Sunday, December 28, 2008

Snugs and Hugs

No pics to post. Just a note to say, I'm snugging and hugging babies.
Be back in a day or two.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Post Holiday Hangover

Day 26

Today was spent in traditional post Christmas stupor. We slept in, laid around, ate left overs, played with our new stuff and did nothing much of anything. I did make my way next door to visit the next door relatives. My aunt and uncle and their kids and grandkids were all in similar mode. At 3:30pm most of them were still in pjs and my aunt offered me 3:30pm. We sat around the table and munched on goodies and chatted and caught up and had a generally pleasant time. I came home with treats that we don't need, but whatever. tis the season. Right?

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Happy Holidays

Day 25
...from our house to yours.....
We all reach a time in our childrens' lives where we just take what we can get. Today we are at just such a juncture. All four (current residents) in one place at one time and all looking in the same general direction. PRINT.

I think I would have better luck trying to wrangle cock roaches.
Merry Christmas

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Twas The Night Before Christmas

Day 24

and all through the house, all the Pak's were settled in to watch A Christmas Story at last. Our Christmas Eve tradition is to watch one viewing of A Christmas Story. You can tune in anytime during the next 24 hours to catch the show. It repeats, repeatedly until tomorrow night. This reminds me of a funny story. Every year we would start watching the movie and something would come up to interrupt us, but we'd just pick up on the next go-round. We usually go out driving to look at lights or we'd stop to eat dinner or someone would come over. But it was never a problem because we'd just watch it later. Well, last year was the first year we enjoyed the luxuray of DVR. We recorded the movie, went about our Christmas eve business and then all sat down to watch it in one sitting. Alex said something like "oh, this is the longest movie ever." I said, no, it's only an hour and a half and he complained that it couldn't possibly be that short. Well, we started it and an hour and a half later it was over and he said "is that it?" I laughed and said, how long did you think it was, to which he replied "I don't know, it usually is playing for two days." We all cracked up to think that he thought the marathon was the real length of the movie. Poor kid.

May each of you find your very own Red Ryder BB Gun under the tree.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a Good Night.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Hello Winter

Day 23

Well, it took long enough, but I think its safe to say that winter has well and truly arrived in Montana. 10" as of 9:00 am this morning. More falling throughout the day. Now on the one hand, this throws me right into the holiday spirit. On the other hand, I'm not sure we'll get to take our little trip to meet the new grandbaby. I'm not thinking of that just yet. We could wake up on the 26th and decide that its ok to go. We could end up staying put. No firm plans as of right this minute.

But all that aside, the snow is really coming down. I've been out and about today and the road crews are working their fannies right off. .....Maybe I should look into that line of work. Lord knows my fanny could use some working off. But I digress. Snow, snow and lots of it.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Love This

Day 22
Got this in the mail. This is what all those sleepless nights, all those car pools, all that homework help, all the concerts and class parties and school plays, all the sleepover and temper tantrums and money for braces and whiteknuckle driving lessons and all that stuff, was about. So I can sit back and enjoy the fruits of my labor (pun intended). This is what it's all about.

The Last Sunday Of Advent

Day 21

This has been our tradition for as long as I can remember. Each Sunday we light another candle on the advent wreath and read that week's passage from the Children's Bible. Each Sunday we get that much closer to Christmas. Tonight is the last Sunday. It seems like I was just digging the wreath and candles out of the bin. I pack it on the top of my Thanksgiving decorations. Not in my Christmas bin. This way, I can find it easily as the first Sunday usually falls right after Thanksgiving, as it did this year. So tonight we light all four candles and we ready the final installment of the story of the birth of Jesus. We may not be a church going family, but we've managed to keep the reason for the season at the forefront of our hearts and minds. Merry Christmas to all and Happy Birthday Baby Jesus.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Your Mission, Should You Choose to Accept It....

Day 20

Post a holiday greeting on your blog or Facebook or wherever you hang out,

and link back here.

Happy Holidays...

ETA: I've been reminded that I've also heard Gay's voice. I thought about redoing this video to include that info and to rectify the gashawful still shot of myself...but it took too long to load and I just don't want to bother. So look away while it loads and we'll all feel better.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Pug In Booties

Day 19

Cold is the only word for it. So cold that you don't want to even think about going outside. For some of us, that's ok. But for those of us who must do our business in the great out-of-doors, no so much. Poor Chloe would hold it forever, if she could. She goes out and then sits down and lifts all her feet off the ground. So, great, the feet are warmer but the butt is frozen. Just not a good situation. We tried to fashion doggie booties out of the fingers cut off a wool glove. They were too tight. We tried a few other ideas. None worked very well. The other day I was wandering the aisles of the Dollar store and saw "2 for $1" baby booties. I bought them and brought them home. A quick alteration of a drawstring around each "ankle" and we were cooking with gas. She doesn't love them, but she tolerates them long enough to do her business and get back inside. Plus its just funny to watch her prance around in them.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Home For The Holidays

Day 18
This is Franny. Francesca, to be exact. She and her siblings were found living under a van in a back alley. It took a very dedicated lady and several traps to catch them all. I think she was quite small when she was found. She's been living at a no kill shelter for several months and is a staff favorite.
They think that she's about 6 months old. She loves to be held like a baby. She will stay wherever you put her. I stuck her in this blanket on the family room couch and she stayed there until I moved her elsewhere. She's not the curious cat that Colby was when he came to live with us. He wandered all over the house and peeked into every nook and cranny and just moved himself right in. She will take a little more coaxing. She's not skittish or outwardly nervous. But she's most secure when she's being held or when she's bundled up in a blanket or towel. I'm hoping with love and care, she'll come out of her little shell and be a part of our family. I think the kids would like to change her name. It'll be fun to see what they come up with. Welcome home Franny....or whoever you are.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Snail Mail

