Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Recipe for Cabbage

Cooked Cabbage

Chop 1 onion and 2 slices of bacon. Put this in a large fry pan with a little olive oil heated in the bottom. Saute until they are started well, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile roughly chop 1 small-medium head cabbage (with stem cut out) then add to the fry pan. Stir together with 2 T sugar and 2 T vinegar, then cover and cook on med/low to low for 40-45 minutes, or until nice and tender. Serves 4-6 people nicely, and oh-so-yummy on a winter's night.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Good-Bye to Fall


 Wild geese are flying overhead;
The air is crisp and clear,
The last bright leaves are tumbling down,
For it's that time of year.

The pungent smell of woodsmoke drifts
From bonfires everywhere,
And squirrels darting to and fro
Hide nuts in ample share.

Wagons filled with happy children
Are seen on country lanes;
Older folk, in sweet nostalgia,
Live childhood days again.

The flower beds now look forlorn;
Jack Frost has passed our way.
With icy breath he seared the blooms
That once were bright and gay.

A cozy fire is on the hearth;
Dear friends have come to call.
Come let us share a cup of tea
And say good-bye to Fall.

Kay Hoffman

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

My Thanksgiving Meditations

  • An acknowledgement of something done for you, as in a thank-you note, email or phone call.
  • An emotional response for something good, a warm fuzzy feeling, as in the 'what are you thankful for?' responses around a Thanksgiving dinner table.
  • An outlook on life as in finding the good in everything, 24/7, 365 days a year.
  • Encouraging to those around you, as in the motivational stories and movies and how they touch you as you see of people struggling and yet finding reasons for thanks.
  • The path to contentment, as in focusing on what you have to give thanks for as opposed to what you don't.
  • A tangible note or verbal message to someone, which in turn encourages them. As in Jesus healing 10 lepers and only one returning to verbally thank him. The others may have been heart thankful but in the expression of it, thankfulness became stronger and blessed both Jesus and the healed man.
  • A soul-soaked attitude, as in an 80-something woman I know who worked through ovarian cancer this year with thanksgiving in her heart.
  • The outpouring of your heart in response to mercy shown you. As in someone who loves you unconditionally, or someone who loved you enough to die for you to redeem you.
  • Tied with an invisible string to Peace. As in both tied back to contentment.
  • A choice, as opposed to bitterness, striving and grasping.
  • The opposite of expectation. Expecting nothing paves the way to be surprised by God, opens our eyes and promotes great thankfulness.
  • An expression of hope, wrenched from and through pain. A different way of looking through physical or emotional pain to be offered up as our service of worship.
  • A commandment of God, for our own best interests.
  • A positive trait, as in a reflection of God and light.
May we all be people with a heart of Thanksgiving, Amen.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Best For Last

I've been putting off this blog post long enough...so today is the day. The reason I have put it off consists of trying to choose which photos to include that would show even a little of the beauty that is Bryce. This was the last canyon we visited, and to my way of thinking, the best. I visited all these canyons as a child and Bryce was my favorite then. I was anxious to come back and see if it would still be my favorite, and joyfully it was. However, the depth of my appreciation of the other canyons had greatly increased. They are all marvelous, jaw-dropping and awe-inspiring. But still, Bryce is unique, and mystical and blossoming with the creativity of the Creator. These 56 acres were designated a National Park in 1928.

 I am going to include here some description I found on the Internet of these formations that says it so much better than I could.
"Colorful sandstone, limestone and mud stone has been shaped by erosion into a fantastical array of spires, fins and pinnacles known as 'hoodoos'. The canyon is a gorgeous chasm of lace and filigree work in stone, colored with the white of frost and the pinks of glowing embers.To those who have not forgotten the storybooks of childhood, it suggests a playground for fairies. Surrounded by the beauty of Utah and the panoramic views of three states, these hoodoos cast their spell on all who visit."

It certainly has cast a spell on me. I could have spent an entire week in just one spot I think. I have never stood in such a place that touched me as deeply.
Bryce is mainly one large bowl filled with hoodoos, as opposed to a long winding canyon with a river running through it. There are walking/hiking paths all along the rim, and down and through the hoodoos.

 The colors are beyond description, and almost beyond imagination.

There were lots of erosion holes to see through, and with each step the light would change and illuminate tips and spires behind. We walked and walked and walked. We studied some of the history of the place, and took pictures, and laughed and pointed and sat and absorbed and in general had the most wonderful time.

 There were lots of people, and everyone was helping everyone else take photos of themselves with the canyon. What a view!

A peek-a-boo view that showcases the stunning colors and shapes.

 Layers of beauty and fantastical shapes. The day this National Park opened the President came for the ceremonies. As his car drove up to the entrance they found long streamers across the opening held by little girls dressed as fairies, and 'fairies' dancing all around. As the streamers were cut the words were proclaimed "Welcome to Fairy Land!"

 As was said in the above description, many of the shapes resemble people, animals, objects and even famous sites. The insurance guy and I had much fun pointing out to each other all the things and shapes we named or recognized. Above is a family shown through a heart.

This one we called the Grammy with her grandchildren.
 Some fall color to add to the scene....at evening.
and a mountain bluebird.

