Saturday, January 2, 2021

My First Decluttering Project for This New Year


My First Decluttering Project of the New Year Awaits

Yes, I have to deal with all that paper and a couple more stacks of it. Somewhere in this room sits the envelope with my husband's 2021 Medical ID card. I asked him to put it in his wallet when it first came a month ago, but he didn't want to do that. So he asked me to keep it until now. 

Now is here and I can't remember if I filed it or if it's in one of my to-to-be-filed stacks. I need to start sorting for filing 2020 taxes anyway, so I guess I'd better stop procrastinating and start sorting. 

I'm a bit bummed out that my favorite tax receipt organizer seems to be unavailable this year. The substitute I bought last year because it was cheaper didn't meet my needs very well. I found the one I liked on another site last week but I had to order a dozen at once to get them. So I did. I figured it was as cheap as buying three of the other options I've seen. This week the company notified me they were refunding my money. Guess even that package of a dozen was gone. 

 I want something I can keep on my desk organizer I bought last year. I put the folder with the open end up in the top of the organizer so I can just slip papers in as I sort them. You can see my organizer, along with some of the paper I need to file, below.

My loaded desk organizer in use.
My Loaded Desk Organizer in Use, © Barbara Radisavljevic

Here's how  it looked just after I assembled it and  before I filled it up. Even I managed to assemble it without calling Hubby for help. Now it's one of the most useful items I own.

My Newly-Assembled Desk Organizer, © Barbara Radisavljevic

I knew you'd want one, too, but I'm not sure if my exact model is still available. I got it at Costco in September of 2019. I don't see it on the Costco website now. I didn't see this  exact model with the drawers anywhere on line. But you can find something very close at Amazon.  

Click here to find this product on Amazon with photos of all its component parts.


I can't find a tax deduction organizer that I like anywhere this year, either. Amazon is totally out of stock on anything similar. So I'm doing what I should have done in the first place. I just emptied out my Dome Tax Deductions File from 1998. That's well past the seven years I need to keep receipts. It's still sturdy and will do the job. I don't need anything but the pockets with categories. 

Meanwhile I'd better finish this and post it. I still haven't looked for the ID Card as I'd planned and it's almost time for our family Zoom meeting. I'll have to look for the medical ID card after that. The Zoom meeting is one good thing that's come out of the pandemic. I wouldn't miss seeing how much my eight-month-old grandniece has grown since last week for anything. 

Hope your new year is off to a more exciting start than mine. Hope you stay happy and healthy in 2021.        


Friday, January 1, 2021

Best Photo of 2020 That Reflects the past as It Looks to the Future

Circle of Life Sculpture, Charolais River Trail, © Barbara Radisavljevic
Circle of Life Sculpture, Charolais Corridor Trail, © Barbara Radisavljevic, 2020

 Is this the best photo I took in 2020? It's the best one to show the contrast between past and the future I hope for in 2021. It features Robert Roemisch's metal sculpture, "Circle of Life" which you can find at the beginning of the Charolais Corridor Trail in Paso Robles. That trail happens to be behind the tract where I live, so I walk it often, usually in the late afternoon or as the sun is setting. 

You can see in the sculpture that life goes on. The dark cloud of 2020 with all its storms seems to be disappearing into the horizon and leaving the sky above it clear and blue. I hope this will be the case. I hope some of the conflict and death that marked 2020 will be replaced with seeing what we have in common, the end of the pandemic, and a return to normal life. 

That being said, those things aren't under our control. We control only our own thoughts and the  actions that spring from them. Whatever is ahead, I will trust God to bring good out of it. I will pray my leaders will be wise in their decisions and seek divine wisdom. I will try to do what's right with what I have and in the way I treat people. All that God requires of me and others is to do justly, love mercy, and to walk humbly with Him. (Micah 6:8) And that's what I want to do. 

Let's all walk courageously into 2021 and see what awaits us. 

In case you're wondering, the most popular post on this blog in 2020 of the six I wrote was this one: Spring Begins with Wet Sidewalks and Gray Clouds

This blog is part of the City Daily Photo Blogger Network. See what other members considered their best photo of 2020, the theme for this January. 

Thursday, December 31, 2020

The Old Cottonwood, Like 2020, Is Almost Gone

Dead Cottonwood Tree on December 30, 2020
Dead Cottonwood Tree on December 30, 2020,© Barbara Radisavljevic

This cottonwood tree In Larry Moore Park was showing signs of ill health when I moved here and first photographed it in December 2004. At the time most of the green part of it was mistletoe hanging from the branches. It did still have a few branches with leaves, but not many. You can see the tree's history from 2004 to 2017 here. Now even the mistletoe has given up on it. 

