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Sunday, December 9, 2012

About Christmas--Healdsburg/Cotati Style

As I write this -- it is an absolutely gorgeous day, bright, sunny, clear skies, rather cool though. The week hardly started out that way though. Earlier this week it was stormy, cloudy, windy and very much wet with a ton of rain -- again. Unfortunately this was the week that we decided to do our outside decorating for the season -- and we went "all out" :

Actually, "we all went out" and as you can see Dino & Gail approaching an extremely decorated home in the half-hour away community of Cotati . . . more about that later. Our personal decorations are a bit more modest, but you have to start somewhere.

Dino's Week at GDB Training (Cotati)

It's a bit like having "kids" in a way. Many of the attractions that we see and visit would not happen if it were not for the puppy raising training sessions that our group leader plans for us each month. It would be so easy to just wait to see the kind of examples on TV, like the home above:

Dino's training this week actually started out at the Starbuck's in Cotati with an evaluation session conducted by our new CFR (regional trainer for GDB) to learn more about Dino and to discuss future possible events. We are holding our collective breath that we can have Dino at least for the holidays . . . and that looks promising as we are being told he probably will be recalled in January for in-depth evaluation.

At any rate, after the Starbuck's session -- sitting on the patio just under the eaves to keep the rain (but not the cold) from reaching us -- we all as a group headed to Oliver's Food's to cruise throughout the store (in smaller groups of two or three) and watch how the pups handled themselves. Dino was handled and lead through the store by a young girl who herself is waiting to receive a puppy to raise for GDB -- the usual process at the beginning. Dino did just fine as usual. The top photos show the store excursion.

The remaining photos are all about the season's decorations at a local home. It is hard to capture the real essence of the exhibit but it was spectacular. Apparently the owner himself used to raise "care puppies" and has several puppies in his display. Our group of raisers and pups seemed to love the display even though it was very cold and somewhat wet. 

We Caught the Decorating Bug . . .

So, as is usually the case, I began early to push to complete our "holiday" decorating and I went out and selected the perfect tree for us -- we're old, you know . . . after lugging it home I put it up in the living room and even put on the decorations as well . . .

Gail was delighted that the usually lengthy process of putting up the annual Christmas tree was completed and ready for holiday celebrating -- all without hassle. She was really appreciative that I took the "bull" by the horns and completed this task early so we could now sit back and enjoy the moment . . . NOT

The Other Things Happening (and on our nightstand . . .)

Holiday prepping takes it out of you -- so-to-speak -- and it does take time away from doing genealogy,
but I did have time to attend the last of the scheduled webinars that Legacy Family Tree had for this year.
Even though it was on Irish Researching, I learned a great deal as the process can apply to many other geographical areas of the world. 

If you are interested in the process of doing family history, Legacy offers these really helpful webinars at no charge (for live attendance) throughout the year. They have already announced that they have their 2013 schedule ready to go and will soon release the details. If you are interested check out their website to sign up to attend:     Legacy Webinars      

Now every night before drifting off, we read together from the book of choice. This time it is "Total Recall" about the life of Arnold Schwarzenegger. The book is huge, (like the person) over 600 pages. We were not sure that we would be interested enough for 600+ pages, but have been happily surprised. We are enjoying the book and it brings back a bit of the period of the 70s and 80s (so far) that we remember living through. Now we can relate to how Arnold was living at the time and the experiences that he had during those same years. 

We are only about half way through the book and we hope it keeps it's interest level and I am looking forward to finding out more about his serving as our Governor (100 years after our cousin was Governor).
It looks now that Arnold is headed back to being a Hollywood star and that will remain to be seen . . .

The "Real" Trip to the Tree Lot . . .

To my surprise, my attempt at selecting the perfect tree went by the wayside and we again made our annual trip to the wilderness local tree lot to select the perfect specimen and to cut purchase it, all to the benefit of many recipients chosen by the local Kiwanis group . . .

Our journey started out with all of us in the car well prepared for the mile and half or so trip to the lot. Fortunately for us it was Friday morning and there were almost no other customers. We had the full attention of the entire staff. 

Everyone at the lot loved Dino and Dino was excited to revisit the same lot that he did last year when he was only 11 weeks old (he is 14 months now). He was decked out in his Christmas finery and enjoyed sniffing around all the trees . . . we got expert assistance and Gail actually knocked over the first tree that we looked at so -- we had to buy it . . .

The Real Tree Decoration

After loading the tree and securing it for the trip home we were anxious to have it fully up and decorated before long . . . we were so lucky that the day was a nice one in terms of weather. And we were so lucky that we did not wait until Saturday when the tree lot would be much more active . . . the whole process of selection and bringing it home was -- about one half hour . . .

Within probably another hour, we had the tree up in our family room and then we Gail did the lights and other decorations as is usually the case. She always does a great job and the 20 or so handmade needle-pointed ornaments look great. We added the red truck for Dino this year.

Some of the other Christmas decorations can be seen and now I can say we are "holiday" ready. We do have some lights in place on the front porch as well . . .

And Lastly this Week

There are many other things going on during the month of December for example, there are approximately 184 birthdays for folks in our tree. Plus there are the everyday things going on in all of our lives. Somehow though the getting ready process for Christmas and New Years keeps a tradition alive. It is still a magical time of the year . . .

We send happy birthday wishes to all in our tree for this month including to my daughter, Lisa and to my sister Marilee.   Check out the other dates and anniversaries:     Hiles Website

We had the best burgers and sweet potato fries last night -- we are looking forward to the week. 

We wish the best to all . . . see you in a few.

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