Saturday, December 26, 2009

A Family Christmas

We had a wonderful Christmas at Doug and Barb's. They sure "outdid" themselves, and are the "Hostesses with the Mostest".

We had a nice, uneventful drive down from Anchorage. It was cloudy and gray when we left Anchorage through Turnagain Pass, but then the sun broke through a little.

Mt. ReDoubt.

When we got into Homer, we drove down to the spit, and took some pictures of the eagles.



After we poked around on the spit for awhile, it was time for Doug and Barb to be off work, so we headed off to their house. It was sooooo good to see them!

We had a wonderful evening, talking, laughing and eating a delicious dinner. We were off to bed fairly early, as us old folks (Dave and Di) were sleepy.

Christmas morning came early for us, we got up and had several cups of coffee, waited for Doug to get home from work. We opened our stockings and presents before we ate brunch.

Here are some pictures of us opening our stockings, and unwrapping presents.






After presents, we were in for a treat for our breakfast. Doug and Barb had told us they had a surprise for breakfast--and it was! We had breakfast in a bag! Mixed up eggs and omelette fixings in a zip lock bag, and then boiled them all together in a big pot. Sounds weird, but they were delicious and easy. Here we are fixing our yummy breakfast!

We just relaxed the rest of the day, played a game of cards (the girls won!) and Matt took the dogs to the beach for a walk.



We had a late dinner--very non-traditional (but traditional for Alaska!) Of course it was delicious, and there was very good wine to accompany.



It's always good to spend Christmas with family, and this year was extra special. We sure missed Mom and Dad, Kyle, Krista and Kasey. and wish we could have ALL been together! Doug and Barb fed us wonderful meals, gave thoughtful gifts, and even made sure Santa came to fill our stockings! Thanks to both of you for a lovely time, we love you!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Gifts of Friendship


Christmas has come a little early for David. He's already opened two presents! Here is a picture of him with his nifty personalized apron, custom made just for him by my dear friend Donna! Pretty cool, huh? Now that he has an apron, I think this means that he has to do all the cooking and dishes. I'm sure that's what she intended! Especially since she included a scrubbie, hand knit dish cloth, and a dishtowel!

That Donna has been busy at her sewing machine--she also made me a really pretty tote bag. I think I'll use it as a library book bag. I'm sure I'll have much more time to read, now that Chef DavOd will be doing all the cooking!

David is holding another treasure, this one is from Deb. It's VERY Alaskan--because it's made of DUCT TAPE! And---it has a Kaladi's card tucked into it! He was so funny when he opened it--he said "I'm going to keep this forever"'! Thanks, you two! You are both so special, and toooo good to us.

Yesterday Deb and I had coffee (Kaladi's, of course!) with Randy and Carla Wolf. It was such a lovely surprise, and it was great to catch up. They both are just as sweet and funny as ever!

Last night we had dinner with our long time friends, Mike and Karen. Four fun hours of talking and laughing and catching up. Not to mention the great food (and too many martini's!) They are going to be building a house near Spudville this year, so hopefully we'll get to see them more often. I sure hope so!

We are having a great visit "home". The weather has warmed up, much to David's relief. More snow in the forecast--so we will have a VERY white Christmas. We are sure enjoying Matt and Jeanne's company, it will be so hard to leave. But I'm NOT going to think about that today!

We are leaving tomorrow to drive to Homer, down to my brother's and sister-in-laws for Christmas. REALLY looking forward to that. Will try to take pictures on the way, as it is a beautiful drive.

Thanks to our dear friends who have made this visit special, and Merry Christmas, too!


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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Just for Bren

Oh, it's good to be HOME! That's exactly what I thought as we landed in Anchorage yesterday afternoon. It is soooo beautiful here now, with several inches of fresh snow and the trees are heavily "frosted". Just look how pretty:





My dear friends Deb, Donna and I had planned a "girls day" for today. We were on a "secret mission" for our Dear Bren.

