Sunday, December 31, 2006

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow (part deux)

Another storm and another 17 inches of snow. All major roads in and out of town closed. Stores on Main Street are closed except for the grocery store, the hardware store, and both video stores. A few photos of the storms aftermath at my house.

My husband cleaning snow off the porch with Kate helping him. Duke and visiting neighbor dog wishing they were on my side of the gate.

Compare this photo with the one taken last week. Definitely more snow but about the same number of birds in the tree.

If Duke figures out that he can jump that fence easily now, we are in big trouble.

The drifts out on the sidewalk and near the street are the worst. Nothing there to stop the wind that is blowing strong and pushing snow around in front of it.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Am I Blue?

I'm in the midst of post-Christmas let down this week. I think it is because we (my husband and I) stayed home this year. It has been relaxing but at the same time I miss my brother and sisters. They seem so far away this year. My brother is in San Diego and one sister is in Cleveland. My sister who has been living in Amsterdam is in New York City right now and seems farther away than when she was overseas. Even my baby sister who lives in Denver seems to be a greater distance away from me this year than normal. Now with another large storm bearing down on us I am sure to feel even more isolated.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Non-holiday Trivia

-A hamlet is a village without a church and a town is not a city until it has a cathedral.

The above quote is interesting to me because I've always wondered if I lived in a hamlet, village, or a town. Now I know I don't live in a hamlet because there are churches here but what am I living in? A village or a town? How does a village make the jump to being called a town? As for the difference between a town and a city? I"ve always thought the difference is in the way cars are parked on each one's main street. Towns have diagonal parking spaces- where the cars are parked nose into the curb. In cities the parking spots are lined up one after another next to the curb with each car's nose right behind the rear end of the car in front of it.

If asked, since we have diagonal parking spaces on Main Street, I would say I live in a town but in the phone book we are listed as a city. I still say I live in a town but one with delusions of grandeur.

Monday, December 25, 2006

That Holy Thing

-George MacDonald (1824-1905)

They were all looking for a king
To slay their foes and lift them high:
Thou cam'st, a little baby thing
That made a woman cry.

O Son of Man, to right my lot
Naught but Thy presence can avail;
Yet on the road Thy wheels are not,
Nor on the sea Thy sail!

My how or when Thou wilt not heed,
But come down Thine own secret stair,
That Thou mayst answer all my need-
Yea, every bygone prayer.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Letters To Santa

The five- year-olds in the elementary school kindergarten class were asked to write letters to Santa.

Dear Santa,
How are you doing? Are your reindeer in top shape? If you get the chance I would like a remote controlled truck. Also a motorbike if you could carry it. Maybe a four wheeler, also if you could get me a army man truck.
Love you Santa,

Dear Santa,
I would like a toy car to drive around in. I would also like a motorcycle.

Dear Santa,
I would like a Hot Wheels race car for Christmas. Happy Christmas! I am going to leave you some chocolates on Christmas Eve. Please open the doors because we do not have a chimney. Could you bring my Mom some jewelery? She likes jewelry a lot. My brother would like a play horse named Butterscotch for Christmas. My Dad would like more Christmas decorations for our house.

Dear Santa,
I hope you are feeling well. How is Mrs. Claus? How are your reindeer doing? I've been a very good girl this year. I'm going to leave you lots of cookies and milk. I want a computer, drum and a doll that can talk. I hope you don't get too cold on your trip around the world.

Dear Santa,
How does Rudolph's nose glow? And I would like a 12 gauge shotgun, a double gauge shotgun, a flip cell phone, a black fish with a tank, a bull (cow), the book Snow Lamb, a long dart gun, a football beanbag, and a hamster with a cage.

Dear Santa,
Is Rudolph's nose still red and bright? Are you OK? I will leave you cookies and milk. You can get in my Mom's ceiling where her closet is! I will leave you a Pepsi for breakfast! Can you sew yourself up if you get an ouchie? When is your birthday? What I want from Christmas is... Barbie dolls that dance, stuffed animals named Stamping, Carebear dolls, princess dress, tiara and jewelery.
Thank you Santa for everything!

