Monday, December 31, 2007

Christmas 2007 - Call It a Wrap

Sorry to say, some e-bugs got into this posting and destroyed sections of it. I really don't know what happened, but I'm working to recreate it and will re-post once that's done. (And I had such cute pictures of Sweetpea in this one!)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Christmas Break

(Posting to resume on or about Wednesday, January 2)

May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you during the holidays and throughout the coming new year.

Picture of Sweetpea by Kelsey

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Hunters and Gatherers

While living in Oregon, I read a book, Clan of the Cave Bear, by Jean Auel. I only picked it up, to begin with, because Jean Auel was a first-time Oregon author, and you couldn't listen to the radio or look at a newspaper without hearing or reading about her success. The story is about a Cro-Magnon girl, named Ayla, and her struggles and interaction with the people of her clan, the environment, and a group of Neanderthal people she encounters.

The prehistoric people, as described in Clan of the Cave Bear, had strictly defined roles for men and women. The men were the hunters. They were geniuses at rushing a herd of animals, dividing out the weak or young of the herd, and slaying the beast. Then they hauled the meat home, with pride.

The women, on the other hand, were the gatherers. Their tasks were to dig roots, gather herbs, and pick berries. Their eyes were skilled at seeking treasures, both high in the limbs of a tree and low on the ground. Plants had to be examined carefully; making a poultice of the wrong herbs would not heal a wound. A stew made with the wrong mushrooms could lead to death. Picking berries and fruit was a job that encouraged quiet contemplation, or thoughtful conversations with a fellow-gatherer.

Last night I went shopping with Tim. He usually invites me to join him when he does his Christmas shopping. It's become sort of a tradition, and I'm really glad to share the evening with him. Tim and I left our house last night and headed out for what I foresaw as an evening of "gathering" - thoughtful, cautious decisions being made for each gift. But Tim was on a "hunt" - divide and conquer, rush in for the kill, and bring home the beast. He was done with his shopping by 7:30, only an hour and a half after we left the "cave."

Feeling like the evening just wasn't complete, I asked Tim if he'd like to go somewhere and get a cup of coffee or a cold soft drink before we went home. "I'm not really thirsty," he answered. THIRSTY? Who said anything about being thirsty? And that's when the Clan of the Cave Bear analogy flashed through my neurons. And I realized that things haven't changed that much . . . "hunters" are still out to finish the job; while we "gatherers" are looking to savor the experience.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

PC Holiday Greeting

Here's a little holiday greeting to each of you, whether to my left or my right, politically. Be sure to read to the end, especially if you're a Republican ;-) Instead of the traditional red and green Christmas colors, I thought red and blue were more appropriate for this particular greeting. And, by the way, I love you all, no matter what color state you live in.

To My Democrat Friends:
Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low-stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasion and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all. I also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2008, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great. Not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country nor the only America in the Western Hemisphere. Also, this wish is made without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wishee.

To My Republican Friends:
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

(credit to: Kip Allen )

Monday, December 17, 2007

A Clark Family Christmas Eve

Growing up, my family always opened Christmas gifts on Christmas Eve. Dan tells me that Santa doesn't come until Christmas morning, but I think the proof was right there, under the tree! Santa definitely came to our house by Christmas Eve!

It was the most exciting night of the year. We didn't have a big family, but that didn't stop us from having a big celebration. Grandma and Grandpa, Uncle Bud and his little family, and "the girls" (Liz and Louise) would all be there. We had a smorgasbord of food to munch on all evening; Christmas music would be playing on the stereo; everyone would be talking, laughing and playing games; and the glow of the tree, draped in lights, tinsel and ornaments, and with gifts piled beneath its boughs, lent a mood of enchantment to the living room.

