


25 November 2009

Mostly just pics

Sugarbear technically doesn't have a "front door." (Duane's sister went all the way around the house looking for a real door.) We have numerous sliding glass doors & the one facing the road is our front door. When we moved in the front sliding glass door didn't wasn't even keyed. I guess folks previously opened the garage & went in thru that door. That was the first change we made here, getting that door keyed.

I always used to keep different signs/decorations on the front door that changed with the seasons. Since we don't have a front door, i place them under the house number. This works fairly well. We do seem to get quite a lot of wind here, however, & some of these don't work all that well. They bang against the house or blow off. But i usually have something up with the changing seasons.