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December 20, 2000

Good Bev. I actually joined the throng today and did. Christmas. shopping.

I didn’t really do the "go to a big mall and listen to music and watch the kids line up to see Santa" kinda shopping, so maybe it was cheating, but I did get most of my shopping done.

I hadn’t intended to. A quick run to the postal station to mail off the last of the Christmas packages (your present may be late, Steve--but that’s OK, ‘cause it’s not much anyway). But the postal station happens to be in what Davis laughingly calls its mall. The "mall" consists of:

  • two restaurants
  • a clock shop (in the back of which is the postal station)
  • one travel agency
  • a computer shop
  • a dry cleaner
  • Gottschalks
  • a supermarket

Not exactly a huge mall. It doesn’t even have the Salvation Army ringing bells out in front of it, but--hey--it’s all we have.

So I went to the postal station, mailed off Steve’s box and then decided to just pass through Gottschalk’s and see if I could pick up a few things. Which I did. It was a very successful stop (unfortunately most of the people I bought things for read this journal, so I can’t say what I bought!).

I was on the way home, when I remembered that I’d seen a book talked about on TV this morning and it sounded so perfect for someone we don’t usually buy a gift for that I decided to go and get it anyway. So off I went to Borders.

I’ve been trying to round up presents for one of my Breaking Barriers clients. This is the wonderful lady with several different kinds of cancer, plus AIDS, and a family that is falling apart around her. Her daughter, in Southern California, was just arrested, leaving the five kids (age 5, 7, 8, 9, and 14) with no place to go. So grandma, despite her many problems, has taken them in. When I drove grandma the other day, she asked if I’ve been doing Christmas shopping and I said I had. "That’s such a foreign concept to me these days," she said, as she borrowed $1 so she could buy bread because she had no food in her house.

So when the kids arrived, we’ve all been trying to make a Christmas for the family. I’m taking grandma shopping on Friday with vouchers that are being given to her by the Sacramento AIDS Foundation, Breaking Barriers is providing a ham for her Christmas dinner. My mother, who works for a second hand store (or "op shop," as they call them in Australia, Peggy tells me) managed to get some new-appearing toys that I picked up yesterday--the shop donated them, because the manager of the shop came from a family which didn’t always have enough for presents for Christmas. And I’ve been trying to pick up a few other toys.

I managed to get a few books while I was at Borders, word have books gotten expensive! You can tell we don’t have grandkids. I kept finding these really great books, but they would be $15 for a short hardback. The paperbacks I bought for 25-cents when our kids were little were $3.25 each and I couldn’t afford to buy too many. I could have gone to another second hand store, but I really wanted the kids to have some new stuff. I still want to pick up a few toys before I deliver the whole thing to them on Friday (I’m also going to make cookies).

By the time I got home, I realized I had actually finished most of my shopping. One thing I bought today has to be exchanged....I got the size wrong, but it shouldn’t be difficult to get the right size.

By the time Walt got home, I had even wrapped most of the stuff, so if we ever get a Christmas tree, I now have things to put under it. Christmas may come around here after all.

In the late afternoon, UPS arrived with a package from I’m so glad. I heard that today was the biggest package delivery day in the country and I’d hate to think that I missed out. This is a gift from a friend and I had to laugh because at first I didn’t know what to think. The package is wrapped nicely and there is a lovely tag which reads, To Darrell. Go buy plenty good kine bottols! From Bryan Somewhere Darrell is probably getting a package with a gift card to me. Fortunately, the box also contained an invoice with a repeat of the message on it, and thus I could see who had sent it and read the intended message. (Thank you, Diane)

After Walt came home, we had to run an errand downtown, so we ended up driving around some of the neighborhoods looking at decorated houses. Never realized how many houses in this town were decorated--or to what extent people go to decorate for Christmas.

We once started putting lights on the house. We had one string. It went up one side of the house and across half of the roof line. We kept it up for years. We were either the last on the block to take our lights down, or the first to get them up (depending on whether you’re a "glass half full" or "glass half empty" kinda guy).

When Walt and the kids painted the house the lights came down. In their place, Walt bought different lights and kind of draped them decoratively over the hedge in front of the living room windows. When he had them all in place and turned them on, Paul looked at them and said it looked like they spelled out "nu-nu." (or maybe it was nuu-nuu). Anyway, they were ever after known as the "nu-nu lights." They never quite looked like "nu-nu" as much as they did the first year, but they were still the "nu-nu lights."

Last year, there was talk about putting out the nu-nu lights, and I fell apart. Somehow with Paul’s death, I couldn’t see having "nu-nu lights" up again. I don’t know if they’ll ever go up again, but they are staying in the box again this year.

So slowly, but surely, we are creeping toward Christmas.

Christmas....that’s sometime next month, right?


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created 12/20/00 by Bev Sykes