Dear Santa,
I would like a Bratz Diamond Makeover doll. When you come to my house, I will have chocolate chip cookies and milk for you and carrots for your reindeer. Please say "Hi" to Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen. I would like you to an especially big "Hi" to Rudolph!

Dear Santa,
I want a real cellphone, a Barbie doll, baby doll, a real car, make-up, rings, earrings, and a stereo, crayon tracer to make a picture, fair dog that barks
(I think she means a toy that she saw at the county fair last August), world ball, football, beanbag, that is it. Thank you for the stuff. How are your elves? How is Mrs. Claus? A real microphone head set. That is it.

Dear Santa,
How is Rudolph and the other reindeers? Are you good and fat for Christmas? I want a digital Barbie camera. Bring me things that you think would best for me please. I am going to leave juice, cookies and milk, and carrots for the reindeer. I have a chimney that you can come in through. I won't have a fire, though. When are you going to have a baby? I have a Christmas tree for presents to go under. I have stocking so please fill them to the top. I want some markers and a coloring book. Can you bring me a doll of Frosty the Snowman? How is Mrs. Claus? Have the elves been good? Is Rudolph's nose really bright?

Hi Santa, how are you doing? How's Rudolph? For Christmas I would like a plastic snowman, a four wheeler, a toy dinosaur and a rubber turkey. When you come down the chimney there will be cookies and milk.

May you all get that rubber turkey you asked for this year. Wishing you a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Digging The Snow

I drove the truck up to the grocery store this morning without my sunglasses on and had to squint the whole way. I did not squint just because the sun was too bright. I squinted because my eyelids refused to open up all the way. I had light hitting my eyeballs from every direction imaginable and they did not like it one bit. I forgot how bright a sunlit winter day is after a big snow storm. I remedied that problem on my next outing.

Later in the morning I took Kate with me on a walk up to the Post Office. I wasn't sure if there would be any mail today but knew that stretching my legs after being cooped up for two day would feel good. Kate enjoyed it too since we walked through a couple of alleys to get there. Better smells in the alleys. After we left the Post Office we walked up and down both sides of Main Street, stepping into the street whenever we came across a section of the sidewalk that had been cleared of ice by the use of salt. The streets are snow packed and icy in some spots so a few time we both had to do some careful stepping.

I spent part of the afternoon shovelling out the driveway. If you look at the photo in the post below you can see a chain link gate in the back of the picture. That area of snow in front of the gate clear up to the house is all concrete. Today it was warm enough for me to work without a coat on. I put my big sun hat on my head, my gloves on my hands, and the ear buds of my MP3 player in my ears and started shoving snow around. I like shoveling snow. It's one of those jobs that allows you to see the results right away. Shovelling snow is also one of those jobs that is so repetitive it becomes a walking meditation. All I focused on was the movement of shovel and weight of the snow. By the end of the job I was in a kind of trance and it took a few seconds to return to complete consciousness. It is kind of like sleep walking but not so deeply.

All in all, a good day.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Hanukkah Blizzard Of 2006

We are looking at blizzard conditions out here on the plains. Went to bed last night with cold rain falling. Woke up in the middle of the night to heard hard pellets of sleet hitting the bedroom window. Woke up this morning to find 5-6 inches of snow on the ground and my porch. I had to push some it out of the way with the storm door when I let the dogs out. This storm has closed Interstate 70, between Denver, CO and Colby, KS. Two hundred thirty-four miles of road shutdown. The wind must be blowing badly for that to happen. The weather people say this thing could dump up to 24 inches of snow before it moves on and it is expected to sit over the area for the next 24 to 48 hours. Once the winds really start blowing here...

