What’s in a Christmas Tree?

My Chirstmas Tree for 20 years

My Christmas Tree  of 20 Christmases bit the dust.  It disintegrated right before my eyes last year.  I had been hanging on to this Mountain King for years watching it slowly lose its grip on its faux life.  I simply refused to throw it out even though she was begging for mercy.  While putting the old girl away last year,  she gave up the ghost completely.  I gave her a proper farewell and wondered how would I replace her.

Fast forward to this year.  I can’t find a forever Christmas tree I like.  I have search high and low but nothing can compare to the love and memories of my old tree.  The old girl saw my children grow up, she saw my favorite pooches and assorted critters come in and pass on, she saw and felt my grandkids’ smile and yank at her pretty baubles.  She saw my bed head and no make-up.  She saw me playing Santa  and even caught me sneaking a tiny peek of my presents.  She knew how to keep a secret.  She saw a lot over the years and dang, I miss her.

Well, there is no use crying over broken branches I have to find the perfect forever tree, again.  What I have found out there are hundreds of different trees to choose from with a variety of adornments.  I found a few that were very interesting.  I took these photos with permission of the store owner.

My goodness, look at what’s in this tree.  There are dear horns growing from the trunk.  There are wolves, deer and elk hanging on the  tree.  I love it, I really love it but it is not the one for me.

The Lollie Tree

This Lollie Tree is cool, however,  my Grandkids will not be here for the next year or two.  But could you imagine how excited they would be?  Knowing them they would try every piece of candy and gingerbread man on that tree just trying to find the real one.  Can you say, Hello 911 what is your emergency?  Not for us but I do love the festiveness of it all.

How about a Dancing Doll Tree.  Ballet dancers all over with pink and silver colors.  OOooo that would be perfect if daughter were younger and a girlie girl.

This is a Turquoise and Wreath

This tree is Cool!  I love the color Turquoise.  It has a hodge podge of goodie and I love the shape but it just does not feel right for me.

The Bird Christmas Tree

I love this tree with the birds.  I have a soft spot for Birdies.

The Butterfly Christmas Tree

How about this Butterfly Tree?  It is sort of hard to see them but the butterflies are golden and so me!  But I am still not sure.

I had so much fun looking at the different trees today.  There were at least 25 or 30 dressed trees in the store.  By the way, if you are wondering where this awesome place is…  It is in Cloudcroft NM at a store called the Bear Track.

Every tree is beautiful and unique but I will keep on looking.  Hubs wants to get a real tree.  A REAL TREE.  I have never had a real tree in my whole life.  I know nothing about keeping a real tree.  I do know the needles fall out.  And they are suppose to make your house smell good.  Hubs really has his heart set on a real tree.  I think I will humor him and at least go look at them.

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aMusing Mondays: Raven part Daux or My Wife Has Lost Her Mind

gatewaytosed

FYI: My Wife Has Lost Her Mind was Hubs suggestion for this entry when I posted this on the webcam last summer.

The first year I lived here, I was seeing things that this city girl had never been exposed to. For example, mountain lions, bears, and horny toad lizards were just a few of the unusual things I was privy to see. Each time I saw something new, I would call my husband and tell him my experience with the new and exciting discovery. It was not until I started seeing things that were not normally in this area that my husband started to doubt my sanity. One day on the way to work, I swear I saw a wolf. Husband said it was a coyote. I said I know the difference between a wolf and a coyote. He said I was wrong and went on back to what he was doing. A few months later a news cast mentioned that the Mexican Gray Wolf had been spotted in the south central/east areas of New Mexico.  That is in our area.

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Next, I was going down to Walmart and saw a roadrunner by the ski area. Called husband again to tell him what I saw. He said at 9,000 ft in the winter snow, no less, you would not find a roadrunner. But yet there was that dang roadrunner crossing the highway. I was determined to prove to my husband I was not going crazy. I followed the car in front of me all the way down the mountain clear to the next town. I followed him until he parked in the parking lot of Wal-Mart. I jumped out of my car, rushed him and asked him if he saw what I think I saw crossing the hwy at the ski area.

“You mean that Roadrunner?” he asked with eyes as big as cantaloups.

