2021 December 06

Fog and rain with wind. WeatherBug reads 12mph wind. But it seemed a lot more than that to me.
Doing paperwork on paper and electronically, last year.
Sleeping baby photos are cute but I should have turned them duo you could see their face. I wonder way became of the big first green Santa chair. It was more comfortable than the current chair. However, the new chair is wider and allows three full size humans to sit.
Personally, I prefer photos where Santa and child are interacting as opposed to having the schools smile at the camera.
Countless times the story book has made an otherwise unwilling child calm enough for a photo. And sometimes Santa has to get down to their level.
This youngster was unwilling to come to Santa, even to read the book. However, when I asked him to help me turn the page, we got a great photo.
This child went from timid to enthusiastic with a book.
We had a stop for a curbside pharmacy delivery on the way home

2021 December 05

A great day to sit outside and visit with friends.
Typical breakfast before heading to Sunday school

We attended a special Sunday school class with Gary Bible. Out is judging the book and DVD “INCARNATION” by Adam Hamilton

Watch the worship service by clicking the link https://www.facebook.com/crosstrackschurch/videos/623292242347286/

Roast beef, roasted carrots and potatoes, spinach, and Hawaiian dinner rolls for lunch.

We returned to church for the monthly ingathering of good and other items for Operation Liberty Hill. We also collected a few aluminum cans that Ella and I will crush and add to the large trash bag of crushed cans. It’s not really worth the trip to the metal recycler just yet.

And that was our day of worship, study, and service.

2021 December 04

I’m missing the sun at “sunrise” a lot.
When I think of the color of the sky, charcoal is not the first color I normally associate with the sky. But there it is.
One of Santa’s special friends who came in to tell me that he wanted a Barbie Doll for Christmas this year.
The big reveal. This youngster will be nearly one year old this time next year.
Our shift at the mall was offer at noon and I needed to be in Liberty Hill at twelve thirty. Ella went straight to the truck while I made a quick change in the staging area that would have made Clark Kent proud.
Then it was a quick dash (within the legal speed limit) to the Over The Hill Gang building. Their party could not start until I unlocked the door for them. We arrived at 12:31.
Since it was approaching one o’clock by the time the building was unlocked and a brief walk through. We used a coupon to purchaser one foot-long sub meal and shared it.
Ella needed some hair products at Sally’s. So that was or next stop.
Andy’s Frozen Custard was nearby so we stopped for a hot fudge sundae for desert
I like it.

2021 December 03

I came in a little out of breath and a little sweaty this morning. We tried to come in through the East Mall doors, but they were locked. So we trudged back to the truck and drove around to the west side of the mall. We then had to take the long walk (for two old people) to our changing / staging area. That’s a lot of hurried walking. Thank God for deodorant and colone. I hope none of the kids or parents notice a sweat smell.

The mall hours are posted as 10 to 8 today. However, walking through the mall, nearly all of the stores were still locked up and dark at 10. When we got down to the set Mike was on the phone with tech support because the camera to computer to computer wasn’t done updating. A twenty-year veteran had come in to pick up a purchase from Helzberg, but they didn’t open until 11. So he sat and visited with Santa for quite a while before the store opened.

Our first appointment was for 10 and it took a little longer because of the tech issue but the pictures were great.

An older special-needs man came in with his family for a photo and to tell Santa what he wanted a Barbie.

A preschool-age boy with autism came in to give me a hug, but wouldn’t sit for a photo.

Santa had a four month old boy in for a photo. No smile but no time for Tears either.

We are starting to get busier. We only had four or five appointments scheduled but we had a lot of walk-ins today.

There was a mother with two Elder daughters she came in a wheelchair they didn’t buy photos, but they took some with their cell phone. Santa never says no. That’s the job of the set manager to tell them that they can’t take personal photos.

2921 December 02

Santa’s first visitor was a cute little girl with a soft cast on her right arm. She said it was hurt in the car. I didn’t probe any further. No picture, just to visit.
The second visit was a special needs person in his early 30s. He told his helper that he HAD to come and see Santa today. He wants a monster truck toy and a Nintendo switch.
There was a tiny toddler who was fearful. We got a photo of her running away from Santa. Then got pictures of her and mom in the big chair without Santa. Then Santa came and sat down next to mom, but that didn’t work.
Later a mom with a baby and a toddler about two years old came to  “test the waters.”  The toddler was excited to see and talk to Santa but would only come to an arms length. No photo, but they will be back in Christmas clothes.
We took a short break at 2 to – uh – feed the reindeer.
A couple came with a four month old boy all dressed up in his Christmas vest. Photos were with the typical blank baby stare.
Matthew a 30-something special needs person came to see Santa. He said he goes to the assembly of God Church every day. He said that he wants a car for Christmas.
A cute little preschooler with beads in her braids came running and bouncing to see Santa. She wants a Barbie dream house. No photo. They were on the way to see the movies and will be back later.