My dad was in charge of the events, and he was a master at building suspense. Although all of us knew that we'd be opening the presents that evening, he would always tease, saying that we had to wait until midnight, when it would officially be Christmas morning. I never really understood that reasoning; after all, the packages were already there, the tree was twinkling, and what more was there to wait for? But it was a game we played, year after year. I usually held out until around 9:30 before I started working on Dad to let us open the presents. Dad, though, supplied never-ending reasons why, this year, we needed to wait until midnight. By 10:00 I usually "hit the wall," and Dad, seeing a tear or two of frustration slip down my cheek (and a Bob-it's-time-to-stop look on my Mom's face), would immediately melt. He'd give me a big hug, and say, "Well, go get some presents and pass them out, Sweetheart!"


I know that many families take turns opening their gifts, so that everyone can see each gift, and the appropriate person can be thanked before the next gift is opened. I see the wisdom in that method, and admire the orderliness (I really do!) . . . but it wasn't our style. We ripped into presents with unrestraint, festive paper and curled ribbon flying, everyone laughing and talking at once, and hugs and thank-yous making the rounds spontaneously. Mom would always put a box or a large bag in the middle of the room, to hold the torn paper and ribbon scraps, but it never really worked. By the time the last present had been opened, the room was a jolly sea of holiday wrappings.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

"Cah-na-bal" in Brazil

Getting back to the Language theme, after a brief White Christmas interlude . . .

I've told you about our Japanese exchange student, Takashi. While he was living with us, he became friends with another high school exchange student, Victor, from Brazil. Of course, Victor didn't speak Japanese, and Takashi didn't speak Portuguese, so their only common language was English. Both of them did admirably well in conversational English, but their accents and pronunciations often confused those of us who were native-born English speakers. The confusion was, of course, compounded when the two of them were talking together, neither of them using their native language.

As spring approached, and Takashi and Victor's friendship grew stronger, Victor spent a lot of time at our house after school and on weekends. One day I was in the kitchen, fixing dinner, and Takashi and Victor were sitting at the kitchen bar, having an afternoon snack.

"Some day I want to see Cah-na-bal in Brazil" said Takashi. "Have you seen Cah-na-bal?"

"No! We don't have Cah-na-bal in Brazil!" Victor said, indignantly.

"Yes, you do! I saw, in magazines," said Takashi.

"Well . . . maybe . . . long time ago. Or maybe in the jungle we might have Cah-na-bal," said Victor. But we don't have Cah-na-bal in cities! Not now!"

To that, Takashi snapped back, very assuredly, "Yes, I'm sure . . . Cah-na-bal is in Rio."

"Wait just a minute," I interrupted, realizing there was a serious break-down in communication, somewhere. "Takashi, tell me about Cah-na-bal."

"You know, Mom, there is dancing and parades and music and . . . "

I wrote the word, "Carnival" on a piece of paper. Takashi nodded, and I passed the paper to Victor, who laughed out loud. He took the pencil and wrote "Cannibal" on the same piece of paper. "They eat people!" he said, pointing at his word and still laughing. It took Takashi a few seconds to look up "cannibal" in his well-used pocket dictionary, before he, too, joined in the hilarity of the miscommunication.

Friday, December 14, 2007

White Christmas

When I opened the garage door, this morning, to leave for work, I was surprised to see that it was snowing, and the ground was already white.

So, in honor of the "white stuff," here they are . . . Santa and his reindeer, singing White Christmas. This was one of my favorites last year, and they're back for a Christmas-2007-encore. Be sure to turn your sound up.

Click HERE to view. (May take a few moments to load.)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The "Bea Long" Song

In Kelsey's blog yesterday, she told about how she is learning "Two-anese," her word for Sweetpea's two-year-old language. It was really fun to read, and it made me think back on some of the language puzzles that we had to work our way through when the boys were little.

For years, our good friend, Bea Long, from Juneau, taught the two- and three-year-old Bible class. When Chris turned two, he was excited to get to move up, into Bea's class. The children learned a lot in that little preschool class. I was always happy when Chris would bring home a picture he had scribbled on, and tell me names and events from the Bible story Bea had taught.

