The Week Between

Santa has hung up his hat for another year.

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There really ought to be a name for the week between Christmas and New Year’s.  I mean, you just spent weeks in a wild scramble to decorate, buy gifts, wrap the gifts, plan a special meal, attend a Christmas cantanta, do some partying if you are so inclined and then Christmas comes and all the gifts are opened, the family comes, the family goes and in a few hours, it’s over.  I spent the day after coming down from a complete high.  Nothing to hurry to get done.  No cleaning to do. No where to go.  Ahh, sweet, sweet nothingness.   Sleep in, read, knit just for the enjoyment.  Work on a new little project I was chomping at the bits to start before Christmas.  But I still felt a little lost. Like something was missing.  The week of nothingness.   I just wish Christmas had  lasted longer.  And all the tv has is reruns.  Glad we have Netflix, but we finished the final show in the series of Longmire, which had quickly become my favorite show on television.  I understand there will be a sixth season of it so will have to wait until it comes on Netflix. If you haven’t seen it and like good stories, good acting, handsome men and the west, you will love it.  Lou Diamond Phillips is in it and he’s a hunk and the star, Robert Taylor isn’t bad either. (Hope David doesn’t read this!)  If we didn’t have Netflix, we probably would not watch much tv.  I am trying to cut back and do more reading.  I’ve put several books on my Kindle.  Does anyone else who has Kindle feel like they read faster than when reading from a book?   I feel like I fly through books now.  I got Kindle Unlimited because I was buying so many books.  Now I can read as many as I want for the price of one book.   There is an author I discovered, George Mahood, who has written books about things he has done like bicycle from the bottom tip of England to the top tip of Scotland with no money, no bicycle and no clothes, except the shorts he had on.  No bicycle, you ask?  You will have to read the book.  He and a friend did it in three weeks with absolutely no money in their pockets.  He wrote a book about a trip he took through the United States which was really good and made me love my country even more. That book was called, “Not Tonight, Josephine.”  You will have to read it to find out who Josephine is.  It’s nice when someone from another country says so many nice things about my country.  Another book he wrote was about different holidays no one has ever heard of before and he tried to celebrate one each day of the year.  Did you know that January 2 is cats’ new year?  It’s called Happy Mew Year. If you want to laugh out loud, read one of his books.

We are the grandparents of four brand new golden retriever puppies.  Our daughter’s dog had them on my grandson’s, her son’s birthday.  What a gift.  We haven’t seen them yet, but hope to see them this week.  I will get some pictures to show you.

Now that the new year is here, I am planning.  One of the things that makes life worth living, is to have something to look forward to. I read that somewhere.  Someone to love, something to do and something to look forward to.  I have been blest all my life with all three.     I am always planning. I have known friends who were still making plans on their deathbed.  I think that is the human condition.  We make plans.  Of course, life almost never goes as we plan it which is what makes it so interesting.

This Christmas almost everyone got socks that I had hand knitted.  It became a running joke as each person opened a package and there were socks.  My youngest grandson looked at me with a worried look and said, “Grandma, I hope I’m not getting socks!”   He didn’t.  All the younger boys got train sets this year. And Nerf guns with plenty of Nerf bullets.

Here is a picture of those who got socks this Christmas, or at least their feet.

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From the leftover yarn I am knitting patchwork socks.  I already have a pair ready for next Christmas!

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Yes, it was a sock year.

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Once you have worn hand knitted sock, you never want to go back to store bought.  They are warm and comfy and stretchy.  One year I bought a couple of pair of socks from the Ralph Lauren store that were really cute, but when I got them home, they had absolutely no stretch in them.  I could barely get them over my heels.  Sad, too, because they were really, really cute.  I have no trouble getting hand knit socks on and off.  I hope they last longer than store bought socks also.

Not to say we have been doing nothing this week.  I made a big pot of potato soup with jalapeno and cheese sausages.

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David and I spent a quiet New Year’s Eve. We went to an Italian restaurant and ate dinner. That night while watching one of the New Year’s shows I suddenly got hungry for pancakes.  “I’ll make some, ” David said.  And he did.

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With strawberry preserves and whipped topping.  Yum.  What better way to end one year and start the next.  I just said we were having breakfast extra early.

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The project I have worked on this week were these little trees  Patchwork pines.  Tattered Trees.  They are  the creation of Ann Wood, a blogger I just discovered who makes the cutest things out of used things, paper machine and  anything she can find.  She provided the pattern for these for free.  I, of course, could not make just one and ended up with a little forest of them.

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Then I put them with little houses my daddy had made years ago and made a little village on our mantle.

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With kissing Grandpa and Grandma, of course.  Ha.

Besides all the other things going on, we had three birthdays in December and on Christmas day we celebrated our youngest grandson’s eighth birthday.  It’s hard for me to think he is already this old. Just seems he was born and he’s half grown almost.

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I made him a cake with a banner with his name on it.

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He seemed happy with it.

