Archive for December 2013

A New Year’s Prayer

December 31, 2013

So here we are at December 31. I am not particularly good at writing prayers and the like. But my good friend, Reb Katherine, is. I received the following from her this morning. I couldn’t agree more. Rev. Katherine is the pastor of the First Congregational Church of Billerica.

Dear friends, may all of God’s blessings be with you in this coming year. It’s kind of funny to think about how humans mark the cycle of time. We calculate age, count anniversaries, celebrate important days annually. I guess it has something to do with being human. I’ve always had animals (dogs, cats, birds, guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils, mice, and a rabbit) and they have never marked the passage of time, or celebrated holidays (except for the dogs who look expectantly at their Christmas stockings.) But we do, and with the dawning of a new year we hang onto hope that life will go well.
 Let’s join together and pray that things go well for us. And let us pray for those who things are not going very well.
 This is my prayer:
 Holy one, we enter into a new year with hearts turned towards you. We pray for health and healing, for comfort and peace for those who are dying, for your presence to be felt by those who are mourning. We pray that our needs be met, and that the needs of all people will be met. Give us generous hearts so that we might share out of your abundant gifts, and give us humble hearts so that we might receive the gifts you give. We pray for strength and courage in adversity, and we pray that you give power to those who are addicted so that they may overcome their addictions and live in freedom. We pray for peace, hope, love, joy, faith, wholeness and laughter, in Jesus’ holy name.
 A happy, joyous and safe new year to all!

 – Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

2013 in review

December 31, 2013

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,300 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 38 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

On the fifth day of Christmas

December 29, 2013

Today is Sunday, Dec 29, 2013. The fifth day of Christmas. Another warm beautiful day in So Cal. Forecast in the 70’s.
 Mary is doing better today. She is getting around better by herself. She seems to be using her cane almost all of the time and that’s a good thing. Perhaps we can move to a walker once she gets use of her left arm back.
 We asked her if she wanted to go to church this morning. She aid no. We were able to leave her alone for the hour and half. Instead of going out to lunch, we cooked scrambled eggs and bacon for brunch at home.
 In other news, it seems that our friends at First Congregational Church in Billerica are in need of a new furnace. Cost is expected to be in the range of $5,000. And of course it was not budgeted. You never budget for stuff like this.
 So if you’re looking a place for charitable donations at the end of the year, consider sending some money to First Congo. It’s not fun being without heat at this time of year. Go to the First Congo web site for details.
 – Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:San Pedro

On the third day of Christms…

December 27, 2013

… my true love gave to me.
 Paula and Mary are off to the beauty shop to get their hair done. Then they are headed to the Little Company of Mary hospital to get an MRI done on Mary’s shoulder.
 So for 2 hours, I am master of my domain. Seeing as this is the bicentenial of Giuseppe Verdi’s birth, so I got a new (to me) recording from 1961 of Verdi’s Otello. Loaded it up on iTunes on my PC and cranked up the volume. None of this ear bud stuff. I have a sound system connected to my laptop. Sub woofer and everything. Here’s the link to iTunes. I have a couple more operas on my short list to get when I get a chance.
 Then I did some post Christmas shopping. Paula said she would give me a new pair of LL Bean leather slippers. She said, “be a dear and order it yourself”. So I did. Same price as before Christmas and free shipping. Would have been nice if LL Bean had a sale on, oh well.
 I then downloaded a couple of sample Kindle books from Amazon. I’m not buying anymore books until I finish Doris Kearn Goodwins’ tome on FDR. I’m about half way through it.
 So Mary is looking a little bit better, but still very frail.
 – Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:San Pedro

Christmas Dinner

December 25, 2013

Christmas dinner is done.

 Prime rib.

Green bean casserole, roasted potatoes.

Yorkshire pudding.
 Very good indeed.
 – Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Brett Pl,Los Angeles,United States

