Sunday, December 27, 2009

Talk Thursday: Traditions Broken

Is it really a tradition broken or am I just running out of steam? Every year I decorate the outside of my house. This year, NADA. When you’re in one of the medias the holiday season and advertising blitz is really a three month long barnstorming marathon of dances that leave you numb before your feet and heart give out and someone else waltzes off with good King Wenceslas’ crown and all the figgy pudding. Having said that I love the joy and warmth of Christmas.

My second husband only enjoyed Christmas with his mother, I did too, but I wanted to spend some of that time with my parents and siblings. My parents raised us very independent and when we left the nest we weren’t expected home for holidays. This wasn’t meant to be cold, “I’ve had you for eighteen years, be gone.” It was because early in their marriage they’d been pulled in all directions on the holidays. The joy of family and friends had become a taffy pull of nerves and not enough time.

Ducky had gone through much the same during his first marriage, ergo we made an agreement early on that we would travel to his family on Thanksgiving, and our door was open to anyone and all on Christmas at our house. We did travel for Christmas twice to his family when his parents were in exceptionally poor health. And we’ve done Christmas at my parent’s house once or twice when one of my brothers had been in town. But for the most part Christmas is here at home.

The weekend before Christmas all the girls and their families come home. We have a lovely family dinner – BBQ’d steaks, double stuffed potatoes, and pistachio salad. Then the kids and Ducky go to the casino for a bit while Burp and I stay home. This has a double benefit 1) Psam gets a night out (but she didn’t go this year) 2) Burp and I do stockings. Stockings are one tradition I cannot, will not; must not break. The stockings are hung in the sunroom by order running from Ducky to Burp across our French doors. Each person makes a contribution to the stocking. Burp always does mittens and gloves. This year it was a big trip to the store so he could pick out gloves for each of his aunts, uncles, and mom. I did solar stakes and oldie CDs for the girls, hand clamps for the guys along with an Oregon State dog leash for the Brit, Oregon lanyards for Ducky and Burp, drats I can’t remember what I got Bosox for his. Ducky did box knives for the guys, little hippie purses with Starbucks instant coffee for the girls. See it’s an eclectic mix. By the end of the evening the stockings are overflowing with Hershey Kisses, candy canes, Cadbury eggs, or even Roche Ferre.

Now the rule about stockings is this. Everyone adds their item(s) sometime during the afternoon or evening. After midnight you can get your stocking and take it back to bed with you to pillage at your leisure. But beware you could end up with Misery’s chocolate covered cherries stuck to your butt if you’re not careful – hey it’s happened.

We go out for breakfast on Sunday morning and comeback and open presents before all the girls and families have to leave. It is bliss.

This year we were lucky in that Psam and Burp got to stay through Christmas afternoon. In the past I have not only decorated both inside and out, but I have made Kahlua Kali, baked, made fudge, and been the closest thing to Super Mom possible. Every year one more item gets dropped off the list. This year when I usually have four cases of Kahlua made, I had only one started on. No baking, no candy. My job performance at work suffered, my family has suffered, and I finally had a nuclear meltdown on Wednesday afternoon when my programming did not go off with out a hitch. It had a big ass – 4 minutes of dead air – hitch that left me a heart thudding, body twitching, head pounding mass of quivering flesh. Tears ensued.

I came home to find that Psam, who had family demands of her own to fulfill, had baked me dozens of scones to take to work the next day. Nothing smells better than walking into a house all warm and homey with the smell of yummy baked goods. While my traditions were all broken, it was really nice when someone else stepped in and picked up part of my load. Thank you Psam.

Late Merry Christmas all,

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A classic Christmas tale reimagined — in yellow and green

Tonight the Oregon State Beavers go up against the BYU Cougars in the 2009 Maaco Las Vegas Bowl. GO BEAVS! Yes, I am a dyed in the wool green and yellow Duck quac-natic, but I do root for the Beavs when they are not playing the Ducks. There is also the little bitty revenge factor about a certain BYU team beating the Ducks at a certain Las Vegas Bowl in recent memory. So, Go Beavs!

The Eugene Register Guard has a great columnist, Bob Welch, who for every Duck bowl appearance writes a great column. Today he out did himself with a remastered rendition of The Night Before Christmas. - For your reading pleasure I present A classic Christmas tale reimagined — in yellow and green by Bob Welch as it appeared in today's Eugene Register-Guard.

