Christmas - Page 2

Holiday Photo Essay: Light It Up!

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We’re only a few days away from Christmas, but you don’t need me to remind you of that. There’s reminders everywhere you look. One of the things that gets me in the spirit of Christmas is the lights. There’s nothing better than seeing a house decked out in holiday lighting both on the lawn and the house and it’s even better seeing a row of houses lit up so well, the street they’re on could be used as an emergency runway.

But as much as I love people who fully commit to decorating their houses, I equally loath people who put up one string of lights along the garage and decide–that’s enough, I’ve done my part. We’ve all seen these houses: Bulbs burnt out, drooping lights, sections that blink while others don’t. I also love the person who puts the one strand of lights on a completely random part of the house.

So if you decide to be festive and put up lights this year, go all in or don’t try at all. You should want your neighbors to not only become jealous of your house-lighting abilities, but they should also wonder if they could see your house from space. I get that more lights means a higher electric bill, but come on it’s Christmas time.

In the spirit of the holidays, I decided to drive around the Eugene/Springfield area in search of the most festive homes I could find. On my adventure, I saw more than a few houses with less-than-stellar efforts to express their holiday joy. But I was also able to locate what I was in search of and while I didn’t find as many as I would have liked, I still managed to discover a number of impressive lighting displays.

Check out the photos and post which house you like the best in the comments section.

 

The Book Monster Vol. 15

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Christmas is upon us! So The Book Monster is beginning it’s holiday gift guide with stocking stuffers. Stocking stuffers need to be compact, thoughtful, and inexpensive. “The History of Farting” by Benjamin Bart is perfect for everyone’s stocking. I also recommend pistachios be put in your loved one’s stockings because they’re fun to eat while you read.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey hits theaters on Thursday at midnight. I’m not a huge fan of books being turned into movies because 19 out of 20 times the movie is terrible, but Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings Trilogy was exceptional. So yes, I plan on attending the midnight showing. I have a feeling I will be binging on J.R.R. Tolkien books for the next month afterwards.

I would also like to remind my readers not to sit in the same spot on the couch too long, too often. I did a lot more reading this past week than normal, and I noticed my couch cushion was flat. It’s important to rotate your seating while reading.

Bruce Holland Rogers sells a subscription of 36 pieces of short-short stories, which are received via email, for $10 a year. Not only is this guy an innovator in the publishing industry, but he lives in Eugene.  Next week EDN’s Ryan Beltram will be interviewing Rogers, so keep an eye out for the story next week. Bruce Holland Rogers story Dinosaur can be read online, and it’s awesome.

If you’re looking for more winter reading check out Bill Watterson’s “Attack of the Deranged Mutant Killer Snow Goons.” In this book of comic strips Calvin and Hobbes fight against evil snowmen when their Winter Wonderland turns on them. Of all the Calvin and Hobbes books out there I think this one showcases Bill Watterson’s creative genius as an artist better than any of the others. The Snow Goons artwork is slightly morbid, it’s humorous, and it’s beautiful in it’s own way too.

A few years ago while working at a shoe store in the Valley River Center I was talking about books with a co-worker. He told me “The Stand” was the best of any Stephen King book he had read, which were many. So this fall I took the plunge and read “The Stand,” and I loved it. Because it has 1141 pages it took me a while to get through it. The book is about the apocalyptic events that follow a devastating super-flu, and the ordinary people who band together to fight the evil powers that arise from the ashes of civilization. I wouldn’t say it’s my personal favorite of Stephen King’s works, but it was still a great book worth reading. There is even a beautifully written Christmas scene in the book that I was not expecting to come across. It should be noted that there are two versions of this book. It was first published in 1978, and in 1990 it was re-released in it’s complete and uncut format, which is the version I read. There was also a TV movie made by ABC that was horrible (no I didn’t watch it, but I’ve heard nothing good about it).

The Book Monster Vol. 14

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To Build A Fire…

I’ve been traveling a lot lately and that means I’ve been reading a lot on Airplanes. I came prepared for all my flights with books and magazines, but I still found time to read the ridiculous and amusing Skymall catalog and after browsing through it a few times I have set my heart on these book ends.

While I was in Minnesota I dropped by Half Price Books, which is a bookstore chain that prices  new books well below half price, and yes, I bought a few books. The Book Monster recommends if you’re ever traveling to a city with a Half Price Books you make a visit and expand your library. Even if you don’t buy any books their Rare Books and Collectibles section would be worth your time.

Suzanne Collins, author of The Hunger Games, is publishing a children’s book, and it will hit bookshelves next September. The book will be about a girl whose father has been deployed to the Vietnam War. I’m interested to see how this book will be received by the kids whose parents have gone to Iraq and Afghanistan.

To prepare our Boy Scout troop for a snow campout on Mt. Hood my scoutmaster, and father, read  To Build a Fire by Jack London to us scouts. This well written survival story about winter travel in Alaska has a special place in my imagination, and I always think about it when I go on my winter adventures in the Cascades. A few years ago I bought London’s “To Build a Fire and Other Stories” and the gritty stories explore man’s instinct to survive at all costs. Many of the stories take place in Alaska but others take place in the Pacific islands, California. Another favorite story in this book titled The Strength of the Strong is about an ancient civilization’s conflicts with other tribes. Re-reading the title-story of this book has a become a winter tradition of mine. 

What if you could taste people’s emotions in the food they cooked? In Aimee Bender’s novel “The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake” an adolescent girl’s life is turned upside down when her mother’s unhappiness begins to ruin every meal. This book is a smooth read with excellent writing. It explores human relationships and the way we deal with problems. Even though a lot of the food in this book is tied up with sadness and other emotions, I got hungry whenever I read the book.