And just because we have nothing else to do, David and I started a puzzle this week.

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I ordered this from the Current catalog months ago and we said we’d wait until after Christmas to start it.  It is really a fun and interesting puzzle to do.  Not sure about the marijuana leaves on it, but some states have legalized it.  Even though I was a teen and a college student in the sixties, I can honestly say I have never tried marijuana  and don’t plan to start.  I have always been careful about the drugs that go into my body.  I don’t like taking aspirins too well, but will if necessary.

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This is a pretty big puzzle.  I like how the light is shining on it right now.

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Spread out on two tables. David is really the puzzle maker in our house.  I get impatient and frustrated after a while and have to leave. David will sit for hours working on it and he is not intimidated by all the white pieces in this puzzle.

Well, we don’t know what this year will bring.  Just living it one day at a time and trying to enjoy every moment.  I hope January goes really slow.  We will have a presidential inauguration and David’s birthday on the same day.  That will be fun.

This is the year I am going to start walking again  I was up to five miles a day a couple of years ago and then I hurt both my legs at different times and it was hard to walk a mile without pain, so, this is the year I am going to try to get back to walking again.   I will start slow with a mile or so and work up from there.  I will keep you posted and maybe you would like to start this journey with me.  After all, a journey begins with just one step.  Bye.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Fresh Start

Ah, a brand, spanking new year to celebrate.  Clean, bright and shiny with nothing to tarnish it for a short time.  Once the clock says twelve midnight, we say good-bye to 2016 and hello to 2017.  When I was a young girl, this year would have seemed like it would take  forever to get here.  I would be an old lady then(or older lady, anyway.)   There would be flying cars and robots doing all our work for us.  Well, it hasn’t turned out quite like that, but things sure have change a lot since I was a child.

When I was a child, we still had television antennas and three or four channels.  We had no indoor plumbing and we heated with wood and coal oil.   We did have electricity and telephones but the phones were connected to the wall and we could only take the phone as far as the cord would stretch.  No telephone conversations that the whole family could not hear.   My daddy drove a big old station wagon and we could sit clear in the back without seat belts and even lay down and take a nap.   I was raised on a farm where the animals were fed and cared for before my daddy would come in to eat.   We ate our meals around a table with conversations and no cellphones to interrupt. Now, it’s the other way around. Conversations interrupt people texting on their phones.  I don’t call that progress.  I call that sad.   Every meal was freshly prepared by my mother, who was the best cook in the county, if not the state. Never any takeout meals.  No McDonald’s or Wendys when I was growing up. Our little town did have a restaurant, but I don’t think our family ever ate in it.     We washed dishes by hand together, drying them with a towel and talking as we worked.  Until we had a bathroom installed, we washed from a wash basin in the kitchen.  My mother would cover all the windows with newspaper so no one could see us bathing.

I enjoyed growing up on my daddy’s farm.  I think I had one of the best childhoods anyone could wish for.  I spent hours in the barn playing.  I dreamed of having a horse and every Christmas I always thought I would get one.  I did get one, but my brother helped me buy him and I will be forever indebted to him for being such a good big brother for helping me get my horse.   I roamed the farm playing with all the animals, even the baby pigs and calves that were born in the Spring.  I rode my horse on the country roads and even into town.   I worked in our garden, fed the chickens, helped my mother clean the house.  We were always cleaning house, it seemed.   We washed clothes in a wringer washer and I loved putting the clothes through the wringer, being careful not to catch my fingers in it.  We hung our clothes out to dry. I still miss the scent of air dried clothes, fresh from the clothesline  My mother didn’t get a washer and dryer until after I got married and left home.  Mother did the washing every Monday and I helped do the ironing on Tuesdays.  Fridays we always had hamburgers for dinner which was a treat for me.  Saturday dinners were always fish.   Sunday dinners were almost always fried chicken or beef roast. Saturday night and Sunday night suppers we got to eat on a tray in front of the television and it was the only time I got to drink a coke.

I never thought I would grow up, grow old and not live on a farm.  I still have a farmer’s daughter’s blood running through my veins and I always will.  I loved when every new year came.  I always got a diary for Christmas and loved writing on the very first page about the very first day of the brand new year.  Some day I will share some of my diaries writings.  But not all of them!  Some things must remain private!

We don’t know what this new year will bring.   I know we will get a new family member through marriage.  Will I get a new puppy?  More chickens?  Will David and I journey someplace new?  Will we lose a loved one?   Will we keep our good health?   Will I gain a new friend?  Every day when I get up, I pray God will send me another friend.   I pray for all my friends.  Some have had a bad year and some have had good years. I have lost several friends in 2016.  We have seen several celebrities die. Ones I watched when I was a girl.  We don’t know what life will bring us in the coming year, but we can know one thing. We can have a relationship with the very One who gave us life and put our trust in Him.  My hope is in Jesus Christ.  Whatever befalls me, He has my back.  I am not alone in this walk through life.

