Sunday, December 31

Certifiably Postal?

Well as I close out 2006 and look at my postings and their comments, I can conclude that I have two readers, being one friend ;-) and the husband - loving and well sarcastic ;-) and that I have surpassed my number of posts per month this month - that would be certifiably postal wouldn't it? I also am very fond of the husband, christianity, Christmas, family, friends, and scripture; as they represented the most popular post labels.

I look forward to what the future holds as I continue on this life's journey. The 2006 chapter has been quite a page turner, and I'm ready to get on to the next especially since as a believer we are pleased to know the final outcome - the exciting part is getting there; what's going to happen next. Like the season endings to series I watch, there are already some cliff-hangers, situations pending. But since the Lord wrote the book, I'll see you in the next ...

Thursday, December 28

and now, cheers of the day ...

On the tailcoat of a wonderful Christmas Eve praise and worship where the children sang 'Happy Birthday Jesus' sounding like little angels, on Christmas Day I slept in and even the little one slept in because he tried so hard and managed to stay up late. When I arose the husband had been up as is his way. We had morning coffee flavored with cinnamon or caramel. In times past, there would be a decorated tree under which were an abundance of presents; but we didn't get that far this year - no tree, no lights, etc. We did manage to display the paper decoration that the little one had made, a huge ornament with snowflakes and such streaming from it; it adorned our front door. The usual nativities (we've collected a few sets) were adorning tabletops. The dining table had an array of gifts upon it and Christmas cards. I didn't get around to sending this year either, but next year I think we'll be more on track with our usual holiday celebratory activities.

All of us lazed around through the morning listening to carols, watching festive television programming and chit chatting and however kids laze. We had everyone around except for the girls with the exception of the middle one; all of the boys were present. The eldest and her husband spent their first Christmas in their new home. The other daughters were with their perspective other parent enjoying family there. When the little one opened his presents, he spent time on each one, overjoyed every time - talked about 'bonicles' and such and went from one to the next putting them together and seeing what joys they beheld. But before opening his, he took the present to his dad.

The husband wasn't wanting or expecting anything - we have had such a bountiful year, but I always try to find something he has wanted and this year the little one got him a pair of very nice tennis shoes for a very 'husband' cost (he aims the spend the least possible for for the most of anything, which has served us well). The Giant's girlfriend was able to get them where she works for a 'steal'! It's always a pleasure to see him get what he is not expecting, as generally he is not expecting, and be pleased. He liked the shoes. The children this year all received VISA gift cards, which really delighted the one's in their teens, and the older ones all struggling with their various goals and endeavors were greatly please with the financial enhancement. For the little one who had been going on and on and on 'till the break of dawn' about new games, it was a dream made possible.

In the afternoon, keeping the agreement, I went about preparing the Christmas dinner - ribeye roast, mashed potatoes and gravy, and corn, with rolls. I have to pat myself on the back, it was delicious. I guess one of the keys for me is to keep it simple. I experimented with making a rub - I combined a couple of packages of marinade - I'll call chipotle peppercorn - some garlic pepper, a special hot sauce, smoke seasoning, a splash of wine and olive oil into a warmed gritty liquid paste and rubbed it into and all over the roast, then let it sit in the refrigerator for 2 hours (a marinade instead was recommended to take a couple of days - no time for that!)l. We cooked it in our new countertop oven which is full of options and quite tidy. The gravy I prepared on the stove with the makings of a package of Lawry's au jus seasoning and with the browning of flour - the taste was wonderful.

I rather enjoyed making dinner this year. The table was festive with the Christmas dinnerware. There was apple pie for those whose stomachs eventually made room for dessert. We, at the middle daughter's suggestion, went around the table revealing our goals for the oncoming year. It is a time too for reflecting on our blessings and where the Lord would have us in the new year. May yours be blessed and prosperous.

Written by Donald Arey, Sr.

I had a birthday party, most everybody came.
They danced and ate and had a ball
But no one spoke My name.
They gave each other presents, as nice as they could be.
People came from far and near, But no one mentioned Me.
The stores were filled with shoppers,
The restaurants crowded out,
But no one seemed to really know what the party was about.
They talked about a reindeer. I think Rudolph was his name.
Then someone mentioned "Jesus"
And they hung their heads in shame.
You see, it was My birthday. They didn't even know.
That is why from heaven My heart is grieving so.
I came to earth from heaven on that first Christmas day--
Born in a lowly manger From sin to show the way.
I died one day on Calvary, on a cruel Roman cross
To save a world of sinners From a life of awful loss.
When you next have a party, with presents, friends and tree,
Remember Me, your Savior Whose birth has set you free.

-- Jesus

PS: I am coming again soon.
Maybe seemingly not so, but we were at the party in heart and mind, being less Martha than Mary. It was a lovely day. Never neglect to come to the Lord's banquet.

Happy Birthday Jesus; we love you!

remains of the day ...

