Happy Holidays to you all!
(Click on gray text to play.)
Finally, big snow! But I have to go to Wisconsin to find it.
I am so ready for snow!!!
There wasn't any last year on my annual heartland visit, and none in NY,
so I didn't cross country ski even once!
The view outside Aaron's apartment in Madison, before and after.
and his giant Christmas lights.
and his giant Christmas lights.
We play a lot of cutthroat Parcheesi in Mad City, which can get ugly.
Here Jennifer seems upset, perhaps at a nasty move made by Baby Cookie.
We drive over to Milwaukee to see Derek, Alicia, Arya and Kellen in their cozy house,
where a good time is had by all.
A bit of sibling rivalry over Courtney and Aaron's gift, above,
and Alicia's killer cake (chocolate-peppermint, total yum-o-riffic), below.
Aaron and I do a Hal Thompson/Baby Cookie shoot in snowy Madison on the Solstice
and Baby Cookie stops to hang with two snowpersons on the way.
Finally we get her to stay on task, and finish the shoot before dark,
especially since this is the shortest day of the year!
Will Hal jump?
You'll have to watch HERE to find out!
On our way from Madison to New Richmond, WI,
I take some pictures of pine trees along the highway.
Because of global warming, they are migrating past us at high speed, northward,
looking for better growing conditions.
We stay at Dan and Angie's house.
Note his cool sculpture made from Lake Superior driftwood on the wall.
What the sea gives, he takes.
Dan and Angie got married last summer, reuniting after decades apart,
and now our family is even more fabulous.
Kudos to them for putting us all up, and putting up with all of us!
We celebrate with help from iPhones.
Shirley is crushed by her grandchildren and their significant others.
From left to right: Michael, Ali, Shannon, Jennifer, Shirley, Andrew, Aaron.
Also computers add to the fun.
Brett uses his alien Dell to Skype with Chris in Colorado who is busy with Green River Vibe, his band.
He's the one with sunglasses, oh, wait...
He's the one with sunglasses:
(Photos from Chris Cook's Facebook page.)
More Skyping, this time with the Milwaukee Campbells.
Wish they were here!
Jennifer is neither here nor there, in cool Christmas colors.
Andrew goes through an attitude adjustment about beverage recycling.
Sherry and I rock around the Christmas tree
before we go out skiing and find dead things in the middle of a large snow-covered farm field.
Two random, well-eaten deer legs, and this strange pelt:
..which no one can identify!
We get beautiful scarves and shawls for gifts.
Above, made by Sherry!
Later, we gather around the fire, courtesy of a local TV station who keeps the flame
going for two days straight.
Sadly, time to part.
Aaron is in the driver's seat of Andrew and Jennifer's new car...
... while he waits for them to stop dawdling.
Dan and Angie's house is the only one with trees around it -
all the rest are surrounded by acres of grass.
I stay at Shirley's charming and sunny "independent living" apartment for a few days, helping her take down her Christmas decorations, each of which has its own stories of where and when she got it,
why she likes it, her dissatisfaction with the stores that no longer carry the kind of special merchandise she likes, and etc.
They line up patiently to be packed away for another year of hibernation.
Later we do some art with art-supply gifts from Angie and Andrew and Jennifer.
Shirley has eye problems, macular degeneration,
so she does an abstract landscape with pastels.
It reminds me of a Milton Avery...
(Mountain and Meadow, M. Avery, internet photo)
...or a Helen Frankenthaler.
(Tutti Fruitti, H. Frankenthaler, internet photo)
Here is one of my favorite Shirley works, done in the seventies,
of Sherry's dog Samantha.
I go to the local golf course and ski my heart out every day while at Shirley's.
Who knows when I'll be able to ski again?
New York doesn't have much for winter anymore, as we hurtle into an earth-fevered hell.
Angie and Dan bring their new little dog, Foo Foo, over to visit.
She's only three pounds, just a baby!
She'll never get all that big, but right now Sherry and Brett's cat Moe could eat her in one gulp!
Awwwww, who's cuter?
Also in New Richmond, Sherry and I peruse the local thrift stores, picking up these two items
at "One Man's Trash at the Cottage" run by Dwayne Maier, which can be found on Facebook.
He reluctantly says goodbye to the gargoyle
and Leif Erikson (who formerly held sherry, not my sister, but the drink).
But they find a new home with Aaron, who is going to hand them over to Hal Thompson for his eclectic collection of arcane and esoteric occult artifacts.
We say goodbye to Shirley, always a poignant event...
...and go to Sherry and Brett's house where our last night
is filled with home movies and popcorn!
What could be better?
We discover three minutes of my maternal grandparents
Bob and Lil partying like it's 1959! Wow.
So that's where our love of having a good ol' time comes from!
Above, Lil throwing one back here with an unnamed man, perhaps Trevor.
Below, Bob with cigar, embracing Lil on his right and an unnamed woman on his left, perhaps Mabel.
See it HERE!
And I hope your popcorn is as good as Brett's!
Alas, all good things must come to an end.
Here I am during the last moments of 2012, hurtling past the usual suspects,
heading for a quiet home celebration of the new year with Frank.
Bring it on!