He was probably three-, going on four-years-old when, one day, sitting at the kitchen table, Chris said, "Mama, let's sing the Bea Long song."

"The Bea Long song?" I asked. "I don't think I know that song."

"Uh-huh," he assured me. And then he began to sing it:
"Jesus loves me, this I know,
For the Bible tells me so.
Little ones to him - BEA LONG! [hollered out, with his fist pumping the air]
They are weak but he is strong."
Apparently Chris wasn't the first one to think that this song was, somehow, about Bea. When I told Bea this story, she said that another little fellow, who had been in her class a few years before Chris, had been under the same misconception.

Well, of course, that song isn't about Bea. But to those little toddlers, associating Jesus' love, the Bible, and Bea Long, together in one song, was perfectly understandable.

Love you, Bea!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


I received this email today, from the Juneau church of Christ:

"Evie H passed on this morning with Arlene and Bill by her side. She had been on oxygen and in failing health this past week but she was at peace and ready to go be with Stan. She went peaceably made comfortable by the staff at the Juneau Pioneers Home. She was the first convert in 1946 when a group from Pepperdine came to Juneau for a 6 week campaign. She was baptized in the Gastineau Channel about midnight. She and Stan were wonderful, faithful Christians who showed God's love in their lives every day to everyone.

There will not be any services per Evie's request."

Humble in her death as she was in life, it doesn't surprise me that Evie requested no memorial service. There will be no ceremony, but that won't stop everyone who knew Evie from celebrating her life, and grieving her loss, in their own way.

As a child, I remember thinking that Evie looked like Aunt Bea, from the Andy Griffith Show. She and Stan were originally from Maine, and, even after their many years in Alaska, never lost their peculiar-but-delightful manner of speech, adding "r"s where there were none, and omitting them where they belonged. We all teased them about that, especially since they named their daughter "Arlene," but pronounced it "Al-lene."

In her younger years, Evie used to drive a little black Volkswagen bug. When the streets were deep in snow, she could get around town when, it seemed, no one else could. We lived at the top of a very steep hill. On snowy Sunday mornings, when we found ourselves stranded up there, we would inevitably hear the distinctive sound of Evie's little bug, climbing our hill to bring us down to church. We never asked her to come; she would just show up, laughing off our words of thanks.

I always thought that winter might be Evie's favorite season. Once the lakes froze over, she and Stan would pack up a car-full of kids and take us out to Auke or Mendenhall Lake to ice skate. I remember just standing there, on my wobbly skates, sipping the hot cocoa they never failed to provide, and watching the two of them skate off together. Although they were both jolly and plump on land, once they laced up their skates, they became as graceful as a pair of Olympic ice dancers, holding hands and gliding across the lake.

When I was in the fifth grade, between Thanksgiving and Christmas, I became very ill. Although the doctors weren't able, at first, to diagnose my problem, it turned out to be an abscessed tooth that took me out of commission for two weeks. My jaw swelled up so badly that I couldn't open my mouth. I was having a hard time taking in food, and my strength was failing. Until, that is, Evie showed up at our apartment, toting a container of warm, homemade custard sauce. It was thin enough to drink, and I thought it was the best thing I'd ever tasted. Evie was tickled that I liked it, and each day brought me another container of her homemade custard. Maybe it's a little over-dramatic to attribute Evie and her custard with saving my life, but in my 11-year-old mind, that's exactly how it felt.

I had heard that Evie's health was failing this past week, and I prayed that her passing would be peaceful; I believe my prayers were answered. Stan must be thrilled to finally have his Evie there, by his side. I'd like to think of them as holding hands, once again, and skating together across some heavenly lake.


When I first started blogging, I felt a little silly about it. In fact, even now I sort of mumble the word "blog" when I'm telling someone about it ("I was writing, this morning, in my bl-ahem-o-cough-mumble-g. . ."). But I want to share with you how my blog has helped to make several fun and interesting personal connections.