“Hold it right there.”, I said excitedly.  I quickly called husband and said…

“Hold on I have someone here that saw the same thing I saw”

I shoved my cell at  the poor fellow that I had just accosted and asked him to tell my husband, who thinks I am going crazy, what he saw. The poor fellow was so nice he says “Hello?”. For a minute there, I think he thought I was crazy too. He did tell Hubs there was a roadrunner at the ski area in the snow. Then he gave me my phone back and backed away slowly. He did not turn his back to me until 20 ft. before the automatic doors. Yep, I think it is safe to say he thought I was crazy too.

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Then one day, I was headed down the mountain again. I got to the bottom and noticed a junk shop. You know the kind, junk everywhere and everything for sale. I was walking up to the door and noticed a dog. I leaned over to pat him and heard…”Hello” ” Whatca gona buy?” I look around and see NO ONE but the dog. The dog was just laying in the sun. His tail wagging and tongue hanging out. DANG! maybe I am going crazy. About that time, I heard, “Go on in.” This time I really start to look around. I am looking for anyone, for a speaker system or one of those rock speakers…you know the kind they put around the pool to deliver music to all that are swimming. NOTHING! I slowly go inside. All at once I notice a bird, a BIG bird. It was a crow. The biggest crow on the face of the earth. I get inside and decide to take my chances. I ask the guy inside if he knew he had a talking crow…A BIG TALKING CROW. He said yes but it was not a crow. He tells me it is a Common Raven. Turns out he found it years ago when it fell out of its nest. He could not bare to leave it to the elements so he brought it home and raised it. Somewhere along the way it started to pick up words. He said it knew about 50 plus word to date. I thought, OH BOY, what will husband think of this?   I decided to not say anything until I got home. I later told Hubs, in an eerie whisper 😉 ,  “A Raven spoke to me today.” Man oh Man, that was it for him. He thought I really had lost my mind. I explained the whole thing, but I am not sure he believed me. And after that, I decided to not tell him my further discoveries.

Who knew a Raven could speak? NOT THIS CITY GIRL!

Until next aMusing Monday

aMusing Mondays: This Ain’t Yo Mama’s Dance

I write for the webcam in our little village.  This story was one I wrote back in the peak of our dry season and posted for the webcam blog.  Originally, it was called The Dance but I thought I would shake it up a bit with a different title.

I can not tell you how long it has been since we have had rain. Days would be an understatement it is more like nine months. I remember a few years ago, back around 2006, we had a pretty good dry spell too. A handful of us gals decided to try a rain dance. We had a designated time, we decided to do it in our own back yards and…. we were  to do it naked!.

WHY???

I don’t know but that was the deal. You had to follow these decisions to the T or, as I was told, “To the T or don’t do the dance at all.”  We were convinced it would only work if we all did it and followed the criteria to the letter. The dance was not choreographed nor rehearsed. You might say we decided  to do an interpretative dance. I remember thinking, “What the heck am I DOING?”, while I was stomping my feet and throwing my hands in the air.  My normally covered places were now exposed and wiggling in the wind.  My arms were waving and I was chanting, “Come on, come on and make it rain!”, over and over and over again. I felt so foolish.   My dogs thought I had lost my mind but they liked it. They were running in circles chasing each other in the dark of night and barking up a storm. Thank goodness my neighbors were gone. The whole time I was wondering if everybody else was doing it or if any moment they were going to jump out and punk me. The one thing we did not decide was how long we were to do this naked rain dance. After what felt like LONG ENOUGH, I grabbed my robe and ran inside, dogs in tow. A few days later the rain came. It rained and rained. It rained so much that parts of the mountain flooded. In fact, I had a rather large river running through my front yard even parts of the highway had to be closed because of the run off. It was strange to say the least. That following winter was a good snowy winter as well. I would have to say that the nude rain danced worked.

