Monday, January 31, 2011

Quick Trip North

I went on a quick business trip to Canada this past week.  This photo was taken from the hotel room at The Delta in Fredericton, NB.  I brought my son to Fredericton this past summer and it is a delightful place when it is warm outside.  This trip - well, a bit cold to my liking:
Do you see that?  -20C  (that would be -4F) during the DAY.  Brrr.  Love that little temperature thing on my mirror.  I had to warm my truck up for a good 10 minutes before driving.
Nice in snug in the beautiful hotel room.  Didn't even have to go outside - ate at their restaurant.  
A shot from my travels along the shore.  So very cold that the ocean vapors are very thick!  Brrrr.  Did I already say that?
Photo above taken at a red light somewhere in Maine.
And along the way - when I just need a stop-over hotel - I stay at my favorite road trip stop - Motel 6 - their bedspreads say Motel 6.  Don't you love it?  Very basic, but clean hotel rooms and the rooms aren't frigid when you check in - got to love that when it is so cold outside.  Just remember to bring your hair dryer inside because they don't have them in the rooms.  I always get a kick out of that, but since I know about it - I pack accordingly.  Helps to be flexible when you travel.  
And now I am back.  Phew.  Long drive in not always the best of winter weather.
Canada on the left side of the river/USA on the right.  Right here - the time zone line.  Waiting in line to cross.  Well, at least it is scenic.  And out the passenger side window:
Canada on the right, USA on the left.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Winter Fun of Burning Brush

After a storm everyone rushes out to the beach to check the waves.
One thing about the winter storms - the wind blows lots of dead limbs down.  Which means brush clean-up!  My sister and I love to burn brush and my Dad's yard is perfect for when we are bored and looking for a little something to do.  Two weeks ago recorded wind gusts were 80 mph so you can imagine that we had some brush down.  The dogs Sadie and Sophie are always up for an adventure too.
This is a favorite brush burning bin, but as you can see - it was full of ice water.  Hummm.  Dad's yard is full of everything you can imagine so a little poking around and we have a barrel with a hole in the bottom.  We got the brush burning pretty good in that barrel but it would smolder so then we took a huge stick and propped it up on some rocks - that hole in the bottom came in handy and kept the fire burning very hot.  We burned lots of brush - lots!
Can you see Dad's tire collection over to the right?  Every so often my brother hires someone to come take them all to the dump - this is expensive because you have to pay per tire, but Dad goes right back to collecting them.  Well you never know when a tire will come in handy like when you want to build a trailer or something.

Here is the picnic table.  Dad's treasures.  About every 10 years or so my brother has a scrap metal person come and we pile all the old cars and trucks and misc. stuff up and he takes them away.  I have photos of piles of stuff way up over my head from one year.  It makes a clean slate for Dad to start all over again.  See that train track - it is from Dad's 2' guage train.  He gave 2 engines and lots of cars and tracks to a museum, but he still has some of the stuff.  My nephew cleared off some of the track and set up a comfy chair that he found in the shop on one of the cars.  When I was a kid Dad would run the train up and down a long track.  One of those engines was so loud it would shake the entire neighborhood!

And when we were all done burning, look what I found to put smoother our fire.  Perfect.
Dad's yard is actually very beautiful in the summer when it is all filled in with greenery and singing birds.  All my life we have had fun "playing" in the yard and we are still at it.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

The Year Santa Was Late

I couldn't go to Austria this year for Christmas.  So, the first week of December I packed up my presents and sent them off - delivery expected within 5 days.  Well guess what?  The box of SANTA presents just got there on Friday, January 7th.  The other box I sent was received AFTER Christmas.  I like to split up my boxes in case one is late, gets lost or held up in customs - but both boxes?  I was feeling badly that the boxes of presents didn't arrive by Christmas, but I found out -I did not need to worry.  My son had a very good Christmas despite the present delays!
His sweet little heart, he was full of happiness and excitement on Christmas day.  He had carefully set the Christmas table for dinner for 2 (he and DH) and was pleased to see all our traditional holiday dishes set out.  We always emphasize special meals for holidays.  He sent me a photo of the table.  
As far as presents, his aunt had given him a microscope that he was over the moon about and DH gave him a train car for his track.  And one of his friends had left a present for him.  DH had gotten a present from Christkind for him as well, plus Christkind gave him some clothes that I had sent ahead earlier as presents.  He asked me about my Christmas and wanted to make sure I was going to have a good meal and some presents.  And he was happy.  We never told him that presents were lost in the mail.  As far as he was concerned, he thought Christmas was over and was very happy with what he had received.
Eventually a box did arrive and the excitement of presents started all over again.  He was so surprised that I had sent presents, silly boy!  And happy to see that DH had some little gifts in there too.   Because he is like that - so concerned for everyone.  I don't really send anything expensive because sometimes packages do get lost.  But I did send 3 pairs of hand knit socks and if you knew how slowly I knit - you would be worried too!  I also sent 2 tins of Christmas cookies which were a big hit (yup, we love our holiday foods), decorative window clings, Christmas decorations and a few little toys, etc.  Everything has to be fairly small because of the cost of shipping.
And then finally on Friday that all important (missing) Santa box did arrive.  Yes, I put insurance on my packages, but that isn't the point.  Santa should be able to find a 7 year old on Christmas Eve.   My sisters all said that this would surely be the year that he would stop believing in Santa Claus.  You can imagine how awful this all made me feel, but my son is so happy and cheerful and it just never seemed to phase him that Santa never showed up - the news was full of the awful storms and airport delays and I guess he just figured Santa couldn't get through in that weather.  I don't know exactly what he thought because he never said.  But then yesterday when I talked with him on the phone (we Skype) he told me he was "exploding with joy!"  The box finally was there!  And so he thinks he is a lucky because he had THREE Christmases!  I guess that is one way of looking at it.  I am just happy that everything finally got there.  And I could just give my son a very big hug for having such a sweet spirit.  He doesn't know it, but he made a difficult time much easier on me.
In Austria the children do not have Santa Claus.  They have a Christ Angel named Christkind that comes in the early evening Christmas Eve into the decorated room (which has to be empty when Christkind comes).  No one knows what she looks like so it is not a very commercialized figure, but I thought this weather vane of an angel was very beautiful, so that is the photo for this post.