2,000 Travelers Stranded in Colorado

These are the headlines I read as I look out my window across the few traces of snow on the sidewalk and the unmoving windchime. I live along I-70 but there are many advantages to being on the western slope. The photos were taken about 5 minutes ago from my back door.

"Dec 31, 2007 (12:59p CST)
By GEORGE MERRITT (Associated Press Writer)

DENVER - More than 2,000 travelers were stranded at Red Cross shelters
in the Colorado high country Monday as a threat of avalanches closed a stretch
of Interstate 70 west of Denver.

Deep snow drifted into more than two
dozen narrow ravines in the mountainsides - known as avalanche chutes - raising
the danger of potentially deadly snow slides cascading onto I-70."



Christmas and the Grinch

I did have an enjoyable Christmas but sadly it was not one that passed by without touches of emotional pain. On a positive note -- I finally managed to get linked up with the online camera through Yahoo with both Dallas, in Baghdad, and Alexa in Ontario. It took almost 3 hours of trying to connect but when it would work in the garage and not in the office I started working on configuration. Of course since the garage cam was working we made it 4 way -- and included Charlie.

Dallas missed Christmas dinner on base because he wanted to 'spend Christmas with my family' and once I got mine working and Lexi got finished her obligations and could get online the mess hall had closed. We did have a chance to watch each other open gifts and share the moment.

Another positive point was dinner, and as usual I made way too much but I would rather have too much, and have it resemble a feast, than to have it like 'any other meal'. Even during the years I was a single parent and barely putting food on the table for the 3 kids we still managed to pull off a holiday feast. It was a pleasant meal and we both ate too much.

Another high spot -- our beautiful tree. Jim took me out to get it this year -- a live one, and he picked it out. I think its perfect.

And a very positive high spot -- I got a miter saw -- yippee!

But there were low spots. The high point of Jim making it home late Christmas eve (and me bouncing around excitedly telling him all about the activities of the last few days) took a sudden downward spin when he mentioned he was heading to bed. When I reminded him he had a stocking to fill he said "then you had better get the stuff out that goes in it." I was more than a little taken aback but I said simply that it doesn't work that way and he went to bed.

I filled his stocking and, after some reflection on a few other comments made over the past couple weeks regarding Christmas and gifts, I went to bed. I woke early (although later than the early hours I woke up at when the kids were small) and went out and logged onto the computer to see if Dallas was online yet. Jim got up soon after and I wished him a Merry Christmas. I asked if he wanted me to bring him his stocking and he said 'no'. I also mentioned that he might have to dig in his stash in the sock drawer [to fill my stocking] and I started the laborious process of getting the cameras working on the computers.

Jim did drop 2 of the 'sock drawer' packages into my stocking so once I got the cameras working in the office I asked him to come sit in by the tree and camera so we could open them. The 'sock drawer' gifts have accumulated over the past 3 years. On my birthday in 2005 he wrapped 2 but only gave me one. Another appeared later that year and at Christmas, yet another. On each birthday or Christmas he would get me something else and the gifts in the sock drawer stayed. Last year he commented that he could have added them to my stocking but he forgot about them. This year I reminded him well before Christmas and was told 'they are not stocking stuffers.'

So fast forward back to Christmas Day this year. I opened the first box and found a pair of earrings to match the necklace he gave me for my birthday in 2005. I was puzzled. Why not gift them as a set at the time? He had bought them at the same time -- but only gave me part of the set -- and 2 1/2 years later I only have the rest of the set because he had chosen not to get anything for my stocking. The second gift was another turquoise necklace but not a match to the earrings -- they clearly belonged to the necklace he had given me in 2005.

At that point, since only 2 of the 3 stashed gifts were in the stocking I asked what occasion he was saving the 3rd one for. I admit I was curious that it might be the earrings that go with necklace number 2 but that thought remained unspoken when he shouted out that I got all I was going to get. He then went on to say I got those because I wouldn't say Merry Christmas until he put them in my stocking (untrue and I corrected him) and that I don't give gifts -- I make contracts -- and that I couldn't give a gift without expecting something back. I only said 'Uh -- its Christmas'. I also pointed out that there were about 12 gifts under the tree for him and only 1 for me and I had not said a word about that. His next statements were even more confusing since he began accusing me of attacking him when he came in the door and that he should have stayed at work another day. I reminded him we had had a great evening and it was only when he was going to bed that there was any conflict and that it was dropped immediately. He agreed.

