Saturday, December 24, 2022

Christmas Eve, 2022

A version of this was originally posted December 24, 2021

My Christmas Eve posts of the past have been some of my favorites, starting with the very first one in 2009. You remember - the year the Obamas decided they simply must continue their family tradition (est. 2008) of spending 2 weeks over Christmas at a luxury resort in Hawaii on somebody else’s (ours) dime. Raj did a short video of that trip that I think I’ve used every Christmas Eve hence so tradition demands I use it again. Mele Kalek-Obama: (I, Motus make several cameos in this short musical so watch for me!)

Amazingly the opening sentence in that 2009 post is still mostly true, only the dates have changed:  

Santa and his elves are hanging around D.C. just long enough this morning to vote on how much they’re going to charge for processing and handling on this year’s free gifts.

Then there was the year that the seeds of the BLM movement were sown and it became clear that there was no winning the Left’s race war.

I can’t keep up with the ever shifting sands of racism and political correctness. One day Santa is okay, but(t) his sidekick, Black Pete is unacceptable. The next day it’s Santa himself who;s unacceptable: too white, too fat, too cis, too privileged:

white chocolate santa

In the twinkle of an eye, only black Santas matter:


Some years we did mostly recipes and cute stuff to eat and drink:

elf cupcake

marshmallow polar bearsinstructions here

I’ve tried to keep Christmas Eve as politics-free as possible, but that grew more difficult as the country’s deep divide grew ever deeper. People began to dread even seeing certain people/relatives over the holidays:

Things have only grown worse since then so let’s hope families either abstain from discussing politics or simply refuse to engage in bait-setting scenarios with warring members of their tribe. A truce for Mom’s sake would be nice…

And I see the country is as divided over Hallmark Christmas movies as politics. It’s like asking people whether to put rum or bourbon in their eggnog or Tom and Jerry punch bowl. Feelings run high.

With the assistance of this helpful Hallmark plot generator anyone could write a Christmas movie.


And that brief look back brings us to Christmas Eve Present where Progressives everywhere are celebrating Festivus, although they’ve expanded the Day of Grievances to include all 365 days (366 in Leap Year).

Raj and I will be spending a quiet Christmas Eve at home this year. We would both like to thank all of you for your prayers, good wishes and cheer through this rather difficult year. I am so appreciative to the MOTI for brightening our days throughout these sometimes dark months. I am happy to report that I am beginning to feel a bit stronger, far from “normal” whatever that is now, but definitely better. My current course of treatment will continue at least through June and possibly longer so it’s still a long haul but one I’m grateful to be able to make. I will see what can be done about my eyes (and jaw) issue after the first of the year.

Meanwhile, behold this wonderful Christmassy floral arrangements which arrived yesterday from the MOTI.–


My eyes prevent me from taking photos that do this arrangement justice  but it’s breathtaking and very Christmassy with evergreens, ever-reds, a dozen and a half of huge pinkish roses, burgundy peonies and even 4 rosy cheeked PEARS! The only thing missing is the partridge and as luck would have it, I have one of those hanging on my Christmas tree.

So again, all I can say is thank you from the bottom of my heart. I’ve gotten this far through your love, prayers and the mad skills of modern medicine, all of which I am most grateful for.

So I wish you all good health, good travels, good friends and good cheer and a very Merry Christmas Eve, wherever your sleigh may take you. 
christmas window vignette

Sunday, December 18, 2022

It’s Still A Marshmallow World

This is a repost from 2018, one of my favorite Christmas posts and a good way to kick off Christmas week:

Marshmallows scream “Christmas!”


They needn’t come from bags, apparently you can make them yourself. And if you are truly OCD you can even make them into marshmallow snowflakes.

marshmallow snowflakesWhat a great gift for all the, um, snowflakes in your life.

They come in multiple flavors of the season:

flavorschocolate caramel, peppermint, gingerbread

as well as multiple species:


But is there any marshmallow as cute and fun as the snowmen?


