Sunday, December 31, 2006

Clear Skies! Icicles...

Last night when Marty was stuck in the snow, the moon was barely discernable through the thick clouds. When we got in the hot tub at 10:00, the sky was entirely clear and we could see stars. This morning it's clear and sunny and 19 degrees. Still, sun will win (or start to make a dent).

Keith has gone to clean the driveway of a friend who's been at a family reunion and is in an electric wheelchair. I hope others show up there too. They'll need to clean a 25 foot driveway and the sidewalk and the porch, but it's doable.

Marty's home, and it didn't hurt that Keith got my van out, so Marty could come in on the same tracks and get the clear spot in the driveway.

The steps were cleaned off halfway through the storm, for fire escape purposes. Having company and a roaring fire and snow keeping doors from opening seemed a bad combination to me, so Keith cleared our exits. He's a good guy. Below is a photograph of the firewood in the mulberry tree. Four sticks show. There may be five or six, but I couldn't spot them. There's still more snow higher up, where it didn't fall down when I tried knocking it down.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Stranded Houseguests

We're snowbound with houseguests. Marty stayed at Sadie's last night, but they came to get snow shovels today to clean her flat roof. Then when they brought them back, and Marty was going to leave again with his two passengers, he got stuck in the snow in front of the house. It took four people (me, Keith, Brett and Rose) to push and dig and get him out, after he was stuck in five different places, just in the cul-de-sac. Fortunately, the snow's not so bad on the other roads, and they were headed away from the worst of the snow depth. We're above Juan Tabo, nearer the mountains, and have like two feet of snow. The cars after Keith cleaned off all but the roofs today. We have a houseguest who drove down from Colorado Springs on Wednesday, planning to return Friday. We have a teen who was delivered here to play Encore Thursday night and is still here. Keith and Holly and I had planned to go to Alamogordo to see his parents, but stayed because of snow and houseguests. Starting last night we picked up another strandee, who couldn't get his car out but didn't have to work anyway because his place of business (and many others) stayed closed. It's been kind of like a party, though. We had enough food, and extra excuse to cook and eat together, and have been playing cards and board games. Last night five of us were in the hot tub and four (all but me) kept getting out, diving into the snow, rolling around and then getting back in the hot water. Or Holly would go under a tree or a stand of bamboo and shake the snow down onto herself. Earlier, I had thrown sticks of firewood up in the tree that's above the hot tub, hoping to knock the snow off the branches above the tub. I did knock a lot of snow off. I didn't want it to fall on us when we were in there. Unfortunately, some of the firewood is still up in the tree, though not right over the hot tub. So I reminded Holly not to play in the snow under that particular tree.

This is how much snow can pile up just on stuff like pipes. This isn't as fluffy as the last snow. It's settling and drooping. The shot below is the other corner of that frame, and in the background is the roof of the house, and some of the snow that can stay in a dead apple tree. Lots of snow.

Monday, December 25, 2006


We had a nice Christmas.

Christmas Eve, Keith and I went to carol at eight or nine places, all decided in advance and scheduled by our friend Chris, with driving times and directions all printed out. We started out on the far end of Rio Rancho and worked our way back toward uptown, and the Tramway corner, leaving about 4:45 and getting home at 10:30. Long night. Pati, one of our five, was sick, so it was me, Beau, Chris and Keith.

Meanwhile, Kirby was playing WoW to get double honor points. Marty and Holly had gone to see the luminaria in Old Town, and they took Sadie, Brett and Susan/Rose. There were carollers in the gazebo and Marty & co. went up to join. By the time they found the song in the booklet without page numbers, it was done, and one of the organizer-singers said they needed a cheery song. Marty asked if they knew Green Grow the Rushes, O. They didn't but were willing to learn, and Marty led the whole group in that, and then they went back to the booklet and sang until the Old Town officials turned the lights off in the gazebo. Marty said Brett, Sadie and Holly knew the song too, so he had backup in case he got confused.

When Kirby heard they had gotten to sing, he was sorry he hadn't gone.

We had Christmas stockings, because Marty wanted to. For the first time, nobody woke up early (or at least the kids didn't), so I got to sleep until 9:30 or so. Keith was up reading by the fire, and Marty woke up and got the other kids. The gift opening was the nicest for years (and it's always pretty nice), and then I made apple/banana pancakes and we all ate together. The kids were watching An Evening with Kevin Smith--Evening Harder and laughing away.

Holly and I went to our friend Charles' house to watch the third season of Little Britain. Charles is in the U.K. visiting his family, but his all-regions DVD player was still home and we had the keys. We couldn't figure out at first how to get the furnace going, so for the first hour we huddled under a blanket with corn bags (I knew the house would start off too cold and took cornbags). If we go back to watch more, we'll know to open the thermostat case and turn it to "on" instead of just setting the heat higher. Little Britain is fun but disgusting. We like Lou and Andy, and Vicky Pollard. The McNeill's brought us Season 3 when they moved back from England. We saw four episodes today and that was a lot.

