Monday, November 29, 2004

Christmas

After a month or so not blogging I found myself "dumped". Anyway after some trial and error I am finally back on and enjoying the pictures and articles from the family. I already typed this up but whatever happened I lost it so hope this isn't a duplicate.

I agree with the sentiments of Cindi about gift giving. And about the most important gift of all which is the gift of salvation from God the Father through His Son Jesus shed blood which covers our sins. What a great plan He had even when we were still sinners .

As far as my thoughts for myself I want consumables, ie nothing that I need to dust, store or find if I need it later. I found a rain guage, or an indoor outdoor thermometer at Target both under $5. Also would like a bath brush in rose, blue or white with a hook or lanyard to hang it with. Also found a couple books at the Family Christian Book store. "Alaska" by Tracie Peterson or "Ohio" by Dianne Chrisner. These are adventure stories about the settling of these areas. Gift certificates to Mervyns, Target, or Berean Book store would also be nice.


Gift Giving Fun

After a fine Thanksgiving dinner at Mom Pete's, we put the names of all participants in a bowl and drew pairings for our Christmas Eve Gift Giving tradition. Giving to another is an art and a skill.

The skill is in the head...the act of getting a gift...getting to know another person to discover their tastes, preferences, and interests. It also includes the strategy of buying something appropriate within budget (or sometimes not..."The Gift of the Magi" I think tells that well...if that's the one about the poor couple and a hair cut, so to speak). Getting it wrapped and into the hands of the loved one also takes some planning...skill...training.

The art is in the heart...the act of giving. That comes from deep within. The ability to share and sometimes sacrifice willingly to encourage another with a thoughtful gesture---big or small, a tangible item or an act of kindness. That takes a bigger person. That comes through personal growth and a broader perspective (and an income/work??!!).

The ultimate gift for me is in Jesus. God sent Him to pay the price for my shortcomings, so that I can be reconciled to a perfect, loving God. When I accepted that gift, when I realized I could not measure up my way and need Christ to help me make sense of it all, I began to understand giving because I care...no expectations.

Now, getting a gift is still such fun! And giving is a blessing to both the giver and the person receiving the gift. We celebrate the ultimate gift at Christmas...Christ birth on earth to reach us for God. We continue the tradition of "gifting" in our family. Here are the pairings for this year.

  1. Doris gives to Andrew
  2. Glen gives to Richard
  3. Audrey gives to Glen
  4. Beth gives to Jane
  5. Cindi gives to Audrey
  6. Steve gives to Doris
  7. Richard gives to Beth
  8. Jane gives to David
  9. David gives to Kyle
  10. Andrew gives to Steve
  11. Kyle gives to Cindi

Conversations with each other help determine what each person wants. The famblog and e-mail also can connect us for information gathering. Have fun! I look forward to seeing us together soon. This remains an optional voluteer activity.

We haven't set a price limit. If anyone would like to do that, we can discuss that. Also, we can give to others in the family as well, if we wish. Just have fun. :-)

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Dick and Jane

. . . Will be in Whittier for Christmas from December 24 until 31. They arrive at 6:53 on Christmas eve.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Thanksgiving in P'Ville

Brianna and her olives.

Andrew reading a book to Brianna.

The table before dinner.

The table during dinner.

Some older Brianna Pictures

Here are a couple of Brianna pictures from last month. They are seasonal.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

T-day cycling on OLN

The following is from OLN (note eastern time zone):

Thanksgiving Day
Tour de France Marathon

Join OLN for the most exciting stages
of the 2004 Tour de France.

Wed., Nov. 24
9pm - 2am ET

Thur. Nov. 25
4pm - 11pm ET / 1am - 3am ET

The Lance Armstrong Interview
Thur. Nov. 25
11pm - 1am ET



Tour du Faso
Thursday, December 2
12 - 1pm ET

Note: Schedule subject to change. Last updated: 11/2/2004

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Travel by trains in a big city

Howard Good and I teamed up over two days to disprove the myth that Los Angeles does not have a public transit system.