Now here we are again. No rain in sight and nothing on the radar. One of the original organizers called the other night and stated we need another rain dance. Same rules as last time…and to be followed to the T or it just won’t work. Last night at 9:00 p.m. I tipped toed out the back door. My dogs were not invited this year because my neighbors were here most of the week and I was not sure if they had left yet. I preferred no one witness this crazy woman trying to do her part for all her forest neighbors. Nine o’clock struck and I began to dance as before. Right as I started, I heard an eerie  noise creep up behind me. I could not see a thing because my eyes had not had a chance to adjust to the moonless night.  All I could think of was a coyote or bear or some other kind of wild animal breathing on my bare legs! That crazy thought soon became a reality.  Not only could I feel it, I could hear its steady breathe…in out…in out.   I stood there frozen, naked and night blinded.  I gave myself a minute to adjust to the darkness then slowly turned around.

MY DOGS!

My dogs had slipped out through the dog door and were waiting for their dance invitation, which I was happy to give after I made sure my neighbors were gone. Those little happy brown eyes and wagging tails were just so cute I just could not refuse them. We started slowly then worked our way up to a full-fledged rain dance! The dogs were in heaven running in circles and barking. We were having a pretty good time. It felt oddly freeing and if it paid off like last time very rewarding. I felt no embarrassment in the cloak of darkness and no one else was around… until look up to see Hubs shadow moving toward the window. Oh no, he is going to think I have lost my mind, again. He knew that us girls were going to do a rain dance but he had no idea that we were doing it naked. In all our dancing fun, the dogs and I had worked our way up the hill and out further in the field than I had planned. I had not noticed that until I had to race for my robe by the door. I had to get to it before he turned ON the Porch Light! I believe my dogs thought this was a race to end all races. Mutt must have felt I was winning because she moved her body right in front of mine and over I went like a slinky down the stairs, or in my case down the hill.  Ouch! I had to have rolled and bounced because I was on my feet in a split second and in full stride.  Thank God for padded cabooses.

WHAT WAS I THINKING?

Finally I get to my robe, compose myself, pulled the sticks out of my hair and walked in as if nothing happened. When I walked in, Hubs asked, “Did you do your dance at 9:00?” “Yes”, I said then went to wash my wounds. While tending to my skint knees, I ‘decided’ if called upon next year I will  pass on the dance. I think I better leave that to the younger braver ones.  I just hope that this year’s effort will bring the rain again.

Until next time

update: 1 week after our dance it RAINED.

aMusing Mondays: A Wicked Sense of Humor

 

When we moved here years ago I was totally shocked at the size of these birds up here. I thought they were giant crows that were involved in some type of nuclear fall out. I can only guess their weight but I would guesstimate an average of 20 lbs…some larger some smaller but all huge! I was told later on they were Common Ravens. Shoot, there is NOTHING common about those birds as far as I am concerned. In the last few years I have come to believe the Common Raven must have a sense of humor. Last winter, one Raven that hangs out at the top of my backyard Pines got a big chuckle when he witnessed my dogs’ surprise of the first snow of 2010.

Every morning my dogs have a ritual, which consists of, CAN’T WAIT TO GET OUT THE DOOR AND BARK MY BRAINS OUT! Pacing, pacing can’t wait. They run as FAST as they can, down a 45ft porch and jump off the end with an attitude that should scare even the meanest of squirrels! Then turn with a puffed out chest to look at the door to see if anyone was watching. They are proud beasts, my Mutt and Jeff.

This morning was a tad bit different. Can’t wait, Can’t wait! (the same) Ready set GO (the same)….run, run, run (the same)… the little one (7 lbs Jeff) gets to the end of the porch first but things are DIFFERENT! White stuff.  EVERYWHERE! He puts on the brakes right as he gets to the end of the porch…..PLONK! He flew off alright but not in the manner he was accustomed to. Pride was…………GONE.

The BIG one (70+ lb, Mutt) was hot on his trail. There was no way that little one was going to beat her. Her mind quickly changed as she watched him fly then land hard in the snow. She tried with everything she had to stop. Too late, the snow and ice started about 15 ft from the end and she was already in it. BRAKE, BRAKE, BRAKE, you could just see her mind yelling it and her eyes pleading it. She did manage to slow down a little bit before the big finish, which lead to an agonizing slow motion crash. She felt ever step she hit as she was going down. The little one watched at first with horror and moved out of the way before she squished him. Then he appeared to be basking in pure joy of  seeing the big dog epically fail. Both of them got up. No barking, no looking back with pride……..they did their business and came back to their nice warm beds to lick their proverbial wounds.

