New Year’s Eve 2000

It was a magical evening.  I was recently divorced, kids gone and living in a small town in Nevada.

I had a VERY small little home with the living room and dining room in one area and what had been a bedroom from days gone by off to the side of that, that was now just ….. well, just a room with really no designated purpose.

I decided to have a New Year’s Eve Party and invited pretty much the whole town.  That doesn’t mean hundreds of people by the way.  Anyway, usually when I invite a group of people to something, I figure about 1/3 might show up.

Well, for some reason (I think it was meant to happen this way)…everyone showed up!  We were sitting on chairs, tables, end tables and even the floor if not standing in groups, huddled up against the walls and even in the center of the room.  Some spilled out into the kitchen and also THE room off to the side where I had a TV set up to view the goings on around the world as we ushered in the year 2000 and waited to see if something big was going to happen.

Continue reading

“Four Days Left to Recite a Favorite Line from Simon and Garfunkle”

“A winter’s day, in a deep and dark December…..”

It took me a number of years to figure out each of these words.  Finally when they came together in a meaningful sentence, they resonated as a favorite quote for me.  What a vivid painting to the imagination this portrays.  I picture it in a city somewhere; after hours. Someone is alone and feeling nostalgic (not necessarily lonely) but definitely very much alone.

They may pull their coat collar up against the chill of the night and dig their chin down into their chest to face the frigid air.  Or, they may be sitting at their window, staring down into the streets below (as is sung in this sonnet), pondering life in general; thankful for the isolation.

What is more, they could possibly be experiencing a magical wintry moment exactly like mine, years ago, living in Alaska during the pipeline influx when the power company couldn’t keep up with the demand and we were living a forced “off grid” lifestyle in the month of February.  We couldn’t drill our well till the ground thawed in the spring.  We hauled water from various sources.  This led to many interesting experiences.

One evening as my husband and I pulled out of our home in the middle of a thick forest off of Abbot Loop and turned onto the Sterling Highway with empty water containers to be filled, my husband took a sharp right turn that I didn’t even realize was there.  It was so perfectly concealed by the overgrowth alongside the highway.  Instantly, I found our vehicle pointing down a steep, narrow, winding incline that made me sit up straight and frozen in my seat.  It happened so fast, I’m not sure fear of slipping off this makeshift road even had time to hit my brain but my body was reacting.   Within a few minutes, our vehicle stopped at its chosen destination; a fast-flowing stream of water.

My senses jolted to piqued awareness as I beheld the first glimpse of the frost covered trees!  They were stark white with a the thickest layer of white frost I’d ever seen.  This sparkly frost highlighted every single branch and tiniest twig from the light of the full moon shining down on them.  They were glistening as if covered in tiny diamonds, twinkling in the moonlight.

It was a magical moment for me and although it happened many decades ago, it remains etched in my memory.  This event was on a winter’s day, in a deep and dark “December”.

Deep and dark do not necessarily mean gloomy and depressing.  Sometimes they are quiet, reverent and very special.  They may hold a glistening surprise if we are just patient.


Christmas: Is it over yet?

I wrote a long blog on this a few days before Christmas but somehow lost it.  Now, that’s sad.  Going to just summarize what I had written because I’d like to end my Christmas meanderings with this.

It seems I start getting in the Christmas mood as soon as the weather turns brisk.  Halloween, as much as I love it, holds the promise of Christmas just around the corner.  Thanksgiving is getting pinched in between these two holidays and I hear it on many lips that will soon disappear off the charts.  It is certainly falling into a “lesser holiday”, although, I think it will always remain an open invitation for families to gather and have a feast.

I anticipate all the traditional Christmas things very early on in the fall and start planning at that time.  I usually have all my shopping done, letter ideas of the past year in my head and various other plans.

It’s funny though.  By the time Christmas was a few days away still, I felt like it had already happened!  I was pretty much done with it before it even came.  Of course, if there are kids still at home, this would never happen.

As Shakespeare says and it fits perfectly here:  “All things are, with more fervor chased than enjoyed.”  Yep!  The fun is in the mind’s anticipation of the thing!

As a parting thought, my husband and I both got sick on Christmas Eve.  We made it to a wonderful dinner at my daughter’s home but our plans for Christmas Day were totally wiped out.  This included an open house at his son’s with many of his local kids there, then a trip to Vegas to visit my son and family then a round about way home to stop and see my daughter in a rural area then home.

I was SO looking forward to all of that.  We just barely opened our gifts to each other last night.   “Life is what happens when we are making plans for something else.”  JL



I love Smilebox!  My kids and g’kids expect one on their birthdays.  It is very inexpensive to create imaginative cards and slideshows to send as emails to family and friends or post right on your or their Face Book walls.  You can use Smilebox’s music or download your own to add to your creation.  Select one of their templates (according to the event (birthday for example) and the number of photos you wish to add) and then begin building your one of a kind creation.  My kids/grandkids love them (I think!)  Below is a sample Smilebox I made for my son’s birthday.  Sorry, I can’t figure out (yet) how to just post it on here so it is easier to see and click to play.  You can click the link below to view and play it though. BE SURE TO CLICK THE BACK ARROW TO COME BACK TO MY BLOG.

<table cellspacing=”0″ cellpadding=”0″ border=”0″ bgcolor=”#ffffff”><tr><td><a href=”; target=”_blank”><img width=”420″ height=”330″ alt=”Click to play this Smilebox greeting” src=”; style=”border: medium none ;”/></a></td></tr><tr><td><a href=”; target=”_blank”><img width=”420″ height=”46″ alt=”Create your own greeting – Powered by Smilebox” src=”; style=”border: medium none ;”/></a></td></tr><tr><td align=”center”>Create a <a href=”; target=”_blank”>digital greeting</a></td></tr></table>

Another Smilebox I made:

On Wednesday, October 21, 2009 4:54 PM, Mary Russell <> wrote:
I made a Smilebox for you!
Created by Mary Russell
Click to Play
Hi ~ This is the place I’ve lived the past six years. The little “shack” is something I want to fix up and use as a guest house. The views are amazing anywhere you look.

So, for those who have been there, a remembrance, and for those who haven’t, an invitation!
Love,  Mary/Mom

Link to this Smilebox:
© Copyright 2009 Smilebox, Inc. | | 8201 164th Ave NE, Redmond WA 98052 | Privacy Policy


Photo Books | MyPublisher

My Publisher Christmas Book

I’ve used this company to make personal, hard-cover books and given these as gifts to my family for mementos of family reunions, my mother’s life and, recently, a photo book for Christmas’ through the years.  (See photo above.)  You can also post your book creation right to your Facebook Wall.

You can add your own photos and set the book up how you want.  It’s easy to use, after the first time, and very high quality.  They offer good sales as well.

Winter Fun With Grandkids (Kids)


We made some cute Sledding Party Invitations using Smile Box (Read more about Smilebox in my “Tools I Use Section”) and sent e-copies to our families and posted them on their Face Book Walls.  Sadly, very few were able to come that year.  We are not easily daunted though and plan to do it  this year and everyone is on board with it.  We’ll have a big bonfire, hot chocolate and all the trimmings for a fun Winter Party!

mobile_001 Continue reading