Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Fog time

This is what winter looks like on the island. I’m glad I’m not going out today or tonight. You can barely see the well tanks 45 feet across the lane.
My mind seems a little foggy, too.

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Thursday, December 25, 2008

Warm Christmas

Yesterday, Christmas Eve, our heater stopped working. It has been working erratically for a few weeks, but yesterday we could not get it going at all.

Warm air from the register gently moves the Christmas ribbon.

Larry of Cypress Air, our friendly neighborhood heater repair guy, saved the day. He has been having trouble finding the part the furnace needed. He took a special trip to Concord and found it. He came over here in the late afternoon and installed it.

Warmth fills our house and our hearts today. Merry Christmas.

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Monday, December 22, 2008


Our little neighbor girl came over this morning and asked to borrow two eggs. She is a cute 10-year-old and is sent over here frequently by her mother to borrow things.

A few minutes ago there was a knock on the door. I muttered to myself, “She probably wants to borrow some flour now, and perhaps some sugar.” Grump, grump.

We opened the door and there she was with this lovely spice cake, warm out of the oven. “Merry Christmas” she said as she handed us the cake and a Christmas card.

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Sunday, December 21, 2008

First day of winter

I hope you are all snuggled in quilts and sitting by a warm fire today – the first day of winter.
When the power goes off, as it did here today for a few hours, everything you want to do calls for electricity. You think, “Well, I’ll bake some cookies,” or “I’ll sew some quilt blocks,” or “I’ll scan some photos.” No you can’t.
We took a nap.

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Friday, December 19, 2008

Flashback Friday -- Snow memories

Yesterday, shivering in the 40 degree Fahrenheit cold, I thanked my lucky stars that I wasn’t putting up with snow as our friends on the east coast are. Snow is pretty, but I have been a California girl since 1946. Here is a picture of our house in Slingerlands, NY.
I found this current picture of the house on Google. It looks much the same, but they have added a little entry cover on the front. The trees have grown.
Here is another snapshot from long ago: My father wrote on the back, “A last fling on the Christmas skis before leaving for California. Chris is a winter sports enthusiast. February 10, 1946 just before leaving the Empire State.”

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Monday, December 15, 2008

Junk in our backyard

Historic Junk may be destroyed soon
Click on the picture above to see a movie of the junk sailing under the Golden Gate Bridge fifty years ago. There are also links on the site to the preservation effort.

BETHEL ISLAND -- Half a century ago, six men with no sailing experience climbed
aboard an aging Chinese junk in Taiwan and survived a typhoon that nearly
wrecked the little ship. But after sailing nearly 7,000 miles across the
Pacific, they were greeted by cheering crowds as they sailed under the Golden
Gate Bridge.

Now that turn-of-the-century junk, which experts say may be
last salvageable vessel of its type, could be destroyed if it does not find a
permanent home by the end of December.
Photo by the Chen family

The junk is sitting in a Sacramento River Delta boatyard (Bethel Island) -
abandoned by the last of a series of volunteer caretakers after he fell behind
on storage payments. And the boat yard owner has given notice that it must be

The hull has integrity; the curved wooden planks bent over fire
by craftsmen on China's Fujian coast are still true. But the painted eels and
phoenixes that brought luck are long gone, as are the mast and the battened
sails. A 13-foot section of hull was hacked off the stern so the boat would take
less room in storage.

The junk did not fare well, said Ms. Chen (a descendent of one of the original sailors). "Many people were passionate about it, fell in love with it, but it never had a permanent caretaker."

She reached out to the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, where
curator John Muir recognized the 65-foot vessel's rarity. "It's a basically
extinct vessel type," Muir said. "It's very likely one of the last remaining
original vessels of this type." However, the maritime park run by the National
Park Service cannot afford to take in the vessel.
This story is an excerpt from an Associated Press story by Juliana Barbassa. To read the whole story, go to:

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Friday, December 12, 2008

Flashback Friday -- Our Santa

Around this time of year, kids used to run up to this man on the sidewalk and tell him what they wanted for Christmas.

The picture isn’t really Santa – he is Robert’s father, Bud. We really miss him. He was a generous man.

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Deck the Halls meme

I saw this on Anecdotally Yours.

Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? Hot chocolate.

Does Santa wrap presents or set them under the tree? I really don’t know.

Colored lights on tree or white? White lights look like twinkling stars.

When do you put your decorations up? Sometime before Christmas Day.

What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? Roast beef.

Favorite Holiday memory as a child: My mother brought home a scrawny, ugly tree and spent hours on the back deck drilling holes in the trunk and inserting branches she cut off the bottom to make it look perfect. We were living through hard times that year and she got the tree for a couple of dollars.

When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? My parents told me Santa was the “spirit of Christmas.” For years I thought he was a ghost. I was so relieved to find out the truth.

Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? The kids used to open one gift each when they were young.

How do you decorate your Christmas tree? First put on the lights, and study it for a few hours to see if they look balanced. Then we put on the ornaments with the smaller ones at the top. One light has to be pointing up at the topper. Spread the red burlap around the bottom of the tree to cover all the plugs and wires. Put the little wooden train on the burlap.

Snow! Love it or Dread it? I live in California and it has never snowed here that I remember.

Can you ice skate? I suppose I could if necessary.

Do you remember your favorite gift? Six hollow rubber baby dolls. My second favorite was a gold-plated cap pistol. My third favorite was a purple knitted mini dress from Joseph Magnin's that my husband gave me.

What's the most important thing about the Holidays for you? The feeling of good will.

What is your favorite Holiday Dessert? We call it “Mother’s chocolate angel food dessert.”

What is your favorite tradition? Fresh squeezed orange juice, sausages, scrambled eggs, and coffee cake for breakfast.

Which do you prefer, Giving or Receiving? I really like receiving, but I’m trying to be a grown up and learn to love giving. I do like giving when I can find the perfect present for someone. It doesn’t happen all that often. I don’t like giving when it just means buying something to fill a quota.

What is your favorite Christmas Song? Away in a Manger.

Candy Canes! Yuck or Yum? Break up candy canes into small pieces and stir them into Seven Minute icing. Frost an angel food cake with this.

Ever recycled a Christmas present? What else does one do with fondue pots?

You can tag blog friends to Deck the Halls...

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

60th Anniversary of Human Rights Declaration

The Universal Declaration begins with a preamble consisting of seven paragraphs followed by a statement "proclaiming" the Declaration.

Article 1
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
Article 2
Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.
Article 3
Everyone has the right to life, liberty, and security of person.
Article 4
No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.
Article 5
No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment.
Article 6
Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.
Article 7
All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.
Article 8
Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.
Article 9
No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.
Article 10
Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.
Article 11
Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.
No one shall be held guilty of any penal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offence, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal offence was committed.
Article 12
No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.
Article 13
Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.
Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.
Article 14
Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.
This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.
Article 15
Everyone has the right to a nationality.
No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.
Article 16
Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.
Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.
The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.
Article 17
Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.
No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.
Article 18
Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.
Article 19
Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
Article 20
Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.
No one may be compelled to belong to an association.
Article 21
Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.
Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his country.
The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.
Article 22
Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.
Article 23
Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.
Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.
Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.
Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.
Article 24
Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.
Article 25
Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.
Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.
Article 26
Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.
Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.
Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.
Article 27
Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.
Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.
Article 28
Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.
Article 29
Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible.
In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society.
These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.
Article 30
Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.


Saturday, December 06, 2008

One week or seven days

We brought happy memories, lots of warm feelings, and the sniffles home with us from Thanksgiving.
But, with a new cozy mystery (Thai Die by Monica Ferris) and a box of tissues I’ve survived. Tomorrow will the seventh day and I expect to be fine.


Monday, December 01, 2008

Bed runner

Or is it a bed scarf (similar to a dresser scarf)? Or is it a toe cozy?
We stayed at a Marriott last week. There was a quilted strip stretched across the bed. It looked interesting to me, but I couldn’t figure out what it was for. Perhaps just decoration.

When I stretched out to take a short nap my toes felt a bit chilly. I asked Robert to drape the bed runner over my feet.

It warmed me up and I had a nice nap.

Now, I am thinking that a quilted strip like this might make a nice gift for someone. It would be easy to put together quickly. The runner or scarf could be pieced, or just a whole-cloth quilted piece of beautiful fabric. Check out your friend’s bedroom décor and whip one up before Christmas.

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