Posts Tagged With: family gatherings


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I know, I know, Christmas is over. I’ve been distracted and busy with long neglected upkeep around my place. I got tired of cleaning gutters and I had a company install gutter guards.  Now I have a leak right in front of my front door. They’ve been back twice to fix things. Maybe by next week it will get fixed  Luckily Christmas was very low key. I put a wreath on the door. The tree in front of my living room window, undecorated.

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In the dining room I set up some decorated mini-trees They stay decorated in the box. With one string of lights in the living room window and another facing the street. That was it.

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Neighbors, Ron and Suzy asked me over for Christmas Eve for snacks and wine. His sports room his filled with neon lights and the whole place turns red.

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He has a huge collection of sports pennants and about a dozen neon beer signs, bottles and related items. It is a fun hobby and the whole room lights up like a Christmas tree.

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Christmas Day was at my son, Ken’s. A real, live, nice smelling tree. Still low key with their family of four, my brother, Bill, Doug and I.

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Doug managed to get the plumbing contractor in and out, the siding finished, the house locked up and came home for Christmas. He said he was growing webs on his feet in all the wet and muck. He was lucky to get over the pass before it snowed. And, grateful for his own bed.

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Theresa and brother Clark stopped by for half an hour, to wish us a merry Christmas before they went to her daughter’s family in Acampo to spend the day.

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I didn’t take many pictures, nor did I bake even one cookie. Laurie did a variety and Doug took time to bake his usual cookies. Plus we decided upon a Cajun Christmas with Laurie’s Jambalaya recipe, I made chicken and sausage gumbo, some red beans and rice. And, then there was the famous boudin.

When we made it, the first batch was so tasty, it never got as far as the casings. Ken, Laurie, the boys and I ate the whole batch for dinner that night. So the ingredients were right and tasty, but in the casing, the sausage was too dry and we didn’t put in all of the rice which gave the ground meat a gritty texture.  I guess it takes experience to make boudin. I took some home, put it in salad, soup and mixed it with potatoes and onions as a stir fry and it was very tasty. Laurie also experimented and used it with with other ingredients and pronounced it “delicious.”

We played cards into the evening, and enjoyed the game of Phase 10 and Elevator.

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Both my grandsons, Stewart and Mason are talented graphic artists. Stewart is branching out and made this self portrait entirely with dots.

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He likes cartooning and grew up on Calvin and Hobbs, his fav.

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He is developing his own cartoon strip and I think he has a web-page. Since I can’t even draw a tree, I’m very admiring.

Today, I pick out paint colors for the new house.

Tomorrow, Virginia and her family return from Australia, via Vietnam, and points East.

Kristanne and her family stayed in with the flu and had no plans to make it to Calaveras County for Christmas.

Like I said, low key. New Years parties are, as my husband used to say, are for amateurs. We attended a few where there was no driving. He peeled a couple of dead drunks off the road as a cop and shunned New Year parties. Besides, he liked the early morning after parade and the football games.  Ciao, for now.

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We’ve often observed there is no such thing as normal. Traditions adapt to circumstance.

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I never imagined that my oldest sister and youngest brother would compare their bald heads one day.  Dawn has a few wisps more. Clark says, who needs hair, anyway? Dawn is 80 Clark 58.

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Dawn’s son, Tom, is two years older than Clark. Tom, Clark and my brother, Mark, grew up like brothers, rather than uncles and nephew. (Mark died at age 50 in 2005.)

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Dawn’s daughter, Debbie put together a great dinner for 12 with people we seldom see. Debbie’s husband Bob Blake on the right, with his son Jeff and the latest granddaughter, Abbie.

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Jeff claimed he’d never had his picture taken with both of his grandmothers, Dawn and Rita Blake.

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Debbie’s daughter-in-law Margaret with the youngest great-grandchild. At Thanksgiving, Dawn got to see her other five great-grandchildren. There are grand rewards for getting older. That must be why we call them grand children.

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Bob Blake’s sister, Pam and her two daughters and her daughter’s boyfriend came up from Manhattan Beach. I think we saw them at the last family wedding.

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The older we get, the more we look like each other,so someone observed.

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Tom and Bill share a laugh. The picture is lousy but I love it when people laugh with gusto.

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Dawn’s daughter-in-law, Maryanna used to be an Olympic swimmer for West Germany. At age 70, she could pass for someone in her 50’s.

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After dinner, we played bingo. Debbie and Dawn play bingo at the Terraces Assisted Living Center on Thursdays. So, she decided to stage a bingo game with wonderful prizes at home. Great Grandson CJ helped me call the game.  In all the hustle, I didn’t get a picture of Debbie, who is Dawn’s youngest daughter. Debbie is a School Psychologist and a whirlwind of energy.

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The next morning, Tom, Maryanna, Brother, Bill and I all met for a late breakfast at the Terraces before the long drive home. Tom and Maryanna live in Sunol, California. It was touch and go for a time, but Dawn is getting stronger and stronger after her brain radiation.  Traditions change to meet the circumstances and the circumstances be getting better.

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Theresa, my brother Clark’s fiance,  is an excellent cook and I should have taken pictures of the food, since I did such a lousy job of taking pictures of the people gathered at my brother’s  home yesterday. Some days are like that.

Dawn, my sister, with our visiting  cousin, Gary Rowe  enjoyed a rich artichoke dip with a variety of crackers and chips;   brie, pomegranate & pepper jelly, candied pecans, cookies,chips, and assorted drinks. I rarely indulge in such rich foods, but couldn’t resist snacking and drinking a good barbera wine. Theresa makes everything from scratch. Delish!

It is naturally an event when an out-of-town cousin visits.  Conversations around the table get quite spirited and old memories are displayed and hashed over for the fun and laughter they bring.

Clark was known most of his life as Corky, and only took back his real name late in life. He and my son,  Doug work together sometimes.  When dinner was served, I was full of goodies and could have skipped dinner.  I didn’t though.  Why resist the most beautiful Cobb Salad with roasted chicken and bacon, three different dressings;  four different kinds of quiche, jumbo shrimp, and apple cobbler for desert. Naw!  I loaded up and went home feeling like a stuffed toad.  Food for a King or Queen. Some days are like that.

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