Saturday, December 25, 2010


Wishing you ...

a joyous Christmas with family and friends.

Here's a Karen Carpenter classic:

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Mother Nature is bestowing a questionably welcome holiday gift of rain on our Southern California community. The rainy weather is projected to continue through Christmas Eve, with a possible slight clearing Christmas Day, then resume giving us what will be more pretty steady moisture falling from the sky. I mention all this to alert eastern readers that we may be sending some of this interesting weather your way which could transform into your own version of a winter white christmas.

I don’t mind missing our traditional perpetual sunshine since we have the rest of the year when I expect rays aplenty. Our rain means snow in the upper mountain elevations which is a pretty sight to view in the distance from my home – if the dark clouds would recede. Regrettably those clouds have caused me to miss the rare total lunar eclipse occurring with the winter solstice for the first time in centuries. I did see repeats of the eclipse on news stories but it’s not quite the same. I think it’s highly unlikely I’ll be around the next time this real time opportunity presents itself.

There is a downside to all this rain for residents who live in previous years forest fire burn areas as they’re subjected to mud slides. Sections of the fabled Pacific Coast Highway have had to be closed to traffic due to boulders rolling down onto the roadway. A TV emergency broadcast system announcement broke into an earlier program to alert foothill communities to potential dangers. For the first time ever that I recall in almost forty years living here my city was named. Later tonight much heavier rains in a short time than we’ve had so far are expected which may result in lots of water runoff. I don’t anticipate any difficulty in our neighborhood though.

My TV viewing is seriously hampered since I use only a roof antenna so my set uses a converter box. That change from analog to digital HDTV has resulted in my always having interference with television stations broadcast signals causing my set to lose picture and sound. This storm has been the worst we’ve had and affected the most TV stations and channels I receive. So far I can still receive our local ABC-TV affiliate and one independent station called My TV.

Radio – remember that medium? – always has good reception. This experience does give me a taste of what life could be like in a major disaster with my having decreased media access. Batteries would last only so long with limited replacement availability and I’d really be challenged if our electric power grid was out.

On a different note, I had an unusual unwanted experience last week. One afternoon I unexpectedly was given a few squeezes from a bottle of a new-to-me gingerbread fragrant body lotion. I hesitantly massaged the lotion all over my hands to my wrists. Two hours later I was in the midst of viewing “Fair Game” at my local movie theater when I became aware of some itchy body feelings. Apparently, I had my first ever allergic skin reaction. The symptoms were limited to skin red streaks and spots all over my body. Itchiness continued for 2-3 days before clearing.

Before the movie I had been talking with a friend about recent news reports of bedbug resurgence around the globe and throughout our 50 states. Some of the fanciest hotels, upscale stores and movie theater seats in NYC have been reported to be infested requiring fumigation. The thought briefly crossed my mind that the bugs had attacked me at the movie, but I was relieved that was not the case, fortunately.

The lights have gone off and on a few times as I write this. I’ll take some time away from this composition to make sure my flashlights are functional and bring one to this room. I might as well prepare a snack apple while I’m up. ……….. Later, I’m back……….Wow! I just heard a sharp snapping crack from another room. Wonder if it could be electrical? ………… Well, I’ve done an in-door walk-about and all seems well -- no strange sights or smells. Back to writing this…...

I hadn’t planned to write a Holiday letter to friends and family this year, but then when their cards started arriving in the mail I changed my mind. Some just sign their name. Others may comment “will write later” (but may not.) A few sentences from several reveal a time crunch with caregiving challenges. There are hand-written, type-written, and computer generated letters with and without their family pictures. For the first time I received a genuine Christmas “card,” – a post card greeting with their family group picture and a personal note stating the writer didn’t even know how to turn on a computer. Seems many I know have yet to acquaint themselves with the Internet much less visit the blogosphere and here.

I can’t help but note that for too many years the holiday greetings I receive gradually dwindle in number as do local friends. Those of us who do write of our adventures, and daily activities increasingly realize a health status report is warranted. Having an entire year go by before hearing from some friends seems to be quite a long time. Contradictorily, each year seems to pass with increasing rapidity. This has become especially true in the time since my husband’s death. Our shared years sometimes seem like they occurred yesterday, other times a lifetime ago, or maybe our time together was in some mystical world.

Here’s a movie trailer with the song from the classic “White Christmas” (1954) starring Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, Vera Ellen, Dean Jagger.

Friday, December 10, 2010


Holiday season is here but which one? After September’s Labor Day I gradually began to experience holiday confusion. I thought I was clear on 2010’s holiday sequence as October began, since that’s when some notable-to-me birthday anniversaries make their annual rotation. Complicating matters for me this year was that each individual birth date surprisingly fuzzed-up my mind by triggering thoughts filled with unexpected mood-altering memories. Despite that interference I had a vague awareness Halloween was the next holiday until I suddenly began seeing Christmas trees covered with brightly colored lights and ornaments in neighborhood stores.

Had I missed the ghosts, goblins and spider webs celebration with all the costumed trick or treaters? News accounts assured me I had not, but as November began,a deluge of Christmas sales advertisements promoting alleged product bargains became increasingly overwhelming. Some neighbors began turning on their yearly increasingly excessive gaudy decorative house and yard light displays. Whatever happened to the admonition to conserve energy that we received years ago and observed for a year or so? Energy sources and environmental issues have changed little, so what is the justifying rationalization for all the lighting now? I must admit I do enjoy seeing some of the more tastefully decorated lighting. I guess what is tasteful is in the eye of the beholder, but more is not necessarily better.

What happened to Thanksgiving, I wondered? My need for reality grounding caused me to make note of the “T-Day” holiday on my blog, but for many apparently the celebration was short-lived. No more leisurely long Thanksgiving Day weekends if this season reflects future years commercial Christmas preparation behavior patterns.

We’re supposed to gobble up the vittles and get out to those stores that don't close for the day or re-open later. Some may choose to sleep after eating so they can be well rested to go shopping beginning at midnight when additional stores are opening. Certain businesses won’t open until early morning – that’s 2 A.M. not 6 or 7 A.M. There are those who even want to be among the first entering those stores, so maybe they need to plan to camp out for hours in front of that establishment as news videos documented some shoppers did this year. Shopping often seems to have become an entertainment or sport activity for many folks. I wonder if they realize their participation results from subjecting themselves to commercial forces manipulation?

I think we’re headed toward Christmas now. Hanukkah – Chanukah just ended. Kwanza is celebrated after Christmas. Ashura is a festival yet to be observed but I don't know that it's widely known in the U.S. So I’m appropriately oriented now that the Christmas and New Years holiday season is, indeed, finally near.

I still remember when I was young waiting for Christmas Day. Holiday decorations, sales promotions and talk of Santa, thankfully, did not begin until the day after Thanksgiving at the very earliest, or not even until December. The almost four weeks waiting time between Thanksgiving and Christmas seemed interminable to this child then. I can only imagine today's children's strained patience wondering how much longer they have to wait for Santa. I hear the questions:

“Is Christmas here yet?,”
“How long is two months?”
“What’s a week?”
“How many more days 'til Santa comes?”
“I wish I didn’t have to wait so long.”

Here’s Bill Evans, musically influential jazz pianist having fun in an audio only recording session vocalizing “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town”:

Here’s Bill Evans playing a strictly instrumental rendition of the same tune: