Traxin applied more pressure to the steering column as the ship’s vibration increased to an incessant shuddering which made his gray head rattle on the end of his long ringed neck. Continue reading
I love winter driving, especially in snowstorms! The snow makes beautiful patterns as it streaks across the windshield and the challenge of keeping the car on the road gets my adrenaline pumping similar to skiing down a mountain. I learned to drive during long snowy Wisconsin winters. This was back in the day when the snow fell in November and didn’t melt until spring. Monster ruts formed along with black ice which would hide under a shroud of fresh snow like a cursed demon, sending unsuspecting drivers fish-tailing or spinning in circles. Of course we all had rear-wheel drive cars back then.
I decided to share what I learned since most people on the road during our last Colorado snowstorm sucked at winter driving! Continue reading
As I perused today’s newspaper, it occurred to me that I have one of the most cliché names for Christmas. According to Wikipedia, “A cliché or cliche is an expression, idea, or element of an artistic work which has been overused to the point of losing its original meaning or effect, especially when at some earlier time it was considered meaningful or novel.” The name “Susie” is cropping up in holiday advertising everywhere! “A toy for Susie” was on Santa’s list in a print ad along with “an iPod for Timmy.” What could be causing the sudden overuse of my name? Continue reading
One of my favorite holiday traditions is illustrating a family Christmas card. Over the years it has often included skiing and snowboarding off cliffs and roof tops. Some represented traditional themes like baking cookies together as a family and others illustrated what my family had been up to in the past year; a brag letter without the GPA!
This year I found myself drawn, (no pun intended) to a card I created two years ago. I knew it would be time-consuming and a huge challenge, but hey, that’s just how I roll.
As I began my first prototype – and there were many – I realized how much this year’s card resembled the basics of writing a story. Continue reading
As Carol scrawled her signature inside the Thomas Kincade Christmas card, a chill sent a shiver like the touch of a cold fingertip along her spine. She buttoned her cardigan and folded the greeting card. While studying the picture of the artist’s painting, Carol smiled at the warm glow emanating like amber from the windows of the cottage nestled in the snow. She imagined the home filled with friends and family. Lifting her gaze through the window above her desk, dense fog and ice had collected on the gnarled oak trees and shimmered in the moonlight. Her heart ached with the familiar sense of loss. “I miss you, John.” She looked around her dreary home once filled with life, regretting her decision to skip decorating this year. What was the point?
She slipped the card into the envelope as a single tear slid down her soft wrinkled cheek. “I wish…” Her shoulders slumped and Carol sobbed.
A flickering light reflected in the window caught her attention. She spun around and a warm roaring fire glowed in the gas fireplace. Silent Night began playing on the radio.
“What the…?” Carol sprung from her chair and as she approached the hearth she heard the doorbell. She wiped the tears from her face, turned the brass knob, and opened the front door.
“Surprise Grandma!” Carol’s three grandchildren, her daughter, and son-in-law stood in the snow on the front doorstep.
“I’m glad you’re here too, John,” Carol thought as she looked up and smiled.
Is there someone you wish you could visit during the holidays?
Thomas Kincade photo of painting by wallpapers-free.co.uk
It all started when I decided to attend the Historic Boulder Homes for the Holidays Tour. Up until then, my required holiday decorations consisted of one fresh poinsettia and one Christmas tree. Little did I know that purchasing a ticket in 1994 to support Historic Boulder would ruin my life forever.
The tour included several homes located on “The Hill” in Boulder. As I trudged up the snowy path to a gingerbread-like house, I noticed a pretty black-haired lady walk up beside me. Being fairly outgoing, I said, “I love this wreath!”
“Why, thank you very much,” she said, then flashed me a broad smile. I realized this must be the owner. As I entered, my breath was taken away by the all the fresh magnolia and pine swags above picture frames and mirrors with a large one draped over the stairway. Others graced long buffets and table tops. The scent of fresh flowers mixed with evergreens raised my spirits, but unbeknownst to me, this would be the first enticement in turning me toward the dark side. “This is the most beautiful home I’ve ever seen. I only wish my mother was here in time for the tour. She would really enjoy this,” I said with tears in my eyes.
“Bring her over when she comes to town,” she replied. “I’m Patsy Ramsey, by the way.”
I introduced myself to this gracious lady knowing that I would never have the nerve to knock on her door again. I continued along with her for a while as I felt myself shifting into an altered state. Fabulous antiques graced each room. She informed me that many of the pieces came from estates in the south. I lost her as we entered the kitchen.
The sprawling house covered 3 floors culminating in a fabulous master suite in the newly remodeled attic space. Two curio cabinets flanked the entry. Neither the one filled to the brim with all of Patsy’s crowns and sashes from pageant competitions, nor the other stuffed with baby shoes, baptismal outfits and mementoes of her children Jon Benet and Blake, could possibly prepare me for what I saw when I entered the bedroom. The foot of the bed housed a television that rose by remote. The perfectly appointed space had entries to his and her bathrooms and closets. Although his was quite understated and unremarkable, hers was on a level, I had never seen before. Shoes and gowns bagged and boxed, marked and categorized with the dates and pageants lined the walls from floor to ceiling. I think that I owned 5 pair of shoes at the time. I wound back down from that third floor trophy room in a zombie-like state of shock.
I drove to North Boulder and stepped into my unadorned home knowing my life as I knew it was over. After being surrounded with lovely holiday décor, I shuddered while looking around at the bare surfaces. I greeted my husband and kids, gave them a quick hug and ran back out to the car, speeding off to the craft store. My addiction had begun.
Since that fateful day, I have anticipated the after Christmas sales like an addict waiting for a fix. I have poured over catalogs and then planned strategies – equal to a serious combat mission – for shopping on the 26th. I have dragged my mother and sister, Patty, along and we have taken turns standing in long lines while filling shopping baskets full of the half-price holiday items.
17 years later, I look around my home with the full knowledge that we will not be entertaining during the holiday season and this should put an end to the madness. But this obsession with the need to decorate runs deep. It has infected even the most logical part of my personality. Every last Christmas tree – yes there are several – will be put up and every box will be unpacked. Our home will be transformed for my family – oh please – for myself!
While touring the Ramsey home, I gasped at the amazing decorations and caught the bug that will probably infect me for a lifetime. It can be contagious and I have unwittingly infected others. This is the burden I have to bear. So this year as I look around at my own festive home I would like to say, “Thanks a lot Patsy Ramsey wherever you are…”
Do you decorate for the holidays or are you satisfied with a Christmas tree?
Daily Camera Newspaper photo by Mick Grassmick
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