I was doing my usual 'keeping in touch' by reading blogs of friends of mine, when I recognized that I haven't been as cheery (even when some were in the midst of pieces of sadness) as most, even waxed a bit morbid. That's not really fair to the reason for the season. And so ... my 'remains of the day'.

There are those that deal with holiday blahs in some way or another. I deal with it to some degree at Christmas time and I have a sibling that struggles with the New Years celebration. Compound that with losing a loved one around that time of year, and things get a little harder. My mother went on to heaven last December. Too I spent some 16 years single parenting - the husband saved me from all that, bless his heart. The holidays then, though, represented loneliness and some sort of effort in futility in trying to create something for your children that seemed to be all over the floor, torn up in pieces of wrapping paper of unwrapped gifts. Still, while not the best parent in the world, those were precious years of 'mom'hood. They're just easier now and the husband has made the holidays easier too.

Here's one person's presentation of this phenomena:

Copyright: 12/29/92:

Thomas K. Hyland, Jr.

Well, each year the season seems to set upon us sooner.
Once upon a time, "Black Friday" was the official onset,
when all the shopping "zealots" of the world,
would descend upon the malls, in a great, gargantuan array.

But now, as the Halloween decorations are removed from the shelves,
their Christmas counterparts rapidly replace them ---
on All Saints' Day !

Every year, we're gon'na get a head start, right? Ho! Ho!
But, there's always that "last-minute project" at home,
rearing its ugly head, you know:
--- like: stripping the old wallpaper from the walls and ceiling,
or spackling and painting with nimble-fingered feeling,
or something equally laborious and unappealing.

Well, somehow you manage to perform a balancing act:
a lot'ta work on the "project,"
a little Christmas shopping, a lot'ta choir rehearsal,
an occasional "break" of shooting pool, and "tilting" a brew or two,
interspersed amidst a smidgen of familial chagrin,
all the while with a growing "knot" of stress within.

Then, finally: the "project" is finished,
the shopping is almost done, the gift-wrapping near completion,
the tree is up and trimmed, the candles are in the windows,
the house, cleaned and appropriately adorned,
and two out of four concerts have been performed,
what, pray tell, could possibly be next ?

Then, Bingo! The next thing you know, it's Christmas Eve!
The stockings are all hung by the chimney with care,
the grand, gorgeous glazed ham is baking in the oven,
the carols are playing on the old Panasonic,
the mood is quite warm, perhaps even harmonic,
but --- oops! The clock is still ticking off the minutes.

One-half-hour to: shower, shave, dress,
and get to the Church on time!
The Handbells are ringing the Prelude at six o'clock Mass.
Whew ! Made it ! Five minutes to spare!
"Regal Celebration" was quite good, tho' the rush was a mite unruly,
with a few "dings" and "dongs" transposed by --- Yours Truly.

Then it's into the van, and back to the house.
All the creatures are stirring, really in a tizzy,
now, baste the ham, stuff the stockings,
wrap the "last minute" gift for Aunt Lizzie.
Aah ! Time to relax and kick off your shoes,
have an "Irish coffee", to warm up your tummy,
un-uumm ! Was that yummy!

Oops ! Where did the time go?
Got'ta be back at the Cathedral by ten-thirty!
Rehearsal, Carol Service, Midnight Mass,
then, back home again, quick as a wink.
The clock chimes twice, as your baggy, bloodshot eyes
beg for blissful slumber, as they blink.

You open a few gifts, savor the flavor of the ham, and as
you gulp another Gaelic libation, the gong strikes three.
That's all folks! The Holiday "Blahs" have dimmed your light,

--- Merry Christmas to All ---

-- and to All --

a Good Night !

Somewhere in all this is a deep sense, at least for me, of the magnitude of this season and the need not to take it nonchalantly. In my little world that was at sometimes lonely, sometimes disappointed, sometimes reaching, reaching reaching ... there has always been a light that was created by the Lord in His love and His salvation in that He came down upon this earth and suffered so much, so much more than I, and is not simply the reason for the season, but the reason for everything - the very life that I have; and that everlasting. That is what I hold on to. Every year I can say Merry Christmas to All!

Wednesday, December 27


Recognition of ishness in self.
  • at base, the concept and/or practice of concern with one's own interests in some sort of priority to the interests of others; it is often used to refer to a self-interest that comes in a particular form, or above a certain level Wikipedia
  • concerned chiefly or only with yourself and your advantage to the exclusion of others WordWeb Online
  • thinking and acting as if one's own desires and interests are more important than the interests and desires of others Word Tutor
Wikipedia mentions the "Objectivist philosophy of Ayn Rand, which focuses on what it calls "rational selfishness" or "rational self-interest." The philosophy holds that individuals should not act on momentary self-interested whims but on what is in their long-term self-interest, which is defined to require respecting the individual liberty of others by refraining from initiating coercion against them" which in a Me generation fits right into rationalized thinking with the goal being to create a logic that supports our desires - the thinking sounds good, but is that what is really taking place. Sometimes the best way of looking at something is seeing the general limitations. Common antonyms are altruistic, caring, generous, kind, selfless, unselfish; as defined and as antonyms they cannot co-exist with selfishness. In other languagues the translation often closely looks like our English word "egotist", a correlation that could bear some reflection.