 

“Holidays on Ice” by David Sedaris is not filled with cheese like a lot of other books about Christmas. The book begins with SantaLand Diaries, which chronicles the author’s experience as an elf at Macy’s in New York City. The book continues with absurdly-humorous holiday stories that may resemble the holidays more closely than a Richard Paul Evans book. The book is short, but sweet as a Christmas cookie. Snuggle-up next your Christmas tree, read this book, and you’ll be ready for the holidays.

Don’t forget to share The Book Monster with your friends on Facebook.

Pleasant Hill Farm Provides Quality Turkeys for Thanksgiving

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Lynn Schutte is a very busy woman this week. Besides feeding the 50 pigs, collecting eggs from 60 chickens and keeping track of 100 cattle, she must worry about next week’s crucial delivery: the turkeys.

Lynn, along with her husband Bob, owns and operates the 162 acre Northern Lights Christmas Tree Farm located in Pleasant Hill, OR. While many people are starting to relax as the holidays approach, Thanksgiving marks the busiest time of year for the farming couple: first comes the rush of birds, then a couple weeks later the trees go too.

The Schutte’s purchased the land back in 1986, and moved down to Oregon from Alaska permanently in 1994. Lynn retired early from her teaching position and Bob opted out of the mechanical engineering field to build the farm full time. Since the start of their adventure in Oregon, the Schutte’s knew that becoming successful farmers would take all of their time and effort, something they were more than willing to give. The couple has raised turkeys for the last seven years, gradually increasing the number every year.

Currently, the farm’s bird coops are inhabited by 40 turkeys of two different breeds, Heritage and Bronze Double-Breasted.Heritage turkeys are smaller but offer more dark meat, while the Double-Breasted (better known as the Butterball variety) weigh more and produce more white meat. On average, the farm-raised birds turn out to be between 15 and 25 pounds.

Bob and Lynn Schutte
Bob and Lynn Schutte have instilled a business that values the quality of the product more than anything. Photo courtesy of Northern Lights Christmas Tree Farm

The Schutte’s take turkey orders as early as the customer requests, but all turkeys are butchered at the same time: Tuesday before Thanksgiving. Butchering was originally done on-site at Northern Lights Farm up until Oregon food preparation laws changed. Now the Schuttes deliver the turkeys to a state-inspected facility, and retrieve the birds post-processing.

The birds may seem relatively young at three and a half months old, but they’re already so large that flight has become a physical impossibility. Lynn describes raising turkeys as a delicate equation of nature.

“It’s always a balancing act between [the birds’] innate nature and our need for them to put on weight,” she said.

Lynn takes pride in the couple’s natural and humane method of raising and delivering turkeys. The Schuttes take care to move the turkey coops every five days, giving the birds fresh grass for grazing. From the time the birds are delivered to the farm as chicks until they’re sent off for butchering, the Schuttes carefully manage food intake. This ensures that the bird’s legs keep up with their rapidly growing bodies, allowing them to walk and exercise throughout their lifespan.

Turkey's from Northern Lights Christmas Tree Farm
Gobble, gobble! It’s Turkey season at Northern Nights. Photo courtesy of Northern Lights Christmas Tree Farm

Commercially farmed turkeys don’t enjoy the comparatively plush lifestyle of the Schutte’s birds. After butchering, commercial birds are injected with saltwater saline to increase freshness and longevity. The injections also add water weight, increasing retail profitability at a cost to the consumer. Most commercially raised birds are too fat to stand and walk by the Thanksgiving deadline. This is the result of cramped holding coops with little or no exercise space.

According to Lynn, the Northern Lights natural raising process passes along value to the customer through superior meat quality.

“People tend to be repeat customers because the product is just amazing,” said Lynn, with a touch of prideful confidence. “You’re never going to have a better bird.”

From their beginnings in Alaska to moving here to the Lane County region, the Schutte’s have brought with them the belief that quality should never be sacrificed. And, even though they are approaching the busiest time of their year, they are more than happy to be providing the region with quality products that will not be found elsewhere.

Sporty Holiday Memories

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— Sam Finley, EDN Sports Editor

We all have our Christmas memories, don’t we? I remember, as an eight year-old in the Seattle area, receiving a replica Seahawks’ helmet with a Jim Zorn jersey. That was the first year I became interested in sports and the passion has grown ever since. But this day can mean so many different things to people.

Former Seahawk Jim Zorn, now a quarterbacks coach at Kansas City, had his number on a jersey that Sam Finley got for Christmas. (Photo Credit: Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

“Christmas is Christmas,” said running back De’Anthony Thomas. “It is one of my favorite holidays. I can’t wait for it, and hope to have a great Christmas as well as get some great birthday presents (ten days later on January 5th).”

With that in mind, I spent the last week of the Ducks’ football practices asking various players and coaches what their memories were during the holiday season.

“I don’t know where to start,” said UO defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti. “We always have a great time at Christmas. I come from a big family and, when I was a young boy, we’d all get together at my grandmother’s house.  There’d be all kind of great fish frying, calamari, crab, and shrimp.  You name it. I have many great memories of getting presents and eating until we couldn’t see straight.”

Funny, but this can be a day that can, despite whatever differences we have, show how similar we are to one another.  For example, coach Aliotti came from the Bay Area, which is nothing like the state of Texas.  Yet freshman running back Tra Carson, who grew up in Texarkana, tells an almost identical story.

“We’d all meet up at my grandma’s house,” explained running back Tra Carson. “Everyone would exchange gifts there, and we’ll probably do the same thing this year.”

Coming back to the Bay, linebacker Michael Clay’s tale is a little more unique.

Oregon linebacker Michael Clay (number 46) has had some unique Christmas experiences. (Photo Credit: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

“My mother came from a big, Mexican family,” said Clay. “So they were always dancing and partying until about three in the morning. But we always went to church, and I always remember that.”

And that was just one side of the family.

“My dad and I were always on the road,” Clay continued. “We’d always have to go see relatives that were kind of spread all around the Bay Area. So I have memories of being with my dad in the car, as well as being with my mom’s family, too.”

