Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A partridge in a pear tree and a quick dance around the Tor!

With the cold snap finished (at least for now) it warmed up a bit and the snow has started.

I took this picture while standing on the lake. (It was close to -20 degrees.)

and then turned around and took this one:

It is really so pretty to watch the snow fall and it sparkles when the light hits it just right. I told my Mom that it is like watching glitter float through the air. It seems you can almost see the each individual flake when you look close enough.

We have finished the master bathroom paint (yippee) and we really like it. No longer looking like a crime scene it actually makes the room quite warm looking which was my intention. The kitchen is next. I am actually standing in the kitchen taking these photos so you can see the primered walls and unpainted trim that is next on the work agenda.

I have also been faithfully living up to my reputation as Egg Lady and have been baking etc ., so I have been keeping the neighbor’s chickens on their toes…
or I say.. I say... should I say on their bottoms.

Anyway, we are tucked in quite nicely and enjoying the holiday season even though we do miss the folks back home.

The little tree David cut for me… the one Delta left… has a bundle of presents underneath and we have also received many pretty cards updating us on friends and family. I can not wait for Christmas morning so that we can open them all!

I must admit that we have already opened a couple of presents. When they arrived we knew immediately one was Heidi’s wonderful Fruit Cake. Heidi is David’s brother Keith’s wife. (Phew that’s a mouthful.) Anyway, the fruit cake is amazing. I was never one for fruitcake but I had never tasted THIS one. It is truly fantastic and Heidi has sent us one every year for the past few years and I can not tell you how much we look forward to it! The rumor I heard was that she made close to 30 cakes this year!?!? Wow… thanks Heidi for all the hard work! As I work in the Post Office I noticed that three made it here to the U.P. So… well... David and I sure enjoyed all three! Just kidding! They made it to where they were supposed to go. Thanks again!

The other package we opened early was from Vashon Island… David’s brother Terry lives there with his wife Judith and their son Zach. The box had ‘perishable’ stamped on it so when I brought it home from the post office I wondered aloud to David what he thought it might be.

He said pears.

Oh…. I thought… Well that is very nice… some good pears would be a tasty treat. (I believe I may have mentioned the whole fresh fruit and vegetable issues here in the Midwest once or twice) I had once lived in Washington and mentioned just in an offhand manner that I was surprised it was not apples since Washington is famous for their apples and that I had not realized Washington was also noted for its pears... but that made sense I suppose being an orchard type fruit.

Then we opened the box.

First, David reached in and took out a BIG envelope full of flower seeds. Mystery seeds (I am guessing some sunflowers maybe) and I am so excited to get them into my garden and how fun to get to wait and see what they are until they come up. I love to garden and I told David how very thoughtful that was.

Second, David pulled out two Fran's chocolate bars

We both are chocolate fiends and we both know all about Fran's chocolates. (You MUST try them when you find them by the way) David immediately clutched the bars close to his chest and said, "We will share these… Ok? "(a touch of panic setting into his eyes) Let me explain this chocolate hoarding behavior, of course it has nothing to do with shall we say... me eating it.

My explanation instead is this: When goodies come into the house you can immediately tell the birth order difference between us. He is he youngest of five so while I am sure he always got his share, sometimes he probably had to wait for the older kids to go first so he would get a bit anxious about the goodies disappearing before he got his turn. (I am also sure he probably had his turns with going first, and he never went without but that has not dissuaded his anxieties) In my immediate family I am the oldest of three girls... so of course, I am not at all convinced why I should not get to choose goodies first… and I was never stressed out that I will not get my turn.. oh yes.... I will get my turn.... Heh heh.

Anyway back to the Vashon box…

Third, David pulled the wrapping back a little further, reached in, and out comes a pear. Well, my mind at first told me it was a pear since that was what we were talking about… but wait a second…. ::Blink Blink:: This 'pear' was a lovely dark emerald greenish black color… and the skin was rather bumpy!

::Cue the heavenly music::


It’s not a pear, it is an AVOCADO!
Not just one, but MANY avocados!