The first connection you know about if you've been reading my blog from the beginning (specifically here and here). Do you remember my successful efforts to locate Ruby, my long-lost pen pal? Ruby was my pen pal from fifth grade through our early motherhood years. And then we lost track of each other. When I wrote my blog about pen pals, it inspired me to do the Internet research necessary to find her - and I did! She's living minutes away from Chris, Kelsey and Sweetpea. And her daughter, son-in-law, and grandkids live right here in Albuquerque, just minutes from me! During this Christmas season, I'm happy to say, we've made plans to get together.

The second connection happened in a round-about way. My friend, Gloria, began reading my blog. That inspired her, one night, to look at Kelsey's blog, which mentioned their good friends, Becky and Glenn. As Gloria, then, dug into Becky's blog (I guess you could call her a chain-blogger), lo and behold, she discovered that Becky's mother, Karen, is her (Gloria's) long lost friend from high school. Karen was even a bridesmaid in Gloria's wedding. Bingo! Connection #2

There is a third connection, but it is so convoluted that I don't dare try to explain it. It would leave you scratching your head, I'm sure. It involves friends we had from our first time in Juneau, friends of Gloria's, and two sets of African missionaries. Trust me. It's complicated-connection #3.

Besides these complex connections, I've also re-connected with Betty, Genie and JoAnne - all old friends - because they found their way to my blog (or, in Betty's case, I found my way to hers).

My point here is that technology, such as the Internet or blogging, sometimes gets a black eye, because it is often used for nefarious purposes. But, like most things in this world, it's not the "thing" that's good or bad, but how we, as people, use it.

James 1:17 - Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

A Pain in the Back

Have you ever gotten up in the morning, showered and washed your hair, only to find that your blow-dryer has died on you? Or have you ever headed out the door to go to work, to discover that you have a dead battery in your car, or a flat tire? I HATE it when machinery turns on me!

But this weekend it wasn't machinery that revolted. My own body turned on me! I was happily baking cookies for a Christmas party on Saturday, when I turned to pick up something from the counter and a pain in my back stopped me in my tracks. I hobbled through Saturday and half of Sunday before giving in and staying home Sunday afternoon and evening, and all day Monday. I probably should have stayed home today, as well, but thought that some activity might actually help the situation.

I'll mend, and I really only mention it to explain why I didn't post any new blogs on Sunday or Monday. Although neither lying down nor standing are too problematic; both sitting and transitioning from sitting to standing are painful! That makes using the computer a little uncomfortable.

But here is some good news. I told you I'd let you know when Sherry was doing better. She's still weak and taking it easy, but she felt well enough yesterday to make a brief trip to the store - her first outing in over three weeks. Thanks for the prayers on her behalf.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

The Pictures Have Arrived!

Oh, yes. Technology really does make a difference (see the previous post). Here are some pictures I swiped off of Kelsey's blog to share with you. I know some of you read both hers and mine, so it will be a re-run for you. But for the rest of you . . . here's our little 2-year old!

Can you guess what the theme of the party was?

Before the party

Sweetpea (left) and her best friend, "L"

Kelsey's awesome dog bone cake!

The pink trike! Present from Mama and Daddy

Sweetpea's Second Birthday

Sweetpea turned two years old today! I wish we could have been there for the big party her Mama put so much time and energy into. But we'll have to make-do with photos and videos.

I called to wish Sweetpea a happy birthday this morning, and caught her and her Daddy in the car. They were returning home, after having their weekly "Daddy and me" Saturday morning breakfast. Chris handed her the phone, while he drove, and she carried on a wonderful "conversation" with me. They say that children learn foreign languages more easily than adults, and now I know it's true. I'm not sure which language she was speaking, but she was definitely fluent and very expressive. And, for my benefit, she threw in a few words of English as well . . . "Hi Grandma" "Two!" "I love you" and "Bye."

