A snowy, happy day in Rocky Point

When they say White Christmas, I think this is what they mean.  Not only was the ground covered in deep snow, it was coming down in big fat, thick flakes, frosting hats and fur and eyelashes with cold white stuff.  snow play on Christmas Day

I think the daily hours of shoveling and lifting have been good for me.  Kinda like the gym without the boring weights.  I lost almost five pounds in the two weeks before Christmas, in spite of the baking.  I don’t think I can remember that happening ever. Go figure. Kevin was incredibly tickled that I managed to keep some beer from the Deschutes Brewery for an entire year.  Something called the Abyss that was intense enough that I poured my glass full right back into Kevin’s glass.  Whew!282892_10151393579407640_1224355005_n(1)

Do you think that maybe cash was a good choice for the grandchildren this year?the propert response

I do think that Jeremy and Abby know an animal lover when they see one.  My granddaughter Axel is amazing with both of them. Axel is the cat person and Jeremy loves it

Xavier loves Mo’s rug, ever since he was very little he would immediately head for the rug to hang out.  Is he actually napping with that cash in his hand?Xavier loves Mo's sheepskin rug, and his present 

I am pretty sure Kevin liked his fancy probe BBQ fork, in spite of the face, and you can see that Jeremy really loves having company, all those great laps to try out! I am pretty sure he likes it

Melody got a kick out her giraffes, a sweet little treasure I found at the jewelry store where she works, of course she was in on the surprise because I let her pick her favorites.Melody and her giraffe boxes

This time I set the table and was actually able to hang around and enjoy it, unlike the previous time I set a Christmas table at the Rocky Point luncheon and lasted less than five minutes before running back home sick. Soooo glad that is over, and in answer to a commenter’s question, the vertigo really has passed for now.DSC_0046

Sledding with the family is a tradition, so it was good that mother nature cooperated.  Sledding on gravel would be uncomfortable.Sue on the funky new sled

We have an old sled with runners, a cheapy plastic thingy that is close to worthless, and another cheapy foamy thingy with fluorescent green something or other on it that I bought for kid sledding last year.  I think I used the green thingy more than anyone. The big plastic yellow inner tubes we use for the water just don’t move on snow, so we no longer try them. fun in the snow on Christmas Day

Favorite memories include big black inner tubes going down Tubbs Hill in Couer d Alene sliding into the baseball field from the steep mountain and getting bounced off those inner tubes some rather impressive distances.  Too many trees on this little sledding hill to try that even if we DID have inner tubes.Christmas sledding in the snow

Managed to sneak this photo of Melody and Kevin out in the hot tub, soaking away any kind of sledding muscle aches. Oh wait, Kevin was taking photos, not sledding. Still, not a bad way to end a family Christmas Day.happy hot tub on Christmas Day  Melody anf Kevin after we all went sledding

Merry Christmas

DSC_0040 In spite of our slow start to the season this year, Christmas has arrived in full force and I am all the way in the mood.  Something about deep snows and bright bluebird skies does a lot toward making things seem all as they should. Mo is finally over her cold and I am over the dizzies for the most part.  I decorated the house, put up the outside lights and the snow started falling ten days ago and hasn’t  stopped since.  We get a little break now and then, but Mo has plowed every single day but one and we have been shoveling the driveway and snow-blowing the pathways every day as well.

IMG_0420Somehow the snows make me feel all is right with the world.  Climate change is real.  Call it global warming, global weirding, blame it on whatever makes you happy, (I have no idea why this science is colored by politics, but that is another story and I’ll save the arguments for elsewhere) but the real part about climate change is that things will get weird. Things are weird.  We didn’t have any snow at Rocky Point for most of December, and it just felt weird. Now, finally, on schedule, the big snows have arrived.  And somehow it makes me feel that the climate is giving me a bit of a reprieve.  Things are normal.  It is cold.  It is snowing.  I am shoveling and Mo is plowing.  It is a good thing. The weather, at least for the moment, and at least here in the West, is doing what it is supposed to be doing.

DSC_0028 I worked last week, and still managed to get presents ordered and shipped for the great grandchildren scattered around the country.  Presents for my daughters were already taken care of in Prague, gifts to kids and grandkids in the mail.  I don’t do as much as I would like to to, but as much as I can manage, and it is enough.  This week I started cooking and baking, with a few treasures that Mo and I will never be able to eat, so of course we will share with kids and neighbors.  The smell of baking makes things seem all right with the world as well.  It has been a quiet time, and a good time.

