Wednesday, December 7, 2016

"In the Bleak Midwinder"

It's almost winter solstice and it's dark much of the time.  I'm not a fan of darkness, so I seek light wherever I can get it.  So, I put up LOTS of lights for Christmas.  It takes a whole day to do it and probably longer to take it down, but it's a labor of love and Wally helps because he loves them too.  In our new abode we have lots of places to put things, but we still tend to fill the living room with most of them!  And we have several Advent calendars placed around the house as well, we are still little kids at heart and love opening new windows every day! Here's what we have so far, but we have so many rooms now, there is room for more accumulation...but where will we store it?  That's the rub!

Much of what we have are ceramic pieces made by Wally's Mom, Betty.  They are all lit in various ways which doesn't show up very well unless it's dark!  Their charm is the truly masterful job of painting she did on each piece.  The detail is incredible and only fully appreciated when you slow down long enough to REALLY look at them.  I am in awe of her talent.  She passed her fine motor skills on to her son.  I DO NOT have these skills, I am terrible at doing anything that requires a steady hand and tiny detail.  So these pieces are particularly special to me.  

Here's a peek at what we have so far!  We just got our tree yesterday, so that still needs to be decorated!

This is one of our favorite Advent "calendars".  Each stocking or mitten has a small ornament inside.  Someday it may go to a grandchild! 

Some of the ornaments inside!

 This little tree sits on my sewing table and can been seen from outside...a little light for others to enjoy as well!

 This is one of our other favorite Advent calendars.  It's a Victorian Village scene and each day you add a new building to the village!

 The reason for the season!

 We found this wonderful guy at the Goodwill in B'ham.  We were hesitant to buy anything else when we knew we'd eventually be moving, but his face was too wonderful to pass up!

McMinnville has a strong Christian presence.  It's not politically incorrect to talk of God or Jesus in public and there is evidence of Him everywhere like this lovely evergreen cross we found at a local nursery.

There is such detail in this, I wish you could see it.  The blanket is painted in plaid, the faces are amazing and I love the little bow she added to the horse!
The best part of this santa house is what's inside!   
 You'll have to come visit and peek inside yourself to see all the treasures inside.  There's Mrs. Claus and Santa himself sitting and resting after his long journey, and presents around the tree!
 View from the front door.

 Dining room
 Part of the kitchen
 My little Norwegian guy that I bought at a craft fair about 30 years ago!  Too bad I didn't move the dish soap container before I took this!

Betty's church and our little nativity that we bought from Sears when Jessi was just a wee one.  It was inexpensive and we wanted her to be able to "play" with it.  It's still intact, evidence that she was a careful child!  :)

Welcome to Christmas at our place!

Monday, October 31, 2016

Your Cheatin' Heart

Remember the "olden days" when you ate at a nice restaurant and your place setting looked like this:

Over time, casualness dictated that life be simplified and your place setting might look like this:

But life got busier for all of us and soon your place setting looked like this:

Mother Goose told all and let us know that the fork ran away with the dish.  The dish is missing, but when we open our napkins, we find this:

So, it must have been the salad fork that took off with the dish.  And what else is missing?  Jealousy has reared its ugly head and the spoon has also taken off.

They have begun a life of their own and now there are three--the fork, the spoon and their wee one, the spork:

And that, my friends, is why you never get a spoon with  your cutlery "package" in restaurants anymore.  The end.

Friday, June 10, 2016

School's Out

I've been more or less computerless for the past few weeks.  Wally tried to upload the new Windows program and things did not go well.  His computer is now toast, can't do a thing.  He spent more than 3 full days trying all sorts of "fixes" to no avail.  It's not worth the $ to have someone else do it.  And....the screen on my computer is very persnickety.  You have to have it in just the right position or all the colors turn into swirls and water marks.  But it's functional,. so Wally has been using it for house hunting in the Newberg area and I have learned to function without a computer--which has been oddly satisfying!

Beginning last fall and ending the last week of May, I was volunteering as a tutor for the Whatcom Learning Lab  It's a grass roots organization started by Linda Gorsuch, a retired special ed teacher with vast experience in  teaching reading.  We used the Susan Barton method for tutoring students, young or old, who have difficulties learning to read.  It's a wonderful program which anyone can use.  

My student, Kaina, was a 2nd grader who will be in 3rd grade next year.   We met twice a week for an hour and I was so pleased to see her make so much progress.  She's an extremely bright and curious young lady with a strong will.  It was a challenge sometimes to work around that. but she has been well parented, so it wasn't all that hard!  

This is me and Kaina, playing "Go Fish" with cards I made from words we were working on that week.  Look at that smile!

As a group of tutors we decided to have a Reader's Theater for our last get-together.  All parents, grandparents and siblings were invited to an evening of fun and food.  We spent a few weeks having the kids practice the short play about butterflies, bees and hummingbirds and the role they play in pollination.  The practices made us wonder if we could pull this off; the kids were so squirrely!  They rose to the occasion on the night of the performance, doing a flawless reading of all their parts with projected voices and standing still and in one place!  Here are some shots of the gorgeous costumes made by one of the tutors.

The hummingbirds

 The bumblebees

 The butterflies

The honeybee--there's that smile again!

