Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Ruby Tuesday and Rednesday --- Christmas Red part 2

We made the ninety minute drive to visit the Old Salt's brother for Christmas. We spent the night and traveled home late the next afternoon. With the cruse control set at seventy, we were making good time on Interstate 70 when I saw sometime odd on the side of the highway. It went by so quickly I didn't have time to take a photo even though the camera was in my lap. I ask the Old Salt to get off at the next exit and travel back down the outer road so that I could get a better look and a few photographs.

This evergreen tree grows on the side of the highway between the east bound lanes and the south outer road. Someone had decorated it for the holidays with some sparkly tinsel garland and a big red bow. Not something you would expect to find on a busy interstate highway. I took this photos from the outer road looking across the divided lanes of the highway. I would love to know who went to all this effort when there is not a single house in the area of the roadway.

This is my Christmas Tree for this year. I posted this earlier this month but wanted to share it with all those who follow the memes devoted to the color red. The only color on my tree comes from lots of red birds.

Lastly, I wanted to share this shot of my eighty-five year old mother, giving her thumbs up to the christmas gift she received this year from her secret pal at our family Christmas party. She has thirteen children and is the matriarch of a family that will soon be going into triple digits.

I am linking this post to Ruby Tuesday and Rednesday.

Mary at "Work of the Poet" hosts Ruby Tuesday. Rednesday is a Wednesday meme hosted by Sue at "It's a Very Cherry World." Both memes are dedicated to the color red. To join the fun or just check out what Red others are excited to share visit Mary and her friends at Ruby Tuesdayand Sue and her friends from Rednesday

Barn Charm #13--- Snow Barn

This year we spent a Christmas overnight with the Old Salt's brother and his family. Traveling home the next day we decided to take a little detour off the interstate to get some photos of what a white Christmas in the country looked like. The following shot of this lovely old barn is one of those photos. It was late afternoon, and a pale pink was starting to creep into the sky, creating such a picturesque setting with the traditional red barn beside a stately farm house. I especially liked the outline of the large trees surrounding the barn against the sky.

This barn was located somewhere between Auxvasse and Kingdom City in Missouri.

I hope you liked seeing my old barn this week. I am linking it to my blogging buddy Tricia's meme "Barn Charm." You can visit the barn entries of others or join the fun by clicking here.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry White Christmas

Like most people in the world, I am a creature of habit. My morning routine may seem silly to some but the first thing I do after setting my feet on the floor (beside running to the bathroom) is go to the computer and check my e-mail. The following photo is what greeted me today outside our office window.

Our first white Christmas in recent memory. By the time I got up we already had two inches on the ground with several more predicted. We will be lucky if the cars slipping and sliding on our hill do not take out the rear of our truck (in photo). While all my Christmas shopping is complete I do need to go out for a few forgotten grocery items. Best get them early. I feel for those that waited to the last minute, they may get snowed in.

There is already no rest for the Volunteer Fire Department. The guys have been coming and going on a regular schedule this AM.

Gratefully, we have a quite Christmas Eve planned at home with our daughter's family. And, they live just down the street so they can walk up here for dinner.

Tomorrow however, is a different story. We are scheduled to make the ninety minute trip to spend Christmas with the Old Salt's brother and his family. This will be the first time since childhood that the two brothers have both been in the same area and able to actually spend Christmas day together, so it is an event we do not want to miss because of snow.

It will probably be in the new year before I have time to post again so I am sending all of our best wishes to all of my family, friends and faithful followers for a great week. May your Christmas and New Year bring you rest, cheer, joy of family and friends and spiritual renewal.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Ruby Tuesday and Rednesday --- Christmas Red

Earlier this month I wrote a blog post about our family tradition of celebrating a "Secret Pal" event between Thanksgiving and the reveal party on the Saturday before Christmas. That party took place last Saturday. We had two family members who live out of state flying home for the party and I had agreed to pick them up at the airport. Their flights were scheduled to arrive about one hour apart. The flight from Omaha came in on schedule but the flight from Minneapolis was delayed several times, then developed mechanical problems after boarding and was delayed again. Altogether it ended up being four hours late in arriving.