Daughter Deborah sent oranges and lemons from Texas to brighten my winter days.  Daughter number two and her husband are doing Christmas in Mazatlan this year, a last minute decision for a much needed vacation.  Son John in Missouri is enjoying his extended family there and we had a nice long conversation the other day.  Thank goodness for telephones and email with family scattered all over the country. I hope that someday I can get everyone together in one place at one time, but for now I’ll be grateful for what I have.

snow on the cabin Mo gets dozens and dozens of cards from old friends and family.  I know I have friends, I know I do.  But I think I get about 4 cards.  My friend Jeanne never lets me down and always sends an amazing photo of herself somewhere in the world. This year her photo was lovely and full of tropical flowers, even though she is now back home in Vermont.  Some of the young soil scientists I have had on my crews are now having families of their own, and I get a few lovely cards with wonderful photos of their babies and families.  I really treasure them.

that is Mo's favorite hat, knitted from baby soft angora, light as a feather and warm  The rest of my friends are just as wonderful as Mo’s friends, but they are all on the internet, hooked up to facebook, and GPlus, and Christmas cards seem to have gone the way of the handwritten letter.  I gave up this year and only sent cards to the folks who sent them to me.  Is that petty or what?!  I had an excuse.  I was dizzy. I didn’t even send out the Christmas letter.  I resort to the new standby…”want to know what I have been doing?  Go read my blog.”

the peach juice from the Sunset peaches is kind of rosy looking.  Yum.It is Christmas Eve.  Tomorrow Melody and her family will be here to spend the day eating, laughing, and sledding in all the wonderful snow.  Last year we went for a walk in the woods without a speck of snow to play in, so we are all looking forward to it.  I’ll have ham, a great one from the local “real” meat store, and I made a luscious peach pie from the Sunset peaches I froze late last summer. 

  Mo has been building a big fire in the cabin to try to get the snow to slide off the roof.  Tonight we decided to “go to the cabin” for our Christmas Eve traditional clam chowder supper.  Instead of a long drive to the mountains, we just had to walk down the steps and across the driveway.  I carried our little back porch fiber optic Christmas tree and we opened a great bottle of dry Riesling to accompany our meal.  The cabin was so warm we had to leave the door open.  Turned on the radio for some Christmas music and reminisced about the past year.  It has been a good one with lots of travels and friends, and projects started and finished.  Another year gone by.  I am truly truly blessed.

Mo is still plowing, although it is getting harder for find a place to put it all

Christmas

Christmas morning, warm fire and sunny morning

Sue and Deb concentrating on pumpkin tartletsI am writing this post from the comfy MoHo sofa waiting for the frozen water hose to melt.  Of course, we are in California and it dropped to 25 degrees last night. Silly us.  We saw rumors of freezing temperatures but kind of ignored them.  Couldn’t be THAT bad, right? We are on the road again, but instead of writing about the trip (that will come in the next post), I wanted to write about Christmas.  As the years go by, how would I ever remember where we were and what we did if I missed blogging it?!

Here comes the familyChristmas Eve afternoon with Deb and MattFor the first time I can remember, there was no snow in Rocky Point for Christmas.  We had a month of gorgeous sunny clear days, short as they were, and cold temperatures, but not a single day of plowing or shoveling.  It made for a good month for me to spend time decorating the house inside and out.  Two comments from the day made it all worth while.  My youngest said, “Thanks Mom, it finally feels like Christmas to me”. And my oldest said, “Thanks Mom for a true “mom” Christmas”. 

Here are the boys Kevin, Elric, and Matthewall the girls at Christmas, except Mo who is again taking the photoThe lack of snow made travel easier for everyone, and Deb and my grandson Matthew drove down from Portland on Friday without a hitch.  It was wonderful having two nights with them here before Christmas, with time to just hang out together, eat good food, watch a sweet little movie, and have time to talk.  Then on Christmas morning the rest of the local family, with Melody and Kevin, grandkids Hillary and Elric, and my sister Sally and my niece Savannah arrived early for our traditional family breakfast of eggs benedict.

Christmas_102Elric, Sue, and Hillary with the magical Hillary coyote that she made for meThe house was warm and festive with family all together laughing and talking and sharing stories.  Something that happens all to rarely it seems, so I treasured every single moment of the entire day.  After breakfast we opened packages and a highlight for me was the soft sculpture coyote that my granddaughter Hillary made for me. She couldn’t find a pattern so she just designed her own, personally designed and hand sewn.  Hillary is an artist who spends much of her time drawing, so somehow she had the ability to picture something two dimensional turning into something three dimensional.  Amazing to me, since I am the one that always had trouble with those shapes tests! Vocabulary and reading skills off the charts for me and forget the mechanical stuff!  I failed miserably.

Here we are again with MoThe Christmas walk, since we couldn't figure out how to sled in that leftover skiff from early DecemberSince there was no snow, we settled on another family walk through the Rocky Point neighborhoods, amazed at the 40 degree temperatures and light skies.  I hear that winter is coming with a vengeance this week, but lucky us, we missed it!  Most of the family left just before dark on Christmas Day, but Deb and Matt waited to leave for Portland until Monday morning, just in time for Mo and I to pack up the baby car and leave Rocky Point behind for two weeks of traveling. 

