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A long time ago, I was a child. (I started out as Cathy First from Colon, Mi.) For the past several years I’ve been an adult. A lot of things went on between those two stages of life; probably no more or no less than anyone elses. My husband and I moved to “da U .P” from southern Lower Michigan several years ago (yes we were trolls at one time). We owned and operated and operate Clementz’s Northcountry Campground and Cabins just north of Newberry, Michigan until May 2015. We have grown kids and grandkids (who all live downstate). My passion is life and all that Nature has to offer us and trying to photograph it in unique ways. Our intention in life is to see all that Nature has to offer us. We hope that you will be a part of our adventures as we cruise through our lives together. Come back often!

Friday, December 26, 2008


How has your holiday been so far? Do a lot of you have to go back to work today? My daughter (who works at a large VA hospital) didn’t find out until Wednesday that they WERE getting the day after Christmas off with pay. President Bush hadn’t decided until Monday (I think she said) if federal employees would get today off or not. I think our other two kids have today off to.

Are there holiday traditions that you follow? When Dan and I lived downstate and the kids were kids, we had a few traditions. But since we were/are a blended family (meaning Dan had two boys, I had a daughter) it was difficult to get the kids to all the other places THEY had to be in order to keep “much needed peace” in the family.

As a kid, OUR family tradition was both sets of grandparents came to our home for Christmas eve supper. After the dishes were done, we all went to the living room to exchange presents. And of course, there was always a family dog involved; usually a Cocker Spaniel. Afterwards, probably by 9 p.m., my younger sister and I were sent to bed so “Santa” would show up. It always bothered me how Santa was going to show up when we could still hear the adults downstairs talking and laughing…but by morning, he had been there with the “much anticipated” presents.

Since moving up here 16 years ago, Dan and I have not had Christmas with the family. It was very hard for me at first and I do think it has bothered Dan (although he wouldn’t admit it). Our neighbors and friends always invited us to a party or even to Christmas day dinner, but it wasn’t the same. And so our tradition is that I get up bright and early Christmas morning, as I do every morning, make my “much needed jolt” of coffee, snitch a couple of my homemade frosted sugar cookies and sit on the couch with whatever book I happen to be reading. Dan sleeps much later than I do, but then he is usually up much later than I am. This is our first Christmas without our Nick and Chewy so it seems exceptionally quiet and empty this season. But the true meaning of Christmas is alive and well in our heart and mind and that is what counts….even if it means that after a day of eating cookies and fudge that we will need to go on a “much needed” diet!

Do you have certain words or phrases that get in the outer periphery of your brain and when you hear that word or phrase you have an inward groan of “There it is again!!” Some word or phrase you feel has been run into the ground and can’t figure out just why it is so woven into our language??

I feel if I hear the phrase “much needed” too many more times, my good nature will come undone. Do you ever think about how many times in a day you hear that phrase? The Weather Wizards beat it to death with “much needed rain” or “much needed snow”. The economists aren’t far behind the Weather Wizards with their use of it either; “much needed stimulus package”, “much needed bail out”. And the Drs run a close 3rd place with “much needed rest” (which to me translates to “much needed vacation”). If you are reading this and you have NOT noticed this phrase before, I bet from now on you will…and it may drive you to a “much needed” drink!

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