Christmas, Trucks and Easy Bake Ovens

We’re all hooked up and ready to rock and roll to yet another TSL at daybreak. Having almost, but not quite, conquered our HUAD (Hitching Up Anxiety Disorder) we decided to do all the hooking and unhooking today so we can hit the road before we get parked in tomorrow. That meant hauling around the furniture and pulling in all 4 slides.

We’re successfully hitched and the slides are back out but it certainly wasn’t worth dragging the furniture around again. I’m holding the computer – which is the first time my laptop has ever been on top of my lap – sitting in the recliner, which is perfectly upright, wedged between the table and the sofa.

The satellite and sewer and water hose are all packed away. Only the electrical line remains as a tentative umbilical cord, tying us to the nurse wagon until morning.

Getting ready a day ahead did give us a smaller audience of onlookers than usual. It’s a little like a being an old-fashioned carnival side-show attraction. Whenever we get ready to hook up, crowds gather. Step right up folks! You have to see it to believe it! Two Women, One Truck!

People (men mainly) are amazed that a woman can back up a dually. Seriously, it’s just like driving forward, except in reverse. They’re stunned that two women, with no help from a fellow, can hook up and haul a 40 ft 5th Wheel.

I feel like that little girl who started a petition for a gender neutral Easy Bake Ovens. I think that just meant an EBO that wasn’t pink since boys aren’t supposed to like pink. If you’re a boy and you like pink, you might grow up to be a man who likes pink. And everyone knows that if you’re a man who likes pink, you’ll have to become a professional football player or join the WWF to prove your manliness.

Most folks down here in Texas know that boys can cook. They just don’t all know that girls can drive trucks. Anyway, as my fellow TSAs know, we never know until we arrive at our secret assignment whether or not we’ll have any internet or phone service. Since I may be out of range after tonight, I wanted to wish you all a very Merry Christmas!

If you’re a frequent flyer here, you know I’m crazy about The Piano Guys. I recently posted Steven’s cheery cello rendition of Carol of the Bells. I thought it might be fun to include the piano guy (Jon) this time. 😀

I liked the Christmas message they posted with their video. It seems to fit with my readers, too, so I’m including it here:.

We love the Holiday Season. Why? It’s a great excuse to be extra nice to each other. =) … And we love Christmas music, lights, presents, and the excitement of our sleepless children anticipating the advent of Christmas day. We know there are many out there who do not celebrate Christmas or believe in what it may represent. This song is not meant to exclude anyone. We hope this song is an opportunity to reflect on everything we are blessed with in life — family, a beautiful earth, a place to rest our head, the warmth of the sun. The lyrics of this piece speak of being “ransomed” from captivity. In general terms, at some point or another in our lives we find ourselves at the receiving end of a “ransom” — a rescue by someone or something — even as simple as a note from a friend, a hug from a child, a much-needed vacation, or the unconditional affection of a loyal dog. That is what this song represents to us. People may define the “rescue” moments in life differently, but the meaning of the moments remain the same. To many, including us, the story of The Savior is the sweetest and most priceless “ransom” of all. To Him we dedicate this song.  ~The Piano Guys

O Come, O Come Emmanuel – traditional
Performed by
Steven Sharp Nelson: Cello
Jon Schmidt: Piano

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.
[Refrain] Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.
O come, Thou Wisdom from on high,
Who orderest all things mightily;
To us the path of knowledge show,
And teach us in her ways to go.
[Refrain]
O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan’s tyranny;
From depths of hell Thy people save,
And give them victory over the grave.
[Refrain]
O come, Thou Day-spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.
[Refrain]
O come, Thou Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.
[Refrain]
O come, O come, great Lord of might,
Who to Thy tribes on Sinai’s height
In ancient times once gave the law
In cloud and majesty and awe.
[Refrain]
O come, Thou Root of Jesse’s tree,
An ensign of Thy people be;
Before Thee rulers silent fall;
All peoples on Thy mercy call.
[Refrain]
O come, Desire of nations, bind
In one the hearts of all mankind;
Bid Thou our sad divisions cease,
And be Thyself our King of Peace

Before my signal fades away, Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

The Four Seasons (Minus Three)

I have an affection for those transitional seasons, the way they take the edge off the intense cold of winter, or heat of summer. ~Whitney Otto

Seasons… I’ve been thinking about seasons because I keep forgetting which one I’m in. I miss having real seasons. Back in the Midwest I knew what month it was because I could see and smell and touch Spring (lilacs and crocus) and Summer (fireflies and freeze tag) and Fall (bonfires and a potpourri of colors) and Winter (snowflakes and hot chocolate).

As a TSA in southern TX, I only know what month it is by seeing which holiday cards Hallmark is selling or what gaudy items Walmart has on the end racks or from the ads on TV. However, since I record more than I watch, I’ve learned not to rely too heavily on the TV. Last night I saw an ad encouraging me to take advantage of Back to School sales.