Since we are a long distance from the airport going home was out of the question. To kill time while we waited for news that the flight was in the air the Old Salt, my sister and I decided to visit a shopping mall that is near the airport. This mall was built about five years ago but none of us had ever been there before so it was a very exciting trip.

The minute we got near the mall the Old Salt noticed that it had a large Cabela's and announced that we would drop him off there and go have a ladies day in the rest of the mall. This mall turned out to have the most unusual decor of any mall I have ever visited. It was also huge and a mini mall of America as well, with rides, games, a skating rink, bungie jumping, skateboarding and a lot more. I have some very interesting photos to share over the next few weeks for some of the other memes I play. But, for today I would like to share some of the Christmas red photos I have taken. The first three were taken at this mall, named the St. Louis Mills Mall.

As we strolled the mall we came across an area where this young man was making animal balloons for the kiddies. His name is Lou. I was immediately attracted to his hat. Now, you all know how I feel about a man in a hat. I have since added his picture to my "Parade of Hats" slideshow on my sidebar.

About half way around the mall we came upon the long line waiting to see Santa. I went up to the head of the line and managed to snap this shot of Santa between visits with the little ones. I was delighted that this mall hired a Santa with a real beard, but this Santa's hair was also natural and hung very straight to the middle of his back.

On each side of the entrance into this card shop was a Christmas tree made from balloons. One was white and gold but I liked this red and green one best. I also checked out how it was constructed and you can bet that I will be making some of these in the future.

This shot was taken at the Secret Pal Party on Saturday night. This is Noel, she is one of two St. Bernard's owned by the family hosting the party. Not only does she like to be in the middle of the action she loves wearing hats. She also has the required brandy keg that she will wear on special occasions as well.
This last shot is what I see each time I look out my kitchen window. A few of the firefighters constructed this fire engine in lights to decorate the firehouse that is across the street.

I am linking this post to Ruby Tuesday and Rednesday.

Mary at "Work of the Poet" hosts Ruby Tuesday. Rednesday is a Wednesday meme hosted by Sue at "It's a Very Cherry World." Both memes are dedicated to the color red. To join the fun or just check out what Red others are excited to share visit Mary and her friends at Ruby Tuesdayand Sue and her friends from Rednesday

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Pink Saturday --- Pink Bacon

Even though I live in a rural town it is not often you see a live hog on the street, much less twice in the same 24 hour period. A few weeks ago I was taking a short cut through one of the neighborhoods, just before dark, and noticed a pickup towing a trailer parked on the side of the street. Nothing odd about that, we have many citizens who haul lawn equipment and off road vehicles. But, this trailer held a large cage containing a live sow. Regrettably, I was on a quick errand and did not have my camera.

The next morning I stopped at Target and on my way into the store I noticed the familiar smell of a pig farm. I looked around the lot and quickly found the source of the odor. I made a beeline for my car to fetch my camera and snapped the following shots of the same hog I had seen the night before.

I am linking this post to Pink Saturday, hosted by Beverly at How Sweet the Sound.
To join in the fun or just visit the pink post of others visit Beverly and her friends at

Friday, December 17, 2010

color Carnival #64 --- stained glass

I photographed these stained glass windows a few weeks ago while visiting the church of a cousin in Belleville Illinois. This is a new church built to replace the hundred year old one the parish had outgrown. But, the windows are old and were salvaged from the old church which is being rehabbed to become the churches community center.
I am linking this post to the meme Color Carnival.

To join the fun or to check out all the colorful entries of other players, visit Maria and her friends at Color Carnival.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

How Many of you are there?

A few days ago the Old Salt had an appointment in the city. When we walked into the office we were greeted by these stockings hanging on the front of one of the desks. I walked over and commented that they must have known I was coming that day because they hung a stocking for me.

Actually, it is still a surprise anytime I see my name in print or meet someone with the same name. I don't think my name is all that common. I was out of school and well into my working life before I met the first person that shared my name. I met more of them in the last ten years than in the previous 55.

I heard about a website some years ago that uses census records to tell you how many other people have your same name. I checked out my name at that time but did not recall the number, so when I had time today I decided to check out the site again. I discovered there are 317,160 people in the US named Rita as of the 2000 census, and Rita is the 204th most popular woman's name. Mary is still the number one woman's name with over four million named Mary in the US.

