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Sunday, December 27, 2015

Christmas -- Presence, Now Passed . . .

It hardly seems possible that Christmas was two days ago already. We're are still in the Holiday mode. Partly it is because of the day of the week too. We were treated to at least three days so far of the "Christmas Moon" . . . and we had somewhat of a "white" Christmas:

On Christmas morning, we woke to a frost covering on the front lawn and on the roofs across the street. Of course, the whiteness disappeared rapidly but has returned each of the last two mornings.
The temperature at night here has been in the 20s . . . sounds like the Midwest, but that would be warm at night for them . . .

We had an enjoyable Christmas, saw a few folks that we don't see every day and some that we do . . .
We enjoyed the Christmas ham that I mentioned that we would, a few posts ago, for the reasons stated there besides the fact that I do really love ham.

Above is a Christmas collage that illustrates some of the high-points of the week so far -- there may even be more to come. The week between Christmas and New Years is pretty festive.

I did do some Family History searching, but I'll detail more of that in the coming year. Some of you (and we do know some that have already) will see the new Star Wars movie and maybe uncover the search there.

I don't know if this was uncovered in the movie, but you never know . . .

I am amazed at the information that is uncovered almost daily as I delve into the "tree".

I plan to spend quality time researching in the coming months and have already signed up for the available webinars at Legacy Family Tree.

Christmas, being the kind of holiday that it is, has brought new delights to our nightstand again this year. We are pretty much "set" for a few months in the reading-at-night category:

We just finished reading "A Christmas Story" this week (on the Kindle app on the iPad) and we have started reading "Unforgettable" by Scot Simon. Next we think we will read a book by Scot's sister Carly Carly Simon, "Boys in the Trees" and then after I have built up the muscles in my arms we will tackle "Sinatra The Chairman" which is most likely the heaviest book I have ever read -- in terms of actual weight -- it is 992 pages . . .

So we have a lot of interesting reading to do in the coming nights.

Lastly -- the countdown is on again for a couple of events:

It is still almost a month and a half away, but in our neck of the woods (the Bay Area) it is very
evident in the event impact arena.

So much is being done to showcase Levi Stadium's presentation of Superbowl 50. The Forty-Niners though will be watching -- like us,
on TV or possibly in a special section of the stadium designated for "players and their families",
-- those that didn't make the playoffs . . .

Then of course we are counting the days until New Year's Day -- just 5 to go.

I like "even numbered years" for some reason.

Happy Holiday week!  See you all "in a few"!

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Christmas, It's a Wrap . . .

As I write this there is less than a week until the big day. A great deal of this week has been spent wrapping the many items as they arrive via UPS, Fedex and USPS. The postal service has actually surprised me this week. One of the packages that we mailed on Monday of this week arrived safely at the destination before the end of the week . . .

On the other hand, the USPS in our local area sometimes look like the "keystone kops" of old. The various postal trucks race up and down, back and forth throughout our neighborhood. Actual mail service on Monday last, arrived at our house at 8:10 pm delivering what I believed to be a portion of our mail.  I was correct as they returned early the next morning with several packages on a
"special run" for just packages.

Last night we saw the postal truck stopped outside and watched as the two folks conferred about what to deliver to whom. One package was brought to the door and after several minutes of conferring, a second package was brought to the door . . . we stood ready for a third.

There is no question that Santa is expected to arrive in a few days -- but that is not the only event:

For the first time in almost 40 years, there will also be a "full moon" on Christmas. And I think that it will be almost that many years before another full moon at Christmas will appear -- so a timely event not to be missed.

Besides Christmas activities we were treated to other diversions, one of which was the Republican debate. That proved interesting and like some of the sporting events of late, our feelings were "mixed" at best.

But did you know that the Democrats have a debate scheduled for this evening.

And, it is three hours in length -- that would be roughly one-hour per participant.

If the Republican debate went one-hour per participant, it would still be going on . . .

So, we'll take a look-see tonight but no promises how much we'll actually see.

The other main diversion this week has been and will be NFL football. We do have to say that football this year leaves a lot to be desired. It just did not "bring it" for us that much so far. Maybe things will change . . . we can only hope.

Off to the right is the schedule for the remaining games this week.

There is actually a game tonight -- the Jets versus the Cowboys -- we may or may not watch that along with the debate and depending on which grabs our attention will determine where most of our time will be spent.

There are a couple of games on Sunday that catch our interest and we will be recording them for possible viewing.

MNF is somewhat appealing only from a "we hope that a certain team loses" perspective . . .

This post is almost all about Christmas related things. I have done some searching in a variety of branches of our tree -- but it was so sporadic that  it is difficult to summarize. Lately, though when I need to "get away from it all" I turn to and work in the trees.

And I also happened to look at some photos of a couple of recent Christmases. I particularly like the contented look on Dino as he gnawed on his "antler" chew. Later we enjoyed the yule log that Gail made . . .

And so it goes, we are amazed that this season is so fast upon us. In a week, it will be a memory to be added to the many other Christmas memories. We will then begin the countdown to the New Year.

Merry Christmas to all! And to all: "we'll see you in a few"!

