Friday, December 26, 2008

Help! Whatcom is Frozen and I can’t get out. Send the sun.

December 26th and it’s still snowing. Now some people can hardly wait to see those little white flakes begin to fall and dust the ground in a glistening white blanket. Me, I see frozen roads and days stuck in the house. I’ve been housebound for one week and it is taking its toll on me. My one excursion out was Christmas Eve to attend church services.

No rushing around at the mall before Christmas for last minute gifts or window shopping because I couldn’t get there. The after Christmas ads in the paper were pretty skimpy I think because why advertise if it’s snowing so much that people can’t get to the stores.

One of my favorite days of the year is the day after Christmas shopping but again I’m stuck in the house with the newspaper predicting rain to wash away the white stuff that continues to float steadily and softy to the ground as it builds up a thicker winter layer of white.

I’m ready for the grey gloomy skies of winter to go away and feel the warmth of the sun melting away the frozen landscape. I’d rather this white stuff be up on the top of Mt. Baker and I could look at it from a distance and think it looks there.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Kelly's stocking gift from Santa

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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

2 Corinthians 9:15

Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas with the Harley Group

The annual Mt. Baker Chapter Christmas party was held at the Bellingham Country Club on Friday December 19th, 2008. Fifty-two members and guests attended and we all had a rockin’ good time.

The weather was freezing at around twenty-two degrees outside while we were toasty at seventy-four or so degrees inside. The Ladies were wearing satin, lace, cashmere, and silk in red, black, blue, green, purple, and silver, with sparkles, glitter, rhinestones, and bling from top to bottom. The guys wore tuxes, suits, sport coats, jeans, casual shirts, and that was okay because the Ladies wanted them to be comfortable and happy.

Everyone who wanted to participate brought a wrapped gift labeled for a man or a woman and then placed it where they were seated. Someone could come along and steal the gift and leave theirs and you could do the same. This went on through social hour and dinner before Miss Rita said stop and whatever you had in front of you, you got to open and keep. I had a $15.00 Starbucks gift card and Larry had Harley coaster. What fun and great gifts.

We had a Charlie Brown tree that members could attach money to and received a ticket for a drawing to win a $100.00 gift certificate for H-D Bellingham. “Mr. Lucky” Dave McNeill won the prize. The money collected will be given to the local food bank.

A couple of months ago, Mike G. brought a special bottle of Jack Daniels Bourbon to a chapter meeting to auction off with the proceeds going to our chapter scholarship fund. My hubby was the high bidder at $250 and then took it to the Christmas party, unopened, to share with the rest of the members—at $20 a shot with these proceeds also going to the scholarship fund. The bottle raised another $280 at the party. So Mike’s bottle will pay for over ½ the cost of one of our $1,000 scholarships.

Dave and Mark were inducted into the Bun Man Club for flipping hotdogs at a Ladies of Harley fundraiser to earn tip money for our charities. They each received a gift bag with…what else? Hotdog buns.

Dinner was a magnificent feast of prime rib and barbequed chicken with several different green salads, orzo salad, wild rice, grilled vegetables, roasted potatoes, green beans and rolls; it not only looked great it tasted wonderful. Rita provided a wonderful array of desserts including a five layer chocolate cake, pumpkin cheesecake, Boston cream pie, apple pie, cookies, and more. At the end of the evening the dessert table looked deserted.

A few drinks to be merry, a filling dinner to make us content, and we were ready for the entertainment. Lorraine, Shelia, Rita, Angie, Patti, Cis, Lisa, Jeannie, and myself paraded across the dance floor in our shoes, twirling, dancing, and flirting with the judges as they checked out the “killer heels”. There was a lot riding on this contest, a gift certificate to the Chrysalis Inn & Spa for a pedicure. Those who had already paraded before the judges gave back rubs to the judges hoping to influence their vote. When it came down to the end it was a tie between Shelia and Lisa. They had one last chance to prance and dance for the judges and still it was a tie. Again, our big hearted guy Dave Mc stepped up and threw in a second gift certificate and both Lisa and Shelia are this year’s co-winners of the “killer heels” contest.

Jeannie gathered a basket full of wine, coffee, Harley mugs, chocolates, and too many more goodies to name that was raffled off to members who brought a $5.00 gift to donate to WomenCare Shelter or donated $5.00 cash. Of course most people donated more to get receive extra tickets for a chance at the basket. My own hubby Larry was the winner of this heavy basket and I am sure we will be enjoying the goodies for some time.

So after all the shoes, the gifts, the raffles, the special awards, all we had left to do was “get down”. It was party time and the music was rockin’. Some of the guys just don’t enjoy dancing unless their arms are twisted but the Ladies don’t mind. We’ll dance with each other or join in with another couple. Pretty soon we were one big happy group moving to the beat and working off the desserts.