Of course, much like my helmet and jersey, there’s always a gift or two you never forget.

“There are two,” claimed Aliotti. “I remember getting a bicycle, as well as receiving my first baseball glove.”

“I got a bike when I was in the third grade,” stated Clay. “More recently, however, I’m very fond of the iPod Touch I got from my parents because I still use it. I’ve got a bunch of songs from about every genre for music.”

Then again, you also never forget about a little sibling rivalry, either.

“I’ve always been a Dallas Cowboys’ fan,” said UO offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich with a wry grin. “So I always got Cowboys’ pajamas.  My brother got Philadelphia Eagles’ pajamas, so there was a little brotherly feud there.”

All things considered, the Ducks’ ultimate Christmas gift may have already been unwrapped.

“Getting to the Rose Bowl is a great feeling for my freshman year,” said Thomas. “I feel like each year should be better and better.”

Or has it? After three consecutive BCS Bowl appearances, what Oregon would really like under their stocking is a trophy that comes with a victory.

“A Rose Bowl win would definitely be on the list for sure,” Helfrich explained.

That being said, let’s talk a bit about the wonderful stuff that comes from sports.  My longtime friend and now-retired Register Guard sports editor Ron Bellamy used to say that athletes gave us all a gift every time they competed. He’d go on to say that it was our job, as sports journalists, to simply unwrap the presents.

I couldn’t agree more. If you see your team give it their all in a close game, you’ve witnessed something awesome. I (Conversely, if they deliver a subpar effort, I’m sure you’d like to give them a lump of coal).

De'Anthony Thomas' birthday comes shorty after Christmas, so he gets a fair share of presents. (Photo Credit: Steve Dykes/Getty Images)

But win or lose, if they give 100% on the court, the track or the field, then they’ve given you the most for your valued entertainment time. Let’s remember that, particularly with college age kids here in Eugene, whether it’s an impressive Duck victory over Stanford or a painful defeat to USC.

Now then, I won’t lie and say everything is great about Christmas. Having worked retail for five years too many, I’ve sworn that I’ll never step into a shopping mall on Christmas Eve again.  There’s just too much pettiness and nastiness over stuff that really isn’t worth having.

I will also never, ever, listen to a certain Chipmunks’ song without having the urge to reach for a mallet. However, I won’t bore you with some of my no-so-favorite things.

Instead, I will simply say to enjoy being around the people you care about the most.  Or, if you cannot be with them on this holiday, call them and say how much you’d wish they were here.

As usual, I’d like to say more, but I’ve got to get on with some holiday fesitivites.

Until next time, I’ll see you in the bleachers. Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Merry Christmas – Morning Weather

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Merry Christmas from all of us at Eugene Daily News.

Headlines

Headlines return tomorrow. Headlines are regularly updated throughout each day on our Local Headlines page.

Tim Chuey Weather:

Merry Christmas to all! Well at least Santa had dry weather to deliver your presents. Now you’ll be in for rainy weather for the next 7 days.

High: 47
Low: 35
Rain: 60%

Upper level low pressure (“U” shape on the yellow line) will take over from the high pressure ridge (“Arch” shape on the yellow line) that is moving away from us and a series of surface storms will march through. A  frontal system will be returning the chance of rain again, along with others to follow, just in time for the Christmas Holiday and beyond. Mt Ashland has reopened for the season. Hoodoo says they will be open December 26-31. Still not enough snow yet for Willamette Pass to open for skiing. Please check their web sites for details and updates.

Forecast for the Southern and lower Mid Willamette Valley including Eugene-Springfield and Albany-Corvallis: Mostly cloudy with AM rain likely (60%), showers (0.10 in. of rain possible) likely (60%) this afternoon (Christmas Day), a (40%) chance of showers tonight, cloudy with a good (50%) chance of AM showers, a good (50%) chance of rain Monday afternoon, rain Monday night, rain likely (60%) Tuesday, then mostly cloudy with rain Tuesday night highs 44-47 lows 35-42. Mostly cloudy with rain likely (60%) Wednesday, rain Wednesday night, rain likely (60%) Thursday through Friday night, then mostly cloudy with showers likely (60%) Saturday highs near 48 lows 40-38. (seasonal averages high 45 low 33)

Because weather forecasting is a combination of science, intuition, and timing there can be no absolute guarantees that individual forecasts will be 100% accurate. Nature is in a constant state of flux and sudden unexpected weather events can happen.

Keep Current on the Weather: timchueyweather4u.com

Wine Down Eugene

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–Julia Crowley, EDN

T’was the night before Christmas, in the famed Willamette Valley,
The corks were a popping, from Pfeiffer Villa to King Estate Galley.
The Oregon Pinot’s were lined up with care,
With aromas and flavors that friends would soon share.

The fires were stoked and the chimneys blew smoke,
When all of a sudden the winemaker spoke.
“Look here,” he said, with a glimmer in his eye,
“This bottle of red will be perfect with Turkey Pot Pie.”

But before he could tap what was under that cap,
He realized it would be better after a long winters nap.
So he headed to the cellar to find his best sellers,
and thought an older vintage would for sure be stellar.

On his way to the cellar he heard some commotion,
And ran into the vineyard to see what was in motion.
There he was, it was Santa,
He had just come from Atlanta.
He was tired and stressed, his white beard was a mess.

“Come in from the cold,” said the winemaker, “Sit by the fire and unfold,
The reindeer can rest, while you get back your zest.”
So the winemaker and Santa escaped from the snow,
And come to find out, Santa loves Pinot Noir don’t you know!

So the two sat and talked while enjoying some wine
It was surreal, incredible, and simply divine.
Santa was at ease and suddenly had back his shine
Just before the guests would arrive to wine and dine.