Jeremy and Abby think there will be treats for them as well.Of course, most of you know to hover over photos to see captions and click to enlarge the picture.  For family who want to see the rest of the photos, click here for the web album on Picasa.  It seems that these albums are also viewable on Google Plus for plus users as well.  I made them visible to anyone interested. 

Once all the Christmas hoop-de-do died down, I had some time to read some of the blogs and see all the wonderful Christmas posts from everyone.  Beautiful.  A belated Christmas to everyone and thanks for being part of my world.

Making a List

Christmas Tree _003sunrise on a cold snowless morning in Rocky PointChecking it twice.  Christmas is almost here and it is time for the final lists: groceries, gifts sent, gifts still in the waiting, cards? yes or no.  All the little details that go with this season.  After two weeks off while I traveled to Florida, I now have two weeks working full time in order to prepare for our two weeks coming up in Desert Hot Springs.  Something about this plan isn’t working that well.  It seems as though all my time is spent working or traveling.

Where oh where do I find the time for the baking, the wrapping, the decorating? the Open House? All those special little pieces of the Christmas holiday that make me want to spend it at home in Rocky Point. The snow??  A mixed blessing, of course, with icy roads and shoveling always a part of it, but this year the snow has evaporated and no new snow is on the agenda before Christmas day.  Nights are clear and cold and days are brilliantly sunny.  It is gorgeous, but surely doesn’t look anything like Rocky Point at Christmas.

eclipse_039We even had the amazing gift of a perfectly clear dark morning to view the total eclipse of the moon.  I packed up the camera and the tripod and Mo drove while we searched for some open sky cold morning for watching the eclipseamong the trees.  The temperature gauge in the truck read a clean 7 degrees F and my fingers had a hard time finding buttons on the camera in the dark.  Still, we watched in awe at the heavenly sky treat, punctuated now and then with a shooting star to make it all the more dramatic.

So far, I seem to have at least managed the decorating part of Christmas at home. Mo and I have a lifetime of accumulated Christmas “things”, and as usual her collection is much smaller than mine.  We agreed that anything that we couldn’t find a place for this year would get passed on, either to my kids if they want it or to Goodwill if they don’t.  Needless to say, there are little treasures that have been tucked into places where we might not think to put any decorations, just because we want to keep the particular item.  We are sticking to the rule: If there isn’t a place for it, it goes!

Houses _021Houses _007Case in point: all the Disney decorations that Mo had tucked away for at least 25 years.  I put them on the little white tree with white lights and we set it in the laundry room next to the cat food.  Works just fine with the white appliances and I think that Jeremy likes the lights while he is eating. Lucky for me, we also have porches where things can go.  We have managed to eliminate several boxes of “stuff” and when we get back from the desert in January, the packing up of Christmas should be easier than it has in the past.  Yeah, I still have my village, but am giving away a bunch more stuff when Christmas is over. I still have a tree inside the house, with my pears and partridges and special ornaments, and Mo still has all her keepsake ornaments from around the world on the green trees on the front porch, protected from weather and lit up at night.  It all works. 

outside morning_036I will have at least part of my family here for Christmas.  Oldest daughter and my grandson are coming south from Portland for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day this year.  Youngest daughter who lives in Klamath will be here with her family. Sister and niece might drive out if the snow continues to wait till January, she has 2 wheel drive and is scared to death of snowy roads. Middle daughter is hauling jet engines around the country with her husband in their big rig and will be here in spirit. Holidays off are not part of their trucking life right now. Son and his wife are tucked away in Missouri and a trip west in the winter won’t be on the agenda any time soon. Grandson and his wife and my great grandkids will be in Texas.  Other grandson will be going to his father’s family up in Washington State.  I have no idea when or if I will ever again have my entire family in one place at one time.  I’m just grateful for the internet, email, and telephones to make keeping in touch with everyone so much easier.

RP luncheon_099I returned home from Florida just in time to attend the traditional Rocky Point Ladies Luncheon, where many of the men of our community volunteer to cook a special dinner for all the ladies, and some of the ladies volunteer to dress the tables in Christmas finery.  It was a lovely day spent connecting with the folks who live out here that we don’t often see.  The joke was that we show up now and then between travels to take a nap before we head off to some other destination.  The favorite comment we get is, “Where are you two going next?”

sweater_025In the midst of all this fun, I am finally knitting a sweater for my trucker daughter.  I have had the yarn for almost two years now, and this time the promised sweater may get finished by her birthday at the summer solstice.  Ah yes, I am NOT a fast knitter, especially with all these other projects in waiting.  My quilt is sitting in a bin in the closet waiting for another chance to set up the sewing machine.  Cookies and tarts are waiting to be made, and I found an online recipe for my favorite goodie from Starbucks, “Cranberry Bliss Bars” that will find their way into my Christmas pile of sweets and savories to share with the family.

