Monday, December 21, 2020

Winter Solstice 2020

Happy Solstice

Happy Season

May we all move into our longer days and be able bask in that light, rather than curse a sense of never-ending (as in longer). I'm probably not in the best frame of mind to be here, but I really wanted to wish you all well in and tell you I may not be posting quite as often. There's things that need to get done, that I want to get done and which very well may not get done.

I'm just worn down, worn out and may take a break. Maybe not, of course. I'm 'playing it by ear' as my daddy used to say. At any rate, that all I've got folks.

PS The first photo below is supposed to be a mouth and is not finished yet, but came out looking more like a heart. This could be a new symbol to remind us to use loving words to others, to ourselves.

Love to all


 Photographs by NAE ©2020


Saturday, December 19, 2020

Card Play

This is a really old deck of cards. Seriously.

This deck of playing cards is at least 45 years old!

I call it my "spit cards", the cards we used to play spit...a lot!

These cards are battered, bent, torn...thrashed!

If the game of 'spit' wasn't so fast, they could be considered a 'marked' deck!

I loved this game, really loved it, most likely because I was really good at it. I can literally count on one hand games I was good at in my youth: Spit, Othello, Tether-ball, The Lowbar and The Rings (the kind with several rings around a center pole). That's the extent of my claim to fame :)

The video will explain the game very clearly, better than I could. But, I will add that after we'd played a few rounds, my hands were going faster than the sped up version here! I could almost predict which card would be in which pile. We'd sit on our towels at Free Zuma (beach) and play and play and flying, young bikini-clad bodies falling over in fits of laughter and shouts of "No way! That wasn't fair! I got there first!"

Those were the days!

Years later I taught my own children how to play. Oh the glee on my daughter's face when she finally won! I was still pretty quick then, so it was a big deal! I may just let that record stand!

All of this reminiscing came about because I was thinking about another card game, wishing to play it for its ability to be played in your lap. A good thing to have at hand these days. I'll explain it here, just for fun. But, don't worry the video below explains it very clearly. 

NOTE: Isn't it nice how you can learn so much online?

I've taught this single handed solitaire to many children over the years, starting with my own. It sure comes in handy on long road trips!

You begin by holding the whole deck (shuffled) in your hand.

You pull four cards from the back, placing them face up on top of the deck.

You work with the top four cards at all times.


If the first and fourth cards are the same suit - pull out the middle two and set them aside.

If the first and fourth cards are the same numeric value - set aside all four of them.

GOAL: The goal of the game is to have the least possible amount of cards left in your hand.

So, that's it. You just keep going - pulling cards from the back...pulling out 2 or 4 cards, to set aside. Every time you are able to pull out cards, it changes the dynamic of what is left in your hand, so you may be able to pull out more sets. Keep going until you are played out, then start pulling cards from the back and begin again. Each time you pull one card from the back, check the 'fan' and pull one by one until you get sets to remove.

I love this game and it sure scratched my itch to play it again! However, these cards are so ruined from the Spit years that they are barely usable! Plus they smell strongly of cedar and have the cedar oils from my old cedar chest all over 'em!

Perhaps it is time for a new deck!!

I had nothing, I pulled over a queen...I've still got nothing.
I pulled over the Nine...I can pull out the two center cards, since the suits of the 1st and 4th cards match.
There is no match between the nine and the red ten of I continue pulling cards from the back.
Time lapse: Two threes showing, so I can pull all four cards...continue.

As you can see, my discarded pile kept growing! However I was still left with many in my hand. Shuffle and play again!!

In past years, I was able to get down to four or even two cards!

I always think of Liz and Marti with their grandchildren, but I also think this one is fun at any age! Give it a try ☺☺

Along with these two games and while, looking at new playing cards, I came across these. 
You can make your own cards!
Now wouldn't that be fun?!
Whatever you do, may you do it with your heart full of fun!
 Photographs by NAE ©2020

Thursday, December 17, 2020

The Last Night of Hanukkah ~ Night #8

 Happy Hanukkah on the 8th night!

