Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, November 30, 2019

MVNews this week:  Page 6


Mountain Views-News Saturday, November 30, 2019 

KATIE Tse....This and That


 by Deanne Davis


And so it begins. No sooner 
has our Thanksgiving feast 
started digesting than we’re 
thrust into the Christmas 
gift-buying frenzy. The 
smart money started months 
ago, and has amassed an 
impressive cache by now. But 
that’s the smart money, and 
you can guess which kinda’ 
money I am.

I recently put my foot in it at work regarding gifts. One 
of our friends usually can’t make it to our weekly get-
togethers. A non-mandatory meeting was coming up, 
and another friend asked if she’d be going.

“Yes, because I have some things to return to people,” 
she answered. “Which reminds me,” she dug in her bag. 
“Katie, I’ve been staring at this in my closet for months 
now.” She handed me a pretty mug with “Katie” on it.

Now let me preface by saying that I’ve worked at a few 
different sites during my time at the district, and invariably I’ve forgotten some things behind.

“Wow, this is bad!” I exclaimed. “I don’t even recognize this one. But I guess it must be mine. Has 
my name on it and all.”

She was smiling kindly, patiently, like the saint she is. And then it slowly dawned on me. I never 
worked at her school.

“Mine’s over there,” another friend nodded toward an identical mug with her name, perched on the 
windowsill. “It just has a ball in it for now.”

“Oh, you’re GIVING this to me!” I bumbled. They were all smiling kindly by now. They’re used to 

“Thank you!” I stumbled on. “I know just where I’ll put it. Right next to the one with a big ‘K’ that 
[Jill] got me before she retired. I’m going to get a plant for it. I collect plants, you know...”

When I relayed this to my husband he assured me I was totally in the clear, given her misleading 
“I’ve been meaning to return things to people” intro. I suppose.

I really do like the mug, and I really do plan to get a plant for it. Which got me thinking, mugs are 
such a stock gift item. 

We all get mugs. We all give mugs. My mom even gifts personalized mugs. A mug with my mug. 
Nothing wrong with that. But if you’re like me, don’t you already have one, special, mug with a 
dedicated purpose?

My dad’s the ultimate example of this. My mom buys him mugs from places we visit, and they 
languish in the cupboard till she decides to use them herself. She used the “Dad” Downtown Disney 
mug for a long time until she bought a “Mom” compliment for it.

I think the longest run my dad’s had with a mug was with his blue “Exercise” mug. It had one of 
those retro ads proclaiming “Exercise: The poor man’s plastic surgery.” He was so devoted to it that 
when it got busted (more than once), he painstakingly repaired it with heatproof, food grade glue 
(more than once). Think now he’s finally moved onto a Philippe’s mug she bought him about ten 
years ago.

I’m the same way. When I’m home I rarely use mugs for their intended purposes. Mostly because I 
loathe tea, and secondly because I don’t usually drink coffee at home. When I do, I use my cousin’s 
ancient “Work is hell” mug. When I’m done, there’s a snarky little cartoon on the bottom telling me 
to “Get back to work!”

What gets used more often is a little mug too small for any practical cup of coffee, but ideal for 
things like ice cream. But don’t think I’m some dainty bird content to peck at the stuff. I cram it in 
to the brim with a heavy spoon so there’s no space between the molecules. The small container’s just 
a mental game I play with myself.

It’s for vital reasons like these that my lovely “Katie” mug will probably never see a drop of coffee. 
But that’s fine. I’ll find a nice plant for it. And if I change schools again I’ll be sure to bring it with 
me. It’s got my name on it, and all.

*Looking for gift ideas besides mugs? Check out my novel, “A Year at Apex!” Makes the perfect 
stocking stuffer for jaded educators, or anyone who wants some easy reading with humor, romance, 
and commentary on the human condition. Look for it in paperback and ebook on Amazon and 
Barnes & Noble. 

“For each new morning with its light, 

For rest and shelter of the night,

For health and food,

For love and friends,

For everything Thy goodness sends.” 

Ralph Waldo Emerson

We have 
survived another 
was pretty much 
wonderful. We 
celebrated Jessie’s 
12th birthday 
with a party at 
Chuck E. Cheese 
and Emily, who is 
9, dealt with the 
fact that it wasn’t 
her birthday fairly 
well. She got to 
invite a couple of 
her friends to the 
party and a good 
time was had 
by all, especially 
the parents who 
dropped off their 
children and escaped for a couple of Saturday hours of child-free time. I don’t remember doing this 
when our kids, Leah, Patti, John and Crissy were little. If it was your birthday, you got celebrated and 
gifted and everybody else had to suck it up. Well, we’re kinder and gentler now and don’t let anybody 
feel left out. 

