Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Oh Mister Sun

Right now at 4:19pm in the beautiful mountains of Northern California, the temperature is a balmy 57 degrees. It got up to 62 degrees at the peak of the day with the sun shining as bright as could be.

Not too far away in the booming metropolis of Sacramento (and everywhere else in the valley for that matter) it is only 10 degrees above freezing, due to the dense fog enveloping the low lands.

Given this brief description of two relatively close, but extremely different ecosystems, where would you like to live? Still can't decide? Let me give you a couple of pictures of random stuff in the sun to gaze upon, and hopefully you can make up your mind after that. First lets start with a picture of the SUN itself...

Take a look at this spacious backyard complete with SUN and a "colder than is healthy" pool...

The house even has a bell to ring when the SUN rises...

See how the SUN casts this more than interesting shadow? Now I wonder what that nut was supposed to be holding...

Oh yes! That's where it goes. This is the SUNshade for the many varieties of bugs that pass through our area...

The sole purpose of this nail is to keep the SUN off of that slim portion of rock...

Oops! Someone forgot to take their hand out of the SUN!! Silly them!! I hope it doesn't get burned...

See how the SUN shines into this beautiful backyard? Look at that wonderful lawn! How can you possibly turn that down...

Pass by this one as quick as you can. Didn't your mom tell you that you can go blind from staring into the SUN for too long? It's true. Good thing I memorized the QWERTY keyboard...

Tired of the hustle and bustle of day to day life? Sit back! Relax! Put up your feet and enjoy the beautiful SUN as it sinks closer and closer to the tops of the rolling hills to the West...

Ok, enough with the sales pitch. It's time to put my wonderful and gorgeous dog in the spotlight... or should I say SUNlight? She loves catching sticks and looking evil all at the same time...

Ginger is allergic to chewing gum (aspartame and sorbitol make her edgy and congested), so she has to chew on something all natural...

Isn't she cute? I think so...

Enjoy your weather wherever you may be, and remember, if God wanted people to be cold He would've made the fog on the first day.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

We have but one life to live...

The sun has set on another generation with the passing of Ruth Mae Sell, my maternal grandmother.

As a tribute to her, I would like to share a few remembrances of her life, and hopefully paint a small picture of who she was. No portrait ever is able to fully capture the complexity of a life, but with a collage there may be hope for a glimpse....

Ruth Mae Brown was born in Girard, Ohio, a place of which she did not talk much. Though her time there was enough to make some mark, as she adopted the Ohioan manner of speech, and always pronounced "-ow" as "-er"; so there were no pillows, only "pill-ers" and "wind-ers" replaced windows. This brought no little amusment to a six year old who was convinced that she spoke wrong, and needed to be retaught; my tutoring skills must have been lacking, as she maintained her accent....

She met her husband on a train, a handsome military man, and they were married only a short time before he was shipped off to fight in World War II. She didn't see him for 15 months. Their devotion during such a separation is an inspiration. Here is my favorite photo of the two of them back in those days:

Here she is with her family, I am thinking that with the black and white, it was awhile ago (My mom is the littlest cute one):

Easters were very special holidays, and I remember the egg hunts. Oh, the egg hunts! Here is a picture that predates my attendance, but it is a delightful shot:

Many of my memories of her revolve around food. We spent many meals at her home while growing up, and it was always an interesting experience. As a product of the depression, and of the Eastern-Mid-West, she had interesting views when it came to dinner. First of all, no vegetable ever fell into her hands but was drawn, quartered, and boiled alive until it became hardly recognizable as from which herbaceous plant it may have originally been harvested. Meat was also so cooked in a manner that would have made high priests with their burnt offerings proud. I for one always enjoyed it, since the copious amounts of spice were quite tasty, and if one looked on it as jerky rather than actual meat, all was well.

What she lacked in the ability to make meals, she more than made up in her baking skills. Her house was never without a cake, or a pan of brownies, stashed safely atop the refrigerator; where she thought (sometimes erroneously) it safe from little hands. Every Christmas season, she would begin the annual baking of the cookies, and fill up the front room with decadence of every type imaginable. We children would be allowed to go in and choose a cookie from one of the many containers, and it was like walking into a wonderland of sugar. Ah, those were the days...

It was she that first established my love of baking, which is one of the things for which I am most grateful. When my dad returns from work and we celebrate our family Christmas, I will be making our traditional Christmas breakfast rolls, which is something she made for us every Christmas.

Now my grandmother has gone to be with the Lord, and we shall all miss her. So, here is to you, Grandma, a lover of Yahtzee, reader of Victoria Holt, and the raiser of a mighty fine daughter! We love you...