While looking through photos I found this picture of this young man from 2016. He and his helper were walking past and he saw me and just started vibrating with excitement. I waved them over and was told that he is nonverbal. So I just talked to him about what a good kid he had been this year and how proud I was of him and things like that. After the picture was taken they left. An hour or so later they were walking past the set on their way out. He turned to me and said “Goodbye Santa.” So even somebody who is normally nonverbal could say goodbye to Santa. It made me smile and it still does.

I keep checking and hoping.

2021 November 30

We had a 9 o’clock meeting with the apartment manager for recertification. I don’t know if this will impact the $357 monthly raise on rent of which we were previously quoted. I hope so. As soon as that meeting was over, we hightailed it toward work.

Santa had a two year old who wasn’t afraid exactly, but he was apprehensive about sitting on Santa’s lap. We had him sit beside me for photos. At the end, I asked for a fist bump. We got the fist bump and a smile at last. I’m glad the photographer (Ella) was paying attention.

Santa also had a youngster who was throwing a tantrum as mom sat him on my lap. I opened a picture book. He looked and smiled. Ella snapped the photo and a second later, he was back at tantrum level. For a matter of seconds we captured a wonderful photo.

Identities concealed on purpose.

Oliver a three-year-old was Santa’s first visit. While the camera was being set up, we visited, when it was time for the photo, he didn’t want to sit. Mom and dad got in the photo also.

There was a little girl named Olivia who was almost hyperactive who was difficult to get a picture with.

Later there was a little boy who was also very active, looking at the tree and the chair and everything but the camera. We got a photo of him standing on the chair talking with Santa.

Later there was a little girl that Santa tried to get interested in a book. But until mom sat on the floor in front of the chair, she wouldn’t come close. Mom got her on her lap to look at a book. Santa slid down from the chair and sat on the floor with them. It was a great photo.

Though it was a little rushed, we made it from work to the church charge conference and potluck. It was an hour from the time Santa left his chair until Tom and Ella were at their place in the church.

2021 November 29

This morning I drove through town rather than take the toll road. I was surprised that it took no longer to get here. I don’t know if the through town traffic is normally this light.
My first visit today was with two girls, the older of which was on the autism spectrum. She had lots of questions and wanted to feel my skin to see if it felt like hers. She decided it didn’t feel like hers but it felt like Mom’s.
I was also visited by Sophie, a tiny two-and-a-half-year-old who came running to hug Santa.
Two seasoned citizens came and sat on Santa’s lap but didn’t want to pay for a photo. They did take a selfie.
A special-needs man of 40-ish saw me and came in to talk. He’s going to get an online visit from Santa on Wednesday. (not me). He was very animated.
Today was slow we saw some photo sales between 11 and 12 but only one or two from noon to 3. And that’s kind of the way the afternoon went.

We came out out the Malik just as the sun was setting.
Supper at IHOP. I told Ella we can’t keep eating out and eating up our earnings.

2021 November 28

Sunday school and worship at Cross Tracks Church this mourning. Our Sunday school class finished the book of Romans after only 8 months. The month of December we are going to join Gary Bible’s 4 week study of the incarnation. In january we will begin a study of the Lord’s Prayer.

Jardin Corona was where Ella requested for her birthday outing. I know, her birthday was last Sunday, but there wasn’t cash in the coffers for dining out last week. She really likes their enchiladas in white sauce. Since I have an onion allergy, dining at a Mexican restaurant can be a challenge for me. Bean burritos were the best I could do.

2021 November 27

It has trained all day long.

There seemed to be a lot of people coming “just to talk” to Santa today. It is not uncommon for parents to bring children for a visit without purchasing a photo. However, today there were a lot more than usual.

Santa always enjoys time to just visit. To all about their classes at school, what sports, games, or musical instruments they play. As the season draws closer to Christmas day, the crowds increase and there is more pressure to keep the line moving. Trying to find the balance to keep those at the back of the line from feeling that it its taking too long as opposed to those at the front of the line from feeling rushed. Santa has to”read” the line and adjust.

For the parents it is all about getting that special photographic memory of their children “at this age”. For the children it is about the visit with Santa, making their wishes known and asking questions about the “good list”, Santa, Mrs. Claus, the reindeer, the sleigh, and the elves

Mr. Jack O’Lantern made a mighty fine cream of pumpkin soup. This tasted particularly great on a cold rainy end of November day.