I hope, by tonight, I'll have a picture or two of the birthday girl to post for you. I can hardly wait! Isn't technology wonderful, though? Just think how different it is today than a few years ago, when my children were celebrating their early birthdays.

Here's how it went back then (with apologies to my Mom, who must have been just as eager to see grandkid birthday pictures, then, as I am today):

Party Day (January): I snap a dozen or so pictures with my Instamatic camera. There is no way to know if the pictures are any good; and since film and developing cost $$$, I try to limit how many I take. At the end of the party, there are another dozen pictures left on the roll, so I put the camera away.

Five months later (June): While on a summer vacation, I use up the rest of the roll of film. I take it out of the camera and tuck it away in my little overnight travel bag, for safe-keeping.

Three days later: We fly back home from vacation-land. I unpack my overnight bag - not remembering that the film is in the little zipper pocket - and store it on the top shelf of my closet. Out of sight, out of mind. I never give the film another thought, until . . .

Three months later (September): I pull my overnight bag from the shelf and prepare to pack it for a women's retreat weekend. "Oh, what's this?! A roll of film. Hmmmm, I wonder what's on it?"

Five days later: After the retreat, I take the roll of film into the drug store, and they send it off for processing. Processing takes a week to ten days, and I spend that time trying to guess what might be on the roll of film.

Ten days later: The pictures are ready. What an exciting day! I drive over to the drugstore to pick them up, and, even before leaving the store, I am ripping open the package. Inside are ten pictures that are no good - too dark, too blurry, or with my finger in front of the lens. Of the remaining 14, 12 are from our June vacation (almost four months earlier). They turned out pretty good, because they were all taken outside, in natural light. And then there are two not-so-bad pictures of the birthday boy, eating his cake and opening a present. "I should send copies of these two birthday prints to my mom and dad," I think.

Three days later: Back I go to the drug store, with the two negatives, to order copies of the two birthday shots.

Ten days later (October): The duplicate prints are ready, and I make a trip over to the drug store to pick them up. I figure that Mom will be disappointed to get the pictures without a hand-written letter. So I put the pictures beside the telephone, on the kitchen bar, until I have time to write a letter.

One month later (November): Feeling bad about the delay, I finally sit down, during the boys' nap, and write a letter to Mom and Dad. Into an envelope go the letter and the two pictures. Oh, no. I don't have any stamps.

The next Thursday: It is grocery shopping day, and I make a special trip to the P.O., as well, for stamps. I place a stamp on the envelope and drop it into the mailbox.

Three days later: Mom and Dad get the letter and the pictures of the birthday boy, who is just about ready to turn yet another year older.

Friday, December 7, 2007

100 Things . . .

When I was in the fifth grade, the school district began planning a pilot program in which a group of selected students would take some advanced classes and study a foreign language. These students would stay together as a home room throughout their junior high years. I was selected to be in that program. So, one day, my fifth grade teacher, Miss Hermes, called me to her desk and said, "If you could pick any language at all to study, what would it be?" I didn't know. She took another approach: "What country would you like to visit?" That I knew. I told her I wanted to go to Holland. So she wrote down "Dutch" as my language preference. It turned out that the two languages offered in the pilot program were French and Spanish (imagine that, no Dutch!), and I opted for the Spanish program. All of that, to say this . . . I always wanted to visit Holland, and still do! Haven't done it yet (except via Google Earth).

Maybe I should have formalized the things I wanted to do in my life by writing them down. I keep seeing lists on the Internet, entitled, "One Hundred Things I Want to Do Before I Die." I was reading one person's list yesterday and thought to myself that they really weren't very high aspirations - unless you call going to the top of the Empire State Building a "high" aspiration, because that was one of his 100.

I figure my life is about 2/3 completed. So, hopefully, 2/3 of my goals have already been achieved. I remember a few of those early goals:

I wanted to be a teacher. I achieved this one, but didn't stay in that profession as long as I thought I would.

I wanted to get married. Uh-huh. Did that once, and stayed with it.

