Monday, December 25, 2006

A Quiet Christmas

It is a rather gray day today. The wind is blowing a little and it is raining. We had planned to go to the beach but have decided to stay in and stay warm by the fire. Perhaps we will read a book or two, play a game or two, watch a movie or two or simply think about all of our blessings through the glow of the candles.

We are spending this, our first Christmas in Delaware, by ourselves. Yet, we have spent time today with family and friends through the telephone and email. It is not the same as being there but it is still good anyway. Erica and Geoff will join us next weekend.

This Christmas is the first without my mother. I thought yesterday how much I miss talking with her every Sunday on the telephone. I could almost recite verbatim what she would say in those conversations but they were still so special to me. I know that she and Dad are watching over all of us this holiday and that they are happy that we have all gone on to become the good people they raised us to be. I know that we are all pretty old ourselves but I remember Mom telling me once that she thought that she worried about us as much if not more once we turned 50. She would go on about how she wished that Connie would not work so hard, that Carol would not worry so much, and that Jack would always be just Jack. Lord only knows what she would wish for me. You know, it kinda makes you feel all warm inside knowing that someone really does or really did care that much about you.

What a wonderful gift we have all been given -- family and friends.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

31 Years Today --

Today is our 31st wedding anniversary. From the picture you can see that Bill had a lot less gray hair and I had a lot less of me. It was, however, a fine wedding held at the Cathedral of the Rockies in Boise, Idaho. There was much fun and frivolity on that day.

The day itself was very gray and dark because Boise was shrouded in an inversion layer and had been for sometime. It was so foggy that there were some who could not find their way to a post reception party. Bill and I were fortunate enough to get out of Boise the next morning for our honeymoon as a priority case. They were seeding clouds to break the fog and very few airplanes were able to take off then. We got out and had a wonderful 10 days in California and then Reno and Lake Tahoe.

These 31 years have seen us several places and this year it is in Delaware. Instead of going out for an anniversary dinner tonight we went out instead for an anniversary lunch to a place that has become our favorite in Lewes. We'll plan for a more dramatic celebration next year.

Thirty one years sometimes seems like an eternity but mostly it seems like it was just yesterday. The only problem is that we have gotten older, older together. There is something nice about that.

Another Birthday!!

Happy 60th!! Kathleen!! Another friend has reached the milestone. I do not have a picture available. They are all stored away in boxes that we have not unpacked yet. But, I do need to wish her a happy day anyway.

I have known Kathleen since we were freshmen in college. She was from Pocatello and I was from Blackfoot -- two eastern Idaho towns. When I look back at those times I often think about what was the magic formula for life long friendships like this one. She is a sorority sister -- that is one reason and the most apparent. However, Kath is one of those special friends you meet along way.

The most distinctive physical characteristic of her is her beautiful red hair. But, it is her being that is so memorable and special to me. Kath is one of the funniest and smartest people I have every known. She has an amazing ability to say the wrong thing at the right time. She also is married to an amazing man who has stayed by her side through thick and thin and then some.

Kathleen has been one of those friends who moves in and out of your life through the years. There was a long while when we did not see each other or even hear from each other but when we did or do see each other it is as though no time has passed between us. There is always a laugh, a smile, a hug and sometimes tears.

One of my fondest memories is when she called on a Sunday morning (fairly early) just a few years ago and asked, "Do you want to go shopping?" She was in Pullman and driving up to Spokane. When she arrived we went to Nordstrom and spent the entire day there. We shopped, had lunch and a few glasses of wine, and then shopped some more. It was a grand day! So, grand that Bill said that I had to have permission to shop with Kathleen again. We did go shopping again.

She came to be with me after I had my knee replacement. I don't think she will ever know how much that meant to me. I miss being just a couple hours away and having an occasional dinner outing with Kathleen and Gary. They are great fun, great company and most of all great friends.

Have a wonderful day Kath!! You deserve it.

