Thursday, December 31, 2015


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Play a thin tune
on a paper horn
Old is dying
New is born
Scatter confetti
over the floor
Sweep an old year
Out the door
Blow up a wish
in a bright balloon
Whisper dreams
To a midnight moon
Play a loud tune
on a paper horn
Old is dying
New is born
by Myra Cohn Livingson

Tuesday, December 29, 2015


I refuse to use Google as my browser because I hated it. I felt like it was designed to take over my life. Anything but Google. Even then, you end up with plenty of Google, like Google Earth and a convenient search line from your browser whether it is FireFox, or Sea Monkey. I like Google Earth and they do a wide search, but I find using Google as my browser invasive.

I just got confirmation that my instincts are correct. This came from an article in the Washington Post:

Google was once a bit player in schools, but is now a dominant force. Parents in many school districts can't opt out of the company's tracking.

I would be interested in hearing from anyone else who has had problems with Google.  In my opinion you may be facing unpleasant consequences if you use it as your browser.

Monday, December 28, 2015


Against all my better instincts, I drove up to Avery to pick up my friend Paul for lunch since we missed an earlier Christmas lunch date because of the snow. He told me it was clear. On the high sunny ridge where he lives, it was. But, getting there on the uphill curves with shaded areas and heavy ice and snow, made me nervous.  But all turned out well and I brought him back safely. He ordered ribs at Alchemy, and if you like them, everyone says they are delicious.
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Since it was Sunday, and I suffer from Downton Madness, I wore my Downton Abbey shirt.  Two people took notice enough to mention it.

I tell everyone,  "Don't Call Me" during Downton Abbey.  Is that madness?
Ordinarily, not much of a television watcher,  I've become addicted to the most popular program on PBS in their history, so I'm not alone. I bought a set of the disks for my sister and got her addicted.
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And she bought me the T-shirt with a picture of the three sisters on the back.
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And, I'm A Mary, on the front.

Virginia and Cedric don't own a television set, but I got Virginia addicted as well. My daughter Kristanne owns a television set, but no programming. They use Redbox if they want to watch a movie. She said, "No, I don't want to become addicted. I have enough to take care of with a blind dog, and my  own pack and an active kid."  Where did I go wrong?

The last season is #7 and will start in January. They've decided to end the series and not let it run on and on for years like a soap opera. I'll be glued to the set for the first time in my life where everything stops for a television program.  Oh, it is madness.

Sunday, December 27, 2015


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The first thing to great me at my daughter-in-law's house, was the table full of sweets and a savory cheese cake. It seemed full until others arrived and added even more good things to the table. Laurie collects elephants- you may have noticed her elephant table cloth.
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I once did an inventory of her elephant collection and I counted about 700 elephant items, from ashtrays, jewelry to swizzle sticks.  Collecting is fun and appealing and I zeroed in on elephant ornaments that never made it into her inventory.
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The elephant is barely visible in this photo,but no matter, I was having fun.
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I would have given this elephant a bigger eye.
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Laurie is the youngest of two sisters. Michele on the right with her daugher-in-law is her middle sister. Her oldest sister lives in North CarolinaDSC07493 (Copy)

Laurie's brother, Mike and sister-in-law Ramona. At the last minute, we decided to have a wine exchange. Ramona kept everyone in stitches as she examined each person's choice with two pairs of glasses and a magnifying glass, before she decided which bottle to steal.
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My oldest and youngest brothers, Bill at 78 and Clark at 60. Michele in the background with her husband Wayne who smoked the lamb roast. Clark was the other clown of the wine exchange, threatening to open and try them out. He got stolen from four times. I guess the threat worked.
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A good game of liar's dice was entertaining most of the "kids" the youngest two age 13.
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My oldest, Ken and youngest Virginia.  I guess men like to grow beards when they have vacation. They vacation from shaving.
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But the Greek feast was on. Roast lamb, tzatziki, a famous Greek yoghurt dip, with condiments. Greek meatballs with rice, feta and mint, with zucchini feta pancakes and lemon sauce.

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Roasted potatoes with a Greek dressing...a spicy lasagna with special cheeses...seasoned chicken kababs. DSC07500 (Copy)

Spinach filled spanakopitas, a Greek fruit salad and a Greek rice salad. The food, with a bunch of good cooks in the house?  Stellar. Everyone agreed that enough turkey and ham at Thanksgiving should be bypassed for ethnic foods at Christmas. The only thing missing was the famous Greek circle dance and music.

We decided on Mexican food next year, because Virginia just learned how to make home-made tamales, heavy on the filling and light on the masa. Cha, cha, cha.

