Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Who gets the lump of coal this year?

Cougar Creek Frosty
(Frosty does have arms, but they don't show up in the photo.  I think he needs some gloves)

What is left of Frosty after the terrorist attack.

I caught Maggie pulling off  Frosty's buttons  on Christmas morning.   I think she has earned the lump of coal this year.  Usually it belongs to Retired Mountain Man.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Great Christmas Memories

 Yes, I wish I had taken more photos in years past, but I didn't.   It's so easy now with digital cameras.  The first digital photos on the blog are the ones taken in 1998.   

 Jamie gets his "you'll shoot your eye out" BB gun for Christmas

RMN and Uncle Ron
The adults playing with the kids Christmas gift.  Remember this game?  I kept it for years and finally gave it away a few years ago.  I think you can still buy the parts and pieces online.

1978 Loman Cabin Christmas

Collin's 1st Christmas 1998
Collin's favorite Christmas present was the empty cardboard roll from the Christmas wrap.  He could really bang that thing around. 

New Year's Day 2000
 Collin wearing Retired Mountain Man's red hat.


Rylee get's her princess dress for Christmas

Three grandkids at Ben's 1st Christmas.        

Ben was thrilled to find out he had cousins!  Wow!  Kids!  His face lit up every time Collin or Rylee came near him.

Dylan 2010

 Dylan is either playing the guitar or the piano.  Now he also has Maggie to play with.   We do our best to keep him entertained.  Or maybe he is doing his best to entertain us?  I wish I had been there for Dylan's Christmas's when he was a little guy, but I'll take what I can get.

Dylan opens his white elephant gift  2011.

I am looking forward to New Year's Eve and racing down our sled run.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Winter Solstice Celebration Hope Idaho Style

It's was  very special event at the Outskirts Cafe and Gallery in Hope.  We had survived the predicted end of the world and while we are all still very saddened by the the Newtown massacre and the ongoing political division in our country, it was time to celebrate the shortest day of the year and our good fortune to be able to enjoy this special time of the year with our friends and families.

There was great food, wine, a poetry reading from Joe our trombone man, and of course, music with the Cougar Creek Band.  The crowd was very enthusiastic and seemed to really enjoy our music.  Needless to say, the band members loved it.

 I am sorry but I did not take my camera as I it is difficult to play the keyboard and take photos at the same time.  I am hoping someone else has photos they will share with me and I will post them on the blog.  

We have sunshine and thawing temperatures again today and are in serious need of additional snow for the New Year's Eve sledding party. 

I wore my purple boa while we played and Joe sang "Start Wearing Purple".  It seemed appropriate.

Start wearing purple wearing purple
Start wearing purple for me now
"All your sanity and wits they will all vanish
I promise, it's just a matter of time..."

As a post-menopausal woman, I am very fond of the lines, "All your sanity and wits they will all vanish, it's just a matter of time.   hey hey Hey Hey!"
Oops.  I mean,   "Ho, Ho Ho Ho!"

Friday, December 21, 2012

My answer to the NRA's proposal to have armed guards at every school in America.

1.All semi-automatic weapons need to be banned. The government should buy them from people who already own them and then destroy them. Anyone who is caught with one of these weapons would receive a $10,000-$50,000 fine and an automatic jail sentence, a long one. 
All clips with multiple rounds should also be banned and destroyed.   This law needs to go into effect as soon a possible.  
Concealed weapons should be illegal.
 All other gun purchases must be done with a background check, this would include Gun Shows. No one immediately buys a gun. There must be a waiting period. No exceptions.  
All guns must be registered on a national registry.  This is retroactive.  Anyone who has a gun that is not on the registry will face a fine and/or automatic jail sentence.
2. We need immediate funding for health care for the mentally ill, we need care facilities for them and not a jail cells. Schools need funding to provide additional assistance for students with personality disorders or who are mental health issues. Parents and families of someone who has either of these, need a support system.
3. We need to take a serious look at the violence we are allowing on TV, in movies and video games. 
I believe that this would be a very big start to ending the problem with guns in America.  Semi-automatic weapons and clips with multiple rounds will be legal only for police and military.  
The NRA needs to be stopped.  No more guns and get rid of some of the millions we already have.   