While I was on the site I decided to check out the other two names on the stockings in my photo. So this is how the three names checked out.

Rita --- 317,160 ---204th place
Angie --- 83,956 --- 595th place
Ginny --- 7,774 --- 2,138th place

It turns out that my name is not all that rare after all. At least, as far as the three women who worked in this office were concerned. But, if Angie and Ginny were nick names and I used Angela and Virginia, the names they are most often short for, then we would stack up like this.

Angela --- 727,620 --- 65th place
Virginia --- 668,539 --- 73rd place
Rita --- 317,160 ---204th place

And that puts me back in the not so common category. When I checked for my full name. First and Last the answer was zero. Now, no need to panic and start calling the website to report an error. These records are as of the 2000 census, and, the Old Salt and I were not married until 2007. So I am going to assume that I am the only one with my full name in the US. Now that is rare.

So, how many people share your name. Visit this website and find out. Go to How Many Of Me dot com

Yard Art Thursday -----Fish Sculpture

If you have been visiting here over the last month or so you already know about my cousins husband who has started making junk yard sculptures. Today I am going to feature the largest of the sculptures that I found in his yard during my last visit.

This giant silver and blue fish is about twenty feet long and stood about five or six feet tall.

This is the only sculpture I photographed that I could not identify the items used to create it. But, it is the perfect item for someone that lives in a rehabbed club house on the Bourbeuse River and whose second hobby is fishing.

I am linking this post to Yard Art Thursday. Mary T. at the Work of the Poet hosts Yard Art Thursday. To join the fun or just check out the entries of others, visit Mary and her friends at Work of the Poet.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Things are a changing

Last night we drove over to my sisters house for our annual baking of the "Gum Drop Cakes." On the way I noticed a new star lighting the sky in the direction of the riverfront, so today we went out to discover the source. Turns out that the city had its first ever lighting of a town Christmas tree at the end of the Christmas parade last week. The tree stands in the small park on main street.

We missed attending the parade this year and I must have skipped reading the community newspaper that week as well. I was excited to see that the city fathers are recognizing the need to show how the town is growing. We have recently been upgraded to a class three city, so I guess I can no longer say that I live in a small rural town. I can't wait to make another trip down town after dark to see this tree all lit up.

Little Things that mean the most.

We got our first snow of the season this week. It started Saturday evening and continued for most of Sunday. You would think from that last sentence we got a blizzard like the one that hit Minneapolis but that is not the case. It started with huge flakes that turned into salt size by morning. It was a very dry snow and we were having horrible winds at the same time, so, most of the snow just blew around. The official measurement posted was .25 or one fourth of an inch. I find that hard to believe because we had a three foot drift blocking our patio gate. Of course, our patio is on the north side of our house and the wind was right out of the North.

Regardless, what little there was will be here for a while thanks to the arctic temperatures. Our only worry about pursuing our past-time of driving the back-roads whenever possible is missing the icy patches that could put us in a ditch.

You never know what you will see when driving off the main roads. Yesterday, was no exception. After making a trip to the next town over we got off the main route and before long I saw this small Christmas tree standing out against the snow. When we got closer I realized someone had used it to decorate their mailbox and assumed it would be one of those all weather tinsel type trees. Boy, was I wrong.

Once I was up close I realized this little gem was a hand crocheted work of art with sequins for ornaments. Just one of the small delights to be found on a snowy drive in the country.

In fact, I found this small Chrismas touch much more heart warming than all the overly decorated big houses that shared that stretch of country road.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Ruby Tuesday and Rednesday --- touch of red

While on the hunt for another great Craigslist find on Friday we saw this lovely gate with two huge wreaths. It was the entrance to a mansion which seems a bit out of place on a country road in Missouri.

Snapped this shot today of the geraniums blooming on my kitchen window sill.

I am linking this post to Ruby Tuesday and Rednesday.

Mary at "Work of the Poet" hosts Ruby Tuesday. Rednesday is a Wednesday meme hosted by Sue at "It's a Very Cherry World." Both memes are dedicated to the color red. To join the fun or just check out what Red others are excited to share visit Mary and her friends at Ruby Tuesday and Sue and her friends from Rednesday

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Mellow Yellow Monday ----Our Santa

The wreath I am featuring for this weeks Mellow Yellow Monday is more red and Christmasy but does contain a few yellow flowers so I hope its okay to post for Mellow Yellow.

