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Children are the true connoisseurs.   What's precious to them has no price--only value.

-Bel Kaufman


"Portrait of a Killer--Jack the Ripper Case Closed" by Patricia Cornwell.

This is a much more riveting story than her last book, "Blow Fly" and she makes a believable case for the true identity of Jack the Ripper--who can deny DNA evidence?

also (since I can't just read one book at at time):

"Virtual Mutts," a compilation of vignettes by Karen Derrico

This is a "keep by your chair" book for reading when commercials come on...a feel good book.


Angels in America, Part 1, on HBO

I've heard about the play for years and when I found out HBO was going to produce it as a movie, I wanted to see it.  Ellen and Shelly, who don't get HBO, came over for dinner and we all sat here mesmirized for 3 hours.  They will be replaying segments of it thru the week, and doing Part 2 next Sunday--try not to miss it.


Bing Crosby's "Merry Christmas"

A Baroque Christmas


Breakfast:  Pinada Colada yogurt with banana

Lunch:  Leftover Chicken Chili

Dinner:  Dijon chicken, kabocha squash, rice, and pistachio pudding (all were Weight Watchers recipes)


Alas, none.


7 December 2003

I can't quite believe it. There is only one digit in the date and we have our Christmas tree up and decorated. Last year we decorated it on Christmas morning, and even then I wasn't ready. It took Jeri taking charge to get it done. This is definitely progress.

Each year as we decorate the tree, it's like a trip down memory lane. Maybe that's why I've been resisting it so strongly the past few years. It was fun when the kids grew up and we all decorated the tree together while drinking egg nog and listening to Bing Crosby carols. They would all pick up decorations and remember when we got such and such.

After David died, those memories turned bittersweet. And after Paul died, downright painful. But I'm in a better place now and can deal with them. Also, we bought a smaller tree this year, at my request, and so we didn't use nearly as many of the ornament as we usually do.

The tree always starts at the top with what I have come to call the "necromancy ornaments." Perhaps it's a bit sick, but if you can't laugh at yourself, what's the point of life. The necromancy ornaments start with a tennis ball that our dog Seymour used to love to chase. After she died, Paul put an ornament hook on it, and so that is one of the first things to be hung on the tree--the tennis ball and Seymour's collar.

The year David died, I dearly wanted to replace the angel at the top of the tree with a black leather-jacketed angel. I was sure I would be able to find something like that in San Francisco in the Castro district, but no--what kind of queers are these that they don't sell black-leather jacketed angels for Christmas trees? I put out a call to folks in New York, who checked Greenwich Village and there appears to be a real dearth of black-leather angels. (Perhaps I should go into the business; I could probably make a mint.)

bitch.jpg (52593 bytes)The closest anybody could find was a keychain with a tiny black leather jacket with the word "bitch" painted in brilliant pink across the back. We may, in fact, be the only Christmas tree in the world with this decoration. But it's there, in memory of David and his beloved black leather jacket.

When Paul was perhaps in junior high school, he once gave me a long chain of smiley face beads for Mother's Day. He was old enough at this point to realize that it was cheap and gaudy and probably something he snatched at the last minute because he'd forgotten that it was Mother's Day. But smiley faces became a joke between us...He would periodically remind me about that "wonderful" smiley face necklace he gave me. In fact, I wore it to his memorial service and the only reason the chain is not buried with him is that I didn't think to bring it with me to the cemetery that morning. So the smiley face necklace is now draped across the tree as a memorial to Paul.

liltom.jpg (40670 bytes)These are all rather weird, but in our own, bizarre way, it's "christmas" for us. Once we get the "necromancy decorations" up, we're into the more standard things. Or "standard," by our definition. The tree is decorated with lots of home made things. I was really into having the kids make things for the tree when they were little. I have forever regretted losing the "ornament" which Ned made, which was a picture of Jesus doing a front dive. (Ned was into springboard diving at the time).

There are handprints that we made in about 1973 which are so heavy that most trees can't stand the weight of them. They need a good sturdy silvertip (which we don't have this year).

9er.jpg (55751 bytes)One of my favorite ornaments was made by my friend Kathleen and is a felt ornament of Dopey (from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs). In truth, she made me the whole 7, but Dopey is my favorite. We had worked together on a La Leche League convention. La Leche League was founded by 7 mothers and at some point during the craziness, we started referring to "Snow White and the 7 Founding Mothers" (we never figured out which of the 7 of them was Dopey). I remember that time fondly when I hang Dopey on the tree.

9er.jpg (55751 bytes)There are store-bought ornaments that tell the story of our children's lives--49er players, for Tom and David, who were/are avid 9er fans, a ballerina when Jeri was taking ballet, lots of musical instruments for all of the kids, depending on what they were studying at the time--and a trumpet for Paul the year he played Winthrop in The Music Man, an automobile when someone got his driver's license (don't remember who now). And we can't forget the Star Trek years which produced an ornament of the shuttlecraft with Spock wishing everyone Merry Christmas (I'm sure Jewish Leonard Nimoy was thrilled with that).

There are souvenirs of trips and things sent from people from foreign lands when they were unable to be with us over Christmas (for many years we had no less than four or five people from various countries with us each year).

You won't find any glass balls on our tree. There is no room for them. Nothing is symmetrical. Nothing is color coordinated. Nothing matches. But each year, if we, like Charlie Brown, give it a little bit of love, it doesn't matter that the tree was not designed by Martha Stewart. It is "us" and it is "the most beautiful tree ever."



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Weight Lost to date:  55.6 lbs

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Created 12/07/03