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The annual Christmas Tree event on Cougar Creek Road.

This is the one.

 Retired Mountain Man picked out this tree several weeks ago and then flagged it so that we would be able to find it again.   Good thinking.  We put on our snow shoes for the first time this year and we set out to get the Burkhart Christmas Tree 2012.  There is something special about this event.  There is nothing like hiking around in the woods trying to pick out your tree.  Cutting it down (without getting a pile of snow on top of your head or down your neck) and then dragging it back to the house.

 RMM cutting down the tree and then we're off!

 There's only one black and white dog with us this year.  Last year Mollie was still with us.  I miss her.  Maggie supervised the entire operation.

We measured, put on the tree stand and got it in the house to drip-dry on a tarp.  Then it was time to decorate.   There are still some decorating adjustments that need to be made, but it will do for today.  Retired Mountain Man did a great job picking out this tree.  It was a perfect fit for the corner in the living room.

Feliz Navidad!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

On a happier note.....

A little bit of good news.  After 6 months of drastically changing my diet:   My LDL is now: 144, HDL 48.
Blood Pressure 128/74.  Whoo hoo!

Drastically changing my diet?  No eggs, no cheese, no skin on poultry, fat-free dairy, low sodium or sodium free veggies and sauces, fresh fruit, whole grains..............limiting fat to good fat which would be olive oil (2 tablespoons per day)

and yes, some of it actually does taste good although I have thrown several recipes that I tried into the garbage, such as Sweet and Sour Lentils.  Yuck!  If anyone is interested, I will share that recipe.

If your cholesterol is high, don't be discouraged.  You can change it and you can find recipes and food that tastes really good.  Don't forget to check the amount of sodium in canned and frozen foods.  Some of them are really high!

I did it and so can you.

Pistol Packin' School Secretary

Last night I watched an interview on CNN with the president of the Gun Owners of America.  He believes that schools should not be Gun Free zones and that all teachers and school staff should carry concealed weapons.  I was astonished to learn that they support legislation to do just that.

I have been trying to get my head around that thought all night.  As a matter of fact I woke up at 4:00 a.m. thinking about it.  

  • Pistol Packin' School Secretary

I was a school secretary for 23 years.  When I was hired in 1984, the school secretary's job was basically "mom away from home" with a little bit of office work added in.  I took attendance, sold lunch tickets, gave out band aids, called parents when their child was sick and knew some first aid to take care of broken arms until the parents could get them to the doctor.  

An additional job requirement:   Carrying a gun
I have been trying to picture myself carrying a weapon to school every day. What would that be like?

  • Daily Weapon Procedures and Dress Code

Let's see, I would start off by checking my weapon each morning before I went out the door to drive to work.  Would I wear my weapon on my hip, behind my back or across my chest?  What kind of weapon would it be?  I've never fired a pistol, but I should tell you that I have killed a deer, back in 1972.  I do know how to shoot a rifle, but I'm not much of a hunter.  

OK, so back to the weapon.  Maybe it would be Glock, like the one in the massacre in Newtown?  I think I would need an extra clip.  Where would I put the clip?  Do I always wear the gun or can I lay it on my desk?  NO, probably not in a school.  Would the dress code require wearing a jacket every day to conceal the weapon?

  • Training and Funding

I would need training of course.  What stance do I take when I am firing at the perpetrator? Could I really do this?  Who would pay for this training?  I am thinking that maybe the NRA or the Gun Owners of America since most schools do not have money for this.  