‘Twas three days before Christmas, when all though Eugene,
Holiday colors had been changed to yellow and green.
The I LOVE MY DUCKS shirts were hung up with care,
By the likes of LaMichael James and big Brandon Bair.

The players were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of Pasadena danced in their heads,
Bair dreamed of sacks, James of 80-yard runs.
(One trio of regrets regarding pellet guns.)

When on the Autzen turf, there rose such a clatter,
They sprung from their beds to see what was the matter.
And in living color, they realized why they had risen,
The ’09 highlights were ablaze on DuckVision.

The moon cast the midfield “O” with a sheen,
While players and coaches watched the video screen.
When, what to their wondering eyes should appear,
But the Duck mascot, exuding a comical sneer.

While cockily nodding his head he started to skip,
And they knew in a moment it must be St. Chip.
More rapid than eagles, he ripped off his Duck head,
And, indeed, it was the master of offenses spread.

He pointed at the screen and said, “One last look back,
Before our New Year’s Day attack of the Quack.”
First was Smurfville for that “we had a bad day.”
A post-game punch and an offense M-I-A.

What better way to forget that field ugly in blue,
Than a 38-36 win over the Boilermakers of Purdue?
Despite pants of gray, the Ducks upped their morale,
With a win over Utah, followed by a blowout of Cal.

They buried the Cougars, playing lively and quick,
And rallied past the Bruins on the return of a kick.
The Huskies and Trojans were like fish in a barrel,
Leaving flustered fans such as Trojan Will Ferrell.

Stanford beat the Ducks, but they reversed their fate,
With a 44-21 dismantling of Arizona State.
Then, with ’Zona students ready to rush the field,
Believing a Wildcat victory had all but been sealed,

Oregon reached down deep for some intangible pluck,
Including a field goal that got some cross-bar luck.
On fourth-and-the-season, Masoli didn’t pale,
Later throwing TDs to Dickson and Maehl.

The Beavers were eager, with ESPN in the booth,
But the Quackers quacked last against the Benton Bucktooths.
Now, with the look-back finished, Chip’s coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name.

“Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Costa! On Cavaille! on T.J. and Dickson!
To the top of the BCS, to the top of the polls,
Now dash away, dash away, and meet those Duck goals!”

He turned to his coaches, from Campbell to Frost,
And lauded them for hanging despite the high cost.
Helfrich, Greatwood, Pellum; Nick, Oz, Azz and Neal,
“Now,” he said, “let’s go out and finish this deal.”

And then, in a twinkling, from the past they did come,
The misty, aged images of Duck players alum.
Huntington, Van Brocklin, Fouts, Moore and Bob Berry,
Wheaton, Joey, J-Stew and Herman O’Berry.

The Wilcox Fam, Dixon, Droughns and Chris Oldham,
Musgrave, Cota, Chung, Bird and Alex Molden.
They wished the team good luck, amid winter’s chill,
Having, of course, been flown here by Santa Claus Phil.

By now, fans had filled Autzen, St. Chip offering respect,
For Ohio State and their coach in his sleeveless V-neck.
Then up he lifted it, up, up to his nose
A single red bud from a crimson queen rose.

Now, with no huddle, to his team he gave whistle,
And away the sleigh flew south, like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ’ere he guided those Ducks,
“Happy Christmas to all, then bring on those Bucks.”

© Photo: Eugene Register Guard
© Bob Welch

Proof reading by Eddie. (thanks dude)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Once Upon A Holly Berry

The story you are about to read is true, my name has not been changed to protect what little self respect I might have formerly possessed

Across the street grows this extremely large holly bush. It’s not the largest I’ve ever seen but it is large and healthy and gives forth an abundant crop of holly berries every year. Ducky hates holly trees for some reason, I’ve no clue, maybe it’s because you can’t eat the berries, or because the leaves are sharp and poinky, or maybe it just gives him something to humbug. I’ve never thought much about it, I tend to use holly only if I’m decorating windows and I haven’t done that in several years. But needless to say across the street a holly bush grows.

While my butt is generally planted in the corner of the sofa - book in nose; I do have my outdoorsy type moments. My father spent the last decade or so of his life enjoying birds. I would buy him birdhouses, binoculars (although he had several pairs already,) and Peterson field guides for both him and myself. Thumbing the pages I always loved discovering the different birds that I found on his property and in my own rural urban (it’s a new zoning code) neighborhood. Varied Thrush, Brown-headed Cowbirds, American Robins, Stellar Jays, Northern Flickers, and woodpeckers galore: Pileated, Latter back, Downy, and Woody. Ha ha. The Chickadees and Nuthatch can keep me watching for hours. But my favorite delight has always been the Evening Grosbeak an amazingly beautiful bird coloured in pistachio, yellows, and black if I’m lucky I get to glimpse them once or twice a year. What I never get to see is the Cedar Wax Wing.

