Tag: Christmas

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San Diego Snowman Dresses Up

What a difference that three weeks make. On Dec. 1, 2019, I shared “San Diego Snowman” adorning a home along Maryland Street, here in the community of University Heights. Since, my walking path deliberately passed by, as I looked for something to return: His black hat that I recall topping his rock-for-brains head before heavy rains pelted Southern California and presumably washed it away. I hadn’t mentioned his missing adornment for concern it was imagined; a false memory.

But look at him now! Stoneman is dapper wearing the topper, scarf, and something else: Smile replacing frown. He’s happier perhaps for Christmas being three days away. I am overjoyed to snag a portrait of his fine wear before rains return, starting overnight.

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The Christmas House

A few years ago, when my daughter shared an apartment in Point Loma, Calif., I drove up Garrison on the way home from her neighborhood. Houses along the way decked out big time for Christmas, such that traffic snarled as drivers slowed to gawk, others searched for parking, and pedestrians admired the decorations. My wife and I visited the street this evening, previewing what’s expected to come. Only one house had spiffed up for the Holiday—and in unbelievably magnificent fashion. The Featured Image and three companions are but a glimpse of the fabulously adorned property.

I captured the set using Google Pixel 3 XL, which proved to be more than a low-light performer. It’s a charmer. I am rather surprised to see character and dimension in these quick snaps. I cropped all four 3:2 and straightened two, but did not otherwise edit. Vitals for the first: f/1.8, ISO 176, 1/24 sec, 4.4mm; 5:35 p.m. PST (about 55 minutes after sunset). 

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The Great Gift Mom Gave to Me

On this first Christmas without mom, who passed away nearly five months ago, there is little pause for reflection. Flu symptoms started on December 20; today is the first in five where fever dropped below 37.8 degrees Celsius (100 F); 38.9 C (102 F) was frequent. My core body temp tends to be below normal (36.1 C; 97 F), which (I hope) explains why low-grade fevers are so debilitating. I let the blog auto-post several entries to my “Cats of University Heights” series, which is one reason there are so many uninterrupted.

There is little sentimental about this December 25. My wife finally succumbed to the flu by Christmas Eve; we steered our daughter away from the quarantine household. She is in Northern California with a friend’s family, and looks like she feels out of place, too. We’re here, as is her bag of presents, and she celebrates without mom and dad but with the loss of two grandparents. My father-in-law passed away Jan. 11, 2017. He already was in desperate decline last Christmas Day; I can’t imagine the dire circumstance if Anne and I were this bedridden then, when he needed so much assistance. 

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Christmas in June?

I spotted Santa Claus while walking in Balboa Park this afternoon. He was out for a stroll—to where is anyone’s guess. An elf helper tagged along, so surely there was some purpose. After passing him, I stopped. Hesitated. Stepped forward. Then turned around and approached Mr. Kringle, rather than let the moment pass. I asked to shoot a portrait.

As you would expect, Santa responded jovially, accepting the invitation. While couching low with Leica Q, I asked about his presence, joking that it wasn’t Christmas in July. He smiled and said something about Christmas being every day for people who keep it in their hearts. Now that is a lovely sentiment. 

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Christmas Presents

Santa brought some good gifts this year, but some wallet busters, I might add. I’m not that happy with the presents given to my wife, who I think deserves much better than she got. Simple presents, but stuff she wanted, appeared under the Christmas tree. Goodies included a delightful iPod case, CD, and DVD.

For my daughter, my wife took care of the thoughtful presents, while I tackled the tough task of finding adorable and unexpected manga items. Through Google search, I found many of the gifts, some purchased on eBay and almost all paid for using PayPal, regardless of seller. 

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Another ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’

Okay, so a few days back, I grumbled about how all those repeated showings of “It’s a Wonderful Life” had kind of killed the movie’s appeal for me. Maybe I am extra sentimental this holiday, because the classic film is yanking on yea `ol heartstrings.

I got some sentimental boost from OldFunRadio.com, which has a radio theatre version of “It’s a Wonderful Life”, with original cast (including Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed). [Editor: Original link is gone, use this one.]