Posts Tagged With: gifts


Christmas morning, Theo got up, opened his stocking and found a book. He plopped immediately to the floor engrossed. We had to shovel him out of the doorway. When everyone was up and had had breakfast, the kids were allowed to open their presents. Having stayed with them a couple of weeks ago, I heard all of the stories about how they guess what their presents are. “You always buy us Lego, Gramma, one shake and we know what it is,” I was told with a smile.  Then Owen confessed to the real tricks. Dousing the ribbons with catnip so the cats would tear open the wrappings. Slitting the taped ends with a knife and peeking at the ends to read the box, then resealing;  pressing the paper tightly and try to read through it; measuring the boxes and comparing those measurements with their favorite toys in the store. Oh, they are clever.

This year, I told them they could shake, rattle and roll and they would not be able to guess. Owen opened his big box, failing at many guesses, to find:

…another box. After five boxes total, he discovered an Ipod. It measures about two inches square.

Theo guessed his gift as a puzzle.  I told him  it does sound like a puzzle but that is not what your gift is.  When he opened it, attached to the puzzle was a note telling him where his gift  was really located, under a quilt, in my office. A Lego game.

I fooled them this year. I’ll have to get smarter by next year.

For Christmas dinner we had five pheasant and two ducks that Ken hunted with his boss.  With a paella salad, and a green salad, we feasted.

When it got dark,  the guys lit the Christmas Tree. The kids played with their new toys and we talked and snacked until 11 p.m. Ken brews his own beer, some of the best he has ever made.

I thank you all for visiting my blog and hope that you’ve had a good year and an especially Merry Christmas.




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The older I get, the simpler my Christmas becomes. I feel closer to old friends as I write my cards.

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.

Fond remembrance for Christmases past. The profound enjoyment of the music, the tinkling of bells. Teasing the kids, perpetuating the magic, and looking at Christmas through their eyes.

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.




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Yesterday, I was dealing with my art fix in Mendocino and I didn’t  show you the town.  Brightly painted, well-kept buildings, small gardens here and there.  A mystery is the water towers. Does that mean a scarcity of fresh water here? I don’t know the answer to that, but they rise majestically above everything.

They are interesting and strong.

Built like railroad trestles.

An edifice that combines a water tower with a viewing platform faces the headlands. It also gives access to the appropriately named Bayview Cafe on the second story of the building next to it.

We wandered into this charming garden with lavender, alyssum, and an angels trumpet up next to a small gift shop-closed at that point.

Angels trumpet grows white or yellow, both beautiful.

A friendly bench beckoned.  If it fit in the motor home, I would have taken it home with me.

Beautiful stained glass at Mendocino Jewelry Studio.

If you like kaleidoscopes, Reflections specializes in them. Beautiful home crafted woods and quality glass. Nice, nice, and pricey. The store has an intriguing  kaleidoscopic image quilted wall hanging. Unusual.

I chuckled at this whimsical place setting.

Fused glass by Theresa Kowalski, at Panache Gallery.

The bulletin fence teaches you a lot about the character of the town, which is where I learned about the Marijuana Patients Rights Union. This is a fun place. Contemporary, friendly. You could detect a buzz of happiness in the people you met.

A last swing by the headlands, and we were on our way to Cloverdale.

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I chuckle, now, about shopping madness in the 1980’s. Remembering one particular Christmas with kid’s high expectations; siblings too numerous to afford; trying to find the right gift with funds inadequate to make a dream come true. Tradition played its part as well. All of which placed me frazzled and desperate for last minute sales in Stockton at a Penny’s Department Store on Christmas Eve. The lines were daunting and dispirited I stood, contemplating why I was in this horrific line, instead of sitting in front of the stove with a bowl of popcorn and a hot toddy enjoying my home and family.
Someone in front of me said, “Let’s go to fabric. The line will be short. No one buys fabric this close to Christmas.” I hesitated to give up my place in line, but, followed, went upstairs, and there, the line was like all of the others. Tired shoppers struggling with packages, waiting in line with purchases from other departments. The only glimmer of hope was this clerk had an assistant, a bagger, which could conceivably make the wait shorter.
We plodded slowly forward. About seven deep, I heard someone voice my own thoughts. “Why do you have an assistant when none of the other clerks do?”
“Oh, I don’t work here,” chimed in the bagger. “I’m a customer. I just thought I’d help out and now I can’t quit.”
It took a second or two for the information to percolate and suddenly my tiredness left. The clerk and bagger were happily and furiously removing tags and loading bags and bantering with the people closest in line.
I proposed a hip-hip-hooray, thrice, and the word spread down the line as everyone gave voice with lifted spirts.
I walked out into the cold night with my parcels, enjoyed the crisp wind on my face, and went home a new person. It ain’t about the stuff.

Two years later, our family gave up shopping and agreed to donate to charities instead. We found such enjoyment in each other, I can’t believe it took us so long. I know this is anathema when the economy is depending on spending. But none of us would change it.

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