Monday, December 30, 2013


Last night, a friend came over and together we watched the video, "It's A Wonderful Life." Her parting comment to me was, every time I complain, I have to remember how good we have it."  I would say AMEN to that.
Then, in my email this morning came a video honoring a particular CNN Hero, Anurada (Can't remember her last name.) But, my friend Wendy's words to me:  "We don't realize how safe we are."  I hope we can step into a new year and do one thing to assist the safety of daughters everywhere. Please watch this video from CNN.

Let's Make the New Year Better.

Sunday, December 29, 2013


Life is busy and this YouTube describes some of us:

Saturday, December 28, 2013


We've often observed there is no such thing as normal. Traditions adapt to circumstance.
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I never imagined that my oldest sister and youngest brother would compare their bald heads one day.  Dawn has a few wisps more. Clark says, who needs hair, anyway? Dawn is 80 Clark 58.
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Dawn's son, Tom, is two years older than Clark. Tom, Clark and my brother, Mark, grew up like brothers, rather than uncles and nephew. (Mark died at age 50 in 2005.)
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Dawn's daughter, Debbie put together a great dinner for 12 with people we seldom see. Debbie's husband Bob Blake on the right, with his son Jeff and the latest granddaughter, Abbie.
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Jeff claimed he'd never had his picture taken with both of his grandmothers, Dawn and Rita Blake.
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Debbie's daughter-in-law Margaret with the youngest great-grandchild. At Thanksgiving, Dawn got to see her other five great-grandchildren. There are grand rewards for getting older. That must be why we call them grand children.
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Bob Blake's sister, Pam and her two daughters and her daughter's boyfriend came up from Manhattan Beach. I think we saw them at the last family wedding.
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The older we get, the more we look like each other,so someone observed.
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Tom and Bill share a laugh. The picture is lousy but I love it when people laugh with gusto.
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Dawn's daughter-in-law, Maryanna used to be an Olympic swimmer for West Germany. At age 70, she could pass for someone in her 50's.
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After dinner, we played bingo. Debbie and Dawn play bingo at the Terraces Assisted Living Center on Thursdays. So, she decided to stage a bingo game with wonderful prizes at home. Great Grandson CJ helped me call the game.  In all the hustle, I didn't get a picture of Debbie, who is Dawn's youngest daughter. Debbie is a School Psychologist and a whirlwind of energy.
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The next morning, Tom, Maryanna, Brother, Bill and I all met for a late breakfast at the Terraces before the long drive home. Tom and Maryanna live in Sunol, California. It was touch and go for a time, but Dawn is getting stronger and stronger after her brain radiation.  Traditions change to meet the circumstances and the circumstances be getting better

Thursday, December 26, 2013


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Our Christmases are very much the same in some ways. Family card games...
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...snacking on things we don't make at any other time of year, especially the cookie varieties.
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Celebrating family under the same roof.
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Special for Laurie since moving back to California is having her sister Michelle and brother-in-law Wayne close by.
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Computers add a bit of levity with this jib-jab video Laurie put together of family members heads dancing around on elf bodies.
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It is ElfYourself. Silly and funny.
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Laurie is an extraordinary cook, and roasted a prime rib and made foccia bread that she bakes on a pizza stone.
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Doug carved the roast "beast"...
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We sat down to our feast, with ravioli and salad. We toasted our presence instead of presents.
As for my self, I am truly humbled by the riches we enjoy. Not just wonderful food, but the richness of family.  Merry Christmas for another year and as Tiny Tim would say, "God Bless You Everyone."

Wednesday, December 25, 2013


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Christmas in a "new" house takes effort to coordinate. Instead of the mantel from the former house Laurie tried to hang stockings on the stove. The hangars she bought, wouldn't hold the weight so she put mini stockings on them.  But, who cares.
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Stew and Mason were home from college and what fun to listen to them as young men, holding down a debate with their new-found knowledge. I loved it. Stew is an English Lit major.
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Matzek Christmases are usually loud affairs and it seemed quiet with half the family gone. But would you believe Laurie used to be the quietest one?  She gets in there and animatedly makes her point. I love it.
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The debate started with Stew and Ken. Ken stating that 96% of fiction is garbage. Stew countered with you can't judge, when you rarely read fiction. And so it went and on into other subjects, books, religion, movies...
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Since I'm usually the photographer and don't get my picture taken, I had my picture taken with everybody, mostly to show off my beautiful necklace that I've only worn once before. I got it when I went to China. Mason is not a declared major yet, but he is leaning toward a music major of some kind. My brother Bill has a website about the origin of language that he has worked on for more years than he cares to declare.
 After a simple dinner of Clam Chowder and salad with gobs of cookies for desert, we played a game of cards called elevator. My brother, who had never played before won! Sheesh! Beginners luck.

