Category Archives: Christmas

First Christmas away from home


For the first time in my fifty-one year’s of life, I’ve not had the joy of being home for Christmas with the members of my family in Oregon, as I now live a new life in the Midwest – it’s the modern age of Christmas goosebumps.

At least, the Grinch didn’t steal any presents under the tree with my name on them or did the cadre of dogs my parents own, let them shred the perfectly wrappred gifts into chaos of shredded tators after long hours of prefectionist wrapping by my beloving Mother.

loghomeatnightWhat really surprises me to this very day – I’m seeing my very first White Christmas! Something, I don’t see very often in the heart of the Willamette Valley of Oregon, where I’m originally from.

White Christmas’s in Oregon are likely to be seen in Eastern Oregon on the Eastern flanks of the Oregon Cascade Ranges or down in Southern Oregon near the Oregon-California Border has you get toward Medford and Ashland, Oregon, along the Interstate Five Corridor going south toward California.

With my first Christmas away from home, I’m likely to survive the onslaught of surviving my first ever White Christmas, but missing those I love the most back in Oregon is the bummer of it all, as I know, we’ll all manage to make the most of it this holiday season. I’m hoping Santa was good to them all, while I’m still hacking it out in the new digs and life.

Merry Christmas everyone, family, friends and readers.

What part of Christmas?

christmas-tree-1.jpgThe lure of the holiday is something that is to be tried and trued with fine ingredients and with an ultra fine toothpick to measure its stance in quality and taste to perfection – it’s the first rule of holiday Christmas cooking or baking at least to say.

I know what you thinking? What part of Christmas am I talking and blogging about? I have no idea at the moment, it’s just the title that back in an attempt to get me to write something about the Christmas Holidays – even though there are less than twenty-five days until Christmas to say, the magic is yet to hit home.

It’s the part of Christmas that seems to play the name and jealousy game between the physics of a magical holiday, while one either wins or one loses on the wager of a tumble weed bet gone viral in the middle of nowhere, somewhere in the lost voyages of the rustic clay of the Arizona Desert.

There’s a fine needle somewhere in the middle the haystack, where the true honors of Christmas miracles are legends in its own way – they are only made once upon those who see the true meaning of a plausible holiday, that brings true miracles to the wealth of those who deserve a unique price to a generous holiday that could bring the most of the most or the least of the best of the best.

Let’s find the meaning of Christmas and share it’s truth and the miracles it produces along the way – you could discover some unique truths about yourself that you never knew you had from the beginning.

Where’s the magic?

Xmas tree
What makes Christmas?

When you dread the looks of Christmas – where do you look to find the magical time of the year?

It’s been fifity years since the magical spark of Christmas had gotten me into the fray of the holiday spirits. Every since the death of my late Uncle, Grandfather, Aunt, than finally my Grandmother – the spark of Christmas has been elusive every since.

I’m trying to think of a way to surprise my folks for Christmas? I have a few ideas in mind, but the idea would likely cause me some inglourious bribes, not the bastard style tactics in the movie that Brad Pitt deployed for his character performance in the movie of the same name, “Inglorious Bastards” – but more less serious snippets along the way – No, I’m not going to join the Mafia, folks, I’m not that grizzly crazy to begin with or planning on “scalping” each warrior nerd that deserves a sworn scalp!

I need something that will enable them to reach for the television remote and get “glued” to the edge of their seats! Hmm, scratching my head and brickloading with ideas at hand and to eleborate the idea to execution, it’ll need some serious participation, even though, a long shot in the arse of refusal…. Quite frankly my dear, a long shot is just about everything with people the word “no!”.

Has a friend once said, “if you don’t ask, you’ll never know the frickin’ answer to your stupid question – get out there and ask, asshole! What more have you got to lose, he said?”

Literally that was what I was afraid of – to ask or not to ask is the most questionable of all. A dense fact between fact and fiction, “miricale on 34th street or the return to Bedford Falls where George Baily started it all, Christmas would just be another word to say.