We all went to see Frozen II – which was absolutely awesome. I love the original Frozen and every 
time I hear Idina Menzel sing “Let It Go!” I am reminded of John Travolta introducing her at the 
Academy Awards in 2014 as Adele Dazeem. These movies are so delightful that you can watch them 
with or without a child. Crissy and I also took a couple of hours to go see Helen Mirren’s new movie, 
The Good Liar, also featuring Ian McKellan. We are both big Helen Mirren fans - don’t know if any 
of you saw RED in 2010, with Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren, Mary-Louise Parker, Morgan Freeman, 
John Malkovich and a dozen other super actors, but it’s on SYFY channel a lot so look for it. Anyway, 
Helen Mirren has this great line where she is described as being an expert at “wet work.” Mary-
Louise Parker’s character inquires as to what that means and Helen Mirren says, “I kill people, dear.” 
Anyway, The Good Liar had a bunch of great plot twists and we enjoyed every minute. 

Thanksgiving Day we dined at Chris and Crissy’s house with Chris’s parents, Mike and Dianne, who 
had driven in from Mesquite, Nevada, and survived the traffic. The picture is of me, Dianne and 
Crissy enjoying a nice glass of champagne. I guess where I am the day after Thanksgiving, is counting 
blessings, naming them one by one. Blessings are small things. They seldom arrive on a pink unicorn 
with glitter being tossed about. Blessings are a shared moment you didn’t think would happen, like an 
unexpected hug from Jessie or Emily, or that all the food we cooked turned out perfectly, and that we 
had time to pull out all the pictures of turkeys that the girls have drawn since they were really really 
little and tape them up where everyone could admire them as the girls explained exactly what their 
intention was. You probably did the same thing at your house. I hope you kept all those Thanksgiving 
art projects, they become more precious as the years go by. 

A blessing is a lovely Thanksgiving meal where we held hands around the center island where all the 
food was waiting and said what we were thankful for; pretty much what you’d expect: health, family, 
each other. We ate too much, enjoyed some champagne, knew that one more bite of anything would 
be dangerous but ate pumpkin cream-cheese pie with whipped cream and pumpkin cheesecake 

“Count your many blessings, see what God has done.”

Everybody has some sort of Jell-O salad with their Thanksgiving dinner and here’s mine, given to me 
more than fifty years ago by my Aunt Helen, who was the gift and jewelry buyer for long-departed 
I. Magnin’s Department Store. She had the distinction of being a person who never said anything 
unpleasant about anyone, unlike Teddy Roosevelt’s daughter, Alice Roosevelt Longworth who 
famously said, “If you haven’t got anything nice to say about anybody, come sit next to me.”

My Aunt Helen has been gone for quite a while now, but she lives on for me and our family whenever 
we make:

Helen’s Green Jell-O Salad

Regular size package lime Jell-O

2 cups boiling water

24 oz. can crushed pineapple

1 Tbs. lemon juice

2 cups miniature marshmallows

1 8-oz container whipping cream, whipped till it’s nice and thick, or the equivalent amount of Cool 

Put the Jell-O into whatever dish you plan to serve it in. Drain the pineapple juice into the Jell-O but 
not the pineapple, add the marshmallows, the 2 cups boiling water, the lemon juice and stir till the 
Jell-O is completely melted. Refrigerate. Keep a close eye on it as you don’t want it to jell completely, 
just till it’s starting to get firm. At that point, add the other ingredients, mix well to be sure all the 
Jell-O is off the bottom and mixed in. Refrigerate until totally firm. You can add nuts, walnuts or 
pecans, but only if you’re sure that everyone who is going to eat this likes nuts. Otherwise, you have 
to clench your teeth while the non-nut eaters carefully pick each and every nut out and set them on 
another plate. You can double this with complete impunity and great success.

My Aunt Helen, who never had children of her own, loved me dearly, sat on the floor with a shaded 
light and read Winnie the Pooh to me when I had a really serious case of measles; sewed doll clothes 
for me on her treadle Singer sewing machine, helped me write and memorize a long report on 
Victoria Falls when I was in third grade, just to name a few, and was a blessing to me all her life.

“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.” Ps. 107:1

My book page: Deanne Davis


Christmas is just a few short weeks away and my book:

“Sunrises and Sunflowers Speak Hope” 

Would be a really nice gift for everyone you know.

You can find it on

“Star of Wonder” a delightful Christmas Kindle story is there, too.

Follow me on Twitter!


Verdugo Hills Chorus is a membership organization of female singers and an affiliate 
chapter of Sweet Adelines, which is an International Non-Profit Organization of 
approximately 23,000 members in choruses and quartets worldwide.

They sing four-part harmony, a cappella style – no musical accompaniment.

In addition to sharing their music with others, they have a great passion for learning 
more about the art of singing a cappella four-part harmony in the barbershop 
style. Vocal instruction is a regular part of chorus rehearsals and a very important 
component of the chorus experience.

Members from the Verdugo Hills Chorus compete every year in the Sweet Adeline’s 
Region 11 Quartet and Chorus Competition in Bakersfield, CA and have competed 
on the International Stage.

For reservations contact Robin Graney, President, ACCC.

$15 includes lunch if RSVP by Friday, November 29, 2019. $20 at the door

Meeting Location & Information:

Monday, December 2, 2019

Church of the Good Shepherd. Jordan Meeting Hall

400 W. Duarte Rd, Arcadia

RSVP by Friday, November 29, 2019

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