06 December 2008

Meredith's Birthday 2008: Part Two

The morning after Meredith's birthday dinner on Friday night, we all piled in Stacy's vehicle and drove up to McCall. Oh, how I love McCall. I would live there some day.

McCall in summer

Ack! How can you sleep when all this beautiful scenery is passing you by?! Although I guess I can't be too hard on Kara and Karla, since my parents said the same thing to me for approximately 8 years while I slept in the back seat of the family Suburban.The Birthday Girl
Yes, it's really this pretty...
The road to the hot springs. I love these hot springs - it's commercialized and you have to pay to get in, but there are five or six different rock pools, all different temperatures. You can always find the one that's just right.
On the way out from the hot springs. Tall pines, bright green pastures, happy cows.
Karla and Meredith enjoying their milkshakes at Cougar Mountain Lodge, right before someone (?) spilled an entire shake on the floor. They make them on an old-fashioned milk... uh... shaker, circa 1950's.Heading home!
Ahhh... I could stare out the window at this all day.
2008 was a really high year for the river. This is the beginning of a long section of rapids...

We drove back to the valley just in time to see the Emmett Cherry Festival parade! This is old-town Emmett, with an appropriately old pickup. I love old red pickups. But sadly the vendors at the festival were out of new red cherry pie. Very Sad.

A really fun weekend that will be hard to top next year!

Meredith's Birthday 2008: Part One

From the camera archives again.... :-)

Meredith celebrated her 28th birthday this year! She and I were actually driving down to Nevada on the day of her birthday (June 6) for her cousin's high school graduation, but we aren't ones to miss an opportunity to celebrate. We simply postponed to the next weekend.

Get off the phone Meredith! Let's get this party started!
Meredith and her friend Stacy
Karla, Meredith's co-worker (and friend)
Meredith and me. In our Night-Out-on-the-Town Black. It's tradition by now.
The Reef is a Carribbean/Jamaican place downtown, serving lots of dishes with Jamaican jerk sauce (awesome jerk burger!) and Meredith's new favorite, coconut-crusted chicken. The view from our table (second story).
Blown glass artwork hanging over the stairwell that leads up to the restaurant. I hope they have good insurance.

Part two next...

Better Late Than Never

I might as well have five posts titled the same as this one... I cleaned out the memory card on my camera today and transferred everything to my computer. So I have a few posts coming with ancient pictures. Not that May of this year is really ancient, but, you know...

Earlier this year I was able to fly to California to spend Memorial Day weekend at my parents' house, along with my brother Jerry and his wife Bernice (currently from Chicago) and their little James. Can I just say that James is the cutest kid ever? Yeah yeah, I hear you yelling "Bias!" yada yada yada...
James teaching Jerry and Bernice how to use the computer My parents' house, where I grew up from age 5 to 22. It's the "family farm", on my mom's side, along with the 60 acres of almonds surrounding it. But no, we aren't farmers. For the 1,374,835th time.
The jasmine my mom planted in front of the garage door. Smells. So. Good.
We may not be farmers, but we are ranchers! My parents raise a couple beef cattle every year or so, for their own use. Although I'm not sure Betsy here is really destined for that purpose. She seems waaay too friendly.
Ooops... Did I do that?
Whatever, Betsy. You're always looking for attention, just because you know people can't resist your big brown Jersey eyes. But I'm ok with that. I really am. I'll just hang out over here with the goats.
Bernice and James. James! Hey James!
Yeah I'm talking to you, kiddo. Hi.
Can I just squeeze you now? You little gangsta you.

Christmas is here!

Originally I was going to title this post "O Tannenbaum, O Tannenbaum! (insert other lyrics here)", but when I searched for the lyrics, I found out that the song was all about how pretty and "loyal" a fir tree is, and I was unimpressed. Christmas is better than that.

Here is my Christmas tree, in all its dwarfish glory. There is a star on top, but sadly I didn't realize I was leaving it out when I took the picture. Sorry, gold star!