Merry Christmas

December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas to all of friends and family spread across the globe. Time for an update from San Pedro. Thank you for all the Christmas cards and letters that we have received. We are running out of space to hang them around our dining room wall. It seems that more and more people are sending Christmas letters. We love reading them all.
 This is the quiet time of Christmas. We had planned to go to Christmas Eve services at the Ocean View Baptist Church in San Pedro, but we had to cancel on account of Mary K’s situation. More on that later.
 Mike, Theresa and Jonathan will be over for Christmas dinner tomorrow. That will be fun. Having Jonathan over is always fun. He is such a joy. We got him a toy Xylophone. So now we can have a duet!
 I am trying not to gloat but the weather here is wonderful. Temp today is 70 right now. It was a bit higher earlier in the afternoon.
 Mary K has had a hard time of it for the last couple of weeks. First was the fall that knocked her three front teeth out. She has almost finished the dental work to fix that situation. Now, this past Sunday, she was walking with Paula late in the day when she got dizzy and fell again. Paula generally has tried to keep her arm on her. But for some reason she got distracted.
 So, more hurt. We eventually called the EMT’s. Had her transported to the ER. She didn’t think she could handle getting into the Jeep. So she had X-rays that showed fractured left humerus. They gave her a sling and pain meds and sent her home.
 Paula got her into the Jeep and brought her home. I met her down by the elevator with one of our kitchen chairs with wheels. We got her upstairs and into bed for the night.
 On Monday, Paula took her to orthopedic doc for followup. Wants to schedule MRI. Not sure what that’s going to show. Anyway, we got the Rx filled at CVS. Trying to keep her comfortable.
 She seems so much more frail than she was before this last incident. She seems visibly weaker. I suppose not eating very much doesn’t help things.
 So everyone, please pray for her. She can use all the help that God can provide. And try to keep this quiet. She doesn’t read anything on the internet. Not Facebook, not email, not blogs. We have been trying to discretely let people know her situation. She would be mad at me for dropping a dime on her. But I thought it was important for everyone to know.
 So looking forward, she won’t be driving for a while and that’s a good thing. Maybe, just maybe we can take the car keys away from her for good. Once again we will try to get her to use a walker, or at the very least a cane. That will be a hard sell. She wouldn’t be able to use it anyway with her arm in a sling.
 So Christmas Eve supper is in the crock pot. We’re having pea soup with leftover ham and carrots. It’s been cooking since 10am this morning.
 Maybe we’ll watch another Christmas movie on Netflix. Toss up between Chevy Chase’s “Christmas Vacation” or maybe “It’s a Wonderful Life”. I’m leaning towards Chevy Chase.
 – Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:San Pedro

Hollywood Park

December 23, 2013

After we had lunch on Sunday, we decided to take a ride up to Inglewood to visit Hollywood Park on its last day of operation. Hollywood Park closed after about 75 years of operation, a victim of way too many opportunities to gamble.

So, I asked Paula, expert on all things California, she being a native Californian, “why is it called Hollywood Park, not Inglewood Park?” Her answer was that the park was built by Tom Warner of Warner Bros Studio along with investments by many Hollywood Movie stars of the late 1930’s. So it was named “Hollywood Park”
 So we headed up the 110 to Inglewood on a beautiful December day. We arrived late enough so that the ticket takers at the gate weren’t interested in my $20, Woo-Hoo! We arrived in time to watch the 4th race.

 We watched the 4th race from down by the winner’s circle where we could see the horses coming onto the track. Picture taking was a challenge. The finish area was in shadow, while most of the track was in bright sun. Then we went up into the grand stands for a better view of the goings on.
 It was interesting to watch the many people studying their racing forms trying to intuit who the next winner would be. One man we talked to asked if we were betting? I said, “No, I’d rather throw a $20 bill over the railing.”

So it was 30 minutes of boredom followed by 90 seconds of action. No wonder all the action has moved to the sports book operations at casinos. You don’t even have to go all the way to Las Vegas anymore. So we stayed for about three more races and then headed for the gates. We didn’t want to be stuck in the traffic getting out of there.

So for the price of gas, we had a fun afternoon. No parking fee, no admission fee, no gambling. Done!
 – Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Inglewood, CA

Unitarian Holiday Greeting

December 20, 2013

I received this greeting many years ago. I don’t know who wrote it. For my readers who might be humor impaired, this is a joke. The internet is loaded with Unitarian humor. It seems that Unitarian/Universalists (Or UU’s for short) are often the butt of a joke.

Here’s a link to some UU humor. Go ahead, click on the link.

To My Friends and Family,

Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, our best
wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low
stress, non-addictive, gender neutral, celebration of the winter
solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of
the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your
choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasions and/or
traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or
secular traditions at all . . .and a fiscally successful, personally
fulfilling, and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of
the generally accepted calendar year 2000, but not without due
respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose
contributions to society have helped make America great, (not to
imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country or
is the only “AMERICA” in the western hemisphere), and without regard
to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith,
choice of computer platform, or sexual preference of the wishee.

(By accepting this greeting, you are accepting these terms. This
greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal. It is freely
transferable with no alteration to the original greeting. It implies
no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes for
her/himself or others, and is void where prohibited by law, and is
revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher. This wish is
warranted to perform as expected within the usual application of
good tidings for a period of one year, or until the issuance of a
subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first, and warranty is
limited to replacement of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the
sole discretion of the wisher.)