Monday, December 18, 2006

We Were Brave

Awe, the trip to Cape Cod!! A special one it was. For you see, it was the time that Robin and I had agreed to do something special in honor of having turned 60 or thereabout. We got our ears pierced. Yes, it was the first time for each of us. Now you might wonder why someone would wait for so long to have this done. I am not sure why Robin had not had it done but I know why I have not had it done before now.

The story is not long but it one wrapped in a memory of "Yuck!" Around 40 years ago I was one of the observers when my sorority sister Sandy pierced my other sorority sister Terry's ears. That was in the days of ice, cork and thick needles. I don't remember Terry screaming or anything like that. I just remember being totally grossed out and deciding then and there that that was not something I would choose to do. It was further exaggerated when Terry developed allergies to the alloys in many of the earrings available. Her ears looked like they were going to fall off her head. But, she stuck with the program especially after her Dad got her some stainless steel posts and she still wears earrings.

Robin and I went to our appointment on Thursday and I have to admit that I almost backed out of the deal. So, I went first and yes it did hurt probably because I imagined it so. Robin was much braver. After a few weeks we will be able to wear the earrings we have gotten as gifts for our birthdays.

Here are pictures to prove that we got the job done.

See, there on my left ear lobe!!

Robin being very calm!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Cape Cod

Last Tuesday we drove from Delaware to Cape Cod to visit our dear friends Robin and Dave. They retired to the Cape last year and this was first time we have seen them in a couple of years. Robin is recovering well from emergency surgery right before Thanksgiving and it was so good to see them.

On Thursday we spent a wonderful day visiting light houses on the Cape. It was a brisk day to say the least but was still very interesting and fun. Here are some pictures of those lights. Be sure to check the links to learn more about the houses.

Chatham Lighthouse

Nauset Lighthouse

Three Sisters in the Woods

Race Point Light

After viewing the lighthouses we went into Provincetown and had lunch. Provincetown is a very interesting place to visit. I hope to spend more time there at another time. The next picture is a funky downtown Christmast decoration found in Provincetown. This was created using lobster traps.

Christmas Decorations are Up

Once my birthday comes and goes, it is time to put up the Christmas decorations. For the last 10-12 years we have put the tree up around the 10th and we select the tree on Thanksgiving weekend. Now that we are in Delaware we might change that a bit. Most folks around here do not, or so it seems, put their trees up until at least the 15th which is what we used to do. In northern Idaho and eastern Washington people tended to rush the season a bit and of course we followed suit.

This year we selected a Frazier fir for our tree and after some discussion decided to put in the small living room where it is the focal point of the room and the house. After getting the tree set in its stand and centered, I put on the lights as I always do. Bill then put on most of the decorations as he always does. I unwrap them and make sure they are all together and then he puts them on the tree. This is always one of his favorite things to do. He will look at an ornament and say something like "Oh, I remember this one." And, he always says at least four or five times during the day "I just love doing this." He works on this for hours.

This is a picture of Bill putting the ornaments on this year's tree. Once he finishes this, we put the skirt around the base and I put some ribbon in appropriate spaces.

Here we have the stockings on the mantel. This too has a story. The fireplace here does not have a mantel and I could not have that. So, off we went to find some hang up shelving (block style). We found two desired shelves at Pier One and they fit perfectly. Of course, this is not a permanent fix but it works for the moment and looks pretty good if I say so myself.

The stockings are ones I made 31 years ago now. The one on the left is Bill's. It was the first that he ever remembered having. The middle one is mine. The one on the far right is for George Ann, the cat. Erica and Geoff are spending Christmas in New York so their's are not hanging here this year.

This is our snowman collection. We have picked up these little creatures here and there for several years now. There have been no entries to the collection this year but there is still time.
The guy with red earmuffs was the first entry and he came in 1978. We did not really get any others until about 1996 and have added faithfully since then. Some are gifts and some are from different places we have been.
It is fun to look at these characters and to see how many are still standing each morning when we get up. For it seems that no matter whether it is a dog or a cat, they love to walk through the setting.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

I'll Keep the Title for While Anyway--

Today is the day that I am no longer 59. Yes, I made to 60 with this year with the likes of Dolly Parton, Cher, George W Bush, Bill Clinton and so many more. The first year boomers have almost all turned 60 now. It is not that I don't want to be 60 but I would like the year to last a little longer so for now I will keep the title of this blog.

First thing this morning I was greeted by Bill with a lovely gift and birthday card. He usually does a great job in picking cards but I have to say that I am a bit miffed by his selection this year --

Really, I ask, is it necessary to have a numbered card on such an occasion? I think not! But, he had a good laugh at my expense.

This will be a quiet birthday. We will go out for dinner tonight. Tomorrow we will decorate our Christmas tree and then next week we will drive to Cape Cod where my friend Robin and I will have our ears pierced in honor of turning 60 this year.

Happy Birthday John -- We Made It!!

It is a special thing to be able to share a birthday. It is especially nice when that person is an old friend who was born on the same day of the same year. We were born on December 7, 1946 -- Pearl Harbor Anniversary babies.

I first met John (he's the one in the middle) shortly before Bill and I were married. He had been Bill's friend for several years by then and he served as one of the ushers in our wedding.

John has been a good friend through the years. He has a wonderful sense of humor and is always trying to pull one over on Bill. He also recently retired and is enjoying his projects and riding his motorcycles.

Over the years we have made every effort to somehow celebrate our birthdays together. Granted it has sometimes been on a totally different date but when we have been able to be together it has been a fun time for all of us -- John, Carolyn, Bill and I. This year we will not be able to celebrate together but we did spend some special time in November when Bill and I stayed with them at their new home in Boise. We look forward to them joining us sometime next year to celebrate here on the east coast.

Have a wonderful day John and we will toast your 60th tonight!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Milton and Lewes

As can be seen in the pictures that are included in this posting, Milton and Lewes are definitely older incorporated areas than we have lived in before. The pictures do not really show how old some of the buildings are and it is hard to get that perspective with the camera. The buildings are so close together and the streets are so narrow that is difficult to show. We are so new here that we have have not gotten into the history as we should. Some points to note here: 1) Delaware was the first state to ratify the Constitution (thus the designation, The First State) on December 7, 1787; 2) Lewes was founded in 1631 is recognized as the The First Town in the First State; 3) Milton also has a long history (founded in 1672) and is know for shipbuilding in its early days. We look forward to learning more about the pirates who visited Lewes as well as how the various wars of the Republic's early days impacted Milton.

This house is just one many that line the main streets here in Milton. As you can see they are placed very closed to the street and are also not very deep. This is possibly a townhouse by looking at the two entrances but the bay window might indicate a conversion to a single family dwelling.

I took this picture to give you some idea of how narrow the street is. I am directly across the street from the house and cannot get it all in the frame. The street, by the way, is the main street in Milton.

When I see old house like this I wonder who has lived there and what ran in the imaginations of those who lived there. I like the roof and window lines of this house.

I should probably note that we took these pictures on November 30 and it was over 70 degrees outside.

Just to get some perspective, this picture was taken looking straight up the street. It is disappointing in that it does not begin to show the uniqueness of the buildings or their historic impact. But, you can get an idea of just how narrow the street is -- only wide enough for one lane in each direction with no parking. You would definitely have to yield to a large truck.

We had lunch in Lewes on the day these pictures were taken. Lewes is so quaint and it is fun to walk around there. However, the tourist trade is a little too evident here. On winter days it is not so evident but it is hard to find a parking space and there is no doubt that the tourist or wealthy part time resident are the target market.

That said, Lewes is wonderful and we had a great lunch. We will have many more days to ponder and discover the whole area we now call home.