Archive for the ‘Christmas’ Category

Beating the Winter Blahs

January 9, 2017

Okay, so the Holidays were over before you could say “I forgot to water the poinsettia.”

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It’s a weird time of year, and I have to watch myself. First it’s the issue of getting in the Christmas spirit in the first place. Or not. “Not’ might in the long run be easier, because the higher your spirits during the Holidays, the deeper potential for despair. Whether you’re caught up in the frenzy of it all, shopping, bake-fests, parties, lunches, Christmas pageants, service projects, gift exchanges … or hold yourself apart from it, melancholy looms, ready to swoop in and envelop you at any time. So you have to take care of yourself, deploy strategies that preserve joy and peace of mind.

For example, just hearing the National News of late and listening to the incessant political talking heads can drive you insane. You need a diversion. Enter: Rudy … who is always either on my lap or lying next to me when we watch the news. Here he is, “Little Lord Fauntleroy” playing with his toy, Lamb Chop, while talk of the Russians and ISIS blares from the TV:

Then the insanely heightened security for the New Year’s celebration in Times Square…

Somehow he captures my feelings exactly.

The Museum of Idaho here in town offers a lovely free exhibit all through December to enliven your Christmas spirit.

Museum of Idaho, Idaho Falls

Museum of Idaho, Idaho Falls

It’s called the ‘Olde Fashioned Christmas and Winter Festival” and it’s free. The exhibit is sponsored by a local music store, Chesbro Music. Enjoy live Holiday musical performances by local musicians, while you browse through a huge array of Christmas themed displays, nativities, Santas and Saint Nicks. These displays belong to private local citizens loaning their collections for this exhibit. As you walk in the door, you are greeted with a Charlie Brown Christmas.

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Then some rather hip Santas:

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There are all kinds of nativity sets, from all over the world. This nativity set is knitted. Man, that’s a lot of work. I won’t be knitting a nativity set in my lifetime:

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A separate room housed gingerbread houses, some quite elaborate:

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And miniature rooms, that hail back to the Olde Fashioned Christmases. See the rocking horse? This room transports me back to my childhood Christmases in the fifties. Boy was that a more innocent time!

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I visited the museum with Megan once before Christmas, when an accomplished pianist was playing Christmas carols. We visited again on the last day of the exhibit, New Year’s Eve ( with a case of the blah’s). Music filled the air as we opened the door. A local group, the “Wild Potatoes” were performing. This Celtic jig really perked me up! I took a video. It might just perk you up too!

Oh wait. But Christmas is long gone now isn’t it? It went faster than you can say, “I stripped the tree, wrapped it like a corpse and shoved it out the back sliding door”

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It’s the New Year now. I still need strategies to keep my spirits afloat. I’m not making any more New Year’s resolutions until a cure is found for menopausal belly fat. Turns out, I learned on the internet, women over 45 have fat storage menopausal molecules that are immune against sit-ups and crunches. I’m done with those long joint-wrecking workouts, too. There must be some way you can burn belly fat while you sleep. Sleep longer? I’ll research that on the internet too, till I find the answer. I would also like to find some fat burning breakfast recipes that include pancakes.

Anyway, good thing we have Rudy around. I like to corner and lecture him. It makes me feel better. Like today. “You bad boy. Why can’t you be more of a help around here? Get out there and help shovel! Make yourself useful, you filthy animal!”

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Yes, YOU!!

Well, that about puts a wrap on the Holiday season. Before you could say “Where’s the person I’m supposed to kiss?” we were well into the New Year. The exterior Christmas lights went out in unison along our street that used to be lit up like a star. It’s a death star now, well, except for our end of the street. I’ve not been motivated to go out front and turn off the timers, although David might think its the least I could do, since he’s doing all the shoveling.

6:05 pm - Sunday, January 8, 2017

6:05 pm – Sunday, January 8, 2017

It still looks like Christmas, doesn’t it? The Abominable Snowman just won’t go away. Guess I should start helping David shovel, lest I become the filthy animal.

