Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Magic

Childhood Christmas memories are stronger and better than any others. I remember waking up early, and going out to plug in the Christmas tree. Those big 2 inch lights lit up the entire room, and I sat there just enjoying it. Every 30 minutes or so, I'd go ask Mom, "Can we get up now? Is it time for Christmas yet?" Of course, I didn't realize at 3:00 in the morning, that she probably hadn't been asleep too long. Why isn't she excited about Christmas? By 4:30 or so, she would let me open one present, if I promised not to bother her again for a few hours. In triumph, I'd plug the lights back in and find the book I knew would be there. The Bobbsey Twins latest adventure read by Christmas tree lights - now that's a thrill!

My mother was one of six children, and all of them lived in our little town except one uncle. Grandma's house was stuffed with aunts and uncles and cousins, the windows steaming till we had to open the door to let the heat out. We made fresh chicken salad and ham salad every year, and Grandma's famous 3 layer Christmas Jello mold. Of course, we kids would only eat the plain red layer! The house had high ceilings - 10 feet at least - and we went to an uncle's farm to cut a fresh cedar tree for Grandma, one that would brush the ceiling. The first year she had a store bought pine tree I just about cried. The moon and stars always shone brighter at Grandma's house on Christmas Eve than any other place or time, throwing shadows on the sidewalk.

It's funny how the holidays tend to blur together as an adult. Maybe it's because we feel pressed by the responsibilities of our families, and just don't capture those individual moments as much as we did when children. I'll have to ask my kids if they have any special memories and see what sticks in their minds. For now, my blessings are my husband and children. Everyone is healthy and either employed or retired as they wish. In this economy, having a job is good, even if it's not necessarily the job of your dreams.

Merry Christmas, and God Bless Us Every One!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Six Random Things

A side effect of sitting before a computer in the IT Department all day is that I don't get on my computer at home unless there are some new photos to work with. Thus, it took over a week for me to see that Katdoc had tagged me for this! Sorry for the delay Kathy, but here goes. And Merry Christmas!

1. Athletic Activities: I used to go whitewater rafting in West Virginia every fall, on the New River or the Gauley. One year we went on the Upper Gauley (serious whitewater) during the remnants of Hurricane Hugo. I smashed my front teeth in on the paddle, and after three root canals to repair the damage, decided to take up riding and showing American Saddlebred horses, a safer activity! Now hiking around looking for birds is as active as I get--as long as it doesn't make me sweat.

2. Trivia: I love trivia! Jeopardy is my favorite TV show. I took the online test once, but didn't do very well, so I'll just continue being the armchair Jeopardy champion. I've always wanted to know everything.

3. Retirement: It's coming soon, and I have great plans. I want to write a book about the Falls of the Ohio using my photos. The Kentucky Raptor Rehab can always use more volunteers. I'll be the best raptor presentation giver they've ever had! Or course, we want to travel too - National Parks, Wildlife Refuges, any place with birds and nature.

4. Winter: Winter makes me SAD. It's dark when I leave for the office and dark when I come home. I pack a lunch, and don't get out at all during the day. I'd like to just hibernate like a bear and sleep until Spring.

5. Warm and fuzzy: I have a double sided fleece blanket (with cardinals on it) which is the warmest thing I've ever seen. The cat sits on my lap and we both are comfy cozy for a nice nap in the easy chair.

6. Mountains: I burned up a set of brakes (literally - there was smoke trailing behind us) in the Smokies once and have distrusted mountains ever since. At Rocky Mountain National Park, I got altitude sickness and felt just awful till we came back down to a lower elevation. I have absolutely no interest in skiing since it requires both mountains and cold.

So that's about all there is to know about me....

Now, who to tag next? I follow the same people's blogs that Katdoc does mostly. That's how I found her and her wonderful sense of humor. We have friends who volunteer with my husband at Bernheim Forest and Arboretum. They don't have individual blogs mostly, but all contribute to one jointly, so I'm going to tag several people there. If I've tagged anyone else who has been tagged a dozen times before, my apologies.

Bob Lenning at Naturewriter and Thingamabobs
Wren at Naturewriter
Tavia at Naturewriter
Terrell at Naturewriter
Swampy at Swampthings
Kathie at Sycamore Canyon
Here are the rules for Six Random Things:

1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Write six random things about yourself.
4. Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them.
5. Let each person know they've been tagged and leave a comment on their blog.
6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.