In the process I met two facinating people.

(1) The engineer on the Metro Gold LIne gave us commentary and touring information as we travelled from Union Station to Sierra Madre Villa. Normally on the Metro Rail system a computerized voice announces the stops, the transfer point to other rail lines. On this ride we heard the name and the theme of the designer of each uniquely designed metro station. We learned that the train speed limit in Highland park had been reduced to 15 miles per hour because of the proximity to homes and children. When we went into a dark tunnel, it was suggested take a short meditative moment to close our eyes and relax as native american flute music was played.

At the end of the ride, Howard suggested we should see what out guide looked like. As it was the end of the line for that train, he was also exiting the train and we introduced ourselves. I am sorry that I forgot his name. He is from the Apache indigenous American tribe (Indian, Aboriginal, First Nations). He taught us a new hand shake--with the left and because it is closest to the heart.

(2) I met Javier or "Javi" Ojero from Spain on a one year hitch-hicking adventure of the Americas when I sat next to him and his backpack on MetroLink. We talked about American politics, travel with a backpack, crossing international borders, and the adventure of hitchhiking.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

rules?????

There are rules???? what are they??? have i violated them and no one told me?? signed now anxious in P'ville

Friday, November 12, 2004

Cindi's Wish List

(subject to updates without notice)

  1. Soundtrack to "Polar Express"
  2. Book: Great Tea Rooms of America, by B. Richardson ($21.21 at Amazon)
  3. CD: Vaughn Williams - Fantasies/Lark Ascending
  4. Starbucks' Gift Card
  5. CD: Discover the Classics (1, 2, and/or 3)
  6. CD: Soundtrack for "Sleepless in Seattle" and/or "You've Got Mail"
  7. Gift certificates: for movies (Regal, Whittier Uptown Village Theater, AMC, Edwards), for books (Borders, Amazon, Barnes & Noble), for my stamp hobby for making cards (contact Helen Homet: hmhomet@aol.com), for home stores (Crate & Barrel, Pottery Barn, IKEA, Home Depot), for food (Cold Stone, Olive Garden, Chili's, P.F. Changs, Cheesecake Factory); for office stores (Staples, Office Depot)
  8. Box of white dinner candles (tapers)
  9. White pillowcases (2, king)
  10. Film (400, 35mm)
  11. Favorite tea: Cardamon Cinnamon or Mint Fields Herb (both are by "The Republic of Tea"); tea bags - preferred format
  12. Favorite candy: Skor, Heath, Reese's, Payday, Peanut or Caramel M&Ms, English toffee, Werther's Caramels
  13. Favorite gum: Dentyne Ice/Peppermint
  14. Trip to England for 2
Please avoid: Flavored coffee, scented candles, stuff with dogs on it, stuff with initials on it, mugs, Snickers.

'Tis the Season...to Blog

Well, Doris's birthday is the official kick-off to the family holiday blitz. We'll gather to celebrate her life. Then comes the annual turkey and trimmings day of thankfulness. Then Christmas, New Year's, and the major month of birthdays --- January (Garth, Dad/Dick, Mom/Jane, Audrey, and Andrew). [Thanks to the Curtins joining the family, the month of June is now in second (Steve, Kyle, and me).] A lovely season to be with family, friends, and good food. I've already started to crave Glen's frozen cranberry relish delight, especially spread on a left-over turkey sandwich.

So, I need everyone to blog their wish list for Christmas. General categories or descriptors are good, too. For instance, a general category for me is...I enjoy gift certificates (Amazon, Borders, William Sonoma, Crate & Barrell, Olive Garden, etc.). A descriptor would be...please, no scented candles, perfume of any form, chocolate candy, or anything with a lab dog printed on it --- I do love my labs. I just don't care for lab stuff --- trinkets and such. So, go for it.

Also, I need to know who wants in on the family gift exchange this year. Please let me know by Thanksgiving, so we can draw names that day.

