Tag Archives: Christmas

some Christmas pix


Back in Japan, we celebrated Christmas on Dec. 30. The most fun gift unwrapping was in layers of boxes and tape. Each box was labeled for another person, until it got all the way around the group and back to Lin–the Hallmark 2012 Bear she had wanted for so long!

When we went to a nearby field to try out Rob’s new helicopter camera, a very nice Japanese guy was practicing with his stunt kite (4 lines to control). He let each of us give it a try and coached us in the art he has perfected over 20 years!


An ordinary day in Kawasaki


A breakfast smoothie of mango, kiwi, banana, avocado, and a little granola plus coffee or tea. Nice way to start the day of Dec. 30, our day to celebrate Christmas!

Rob gave me a foot massage for my still misbehaving foot (picture in an earlier blog). It’s much better now.

Along with chitchat in the morning, Rob played Mine Sweep on his computer while Fred worked on his laptop. Rob made a Skype call to friends at a party in Austin, then we all enjoyed a lunch of tossed salad, potato salad, chick pea and kidney beans, chunks of fried chicken.

After lunch we ventured out in the light rain for a walk and shopping. The plan was to exchange Christmas gifts when Lin’s Mama came home from work. Kawasaki station is about 10-15 minutes from the apartment; and that’s where the guys and gals separated.

Rob and Fred took the train on some secret mission, Lin and I went to a bookstore to find a calendar for Fred and some groceries, I had an ice cream cone of green tea ice cream with a bit of sweet bean relish on the side and two shiratama on the side (unsweet, wheat-based, chewy texture). The ice cream itself is not very sweet. A nice treat!

In an unfamiliar country, similarities and differences pop out from every direction. The mall signs, of course, were in kanji with only occasional English words. Since I know about two words in Japanese, spoken  language swirled around my head like lovely, but unfamiliar music

After getting some mandarin oranges and bread, we walked back in the light rain. Hot tea, then naps! (It was about midnight Austin time.) After a snooze we watched “Oceans” with its beautiful photography of amazing creatures. I could ignore the Japanese descriptions!

We’ll have Christmas tonight but Lin’s mom is waiting to come home until the rain lets up a little. She stopped at  her sister’s and eat supper there before riding her bike home. The gift exchange was postponed for a while. However, we folded the kitchen table to make room for the Christmas tree, which had been in the entry. Quite a nice display of gifts!

These photos capture a little of our shopping day. First tourist attraction: the world’s shortest escalator–4 steps that lead down to actual steps. It’s in the Guinness Book of World Records!

Christmas Weekend


Christmas weekend is upon us at First Unitarian Universalist Church of Houston, like millions of other churches around the world. The longing for peace and a spark of hope is always strong at this time of year.

Tomorrow there will be an engaging sermon by the Rev. Dr. Leonora Montgomery, Minister Emerita of Bay Area Unitarian Universalist Church. (No, not the Bay Area in California, but in Clear Lake City, Texas, home of NASA’s Mission Control.) Well into her 9th decade of life, Leonora will speak of her pilgrimage toward God and invite us to entertain at least the possibility of God’s existence. Her journey took many turns over the years. Now she no longer worries about whether or not she is right. Instead she is satisfied that, having explored many options from childhood on, her beliefs stand firm.

That sounds good to me. Believe what you believe without worry. Explore at your own pace if you wish, but don’t worry if you don’t have all the answers. Who does? No one really knows all there is to know about God.

Christmas Eve at First Church offers a double header. At 5:30, a family pageant coordinated by our Religious Educator Natalie Browne will be a treat for all ages. Adults will ponder lovely messages and food for thought and the children and youth move us all into and through one of the most beloved stories of all: the birth of a child. Shepherds and magi and angels add layers of importance to this child’s birth. Did the people who paid their respects know what he would teach during his lifetime? Could they have imagined ideas so progressive to his time that he would someday be executed?

But at Christmas there is only the birth of this holy child, reminding us that “Each night a child is born is a holy night” (Sophia Lyon Fahs).

At 7 we’ll have a service of lessons and carols. Choirs will sing at both services, but at the second one we’ll have a brass quartet. What a fanfare! The Rev. Dr. Daniel O’Connell will deliver the homily.

Both services will end in the traditional way: with candlelight throughout the sanctuary and Silent Night sung into the darkened space. “All is calm, all is bright,” we sing with hope in our hearts even knowing that this world is chock full of sorrow and tragedy. On this symbolic night let the spirit of love flow through every heart.


The “Nativity of our Lord” carved in rock salt in the cathedral of Saint Kinga, in the salt mine of Wieliczka in Poland, 101 meters under the surface…
Sculptor of the figures: Mieczysław Kluzek
St. Kinga’s Chapel

Phote by Klearchos Kapoutsis

This photo was taken on August 1, 2009 in Lednica Niemiecka, Wieliczka, Lesser Poland, PL, using aCanon EOS 450D.