but after brunch at Cracker Barrel with the boys ( David, Lin, and their dad Walter ), Cindy and I still managed to make a trip to the Filipino Food Store, and visited fellow church members, Kay and Elvis Istre's house to catch a glimpse of the Christmas/Winter Village that he puts up every year in one of the guest rooms. Simply amazing.
(photo above from Abilene Reporter News)
Here's the newspaper article about the Istres' Christmas Village in the Abilene Reporter News on Dec 19th 2006
Christmas 'village' adorns Abilenians' home
By Jamie Busen / firstname.lastname@example.org December 19, 2006
There's a transformation each holiday season that happens at Elvis Istre's house.
Out go the twin beds and other furniture in his guest bedroom. In goes the Christmas village he's been working on for about 20 years now - complete with skaters, fireworks, a Ferris wheel, a train, a Wal-Mart, hunting lodge and much, much more.
''It's like a room full of memories,'' said Elvis' wife, Kay Istre.
Both Istres, who now make Abilene their home, are retired elementary teachers from east of Houston. Elvis Istre began building the village little by little after his son purchased him a train long ago. It used to run around their Christmas tree.
''I was tired of getting down on my knees,'' Elvis Istre said with a laugh.
So the village evolved into the spare room. The furniture goes into the garage, and the village boxes into the shed. Istre works on it a little each day starting in September, and it usually stays up until around February. The couple's five grandchildren - all under the age of 10 - enjoy it immensely.
''They say, 'Pa King, can we go to the train room?''' said Kay Istre (Pa King being a reference to ''the original Elvis'').
When Elvis Istre was teaching, he'd come home sometimes with a ''fifth-grade headache.'' Building the village was a way to relax, something he says still rings true today.
''It totally calms me,'' he said.
The village is quite detailed. From the virgin-white snow on the trees to the ''pop'' of the fireworks, it's a collection of items the couple have purchased on their travels, as well as gifts and items from Department 56, which designs and sells collectibles.
There is a Cracker Barrel next to the Wal-Mart, complete with overnight campers out front. There are children laughing on a merry-go-round. There's a lumber yard, hunting lodge and ''the neighborhood where the rich people live, with their country club.''
Istre estimates he has around 75 lighted houses/buildings, dozens and dozens of people figurines and about 50 ''novelty'' items like the lighthouse, water fountains and ponds. He had to leave a box of his collection unpacked this year; he's running out of room.
''This brings a lot of joy to me,'' he said.
The couple has a lot of friends who enjoy stopping by and seeing the seasonal village each year. The Istres say it looks better at night, when all the lights in the ''sky'' and in the village can clearly be seen. And it will always remain a holiday village.
''It's not as special if it were up year-round,'' Kay Istre said.
EDITED BY: LORETTA FULTON; COPY EDITED AND HEADLINE BY: JEFF WOLF
to go shopping during the Day-After-Christmas Sales events, but we did get together with the family for another gathering - in place of the usual Taco Tuesday ( er.. bleh ), we went to Furr's instead and had a great time. David made me show everyone the elf dance I did. *MAJOR BLUSH*
But it was still nice to drive around town and look atall the Christmas lights that were still up at people's houses, some which were even professionally installed! Also, I received a Piggy Christmas ornament in the mail from Hollie and it is just sooooooo cute!
In winter I'm rounder and fatter than before. I'm wearing coats and sweaters and woolen hats galore. My hands are as plump as kittens when I'm wearing winter mittens. My legs in thick, snug snow pants look like an elephant's. Indeed, I must confess that when I do undress, I feel as small and light as a bird flown out of sight.
to try and swallow anything other than soup and slippery wontons ( oo yummy! ) for a while now, that when the pain in my throat started letting up 2 days ago, I was wild with joy. On Friday, there was still a hint of the dreaded tonsillitis, but I only had to take acetominophen once all day. And yesterday, I didn't even have to take any! Ah, the wonders of antibiotics...
Friday was once again bible class followed by "Girls' Day Out" with Cindy. We visited Avis, a 89 year old friend of ours, who had been hospitalized, and she was as feisty as ever, and SHE was teasing ME incessantly, and in such good spirits. At the hospital, I couldn't resist photographing some of the foliage that was still red from it being late late late Fall - well, officially, there's still about 4 days of Fall left. Which is kind of hard to believe since the high for today was 78F and we even had to turn the air conditioner on! Bleh!
Back to the throat non-situation. I immediately suggested Asian Noodle House for lunch, where I ordered a favorite of mine in Malaysia, Char Kuay Teow ( or, as it was called at the restaurant, Lou Cha, it being a Cambodian/Asian restaurant after all ), while Cindy had the Fried Rice on the Kids' Menu, which turned out to be almost too much even for an adult! We ended up having to get doggy bags.
p/s: Yes, Darla, I'm still taking pictures of my food. Heheh
My throat still hurts, My tonsils are still inflamed, I'm thinking they were a major player other than the flu.. I inspect them with a flashlight and mirror everyday - david says it's quite a sight, Taking acetominophen and antibiotics, Cleaning my tonsils with Listerine Swabs, and getting yucky stuff off of them.. I'm used to seeing, diagnosing and treating OTHER PEOPLE with tonsillitis, but seeing my own yucky tonsils with white pus all over them, is kinda gross.
Feel pain on the left side of my throat. Take ibuprofen a couple of times a day.
Sorethroat spreads over to the right side of the throat. Still on Ibuprofen. On and off low grade fever. Go to Shana's birthday party and am told I look sallow. I joke about being sallow coz I'm Chinese.
Wake up feeling out of sorts. Body aching. Go for Church, then to Cindy's for lunch. Come home, go to bed for a bit. Wake up with a throat that's killing me. Use a flashlight and inspect my throat - Tonsils inflamed with some yucky pus. Call my mom and she says to use Listerine swabs on my tonsils. Manage to get dinner together and pick at my food. Still having low grade fever. Went to bed at 9pm.
Wake up feeling pretty bad with rapidly rising temperature. Throat feels like I swallowed razor blades. I've become an Ibuprofen junkie. By noon I'm like, totally useless .. UGH. Go back to bed and am bedridden for the rest of the afternoon and night. David, my baby darling, goes get me wonton soup and meds as I am a limp noodle with a spiking fever of 101F, sorethroat from hell, chills, bad muscle aches, tiredness, loss of appetite. David gets Mexican TV dinner for himself. Sounds VERY much like the FLU besides yucky tonsillitis! Wake up periodically from all these body aches and needing acetominophen for the fever and sorethroat.
Feeling a little better, headache less severe, muscle aches minimal, sore throat still pretty much a plague.