Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Looks Like Snow

Before we moved to Oregon, we were told that it rarely snows in this west part of Oregon.  We did see snow last year.  It was on the ground for less than two days.  The snow we got yesterday didn't stick like it did last year.  But I see that there is snow on the hilltops still.

yesterday morning

droplets on our deck

our front yard

 First three were from yesterday.  Last three are from this morning

Monday, December 5, 2016


The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints introduced us to an Advent Calendar this year

Meanwhile, Jenna has decided that we need to do an additional activity each week.  Thus far most of our activities have been craft related

Day 1 Thursday - she decided we would make wreaths

Initially, Roland made two large bows, but they were nearly as big as the wreath itself

Day 2 Jenna put me in charge of Firday's activity.  We made the tree

On Saturday, we cut out snowflakes while watching "Pete's Dragon"

Day 4 - yesterday.  She put me in charge again, and so I decided we would put a puzzle together.  Roland helped us with it - well, actually ended up doing most of it.  And Jenna disappeared.  She told me to take a picture of the finished product

Sunday, December 4, 2016

No Men Beyond this Point and Balderdash

          I meant to post to my blog yesterday as I had many thoughts on my mind yesterday.  I also had to do some research for two discussion posts - which I never did get around to posting yesterday but was able to this morning.

          Meanwhile, I have two assignments to research for.  I start the history assignment first as my class is on Mondays and I have heard the lecture and have a better understanding whereas I have to wait until Wednesday to get a better understanding of the assignment.  I have already posted my discussion by then - as our initial post is due on Wednesday.  I like to have things done before they're due and not wait until the last second like some people do.

          Not much to comment on Thanksgiving.  The meal was nice.  I would have liked to have engaged in more conversation than, "could you please pass . . . ?" The men of the group seemed more interested in watching the game on TV than playing a game.  Jenna and I started out playing "Catch Phrase with the two girls who are in her primary class.  They hadn't played before, and though they were willing, it just wasn't as fun as when several are playing.  We never kept score as they had both opted not to, and then ditched us after only a few rounds.

          I think that is truly what I miss most about the holidays - playing games with family members.  We'd gotten together with Bill and Kayla a few times before we left Utah (and even one day while they were here in July) but Kayla's focus was not on the game so much as the "mommy" interruptions.

          All three of my daughters-in-law are really good at playing games, the boys, not so much.  But even now, there would be even more "mommy" interruptions, unless I were to play with either Corey or Patrick's family.

          One of Bill and Roland's favorite games is called Balderdash - where you bluff your way in making up definitions for words, a description of somebody famous enough to make it to a category, create words for initials, come up with a movie plot or finish a laughable law.  

Allow me to give some examples:

The word is Ailurophile could be:

the  amount of hair produced on a squirrel's tail

a red flower that grows in the rain forest

a lover of cats

toenail clippings.

everyone but the player reading the answers gets to guess.  Anyone guessing the correct answer gets to move forward three.  Anyone's bluff that is guessed gets to move a space for each guess.  You may receive two points if your answer is close to the real answer.  If nobody gets the correct answer, the person reading the cards gets to move three.

The name is Francesco Lentini  Is he:

the inventor of toothpaste
a three-legged soccer player

Czechoslovakian conman who swindled to scrap metal dealers into purchasing the Eiffel Tower.

          Bill was always throwing in extra body parts or taking them away.  I missed the correct guess because I thought it was his.

BDFC  are initials for what?

Blind and Deaf Foundation Corporation

Brookside Delaware Freedom Club

Barbie Doll Fan Club

          I thought Kayla was so clever to come up with Blind and Deaf Foundation - or whatever it was.  We didn't realize at the time, that the initials are usually silly and FC (thus far) always stands for Fan Club.

Movie:  Thirteen Women

A lady with hypnotic powers seeks revenge on her twelve former schoolmates.