He picked up his hat and with his glass did a clink,
Santa thanked him profusely and gave him a wink.
The winemaker didn’t have much time to think,
Santa turned on his heel before he could blink.

“This wine was so good, it’s simply delicious,
I feel pretty good and rather quite ambitious.”
“I’d like to take with me some bottles to share,
But hurry up, it’s getting late, I must get back out there!”

The winemaker grabbed several bottles for Santa,
He even threw one in for Santa’s elf, Anna Banta.
He followed him out and then heard Santa say,

“Now, Dasher! Now, Dancer! Now Prancer and Vixen!”
“On Comet! On Cupid! On Donner and Blitzen!”
“Let’s hurry, let’s go, we’ve got goodies to deliver,
Including this here Pinot that needs to go up the McKenzie River!”

And just before he disappeared and was out of sight,
he looked down at the vineyard with great delight,
“Merry Christmas to you, here’s a joyous good cheer,
I’ll see you again the same time next year!”
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Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas! ~ Julia
 

Wine Bars & Wine Shops

Wineries without Walls (wine shop & tasting room): Fri. 3-6 pm, Last wine tasting of 2011, Cotton Wood Winery returns with their fantastic selection of wines. This wine shop and tasting room showcases local wines and is located inside the Fern Ridge Chamber of Commerce Visitors Center in Veneta. 24949 Hwy. 126, Veneta.The last tasting event and the last day the shop will be open for 2011.

Café Soriah: Wed., celebrate Wine Wednesdays. All day, half off bottles of wine, including local notable names such as BrickHouse, Capitello, King Estate and Broadley; Thu. and Fri. 9:30 pm, a staged reading of Dylan Thomas’ “A Child’s Christmas in Wales” by renowned local actor David Stuart Bull with Celtic Music by Chico Schwall on guitar & vocals and Linda Danielson on violin & vocals. Admission $10. Bartenders have put together a special drink list for the holidays. 384 W. 13th Ave., Eugene.

Territorial Vineyards and Wine Co.:
Thu. 5-11 pm, special holiday show with Timothy Patrick; Fri. 5-11 pm, music starts around 7 pm with Upstate Trio (Upstate New Yorkers jam ); December Art: original oils by Richard Quigley. 907 West Third Ave., Eugene.

LaVelle Club Room at 5th Street Market: Wed. 5-8 pm, half off glass pours for ladies; Thurs. and Fri. 6-8 pm, live music with Gus Russell. 296 E. 5th Ave., Eugene.

16 Tons (Taphouse): Dec. 21, 5-6:30 pm. Tieton Cider Works Tasting and several Ciders on tap 265 East Thirteenth Ave., Eugene.

The Wine Place: Sat. 12 – 5 pm, Stop in to do last minute shopping and sample wines, have a glass, visit with friends, and enjoy the art gallery next door.; The loft above The Wine Cellar is the tasting room for J. Scott Cellars. 373 North Hwy. 101, Yachats.

Authentica Wines: Thu. 5-7 pm, Special Holiday Tasting and Seasonal Celebration of some very special wines and discounted prices; Tue. – Fri. 11 am – 6 pm, and Sat. 10 am – 5 pm. Wine tasting available every Saturday at the Wine Bar, and on the first Friday of each month during the Art Walk. With a focus on artisan, small production wines for every budget, you’re bound to find something you love at this wine shop. 766 W. Park St., Eugene.

Marche Restaurant: Dec. 24, 5-8 pm. Christmas Eve Feast. $40 per person. Call for reservations 541-342-3612. 296 East Fifth Ave., Eugene.

Ambrosia Restaurant and Bar: Mon. – Fri. 4-6 pm Happy Hour, tap beers $2 and house wines $4.50. 174 East Broadway Ave., Eugene.

Broadway Wine Merchants: Fri. 5-7 pm, Free Friday Wine Tasting; 17 Oakway Center, Eugene.

Sundance Wine Cellars:  Fri. 5-7 pm, Frugal Friday wine tasting with Mario; Sat. 5-7 pm, wine tasting featuring local and regional wines; 2441 Hilyard St., Eugene.

Steelhead Brewery: Sun. – Sat. 11:30 am – 11 pm, open later on Fri. and Sat., In addition to their own wine, Steelhead Red, you’ll find almost 20 wines by the glass, including 5H, Hinman, Erath and King Estate. 199 East 5th Ave., Eugene.

Le Bar at 5th Street Public Market/Marché: This new bar has an incredible wine list. 296 East 5th Ave., Eugene.

Marché Provisions: Fri. 5-7 pm, Free weekly wine tasting. 296 E. 5th Ave., Eugene.

Mac’s at the Vets Club: Wed. 6-9 pm, Wine, Jazz & Variety Show with Gus Russell & Paul Biondi. A different Oregon winery is featured each week. $8 Burger and Brew night, too. 1626 Willamette St., Eugene.

Café 440: Wed., all day. Wednesday Wine Flights, taste three holiday whites or holiday reds for $10.50. 440 Coburg Rd., Eugene.

B2 Wine Bar: Happy hour Mon.-Fri., 4-6 pm, and 9-10 pm Loads of Northwest wines offered here. 2794 Shadow Dr., Eugene.

Red Agave: Excellent wine list, including Oregon’s finest from King Estate, Territorial, Evesham Wood and Cristom, to name just a few. It’s impressive. 454 Willamette St., Eugene.

Cork and Bottle Shoppe: Fri. 4 pm, free weekly wine or beer tasting. The Cork & Bottle Shoppe is one of Oregon’s only liquor stores that carries a large selection of local and international wine and craft beer, in addition to liquor. 812 Beltline Rd., Springfield.