I love Christmas. I plan to keep knitting, keep cooking, play some carols on my piano, and enjoy every single minute that I have with family and friends and sparkly lights in my living room.

 

Wintertime in Rocky Point (the cold one)

 

homeagain (9)Laurie Brown commented that every time I mention Rocky Point, she pictures the warm wintertime Mexican RV destination.  The Rocky Point where I now live isn’t warm in winter.  Not even close.  However it is quite lovely.  In winters to come, we plan to keep the MoHo someplace where she can actually move forward without chains.  In the mean time, she is safe and warm here in her special berth, an electric heater running full time.  RockyPoint 015Mo is the one responsible for plowing the snow and I will snow blow and shovel when needed.  The fire keeps us warm and cozy, and needs constant tending.  It’s a nice place to spend winter when work doesn’t require daily trips to town over icy roads.  Still, in spite of the lovely snow and the warm house, we sometimes decide to take a quick trip over the mountain to find a warmer, wetter greener winter, typical of Oregon on the west side of the Cascades.  

 

Destination Roseburg and The Umpqua Festival of Lights.  At one time, Klamath Falls actually managed a similar festival here in Moore Park, a walk-through event, with hot cider and chocolate, and beautiful light displays.  Sadly, it wasn’t profitable enough and after 2 short years it died.  Now, in order to see some of the animated displays, you have to drive all over town trying to find them.  Not particularly fun, so instead we decided to drive 3 hours, over a snowy pass, stay in a hotel, and go see a great drive-through light show. 

toRoseburg (3)

Driving west from Rocky Point on OR140 in winter can be challenging.  We decided to take the baby car, our “toad”. With 4 wheel drive and studs, it can go just about anywhere safely.  She handled the icy road easily and within an hour we were out of the snow and enjoying beautiful misty vistas of green Oregon mountains and moderate weekday traffic on I-5.  I now have an iPhone, and get a big kick out of watching our progress along the highways, checking for traffic, looking at the satellite imagery of the landscape we are crossing. It’s the mapmaker in me again, I guess. 

 

 

 

toRoseburg (5) A bit beyond Sexton Pass, (clear, no ice) Mo mentioned that she might be thinking about someplace to stop and eat something.  I opened my “around me” application and up popped the Historic Wolf Creek Inn, just about the time we saw the exit on the freeway.  Perfect.  Mo had been to this small Oregon state Park in the past, but had never eaten there. They have a nice little toRoseburg (11)restaurant that is charming and authentic.Our lunch was delightful, probably the best BLAT I ever ate, with homemade mushroom soup perfect for a misty Oregon day.

… 

Roseburg_lights_still (6) We continued north to Roseburg and our hotel, the Quality Inn, right off the freeway.  We had a dog friendly room, and everything was comfortable and perfect for the rest of the afternoon relaxing with a Beavers football game while we waited to go see the light show.  The game was so bad that we left after half time for the show, just six miles west at the park.   There were lots of big vans full of little kids hanging out the open windows wide eyed and excited.  The last light show we saw like this was in South Carolina on St James Island.  Roseburg put on an excellent show, and checking, I see that Roseburg and Klamath Falls are approximately the same in population.  I really wish our town could manage this kind of special Christmas event again.

Next morning we woke to a warm breakfast, decided that shopping for Christmas dinner early in Roseburg would be much easier than shopping during the busy mid day in Medford. We had fun exploring Freddy’s and Bi Mart, two of my favorites, no sales taxes thank you, and then headed south on I-5.  At Canyonville we checked out the Seven Feathers RV Resort and were very impressed.  What a great place to spend a few days when it’s snowy at home!  We definitely will come back to stay at this place.  There’s a huge heated pool and spa, a fitness room, 24 hour laundry, and included in the discounted 29 per day weekday price, are electric, wi-fi and cable.  There are trails for walking and roads for biking, and oh, yes…the casino.  Not so sure if that is a good thing or not, but everything else is just lovely, the freeway sounds are completely muffled, the sites are big and comfy, and there is no snow to plow!  We just have to get that MoHo baby out of her snowy berth and over that mountain!  Ahh, maybe next year.

homeagain (5)We ambled on home, appreciated the beautiful green hills swathed in mist, dark green forests, and warm green hills.  Topping the highway above Medford, we could see snowy McLoughlin towering over the valley.  The towering mountain is a remnant of a Cascade volcano, visible from Medford, and from Rocky Point Road on the other side.  We once climbed to the peak of the mountain, and are both glad that we did it then and don’t have to do it again!  Home before dark to our freshly plowed road in time to build a big warm fire and settle in for Christmas.