Monthly Archives: December 2020

Top Picks

As the year gets ready to turn to a fresh page — I thought I’d take a minute to give you (my readers) a short list of my favorite reads this year.

One of my reading goals this year was to increase the amount of non-fiction. I managed to find some good ones. My three top picks:

The Radium Girls by Kate Moore

Followed by: Heirs of the Founders by H.W. Brands

White Fragility by Robin Diangelo

On the fiction side of the reading spectrum. My intention was to read a more diverse group of authors. My first choice is a re-read: The Black Hawk by Joanna Bourne.

Other top picks include: Betrayed by Sharon C. Cooper

Heart of the Matter by LaQuette

First Comes Scandal by Julia Quinn

Did you have reading goals? Did you reach them?

I’ll be setting goals for the new year in several facets of life — but reading is among them.

Santa Makes It Complete

This blog has been filled with puzzles and memories evoked by their pictures during the last number of weeks. Christmas has been a popular theme — many of the puzzles featured snow, carolers, and holly wreaths.

Today we bring you a representation of Santa Claus, Kris Kringle, St. Nick, or “The Old Man Himself.”

With the aid of little girls, one dressed as an angel, plus a lamb, wreath, and gifts; this Santa wishes MERRY CHRISTMAS and HAPPY HOLIDAYS to all!!!

Did Santa visit your house? Did he leave a little Christmas magic?

Pick A Favorite

The Christmas holiday season is all around us. A favorite activity becomes either a drive or walk in the neighborhood to look at the holiday lights.

Cities and small towns decorate street light poles. Churches and some businesses decorate inside and out. Many homeowners fill the yard with seasonal figures. (Inflatables tend to look sad laying down on the job during the day.) Homes and apartments sprout lights in the windows and trees in the living room.

This puzzle displays nine common Christmas decorations. (I’m not sure when the penguin joined the group.) Do you have a favorite?

I think I would pick the holly and cookie. Let’s keep the snowman for January, shall we?

Keep the Light Burning

The holidays of December tend to feature light. Candles are central in the Menorah, the Advent Wreath, and marking the days of Kwanza. Trees, inside and outside of buildings, are covered with lights. Decorations are lit.

While many of us keep these extra lights burning only during the days with the shortest amount of daylight — some lights need to be year round. These are the lights that show the way for others.

Lighthouse keeps dared not take a day (or night) off. So let’s have the holiday party at their house!

Small Town, Big Celebration

The size of the village, town, or city is not an indication of the amount of Christmas spirit within the citizens.

When I was a child, our village of less than 400 residents celebrated large. Green garlands were strung across Main Street from one light pole to another. An evergreen tree was decorated with lights. Children were treated to a Christmas party (Saturday before the Big Day) at the local theater. Santa made an appearance and handed out brown paper bags of treats. The school held a holiday concert. Churches opened their doors for special programs.

Like many puzzle artists, this one takes us back a number of decades to show an idealized scene. (Do puzzle buyers like horses? Are they nostalgic?)

I see a Community Center, City Hall, and the largest house in town all decked out for party time. How would you caption this one?

At the Farm

Farm animals, especially dairy cattle, need to be tended twice a day. Farmers don’t take many vacations unless they can find a person to hire to do “chores.”

This does not mean they can’t have fun or be social. Imagine a circle, size dependent on transportation, where you could travel and return in an evening, or between morning and evening chores. Before modern roads and automobiles, things within the circle were church, a town with a variety of stores, perhaps a doctor, dentist, or lawyer, and neighbors — who were often both friend and relative.

With a large house, a serviceable barn, and neighbors within sight– this puzzle artist has captured and idealized many real things. I can imagine this farm on the very edge of town or perhaps the farmer is hosting relatives from the city who are making the snowman and getting acquainted with the calf while the daughter of the house mails a letter.

Can you make a story from the scene?

Greeting Card Perfect

Holiday cards are in the mail!

Oh, look! We’ve heard from___.

Christmas cards, holiday cards, greeting cards (and the notes and letters often with them) have been part of the December holidays all my life. Mother had an extensive list, including several of dad’s Army buddies. Relatives predominated — since both my parents came from large families — my brothers and I never lacked for aunts and uncles. Also included were friends from various portions of their lives.

Preparing the cards has always been important to me. Yes, I switched over to a form letter a number of years ago. However, an extra personal line or two at the bottom is not unheard of.

Do you enjoy receiving cards? Do you display them? Toss them in a basket on a table?

The picture created by this puzzle would make a great greeting card to display on a shelf.

Is it Magic?

New. Fresh. Exciting.

I always suspect a little bit of magic comes with the first snow of the season.

My other thoughts have reflected my age and stage of life.

Will we have enough to sled? This comes from living at the foot of a great sledding hill when little. I couldn’t wait to get my own — begging a ride or loan from older brothers is not simple.

Will we have school? Once we moved out of town and depended on the school bus this question moved forward. I think many of the boys twisted this to — can we go hunting?

Canceling work was never a question. I worked in health care and hospitals are one of half a dozen 24/7 institutions.

Retirement brought thoughts of grabbing the camera, a cup of coffee, or a good book. Snow tends to bring a special sort of quiet — until the plowing team arrives.

This puzzle artist depicts 19th century Georgetown with holiday decorations and fresh, clean snow.

A Time to Sing

Blue moon. Harvest moon. By the light of the moon. Song titles and songs featuring the moon and moonlight are plentiful.

When I was a young girl, we had a hound dog. He had a good voice — it carried over the entire farm. (It was a small farm.) Our family members — expect for mother — were known to join in his “singing” on occasion. We preferred times of full moon.

Singing to the … earth? I really like this puzzle of the wolves singing to the full earth.

No — don’t ask me where they’re standing.

Have you ever howled at the moon? In front of another person?

Did you howl from a place of joy or lament?