I wanted to have twelve children. I didn't have twelve, but I had two, and those two were such a blessing (or a handful) that I felt completely fulfilled without ten more.

But, some goals I haven't yet realized. For instance, I wanted to be a missionary, and haven't made good on it yet. But, I still have that final 1/3 of my life to go, the Lord willing, so there's still hope.

As I was perusing these "Before I Die" lists on the Internet, yesterday, I got tickled. Here are a few of the things I found people putting on their "One Hundred Things to do Before I Die" lists:

1. Finish my mending
2. Make a Waldo dress and have someone find me in a huge crowd
3. Pet a seal
4. Learn to walk in higher heels
5. Kiss in the rain (awwww, that's a sweet one)
6. Stretch my lobes to 2" (ugh - and that was the same person who wanted to kiss in the rain!)
7. Eat jellied eels from a stall in London
8. Converse with a parrot
9. Light a match with a .22 rifle
10.See Area 51

Feel free to leave a comment, if you wish, with one or more of your "Things to Do Before I Die." And make it a frivolous thing. After all, I already know that all of you want world peace, to feed the hungry, and to see your children and grandchildren leading upright and faithful lives. So let's go for the "bling" here!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Dan and I - How It All Began

It was the fall of 1967, one of the most exciting times of my life to that point. I had graduated from Juneau-Douglas High School in the spring, and was now a freshman at Abilene Christian College, in Texas.

My first couple days in Abilene I stayed at the home of Boyd and Fredda Fields, a couple I knew from Juneau. They had been instrumental in starting the church in Juneau, and, once the church was well established, they had moved back to Abilene. It felt good to know that they would be nearby as I launched this new chapter of my life.

The only other person I knew in Abilene was a sophomore student (male), whom I will refer to as "R." R was from Sitka, Alaska. We had become friends, during our high school years, through some youth events that had been sponsored by the Juneau church. Whenever R came to Juneau, we spent a lot of time together. But for the vast majority of the time, when we were separated by 95 air miles or 150 water miles, we maintained our friendship through letter-writing. After a time, I realized that I was a lot more comfortable with, and fond of, R when we were apart than when we were together. Apparently, though, R didn't feel the same way. When I got to Abilene, I kept meeting returning students who would say, "Oh! You're the Linda, from Alaska, who's engaged to R!" That came as a surprise to me! I wondered when, and how, I had missed the marriage proposal. Those comments struck terror in my heart, and brought R's and my friendship to a screeching halt.

The first week at Abilene was orientation week for new students. During that week I met a bright, confident, capable freshman girl, who had grown up in Texas, but had recently moved, with her family, to Montana. Her name was Kathy, and we became friends. Once orientation was over, and all of the returning students were back on campus, Kathy introduced me to her brother (who was actually her cousin, but had been raised with her, as a brother), a junior, named Dan.

Not long after that, I got a telephone call from Dan. He wanted to know if I would like to have dinner together sometime soon. (What he called "dinner" was what I called "lunch," by the way, which did cause some confusion, more than once.) So we met and had lunch together at the campus cafeteria, affectionately known as the "Bean." And then he asked me out for "supper" and a movie. (We were slowly trying to align our vocabulary.) After I had accepted his invitation, I got a phone call from Kathy. "Linda," she said, "I just want you to know that you don't have to go out with my brother just because you and I are friends." (Kathy, to this day, denies having said this, but I recall the phone call clearly.) I just laughed, and said I was looking forward to going out with Dan. On that first date, we ate at Pizza Hut and went to see the movie, Barefoot in the Park, starring Robert Redford and Jane Fonda.

We hadn't dated long before Dan asked me to marry him. He came home with me - all the way to Alaska - that Christmas, to ask my Dad for my hand in marriage. The following fall (one year after we met) Dan put a diamond on my finger, and our engagement became public knowledge. We married the next summer, at the end of my sophomore year, and after Dan's graduation.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007


Well, I know this has been around for a year or two, but I think it's fun, even if it's not novel. So, here I am . . . bringing a little Christmas cheer your way. Just click here. (It takes a bit to load, so be patient.)