So for all of you reading this, I pray for God’s blessings on you and that this year will bring you peace, joy and love.  Love being the greatest of these.

Happy New Year, friends.  Bye.

 

On This Most Blessed Day

 

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The tree is up and shining,

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The stockings have been hung.

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Santas on the mantle,

Carols to be sung.

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Manger scene so precious,

God’s own little boy.

Here on earth to bless us.

Bringing hope and joy.

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Children so excited,

World is all aglow.

Christmas will be coming,

Awaiting the first snow.

Carols sung with gladness,

Hope is all around.

The Christ child came to save us,

Our blessings to abound.

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What’s your prayer this Christmas?

Peace to all mankind?

Fellowship with others?

Our hearts as one to bind?

No better present ever,

Than God’s own holy Son.

Seek Him first this Christmas,

So we can all be one.

A very blessed Christmas to you all.   See you next year!  Bye!

original poem by Kate Craig

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Inn Keeper

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a degree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed……….And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city, Nazareth, into Judea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem;(because he was of the house and lineage of David:) to be taxed with Mary, his espoused wife, being great with child.

And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.  KJV Luke 2:1-7

No room for them in the inn.  Has that ever happened to you?  It has happened to David and me.  One time when we were traveling, we stopped in a college town to find a motel.  We didn’t know that there was a major football game happening there between two rival teams and we could not find one motel with a room in that town.  We traveled to the next town.  Same thing. So we drove and stopped at motels and I would run in and ask, “Do you have a room?”  and  I was told several times, “No, sorry.”  So we had to drive a good distance from the first town we had stopped at to find a place to lay our heads that night.  I kind of understood how Joseph and Mary felt when they arrived in Bethlehem and they could not find a place to sleep. Plus, Mary was in her ninth month of pregnancy and was due any time.

Not a whole lot has been written about the innkeeper who told them they could stay in his stable.   Some think he was cruel.  Others say, “How dare he not give a room to the holy family?”  Well, he didn’t know at the time they were a holy family.  Only Mary and Joseph knew who the baby was that Mary was carrying.  God’s only Son.   I am sure they had kept it quiet ever since they found out Mary was pregnant and still a virgin.

In Bethlehem in those days, there weren’t motels and hotels like we have today.  Most inns were probably quite small and accommodations were probably crude, at best.  No white, fluffy towels.  No showers.  No bathrooms, probably.  No little bottles of lotion and shampoo.  So, all the inns were full to capacity because people had come to Bethlehem to be taxed.  The city’s inns were overflowing, kind of like when there is a Super Bowl happening in a city and you can’t find a motel room anywhere.

So, here is an innkeeper, looking at this young couple at his door. The girl(Mary was probably in her teens) was obviously pregnant and he had no more rooms to let.  What was he to do?  He had a stable( more like a cave) that he knew was dry and warm and had clean straw, so he gave them the choice of staying there and they took it.

If you have never been in a barn, you would not know that it can be a very cozy place.  When I was growing up. I played in my daddy’s big, red barn almost every day.  In the Summer it was cool.  In the Winter, it wasn’t exactly warm and toasty, but it was comfortable.  If there were cows, pigs and my horse in it, it was warmer because of their warm bodies heating it up.  I loved the smell of the barn.  I would lay in the straw in the barn loft and play with kittens that were born between the hay bales.  A stable is not the worst place you could find yourself.

So Mary and Joseph went to the stable and looked around and found a manger, from which the cattle ate, probably found some straw and padded it and awaited the birth of their son.  And when Jesus was born, they found some rags in the stable and wrapped him up in them and laid him in the manger.  Why would God allow His son to be born in a lowly place like a stable?  Prophets had foretold hundreds if not a thousand years before Jesus’ birth, that he would be born to a virgin, of humble estate.   There are several reasons why Jesus was born in the stable, but the main one was to show the world the humbleness of the man that would be.  That he came, not to conquer the world, but to save it.   It may have been God’s way of protecting  Jesus because the king of that country was looking for the Savior and king that was to be born.  He would never have thought of looking in a stable for a king.

Anyway, I believe the inn keeper was in God’s plan.  He provided the humble place for Jesus to be born.  He was not mean. He did the best he could.

In this glorious season celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, and that is what Christmas is really all about, let us thank God for the wonderful blessing he gave to us that first Christmas day and say a thank you to the inn keeper who provided a safe, dry and warm place for the holy family to stay. May our hearts provide a place for Jesus in them, too.  Bye.

 

 

 

Despite

Despite it is only five days before Christmas and despite I haven’t finished shopping yet and despite I haven’t wrapped any of my presents(David has almost all his done) and despite I haven’t decided what I want to feed the mob coming Sunday and despite the house needs a good cleaning and despite the henhouse really needs a clean out and despite I really need to go to the grocery to get enough food for Sunday and despite I really need to get a new hairdo(which will not happen before Christmas, now)  and despite I feel this sense of urgency, this is what I am doing instead.

