2020 November 30

Monday

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Brrrr! Again I say Brrrr! It dropped below freezing for the first time this season.

Tonight it’s predicted to drop to 22°. That’s plenty cold for me.

  • Though it was a cold morning, the sun was shining. Santa had the day off, so Ella and I went for a long aimless drive. About 1:30 we drove through KFC/Long John Silvers in Marble Falls for lunch.
  • The truck signaled it was low on coolant so we took our fish lunch to the nearby Wal-Mart parking lot where we ate. Having finished lunch, we went in Wal-Mart for coolant.
  • I also purchased a pain patch for my shoulder. I had mentioned a while back that all the waving, I do on the set, has been causing my shoulder and neck to hurt.
  • Ella also went into the store to buy bacon. Which she did, along with a few other items. So altogether it came to $75.
  • Ella hasn’t been in a store for a long time. We have been ordering online for curbside pickup. There it’s no impulse buying online.
  • As we were getting back in the truck, I heard, “How ya doin’, Santa?” I turned around and saw a man with a long white beard. I asked how his season was doing. He said that the was going some mall work. I said I was also, at Lakeline Mall in Cedar Park. He said, “I know someone there. Williams …” His wife said, “Tom.” To which I replied, “I’m Tom Williams.” He said, “I’m Wade Burleigh.”
  • We had met several years ago, chatted on Facebook and the phone a few times since. I looked at him and said, “You all (Santas) look alike to me. We laughed and said our good byes.
  • When we returned home, I took nap. Now that’s a good day off.
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2020 November 29

Sunday

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Another non existent sunrise. There was still some light misty rain this morning. But the evening photos where nice.

  • Being Sunday, the mall didn’t open until noon. That meant I was able to watch part of the online worship service before I left for work.
  • Santa had a couple of memorable visits today. One was a tiny little toddler. She saw me as mom was pushing the stroller pass the set. She started squealing and clapping. She was literally bouncing up and down in the stroller.
  • Mom lifted her out and she came running as fast as she could. She couldn’t have been more than 18 months old. So, she couldn’t remember Santa from last year.
  • Any other year I would have scooped get up and onto my lap for a hug. This year we were both stopped by a decorative barrier. I talked to her but agree didn’t talk, just bounced up and down on her feet, hands to her face giggled. Finally Mom came and got her. No picture was taken.
  • The other visit was from a large family. Grandmother and grandfather and two couples with a total of 8 children. It was amusing watching grandma organize and reorganize everybody for the photograph.
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2020 November 28 – 27 Days ‘Till Christmas

Saturday

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100% chance of rain, the forecast said. And rain it did. ‘Long about 9 a.m. it started and it never really quit.

  • We added a new team member to the photographers today. Her name is Kaylee or Kaitlyn. I am not sure which.
  • I don’t know if it is a sign of age or a sign out being out of shape, but my shoulders and neck hurt from all the waving that Santa does. I wave at everybody, young or old, male or female and 99.9% wave back. I want everyone to know Santa is in the house.
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2020 November 27

Friday

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Cloudy. Agreed, it was cloudy with occasional rain.

  • Ella and I took time to play a couple rounds of Fast Track before I left for work.
  • Santa had some interesting visits today. I had a boy with hearing loss. I greeted him in ASL and introduced myself as Santa and asked his name and what he wanted for Christmas using both spoken and sign language. He didn’t respond, but Mom seemed happy that I had tried.
  • I also had four college students that just stopped in to visit.

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2020 November 26 Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Thursday

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  • Clear? I beg to differ! It appears to my untrained eye to be cloudy overcast. However, I’m not accredited by the American Meteorological Society, so go ahead and trust the experts – it’s clear.
  • After all these are the same people who brought us global warming – oh, sorry that may be impossible to substantiate – so let’s call it climate change. And in their world view, decide it is a man-made condition, rather than a cyclic change in solar activity or natural occurring events.
  • I will not disagree that there is climate change. It happens. It has always happened. Texas was once at the bottom of the ocean. Part of the Gulf of Mexico was once dry land. There have been 3 “mini ice ages”. 1 beginning about 1650, another about 1770, and the last in 1850. And then there was also was a time of warm climate change lasting from 950 to 1250.
  • I think it is the height of hubris to believe that tiny insignificant humans can drastically change the climate. And the more reasonable explanation for climate cooling or climate warming are causes by natural phenomena outside of human control. Perhaps we humans should also take credit or blame for the shifting magnetic north pole.
  • Here ends the history and science lessons for today.
  • We will call this our Throwback Thursday report for this week.