It must have been an old encyclopedia when I was growing up that I first discovered there was such a magnificent bird at the Cedar Wax Wing, even the name had me spellbound. A sleek taupe coloured bird with a peaked crest and white eye lines and yellow tailbar it was beautiful and quite elusive. I knew it was suppose to live on the Oregon Coast but in all my years I’d never had one peak, not one. It was a visit during that Saturday afternoon in early July that my father had told me about how a flock of Cedar Wax Wings had camped in his trees two afternoons. Had he called me? No. In fact my father actually thought the Cedar Wax Wing was nothing special, nothing like his favored Towhees and Mourning Doves that he fed each morning and afternoon. Not even called me, I’d missed out on this elusive bird… again.

Four or five days later I was pulling into the post office parking lot for my monthly trip to collect my mail (yes, I hate picking up my mail but refuse to have it delivered to a puny little unlocked box down the street) when I glanced up at the power wires near the neighboring building. No way! Sitting in two rows along the power lines were at least 20 Cedar Wax Wing. Well, at least that is what the silhouette said as I walked close enough to get a true look they flew off.

Saturday afternoon, during a much deserved break from cementing in flagstone, Ducky and I sat in lawn chairs eating tuna fish sandwiches and talking about our projects and nothing in particular when I caught movement in from the Holly bush across the street. The bush was abounding with Cedar Wax Wings merrily munching on fat red Holly Berries. Now I’m not trusting my eyes as much as I use to, especially for bird watching, so I jumped up and ran into the house to get my binoculars (you know this bush is only across the street – for the last 20 years or so.) Opening the storm door I fell out of the front doorway, the bell hem of my jeans caught on the door jam and I landed on splat Ducky who up until this moment had been blissfully sitting in his lawn chair munching a tuna sandwich.

The birds flew away.

I think it was my maniacal laughter that scared them away. I mean really I was laying in Ducky’s spilt milk howling at the whole mess my fat ass had landed in when the neighbor down the street drove by to watch me fall out the door. BTW, no Duckys were harmed in the event mentioned above.


Saturday, December 05, 2009

Talk Thursday: We Are Glass

I’m a half full kind of person, always trying to look at the positive side of things, finding the silver lining, learning the lesson, growth. Glass half full. Oh wait, Don said, “We are the glass. Duh!

Apparently I am an open book: transparent as daylight and as obfuscated as Depression glass. That’s probably because I’m an emotional female. While I’m hard to pin down (it’s that ever changing, growing thingie I’ve got going on) on a topic, my emotions and heart are right on my sleeve leaving me wide open for the world to see and read. It’s not my intent (unlike Madonna I don’t believe the world is entitled to have my point of view shoved down its collective throats) my view point is mine alone, gleaned from a variety of sources, viewpoints, pondered, smelted, forged, and polished into being with the emery cloth of constant change. Don’t get me wrong I love a good debate, but give me facts and reason and you could sway my position. Am I wishy washy? No, but I do realize that few things are stone solid constant. Even granite and marble fissure and change under the test of weather and time. And so am I.

From sand and fire glass is born; I just came from my mommy and my daddy in the back seat of a Rambler, I think. Nothing spectacular, but then again while I’m a nester with deep roots I don’t think I am boring. On the other hand I’m not a Pandora’s box of entertainment and conundrums either. Think of a hand blown glass float, simple in design, strong yet brittle, fused solid, scattered by force, in fire its re-forged – in its renewal becoming eternal, the Phoenix of renewable resources. On the other hand I am strong of will and constitution. Pliable, limber, and agile in youth and prime I grow brittle in old age, but continue to hold and absorb the knowledge I pour in. My will is fused with strength and the determination to be the best I can be, solid in my presence. Force may shatter my peace, but cannot scatter my resolution. And when I am done, it is gone. Ashes to Ashes – Dust to Dust. My energy will move on, my ashes will add salt and acidity to the environment, and here I will be no more, but maybe just an orb.


Thursday, December 03, 2009

I Love My Ducks

It's Civil War 2009

113th Oregon / Oregon State Civil war and Roses are on the line...