Thank you so much for coming just in time to give me a lovely picture-postcard Christmas. So festive! So thoughtful! The after Christmas visit was fun--perfect for sledding and hey! who's going to complain about a few extra days of Christmas break? You are the life of the party!
So, here's the thing. To be honest--you have overstayed your welcome. Now you are just getting on my nerves. I have places to go, things to do and there you are--blocking the driveway, causing hazardous road conditions. Piling up in mountainous heaps.
Oh, there was a time when you were so picturesque.
Full of wonder and beauty.
But you know, the dog would like to get a potty break without freezing his paws.
He's a California pup and is a little baffled by the never ending white stuff.
You've just about reached the top of our fountain now.
Aren't you satisfied yet?
There is no place left for the snow plows to pile you!
And you know, it pains me to have to tell you, but you are starting to look grubby and dirty.
The wood pile! Come on!
We need that wood to stay warm.
Your Arctic embrace is chilling us all to the bone.
Seriously, pack your bags and go. Give me some space.
It really isn't attractive to be so clingy and desperate.
Maybe by next Christmas I will be ready to welcome you back with open arms.
For now, let me soften the blow with 'It's not you it's me'.
We have a son-in-law from North (the South shall rise again) Carolina so
I stopped to take a closer look at this monument.
The inscription made me cry and was a reminder of
the lives lost on both sides.
You can see how close the regiment was to the High Water Mark
during Pickett's Charge before they were stopped.
I lingered and wandered the battlefield as the sun went down.
There is a feeling there that this
place is tragic and sacred.
I cannot say it any better than
President Abraham Lincoln:
Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate-we can not consecrate-we can not hallow-this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us-that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion-that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain-that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom-and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN, “GETTYSBURG ADDRESS” (19 NOVEMBER 1863)
After the Christmas holiday was over, I had a hankerin to see our southern kin. So I jumped in the car and drove south for eleven hours. I actually enjoy driving the Eastern highways and byways. The trick is to go in the "off-season" (dead of winter). You just have to pick a window of opportunity between the storms. The main reason Eastern road travel is so civilized is because of lovely rest stops...
...like this one in Virginia:
Click on the picture to take in the loveliness.
You always get a little history as you stretch your legs.
Here I enjoyed some insights on Mt. Vernon and
The Father of our Country.
They were even handing out these somewhat creepy
masks of George Washington.
Modeling credits: Mason
Shanna's hubby was in Vegas at the annual Shot Show and she needed someone to
keep her company. I was in need of some girl time--so win/win.
I had a good time with my favorite train engineer.
Who also happens to be a race car diver!
Don't worry, it was a pretend injury.
Shanna and I had a great time with Mason and Miriam at a local Children's Museum.
A perfect place for a busy toddler and active preschooler
to get out some energy.
Sweet Miriam thought she found a cute little friend...
"Hey! Let's play!"
"Look! Matching outfits!"
Awww good times.
I had to beat the weather back across the eight states between
here and there. I got home just as the snow started falling.
Oh! The sad tale of our poor mail box! 'Twas a baffling mystery that sorely plagued and annoyed us lo these many months since we have lived here. It was so odd that only our mail box was getting knocked to the ground at every turn. I stood on our curb and scanned the mail boxes in both directions each time ours was toppled, and all the others were still standing. Why? What forces were at work to single out our unassuming, dutiful receptacle for bills and junk and the occasional actual letter? It seemed to be connected to the snow and the plowing each time it snowed. Was it too close to the curb? Was there a vindictive snow plow operator who just veered to knock over only our mail box? But to add to the mystery, our poor mail box was found laid low a couple of times when it wasn't even snowy!
We thought maybe our mailbox was too heavy on top without enough support at the bottom.
So Andy bought a new mail box and a sturdy post to go deeper in the ground.
No--that wasn't it.
Finally, I realized our mail box lined up perfectly with our across the street neighbor's
driveway in a perpendicular way. They had professional snow removal service. Meaning some guy with a scraper attached to the front of his pick-up truck came each time it snowed and scraped their driveway for them. And shoved all of the snow from their driveway up against our mailbox.
But what about the times that it was knocked over and there had been no snow to plow?
The neighbors had some work done on their driveway that involved a bunch of heavy equipment and several weeks of labor.
Our sad mail box was right in the line of fire for that as well.
So, taking my own advice of
"Don't curse the darkness, light a candle."
We solved the problem with a relocation of the mail box.
Shane did the digging and the heavy lifting as Andy was still
recovering from his back trauma.
Three snowstorms later, she is still standing strong.
One of my late Christmas presents was a new laptop. New technology in the hands of an old person. So far I have managed to get my pictures from my phone onto my new laptop, but I don't have the editing program that I had on my old laptop so my pictures from the new laptop are posted "as-is" and not very satisfactory to my way of thinking. In the meantime, I have been going back and forth between laptops and I found some pictures from Christmas on the old laptop that need to be shared for the sake of history and posterity and etc. etc.
So here is a baker's dozen in Christmas leftovers--hopefully not too far past their freshness date:
The Christmas cover from our cute small-town newspaper...
Uncle Tyler (and the ipad) entertaining the nieces
Adorable little June practicing her walking skills with Nana--
she has since gone pro and runs around like a superstar.
Miss Norah and Miss Bailey opening Christmas gifts
Twas a few days before Christmas and all through the house,
not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
Because Ninja was on duty.
Just a funny picture of Ninja's "Cat From Outer Space" impression
We had three join our family since last Christmas:
One daughter-in-law and two granddaughters.
As per tradition, they all get stockings that match the Gale Family lineup.
The General Store was decked with boughs of holly and
looked very festive. Best sandwiches in the town!
Another festive place in our town:
The gazebo Christmas tree in The Pleasance --a beautiful park on Main Street.
Some Christmas crafting with Nana
Our little chef enjoying one of her Christmas gifts:
real chef tools--while sporting her hand-painted Christmas apron and
PopPop's chef hat!
Sam instagramming The Lumberjack from King's--
our favorite place for a hardy breakfast.
And our mailbox bit the dust one last time.
We finally solved the mystery and solved the problem.