Saturday, December 26, 2015

Up the Down Staircase

In my garage here is a pull-down stair. Obviously all of my Christmas regalia is up in the attic, and with two broken ribs I deemed it unwise to go trotting up there. Agreed? So the spirit of Christmas was celebrated at 8824 with hanging a few Russian Easter eggs from a polished Manzanita branch which always adorns my dining room table. Today Lee's niece

Julie, visiting from Virginia with her whole family, gifted me this year's white house ornament, celebrating Calvin Coolidge. It is adorable and now competing for attention with the the Easter eggs. Plenty of Christmas parties paid yo yo with my waistline, but I found the Christmas sweaters and sweatshirts in the cedar chest at the foot of my bed still stretched over my widening waistline. The other holiday coverings, including a quilt I made of three untraditional wise men never emerged from the chest.
Christmas eve I went to a lovely dinner with friends here who had a white elephant exchange of gifts. Catherine was there (see photo) and I happened to draw her contribution to the exchange. It was filled with many of her Mom's tiny pin-on sweater decorations and many Christmas clip on earrings. Like me, Cath is trying to downsize. Well, I have been wanting to learn to make a wreath, so my goal this year is to make one and decorate it with all the miniature white elephants received. It will be a way of honoring Cath's birth mother and I can see her smiling now. 
Yesterday, Christmas day, I bought take out Chinese for two friends who also were alone. One is an ex-nun, one is a no-longer Jew, and then there is me. We laughed and laughed and told stories about our selves and our dysfunctional families. 
Some  of the stories were tragic, but we somehow found joy in sharing.
Pictures:Julie and Bonnie, Catherine and Bonnie,  Julie's husband Ray, and son Jordan, now working for a political research firm in D.C

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Winding Down

Seems like I couldn't disagree more vociferously with Barbara Walters choice of Person of the Year.
Why oh why does she think a spoiled, egocentric, millionaire transexual dressed in seductive clothing
deserves our applause? Come on, Barbara...
On the other hand, I think I deserve some bouquets for having transformed myself.  Another year in my warm and older middle class surroundings, having gathered so many new friends, and still cherished by my old ones. And so does everyone else on my gratitude list. We are sturdy thinkers and survivors relying on Social Security and whatever we have saved. The bulk of my furniture is over forty years old, and some of my duds the same..Lets hope the new year brings some sanity to Washington, and to the world.
As usual, my dear niece Cheari helped me format my Christmas letter, and my good friend Jan helped me fix my computer ram problem over the phone. How fortunate am I! If I could figure out how to add it to this blog I would, but that's something I still have a lot to learn. Yeah!

Christmas 2015.pdf

Friday, December 11, 2015

Bats in the Belfry

With the El Nino rains this past week my garden is in transition. The bird pack in the back yard has changed in population and temperament, many fall birds feasting until dark on seeds of weeds. But it turns out that isn't all that has taken up residence. If you look closely at the photo you will see little black specks on the edge of the rock plaque I made in  1958. Yes, 1958, when Lee and I first bought the house on Carisbrook in the Oakland hills. At that house it perched to the left of the front door. I put it together with rocks and wood from Maacama creek with the help of Willhold glue, and this is its third residence. I almost left it by mistake at Cathy Lane but the new owners rescued it for me.
Now it seems a bat has taken up residence behind it and the little specks are bat guano. Just where either I or my house guest would step in or out of the front door. Now my hair is already speckled black and white but I dont think I want to add bat guano to the mixture. So my trusty handiman Ralph promises to relocate the newest resident next week. He promises me he wont harm it.
I wish I knew if this had some deeper meaning in the Native American culture. Please let me know if you do.

Friday, December 4, 2015


When I left for the East Bay pre Thanksgiving my Japanese maples were a painting onto themselves, stunning. But it seems a very big wind and a three day cold snap transformed them into shiny nude  ladies. The gardener had filled my huge green can to the tip top and an additional pile, two feet high, circled the Asian pear. I was lucky the weather did not get the Christmas cactus, a gift from Marianne when she moved, which greeted me with smiles and bright pink blossoms from a sheltered bench on the front porch.   "Take me in," it screamed.

Its taken me almost a week to unpack, wash clothes, and pamper my broken ribs, which are taking all too long to heal. Could it be that I am getting old? Or maybe I just ate too much while I was away?
Two groups of dear friends had luncheons in my honor. How fun. But imagine this: they both picked the same Chinese restaurant. What kind of coincidence is that?
Its good to be home, even if the yard got transformed in my absence.
I just came from my current events discussion group and am feeling overwhelmed about climate change, as well as the San Bernadino  murders. Looking for  any little sign to give me hope. Then I spotted this leaf.  Its dead now, but I think still mesmerizing.
Remember to keep the things around you that bring you joy.