After witnessing this comic relief, I walked back to the den.  It is then I noticed there was not only the one Raven at the top of the tree, there were now about five or six Ravens clucking and chuckling like little hens. I guess the one at the top called for the others to watch the morning entertainment. Yep, I think the Common Ravens have a wicked sense of humor.

Note: To all concerned, it is 8:10 on Sunday night.  I have this scheduled for publish on Monday .  So far so good. My tummy ache went away, no headache and everyone in the house is doing well.  I think I am in the clear….we are in the clear.    On a serious note,  I really was scared and I do appreciate any prays that were prayed for us.  That was some pretty heavy guilt.  Thank you my friends

Buckle Up Buttercup Its Gona Get Ruff

Oh my gosh, I must be dying.  I found paired up socks in the laundry, my paired up personal socks in the laundry room.  You may not think this is a big deal but let me tell you IT IS A BIG DEAL, especially today.

It all started yesterday.  I cooked the best fried catfish ever, accompanied with crock pot white beans that had simmered all day long, hush puppy corn bread (like hush puppies but shaped like square cornbread).  I think the secret to a most awesome tasting catfish was the garlic olive oil I had made days earlier.  Oh my goodness, the aroma was divine.  I had never made infused oil before and had no recipe I just had a thought.  (that may be my famous last words)  I only put one clove of mashed garlic in, sat it near the stove and in four or five days it produced something out of this world.

The next day I decided I wanted all my girls (BFF’s) to have this too.  I thought why stop with garlic oil?  I will send a set of three oils.  I found awesome little empty wine bottles and cute little tops that would be perfect for giving.   I jumped on the internet to see what would go into an italian infused cooking oil.  And that is when one of the worst days of my culinary life started falling apart.  Spread across the screen in big bold letters were the words: NEVER, NEVER TRY TO INFUSE OIL WITH FRESH GARLIC N-E-V-E-R!

Wha?? But it taste so fringing good and so easy to do.  I read further to find out why..why could I not do it?  Instantly after reading the article,  my head starts pounding, my stomach is churning,  I break out in a cold sweet,  nausea digs its heels in; I am certain I am going to  become a vegetable with a droopy eye, slurred speech, and paralyzed possibly on a ventilator.  To put it mildly,  I WAS FREAKING OUT.  I called our local doc.  ANSWER MACHINE.  I called my son at ST Jude Hospital in Memphis.  I tell him to ask a doctor about it.  He says, “Mom you will be okay.  I got to go back to work.”  I called Hubs….silence. I started  SCREAMING.  It turns out he accidentally hit mute.  He gets back on and says, “You are okay just relax.”  Nothing they could say would console me. NOTHING.

You see garlic is of course from the earth.  All earth grown food has the capacity to give you botulism if not washed and prepare correctly.  Also, botulism grows at an outstanding rate when no oxygen is available.  Oil and air don’t mix.  There is no air in oil.  A colossal breeding ground for  the bacterium Clostridium botulinum.  ARRRFFF!  It said it multiplies faster when left out of the refrigerator.  It had been 4 or 5 days sitting beside the STOVE.  OMG I am going to die.  WAIT!  Everyone ate the fish!  I HAVE KILLED MY FAMILY!  OMGosh.  I got all weak inside.  I felt a fainting coming on. When will our inevitable death from mommy’s garlic concoction kill us all?  Symptoms could start as quick as 6 hours or take as long as 96.   Oh great, that is just frigin’ great, a slow death.

I head home from work and straight to the bathroom.  By the way, that is where I spent most of my working hours too.  I am convinced I have Botulism.  “Do I have a fever?”  I ask Hubs every 10 mins.  I run from one end of the house to the other checking for fevers or upset tummies from the rest of my family. Oh Lord help me. Help US.

Hubs is being very understanding and patient with me.  Patient with me?  What in the world is going on?  Are we dying  and Hubs does not have the heart to speak the words?  Does he not want me to know? This is so unlike him to be so, so  genuinely caring and understanding.  I fall asleep with the thermometer in my mouth.

