Welcome to Simply Stated!

Thank you so much for stopping by. This blog is something I've set up just for fun -- yours and mine! There are any number of things that may be discussed here from everyday living in the California desert to digital scrapbooking to my favorite books to cardmaking to the art of letter writing to caring for feral cats to movies I like. After you read my bio, you should have a good sense of other topics you may find here. I welcome your comments and hope you return again and again!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Do You Believe in Santa?

"Santa in a Box" by Teresa Kogut, pccrafter.com

The following was submitted by Jodi Tatum to the HugClub Newsletter, pccrafter.com

I remember my first Christmas adventure with Grandma. I was just a kid.

I remember tearing across town on my bike to visit her on the day my big sister dropped the bomb: "There is no Santa Claus," she jeered. "Even dummies know that!"

My Grandma was not the gushy kind, never had been. I fled to her that day because I knew she would be straight with me. I knew Grandma always told the truth, and I knew that the truth always went down a whole lot easier when swallowed with one of her "world-famous" cinnamon buns. I knew they were world-famous, because Grandma said so. It had to be true.

Grandma was home, and the buns were still warm. Between bites, I told her everything. She was ready for me. "No Santa Claus?" she snorted. "Ridiculous! Don't believe it. That rumor has been going around for years, and it makes me mad, plain mad! Now, put on your coat, and let's go."

"Go? Go where, Grandma?" I asked. I hadn't even finished my second world-famous cinnamon bun. "Where" turned out to be Kerby's General Store, the one store in town that had a little bit of just about everything. As we walked through its doors, Grandma handed me ten dollars.

That was a bundle in those days. "Take this money," she said, "and buy something for someone who needs it. I'll wait for you in the car." Then she turned and walked out of Kerby's.

I was only eight years old. I'd often gone shopping with my mother, but never had I shopped for anything all by myself. The store seemed big and crowded, full of people scrambling to finish their Christmas shopping. For a few moments I just stood there, confused, clutching that ten-dollar bill, wondering what to buy, and who on earth to buy it for. I thought of everybody I knew: my family, my friends, my neighbors, the kids at school, and the people who went to my church. I was just about thought out, when I suddenly thought of Bobby Decker.

He was a kid with bad breath and messy hair, and he sat right behind me in Mrs. Pollock's grade-two class. Bobby Decker didn't have a coat. I knew that because he never went out to recess during the winter. His mother always wrote a note, telling the teacher that he had a cough, but all we kids knew that Bobby Decker didn't have a cough; he didn't have a good coat. I fingered the ten-dollar bill with growing excitement. I would buy Bobby Decker a coat!

I settled on a red corduroy one that had a hood on it. It looked real warm, and he would like that.

"Is this a Christmas present for someone?" the lady behind the counter asked kindly, as I laid my ten dollars down.

"Yes, ma'am," I replied shyly. "It's for Bobby."

The nice lady smiled at me, as I told her about how Bobby really needed a good winter coat. I didn't get any change, but she put the coat in a bag, smiled again, and wished me a Merry Christmas.

That evening, Grandma helped me wrap the coat (a little tag fell out of the coat, and Grandma tucked it in her Bible) in Christmas paper and ribbons and wrote, "To Bobby, From Santa Claus" on it. Grandma said that Santa always insisted on secrecy. Then she drove me over to Bobby Decker's house, explaining as we went that I was now and forever officially, one of Santa's helpers.

Grandma parked down the street from Bobby's house, and she and I crept noiselessly and hid in the bushes by his front walk. Then Grandma gave me a nudge. "All right, Santa Claus," she whispered, "get going."

I took a deep breath, dashed for his front door, threw the present down on his step, pounded his door and flew back to the safety of the bushes and Grandma. Together we waited breathlessly in the darkness for the front door to open. Finally it did, and there stood Bobby. Fifty years haven't dimmed the thrill of those moments spent shivering, beside my Grandma, in Bobby Decker's bushes.

That night, I realized that those awful rumors about Santa Claus were just what Grandma said they were: ridiculous. Santa was alive and well, and we were on his team. I still have the Bible, with the coat tag tucked inside: $19.95.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

A Merry Christmas to All!

Following is this year's annual update for those of you who did not receive it by mail.

December 2008

Dear Family & Friends~

As another year comes to a close, I find joy once again in touching base with each of you. I hope you've been blessed with good health and happiness during the year as we have.

Floyd's work on the Pine Tree Windmill project finally began this month. The weather in Jawbone Canyon has not been conducive to long hours out in the elements, but they are making progress nevertheless. This project is the largest U.S. wind farm to date having eighty 340-foot windmills with propeller diameters of 253 feet. We enjoyed vegetables from Floyd's small garden where he also planted a large collection of gorgeous daylilies, cosmos, and other blooms. On his lathe, he crafted many beautiful pens from native and other woods, as well as acrylics.