Day 17
Yesterday was post office day. Our post office is always busy. There is always a line. Usually I can use the self serve kiosk and be in and out quickly. Not so, yesterday. I knew it going in and I blocked off the afternoon for line standing/people watching. The line at the kiosk was as long as the line for the counter help. And most of the kiosk users don't know how to use it, so don't bother.
I wrestled three big boxes out of the car, slid the van door shut and then realized that it didn't close all the way. So, I freed one finger on my right hand to try to undo the latch and have another go. Ho Ho Ho. Thanks go out to the kindly lady who took pity on me and leant a hand.
Once inside, I assumed my place in line and immediately was flung into a one sided conversation with the lady in front of me who had lost both mailbox keys and wasn't quite sure what to do about it. Thanks go out to the kindly man behind me who started a chit chat and made me turn around from lost key lady. She quickly moved on to another victim. Everyone minded their manners and kept cool heads and the wait wasn't "forever" because we all made it home in time. The only dramtic moment was when lost key lady was told that it would cost her $40 for the guy to come out and replace the lock on her mailbox. I'm going to assume that she's now mastered the "put things back where they belong" lesson in the school of life.
I only have one more quick trip to make and I'll be done for another year.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

All I wanted for Christmas

Day 16
This was all that was on my list.
A plump and healthy baby. And here he is in all his hammy goodness. Richard was born on Dec. 15 at 10 something am. He weighs 7.09lb and is 20" long.
Mom and baby are doing fine.
Dad and sister are doing equally fine. Everyone is just fine and dandy.
If all goes well, weatherwise, we'll be headed out there right after Christmas. I can hardly wait to get my hands on Ricky and Dani too. I think I'll take a gingerbread house kit for the kids to make with Dani. She'd love that. Some of the candy may actually make it onto the house.
Welcome home, Little Ricky. We can't wait to meet you.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Snow Days

Day 15

We don't get them. Bundle up kids, it's barely -30, time for school. I keep calling the school's hotline, hoping that someone, somewhere had some sense knocked into them and I won't have to go out and scrape my windshield and defrost my car. I'm not even sure I'll be able to get up our street. I know that in June, I'll be glad that we all bundled up today and got on with business, but right now I want to stay in my jammies and drink hot coffee. Stupid snow days.

I might actually blog something good later. Katie is at the hospital, preparing to deliver baby Richard. Stay tuned.

Sunday, December 14, 2008


Pam's post about peeking sent me back in time. When I was in junior high, we moved to Lewistown. Mom and Dad bought a house that was well over 100 years old. The closets are all big, walk-in affairs. In Mom and Dad's closet there is a tiny door in the wall that leads to a little crawl space. Imagine how cool it was to find that little hidden space. Mom thought she was so clever to hide our Christmas gifts in there. We would sneak in and with only the light from the closet to work by, we'd carefully pull back the wrapping on one side to see what was in the package. I would always be dissapointed that I knew what some of my gifts were going to be. But I couldn't help myself from looking. She did catch onto us in time and would put our gifts in odd boxes. No child wants to think that their getting a vacuum for Christmas. I don't peek anymore. In fact I save my gifts to the very last. I guess that means I've grown up, finally.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

I Dreamt of a White Christmas

Day 13

This is the first time in recent memory that we have not had snow by Thanksgiving. It is Dec. 13 and we just got our first real snow. And ICE.

We are going nowhere today. We couldn't even if we wanted to. I am not one bit sad about this. It's a rare treat. So I've spent the day puttering around, wrapping gifts and doing laundry. The only downside to the whole thing is that I can not find Alex's snow pants anywhere. I've searched every nook, cranny and closet in this house. If you were snowpants, where would you be? He did manage to spend some time outside without getting frost bite. But he was pretty well chilled when he came in.
In other news, Colby the cat has moved to his new home. Brittney finally found an apartment and made the big move yesterday. I must say, it is a welcome relief for everyone. We miss Colby but I think he'll be coming back to visit. I saw an ad today for a pug. I put in the call and am waiting to hear back. I did really want a Westie but they are so hard to come by. Alex and Sarah both said we should get a new cat. We'll see what the next day or two bring. But there will be a new pet soon.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Lights! No Camera! Some Action!

Day 12

There are now lights on the house. Riddle me this Batman. Why is it, when you carefully unwind every string and plug them in for a test run, they all work; but when you spend two hours hanging them from the roof and turn them on, only some of them work? Why? It never fails.
So I headed to Walmart this morning with my list in hand. Many items to purchase and lights were one of those items. Do you think I could find lights? No Sir and or Ma'am. I could not. I walked up and down each aisle spending approximatley $2.49 for every minute in the store. I crossed many things of my Christmas list but lights was not one of them. I'll have to go back. Maybe if I just take a $5 bill in with me, I'll get out without having to remortgage my home.

In other news, I have made a very concerted effort over the course of this year to not use plastic or paper shopping bags. I have the nice canvas bags from Walmart. $1. each and they are made from recycled plastic bags. Two birds, one stone. I have many and if I forget to bring one in, I buy another one as my penance. I place them on the belt in front of my items and without fail I'm asked "would you like your food items in a plastic bag?" NO, thank you...."would you like your magazine in a plastic bag." NO, thank you...."would you like....." NO thank you. I feel like I might be channeling Joan Crawford from the wire hanger scene. Persistance paid in the end and I came home completely plasticLESS

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Lean Your Ear This Way

Day 11

My Childhood memories of Santa are vivid. I would get so excited for Christmas that I would just shake and I still remember the physical ache of anticipation. I don't think I ever stopped believing. I never felt tricked or deceived by the stories. The thought of a benevolent old soul toiling all year to bring gifts the all the good boys and girls of the world just makes my heart glad. The sight of a Santa and child makes me misty eyed. Part of that may be hormones, but part of it has always been that way.