We started our day with breakfast with DavOd and Jim. Had a yummy breakfast, but most of all a lovely long visit. Was great to see Jim, and he and Dave had a good time chatting. We were thinking of you Bren, and missing you!

Then we drove...............................................
Downtown!


We parked in the parking garage, and walked across this skywalk.

Does this view look familiar, Bren?




Oh my, look where we are! One of my favorite stores!




As we walked across the second skywalk, we spotted some "Bell Ringers". Donna decided to join them in song! Just look at that girl rock out!


And then....be still my heart! Nordy's Coffee, my second favorite, right after Kaladi's. Of course, we had to have some.

And then.......we waited in THIS line for almost TWO HOURS! But it went by quickly, we visited and laughed and waited, and waited, and waited. The (other) kids in line were very cute. (And no--we were NOT waiting in line for a Sarah Palin autograph! This mission was MUCH more important.)


While we were waiting in line we saw an old friend of mine, my favorite boss ever, Dr Mike Sage. It was a lovely surprise, and we had a nice long chat.

Then we waited some more................
Finally!! It was our turn!

Don't we look excited? I said we were the oldest "kids" in line, and that Deb said "I think we were even older than SANTA!" Miss SmartyPants!

This one's for you, Dear Bren! We missed you today.

Monday, November 30, 2009

The Background Fairy Visited Your Blog Also..........HO HO HO!!!!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

From Vegas........

Good Morning from Vegas,

Well, we survived the night--very restless and not much sleep!

We will keep in touch via Twitter and email from my phone, as we will not have internet after about 6 am here at the hotel. So email or Twitter or text away, and I'll do the same.

Will keep you posted as to where/how we are as soon as we know what's going on today. I'll be calling the other insurance co. as soon as they are open this a.m.

Love to you all, thanks for the hugs! We can feel 'em all the way in Vegas!

What Happens in Vegas------

Well, what happens in Vegas is not always what one has planned! No, we didn't win a big jackpot. Not even close......

We went shopping at a great outlet mall, and then on the way back were in an accident. The good news is that we are both OK, but the bad news is that the truck (DavOd's great red pickup, low miles, perfect condition) is TOTALED! Crapola! Some (dumb) lady pulled out right in front of us from a side street, and David tried to stop, but she ran right into us! I don't think she even looked. Was an awful impact--our airbags deployed and it all scared the daylights out of us both!Anyway, after the police came, gave the other driver a ticket, etc., etc., our poor red truck was towed away, as it is completely undrivable. There we stood-- on the sidewalk, with all our luggage, packages, and gear from the truck piled up. We must have looked like a couple of homeless people, as we were feeling pretty sorry for ourselves about then! Took a cab back to the hotel, and here we are, stranded in Vegas! So NOT the day we had planned!

Spent the entire afternoon on the phone with our insurance agent, filing a claim, etc. We are going to try to get the other ladies' insurance co. to furnish us a car, so we can still drive down to my Mom and Dad's. Or I guess they can just fly us home! If not, Mom and Dad will drive up tomorrow to get us, and we'll fly home from Phoenix.

Sooooo, sorry guys --- no great pictures of the Strip, The Bellagio, or the Faux Eiffel Tower today! (and probably not tommorrow either) We just went downstairs for a bite of dinner, plunked a few more pennies (read: flushed $20.00 away!) in the slots, and are now in our room for the night, we're whupped!

We are feeling a little battered, bruised and tired--but VERY grateful that we are OK, we certainly know that we are very lucky, and it could have been soooo much worse.

Well, on that cheery note (ha!), I'll close. Off to bed for a good night's sleep! Love you all!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

ROAD TRIP!!

We're headed south--off to Vegas for a couple of days, then on to "Cow-Town" (Wickenburg, AZ) to my Mom and Dad's for Thanksgiving.

We got a great deal on a hotel room in Vegas--$20.00 a night! Then---two days later we got a letter in the mail from The Orleans (where we usually stay) for FREE nights! And--they are giving us dining credit$$$, too! Those silly people probably think we are going to gamble away several hundred dollars to make up for our free room--WRONG!! Not Dave and Di--we're really Frugal Fred & Frieda in disguise!