In a way betweeen the Christmas dance and song numbers with the late actor of song and dance, Gene Kelly and the cricket of crickets of Jimmy Cricket – I’m still thinking of how to the con the con job in a good way without having to worry about breaking the bank and losing a leg in the process.

Perhaps, I’m still looking for the magic of Christmas. Sigh!

Travel the rails this holiday season!

blog pix 1Winter travels are abound. I’m taking my first train trip in five years on Amtrak’s Coast Starlight to Portland, Oregon. Twenty years ago, I used to make monthly or bi-weekly train trips aboard Amtrak to Tacoma, Washington, to work with my brother in his security investigation agency.

The six hour train ride between Eugene and Tacoma was always refreshing to see the land and prairies of the great Pacific Northwest – today, many of those prairies, I once saw on my trips to Washington likely have changed through the years. The railroad still lives in it’s prime as it once did back in the days when traveling by railroad was the primary means of transportation around the country, other than by horseback or stage coach, which was far and beyond the railroad to major locales along the hollowed railroad lines of the Pacific West Coast- the stagecoach was the secondary means of travel versus riding on horseback.

amtrak map westThe Amtrak Coast Starlight runs from Seattle, Washington all the way south to Southern California with stops in Portland, Eugene, Sacramento, San Francisco and Los Angeles along the way. I’ve only ridden the northern tier of the Coast Starlight, but have never road the entire route from Seattle to Los Angeles or from Eugene to Los Angeles or vise versa – however, that’s likely another blog for another time and trip somewhere or sometime in the near future onboard the Amtrak.

Getting your tickets is easier nowadays than it was in the past, when you had to hoof it to the train station and buy your ticket to your desired destination. Now, it’s completely the opposite with today’s technology, you can get your train ticket online while using Amtrak’s website at which will also give you the number of your train, arrival and departure times as well as the trains selective schedule as well.

Amtrak eticket mobileWhile getting your tickets online you can also have them emailed to you with a PDF attachment of your train e-ticket and print it out on your computer before you leave for your train trip and come with a barcode to have your ticket wirelessly scanned on your phone via email with the PDF attachment without having a papered version of your ticket from an Amtrak ticket agent at the train station or from an Amtrak ticket kiosk which is also available at designated Amtrak Train Stations across the country.

Amtrak eticketAdding the Amtrak mobile application via the Google Play Store or your iPhone app store is simple as it can be to download the app to your smartphone, computer or laptop to keep track of train times and more, including your e-tickets at the convenience of your palm in the way of a laptop computer, ipad or smartphone, which makes traveling in the twenty-first century a snap at the fingers at the finger tips of smart electronics.

“How awesome can that be, I tell myself aloud?” – as I prepare and plan for my latest train trip aboard the Amtrak Coast Starlight train from Eugene to Portland, Oregon, before the heaviest surge of holiday travelers hit the world of “trains, planes and automobiles,” for the holidays to enjoy Christmas with their families and more.

Traveling by train is an awesome and pleasure seeking experience, not to mention, I’ve flown the “friendly skies,” in the past – but, find taking the train is a more leisurely experience and convenience than traveling by airline – at least it’s cheaper in the long run, as well. It may take a bit longer to get to from Point A to Point B, but that’s okay because there’s lots of time to travel and see parts of the country or the valley’s you’ve never seen by railroad. It’s quite a big difference, while flying thousands of feet above the ground across the friendly skies than it is by rail.

My theory of traveling is let it be, “traveling pants and enjoyable” – no matter what other’s say, it’s your traveling pleasure that wants the best possible cause and the best possible price for your traveling wallet, rather, it be seating in cramped quarters down the majestic isles of the friendly skies or traveling by railroad to a more secluded environment where everyone is in the enjoyable mood of seeing the country, valley’s and prairies by railroad.

5th StSo this holiday season, take the train and enjoy the view while your at it – you’ll be glad you did, while saving time and money, you won’t have to wait in line as much as you would at a cramped airport while a nor’easter takes out the friendly skies to a screeching halt and more – getting stranded at the airport is a nightmare, traveling by train is likely the remedy you need before you get that ugly airport ulcer your mother warned you about days ago!

Travel safe and enjoy the view, while traveling by railroad!