When I saw these little guys I immediately recognized them as a modern adaptation of the puffy little Christmas decorations I made one year when I was in high school. I tracked their provenance back to the pages of the December 1960 Better Homes and Gardens magazine. I found me an archial magazine website that has every issue, ever published, of dozens of iconic magazines.  And there they were, on page 58, in an article titled:

Marshmallow Men-21_thumb

Marshmallow Men-1

In my house the December issues of the “ladies” magazines were never disposed of, they were stashed away after Christmas to emerge again every year as inspiration for the upcoming holiday season. What didn’t get baked or made one year might just make it into the rotation in a subsequent cycle. And so it was in 1966, a sad year for my whole family as my dad had died late that summer, I finally set about to make the marshmallow men that made their debut 6 years prior.  While Gingerbread Snowflakes’ updated version uses colored markers to make eyes, nose and buttons, the original BH&G specs are far less benign. Check out the materials listed for the construction of the original snowmen:


Glass-head pins!!!! In cute little marshmallow men that look like confections?! Can you imagine what the publication’s lawyers would say about that today? In 1966 however I headed off to the fabric store to procure my glass headed pins and non-digestible green sequins without batting an eye. And what? - white resin glue! That’s awfully toxic isn’t it? Pretty sure I used Elmer’s because that’s what we had, not because you can eat it.

I remember my creations being adorable, if not quite perfectly constructed. In fact they were probably more than a bit rough around the edges because crafting has never really been my forte. But I remember them making me happy for the first time in what seemed a lifetime. They were a tiny part of learning that life goes on, that pain never goes away but it does abate. Although oblivious to it at the time I was beginning to discover, as Deborah’s Palm has reminded us time and time again, that we choose life and blessings, not the other way around. Choose wisely.

I wish each and every one of you a wonderful Christmas Eve…and a marshmallow world.

Oh, the world is your snowball, see how it grows
That's how it goes, whenever it snows
The world is your snowball just for a song
Get out and roll it along


Marshmallow Men-2

Sunday, December 11, 2022

We Need A Little Christmas


christmas snow morning

Oh dear, oh dear: we definitely need a little Christmas around here.

I hate to be the bearer of bad tidings but SrDem’s daughter wrote to let me know that her mother had a fall last week and broke her arm, hip and suffered a concussion. She is currently in the hospital but will be transferred to a rehab center shortly.

Please add her and her DD to your already long prayer list.  I will try to get the address of the rehab place so you can sent good wishes if you want.

God bless us everyone, as we so dearly need it.

Sunday, December 4, 2022

If It’s Not In the MSM, It Doesn’t Count

I’m sure this has already been posted but it seems a fine story to begin a new thread. ELON MUSK (AND MATT TAIBBI) HELP EXPLAIN ‘WHAT REALLY HAPPENED WITH THE HUNTER BIDEN STORY SUPPRESSION’ (WOW); Updated.

There is some fine reading there. Will the MSM find time this busy holiday season to mention it? Don’t be silly.


Health Update:

My latest: brain MRI and body scans last week revealed no new or spread tumors/cancers so that is good news indeed. And I thank you for your ongoing prayers and positive vibes. The bad news is my eyes, as I think I’ve mentioned before, are giving me additional trouble. Both eyes now have a detached vitreous which present as very thick tangled masses of black, web-ish clouds. These are no simple floaters.  It’s more like advanced cataracts. Even blown up YUGE and set to dark mode for high contrast screen time is difficult and frustrating. I can’t see pictures on my computer at all so…seriously vision impaired for now..

Theoretically this should clear up as the brain "adjusts" although my doc told me that generally people have time for the brain to adjust to the first eye before the second eye detaches so I don't know how this will work. Ophthalmologist's advice is to give it 6 months and if it isn't better give it a bit longer. There is surgery that can be done but he's apparently not a big fan, nor am I at this point so we shall wait and, hopefully, see.

Anyway I'll take bad sight and misaligned jaws if the scans keep coming back clear. I've much to be grateful for so will try not to complain (too  much) about the rest. I will continue on my regimen of chemo/immuno-therapies for the foreseeable future. I’m getting somewhat used to it and seem to have a little more energy some days.

Hope you all are well and stay that way. I don’t know about you but we’ve got our lights and tree up; if you haven't do it now! We need a little Christmas as the song says. Where I am, the steel gray days, late mornings and early evenings require the twinkle of Christmas lights.

So forgive me, I know I owe many of you emails and such but I really can’t see well enough to do so. This short post took me 2 days and Raj’s tech support to get up and probably still has typos. Hopefully things will improve but until then I will likely not be around much but will be thinking about you all. 

Thursday, November 24, 2022

Thanksgiving 2022

Reposted from last year:

For each new morning with its light, For rest and shelter of the night, For health and food, for love and friends, For everything Thy goodness sends. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

I have so much to be thankful for it’s hard to know where to start. So I will start with you - the MOTI who gather here. We are like family whose members don’t always agree and some times  even squabble but are nevertheless connected by a deep common bond. Unlike real families our bond isn’t blood but rather the shared values and principles that our country was founded on and we learned to cherish. We are bound together by our Constitution, the guide to building an America where freedom, opportunity, prosperity, and civil society flourish.