We are taking our new camera, and will be taking lots of pictures. We plan on checking out the conservatory at the Belaggio, the Faux Eiffel Tower, and lots of other Vegas sights. So stay tuned for some pictures!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

That Deb!

Happy Birthday, Dear Deb.

I'll say it again today--where have the years gone??


Oh, I am soooo gonna get killed for this picture--but it's my favorite picture of you! Just couldn't resist.

You are just the bestest friend-- loyal, kind and loving. Thanks for always being there, and loving me just the way I am, many "warts" and all! (Did you watch Mr. Rogers when you were a kid? Did they have that show in Tioga, PA??)

I'll be thinking of you today--all the special, fun and sometimes silly times we have shared, and the many birthdays we have celebrated together over the years. Here's to many, many more!

And--a big Happy Birthday from David, too. We hope you have an absolutely WONDERFUL day!

Lots of love from both of us!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Happy Birthday, Matt!


Today is our FAVORITE SON'S birthday! Happy Birthday, dear son.

Where have the years gone?

It seems like just yesterday we brought you home from the hospital. We were so excited and proud that you were our son, and we still are! You have brought so much love and joy into our lives for the past 36 years--thank you for being the wonderful son that you are.

I chose this picture, because it is one of my favorites, and it just seems to capture "you".

It's you--in all your "devilish" sense of fun and humor, but there is always that tender, kind and loving Matt that you keep well hidden. But we know it's there!

We miss you more than we could ever say--

Love,
Mom and Dad

PS: Dad just said: Is he really 36?? Are you sure?? He's gone to check my math! Ha! A mother knows these things!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Road Trip to Salt Lake City

Maybe I should more accurately call this a "Girly Road Trip"! Deb, Pat and I left Spudville early Tuesday morning and headed south. Wasn't long before we needed a "pit stop", so we pulled off the freeway into Glenns Ferry, and on our way out saw this sign! Gave us a giggle--we decided we could all work in Equine Dentistry when we get really old and our eyesight fails! In my case, that was yesterday.

Down the highway just a few more miles (N0--not another pit stop!) we saw this sign, and decided to try and find Tuttle, Idaho. We looked and looked. After much driving around in circles, we gave up. There is nothing to find in Tuttle! But here is the sign:
Our first night in SLC we ate dinner at a "hole in the wall" Mexican restaurant called the Red Iguana. The food was incredibly good, especially the Mole. The line was out the door--and it was a Tuesday night. But it was well worth waiting for. This tiny place has been voted SLC's best Mexican food for several years running. Mmmmmm good!
Wednesday was a LARGE day! We started with coffee for me (finally!! at 10:00 am) at this pretty little coffee shop. Had a delightful conversation with the owner--he's from Alaska! Small world!
Then Dear Pat, after a stiff hot chocolate, got a little rowdy (you know how she is) and got herself handcuffed by the local law enforcement. Here's the picture to prove it: That Pat--ya just can't take her anywhere!
After a few hours shopping in the Sugarhouse District, we decided to drive up to Park City. This is the view from along the highway, isn't it pretty?
Before we got to Park City we saw a sign for a Farmer's Market, and decided to stop and explore. We ate some yummy fresh cheese curds and local strawberries for a snack, and walked around and checked out all the great local produce and interesting crafts.
There was a nearby chair lift, so we took a ride up the ski mountain (one of many in Park City). The views were incredible! This is looking up the mountain:




Here is Deb--she was not too sure about this--especially when there was a bump--she let out a little screech every time!


This is at the middle lodge looking down:



Middle lodge area and some shops:





We finally made it up to Park City about 4:00pm. What a pretty little town. We strolled up and down Old Main Street. This is looking down Main Street:



There were some really pretty old buildings. This was one of my favorites:




This is the old Park City City Hall, 1893!



