Saturday, December 18, 2010

Haul Out the Holly

I'm having trouble getting into the holiday spirit this year. There could be any number of reasons:

I don't have kids.
I don't like egg nog.
It hasn't snowed in Pasadena yet.
I gained weight before Thanksgiving.
I don't enjoy shopping.
I can't fly.
I haven't started on my holiday cards, even though every year I promise myself I will do them in September.
Baking makes me tense.
I don't have a secretary.
I don't have a palace on the Riviera.
Et cetera.

But I want to enjoy the season and I certainly have nothing to complain about. I have work I enjoy, a home and family I love, good friends and a great life.

Can you help me perk up? What holiday spirit tips can you share? (You can call them Christmas spirit tips, I won't be offended.)

How do you cheer yourself for the season of warm and fuzzy?

Friday, December 17, 2010

Onward, Christian Soldiers

Have you heard any of the press about "the war on Christmas?" I heard about it on Patt Morrison yesterday on KPCC.

Apparently some people are up in arms (it's a war after all) because they prefer to hear "Merry Christmas" instead of "Season's Greetings" or "Happy Holidays." They want to see red and green--none of this blue stuff (that's Jewish!) or orange (what is that, Kwanzaa?) or--does Ashura have a color? What color signifies fasting? I think that would just be clear.

Okay now, hang on a second. I think we have enough things to get freaked out about. Do we really need to get upset over this? We're talking about Jesus Christ's birthday, here, so let's ask ourselves, what would Jesus do?

I think Jesus would wish us a happy Chanukah.

If someone wishes me a merry something or a happy something, they're wishing me well. It doesn't matter if it's something I celebrate. I don't celebrate Kwanzaa, for example, but if you wish me a happy Kwanzaa, I'll take it. It's almost Kwanzaa whether I celebrate it or not, and I might as well be happy.

And as for that holiday parade in Tulsa, as a certain friend of mine would say, "Oh, for the love!" Calm down. It's Tulsa. It's not like we're talking about the liberal hotbed of America. We're talking about a town like every other town in the U.S.--a town where not everyone is a Christian, yet everyone's invited to the parade. At least that's the America I live in.

And I might just point out that when folks are worried about parades and lights, Santa and shopping, they're missing the point of Christmas anyway.

There's no war on Christmas. The only war going on in these quiet towns at this time of year is an imaginary war inside a few teeny, tiny minds.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


I stopped at Vroman's yesterday. Wednesday afternoon. Middle of the work day. Parking lot packed.

This requires patience. You wait in a line of cars (you have no choice, you're stuck now) while someone backs out of a space. The line moves on and finally it's your turn, your space, the furthest one in the lot, between two SUVs, both of which were parked by people who have apparently never parked a car before. On the return trip, a monster pick-up truck follows you to your space. You try to wave him off because--well, finally he sees he's never going to fit in there and he speeds off, burning frustrated rubber.

It has begun. Christmas/New Year's time, Pasadena is a busy town.

It's good, though. Three clerks worked the back registers at Vroman's and more registers granted angels their wings throughout the store. Employees (that means "people who are employed") helped customers find the things they wanted. Commerce, in my town, in an independent book store, is just fine with me.

I'm glad to leave it to others from this point onward, though. I bought what I hope is the last Christmas present I need to get. Now I think I'll retreat to the less popular mountain trails or my favorite spots in the Arroyo Seco (far north and/or south of the Rose Bowl) until after the first of the year.

Unless someone else wants to do the driving.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Non Sequitur

I usually don't post graffiti--and truly, I have no idea what this says--but I like the picture. No photoshop, no messing. It is what it is. Kinda like not having a face-lift.

I'm too tired to write much about the photo. John says it could be an entrance to faerie. What with all our urbanization it's conceivable that such entrances exist in parking lots or other places in town. Faeries have to get home, too.