It just keeps snowing here in southeast Idaho.

Winter Storms Wreak Holiday Havoc

January 6, 2017

The year 2017 blew in like the Abominable Snowman in southeast Idaho. The storms started for us about 10 days before Christmas.

Which, admittedly, the first major storm was magical. It whipped me out of my doldrums into the Christmas spirit

Our back yard, December 17, 2016

Our back yard, December 17, 2016

Let’s hang the stars in our upper story windows!

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Poinsettias in the kitchen!

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String the lights!

The 8 am, December 19th sunrise is surreal. Snow clings frigidly to every branch and limb.

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But the real whopper of a storm hit on Christmas Day. Santy Claus had barely filled the stockings, scooted back up the chimney, and taken off on his sleigh when…

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to our wondering ears we hear the scrape, scrape, scraping of a shovel. And who out of the dawning twilight should appear? David, with his frosty hair and jolly ol’ belly (just kidding, honey) …. shoveling.

8 am Christmas morn

8 am Christmas morn

With Rudy as his helpful reindeer

Let me in!

Let me in!

We open presents. Rudy is the youngest, so he goes first:

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David shovels again about 11 am.

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The snow starts piling up again…

1 o'clock PM!

1 o’clock PM!

Then David helps the neighbors, who are stuck (while I’m preoccupied with spying, alerting him as to the goings-on in the neighborhood, and taking photos, oh, and making Christmas dinner…)

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Can’t you hear the whirring of the mixer? Wait a minute! That sounds like snowblowers. It’s our neighbors…

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We don’t own a snowblower. Our trusty metal scoop will do. Uh, if you scoop the snow in shifts, after every couple of inches, before it gets too heavy. And, if you have extra strapping bodies to help during a blizzard. Like our son, Ben!

 Ben shovels us out

Ben shovels us out

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Luckily, Ben and his girlfriend Rhonda are here from Boulder, Colorado, to spend Christmas with us. (Apparently, it’s still 50 degrees back in Boulder…)

So yeah. Idaho Falls was snowed in on Christmas. Our invited dinner guests cancelled on account of they couldn’t get out of their driveways either.

David was pretty tired by evening.

The thinker

The thinker

The neighbor was at it again…

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Then night fell…

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The city got busy plowing the streets, first, shoving huge mounds of snow into tall ridges down the median.

Where's my next left?

Where’s my next left?

Then they suck the giant snow ridges up into a fleet of dump trucks and haul it all away. (To where, I wonder?)

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Whoopee! By evening on Dec 27 the massive snow removal convoy comes roaring through our neighborhood.

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As you can see, it’s still snowing. The snow removal crews work around the clock to plow all the streets. It’s an amazing feat, probably has already nearly bankrupted the city snow removal budget. No matter. The weather is clear today. Clear with a low of minus 23 and a high of 0. (Originally I thought it was minus 12 to a high of 5!)

So yeah, the snow isn’t melting. I took a photo of our front yard early this afternoon.

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And the forecast? Snow flurries for the next five days.

Oh well. As I write this a severe winter storm is pummeling the southeastern USA from Texas to Virginia, affecting over 60 million people, stalling airports, stranding motorists, bringing as much as 9 inches of snow in parts of North Carolina. Read all about it in today’s USA Today. Well, that is, if you don’t live anywhere in America where there hasn’t been snow and can’t relate at all to the phenomenon of the Abominable Snowman that’s been tramping across America, ringing in the New Year…

O’ Christmas Tree!

December 3, 2015

Christmas season is upon us! Every year I vow to make it simpler, put up fewer decorations and lights (do nothing, David says). How about we get rid of stuff this year? Downsize the tree? I’m loving those new pencil shaped pre-lit artificial trees that will fit in any corner. Just put it up, slap a few bulbs on it, and be done!

But no. We always get a live tree, usually an 8-footer, and that’s what we did again this year. It about breaks David’s back hauling it into the house (thank you, honey) and it drops about 3000 needles just putting it up. This year I was going to replace the glittery garland, but I didn’t. We have glitter everywhere too. Even in our bed. I brushed glitter off my forehead this morning.

