Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve

It's not snowing yet, but it's supposed to snow off and on through-out today and tonight. It's sure cold enough! So we'll hopefully have new snow on Christmas Day. Although there is plenty out there now for a good snowman or snowball fight.

Once again, in the midst of the darkest time of the year, we have turned the corner heading towards summer. I think it must be psychological, but I can almost tell the days are fractionally longer already.

My aunt and uncle's old farmhouse burned down on Sunday afternoon. They got out safely but weren't able to save anything. It was an old place, early 20th C., and I'm sure the wood was tinder-dry. This is the aunt and uncle that let me stay with them when I first returned from England and didn't have a job yet. The farm was a good place to be at such a difficult time in my life. I really liked that old house. It seemed to go on forever, always more rooms around a corner or through a door that didn't look like it went anywhere. Much as I liked it, I'm sure my aunt and her extended family love it far more. How hard it must be to have lost everything. Not only the house and its contents, but all the memories of growing up there, raising children there.

The farm is around 10 acres, at least. I used to know but I've forgotten. They have 10 grown children and are surrounded by family. One of their older sons has his house just 500 yards away on the property, so my aunt and uncle are probably staying there. I'm sure there's plenty of people able to give them immediate help, and hopefully the insurance will allow them to re-build. Still it's such a helpless feeling, wanting to help, but not knowing how.

If you pray, please pray for them. It's a hard thing to have happen, especially this time of year.

Merry Christmas to you all.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A Bit More Snow

Well, it did snow a bit more overnight, but even more fell between 8:30 - 11:00 am. My sister says they have about 2 inches where she lives (20 miles east and slightly north), which sounds like a bit more than us. So I'm waiting a bit longer before I head over to my sister's house for a day of cookie-baking. Hubby went out earlier and says people were sliding and fish-tailing all over the place, getting used to snowy roads. Having lived a while in Indiana, driving to work in snow on a regular basis, I usually do ok. I'm not happy about having a car with rear-wheel drive, but it's got that electronic road/wheel control thing I can turn on, which seems to help a little bit. I'll be happier when I get the next company car this coming July. It has front-wheel drive.

It's getting towards noon and the clouds are breaking up to the south. So hopefully the snow will get slushy and be not quite as slippery when I leave.

Sis and I are going to make our family's traditional date-walnut-spice cut-outs, and at least mix the dough for the kourabeides. Hopefully we'll also have time to bake and decorate some of the cut-outs so I'll have them for Monday night's dance party.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Snow At Last!

Well, after all the hype from the weather folks, our "arctic blast" has arrived. As you can see from the photo, it has not exactly lived up to expectations. At least not here in the valley. Ah well. One can always hope for more snow as the season goes on. At least the mountains are getting a good layer.

It's pretty cold outside, certainly below freezing, and still clouded over. So we could have more snow overnight. Hope so!

It's going to be a busy week getting ready for our annual Solstice party next weekend. We still haven't put up our tree. I haven't done any baking yet. The Christmas cards aren't written. I haven't mailed any of the long-distance presents. And there's plenty of cleaning to do, probably after work during the week (sigh). We're hoping for a good crowd, including most of our musician friends. There may even be spontaneous English and Contra dancing.

Monday night is the last Scottish Country dance class of the year, so we're having a party. People dress a little Christmas-y and bring finger food treats. We'll dance some of the dances we've learned, eat, and have fun.

Then on Tuesday eight of us are dancing for a local American Legion hall Christmas dinner. It was a last-minute request, but my dancers came through. I hope the group will enjoy it. We'll do two dances, talk a bit about Scottish Country dancing, and put a great kilt on an unsuspecting victim.

Now there's snow in the local mountains, I'm looking forward to going snowshoeing a couple times during my week off between Christmas and New Year. We might try going up to McCall. There are good snowshoe trails around and on the lake. You get a totally different perspective of the town and surrounding mountains while walking out on the frozen lake. And when we get tired there are places we can get hot chocolate. I also want to get up to Banner Ridge again. The trails there aren't crowded and the views are nice.

One interesting thing I did today was go to an Obama house party. This is the very base of PEBO's grassroots organizing effort. So far there's 12 of us, all Democrats languishing in the 3rd reddest state of the union, wanting to do something more concrete than wait and see what happens. I admit I'm a bit skeptical, but I'm willing to give it a try. Right now we're going to work on establishing our creds as a group by donating to the local foodbank once a month. The group member who takes the food in will introduce our group to that organization and that will start getting our name around.

We made a list of issues important to us that are also things people on all sides are concerned about. Like the economy, transportation, health care, the environment, etc. Some time early in the new year we're hoping to give a presentation on mass transit to a local mayor at one of his citizen forums. For my part, if I do this, it has to be more than a bunch of isolated Dems venting to each other. I want us to actually accomplish things. So I'll give it a try and see how things go.