The diagnosis of selfishness is often overlooked by one's self due to the preservation of self. That preservation makes it hard to not conclude that operating in this manner is the best overall outcome for self as well as others; certainly others profit from the self at its best. So upon inter-reflection at being labeled selfish, the mind seeks to defend its current existence. The extent to which a person, who would like to think their ownself as good is in denial, can be quite amazing to experience. The sadness in this may be that all that remains for self is the self; that may not be the best of company. All of us operate with selfishness to some extent. To be labeled as selfish is for it to be one's base operative which cannot come from good.

Pertinent questions are Who is slighted, at risk, adversely affected in my decision? Would any other decision be more fair, beneficial, profitable to the greater all? Sometimes the answer is hard to see clearly; but more times than not it is as plain as the nose on our face. Speaking of body part idiomisms, we don't generally put one body part at risk over another regardless of the motivation, "to cut one's nose to spite one's face". The problem is when we separate ourself from the body in making our decisions.

If we don't want to be selfish, we need to be willing to accept that we may behave this way; being willing to do so will help us to be open-minded enough to see any activity in that regard. Then we can work against our nature to be the better person. The very crux of the lexmas decisions was the ability to examine one's own selfishness and its effect on one's own life.

Lord, help me to see my own selfishness and, Lord, help me to change for the better.

Monday, December 25


Just like everyone has their shows, I have mine. We tend to buy ours by the season. We are going through Smallville, and have 24. We also watch Battlestar Galactica, Stargate SG-1, and Atlantis - most somewhat sci-fi with the exception of 24, but practically in all something is getting saved.

Today, watched several episodes of Smallville including a timely Lexmas - kind of a 'Wonderful Life/Scrooge' with a different effect; but on the viewer the effect is the same - causes one to look at their life, their decisions, and think about what they want and where they are going, are they spending their time in the best manner possible. I liked it a lot. Funny that we got to that episode today, amidst the carol listening, gift openings, football and basketball (yah Miami!) games, family dinner and such.

But, as we contemplate the new year, it should be in like manner. For the choices you make today will be a path unto your future. And don't make the wrong choice for the wrong reasons. Personally, if not already the case, I recommend the choice for salvation; there's no time like the present. Blessings to you.

Sunday, December 24

christmas gems

I may have been down this road already, but if so, I find myself here again.

One of the Christmas programs I once enjoyed was a remake of It's a Wonderful Life with Marlo Thomas, It happened One Christmas; she's the Jimmy Stewart (Orson Welles, Wayne Rogers). It was a long time ago, but I still remember the enjoyment. Here's an interesting take on the 'Wonderful Life' movies. Another one I thought was special is 'The Gift of the Magi', a story by O'Henry, which if I remember correctly is about a poor newly married couple and what they choose to give each other for Christmas. Very touching. The Gift of Love is a version with Marie Osmond and Timothy Bottoms.

Always endearing is the story of appreciating a sorry little Christmas tree in A Charlie Brown Christmas. Christmas Time is Here from that movie is unique and one of my favorite songs of the season, just above Alvin and the Chipmunks'. And just because I read everything Louisa May Alcott growing up, I love Little Women with Winona Ryder. They represent everything family.

A good story about our Christmas shopping nature is "Jingle All the Way" (our governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Sinbad). Another film, that of life's ironies, set at Christmas time is Trading Places (Eddie Murphy, Dan Aykroyd, Jamie Lee Curtis, Ralph Bellamy, Don Ameche, Denholm Elliott) - the wiki summary says "the basic plot is very similar to the Three Stooges 1935 short film Hoi Polloi. Like the Stooges' film, Trading Places was one of many adaptations of Mark Twain's 1882 story of The Prince and the Pauper, a tale of two 16th century boys who share a striking resemblance but inhabit very different stations in society".

A very nice oldie is "The Bishop's Wife" (Cary Grant, Loretta Young - my mom used to watch her television show every weekday at 4pm; hers and "The Mike Douglas Show" - and David Niven), the precursor to The Preacher's Wife (Denzel Washington, Whitney Houston, Courtney B. Vance, Gregory Hines, Jenifer Lewis, Loretta Devine). Finally, while I am not a supporter of the fantasy, a memorable one in true Christmas tradition is "Yes Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus" (Richard Thomas, Edward Asner, Charles Bronson.

Here's a wiki list of Christmas movies well worth reviewing; you might have some of these in your library. Here's a take on several Christmas movies.

