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Sunday, December 13, 2015


     "Tradition - noun - the transmission of customs or beliefs from generation to generation." I think most families have some traditions for the holidays. How and when you decorate the Christmas tree; what you have to eat; special ornaments and decorations, etc. With the holiday season in full swing I've been thinking about our family traditions. When I was a child we always set up a train set that went around in a circle under the Christmas tree. The train set was my father's when he was young. My brother displayed it at Christmas for a number of years. He has now passed it on to one of our nephews and his young sons are enjoying it.

Here's my brother and sister in the mandatory in front of the tree picture.(1960)

     On Christmas Eve we would place our stockings by the fireplace and leave cookies and milk for Santa. The next morning we were up early, excited to see what Santa had left us. After breakfast we would pass out the presents. We would then go around in a circle taking turns opening a present. This way we could also enjoy the gifts that others received. We always knew which gifts were from our Dad, because he wrapped his in the Sunday comics. He did this his whole life for every gift giving occasion. He was of the opinion it was going to get ripped up so why use fancy paper.
     My mother's parents lived in another state so they would mail our gifts. It was always fun to receive a package. We would take out each gift, read who it was for and place it under the tree. Every year they sent my Dad socks. It became quite the joke. We'd open the box, pull out the wrapped gifts, " Oh Dad, here's your socks."
     My husbands family didn't have a lot of traditions so he was fine with using most of mine as we started our family together.

This is our daughter's second Christmas (1969) (She was 6 weeks old on her first.)

Our daughter and son, for his first Christmas (1971)

    I know some families do Christmas eve church, then presents. We've always done everything on Christmas day. As our son and daughter got older they were in charge of passing out the gifts. We continued to open gifts one person at a time. It not only makes the fun last longer, you also get a chance to enjoy the person's reaction when they get to your gift. 
     Every year I like to buy one or two new ornaments for the tree. Over the years I've collected quite a few. Some I've already passed on to my children.

One year we had an exchange student from Switzerland. She had the opportunity to learn our traditions and we got to learn about how she celebrated the holiday. Exchange student in the center (1985)

     Now that our children are both married they carry on some of the same traditions with the addition of a few new ones from their spouses. It's nice to see them carry on our traditions but I also enjoy seeing them develop their own.

      This picture was the year our daughter and family came to Wyoming for Christmas, when her daughter was 15 months old and our grandson was 6 months.(2007) See A Ready Made Friend

Grandson 16 months (2008)

Granddaughter 2 years (2008)

The grandson enjoys making cookies and gingerbread houses with his Mom (2013)

       Both the grandchildren have a new tradition that they enjoy. A visit from the elf on the shelf. 

Last year my granddaughter's elf decided to hang out in the refrigerator. When she found him she made sure he got warmed up.

Here she is last year, all snugly watching a Christmas program.

       Traditions of course don't have to be written in stone. They might change as life circumstances change. But I know I have fond memories of my childhood Christmases. And I hope my children and grandchildren will too.                                                           Being with family I think is the best part of the holidays. Sometimes we can't always be in the same place. But with today's technology you can still enjoy their company with Skype and Face time. I wish everyone a wonderful holiday season, full of love and laughter. Whatever your holiday traditions, enjoy them to the fullest.

A thought to ponder: "Tradition is not to preserve the ashes. But to pass on the                                    flame."                                     Gustav Mahler

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Waterfalls Galore

     As I mentioned in my last post we recently took a trip to the Colombia River Gorge in Oregon. One of my goals for this trip was to see lots of waterfalls. And I wasn't disappointed. The first day we drove over the mountain to Cody, Wyoming and through Yellowstone Park, staying the first night in West Yellowstone. We did stop to watch Old Faithful.

     The next day we stopped to view our first waterfall. Mesa Falls is off the main road on a scenic byway a little north of Twin Falls, Idaho.  We got there fairly early and were the only ones. It was pretty chilly but we still enjoyed the view.

     Our next stop was Twin Falls where we viewed the Shoshone Falls. There wasn't as much water going over as usual. Partly because of the time of year and also because they were doing some work on the dam.

     The next stop for waterfalls was the Colombia Gorge. You can drive along the old Colombia Gorge highway and see numerous wonderful waterfalls. The road is curvy and somewhat narrow but well worth the trip.

     We started toward the west end of the highway at Vista House. It was very windy that day, in fact I almost got blown off my feet. But we did have a great view of the river.

      Our first stop was Latourell Falls. I spotted a Pika (member of the rabbit family) having a snack. He didn't seem a bit bothered by all the "looky lous".

     Our next stop was the Bridal Veil Falls. Most of the falls are fairly close to the road. This one we had to walk about a half a mile to view. 

Wahkeena Falls

     The next falls that we visited is the main attraction of the scenic byway. In fact we barely found a place to park. I'm glad we came in the fall, I guess in the summer it is bumper to bumper cars. Multnomah Falls is a total of a 611 foot drop. The walk up to the bridge is fairly easy and affords another angle to view the falls.


     The last falls on our route was Horsetail Falls. 

     The weather was nice, the scenic route beautiful and the waterfalls magnificent. And to top it off I had two wonderful traveling companions.

     The next day we did the Hood River Fruit Loop. This was another fun scenic drive with fruit stands, lavender farms, antique shops and wineries to stop at along the way. Here's the web site where you can learn more:Hood River Fruit Loop.