Yes Virginia, There Is A Santa Claus

Eight-year-old Virginia O'Hanlon wrote a letter to the editor of New York's Sun, and the quick response was printed as an unsigned editorial Sept. 21, 1897. The work of veteran newsman Francis Pharcellus Church has since become history's most reprinted newspaper editorial, appearing in part or whole in dozens of languages in books, movies, and other editorials, and on posters and stamps.

"DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old. "Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. "Papa says, 'If you see it in THE SUN it's so.' "Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?"VIRGINIA O'HANLON."115 WEST NINETY-FIFTH STREET."VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except [what] they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.You may tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding. No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Holiday Goodies

Day 10

Had a nice surprise visit from an old friend today. He and his wife used to live here but they moved to Spokane several years ago and we only see them occasionally. He's with Best Buy and he sometimes comes this way on work. When he and his wife come together we all go hang out at the winery of another friend. How much fun is it to have full run of the tasting room?
Well he popped in today with his work crew and delivered baked goodies from his wife. Oh, I miss them so much. It was nice to sit and chat and catch up. We might pop in on them as we pass through on our way to Katie's after the holiday. That will be fun. Short, but fun. It always is. So I've eaten way too much fudge today. Thanks a lot Vicky. Not nice to send your fluffy friend chocolate. And the pumpkin bread is delightful. Why do I feel like there will be a recipe request coming from the Muse girls?

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Call of The Wild

Day 9

Nothing good can happen when you bring a tree into a house with animals.
That darn cat is determined to find a way up that tree. The beauty of this fir is that the branches are so close together, he just can't find a clear path. And yet he tries.
I took this funky shot early this morning with my nighttime setting on. I'm trying to capture that glowy look that I see in so many gorgeous photos. However, I am only able to achieve the look of rush hour on the I-5 in L.A. And the red glowing eyes are something else I'd like to be able to fix. I saw somewhere an "pet red eye" feature. But I can not, for the life of me, remember where. So Colby looks like a demon cat on the I-5 at rush hour.
Chloe is just her usual pitful self. She tip toes around the tree, sniffing and snorting and generally looking alarmed.

Monday, December 08, 2008

It's still standing

Day 8
This morning I woke up and walked out to the livingroom, passing the tree on the way. I almost fell over as I caught sight of it out of the corner of my eye. You know that sensation you get when the car next to you in traffic starts to move slowly, but you actually think that its your car moving? Well, as I passed the tree I got the sensation of tipping over, only it was the tree that was leaning to the North East.
Thom and I took turns holding the tree and crawling around. Not at the same time. One would hold the tree while one crawled around...but you knew that. Anyway, we finally got it reseated in the stand and screwed down nice and tight. This tree has a rather beefy trunk. Not like last year's whisp of a tree with a trunk the size of my pinky finger. So readjusting this one was pretty easy. I locked the cat downstairs while I was at work and a good thing too, cuz later today Sarah saw him head under the branches and make a dash up the trunk. She fished him out and we haven't seen him try it again. But I think he'll spend the month of Dec. in the family room so while we are away the cat can't play. This tree is a 6 foot grand fir and it smells lovely.
PS you should be appropriately impressed that this is day 8 and I'm still blogging. Just saying.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Oh Christmas Tree

Day 7

Went to the Lion's Club Christmas tree sale today. It's at the fairground in the Llama building. I'm telling you, it smells a lot better in there today than the last time I visited, on a hot summer's day during the fair. Full of llamas and their "gifts". I love the little old guys that run this booth. They have the trees all neatly separated according to size and variety. The first guy greeted us and said "would you like help or will you spend more money on your own?" Then as soon as I picked out my tree I had a nice young man ready to heft it up to the check out stand for me. Next was a sweet old guy with a chain saw to cut off the end. When I asked if it would be a horrible trouble for him to cut off the bottom row of branches, he said "yes it would." I asked if he do it anyway and he said "of course" with a wink and twinkle of the eye. Two more strong, young things got it up on top of the van and straped it down nice and tight and we were off. It's currently on the front porch having a drink of water, while I prepare to move a piece of furnature or two. Then the lights will go on and the kids will start to decorate. We used to have a real tree decorating event, but now I just leave the tub of decorations out and they slowly add one or two a day until it's done. We are just never all in the same place at the same time anymore. So, we adapt.
It might be a day or two before I can post a pic. But I will when I have a completed tree.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Christmas Babies

Day 6

December is a busy month in our family. Many, many Christmas babies to honor.
Dec. 2....LaVonne (Uncle Jimmy's wife)
Dec. 3....Cousin Grace
Dec. 4...Brittney
Dec. 6...Thom (Happy Birthday Thom)
Dec. 17...Nephew Chris
Dec. 23...Aunt Julie
Dec. 25...Uncle Jimmy (who fell out of the Christmas Tree)
Dec. 27...Dad
Dec. 29 Cousin Noel
And sometime this month, we'll welcome Baby Richard (Katie and David's second)

I said the Dec. was a busy month, but I think it's more accurate to say that March is a busy month. LOL. You have to do gestational math for that one.
So, while we are all shopping for Christmas gifts, we are also trying to remember birthdays. My brain is old and full and sometimes its hard to remember.

In other news, I'm contemplating climbing the big ladder to hang lights. I'm not fully committed to it yet.

Friday, December 05, 2008

The Best Gift of all

David is home, safe and sound. We weren't sure when, exactly, he would be home. There was worry that it might be after the baby was born. But it all worked out and he's back and the bun is still cooking away in the oven and all is right in that little corner of the world.