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Baking and sharing

Christmas cookies are a multi-generational tradition in the Hector household. Jean's mother best expressed herself with the products of her kitchen, and receiving a plate of Ruth's Christmas cookies was a sure sign that you were of some importance to her.
Jean carries the torch now. Plates of cookies pile up around the house in anticipation of making the rounds as we spread Christmas cheer to neighbors, family and friends. The whole family gets involved, even me. Jean makes sure of that. These photographs chronicle a portion of the process.

Bon apetit!!
Ben has lectured me about the unwritten rule that dictates there will only be one post in a 24 hour period. I have violated this rule. Please be sure to take a look at the post that precedes this one. I am going back to work in the morning after having enjoyed a short vacation. My posting will slow down. Merry Christmas, please remember why we celebrate.
be safe,
Hec @ 19


Matthew took a look at the Christmas tree. This is what he saw.
Like I said, he will unseat me as the family photographer laureate, in good time.
be safe,
Hec @ 19

Friday, December 19, 2008


Ben has always enjoyed the reputation of being the family academian. Thomas has always been known as a "hands on" sort of guy. He's happiest when he is busy doing something. Hitting the books does not count as doing something in his world.

Thomas decided to become a Paramedic, and that means hitting the books. How has he done, you ask? Splendidly, thank you very much!! I am proud to reveal that he got a 96 on his midterm, which is in line with the grades he has received throughout the course. What quality does he possess that has enabled him to do that which does not come naturally to him?
The answer is commitment.

Here's how defines it:


1. the act of committing.
2. the state of being committed.
3. the act of committing, pledging, or engaging oneself.
4. a pledge or promise; obligation: We have made a commitment to pay our bills on time.

Here's what Scripture says:

Simply let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No'; anything beyond this comes from the evil one. Matthew 5:37

Thomas made up his mind to do something and he has plowed ahead despite the fact that doing so has involved tasks that he does not like to do. This has been inspiring to me, perhaps it will do the same for you.
be safe,
Hec @ 19

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

It stayed!!

He giveth snow like wool: he scattereth the hoarfrost like ashes. Psalm 147:16

Second day snow is always better than first day snow. It holds together better which makes for better sledding. We took advantage of that fact today. Nick has a slight fever, so he stayed inside. Ben is at work and Thomas is studying for a big test this Friday. That left the Six to enjoy the snow with Dad. (Jean can't put fun and snow into the same sentence.) Here we see Becky savoring a just completed run. Laura is being escorted down the hill by Ginger while Sara enjoys the spectacle.

Sara is not distressed by her sled's failure to stay "rubber side down". This could explain why we do not let her drive yet.
FIRE!!! Don't feel sorry for Matthew, he dishes it out as well as anyone.
The snow will most likely be thin and icy by morning, it was fun while it lasted.
be safe,
Hec @ 19

Monday, December 15, 2008

Snow returns to Mountain Ranch

We get snow only once or twice a year, and it rarely stays more than a day. When it does arrive, it is a welcome change of pace, as is evidenced by Sara's face as she glides down the driveway.
Capture the flag, anyone?
I guess we won't be sailing today. Long Johns and sail cloth don't mix.
All photos were taken by Matthew Hector. He will one day become the family photographer. Yes, you are correct; Ben and Thomas are conspicuously absent from the blogging world.
be safe,
Hec @ 19

Monday, December 1, 2008

That explains it

Jean and I get lots of compliments about our family. Our sons are kind, mature and helpful. They possess self-restraint. The old idiom stating; "Boys will be boys" never cut it with us. We have been vigilant, tireless and uncompromising when it comes to the upbringing of our sons and daughters. Of course, our greatest tool in the toolbox has always been Scripture. One need look no further than Proverbs to find the proper lesson for absolutely any challenge that comes up between a parent and a son.

There is, however, another technique that has shown to be useful in helping the H boys to stay centered.
Yes, there's nothing quite like a good old fashioned wrestling match when it comes to blowing off steam! Even Nick enjoys getting in on the action!

Matthew, always the good brother, is quick to come to Anthony's aid. Ben sees it as a retreat, and moves to pursue Matthew. Two separate matches devolve into one melee.

Nick believes that this opens an opportunity for him, which he promptly takes advantage of. Jean and the girls are content to remain as amused spectators, and are not drawn into the fracas.

A final glimpse of the dog-pile, one that happens to show most of their faces. Anthony is under there, somewhere. I don't think he is very happy.

When it is all said and done, a strange sense of contentment, accomplishment and endearment has settled over the crowd. As usual, the larger grapplers have prevailed. They celebrate their victory by wearing matching footwear.

This photo illustrates why it is unwise to shoot portraits with a wide angle lens. I assure you that Ben and Thomas are properly proportioned.