Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

What a grand and glorious day. Merry Christmas to all. I am so blessed:

To be surrounded by a loving family and good friends.

To have a warm home and plenty of food.

To have the wisdom that comes with age.

To be healthy and strong.

To work in a field where I can make a difference in peoples' lives.

To live in a country that is free.

To live in a community where folks care about each other.

To have all my families' needs supplied.

To have the means to help others.

To love.

To laugh.

To pray.

To look forward to each day, and whatever it might bring,

because my Lord Jesus was born on this day.

There is so much to be thankful for, on this and on every day. But, today, especially, I am reflecting on the simple things. I am pausing to be thankful and grateful, and will appreciate all I have been given and all the beauty that surrounds me.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Battle in Seattle

The CdA Casino Hosts promised surprises and adventure when our little group gathered at six AM on Saturday morning. About 30 of us were going to fly over to Seattle, have lunch, watch the Zags vs. UCon, have dinner, and then fly back to Spokane..... It was a great plan, but the best laid plans never hold up to a snowstorm..... especially in Seattle. Surprise!!!
By dinner time a considerable amount of snow had fallen, the hilly streets in downtown Seattle were being closed since they were becoming impassable, cabs stopped running, buses chained-up their tires. It didn't matter to a group of Spokane/N Idaho vets of REAL snow!! We were in a wonderful Sports Bar near Key Arena which easily accommodated our group of thirty for post game food and fun. Gonzaga's OT loss didn't dampen the mood for very long. After dinner, we took a slow icy bus ride back to the airport, checked in and cleared security, only to have the flight, and all in and outbound traffic, grounded. Surprise!! We spent a few hours taste-testing the tap offerings of the various taverns located in Sea-Tac and used the time to really get to know each other. Our hosts scrambled to find a place for us to stay, and then get us there. With days of cancelled flights out of Seattle, this was no easy task, all the hotels were full of stranded travellers. We were able to find all the taprooms of Sea-Tac, and got some serious exercise in doing so. Adventure!! Eventually, we were able to find another charter bus back into downtown where rooms at the Westin were waiting for us. As we checked in, the desk clerk provided toothbrushes and toothpaste with the room key. Surprise!! The view of the Space Needle, the Waterfront, and Downtown Seattle blanketed in snow from the 34th floor was spectacular. With the airport and the passes closed, the next day provided opportunity to slip and slide on the sidewalks to shop or continue to sample local brews at yet another Sports Bar. Adventure!! At long last, a charter bus was found that would haul our group back to Spokane. At first it looked like Highway 2 was the only passable route, but Snoqualame Pass opened up briefly and our bus plowed through. With stops to chain up and remove, and a couple of snack pit stops, we made it back to Spokane eight hours later. What an Adventure!! What a fun trip, made quite memorable by the extreme detours we were forced to take because of the weather. Each member of our group has stories to tell, we laughed so much, we made friends for life, we can't wait to get together again for more Surprise and Adventure.
Many thanks go out to our hosts from the CdA Casino, who made this trip so memorable. The behind-the-scenes work to minimize any inconvenience, and to get us all home in one piece was remarkable. The memories will bring a smile for a long time to come.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Snow Storm

The snow is beautiful. We have been out with the tractor and shovels trying to clear the driveway and the gates. I moved the horses yesterday, and had to dig 3 feet of snow to open the gate to take them one by one out of the north pasture, through the snow and into the barn. Now they have the cover of the lean tos and the stalls. They are belly deep and have icicles hanging from their winter coats. They are happy, out there running around in it.

Richard's birthday yesterday was a quiet affair. He got a new Carhart snowsuit complete with a hood. He was out pushing snow around all day, loving every minute of it. I think the Carharts were a big hit, they are "just like Dad's", so he's playing with the big dogs now!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Cd'A Eagles

Let it Snow

Oh, the weather outside is frightful.
The fire is so delightful.
And since we've no place to go,
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.....
I'm back to my smiling self... the snow is beautiful, it is bright outside, Christmas lights are aglow, and I had a smart pep-talk from Marmy!! Life is grand.
I have been trying to get gifts wrapped, my room looks like a bomb went off since I'm trying to keep the kids' eyes off the goods. But even the mess can't bug me now. I've got the Spirit!!
Now, with a few days off work, I can really get 'er done.
We went to see the eagles. I hope to go back a few times before they are gone. What a wonderful annual event. Majestic! It's also fun to chat with others that come to view them. The folks come from all over, and it can be a party.Add Image
We are flying over to Seattle for the Zags game on Saturday, but other than that (which is a huge deal), the plan is to hunker down, make soup, watch Christmas movies with the kids, drink hot chocolate, and watch the snow fall. I think I'll set the sled out and take a run down our hill!!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Winter Blues

In fourteen days the winter solstice will bring the beginning of the lengthening of daylight hours, This time of year, I find myself actually counting the days, and computing the extra minutes of daylight in store in four weeks, six weeks, and on to spring. There is a kind of beauty in this season. The bare trees, stark landscapes. It is especially pretty when the sun is shining, even if it is only for a few hours. But, I am fully aware of my energy level and moods being light dependent, a touch of Seasonal Affective Disorder, I suppose. I am sluggish, mildly depressed, unable or unwilling to start new projects, to get off my butt and exercise, or to clean house (although that is a year round problem). I am longing for the warmth of summer sun, and am mildly surprised each day when I step outside into cold air.... it doesn't feel normal. I am going through the hundreds of photos we took all summer and fall, cropping, deleting, or tagging. and pulling all the light I can out of the memories there. I tell myself that I wouldn't enjoy the summer as much if I didn't walk through this valley of winter blues each year. There are moments of brightness this time of year; the wonderful Christmas displays downtown, Holiday visits with family and friends, the eagles out on the lake, eggnog, and, of course, chocolate covered cherries. So, life is still grand, in spite of the long dark nights, and I have much to be grateful for. And in two weeks time, the axis of the earth will again turn just for me, and I will instantly shed my Winter Blues.

Monday, December 1, 2008


“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” - Dalai Lama

I am so saddened by the recent news articles that depict us as greedy, selfish animals storming shopping center doors at four in the morning, with all the pushing, shoving, and rude behavior that goes along with it. The Black Friday madness will be forgotten soon (except for family and friends of those killed and injured in the mayhem) and we will do it again next year.
I don't know if it is because the Holiday season makes me more aware - it shouldn't - or that my Seasonal Affective Disorder has me looking for indignities over which I can become depressed .... but, it seems there is an explosion of the "I-me-my-mine" attitudes. I am watching behaviors become negatively modified with fast-everything, we are encouraged to not delay any gratification, buy, spend, charge it, no interest for 100 years, make it bigger, better, Super sized!!
I don't want to be a part of this.... I want simple. I want a nice pot of homemade soup, not takeout. I want a game of double 12 dominoes, or crib, not Nintendo. I want to read outloud to the family after dinner, not plug in a video.
It seems to me that if we attempt to simplify our daily lives, the clatter and clutter will give way to a clearer view of ourselves and our fellow travellers. We will have time for relationships and kindness and conversations with strangers. We will walk more softly, smile more, relax, sleep sounder. With the noise and confusion of life muted by simplicity, we will once again find that attributes like compassion, empathy, and kindness will fill those spaces.
So, if this were to happen, next year on Black Friday there will be smiling, polite folks out there... oh, about nine thirty instead of four, and we will hear things like, "After you." No, after you..". wouldn't that be a treat.

I will work on COMPASSION this coming year. Step #1: Simplify.