This is a very special wreath. It belonged to my father. He received it as a Christmas gift back in 1993. The wreath is quite large and hung in my parents great room. After his death my Mother gave the wreath to my sister who had a large two story foyer where she wanted to hang it.

Please click for more details

Dad worked as Santa on and off over most of my life to earn extra holiday money for his large family. After he retired he began doing as many Santa jobs as he could find because he enjoyed doing them. Not only was he good at it but he had the most realistic handmade costume available, thanks to the sewing skills of my sister. It wasn't long before he had a full schedule every year of repeat customers.

He had a contract to do the Santa breakfast at all the McDonalds Restaurants in the county. He made the rounds of all the Nursing Homes and also worked for a lady that rented out a horse drawn sleigh with Santa and one elf for private parties. He sat on the head float beside the major in our towns Christmas parade several times. And, he could be found at dozens of civic and religious Christmas events each year. He also collected Santa Clauses in many forms.

I was the one who designed this wreath and gave it to my father. I designed it to include each of the four seasons with a Santa appropriate for each time of year. You will see a fishing Santa and one all decked out for July 4th. among those on the wreath.

The brass plaque tells all who see the wreath that "Our Santa was a man for all Seasons."

I am linking this post to Mellow Yellow Monday


Mellow Yellow Monday is hosted by Drowsey Monkey. To join in the fun or visit other Mellow Yellow participants just click here.

Right Place at the Right Time

For a while earlier today I felt as if I was in my own live version of Alfred Hitchcocks movie "Birds." Never have I seen so many birds in one place at the same time before. Luckly I was the passenger and had my camera at the ready. So, let me give you the play by play in photos. But, you may want to click on each photo to get the full details.

It was about five pm and we were driving down a road in a rural area on the edge of town. Our first snow fall had happened overnight and the street in this area was not completely clear. I raised my camera to take a shot of the road and the rising pink in the sky, when, the Old Salt said do you see all those birds, as he started to slow down. I did and started snapping away.

The trees on both sides of the road were full of big black birds.

After a few more feet I noticed that a large field on my side of the car was covered in black specks, hundreds of them. Perhaps, as many as a thousand. Unfortunately, I had a problem with the camera focusing on the trees and fence in the foreground so this is the only shot that may give you some idea how many. By the time I snapped this shot they had already started to take to the air.

Suddenly, the birds in the field began to fly and the sky was getting blacker and blacker with the birds. Then, the ones in the trees started to take off and I was so in awe of what I was seeing that my camera was forgotten. Luckily, there was no other traffic on the road. We stopped in the middle of the road to watch this flight of birds for about five minutes. The whole time questioning where they came from and why they picked that place to bed down.

We had two choices for our route home today and I am grateful that we chose this one. I'm sure I will never see another flock of birds as large again.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Pink Saturday -----Kutty Shak

Sorry I am so late in joining in the all the fun at pink Saturday this week. I'm afraid my hectic schedule of late and catching the Old Salt's cold finally did me in. I fell asleep in my recliner trying to watch one of my favorite shows last night and next I knew I was waking up in my bed eighteen hours later. Afraid I worried my dear hubby something terrible, he has never seen anyone sleep like that before. On top of that, I upset him by wanting to get my "Pink Saturday" posted before I would take time to eat the breakfast he was preparing.

I grabbed the first item I found in my pinky folder, so I could get this posted quickly and go appreciate all the special care he was giving me today.

I snapped this photo last October in a small town in northeast Oklahoma. The Old Salt was taking me on a trip down memory lane of his high school years. We traveled between Tulsa and Nowata getting off the beaten path to visit many small towns along the way. Frankly, I do not recall which town this very pink building was located. But, I do know that the town appeared to have passed its prime a long time ago and this was one of few buildings with a recent paint job.

I can just see the beauty shop scenes in the movie Steel Magnolia taking place in this colorful shop. While Steel Magnolia may not qualify as a holiday movie it does have a poignant scene that takes place at Christmas and is one of my favorite films.

I am linking this post to Pink Saturday, hosted by Beverly at How Sweet the Sound.
To join in the fun or just visit the pink post of others visit Beverly and her friends at