The original tale of sleeping beauty and the thirteen gifts bestowed upon the newly born princess.

a man tries his hand at dating thirteen women all at once.

          Seems like Bill's answers would always include aliens and Roland's would include cowboys or some kind of western front plot.  Imagine the horrors when one of the titles had the real plot which included both.

And laughable laws (Jenna's personal favorite)

The law can be anything.  This is one example.

          In Salt Lake City, Utah, a person may not carry an unwrapped . . .

. . . candy bar in his pocket

. . . ukulele

. . . tissue box

          needless to say, it's not one that is enforced today.  The answer is ukulele.  And somewhere in Alabama, it is against the law to dress as any kind of clergy during the month of October.

"No Men Beyond this Point" 's actual plot sounded like Balderdash material, except the game was created 30 years before the movies.

          On Sunday, Roland and I watched "No Men Beyond this Point". It is about a  female populated world with men on the verge of extinction.  It is cleverly passed off as a documentary film - interviews with the world's youngest man (a 37-year-old) and a few others who have mostly been sent to a location I would assume similar to Indian Reservations or Topaz for the Japanese Americans, along those lines - except better fed - well sort of.  Though the food is good, we learn later on (in the documentary) that women's hormones have been smuggled into the food . . . anyway, I just saw a lot of historical themes intermingled in the obvious falsehoods of an inventive "science fiction" theme.  

          I don't know if Roland enjoyed it as much as I did.  There were parts of it that were really funny.  But I think it was there were a lot of historic undertones about how different races have been treated or stereotyped all throughout history.  I don't know if I would have noticed as much as I did if I weren't as focused on historic events because of my class right now.

          Anyway, those were my thoughts.  Now that I've taken quite a lengthy break, I shall continue with my research toward suffrage and equality.  Perhaps I may be able to smuggle in a few ideas from this film?  I don't know yet.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Christmas Books: Legends, Traditions and Truth

        I have several Christmas books which I bring out each year to look through and to share.  The Kingfisher Book of Classic Christmas Stories.  

        They're not the traditional Christmas stories that are told every year - at least in my household.  The collection shares stories from around the world

       I used to have another book of story collections.  The book itself was read and I believe the print was green and sometimes hard to read.  Same with God's Vitamin C.

        I also have six other thought books with fun quotes and inspirational messages; four were from Randy, Tony, Frances, and Pamprin.  The other two joined my collection years later when I found them amongst used books


        One year when Corey and my mom were both working at the Costume Closet, my mom gave me "I Believe In Santa Clause"

        a wonderful book which explains the Symbol of Santa Clause with beautiful illustrations by M. Chad Randall, focusing on Santa and Jesus Christ

        I have another book that explains a few of the traditional symbols that are used.  It is my oldest book, one I had retrieved from mom's collection.  

        The illustrations all look like detailed coloring pages.  We haven't colored it yet, but I intend to at least start it with Jenna this year.

 There are two children's books - one is in Spanish because I want Jenna to be able to remember it still.  Most of the children's books were left behind for Ester.
Jingle Bugs did not make it to the book display this year.  

        Two or three years ago, I had purchased this book for Jenna

        Most of it is fictionalized.  It tells us about Santa's house, the elves, the reindeer, Santa's Sleigh . . . but intermingled in the pages are the Elves' handbook,  envelopes in which to retrieve letters or gift tags (six were included with the book; it appears that we have used four), a few things can be pulled to reveal "secrets".

         This telegraph comes with the book; it is one of many things "hidden" within the book

        But despite its make-believe descriptions, there are also "truths" within the pages.  For example, the open page tells us how magic is used to help Santa with the time factor of delivering presents in only 24 hours.  But in the square below is an accurate description of snowflakes.

        Our last year in Utah I purchased two new books to take to the Christmas dinner.  They are currently the most recent Christmas books in our collection.