I am constantly reminded of how very lucky we are. We've had a tragedy strike awfully close to home. A friend of Alex's has died in a horrible accident. It is moments like this swiftly put life into perspective. There isn't very much in life that matters as much as we think it does. In the end the only thing that is really important is the health and well being of our loved ones. I sometimes forget that my "problems" are barely blips on the radar of the universe. They just don't matter that much and I sometimes make them bigger and more important than they really are. I have the task of guiding Alex through this traumatic time, but that task pales in comparison to what his friend's family is facing. I must remember to accept my circumstances and bless them for the gifts they offer. This time I've been offered the gift of clarity and gratitude for all I have in my life.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Season's Greetings

Day 4
The winner of the 25th annual Pak Family Christmas card contest is, Laura C. from the U. Her lovely greeting was the first to arrive in ye aulde mail box. Thank you Laura. It's beautiful, though suspiciously unhandcrafted. Which makes me pause. Were you or were you not the hostESS of the Muse card making extravaganza? Well, perhaps I dreamt that part. In any case, I love it and thank you.

In other news of Dec. 4th. My son-in-law, David, is homeward bound. Early, no less. He's been cooling his heels in Germany after serving in Afghanistan since July. Katie is dilated and ready for him to be home. He should arrive around 2pm Pacific time. Welcome Home, Sailor, we missed you.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Day 3
The real miracle of Christmas is that I was able to wrangle this wreath out of the Black Hole that is our garage. Holy Moley & *&^%$#@. But, its out and its up and I'm moving along...

Nativity scenes

I didn't realize I was collecting nativity scenes until I had a collection started. Each year I'd get one as a gift and I'd just add it to the others. Now I have several and they all live on the china hutch during the holiday season. I really would love to get a nice big elegant one like Laura has. Maybe someday.

It's Dec. 3 and there is no snow. There has been no snow all along. This isn't normal or right. The first snowfall puts me right into the holiday spirit. I'm waiting, and hoping. Not that I look forward to shoveling it, but it's sorta necessary to the whole Christmas vibe.

Decking The Halls

Day 2
I came home from work today and got busy. I have a small furnace room that is very much like Fibber McGee's closet . Be careful what you touch in there. Somehow, and without mass destruction, I was able to wrestle my Christmas decorations out of that hell hole the other day. They sat neatly stacked until I had enough strength to deal with them. I began by piling all my everyday tchatzkies on top of my table. Then a massive dusting. Now comes the best part. The mindless puttering of putting it here, moving it there, back to here..Perfecto. All my Santas go on top of the entertainment center. All the snowmen on the hall ledge. That's as far as I got. I still have my nativities and other misc. and then the tree. The tree comes last. Dry climate prohibits early assembly of live trees. Maybe by the weekend. We'll see, cuz Thom's ironclad wallet also has tendency to prohibit purchase of live tree. Now I should add the warm and fuzzy part of this activity. All the memories that waft out of the box and swirl around as I place the items. Each has a story...who gave it, or made it and when. Love that part the best.

Monday, December 01, 2008

December Daily

There's a project called December Daily at Ali Edwards Blog
The idea is to journal daily leading up to Christmas. Since I can barely bring myself to journal monthly, right now, I wonder if this is just a recipe for failure. But I'll give it the old college try. However, the fact that I didn't actually finish college does not bode well for this venture. Just saying....

Day 1

Monday. Oh, see we're already not looking too good. Ok, Monday Dec. 1st. Back to our regular routine after a very nice long break from work (for me) and school for everyone else. I put away the fall decorations and found the advent calendar and wreath on Sunday. That's a good thing. I pulled out the Christmas decoration boxes and stacked them neatly in one area. However, I didn't go any further than that. We can't have all the fun at once, now, can we? So, I've been knitting like a fool since the Olympics and have many scarves ready to gift. I've also been making rag quilts and have two done, two ready to sew and one ready to cut. A gift for Mom and Dad is bought and ready to ship. Things are actually looking good. A massive card making day over at the U has me all set to send greetings early, or at all, this year. So, day one is done. On to day two. What fun and joy will it present? We'll have to wait and see.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

To Do List

1. Send 10 rolls of toilet paper to school with Alex. What 12 year old boy doesn't want to carry 10 rolls of TP on the school bus? Why TP? Halloween party tomorrow and dressing your team mate as the Bride of Frankenstein.

2. Work. Which involves washing dishes, sweeping floors, serving food, scouring pots and pans. I went to college for this?

3. Finish Baby quilt. Sew, clip edges, wash, wash again, dry and admire

4. Buy Halloween candy. Can't buy any too soon and can't buy any that's any good. It would be long gone by now.

5. Trick or Eat. Lead group of middle schoolers all around the neighborhood after school, collecting non perishable food stuffs for the food bank.

Should be a fun and full day

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Alex's 12th Birthday Party

It looked iffy at first. Clouds and rain in the morning threatened our skateboarding plans. But just before the kids showed up, the skies cleared and we were gifted with an absolutely gorgeous fall day. Not too hot, not too cold. Just perfect. We headed over to the skatepark and everyone had a blast. We stayed for almost 4 hours. Then over to Bowen's house to jump on the tramp and pick up his gear. Then a stop by Kolton's to get Guitar Hero and finally home for pizza, cake, ice cream, video games and movies. They stayed up well past 3am. I did not. These are good kids. They just talked and watched TV and then passed out. Pancakes for breakfast and a little Mr. Bean while waiting for parents. It was a great party. I love listening to their squeaky tween voices. High pitched, then way low then back up again. They are silly, gross, and funny. A great age.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Seeley Lake 2008

A weekend away. A lake, a comfortable house and friends. It doesn't get much better than that. We went up to the lake to scrapbook. Ha. We ate, shopped, drove around, slept and scrapped a little bit. At least I did. Just a little bit. Nature has always had the ability to soothe my soul; looking out at the water, watching the funny little birds eating the pinecone seeds, leaning against big old Gus the larch tree, listening to the wind in the trees, watching the tamaracks turn color with the turn of the seasons, and touring the devastation of the 2007 fires and seeing the rebirth of the forest right before my eyes.