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Countdown Continues -- Decorating Almost Done

With the burning of the "Christmas Candle" and the decorations throughout, it is readily apparent that it is truly Christmastime. Oh, and not to mention the sounds of various Christmas albums playing on the Echo add to the holiday spirit . . .

The front door greets everyone and it now has a traditional wreath adorning it (Thanks, Damian).  We have two Christmas trees in the house. One lighted (in a jar however) and our favorite "Charlie Brown" tree.

With any luck, there will be presents scattered around one of these trees on the appropriate day. I still recall when growing up -- there never were gifts under the tree until Christmas morning. Partly the reason was that usually there was no tree until Christmas Eve . . .

Shopping is still a lot of fun though now almost all is done online.
Of course, electronic items are hot and one of the hottest this year may be a drone.

Pictured to the right are some "early photo equipped drones". These actually were used to some extent years ago. It is almost laughable now to think that something like this could be put into use.

Those early drones had their share of problems and the drones of today certainly have issues to be worked out as yet. This holiday season may stimulate some new laws relating to drones.

We received our first Christmas gift (thank you, Lisa) and it is appropriately about a Christmas story.

Most of us saw and enjoyed the movie " A Christmas Story". It was soooo reminiscent of my growing up era.

And now I can read the book version of that story. What makes it nice also is the fact that I have it on the Kindle App on my iPad . . .

So our holiday bedtime reading has been decided -- nice!

Lastly, somewhere, probably in the middle of a middle state, can be seen the "Christmas Train". Not the Lionel that we had set up around the tree (sometimes), but the real deal:

I can only imagine what it would be like to spot this train flying across the plains at night with all the brightly lit cars and all . . . it's out there somewhere.

The family tree searching continues and reporting about that will resume probably next year. In the meantime, work is done on the many trees that I have and of course with the news of Family Tree Maker going away eventually, I will focus on putting and keeping the family on one of the other software programs that I have.

Today is Saturday, so maybe burgers & fries tonight. We are headed to the Plaza to do some brick & mortar shopping later this afternoon . . .  See you all "in a few"!

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Berry Nice !!

We had rain and maybe more to come later today! The rain helped to finish off the remaining leaves that fleshed out the cottonwood tree (pictured two posts ago) and now there are "just the berries" and a few good leaves remaining.

They look good enough to eat and hopefully they are "safe" to eat as Dino has managed to sneak a few and has for the last few years. We try to remove the fallen berries, but there are way too many to keep ahead of that game.

This week I have done my share of cyber shopping and have lost track of tracking . . . between our neighbor and us, we keep UPS, Fedex and the USPS quite busy delivering packages. It is quite fun to have the store "come" to us for a change.

Taking a break from the selection of gifting items, we looked at the prospect of Christmas dinner items. The decision as to which "protein" to select is always interesting and like the days growing up a lot of decisions are based on "whatever" is offered in the Wednesday or other grocery type ads.

Having been in the meat business for six years, my mouth always waters over rib roasts at this time of the year (or anytime for that matter) and here are two examples of current rib eye roasts offered for sale:

You have to agree that both of these roasts look "pretty good". So if one was serious one would have to make a decision. But additional facts are necessary before making the selection.

Here are the pertinent facts:

Click on the above to enlarge and then read the unbelievable details. As much as I love prime rib either one would be a major decision to make.  I have never seen a price like the first one (which is more than I spent for my first two or three cars, combined)

And look at the price per pound -- amazing. And to think what the price would be if these were not offered for sale from Costco . . .

The second roast, while costing much less is still, to me, a major purchase. So, what to do?

The third option is looking really good to me at this point -- and I have always loved a good "Christmas Ham" and who doesn't.

I could purchase a few hams and still be below the second choice of the rib roasts . . .

So, this little piggy is going off to the market AND there is always the split-pea soup that comes after the ham dinner to enjoy.

My mouth is watering already, I love ham!

Speaking of soup, we made a big pot of turkey,  barley & vegetable soup yesterday that turned out sooo good. Besides the dark meat turkey that was leftover from last week,
we added the juice from the pork shoulder roast that we were making, to the soup.  Very tasty.

While the aromas from the soup and the roast were wafting throughout the house, the sounds from Gail playing on the piano drifted throughout as well.

Dino took the moment to "enjoy" in his usual fashion, and added to this was the sound of rain at various times as well.

All in all, the combination of senses made for an enjoyable day.

Speaking of dining . . . to the right is a picture of our dining room as it appears after we "rearranged" it last week.

No longer do we have a table and chairs in the room that we only once or twice in the last four years ate at, we now have more comfortable seating.

The arrangement gives us a "nook" to read in and relax in, which we have used already more than the previous dining room setup.

The news this last week has been dominated of course by the events in "San Berdu". It is almost impossible to grasp any meaning and sense to that at all.

To counter the darkness, we looked to things on TV that would take our minds off tragedy and we found one event, Thursday Night Football, that did just that, though not until the last few seconds of the game. We almost turned the game off at one point thinking it was such a runaway victory for the Lions . . . but that would have been a mistake as the Packers proved.

So the Christmas countdown continues as well with just19 days to go. AND, less than a year to go before the presidential election. Sadly the events of this week will be an influence.

So, today being Saturday, it looks like turkey barley soup for lunch and pulled pork for dinner . . .

See you all in a few!!