Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Yep, Looks Like Thanksgiving to Me

The view from my cabin looking down onto a farm, river in foreground.

Ah, November.  November in the Pacific Northwest.....What would Thanksgiving be without flood warnings?
View of the North Fork of the Stillaguamish from my cabin

I went up to my cabin today to check on the water damage repairs.  I wasn't sure I was going to be able to get there as the cabin is on the north fork of the Stillaguamish River, and boy howdy, was she running high today.

looking east from Highway 530 at the Ciscero Bridge over the North Fork of the Stillaguamish
 We've had three days of heavy rain---the sort of rain the NW is famous for but really rarely gets.  Everything is soggy and damp and soaked.  We were lucky that there was not more, or more serious, flooding.  The Stilly has crested and the waters are receding as I write this.

There is usually a storm like this in late November, so this is not unusual or unexpected.  It's just wet.  And damp.  And sort of gloomy.

It's only November and already I'm sick of the rain.  It's going to be a long winter.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!  May your turkey be delicious, your day filled with friends, family and if you like that sort of thing, football.  Stay dry.

Spiced Cranberries, a family tradition

Monday, November 21, 2011

Twas the Beginning of the Season

I attended a fun fund-raising event the other night at Molbak's, a local nursery, justifiably famous for their Christmas displays.  The monies raised went to the local YWCA and I enjoyed myself immensely.

I think this was the most perplexing item of the there something other than "real plastic snow" that I don't know about?  I mean, plastic snow is, er, plastic, right?  Is there such a thing as fake plastic snow?

I am now officially old enough to geez, "Why, I remember when poinsettias came only in red."

My two buddies, Joanie and Susie, joined me for the evening.  We started it out by having a fine dinner at the Mongolian Grill.

You know that you are in the Pacific Northwest when you can buy ferry boat and Space Needle ornaments....

I thought this little felt birdhouse was adorable.  It is the sort of ornament that makes me think, "I could do that."

But I won't.

I thought this display with all greens and silver was very pretty.  The glittery holly leaf tree was something that appealed to me, but NO!!!  I don't NEED it.  I have no idea where I'm going to put all the PEOPLE who will be with me at Christmas, let alone decorations that I really, truly-o do not need.

As my family will attest, I am a real sucker for Christmas ornaments.  I have a Christmas ornament problem.  Every year I have to buy more, and every year I buy more for my family.  Each member of the family gets an ornament each year.  I started doing this when my first child was born and I've continued it for many years.  (I won't tell you how many as my eldest might not want the world to know how many ornaments her mother has given her.)

I thought my grandson might like this engine, but I have already purchased a fine ornament for him and I restrained myself.

I could have gotten this lovely sign for my middle child, the one who attended Stanford (whose mascot is a cardinal)....but I didn't.

All in all, I was very restrained.  I did buy two orchids for myself, but that was about it.  (Lovely orchids that have multiple stems with many, many blooms!  Wonderful orchids.)  Have I mentioned my orchid problem?  Noooo?


I was so inspired I spent the weekend making, address, stuffing, sealing, stamping and addressing my Christmas cards.  And then, I cleaned up my mess!!!  I have never had them ready to mail before Thanksgiving before.

It sort of scares me, actually.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Talkin' Turkey

L to R: Daddy to the little ones, Em,  Granty and the Birthday Boy (Grandpa)
Once upon a November evening, a family gathered together to celebrate the Grandpa's birthday.  There was a meal of comfort food, the family gathered around the table, passing bowls and butter and hogging the mashed potatoes.  This family will, unfortunately, not all be together on Thanksgiving this year, so the birthday celebration was a sort of Thanksgiving celebration, too.  As is the tradition of this family, chocolate turkeys were at the places of the three youngest family members present (there are younger family members who, alas, were not present for this dinner).  Chocolate turkeys are the best part of any Thanksgiving celebration, in the opinion of the children at the table (and may well be an opinion held by some who are not, um, exactly young anymore....but I digress).