Saturday, December 26, 2015


DSC07374 (Copy)To have lush choices about how we will spend our Christmas week is a gift that reminds me how fortunate I am to be in a community that treasures neighbors, friendship and family. I planned to take a friend to lunch Christmas Eve day, but he was snowed in and I couldn't pick him up. By coincidence, my son Ken and his family came to Murphys and I had lunch with them instead.
DSC07429 (Copy)Murphys hosts a free Christmas dinner every year for anyone who would like to join hands and enjoy this special day with others. My friend was still snowed in and I decided to go, remembering the last time I attended this dinner was right after my husband died, year 2000. It is held at the Native Sons Hall in Murphys and he was their treasurer at the time. Table, by table moves though the line after everyone is seated and has had a chance to visit and get acquainted.
DSC07431 (Copy)I expected to sit with neighbors I knew, second from left, Jan and then Becky. At the door, I was told, I had to sit where I was directed because they fill up the tables from front to back, so fast, and I would be unlikely to find a seat with my friends.
DSC07428 (Copy)As it turned out, I was standing in line with Carol Burton, (rt.) and her family of five. With me we made a "family" of six. Carol and I were part of American Field Service when my kids were in high school. Left, her daughter-in-law who is an Old Blue, meaning she graduated from UC Berkley.
DSC07432 (Copy)What was nice is that I could move from table to table and catch up with a number of people I hadn't seen in years. Here, Eleanor Darby with her grandson. She is another old friend from AFS.
DSC07435 (Copy)Pastor Jo Sider in red, I hadn't seen in two years and I've run into her 3 times in two weeks.
DSC07436 (Copy)Dan Darby, a magnificent artist, and now, a published author. He wrote a book entitled, God's Gold.
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I didn't get pictures of everyone I knew at the dinner, but I managed to get Carol's family. Nancy, in front with her mom, is an avid biker, and for the first time I got a glimpse into her hobby. She sent me a map of Club's ride  through central Oregon,  and then the coastal side of the State of Oregon,to take place in May. Behind her, son Jim and his wife; to the right, her daughter, Laurie and husband, with Santa peeking out from the crowd.

Today, my immediate family and my daughter-in-law's family will be celebrating Christmas with a Greek themed dinner. We don't trade gifts, but we will be gifting the Butte Fire Recovery Fund.

From Dr. Seuss,  How The  Grinch Stole Christmas, comes the wisest words:   "Christmas is within our grasp as long as we have hands to clasp."

Thursday, December 24, 2015


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I once heard a radio announcer asking people if they believe in Angels. I was surprised at how varied the answers were. This Angel Christmas card gives the essence of Christian beliefs, the hope of all the world is born.
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Old religions have multiple Gods that guard against storms, or praise the sun, or other natural events. The Angels are only manifested with Christianity.  I've seen bibles with beautiful depictions of angels, but no precise description of an angel was written during that time,  just that they would appear. Who, then, depicted the first angel to know what they are supposed to look like? I'm not a religious scholar and someone of you might know the answer to that.
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Artists of today, decide for themselves but they were guided by painted images of Christ that we see from early paintings and statuary, and artist's renditions in bibles. Angels are mostly depicted as women, but the bible mentions men's names for angels. From a museum work of art-this male angel has no wings.
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A modern artist produced a whole chorus of what looks like little boy angels.
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Christianity was pushed onto the American Indian and if they wanted to adore an angel, she wore a feather bonnet, a crown of respect in Indian culture.
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And were angels cherubs?
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Or were they adults?
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Out of the protective and holy spirit of angels, came the guardian angel. And, later a Valentine cherub with his bow and arrows.  All stemmed from the original angel that lead the shepherds to Bethlehem.
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A single angel points the way to the manger.
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The three kings are shielding their eyes from the brightness of the light as the angel appeared to them.
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Angels not only represent witness to Jesus birth, but to peace and love and comfort. This artist included all races; the whole world. Some Christian religions believe their beliefs are the one and only true messengers of God, ignoring that Muslims and Hindus outnumber Christians in the world. The God's of Egypt are long un-dieified,  but their belief in them was profound and literally moved mountains-with the assistance of slaves.
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I like the modern angels like this barefoot cherub keeping warm with the birds.
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 Or this little angel catching stars and putting them in her basket, with a nod to Santa, his hat caught on the moon, a bit of whimsy.
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So sibling like, one Cherub annoying another.
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And what was in the artist's mind when she sought to have angels looking in on humans snug in their living room on Christmas?
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Hey, school girl!
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Let's not forget the message.
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Meant to make us laugh is a naughty guardian angel spy.
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I guess I wouldn't be a card collector if I didn't enjoy them. Maybe you will too.
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Most angels fly.  I saw one image of an angel seated.
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Others decorate.
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Or setting up the the stars for night.
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Guaranteed, no two are alike.
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Angelic visions.
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Maybe angels are supposed to be in the realm of children.
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Precious and lovable child angels with fake wings, make me smile.
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Like a bride, she is dressed, and expressing devotion.
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My favorite card is this one, where crabby older sister is trying to get her excited classmates ready to go on stage for the most important date of their very young lives, the Class Christmas Pageant.
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All serve the same purpose, to wish us and you a Merry Christmas.