I get up lazily every morning. That’s what you can do after you are retired after decades of working and raising children.  It’s been really cold here and getting out of my warm heated bed is so hard to do. I make coffee and pour some peppermint creamer in it and light the cedar candle.   After Christmas, I just may plan one day to spend in bed and read and sleep.   Like that will really happen.

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I all of a sudden decided today I needed to go through all the magazines I have collected through the years. Don’t judge me.  I have magazines from the 1970’s and still love looking through them. Magazines were much better years ago. A lot more reading in them and less ads and pictures.  Now they are all ads(mostly drug ads) and pictures with very little reading to do.  I remember when Good Housekeeping had several stories in them every month.  I don’t know why I felt this was something I needed to do, but I found satisfaction in it.  I find magazines that set me off on my love of antiques.  The décor in our house seems to have evolved through the years depending on what the magazines had in them.

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I have been knitting patchwork socks using the leftover yarn from all the socks I have been knitting.   Yes, I need to get this done immediately!

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Binding a Christmas quilt that still won’t be finished this Christmas.

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My Christmas Chickens quilt.  I still have some quilting to do on it.

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Feeding the birds. They eat all this in one day.

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Loving seeing these pretty boys in the shrubs.

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Watching this silliness on the bird feeder and laughing.

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Watching Longmire on Netflix and taking naps.  I am under all these quilts and blankets.

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Playing with these two.  I have a gun that shoots tennis balls and they would play chase the ball all day as long as I have treats for them.  See how alert they are?  I have treats in my hand.

 

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Going around the house snapping pictures of things that look Christmasy to me.

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And last but not least. I found a new blog by a woman who creates wonderful things out of fabric, paper mache, and found objects.  I will write about her blog sometime.  Anyway, she made these really cute little trees and provided a pattern and directions for them, so, of course, I had to stop everything I was doing to try to make a few of them.  I will show you after they are finished. They don’t look like much now, but trust me, they will look cute, I hope.  Her name is Ann Wood if you would like to check out her blog.  She has a pattern for hens on nests that I plan to get and make.    All this makes me so happy.

Of course none of this is what I should be doing, but I feel free and easy and probably won’t really get to work finishing up everything until Friday.  Christmas will come whether I get it all done or not.   I want to enjoy every single day.

Hope you find things that are making you happy too.  Bye.

 

 

One Season Following the Other

 

 

We did have Thanksgiving.   We really did.  It just came so quickly after Halloween and was quickly overtaken by the Christmas season.  I just want to slow everything down. Take one day at a time. Savor each moment.  Remember why we celebrate.  Spend time in prayer.  Go out into nature. Play with the dogs.   Knit.  Sit quietly and just be for a time.

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I was lazy this year and used paper plates and plastic glasses. My excuse was that then we would have time to spend time with family, play games and not be in the kitchen all afternoon.  We had ten to eat and way too much food.  I am going to have to rethink my portions and how many leftovers I want to have. The dogs and chickens got some special treats after Thanksgiving.  We really could not eat all the leftovers and it’s hard to freeze salads.  I still cook for twenty or thirty and there are never that many around our table.

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The boys modeled their turkey hat.

We played “Say Anything,” which is really a fun game for everyone.

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Gobble. Gobble.

Then it was time to decorate for Christmas.

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Out came the Christmas quilts and pillows.

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“Light” the fire.

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Set up the tree.  Every year it is fun to find the ornaments we have put up year after year.  I bought a couple of new ones this year, but most are decades old.

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I love our tree.  I don’t always enjoy putting it up and decorating it, but it is always worth it when it’s in all its glory.

Our town has a Festival of Lights every year. This year there was a Christmas village with vendors and games for children and a magician.

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We took our two youngest grandboys.

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First we took them to the indoor playground. It was packed with children. This is a climbing thing that all the kids seem to love.  It looks scary to me, but the children were climbing on it like little monkeys.   It’s a long way up there.

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The magician performed and made a little girl this hat from balloons.   He also pulled a scarf from my grandson’s sleeve. I asked him if he knew it was up there and he said, “No!”

Then we went outside and waited for the parade to start.

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The Cheer Guild was giving away cups of hot chocolate.  My grandsons enjoyed that.

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Santa made an appearance.

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Then the parade began.

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A vintage Coca Cola truck all decked out in lights.

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So many pretty, lighted floats.

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And what do you know?  Santa appeared again.  The end of the parade.  There were fireworks, but we were all hungry so we decided to drive out of town and get something to eat.  It took so long to get out of the parking lot we got to see some of the fireworks.

It was a fun night.  Only nineteen days until Christmas. I plan to enjoy and embrace every day.  Bye.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hither and Yon

Another eventful week.  Veteran’s Day morning was spent at our youngest grandboys’ school where there was a Veteran’s Day celebration.  I had to get up way before my wakeup time, but I managed to do it. How did I get up so early for years and years?  Getting kids ready for school.  Sending David off to work and sometimes me just getting home from work.  When I cleaned our church years ago, I would go in at two o’clock in the morning and clean until I had every bit of that church clean and come home in the late morning and go to bed.  It really messed up my sleeping schedule.  I am finally on an eight or nine hour a night sleep schedule that seems to work well for me.