Forget this sharing business!!! I used some of my ex-DPO/oldest sister moves on David to knock him out of the way and dislodge the avocados from his hands just as quickly as he had grabbed the chocolate.

Before you could blink an eye, into the bowl a few of the luckiest avocados went and after MAYBE 5 minutes…


These lovely fruits lasted a whole three days… All of them were perfect and ready to eat. We ate them smashed, sliced, and cubed and enjoyed every last cool creamy bite. What a wonderful gift Terry, Judith, and Zach! Thank you very very much!

Well, David just took off with Delta on the snowmobile to ride around on this northern side of the lake. Kinda scary to me. I am sitting here next to the fire with Cosmo the Magnificent thinking of everyone back home and how I miss you all. Really.

So... please everyone have a safe and happy holiday and an even better New Year!

and so as not to disappoint my dirt worshiping, heathen, tree hugging, hippy, Redwood Tree Sitting, Druid friends from Northern California out there... (and apparently not just in California)... us folks in the U.P. did not forget you!

Happy Winter Solstice!

There is always time for a quick bonfire, a burning of the Yule Log, and the obligatory dance around the Tor to celebrate the shortest day of the year!
(Yes folks, I realize it was on the 21st, a few days ago)

You wonder what my Christmas - Winter Solstice wish is?

Can't we all just get along?

* May There Be Peace On Earth *

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Christmas is in the air...

and on the counters, tables, floors, windows...

I really like this time of year. A real nostalgic time for a lot of people. Most folks, no matter what they call their particular holiday season, spend at least part of it remembering the past, reliving family and or cultural traditions, and begin to prepare themselves for the new year. I enjoy hearing about other people's traditions this time of year. I know I have a few traditions myself that I either subjected Amberleo to, or have enjoyed with the rest of my family, or that David and I have created together over the last few years.

First there are the decorations. My absolute favorite is my Christmas Tree Angel. There is absolutely nothing better than gold and silver glitter, Elmer's glue, and a cut up paper plate to make me feel the true holiday spirit. Amberleo made that last week....

No.. just kidding.. she is like 22 years old or something... she made that when she was just a little bitty imp of a kid. Unfortunately being an awful terrible mother I did not write the year or her age on the back and now neither one of us remember when she made it. We have used it for years and it fits on ANY size tree. Right now it is on my fake tree on top of the table.

Then of course there are the Christmas stories. Mine and Amber's favorite is Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Well, at least it is my favorite and I read it to her for as many years as I could find the darn book and make her sit still to listen.

'Sit down Amberleo! Put the Christmas toys down!
Now dammet, be still and listen to this story about ghosts, and mean old greedy men written by some dude about 100 years ago!'

heh heh. Just kidding.

We, of course, watched the movie in all its forms... including the muppet version with Michael Caine which I have to admit I enjoyed.

But the book?!
Man oh man.. the book. There is no comparison.
I mean how could you not LOVE something that starts out
with one of the greatest first lines of any book?

'Marley was dead, to begin with.'

How Christmas-y can you get!?

And speaking of movies... we also have always had a tradition of watching a couple of movies every year. I was never much into White Christmas, or Miracle of 34th Street. I kinda liked the Peanuts Christmas cartoon with the famous Charlie Brown tree, the Grinch, okay.

But I enjoyed all of the Rankin-Bass movies much better... movies or cartoons, or whatever they are called:

But rarely a year goes by without watching Christmas Story:

'You'll shoot your eye out!'

and then of course, there is one holiday movie that I consider a 'must see' every year.

The one and only...

'It's a Wonderful Life'

This is simply the best Christmas movie ever. It really can be enjoyed at any time but particularly at Christmas because it is Christmas time in the movie. There are several scenes in that movie that bring tears to... and even out of my eyes EVERY time I see it.

One scene is the ending of course... and I don't mean the part about the angel and bell and stuff, but I mean about George realizing he was the richest man in town... and all the people willing to help him no questions asked. **sniff** And then there is the scene when Mary and George are both listening in on a phone call and he realizes he loves her after trying very hard to deny it. Or the scene when George is in the bar and believes he and his family will be ruined because of a supposed scandal... you can see what Jimmy Stewart.. er.. George Bailey is thinking without him speaking a word. You can see the despair in his eyes that leads him to the bridge in the first place. I could go on and on. What a film!