Capella Market: Fri. 4-6 pm, Hard Cider Tasting with 2 Towns Cider (Corvallis); Sat. 4-6 pm, Wine Tasting with Foris Winery. 2489 Willamette St., Eugene

Jiffy Market: Fri. 5-7 pm, free wine tasting, house picks and pours; Sat. 6-10 pm, purchase a whole sandwich from the deli and receive a Ninkasi pint for $2. 3443 Hilyard St., Eugene.

Café Zenon: Tues., Fifty percent off bottles of wine; Mon-Fri. 5-6:30 pm, $1 off glasses of wine and pints of beer. Find King Estates’ Domaine Pinot Gris and Capitello’s Sauvignon Blanc here at half off on Tuesdays. 898 Pearl St., Eugene.

Izumi Sushi and Grill: Izumi has great sushi and they offer local wine and beer from Hinman, King Estate, Ninkasi and Oakshire. 2773 Shadow View Dr., Eugene.

Sabai Café and Bar: Wines by the glass, $6 and under; excellent local wines from Territorial, King Estate, Capitello and Benton-Lane. 27 Oakway Center, Eugene.

June Restaurant and Bar: Tue. – Sat. 5-6 pm Happy Hour. Their wine list has some great local wines. 1591 Willamette St., Eugene.

Agate Alley Laboratory: Sat. 10 pm, Late Night at The Lab with $1 off glass pour wine, $3 well drinks and pints, $9.50 pitchers & appetizer special. Twenty-five varieties of wine for $25 dollars. 2645 Willamette St., Eugene.

Kiva Grocery: Wine department focuses on affordable Northwest wines, small European wines and organic wines. Ten percent off mixed cases, 15 percent off unbroken cases. 125 W. 11th, Eugene.

Café Lucky Noodle: Tue. 5:30-7:30 pm Wine Night – all bottles 35 percent off; complimentary wine tasting in the lobby; excellent wine list. 207 East 5th Ave., Eugene.

Granary Wine Bar: Wed., all day, $5 glass pours of house white or red. Find Patchwork Cellars’  delicious Pinot Noir here. 259 E. 5th Ave., Eugene.

Cornucopia Maize Lounge: Daily happy hour 3-6 pm – “3/3/3 at 3” special, three-dollar micros, wells and wine. 73 E. 13th Ave., Eugene.


Wineries and Vineyards

Sweet Cheeks: Fri. 6-9 pm, Twilight Tasting, sample pairings of Sweet Cheeks wine with Oregon-made artisan cheeses while listening to live music; Sun. 12-6 pm, Mimosa Sundays, Fine sparkling wine and live music from 2-4 pm. Bring your own brunch. 27007 Briggs Hill Rd., Eugene.

Benton-Lane Winery: Open Daily 11 am – 5 pm, enjoy one of the Top 100 wines of the world: Benton-Lane 2010 Pinot Gris. Available in the tasting room by taste, glass or bottle. 23924 Territorial Hwy., Monroe.

Pfeiffer Vineyards: Open Mon.-Thu. 11 am – 5 pm and Fri./Sat. 11 am – 9 pm, Watch the games on the big screen in the tasting room while sipping Pfeiffer wine by the fireplace. 25040 Jaeg Rd., Junction City.

Silvan Ridge Winery: Open daily 12-5 pm, Fri. 12-9 pm, Complimentary taste of five wines in addition to several limited wines that may be tasted for a fee. 27012 Briggs Hill Rd., Eugene.

King Estate: Open daily 11 am – 8 pm. Sample some of Oregon’s finest wine, dine on gourmet cuisine, and enjoy a valley view that’s unmatched. Their Acrobat Pinot Gris was recently Wine Spectator’s Wine of the Week. 80854 Territorial Hwy., Eugene.

Sarver Winery: Winter hours: Mon.-Thu. by appointment, Fri.-Sun., 12-6 pm. Sample the different styles of Pinot Gris produced from their 25-year old estate vines, along with full-bodied reds like Cabernet, Syrah and Petite Sirah while taking in an unobstructed view of the Cascades. 2600 Mayola Ln., Eugene.

Chateau Lorane: Open daily, 12-5 pm. Stop by and taste some of their multiple award winners: Melon De Bourgogne, Petit Verdot, Viognier, Asian Girl Merlot, Zinfandel, Sauvignon Blanc and their double award-winning Red Bordeaux blend, Entourage. 27415 Siuslaw River Rd., Lorane.

J. Scott Cellars: Tasting room located in The Wine Place in Yachats. Be sure to stop by and taste these excellent small boutique handmade Rhone varietals from the Pacific Northwest. Specializing in Roussanne, Viognier, Petite Sirah, Syrah and Cabernet…and a little Pinot Noir. 373 North Hwy. 101, Yachats.

Abbelone Vineyards: Another fabulous winery without walls; check back frequently to find out where you can sample their delicious Pinot Noir.

Brigadoon Wine Co.: Winter hours by appointment. Call 541-998-8708. Try Brigadoon’s three excellent wines: a Pinot Blanc and two Pinot Noirs, which can now be enjoyed on their lovely deck with a view, — or if it’s raining, you’ll be invited into their kitchen. 25166 Ferguson Rd., Junction City.

LaVelle Vineyards (winery in Elmira): Friday Night Flights is officially over for the winter season, but it will be back soon. Visit the winery daily, Mon.-Fri., 12-5 pm, and Sat.-Sun., 12-6 pm. 89697 Sheffler Rd., Elmira.

Saginaw Vineyards: Open daily, 11 am – 5pm. Sample their delicious traditional style wines in their tasting room located in the original building of a 1905 farmstead. They also specialize in farm fresh fruit wines. 80247 Delight Valley School Rd., Cottage Grove.

Stanton Vineyards: Another local “winery without walls,” so keep an eye out for events where Charlie Stanton will be pouring his delicious wines. Bottles sold at Sundance, Market of Choice, Wineries without Walls in the Fern Ridge Chamber of Commerce & Authentica, and in restaurants Marché and Eugene Country Club.