If you click the picture, you can see a close-up version. I have collected these ornaments over the past 10+ years from various people and stores. It seems I have an affinity for stars, hm.
Purple star, top left (you can barely see it - it's setting sideways): this is from Melinda D, whom I have known for many years. I think this was a Christmas present a few years ago.
Silver bell with red gingham ribbon, top right: This was attached to the top of a canister of gingerbread pancake mix given to me at the V Family's house for correctly reciting the 12 days of Christmas.
Large silver sparkly stars, middle left and right: I bought these at Macy's Christmas store in the fall of 2002. I remember because I was at Master's College at the time and my friend Miriam K was in Costa Mesa for a work conference. I drove an hour and a half down to where she was staying, and we spent an evening shopping at South Coast Plaza - the biggest, most upscale mall I've ever been to, quite possibly. One visit was enough.
Gold pinecone, middle: I remember this one well. I was somewhere in my early teens (?) and my friend Elizabeth had invited me to stay with her family in Gualala Bay for Thanksgiving (or some weekend really close to Thanksgiving). Her mom gave us crafts to do with some of the other kids there, and we had a lot of fun with the glitter. I also had a huge crush on her brother at the time and he helped me build a sand castle at the little beach near our cabin, which you had to use a rope ladder to access. Good times. No, I never did date her brother. [Side note regarding Google maps: From the default overview of the US, I typed in "g bay, california" and was directed to California, Maryland. huh? So I typed in "california" and the same town appeared. Whaaaatt....? Third time's the charm, I guess...]
Red mitten, back right: You probably all remember these from Starbuck's last Christmas. I got two gift cards, and yes the mittens were cute, so I kept both of them. Too bad they don't have opposing thumbs.
Gold metal star with long red thread, center: Did I get this from you Mom? I've had it for a few years, and it's spent a lot of time out and about, free from the Christmas storage boxes.
Blue and white paper snowflake, center right: This is from my friend Sarah C, whom I met at Master's. I was too intimidated to talk to her in the beginning because she was tall and artistic and gorgeously Italian, but we became friends by ditching the second half of Systematic Theology together in favor of frozen yogurt in the caf at 8:30pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays... that was the only class in my entire school career that I ever ditched. She was from New Jersey and hating life in Southern California, and I was from Northern California and hating life in Southern California. She encouraged me to get out and explore LA instead of studying (Getty Center!) and I encouraged her to cut her long hair short the day before she went home for Christmas. Neither of us returned to Master's in the spring, and so I have never seen her again. Our lives have gone in very different directions but we still keep in touch through that great equalizer, Facebook.
Red and white cloth ball, back right: I have no idea. If you gave this to me, would you please let me know? :-) Ditto on the red star, lower right.
Crystal stars with gold tips, upper left far back, and lower left, center: I think I bought these, but I have no idea where or when I got them.
Green pear, lower left in the back: This was from an ornament exchange either at work or with a church group, I can't remember. At first I thought, "Oh! A.... pear.... ?" but since then it has grown on me and I will keep it for a very long time. Pears are at the top of my Most-Liked-Fruit list, in case you were wondering. And even if you weren't.
Smore girl, bottom center: Oh yes, the Smore girl... what would life be without smores?? I got this as a gift from someone in my family, it was either Bernice or Mom. It makes me laugh. It even has blonde wavy hair. Someone put in a very special order to the Christmas ornament factory that year.
Little silver stars, everywhere: I bought these, which came a dozen in a little silver bag, at... at... somewhere. I know they were on sale.
Also on the tree, behind and to the left, barely visible are two other ornaments. One is a tiny little snowman with wire loop angel wings, with my name printed on the front. That was from Mom (or course!). The other is one called "Tea for Two", given to my by Bernice I think, and it's two little people who have sugar cubes for feet, forks for arms, and teacups on their heads. Their bodies are made out of cupcakes and they both have a tea bag draped across their arm. The tea bags even have little tags that dangle.

The tree is pretty much the extent of my Christmas decorating, with the exception of little white lights around the windows and 2 electric candelabras that my mom gave me to put on my windowsills. I really like the way they look like candles sitting in your window at night. Last year I also added this arrangement to my collection, which was a gift from my boss Heather. It has little sparkly pine cones! :-)

I didn't intend to make this such a reminiscent post, but Christmas ornaments have memories built in, right? Especially ones gathered across many years. That's why I love decorating my tree - I'm reminded of God's many blessings.