Thursday, December 30, 2004


One of my co-workers just stopped in for a visit and spoke about the tamales his mother had made for the holidays. Made my mouth water.

The only (really) good tamale is a home-made tamale. If you've ever had good home-made tamales, you'll never again be satisfied with those pale imitations you find in the grocery store.

Where I grew up, one of the churches sold tamales as a fund-raiser. Before designated weekends, the women of the church would gather together and make tamales. That Saturday would bring the whole town out to buy tamales by the dozens. They were so good, they would bring tears to your eyes. The hot ones would bring tears to your eyes for an additional reason. Gosh they were good.

Occasionally a friend will bring me some home-made tamales. I savor each bite. You just can't get them like Mama made anymore, unless your Mama still makes them. Little bites of heaven. Yum.


Wednesday, December 29, 2004


Something happens to me in that brief period between Christmas and New Year's. I'm normally a rational person who thinks twice before leaping into the unknown. However, the day after Christmas I'm usually filled with a sense of overwhelming relief that it's over, and rationality flies right out the window.

My usual post-Christmas schedule calls for making a round of Hallmark shops to pick up discounted ornaments that I refused to buy at full price. I also pick up wrapping paper, bows, and ribbons. This year I had to postpone the trip to 2 days after Christmas and found very little to spend my money on. The stores had been stripped bare of bargains by the early worms the day before.

Since I had been frustrated in my shopping, I tagged along with my brother and sister-in-law to watch them buy a piece of exercise equipment. That accomplished, David and I decided to wander through the music store in the same mall and play with the electronic keyboards. We had done this type of thing before, so I had no expectation of spending any money. But I forgot that this was the week after Christmas.

Twenty minutes of playing with a Yamaha DGX-505 was all it took for me to fall in love. What fun to play in the different voices - from grand piano and organ to bizarre sound effects like fireworks bursting in air and machine gun fire. And it was on sale. Guess what I spent the afternoon setting up in the guest bedroom?

It's been a long time since I've been able to practice my piano skills. It's hard to get in practice time when the only time available is late at night, when the others in the house are trying to sleep. With this little beauty, I can either turn down the volume or plug in the earphones and play any time I like. I've added a new resolution to my list for 2005 - get back to playing the piano on a regular basis.

Hopefully I've satisfied my urge for behaving irrationally this time around. If I can make it through the next two days without another impulse buy, I should have it made. But then again, I need to go back to the mall tomorrow and pick up some accessories for my new baby. I think I'd better leave the checkbook at home.


Saturday, December 25, 2004

Merry Christmas 2004

Another Christmas has dawned. I've seen 50 of them. Some happy, some sad, some exciting, some drab. In whatever mood this Christmas finds you, take a moment to remember why the day exists. Yes, Christmas has become a long, tiring trek through snarled traffic and over-crowded malls filled with stores with over-priced merchandise. Sometimes it is nearly impossible to find a reason not to lock yourself inside your house until the day passes.

But a little over 2000 years ago, a baby was born who changed the course of the world. Forget the decorations, the food, the gifts and the over-charged emotions that fill the day today. For just a moment remember a quiet stable, tired and frightened parents, brilliant stars in the heavens, flocks of sheep on the hillside and the sudden cry of a newborn son. That is what Christmas is about.

My family celebrates tomorrow, so today will be quiet here. Some last minute wrapping, cooking and cleaning will fill my day. Some overworn, Christmas movies on the TV to accompany my activities. Two little dogs to hover around my feet hoping to catch a few dropped morsels of food while I cook. I look forward to a peaceful day to putter around.

Today I begin what I hope will be a regular activity--posting to an online blog. I share a lot of my genealogy findings in a newsletter, but sometimes the odd memory or experience prompts me to jot down a few thoughts that never find their way to publication. These thoughts will cover a variety of topics and be posted as the mood strikes. I hope you find something of interest in my musings.

Merry Christmas. Peace and Good Will to all men.