May your holiday be full of memories and movie reminiscing. May the reason for the season shine bright in all you do. May God's peace and love be warmly around you. Be blessed. Merry Christmas!

eight below

speaking of dog stories, Eight Below was on today. I was once again recaptivated by one of these stories. I've seen Snow Dogs, White Fang, "Call of the Wild", Homeward Bound, the Incredible Journey, Old Yeller, Turner & Hooch as just some of the dog stories I've enjoyed as well as ones mentioned earlier.

This movie, with a good cast of people (Paul Walker from 'Fast and Furious' fame, Bruce Greenwood who has a couple more dog movies coming out, August Schellenberg of Free Willy fame - yes I saw all of those too!) and the sled dogs, epitomizes teamwork, survival, caring. It tells of a man's love for his dogs , of not being willing to leave any behind, of 'against all odds'! The dogs' characters, themselves, each revealed their personalities throughout the film. It is very endearing.

According to the Wikipedia information and spoiler, its the fictional re-interpretation of the true events of the the 1958 ill-fated Japanese expedition which inspired the 1983 hit movie Nankyoku Monogatari. I don't like to give away the story in case someone wants to see it - but I was so caught up in the story I was risking being late for church on Christmas Eve. I finally snapped back to my senses. It will air several more times today and I suspect over the next few days. Chloe, Ziporrah, and I will watch it again later, this time in its entirety. You'll want to check this one out if you love dogs and movies of the likes of those above. has these for favorite dog movies.

Saturday, December 23

to the dogs ...

I admire canine, equine, and cetacea. While it is difficult to hang around cetacea, and equine don't seem to return my admiration (a story in and of itself), my favorite of these animals is the dog family as they are such friends and less expensive too! In my youth I read of Flipper, horses such as Black Beauty, and Jack London books and those on other dogs like the Lassies, Sounder, The Incredible Journey, Old Yeller, etc. As an aside, the eldest told me these animals didn't possess the ability to have the thought patterns portrayed in these stories - what is wrong with her? How did I not raise her right?

Wonderful true stories of the canines saving people often occur and I heard one today on CNN Headline News - Kaloipe, the black labrador rose to the occasion in Fresno (I wonder if she is acquainted with the husband's Ziporrah). Kaliope, trained to help her own owner, insisted upon taking her owner to a neighbor who was in need of help, thus saving their life.

These brave furry friends often exhibit such valor, even just recently

  • in China a man's dog saves him from the gas engulfing his home by waking him.
  • Bangor, a labrador setter wakes a man in his tailer where a fire started.
  • in Boston, a terrier mix saves a 91-year old by him from the danger of a malfunctioning furnace.
When not bred to be otherwise, dogs are such selfless companions. Now, while my staffordshire beagle Chloe, and the husband's black lab have failed to exhibit such ultra redeeming valor, they are delightful, entertaining, lovable, companionable family members - as if we didn't have enough in residence here.

My commuter co-pilot shared that her Sam sniffed out his own Christmas present and was well in the process of enjoying it, leaving the other gifts undisturbed, when she got home. That might not be selfless, but gets high ratings for cute!

Here's to our canine companions!

Thursday, December 21


My supervisor drops the ball like a hot potato unusually often right into my lap - anything but to hold onto it which becomes increasingly frustrating. Then I think, the person has been down with severe back pain; it must be the pain killers.

A squirrel watches helpless as vehicles move to avoid it after coming around a sanitation truck in the Sierra Madre somewhat rural residential street; helplessly because it was already hit and unable to move but still very much aware.

A young woman walks with hands thrust in coat pockets with purpose but visibly upset and crying as she crosses at an Altadena intersection.

The husband's lifelong friend try to get their lives around his wife's diagnosis of cancer while they await further prognosis. They have a lot of little ones.

Why I don't know but, while not solely, I am seeing sorrow, suffering and sadness today. It's a time to pray.

Did You Know?

Did you know that the writer of the song "Mary Did You Know" was a comedian?

I read it yesterday. He, also a singer - Mark Lowry - contemplated what might have been on her mind and wrote some of the questions down. Someone else, Buddy Green a harmonica player, later put music to it. It's a beautiful contemplative and revealing song. It is one of the songs for our Christmas Eve Sunday service.

Think about it, Mary was a young - in her teens - woman of faith. She was faced with a change in her life that was going to bring her under condemnation and her explanation was beyond reason. Yet she embraced the challenge and considered herself blessed as, in truth, she was.

In today's society to suddenly find yourself pregnant through no sin of your own would seem unbearable - abortion might even be considered or suggested, and the decision to keep the child be thought incredulous. She had her betrothed to explain to as well - how would he handle it. I don't know if she expected it, but it was by the grace of God. He moved upon the heart and mind of Joseph that he would stand by her and even continue to embrace her as his own, despite the circumstances.

What circumstances are in your life? God's plan for them, do you know?