I came home, rested and refreshed. The calm feelings followed me and they stayed around for a bit. In fact, I didn't even freak out when I found my paypal account had been hacked. 5 transactions for several hundred dollars each. Normally I would have had a stroke. Well, no stroke. Just did what needed doing and now everything is in the pending/investigation stage.

So, all in all a great weekend spent in the company of some great women who lift me up and push me forward....push, shove, whatever it takes.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Three days is just not long enough

I go to scrap camp twice a year. I go on Friday morning and come home on Sunday late afternoon. But it's not long enough. I would like an extra day or two. After lugging everything up to camp, unloading, setting up and settling in, I'm usually not ready to just dive into the scrapping thing. So I putter around, talk to the gals, sift and sort and try to decide what to work on. Then its time for lunch. So I eat and clean up then I have to stroll around and look at what others are doing. New people arrive and need to be greeted and caught up with. Then I try to get going again, but now its almost time to get dinner ready, so I do that. Then its time to eat and maybe catch up some more and listen to stories and look at pictures. Finally, late into the evening, I get started on my own scrapping. But now I have a bit of a headache and I think I'd rather go to bed and enjoy some down time. When I wake up on the second day all I can think about it doing something fun; taking a hike or a bike ride or something like that. So away we go to have adventures and more fun. When we get back its time for lunch and after eating I might think about scrapping a bit. But I have to collect t-shirts to iron logos on and look at pictures taken on the field trip and tell everyone about what fun we had. Now I'm ready to scrap...right after dinner. No, now it's time for the gift exchange and then I can finally scrap. I stay up a bit later on the second night, but not too much. Not like some people who stay up until the wee hours of the morning. I'm in bed before midnight and loving every minute of it. Day three, I'm up early and ready to scrap, damn it. I've got until 3pm. That's it. Where has the time gone? What have I been doing with myself? Hurry up, get coffee, now sit and think. Paper, pictures, adhesive, embellish...hurry, hurry, it's almost time to eat lunch. Now we have to start cleaning up. Ack, only 30 minutes left. Here, let me lift my legs while you vacuum around me. No, don't take that box, I need that stuff. Wait, I just have to finish this last bit. Bye, see you next time. I got a whole 4 pages done. It's been fun. Can't wait to do it all again.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Keeping My Day Job

I've decided that I would not make a very good private investigator.
Alex has been looking forward to riding his bike to his new school all summer. We drove the back route. The main way is too busy. We drove it twice to make sure he knew where to turn. Last night he starts asking, "so when I get to XXX street, I turn right?" "so, then I turn left at XXX street?" "please draw me a map." So this morning I suggest that I drive behind him just to make sure he remembered the way. He says he's good and not to worry. So like a good mother, as soon as he took off on his bike, I took off in the van. I parked in a church parking lot right before his last turn to the school. I positioned the van behind a tree and was peering through the branches when I saw him go by, then turn and head back the way he came. At that, I pulled out to the edge of the lot and saw him turn back again. As he passed me, I said, "go to the corner and turn right." He made some comment about following him and then I noticed the lady in the house across the street, standing in her front window with hands on hips watching me. I gave her a big smile and a thumbs up and headed for home.
As a PI, I kinda suck.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Bus Station Blatherings

The bus was scheduled to leave at 7:40 am. We arrived well ahead of schedule to be told that the bus would be at least two hours late.

Bus Station attendant hereby referred to as BS says "They haven't called from the last stop to say that they've left yet. Or maybe they forgot."

Me: "could you call them in case they did forget?"

BS: "they are supposed to call me."

Me: "so the phone line only goes one way?"

BS: "well they're supposed to call me."

Nuff said, we came back home. We decided to call occasionally for updates.

Back at the station, the phone rang. BS answers.

person on phone talking

BS: "well, you can't buy a ticket from here to there."

person on phone talking

BS: "yes the bus stops there, but you can't buy a ticket to get there."

person on phone talking

BS: "you can get on the bus but you won't have a ticket."

person on phone talking

BS: "I can't help you."

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Daly Days

Today was Daly Day at the Daly Mansion. I played Lizzie the Nanny and was stationed in the nursery for the day. This was my first ever reenacting gig. I used to act in high school and college, but that was with scripts and blocking. This is completely different and so much fun. People came through the house on self guided tours and we (reenactors) would strike up conversations, answer questions and act as informal "experts". We also interacted with each other and gossiped, visited and I had to chase two rowdy boys through the house on more than one occasion. They would scurry past the nursery and I'd drop my knitting and scamper after them, down the hall, down the servants staircase, out the door and across the lawn. Several of the servants got "talking tos" from Mrs. Daly and more than one guest was found in the room of someone that they oughten have been visiting.
What a wonderfully fun day. I will definately be doing this again. You can see more photos in my flickr badge on the right.

