Posts Tagged With: decorating


DSC07172 (Copy)We turn into children a bit if we have little grand kids to play with. But even adults enjoy taking a drive through a particularly colorful neighborhood where  lights and lawn decorations beckon. We decorated lavishly when our kids were little but now I settle for getting cards out every couple of years or so.

DSC07168 (Copy)With my signal down for two days, I put my mind to Christmas cards and toward the end of my list, I got weary  and decided to phone old friends I hadn’t seen, nor heard from. Numbers change and I regret not keeping up with old friends. In a changing world, we have social media, email and facebook. I can find a couple of them I’m sure.

DSC07169 (Copy)A less known ritual among stamp collectors  is to mail away to a Christmas town.  Each year I would pick a couple of towns that suggest Christmas and send a self-addressed return envelope, to collect the post mark.

DSC07171 (Copy)It would surprise you to know how many Christmasy places we have in the U.S. I have a list of 89 cities. Some are repeats, like Berry, IL., and Berry, KY. I’ve written for: Santa, ID. Bethlehem, N.H.,Chestnut, IL, Christmas, MI.,Evergreen, NC.,Garland, TX., Mistletoe, KY, Rudolph, WI, Harmony, MN.   There are many, like Ivy, Pine, Noel, Hope, Bountiful, St. Marys, Winters, North Pole… and so it goes. I forgot to mention local Angels Camp is on the list.

DSC07177 (Copy)And, once you begin looking at post marks, you find other interesting anomalies like these opposites:

Disco, Wisconsin —– Waltz, Michigan.  Carefree, Arizona—–Panic, Pennyslvania.  Normal, Illinois—–Peculiar, Missouri. Sunrise, Wyoming—–Sunset, Louisiana.  Lively, Virginia—–Drab, Pennsylvania. Why, Arizona—–Whynot, Mississippi.

Then you begin to wonder, why was a particular town named Truth Or Consequences, New Mexico, Hell, California, or Triumph, Louisiana?  All town names are a glance at history in a unique way.  Major postal centers digitally sort mail and in many areas you can no longer get post marks of the city on an envelope.

You will not see kids lying on the floor, pouring over pictures in a catalog either. I know the future is here, and an I-phone can play your favorite Christmas Carols and allow you to shop while waiting at the doctor’s office. Even waiting at the doctor’s office is destined to change. I am not longing for the “good old days” so much as relishing memories and comparisons, a kind of privilege of age. Who would have thought we’d see driverless cars, and voices that give you directions while driving?   I love the technology giving us wonderful things in the future. But, I believe the guy who invented voice mail should be shot. (Well, you know, not really. Only when I’m hanging on-line for an hour or so.)


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Daughter-in-law, Laurie hosted a cookie making party.

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Laurie and my sister-in-law-to-be,Theresa, had dual mixers going and gobs and gobs of cookies were the result under their expert hands.

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Stewart and Mason, home from college for the season, enjoyed the snacks and the game and the food and just being home.

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Abbie and Anthony kept themselves entertained until there was room on the counter for rolling the sugar cookies.

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Ken always likes me to taste the latest brew he has discovered. I rolled sugar cookie dough for the little ones.

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Anthony and Abbie had never cut and decorated cookies before.

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Norma got into the act along with the kids. She decided to make it a family tradition since the kids enjoyed it so much.

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Laurie couldn’t resist decorating a cookie.

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Doug, too, whose idea it was in the first place since he remembered doing the same as a kid, one of our family traditions every Christmas.

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Some of us recognized the best part of the party was not the cookies, but the lunch. Friend Tynna swooned. We had friend Norma’s enchiladas, and chocoflan, Doug’s turkey chili verde, I brought spinach souffle, that everyone loves. And, doncha know we all enjoyed  cookie tasting.

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And, then the bakers took a break, enjoying the great food everyone brought to share. Yum!

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Yearly, I enjoy visiting San Francisco to see for myself what has changed and what is new. After a long absence, I’ve begun a seasonal visit at Christmastime at the behest of my youngest daughter.

Late in the day on Saturday, we hauled the ornaments out of the garage. As it warmed on Sunday morning, the boys trimmed the street-side trees in the yard. Owen is unsure about how to proceed, tinsel first?

He decided to tackle the tinsel.

It’s a tricky job for little guys.

We arrived in San Francisco hungry, quickly taken care of by a bounteous meal at a Moroccan restaurant, Tajine on Polk St. The appetizers, a pickled beet, egg and cucumber salad, with Arab bread to dunk in olive oil and a chicken pastry, beautifully served and both delicious. The boys both ordered chicken kabobs with french fries.

Virginia chose sausages with couscous, and my lamb and prune tajine (stew)-excellent. We educated the boys about Morocco, the rock of Gibraltar and the Arabic style of eating at a table with cushions, and without silverware.

Our waiter commented on the boys good manners and pleased all of us.

We had plenty of time to do some sight-seeing around town before and after  the Dickens Christmas Carol staged at the Opera House.  We watched the ice skaters under the  ferry building clock that stopped at the moment the 1906 earthquake struck, one of the few survivors.

The gold enhanced cupola of the San Francisco City Hall.

Winking mask sculpture with worn paint from the tiny feet and hands of curious children.

The boys enjoyed the many musicians and the break dancers performing impossible double jointed moves.

The cable cars were all decked out for Christmas…

…as was the rest of the city. We enjoyed the tree on Union Square. The boys ate roasted chestnuts and decided they are “just okay.” But, hey. It’s a tradition of Christmas because of a song.

One  building has a three story-plus Christmas tree in the window. I believe it is a Nordstroms, now, but to me it will always be the City Of Paris building. I hadn’t seen it in many years and it was a highlight for me to visit once more, despite the changes. At one time one could walk around and around the building and view the tree on every side. Now you take an elevator or escalator to each floor.

I caught our reflection in one of the gigantic balls.

Theo wanted to buy this hat.

I remember a time when you could walk from window to window on Macy’s block and see a continuous animated display in each window. This was it!  One animated window. Businesses, and the city as well, started being practical about Christmas decorations years ago,  but the memory of the splendors past will stay with me.  It was a delight to go and be reminded.

Somehow, we never tire of  great Dickens classic that feeds us our dole of repentance and faith that we too, if need be, can turn our lives around.

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