It was an evening to remember and if you check the website, you will find pictures of the members smiling and enjoying themselves.

Next up, the Frosty Fingers ride on 01-01-2009. See you there.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Paul T

During the summer we were on a motorcycle trip to Republic Washington. One of the side trips we took had us crossing paths with a flock of wild turkeys crossing the road in front of us.

When I was little I remember visiting my aunt Juanita and Uncle Paul T’s farm in the late fall in Missouri, before Thanksgiving.

My aunt Juanita would gather black walnuts in the fall and sell them as a cash crop for income on their small farm. Besides running cattle on the farm, Paul T raised turkeys that were sold for Thanksgiving dinners.

I remember going to the barn to get feed for the turkeys and then staying close to Paul T as we went into the turkey pens to fill the feeders. The big white turkeys were bigger than I was and because there were so many of them I kept really close to Paul T. The turkeys only wanted to be fed and were harmless but to a small girl they seemed scary.

When the turkeys were sold it seemed strange to wander out to the garden and look beyond to the pens that were now empty. I didn’t really understand until years later that those turkeys I helped feed were now being processed to become the main course on someone’s Thanksgiving dinner table.

Paul T would sometimes take me into Greenfield in his old truck when he had to take care of business and we would eat peanuts out of a big bag he kept in the truck. It was the first time I had eaten raw peanuts and they weren’t my favorite, but I liked going to town and riding in the truck with him.

Paul T is gone and my aunt Juanita has Alzheimer’s and lives near her children Shirley and Gary in Kansas City. Gary takes care of his mother’s farm and his own farm that once belonged to Paul T’s parents.

I remember one winter when we visited my aunt and uncle and I went with Paul T to feed the cattle. We drove a flatbed truck through the farm gates and the cattle began to follow behind the truck. Paul T cut the wire from the bales and we pushed the hay flakes off the truck to the hungry cattle. The cattle would bawl as they waited for the hay to be dropped off the truck. I was always bundled up in warm corduroy pants with a flannel lining and a cozy warm winter coat but the only important thing to me was that I was outside with the animals, helping.

Mary's gift - part 2

Mary's Christmas Gift

Thanksgiving in California

Last Monday, November 24th at 3:30 PM we were officially on vacation and headed to California for the Thanksgiving holiday. The bags were checked and we passed security and waited for the first of two planes that would take us off to sunny California. We touched down in Oakland at 10:03 PM, collected our bags, took the shuttle to pick up our rental car, and arrived at my mother’s by 11:45 PM. The chick was back in the nest.

Tuesday Larry and I slept in and took a leisurely stroll through the grocery store. Just the necessities. Ha ha! Buy one, get one, so why wouldn’t we? The cart grew fuller and we had aisles to go. I’m sure this won’t be the last trip grocery shopping trip we make.

Kelly called while we were shopping and she was on her way to Costco in Vegas. She wanted to know if we had bought a certain item for her for Christmas because if I hadn’t she was going to buy it for herself. I had to reveal that yes we bought the item and then she wanted to know the color. She called back several minutes later to say Costco was out of the item and I could have kept my secret after all. Of course she hates secrets and tries everything she can to figure out what we buy her each year. This was probably the sneakiest. Send her a package for Christmas or birthday and you can be sure she will open it early. No surprises and waiting for this child.

Jim and Heather came down for dinner and mom made spaghetti and meatballs with homemade peach cobbler. Mary came and made her special French bread spread.

It had been three months since I had seen my son and Heather laughed when I hugged him saying that I wasn’t going to let go. I told her when I got my mom-hug in I would let him breath. Jim is on duty Thanksgiving Day so we won’t be able to share dinner with us on Thursday. It’s not the day but the time you spend with loved ones that counts. Jim has worked every holiday since joining the force. He likes his shift, his partner, his days off, and loves his job. Miss Heather cooked him a Thanksgiving dinner before he went off to work and then spent and afternoon in the barn with her beloved horses. Shortly after Jim arrived at work he found out he had the day off but it was too late to make the journey down to my mom’s so he went off to the barn to relax and watch Heather work the horses.

Jim will come down again in a couple of weeks when my brother Jerry and my sister-in-law arrive in California from Arkansas for Christmas. Jim always brings his empty jelly jars when he comes to grandma’s house because he knows she will always send him home with a new supply of jelly, cobbler or pie. Heather doesn’t really eat sweets so he doesn’t have to share with her and he can savor the treats slowly and all to himself. I bet he had cobbler for breakfast the next morning, if he is anything like his mother and Uncle Jerry.