Noble Estate: Open 7 days/week, 12-5 pm. Tasting room with beautiful patio and gorgeous view,. 29210 Gimpl Hill Rd., Eugene.

Briggs Hill Winery: A winery without walls. Check back frequently to see where and when they will be offering samples of their wine.

Iris Vineyards: Mon.- Fri., 11 am – 3 pm. Stop by their state of the art winery and tasting room in Cottage Grove. Three-dollar tasting fee includes free wine glass, cheese and crackers. 195 Palmer Ave., Cottage Grove.

Patchwork Cellars: Christian Fox, owner of Patchwork Cellars, pours his excellent wine at certain events around town. Check back often for his schedule of tastings.

Capitello Wines: Another local winery without walls, so keep an eye out on Capitello’s Facebook page for upcoming events and tastings.

Dylan’s Run: Another winery without walls. Keep an eye out for tastings at the Fern Ridge Chamber of commerce, Wineries without Walls.

Save the Date or Reserve Now

LaVelle Vineyards in Elmira: Dec. 31, New Year’s Eve Murder Mystery Dinner and Dance. $99 per person includes three-course meal prepared by Field to Table Catering, a three-act play and round-trip transportation from Valley River Center if you choose to use it. Seating is limited and advance ticket purchase is required. 89697 Sheffler Rd., Elmira.

Red Agave: Dec. 31, New Year’s Eve Celebration, 4 course meal served with a glass of bubbly. Call for reservations. 541-683-2206. 454 Willamette St., Eugene.

Spencer Creek Cellars/McBeth Vineyards: Starting in January, by appointment only,
Wine Tastings in the Barn. 541-521-4381. 85162 McBeth Rd., Eugene.

King Estate Winery: Jan 2, 12:30 pm, Rose Bowl Viewing Party. Fifty Dollars Tower Club Members, Fifty-Five Dollars Non Members. Call for reservations. 541-942-9874. 80854 Territorial Rd., Eugene.

16Tons (Union Cafe/Supreme Bean): Jan. 5, 5:30 or 8 pm, 2 sessions available for Cheese Wars III.  2864 Willamette St. #500, Eugene.

Local Cinema Watch

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by Ryan Beltram, Eugene Daily News

Hello local cinephiles. With Christmas coming on Sunday it’s a predictably light week for new movies. But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing new opening this week. The Bijou has one new film debuting and it’s about the end of the world. Kind of depressing for the holidays but if that doesn’t interest you, they’re also holding a special two-night screening of It’s a Wonderful Life. Now that’s more like it.

David Minor has two films debuting on Thursday, one is about two brothers forced to fight one another in mixed-martial arts and another about a bored screenwriter who decides to take a late night walk in Paris.

At the Bijou this week:

Melancholia: Drama – 2011 – 136 Min – Rated R. Starts on Wednesday, Dec. 21 at 5:30 and 8:25 pm.

Usually when you see a film about the destruction of earth, there’s shots of national monuments being blown up and people narrowly escaping collapsing streets. In Melancholia, director Lars Von Trier decides to balance the impending demise of earth with the emotional demise of the main character Justine (Kirsten Dunst).

On the night of her wedding, Justine is struggling with depression. Despite a lavish wedding paid for by her sister and brother-in-law, Justine is a damaged soul who only sees things as they actually are and is unaffected by human assimilation or persuasion.

Besides having to deal with her own demons, Justine like everyone else in the world is aware of Melancholia, a blue planet hurtling towards earth. Whether the planet is actually headed for earth or if it is just a giant metaphor for Justine’s personal issues is up for interpretation. Von Trier tells stories that are bleak and the women are often put through the ringer. But Melancholia looks to juxtapose bleakness and beauty and leave viewers with something they won’t forget.

It’s a Wonderful Life: Drama – 1946 – 130 Min – Not Rated. Special screening Dec. 24 and 25 at 2:20 pm.

When people think of holiday films, the one that probably comes to mind the most often is It’s a Wonderful Life. Written and directed by the great Frank Capra, the film tells the story of George Bailey, a businessman who looks out for the people of Bedford Falls and attempts to prevent the rich and powerful Mr. Potter from taking over the entire town.

But when George’s Uncle Billy loses all of the local business’s $8,000 while intending to deposit it in the bank, George realizes that he will be accused of stealing it and as result will not only lose his business, but see Potter take control of the town.

George contemplates suicide but the prayers from his loved ones result in an angel named Clarence coming down to rescue George and show him what life would be like without him.

The Bijou will be projecting the film from an extremely rare archival 35mm film print. In this day and age when movies are presented digitally and in some cases in 3D and IMAX, it’s exciting to see a film presented in a way it was originally intended.

Still playing at the Bijou:

Margin Call: Showing at 5 pm Wednesday and Thursday. Showing at 7:40 pm Dec. 23-25.

The Way: Showing at 7:30 pm Wednesday and Thursday. Showing at 5 pm Dec. 23-25.

Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale: Showing at 10:10 pm Dec. 21-25.

Santa Claus Conquers the Martians: Showing at 10 pm Dec. 23-25.

Two new films open this week at David Minor:

Warrior: Drama – 2011 – 140 Min – Rated PG-13. Starts on Thursday, Dec. 22 at 7:20 pm.

Despite strong reviews, Warrior performed poorly at the box office went it was released in September. Now is your chance to see this modern-day Rocky story on the big screen.

Starring Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton, two actors unknown to most American audiences, Warrior follows the two actors as brothers struggling with life. Tommy (Hardy) is the younger brother and son of an alcoholic former boxer (Nick Nolte). When Tommy returns home from serving in the military, he’s trained by his father to compete in a mixed martial arts tournament.

His older brother Brendan (Edgerton) is struggling to provide for his family as a teacher so he decides to resume fighting as well. As both brothers ascend through the ranks of MMA fighting, they will eventually have to meet in the ring and fight one another. But which brother needs to win more; the ex-Marine with a tragic past or a man forced back in the ring in a desperate bid to save his family from financial ruin.