Emma is demonstrating how you can make a much grander tail for the foil-wraplped turkey by the addition of a sandal wood fan to said turkey's posterior

The most amazing thing about this particular family tradition is that, as the chocolate turkeys are unwrapped and then eaten by the children, the chocolate turkey speaks!  It says things like, "Noooo, don't take off my lovely foil feathers!  It's cold!"  and "Why are  you licking me??!?" in a high, squeaky voice.

This year for the first time, the Twins really participated in the turkey torture.  They loved the talking turkey.  They, pardon the pun, ate it up.

"Not my feet!  No, don't eat my feet!"
"No!  NO! No, don't eat my head!  I can't gobble if you eat my head!"
"Nooooo!  Not you, too!  Not my beautiful feathered tail!"

Sometimes it is difficult to understand that the turkey really is complaining so bitterly, especially if you are only three....

"It's really dark down here!  Where am I!  It sort of feels like I'm inside a tummy!!!"

....but it becomes funnier and funnier as the chocolate turkeys are devoured and the talking turkey makes more and more outrageous (and outraged) squawks.

The turkey continues to complain, and the girls continue to gnaw off pieces of their chocolate, with relish.

Em has loved the talking turkey for many (well at least four) years now.  She loves to torture the poor bird.  She looks forward to Thanksgiving each year so she can slowly dismantle the chocolate turkey and ignore it's pleas.

Ah, the young can be cruel to a poor chocolate turkey.

And this year we managed to get a picture of the crabby turkey, the turkey who complains and whines and begs not to be eaten.  Remarkably, it bears a striking resemblance to Granty Nonie.  Who knew?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Finish Stocking....Check!

I know that I have written about making this stocking for my newest grandchild before, the child her mother calls "Bumbus."  I actually finished it the other night.  In November!  Not on the late afternoon of December 24th!  Finished it completely----clipped all the threads, hand-sewed it together with tiny little stitches where it had to be hand finished, used the scary sewing machine for the big seams, ironed it, patted it, praised it and then I cleaned up my mess!

I really like the mouse.  Actually I love the mouse.

The bird is okay but the mouse rocks!

It was a lot of work but I enjoyed almost all of it....I did mention the scary sewing machine, didn't I?  I have an ongoing love/hate relationship with sewing machines.  I love the speed of zipping through a long seam and the strength of that seam, but they never ever do what I want the first time and often, when they do comply it is with a sort of sullen, grumpy, "oh, all right, if you insist" attitude.  (Rather like a teenager....ever try to get one to take out the trash without a dump truck load of attitude?)

But the stocking is finished.  I am happy with it.  I sure hope my granddaughter, little Bumbus, loves it, too.  What if she doesn't?

Oh, dear.....

Saturday, November 12, 2011

San Miguel Travel Journal -- Part Two

Here is the second half of my travel journal from my September visit to San Miguel de Allende.  It was a fantastic trip and I enjoyed reliving my experiences there by photographing the pages of my journal.

The most frequent questions people ask is, "Isn't it hard to do all this while you are traveling?" and the answer is YES!  It is!...sometimes.  I try to do something for each day, even if it is just a list of things I want to write about later, or the ephemera that I collect being sorted and culled.  I am too tired, some nights, to work on the journal, but I try very, very hard to keep pretty current with it as I have found that when I try and write it up after returning home the immediacy is lost---it seems flat.  I am always, always glad that I have taken the time to do a good job journaling when I get home.

Yes, I do reread my journals and I find it is a great way to be able to find the name of that restaurant or of that nice man who was such a good guide/painter/shop owner/whatever.

I often incorporate purchased postcards into the travel journals.  I can use them to add writing space, if needed, and sometimes a postcard will have that perfect photo (that I didn't manage to take) or some historical figure or place that I want to be sure to remember.  They are very inexpensive mementos.
The self portrait of Diego Rivera on the page above was purchased at the Diego Rivera museum in Guanajuato.  The museum is located in the house in which he grew up.  I like having that memento from my visit to the museum.

(Does anyone else wonder at what sort of personal charisma Diego Rivera must have had?  I mean, frankly, he's not my idea of a "hottie" but he was truly a real ladies man and was certainly a hot item in his time.  Go figure.)

I covered the back cover of the journal with milagros I purchased while on the trip after I returned home.