December 22, 2011
As a family, we gave up giving each other gifts long ago, except for the children. As I age, I know that Christmas is a matter of the heart and we value the gift of time with each other over anything else. That includes the food, an important part of our shared time together. Special dishes, lovingly and thoughtfully prepared.
Appreciating the trappings of the season all around us, glowing lights, cheery voices, the smells of cedar and pine, the colors shining bright, secret smiles, hidden glances, the scurry and hurry and expectation of things to come.
And Peace. We don’t expect World Peace to happen as much as we may wish it. But, in our country or city neighborhoods, where Christmas dwells, 80% or more people take a day out of their work to celebrate Christmas, and there is a sense of peace. Little traffic on the road. The quiet of a neighborhood as everyone turns inward to reflect upon the beauty, the warmth, holiday hugs, the family together, the deeper meaning of Christmas Spirit. Love, Joy, Hope and at least, a day of peacefulness.
December 19, 2011
I had hired a homeless guy, looking for work, to do some chores around the place. He told me he had worked as a roofer, had some carpentry skills, knew how to use a chain saw, etc. I have a storage shed with warped doors and I asked him if he could fix them. He did and I gave him some paint to paint the shed. Unfortunately, he painted the doors shut. So, I asked my friends to help me get the doors open. Jan is one of those people who likes to have fun with anything she does, and she likes ceremonies. She grabbed a pot to beat on, and Karen, my housemate, is half Cherokee and did a ceremonial dance.
October 31, 2011
I’d forgotten about Halloween until I saw the date on my computer. On our rural road, a trick-or-treater is a rarity. In 33 years, I’ve had six kids, three one year, and three another year, begging for treats. School parties are popular and safer anyway. But, those people living in a house-to-house neighborhood enjoy the fun. This weight guessing contest was set up at our local grocery store. I noticed yesterday it had been moved. I’ll have to go into town and see if I won the guess.
Happy Halloween to you and yours. In its celebrated form in the USA, it has transformed to a purely North American fun night without it’s original pagan dark side. My youngest daughter was an exchange student to France during her high school years and enjoyed teaching her French family how to carve a jack-o-lantern. With youngsters still at home, the carving, decorating, costuming and begging treats has become, for all of my grandkids, their second favorite holiday.
Yesterday, I spent time in the yard, enjoying the soon to be gone sunny days.
I harvested my walnuts for the first time in seven years. A balance of nature took all the squirrels away. I expect red tail hawks got everyone. In the past, a woman asked me what was growing on my trees. She had never seen walnuts grow. They have a husk, which dries out and the nuts free fall to the ground.
July 6, 2011
Summertime and the livin’ is easy. Come Independence Day, we celebrate with a family and friends reunion. Doug spends a couple days mowing and weed eating; raking the horseshoe pit, blowing up inner tubes and a multitude of other tasks to make ready.
December 6, 2010
Attending the beautifully, refurbished Geary Street Theater in San Francisco was a treat for the senses. The profound Dickens Christmas Carol, with old, familiar and endearing messages of greed and poverty; redemption and joy, of which we never tire. And, the theater itself, (no pictures,) but I can attest to its gold burnished decor, comfortable seating and rich, traditional interior that makes going to a “play”, a grand experience. The huge cast performed on a stage with suggested scenery that still conveyed the setting even to our ten and eight year olds. They were spellbound, as I was.
My daughter, quite smartly read Dickens story to Owen and Theo a couple of weeks before the event.
We had good Indonesian food at Boroduro. The boys favorite was chicken sate and the shrimp krupuk.
And, from our seven course lunch, Virginia and I favored the lumpia and the chicken soup. The soup was redolent of lemon grass, the sprouts were crunchy, boiled egg and greens added protein and flavor. Oops, can’t forget the black sticky rice and coconut milk desert. Such flavorful choices.
And, crowds of happy shoppers;
Or a piece of street sculpture just waiting for you to happen upon it, half hidden in a shop indent.
November 1, 2010
Having young children can inspire a person to celebrate Halloween with great fanfare. Thus, my daughter carving the cannibal pumpkin—
—dressing up as a ghoulish, green witch, filling the cauldron with candy, and in general, enjoying the fun as much as the kids. The whole courtyard was decked out with a graveyard scene complete with fogger and sound affects.
The kids picked their costumes with extra care and examined and adored them for days before.
They practiced their super hero moves with flare.
Encouraging trick-or-treaters to come to YOUR house was fun. Trick-or-treating was gobs of fun. But, the best part, the very best part, is counting your booty and hoarding it for the days to come.
As adults we remembered the things we didn’t like in our sack. Anything good for you, like apples, walnuts and bananas. The worst was a penny. And a tooth brush from the dentist. Oh, no!
From the look of things, it was a very exciting Halloween. And for me, a new recipe, I’ll share tomorrow.
December 13, 2009
Jan got into a competition to find letters in ordinary objects with her sister, and claims they realized it was a “sickness” they shared. Jan went on to create a business out of her obsession.
There is beauty in everything. Not a sickness, nor weird, really. The simple objected rendered as art.
She hails from Groveland and is doing what she loves.
I particularly liked the flowers in hope and joy. So appropriate.
December 9, 2009
Two of the M’s, Michal and Madalaine visit Mr. & Mrs. Santa. The three M’s are actually 4 M’s.
December 6, 2009
A dead chicken can be transformed into a thing of… well… not exactly beauty. Ahm, stark raving lunitic works. This is the downtown tasting room crew for Twisted Oak Winery during Friday’s Murphys Christmas Open House. I never asked owners, Mary and Jeff Seith, why they moved a beautiful old barn from Murphys downtown, to the highway edge of their property and hung a bunch of dead rubber chickens on it. Now the rubber chicken has become a lively trade item. I swear he must have had them made to order.