2020 – So far this year: a pandemic, a depression, and protests because black lives matter. What’s next?

(As all this happened, our president did nothing to help in any situation. He blamed whoever he could for his inaction on COVID. He pushed for the economy to return to normal when it wasn’tafe. When the riots happened, he used violent language that Twitter shadow banned. He also huddled in a bunker or used force to wend his way to a church that he never attended, but where he posed for pictures with a bible. And then he congratulated himself on everything. This is sadly not unexpected.)

The year started within the sphere of reasonableness:

Annoyingly at the beginning of February, I fell down our basement steps and broke a few toes one or two that I have found out that are non-healing – I am having surgery in a week (this is June).

About then, Grandma Donna passed peacefully – pretty much as planned. There was a mormon funeral in Shelley, Idaho where our family stayed at a super weird AirBnb that was under a silo and felt like it was under a silo because of its funky lay-out. The touching viewing and funeral went smoothly. A grandchild sang Lara’s theme from Dr. Zhivago, Donna’s favorite movie. I wrote this poem to commerate her memory:

“Find treasures…

For this house is glorious

Outside the garage are rusted buckets filled with rocks

That my husband now owns

There is a small set of stairs that lead to a screen door

Into a rectangular kitchen

With a small sink full of potato peels

With a stove loaded with boiling vegetables

There is soft water and hard water – although I still don’t know what that means

There are dilly bean bottles in the worn white cupboards and peaches

I would steal both if I could.

A table unfolded into a living room

With a soft orange and brown couch, an afgan?

And behind that a wall made up of shiny stones each with a story behind it

A bird clock watches the meal intently

I eat sweet potatoes and turkey

Children chatter and there is pie – pumpkin to be sure

Turn the corner and there are more children

A mosaic of them on a wall all of them all connected by the invisible threads.

My daughter is there, she wears lacy tights that I forgot she owned

Later I am in a room listening to game shows

Grandma sits in a recliner, fussing over a jewelry box

I organize earrings and straighten out a tangle of necklaces

There is one for my daughter that her Great Grandma beaded together

I am given earrings and I put them in a box, not to wear, but to treasure

I have other things that I’ve been given

Paper crocheted stockings, my name made out

Stuffed with a grandma’s mite

A tangerine quilt that I wore when I was sick

And most of all the sweetness of light blue eyes

And her kind, inclusive smile.”

Here is Grandma Donna’s obituary:

At that time, I started a cookbook reddit (r/CookBookLovers) (it was picked as a trending subreddit so I have more than 6K fellow cookbook lovers now (in June). I post a cookbook a day (yes, I have that many and other people post too. A month or so ago, redditors were posting their shelves of cookbooks. (shelfies). I think I definitely won the number of cookbooks owned – not sure if this is good or not. Maybe I should go on the Guiness Book of World Records.

Other things were just normal: Lydia went to school and practiced her three instruments. David worked at home with his boss Romaine and his Chinese co-workers. We went to dinner at Lars’ with Aunt Joan who I hadn’t seen for years. She was older, sweet and funny. We planned to do a St. Patrick dinner with her, but then…

BAM! Corona virus hit.

The whole thing was so fast that it was a blur. We were all ordered to stay at home. People, including me, started panic-buying cans, flour, and rice as vendors price-gouged. Toilet paper was relatively scarce and people made jokes about that, but still hurried to Costco to buy it up. Hand sanitizer disappeared and so did dish soap.

I panic bought some purple rice off Amazon which was being sold by a vendor who lived in Bountiful. He delivered the order by hand that night. It seemed a bit unreal, like everything else, but it turned out that the rice is really tasty. Lydia loves it.

We all self-isolated and stood 6 feet away from each other and washed our hands thoroughly making sure soap got between fingers. But there was still this feeling that any minute, someone might die and I might be at fault.

The virus exploded in New York City where most of the population are close to each other and need to use the crowded subway system. Hospitals filled up and there wasn’t enough equipment to help patients out. Kevin, who works at one of the hardest hit NY hospitals as a physical therapist, dealt with so many affected COVID patients that he was overwhelmed.

It’s been a journey to understand the virus – and we are still on that journey. At first, everyone was sure that people with breathing issues were the ones most at risk. But now it seems that older people with diabetes and obesity are most at risk. Now we are all wearing masks (well, some people are – others don’t take that seriously) although in the beginning it was not that clear that they were helpful – although now everyone thinks they are super helpful.