Anyway, this isn’t about me sleeping.  It’s about the Veteran’s Day celebration.  All the veterans were met at the door and asked to wait to be seated in the cafeteria.  The rest of us went to get seats.

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This is our daughter, the mother of our youngest grandboys.

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The veterans came in.  I think David was the oldest one and probably served longer than any of the other men.  Thirty-seven years in the army National Guard.

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There he is again.  Or is that Santa Claus?  That little boy is thinking, “I’m sitting right in front of Santa Claus!”

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This is the school principal. They make them young nowadays.  She gave a little talk and introduced the veterans, the pianist and this boy who played taps.  He goes to the school.

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Taps always sends a chill down my back.

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The children who had a veteran there were asked to come stand with them.   Our two grandboys there.

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Although they don’t look too thrilled to be there, our daughter said they were real excited about the day.

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Each class sang a patriotic song.

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One of the songs they sang was Amazing Grace.

The younger classes had made cards for all the veterans and David got a handful.

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This is the  one our grandson made for his grandfather.  It is hanging on our refrigerator.

We walked through the halls of the school looking at all the things on the walls.  It always amazes me how talented children are.

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This wall of quilts  caught my eye.

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This was quite a project.

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Minions always show up when you least expect it.

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It was a very nice morning, but we had places to go and other things to see so we said, “Good-bye,” and off we went.

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David at the wheel, we were going to northern Ohio to a Folkart and Antique show.  I read about it on Facebook a while back and said I would like to go, so we went.

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Over the rivers and through the woods.

To a tiny town called Peninsula.  The show was held in this building.

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Inside were lots of beautiful handmade things.  All kinds of treasures and a few antiques.

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I bought this in honor of our next president.

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And this because I collect Santa Clauses.

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And this because the man who had the booth literally put it in my hands and said I needed it.  Like two heads, but I bought it.

Because sometimes serendipitous things happen to us, there happened to be an estate sale in town.

 

At this log cabin.

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On this busy street.  Ha.

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Plus the log cabin was for sale and all its contents.  It had belonged to an antique dealer who was quite the collector of primitives.  The cabin was stuffed and everything was for sale.  And this was the second week they were doing it.

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Signs telling us we must behave ourselves.

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See that green chair in the corner?  It was twenty dollars and I am crazy about old chairs, but we didn’t buy it.  We went back the next day to see if it was still there, but it had a sold sign on it.  Always buy something when you first see it, because it will probably be gone next time. Oh, well.

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This room had stacks of really old, but beautifully kept quilts.  There were so many things to see that I forgot to take many pictures,  but it really was amazing what one man can collect in a lifetime and now, it’s all being sold.

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There was a forgotten little garden outside with the cutest picket fence.

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We saw this sign while driving around.  Thought I might try making one like it.

After we were finished at the cabin, we looked for some other antique stores and quilt shops.  We were directed to the town of Seville, Ohio by one quilt shop owner who told us there were a lot of antique stores there.  And wouldn’t you know it? Another serendipitous moment because all the stores in town were having a pre-Christmas sale! And, yes, there were several antique stores.  Really good ones. With good prices.

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Ummmm?

And here are some of our treasures we purchased.

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Vintage Christmas tablecloths.

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Vintage sewing paraphernalia.

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Cute little clothespins with a clothesline.

 

 

 

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Vintage children’s books.  I love the graphics in them.

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A Jim shore Santa Claus at a VERY reasonable price.

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Some of the stores even had pretty bags.  I am not throwing this one away.

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We got this little lampshade back at the cabin, I forgot to show it.  But isn’t it adorable and only one dollar.

Tired and hungry we ate at this restaurant that night where I had the best penne pasta with Alfredo sauce and shrimp that I have ever tasted.  With crusty bread, it was a very delicious meal.  They also do carry out because the night before we ordered food at our motel and I had a wonderful turkey sub sandwich which was so big, I could only eat half of it.  We brought it home and the dogs had a real treat with the rest of it.

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Anyway, this was a really good restaurant. Good service too.

So coming home the next day, we took mostly back roads.  We saw a sign that said, “covered bridge,” so of course, we had to check it out.  Remember the Big Cedar?  We drove and drove and drove and David said, “This isn’t going to be like the Big Cedar and nothing is going to be there, is it?”  But, there was a perfectly nice covered bridge and several people were there.  Men were fly fishing in the river going under it.  We walked across it and spent some time taking pictures.

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We were surprised that the fall colors were still so brilliant this far north of us.

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We’ve traveled many roads together.  Some of them have been bumpy and hilly and some have been smooth, but we have been over them together and that is all that matters in the end.   It was a wonderful trip and I really hated to see it end knowing we won’t be going anywhere until next year, but we have such wonderful memories.

