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Catch It While You Can!

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All info from this blog has been transferred to my new blog “Gomming & Yowing” (http://gommingandyowing.wordpress.com). I’ll be shutting this site down soon, so I hope you’ll transfer over to the new one and keep reading.

Thanks!

Just A Reminder…

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This blog is about to be archived, but all past content–and all new posts–will be available at my new blog site:  Gomming & Yowing. Can’t wait to see you there!

My Good-bye Wave...hahahahaha!

New Bloginnings…

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Thank you to everyone who’s enjoyed this blog since 2008–I appreciate your readership and comments! I’m switching to a new blog — “Gomming & Yowing” — which allows me a little more room to wallow about in words. I hope you’ll make the switch: http://gommingandyowing.wordpress.com and tell me what you think (as long as you’re nice about, of course!).

See you there!

Choco-licious!

Just trying the new “Choco” theme that was announced today. Not sure if it’s right for my blog, but I really like the look of it so far…makes my blog look like it’s waiting for tea in the library of some grand estate. I wish I’d been invited!

Top 10 List (Sans Regrets)

More than eight inches of snow fell in the Asheville area, beginning Christmas morning. We’ve had the occasional “white Christmas” here before, but this amount is a new record for us. It’s beautiful and peaceful (if you don’t have to drive), and–of course–conducive to writing blog posts.

As always, there a were a million things I wanted to get done before Christmas, but there’s only so much time, energy, and money to work with, and some things just have to wait.  Here’s a Top 10 list, in no particular order:

  1. Send thoughtful, well-chosen Christmas cards with a warm, personal message for each recipient, on or before December 12.
  2. Bake cookies , bag them in festive cellophane, and give them as delicious little gifts of the season.
  3. Wrap each gift in pretty paper and ribbons (coordinated, of course), and enjoy the sight of them under the tree until Christmas morning.
  4. Attend a church service on Christmas Eve.
  5. Choose a name from a local “angel tree,” shop for gifts, and help make a disadvantaged child’s Christmas much brighter.
  6. Take time to think about the real meaning of Christmas and be truly grateful for all my many blessings.
  7. Go to at least one holiday event where, as my sister defines it, “a choir wears white tops and black bottoms and sings Christmas songs with an orchestra and maybe handbells.”
  8. Drive through neighborhoods and look at Christmas lights.
  9. Watch at least one classic holiday show or movie and recite the dialogue along with the characters.
  10. Keep the drama (shopping, baking, decorating, rushing around, spending money, battling crowds, worrying, hurrying, scurrying, grinching) to a minimum; keep the joy at maximum (Jesus as reason-for-season, sharing, caring, celebrating, singing, bells ringing, delighting in all the wonder of Christmas).

I accomplished some of these things; others may have to wait for next year. Regardless of whether or not I checked something off the list, though, it was a wonderful Christmas full of the people and feelings I love best.

Happy day-after-Christmas/Boxing Day to all–may your days be merry and bright!

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like A Biltmore Christmas Card!

May your days be merry AND bright…

Biltmore Christmas Card.

North to Alaska (Fairbanks & Palmer)

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Woke up to a chilly morning in Fairbanks; felt like our November weather back home instead of late August.

Drove around Fairbanks; it’s the second largest city in Alaska with about 30,000 residents. (Juneau is the capital, but smaller than Anchorage or Fairbanks.) Visited the Great Alaskan Bowl Company and saw them working on birch bowls of every size and description–very neat!

Moved on to the Museum of the North at the University of Alaska at Fairbanks. The exterior of the structure was designed to suggest, from different perspectives,  both the prow of a kayak and an igloo. We spent the rest of the morning looking at artifacts, animals, and displays of material culture. Amazing to see how the indigenous population adapted to the harsh conditions of the region over time.

Left Fairbanks and visited the Trans-Alaska Pipeline; learned about “pigs” that clean the pipe and other interesting facts. Listened for gurgling, but couldn’t hear anything. We had seen the pipeline several times from a distance, but it followed us a long way from Fairbanks.

 

Pipeline warnings

Trans-Alaska Pipeline "sign"

Trans-Alaska Pipeline "sign"

Cleaning "pig" inside pipeline

Cleaning "pig" inside pipeline

Pushed on toward Palmer; we planned to visit the Alaska State Fair the next day and gawk at giant cabbages and pumpkins.* It turned out to be a LONG haul from Fairbanks to Palmer, and though the road was good at that time of year, there were few “wide spots” in the road that even boasted gas stations, much less a place to eat. Luckily, we’d invested heavily in snacks at the Target in Wasilla (seemed like a good idea at the time), so we weren’t *starving,* but we were ready to have an early dinner. Nothing in Delta Junction; nothing at any of smattering of tiny communities along the way. Finally, there weren’t even any more pit toilets (Alaska’s version of the rest stop)!

Striated hills along Glenallen Highway

Striated hills along Glenallen Highway

As we neared Glenallen, we figured we’d be able to get gas, have dinner, and maybe even find a motel for the night. (Remember, we hadn’t made reservations anywhere before we left home.) Arrived in Glenallen…it was a gas station. A big gas station, but…a gas station. (People must live in the area, but we didn’t see anything like a community.) Every car on the road was pulling into that gas station; they must do a heckuva business! Went in to use a real bathroom (pit toilets are fine–and so is a short walk in the woods by the side of the road when you’re desperate–but it’s nice to see porcelain & paper, too) and re-stock our snack supply (decimated by hours of driving with no dinner in sight). Picked up an average family-sized bag of Sun-Chips and saw the price: $7.00. Are you kidding me? $7.00 for Sun-Chips? Aargh! Ended up with a package of string cheese and two containers of chocolate milk to keep body-and-soul together a little longer.

Finally rolled into Palmer about 9:00 p.m. and went to a small hotel (Alaska Choice Inn) directly across from the state fairgrounds. Another car pulled up ahead of us, but its occupants were still looking at the map when my sister went into the office–we got the last room pretty much in the whole town, which was uber-full because of the fair. Dragged in “Bertha” and the lesser luggage (do they call it that because you have to lug it?) and called it a night!