Archive for December 2016


December 15, 2016

So last night we all went to the family Christmas party at LA Harbor Lodge #332 in San Pedro. Dinner would be described as kid friendly. ie. we had grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup. Mary was a bit confused at the selection of food. But never mind we all ate what we were served.

Second part of the festivities was the puppet show. The kids always like this.


2016-12-14-19-50-59Our grand-kids missed the first parts but made it in time for the visit of Santa. They were at another Christmas party for the kids. The kids have more Christmas parties than we do.

All of the kids dutifully lined up for a moment with Santa. So here’s the funny part. Jonathan, who is five, had no problem with going to talk with Santa and he was rewarded with a small gift. He understands “Mug for the camera”.  Sarah, who is two, would have none of it. She wasn’t going sit on the lap of the big scary guy dressed in red. When Jonathan was two, he wouldn’t do it either.

So then little Sarah discovered that Jonathan received a toy from the big guy in red, she was not happy. Where’s my toy? Kids were all worn out. Kids and grownups were getting grumpy. Time for all to go home and to bed for a long winter’s nap.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.



December 14, 2016

2016-12-13-11-00-40Once last letter about Mary before Christmas.Today was a busy day. On the docket was the Assistance League Christmas Luncheon at Michael’s Tuscany Room in San Pedro. Up late last night working on Paula’s agenda for the event. Then when I was about to print the thing, I found that I was out of paper. All I could find was a package of fancy paper. It would have to do. Finally got to bed.

I had my alarm set for 0600 to get Paula and I up and ready. Mary had an appointment to get her hair done at 0830. So I get up and head for the bathroom to take my morning meds and relieve myself. The light in Mary’s room was on. WTF? We had early hair appointment because Paula had to be at the restaurant at 1000. It seems that she had got up earlier and got dressed and went back to bed. How much earlier, I do not know.

My job was to go to the local Costco in Torrance and pick up the two sheet cakes that Paula had ordered last week. I also picked up a couple of bottles of Bombay Sapphire Gin and some computer paper while I was at it. It turns out that getting to Costco 15 minutes before opening is a good thing. You get a decent parking space.

Well, Paula got her to the restaurant on time. Got her to the ladies’ room to do her business. Then got her seated. Then Paula got her a glass of White Zinfandel. All is well. One of the ladies across the table offered me a glass of wine from their bottle of Chardonnay. Why certainly I said. Nice way to ease the stress of the morning. Nice meal. I had some salmon. Very tasty. They had some tasty bruschetta for an appetizer. Also, tasty. We try to ask her if she had a good time. Apparently, this time she did. She saw some people that she knew.

I had to leave at 1:30 pm to go to my dentist appt to get my teeth scraped. So I missed the entertainment. We both pulled into the garage at about the same time. Enough fun for today. Sleep late tomorrow.


Christmas Letter 2016

December 8, 2016

mehihe_xmasSo the first batch of Christmas Letters were mailed today. This batch was about 75 or so letters. This batch required no hand-written input from Paula. So off they go.

I first started this annual project almost 20 years ago. I got the idea from Paula’s mother who sent out an annual letter. Paula wanted to hand write all of her Christmas cards. But I like the idea of doing the letter. The trade-off was that Paula would do a written addition to the letters that she wanted to send.

So here’s my process. Throughout the year I gather potential photos to include. I start writing the actual letter in November. I try to cover all of the high points of our year, including where we have traveled, what our kids are up to, etc.

Now that I’m retired, I have plenty of time to work on the letter. Back in the day, I wouldn’t even start on the project until the day after Christmas during the Holiday corporate shutdown.

My goal is to get it on one double-sided piece of paper and leave enough space on the bottom for Paula to write something. I sometimes use a smaller font to fit everything in.

Concurrently, I start working on the list. As of today, there are 135 people on the list. Last year, it was at about 120 or so. It seems that having sets of friends both on the West Coast as well as the East Coast has helped push the number higher.

Then, I procure the paper and envelopes.The last couple of years, I got them from Amazon. I prefer a light background with not too much art work. I try to get envelopes and paper to match. Some years I have just got colored envelopes. It’s getting so that there is hardly anything that you can’t get from Amazon.

This year I tried to streamline the process a bit. I created  a “Xmas-Letter” group on my iPhone/iPad contact database. Each person that I wanted to send a copy got added to the group. Then I used a new app called “Label Printer” (Click for link in the Apple app store). There’s a free version that one can use to try it out.

So labels get printed. First, check with Paula on whether the list is complete. One last edit of the actual letter. Paula gets the last look before I start the print run. Check the ink cartridges for sufficient ink. Nothing so maddening as to start running out of ink half way through the run.

So by December 1, it’s time to start folding and stuffing into envelopes and putting labels and stamps on them. Then I sort them into two piles, ones that require input from Paula and those that do not. The ones not requiring input get sealed and mailed.

It’s interesting to look back at my Christmas years gone by. The early ones from late 1990’s are crude by comparison. I added clip art but not pictures. My PC at the time (a Gateway desktop, remember them?) was crude by comparison to today’s laptops. Getting pictures on to the page took a good bit more effort. One year, I tried sending pictures only by email. Bad move. I will never do that again. I believe that our friends enjoy getting reading the mail, especially seeing as it isn’t a bill.

So without further ado, here is the pointer to this year’s letter. Download if you like or wait for the post man.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.



December 5, 2016

img_4861Time for an update. Mary has been doing pretty well the past couple of weeks. She has been going to physical therapy twice a week. It seems to help a little bit. She still complains of dizziness, especially in the mornings. For that reason, we try not to schedule anything for her early in the morning.

Last week she was complaining of a pain in her side and a dry cough. Seeing as she hadn’t fallen any time recently, so that kind of ruled out a broken rib. Paula took her to her urgent care doctor to get it checked out. Doctor T. seemed to think it was pleurisy (an inflammation of the pleura, the lining of the lung). Click here for more info on pleurisy. He prescribed an antibiotic for the infection and med for the cough. It seems that she is feeling much better. We don’t know how she got it or why, nor does it particularly matter.

On Friday, Mike and his family came over for dinner. Mary is always happy to see the grand-kids. She loves to see the little ones. It always puts a smile on her face.

We took her with us on Saturday to my lodge installation of officers. We will be going to our OES meeting tonight. She is happy to see all of the people she knows.

Our stress level has been increasing of late. We try not to leave her alone for any length of time. So either Paula or I stay with her. So that rules out going to the movies or shows. We look forward to doing the grocery shopping because that means we have about an hour alone together. We have been using caregivers for the longer trips but that can be a challenge for short time events like a date to go to the movies.

I have finished my annual Christmas letter. I have been doing it now for about 20 years. I just have to finish putting postage on the letters, sealing and dropping in the mailbox. This year the list has grown to about 140 of our nearest and dearest friends from Maine to California.

I don’t know if I will get out another post before Christmas. If I don’t, then I would like to take this opportunity to wish all of my readers a Happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year.