Yeah, don't I wish I could move like that?!

Prayer Request - Sherry

My friend, Sherry (some of you know her), has been K.O.'d by pneumonia, for the past three weeks. The combination of a wracking cough and some other chronic health issues is keeping her from getting much sleep, so she is exhausted. She's just too sweet to be sick like this! Please add her to your prayer list, and I'll let you know when she's back on her feet.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Google Earth Addict

Hi, my name is Linda, and I'm a Google Earth addict. I can easily waste away any available increment of free time "traveling" to exotic or not-so-exotic places on this fascinating planet, via Google Earth.

I started out visiting great wonders of the world - the Giza Pyramids, the Taj Mahal, Red Square, the Grand Canyon, even Disney World! Then I began exploring wild places - Antarctica, Iceland, Greenland, the Amazon jungle. It's all there, photographed from satellites, in high resolution images. You can "fly" over the landscape to get the big picture, or zoom in close enough to see people standing in line at the Eiffel Tower!

The Pyramids at Giza

The Eiffel Tower

Tired of going where all the tourists go? Take a peek at the English countryside, or the streets of a small town in Australia. Have you ever wanted to really "see" the Dutch dikes you read about in your fourth grade geography books? Well, then, take a tour of Kinderdijk, Holland. Isn't it a beautiful place?!

Kinderdijk, Holland

And zoom in closer to the ground, in Holland, and you will even spot some of their famous windmills.

Have you ever wondered what your friends' neighborhood looks like? Just feed Google Earth their address and "fly over" for a visit! And if looking straight down on a location doesn't satisfy your curiosity, you can tilt the view to see the elevations! Here's a view of the scenery surrounding the home of a some friends of mine.

Any of my readers recognize this "neighborhood"?

Yes, my name is Linda, and I'm a Google Earth addict. But I don't want to recover. Does anyone want to join me on a trip around the world? (If you'd like to download Google Earth - it's free - right here - and, in case you're wondering, I'm not on their payroll; I'm just a fan.)

Monday, December 3, 2007

First of the Season

Just like every year, Dan and I have a number of Christmas parties and get-togethers to attend. Last night was the first one of the season. Our church congregation rented the Albuquerque Garden Center and enjoyed an evening of good visiting, good food and good entertainment. It was an especially magical time for the little ones, who delighted in one-on-one chats with Santa. Many of the children also took part in the talent show.

Here are a few pictures of the event.

Santa's helpers took good care of him.

Emily wants a kitten for Christmas.

A high-five for Santa.

She's been waiting all year to see this man in red.

The little girls loved singing Christmas carols

Singing "Santa Baby." These two sisters had worked very hard on their performance.

And, not to be outdone by the girls, these boys spontaneously sang "Santa Claus is Coming to Town."

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Waiting for Christmas

Do you remember those holiday calendars that had 24 little doors? You opened a door every December evening, until you got to Christmas Eve. Some of them had candies behind the doors. Others were hand-made felt banners, with candy canes tied to each day of the month, and a jingle bell attached to December 24. I remember this poem was sometimes written on them:
December first 'til Christmas
Is the longest time of year
It seems as though Old Santa
Never will appear.

How many days 'til Christmas?
It's awfully hard to count
So the little pieces of candy
Will tell you the exact amount

Untie a treat every night
As the Sandman casts his spell,
And Christmas Eve will be here
By the time you reach the bell.

Isn't it funny how it seemed that Christmas would never arrive, when we were kids, and yet, as an adult, I hardly get the tree down and the decorations put away before the holidays are sneaking up behind me again!

But something is different this year. Once again I'm feeling like "December first 'til Christmas is the longest time of year." Do you suppose it's because I'll be trading hugs with Sweetpea for the first time since May? I can hardly wait to hear that jingle bell ring on Christmas Eve.