Mary did you know, that your baby boy
Would one day walk on water?
Mary did you know, that your baby boy
Would save our sons and daughters?
Did you know, that your baby boy
Has come to make you new?
This Child that you delivered,
Will soon deliver you!

Mary did you know, that your baby boy
Will give sight to the blind man?
Mary did you know, that your baby boy
Would calm a storm with His hand?
Did you know, that your baby boy
Has walked where angels trod
And when you kiss your little baby,
You've kissed the face of God?
Oh, Mary did you know?
Mary did you know?

The blind will see, the deaf will hear,
The dead will live again,
The lame will leap, the dumb will speak
Praises of the Lamb?

Mary did you know, that your baby boy
Is Lord of all creation?
Mary did you know, that your baby boy
Will one day rule the nations?
Did you know, that your baby boy
Was Heaven's perfect Lamb?
And this sleeping Child you're holding
Is the Great I AM

~ Words by Mark Lowry ~
~ Music by Buddy Greene ~

But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. Luke 2:19

Tuesday, December 19

What are the odds?

I just realized if you look at two of the last 3 posts, in each I mention stars of two movies - and both times they are they same two stars but of two different sets of movies - Ben Affleck and Nicolas Cage in first Christmas and then disaster flicks. What are the odds of unwittingly doing that? Hmmm...

where in the kaboodle are my gifts?

I have everything I need, and so much more, especially with the new laptop; jacuzzi and stuff - I'm in heaven on earth. I mean one can always have something more, but I have so much more than enough.

However, aren't Kaboodles neat. I love kits; this, the husband knows. Anyways, there are a lot of wishlist programs out there, and I didn't really have a lot of time to do any comparison. But I settled upon Kaboodle; and therein lies my list. Why? Because when he gets me something, the husband wants to get what I want. Now what I want is to be surprised by what he gets me. I really believe it is the thought that counts. What a quandry! But, one of us has to be come out of this ahead, right. So, my kaboodle. Is it then, really a surprise? Does it make sense for him to try to buy everything on a list? But then, really we both get something, huh?

Monday, December 18

peace & mental pieces

It used to be that with Christmas around the corner, the work days became slower. But that isn't the case this year. Meanwhile activities on the homefront are at their height as well. Top that off with a child that is having trouble focusing in class, and peace and good will toward men is hard to find. But it must be made a priority, especially these days. Isn't it odd, that one has to fight for their peace this time of year - that it is an actual battle - which is an irony in and of itself. I've had to cancel plans and postpone others to not get carried away by the intensity of the season's activities. Have a joyous and peaceful Merry Christmas!

Saw WTC (World Trade Center) with Nicolas Cage this weekend - I was expecting a different type of story more along the line of a disaster film - this had similarities to Ladder 49 or maybe that type of flavor, and yet still different. While what actually occurred is beyond imagination, the event in this movie although bold and glaring, seemed not quite capturing the outright extent of appalling horror in this tragedy (as I recollect it being reported); not that I can conceive of how to achieve it. The movie is good, however, keeping your attention throughout. It's worth seeing and using to not forget this day in the history of the United States. I suppose December 7th's Pearl Harbor is the only thing we know comparable, and that movie (Ben Affleck, Kate Beckinsale, Cuba Gooding, Jr. and more) is a good, dramatized, portrayal of that day.

One thing these movies touch upon is man's response in times such as these. Do we predominantly rise to the occasion or fall to the basest of natures? What would we, ourselves, do in like circumstances? Will I save my own neck, give up in despair or fear, or risk helping another? There will be a time on earth where those realities will be faced by all upon it. It bears some thought.

I have new toys for computing - I have to tear myself away at times. I don't have to use my desktop upstairs, but can wireless connect from my notebook, and its fully loaded with all the software I prefer. It makes it easier to blog, to quickly access online activities, and even divert myself with music, movies, or games. And being portable, I can even take it on the road. The husband made Christmas come early by extending his Thanksgiving; God bless him.

Spent the weekend remembering birthdays - mine and the Ace's Ace (her husband). We enjoyed a dinner at Black Angus. It was nice to relax with good friends and chill with a delicious meal. At the end, instead of singing happy birthday, we received a beautiful dish of ice cream and chocolate brownie with carmel and happy birthday written in chocolate syrup decor. It was yummy! I sure need to post some pictures up in here.

I discovered a great way to enhance my birthday - join birthday clubs! Doing so I have coupons for free meals/desserts at Black Angus, Friday's, Red Robin, Red Lobster , Tony Roma's; free ice cream at Cold Stone and Baskin Robbins, free smoothie at Juice it Up. Happy Birthday Me! Yes, my birthday was last week, but I'm still celebrating!

Well tomorrow's another workday; goodnight. Three days to vacation after that - woohoo!

Friday, December 15

Marriage During Christmas Movies has Top 10 Marriage During Christmas Movies.