I don’t seem to be alone in this state of un-seasonal confusion. A few days ago, when it was 85 degrees, someone wrote 7/7/12 on the TS log and from then on – for hours – everyone else did the same. It was August for most of a day that first week in December on paper and on the thermometer.

But tonight is something special. We’re having a brief bit of cool weather. Tonight, and for the next 2 nights, the prediction is for temps to be right at freezing (which isn’t freezing as in terribly cold – just freezing as in 32 degrees Fahrenheit).

Some folks here love it. Some, not so much. Some, especially those who have never been north of Dallas, (no kidding – never, ever) started wearing stocking caps and coats when it got down in the 50’s at night. I couldn’t even get my kids to wear coats to school in the middle of the real winter in Iowa and people here are wearing Down Jackets when it dips below 60!

It’s 31 wonderful degrees right now. Some nights, after hours of looking longingly at the fake fireplace, I turn it on just for ambiance. But tonight, Henry VIII and I are enjoying the real heat from the real blower above the very fake logs!

I know I am but summer to your heart, and not the full four seasons of the year. ~ Texas

This is really a quote by Edna St. Vincent Millay but she could be speaking as Texas where it is perpetually summer. My heart longs for the full four seasons … fleetingly.

Mostly I just miss Spring and Fall which only last about 3 weeks each, but they’re such glorious weeks! And at Christmas time, I miss snow – just for a few days.

If you love Winter (the real Winter), or if you miss snow just a little, or if you’re happy to say you don’t have to shovel rain (or caliche), or just because it’s great music, I hope you enjoy this is a new video by The Piano Guys (ironically featuring just the cello guy). May this be your perfect snow fix – no shoveling required!

Tis’ the Gift

‘Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free
‘Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.

When true simplicity is gain’d,
To bow and to bend we shan’t be asham’d,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come ’round right.

Simple Gifts. A simple song penned by Joseph Bracken 164 years ago. A message of grace and delight in the simple blessing of each day, it was written as a Shaker dance – a dance we can still chose to dance.

The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts.  No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving.                             ~H.U. Westermayer

Wherever you are and however you’re spending your Thanksgiving: whether you’re working or vacationing, whether you’re alone or with family or friends, my hope is that this Thanksgiving will be a day when simple gifts encourage your heart.

I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.                       ~ G.K. Chesterton

This is the Simple Gifts segment of Aaron Copeland’s Appalachian Spring with photos from Ansel Adams.

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There is no greater difference between men than between grateful and ungrateful people.  ~R.H. Blyth

Patriotism Not Politics

We moved yesterday – no HUAD, no hitches (except the one we needed which held nicely). I’ll write more about that later. I wanted to take just a couple of minutes to say thank you.

I heard on the early morning news that today, Memorial Day, is fast becoming one of our nation’s top 3 favorite holidays after Christmas and the 4th of July –  exceeding even New’s Eve and Thanksgiving. I was amazed! We’ve become so politically polarized that I’d thought possibly patriotism was slipping.

No worries, I’m keeping my word about no politics or religion here at Fork. This isn’t a political post. It’s a patriotic post. Sometimes I think we’ve mixed those two things up. Do you know what I mean?

I’ve always been sort of weirdly patriotic, even when I was really little. I don’t think I was in school yet when my picture made the front page of the Middlebury, Indiana newspaper. The photographer didn’t snap the shot because I was cute. He took a picture of me because every day, I walked to the post office, stood out front, put my hand on my heart and said The Pledge of Allegiance, all by myself, right out loud.

I have no idea why I did this. I guess the folks inside the post office got a kick out of it and called the paper.

The first time we went to Mt Rushmore, my Mom and Dad had to drag me away (after the nightlight show). I loved it!

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This morning’s reporter went on to explain Americans love for this holiday. It turns out we love Memorial Day because it’s considered “the big kick off to summer vacation” weekend. It doesn’t have anything to do with patriotism at all. It’s a grand paid day off work and an opportunity to do a little traveling.

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6 months before my Dad died, I took him to a Memorial Day tribute to Veterans. At the end of the ceremony, they called out each branch of the military and had the veterans stand. They sat down as their war was named. My Dad was the last Marine standing at age 86. He cried that day. He said that it was so nice to be remembered. So nice to be thanked.

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My Dad on the right

This  is just a brief thank you note on Memorial Day to those of you who are Veterans; to those of you who have family and friends serving in the military; to those who have lost ones you love on a battlefield somewhere.

Memorial Day isn’t about the politics of war, it’s about gratitude.

There are no “holidays” on an oil rig, but there are ways to say thank you, every day. Today it’s my turn to say thank you to our Veterans. I love the heart of this holiday. The thank you from America to all who, as Abraham Lincoln said, have done far above our poor power to add or detract

Thank you.