The good thing about this storm is that it is a wet and heavy snow that will produce plenty of moisture for the farmer and that we will have snow on the ground for Christmas. Color me gone. I going to go play in the snow.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

More Proof That My Dog Is Goofier Than Your Dog

My husband took Duke hunting yesterday and returned home while I was out picking up the mail. I saw the truck parked in front of the house as I was walking back and when I was about 3/4 of a block away I watched as my husband stepped through the front gate and walked over to the truck. He was carrying Duke's orange chest protector in his hand. When he got to the truck bed he put the vest in the bed. That was different. Most of the time Duke's chest protector is hung up on a hook that is attached to the laundry room wall.

By this time I had reached the alley and could see Duke in the yard. He was not wearing his collar and his head, ears, front chest and legs were wet. Great, I thought, he has rolled in something dead. But he hadn't. What he had done was find a skunk and chase it. By the time my husband got to him Duke had caught the skunk by the tail and was spinning him around. As my husband said,"Duke was giving him an airplane ride." The skunk did not enjoy his airplane ride and sprayed Duke until Duke finally dropped him. Then he scurried away as fast as he could go.

Duke was wet because my husband had used Nature's Miracle on him to remove the skunk odor and was now waiting for it to dry. After my husband finished telling me what had happened I looked back at Duke. I have never see a dog look more pleased with himself in my life.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Congratulate Me

I am Time magazine's Person of the Year. Every year Time picks the person who "for better or worse, has most influenced events in the preceding year." And this year it is me. This means I am joining past "winners" like Charles Augustus Lindbergh (first person picked), Gandhi, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Mrs. Wallis Warfield Simpson, Chiang Kai-Shek, Adolf Hitler, Winston Churchill, Elizabeth II, Pope John XXIII, Martin Luther King Jr., King Faisal, and Anwar Sadat (check out the complete list here.) Cool, huh?

They picked me. Not George Bush, or Muqtada al-Sadr, or Kim Jong II, or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, or even the members of the UN who have ignored the genocide that is going on in Dafar but me.

Now, I must admit that I am not the only person picked this year. So were you if you are using or creating anything on the World Wide Web. Yep, pretty much everyone in the world has been chosen as the Person Of The Year for being able to figure out how to use a commuter. Now, why doesn't this make me feel special instead of insulted?

Friday, December 15, 2006

Christmas is...?

I like Christmas. I like baby Jesus and the story of his birth. I like the peace on earth, good will to men philosophy. I like Christmas trees, Christmas carols and songs, Christmas lights, Christmas gifts, and the idea of Santa. Christmas is magical but the spirit of the season seems to be more accessible to children than adults.

I remember how a five-foot tall Christmas tree looked to be about twenty-feet tall when I was a little girl. The hurry Santa, I can't wait slow down of time. Shopping with my mother in downtown Denver at night. How cold it would be walking up and down 16th Street stopping to look at the Christmas windows at the May D&F, The Denver Dry Goods Company, and Neusteters department stores. The way people kept accidentally bumping each other because the sidewalks were so crowded with shoppers and window lookers.

I remember the wonder of Midnight Mass and the way the church would be lighted with what seemed to be millions of tiny white lights. How the music, the Christmas decorations, the candles, and the creche all felt so sacred. How people were jammed into pews that would normally hold at least one or two more worshipers but could not this night because everyone was wearing either an overcoat or a parka. How quiet hundreds of people could be when they want to be.

And now? Well, I won't be writing about how commercialism has hijacked a large part of Christmas. Or how, for a lot of people, Christmas begins right after Halloween; so that by the time Christmas really gets here they are sick of it and toss the Christmas tree out the day after, happy to have it over. What I am going to be writing about is how fanaticism is creeping into Christmas both religiously and politically.

A few years back I wrote about a Shepherd's Party I attended here in town. I attended one more party two years ago and was shocked when one of the attendees at that party stood up and started talking about how Jesus had died for our sins and this was what we should remember as it was more important than his birth. He then invited everyone else there to partake in bread and wine (communion) to honor his sacrifice. I did not partake. I was surprised to see others also pass up this chance.

