One Holiday Gone, Another on its Wings

Firs in the Horizon

One Holiday Gone, Another on its Wings

I hope my readers had a fantastic holiday last weekend! The weather was decent so hopefully you spent time outside and enjoy the sun between rain showers. Our holiday was spent with family, and we all know that family time is not always as great as we remember or would like it, or if you are one of the families that has a perfect holiday each year, good for you.

Our holiday was better than past Thanksgivings. Family came to our house this year. This has happened only once, the other time about five years ago for Thanksgiving. There was a bit too much drama for me on that journey but, did have some fun times too. This year while some family was missing which was sad, some is better than none. And the family that did visit, we had a blast. It was nice for a change to host Thanksgiving here and I didn’t have to cook. That was the best part. My son the chef, he cooked.

Sunlight through the trees

Some photographers we are – forgot to take a picture of the bird! Well at least we have some of the Dawson Creek Park area to fill in for pictures of our family and our wonderful dinner. Trust me when I say, my son prepared the most amazing turkey dinner. Outstanding. His bird alone could give Martha Stewart a run for her money. I know I am being redundant but – my son the chef – I am so proud. The only thing that would have made the holiday whole, was if the entire family were here. They missed out, some by choice, others no say in the matter. We had a great time and for once stress free, largely in part because stress dropped off before coming into our home. Some that should have been here weren’t able to come, because they weren’t allowed to attend. Can we say grow up. We all know the reasons.  All I can say to that is Karma. And at least the drama was left at the door.

It has been a very long time since my family spent quality time together and not one argument. This was the key at least for us. I set ground rules for staying at our house. It sounds childlike, but it is our home. It was leave all arguments, dislikes, poor language, crass or indignant comments at the front door. They are not welcome in our home. It worked. We had a great time. They were missed but certainly not forgotten.

Pathway to a Park

Mom and my daughter Ashley made the best fudge ever for Lloyd. He thought it was the best he had ever eaten, and those who did have an opportunity to try some, felt the same. Amazing. I missed cookies, but they have to be gluten-free, so I will have to rely on my friend Joyce to whip some up for me for Christmas.  I look forward to having my son learn some gluten-free cookie recipes.  Sorry you missed out Stephanie. You were missed.

I promise not to get on the soap box too much this week. But with the holidays here, it is important that we don’t forget the meaning.Thanksgiving is for giving thanks for which I believe many families have forgotten. I doubt many school age kids today know why we celebrate Thanksgiving. I know for our family it has been a stretch. But maybe those who have forgotten have come closer to figuring it out. I bet if you were to poll people at random, only a handful would be able to tell you how Thanksgiving originated?  I’m not even sure if in the schools they teach the true meaning. While the origin is archaic, the meanings are fresh and should be instilled in everyone everyday, as we don’t know when the clock will stop, and to be crudely put: lights out the party is over.

Peaceful Pond with Blue Filter

It took nearly twenty-five years and a terminal illness to wake some up and open the door and remember what the holiday represented, while others shut the door permanently. Thanksgiving! Means giving thanks! A new perspective for some. Some still don’t get it, and likely never will. But, that is their problem.  I have no idea why things went so smoothly for us this year, all I know, is that I was grateful for a wonderful memory of a great holiday. While the meaning should never have been lost to begin with, it was happily found, while others remain – clueless.  If you are feeling guilty, think about it….


We had so much to be thankful for this year. After my mom nearly passing away last year, she is doing exceptionally well and back to her feisty self and she is feeling better. I truly am grateful and blessed that I lived to see one more holiday, and have a wonderful husband who looks after me, whether I like it or not.

Final Maple Leafs

Life is precious and should never be taken for granted or treated with disrespect. I believe this Thanksgiving deserves a place in the record books for us as a family. Even while we were missing some, we were able to celebrate a few things we were thankful for. How wonderful is that. Let’s hope next year is as good or better. A holiday with the family and no drama. Imagine what can happen if you allow it to or don’t.