Then people are losing their jobs. As customers avoid restaurants, restaurants lay people off. The entire tourism market in Las Vegas and Californis screeched to a halt. Unemployement hit Great Depression levels (although it has improved some in June). The stock market plunged – although maybe not as badly as it should have.

The thing about Corona is the humming uncertainty that it brought. I woke up and then realize I wasn’t going out of the house. That not just my outsides – not just my insides – could snarl up. What would happen next? Some people in meat packing plants weren’t working so I bought meat and chicken and stuffed it into our freezer. I kept trying to predict what would happen next and prepare myself, but the more I did, the more I realized that I couldn’t stay ahead of COVID circumstances. That my lack of control – any control – over the Corona Virus was what it was. Maybe that was a life lesson about trying to control what I can’t. That I need to trust instead of act.

A few months into quarantine, George Floyd, a black man, was murdered. A horrible murder where an out-of-control policeman put his knee on his neck for over eight minutes until George lost consciousness and died. As he died, he called out “I can’t breathe.” He called out for his mom. Many people couldn’t watch the video of his death. I couldn’t, but irregardless of this, many Americans hearts broke for George Floyd and black people who experience the violence of racism every day.

Then came the protests. In a lot of cities, including Salt Lake, people felt the need to express their need for fairness To express the wrong-ness of racism. I wanted to march with the protestors but my gimpy foot prevented me from doing it. But I resolved to be more politically active. To do more to right the wrongs in politics and society – even if it wasn’t sure that there would be a direct impact. To avoid being someone who feels, but doesn’t do.

The protests for “Black Lives Matter” on top of corona virus lead to a sort of depression. I think it was a reaction to how flawed our society still is and how racist our leaders are. This fact was mixed up in the uncertainty of COVID (which attacks black people worse than white people.) How could we survive in such a damaged world.

Here are some words from Rev. Monica Dobbins of our Unitarian Church.

“We have a lot of work to do. We will not be able to begin in the same frame of mind we were in before this weekend. This is not going to be solved with the election in November. Everything has changed. Are you ready to change? Are you ready to start with yourself? I’m there with you.”

Here is another good take on the situation:

Unfortunately, there has been a lot of looting and vandalism around the “Black Lives Matter” protests. But at some level, even this is understandable, because of the huge division of the have and have-nots of this country. It is frustrating to see leaders golfing when a person is not sure how they will feed their kids.

David might protest tonight. And I support him. Much of the country supports him. And hopefully, this will lead to a change that embraces compassion, not fear. May I do what I can to make this happen.

Winter 19 to 20

Here we are Winter 2019:

So this season is speeding by…the holidays are over and we’re muddling through January. Here are some highlights of our winter so far…Lydia’s music!

Pictured here is one of Lydia’s viola concerts. First, note her excellent teacher: Mrs. Kristiana Henderson. She teaches Suzuki method and Lydia has really excelled at her viola. This is a picture of a group Mrs. Kristiana put together called the Flying Fiddlesticks. They played various places like the Family History Library and the Capitol Theatre (before the Nutcracker). Unfortunately for that performance, Lydia forgot to bring her bow so she had to pluck her viola.

Lydia also played her clarinet and viola for school band and orchestra. She even got to perform at a concert where the kids learned several tunes in one day from a professional and then shared them with an audience. She did this for both clarinet and viola.

This is one of the All State times. Lydia played at Abravanel Hall (All State). Also, she helped choreograph one of the songs. It was a Jewish medley and Lydia suggested everyone raise their instruments at the end.

Another point about Lydia’s music, last quarter, she had a music mentoring class with Mr. Frohm that was her favorite. Here is Lydia and Mr. Frohm (she also made him a book with facial expressions):

Thanksgiving was fairly normal. It took place at Kathryn’s place. Jim made a yummy turkey and there were yummy sides. I overreached myself and made 2 pumpkin pies ( I added a bit too much salt, but somehow they turned out), 2 impossible coconut pies, 1 chocolate mousse pie, and 1 OMG lemon chiffon pie (recipe on this site). I ate most of that one myself. I also made a bacon green bean casserole, my own recipe, but I added way too much liquid which happens sometimes when you wing it.

During the Christmas Season, we hung out with a lot of relatives.

Here is the stocking that Grandma Donna gives out at Christmas. It had $5 in it which is so thoughtful.