First of all, Christmas is about the birth of a baby. A baby that grew-up to bring a philosophy of love and hope to mankind. It is not about his death. I don't know how many crosses I have seen up in lights this year but I find it very annoying each time I do see one. What happened to the Star of Bethlehem? That is the symbol of Christmas I remember. I have been told that the cross is a symbol of Christianity and therefore belongs in Christmas light displays. I disagree. The cross is also a symbol of Jesus' death and as so has nothing to do with Christmas. Christmas is a celebration of Jesus' birth; we already have a religious holiday celebrating his death, it is called Easter.

Next, there was the action that officials at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, who had placed Christmas trees all over the airport, took when a rabbi asked that a 8-foot-tall menorah be placed in the airport to coincide with the start of Hanukkah. Instead of saying yes they over-reacted and took down all of the Christmas trees amd pretty much said it was the rabbi's fault. Then, after public outrage, they reversed themselves and put the trees back up. But they did not allow the menorah saying, "we look forward to sitting down after the first of the year with not only Rabbi Bogomilsky but others as well, and finding ways to make sure there's an appropriate winter holiday representation for all faiths. We want to find out a way to celebrate the winter holidays that is sensitive to all faiths."

So, they could decide to take down and put back up the Christmas tree very quickly but they need a whole year to decide how to put up a menorah. There is a good article discussing this at the Yakima Herald Republic online.

Earlier this week I saw a news report on a Denver television station that showed a house displaying Christmas lights. Front and center was a large American flag made out of red and white lights. What the hell does the American flag have to do with Christmas? I am pretty sure Jesus was not an American citizen.

Yesterday I saw a report about a Maine Christmas wreath maker who has put Christmas wreaths on the graves in Arlington National Cemetery for the last fifteen years. This year he will be sending out wreaths for military graves all over the country. This morning I opened my copy of The Denver Post to find three photos of wreath laying ceremonies across the country. One of the photo's main focus was of several large flags blowing in the wind. The whole lay-out reminded me of Veteran's and Memorial Day news stories. This angered me greatly. I do not appreciate the military or veteran groups trying to turn the Christmas season into a time to worship at the altar of our war dead. It is opportunistic, jingoistic, and obscene.

Christmas is about the birth of a child. Christmas is about peace on earth and good will to men. Christmas is about the magic of faith. Faith in the goodness of man. Faith in the future. Faith in love. Have we lost the true meaning of Christmas? Or is the Christmas spirit still here and most people just unwilling to see it?

Thursday, December 14, 2006

My Dog's Goofier Than Your Dog

Last Thursday I had to take my dog Duke to the vet because he had, I thought, broken his nose. He had yipped loudly when my husband reached down to pet his muzzle that morning and we thought he did so because he had got zapped by static electricity when my husband touched him. When I looked at him closer I could see that his nose had an upward tilt to it and looked a little swollen. In fact, he looked like he had been chasing parked cars. Next stop-the Vet clinic.

At the clinic the Vet examined Duke and discovered that at some point earlier in the week Duke had driven something sharp into his gum right above his right canine tooth and then into the sinus right above that. The object was no longer in his mouth but the wound had abscessed and the infection had spread into his sinus. After the Vet put hot packs on Duke's muzzle to bring as much of the infection to the surface as possible I watched as he stuck a needle full of a numbing agent into Duke's gum. Duke did not like that at all. Then the Vet sliced opened the abscess and puss and blood started oozing out of Duke's mouth and nose. Duke did not like that either. In an effort to expel as much goo as possible he then forcefully massaged Duke's muzzle. Duke liked this even less than what had gone on before. After ten minutes of hell, with Duke fighting the doctor and the vet technicians all the way, they managed to get most of the puss and blood out and Duke no longer looked as if he had his nose bobbed.

