Friday, December 28, 2007

Christmas in Portland (Hillsboro)

Julie and I went to Hillsboro, Oregon to celebrate Christmas with Julie's family, including her mom Joan, her sister Sue, Sue's husband Marty, and the three daughters, Kelly, Laura and Jacki. Yes, the last one seems to be a spelling error, but she goes through phases on how she would like her name spelled and this is the current one. Oops, can't forget the dog Buddy and the cat Midnight.

In addition to our normal gorging on food and beer, we did celebrate the Christmas holiday in more appropriate ways. On Christmas Eve, we headed to the local Catholic church for the kids' sermon. These are always my favorite!

You just can't have a Christmas play without a bunch of tiny kids. They didn't get speaking parts, but did get to dress up as animals for the manger scene. I would swear they were wearing Ewok costumes from one of the Star Wars movies. They even walked liked little wobbly Eowks.

They invited all the kids at the service who weren't in the play to come down front to watch. This girl was interesting for two reasons. First, she seemed wonderfully attached to her big (but little) brother. Whenever he moved, she was right there with him. You can see she has her arm around him. However, the reason she caught our attention was that she apparently gets her hair done exactly like Posh Spice. If you want something similar, check out

Now this little girl took a different approach at fame and fortune. Apparently she wasn't invited to be a part of the play, so she patiently waited until it ended. Then, while the priest was giving his sermon, she wandered up and followed him around, answering any rhetorical questions that popped up as part of the sermon.

Ah, the real reason we were at this sermon. Kelly (in the red dress) was one of six singers invited to perform at the service. Very nice!

On to Christmas.

This is Jacki modeling her stylish Christmas fashions.

The package frenzy begins, although not with nearly the energy level of a few years ago. When the girls were little, you needed to step back or risk losing a hand. Much calmer now and they remember what they got at the end.

From left to right, Joan (mom), Sue, Julie, Kelly and Laura.

A nice shot of mom in her festive wear.

Although the day started with the traditional Portland drizzle, it actually started snowing. The last time Portland had measurable snow on Christmas day was 1937. Unfortunately, none of this stuck so we didn't break the string. It did seem a lot more Christmassy though.

Even Buddy was getting into the Christmas spirit. In this photo, he is enjoying his new treat from under the tree.

I wish I had more pictures of this activity, but too often I was in the scene instead of observing it. Can you tell what she is doing? She is boxing with the new Nintendo Wii. If you haven't seen one of these, you should. The game controllers recognize movement, both speed and direction. To play the tennis game, you swing the controller just like a racquet. In this case, Jacki is practicing the boxing game by swinging both fists with a controller in each hand.

I wish I had taken some pictures of the Christmas dinner. Sue did a wonderful job and it was delicious. We used dinner to celebrate my 46th birthday. Made it through another one. AARP, here I come!

As I type this, we are back in Park City. We have had snow showers today and the temperature hammered up to a balmy 15. We would consider skiing, but there are so many vacationers on the slopes and we are quite spoiled.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Lots of additions

The most important addition at the house is more white. We have had a few feet of snow over the past week or so. Very nice to build up the base for skiing right before Christmas. The skiing has been good, but not awesome.

The next addition was a TV. Notice that it isn't very pretty all wrapped up. That's because it is defective. After Christmas, some nice people will bring a replacement and pick this one up. Very sad.

Then comes some new furniture. This wave included a few night stands and our spiffy new game/card table. As all card tables should be, it is next to our bar.

No house is complete in Park City without a hot tub. We decided not to move the one from our condo. The realtor's convinced us the condo would sell better and we were worried about damaging it during the move.

The last addition, and perhaps most exciting, is my new office desk. The desk itself isn't exciting, but the delivery was. With all the snow on our roads, the big semi from FurnitureLand South couldn't get the last few hundred yards up to our driveway. They took about 30 minutes in 10 degree weather putting on chains. Even then, navigating a semi through frozen neighborhood streets, with snow piled on each side, is quite the challenge. If you start the clock when they got close to the house, the desk took about 90 minutes to deliver. My office is beginning to take shape. Next comes a desk chair, and then some decorations.

Now, off to Portland to see Julie's sister for Christmas.

Friday, December 14, 2007


It just doesn't photograph well, but Julie and I saw the most unusual rainbow. It was surrounding the sun, a complete 360 prism. It doesn't look like much in the picture because the poor camera is coping with a look into the sun. However, the rainbow was as clear and sharp as any you see, just huge and round.

UPDATE: I have gotten some notes explaining what this is. Click here for more info.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The snow aftermath

After all the snow last weekend, we have had a lot of sun, but very cold temperatures. Our day yesterday started around 3 degrees and the afternoon high was only 19. This adds up to some huge icicles. The sun cooks the snow on the roofs. It drips down and freezes quickly. Icicles like the one below start to form. These things weigh hundreds of pounds and can do a lot of damage to a roof. Given our weather forecast, these will continue to grow and grow. This one is about 12 feet long, so far.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Back to the snow

We have returned to Park City, ready to settle into our new house and to get in some good skiing. Unfortunately, even though we had snow back in September, October and November brought almost no snow. Life works out though. Between Thursday night and Sunday morning, we got between 18 and 24 inches at the house and about 30 inches on the mountains.

This is the deck on our new house. As you can see, the snow is piling up and coming down hard.

Once the storm left, we had a sunny view looking down into Park City and out at Deer Valley.

Our house, with the snow-laden Gambel Oaks behind.

To combat the deep snow, you need a deep snow blower. Ours is pretty serious.

Snow just wouldn't be the same without a game of Where's Waldog? Double-click on the picture to see the bigger version.

You can't run through chest deep snow, so every step is actually a leap.

But what goes up, must come down. Jasper spent a lot of his time buried deep.

Finally, a charging dog that looks too much like Kujo.

The saying would go something like: You can take the dog out of the snow, but you can't take the snow out of the dog. This doesn't work though. We have a really tough time taking the dog out of the snow.