I am thankful for the many other things I have to be grateful for: I’m grateful I was born on the cusp of the 50s, when America was great and nobody was ashamed of that.

dutch colonial searsA Sears-Roebuck Dutch colonial; ‘colonial’ - you could never list it that way today.

For having been born to a world where individual freedom, self-reliance and personal responsibility were core values of everyone who aspired to be a good citizen, and that was nearly everyone.

Where the freedom call of the open road was a siren’s song


beckoning us to explore the land and our place in it.

road into the mist

I’m grateful that I was born when America was seen as a melting pot - and that was a good thing, not bad. A time before ‘cultural appropriation’ was a thing and, if used at all, applied only to the Brits raiding Egyptian tombs.

manhattan mexican tacosTaco Tuesday wasn’t a thing and tacos weren’t racist

I’m grateful for having received an actual education focused on knowledge, critical thinking and how to think rather than indoctrination consisting of what to think about such things as ‘critical race theory’ and other ‘social justice’ issues.

I’m grateful that I was raised in a time when many people, black and white, worked to correct true civil rights in‘critical race theory’ justices. And  when “peaceful protests”


meant marches and sit-ins rather than riots and and the creation of fake victims to be exploited for political gain.

I’m grateful for having been young at a time when it wasn’t necessary to feel guilty about everything that I ate, drank, drove, bought or dreamed about for fear of being selfish and killing the planet.

red 59 chevy impalaJust because it was cool

For these, and much, much more, I’m truly grateful. I will wrap up this Thanksgiving post with my annual MOTI Thanksgiving prayer:

In addition to all the other blessings

you have conferred on my reflective frame

I wish to thank you, Lord,

for the companionship of steadfast comrades

whose wit and wisdom and strength

help steer me through these tempestuous seas

of flattery and lies churned to fury by the ill will of demagogues.


A special thanks to all who visit here. I wish you a peaceful, happy Thanksgiving unmarred by strife. Because there is always something to be thankful for.

Update 2022: As you know this has been a difficult year vet even so, as I’ve noted in every Thanksgiving post I’ve done,  there’s always something to be grateful for.  This year is no different I’m ever grateful for all my doctors, nurses and techs who keep me going, for all of you and your continual prayers and the countless kindnesses you’ve sent my way. And of course I’m most grateful for Raj, my steadfast partner, best friend, soulmate, caretaker and cheerleader. I would go on, but unfortunately my eyesight is really bad right now and computer screens are not my friend. But that’s a story for another day, today I’m grateful that I can still see (sort of).

I hope you all enjoy Thanksgiving, and remember…there truly is always something to be grateful for.

Saturday, November 19, 2022

Thank You. My Pretties

More pretties from my Pretties: how can I adequately thank you all for the joy they’ve brought to such a gray, gray month?

I know my photography doesn’t do this arrangement justice, the light isn’t right, nor are my eyes. But trust me, this is beyond stunning.


Two shades of hydrangea: light and dark purple, deep purple pin flowers, deep, deep purple canna lilies, lovely pinkish purple amaranth along with some lovely little orange flowers that I’m not familiar with and more! Every angle reveals a new beautiful floral profile.






I’m making Raj put them in the garage every night – which serves as a giant walk-in cooler this time of year = to make sure they still look as good on Thanksgiving.

So I thank you all once again for such a benevolent gift of beauty and joy. You’ve given us one more beautiful thing to be grateful for this Thanksgiving.

Oh, and happy Caturday.

kitty caterday

Sunday, November 13, 2022

Red Tide If By Day, Blue Tide If By Night

For those of you still wondering what happened to Tuesday’s expected red wave here’s the simplest explanation.

Red if by day:


“Harmful algal blooms occur when colonies of algae—simple plants that live in the sea and freshwater—grow out of control while producing toxic or harmful effects on people, fish, shellfish, marine mammals, and birds.”

Blue if by night:

“During the day, the algae bloom can cause the ocean to appear with a red or brown tint, but at night, when agitated, it can create a blue bioluminescence.”

neon-waves-16x9-1-1_jpgOn September 28th, 2011, the "Red Tide" hit San Diego shores. The neon-blue waves are not digitally created or altered from their original form.


“While many people call these blooms 'red tides,' scientists prefer the term harmful algal bloom.”