I took Duke home along with two pill bottles, one with pain meds and the other with antibiotics, and instructions to put hot packs on his muzzle for five minutes followed by a massage twice a day for the next seven days. And, being Duke, he has come to enjoy his hot packs and muzzle massages. At some point he decided that the hot packs were just another way of getting water into his body and he spend each five minute period either trying to lick my wet hand or trying to lick the water off the washcloth I wrapped around his nose; as you can see in the photo below.

I think the only reason he let me do this without any protest is because he learned very quickly that he got a dog biscuit after each session. My other dog Kate also figured this out and would come sit by Duke so she could get her own biscuit. Today is the last day of this regime and Duke is doing great. He and Kate will have to figure out another way to get extra dogs biscuits from now on.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Yesterday's Double Header

-two games, contests, or events held consecutively on the same program
-Merriam-Webster dictionary

I had frustrating problems with both Blogger and HaloScan yesterday. I find the Blogger problem a little amusing because I got an invitation to switch my blog over to the new BetaBlogger. I decided to hold off because I have read about the many problems that others have had when they switched to it. That plus the fact that HaloScan doesn't work in BetaBlogger without a great deal of code hacking made me decide to stay where I am for now. Now, after reading these last two messages on Status Blogger:

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Old Blogger is currently down. The new version of Blogger in beta and Blog*Spot are unaffected. We are investigating.

Update, 5PM: This has been fixed.

Posted by Pete at 16:22 PST

Friday, December 08, 2006

We are diagnosing and fixing problems with the new version of Blogger in beta right now. Users are seeing 502 server errors when posting to blogs on the beta, and the site's overall performance is poor.

I am not sure (Stuck in the middle with you) what to do.

When I got online this morning and checked my blog I was disappointed to find HaloScan missing. I went to their page and updated my settings. Doing so brought it back. I don't know what else is going on today but I do notice that my page is taking longer to load than normal and that the hang-up is HaloScan.

This will be my only post today because I am disgusted with this technical part of the blogging experience right now.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Another Manic Monday

Four news stories caught my eye this month.

First, this about the murder of Iraqi comedian Walid Hassan. Max over at The Fifth Column wrote a thoughtful post about it and humor in our chaotic times.

Next, in Gaza City three children, the youngest only three-years-old, were killed when the car they were traveling in was sprayed with automatic rifles fire.

Then, this. The horror that is Darfur has been taken on the road.

Finally, GodMen a Christian movement dedicated to making church going and Jesus more manly in an effort to bring men back into the Christian faith. David Morrow, author of a book called Why Men Hate Going To Church, blames this lack of attendance on, "the feminization of mainline churches."

GodMen think they can chance this by showing a, more forceful, more rugged expressions of their faith.

"Thank you, Lord, for our testosterone!"

(Sigh) Just what we need in the middle of all this testosterone driven violence- more testosterone.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Santa Clause Is Coming To Town


Santa(He's sitting way in the back)

All photos of Santa from Scared Of Santa.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Monday, December 04, 2006

Friday, December 01, 2006

Santa Clause Is Coming

Now that we are truly into the holiday season it is time to talk about Santa. If you remember, last year I said I would not be letting Santa into my house because I felt he was scary. In the past I may have also mentioned my fear of clowns. If not, I am afraid of them and I blame this clown:

Frightening, isn't he? That is Clarabell the Clown from the Howdy Doody Show. I think I saw my first episode of Howdy Doody when I seven-years-old and let me tell you, when Clarabell first appeared in all his black-and-white glory I knew I had just entered Creepy City. Yikes!

Which brings me to Santa.

Santa is creepy too- remember, I have photographic evidence. And, since I also know that most of you do not believe that clowns or Santa are the least bit scary, next week I will be running a five day series of photos that prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that clowns and Santa are the most frightening people (if we can call them that) on earth!