It was nice that my mom showed interest in me, us and was very intrigued as to where we spend our time and where we took many of our photos. This is why we took her to Dawson Creek, because it is close to our home and we do go there a lot. We find it useful not only because you never know what you are going to see, but it gives an opportunity to work on our craft toward becoming better photographers.

4 Ducks in a Row

So, Friday was a family outing to Dawson Creek, to walk off some of the turkey from the day before. We walked around a bit, my mom needs to walk more, but we walked the perfect amount of time. Actually it is good that we stopped when we did, or my mom would have bopped me over the head with her cane. I can say we were all  surprised to see workers out blowing the leaves around at the park. Mostly, we and a handful of others were out to enjoy the crisp afternoon. On occasion one or two were running and out with their families as well. It was nice to see people enjoying life. This image below was fabulous with the reflection and light married beautifully. Sanding on wooden bridge this was the view. No color moderation’s necessary for this image or the ‘Orange Reflection”.

Orange Reflection

For those who don’t know, Dawson Creek is part of a corporate park, consisting of four or so man-made in-stream ponds that meander around the park along with a trail system.  This reflections at this pond were quite impressive. The ducks and few geese out were over at the larger pond, so this part of the pond was literally vacant of life. It is one of the nice things about living in the Portland area – ponds, trails, and parks dot the city and metro area with a wonderful park system that is enjoyed by a myriad of people, pedestrians, runners, and cyclists. The park, as I mentioned has a variety of ponds, so that generally means many geese and ducks.  And for Dawson Creek, it indeed means geese and ducks. Hundreds of the little buggers.

Flock of Geese Grazing

For those who have read my other posts have seen a lot of Dawson Creek, the constructed ponds the realigned creek that meanders around the trail system. These ponds have large populations of waterfowl, so we thought that it would be fun to have my youngest daughter feed the ducks.  So, we took her and the gang to the park. The best part was watching my her feed the ducks.

Ashley Feeding the Ducks

She thought it was about the greatest thing since sliced bread! Our daughter has Cerebral Palsy which is a brain disease usually acquired before, or during birth. While she turns 24 this year, mentally she is 9 or 10 years of age; so for her, feeding the ducks was a big deal. She had a blast! We had fun watching her. The funny part you won’t see because she is standing in front of it, but, there is a sign by the bench. None of us paid attention to the sign, but near the end, it occurred to us the sign may have said do not feed the ducks.

Ducks (sign is right behind her) oops!

Only after had the ducks consumed their share of bread, did we think that maybe we weren’t suppose to feed the ducks. True story. It would be our luck.  We didn’t care, she had a blast so it was well worth it. She talked with each duck and certainly knew each by name by the time we left.  She was so funny, she tried to make sure that each duck allotted the same amount of food. With a sweet face like hers and she can really turn on the sad face when needed.  When we decided to go to the park it was as if the clouds moved out just for us. Even the chill in the air abated slightly.

Pathway to the Park 2

Wouldn’t you rather take a walk along this lonely path in peace and quiet, than go shopping with the crowd of Christmas hoarders? Quiet Pond  and most others in this blog were not enhanced. So you know, most of my images use little manipulating unless it is to prove a point, or where it is really warranted. I will let you know when  such liberties taken. I generally, prefer when the photos actually turn out the way you envision them. And Quiet Pond 2 was ‘picture perfect’.

Quiet Pond 2

This pond looked amazing with the ducks over at the larger pond, this pond was void of waterfowl. The reflection was amazing as was the color.

Autumn Leaves a Flurry

I mentioned the work crews at the park. This was surprising as it seemed everyone else had the day off, except the retail stores. Anyway, the grounds crew were working hard, blowing away the leaves, that will soon be there again soon as the next day of wind hits. I guess I thought that the leaf fairies would come and blow them away in while we sleep. No? Well, I understand that the leaves need to be removed, but couldn’t they have a day off to spend some time well deserved with their families too? I hated to tell them, but the leaves would still be there on Monday.  It could have waited.  Just like any other business out there.