I'm eating a cookie with red and green sprinkles on it. The green ones are teeny, tiny Christmas trees.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Co-Operating on Food

Last year our clementine tree was so prolific I gave clementines as Christmas gifts. I shared clementines with neighbors up and down the block. I enlisted friends to help pick them and sent them home with bags full of fruit.

This year, nada. Like eleven clementines or something. I guess that's just the way it goes. The tree doesn't bear fruit every year.

I miss those clementines. The ones from the grocery store don't even come close because they're genetically altered not to have seeds. In that alteration all flavor is lost. They're not even called clementines. They have the nerve to call them "cuties." Yeah, well, looks aren't everything.

There's a growing movement in the Dena called the Arroyo Food Co-op. The goal is to create a grocery store owned by the people, where the food is healthy, where you know the people who grow it and where the growers are kept to sustainable farming methods.

I haven't joined the Co-op yet. Should I? Should you? Shouldn't everyone? Take a look at their website. They've got events coming up this week on the 16th and 17th where you can meet people and ask questions.

I may have to go without clementines this year. It goes without saying that no cuties will pass my lips.

Did you find the surprise in the photo?

Update: I just read this article about Smithfield and animal torture, which lit a fire under me to join the Co-op.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Zen Monday: #124

photo by Katie Murphy

It's Zen Monday, the day you experience the photo and give us your thoughts rather than me telling you what I think the photo's about.

I look for a photo worth contemplating or, failing that, something odd or silly. And I stay out of the comments box until the end of the day to avoid influencing the discussion, unless you people get totally out of control. So far that hasn't happened but there's a first time
for everything.

There's no right or wrong, we're here to have fun.

You may notice we have a guest photographer today. A warm round of applause, please, for Katie Murphy!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Not in the Spirit Yet

I had a migraine yesterday which is unfortunate any day but particularly unfortunate yesterday as I had party invitations as well as errands, a whole long planned-out tightly scheduled day with an itinerary and a list with subcategories, which is probably why I had a migraine in the first place but the doctor thinks it's because of caffeine and he is insane

...oh excuse me, I was saying...uh

Well, so I took my pill early in the day. Pain over by mid-afternoon. Good. Still, I am worn out and stupid on a migraine day, long after the pain itself is gone. I cancel all appointments/plans. I cut out every unnecessary errand. But there is one, one, one that HAS to happen.

So I am standing in the aisle at Ralph's in Hastings Ranch (because I have already been to two other stores and cannot find small paper cups for hot drinks) and I'm looking at styrofoam cups. I don't want styrofoam cups. They come in a package of 50. I will be serving warm apple cider to about 12 little children and no one has kid-size hot drink cups. I have the aisle all to myself and I'm swearing at the styrofoam.

Some country-pop singer is wailing out a Christmas song on the intercom. Not a traditional Christmas song but a brand new one, made up fresh this year, probably by some junior high school kid hopped up on sugar and romance, and it's so saccharine and sappy and awful and they are blasting it. They always blast the music at that Ralph's, I can never get out of there fast enough because the music is so loud even when they play non-Christmas music, but this time the music is loud and crappy and I have to buy this huge honking bag of #$@&ing styrofoam.

I can't find the kind of cookies I want and I'm afraid to ask because if I do I won't be able to keep from either shouting or sobbing. They'll think I'm as insane as my doctor is, so I just buy the styrofoam and leave.

I make it home. When John gets home he looks at me and says, "Early to bed for some people."

I (almost) wish the problem was coffee. At least then migraines would be under my control and I would schedule them on more convenient days.

In cheerier news: Laurie Barlow won the final installment of the PDP/PPM Books Contest when her name was drawn from among the correct answers to the question, "Who is my favorite dog?" It is Boz indeed. Laurie wins a copy of At Home Pasadena, courtesy of Prospect Park Media.

I've enjoyed the contest and I hope you have, too. Thanks, Prospect Park Media and thanks to all who entered!