Soon this tree will be history, just as 2020 will be. The sun is setting on this year in a few hours. 

Sunset from Charolais RiverTrail on December 28, 2020
Sunset from Charolais RiverTrail on December 28, 2020,© Barbara Radisavljevic

Let's hope 2021 will be happier than this one has been, but that is in God's hands. I hope the pandemic will be over and we will have more, not less, freedom to move and do business again as usual. 

The Old Cottonwood, Like  2020, Is Almost Gone
Is This the Last Photo of This Tree I Will Be Able to Take? © Barbara Radisavljevic, 12/30/2020

Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 20, 2020

How Well Do Your Yard Decorations Reflect What You Think about the Meaning Christmas?


House Decorated with Light, © Barbara Radisavljevic
House Decorated with Light, © Barbara Radisavljevic

What Does Christmas Mean to you?

Some think it's only a season filled with lights, a season when people try to treat each other more kindly, a season when they give more than usual to others. Some see it primarily as a time to celebrate the coming of Christ to show earth's people what God is like and to save them from their sins. Some think it's simply a time to nurture family traditions. 

Those traditions often include decorating inside and out. It's when the family Christmas tree goes up inside and yard decorations go up outside. Those decorations may have secular or religious themes, mixed themes, or maybe no theme at all. Some families celebrate other holidays, such as Hanukkah, during the season and their yards will reflect that. 

I plan to explore some of these holiday decorating themes in photos I've taken over the years in my city of Paso Robles.  

Non-religious Yard Decor

Non-religious themes can be almost anything wintery or traditional with no religious overtones -- Santa, holly, candles, North Pole, snow, Christmas trees, snow people, reindeer, wreaths, and other such symbols. Light and color are the most important common ingredients. Here are some examples. 

Secular Christmas Decor

Secular Christmas Decor, © Barbara Radisavljevic

The scene above has many of the traditional secular objects associated with Christmas: a snowman, presents, reindeer, Santa, and a Christmas tree. And, of course, there are lots of colorful lights.  

North Pole Theme with Penguins on Snow Slide
North Pole Theme, © Barbara Radisavljevic

Everyone knows Santa lives at the North Pole, but penguins don't. They live in more southern regions. You are, however, as likely to find penguins at the North Pole as you are to find Santa living there. Imagination can put them anywhere. So it was with the rest of this yard's very creative decorations. The entire display was too large and intricate to capture here, but it was secular and colorful. Below is another part of the display. 

Snowman Toy Train,
Snowman Toy Train, © Barbara Radisavljevic

I showed more pictures of this decorated house after the 2015 showcase. Most yards aren't as lavish as the one above. It is located on Vine Street and was part of the Vine Street Victorian Christmas Showcase, a long established Paso Robles tradition. The last time I walked past this house with my camera, the front of it was torn apart for what I assumed was a remodel. 

The photos below are more typical of the secular displays I see. This one has a Disney theme. 

Disney Yard Decorations for Christmas
Disney Yard Decor for Christmas, © Barbara Radisavljevic

The simple reindeer below will be lighted at night. Nothing fancy, but they show this minimalist family wants to participate in the festivity without overdoing it. 

Reindeer Yard Decorations
Reindeer to Celebrate the Winter Season, © Barbara Radisavljevic

Christian Yard Decor for Christmas

Most Christian yard decorations I saw were very simple, as is fitting. 
I love this one all in white. 

Outdoor White Nativity Scene
Outdoor White Nativity Scene, © Barbara Radisavljevic

This one in front of another home is a bit more colorful at night. During the day, it may only be heap of colored plastic on the ground. Read more on that at It's Beginning to Look Like Christmas -- at Least at Night.

Simple Inflated Nativity Scene
Simple Inflated Nativity Scene, © Barbara Radisavljevic

The photo below was taken during the Paso Robles Vine Street Victorian Christmas Showcase. It was displayed on the property of the North County Christian Fellowship Church on Vine Street on December 19, 2011. 

This is an annual event. The houses and businesses on several blocks of Vine Street are decorated lavishly for the December showcase. Various organizations provide free food and drink or perform for those who are walking the street to see the decorated homes. There are even attractions such as snow slides, ice sculptors, dancers, bands, and choirs for those walking the street to see and hear. The biggest attraction is Scrooge's house. But he wasn't in it this year. Instead he was the parade along Vine Street in a vintage pickup, shouting at everyone. That part didn't change. You can see pictures of this year's event here. You will see Scrooge. 

Everything changed because of the Covid pandemic. In years past, the street has been blocked off and motor vehicles weren't permitted. This year it's been a drive-through event. And for the first time, it ran on two different Saturday nights instead of just one. 