There were three secretaries in the main office at my school.  I am trying to picture the three of us carrying our weapons, working in the office and when the perpetrator shoots his way through the front door, we all get in position and take him out.  It would be just another part of the school day.  I am sure it would seem routine once we have training exercises showing us just how to do that.  I am betting that Jana would have been the best shot.  Julie would have had the quickest reaction.  I am not sure I could do it.  I might have lost my job.

  • Additional Weapons Cache

  I think of all the teachers I worked with over the years and for the most part, they were really great people.  Really great people!  They would do anything for their kids.  They would do everything they could to stop a gunman. 

 That is not to say that they didn't have some issues.  There were always a few who could not remember to bring their key or card to unlock the door to get in the building.  We would have to open the front door for them every morning.  Would they forget their weapon?  Would the office have extra weapons in the safe for teachers or staff who forgot to bring their weapon to work?  Would they be engrossed in teaching their kids and accidentally leave their gun on their desk?

  • Marksmanship and Job Performance
Marksmanship would be part of our annual evaluation. (I had to look up marksmanship rankings as I had no idea what they were.) Marksman is the lowest ranking, then Sharpshooter, Expert and finally, Distinguished Rifle or Pistol.  Parents could choose which school to send their children to by the teacher's and staff marksmanship rankings.  The more Distinguished Pistol rankings at your child's school, the better.

Maybe there would be merit pay for those who were the best marksman. The NRA and Gun Owners could pay for this.  They have plenty of money.

  •  Your Second Amendment Rights

Apparently, the Gun Owners of America and the NRA feel that it is acceptable for them to force the rest of us to carry a weapon rather than take away their Second Amendment rights to own and carry semi-automatic weapons and clips with hundreds of rounds.   

Another question:  How old would you need to be to carry a gun?  12?  14?  16? Would 12 year old students be allowed to carry a weapon to school?

There were more than 16,000,000  background checks for guns that were purchased last year.  And another 16,000,000 this year!  

 32,000,000  guns sold in two years

They say that in a couple of months we will all forget about the massacre in Newtown, just like we "forgot" Aurora and Arizona and all of the others.  I hope that is not the case.   If we don't do something about guns in this country and soon, there will be another massacre somewhere else

The headline will read something like this:  35 dead in shooting at (fill in your school name), Gunman kills 45 at mall in (fill in the name of your town).   

It's a chilling thought.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

My favorite gingersnap cookie and yes, these are healthy, good for you, cookies.

I love these cookies.  I like to make two batches and put them in the freezer to bake another day.

Gingersnap Cookies
from Cooking Light

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons dark molasses
1 tablespoon cold strong brewed coffee (I used instant granules)
1/2 cup sugar
6 tablespoons butter, softened
2 tablespoons finely copped cyrstallized ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 tablespoons sugar

1.  Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife.  Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl; set asie.  Combine molasses and coffee in a small bowl, set aside.

2. Beat 1/2 c. sugar and butter with a mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy.  Add ginger, cinnamon, and cloves; beat well.  Add flour mixture and molasses mixture; beat at low speed until well blended.

3.  Gently press dough into a ball; wrap in plastic wrap, and freeze 15 min.  Shape dough into a 7-inch roll; flatten to 1-inch thickness.  Wrap in plastic wrap; freeze 8 hours or overnight.

4.  Preheat oven to 350.

5. Cover two baking sheets with parchment paper; Cut dough into 40 1/8 inch thick slices; place 1/2 inch apart on prepared baking sheets.  Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of sugar.  Bake at 350 for 10 minutes. (cookies will be slightly soft in center, but will harden as they cool).  Removed from pans, cool completely on wire racks.  Yield 40 cookies.

Serving size:  1 cookie.  Calories 45; FAT 1.8g; CHOL 0.6g; SODIUm 42 mg. CARB 7g.

Had enough? Contact your congressman, senators, governor......

Saturday, December 8, 2012

It snowed here yesterday.  You know, one of those storms with gigantic snowflakes coming down so hard it's hard to see more than thirty feet.

We took turns putting on our snow outfits to walk down to the satellite dishes and wipe them off. 

