Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Lite

Quiet and simple -- I think I'm going to bring it off this year.  The tree is decorated with my entire remaining collection of ornaments. I gave away everything I didn't put on the tree. All the fussing, shopping prepping, wrapping, and fretting have been scaled back as I grow older and Ben and Logan mature. The magic of e-commerce has hugely simplified shopping. Presents for everyone on my list have been made, bought, mailed or dispatched electronically. I had one heart-stopping event when the quilt I sent niece Hollis went missing for nearly a week. But it seems to have reappeared and should be delivered today. 
Gift wrapping was accomplished in a couple of hours this morning using paper and ribbon left from years previous. I almost made a typo -- "years precious" instead of "years previous." Either word would work just as well. We have some wonderful Christmas memories and I love hearing the kids bring them out and relive them. Precious, indeed.
Gifts for the boys are scant and simple -- they both had wishes for early gifts. Logan got a new suit in November and Ben got a pair of binoculars principally for bug-watching, but he unwrapped them early to watch the Leonid meteor shower.  And we're putting away money for next year's travel plans. We'll see how that plays out. Not to mention the fact that another car will soon be joining the family. So most of our Christmas and birthday gifts will be deferred for a while.
No cooking frenzy for me this year; we'll be having Christmas dinner tomorrow with Steve and Julia. The first time I have not cooked Christmas dinner in nearly half a century. I only regret we will have no turkey leftovers. I think I'll roast a turkey some cold winter's night in January just so I can have some yummy turkey sandwiches and delicious soup.
Snow is forecast for tomorrow, so we'll probably have a white Christmas. Pictures to follow. Rachel and Kevin will be driving down (and back home) tomorrow, but the storm is supposed to be mostly to the south, so the driving conditions should be OK.  
Merry Christmas everyone!



Sunday, December 16, 2012

Wooooapppeee Birthday dear Daddy







My father, Seward James Blair ("Bud"), would be 100 years old today. He's pictured above on or around his first birthday. Helen, his two years older sister (born December 15, 1910), called him Buddie, her attempt to say brother, and the name stuck. He was always known as Bud and that's probably a good thing; Seward isn't particularly euphonious. He was named Seward at the insistence of his grandmother, Amanda Schooley Blair, who was especially fond of her uncle William Henry Seward (Lincoln's secretary of state -- you remember Seward's Folly -- the purchase of Alaska). Bud Blair was born in Goldfield, Nevada, where his parents had settled while his father pursued a banking career in that gold mining boom town.

When the luster of Goldfield began to fade, the family moved north to Tonopah where things were a little livelier. They stayed there until some time in the '20's when they again moved north to Fallon, Nevada. His father remained a banker until the banks closed in the depression at which time the family turned to turkey ranching for a livelihood.



He met and married Ruthanne Hatch while he was an architecture student at UC Berkeley. I am about four years old in the picture above. My father is on the left and his brother, Bill is on the right. My earliest and best memories of my father are from about this time until I was about twelve. He was my hero and I thought he could do anything. He whistled and tap danced everywhere he went and was always busy making things in his workshop. He planted glorious gardens, created wonderful landscapes, built us children great toys, and was always volunteering to help with school activities.
Here is my father shelling dungeness crab for his traditional Christmas crab salad. His method of shelling was to put one chunk in the bowl and one in his mouth. The picture is taken in the "new house." By this time, I was married and had children of my own. My parents had at last moved into the home that my mother dubbed "Seward's Folly."

This was a dream house that became a nightmare. An old tumble down Victorian-era house on an acre of land became our home when I was thirteen years old. The plan was to live temporarily in the old house while a new one was built on the same property. The new house would be spacious to comfortably accommodate five children and our assortment of pets. Sadly, the house was not completed until after all the children had been raised. During all those years, all spare time and money was diverted to the construction of the new house and our family life fell apart.

But the new house did accomodate many family gatherings that are memorable to my children and their cousins. We gathered there for family birthdays several times a year. An indelible part of these celebrations was my father's rendition of the happy birthday song sung with great gusto:
Happy birthday to you,
Happy birthday to you,
WOOOOOOAAAPPPPPPPPY birthday dear Daddy,
Wappy birthday to you

Saturday, December 8, 2012

And the Winner Is . . .

BENJAMIN MAPLES!

Ben posed very willingly for this picture; he even suggested in front of the fireplace would be a good place to pose. Never mind that one of the antlers of the deer on the mantle looks like a spike of unruly hair, it was still a fabulous moment. I think he was nearly as proud of himself as I was. 

He's holding the symbols of his great moments at yesterday's regional math competition in West Plains. His team placed third in the team competition scoring the white ribbon. His solutions in the twelfth grade target event earned him the blue ribbon. This also garnered him a second place overall medal and a place in the state competition to be held in April. Other kids from our school also did very well.

As in past events, the biggest winner was an autistic freshman boy from Nixa. I think we'll be hearing a lot more about that boy in the months to come.
 
Today the listing on my house expires. I intend to keep it off the market until after I've recuperated from my next knee surgery, but I'm still hoping to sell it before summer. We'll see.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Tah Done!

Setting the table is not a big deal. Cleaning up my sewing mess is! Can't wait to start in on a new mess next week.

The tree is decorated with all the ornaments I own. Everything that didn't end up on the tree was given to local women's shelters.

Fake holly replaces dead mums on the back deck. Takes much less water.

This table runner is made from a yard of material provided by one of my quilt club members. I made it into this table runner and set of coasters and will give it back to her at our Christmas luncheon tomorrow.

This quilt block is part of a round robin quilt project by our group. We each do a block a month for one of the participating members. When we have completed a block for each member, we will each have an assortment of blocks to make into a quilt of our own choosing.

I actually finished all the items on my to do list from the other day, except one -- I didn't do any reading in Consilience. So, I think I'll go do that now.