Christmas Lights, Sweaters & Snow

Even on a wet cold night, Christmas lights are still as pretty as in snow. On the first night the Bellevue Botanical Garden’s Garden d’ Lights, the family and I piled into the car and drove to see this neat, but best kept secret light display. It is a little more compact than the ones you see at the two zoos in the area, but it is worth a visit if you like to see a garden all dressed up in lights. I wish the Lake Washington Arboretum would do something like this with their grounds in the Japanese Garden. Favorite displays were the fish tank (picture below) in a display window and the veggie garden with a rabbit (see below).

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Garden aquarium
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Herring in the garden
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Peter Rabbit stealing carrots in the garden
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Butterfly visiting the garden

Every so many years Seattle will get snow fall ( 2-5 years). Usually it is around Thanksgiving week, but this year it decided to fall during December and a week before college finals. I will admit, I cannot drive well in snow, and the reason is hills. I did make it to class the morning after it snowed, and it was an adventure in itself to get out of the driveway to a plowed road. Once on campus after a two hour delay, the snow was a site to see with snow hanging on the trees.

Christmas sweaters seem to be in abundance these past few years. Last year around Christmas I purchased my first “ugly” sweater (really it is cute sweater) from Fred Meyers for a party. This year the church decided to have a Christmas sweater contest one Sunday to see who had the ugliest, cutest, and fun sweater. I did not win, but that does not mean my cute cat in a stocking sweater is not worth showing off. The other young ladies at church had similar “cute” sweaters on. I believe the ugly sweater is starting to become a “cute ugly” sweater the more I start to see them around.

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The sweater of ugliness!

Decorating the church this year for Christmas was in part a little sad since Nana could not stay long after Thanksgiving this year. This year’s theme was Home For Christmas, and it did not disappoint either. Christmas time is the only time of year the church looks fancy. I will say there was a whole lot of red and green colors this year compare to other years before. There is for the first time in a long time, outdoor Christmas display and lights.I guess if you want to see the whole thing you will have to make a trip to Shoreline Community Church in Shoreline to see it.

Of course this year Christmas lands on a Sunday, so this means there will be service on Christmas morning! Can’t wait to see what is going to happen!

Here is to wishing all my readers a Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays and a Wonderful New Year!

….And She Keeps Moving Onward

Life moves onward at lightning fast pace. She keeps moving onward with many new adventures and many new discoveries along the way. My Nana this month turned eighty and to be honest, she doesn’t even look eighty! Also this month had me moving to a whole new apartment in the Edmonds area instead of Seattle.

Mom and I started our little road trip at 6:15am to beat the Seattle weekday traffic. It ended up being for nothing since there was a lot of traffic by that time. Even when we hit Portland, we were stuck in Portland’s traffic trying to get into to the city and getting out. I think Portland has just as crazy traffic as Seattle, but a very confusing road system with bridges, exits and splits in the middle of freeway. It took a whole lot of contraction to get into the correct lane for south bound I5. After Portland it was nothing but farms, fields, little towns, and a whole lot of mountain driving with trees.

Before going to Nana’s house, Mom and I took a detour to Eagle Point to get some pancake mix at the old Butte Creek Mill. I have grown up on their stone ground pancake mix and have compared all pancake mix to it. I decided to pick up some mix since Michael has heard me rave about this mix and wanted to try for himself why I love it so much (keep you posted on this).  The mill is one of five working water powered grist mills still operating in the US. I remember as a kid going to the general store they have in the mill and buying candy and other treats from the nice old ladies who run the shop. To this day I still make a pilgrim to this place for the all the goodies. After the mill stop, Mom and I drove up to the VA Cemetery to visit Grandad and Grandpa. Oh boy, what a disappointment. As the one of the grounds keepers said, the contractor who was doing major construction work on the grounds walked off the job and left half of the cemetery in a shamble. Poor Grandad’s resting place was a complete mess with all of the grass gone and chips in the stone marker. The grounds keeper did say they hired a new contractor to finish up the work and should have all of it done by the end of July. I just hope so.

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Butte Creek Mill

Next day was Nana’s eightieth birthday.

For Nana’s birthday dinner we all went up to Mount Ashland to Callahan’s Mountain Lodge. The view and the place was gorgeous as can be. These places hold dear memories for the family because this is where my parents got engaged. The sad part is, the Callahan’s my parents knew sadly burned to the ground in 1996 and was rebuilt to what it looks like today. We had our dinner of the outdoor deck in the cool mountain breeze and the wonderful sunshine with a view of Cascade Mountain range in the background. I ended up going with the Prime Rib Stroganoff for dinner. A very rich dish with having all the extra butter dollop on the top of the mount of noodles. I don’t think I made a real dent into the mount of noodles and rib, as I would have liked (guilty with the bread basket!). This is the only place I have ever been that I can see me affording duck or veal menu item. In Seattle just an ounce of meat would start you at $50.00. Going back to Ashland later that night, we took the old route 99 road. This road goes from Northern California to BC Canada. There was lots of hairpin turns with straight drops over sides of the road without any guard rails. Just imagine driving this road before the interstate was built.

Then the big day came and it was full of surprises. First the cake that was ordered was huge, bigger than the Costco cakes you can order. The whole cake took up the backseat of Nana’s car and the icing was starting to slide off the cake in some areas from how heavy the cake was. The look on both my Aunts’ faces were priceless when they realized that the cake was the size of four sheet cakes put together and two sheet cakes thick! By the time we served all the guests at the party there was still sixty percent of the cake left, and after cleaning up the room we rented at the Holiday Inn, we gave a whole bunch of cake slices to the hotel staff to enjoy. Later Mom and I saved a piece of cake each for Dad and Michael. Fifty near and dear to Nana showed up to celebrate her special day, and I captured every one of them with Nana. Overall the day turned out to be a great day, and we all sigh of relief when it was all done. Next day it was back into the car for another eight hours of driving back to Seattle.

Few weeks later I moved into a new apartment in Edmonds. For a while now I have been very unhappy with the place I was at. When I first moved in it seem a decent place to live, but by the end of October of last year, things started going down hill in a way that would make the most sane person feel like they are going insane. I know apartment life can be stressful at times, but there was a constant stress about living there that was not normal situation. By the time I moved out of the apartment complex there as a whole new management company starting to set things right. Too bad, I already gave my notice. The move when smoother then I expected with getting all my stuff packed into U- Haul and unpacked into the new placed with in three hours. I will chalk it up to packing all my stuff in boxes long before the day of the move. The new place is a little bit older than the apartment I came from. The appliances in the kitchen are older (the stove does not even have a timer!), and the place is smaller but more cozy and well laid out. Also it is much more quiet then the other place in Seattle. I am hoping to stay more than just a year if possible. I’m done moving for now.