After everyone had left except Mary, I gave her an early Christmas present that I had made for her. A garland of paper baby doll dresses and one baby boy overall to represent each of her grandchildren.

Wednesday brought a much needed soft rain that fell all day long. Parts of California have already been declared droughts and unless there is a significant rainfall, and more importantly a wet snowfall, the whole state will be facing drought conditions in the coming months. Larry and I went to Mimi’s to pick up dinner and then Mary took me to a Thanksgiving evening concert given by Justin McRoberts. Justin is the son of Mary’s friend Cathy and he is a contemporary Christian singer, and is a spokesperson for Compassion, Justin will do his 7th annual concert next week to benefit my sister’s holiday program--Christmas for Everyone. CFE is expecting to feed over 4,000 people this year due to the economy.

One cup, two cups, we’re ready for the turkey. Mom made rolls and got the cornbread dressing ready and Larry prepared the turkey. Everything was baking and the smells from the kitchen were wonderful. This was wonderful for me because of my allergies I don’t always smell what is baking or cooking. Larry and I slipped out to go find a paper with all the black Friday ads that all of us would pour over later in the evening. Easier said than done. Sold out; Sold out. Finally a liquor store with one last copy. It was ours and we were on our way home.

The turkey had disappeared
And the pie had been served
Now it was down to business
The plotting and planning
The black Friday ads
Who had the best deals?
And what did we want
Because in reality
We didn’t need a thing
We narrowed it down
The final choices
Now it was time
Facing the facts
We’re older and smarter
And the stores open earlier
Not at 7 or 6
But 4 AM!
When would we get up?
To get to the store
Standing in line
Waiting for the doors to open
The deals weren’t looking so good
And the bed was winning out
The tryptophan set in
We could go a little later
How about 1 PM
That’s after the coffee
A hot shower
And breakfast
Maybe next year
We’ll get up at 2
Or just stay up and go

So with the big decision made to skip the morning sales, we sat down to play canasta till one o’clock in the morning. Much more sensible.

Larry and I took a trip to McGuires Harley-Davidson in Walnut Creek. What I found and wanted didn’t come in my size so Larry got off easy without spending a cent. We looked at the bike inventory, a mustard yellow and black/gray metal flake that was totally unique and a show room stopper. A custom mica flake, red, orange paint job that seemed to change colors as we walked around it. Pretty bikes, but nothing that made us want to trade in the red vixen.

Turkey sandwiches and Mary and I were finally ready to shop. It was two o’clock and plenty of time left to find a bargain. Lots of deals at the mall but not enough to entice us to buy anything. Back to mom’s for dinner and we were off for part II. We wound up at Wal-Mart shopping for Christmas for Everyone and walked in and found coats, thirty-eight coats still on the rack. We grabbed the coats and I found a second cart. We scouted the spinner racks the go back carts and checked in with all the clerks. Mary called her friend Syd and he went to the Vallejo Wal-Mart and called back and said he had more coats and to come quickly. We dropped our load off and headed from Martinez to Vallejo. What a surprise when we walked in and saw Sid standing guard over seven shopping carts piled high with warm winter coats. Another phone call to Mary’s friend Sandy to bring a truck. All in all, Mary bought two hundred and three coats that she will give away Christmas day. Great, I said, now all you need is another 3,797 more gifts and you will be ready in three weeks. She dropped me back at mom’s at 2 AM Friday morning. Okay we did the black Friday shopping but at least we got to sleep-in first.

Saturday morning Larry and I took a drive through the Napa Valley wine country with the sun shinning down on the vineyards that were full of leaves in autumn colors of gold, red, and purples. The holiday crowds were non existent and it made the valley much more enjoyable. We stopped at the Freemark Abbey and the Silverado Brewing Company to have lunch. I had crab cakes with corn relish and spinach salad with blueberries, pumpkin seeds, with a Meyer lemon vinaigrette. Larry had calamari and chicken brochette. We drove up highway 29, through St. Helena, Calistoga, down the Silverado Trail, up to Lake Berryessa, Mankas Corner, and back to my mom’s. Larry fixed a prime rib roast for dinner and mom had a blackberry cobbler for dessert. No turkey leftovers tonight. Two great chefs under one roof.

Larry and I attended church with mom at Bethel Baptist and we had lunch at the Buttercup Pantry. Larry cut the leftover prime rib into steaks and cooked for mom and Mary. I was content to eat my mom’s Chinese chopped noodle salad with garlic bread and enough room left for cobbler.

A week goes by way too fast and we left for the airport with a Tully fog closing in on the bay area. We gassed up the car and returned it then caught the next shuttle for the airport. All checked in I left Larry reading a book on his Kindle reader and I took a walk to see the art exhibits on display.
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