Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Not Your Ordinary Mall Santa!

                                                                                                                                                                                           This week's theme with Patty Wysong's Meme is a holiday tradition or memory. Click below for more stories or join in the fun! http://www.pattywysong.com/2011/11/jollydaze-4-n-me-meme.html 
You know how the malls are filled with Santas every year? Well, for a few years, my dad volunteered as Santa at a couple of local malls and it is a memory I shall always cherish!

        He already had the bushy white eyebrows with thin gold eyeglasses, a white goatee and arrived to the job pre "stuffed."  Dad was often compared to Colonel Sanders in his appearance, but I think more Burl Ives or his snowman character in the cartoon story of "Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer."

At one mall one year, Santa showed up in a firetruck on the day after Thanksgiving. Another year, he arrived in a helicopter. Dad loved all the attention he gathered as he was escorted through the mall!
 Being a mall Santa is also an emotionally hard job. Dad would share about the kids that visited Santa and sometimes his heart would break.when kids asked Santa for their parents to reunite or for someone who has died to come back.
As  Dad's health declined, he was less able to to endure the pace of allthose children and their sad stories and had to give up the role of Santa Claus.  That also broke his heart. 
I rarely put up Christmas decorations and have given away most of what I had collected over the years, but there are a few ornaments and items that have sentimental value.  In the  container where I keep these special keepsakes resides a plastic ornament of a Santa face  adorned with a furry white beard. It reminded me of Dad when I first saw it. It still does. He has been gone nearly 15 years now, but memories of him live on.

Now you can see why this was not your typical santa that did seasonal work at the mall. No, this santa was my dad, and that makes him special! He was Santa Dad!


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Why be thankful?

                                                                           Patty Wysong has started up another MEME to get us blogging through the holiday season. The theme is "Jollydaze 4 U & me" and it is six weeks of holiday-themed posts.            

Thanksgiving 1959 when I was 4 years old, Dad is behind me,
Mom across from him and my little brother across
 from me is age 3
Thanksgiving 1967 and I am on the right, middle, with Mom and brother.
 Dig those cat eye specs at the age of 12!
This week we observe Thanksgiving and it's a time when we are told to think about all that we are thankful for. Really, thankfulness should be on a daily basis, but I'm guilty of dwelling on the not so pleasant areas. Let me give myself a good kick in the rear and realize how blessed I am!

1.  My job is driving me crazy-Hey, I have a job! It has it's perks in that my schedule is quite flexable and I'm free to do the work at my own pace.

2.  I am single and alone-I still have my mom! It's become our tradition on Thanksgiving to have lunch at HomeTown Buffet, go see a movie, then shop at Big Lots! (No cooking, cleaning or dealing with dysfunctional relatives)

3. I have no children of my own-Nearly every Sunday, I volunteer as an extra in the church nursery where there will aways be babies to cuddle!

4. I will not be able to attain the weight loss goal I set for the end of December- I've dropped 44 pounds since the beginning of the year and I can move so much easier now!

5. My two cats wake me up,want attention when I'm on the computer, make a mess in the house and restrict me from going away for extended periods of time- They are a lot of company and they greet me when I return home each day.

6. I've accepted that I'm not a writer- A new hobby of photography has filled the gap and I'm having fun learning all about the craft and getting positive comments when I post photos on Facebook.

7.  My niece, her husband and three kids live in another state and I miss them-They are a phone call or instant message away and I don't have to deal with the melodrama of 3 girls and a pregnant mama. :)

Love you, Steph! Happy birthday on Wednesday,
God bless you, Tristan! Happy birthday TODAY!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Music as spicy as the food

Music is a very important part of my life, and though I'm not musically inclined, I do have  a basic knowledge of  musical concepts.  I have no rhythm, yet appreciate songs that have a pronounced beat to it.  A few years ago, I was introduced to a genre of music that was very energetic and fun to listen to.

This music is called ZYDECO.

 It oriniated in Louisiana and is part Cajun Music, part blues and part Rhythm &Blues. It reminds me of Bluegrass mixed with Mariachi! Musical instruments involved in Zydeco include an accordian, a wash board worn on the chest, fiddle, drums, saxaphone, horns, guitar and  bass guitar.

