Posts Tagged With: genius


If it seems like we are giving thanks on this august day set aside for reflection, we are. Only the pictures are belated. Jim took the pictures so one chair is empty. We are: Doug, with his back to the camera; Cedric;  grandsons, Theo and Owen; daughter, Virginia; and myself. The rest of the family celebrated in their own homes

Virginia is very organized and reported that last year she had to toss half a moldy pumpkin pie among other assorted containers of food that somehow get hidden in the back of the frig. This year, she ordered, everyone takes home anything they brought that is left. That works for me because I love living for a week out of the frig.

Theo peeled thirteen potatoes before Virginia said, “Halt.”  All of us took mashed potatoes, turkey and gravy home.

Doug mashed that mountain of potatoes. It takes muscle to wade through them and get the butter and half & half thoroughly mixed.

Every year, as a tease to Cedric, we set up cranberry man. Doug decorated him with torn napkin snow this year.

Both of Virginia’s salads have pomegranate berries in them.

While the rest of us played Quidler, Cedric spent the entire time at the stove. Watching the turkey. Stirring up gravy with roasted vegetables. Heating up Mary’s gumbo and Doug’s Lasagna.  Virginia put a skillet of  Johnny Cake in the oven, and made pear tart ahead of time. Doug always makes huge batches of cookies from his own original recipes.

Everyone had a hand in the works.

We skyped with Daughter Kristanne, with son Austin and his brother Alec who drove up for the day. And, I HAD a picture of them. Ken called and talked to everyone.

In fact, Jim took 128 pictures on my new camera, plus this video of Theo on stilts made by his brother Owen. (It made me a bit nervous because they are a bit heavier and don’t fit as well as commercial stilts.) He juggled while walking as well. It takes courage to be tied onto legs six feet tall.

Now, I would have liked to add more pictures. There were better ones but my choices were slim. The reason is my brand new camera does not sync well, sometimes, not at all, with my system 7 computer. Hmm! It took two phone calls to Consumer Cellular on the 24th. And, six hours between Jim and Me trying to figure it out from the book we downloaded. I went to bed exhausted. More of the same yesterday. And finally, this morning, an hour phone call with a cellular genius, who got me partially into the 21st century of phones. But, it was frustrating to be dragged into it and not be able to post nor edit anything. Nor even choose from a fat 128 picture album.

The help-line genius said, “Well we say it works with system 7, and it does, sort of. But don’t try it again. You might as well get a new computer that has system 10 on it.”

He was terrific and now, just before Christmas sales, I have an excuse to buy a new computer.

It would have been wonderful to have my first experience with pictures on my new phone be a pleasant one. The learning curve is challenging.

Everyone is smiling. But, they are already using those new-fangled devices with smarter phones than mine.  But, my trusty Sony Camera will accompany me where ever I go for just a bit longer. The 21st Century is still young.



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I have an old fruit ladder, useless, and I almost dumped it about four months back.  Son Doug encouraged me to do something artistic with it, instead. My mailbox post was rotted and wobbly, so I decided to turn the ladder into a mailbox holder. I always wanted to have a fun mailbox holder with a box reading “AIRMAIL” with a set of wings on it. One of those plans that kind of simmers in the back of the brain without exactly figuring out how to do it.

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When I went to the super bowl gig on Friday, I asked Doug to bring his tools and he measured and drilled a hole through the box. daughter-in-law Laurie had previously painted it. This has become a multi-person effort as you will see.

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Enter neighbor Gary Gonzalez, and our neighborhood critic, Kristi Darby. Kristi giving me a ration about my funky ladder mailbox holder and Gary, a pilot, gave me his wings. How cool is that?  He also helped me paint the ladder with anti-freeze as a preservative. This was several weeks ago, as the project takes shape and these pictures were taken yesterday as we gathered around the mailbox to install the unwieldy contraption to my fruit ladder. The ladder was erected by neighbor Cameron Stewart. This is a terrible picture, but I was so excited about the installation, I didn’t do a good job. Kristi is holding the leash for her dog, Keely who also witnessed the installation but failed to anoint the ladder. Tsk, tsk! I forgot to bring champagne, too.

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This is what it looks like, sitting on a support, awaiting installation which took the genius and skill of neighbor Mike Cameron. He is a builder and I asked if he’d like to try something challenging.

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He rolled up with his truck and tools. Measured and drilled a template.

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He drilled the hole, and fashioned a support system for it. The quick favor I asked of him took about two hours.

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And up it went. It is top-heavy and the needed bracing was a challenge in a tight space. He showed me how to strengthen the bracing on the the rest of the ladder. And, we ended up changing the position of the mailbox to have the painted side face the street. Again, I was so excited I forgot to take a final shot. But, the project isn’t complete yet. I’ve never had a neighborhood mailbox party, but when it is complete, why not?

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And, of course, Kristi, being Kristi, told me I’d better get my regular mailbox painted and she told Gary what trees he should trim. I love creative suggestions. Hmm.  Maybe it would look better bright orange?

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But then, something else happened. The Email box that sits half way down the ladder had, I thought, caught some stray Christmas ribbon blowing in the wind. I thought I had closed the box after my rude paint job, but having it opened, and the ribbon blowing in the wind made me think it would make a good birdhouse. Mike said to me, “there’s a letter in that box.” HUH?

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It had been through wind, and damp and a month of nights. I traced over the letters as I struggled to read them. I loved the “stamp”.

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And here is a letter from Santa Claus with this charming poem. I checked with the usual suspect, the neighborhood prankster, Jan Stewart. She claims it wasn’t her. I guess I’ll have to ask Cindy Gonzalez, who has been a regular at the gatherings. I didn’t get her picture either. Cindy?  Are you the culprit?

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