This morning I cut the oatmeal pumpkin bar in half, slathered on some marshmallow creme and made a sandwich out of it. Then it was cut into bars. Ella said they are good.

Ella made a Carmel apple cobbler

Two “middle aged” folks enjoying the sunshine and each other. Since we plan to live past 150, we are in or middle years.

Thanksgiving dinner (middle meal of the day) consisted of turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy, and broccoli. Dessert was pumpkin pie and Carmel apple cobbler, and real whipped cream. We are very blessed.


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2020 November 25 1 Month ‘Till Christmas

Wednesday

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Some interesting clouds this morning.Lunch was a very hardy veritable stew with dumplings. Some leftovers, a can of mixed veggies, and a can of V8. Once it was a bubbling boil, I added the dumpling mixture. Dumplings were Bisquik and milk batter.

  • We stopped by the church to see how construction was progressing. The crew was at work on the “Louine Noble” education center.
  • Though we couldn’t see people working on the upstairs portion of the multi purpose worship center, we could tell by the Haul away trash container outside the building, that work was progressing there also.

  • Tonight I baked a pumpkin pie. There was enough filling for a 9″ pie. I had only a smaller pie pan. That was fine. I made a smaller pie. However, that meant I had filling left over.
  • What to do? What to do? I crushed some mixed nuts and added them to the pumpkin. Then I mixed in an amount of oatmeal. When I had a consistency that seemed right to me, I poured it into a flat bottom pan lined with aluminum foil. Made a guess at 350° for 20 minutes.
  • After 20 minutes I added 10 more minutes ’cause it just didn’t look solid enough. After the additional 10 minutes, I judged it firm enough but not browned enough on top.
  • Next I placed it under the broiler and rotated it about a 1/4 turn every minute or so so that it would brown evenly. Once I was satisfied that I was done, I removed it to cool.
  • Finally a cut a small bar and shared it with Ella. She declared it “not bad”. And so another adventure in creative baking came to an end.

.God bless and g’nite

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2020 November 24 Powerless

Tuesday

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  • This is what we woke to at 4:12 this morning. That is when the power went out in our area. I know exactly when it happened because that is when our CPAP machines quit working.
  • “When you have sleep apnea, you can stop breathing, briefly, up to 30 times or more an hour when your airways close or get blocked. CPAP, short for continuous positive airway pressure, pushes air into them to keep them open.
  • The machine has a pump that controls the airflow, a tube that carries the air from the machine to you, and a mask that goes over your mouth, nose, or both.” – quoted from webmd.com
  • So … when the power goes out and the machine stops pumping air to you … you wake up immediately!
  • By the way, that black rectangle really is a photograph of the world outside our window. Either there were clouds covering the moon and stars, or the power outage was a whole lot more universal than I imagined.
  • I couldn’t help but think of the ninth plague found in Exodus 10:21-29 “Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Stretch out your hand toward the sky so that darkness will spread over Egypt—darkness that can be felt.’ So Moses stretched out his hand toward the sky, and total darkness covered all Egypt for three days.” I could not feel the darkness I could only see it.
  • Hmm, can darkness be seen? Since darkness is the absence of light, it would be be more accurate to say, “I could not see light,” rather than saying, “I saw only darkness.”
  • The power returned at 5:58 a.m. Again we were alerted by the CPAP machines when they started blowing air again. No, they were not still on our faces.

French toast, right? Well, you are half right.

FRENCH TOAST WAFFLES are what I came up with for breakfast. I was hungry for waffles. However, my better angels thought that, because we had two and a half loaves of bread and five dozen eggs, I should make French toast instead.

  • So I compromised and made French toast in the waffle maker. Just as waffles are crisper than pancakes, so these were crisper than regular French toast.
  • In truth they tasted like neither French toast nor waffles. I will use this method again.