One thing is that Grandma Donna is staying with Kathryn and Jim right now. Her health is up and down and she is on hospice. But her mind is clear and she is fun to talk to. Kathryn is reading Gone with the Wind with her right now and as always, she likes to watch game shows, sports and Hallmark Christmas movies.

So Kevin & Jose came for a few days. Kathryn made fondue and it was so good that I think that she is going to make it a tradition.

Victoria, Stephen, Emily, Ellie and Tom also came to visit. We all gathered at Lars’ for dinner, joulu torttus (made by Lars – both prune and chocolate flavors), and pulla (made by Tori). We played lots of games including Patchwork, Wingspan, Lords of Waterdeep etc.

Lots of Fam at Lars’

I also threw a sugar cookie party. I invited 8 nieces and nephews with their parents. It was a real a lot of kids and people for me to deal with – especially due to a lack of sleep, but it was such a treat to have Emily, Ellie and Tom there. Emily had real talent and decorated many cookies with great talent. She is showing a Yoda cookie above.

Lisa visited just after Christmas with her foster child, Isaiah. Both Isaiah and Lydia are the same age, but Lydia looks like she’s 10 or 11 and Isaiah looks like he is 15 or 16. We played a lot of games Splendor (with expansion), Dominion, Santorini… Isaiah was really good at spacial games. It was fun having them stay. The last night they were here we celebrated Lisa’s birthday and we ate…

at EMPIRE CHINESE in Centerville – a holiday tradition where most of us order either (or both) lemon chicken or singapore noodles. Kathryn knows the owner who is also a Kathryn (not sure if this is spelled right).

In other news, I finished my book! Lyla, LLC. Taylor is editing it right now and after that, I will send it out to agents!

Fall on Good Times 2019

Before we continue…I need to mention…our xeriscaping. This past summer we enjoyed lavender, honey bees, and hummingbirds and outside of some light weeding, relative low yard maintenance. Yes, it cost a pretty penny, but it was lovely and not only that, low water. We do, after all, live in a desert.

So Lydia started 8th grade. Here she is on her first day of school.

“Peace out people – I have figured out how to take two instruments to school for orchestra and put together a killer outfit.”

(And don’t look in her closet – as current style dictates, most T-shirts have been cropped)

The last day the Davis Rec Center pool was opened – they invited dogs to romp in the splash pad… And Luna ran right in. Galloping through the water was an amazing end to her frolicking summer. Stephen and Denali joined in the party.

This fall I’ve loved hanging out with these characters: James, Holly, and Emily. With Amanda, we all visited the Love Letters exhibit at the Gateway where the kids slid down alphabet slides, James fed paper into a shredder, and we all celebrated the wonder of words.

One of the biggest things to happen this fall was GRADY (aka Gray, Gray Bear, Gray Gray, Gray Bear Marie.) He is a athletic french bulldog who loves to eat and snuggle. He eats with the appetite of Nibbler (from Futurama) and jumps super high.

FRENCHIE COME HOME: A Story

When Grady was here about a week, he went to visit Kathryn and Poppy. In a strange place, he somehow managed to knock down the fence and walk the three blocks back to our house. It wasn’t across the country like a golden retriever might be able to do, but this little guy did good.

Gray and Lu are friends – although when they romp, sometimes Luna just lays there while Gray jumps around her head and nibbles her ear.

Our BIG TRIP this fall was to Yellowstone with Lars & Kim’s fam. It was cold – well, freezing- but the scenery was lovely. Lots of sulfur steam rose from the ground giving everything a mystical bent. We also played games including D & D.

Additionally, Lydia and I finished two mother-daughter TV binges. We bonded over Friends and Parks & Rec. Onto … Gilmore Girls: how appropriately Mother Daughter can you get, right?

Oh what do you do in the summertime, when all the world is green…

In July, David decided to host a neighborhood party. He cooked hamburgers and hot dogs while I made a traditional potato salad. However, the definite highlight of the gathering was the candy cannon supplied most kindly by the Blundells. BANG! Lots of taffy, starbursts and bouncing balls landed on the street to the delight of kids and adults alike.

T

In other news, Lydia got a red faber guitar for her 13th bday. She is taking lessons on an app.

Another July happening was the McGary family camp out. It took place near Lava Hot Springs. We had the usual trading post (I brought books), dutch oven dinners, and fishing post (for kids). It is always nice to see Grandma Donna. Of course, we ate at the Riverwalk Cafe (to die for Thai food) and soaked in the hot pools.