Fast forward to this morning.  Hubs wakes me and ask how I feel.  I tell him my tummy is still a little queasy but no headache and I think my brain has rebooted to normal but I am still worried.  I ask him how he is.  He says fine.  He leaves early for work and I get ready too.   And that is when I see my socks.  All nicely folded.  Hubs Folded My Socks.

Back in 1991 Hubs and I had a few heated words regarding his socks.  It seems I put a black and a navy sock together and he wore them to work.  It pissed him off so bad he came home with the Yells.  I promised him I would never and I mean never put two different colored socks together again.  And I have never put two different sock together ever again to this day; because I STOP doing his laundry.  I never put anything up or together again.  And with that Hubs told me he was never doing my wash either.  In fact, I would have to be dying for him to even consider ever again doing my laundry or putting my socks together. And up until today he never has.

There it is folks.  I am dying because the Hubs folded my socks.  If I am lucky I still have 3 more days.

This my friends is a TRUE story.  There is no way to just make this crap up so laugh if you may. But please pull out that prayer chain people and put us on it.

Whacked out Wednesdays: Mooooove on Buddy!

I sort of hate to write on Wednesdays because that is my ‘can you believe it day’ or ‘vent day’ or ‘ whacked out day’  whatever you want to call it it seems so unbecoming of me.  But I must face facts, I am only human and I get peeved just as easily and as often as the next human so here is my vent Surprise of the week.   Here’s to hoping I have very few Wednesday post.

There were a couple of reasons I moved to the mountain. One- it is my hubs home and two- I wanted a great place to raise my child. One added bonus that I did not even consider was the anger free commute to work. In the city it was always stop go, stop go accompanied by several angry honks followed by a few shout outs (the obscene type of course) and on more than one occasion the birdy salutes would fly towards me left and right. The bad thing is I had nothing to do with the traffic jams 20% of the time, but I got the salutes anyway.

I had compulsive dorfenbergerthalamus when I was living in the city. It was only heightened by the fact that I knew I would be stuck in traffic and I HAD to be at work before anyone else. I don’t know why… I just did.  I had been cursed with it since High School but now those days are slowly fading. People up here live on mountain time. There is nothing, NOTHING, that opens before 10:00 even if there is a line to get in… restaurants, bar (notice no ‘s’ on the end of bar) and gas station excluded. The streets fold up at 5:pm sharp, except restaurants (they close at 7:pm), bar (closes whenever) and THE only gas station (open 24 hours). Heck, we don’t even have a traffic light of any kind we have yield signs at least that is what most people think our stop signs are. There is very little action in this town so you could imagine my surprise when on my way to a girls day out hiking trip I ran into trouble.

It was early afternoon and we decided our hike would be at Bluff Springs. Bluff Springs is about 45 minutes out of town way back in the mountain. It is beautiful back there. No sounds only nature at its best. We turn off the highway and start the long trek toward our destination. We did not get far when I heard honking and the occasional shout outs. I found myself in a TRAFFIC JAM out in the middle of nowhere. I could count at least 9 cars on my end and more behind me. Who knew this road got so much traffic? I could barely make out the oncoming cars on the uphill side of the road. What in the world could have happened? A wreck. It had to be a wreck. I mean what else would it be on a dirt road with a speed limit of 10 miles per hour? Oh well, stranger things have happened. My dorfenbergerthalamus urges were at bay. I mean the first three cars ahead of me were my hiking buddy’s so there was no reason to be in a hurry. I waited. More and more time passed and we still sat there. WHAT IN THE WORLD? The city girl in me wanted to get out and walk the half mile or so to find out but I sat tight. Finally we started to move. Hallelujah! Slowly we inched up. As I turned the bend, I saw what was jamming up my day. Round up, yep, a round up was happening right on the road. Cows were everywhere. OMGosh only in New Mexico!

The back road I was on. See what I mean? Who would ever expect a traffic jam on this road?

As I turned the bend this is what I saw. A friging cow convention. COWS

Finally a break in the herd.

Spooky, aren’t cows a little unpredictable?

AY CARAMBA! What big horns you have.

Hey! how did that get in there????

Ahh! This is more like it. A few of my hiking buddies.  As you can see, we had a few little ones with us. All in all, we ended with a great hike and a story.