I have no idea how to kill off the deadly dinoflagellate population explosion although I suspect closing the borders might help. Or perhaps we ought not agitate them so:

“…but at night, when agitated, it can create a blue bioluminescence.”


Note: not much new on the medical front, still have good days and bad. Will have new scans at the end of the month to determine the effectiveness of ongoing treatment. I have developed another issue which is primarily caused by old age but accelerated by the metabolic disturbances created by cancer and chemo. I have had total vitreous detachments in both eyes. While this usually creates floaters that the brain can adjust to my brain has already been “challenged”  and the floaters in the left eye appeared before my brain had any chance  to “adjust.”  Both eyes have quite large, dense web-like floaters in the line of vision which  seriously compromise my eyesight in that it is both dimmed and blurred so screen time is irritating and difficult. So I will continue infrequent appearances so thank you for your understanding if I don’t respond to comments and thank you for all the ongoing prayers as well as good thoughts and cheer. I’m told the brain usually adjusts to this in 6 months time or so. So we will see (hopefully).

Sunday, November 6, 2022


Time is a funny thing to begin with, seemingly ambivalent yet unequivocally inflexible.

clock works

Clocks on the other hand are dictators, either benign or tyrannical but dictators nonetheless. They divide your life into 60 minute slices, 24 hour intervals and 365 day segments. How we choose to use our time is a different issue altogether and fairly autonomous. As individuals we’re free to squander it, attempt to make the most of it or simply ignore it; for the most part it’s ours to use or abuse. How we choose to spend our time is one of the few individual rights we seem to have retained in the Democrats’ march to social justice and woke capitalism.

Perhaps that partially explains my semi-annual reflexive opposition to Daylight Saving Time, regardless of the direction it takes.  The government mandated arbitrary “change” of time via our clocks (most of which are now digital and update themselves without even our reluctant participation) is an infringement on my right to waste time as I choose. 

As a protest I’ve chosen to use this clock and this clock alone. It’s the only one that is consistently accurate and in the final analysis the only one that actually matters.

daylight saving onlt time that counts

It may be a hazy shade of winter now but look around - soon the grass will be high again.

Hang on to your hopes, my friend
That's an easy thing to say
But if your hopes should pass away
Simply pretend that you can build them again

Sunday, October 30, 2022

Halloween Week

Tomorrow is Halloween and I would like to take the opportunity to remind everyone that you should remain skeptical of everything, including things you are skeptical of.

during the day I don't believe in ghosts halloween

Also, I would like to predict that this year’s most popular costume will be ‘drag queen’ – with absolutely no outcry from the left regarding how demeaning the appropriation of their gender is to women…and clowns.

lil-miss-hot-mess-the drag queen

Sunday, October 23, 2022

A Non-Crafter’s Guide To Crafting

I found this a while back on somebody’s Tumblr. I know it’s not even Halloween yet but let’s face it, because of the lead time required the official Christmas Crafting season has already begun.  I know many of you are artful crafters but I suspect just as many, or more, might identify with the (unknown) author’s affliction: Craftophobia, which is closely related to Linonophobia: Fear of String. 


With that in mind, I pass along one woman’s analysis and ranking of crafts and crafters:

“Grandma” crafts ranked by how afraid I am of them, ranked least to most.

·      Knitting – I watched a woman painstakingly knit her own wedding dress on Instagram. The only reason I am not viscerally terrified of knitting is that I can knit and therefore have accepted the horror into my heart: 4/10 for effort


·      Crochet – THERE IS ONLY ONE HOOK. HOW. HOW DO YOU DO THAT!? But again, I can single chain enough to seam my knitting, so we’re relatively cool with this: 6/10.


·      Embroidery – It’s so little and so detailed??? Literally you do that with a tiny needle and it looks like it could walk off the fabric. You’re a witch, I don’t make the rules. I mean, we’re all witches but you especially: 9/10


·      Spinning/weaving – Literally you are making something out of primordial fluff. This by definition makes you a god, I’m pretty sure. Y’all are incredible. I am in awe: 10/10


·      Tatting or handmaking lace by other methods that aren’t knitting or crocheting. Part of me is always going to be convinced you’re a spider god but in a cool way. Definitely the most intricate products, and the fact that I can’t parse how they come into being is why I fear and respect you: 11/10, you incredible terrors


·      Cross stitching – THIS IS FORBIDDEN MAGIC. WHAT ARE YOU? ALL THE SQUARES???? 1000/10

For the rest of you, let’s get going on those crafts! Time’s a wasting.