Hope you are making memories or remembering fond things in your past. Bye.

 

 

 

 

Autumn Happenings

It seems like when Summer is over and school starts, the year speeds up and there are so many things to do and places to go.   With five grandchildren, there is always something going on that we grandparents must attend.

Every year about this time my three older grandchildren’s school has grandparents’ days.  One year we went to the elementary, middle school and high school to attend for all three.  This year we only went for two days, for the middle school and the high school.

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Every child in my  grandson’s class had made a poster for their grandparents. This is the one our grandson made.  I thought it was very appropriate.

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We attended classroom activities and chapel.

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There was an election for mayor and our grandson was in the running.

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I always take pictures of their lockers so I can use it for blackmail when they are older. Ha.

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I love this boy.

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He is so much fun to be with.

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I see this picture and think, oh, my, he’s taller than me now.  He was just a tiny boy a few days ago.  I always tell him he reminds me of my father and tell him I hope he grows up to be just like him as my father was a very wonderful man.

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The next day it was the high school’s grandparents’ day.  These are my two oldest grandchildren and the tallest one is not the oldest.

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The school was putting on Sound Of Music and our granddaughter designed and painted this sign for it.

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We are very proud of how talented she is.

We took them both out to eat and spent a nice time with them.   Love how nice it is to carry on a conversation with them.  They are not ones to sit and say nothing, that’s for sure.

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Next we had Halloween, Thanksgiving and a birthday all on the same day since three of my grandchildren will be in Chicago for Thanksgiving.  So I asked the grandkids to dress up.  This is a Blue Man and a Wizard from Harry Potter.   The other one is dressed like a teen-ager.  I don’t have pictures of our other two, but one of them was dressed as a prisoner in a black and white striped suit and the other was dressed as a policeman.   They were so cute.

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I had made a birthday cake for the boy in blue. He requested my chocolate chip applesauce cake for his birthday.  He had already blown out the candles, so I asked him to re-enact it so I could get a picture of it.   Our younger grandson thought this was funny!

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I’m getting ready to paint our kitchen.  I don’t know why I do this, but every time there is a holiday, I think I have to paint something or rearrange something.   You can’t really see this yellow very well, but it’s really pretty. David said I just picked this color because it had the word, “chick” on it.  Maybe.

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Next up was the musical.  Sound of Music.  One of my very favorites.  I had been singing the songs from it all week and was so excited to see it.

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Our granddaughter played one of the nuns. “The grouchy one,” she told me.

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Here’s our son with his daughter.  He was in several musicals in high school and in college.  It runs in the family.

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The orchestra tuned up.

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A sold out crowd.

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The whole play was so good. There are some really talented young people in that school.

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Maria being dressed by the nuns for her wedding.

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Some of the nuns.  There were a lot of them.

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“Climb Every Mountain.”  That song always brings tears to my eyes.

I always look forward to the musicals at this school as they are so professionally done and of course I am not a bit proud of my granddaughter’s parts in them.

This week we are going to our two youngest grandchildren’s school where they are going to have a veteran’s day program.

We have some other plans, but I will tell you about that in a later post.

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Nothing like the pure blue skies of Autumn.

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And nothing like a hot cup of mocha latte with whipped cream on top.

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With birds feasting at the feeder.

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And knitting socks with beautiful yarns.

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I’ve finished a pair with this yarn.  I have become a sock knitting machine.

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Time to get out my Jim Shore Harvest Angel.

Time to pick the last roses of the season.

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I wish you could smell this rose. It is from one of David’s grandmother’s rosebushes that we dug up and brought to our house after her house was sold.  This has that old fashioned rose smell that is so wonderful.

 

I hope you are enjoying Autumn.  It goes so fast just like every season.  So wrap your arms around it and take pleasure in each crisp, lovely day.  Soon, the snow will fly.  Bye.

 

 

 

 

Riding a Train

It had always been a dream of mine to travel on a train.  I’ve taken day trips on trains, but never slept on a train. I thought it sounded so romantic and fun.  Watching old movies I have seen people traveling on trains, sleeping in the sleepers, eating luxurious meals on white table cloths in the dining car and singing songs on the train.    People in those movies wore suits and dresses and hats and seemed to know exactly how to deport themselves on a train.

Well, it’s the twenty-first century.   The train station in Chicago was big and there were long walks carrying our luggage to get to the ticket booth.  Thankfully, there were redcaps who put our luggage on carts and took us to the train or we would still be wandering around trying to find it!

People don’t dress up on the train anymore.  Shorts, tees and jeans were the usual wear  A lot of younger people.  I felt overdressed in a nice top and black pants.