I saw "The Incredibles" and "Polar Express" this week and was delighted differently by both. Now, I am an animation fan to begin with. I grew up in the day of choppy cartoon movements, 2D appearance, very simple backgrounds, and three-fingered characters. The classic cartoon has truely positioned me to be amazed and impressed with the latest and greatest computer-aided animated stories. So, technically, I was fascinated by lifelike characters, almost 3D settings, and a sensation of speed and thrill in both. I do not know how they do it! A friend of a friend worked on Polar Express for years, so I enjoyed seeing his name early in the credits (Rob Bredow).

The Incredibles is just a fun romping adventure with some great character concepts, clever dialog/lines, a nasty bad dude, fantastic chases, and mid-life philosophy that made me smile. The set-up for the sequel was blatant...but can I blame them? Why not!

Polar Express is darker. I LOVED IT! In fact, I've already bought my very own Polar Express hot chocolate mug...just like the one in the movie. And I carry a sleigh bell in my right pocket now. It was inspirational.

First of all, it employed a new form of animation using actors with sensors to create cartoon characters. Tom Hanks played the little boy, the train conductor, the hobo, Santa, and I believe the boy's father. The voice of the boy does not appear to be his.

This is a very thoughtful story that walks right to the edge of cliche and stops at a point of meaningful interaction. Although much has been added to the original story, it stays true to the tone and illustration style. It is about the struggle between childhood and adulthood. The story is about Santa Claus and the point where a child no longer believes. Now, I didn't go to this movie for insight into the Christian worldview or the true meaning of Christmas, so calm down.

It offers a fun plot with almost never-ending twists, amazing graphics and visual sensations, wonderful characters. I laughed, cried, felt the suspense, and smiled with joy. I loved the snow and winter (always miss that about this time of year). I was thrilled to see a female lead of a young African-American girl with true leadership qualities and good character. I found it refreshing that the kids were all good kids. I got a big kick out of one boy who exists somewhere in each of our lives --- the loud know-it-all. He was very cleverly portrayed. And the ticket punching was such a cool touch. Some, I'm sure, will be critical of so much of what I loved --- what's new? It was a fun Christmas story. It was positive and truthful (meaning that Christmas can sometimes be disappointing, but hope has an important role inside and we need community to keep it). There were some intense scenes...such as a puppet sequence that may be too much for small kids. We are shown who makes the puppet move, though, which would be very helpful to kids who may be a little spooked. Thoughtful of the movie makers to do, whether intentionally or not. Just a decent, fun, family film. Believe...:-)

Glen was out of town for a week, so I had fun renting "chick flicks" and eating Chinese take-out and left-overs for several evenings. I rented "Mona Lisa Smile," "Laws of Attraction," and "Mean Girls." Enjoyed them all for different reasons.

OK, I've violated the length of the blog entry code. So long for now.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Ricardo's El Ranchito to Celebrate Birthday of a Matriarch

This Friday, November 12 at 6 PM the part of the family who is nearby and available will gather at Ricardo's El Ranchito Restaurant to celebrate Doris' birthday. Those fried flour tortilla chips could be addicting.

Let's party! Everyone is welcome.

Breakfast with Brianna

Here we are having breakfast with Brianna.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

with guns in their hands and god on their side...

4 more WARS!!! yeay! is anyone else as psyched as i am?! i'm thinking of enlisting now, so that i can make sure i get one of the good jobs walking alongside tanks with insufficient body armor. look out brown people! i'm coming to get you!

Monday, November 01, 2004

tis the season y'all

that's the cutest step-niece ever i tell you. in the waning hours of all hallow's eve, perhaps an unofficial opening day for holiday advertising, i saw my first christmas commercial. cindi was present as we saw a ross commercial, involving santa's elves broke the seal on the holiday season. i'm not sure i'm ready for this yet! wasn't it just summer? happy election day tomorrow everybody! and feliz dia de los muertos to our mexican brothers and sisters. most important of all of this though, happy lakers season opener day tomorrow! go kobe!

You knew it was coming.


Here that girl on Holloween.