I would have Surviving Christmas with Ben Affleck and The Family Man with Nicolas Cage included on ones I would make mention of. If you have the opportunity, enjoy them. I'm sure I'll think of even more. If you want your holiday viewing to be full of Christmas , Hallmark Channel also carries a lot of Christmas fare to enjoy. Here is some programming on ABC.

Fare well :-)

Tuesday, December 12

"Let's Go" by Ashley Lynn

Let’s Go!

(Ashley Lynn –12-13-05)
My mother witnessed a conversation
and it seemed so funny before.
But now, in hindsight, the story she told
has revealed to us so much more.
Early morning, a socialite awoke
and began pacing to and fro,
Until she found her mirror reflection
and replied “C’mon let’s go, Let’s Go!”
That woman talking was my grandmother,
in a moment of Alzheimer’s fog,
What my mother didn’t realize
was that grandmommy was talking to God.
A few days later she left us all,
with the family in shock and dismay,
But she let us know that she talked to God
and asked for things to be this way.

by my niece

Monday, December 11

a haze of memories for today

One year ago today, on a Sunday go to meeting morning, I discovered my mom in the midst of a cerebral hemorrhage, although I had no idea what was going on. Two days later she passed away. So I am remembering her today. I don't miss her company per se - I spent a lot of years on a different coast than she. But she had been with me since the April before although, as my niece put it, 'in the haze of alzheimers'. But she was there when she kissed me on the cheek. She was there in many ways such as that. I am so grateful for the time.

So, I find I like the memories; its like visiting her. I can surround myself in mental snapshots of times shared like turning the pages of a picture album. I can hear her voice, see her expressions, recall her music, feel her hair as I combed it and smell the conditioner. It makes me sad, but it warms me too - smiles with the tears. I guess that is what bittersweet is; interesting. I'm glad she's with the Lord and at rest; when I see her again, the haze will be gone. Never said it enough when you were here with us but, mommy, I love you !

She gave birth to me on this day, and on this day she began to leave me. Today, she is very near and dear.

Isn't it odd

that the giant made a reference just prior to this weekend to something being very akin to Cujo, and that very night Cujo aired on TV?

I didn't view it from the beginning (but have before), however I relived the part where the woman was trapped in the car with her son until the end; emotionally intense! Once upon a time I read every Stephen King book I could get my hands on and, as usual, the book far exceeds the movie. I like King's style, especially the way you encounter aspects of other books in the one your reading.

But, still, that night; wasn't it wierd?

Sunday, December 10

spa goes! a long time comin'...

in a lil bit (when I finish this post), I'm going to join the husband in our long-awaited spa - it all started in a mental galaxy far away as an idea that gave way to the hope of financial reality. We began by replacing the fencing around our house with a block wall, leaving a large gated opening to accommodate bringing a spa in. We thought we were going to be able to remove one from the yard of some wonderful friends (parents of the dahli family). So began the preparation of the yard for a pad to put it on and the extending the electrical from the house to it. But as it turned out, regretfully, we couldn't come up a feasible way to get the spa out of their yard.

Our hopes sank as our minds looked at the possibilites. But we took up the search again early fall to find the spa of our dreams that would also fit in our pocketbook - you picturing that? The husband and I actually enjoyed interneting and visiting spa retailers even going to the fair. We really enjoyed talking to Diane, the salesperson at Sundance Spas - top of our list - she was a straightshooting and likeable seller and we were confident of her product; not so with CalSpas and the salesperson we met there. The fair was quite a hustle. Then I saw a place, Spas Plus, off of the freeway. We fell in love with one of their models.

We suffered setbacks after we ordered in the financial area that tried the soul. Finally that was resolved and arrangements were made for the delivery and subsequently a few color corrections. When it came to delivery they were able to drive right up into the back yard to the area set aside for the spa. However, come to find out, the electrical is not right for this spa. We have to undo it. The husband with the Giant worked out those technicalities. After delays waiting for the availability of the contractor, yesterday the electrical was completed, not without complications. A few parts later, we were given a thumbs up. The engines were started and 'yay' it worked. We started the water, and now the spa is full and running.

Thank you husband, giant, Gil, contractor, dealer and everyone who has made this possible. There's a spa in the backyard for my birthday! It's not my gift - but, if you understand - it is a wonderful gift to just have it there. So, for now, it's time to dawn the suit and christen the spa.