 The following morning we got there at sunrise and took the Queen's Garden hike down to the bottom. Good thing the path went from side to side!
 As the morning sun struck the hoodoos they became such vibrant, shimmering colors.

 At the bottom our trail led us through 'Wall Street'.
 A sentinel was posted to guard the way...

and there were many arches to pass through. The way down was easier than the way back up, although the
climb wasn't too bad, the heat of the day had come. It was so worth it though, and I think it lived up to the title 'the greatest two mile hike in the world'.

One last view of this magnificent National treasure. I hope you enjoyed your tour. We reluctantly left that day, so very thankful for the opportunity of having seen this.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A bit of Christmas Thinking

I am actually going to do a post without any photos...very rare. Someone passed along to me a wonderful article that I decided was worth sharing here, and with everyone I know. It speaks for itself and so I am just going to copy it here for you. Please do take the time to read it.

The New American Christmas Tradition
"As the holidays approach, the giant Asian factories are kicking into high gear to provide Americans with monstrous piles of cheaply produced goods -- merchandise that has been produced at the expense of American labor. This year will be different. This year Americans will give the gift of genuine concern for other Americans. There is no longer an excuse that, at gift giving time, nothing can be found that is produced by American hands. Yes there is! It's time to think outside the box, people. Who says a gift needs to fit in a shirt box, wrapped in Chinese produced wrapping paper? Everyone -- yes EVERYONE gets their hair cut. How about gift certificates from your local American hair salon or barber? Gym membership? It's appropriate for all ages who are thinking about some health improvement. Who wouldn't appreciate getting their car detailed? Small, American owned detail shops and car washes would love to sell you a gift certificate or a book of gift certificates. Are you one of those extravagant givers who think nothing of plonking down the Benjamins on a Chinese made flat-screen? Perhaps that grateful gift receiver would like his driveway sealed, or lawn mowed for the summer, or driveway plowed all winter, or games at the local golf course. There are a bazillion owner-run restaurants -- all offering gift certificates. And, if your intended isn't the fancy eatery sort, what about a half dozen breakfasts at the local breakfast joint. Remember, folks this isn't about big National chains -- this is about supporting your home town. Americans with their financial lives on the line to keep their doors open. How many people couldn't use an oil change for their car, truck or motorcycle, done at a shop run by the American working guy? Thinking about a heartfelt gift for mom? Mom would LOVE the services of a local cleaning lady for a day. My computer could use a tune-up, and I KNOW I can find some young guy who is struggling to get his repair business up and running. OK, you were looking for something more personal. Local crafts people spin their own wool and knit them into scarves. They make jewelry, and pottery and beautiful wooden boxes. Plan your holiday outings at local, owner operated restaurants and leave your server a nice tip. And, how about going out to see a play or ballet at your hometown theatre. Musicians need love too, so find a venue showcasing local bands. Honestly, people, do you REALLY need to buy another ten thousand Chinese lights for the house? When you buy a five dollar string of light, about fifty cents stays in the community. If you have those kinds of bucks to burn, leave the mailman, trash guy or babysitter a nice BIG tip. You see, Christmas is no longer about draining American pockets so that China can build another glittering city. Christmas is now about caring about your neighbors, encouraging American small businesses to keep plugging away to follow their dreams. And, when we care about other Americans, we care about our communities, and the benefits come back to us in ways we couldn't imagine. This is the new American Christmas tradition."

The author had made it simple for us. No reading of labels, or researching to try and figure out if the product was actually produced in the U.S. This has made me rethink things, and I for one am going to try and do things differently this year. Local, community beauty for the holidays, hooray!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Happy November Birthday, Aunt Joyce!

 Another special birthday needs to be slipped in-between our National Parks visit. Yesterday was my Aunt Joyce's 92nd birthday (Happy Birthday Aunt Joyce). She was born:
Joyce Mabel Erskine
on November 7, 1919
at Sylvan Lake, Red Deer, Alberta, Canada

The above photo shows Joyce as she and her mother Mabel were ready for haircuts in 1923. They lived on a farm near Lebanon, Oregon, and I'm not really sure who cut their hair, but they both got it cut short.

 She was 4th born in a family of eight children, and she and my mother were the only daughters. She married Roy Lambert on October 19, 1940 at age 20, and they were married for 65 years until he passed away in 2005. The photo above was taken on the porch of her Dad's farm in Waterloo, Oregon with an 'unknown' farm dog, and back of a piggy bank??

Our two families were very close. This photo was taken in Lebanon, and shows Aunt Joyce with her first child, my cousin Bill, and me in the backyard of our house. She had waited several years to have a child, and upon finally finding out she would never be able to, adopted Bill, and then a daughter, Beckie. She loved her children, and she and my Mom had children so close in age, that we were all one big happy family. Although she lived in Oregon all her life, and we moved to Seattle, the families traveled back and forth a lot, and we took vacations together every year.  

This fall, Beckie brought Aunt Joyce up for lunch at my daughter's house in Woodland. Aunt Joyce happily lives with her grandson Matt in Vancouver, and so I get to see her regularly. Although she suffers from Alzheimer's, she is one very happy and cheerful lady, that we all adore.