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Monday, April 02, 2007

Can't wait for Christmas!

Yes, I know - it's almost Easter, but I have a wonderful addition to my Christmas ensemble and I can't wait to enjoy it so it's displayed right now!

Backstory: Many years ago, while admiring my mother's creche - the one Debra and I grew up setting up every Christmas, I realized there was only one creche and two daughters. Doing the math (sorry, Mom, we really haven't already divided up your belongings) and wanting to avoid a far-in-the-future argument over who would inherit the creche, I began to pursue a plan. I would recreate the creche and all its inhabitants one piece at a time. This has been a great adventure. Each piece (the calf from our German honeymoon, the donkey found at the bottom of a box from an auction, the wingless angel) has a story and I really love them all. I have managed to stick to some initial rules - no more than $5/piece, no ebay (of course there WAS no ebay when I started) and only German or Italian pieces. As an aside Baby Jesus' are really difficult to find, so mine is a little rough around the edges.

ANYWAY, I was using a small manger that came my way at some point, but my little Christmas family couldn't fit. Well, the actual holy family could but they had to kick out the calf and the donkey, and the angels too - even poor Claire, the wingless one.

So I needed a new manger, one that more truthfully evoked the original of my childhood.
The Inspiration

By good fortune, our neighbor is very talented in the small building construction department. Up to this point his skills have been mostly employed in replicating buildings around which miniature soldiers march (as many of you know, my husband and his friends are strategy game guys). It was time to call on Mike's talents for a more peaceful purpose. And here it is, my new manger! Notice that everyone is cozy, except for the shepherds and the wise men, who are just arriving. In fact there is now room for a mama donkey and mama cow, when they are found. And some more angels. Special little details I love - the shingles - check them out! - and a little light in the loft.

Everyone Warm and Cozy

Check Out the Shingles!
(That's Claire in the green dress with the violin.)

Merry Christmas!


Some of you may know that I have been intentionally avoiding New York for most of my life. The reasons are varied and now unimportant, as I have finally gone - courtesy of my sister-in-law's invitation and wonderful planning and I loved it! My sister-in-law did a wonderful job of detailing our adventures and I encourage you to check out her blog: Angela's Blog. She also took some great pics. Debra, the dead body aka Law and Order shots are for you! Here are some of my pictures for you to enjoy (boy, this blogging goes fast when you repurpose content!) Enjoy and 'night -

Grand Central Station
My favorite "site"

NYC Parking Lot

The Central Park Carousel
make note of Angela's Demon Horse

OK, it's been a while

Clifton Gorge

Well - if anyone is still out there, I finally made it back to my blog. I think about blogging every day, but between work heating up and preparing for upcoming crazy challenges (yes, Debra, a half marathon sounds like a great idea! Yes, Julie, let's finally hike up and down that Grand Canyon thingy!) I haven't had much opportunity for updates. I'm going to try to go heavy on the pics and light on the content, in order to catch up.

To get started, here are a few pics of Clifton Gorge. Lee and I hiked Clifton Gorge and John Bryant State Park last weekend - 7ish mile up and down - as prep for my Grand Canyon trip in May. If hiking 7ish miles doesn't appeal to you, I recommend sticking to the Clifton Gorge trail - take the rim out and then travel down by the Little Miami river. Great views - huge slabs of limestone displaced into the river a millenia ago. Especially nice now with the wildflowers beginning to peek out.

Tweek, our newest and littlest Ugly Doll, journeyed with us and had fun. We letterboxed as well and Tweek followed the letterbox directions to locate the abandoned statue of Horace Mann, founder of Antioch College, in a field. Enjoy the pics of Tweek with the wildflowers and the formerly-famous Horace Mann!