Every lamp post had beautiful hanging baskets:

We finished our stroll around Park City with a nice dinner at The Bandits--a really good BBQ restaurant. Then we headed back down out of the mountains towards SLC and stopped at a nice outlet mall for a little retail therapy. I think Pat was the winner, as she spent the most. Oh, wait--maybe that means she was the loser??? I don't know!!
It was a wonderful, busy and fun day! Tomorrow--IKEA!! And--ANTIQUES!! And--more tired feet!

Monday, September 7, 2009

A WONDERFUL voice from my past!

Oh my! I just got the most wonderful phone call!

My cell phone rang, I answered it, and the (very distinctive) voice on the other end said "Miss Diana"? Of course, I knew instantly that it was my old friend, Miss Linda! (not that she's old in years, mind you--just that she's been my friend for lots of years!) Nobody else in my life calls me "Miss Diana", and nobody else has that great southern drawl!

I first met Miss Linda when we worked in the same dental clinic in Anchorage. One day at work I heard the loveliest voice say "I think I'm fixing to get ready to take a cold". That is just soooo southern, and reminded me of my Grandma--I think we bonded instantly at that moment!

David and I had many fun evenings with Linda and Donald in Anchorage. A dinner party at the Parker's was not just a dinner party, it was an EVENT!! And Linda loves to shop--a woman after my own heart! Oh, the memories! Why, I even remember a time that Linda picketed our house, complete with big signs (for some imagined slight!) Now that's a fun friend ;)

Anyway--Linda called with good news! She and Donald have retired and moved to the Pacific Northwest-so we'll get to visit them more often. I see some great road trips coming up! We're always up for a visit with good friends. Hmmmm--maybe I should show up with some picket signs of my own--just to welcome them to their new neighborhood!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Our 40th Anniversary Weekend

Our 40th anniversary-- Wow! 40 years of love, laughter, with an occasional good, old fashioned argument thrown in for good measure! I'm lucky beyond what I could have ever imagined, and I wouldn't trade a single day with that wonderful man of mine!

We planned a nice trip to Portland with a special night out and then a long overdue visit with David's brother and his wife, Cheryl.

Our weekend started out a little rocky, with a some car trouble and a looong wait to get a new battery. So much for our relaxing afternoon exploring Portland and doing a little antique shopping! Oh well, we're flexible. (DO NOT ask David about my little temper tantrum at the car place!)

Friday night we had dinner at a Vietnamese restaurant we had read about on Rachel Ray's website. We like little "hole in the wall" ethnic restaurants, rather than big fancy, expensive ones, even for our 40th anniversary. We're weird like that! Anyway--we had some great black pepper calamari, and the rest of the meal was just so-so. But the company was perfect :)

Saturday we went to Portland's Saturday Market. Lots of unique handmade crafts, jewelry and art, all set up outside in an old part of Portland called "Old Town". The architecture in this area is beautiful:




















Saturday Market is a quirky mix of the pretty:
The funny: And the just plain weird:

We didn't find much that we couldn't live without--but I did buy a cute little "pocketbook" that I couldn't resist because it had sock monkeys on it!

We left Portland and headed south down I-5 towards Eugene. David wanted to stop at a BIG outlet mall at Woodburn. I really didn't. (Believe it or not--I actually didn't feel like more shopping!!) But we stopped and shopped for an hour or so, and then continued on our merry way to Eugene.

We had a wonderful visit with Dan and Cheryl. It had been a whole YEAR since we had been there--not sure how that happened, but it won't be that long next time! We relaxed, talked, laughed, ate good food, drank good wine, and just had a great time. Oh--and Dan'l beat me at Wii! And so did Cheryl! Hmmmmm--maybe I'd better start practicing. But I did whup up on 'em in bowling!
Dan and Cheryl took us out for an anniversary dinner to a nice Thai restaurant on Sunday night. We had a delicious dinner, which included squid again. Thanks, you two!

