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25 December 2002

Technically, nearly midnight 24 December. It's been quite an...interesting day.

Walt was gone yesterday (went to San Francisco to pick Jeri up at the airport, and then they both spent the night at my mother's).  My plan was to get a lot done in his absence. Unfortunately I ended up working most of the day (at the office) and then in the evening, sat down to watch Jerry Falwell on Phil Donohue's show (why does anybody listen to that pompous idiot?). Anyway, as is my wont, I dozed off and didn't get anything done. True, things were in better shape than usually at this time of year, but that didn't mean everything was done, by a long shot.

So at 5:30, I leaped up, realizing I'd slept way too long, and got to work. Got the floor clean, got the table cleared (a monumental task), got bills paid, even finished most of the Christmas cards that I had intended to send, but hadn't gotten to yet. It was 9:30 when I looked at the clock, realized that it was not, after all, Saturday, but Tuesday, and that I had missed the WeightWatchers weigh-in. First time in nearly a year. So I have no new accurate numbers for my tally here. Probably just as well, given that this is "treat time."

Instead, I continued on with my chores and by about 2 pm, I realized that actually, I was about as finished as I was going to get. Furniture still needs to be moved, but that's a Christmas day task. I had finished with 30 minutes to spare before I had to go and work at the city's Christmas dinner.

This dinner was started several years ago by some newcomers in town who had no family and who wanted to be around other people for Christmas. It evolved into a meal for the homeless and in recent years, it's just a dinner for anybody who wants to come. The emphasis is on people who have nowhere else to go or no one to be with, or who are homeless or low income, but nobody is turned away.  Members of the community act as cooks, servers, and cleaner-uppers.

It's Davis at its finest. The food Co-op sponsors it, with contributions from many, many other merchants (except for Albertson's, which steadfastly refuses to contribute a thing, so I am now going to change my supermarket to Safeway, which donates tons of food for this dinner, for the weekly Community Meals, and for Gay Pride Day. I've shopped at Albertson's (formerly Lucky's, which wasn't any better, apparently) for 30 years, but no more.)

The event is held at the community center, which is beautifully decorated. Some fraternity guys who heard about the dinner came with a tree, which they decorated. I didn't see all the food, because I worked the early shift, before they actually started serving food, but the dessert table was heaped with both donated and home-made desserts. There was a big table piled high with bread and pastries which people who wanted could take home with them. When I was leaving, the servers were arriving, and several of the obviously homeless people had wandered in, shivering in the cold, and sat down to await their dinner. A musical group had set up and was playing background music.

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(that's the former mayor in the Santa hat)

People who came to work, or to join with the street people, all dropped generous contributions in a box. The money will go to pay for the food and the extra money will go to support the community meals.

It's a real feel-good event. Because of my yearly nervous breakdown, which means that on Christmas Eve, I'm running around like a chicken with its head cut off, I've never attended or worked this event. I think I will factor it into the plans for next year.

By the time I returned home, my mother and Jeri were there and we sat around chatting and getting caught up. Then the phone rang. It was my cousin letting us know that her father had just died. I just wrote about him a couple of days ago, when he had open heart surgery the same day as his wife, my aunt (the one with Alzheimers), broke her hip and was transported to a different hospital. Bill's surgery did not go well and his recovery has been iffy since day one. Then he developed an infection and today they discovered he was bleeding internally. My mother hoped he could hang on through Christmas so his children and grandchildren didn't have to remember that Grandpa died over Christmas, but alas that was not to be. It is a blessing, really--but still very difficult to hear the news in the midst of all the happy celebrations.

But we couldn't dwell on it because we had to meet Ned and Marta at the home of Marta's father and stepmother for a Christmas Eve dinner. There were a lot of us and the dinner was quite nice, but at the conclusion, Marta's stepmother passed out party favors, among which were kazoos. We have now done the entire standard Christmas carol repertoire in kazoo chorus. Very, very silly, but a lot of fun.

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(we may have warped 2 yr old Izabella for life!)

And then it was back home again to gather up the little holly-and-evergreen arrangement I made and we're about to head off to the cemetery to pay our mid-night respects to Paul and David.

As the day ends, I'm not sure whether to laugh or to cry. Instead, I think I'll just go to sleep.

Quote of the Day

Happiness isn't something you experience; it's something you remember.

~ Oscar Levant (1906-1972)

Yesterday's Photo

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One Year Ago
Useless Flowers & Strange Rituals
We were standing by the light of the half-moon in the black of the cemetery, shivering in the cold, once again gathered around the joint grave of Paul and David. Walt had turned up the volume on the car stereo and opened the windows and Paul's voice cut through the blackness.

Two Years Ago
Moon Flowers
It was very cold, the wind was blowing. The cemetery was black as ink and off in the distance the light of flashlights could be seen bobbing about. We parked the car and made our way cautiously across the graves, careful not to step on somebody’s poinsettia. When we arrived at the kids’ grave, there was a small group gathered.

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Created 12/21/02