We were delighted Jacqueline visited this fall. We took her to Death Valley for a day trip. She, Pine, Floyd, and I were on the road by 5:00 a.m. We hiked, admired rocks and land formations, picnicked, snapped photos, played in the sand dunes, and marveled at the national park's amazing beauty until 8:00 p.m. The day before, we took Jacqueline to Lone Pine (also in Inyo County) during their annual Film Festival. We visited the Film Museum which houses exhibits of movies made in the area, especially Westerns shot in the Alabama Hills over the past few decades. Badwater in Death Valley is the U.S.'s lowest point (-282 feet) and Mt. Whitney located near Lone Pine is the contiguous U.S.'s highest point (14,505 feet). Jacqueline moved to Sweden earlier this year as she continues work with the online dictionary -- ordbogen.com.

Those of you who've read my annual letters for years know I always write about Pine's evolving work at Mervyn's. After 16 years, Pine left the company in February. (Just in time, too, because all Mervyn's stores will close by year's end.) She now enjoys helping manage the front office of a small, family-run heating and air conditioning business. Pine is the best cook I know. She is a marvel in the kitchen, and she's never made anything for me that wasn't absolutely scrumptious! She celebrates all the holidays with us, and we're so happy she always makes two or three delicious dishes to share. YUM-O!

I've kept busy during the year with my two favorite papercrafts: scrapbooking and cardmaking. In May, I made digitally created albums for Mother's Day and Pine's birthday. I made lots~n~lotsa cards at workshops, at card club meetings, at Stamp Camps, at Stamp-A-Stack events, and to swap with my CrazyCardMakers Yahoo group and Scrap & Stamp Arts pen pals. I'm so excited to tell you my first card is published in Just Cards!, Winter 2009 issue. In the spring, I rediscovered beading and have enjoyed making earrings, necklaces, and beaded bookmarks. I started a blog just for the fun of it and enjoy writing short pieces about our lives. Check out simplystated4u.blogspot.com if you'd like know what we're up to during the year. In addition to several interpreting assignments throughout the year, I kept busy with volunteer work for La Leche League speaking to parents at the local hospital's birth classes and taking over the treasury for the two local groups.

On the furry front, there are several changes, starting with Sissy's disappearance on June 13th. She was 14 years old, in perfect health, and we believed she'd be with us forever. The night after Thanksgiving, our delightful little Smoky cat bolted out the open back door, and sadly, all evidence points to a fateful meeting with a roving coyote or bobcat. It has been so difficult for us because we adored that little cat and all her happy antics! We took 13-year-old Mollie the Bluetick Hound to the vet a couple of months ago when she slowed way down. We thought we were losing her, but the vet diagnosed diabetes, put her on Vetsulin and a prescription diet, and now she's like a brand new dog. Feral cats come and go, so now, we have four regulars who show up twice a day to eat.

Pine & Jed's Uncle Art died unexpectedly on 2 Dec. It is such a sad loss for our family. At Mark's request, Floyd & I have taken over the care of Art's cat, Julie, an 8-1/2 year old Tortoiseshell who was originally Mark's mother and father's kitty. She's a very sweet, affectionate cat with beautiful black and gold markings and bright yellow eyes.

We hope your holidays are filled with love, peace, and memory-making moments and that the new year is full of promise!

Free Christmas Printables from Lisa Vollrath

If you'd like to have some neat gift tags and other Christmas graphics, copy and paste this URL into a new browser window: http://countdown.tentwostudios.com

Lisa's cool stuff is "linkware" which means you only need to add her link to a group or blog, and you're welcome to download her special holiday collection at no charge.

Fudge, Anyone?

Simple ~ Quick ~ Yummy!Mitzi the Duck graphic from pccrafter.com

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Just Published in Just Cards!

I couldn't wait to share the news that I've had my first card (above) published! Last week, I got a complimentary copy of the Winter 2009 issue of Just Cards!, Volume 12, with a letter to "Dear Contributor" tucked inside. And there on page 25, was my card with accompanying instructions. Wow! This is really cool!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Chocolate Series Blog Candy Winner

Thanks to everyone who posted a comment at "Blog Candy Alert." I took the names and put them randomly into Random.org, then told it to do its thing. I decided the name that appeared at the top of the re-ordered list would be our winner.

And the winner is Donna J who wrote:

"Hi--I think there are thousands who like chocolate..Here are some words from a coaster I have...COFFEE, CHOCOLATE & MEN ARE SO MUCH BETTER WHEN RICH....anyway, my sister gave it to me several years ago as a joke. I enjoy your Blog, and, am so glad I can comment now..."

Donna, please send me your snail mail address privately, and I'll mail out your set of notecards.