Rain! Oh, okay it was a brief shower. But it was actual moisture falling from the sky. Every drop counts.

  • We received a gift from the church today, advent candles that we can light at home, while watching the worship service online through the Facebook page.
  • One of the Church families made them all.
  • It’s a very rustic look, just a slab from a tree and then holes drilled for five tea candles, one for each of the four Sundays in advent and one for Christmas. They symbolize hope, love, joy and peace, and Christ’s birth.
  • Traditionally the candles would be surrounded by an advent wreath, representing God’s infinite love. Usually the wreath is made of evergreen leaves, which represent the eternal life, brought by Jesus Christ.

God bless and g’nite

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While this shows that I went back to sleep after waking at 4:12, it is incorrect. I lay in bed and read until getting out of bed at eight to start breakfast. My bride needs her coffee.

2020 November 23 Day Off

Monday

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I awoke with sniffles and sneezing. Fortunately, Santa doesn’t go back to the mall until Black Friday.

I suspect this is going to be a very different Black Friday than in years past. Many retailers have been offering “Black Friday” deals all month long in an attempt to diminish the crowds on Friday. A lot of stores are only allowing a certain number of customers access at once time.

Social distancing, masks, and aisles marked for one way traffic are certain to be ignored by some shoppers, but I expect most will follow the new guidelines. At least I hope they will.

The fact that many people are out of work because of workplace Covid 19 restrictions means less money to spend on non essential items. There will be less travel and smaller gatherings – in many cases no gatherings of people not living in the same home.

Yes, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years are sure to be very different indeed

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God bless and g’nite

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2020 November 22

Sunday

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This is a crescent moon. But for some reason the camera filled in the dark area and made it look like a full moon. Or maybe it was the hazy fog that caused the distortion.

After taking the photo of the early morning noon, I went back to sleep until quartet past seven.Another gray day start.Arriving at the mall at 11:31 and finding the outside doors were locked, I tried calling Melissa. I hoped she was already in the mall and could come and let me in. However, she was running late and she kept talking and not listening to what I was trying to say. I finally hung up. I called her back and told her to stop talking and listen. I was then able to let her know that the mall was locked and I was not able to get in. She said she was going to call Sergio, but she was also on her way. I don’t know what she expected the district managed to do about the doors.After a Google search I found the phone number for mall security. When I told him that the doors were locked, he replied that they were supposed to be locked until twelve noon. I explained that I needed to get in and ready for work at twelve. I was told were to find an unlocked service entrance.I made my way through the “Jefferies Tubes” (Star Trex fans will understand) to the storeroom-dressing room-break room. I had a key to unlock the gate but had no idea how to get the lights on. So, I dressed by the light of my cellphone. I was just getting my boots on when Melissa arrived. (Which means the mall doors were now unlocked) Needless to say we were a little late getting the Santa set up and running.Mike got the equipment running while Sarah I straightened things on the set.

Here I am, masked and ready.This little girl stood like this (but facing me) when we talked about her Christmas wish, her school, and so forth. When they first took Her picture, they had her sit, hands in lap, and ankles crossed – the typically photo. I said, “Wait a minute.” I then had her stand like this facing the camera. I then I copied the pose. Mom was delighted. I asked permission to have and use the photo.God bless and g’nite

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2020 November 21 Ella’s B’day

Saturday

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Another overcast foggy morning. The prediction is for clouds for the whole week ahead and rain next weekend. I’m not sure how “needed” the cloud are, however dry Texas can always use the rain.

Actually, on my way to work, there was a brief, light rain.

I, Santa, do have a chance to interact with the children – some what. They have to stay 6 feet away but I can still visit with them and get their Christmas gift wishes. It is working better than I thought it would, but not as well as I had hoped.

I even had a chance to have interaction with 2 special needs “kids”. Those are always closest to my heart.

Unfortunately, I am contractually forbidden to share some things about what happens on the set. Therefore these posts may be short through November and December.

God bless and g’nite

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No tracking from the fit bit because Santa doesn’t wear a watch while “on duty”.