Posts Tagged With: Holidays


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Having children discovering the magical myths of Christmas makes it special. These cards show the joy that children bring to the season.


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What I was most struck with as I rummaged through my card collection, is the absence of people of color. Jesus was a Jew in an Arabic nation. Probably brown-skinned. Yet he is always portrayed with white skin and blue eyes.

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The second thing that struck me is almost all cards depict snow. It is tough to find a Christmas card outdoor scene without snow.

And, this unusual 1945 card shows the other side of Christmas, those less fortunate, cold and forlorn during this munificent celebration.

Generous people, be reminded of your food bank donations, or service club jacket, blanket or toy collections. Most of us with computers have all we need. Did I read that seven homeless people died in San Francisco because of this cold snap?

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Things we can do without, for starters, is a broken septic system pipe at my rental. The pipe originally installed 35 years ago, was not the proper type of pipe or it most likely wouldn’t have leaked. The slope is narrow and difficult to work with heavy equipment. The shovel holds the back wheels off the ground so the bucket has balance on this upslope.

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What appeared to be a seven-foot area of pipe to remove turned out to be 60 feet of pipe instead, plus the loss of three trees.

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The guys take a break, my brother Clark’s father-in-law to be, left, my son Doug behind him and Clark. Without my family I wouldn’t be able to afford this rental. They give me the reduced “family price”.

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I spent most of the day in Angels Camp on errands. I’m still having neck pain and I have a therapeutic massage once a week. Each time I think is the last one.  Then to the eye doctor to pick up my glasses. I love his clever sign.

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To the jewelry store to have my rings cleaned. They sell ceramic fish for a charity and I always like to find a right facing fish. My friend Dave Wilson has a theory that all fish sculptures are done facing left.  He is almost correct. Right facing fish are rare.  It is silly, but I find it fun to give him a poke.

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I came home to a limping wild turkey next to my driveway. In fact the turkeys were feeding on the green vegetation at the leak. My renter noticed and contacted me or I wouldn’t have noticed it. I suspect this bird will be coyote or cougar lunch within a couple of days.

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I got home by 3:00 to meet my friend, Sharon. She brought a bottle of wine and told me she went to lunch with a friend and when they got out of the restaurant, her friend’s car was missing. They called the Sheriff and reported the brand new Jeep Cherokee, stolen. Later that evening, she let me know that Wendy’s husband came for the car, couldn’t find her, and drove the car home. We laughed, and the reason he did it was reasonable in the end, but it was not funny at the time. Today, the plumber comes to put a new valve in my gas heater.  Why does this stuff happen at Christmas time? Maybe we all get a little nuts around the holidays.



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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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My neighbor, Jan,  is known for popping in for five minutes, always with some  ulterior m0tive.  She decided I was lacking “bling”. You can see the  bling on  my shoulder.

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.

While they did their work,  I used a hacksaw blade to cut through the thin coating between the two doors.

It wasn’t budging. My crowbar and nail puller both disappeared but I had a long,  strong mechanic’s screwdriver. It took some doing to pry the doors open without wrecking them.

That’s when we discovered he had nailed the doors shut. I guess he figured he wasn’t coming back anyway. Gotta take laughter where you find it.  And, what the hey, the guy needed the money.

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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.

This fuji was past prime  by the time I got off the road. Some cling, looking soft and rotten.

This heritage  Northern Spy, is crisp and good. Keeping in tune with the autumn days, sunny and warm with cold nights.

Foraging in my neighbors garden, some fresh basil, tomatoes, one zucchini, and an eggplant. Enjoying what we can as long as it lasts.

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.

Some primal feeling of comfort envelopes me when I harvest these portions of my own food.

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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.

Sister Karen set up his chair with a humorous note and identified garbage from recycling.

Preparation counts.

By 11:00 on Saturday, people began putting up their tents.

The adults enjoyed snacking…

while the kids jumped on the trampoline until they were temporarily exhausted and needed a rest.

Squirt guns were  popular items for keeping cool.

Sisters, Bev and Cathy.

By 2:00 everyone was ready for a cooling flume ride.

That is, everyone except our youngest, 4-year-old Abbie who fell asleep on Dad’s lap.

Doug challenged Anthony to swim to him in the swirling current.

The chicken and tri-tip are Doug’s strong forte.

The two best cooks. Norma brought her famous home-made Chili Verde with Peruvian yellow beans and rice.  (To die for.)

To by-pass mosquitoes, we hid inside and played Black Magic for a couple of hours.

The kids got to stay up really late and played on the trampoline with light sticks until everyone was ready to call it a night.  More tomorrow.

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