Jim made enchiladas.
A grandma presiding over her family

When August arrived, Lydia & I headed over to Charleston, South Carolina to vacation with Miss Tina C. ‘s family. Lydia and Lily hadn’t seen each other for years and years. Here’s when they were kids. And there’s where they are now (pre-teens).

Besides the beach – which was warm! and had gentle waves! We visited a Tea Plantation (the only one in America) and the Angel Oak, a tree with long reaching tentacles.

HP Lovecraft Portal or a regular tree?

We also went to downtown Charleston and even though I misplaced my wallet, we still ate BBQ and the most scrumptious cinnamony berry cobbler ever. Thanks Miss Tina!

And then there was the snake and the swamp. We went to a park which had a reptile exhibit and we got to see a snake shed its skin. It was cool to see it slither around as it got rid of the old to welcome the new.

The swamp at the park was beautiful with lotus blossoms and lily pads. The best part was being able to row a boat through the swamp. We got to see a baby alligator.

Alligator, stay away!

While we were in SC, David improved our already gorgeous xeriscaping by planting a bristle cone pine. How big will it get???

So summer is basically at an end. Lydia is going to school next week. Sigh.

Summer/ Spring Fun

(New York, New Car)

I had it in my mind for months that I should go visit Kevin & Jose in NYC and look at some art. So in May, I took a plane out to visit. I brought an obscure art book for Jose, but guess what? He already had it. No wonder! Here’s a brief glimpse into one wall of Kevin and Jose’s apartment.

Jose’s Books

The weather was pretty great. Just the right temp for walking the High Line. We wandered around Manhattan and took a ferry back to Brooklyn.

Since I was there to see art, we saw art. We hit the MoMA (they had an exhibit on Joan Miro) and the Met (there was an exhibit on Persian art that was fun). Jose also took me to see an exhibit on Joan (not Joni) Mitchell so that I could enjoy a woman artist. I loved it!

The trip was in May and now it is July. Other summer highlights include Jordan (Kevin’s son) visiting. It was nice to hang out with him and get to know him better. We visited Sill’s (a breakfast tradition) and Jordan caught and ate a fish.

Lydia & David went camping a couple times (with the Blundells and with Jordan) and…

I GOT A NEW CAR. A 2018 Kia Soul. I named her Kourtney Kia (after Kourtney Kardashian – I don’t watch this show, but the name seemed right) and she is awesome to drive.

Lydia continues her music passion and is now taking private viola lessons. Guitar lessons may be next. So that means Lydia is playing clarinet, piano, and viola (plus guitar??!!) She has to practice a lot every day. The other day she said, (regarding practicing a hard piano song): “Although it’s a pretty song, it’s eating out my insides right now.” 

Lydia and David are currently in California visiting Lisa and her foster daughter Rosie. There was an earthquake during their visit, but It sounds like they are having fun.

I stayed home and enjoyed Centerville’s fourth of July fireworks and parade with Anna, James and Emily. I bought them all tattoos, so cute!

Fun Times for sure!

Mo-ster

(Moab & Easter smashed together in one post)

For Lydia’s spring break, we headed down south to Moab with Lucy, Emma, and Kim. We enjoyed perfect April weather and saw some super pretty rocks.

A funny story was Lydia & Lucy rushed up a hike, Grandstaff Canyon. And ran out of water. So they found a couple who were bottling water at a spring in a stream. Lucy & Lydia bottled some of this spring, but didn’t tell anyone that they did it. I (maybe) drank one the bottles and had a stomach ache.

We also had an Easter Egg hunt as usual at Kathryn’s. I made some baskets for the kids which was a fun craft (more or less).

Normally there is a gold egg with a $20 bill in it. This year though it was agreed that the egg caused contention and caused grand kids to cry.

The funniest part of Easter was the introduction of “Eggna”. She was an egg creation put together by Lucy & Lydia and they share joint custody of her. Lucy (aka Lucci as in Gucci) is currently taking care of her.

David was in Wuhan, China for a week this month to train and work with some of his Chinese co-workers. He saw some pretty amazing stuff. Check out facebook, but I downloaded one.