Well, whatever your traditions are I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season and not getting to stressed about the trappings. Just relax and enjoy each other.

David cut a couple of little trees for me... I was to pick one out for the house. However, Delta made that choice easy as she grabbed the smaller one and ran off into the woods with it to play with. Looked kinda funny. She thought it was for her I suppose. So, even though I have my fake tree up right now on the table, I will soon be putting up my real one, and moving the Christmas Angel over on top where it belongs.

Lucky boy:
Despite the fact that he is a wicked little beast Cosmo the Magnificent is a very lucky boy. He has his new spiffy coat, and even though it is -20 degrees... yes really... he feels the need to go off away from the house to use the doggie bathroom...

Whether 3 a.m. or 1:00 p.m. it does not matter. He requires his privacy. He is lucky because he has two girls who watch over him pretty close (David does too he just tries to pretend he thinks Cosmo is a dog).

Us girls stand together... watching, waiting, listening...

(I know... I know.. do not be concerned.. my shadow may look like the abominable snow-woman but I have like 4 layers of clothing on. Including padded fake-Carhart overalls and barn coat.)

We stay away from him, but close enough to come to the rescue if he needs to be pulled out of the snow or wrestled away from a hidden coyote. Just so you know... Delta is not just doing it because I am there. She guards him when they are out there alone. She does this despite the fact that inside the house he bullies her something awful. Outside is her realm, and I think he is well aware of that. Check her out.

House Update:
I mentioned in a previous post I finally picked some colors for the interior of the house. I am going the autumn route with my palette. We started painting and with both of us being probably the most impatient creatures in the world... it has been going well...

or should I say... just going.
Geez, it looks like a crime scene.

We finished the mudroom, and the master bathroom. The second coat in the master bathroom will be going on today and even though we painted everything that lovely primer white you have been seeing in the pictures, the color in the master bath is Russet. Seriously russet.. which means red-ish.. which means two coats of anything red-ish is a hard color to paint apparently. Dunno why. Maybe it is for the same type of reason that blues are supposedly hard to photograph correctly.

I did up a couple collages on Picasa to show you the colors. Only two of the pictures are actually our rooms the rest I am providing just so you can see the color... those other rooms are somewhere in Dutchboy land.

Here is the main level as you walk in looking straight through, you go through mudroom, into the kitchen, and the living room beyond, and then the windows/deck. The Master bath with that intense russet color is a small room off to the right of the kitchen. Again.. only two of these are our rooms, the others are just to show colors.

The bottom floor is the office (which is where the wood stove is, and a smaller seating area), the guestroom, and then the guest bathroom combo laundry room. Here are the colors chosen for those rooms...

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Hockey at last!

Even though we always have stuff to do in the house... trim work, paint, cleaning and organizing the guestroom/craftroom... at times it gets a bit...

dare I say...


So we got to thinking the other day about taking advantage of the fact that we live close to two Universities. Northern Michigan University in Marquette and Michigan Technological University in Houghton. So this last weekend on Saturday after work I drove home enjoying the path taking pictures out my window and picked up David, locked up the dogs, and went to meet up with Joy, Dick, and Jerry.

We all went to watch a hockey game at Michigan Tech!

Hockey is big up here and I suppose that makes sense. When Amber and I lived in Northwestern Washington it was big up there too. Commercials (especially on the Canadian channels) would come on for various things and instead of football stars acting as spokesmen there would be Hockey stars. I got pretty good at recognizing this one in particular.

Mark Messier (aka: The Moose)

Of course, he was pretty well known at the time as were these two characters.

Wayne Gretzky (aka: The Great One) and Mario Lemieux (aka: Le Magnifique or Super Mario)


Those guys are a far cry from the normal (?) picture most folks
have in their minds about hockey players.

Anyway... I always thought I would enjoy hockey.
I mean check out these hockey correspondents for ESPN.
While I must admit I like him, this first guy Don Cherry makes me a bit confused...
Just a bit over the top... I get distracted by his clothing choices.

but I just LOVE this guy. He is on ESPN also and his name is Barry Melrose!