 This shows an open page in which 
    we not only get to look for Santa
  but an entire list of things to search for

Friday, December 2, 2016

Four Nativity Sets

          The year I started my blog I had 29 posts in December.  I did not post on Christmas day or the 28th or 30th.  I tried to do something inspirational for each day - although that didn't pan out as well as I had hoped.

          Yesterday I started my post on ornamental traditions and decorating.  Roland has asked what happened to the nativity set that he purchased  for me - the one which included the Christmas chicken (see here)         

          I may have left it in West Valley - whether intentional or not, I don't know.  We did leave in a hurry and I didn't pack all the Christmas things.  I intentionally left things for the boys to go through; Randy said that he needed a nativity.  Maybe I gave it to him.  I don't know.  There are actually things I remember putting out last year that I can't find this year.

          On our fireplace, we have four nativities

The first one is one that Jenna did in grade school.  Maybe it was primary.  I forget.  I think we were living in the West Valley house.

The two that are in the middle I have already mentioned in this post here - though I don't think either lamb goes with the set.  I think the larger of the two lambs might have been included with the set Roland has been asking about.  The smaller lamb is plastic - it came from a thought card that had been given to either Jenna or me.  The box did not come with the set either, and looks somewhat out of place.

the last one was given to my mom shortly after she was admitted to Alta Ridge Assisted Living.   

It was a friend she had known from San Francisco.  Ironically, they were both born in the same hospital in Ogden, Utah.  They both worked for the FBI and both had moved back to Utah and were both living in Midvale and would go out to eat once a month - even after mom's dementia.  I think I went to at least four of the lunches after mom had her driver's license taken away.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Ornaments and Decorations

          Roland decided to put up the lights and bringing out the tree and decorate the Saturday after Thanksgiving.  We had actually done that one other year when we were living in the West Valley House.  We had put the tree up right after Thanksgiving, and I think I took it down before New Years - which is unusual.  I'm always disappointed about having to take the tree down - except for that year.  Our house was tiny as it was.  Having the tree out made it less spacious.  That house actually does not have a lot of positive memories for me.

          We had a lot of space with our first house in Oregon.  I thought I would miss it - but haven't thought about it really.  And that is a blessing.  I took this photo of Jenna and our decorated house  this morning. 

          I think our house looks smaller from the outside than it actually is.  Our West Valley House looked bigger than it felt.  It felt smaller than this house.  Our Tri-City house is certainly better ventilated.

          In my last post, I made the comment on how much I miss games and visiting with family members.  On the plus side, I was able to put up a bunch of fragile ornaments that my tree hasn't seen for some time.

Santa Clause - U.S.

Father Christmas - England

Papa Noel - Belguim

Pere Noel - France

St Lucia - Sweden

St Nicholas - Netherlands

          I don't know how many years it's been since I purchased the Franklin Mint's "Faces of Christmas Around the World" ornament collection, one ornament at a time.  I had also purchased Grolier's Disney Collection but did not continue.  I don't think they are well-made.  But I do like these ones from Franklin Mint.

Kolyada - Russia

Christlkindll- Germany

Christmas Angel - Hungary

Le Befana - Italy

sinterklaas nethlands

Julenisse - Denmark

I find it interesting that there are two figures represented with the Netherlands, and no Three Kings associated with many Latin  countries

         In my family, my mom and dad always purchased new ornaments every year - which has resulted in a Hodge assortment throughout the years.  That's what I grew up with.  That's what I know.


          I think Roland would rather just have candy canes and baubles.  We had a silver tree one year to appease him.  All of us thought it was boring.  But perhaps we can buy several colored baubles when they go on sale and try for his tree again next year?

          Last year each of our boys had one daughter, and we did too.  I thought it was interesting that each household had Mommy*Daddy*daughter.  I made these ornaments for last year:

          This year I purchased four ornaments and let Jenna choose from the assortment which ornament should go where

          She decided to keep the deer for our tree.  She picked the snowflake for Tony's family. The nativity is for her oldest brother, Biff.  And that left the holly for Randy's family.