The office Christmas party

I usually enjoy the husband's office Christmas (I'm supposed to say holiday; but I won't!) parties - I think it is because people are usually in a rare festive frame of mind with all the sentiments of the season. The husband was quite the event photographer and we promised the Jarvis' to see them all; stay tuned. The band was absolutely great - they had a variety of musical styles incorporating jazz, swing, old-school, there was dancing too. The venue was dodger stadium clubhouse - and even the marquee was lit up to say a series of messages thanking the staff for their hard work. How neat! Our selection was the rib-eye with mashed potatoes, some complimentary seasoned veggies, and tasty french onions - very scrumptious. There was a wide selection of desserts from fresh fruit to a so rich chocolate cake which I just had to have some of, and flavored coffees. There was a host bar. I hadn't had a mai-tai in quite some time and I had the chance to recall why I liked them so much. There was champagne at every table. And everyone mingle, mingle, mingled. The Gonzales' and Anna were at our table, the Valdez's (I think 'coffee' when they're name is mentioned :-), and the Jarvis' stopped by. It was great seeing everyone.

I think the thing about these events is that I have the opportunity to be 'out' (like I have a life) with the husband - we become a couple who only have to love and enjoy each other. Lord please make more time in our life for times like these - I do so enjoy us being like that. Let me just say, the Jarvis' won a floral centerpiece to take home for being the first to arrive at their table! Anna did too! They were a quite lovely arrangement of reds and whites with carnations, other Christmas season flowers and roses, with appropriate greens. Congrats to all the winners!

Well suffice it to say I had fun. My office party is at lunch Friday; hmmm...

Saturday, December 9

Now this is odd...

the day I focused on Natalie Wood and the discovery that she was the precious little girl in A Miracle of 34th Street, that evening West Side Story aired; how odd! I wasn't able to watch it all; but I for a moment I re-entered in the once familiar world of the 'Jets' and the 'Sharks' and, once again, the innocence of yet another Natalie Wood role.

Tuesday, December 5

Living Large with Little

It is encouraging to watch the Kids (the eldest and her husband) make their life together, riding through the storms of health, finance, moving, stressful schedules of school or work - they grow stronger all along the way. They just became homeowners of a 'fixer-upper' proudly struggling with all the surprises behind the once secured door. Oh, the water heater doesn't work; oh, the flooring allowance is a pittance compared to what is needed; oh, I really didn't need the car to break down now; oh the money for the refrigerator coming from the payoff of a credit card disappeared into the top end of the house financing itself; oh, that's where the bugs go when you fumigate. But hey, they have gotten their degrees at UCLA (fight, fight, fight!), survived apartment living in 'the Jungle', moved out of state, employment adjustments; and they have remained humble (guess that was inevitable - smirk) and thoroughly enjoyable people with an enviable host of caring, 'come-through' friends. I don't hear them gripe, whine, or see them give-up - and beyond their human-ness, they keep praying, keep planning, keep pushing forward, keep communicating, and counting their blessings. They're like that drill on Armageddon, they just keep pushin' their way through to the target. They're are one of mine (blessings) and a source of encouragement in my own trials. No matter how little they have, they make much of it. Such beautiful memories they are making store of.

25"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? 28"And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:25-34

The son-in-law has a birthday this month - and well let me just say I am proud of him and so glad they found each other. He's OK and has performed a KO on her heart and, as the song says, 'nobody does it better'; no one came close; he's no Ishmael or pretender to the throne. So Son as you look upon these day, hold you head up high and be proud. You're a good man Charlie Brown in heroic porportions and we love you. Eldest, when it comes to you, words run to the farthest regions of the Netherlands. I was saying just tonight, 'the tangible can be taken away, but the intangible - you cant touch this'. Eldest, I love you and I am so proud. May the Lord continue to bless you, and all who care for you while you are so far away. Hugz to you Kids-MJ (together they are MJ, Superman's sweetheart in the movie) - a love of heroic porportions!

P.S. they make me think of the dear dahli lama family - oh to be young again *smile*

Natalie's miracle

I watched a black and white of Miracle on 34th Street last night. The little girl is just precious in her practicality and wonder - such a mixture in a child. Now remembering that intriguing face, I look up the little actress only to find she was one of my favorites! (duh?) I never knew Natalie Wood was the little girl. Wow!

This wasn't her first movie; her 4th. I always thought she was one of the classiest actresses around and emanated a rare warmth. Apparently that wide-eyed innocence as a child never left her face. I thought the coupling of her and her 'R.J.' special too. You get rare connections like these - Bogie and Bacall, Tracy and Hepburn, Gable and Lombard - I saw the movie.

December 28th, 1957 Natalie married the love of her life 'Robert Wagner' (R.J. as Natalie called him). They divorced in 1962, later to remarry. Natalie once commented about their divorce saying they were both scared, insecure and listened to others that their marriage wouldn't work....R.J. and Natalie married on June 16th, 1972. In 1974 R.J. and Natalie had a daughter Courtney Brooke. They lived happily as husband and wife until tragically, while sailing on their yacht 'Splendour', Natalie had an accident trying to board the dinghy belonging to the boat, fell into the water and, while trying to recover, drowned. from
Some of my favorite Natalie movies are Splendor in the Grass, West Side Story. Other notables are her last, Brainstorm, with Wagner, and Rebel Without a Cause - I wouldn't limit them to this, but I am simply too young to know all of them ;-). Some of her later roles her character's names were similar to her own original, Natalia Nikolaevna Zakharenko (family name later changed to Gurdin, even in a Hart to Hart 1979 TV cameo appearance as Natasha Gurdin.

