Sunday, December 27, 2009

Our House at Christmastime

The 12 days of Christmas ornaments hang on either side of the tree

But the most important decorations in the home are the family and friends who come into it.  God bless us, every one!

Joys of the Season

Merry Christmas
Dear friends and family,
Isn't Christmas time fun? Of course, it helps that school is out so I have a chance to follow my natural sleep patterns and have time to pursue the impulses that come into my head, but it is more than that.
Amanda is home from Multnomah where she works as Resident Director. The dorm closes for the break so she moved back here to be where the action is !

Emily spent the weekend here making her gift loaves of pumpkin bread because her oven is on the fritz, so it was part of the charm of Christmas to have the girls visiting and yummy smells pervading the house.

Then last night Brett and Nichole called to see if we had the movie IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE. We didn't, so they rented and brought it over to watch here and eat popcorn, and John and Emily joined in, too.

Today Amanda, Nichole and I are having a crafting day to finish up projects for Christmas. As you see, I am writing this little note but they are doing more artistic ventures. It's so much fun to have them here enjoying each other! I just love watching the relationships between the kids!

Saturday was a special day. Ron and I went to Saturday Market in Downtown Portland, our first visit there in many years. It was loaded with visual impressions of color and movement, the tents crowded against the city architecture, and the olfactory senses filled with incense, elephant ears, and auditory pleasures of marimba, wooden recorders, and school choirs. A robust and satisfying experience.

Then Saturday evening we went to see the Manhattan Steamrollers at the Schnitzer Concert Hall, a birthday present to Ron from Lindsay and Arthur which delighted him. After years of playing their Christmas CDs, Ron was impressed with how much more of the musical fine points you get in the live performance. The crowd was very enthusiastic and I noticed very middle-aged.! The Manhattan Steamrollers are celebrating their 25th anniversary this year and it seemed like most of the crowd started following them in 1974! So we had a day of some diversity, and people everywhere seemed to be relishing the good times.

As you see in the photo our big event this year was Lindsay's marriage to Arthur Mandjek of Cameroon, Africa. They are living and teaching in Tunis, Tunisia. They can't come for Christmas this year but are drowning their sorrows in Paris, poor things. Their wedding brought them to Portland for two months and Arthur's mother came from Cameroon and his cousins from Paris. Many friends of theirs (from her Wheaton days and their Tunisian pals) came from all over the States so it was a joyful celebration of friends joining in to make a special and memorable send-off for their new life.
We are having the kids for Christmas Eve this year because it is Brett's only day off for the weekend. We feel fortunate to have him share it with us. Swing shifts on top of sharing married kids with the in-laws makes scheduling Christmas get-togethers hard! So we enjoy these special times whenever they come. This year we are joined by our exchange student from Viet Nam, Tracy, who is living wih us as she attends her Senior year at Portland Christian High School..

Wishing you the joys of Christmas all through the year

Holly and Ron

Happy New Year

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Another golden link...

I know it's been a while since I blogged.  I would tell you why but it would be like living it over and I'm not up to it right now.  Okay, I will say this much:  After Thanksgiving here at my house, it took 3 days to get the dishes all done.  Then it was 1) my husbands birthday, 2) a baby shower for which I did the decorations and some food, 3)a women's tea for which I planned, transported a van of 12, made a salad, 4) my daughter's party at our house for which I cleaned and got the Christmas decorations up including 2 Christmas trees with her help, 5) attended a Christmas open house 6)organized and officiated a soup- potluck-and decorating party at our church. 
That was one week.  
During that time I also lost my school keys, lost the church Christmas banners, and one other thing but I've forgotten what it is!
So I'm not caught up on reading my blogs yet, let alone writing them. 

Even though I know everyone else is talking about the delights of Christmas stuff, I want to tell you what I hinted at long ago, about another link in my "golden chain" of small fulfillments.
When we went to Reno for a nephew's wedding in October, finding the covered bridge we'd seen from the train on an earlier trip was a delight and the satisfaction of a wish: I called it closing a link in my golden chain.  Well, on the way home from Reno, another one happened!

One summer --I think it was 2004--we took a driving trip down the coast of Oregon, through the Trinity Alps of northern California, down through Lassen National Park and Yosemite, camping in our tent along the way.  We were headed to Big Bear Lake in SE California to see one of our girls who was working at Pine Summit Camp for the summer.  Anyway, we dilly-dallied around until we had to hurry to arrive when she was expecting us, and in the process passed by an eye-catching little town with cute cabins and antique shops and quilts, the signs said.  Even though I cried out "Oh, Oh, Ohhhhh", we just had to drive right by.  But I never forgot the name of the town--well, I almost remembered it.

So having breakfast in Reno I asked my long-suffering husband if he knew exactly where that cute little town Gray Eagle was.  Ha ha!  He had already been thinking we might find it on the way back home.  He wondered if it was Green Eagle, or Grey Eagle, and we hunted on the California map with no luck.  But then by scrolling through his GPS he found Graeagle on a back road home.  So in the bitter cold we started out on another adventure!

 We had a few snow flurries and passed a grange hall with a big sign inviting "COWBOY POETRY READING TONIGHT" and then we were back in that cute little wide spot in the road, Graeagle.

We found out that Graeagle was formerly a mill town founded by lumber pioneers.  It was booming in the 1920's, 30's and 40's as a factory town making wooden fruit boxes for the fruit packing industry in a nearby town.  It employed thousands of workers in its prime.   Employees were forced to buy their food and clothing at the company store.  In 1956 the factory closed due to modernization and in 1958 a wealthy San Fransisco business man, West, bought the whole town.  The West family still owns it.

The homes in the above picture are nicer and bigger, and higher up than the ones on the main street.  My guess is that they were the managers' and foremen's homes.

The pictures above are the shops (alas, the quilt shop was gone) and the mill pond.  The white building was formerly the 2 room school house for the Graeagle mill children.  The last 2 pictures are heading North to Lassen and home to Portland, which we did in a hurry since we had to go to work the next morning.  But what fun to revisit that spot we had remembered.  Another charming gold link snaps shut.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Foot Traffic Flat Half Marathon July 4th, 2009

I tried this with a photo of Sauvie's Island as the background.  You can see the first of the runners beyond the field.  This is a fun technique to try, too.  I hope I won't be bothering you too much with this new thing I've learned!  I have one more idea, but I will wait for a couple of days.

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