Some books I have enjoyed lately: Becoming, Spinning Silver, Beautiful Boy, most of Panchinko…(and even though I read this a while ago, I want to put in a plug for Educated by Tara Westover – an all time favorite, Beautiful Boy is up there too)

Another hobby that I have taken up is listening to old time vinyl records that I buy at thrift stores and play on my new record player. I have found some really fun music, some jazz, some movie theme songs ans some singing. I like to listen to it when I am writing (like right now!)

Among Other Things, Salt Con, Muse, Tumbling

Almost right after our Floribama trip, Lydia and I went to the Muse Simulation Theory concert. It was Lydia’s first rock concert and it rocked – loud. Next time we’ll get Lydia some earphones. It was one of the best concerts I have been to. The singing was amazing, there was jamming on guitars, and the effects included streamers from the ceiling, a huge skeletal puppet, and alternate reality glasses worn by Matt Bellamy. I danced a lot and Lydia was embarrassed.

So this month was another episode of Salt Con in Layton. David signed up for a bunch of game tournaments, but I don’t think he won anything. Allen, our Gloomhaven friend, won like three or four. From a raffle, I got a bath bomb that colored my bath water a urine yellow. But the real fun wasn’t from what we won, but the games we played. We finally learned how to play Terraforming Mars, the game we tried to learn at the Sorensens. I think I could still learn it a little better, but I can play it without the rules so that’s something.

Allen, our Gloomhaven buddy, is on the left.

Lydia’s tumbling contest was a week or so ago and she did great. She actually got 3rd place in Tramp which is her best event.

Showing off on the Lefgrens’ tramp

Luna seems to be aging a bit. Her muzzle is turning white, but I think she is getting smarter. Her newest trick is to avoid getting let in through the garage when the ground is wet (she tracks dirt in). She barks to be let in. Then won’t come into the garage, but runs to her regular door and waits there.

So basically the usual.

Floribama, a trip

So time moves fast. Super fast. And there’s been plenty of adventure in the past month or so. Let’s start with Floribama. On President’s day weekend, our family plus Lisa flew into Pensacola Florida for a beach adventure. We started out our trip by checking into our Airbnb which was named “Ain’t It Nice.” And it was nice. There was a loft where Lydia and Lisa’s bedroom was. A gaming coffee table. And a nearby pool and hot tub. Not to mention a rundown tiki bar.

So the first order of business was to visit a breakfast place that served beignets. Lydia fell in love with this donut/ scone and the rest of our vacation was mostly centered around them. That being said, we ate amazingly. We bought fresh fish at a market. We sampled a gorgeous gumbo. We visited a local barbeque place and ate at a fancy pants restaurant called Iron in Mobile which had the best, tenderest steak that I have ever had.

Then there was the beach. Lydia stepped in the water for a bit, but she spent most of her time on the white sands, tumbling ariels and cartwheels, burying herself and finding sea shells.

I decided to cram as much vitamin D in my skin as the sun would allow. I avoided sun block and this was the result:

Go away, winter depression, I mean it


David who doesn’t typically like the beach was a good sport.

Another high light of our trip was visiting the Mardi Gras museum in Mobile. The Mardi grases? started in Alabama and it has a rich history of white Mobile aristocracy wearing heavy over-the-top capes. Black people have their own kings and queens. There was a definite racist flavor. But Mardi Gras is taken very seriously. During Mardi Gras, local businesses close down for a week and kids get out of schools. The paper mache floats and such for this were very festive.

Typically these types of floats throw moon pies into their audience

Overall this trip was a success because it really felt like we were in a different place. People had southern accents and the tour guide at the Mardi Gras museum hinted at Southern Hospitality.

And one of the best times during this trip was playing games. We played banagrams, No Thanks, but the big high light was playing Azule which we learned from our trip to San Antonio.

Overall, we all had fun. Good trip.

Remember San Antonio!

For MLK weekend, Lydia & I traipsed off to San Antonio to visit the Sorensens. The winter here in Utah was quite gray so we were looking for both some sun and some fun. We had both! The weather there was just about perfect and we enjoyed several walks with Anne Marie, Jared and the kids: Connor, Chris, Ian and Lydia.

Our start to the trip was a bit rocky. Because our flight was coming in late, I decided to book an Airbnb so that the Sorensens wouldn’t have to pick us up that night. Anne Marie texted me and said that it wasn’t a problem for Jared to pick us up. I tried to get a refund for the Airbnb, but it wasn’t working out so I determined we would just go the Airbnb. Lydia and I took a cab and the key app (kevo) didn’t work for us and the hosts didn’t get back to me right away so I ended up, afterall, calling the Sorensens to pick us up.