Check the hair! He is SOOOOO Hockey!
Yes it is a mullet and yes he sometimes, well a lot of the time even has it wet looking!
How cool is that?!

He actually has quite a following...
I love how the The Sports Hernia Blog described him,
" Who else could get away with a shirt/tie combination that looks like it should be worn by the person in charge of final negotiations before entering hell?"

However, whenever I tried to watch a professional game on television it seems all they do is fight and you can not really see the puck all that well so it is hard to follow (except for Stanley cup and a few select games where they put some kind of electric tracer on the puck) . In addition, while I really don't mind a scuffle now and then on the ice because I mean.. it IS hockey for criminy sakes... the fighting thing is getting to be a bit too much for me to enjoy.

We learned the other night however that in college hockey they do not fight..
not really...
(Mich Tech is yellow.... Denver is red)

At one point in the game a check like that picture above happened and there was a pretty obvious foul by a Denver player against a Michigan Tech player. Well the fans at the glass jumped up in the area surrounding them and all started pounding on the glass and yelling. The glass was shaking, and quaking, and I wondered if we were going to get a bird's eye view at some glass shattering over the ice. No such luck though. Also, in person at the game you can see the puck VERY well... and it is not an urban myth... sometimes the puck goes into the stands...

Don't worry ... that is pretend.
You don't wanna see the real pictures that came up when I searched for that picture. Ouch.

Anyway... Hockey is a very fast game and I am still trying to figure out some of the basics but we really enjoyed it! It was kinda crazy to watch the substitutions though because they just randomly (it seems) come spilling out of the box and fly out towards the action... while others turn and swarm back into the box. At first it looks like a brawl is going to happen but it is just a change in players.

We had a great time...
they even sold ice cream there and the Hershey's had to partake.. of course...

Those fellas can never let a good ice cream go to waste! But geez, it is not like it was not cold enough... it was like 2 degrees outside, and then we were in an ice rink.. and then we ate ice cream. I bought a coffee just to hold in my gloved hands to keep warm.

Starting to feel a real kinship to the Snowmiser.

I saw this sign behind the pep band while I was wandering around the arena.
It is nice to see that Michigan Tech Hockey Arena is an equal opportunity facility..
no discrimination against minorities or those with physical challenges.

One of these games might be REALLY interesting to watch.

Heh. Just kidding.

Well, that was our Saturday evening excursion, and then on Sunday we (David, Jerry, and I) decided to go in the opposite direction towards Marquette and Northern Michigan University. The annual Christmas Craft Fair was being held at the "Yooper Dome" so we thought we would go check out the goods.

We piled in (the dogs came too) and drove up to Marquette. When we first entered the dome we saw a local celebrity right off! Very exciting! It was Karl the Weather man! The photo is a bit blurry... I was star struck. Sorry... that is Karl sitting down drinking coffee by the way.

Weather is very important up here... as you can imagine... so the local weather guy is everyone's friend. His name is Karl Bohnak and folks just love to quote him. Greetings of... "Hey dere. How ya doin? What did Karl have to say today? Hay?" are not uncommon. His booth was right there when you walk in the door past the concession stand... he was selling his books. We didn't buy one. However, I did get some treats for the dogs, cookies for us, and Jerry bought some jams.

While in Marquette we went to the hardware store and I finally got some paint. Man oh man paint color is a harder decision than people realize! Well I just decided, grabbed some swatches, and went for it... we took them home and got started on the mudroom. David is color blind so I had to choose and I have decided to go for warm autumny colors. Enough with the grays already. That explains the terra cotta pot color in the mudroom with the cream colored trim. This is the first room we have painted... we have several more to go but at least it is a start. The color was hard to capture.. one of the pictures below is darker the other a bit lighter... and the door color is not chosen that is still primer in case you were curious... however, the cream color trim is around the door and on the hook rails.

Well, to get a good idea just imagine the color of terra cotta pots with a nice warm cream trim and you are pretty damn close.

On to the next room...


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