Ravalli Republic

Daly Mansion

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Montana Wildflowers

It must have been a pretty wet spring at the cabin, because I've never seen the quantity or variety of wildflowers like I saw this year. They were everywhere and just glorious.
This is the one layout I completed at scrap night this week. I didn't do much, but wanted to record the gorgious flowers. The pic here is a bit lopsided as I just plunked it on a chair and snap a digi pic. Sorry about that.
I've added this page to my cabin album and have a couple more pages to do for this trip. We'll see if they actually get done. LOL

Monday, July 21, 2008

R & R

My annual dose of R & R. No phones, TV, computer, doorbells, etc. Just the babbling of the creek, the chirping of the birds and the pitter patter of pack rat feet on the roof at night.
Allison and I drove over Friday. Mom, Alex, Molly and Grace met us for the day on Saturday and we drove home Sunday. Not quite long enough, but I got home before the lack of showering drove me nuts. Alex and Allison played in the creek. They build a damn and a raft every year. The raft never quite works out, but this time Alex actually got on it for a brief bit. But whatever, it keeps them busy and happy and that's all that matters. We read and played bunco and they did a puzzle and played with the old windup radio. I napped and read more and just sat and looked at the mountains and trees and all the wildflowers. Chloe rolled in horse poo and swam in the creek and snored at night. Doggie delight. It was wonderful and over all too fast. I must stow away the memories so that they hold me over for another year. You can see more photos by clicking my Flickr badge on the right.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Happy Independence Day USA

This 4th of July has got my head all scrambled up.So grateful for our freedoms. So very humbled bythose who make that freedom possible. So tired and readyfor our young men and women to come home. So scared forthe ones who are waiting in the wings to head into that terrible fight. My son-in-law, David is in this group of young people who are currently packing their duffel bags and saying goodbye to their families. On July 11th he'll head off to Afghanastan for 3 months, then he'll be in Germany for 3 months. During that time my daughter, Katie will complete her second pregnancy, care for their little daughter Dani and deliver their 2nd baby while all alone. David may be able to watch the delivery by webcam, which is small comfort, but better than nothing. I try not to think of 'what ifs' but honestly, I've never sent a child off to a war zone before. And David might not like to hear it, but he's as much my child as any of the others, and I'm having a very hard time with this. I've stuffed him as full of egg rolls as is humanly possible, packed his care package and hugged the stuffing out of him. I think he was very glad to finally get away from me. LOL. If you have a prayer to spare, just remember those kids who are still fighting for our freedom. And make a special request that the powers that be can finally pull their heads out of 'you-know-where' and bring those kids home once and for all.

Hurry Home David!!!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Bubbly Personality

Boy, if that isn't the truth. Miss Thang has been here for a visit and turned the whole bunch of us upside down. She's fast, wobbly, funny, cute, sweet, and priceless. She captivates everyone she comes into contact with. She's not talking in the spoken word much, but she signs like nobody's business. She definately lets you know what she wants. On this day we were out in the front yard playing with a battery operated bubble wand. She loved every minute of it.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Small Town Saturday Night

We may be rednecks, but we sure know how to have fun.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

In Other News...

It's Snowing. Happy June

Some Scrappy Stuff

"I Go"...and away she goes. Miss Independant. She's very busy these days and wants to do things herself. I keep reminding her mother that this is good and normal and to give thanks for it. Hollow words for the tired mom who just wants to get 'er done. The second layout is just for fun. Nothing important was happening here. No words of insight or wisdom to dispense. Just a cute slimy baby face and the perfectly colored paper to match. I played with a couple of digi techniques here. Don't know how successful I was on the blur thing in the first layout. Kinda like the big pic on the right side of the second layout. Still learning and trying new things.

Friday, May 23, 2008

The Wax Museum

Every year the fifth graders at Alex's school do a wax museum. They research a famous person, write a report, make a poster, create a costume and design a scene. On museum day, they pose in their scene as if made of wax. Today was the day. To see the creativity and effort that these kids put into this project just warms the heart. They take it so seriously too. Although the last 15 minutes of the day were pretty fidgety. I helped this morning with whatever might need help. For instance John Denver dropped his guitar pick. As I strolled past I heard "psst, Alex's mom, could you hand me my pick?" Sacajawea's poster fell down and Diane Fossey's gorillas were slightly aslant. Nothing major, just stuff like that.

Alex chose a person that nobody has really hear of, but most everyone has heard. Trumpet player, Wayne Bergerone was his choice. We couldn't find much info on Mr. Bergerone, so we went to his website, found his email and shot him a message. Three hours later, he emailed back. Pretty cool.

Alex's email to Wayne:
Dear Mr. Bergeron, I'm in 5th grade and we are doing a wax museum. I've chosen you as my subject. I have to dress like you and stand or sit very still like a wax figure. I also have to write a report about you. I also play trumpet. I have a few questions so that I can finish my report. I hope you don't mind.
1. Where were you born?
2. When were you born?
3. Do you have a wife and kids?
4. Anything else you want to share that would help me write my report.
Thank you very much for reading my email.
Sincerely Alex
Wayne's reply:
Hi Alex,
What a wild project!
1. Where were you born? Hartford, Conn
2. When were you born? Jan. 16 1958
3. Do you have a wife and kids? Yes. I have been married to a trumpet player named Deborah for 19 years. We have a 31/2 year old daughter named Ella. I also have a 27 year old daughter from a previous marriage named Dorian.
4. Anything else you want to share that would help me write my report. • I live in Los Angeles, CA and work as a studio musician. There is a bunch of info on my website if you need.
Good luck with the project and drop me a line if you need any other specific information.
All the Best,
Wayne Bergeron

Saturday, May 03, 2008


It's Rachel's Birthday today.

You'll always be..............................................