We have no shortage of ornaments, either. And I LOVE our ornaments – I think every person entering our home should spend 5 minutes looking at our tree and I should hear them audibly ‘ooo-ing!’ and ‘ahhh-ing!’ over our precious ornaments. No? Phssft. Okay, so our tree theme is ‘hodgepodge.’ No fancy bows or ribbons. But I have saved nearly every ornament we collected over the past 40 years. I have no idea where some of them came from, but many of them our kids made in grade school.

The first ornament I ever collected is Angel mouse.

A common household rodent in angel dress?  Are you kidding?

A common household rodent in angel dress? Are you kidding?

My mother gave this one to me when she first opened her Boutique /Antique store in 1973. She was selling mice as well as trapping them in the old refurbished Crowley School Building, or maybe she was trapping them, adorning them with Christmas trappings and then selling them!

We lived in Sweden for four years in the 1980’s – so our tree has a Scandinavian touch. The first thing you do is pull out the Swedish flags

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String garlands of flags over the tree. Swedish and Norwegian flags for us, since we had also visited Norway and had close Norwegian and Swedish friends.

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Scandinavian ornaments include straw, yarn, or crystal goats, pigs, Tomtes, birds, stars – well, I’ll just show you some of our mix of ornaments:

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Straw  Jule Goat

Straw Jule Goat

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Santa riding across the world on a pig?

Santa riding across the world on a pig?

This next ornament is in a category all its own, the category of “almost been tossed, like, every time it comes out of the box” because it’s just so, uh, I dunno

Ugly but adorable?

Ugly but adorable?

Given to Aaron by his first piano teacher, Mrs. Dutch.

Moving right along now, to the ones our kids made in grade school…

Megan's hand

Megan’s hand

How many ways can you make Rudolph? Trace your hand onto a piece of sandpaper and cut it out! Or attach his nose and antlers to a lightbulb…

Has Rudolph been into the egg nog?

Has Rudolph been into the egg nog?

I have about 4 of these green-nosed Rudolphs. – they were practice ones for when I led a group of kids through this Christmas ornament activity. Megan’s girl scout troop? Can’t remember, but I marvel at any teacher’s willingness and ability to organize and lead the average class of 25-32 grade school children through one of these craft activities.

Ben made several ornaments in third grade, with his teacher, Mrs. Sisty. Don’t know how she pulled it off, but Ben came home with this precious angel,

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and a reindeer

How has the dog missed the treat hanging on the tree all these years?

How has the dog missed the treat hanging on the tree all these years?

Dog Rudy is oblivious to this treat. Maybe he needs his sniffer checked.

Okay, well, should probably put a wrap on this. But not until I share a couple more ornaments in the “Don’t know from where or whom they came, or when they blessed us with their presence” category – this first one – of two attack chipmunks emerging from a snowy pine cone

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One of them clearly rabid…

And lastly, this gem:

candle ornament gone awry

candle ornament gone awry

A wreath with a very erect hot element rising up through its center. One assumes it’s a candle? That one always gets hung, uh, secured on a branch, at the back of the tree. You know, in case some house visitor actually stops and spends a few minutes looking at our tree. ┬áThis ornament likely would solicit some ‘ewwwww’s’ and ‘aaaah’s.’

January

January 26, 2011

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Hey! So what’s this ugly lit up piece of crap Christmas tree doing on your blog? (You might ask.) It’s nearly February!

It’s our Christmas tree, whatdoyathink?

All right, so I’m behind. I was going to write a Christmas blog. I don’t know what happened. I didn’t write it. Then it was January. January. Who wants to write a freakin’ blog about January? I tried to get inspired with some topic to write about.

Like, BLUE MONDAY. January 17, 2011. I’m serious. Some psychologist in England dubbed it the saddest day of the year 2011. This link will tell you all about it. You don’t want to read the link? No? Uh-huh. January.