Maybe one of her earliest films says something - No Sad Songs for Me. Here's to you Natalie!

Sunday, December 3

Christmas shoes

Speaking of Shoes at Christmas, certainly you've heard the song - right? that was also made in to a film, based on the #1 hit record and best-selling book, the beloved television movie The Christmas Shoes (2002) (TV) stars Rob Lowe and Kimberly Williams. In this heartwarming holiday drama, a workaholic attorney crosses paths with a young boy on Christmas Eve and rediscovers the true meaning of love, life and the holiday season. Maria del Mar, Dorian Harewood, Amber Marshall and Max Morrow also star - right? When I think about how our hearts should be focused at Christmas and what I want my children to be taught, these are the sentiments that come to mind.

Rob Lowe continues the role of Robert Layton in, The Christmas Blessing (2005) (TV) with Hugh Thompson (who has done many miracle focused films). Maria also portrays one of the children, Allison, in Unlikely Angel (1996) (TV) where Dolly Parton portrays a country music performer who meets an untimely demise, but cannot enter heaven until she performs a good deed back on earth - to get a workaholic widower and his children back together again for Christmas. Dorian's long career includes holiday work as one of the voices in The Easter Story, and a role in An American Christmas Carol (1979) (TV)- a favorite version of mine with Henry Winkler (I'd like to get a hold of this one), and "7th Heaven"'s Rev. Morgan Hamilton.

You can listen to and see the lyrics at the song site and at the film site also there is a poll, trivia quiz, behind-the-scenes interviews and more.

at Hello!

"So ... tell me how you met your wife."
"Oh", smiling, "well that's a funny story. See, one Christmas my young son, being concerned about how I was dealing with the death of his mom, calls a talk radio show to discuss it with them. To make a long story short a host of mail resulted from the airing, and my son fixed upon one particular responder. After a series of events he set in motion we met, she and I, on Valentine's Day atop the Empire State Building"
- hypothetical conversation with the Sam Baldwin in Sleepless in Seattle.

Sleepless is most definitely a frequent viewer for any romantic. I have no idea why I didn't mention this in my Affair to Remember coverage. If someone were to inquire of me, "how often can you watch this movie;" I'd clarify "in a day?" While simply falling in love with the story in its entirety, box of kleenex by my side, I too thoroughly enjoy the timelessly romantic soundtrack. Another such sountrack is the one to One Fine Day also from a delightful romantic comedy, not based at Christmas.

But to get to my point, there's a dialogue in Sleepless where Rosie O'Donnell - the best friend - having been told that 'boy met girl' and boy said 'hello,' asks Meg Ryan what did she say - She tells her with dismay, she could only say to Tom Hanks 'hello'. They flash to the scene in Affair to Remember to witness this exchange between Carey Grant and Deborah Kerr as she also says as Terry McKay: And all I could say was, "hello". (Watch the movie - really!) I was reminded in that moment of another 'hello' with Renee Zellweger and another Tom - Cruise, in Jerry Maguire (1996). There you have have this discourse that ends with:
Jerry: I love you. You... complete me.
Dorothy: Shut up. Just shut up. You had me at "hello".
I conclude, romantically 'hello' can say everything!

Saturday, December 2

'Two Shoes' Too

I vote "two shoes" too! The family laughs at me because one of my most favorite movies is Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol. I get all mistimental singing "I'm all alone in the World" and Tiny Tim's 'razzleberry dressing' and am known for random and stray episodes of just belting out lines from these songs. It is endearing, delightful, and great children's Christmas fare - I've passed down the tradition to the eldest daughter.

Check out abundant blessings blogger and you will see that I am not alone in the world of a Magoo Christmas. I came across another blogger, Skye Puppy - in a post that treats "A Christmas Carol" overall - who is of this mind also and from whom I retrieved the ever loved lyrics.

A hand for each hand was planned for the world,
So why don't my fingers reach?
Millions of grains of sand in the world,
Why such a lonely beach?
Where is a voice to answer mine back?
Where are two shoes that click to my clack?
I'm all alone in the world.

I own the video (replacing it once, even) and the DVD because I was always afraid the networks wouldn't pick it up at Christmas - while I was growing up it was a yearly tradition. This year, I understand the Cartoon Network will carry it on Christmas Eve. Merry Christmas to you every one!

Friday, December 1

Happy Birthday Brother

Happy Birthday, Brother, you've been there all my life. Keep on keepin' on!

the husband said...

the husband said when are you going to post - I can only read Bebe so many times; sheesh! Wondering how many times he'll read this one '-).

Fitness Footnote

'the highs and lows of' my Weight Loss Journey