Older than ME!!! Love ya

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Mojo is back

Haven't scrapped in ... I don't know how long. Haven't even really thought about it. And it's not like I don't have fodder. How many hundreds of photos are sitting there on the hard drive just waiting for some embellishment? But the other day I got a bug. Not the tick that I picked up on my trip into the wasteland that is my garden. No not that kind of bug. A scrappy, crafty kind of bug. Three layouts in three days. I may swoon.
I'm almost caught up with Dani's second year of life book. The only "caught up" that I'll ever be.
Anyway, here's some fun stuff. All digi. All Dani.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Spring Fever

Boy do I have it bad this year. We have had snow and ice on the ground almost continually since the big dump of November. That first 10 inches just never seemed to go away and then it was followed by a regular dumping of new stuff until this lovely weekend when the temps are predicted to hit 73 degrees. We had snow two days ago and now this heavenly reprieve. It's supposed to be cooler next week, but for right this minute, I'm going to enjoy it all I can. As a friend and I walked around the cul de sacs yesterday we noticed GREEN BUDS on a tree. GREEN. BUDS. Hugely, enormously uplifting. I may even find myself outside, clearing away the depris of winter. Not my most favorite thing, but if it gets me outside, it'll be OK.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Art Imitating Life

I got this birthday card from Rachel. It's beyond perfect. In fact, if I didn't know better, I'd say she had it commissioned just for my special day. The story that goes with this is a bit long and has been told before. But it's so damn funny, I think it just needs to be shared again. Actually, I looked for the original story and couldn't find it. So, I'll attempt to retell it. Rachel and I were on our way to a Mom's Club meeting. I was driving. We were talking and laughing, as is always the case. I have a very hard time walking and chewing gum much less driving and talking/laughing. We approach an intersection and I breeze right through. Rachel comments that perhaps I should have stopped at the red light. This makes me laugh harder and reminds me of a joke. "Two old ladies are driving along. Let's call them Thelma and Louise. Thelma is driving. Louise notices that they are not slowing down for a red light. Thelma whizzes right through. Then it happens again and again. Louise finally asks Thelma why she isn't stopping for the red lights. Thelma screams "Holy Shit, I thought you were driving!". So I can see Rachel standing in front of the card display, then this little gem pops out at her. The laughter would ring through the store and of course, the rule is, if it makes you laugh out loud, you must buy it. Also, if it makes me laugh out loud I must blog it.

Thanks Rach. It's perfectly US.

Monday, March 10, 2008

What the heck?

Me? At a loss for words? Totally. I've been on a quest. Reading an awesome book. Getting in touch with that thing we all want to get in touch with. It's left me speechless. It's also sucked most of the creative energy out of me and left me not quite knowing what's going on.

The book is "A New Earth" by Eckhart Tolle. It's way deep. Way Big. For me anyway. I'm actually on my second read through. I've joined a bookclub and am taking an online "class" to help to process it all. As a side effect of this whole thing, I don't have much to say. Remember how I've said that I talk to hear my own voice, therefore I must blog to read my own thoughts? I think I've been cured, or am at least in recovery from that disorder. This isn't to say I'm done blogging. I'm so not done blogging. This also isn't to say that this blog will turn into some kind of weird "follow me to the light" sort of thing. So not my style. This is just a sharing moment. That's all. If you are so inclined to read the book, it's worth it. If you are not so inclined, that's cool too. It's not for everyone. But man, when it hits you, it hits right between the eyes.

Scrappy Stuff

More sharing and some scary kinds scrappy fun. It's the beginning of a new circle journal round and I've been working on Lisa's CJ this month. So Lisa is one of those magical types. Sit down, swirl some stuff around and POOF, art. So her CJ theme is "Just have fun" or something to that effect. Wait! What? No rules? No guidelines? WTH? Now what am I supposed to do? So, I unpack the cutest little altered book you ever saw. Totally cute, totally Lisa. And I start turning pages and then it hits me. Like a ton of bricks. I have to put something in there. Something even remotely cool. Crap. I had made a deal with myself at the beginning of this round. No buying new stuff for the CJs. No shopping. Use what you have. So now I've got this deal that I really feel like pretending never happened. But before I head to the store, let's just go through the stuff that's gathering dust and see what comes of it. So I find a ton of Asian stuff that I've been collecting and saving and not using. Then I find more stuff to go with that stuff. I made a pile on the table and just kept adding to it. It's a little shameful how big that pile got and how much of it I still have left over. Anyway, I thought I could make something happen from that stuff. It was Feb. and the beginning of Chinese New Year and I was sort of in that frame of mind anyway. Cool. But what does it all mean and what does it have to do with me, the Irish girl from MT? Then I thought, "quit thinking". I almost pulled a muscle, but I was able to stop thinking for just a sec. So I started cutting and tearing and inking and rearranging and it just all sat there on my desk. Looking at me. It sat for days and days. Then one day I read a passage in a book about the dragons in our lives, ie; the fears and worries. Ah, there it is. That connecting thread. I was born under the sign of the dragon. I was on this quest...(see above). Using only the most minimum of cerebral effort, it all came together. Oh, and the Irish believe in dragons too. The knot in the end of the thread.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Midwinter Band Concert

When the trumpets stand up you'll see Alex. When they are sitting, he's behind a music stand. Story of every concert I've ever gone to. LOL

Friday, February 08, 2008

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

24 Years Is A Really Long Time

Where have all those years gone? On this day in 1984 I don't really think that anyone there thought this would ever work out. They all showed up and put on happy and supportive faces, but I bet in the back of many of their minds was a shrieking and screaming voice yelling, RUN FORREST, RUN!!

This day is/was also Grandma Nell's birthday. She would be 96 today. That's her in the black and white dress with slimming diagonal stripes. On the other side or my paternal grandparents, Eddie and Marie. Grandpa Eddie had always said he would dance at my wedding. And even though he was in failing health he managed a jig or two that day.

Brooks and Dunn sing a song called "Proud of the house we built". It really sums up our lives.