I had a chiropractic treatment on my neck before the dinner. I'm still having some balance, dizziness and memory issues.  My doctor thinks it is from low blood pressure. The Chiropractor suggested I may not eat enough salt. Geez! Since that accident I'm falling apart.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013


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Upon visiting a cousin in Marquette MI one year, I  saw a similar scene near a skating rink where a little boy, with tears streaming down his face,  got his tongue stuck to a metal pole and couldn't get it off. No one thought to carry water, or realized how thirsty children get, even if it is snowing out. An adult with a cup of coffee freed him. So, of course, I had to have this card for my collection of that lesson learned.
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Little kids in snow country love to catch the first snowflakes with their tongues and suck on icicles. We never had the ice cream flavored icicles that these make-believe children have.
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And, oh, how many snow angels we made right after a fresh fall of snow.
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And every hillside our playground.
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We not only built snowmen and women and children, but igloos and snowball forts and caves. When I look at these cards I remember all that fun stuff. But, I wouldn't want to go back to snow country.
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Most people from my childhood cut and hauled in a live tree. We didn't go to a lot.
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And dad gave pointers on the way it is done, until you were old enough to do it yourself. My oldest brother chopped his first tree, beautiful and just the right size when viewed in the woods. When he dragged it home, we couldn't get it through the door. But, we chopped it in half, the neighbor on our road used the top half and we used the bottom half. It all worked out.
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Sweeping off the sidewalk to feed the birds.
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The boy with the snowball reminds me of mittens so stuck with snow, we liked to chew it off so we could make another snowball. (Much to my mother's chagrin.)
I'm on my way today to finish errands, get a last treatment from the chiropractor and maybe write a few Christmas cards. Hope you are enjoying the season as I am, no matter how busy.

Monday, December 23, 2013


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Daughter-in-law, Laurie hosted a cookie making party.
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Laurie and my sister-in-law-to-be,Theresa, had dual mixers going and gobs and gobs of cookies were the result under their expert hands.
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Stewart and Mason, home from college for the season, enjoyed the snacks and the game and the food and just being home.
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Abbie and Anthony kept themselves entertained until there was room on the counter for rolling the sugar cookies.
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Ken always likes me to taste the latest brew he has discovered. I rolled sugar cookie dough for the little ones.
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Anthony and Abbie had never cut and decorated cookies before.
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Norma got into the act along with the kids. She decided to make it a family tradition since the kids enjoyed it so much.
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Laurie couldn’t resist decorating a cookie.
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Doug, too, whose idea it was in the first place since he remembered doing the same as a kid, one of our family traditions every year.
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Some of us recognized the best part of the party was not the cookies, but the lunch. Friend Tynna swooned. We had friend Norma’s enchiladas, and chocoflan, Doug’s turkey chili verde, I brought spinach souffle, that everyone loves. And, doncha know we all enjoyed  cookie tasting.
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And, then the bakers took a break, enjoying the great food everyone brought to share. Yum!

Sunday, December 22, 2013


It is one of those years when special tasks tend to overwhelm my usual Christmas rituals. I see little kids with boundless joy at the impending Holiday and I hope people won't go into debt for Christmas. When your kids are young and their school chums are bristling with every toy and electronic device known to exist, better to be swift to love and make haste to be kind. Teach lasting lessons of friendship and generosity. Teach what is really important and they will retain something for life long after the material things they crave are forgotten. DSC02259 (Copy)
Have fun.
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Laugh a lot.
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Sing and listen to music.
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Help with the decorating.
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Dream a little of what might be.
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Be positive, that snow will come.
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Spend some time with grandpa ;or special loved ones.
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Remember when Dad got on the floor and played with you at Christmas?
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