Gifts for the Teacher

Teachers occasionally receive gifts from students and/or their parents. Some are useful; some are just bizarre. A coffee cup (of which I received several dozen over the decades) is useful; a scented candle — just bizarre (at least, for me).

I still have a number of unused Starbucks cards — which I keep in my car, just in case.

A friend of mine teaches elementary school in a nearby district and receives many such gifts each year.

This last Christmas one of her young ladies, Sara, brought her a basket of organic fruit — her father manages the produce section of a local market.

Timmy’s father owns a florist shop and he brought a marvelous bouquet of white roses and red carnations.

Sean, whose father and mother own and operate a wine bar frequented by my friend and her colleagues on “in-service” days, brought her a rather large and heavy box.

My friend lifted it up and noticed that it was leaking a little bit. She touched a drop of the liquid with her finger and tasted it. “Is it wine?” she guessed.

“No,” Sean replied.

She tasted another drop and asked, “Champagne?”

“No,” said Sean . . .



“It’s a puppy!”



Thoughts on a Sunday in this Christmas Season

It’s Christmas time in SoCal. The temperature is in the low 70s; the sun is shining and the Santa Anas are blowing (Di, with English sinuses, has the humidifier on). And, quite unfortunately, the Thomas Fire (260,000+ acres) is still burning.

In little over a month we have two birthdays, Christmas and our anniversary (30th) to celebrate. This year the gifts are practical, well, with one exception and already purchased.

We spend most of our time at home. Di’s peripheral neuropathy and Parkinson’s negate a great deal of what we wanted to do when we retired. Golf and walks along the beach are out of the question; even going to the bathroom is difficult (and impossible without her walker/rollator).

Sunroom Interior South and West
South and West

She spends 90%+ of her time in the sunroom we had built on our old patio foundation. She smokes and refuses to do so in the rest of the house.


I upgraded our WiFi so there are no longer any reception problems in the sunroom. There are fans, a heater and a humidifier as well as a TV, BD/DVD, cable box, Apple TV and an Amazon Firestick.

Christmas, Birthday and Anniversary for Di

So, gift number one: a universal remote (that is not too complicated). And, she likes it. Four remotes replaced by one.

Gift number two: she likes music and I have all of our music stored on the computer: some 19,000+ songs and tunes. All of these are playable through the Apple TV but the TV’s built-in sound ain’t great and there isn’t enough room to put in a sound system like we (I) have in the main house. So, I looked around and went listening and finally settled on a soundbar and sub-woofer. It arrives this week — update after I’ve got it up and working.

Gift number three: surgery. Di, courtesy of her father’s DNA, has some extra skin around her eyes and eyelids. She is having surgery this week to get rid of the extra skin which will allow her to both look and see better.

Christmas, Birthday and Anniversary for Joe

My Gifts? Well, I’ve re-done the sound system in the living room. Two new floor speakers with built-in sub-woofers and a new amp/receiver. And, to say it sounds great, is an understatement.

Next month I’m going to have a dental implant installed in the lower left of my jaw to replace a cracked tooth removed three or four years ago. In four-to-six months, after the area has healed, I’ll have a new tooth placed thereon and again be able to chew on my left side. (I was going to do this way back when but Di’s forced retirement and time needed to care for her got in the way.)

And, sometime in the next couple of weeks while we’re out, we’ll stop by Total Wine and I’ll get to choose some whisky/whiskey. Di says price doesn’t matter, but I’m too practical to have her purchase something “too” expensive. As usual, I’ll look for a couple of somethings I’ve never before had to drink and have her get those for me — and, maybe, a bottle of good and dependable Old No. 7.

No, we may not have many gifts to unwrap on Christmas morning and what we have may not seem romantic, but . . .

Aren’t gifts supposed to make both the giver and the receiver happy?

I’ve seen too many gifts given that reflect the wishes, needs and wants of the giver rather than those of the receiver. This year all of our gifts will be “things” we want.

And, in this turbulent and uncertain world, we still have each other — which may be the best gift of all.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all. May you have a joyous holiday season — whichever holiday you celebrate.