Workers Blowing the Leaves

How many of my readers were sucked into the Black Friday shopping frenzy? I haven’t been ever for a variety of reasons, but mostly never saw the importance to do so. Where did the name Black Friday come from?  Black Friday according to economists indicates the point at which retailers begin to turn a profit, or are “in the black”.  This day became the busiest shopping day because some of the larger retailers i.e., Macy’s, Walmart, Target, and Sears all started the trend to open their stores earlier and earlier. It has become a bit ridiculous with some stores opening on Thanksgiving night or very early the following Friday morning. The reason many businesses give the day off is so they will use the day to go shopping. More shoppers equates to more money etc. The day has become the busiest shopping day before Christmas., Amazing. I hate the day and all it represents. It is merely about money and greed. What happened to giving thanks and being grateful? I would rather go for a walk and see the ducks and sometimes geese.

Birch Beats Shopping

I was happy to see that people had the same idea we did to for- go the stores in return of taking in the fresh air and walk off the big dinner the day before. The park was busy considering the holiday weekend, which leads me to believe these folks are a bit tired of shopping the day after Thanksgiving.

Birch in a Row

The willow picture was a great shot! The way the light shone the vegetation made them stand out as if it had an inner glow. One last hurrah before they all blow away.  And despite the redundancy with which we use the Dawson Creek, it always seems to different on each visit. This was one of those times. I am not sure if it was because we brought my mom and family here I am not sure. Maybe because we were having such a great time.

Grand Willow

This image of the tree trunk I laughed over as it reminded me and my dysfunctional family, and how we managed to have a very functional holiday. For once we had a very drama free holiday. The only thing missing were the little ones, – very sad.

Heart in his Hand

Christmas is coming up way too soon. We will be spending the holiday quietly. Perhaps it is time to take the trip to a warmer climate before we no longer have the luxury. No, I would rather sit by the fire, with either a glass of vino in my hand or hot chocolate. Entirely depends on my mood.

Heavy Hearted

So, with one holiday down and two/Three more (Christmas and/or Hanukkah and New Years) on the way. I had a great holiday, and stayed clear of any store, or anything that resembled a store including the internet stores. My family came to me this year and we  actually had fun. So, as the family returned to their homes this weekend, our life returned to normal. Or as normal as it is for us. The funny thing I learned this holiday, was that your family can irritate you, anger you, disappoint you, but you still have one. Spend time with them as much as feasibly possible as before you know it the time will run out. I guess that is why I find that I am not as excited as I thought I would be about putting up the decorations for Christmas. I find the task, one I have always enjoyed and looked forward to in fact. Since the family is all over the place, it just doesn’t seem like a holiday; there will be no arguing, nor fighting, nothing, because we will all be spending Christmas the way we thought we wanted it to be, but have learned that it was merely in our head.

Ducks on Pond

My favorite holiday, Christmas, bastardized by the very people who produce those ridiculous advertising campaigns and give us all of those annoying Christmas ads on TV, the radio, billboards, and magazines; essentially anywhere their campaign will fit; watch out you may find that one made its way on your ass if you are not careful. Just saying. I love sitting in our sitting room with the fire glowing making the room warm and cozy, sipping a glass of vino, next to the tree. The holidays are special; a time to share with family and friends. Remember, we never know how many days we have left. A wise man once told me that the average person lives maybe 80 years give or take a few years, which equates to 29,200 days, or 700,800 hours. The numbers may sound grand, but when you are on the latter end, the numbers are far from grand. My message is, and yes I do have one, : take the time to tell someone you care for, exactly that; tell them that you love them; how much they mean to you; how grateful you are to have them in your life; for all they have done for you; you are so appreciative for all they have done; great job; but most of all tell them every day, at least once how much you love them and you feel so blessed that you have come into your life. Life would not be the same without them. I feel this way about a lot of people. For the most part, they each know who they are, why? Because I tell them. I also tell them when I am displeased with them etc. why? Because I love them. I have but a short time left, and I don’t want to waste my time on those who don’t deserve my time, energy and friendship. We all have limited tenure, let’s not waste it.

Wine Glass In Front of the Tree

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