"For last year's words belong to last year's language
And next year's words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning."

- T.S. Eliot, "Little Gidding"
Happy New Year!


Happy New Year!


The first two photos are from 2007, when Elsa, Ray and Johnny were leaving California to move up to Seattle and they had the little ones for a weekend. Joe made a Home Depot car out of wood and nails and the next is Monica, Lily and Joe eating ice cream at the fair Elsa took them to.

Aaron Celestin on guitar,

Kipong fixing Bernadette Celestin's hair,
The Celestin family tree

The beatific Lily with dark hair, Joe hugging Kipong

Aaron, Kipong, and Paul Celestin..

Nicky and Kipong...

Monica and Kipong

and finally Mary and Kipong...

for a picture of Michael go to older posts and see Thanksgiving with the Celestins.


family favorites: Books and Birds

Favorite Birds:

Jerry Wray submits that the black-capped chickadee is his favorite bird. This little fellow chirps and scolds, flitting from branch to branch ahead of us when we walk in the woods. And this is the bird that you can sometimes coax to take seed from your hand.

Susan Wray has lots of favorites, but today she claims the blue jay, cousin to a crow, gorgeously garbed blabbermouth to the world, and who, when he thinks he's alone, sings a flute-like tune.

Elsa - Osprey
Johnny - Turkey Vulture
Ray- Redwing blackbird

Favorite book when a child:
Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss (Nathan)
James and The Giant Peach by Roald Dahl (Will)
The Muffin Man (Nursery rhyme)-Joanie.
McElligott's Pool by Dr. Seuss (Johnny)
The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling (Ray)
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame (Elsa)
Susan remembers a book that she read when she was about nine years old. It was titled something like Ramona of 234 Raisin Street. She fell utterly in love with the book and with reading.

Best book read in 2008:
The Road (most riveting) by Cormac McCarthy- Susan
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night (autism) by Mark Haddon- Will
Ham and Rye by Charles Burkowski - Nathan
Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson - Ray
Devil in the White City by Erik Larsen - Elsa


ray with Pika Dec. 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!
from the Giuliani-Wrays

Love Jerry's Hair accessory!
Andrea is due in the spring...Andrea you are magnificent. That's her hubby joe in the blue shirt.
Peggy is to the left of Joan with her adoring brother, Nate...well, you know everyone.

I think next to Peggy on the sofa is her boyfriend'08.

Below is Santa Will and the infamous Joan butt
...below that Baby says HELLO!

Three musketeers and a Will snow angel.


Merry Christmas Eve everyone!

Here's my snowman that I built yesterday.

See you tomorrow!
Elsa, Ray, & johnny


Will's girlfriend, Ali

From Susan and Jerry, today, Dec. 24!

Hooray Andrea! You are gorgeous.

Natey watey good to see you...and laffin' Joan!


View of the snowy cedars from our deck...our vehicles...10" and the snow falls steadily. Unusual and welcome weather here in the Pacific Northwest!

I am trying to keep this holiday blog alive.

What is your favorite:

1) bird?
2) book when you were a child?
3) book that you read in 2008 that you recommend?
4) a holiday recipe or tradition that you would like to share?

Please send all answers to me at elsabouman@gmail.com
along with any ancient or recent photos that I could post?

Thanks for your contributions as I know you are all busy, life is hectic, but I love family connections that we can share and as we are all far away from one another it helps keep us close during this holiday time of year.

Love, Elsa, Ray and Johnny


Big wind and snow storm due in Seattle tonight in the next couple of hours!
We are hunkered down and ready for the blast.

Hope all is cozy in your world.

Elsa, Ray & johnny


December 18

Big, heavy snow here today...hope it stays for Christmas.
Johnny and friend sledded down to the Town Center a mile long ride.
I had to put my truck into 4wd to get out of the Yarn & Tea parking lot.
Feeling very rugged.
Ray stokes both fireplaces all day long.

Hope all is cozy in your world.


December 14, Sunday.

Our first snow storm blew in last night and we are so thrilled to be living with seasons again.

Oh, and Ray has his own website as of today.


Check it out if you have a chance.

We wish you happy, warm and calm holidays.

kids from the North
Pika's first snow!


from sister Susan Wray

Christmas 1963

by Joseph Enzweiler

Because we wanted much that year
and had little. Because the winter phone
for days stayed silent that would call
our father back to work, and he
kept silent too with our mother,
fearfully proud before us.

Because I was young that morning
in gray light untouched on the rug
and our gifts were so few, propped
along the furniture, for a second
my heart fell, then saw how large
they made the spaces between them

to take the place of less. Because
the curtained sun rose brightly
on our discarded paper and the things
themselves, these forty years,
have grown too small to see, the emptiness
measured out remains the gift,

fills the whole room now, that whole year
out across the snowy lawn. Because
a drop of shame burned quietly
in the province of love. Because
we had little that year
and were given much.


Finished ornamenting our tree tonight!

Send me yours and see brother John's below.

Brother John and Kipong ~
Thanksgiving (with Mary and Michael) and their 2008 Christmas Tree!


We are putting up our tree tonight...send me a photo of yours and I'll post it!

Only two weeks until Christmas!


HAPPY 16th Birthday Johnny!
Mom & Dad


nominated for pushcart prize!


While Van Gogh slept,

the crows came near

and began painting.

They were fearless. They used his tools.

They loved portraying themselves.

They saw a field that needed to be magical.

They smeared in the yellow, then yellow and blue.

Make it thick, they thought.

That’s the way a crow sees it.

Let everything portend.

Bright colors, bright colors.

Then, most prominent,

the blackness of crows

shouting across the sky.

Ray Skjelbred, 2008

We are so proud that Ray's poem, Carrion Stars, has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize.


Last December 2007
our frosty home in

Welcome December!