                                                                             According to the website for Lafayette,
Cajun music is the product of creolization, like most other features of Louisiana French culture. The Cajun sounds are a blend of German, Spanish, Scottish, Irish, Anglo-American, Afro-Caribbean and American Indian influences with a base of western French and French Acadian folk tradition. They are most noted for their up-beat tempos, cheerful lyrics and peculiar dance rhythms. While there is no comparison to the sounds of good Cajun music, some say it reminds them of Bluegrass with a French accent, while others claim it is more like European folk music. Most Cajun music purists would agree that you must see as well as hear Cajun music performed to appreciate its richness. Most people cannot keep from dancing to the Cajun waltz and two-step rhythms when they hear the hand-clapping, foot-stomping sound in its happiest, rapid-tempo forms. 

                                 Here is a YouTube video of Zydeco band and singer known as Buckwheat.


                                                                                Isn't Zydeco fun?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Y is for YOUTHFUL!

I just experienced several days spent with little girls ages 1,2 and 6, and it was both exhausting and exhilarating.

My little grandnieces came for a visit and I so enjoyed seeing their reactions to all the wondrous things we did over the past week. My brain joined them in their youthful energy, but my body  was not so  cooperative.

At Disneyland, I took Sammi,who will be 6 in December, on her first rollercoaster ride. It was a kiddie coaster but she loved it. So did I!

We then went on Thunder Mountain- a much faster and sharper ride and she loved it-twice! We did not get a photo of the coaster, so this pic is from the internet.

Our final roller coaster adventure was on Space Mountain. That little girl was beside herself with joy from this ride. So was this big girl! This photo is also from the internet.                            

I also joined Sammi in a Rocket ship ride the circled around and around. I was not so thrilled with that one. I was cramped into the car and forgot that I did not like circling round and round. Then I had a hard time unfolding myself and exiting the ride. It was not a graceful sight!


On the boat for a whale-watch, Sammi  (and me) was so excited! The water was choppy and when a wave came, the boat went up and then smacked down. It was like a roller coaster on the ocean! Of course, seeing  a pod of dolphin and juvenile blue whales was pretty  awesome  too!      
                                                                                                                                                                    Because the ride was so bumpy, I lost balance and fell hard on my knee, with Sammi on top of me. Several people were sea sick, and I was rushing Sammi away from a woman who needed the rail, and that's when I fell. I have a large bruise and abrasion and several smaller bruises on the other leg.

Lily will be two next month and is full of energy and wonder at everything she sees. She is just now beginning to say words, but  the word "WOW" was frequently heard through-out all our adventures. (Mama has been working with her for signing, to help communicate wants and needs)

Lucy will be 1 next month, and is a very moody daddy's girl. She did not warm up to me 'til the last day, and only if daddy was in her view. Still, she is a very sweet baby!  She's the happiest when eating or in Daddy's arms!
Yesterday, they all returned to their home in Colorado and I miss them. Yet, I'm tired! Within 5 days, we did Disneyland, Aquarium of the Pacific, whale watching, went to two large malls, church, and eating out - a lot. (Oh my diet...)
Sammi did not get to have her sleep-over with me because she had been naughty too many times.

Now, I'm back to work and struggling to get caught up on all the work that was neglected during the time I was off. I'm still tired!     

                                    Why is it that our brains can be youthful, but not our bodies?

Monday, November 7, 2011

Opposing lines in photography

This will be a first time post for at  http://kateyestudio.com/2011/11/exploring-with-a-camera-opposing-lines.html website that offers classes in photography.

 The topic is lines or the appearance of lines in photos. In this photo of a jellyfish, the tentacles from one jelly goes down and a passing jellyfish's tentacles displays horizontally. The picture was shot at the Aquarium of the Pacific, Long Beach, California.

In this photo,  the railroad tracks, sidewalk, trees and buildings form  vertical parallel lines while the mountain in background and the clouds in the sky form horizontal lines.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

And the winner is....

The drawing for the  authentic scarf from HER SAFARI has been completed.


Catrina Bradley!

Cat, Rita will contact you for details. Thanks everyone who participated in this event.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


I realize that this is pushing it for the X factor, but isn't that what creative writing is all about?

I am  eXcited!

This afternoon, at 2:50, a flight from Denver, Colorado, will be arriving, and my niece, Stephanie, her husband, Tristan, and their 3 little girls will be here for a 5 day visit!

They are staying at a local hotel and renting a car. Tomorrow we are going to Disneyland!

 Five year old Sammi ( turns 6 in December) is eager to meet  Disney princessess and pixies, going on her first roller coaster ride, and having her first sleep -over at my house!

We hope to get to the beach too.

 I took off these days from work, so am free to enjoy! Going to go play now. Ta-ta!