Midnight in Paris: Comedy – 2011 – 94 Min – Rated PG-13. Debuts on Thursday, Dec. 22 at 5:30 pm.

Director Woody Allen’s most successful film financially and one of his best-reviewed films in years, Midnight in Paris has enjoyed a long run locally at the Bijou. But now you can see at David Minor.

Starring Owen Wilson and Rachel McAdams, the film follows the couple as they travel to Paris for a vacation. Gil (WIlson) is a successful screenwriter struggling with his first novel. Seeking inspiration, he decides to walk the streets of Paris at night.

But what begins as a one-time stroll through the city turns into nightly walks as Gil begins to fall in love with the city and the characters from the past he encounters. His romantic and nostalgic view of the city inspires him, but this sudden jolt of excitement may also push him further from the woman he’s about to marry.

Still playing at David Minor:

Cowboys and Aliens: Showing at 5:15 pm on Wednesday. Showing at 7:20 pm Dec. 22 and 23.

Crazy, Stupid, Love: Showing at 5:15 pm on Wednesday. Showing at 9:45 pm Dec. 22 and 23.

Friends with Benefits: Final screening on Wednesday at 7:25 pm.

Rise of The Planet of the Apes: Showing at 7:25 pm on Wednesday. Showing at 9:45 pm on Dec. 22 and 23.

Our Idiot Brother: Showing at 9:20 pm on Wednesday. Showing at 5:30 pm on Dec. 22 and 23.

Super 8: Final screening on Wednesday at 9:20 pm.

David Minor will be closed on Saturday and Sunday for the holidays.

Christmas Treasures: Ma & Pa Christmas Shop in Blue River Delivers Holiday Cheer all Year

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by Kevin Baird, EDN

Christmas Treasures is located at 52959 Hwy 126 Blue River, Oregon. It's 45 miles east of Eugene. (all photos - Kevin Baird)

If you are anything like me, you have driven by Christmas Treasures, in Highway 126, dozens of times and never stopped in. Every I drive past it, I tell myself that I will and check the store out, next time; but that never happens. Last weekend I decided it was time to pay the store a visit, so I hopped in my Dodge Neon, put on some Christmas tunes and downed a Red Bull as I drove 45 miles to Blue River, Oregon, to see what Christmas Treasures was all about. Maybe I would come back with a Christmas treasure of my own.

Pat Dibala and his life partner, Nancy Wood, have been successfully running Christmas Treasures since 1993. Before opening the shop, Pat and Nancy were living in Florida. They had visited a number of Christmas shops during their travels on the eastern seaboard and had taken a fancy to them. The couple also had an affinity for collectibles and figurines. One day, Pat said,

“Let’s try the Christmas business.” 

Hand carved in Missouri, this Santa Clause is delivering presents by Orca

Pat, Nancy and their children, moved to Blue River, Oregon, to start Christmas Treasures, which opened in the fall of 1993. Originally, Pat was going to carve his own ornaments to stock the shelves and Nancy was going to be in charge of sales, but Pat quickly realized he could never feed his family if he ran the shop that way. So they began buying merchandise to fill their store.  

This 1939 Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer stuffed animals is one of the first ever made

It’s hard to look at Pat and not think of Chris Kringle. Pat’s white beard and hair, stout build, steel-blue eyes and deep red Carhartt shirt remind me of a Santa Clause you see in the movies, living among the people in New York City and surprising everybody at the end when his true identity is revealed. He asked me if I wanted a tour of the store and proceeded to show me German nutcrackers, nativities from Italy, hand-carved Santa figurines from Oregon and trees covered from tip to trunk in ornaments. A crackling fire made it warm and cozy inside while old-fashioned Christmas tunes filled the air. I couldn’t help but feel a little Christmas nostalgia rush over me as I saw all the fine works of Christmas art that saturate the store.

Owning your own business in this day and age isn’t easy. With companies like Amazon selling just about anything you can think of over the internet, Pat has had to stay ahead of the game to make it. And make it he has. Pat has seen Christmas stores in Portland, Bandon, Sisters, Albany and Salem all go out of business. 

“What saved us was Steven,” Pat said.

In 1999, Pat’s son, Steven, at the time a high school junior, begged his dad for a computer. He had been learning everything about computers in school. He made a deal with his dad that if he got a computer he would build a website for Christmas Treasures. The deal was made and, as a result, Christmas Treasures was one of the very first Christmas shop websites. For years Christmas Treasures turned-up as number one on search engines in regards to Christmas ornaments and figurines. 

Pat and Nancy had toyed with the idea of selling coffee and ice cream, but their internet sales exploded and there was no need for it. 

You can find hundreds of Christmas ornaments on the trees at Christmas Treasures

Business has grown a lot over the years. In 2001, the year they doubled the size of their store by converting their kitchen and living room into a larger store front, they supplemented it with a 40-ft storage trailer. Presently, that container has grown to a 10,000 square foot warehouse. They average 15,000 internet sales a year to 40 different countries. He has even hauled in a few enormous sales. A few years ago he sold $20,000 of fiberglass reindeer to a military base in South Korea. More recently, Steven has created a Facebook page with over 1,500 followers, of which half are from Europe. 

 “We’ve been real fortunate,” Pat said. 

Keeping Christmas Treasures competitive is a constant battle.

“We have to be careful we’re not buying something Wal-Mart has,” Pat said. To stay competitive Pat is always looking for unique merchandise. In January, Pat will fly to Atlanta for the Atlanta Gift Show. He hopes he’ll find new artists to purchase ornaments and figurines from. Later next year he is also heading to Germany to look for more product. In the future he hopes to make a trip to Scandinavia

Christmas Treasures sells Santa figurines from all over the country and from a number of European Countries

Christmas Treasures also boasts a 160-ft lighted tree. In 1994, the amount of incandescent bulbs that lit his tree cost him $10 an hour to keep it lit.