I mentioned the good dinner we had and things went better for the remainder of the afternoon. Later when I talked to Sandy and mentioned that Jim doesn't do Christmas well she agreed and said Bobby doesn't either. I guess part of my confusion is why it was so different this year. If he really does not want to do stockings or Christmas gifts then why did it just surface this year? I won't say I will agree to no gifts or stockings -- I already gave up the scavenger hunt the kids and I had made a tradition of. But it could at least be discussed -- I am not a bad person just because I expect something for Christmas.

The first year we were married he struggled with the stocking part a little because he had 'never had one and for sure never filled one', but Dallas helped him out with the stocking and I suggested some things he could put in it. The second year he had a few too many things so the extra ended up wrapped in the sock drawer. Last year he not only filled the stocking without any help but also had more than one gift under the tree, including some from 'Santa Claus'. He really appeared to enjoy the Holiday last year -- we had a wonderful Christmas. So what changed this year? And what reason could there be for him to hold back part of a jewellry set for almost 3 years and then be angry when he did finally give it to me? And why did he make the comment this year that he 'hadn't done this for 55 years so why should he start now?'

The high spots were more and better -- and outweighed the low spots -- but unfortunately they did not eliminate the confusion. This was the year Jim seemed to balk at anything Christmas -- he didn't give me a card, even though he did buy one -- and put it away.

Oh -- and Charlie ate the grinch!


Santa in Colorado

Its 11:45 and this is the most recent update on Santa. I guess I had better get to bed.

Merry Christmas Everyone


Merry Christmas Dallas

Watching the Storm

The storm rolled through Colorado and Wyoming on Friday, then spread snow and
ice on Saturday from the Texas Panhandle to Minnesota. Multi-car pileups closed
parts of several major highways Saturday in the Plains states.

We didn't get the storm but we sure got towatch it. The view from my backyard
was completely gone. The bottom picture shows part of what I usually see.


Finishing Touches

planterAllthough I still have a long way to go on the unpacking and remodels I did manage to get the planter and aquarium joined finally. We have struggled with a lot of options but the one I went with was to basically cut a hole in the middle of the planter and stand the aquarium in it, stand and all, and cut the plant tray to fit. Here's the end result and I have more pictures in the folder on webshots.
aquarium from living room side

plants and fish and rocks and bark


You probably won't get a card from the Bushes -- chicagotribune.com

And according to this article I guess I have bragging rights... being
one of the 1%

You probably won't get a card from the Bushes -- chicagotribune.com: "You probably won't get a card from the Bushes
By Patrick T. Reardon Tribune staff reporter
December 14, 2007"

The White House recently announced that George W. and Laura Bush are sending out 895,000 Christmas cards this year. That means one of every 128 American households will get one.Not mine, I suspect. And probably not yours.Still, that's an awful lot. It means that if you fly somewhere this month, the odds are one of your fellow travelers on the trip out or back is a White House card recipient. In first class, I'd guess.

It means that if you're at the mall, a goodly number of people among the hundreds swirling in and out of stores have gotten or will get the cards. That number, of course, will be somewhat lower, say, at the Sears on Lawrence Avenue in heavily Democratic Chicago than at the Sears in the Oakbrook shopping center in deeply Republican DuPage County.

But why send the card to just some people? If you're going to make it something of an official act (as opposed to doing a private mailing to close friends and family), why not make sure every American gets one?The way it is now, the Christmas cards -- which have been dispatched in large numbers from the White House by Democratic and Republican presidents going back more than a quarter-century -- are an exercise in exclusion. Their message is: This 1 percent of the population is worthy of a card, and the other 99 percent of us aren't.

White House Christmas Card

I guess I made it onto the list for the second year in a row. Here's my
card. And I was quite happy with it just the way it is.

Here is what Barbara Walters had to say about hers...

ABC's Barbara Walters Slams White House Christmas Card for including Scripture: "ABC's Barbara Walters Slams White House Christmas Card for including Scripture
By Colleen Raezler of the Culture and Media Institute

LOS ANGELES, CA, December 14, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Barbara Walters likes to receive Christmas greetings from high-profile celebrities and leaders, but apparently not if they refer to the Bible.

