Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Happy 19th birthday, James!

Happy birthday to our dear son... You make us proud. This will be such a year of change and excitement for you. Embrace the opportunities coming your way and go boldly into your life's new chapters. We love you.

Friday, December 25, 2009

A peaceful moment for your holiday...

Inuktitut speaker Susan Aglukark sings "Amazing Grace" over a slideshow of the Northern Lights. Enjoy!

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, dear friends and family!

Now that we're not in Texas any more, our Dallas neighbors got their first white Christmas Eve in something like 80 years. Wow. Here, we actually got a bit of a heat wave and our snow is melting. How odd the reversal of expectations regarding the weather...

We've had a good Christmas Day here at the O'Connor cabin. The dogs all got presents to keep them content while the humans opened theirs. Tate is beyond happy to have a toy that Moya hasn't yet stolen.

Never mind. It's Moya's now.

But, in a rare display of Christmas spirit (or perhaps just to rub it in their faces), Moya actually brought her new favorite toy over to each of her sisters in turn. Tate knows better than to try to actually touch it, though.

And Belle just wants to go back to her nap.

Our gifts involved a lot of items that reflect our new lives here in Alaska - gloves, fur for sewing, lots of music, earphones to hear it better with, and lots of other fun things. James got Weird Al's DVD of the movie "UHF" and the more I think about it, the more I think that explains a lot. About all of us, haha.

{And yes, that's Amy's lobster in James' Birthday Tree. And lots of fish. The topper is an otter with a starfish. Totally adorable, as his birthday trees usually are.}

And here I am, with The Big Family Gift. We replaced our old Kenmore oven with a new Electrolux. Total sports car compared to what we had before. We all used it together to make our Christmas dinner. I do not know what made me make that face, so don't ask.  ;^)

Here we are, gathered around the Birthday Tree for our special meal. (The Christmas Tree is in the kitchen.) Roast duck, sauteed spinach, new red potatoes, two kinds of fresh bread, and stuffing. There's pecan pie and ice cream for dessert. If you hurry, you can get here in time to share some with us!

We hope your Christmas was a nice one. But don't forget to be good for next year. Santa's not the ONLY one who's watching you!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Wintery pretty

The first couple months of winter have been so pretty. We've still only got about a foot of snow on the ground, although I noticed in the forecast that we might get a little bit more in the next couple of days. Sure, the snowbanks near the well-traveled roads are gunky looking, but that would happen anywhere, and just beyond the snowplows' berms is some of the most crisp, most serene scenery you can find.

Such as the frost on these bushes at Inlet View Road, overlooking the beach way down below:

And these from the same spot, looking the other direction:

Snowy trees in the foothills, on the way to Anchorage:

A closer look:

And an unexpected bonus of the shortened days has been the prolonged twilights. This is what I see out my kitchen window in the evenings when the sky is clear:

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Happy (Very Belated) Thanksgiving!

Hello again from the Great White North! We all hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving and are gearing up for a happy Christmas as well!

Big Jim and Mary were here with us for Thanksgiving. They flew into Anchorage on Wednesday and Jim and James drove up to get them.

They were here for the weekend and left on Sunday. While they were here we visited the big craft bazaar in Kenai, ate at Veronica's, and the guys went snow machining on the lake.

We got about a foot of snow that weekend. Even with neighbor Lee's help in plowing the driveway, there is still a lot of shoveling that has to be done.

We're enjoying new additions to our bird feeders. Now we have magpies and pine grosbeaks visiting us. We're glad they're okay with picking up the sunflower seed the chickadees drop, because the chickadees can't be bothered to clean up their own mess!

As usual, I find the local McD's a good source of entertainment. This is the new sign they've posted warning of the ice in the drive-through lane:

We've got our Christmas tree up as of last night, and may put up a second one tonight. It looks a lot more like Christmastime with the tree decorated. Speaking of Christmas, the  Mt. Redoubt Homemakers' Club had two Christmas parties in the last couple weeks. One was for the firemen, and one was just for the club members. I haven't had much opportunity to do cake since we've been here, so I wanted to do something fun for the members' party. Here's the polar bear cake I made:

James is making preparations for college and will be leaving in the middle of January. It will be odd having him living elsewhere for a couple months until he comes back for Easter break! I'm proud of him, and Jim is, too. What a grand adventure this will be for him!

The winter here is very pretty and not at all dreary and dark. I hope to get some pictures of the prettiness posted soon. The trees are frosted over and look so hauntingly dramatic, and gazing out over the lake is a particular treat when there is a little bit of fog to add to the mystery. When the weather is clear and we can see the snowy mountains, oh... I wish you were here to see that.