The first order of business at the Sorensens is always games. I wanted to make sure that we would be able to bring lots of games so I bought this enormous rollaway at the DI and then stuffed as many as I could into it.

One of the games that I brought was Secret Hitler. Everyone enjoyed arguing about who was a facist and who was Hitler. About half the time, Anne Marie was Hitler which was kind of funny because she makes a terrible Hitler. She is way too nice and not at all devious.

We also played Azule. Super fun tile laying game. We will need to add Azule to our own game library soon!

Another game that we really, really tried hard to play was Terraforming Mars. Unfortunately some of the card mechanics were tricky and we got about 80% of the way there, but then gave up. I did find a very comforting, meditative podcast that outlines game rules and play, but I think at this point, we might need to play with someone who can teach us.

(BTW, while we’re on the topics of planets, we need to mention David who didn’t go to San Antonio so that he could work. January 20th was the date of a full lunar eclipse and David used his telescope and camera to capture some pretty stunning pictures.)

One of other highlights of the trip was visiting Bucces and another bakery called 2 Tarts. Buc-ees is the BIGGEST convenience stores in the USA. There are endless gas pumps, huge restrooms, and aisles of …stuff. Fudge, BBQ sauce, Pro Texas aprons, cow hides, odd pickled food, retro toys…you know, the usual.

The next day we did an obligatory trip to the Alamo. Some of us got into the true Texas spirit and aimed some guns at the camera.

We also walked down the beautiful Riverwalk and fed bread to birds.

Finally, we ate a LOT. Besides Buc-ees and 2 Tarts, we went to a delicious donut shop that had bacon maple as a selection. We ate pizza at the Riverwalk and lots of BBQ. Anne Marie also cooked a lot of yummy stuff so we came home fat and happy.

Mostly, though, the fun we had was catching up with family. Both me and Lydia are looking forward to visiting again.

We celebrate the season with some new and old traditions

Christmas 2018 arrived in a flash. Lydia’s winter vacation sped by so fast that I woke up one morning stunned that it was over. One thing we did this year was to hand out Dark Orange Cocoa to neighbors, family and friends. It was a bit of an experiment and the results were a tad uneven, but I want to figure it out next year for either a cinnamon or cherry flavored cocoa.

I also made Christmas jello after watching National Lampoon’s Vacation (my go-to Christmas movie) . There is green jello with cat food in that movie, but I decided to make something a bit prettier. The funny thing is that Kathryn made THE EXACT SAME jello and it’s not like either of us have a tradition of making Christmas jello.

Luna gained a new stocking with a handsome male great dane on it, but it was empty on Christmas Eve. This was actually when we opened our presents and is now our brand new Christmas tradition so that we can sleep in and enjoy a lazy Christmas morning.

Luna’s True Love

Lydia made out like a bandit. Both David and I separately bought things that she would like which made for a variety of goodness. Lydia’s biggest present was probably a camera (she’s been really enjoying taking pictures. She also got several books, a scented rice bag, a Doug the Pug 2019 calendar, an introvert button (Lydia loves figuring out personality types using the myers brigg text), Santorini (the game), fancy silly putty, a floating moon and more.

David also got some goods. He got a book on saunas. He got a book about Black Mirror (courtesy of Lydia). He got some lanterns because he collects them. But his best gift was Finnish Coffee and Sinapi (mustard).

Meanwhile, I got this lovely, new laptop that I am using to compose this very blog post and some steampunk items. I also got MUSE tickets which were expensive (we got good seats). I’m so excited to rock out with Lydia!

Lisa was in town for most the holiday. She had our names for Christmas and bought us some fun stuff plus a big ass jenga game made out of huge wooden blocks.

Other tidbits: Grandma McGary’s Annual Christmas party took place at a Chinese Restaurant in Shelley instead of the Senior Center (it was being remodeled). We all received goodies from Grandma including a paper socks crocheted at the edges and money which is all the more treasured because it comes from Grandma’s pension. On Christmas Eve, David and Lydia visited Crystal Springs with Amanda’s family – a yearly tradition. I suffered a slight cold. On NYE (yes, I’m going to throw this into this Christmas post) we visited Lars and ate sausage with the Finnish mustard and threw tin. So it went..fun times.