On Thursday's episode of ABC's The View, Walters expressed dismay that President and Mrs. Bush would send out greetings containing Scripture.

During the segment, Walters showed the other gals some of the 'highfalutin Christmas cards,' and explained the White House card:

'First of all, let me show you the cover of the White House, which is nice and bland…So that's pleasant enough. This is what interested me, that it is a religious Christmas card. Usually in the past when I have received a Christmas card, it's been 'happy holiday's' and so on- And this says:

''You alone are the Lord. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You gave life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship you.'

'That's from Nehemiah in the Old Testament. I don't remember- and I'm sure people will remind me-getting a religious card. Now does this also go to agnostics and atheists and Muslims and -'

Moderator Whoopie Goldberg and co-host Sherri Shepherd tried to steer clear of controversy by joking that the Scriptures were about Walters, but Walters persisted in her critique, asking, 'Don't you think it's a little interesting that the president of all the people is sending out a religious Christmas card?'"


Woman Charged for Cursing After Home Toilet Backed Up

"(Scranton, Pa.) -- Dawn Herb is charged with cussing a blue streak. But her lawyer argues that cursing in your home is no crime. Herb went before a judge in Scranton, Pennsylvania, Monday on a charge of disorderly conduct. She was cited by an off-duty officer who heard Herb let out a string of four-letter words after her toilet backed up in October. She doesn't deny using the obscenities. But her lawyer says Herb has a constitutional right to curse like a sailor in her own home. The judge says he'll make a decision in a few days on whether the mother of four is guilty of a cussing crime. If convicted, Herb faces up to 90 days in jail."

wltx.com Woman Charged for Cursing After Home Toilet Backed Up:


Major Snowstorm Socks Colorado

"A major snowstorm hits many parts of Colorado. The Grand Mesa has already received two feet of snow and is expecting much more throughout the night. C-DOT says road conditions are wet and will become icy as temperatures start to drop. Down in the valley, we've seen record-breaking rainfall today. The National Weather Service says we haven't seen this much rain on this day since 1918. While the snow will be a headache for drivers, skiers are on cloud nine as some areas of the mountains are forecast for many feet of snow."

Major Snowstorm Socks Colorado - Local News - News : Grand Junction, Colorado:

These are the headlines -- and the picture is my view of Grand Mesa but down here in the Grand Valley we have had no snow -- just a lot of rain for the past couple days.


Wii-habilitation has Edmonton patients on their toes

"Last Updated: Friday, May 11, 2007 4:48 PM MT
CBC News

Therapists at a rehab hospital in Edmonton are using Nintendo's Wii videogames to treat patients who have movement and balance problems.
As part of Albert Liaw's rehab at the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital, a boxing video game has him punching into thin air in a battle with an onscreen opponent.
Instead of using a joystick or keyboard, Liaw's onscreen character's actions are controlled by his real life movement.
"When I first played I was in a wheelchair, now I'm standing and I can box normal," he said."

more...Wii-habilitation has Edmonton patients on their toes:

Roomba Trails

Yesterday Roomba wandered out to the garage -- and got creative with the sawdust pile under the tablesaw. Eventually (after about 3 dumpings) he did manage to clean it up and then made his way back into the carpet.


Record Saver Article

"You’ve been waiting 25 years for the record company to release your favorite William Shatner Sings record onto CD and it just hasn’t happened. What gives? Don’t these people know about talent? Wait no longer. Make your own. Don’t be afraid. If you can put a record on a turntable and push one button, you’re in business with a LP Saver Phono/CD Recorder. It’s really that simple.
Now you can take your old records and bring them into the digital era! This great gadget is able to convert all of your old records to CDs, iPod, MP3 or any other digital files. All you need to do to record your records to CD is simply plug this one-of-a-kind three-speed (33 1/3, 45, and 78 RPM) USB Turntable right into your PC. "

firstSTREETReports.com Article:


Parade of Lights

Despite winds gusting over 30 mph, biting horizontal sleet and winter storm warnings in effect -- we assembled the float and (did I mention the winds) after a delayed start made it through the parade in tact -- well, mostly.

Here is a photo of the Grand Valley Blue Star Moms float in the Parade of Lights.