Come on in to our last open house.

9 candles burning bright!

Do you remember this song?

I remember when it first came out and everyone (including me) thought it was so funny!

A little photo fun, Deb inspired 

Funny how much all the wax debris shows up in the B&W version!


 I really wanted a beautiful adult version of the song below. But, perhaps it is just as appropriate to use this one, as it was one of my favorites as a young girl.

I loved the way the music changes, swings from solemn history to joyous celebration.

I loved the sense of belonging.

 While getting out the last needed candle, I noticed that we do still have one last dreidle! 

A beautiful wooden one. We gave it a few spins ☺

The night included sweet gifts from "the kids" (as my Daddy used to say)

Homemade cookies, books and a 2021 calendar - now there's hope for the future!

Look at that face!

May you anticipate the coming light of the Solstice

May you welcome hope in the new year

May you keep your eye on things that matter


Photographs by NAE ©2020

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

7th Night, Open House

 It's the 7th Night of  Hanukkah, welcome once again.

The Menorah looks beautiful and I can't wait until tomorrow when it is all full, ablaze!

One more candle to go...

Light One Candle

Peter, Paul and Mary - 25th Anniversary

(This one is most surely for Michelle. I can almost hear her comment now. I really miss her)

Light one candle for the Maccabee children
With thanks that their light didn't die
Light one candle for the pain they endured
When their right to exist was denied
Light one candle for the terrible sacrifice
Justice and freedom demand
But light one candle for the wisdom to know
When the peacemaker's time is at hand
Don't let the light go out!
It's lasted for so many years!
Don't let the light go out!
Let it shine through our hope and our tears. (2)
Light one candle for the strength that we need
To never become our own foe
And light one candle for those who are suffering
Pain we learned so long ago
Light one candle for all we believe in
That anger not tear us apart
And light one candle to find us together
With peace as the song in our hearts
Don't let the light go out!
It's lasted for so many years!
Don't let the light go out!
Let it shine through our hope and our tears. (2)
What is the memory that's valued so highly
That we keep it alive in that flame?
What's the commitment to those who have died
That we cry out they've not died in vain?
We have come this far always believing
That justice would somehow prevail
This is the burden, this is the promise
This is why we will not fail!
Don't let the light go out!
Don't let the light go out!
Don't let the light go out!

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Peter Yarrow
Light One Candle lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc


This is the tree skirt I made, early on, probably 1980.

I bought the fabric yards, but then didn't quite know how to make that long rectangle become a circle! I had not grown up with much sewing experience for myself, just the typical mandated sewing class in 7th grade and another short term private course. My mama was not a maker and as soon as she married my daddy, well, we just sent everything 'downtown' to his factory, where he'd have one of 'his girls' fix whatever needed fixing. So, here I was, 8 hours from home, new baby...and clueless! My solution was to sew pre-made bias tape around the edge and call it done! Through the rest of my marriage, my children's childhoods...all the way until I was no longer getting a tree...this is what I used. I would lay it around the tree and then scrunch and arrange it, print side up. The wrapped gifts covered any imperfections and it looked festive and like a part of our tradition. Years later, when I was using community pages on FB, selling and such, when I heard from a woman who wanted to buy ornaments very cheap. In a nutshell, she had gotten out of a bad relationship, leaving her and her son with not a lot and nothing to make their Christmas bright. I sent her a PM and let her know I had some lights and some ornaments...and this tree skirt.

She was very grateful. So was I. 

 This little guy was bought at a craft fair somewhere along the line when my children were very young. It's small, maybe 3 inches, a little beanbag. Every year as we decorated the tree, they would fight over who got to hang "the frog", as they both loved it so. When they were both grown, out of the house, I kept the frog as one of a handful of favorites. I just could see a fair way to let one of them have it back then. Eventually, after checking with my son, I gave it to my daughter & her young son. Here we are even more years later, my son now has a little one and who knows where "the frog" is?! But it was sure loved for a long time!