January 17 was dubbed the saddest day of the year because it was a Monday (Blaahhhahhhh), and you likely had to drive on snowy roads, and probably shovel snow, and freeze your touche, and the dog doesn’t want to poo poo outside (I added that one), or else the dog jumps on your bed and pukes on your pillow (which actually happened to me on Sad Tuesday, the day after Blue Monday). Then there’s the unpaid Holiday bills and failed New Year’s resolutions.

It sucks!

Anyway, that about wraps up January. It’s been snowing here about every day. So it’s pretty. And it still looks like Christmas.

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Okay, so I had to slip a couple of pictures in that I was going to use on my Christmas blog.

This is one of my personal favorites:

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David and Rudy, after Christmas dinner. Sated.

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And this one was taken of Rudy in January, after he’d gotten his hair cut.

He was supposed come home as our skinny, fru-fru, bunny boy, poodle dog after his visit to the groomer’s, but he had turned into a little ‘fatso’.

My pants don’t fit right either. Thank goodness for low rise jeans with spandex.

January.

I backed out of our garage this morning. Then I parked the car, climbed out, and took this picture.

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Because it looked like Christmas.

I turned around and took a photo of the trees behind me, in our back yard:

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The glittery lights are gone, but I’m pretty sure if you were to walk really quietly to those giant spruce trees, and peer up into the tops of them, you would spot some tiny little Tomtes with long white beards and red stocking caps resting up there, looking out over the neighborhood.

And if I let it, today might just be the happiest day of the year.

Black Friday? Are you kidding?

November 26, 2010

Friday, November 26. Black Friday. No, we’re not shopping! We’re “hunkering’. With Rudy as our mentor.

Here he is yesterday after Thanksgiving dinner, resting his sated tummy, stuffed with the fruits of his finely-tuned begging skills, coupled with his uncanny ability to pluck food scraps out of thin air with acrobatic feat.

Yeah, well he’s back on his diet today, like the rest of us.

So, let’s see, where did I leave off with my last blog, uh, ten days ago, was it? Oh yeah, we had some serious raking to do.

Which, we did. We raked like mad devils on Friday, November 19, because a storm was moving in by Saturday.

And sure enough, Saturday, November 20, it started snowing. And kept snowing. David started shoveling. I snapped this picture out our front door Saturday afternoon.

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It kept snowing, and snowing, And blowing.

By Tuesday, Nov. 23, the storm became known as the “Blizzard of 2010.”

I snapped a picture of our infamous plum tree from inside looking out through our front kitchen window.

And I, too, was out there shoveling and scooping snow to the scraping and whirring of neighbors’ shovels and snow blowers. Cash registers were ka-ching-ing all over town, as stores sold out of anything and everything related to snow.

Our driveway and walk is clear for the moment! We’ve cut a path out through our twelve inches of snow.

And I can hurry out to shop for food and supplies. Before the stores close down from the blizzard.

Back home again. The snow has stopped but the wind is relentless. I creep out of the house with Rudy to snap a picture of our front walk. Rudy is racing to get back into the house…

his ears blowing sideways. No, our roof isn’t caving from the snow. I just can’t keep my iphone steady to take a pic for all my shivering.

The wind ushers in a cold front that drops the temperatures by 25 degrees. Just in time for Thanksgiving.

We wake up Wednesday with temperatures hovering at ‘minus’ 12 degrees. It does creep up to a whopping ‘plus’ 8 on Wednesday and Thanksgiving. ‘Plus’ is the new bliss!

Idaho winter. I knew after that first snowfall that it would return with a vengeance. I just didn’t expect to be socked in and nearly froze to death by Thanksgiving.

I’m hunkering. Today, Black Friday, is good day to write a blog. I’m sitting at the breakfast table with my feet hanging over the heater vent. Here. I just snapped a pic from where I’m sitting of our back yard.

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It’s one of the whitest Black Fridays on record. But, yeah. I might go shopping. Buy us a snowblower. That is, if there’s any left in this town after the blizzard.

Oh, and maybe some snowshoes and some kind of space suit or some other such outerwear suitable for winter in the tundra.