Eating on a Train

Breakfast and lunch was on a first come, first served basis.  I only ate one breakfast while on the train.   You had to make a reservation for dinner.  They said we could pick when we wanted to eat, so when the man came around to get our reservation we asked for 5:30.  ” Oh, no, you can’t eat then,” He said.  “We have 7:30 open.”  Well, since we didn’t have a choice we chose 7:30.  When your time came they would announce it and you would go to the dining car. A walk through several other cars. You would lunge from left to right walking down the aisles of the Coaches hoping you didn’t fall into someone’s lap.  You finally get to the dining car and a very arrogant man with his nose in the air actually snaps his fingers at you and says, “Come, come,” and you run after him where you are sat at a table with complete strangers who are sitting just a few inches away from you.  Thankfully, we were sat with a very nice couple and she and I talked to each other while the men ate.  They were from south of Columbus, Ohio.   The man who waited on us was very nice, but I noticed the man  who had snapped his fingers at us(who I started calling “the Jerk”) waited on people like it was the last thing he wanted to do.  The whole time we were on the train every time I saw him I would tell David, “There goes the Jerk.”  He always seemed to have a smirk on his face.  Anyway, I ate three meals in the dining car.  One time we ate with two ladies who were from Defiance, Ohio where my older brother lives.  They didn’t know him.  They also missed their connecting train because our train sat on the tracks for several hours letting freight cars go by.  It was one’s first train ride and she said it was going to be her last.   I didn’t blame her.  But it wasn’t as glamorous eating on a train as I thought it would be. I just kept waiting for Danny Kaye, Bing Crosby, and Rosemary Clooney to come into the dining car and sing “Snow” from the movie White Christmas.

Taking a Shower on the Train

The shower on the train was just down the aisle from our sleepette.  I could not go a whole day without a shower, so I bit the bullet and decided to try it.  Our car attendant told me to be sure the door was completely locked as there had been some people startled in the shower because their door was unlocked.   I did not want that to happen.   I opened the door to the shower and gulped.  How was I to take off my clothes, shower and put clothes back on a semi-wet body?  It was smaller than any closets I have in my house.  A small seat piled with soft, fluffy, white towels, Hm, that was nice.  A little basket full of soaps which smelled very good. That was good. So, I carefully locked the door, checked it twice and proceeded to get ready for a shower.  Once undressed, I turned on the shower. Cold water.  I adjusted the handle. Cold water.  Well, I was undressed and really wanted a shower so I took a cold shower.  Very quickly.  As the train rocked and rolled, so did I in the shower, but I managed to get washed.  Then I had to get out and try to towel off as best I could.  I kept bumping into things, but finally I was ready to dress. Ever try to dress in a two by two foot space?   It’s not easy, but I did it and I did it three times while riding the train.   Thankfully my other two showers I had warm water.

Walking on a train

When we took a trip to Alaska on a ferry we learned how to walk on a boat without falling down. Most of the time the ride was pretty smooth and we could walk very easily, but at times the sea was rocking and so were we.  People would walk like drunken sailors.  Well, on the train, you pretty much walk like that all the time.  Lunging back and forth as the train rolled along.  We had to go through several cars to get to the snack car where we purchased something to eat when we didn’t want to eat in the dining car or to the lounge car, where we sat and watched the scenery go by.  We walked through the coach cars where people who didn’t have sleepettes would be laying across their seats covered up sleeping.  I really did not want to fall into one of their laps.  You learn to sway with the cars and hold on to anything you can grab to keep yourself upright.  When we got off the train, David said his legs were still walking like he was on the train.  It took him a day to get his “land legs” back.  Same thing happened to him on the ferry. It took him a couple of days to walk right on land.  It didn’t bother me at all.  I was just glad to get off the train.

Sleeping on a Train

I always thought that  sleeping on a train would be so relaxing and fun.   To get ready for bed, first we had to pull the two seats together to make a lower bunk and then pull down the upper bunk. Poor David slept in the upper bunk because he can sleep about anywhere.  You are given two very thin blankets and pillows with hardly any stuffing in them.  We didn’t know you could ask for extra blankets and pillows the first night. We got ready for bed.  I wore clothes to bed because the bathroom was down the aisle and I didn’t want strangers seeing me in my pjs.  That first night I froze all night.  I didn’t know we could turn on a heater.  I heard David snoring above me while I tossed and turned.  Thankfully, I had my Kindle with me and could read.  I watched the stars and just lay there listening to the train wheels clickety clack.   I will tell you the second night with extra blankets, the heater turned on and two pillows, I slept very well. Maybe if we had been on the train for a third night I would have slept like a baby.   It wasn’t like sleeping on the ferry, though, where I think I slept the best I have ever slept with the boat rocking gently and being in a warm cocoon in my little bunk.  It was heaven.  Anyway, sleeping on a train was an experience and I hope I haven’t made anyone not want to try it.

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This is my last post about our trip.  Next, Grandchildren!  Bye.

 

 

 

 

Little Towns and Up a Mountain

We continued our drive up the Olympic Peninsula.  So many beautiful sights.  Not much traffic, which we love. At times we seemed to be on the road all by ourselves.  Coming in the off season made our trip much more enjoyable.  I am sure in the Summer the highway is much busier.