May you keep the flame bright

May you give freely

May you love


Photographs by NAE ©2020

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Open House ~ 6th Night

 Welcome to our 6th night of open houses!

The Menorah is looking brighter and brighter each night.

Again tonight, our hearts and bellies are full.

We had a gift of sweets to open after the candles were lit and boy, did we enjoy that!

That popcorn was way better than I was expecting and J enjoyed tasting the Rugelach.

Thanks to my friend and those that have sent other mail to us. 

That sure is a mood lifter these days.


Today I got to see the decorations in the lobby.

Around here they usually do the Fall/Winter holidays.


But, no Hanukkah. Last year I added  a Hanukkah greeting on the little chalkboard near the gathering room. This year, I wouldn't bother.

Anyway, the decorations made me chuckle.

 It looks like someone hung poor Santa!

The cute North Pole couple on the way to the elevator.

The gathering room, all closed down due to covid.

My neighbor across the hall hangs goodies every Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas.


 Well  folks, that's it for song, book or video.

I spent lots of time watching Natives React videos and arguing with my computer.

So that is my wish for tonight,


May you enjoy the good, gifted from others

May you enjoy the good, even if you have to untangle it from other stuff 

May you enjoy the good, wherever you may find it
















Photographs by NAE ©2020

Monday, December 14, 2020

Open House on the 5th Night

Happy Hanukkah, night 5.

As you've probably noticed, these posts have turned into both Hanukkah and Christmas.

This has been the story of my life, which I've been inspired to honor and revisit.

I think the eight nights of Hanukkah will be enough delving for me though.

I haven't thought about these two holidays this much in years!!

But, in doing so now, I can reflect on family, what I believe in and what I value.



 Look at these latkes ©2012!

Aren't they gorgeous?! 

These were made by my brother in-law. He made the best ones ever!! He'd stand there, at the stove forever, making latke after latke! We'd gush and exclaim appreciation, and then eat every one! I for one could never quite get enough! After he passed, my niece and her husband took over the family celebration latke duties. Thanks to all 3!

I've made latkes with a few of my own additions onions or cilantro, just because I like them like that! One of my favorite stories is how my friend created the Christmas morning tradition of making latkes, mattering not that they are not Jewish! Isn't that the best?!

The world would be a much happier place if we shared traditions with such ease and comfort.

Our song tonight is again, for the children, but I liked reading the stories in her post too.
There were so many versions to choose from, thanks to Google!
This one, like the latke post above included, the stories of family and place.
This one comes with stories from my pre-K teaching days.
We used to make latkes with the children helping to grate the potatoes and then standing guard at the pan of oil (all blocked off with tables too). The classroom smelled so good, like home!
Around this time of year, I always read stories of the Gingerbread Boy.
There were people shaped felt pieces at the flannel board, stencils at the writing table, sponge shapes at the art table. We told this basic story in every way you could...we introduced every related story, be it different food types, ethnicity...everything ran away! lol
Well, of course the latkes ran away too
You can hear the book too here
This year we made frozen latkes from Trader Joe's. Nowhere near the real thing, but we had some in the freezer from last year when I explained to J. how we did it at work with young toddlers (those were cooked in the oven in the center kitchen, so really not the real thing! lol)...and he wanted to buy some!
Whatever works!
Yep, they were nowhere near as good, but work for tonight, especially since we live in the place of the 6 inch kitchen counters! Maybe we'll try fresh next year.
We like ours with applesauce ☺ 

 Here's me and my son (3 months) on his first Christmas.
I love our short, fat little tree and the fact that he was wearing little UGG type shoes, that I saw as fuzzy moccasins, way before UGGs were even a thing. lol
I strung popcorn and cranberries and made a "tree skirt".

Here he is this year, all grown, with a young man of his own. ☺


I hope you've enjoyed visiting!