I dropped to my knees in that field on your daddy's farm. Asked you to marry me, all I had to give was my heart. While other kids went diving into swimming holes, You and me dove off into the great unknown. We were barely gettin' by, takin' care of each other Then I became a daddy; you became a mother. Was an uphill battle nearly every day, Lookin' back I wouldn't have it any other way. I'm proud of the house we built. It's stronger than sticks, stones, and steel. It's not a big place sittin' up high on some hill. A lot of things will come and go but love never will. Oh, I'm proud.I'm proud of the house we built.

This is the house that we built

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Wedding Video Clip

What a Trip

I'm back from Key West, safe and sound and none the worse for wear. What a whirlwind it was. 11.5 hours to get there and the same coming back. I traveled down on Tuesday, landed shortly after 9pm and went immediately to the pool for beer, Captain Morgan and more laughs than you can shake a stick at. When I got there, I didn't know who was who from the bride's side, so I hugged all my own relatives and started making the rounds meeting and greeting Heather's family. I got to one really "happy" chap and shook his hand. I asked how he fit into the mix and he said, "I don't." He (John "Bakes") was from England, his wife Dollie is an American and they live in Mass. They were traveling with their Italian friends, Mario and Maria and just joined in the wedding festivities. We ended up getting kicked out of the pool area. I'll add that to my list of life firsts.

Wednesday morning, a bunch of us girls decided to rent bikes and peddle around the island. As I was toodling down the street a rather large bus passed me a little too close and I had a thought. There was no attendant on this ride to insure my safety. My life was in my own hands. We went all over and then my brother, sister, brother-in-law and I went out again that afternoon. Very much fun and a great way to see the sights. My BIL, Woody, wanted to take his ride off some sweet jumps but all we could find were speed bumps. My sister kept calling hers her hog. Too dorky. We had lunch at Margaritaville and toured the lighthouse and museum. We went to the Southernmost Point of the USA and down to Mallory Square. That night we all went to the Sunset Pier to watch the....sunset. Lots of drinks and fun there too. Then we went to Two Friends Restaurant for dinner. Heather and Carl had gifts for everyone and gave toasts too. Seemed slightly backward, but it made for some wonderful memories and a few tears. Then the kids went back to the motel with the grandparents and us younguns went bar hopping. We visited Captain Tony's and did a little bra shopping. Then we hit Sloppy Joe's, but no bartender meant we moved quickly onto Irish Kevin's and the live entertainment. He was funny and scary all at once. If you had to go potty, you had to go past him and he'd shine a spot light on you and make rude comments. I held it for as long as possible but in the end I made a dash. I thought that I'd surely fall under his radar. His rude comment to me....Run Forrest!! I told Ellen I didn't know if I should be insulted or relieved. Irish Kevin's motto is I came, I drank, I don't remember. Surprisingly, I do remember and I felt pretty chipper the next morning.

On Thursday we rented a golf cart to get around in and Dad took Mom and me down Duval Street to do some shopping. Then it was off to the wedding at the Hemingway House. Gorgeous and relaxed are the words that best describe the afternoon. Just so fun. When Carl and Heather were pronounced Husband and Wife the people on the house tour clapped along. So funny. Carl and Heather signed their marriage licence at Hemingway's desk in his studio. Very cool. We had cake and champagne and then took oodles of photos. After that we took the golf cart back to the motel, but poor Dad got turned around and we were well and truly lost for a little while. We had a very good tour of parts of town we might never have seen otherwise. We eventually ran into our street and found our way back and made it down to the pier in time to meet our group and get on the catamaran. There we enjoyed spectacular views of the sunset, free beer and champagne and more laughter and fun. After the harbor tour we went to have a bite to eat. I don't remember the name of the restaurant but we ordered some interesting things. A favorite of Carl's and mine since our St. Kitts trip is the conch fritters. I also tried Gator Bites (alligator). That's another first for me. The taste was not an issue, but the texture was too rubbery and gristly. I didn't hate them, but probably won't eat them again. I passed on the dolphin. That I can not do. After eating, the grandparents again took the kids and we strolled along Duval Street and hit some shops. We didn't drink any more and actually went to bed early.

Friday morning I was up and had breakfast by the pool then it was time to head to the airport for another 11.5 hours of travel time home. I made it in just after 9:30pm and was glad to tick another fun and safe adventure off my life list.

Life firsts for 2008
1. Getting kicked out of a public place
2. Ate Alligator
3. Climbed a lighthouse
4. Stood at the southernmost point of the USA
5. Saw a six toed cat
6. Got lost in a golf cart with my farmer dad driving and lived to tell the tale

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

The countdown has begun

Here's the route courtesy of Map Quest. I'm so stinking excited I can't stand myself. No one else can stand me either. It's a constant barrage of "have I told you about my trip?" and the rolling glassy eyed stare of people who have heard it all ad nauseam. So, I'll say no more. But here's the route, in case you didn't know

Tuesday, January 01, 2008


It's an old Abby staple. But it still works. So here it is for the dawn of 2008.

JUST FOR TODAY, I will live through this day only. I will not brood about yesterday or obsess about tomorrow. I will not set far-reaching goals or try to overcome all my problems at once. I know that I can do something for 24 hours that would overwhelm me if I had to keep it up for a lifetime.

JUST FOR TODAY, I will be happy. I will not dwell on thoughts that depress me. If my mind fills with clouds, I will chase them away and fill it with sunshine.

JUST FOR TODAY, I will accept what is. I will face reality. I will correct those things I can correct and accept those I cannot.

JUST FOR TODAY, I will improve my mind. I will read something that requires effort, thought and concentration. I will not be a mental loafer.

JUST FOR TODAY, I will make a conscious effort to be agreeable. I will be kind and courteous to those who cross my path, and I'll not speak ill of others. I'll improve my appearance, speak softly, and not interrupt when someone else is talking. Just for today, I'll refrain from improving anybody but myself.

That's One Way To Do It