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This is Juan De Fuca.  It is connected to the Puget Sound.  This scenery reminded me so much of Alaska, so if you cannot get up into Alaska, you might like this trip up the Olympic Peninsula. This view actually looked exactly like the view we had in Wasilla, Alaska from our motel and just two blocks down the street was Sarah Palin’s house.

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Just to prove we were there together we did a selfie!  I look at this picture and think,  “Wow, is my man handsome!”

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We drove out the northeast tip of Washington and found this little town  This fish character was in town also, wearing athletic shoes.  Here she is wearing skates.

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A little town far from nowhere.  Of course we drove around it.  Not much there and it was hilly, but they sure do have a beautiful view from any of those houses.

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Views like this.  I could live here.  It’s cool and mountainous and there’s water.  Everything I love.

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On we drove. If you are a hiker, there are all kinds of trails to take in these woods.

Then we came to Port Angeles.  A beautiful town right on the water.

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Views like this all over town.

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But t was getting late and we had miles to go before we slept so we drove on.

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Past little general stores. We stopped in and this store had everything one would need.  Since it is probably the nearest store for some people, it’s a good thing they do.

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Past things like this.  People are wonderful to provide us with these things to see.

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We saw a lot of these signs all over.  I was pleasantly surprised.   And that is all the politics I will talk about!

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We reached our destination for the next two days, Port Townsend.  Who wouldn’t love a town that has bunting across its streets?

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And gorgeous Victorian houses everywhere.

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And whimsical things like this. Shoe forms used as yard art.

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I couldn’t get enough of these houses.

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Then I met this man on the street while we were shopping.  He had what was called a
“free speech corner,” where signs of all different political persuasions, religious beliefs and no beliefs were written on boards for all to read. I thought you could pay to write your own sign, so I was going to do it, but when I got to him, I found out he wrote them all.  I talked to him for a while.  He was really interesting.  We talked about Jesus and free speech and why do people get so angry with each other when they disagree.   He had a sign I really liked, but because I know it would probably insult people, I won’t put it here on my blog, but you can find it on my Facebook page.   We are in a time in our country where free speech is being squelched and I believe we need to guard each other’s speech, whether we agree with each other or not, because to lose our free speech would be a tragedy.

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Of course I shopped and we stopped in at this perfectly darling little garden store.  It was set right in a corner and was tiny inside, but packed with lots of wonderful things.  I bought a calendar and a rooster towel.  We shopped in several other stores. There was a great bookstore and a store with outdoorsy clothes that I loved and bought some Christmas gifts.  I could have stayed in this town another day or two, but we only a few more days before we were to get back on the train, so after two days we set off for Mount Rainier.

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David had reserved two nights at this lodge.

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It was a typical lodge with a fire in the fireplace and big comfy chairs to sit on with antlers and deer heads on the wall.  Sorry for the deer.  David said this was the quietest place we had ever stayed in.  And it was true.  You didn’t hear many people talking. Of course that might be because there were just six rooms filled the first night.   Off season, you know.

After a good night’s sleep we drove to Mount Rainier.

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They were working on the roads.

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Through more tunnels.

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Fall foliage in all its beauty. Up, up we went.   Out my window, it was straight down.  We have driven up Mount Rainier two times before, but always during the Summer. This was a whole different experience.  Very little traffic.

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Fog in the mountains.

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There’s David right by a cliff again.  He flirts with danger.

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Past mountain streams.

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It was getting chillier the farther up we went.

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Past glacier fed rivers.

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Up, up. My ears were popping.

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Yes, we were down there.

Then we were high enough that there was snow!  They were expecting from one to five inches that night.  Probably a good thing we drove up when we did.  We might not have made it up another day.

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It looked like a Christmas card.

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Made me so glad we have snow in Indiana.  I love snow.

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Always on the look out for bears, but we saw none this trip.

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There’s that handsome man again.

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I would love to have a house on a mountain facing the sea.  With a field of horses and five dogs and all the chickens I want.

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Which reminds me we saw this Road sign.

Down the mountain once again we ate at this restaurant.

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Everything had bears on it. The napkins, the walls, etc. The food was very good.  We also ate at this lodge during our stay.

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There was only one other couple eating  there.  The food was good, but I think the server was new or just very nervous.   But he did a good job.

We ate  at one other place at the foot of Mount Rainer at another lodge where we had the best blackberry cobbler and ice cream.   We also had chili and chicken and rice soup.   They know how to cook in Washington.

But, vacations must come to an end and we had to drive up to Seattle to  meet the train heading east.  We stayed in the town of Snohomish.  David and I both want to come back there with our car because they had such wonderful antique stores.   We couldn’t take all we wanted to buy back on the train.

Our final day was spent in Seattle where we found a yarn shop where I bought more yarn for more socks.  Then we ate at a Cheesecake Factory before we headed to turn in our rental car and get to the train station.  My next post will be about riding and eating on the train and taking a shower on the train.  Bye.