Happy Holidays, (or whatever you choose to celebrate.)

Dodson House – San Pedro

December 20, 2013

Last week we had the opportunity to tour the Dodson house on 13th Street in San Pedro. Here is the entry from

Built in 1888 by the Sepulveda family as a wedding present for their daughter Rudecinda and her husband, James Dodson, a merchant and one-time postmaster. Rudecinda Dodson dwelled in the home for the duration of her long life, becoming a notable local figure. Dodson House, one of San Pedro’s best examples of Victorian architecture, was originally located at the corner of 7th and Beacon Streets. Since then, it has been moved twice and has undergone restoration. Private residence, not open to the public.

Here’s an article written by The Daily Breeze writer Donna Littlejohn.

The two-story, gingerbread Victorian house — built in the 1880s by one of the port town’s early families — is getting some lively interest from potential buyers since it was put on the market and open for public viewing a couple of weeks ago.

Normally, the house has not been open to the public, but for weekends during the month of December it has been open for viewing. The reason it has been open is that the house is up for sale for a tidy sum of $800K. Such a bargain.

Here are some pictures.

The house has been beautifully restored. Someone probably put a lot of money into it. Here are some interior shots. Note the stain glass windows. Most of the plumbing has been updated except for the claw foot bathtubs. I can’t for the life of me figure out why one would replace all of the sink fixtures with ultra modern ones and leave the antique bath tubs.

So, who would pay $800K for this gem of a Victorian house? Not me certainly. The house is on the historic register, so you can’t change almost anything. The location stinks. It is right across from the San Pedro HS athletic field. Not exactly a tony upscale neighborhood.

Bed & Breakfast perhaps? Maybe, but there is no parking to speak of.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:San Pedro, CA

North Pole Lodge #1

December 19, 2013

I’m not sure who wrote this. Not me certainly. This is for all my lodge brothers around the world.

The North Pole Lodge No. One

‘Twas the Night before Christmas, and down at the Lodge
not a gavel was stirring, and in the hodge-podge.
Of aprons and jewels and chairs East and West
You could savor the silence, most gladly divest
All metal and mineral, it mattered not,
Since Christmas was nigh and the coals were still hot.

In the hearth of your homeplace, all Masons abed,
As visions of trestleboards danced in their head;
When up on the roof there arose such a clatter
Our Tyler jumped up to see what was the matter!
He picked up his sword and ran fast to the door,
Three knocks shook the panels – he wondered ‘What for?’

He answered the knocking with raps of his own,
And once the door opened he saw, with a moan
Of delight it was Santa, all jolly and red
Except for one notable feature instead!
Upon his large finger he wore what we knew
Was compass and square on a background of blue!

‘Why Santa!’ he shouted and lowered his blade,
‘I see you’re a Mason!’ the Tyler relayed.
He looked toward the Master’s most dignified chair
And said, voice near trembling, ‘Most Worshipful there
Is a Gentleman properly clothed at the gate!’

The Master replied, ‘Let’s allow him – but wait!
You tell me a Gentleman, but I don’t see
His Apron beneath that red suit, can it be
Our visitor hasn’t been properly raised?
Must we offer a test that is suitably phrased?

‘I do beg your pardon,’ ol’ Santa said quick
As he pulled up his coat and displayed not a stick
But a cane with engraving, two balls did appear
And oh, what an apron, he wore and held dear!
Adorned like the Master’s, complete with a sign
Of “The North Pole Lodge Number One” on one line!

“Now let this man enter,” the Master declared,
And once in the Lodge room, the Brethren all stared,
For Santa was wearing a jewel not seen
For many a century – there in between
The fur of his coat and the splendid red collar
Gleamed two golden reindeer that shone like a dollar!

“It’s Donner and Blitzen, who I must confess
“Are actually images brought from the West
By my Warden, a craftsman like none in the world!”
And with a great laugh from his bag he unfurled
An ear of fine corn, and some oil from the East,
“My friend I have plenty, tonight we will feast

On all that is good! We are Masons, kind sir!”
A murmur went throughout the Lodge, quite a stir,
As presents and promises flew from his sack!
This Santa, a Mason, showed he had a knack
For making this Christmas the best you could glean,
And soon even Deacons were laughing, they’d seen

On this very night only happiness reigned!
This jolly Saint Nicholas quickly explained
That only a Mason could be so inclined
To make all kids happy, make all people find
A Christmas so special, yes, Santa was right!
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!
‘Fraternal greetings brethren.”