Saturday, December 31, 2022

Cards? Not a Topic of My Blog Till Now.

 We played cards last evening with friends in Santa Fe. A big night out for us. Jeff and Joe invited us. They are the card players and were eager to teach four neophytes. Sam and Alan, Leon and I were game, so to speak. I don't think any of the four of us were really card players and certainly not card sharks.

The game was "Pennies from Heaven" and was a variation on a variation of some some other similar game (Hand and Foot?). 

Whoever came up with the algorithm for this game was either a genius or a sadist. I think we were using six decks of cards for six players. Sevens, threes, red, black, books, wild cards. Alan and I were getting a bit confused. Leon and Sam seemed to pick it up rather quickly.

Here are the rules (with slight variations as far as I can tell):

This is very similar to what we were playing with a few variations.


Well, it was fun to get together. We played the game, had some laughs, had some libations and ate good food.(My homemade focaccia with sausage, gorganzola and caramelized onions; cheese and crackers; shrimp with cocktail sauce; cherry pie) 

The main thing is that we were with good friends for the evening.

Alan suggested however, that the next time he and I do some knitting while the others play cards. I said, "If you think I can mess up a game of cards, just wait till you see what I do with a ball of yarn." 

Saturday, December 24, 2022

O Holy Night by Andrea DeFrancesco

 My niece Andrea has a beautiful voice and has made two videos on YouTube of this Christmas classic.

Personally I prefer the video of her singing rather than the religious slide show, but musically and vocally, the first one with the religious iconography is "WOW" Beautiful.

Andrea, you are so talented. I hope you find a way into the larger music world.

Readers, please share.

Friday, December 23, 2022

The Grinch Who Lives in Our House

 I’ve gone back to re-read my Christmas blog posts for several years. 

 Christmas Past - Blog Posts

About having conflicted feelings about the holiday, about religion, about doing traditional foods and customs, about commercialism, about Christmas cards (Ugh!) etc. The themes seem to repeat almost every year.

I’ve not specifically mentioned that the holiday often triggers depression in me for some reason.

I don’t know if it is the inner conflict, the stress of the holiday preparations, an undiagnosed Seasonal Affective Disorder or, more likely a combination of the three.

(I’d been seeing a therapist for about a year or more until recently. We had discussed meds, but I’ve had disastrous results with psych poison in the past, thus my reluctance to go there again.) 

Most people don’t see that side of me. Mostly I’m friendly and have a good sense of humor around others. In private I’m rather contemplative and a bit obsessive about doing things like dinner for guests which is an activity that gives me both pleasure and angst.

My current obsession is over Christmas dinner for six. My mom always made lasagne or manicotti. I decided on lasagne “from scratch”- 2/3flour and 1/3semolina. I made one batch and rolled it by hand, which is fun, takes effort, but is time consuming; made the second batch with the pasta machine - much easier.

I also made the tomato sauce with pork and sausage and tiny meat balls (Polpettine di Carne) the way my mom used to make. I will also make a non-authentic Italian dish for the “secondo”. One of our guests has been saying how much he LOVES chicken parmesan. So I’ll make "pollo alla parmigiana” the way we used to make veal before it became 1) politically incorrect to slaughter cute little calves and 2) outrageously expensive.

I will likely serve both courses together because people are so used to the way Olive Garden serves meals all on one plate.

We will certainly have left-overs which will go into the freezer and will save me from cooking at least one more meal in the coming weeks. Guests are bringing salad and dessert.

I made cookies of course - the one time of the year I bake cookies. But the cookies didn’t come out that great this year…I’m losing my touch. The colored frosting got real funky and the chocolate frosting which is suppose to be smooth and shiny, came out thick and dull.

Oh well, I will be glad when Christmas is behind us for another year. No conflicted feelings about celebrating a religious holiday, no angst about how cheap and stingy I am or guilt about not sending EVERYONE a greeting card.

I’m sure Christmas dinner will be good, barring any disaster. Cooking is the one thing (cookies excluded) that I do well.

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Some of My Favorite Photos Part Two

 Here's another batch of photos. No particular theme except some snow here and there. And not quite so artsy.

Mushroom, Bristol, CT


Duck, Japanese Garden, Albuquerque, NM

Cholla Flower, NM

Ice Storm Bristol, CT

Saint in the Snow

A Plant


Bake Shop London, England

Another Mum

Frosted Leaves 2

Frosted Leaves 3

Frosted Leaves 4

Hairy Frost on Leaves

Our Lady of the Snow

Woodpile 2 Bristol, CT

Sun Mountain, Santa Fe, NM

Fern Unfolding


Ice Storm, Bristol, CT

Cochiti, NM

Tomato Hornworm, Cochiti, NM

Four O'Clocks

Claret Cup Cactus

Tree, CT

Is Watching Too

Twisted Tree Bristol, CT

Beach, Encinitas, CA

What's Life? A Magazine. How Much Does It Cost?
It Cost Fifty Cents. But I've Only Got A Nickel.
Oh, Well, That's Life

Polar Bear, Botanical Park, Albuquerque, NM

Snow Drops 2

Hens and Chicks

Fern 3

Somewhere in Italy

Antonito, CO

Sunday, December 18, 2022

Some of My Favorite Photos Part One

 Here is the first group of some of my favorite photos. They are in no particular order or subject matter. Some I took with Point-and-Shoot Canon cameras of which I owned 3 or 4 prior to getting my first iPhone with a camera (iPhone 5?) and more recently my iPhone SE 2nd gen. 

I like photography but at this stage of my life I'm not about to carry around a camera when I have a phone that will do. I'm certainly not going to be taking pictures professionally.

Anyhow, some of these you may have seen on this blog before, some maybe not. I would have posted larger copies but they bleed over onto the right column. I think you can click to enlarge.

4 O'clock

Pismo Beach

Pismo Beach

Pismo Dunes

Bluff Point CT

Tidal Marsh Provincetown MA

Long Point Light Provincetown

Tidal Marsh and Lighthouse Ptown

Milkweed Bugs

Milkweed Bugs Terryville CT

Rock Wall Bristol CT

Maple Leaf CT

Wood Pile Bristol CT

Frost on Chrysanthemum, Bristol CT

Milkweed Pod Burst, Bristol CT

Bend in the Wood, Bristol, CT


Opuntia Cactus Garden Bristol, CT

Snow Drops Bristol, CT

Bennie at Sun Mountain Santa Fe, NM


Bluewater Lake Dam, NM

Bluewater Lake NM

Clam Shell with Pebbles, Herring Cove, Ptown, MA

Pismo Dunes, CA

Pirates Cove, Avila, CA

Benni with Black-eyed Susans, Bristol, CT

Somewhere in Montreal

Somewhere in Montreal

Somewhere in Montreal

Somewhere in Montreal

Somewhere in Montreal

Beach Stones at Low Tide near Encinitas, CA

Beach Stones and Footprints near Encinitas, CA

Back View of Colosseum Rome, Italy

Near Via Appia Antica , Rome Italy


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