I don't believe I didn't take a single picture in Eugene!! I guess we were too busy relaxing and enjoying ourselves, and I wasn't even thinking about blogging (which David would say is a good thing). Next visit to Dan and Cheryl's you can be sure I'll be snapping some pics and posting them!
It was another great road trip, fun visit with family, and a lovely weekend with my sweetie!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

My Grandma's House



Sometimes when we go to Gleed, I just can't drive past my Grandma's house. It's so sad to see their house, and know they're not sitting in the "front room", waiting and watching the driveway for us to arrive for a visit.

It's just too hard to turn into the driveway and not see my Grandma rush out onto their big porch, so happy to see us, and give us a big hug.

This trip I made myself go, and I'm glad I did.

One afternoon after a day of canning salsa, Mom and I drove down Maple Way Road to Grandma's house. We pulled in the driveway and parked in front of the garage. There was a nice man, with a very puzzled look on his face. Then my Mom got out of the car, and he broke into the nicest smile. His name is Reuben, and he and his lovely wife Olga now love and take care of Grandma's house.

I introduced myself as Ralph and Leona's granddaughter, and asked if it would be OK if I took a few pictures for a scrapbook. They were so warm and gracious, and said of course.

I walked up the sidewalk, past Granddad's roses.




The roses seem a little faded, not quite as many flowers. Of course, it's my memory that's faded. But nobody can grow roses like my Granddad could!

I continue up the sidewalk, and stop at the steps to the front porch. Oh, my. Big lump in my throat and tears in my eyes, even now as I write this. I look up onto the porch--I want that screen door to open, and my Grandma to to be there! I just can't go up on that porch, not without my Grandma and a hug.

I compose myself, and walk around back to take a picture of Grandma's fruit cellar. My Dad built it for her in the early 1950's. The inside was lined with shelves spaced just perfect for pint and quart jars of home canned goods--and she kept them well stocked. My Grandma even made her own ketchup and maraschino cherries. I think I came by my love of canning honestly! It was always cool in the cellar, even on the hottest summer day. The cellar had a certain smell, I can remember it so clearly. I was tempted to ask Reuben and Olga to unlock the door so I could see if it still smelled the same. But that might have been a bit much! (And it would have sent me right over the edge, too!)

Here is the back "stoop" as my Auntie Mae called it. When my Grandma lived there, it didn't have the green carpet on it. On hot summer nights, we would sit out there and eat cold slices of really good watermelon. My Grandma always cut out the "heart" of the watermelon just for me! I continued on around the house to the chicken coop. Sweet memories of our favorite son, at 4 years of age, going out with Grandma to gather the eggs, so excited and proud to bring them back to the kitchen. He was half afraid of those chickens, but he wanted to gather eggs about 6 times a day, much to my Grandma's delight! She sure love her great-grand babies! The three big walnut trees are still there, but now they shade the whole back yard! Olga very sweetly offered to give me some walnuts. Granddad's 3 gardens are empty now--no grapevines, no strawberries, no sugar stick carrots. Reuben and Olga work more than full time, and don't have the time it takes to garden. This would sadden my Grandad, but he would understand.

All in all it was a great, sentimental trip back into my childhood. As you can see, my Grandma's house is not a big, fancy house. But the love given in that house was BIG, wonderful and totally unconditional. The memories are so sweet, and are such a part of who I am. I am so blessed to have had such wonderful grandparents. Here they are, Ralph and Leona Smeltzer. This lovely picture was taken for their 50th wedding anniversary.

Next time I visit Gleed, it won't be hard at all to drive by Grandma's house. Reuben and Olga are lovely, kind and hard working people--just like my grandparents were. They are taking such good care of the place, and I'm sure they are creating wonderful memories for their children and grandchildren. Here's Reuben and Olga:

And--life goes on, nothing stays the same.

Well, almost nothing------ That little footprint, now covered in lichen, is mine- from about 1955 when my Dad poured the sidewalk leading up to the front porch. That will always be at my Grandma's, along with a big piece of my heart.

I love you Grandma, Grandad and Auntie Mae, always.

Diana Lynn 8/25/2009