I'm really going to miss being a part of this group next year.  We are hoping to be resettled to points south by fall.  But I've become close to Kaina's family, so I'll be keeping in touch.  Parting is indeed such sweet sorrow.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

No Law Against Cuteness!

Remember this post?  Leslie has been such a dear friend over these past 20+ years.  Not only does she supply me with a year's worth of raspberries every summer, she also brought me the Downtown Abbey book to borrow when I was hunkered down on the couch for 2 weeks with this year's viral plague.  How did she know to bring it...I hadn't told her I was sick!

Well now she has the world's cutest baby goats living at her house.  Envy doesn't begin to cover it!  I had the pleasure of visiting them yesterday.  She has four of the cutest goats I've ever seen. They were born on Mother's Day, how appropriate!  Their coloring is so wonderful, ranging from black and white (think "oreo" cows...I know they have some kind of official name, but I think oreo just about covers it!) whose  name is Bo--a la bovine, there is a multi-colored one named Dexter, (correct me, Leslie, if I've got them wrong!), another one that's kind of grey and brown named Abner and a very feminine one named Clementine.  I was hoping Leslie would turn her back for minute so I could abscond with one!  Watching their antics is a never-ending source of joy and entertainment.  I don't know how she gets anything done, you could spend all day laughing at them as they jump, hop, skip, twitch and contort themselves.

Check out the cuteness.  Warning:  the following may cause you to acquire farm animals!

Wannabe Farmer Ridgely holding...I think...Dexter

Lil' Abner

Sweet Clementine...she loves to snuggle


Ever feel like "climbing the walls"?  Abner's giving it a go!

Clementine was intrigued by my shoelaces....

Success!  Pretty impressive since it was a double knot!

They have their own playground.  The teeter-totter is a favorite

This is Bo, see his beautiful blue eye!  I don't think I've ever seen a goat with blue eyes before.

Such a fun time...thank you, Leslie, for letting me live your life vicariously!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The Puppy That Could!

This is Palmer, my neighbor Jeanne's,  dog!

He's 10 years old.  He  thinks he's still a puppy, but he's had a tough 8 month battle with a nasty infection in one side of his nose that took a village to deal with.  Last October, Jeanne noticed that he had a perpetually runny nose and a weird cough/hacking issue.  The nose got worse and worse developing into a really nasty discharge and which sapped all his energy.  He wouldn't bark anymore, it seemed to hurt his throat.  Vets couldn't figure it out.  Every test known was performed, MRI's, the whole works.  they even took him to a vet specialist down in Lynwood, everyone was stymied. They tried one antibiotic after another but nothing helped and it just got worse and worse.  Jeanne was supplementing his diet with yogurt to try to keep his digestive system intact and unaffected by all the antibiotics.  She was up at 5 am every day to make sure his meds were given in a timely manner.  She was beside herself, thinking she may have to put him down because she would not allow him to suffer.  He is such a trooper, he would try to play a bit, but his heart wasn't in it and after a minute or so would plop down amd sigh.  I was making daily trips over there to give him puppy massages which seemed to help take his mind off his misery.

Vets had performed several tests for fungal infections, but they kept coming back negative.  But ultimately was the only option not tried, so in February they put him on an anti-fungal and we crossed our fingers.  It took about 3 weeks before we noticed any real improvement, but it was obvious that it was working, albeit slowly.  

Today his nose is almost completely healed.  The discharge is gone, he barks again, his energy is back and we are celebrating!

This is the puppy we know and love:

Sunday, May 1, 2016

May 1st -- 34th Anniversary and a Busy People Day

Today is our 34th wedding anniversary.  We celebrated in unusual ways.  Our church celebrated Mother's Day today, so that Mom's can spend the official Mother's Day with their own families. The men of our church prepared a fabulous luncheon for the female portion of our congregation!  There was BBQ chicken expertly marinated and prepared by Joel--three kinds:  honey mustard, teriyaki and traditional BBQ sauce.  

There was some important discussion about the which kind was which and whether it was cooked properly.  They commiserated in the kitchen, figuring out what goes where and how.

There was a plethora of fabulous salads all prepared by the men.  

This is Wally's contribution.  He was still cutting up fruit at 10:00pm last night when I went to bed!  He's a night person....I'm not!

Meanwhile, we ladies sat about in leisure and chatted

Don't feel badly, the men waited until we all went thru the line and then they got to eat.  

This is our dear, dear Pastor Bob!

And here he is with wife, Cynthia.  No more amazing pastoral couple has existed in my world!

After this fabulous lunch, we headed north to Ferndale to visit with one of my former library assistants from Sehome High.  She graduated in 2003 and we've kept in touch.  She's a wonderful woman.  I was so impressed by her when she was at Sehome, she was so much more mature than her classmates.  Now a wife to Paul--also a Sehome grad, although they did not fun in the same circles in high school and only connected a few years after graduation.  And she is  Mom to Leo, who's 2, and Zoe who is one month.  They are here visiting Paul's parents and were having a open house so friends could stop by and say hi before they headed back to Denver where they moved 5 years ago.  It was such a treat to see her "all grown up" and to meet her kids.  

What a great way to celebrate an anniversary--spending time with people we love!