“I couldn’t wash my clothes,” he said. He had to turn off the tree in order for his appliances to work. In 2003, Pat restrung the tree with LEDs, which brought costs down to $1 per day to keep it lit.

“It was fun to see in a windstorm,” he said, “It looked like a monster.”

Weather has taken a toll on the lights though. Nowadays only 20% of the lights on the tree are still functioning. A man from Springfield offered his services to relight the tree, free of charge.

“He must like Christmas,” Pat said.

After speaking with Pat, I went back through the store to find an ornament for my tree. As I cruised through the store I was amazed with how unique everything was. It definitely isn’t the kind of stuff you’ll find at Wal-Mart or Target. I ended-up buying a wooden yellow duck  with a jumping-jack mechanism because I thought it would go well with the devilish clown ornament my grandmother gave me when I was young, which also had a jumping-jack mechanism. That was the first ornament of it’s kind I had ever seen in a store and now, thanks to Christmas Treasures, it’s on my tree.

I bought this yellow duck ornament from Christmas Treasures so the devil-clown would have friend on the tree.



 

A Christmas Column

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by Elisha Shumaker, Eugene Daily News 

There is a certain addictive characteristic about the unique euphoria that comes from the holiday season. It seems that every year, we all experience the post-holiday blues, when our fix sustained by cookies, candy, presents, trees, lights, over intoxication, ornaments and Bing Crosby, is suddenly ripped from our hands. We are left with a forecast of gloom… 4 more months of pitiful weather, and all that was beautiful and good has been tucked away in an attic now full of boxes labeled “X-mas”, oversized bags stuffed with extra tubes of rolling paper and giant inflatable lawn characters. All of it gone.

My mother is a Christmas junkie. She has serious troubles letting go. The snowmen in the yard begin to melt in early April as warm rains steal the spotlight that had been long occupied. Finally, my mother begins to accept the passing. Watching this process every year is like watching a work week. The high of the weekend starts Friday afternoon, just before you leave work. The excitement of anticipation, the way you begin to feel in October, when the stores start pushing the Halloween crap onto the clearance racks and replacing it with a giant amassing of Christmas decorations, foods, gift ideas and more.

Merry Christmas Mom!

Friday is the day my mother would leave work early. She needed to shop, she needed to bake cookies, she needed to write a shopping list, she needed to decorate the house – inside and out. My mother went into manic overstimulation. Every square inch -more accurately, probably every cubic inch – was occupied by a thick collection of Christmas ornaments, crafts, and other memorabilia that had collected naturally over years of family history. Friday was everything leading up to the main event. Friday inevitably would become Saturday. Saturday morning was crunch time. By morning, I mean from 8 at night on Christmas Eve, until 5 in the morning Christmas day, there was a creature stirring in our house – not a mouse, not Kris Kringle, but my mother. Short bouts of bustling around the kitchen were the punctuation for hours of wrapping presents on the living room floor. She would have watched “A Christmas Story” four times before reaching her breaking point, and would then switch to Christmas music. It played softly in the living room, so we wouldn’t wake. Hours later the scent of fresh cinnamon rolls marked the commencement of approximately thirty minutes of unwrapping the gifts she had spent all night awake wrapping.

The weekend goes on, being the weekend, wonderful, lazy, and exciting. Everything you knew it would be. And you are satisfied. But quicker than you know, the easy Sunday morning becomes Sunday afternoon. A few football games is all that stands between you and going to bed early. Because tomorrow, tomorrow is Monday. Monday is work, Monday is responsibility, Monday is drab and dull, Monday is the most boring, homely girl you’ve ever met and Monday is swapping your sweats for something less comfortable. Monday is the day most people choose to kill themselves. The misery of the beginning of the work week is knowing that it is the point in the week when you are the farthest from your precious weekend. In relation to the Yule season, January and February are Monday. The holiday high is wearing off, quickly for some, for others it departs more begrudgingly. We’ve become fat, we are tired, we are broke, and we have to go back to work. The next celebration seems obscenely far on the horizon. Psychologists like to call it “Seasonal Affective Disorder”. Really, masses of people are recovering from malls, traffic, parking lots, credit card swipes, and wine-soaked nights. A two month hangover, in the cold, in the drear, among a collective breeding pool of negative emotion. Monday is the day we return the less appealing of the gifts we received to Wal-Mart.

We all trudge through it and Tuesday’s not much better, but it’s definitely not worse. Wednesday is when the outlook really starts to turn around and your bitterness starts to subside. Not too much longer now! For my mother, Wednesday, the hump day of her holiday cycle, hits in the month of April. Up to this point, she has resisted, in a veil of procrastination, she has loathed and refused to accept her Monday. She has called in sick, stayed at home in loafers and a house robe and watched Drew Carey host The Price is Right. Christmas has faded from the outside world. Snowmen linger, but holly and ivy have gone along with the mistletoe. Trees adorned with lights, manger scenes and blinking icicles disappeared from sight long ago.

On West Ninth Street in Elmira Heights, one still has a hard time feeling that the season has gone anywhere. It had been customary that the holiday decorations were still up at this time of the year. No one we knew, would even think of still having their Christmas decorations up. After all, it was getting pretty damn close to Easter. Mom would kick into overdrive at this point. In a whirlwind, the packing and putting away that most had done before the start of the New Year, four months ago, was now happening in our house. The sudden change, is Wednesday, the changing of mentality, the realization that there is finally something on the horizon. Late Wednesday into Thursday distract you, and they come and go like the fireflies of summer. June, July and August fly this way. The only thought being given to the holiday is the weekly stashing of cash in the “Christmas Club” account at the bank. Suddenly it’s Friday again.