Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Christmas when the family grows and is gone.

he holidays are coming! The holidays are coming! I like to enjoy the celebration part of the holidays, keeping the holiday cheer, without overdoing it and turning it into holiday stress. And since it is a long holiday season, somewhere about midstream I began to fade a little and lose some of my jubilance. The thing is that in my mind's eye, I make plans to do so many things that I lose my focus and do fewer things. I'd like to do some things this year and maybe not do other things and see if I can get a different outcome.

The children are grown, adults now, and have left home, are well into their own lives with their own children and families. When they were young children I liked the idea of a big tree with lots and lots of decorations, not particularly themed, but particularly full. We have now a big artificial tree and the years of decorations. One Christmas I remember we took 2 days to put up the tree, a week to decorate it and the house looked so fantastically Christmas. There were no visitors to our home that year and somehow so much bling seemed kind of lonely, sad and overmuch without the full house of children.

The next year we bought a smaller, slimmer tree and I put on much fewer decorations. In fact, did not even unpack the boxes and boxes of stored Christmas ornaments and decor. Last year I found what I call one of those artificial 'Northern Exposure' kind of Christmas tree or could also be called 'Pacific Northwest' kind of Christmas tree. Three trunks side by side with branches, and overall skinny, not taking up very much room.

We had my mother stay with us last holiday - Thanksgiving to Christmas. Had many festive outings planned, but those plans got nixed and cancelled with the early December storm of the century we had here last year. They don't use the word hurricane, but it was hurricane force winds at 140 mph or more over 2 days. Mom is in her 70s now, and was a real trooper throughout the storm and the long winter days that followed in clean up. It was rather an unforgettable holiday season.

This, a year later, and well we will have our usual winter wind and rain storms or more of the 'big ones', but I plan to go into this holiday season with high and joyful thoughts. It's taken about a decade, but I'm adapting to the reality that our children are grown and gone, involved with their own families, and it's just the two of us now. It will be a happy holiday as we find new traditions for how we want to spend the holidays.

Toasting the Holidays

"Dads are often expected to raise the first glass and offer inspiring remarks, as family and friends come together with anticipation and cheer," said Paul Banas, CEO of Greatdad.com. "Holidays events are wonderful opportunities for dads to rise to the occasion, deliver unforgettable words, and set forth a tradition for generations to follow."

Five Top Toasting Tips
Prepare remarks in advance and be yourself. It's a good idea to write out your toast and get comfortable with it. This way, you can convey your remarks with ease.

Stand and deliver. Be sure to get everyone's attention before making the toast. While the room need not be quiet enough to hear a pin drop, you do want to make sure that you have a captive audience.

Keep it brief. Most of us have a family member known as the "rambling relative" when it comes to toasting. Remember to pay attention to your audience and the time, so that your toast warms everyone's hearts and ensures the food doesn't go cold.

Humor is fine. Make sure that you keep it light and natural. If you plan to include a joke, be sure to practice (and always know the punchline).

Make sure everyone has something to toast along with you. It's also appropriate to include non-alcoholic drinks. A favorite for kids is sparkling cider.

see more at article

The Cave of Crystals Discovered 1000 feet below Mexican Desert

Until you notice the orange-suited men clambering around, it's hard to grasp the extraordinary scale of this underground crystal forest.

Nearly 1,000ft below the Chihuahua Desert in Mexico, this cave was discovered by two brothers drilling in the Naica lead and silver mine. It is an eerie sight.

Up to 170 giant, luminous obelisks - the biggest is 37.4ft long and the equivalent height of six men - jut across the grotto like tangled pillars of light; and the damp rock of their walls is covered with yet more flawless clusters of blade-sharp crystal.


see the original photos and read the entire article at here

(note; the size and shape of the photos on my blog have been modified to fit the blog and may have distortions)


What a refreshing change in the ‘morning news’ for me since most of my morning reads contain political news. It’s nice to see an awesomely amazing natural wonder in my morning news.

American Prayer - Dave Stewart (Barack Obama Music Video)

Inspiring and Hopeful. And just a few days away now from becoming a much needed change in our political reality.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Autumn morning

Saturday Morning. Brisk, snappy cold Autumn morning. House is chilled, and I have on extra layer plus the wrist and neck warmer I crocheted for when I'm sitting at my laptop and not moving around too much. As the morning beckons, the light shines through with the promise of another sunshine filled day, I look forward to doing some work outside to clean up the garden beds. Where we live, with rain a more frequent visitor than sunshine, we have to capitalize on the sun-filled days to our advantage. There are more than enough outside activities to fill those less frequen sunny days and perhaps not quite enough inside activities to fill up all thos rainy days.

As usual, though, once I sit down to the computer, one project leads to another to another and too much time elapses. It's like a sinkhole, me and my computer, and as time ticks by when I finally look up, I have once again sunk into the morass.

Adding a few items to this blog, but more of the morning and afternoon was used in converting online documents. Off I go now to put the container garden beds to rest for the winter...well except for the root crops, like carrots, beets, parsnips, maybe a turnip or two grew before the cold snap.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Photo of mother at gravesite referenced by Colin Powell endorsement of Barack Obama


The photo Colin Powell referenced in his endorsement of Barack Obama. The photo of mother at her son's gravesite, a young man, 20 years old, killed in Iraq, awarded Bronze Star and Purple Heart. Emblem on his gravesite is not the Christian cross, the Jewish Star of David, but the Muslim Crescent and Star. Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan, Cpl., U.S. Army, Operation Iraqi Freedom, was an American who was 14 at the time of 911. He waited until he was of age to enlist in military to serve his country (United States of America) and he gave his life for his country...the United States of America.

excerpt from the transcript of Colin Powell endorsement speech on Meet The Press today

I feel strongly about this particular point because of a picture I saw in a magazine. It was a photo essay about troops who are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. And one picture at the tail end of this photo essay was of a mother in Arlington Cemetery, and she had her head on the headstone of her son's grave. And as the picture focused in, you could see the writing on the headstone. And it gave his awards--Purple Heart, Bronze Star--showed that he died in Iraq, gave his date of birth, date of death. He was 20 years old. And then, at the very top of the headstone, it didn't have a Christian cross, it didn't have the Star of David, it had crescent and a star of the Islamic faith. And his name was Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan, and he was an American. He was born in New Jersey. He was 14 years old at the time of 9/11, and he waited until he can go serve his country, and he gave his life. Now, we have got to stop polarizing ourself in this way. And John McCain is as nondiscriminatory as anyone I know. But I'm troubled about the fact that, within the party, we have these kinds of expressions.

Video of Colin Powell's endorsement speech of Barack Obama at Meet the Press today.

There is much to be mined from Colin Powell's speech that might resonate more strongly with others. Colin Powell, with this reference, eloquenty elevated a truth and reality of the constancy of our country's relationship to the Iraq war. I wanted to take a moment to share in elegance that truth, that reality, amidst all the background noise of the Presidential campaign.

It is not useful for me to editorialize or restate using my lesser words that which Colin Powell has brought into perspective with his own words. I hope, readers, you will take time to listen to Colin Powell and hear the words for yourselves.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

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