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"Life doesn't have to be perfect to be wonderful."
- Unknown

"That which does not kill you, makes you stronger."
- Handed down through the ages.

"Life's tough. It's even tougher when you're stupid."
- John Wayne

Happy Thanksgiving!

Good morning, and Happy Thanksgiving . . . a day late! We had a lovely day yesterday, and we hope you did, too!

Winter has finally seemed to settle in here at Swamp River Ridge. The temperature Thanksgiving morning was 4 degrees, and this morning we bottomed out at zero! We've had a light dusting of snow, and so it's (somewhat) white out - lending to the holiday atmosphere. Unfortunately, down by the lake (where my folks are and it's always more temperate) there isn't any of the white stuff.

We spent the day yesterday eating and playing games . . . the latter after my mom and I had complained loud and long enough to get both Tom and my dad off their firmly-planted rears in front of the fire to put down their reading material and INTERACT with us! ;) Mom and I soundly trounced the two of them in a game of Password (111 - 44, but who's counting), Tom won Trivial Pursuit in a final rush of correct answers in quick succession, and then Mom and I again wasted the two guys during Pictionary (thanks to Mom's superb drawing of 'evolution')!

In a new let's-try-it-out-and-see-how-it-works theory, we ate early yesterday (2:00-ish) instead of later (4:00 - 5:00-ish). That allowed Mom to drag us all out for a hike in the chilly weather after we ate dinner . . . and before Pumpkin Pie. It took a bit of coaxing to get me up off the couch where I'd just a-l-m-o-s-t fallen asleep for a post-feast nap, but the hike was well worth it. It was beautiful outside (although overcast), and it was fun seeing the many frozen streams. The dogs had a great time (their one and our two), and Maisy thought she'd found her own Thanksgiving dinner when she tried gobbling down a very smelly deer heart (a remnant from the recent hunting season). Unfortunately for her, Tom and I both hollered, "DROP IT!" And, amazingly enough, she did! Maybe if it had been fresh she could have enjoyed it . . . but it WASN'T! Blech.

On the way back to the house from the hike, we checked out the ice on my folks' pond. That's always the bet every year: will the pond be frozen enough to skate on for Thanksgiving? If we'd had one or two more days of the cold temps this year, we could have done it. As it was, it just wasn't q-u-i-t-e ready. Anyway, here are Tom and Dad checking it out. "Step, gently bounce, step, gently bounce."

(We were still wearing orange for our hike because, while rifle season is over for deer hunting, muzzle-loading musket season is still going strong.) Anyway . . . .

I have fond memories of Dad going down with me to the largest of the three ponds we had on the homestead where I grew up . . . testing the ice to see if it was safe enough for my pleas to go ice-skating by myself (it was a little distance from the house, and you could only see it from the upstairs bedroom window). He'd carefully step out onto it in his big Sorel boots, going slow, commenting about, "Welllll . . . I don't know . . . " (full well knowing how much I was DYING to skate). Then, scaring me half to death and eliciting a worried, "Daaaaaad!" from me, he'd suddenly JUMP UP AND DOWN on the ice! :) Yes, it was safe.

Talking about the winter weather . . . .

I just got an e-mail from one of my favorite Illinois cousins who, while growing up in snow and slush in the winter, has firmly given it over for warmer climes. He's currently one of a 10-man crew on this privately-owned "boat", stationed in St. Martin for the moment. With his very dry sense of humor, he wrote: "Our difference of opinions on 'comfortable temperature' became apparent, though, after reading a few of the blog entries. If you ever take a summer vacation to Antarctica and need a house-sitter please keep me in mind.' Hee hee. Who knows - we just might take him up on that! After all, we did honeymoon to Iceland . . . in February!

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