But the spirit of Christmas hasn't hasn't changed. It is revealed in the scenes below. It's the news that God came to earth as a baby 2000 years ago. He didn't stay in the manger. He came to show us what God is like. He was born to die that we might live forever. Or as it says in the Gospel of John, 

    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:1-5, ESV

If you want to learn more, pick up a Bible and read the Gospel of John.  If you don't have a Bible, you can read this chapter or the entire Bible free online

Church Outdoor Nativity Scene
Church Outdoor Nativity Scene, North County Christian Fellowship, © Barbara Radisavljevic

Many churches and organizations have living nativity displays outside on special days during the Christmas season. The one below was peopled by friends of the Morning Star Youth Ranch which rescues horses and mentors at-risk young people and their families. In these displays, both people and animals are live.

Morning Star Youth Ranch Living Nativity Scene
Morning Star Youth Ranch Living Nativity Scene, © Barbara Radisavljevic

Houses that mix  up their decorating themes

Some houses I've walked by make it hard to tell what they think about Christmas. That is especially true on one block in my neighborhood. Is this secular? Christian? Or just confused? I'm not sure what to make of it. Is that a rabbit where Jesus ought to be or do I need my eyes checked again?

Peanuts Christmas Yard Decoration, © Barbara Radisavljevic

When I moved here six years ago and starting walking the neighborhood before Christmas, this corner house displayed only three decorations. The above was one of them. I think the others were a snowman and a Santa.

 Since then the display has grown more each year. Today it's quite elaborate. There are so many decorations it's hard to focus on any of them. That's why I walked around it with my video camera this year. I wanted to show it from many different angles to get it all in. If you look really hard you may find the Peanuts decoration above at the back against the garage wall. 

Do you see a theme? 

Do you decorate your yard for Christmas? Do you prefer simple or elaborate displays in your own yard? What do you want your yard to say about the meaning of Christmas or whatever December holiday you celebrate?

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Alpacas Demand Attention -- Even on Zazzle


Alpacas in Summer
Alpacas, © Barbara Radisavljevic

Before our local alpaca farm in Templeton moved to a new home, I used to stop by on my way to and from the post office to photograph or just watch the alpacas. Even if the alpacas were lingering by the back fence, when they saw me they would head towards me. 

They wanted to make sure I paid attention to them. And I did. They were friendly and I enjoyed the little bit of interaction I was able to have with them from my side of the fence. What fun it would have been to actually play with them. This set of alpaca plush stuffed doll toys is the next best thing. 

I couldn't resist using some of their photos to make Zazzle products. I just sold one of them, a bumper sticker, to a customer who evidently championed alpacas. 

Alpacas in Templeton, California Bumper StickerAlpacas in Templeton, California Bumper Sticker


This alpaca bumper sticker stands out in this month's sales so far amidst a lot of Ronald Reagan Presidential library products I sold. Although this customer chose postcards, most of these designs also come in a poster, magnet, or jigsaw puzzle. And you can also easily put the designs on any product you choose. To purchase or see online, please click links under photos. 

Fountain in Courtyard of Ronald Reagan Presidentia PostcardFountain in Courtyard of Ronald Reagan Presidential Postcard
Postcard: Fragment of Berlin Wall PostcardPostcard: Fragment of Berlin Wall Postcard
Postcard: Fragment of Berlin Wall PostcardPostcard: Fragment of Berlin Wall Postcard
Postcard: Ronald Reagan Memorial Site PostcardPostcard: Ronald Reagan Memorial Site Postcard


See Alpaca Wool at Farmers Market

Monday, December 14, 2020

It's Beginning to Look Like Christmas -- at Least at Night


Inflatable Christmas Yard Decorations
Inflatable Christmas Yard Decorations, © Barbara Radisavljevic

My neighbors love inflatable Christmas yard decorations. They make quite a show at night, but that show falls flat by morning. 

When I take a walk at night the neighborhood is full of light, color, and movement.

When I take that same walk in the daytime, it's just sad. It looks like there was a big party the night before and no one cleaned up afterward. 

Deflated Christmas Yard Decorations
Deflated Christmas Yard Decorations, © Barbara Radisavljevic

Is the view at night worth the view in the morning? What do you think?

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Spring Begins with Wet Sidewalks and Gray Clouds

After the rain. © Barbara Radisavljevic

On this first day of spring the sun preferred to hide behind the clouds most of the day. When I walked to the corner to get the mail, it was obvious that it had rained. The clouds, however, seemed to be in retreat and the sun did finally pay us a visit before it said goodbye for the night. 

Gray clouds retreating after the rain. © Barbara Radisavljevic

The rain left evidence on these clary sage leaves that it had been there. Tomorrow should be partly sunny until evening.

Raindrops on clary sage leaves © Barbara Radisavljevic

How's your weather today?
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