I like that it was busy but overall very still and peaceful.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Snow Cake and other snow

Kirby made a snow cake for Sadie's 22nd birthday. The candles wouldn't stay lit, but Holly knew where some sparklers were. Later I commented to a new friend of theirs who had never been here and was getting the house tour (including my messy office) "One thing about being packrattish is you have sparklers at Christmastime."

Kirby added, "If you keep everything, you have everything. That's how it should be."

Here are some more snow photos, and they too are of before the snow was as deep as it is not. I can't keep up. It keeps snowing. I love the way it can pile up on something as thin as the edge of a cooking pot or clay flower pot. And this is how fluffy it was: I got a different cooking pot and scooped it full of snow off the deck, so un-walked-on snow, not compacted at all. I melted it on the stove. What started off 6.5 inches deep was 1/4" of water. Very fluffy snow.

Holly's rat cage, which was out to air and sanitize. Good job, snow!
Here's what the pipecleaner guy looked like with and without the snow all over him:


(click the "x" in the upper right to close the gallery)

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Snowy snow snow snow

When it started snowing I was thinking of the Sorooshians, being here last winter and missing snow. I wish they could see and play in this. These photos were taken a couple of hours ago and it's twice as deep now. Christmas-card snow is all well and good, but sometimes it's the snow on fences and pipe-cleaner-men and basket-ball hoops that's the most fun.

So for any of you who don't ordinarily get to see snow, here are some oddities. and my clothesline has three inches of heavy snow, but it just wouldn't photograph well.

Holly did this one, upward.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Winter Things

We got two cords of wood yesterday. I love firewood, and fires, and wood. I couldn't touch it. I have a cedar allergy that's getting worse. Keith and I are singing, with three other friends, at a tearoom this Thursday and next, and I really, REALLY can't be sick. I have to be able to sing and not be coughing and woozy, because as it turns out, people are paying big bucks for this "special event." There's food too, and all, but it's a big responsibility. I'm even staying out of the cedar hot tub until after we're through with performances. We have two tearoom performances, one at the Midwinter feast here (SCA thing), and we're carroling on Christmas Eve. After that I won't worry so much about being a little sickly, in the warmth of cedar fires and all.

But because of my allergy and caution, Keith and the kids moved the wood from the front driveway around to the back, and the kids stacked it.

For years I've had the thought "This might be the last time they're together," and they keep being together again, which is cool, but I know that anytime, from the time they were little, might have been the last time they were together. So I got as close as I felt I could safely to all that cedar dust, and I took some photos of them all together for what might be the last time.

Oh! And one more winter thing, for those who play neopets. Don't forget the advent calendar freebies all month.

That won't be there anymore.

Oh. I just looked for the first time at the announcements and tearoom site. St. James Tearoom Events (December 2006). I thought we were one of several Christmas events. Seems not so much. I don't know why I'm feeling so pressured about this project.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


This weekend Marty went to Cheyenne, Wyoming for an SCA event, a feast with games, and then to a war practice (SCA melees) in Fort Collins, Colorado. Grown female friends of ours who live in Denver reported before Marty was home that had learned to play fantan and backgammon and had had a good time. "Bardolf is a wonderful guy--so sayeth Wendy and I agree," was the exact quote. ["Bardolf" is Marty's SCA name.] The driver and organizer of the trip is in his 40's. The other three were in 40's, 30's, 20's. Marty is 17. Today I was told: "He was a blast. It was just great having him there. He's a really funny guy....He was sure great to be around."

Yesterday I heard how wonderful Kirby was at a birthday party in November, and specifically how suprising it had been to the hostess that Kirby spent a long time laughing and talking with her dad, who's 60ish.

While I was hearing that story, Holly was outside the window, playing on a playground with other unschooled kids, only one of whom was also a teen (the one whose birthday party Kirby had attended). Today on the mailing list of that group, someone wrote "I loved what Sylvia said about Holly on the slide--she turned to me and said 'Holly DROVE here and now she's playing on the slide with the little kids. Only an unschooled teen!'"

That's three reports within twenty four hours, all involving participation with other people regardless of age. Cool!

Monday, December 04, 2006

kids who dress up

We have three children who love to dress up.

Kirby has changed jobs and now must wear black slacks, a long-sleeved white shirt and a black tie. He's thrilled.

Marty goes more toward suspenders thermals, artsy western shirts, vests... hard to describe but he has a plan, and is pretty particular.

Holly has a collection of period hippie stuff from the 70's, 80's disco dresses, various bits and parts, and she puts outfits together in ways that causes strangers to take several steps toward her, in public, to talk to her about it.

Keith and I are quite the t-shirts and jeans types. I guess we get our fashion ya-yas (what few we have) from SCA garb. I have some photos of Keith and baby Holly here:

Friday, December 01, 2006


Within an hour of having posted yesterday, I read the word "jittery" and then turned on a DVD and there was a guy in a yin-yang t-shirt.

The book was Free Play: Improvisation in Life and Art, by Stephen Nachmanovitch (which I read periodically). The movie was "Accepted," a fantasy about natural learning. Except for the lying, it's a cool story.