May you enjoy some latkes, read, sing and of course,

may you hold loved ones close, however that may look.


Photographs by NAE ©2020

Sunday, December 13, 2020

For Every Generation - Nights 3 & 4

 I didn't come here to post last night, but I'm here tonight!

So, Happy Hanukkah, nights 3&4!

 Each night more light arrives.


Last night I was busy with a family Hanukkah-Birthday Zoom-Call. It was absolutely precious to hear my great niece's 4 year old voice tangled in with those of the many adults!

One of the cousins led a zoom sing-along, which was pretty funny if you know the ins and outs of how zoom has audio delays!  This is one of the songs below, which totally spoke to my 40ish years working with children.


Then came a call from my son & wife with news of grandsons, and their celebration meal and present opening! 

Sharing during covid involves lots of distance.


Tonight, I watched the CNN special Heroes, which was so heartwarming, inspiring and uplifting. Just what is needed as 2020 comes to an end.

I learned of this young man, Cavanaugh Bell.

 He is a powerhouse of goodness and positivity. He's done so much to help others. He's got his own website: coolanddope

He even did a TEDx talk when he was even younger!

What a lovely way to share the light!


May you find & share light 

May you find & share lightness 

May you lean into that light 


Photographs by NAE ©2020



Friday, December 11, 2020

Open House Night Two

 Welcome to my open house, night two!

Happy Hanukkah, night two!

Tonight's musical offering is The Maccabeats

2020 Hanukkah song. I had fun noticing how the lyrics and presentation reflect this time.

Someone did some fine editing here!


I'm grateful to Deb and Liz who have inspired me to post this way.

My post tonight may have looked far less Holiday-like, as I have been thinking about what we say or don't and that includes emoji speak. But, I'll leave that be for now.


My experiences with the winter holidays (Hanukkah & Christmas, specifically) through my lifespan are rather patchwork in nature.

As a young child we had a tree, we assimilated            From age 7 through marriage, no tree

Married - celebrated both                               Unmarried with children - celebrated both 

Unmarried without children - both, but less & less        Adult years - More  Hanukkah

Adult years - Less Hanukkah                         Adult years - No Christmas


In many ways, most years, just confused! lol  

But not really, just diverse ;)


Over at Deb's I commented about a winter recital my daughter did at 7 years old. I thought it was to Let it Snow.

But, when I went to look at a photo, the title Winter Wonderland

came to my mind instantly. Wait a minute...which is it?


My comment at Deb's spoke to the fact that my mom loved this performance with music of her era and that she taught my daughter all of the lyrics to the song. But, here's the thing, it doesn't really matter which song it was, because I can still hear my mom singing both...and  therein lies the treasured memory. There are certain lyrics that are crystal her voice and that brings a smile. My daughter was quite musical and loved this experience shared with her grandmother. One of my daughter's performances was at a local tree lighting ceremony, outside. It was super cold for SoCal and I can so clearly remember, when the girls were done, they ran to the steps where teachers and mommies rushed over to put their jackets on. The memories of that single moment are sweet because they are filled with the kind of joy of season and love of dance and deep love for your child. At least that is how it was for me.


 My cookie choice as I head out the door to the next open house isn't really a winter holiday treat (unless you're thinking Halloween), but as you may have noticed, I'm doing this my way! Below is a recipe for my mama's Spider Cookies". As a kid growing up these were a favorite!

Maybe you would like them too.

May you enjoy the fun and sweetness of the season
May you remember and not care if you don't
May you sing and dance, or watch and listen
Photographs by NAE ©2020








Thursday, December 10, 2020

Holiday Open House

This is most likely my one post as a Holiday Open House, but we'll see!

We don't celebrate big or decorate much anymore and y'all know I'm no longer much on cooking or baking!

When I was a mom, especially when I was in our "family of four", with my EX and just after

when my children were young...holidays were done differently then.