Friday, December 7, 2012

Mark's Day

The hunting season for elk has ended here in Idaho, but deer hunting was open until Dec. 1st.  Retired Mountain Man's game camera took some interesting photos towards the end of the season.  This blurry photo is of our friend Mark (Coronet Man) headed for a spot to just sit and wait for a deer to walk up the trail.

He's headed for a spot to the left in the photo.  It's about thirty yards up the trail.  Ten minutes later......

This bull elk and two cows walk up the trail.

Remember, elk season is over.  The camera did not catch a photo of the cow elk.  Mark is sitting just below the trail, patiently waiting for a deer.

Ho-hum, more elk.

Note the time.

Oh no!  This herd spotted Mark.  Back they come, running across the road.

Could there be more?  Where the heck are the deer?  It's deer season.

 It turns out there was a deer who walked up from another direction.  Mark was successful.  Here he is walking down to the creek, which is at the bottom of the photo, to wash his hands after he had dressed out the deer.

Mark says, "Yeah, I got one".

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Canada anyone?

This is my Santa hat.  I am supposed to wear it at the upcoming band gig.  I'm not really positive that is going to happen as I look dorky in hats.  Something similar to Mr. Contrary.  I think I have passed on the dorkiness trait to my grandchildren, at least that one for sure. 

There are many days when I dress myself and I look just like Mr. Contrary.  Pretty scary, huh?


The good news is that we finally have some snow on the ground!  How can you get in the Christmas spirit without snow? 

Yes, in addition to being quite contrary, I am one of those people who has to have snow at Christmas time.  If this global warming thing keeps getting worse, I may have to move farther north.  I say this now so that Retired Mountain Man has plenty of time to get that thought in his head.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

This is going to cost Retired Mountain Man a LOT of money!

He loves it when I find a new hobby!  I already have several projects going right now that are keeping me busy.  The wine carboys have been moved to the bay window and are snuggled up in their blankies.  I started some white narcissus in hopes that they will be in bloom by Christmas.  I have also decided that it was time to start some lettuce and the Red Robin Tomatoes.

Wine carboys, Narcissus, tomatoes and lettuce

Throw in practicing the guitar and piano and going to lessons and weight training class and I seem to be busy.  Plus, the band has a gig!  It's also time to get out the Christmas decorations, or maybe you have already done that.

Have you put up your tree?  Lights outside? I have barely started and it is December.  I hate that Christmas "hurry up and get it done" rush!  I am already feeling the stress which makes me want to not do anything! 

OK, so back to just what is it that is going to cost Retired Mountain Man a lot of money.  Yesterday, Ann, Linda and I were invited by Ellie, to attend a watercolor painting class.  The instructor was a neighbor, Kathy, who is a very talented artist who has created many beautiful paintings and sketches.  We spent the day at her dining room table looking out at the view above the lake as she demonstrated each step to create a watercolor painting.

The only time that I have ever tried to paint with watercolors was back when I was in the 5th grade and yes, that was a long time ago.  I still have the painting.  It was sent to the fair but darn it, did not win any awards.

Grade 5 work of art

I thoroughly enjoyed the entire day and loved trying to paint although it was very intense to me.  It did not come easy.  I breathed a sigh of relief at the end of each step in the process.  Kathy was very patient and calm throughout the session.  We had lunch, drank tea and coffee, ate pastries and ended the afternoon with a glass of wine and a finished product.  I wish I had taken my camera, but of course, I did not.

I was very surprised that my painting actually looked like a piece of art.  We all painted the same photograph.  Each painting had a different interpretation and all of them were very nice!  It was so much fun!

My 2nd watercolor

Kathy has invited us back for another session and I promise I will take some photos of the process.

Now, let's see.....I will need: brushes, watercolor canvass, watercolors, masking liquid, masking tape, a watercolor board, suitable erasers, pencils, black ink pens, an apron or smock...........