Sunday, October 16, 2022

Autumn Bloemen

autumn george elliot2

Look at the lovelies that arrived from the bloemen shop Friday afternoon:


So graceful, joyful and filled with love you can feel it; in closeup you can practically smell it.


And Raj tells me that you also sent a gift certificate for gourmet meals, delivered! Everything from shrimp pasta to beef Bourguignon. You MOTI are the most kind, caring and generous group of people I have ever had the pleasure of being associated with and I feel blessed to know you all.

My oncologist is encouraging regarding my progress to date and I’m currently off one of the chemo drugs but scheduled for the rest of the infusions through December. I will have new scans then and we’ll go from there. So the report is “as good as can be expected” and I hope to stay on that path with your continued prayers. And while I absolutely adore the flowers, you’ve done way, way too much already. All I can do to express my gratitude is a sincere thank you, for both the beautiful arrangements and your continued prayers and good thoughts.

On another note, Raj and I celebrated our 50th anniversary on the 13th, well “celebrate” might be a bit of an overstatement as we spent most of the day at U of M hospital getting an infusion. We’ll celebrate in a day or so as I generally am not at my best for several days after. We did have a little pre-anniversary celebration last weekend but will have another when I feel better. I think 50 years – which went by in a flash – is worthy of at least two celebrations. We were going to take a trip but will defer that part of the celebration until next year.

October remains my favorite month although it can be fickle. When I was young I never thought about how quickly on its heels winter arrived. Now that I’m older I think about that probably too much. I remind myself often that after the leaves fall and the wind blows them about there comes a necessary dormancy that allows  the world, and us, to rest. Perhaps even compost a bit of the detritus cluttering our lives and store it as  energy for a glorious spring renewal. In the meanwhile:

Andrew Wyeth autumn corn stalkAndrew Wyeth, Cornstalk

Bless you all.   

Sunday, October 9, 2022

Autumn Leaves

What autumn leaves, raked, look like just about anywhere in the world:

raked pile of leaves

What raked autumn leaves look like in Japan:

japanese fall raked images4japanese fall raked images

As Gerard would ask: “The Japanese: Nuked Too Much or Not Enough?”

And now for a brief health update:

patience  tested

I won’t lie, it’s been kind of a rough few weeks. Eye, jaw and stomach issues accompanied by - most likely - stress induced migraines for which I can no longer take Imitrex. For what it’s worth, Fioracet, essentially the same med I took 30 years ago before Imitrex existed, works no better now than it did then. These issues are most likely chemo/immuno related and may or may not resolve when the treatment is done. While “Immunotherapies” sound better than “chemo” they both, in fact, list nearly identical side effects. 

But the good news: none of these new afflictions appear to be dangerous. So according to my Doc I’m still doing well. I have another round of oral chemo and an Immuno infusion this week and I’m hoping for no new symptoms. Poor Raj, I’m afraid I’ve become a full time job and yet he never, ever complains.

Anyway, again I thank everyone for the prayers prayed, the notes mailed and emailed and the good wishes sent. Apologies to all, I’ve meant to get back with everyone and hopefully I will eventually.

Sunday, October 2, 2022

Only 29 Days Till Halloween

Only 29 days till Halloween. Time to get those decorations up.

well played big orange house on the cornerWell played big orange house at the end of the block, well played.

and bake those Halloween goodies.

pumpkin sourdough loaf

If neither decorating or baking are your thing you might want to consider dying your hair a nice shade of pumpkin pie spice. Shown here: Ginger.

beautiful mass of ginger hair

So let’s get going, time’s a wasting.

P.S. I’m doing OK; will provide a more detailed “systems update” later this week.

Thursday, September 22, 2022

All The Lives We’ve Ever Lived…

All the lives we’ve ever lived

and all the lives to be

are full of trees and changing leaves.

Virginia Woolf, To The Lighthouse.

autumn leaves


The Autumn Equinox arrives at 9:04 p.m. EDT today:12 hours of day, 12 hours of night, earth in balance, if only briefly.


lempire-des-lumi_C3_A8res_jpgL'Empire des Lumières - Magritte


The greens of summer acquiesce to autumn’s exuberance. Flowers stop blooming, trees drop their leaves and then everything falls into a deep slumber until reawakened come spring.


bridge to autumn

“Notice that Autumn is more the season of the soul than of nature.”
-Friedrich Nietzsche

Autumn is a marker of the inevitable change and loss that are essential for renewal. Indeed:


All the lives we’ve ever lived

and all the lives to be

are full of trees and changing leaves.