     Road trips can be a fun adventure. It's nice to be able to take your time and stop to see whatever catches your interest. Most states offer free printed guides of the most interesting things to see and do in their state. It's worth taking the time to get this information. That way you can get the most out of your trip, where ever you might decide to roam.

A thought to ponder: "Look at everything as if you were seeing it either for the first or last time."                                                                    Betty Smith

Monday, October 26, 2015

A Bed Time Story

     We recently returned from a trip to the Colombia River Gorge in Oregon. We saw some interesting things along the way (which I will cover in up coming posts). And we also stayed in a variety of accommodations. We spent the night at your standard chain hotels, mom & pop motel, a cabin at an RV park, a restored hotel and a Bed & Breakfast. I thought I'd share photos of my two favorites. If you like history and antiques like I do, I think you'll feel they're special also.

This is the Geiser Grand in Baker City, Oregon

      This lovely hotel first opened it's doors in 1889. It was occupied until into the 1960's, then sat empty for thirty years. In the late 1990's a restoration took place and it reopened. They did a wonderful job with the restoration. The dark orante mahogany through out is beautiful.

This is the second floor where our Parlour Suite was located.

This stained glass ceiling can be seen from the ground floor dining room. Where we had a very enjoyable dinner.

One of the many chandeliers. You can see more on their web site: www.geisergrand.com

     The other place we stayed which was also a delight, a Bed & Breakfast in Pendleton, Oregon. 

The Pendleton House built in 1917

     I have never stayed at a B&B before so was looking forward to the experience. And it did not disappoint. It has new owners, they had been helping out the previous owner. When she decided to retire she convinced them to buy the house. I have a feeling she knew they loved it as much as she did and would carry on the wonderful care of the home. You could tell our host Tracy took pride in the home, he was very gracious and welcoming. 

     It was wonderful to see the beauty of this old home preserved. Hardwood floors, silk wallpaper, crystal chandeliers and the original draperies made you feel like you'd stepped back in time.

     Not many B&B's allow pets. Since we travel with our dog Wally, I was happy to see that this one did. On arrival we learned that Wally would be the last, they will no longer be accepting pets. We told Wally he was privileged and should be on his best behavior. As you can see from the following picture, he wasn't impressed. But we were.


Here's a peek into the bathroom

No this is not some kind of torture chamber. 
It's the shower. It's original to the house. They were ahead of their time, it sprays from the top and all around. 

Here's a shot of the dining room where we had a most delightful breakfast prepared by Tracy.

Look at this beautiful poached apple to start things off. Yummy too!

     It was coming to the end of the busy season and there was only one other couple staying at the B&B. We enjoyed visiting with them the evening before and at breakfast. Towards the end of breakfast Tracy joined us and he told us more about the history of the house. We were all enjoying lingering over breakfast and visiting, we were reluctant to leave. To learn more about this lovely Bed & Breakfast: www.pendletonhousebnb.com

     If you're ever in eastern Oregon don't hesitate to spend a night at these two wonderful hostelries. 

A thought to ponder: "Put your thoughts to sleep, do not let them cast a shadow over the moon of your heart. Let go of thinking."                          Rumi

Participating in: Grand SocialShare the JoyMingle Monday

Monday, October 12, 2015

Fight Like a Girl

     What do you think of when you hear the word warrior? Perhaps someone who fights in battles/war? But there are other kinds of warriors out there. Those who beyond all obstacles still manage to be successful. A person of courage and perseverance. 

     When the enemy is cancer it takes a warrior. Because it isn't a fight that is over quickly. It takes staying power, the will to keep going when you'd rather give up. The obstacles that must be over come can be daunting. So you can only applaud those who fight their way through and come out the other side cancer free. 

     I don't imagine there are too many people out there who haven't been touched by cancer; either themselves, a family member or a friend. There are of course many types of cancer. This month is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. So it's a good time to remind women to do self breast exams. If your not sure how, check out this web site, feelyourboobies.com. Also have mammograms when indicated. Take a look at this web site for the latest recommendations, webmd.com

      I raise my glass and toast all those women you have fought like a girl and conquered the enemy. Those who have dug deep to find their inner warrior. To two of my cousins who are breast cancer survivors. And especially to our daughter-in-law Kristin, who is an inspiration for her courage and fortitude. She is finally getting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. She isn't just a survivor she is an advocate also.
    Kristin is featured in a news segment about a program here in Wyoming to help with breast cancer recovery. View the video here: The healing power of fly fishing.

A thought to ponder: "You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face."
                                                                                Eleanor Roosevelt

Participating in: Grand SocialMotivation Monday

Monday, October 5, 2015

A Few Autumn Memories

     There is no getting away from it, Autumn is here. The weather has remained nice, pleasant during the day (70's) and cool at night (40's). No frost yet, yay! Everyday the leaves change a little more. I decided this would be a good time to share some of my favorite fall photos that I've taken over the last several years.

These were taken when our grandson was about a year and a half

This is one of my favorites. The joy is contagious. 

Some lovely fall color taken a couple years ago.

We always grow pumpkins for our grandson. This was the harvest three years ago. We have several nice ones this year also that are about ready to pick.

Beautiful fall skies. These were taken the first part of November last year.

These were taken last fall

We still have flowers blooming. Asters are a nice addition to the fall garden.

And last, a fall themed watercolor I painted a couple years ago.

A thought to ponder: "Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower."
                                                                                                Albert Camus