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Cruisin' California for Christmas Lights

It's our first Christmas in California and I am really excited.  The Beach Boys and Barbara Streisand used to sing about Sunny Southern California at Christmas-time, but now I really feel like I'm gaining a perspective.  We'll get to experience the early fall like weather here - before we descend into Oklahoma's true winter weather.  Ah, but for one more week, we can do a California Christmas - shorts, sunglasses and all.

We've been slow to start, in the Banks/Barney Household, this Christmas. Our cup of spirit doth not overfloweth, this year.  We have overwhelming reasons to be happy - I guess it's just human nature sometimes to push those reasons aside and fixate on the things that hurt.  Like losing a loved one.  Especially at Christmas - it brings back so many memories and you can't help but wish  you could see your sweet person's face once more.  Hear their voice.  Give them a hug.  I know how this feels, to an extent.  But, I also know that I do not have the type of perspective some of my family members have - who have experienced a loss so recently - and daily I am amazed at their spirit - their faith - their good cheer.  If they can smile - I've got a reason to smile.  While I may feel blue or lonely now and again - I just have to remember to make a different choice.  Then, I just choose to be happy in this moment - right now.

So, last night Trafton had to work.  Trafton works most nights - and my friends here all have families with small children or live in a different time zone so I can't call them -  so until I make some new friends - I have to get creative with my nighttime activities.   

Last night, I did just that.  Jack (my dog) and I cruised up and down the residential streets  of Santa Monica and Culver City and looked at the Christmas Lights.  

When I was little, my Mom & Dad used to pile us into the Buick Stationwagon to drive to Elk City to see the lights - and we'd also drive around the neighborhoods in Cordell, Elk & Clinton.  We'd play Christmas Music Cassette tapes (my favorite was the Muppetts) - Heather's favorite was Barbara Streisand - we all had our favorites, really - and, we'd just sing along as father kept the car creeping through the neighborhoods at 8mph. We'd sing, we'd "ooh!" and "aaah!" over animated lawn figurines - or beautiful old cars parked out front with a garland or wreath adorning them.  I like how we had enough time to really take in the tableau - the entire scene - and we'd have conversations about what we were seeing together - and we'd come up with ideas or ways to do more things in our own yard the next year.  It was always fun - a sure fire way to get those Holiday Sentiments a'flowing.

It always seemed to propel me into my bed for sweet dreams and a great morning the next day, talking to the other kids at school about who's yard was the coolest, brightest or most creative.

I loved that ritual that my family observed as a child, so last night I took Jackie Bear while Trafton was at work and we piled into my Tahoe.  We had the seat heaters cranked up to "Hi" and the windows down, sunroof open - letting the cigarette smoke billow out as we listened to Ghostland Observatory's "BODY SHOP".  I cannot help but dance in my seat when I'm driving and that song comes on.

It's so fun to see the California Homes all streamlined and eco-focused, wrapped in lights and garland.  I love seeing the palm trees adorned in bright lights.  That's a treat I've enjoyed both in LA and Miami Beach.  Tropical Christmases have their charms.  

Cruisin' California Mission: A Success

I came home laughing, loving life - and energized to wrap those gifts I've been putting off for so long.

Sometimes I think we forget how easy it is to do something for ourselves, that we'll genuinely enjoy.  We blow ourselves off and get to doing the "business" of the day.  Not Cool.  You don't skip recess, buddies.  You just don't.


Now, crank up that Ghostland tune and dance your ass off.  Seriously, right now.  

"Wax it. Grind it. Work it. Ride it."

So far, I'm digging this California-style of Christmas.  :)

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