Now, the two of us enjoy a quieter scene, calmer and quite a bit slower...

a very much more do what we want, when we want, how we want.

It is just us.

Song Break 

Last year, I was working and getting home at 8PM,   

I don't think we lit the Menorah once!

But, this year we really wanted to, so

Happy First Night of Hanukkah!

Right before we were to light the candles, the mail came.

In the bunch, a  postcard greeting of our grandson, from his other Grandparents.

Orlo, bringer of light

Didn't they choose a great photo to use this year!

Holiday greetings back to you two!

Also in the mail, a note from Marti with a beautiful blessing.

May we count our blessings as many, so many.

Also, a gift from my sister was opened tonight.

Thank You Amy!

This is our Menorah:

It has a rather utilitarian look to it, yes?

About 1 1/4 inch square, 20 1/4 inches long...nothing flashy, just the candle holders and the 

Jewish Star, which indicates where the Shamash candle goes.

It is my childhood Menorah and I have always loved it,

loved it for its history and simplicity.

But, really any Menorah is beautiful to me, because of their meaning and light.

Holidays Past

Photo above at my sister's, many years ago (2009).

Photo below, also at her house (2012)

Isn't it lovely to see all of that light and tradition?!

Here is our home this year.

I haven't been able to easily explore You Tube 

videos as much over the past few months, 

but I found a couple that are pretty fun.

Tradition Break~ Every year I send my older grandson gelt so he can play Dreidel :)

Well, the candles have long ago burned out, 

so it's time to send our visitors off with one more gift.

The jungle here got new pots, soil, rocks and haircuts.

For the past week, I've been watching the green ever so slowly seep from this one leaf on an otherwise lush plant, which is known as the "Judy Plant".

I gave it to my friend and co-worker as one of those tiny dollar store plants.

Years later, she returned it to me when she moved out of state.

By then it was giant! She had a very good green thumb.

She has been a gift to me.

Anyway, tonight as I went to hold it, 

ever so gently to photograph it, it fell off in my hand.

A gift.

May you carry the traditions, from then and now

May you see the gifts, wherever they may be

May you hold the light, for yourself and others


Photographs by NAE ©2020

Friday, December 4, 2020

Two Left

This beautiful example of "Temari" was given to me many years ago,

by a parent of a child in my class. She made two, one of them for me. 

In considering it today, I decided to learn a bit more. You can do that too, right here.

Such a beautiful, intricate art. 

You can learn to make them too, there are 
books and videos for that!
I have to say, I would never have the patience for this!
If you do your own search, I'm sure you will be amazed at all of the gorgeous designs!

This all led to thoughts of number two. 
The last of two ornaments I've got (that I can think of). 
Most have been passed on to my children or close family friends. Many of the Hallmark ones were sold, when I was doing that on FB.


This one was given to me by a very dear friend. Isn't it pretty?
 Here's some of the story:
Isn't that a fun story?
At about 1 inch big, mine is indeed bauble sized!  The teeny star reminds me of the "folded star" potholder I made years ago, as a young wife, but I don't think I could work this tiny!

Today I enjoyed these stories and memories of days gone by.

May you enjoy your old stories.
May you make new ones.
May the season hold you in love.
Photographs by NAE ©2020


Thursday, December 3, 2020

Culver City & Spine Poetry

 When you're of a mind

And you have lots, lots of time 

Oh, the things you find!

Watching and episode of Huell Howser's "California's Gold".

Culver City is not too far away, perhaps a day trip someday.

You can look too.

Culver City


A while ago. looking through old online bookmarks,

I found this link for "Spine Poetry" and had to try my own

You can read more  here


Something special

Trees, touch the earth

Silence in the age of noise, calm

Sounds and silences

Here I am, the me nobody knows

~NAE 12/2020


I did this very quickly, couple of minutes of book looking,

at most. I think it made more sense when I stacked them!



May you have time

May you look 

May you play


Photographs by NAE ©2020