What I learnt at Christmas

How was your Christmas? We spent two days driving (under the threat of stormy skies), two days shopping for last minute but absolutely critical (don’t ask) things, and two days cooking. We survived although arrived home … exhausted.

I learnt the best time to drive across LA on the 405 is 10 o’clock in the morning!

This year I tried to make linzer (jam-filled) cookies. They were okay but I learnt not to use mint jelly as a center. The cookies looked Christmassy but tasted like mouthwash.

I learnt about seals and sea lions with the other Junior Rangers. There are many differences between the two but the important one (the one I remember) is: sea lions bark and seals grunt.

Would you believe I’m the one in pink? Probably not.

I learnt that when newborn whales breach for the first time their puffs are heart-shaped. For some reason, that warmed my poor old heart.

Baby whales breaching

I learnt to enjoy being on the coast.

Looking south toward La Jolla
Lastly I learnt that a brand new, blue basketball is always a great Christmas gift. (Leave it to Granny to get a little goofy with Photoshop after a bit of the bubbly – well, perhaps a bit more than a bit!)

34 thoughts on “What I learnt at Christmas

  1. That basketball photo made me chuckle. I don’t envy you driving through LA at any time. I’ve done it with our daughter and have never enjoyed it. Going around LA proper is no treat either. We had a fairly relaxed Christmas, going nowhere and Zooming with family from California to France, then spending time later on Christmas Day with my parents here. So thankful for Zoom for the second year but hopefully we’ll have more in-person next year. And speaking of next year, it’s almost here! How can that even be?


    1. Thanks Janet. The background for the original picture was a car lot so I decided to play with Photoshop. I’m glad you were able to keep in touch with everyone and be with your parents. Here we go into 2022….. ready or not!

  2. Hi Jan,

    Of course, these sort of photos make me sad. You know that and I can’t help it. I’m glad you post them, but really … oh, well. Thanks for keeping me updated on your travels in the high country. Spent Christmas alone with the dogs. Cold here, but it is getting better. Omicron has not arrived. Can’t wait. Of course, who can trust the public statements of a flaying government. I miss Africa. I felt clean there. The trees huge, the clouds towering, so dominate, so white against the blue. I guess you felt the same way by the ocean, looking at those two whales. We both missed our calling. I should have kept gambling. I’d never gotten married, but that was the plan way back when. White suit, barefoot, island, drunk … Oh well … I’m good at, Oh well … that could be my main testament, Oh well. It’s the way I breathe. Maybe Aaron could write a song about Oh well. Hit for sure. I feel pretty bad about the end of the world. Unfortunately, I can see it. I can feel it. Right, Happy New Year! I mean that. Just like Merry Christmas! Love. Duke

    1. We can always get lost in the oh wells. I frequently go there but decided to take a little break and breathe in the sea air. I’m worried to even think about the coming year. I hope you’re at least warmer there and that the dogs are well. Tender mercies are all we have. Love, jan

      1. This is true. Last year at this time I was working with Carol on her book. I remember it so vividly. We both shared that only happy when working ethic. Arguing over spaces and fonts, commas and headers … nuts I know.

  3. Sounds like fun. Other SF based friends spent time in Truckee and are well and truly stuck. The pictures look delightful, the lack of beer grating… have a good new year.

  4. Hhahha, what an enjoyable, entertaining and informative post. Thank you for the chuckles. Oh that mouthwash mint feeling. It reminds me when I made tea from all sorts of plants, including mint and sage, for a summer hike and the taste ended up freshest toothpaste.

    I wonder if you got the email with my Calendar 2022 in your inbox four days ago. In case you missed it, it was this one and you can download it here:


    Happy 2022!

    1. Those we have lost would want us to enter the next year with hope but it is so difficult. Still we do it for them. Forward into 2022! May this next year bring you many moments of joy.

  5. What a great Christmas, especially with a brand new, blue basketball under the tree. Driving home for Christmas can be a Christmas nightmare, but glad you made it. It’s nice to get out of the house, too.
    Happy New Year.

  6. I also found Christmas exhausting. It was a week-long marathon of cleaning, cooking, and washing up. My family were very out of sorts this year so there were lots of tears and complains too (about life, not my cooking). For the first time ever, I was thankful when it was over and glad to get away on holiday. Hopefully, they’ve all cheered up by the time I see everyone again.

    1. I’ve had many Christmases that turned out exhausting and stressful. This year we splurged at stayed at a nearby resort instead of with the kids. It helped tremendously. I’m not looking forward to the credit card bill but it was worth it.

  7. What? You look fab in pink!
    Heart shaped puffs! How cool.
    Almost makes me feel like taking up smoking….again.
    I could blow awesome smoke rings. Bet I could blow heart rings!

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