The holiday season, meaning to group all holidays both real or imagined that tend to fall within the month of December, is now progressing in full tilt. Since the week of Thanksgiving and perhaps sooner, shoppers around the nation has been taking advantage of all of the sales and promotions that retailers, both in store and online, has been promoting since Halloween, perhaps even sooner.

With the day known as “Black Friday”, the traditional start of the holiday season (formally known as the “Christmas Season”), starting off earlier than ever, folks have been flocking to those stores to grab the goods they want as gifts to others or to themselves attempting to spend the least amount of money that they could ever get away with. (Free would be optimum, but that’s besides the point!)

And this week contains the day called “Cyber Monday” where for many years, a massive increase of online activity takes place where folks, already back to work after consuming the Thanksgiving day festivities (if not out shopping), are grabbing their electronic devices to seek more bargains that they missed out of on the Friday or Thursday before.

Based upon the current stats that have been reported as of press time, the three most popular items that retailers are offering as reported through various sources are as listed in their alphabetical order; clothing, electronics, and toys. Although gift cards have been offered by stores within the last twenty or so years, this items has seen a lot of traffic in terms of sales since these items are more of a generic nature, meaning that they can be used for items sold at the retailers that isn’t a specific good. A Best Buy card can be used for anything sold at the retailer, from flashlight batteries to a big screen TV, so those stats don’t count in what’s hot and what’s not!

But shopping, perhaps the most important part of the season in terms of regaining the economy back to its pre-resession levels, isn’t the only element that makes this time of year bright or lack thereof. there are the slightly darker moments that tend to occur around this time of year. The overindulgence of eating, drinking, and shopping may fall victim to those that may set astray in taking part in since it seems that this is the time of year where such vices run amuck.

Since Thanksgiving, folks will gain access to all of the treats that tend to become available between Turkey Day and New Years Eve/Day, from Christmas cookies, chocolate coins, and other goodies (mostly sweets) that are readily within reach. Many diets fall on the wayside thanks to the “everybody’s-having-fun” attitude that appears to be all over the place. Drinking also becomes a strange bedfellow as well. When this writer refers to as “drinking” is toward anything that contains alcohol, from spiced egg nog to tom & jerrys. Consuming booze is OK, just as long as one watches in what one is drinking. And the spending stuff can go out of hand. Because all of the hype that’s been associated with Black Friday and physical stores open late (if not running for 24 hours), people feel the urgency to get something just because it’s sold as a “bargain!” That’s why there’s a lot of “sticker shock” come January when the credit card bills come rolling in.

This writer isn’t trying to be a party pooper when it comes to all of the holiday antics that’s taking place. Of course, holiday based feasts are great, consuming beverages (booze loaded or otherwise) are a joy, and grabbing the goods as the best deal around never hurts. It’s just that if one keeps their eating, drinking, and /or spending at bay, one will survive the nuttiness that this time of years delivers.

So as the times progress, so will the festivities. Just make sure that one gets just what they want, and beware of jive gifts made popular (or at least commonplace) from cheese kits to fruitcake sets. There are quality cheese sets out there, and ditto for the fruitcake. But for one great fruitcake comes a slew of them that are just “OK”. But it’s the holiday season, and one can get away with such!



     Currently performing at the Edgemar Center for the Arts in Santa Monica is the world premier of Henry Jaglom’s TRAIN TO ZAKOPANE, a drama the sees two strangers that meet on a train and eventually fall in love, discovering some hidden secrets that these two share.

The setting is Poland in the spring sometime in the 1920’s. During this period, much of Europe is facing an unsettled recovery from the aftermath of The Great War of a few years back with a mix of economic and political turmoil. On a crowded train heading for Warsaw, a small group of travelers offer to share their single berth space with a businessman, Semyon Sapir (Mike Falkow). One of the travelers within this berth is Katia Wampusyk (Tanna Frederick) a nurse for the Polish army, along with Mme. Nadia Selmeczy (Cathy Arden), a former actress, and Father Alexandrov (Stephen Howard), a Catholic priest. This set of four get along with each other as travel companions, while Semyon and Katia hit it off with one another. During their conversation, Katia speaks of an opinion that Semyon doesn’t agree upon, but passes it off as the two develop feelings toward one another. One of the stops on the route to Warsaw is the village of Zakopane, a town known for its skiing. It also houses a hospital/sanitarium where Katia was once stationed as a student nurse. So this pair depart from the train leaving their berth mates behind to spend a few days in this village while developing a romance. But the secrets these two share does come forth into the open that changes their budding intrigue into a peculiar and rather unsettling light.

This play written by playwright Henry Jaglom is based upon an actual incident experienced by the writer’s father around the era that the story takes place, with a few liberties added for creative purposes. What comes from these episodes is a powerful drama that examines the notions of how two strangers on a train (so to speak) fall in love while facing a dilemma of one’s dislike, both in the present moment as well coming from the past. Mike Falkow as Semyon Sapir plays his role as a man that holds charm and class while keeping these methods execute within a low key attitude. (Think of a Ralph Fiennes-type!) Tanna Frederick as Katia plays her part as a young lass that in spite of her sweetness, holds on to an emotional chip upon her shoulder that Semyon tried to suppress. Within this form of drama that unfolds, it also flushes a love affair that takes a turn for the better, the worse, or perhaps both! Gary Imhoff directs this presentation that never lets its sentiments sag. It shows an even blend of joy and sorrow at all its proper moments, never allowing these two emotions of love and hate to overpower one another! Much of this form of drama occurs within the second act that takes place in the named village. The first act is aboard the train where the plot points begin to develop and flower.

As to the behind the scenes stuff, Shayna Frederick’s costumes design speaks of what was worn of the era. Most notable is Chris Stone’s elaborate set design. The stage setting of the train (interior and exterior) as well as the village of Zakopane is as vast as the story itself, showing how the nation of Poland was as progressive in spite of the fact that is would change course over the next few years.

Also appearing with this production is Kelly DeSarla and Jeff Elam as Marousia Petronko and Dr. Nahum Gruenbaum, two characters that Semyon and Katia meet in the village that are part of their recent past.

The subtitle to this play is A True Story of Hate and Love. This title describes the overall theme of this play. It does sport a rather long running time (two and a half hours, including its intermission between acts), but for its stage aspect, it indeed merits the moments spend. This is one “train” that is worth the journey aboard.

     TRAIN TO ZAKOPANE: A True Story of Hate and Love, presented by The Rainbow Theatre Company, and performs at the Edgemar Center for the Arts, 2437 Main Street, Santa Monica, until March 29th, ‘15. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 7:30 PM, and Sunday afternoons at 5:00 PM. No performances between December 21st through January 8th, ‘15, and on March 8th, ‘15.

     For for information and for ticket reservations, call (310) 392-7327, or via online at http://www.EdgemarCenter.org



(As posted on her Facebook “wall”)

Holy blizzard batman! Def not my favorite thing driving on 29 in this crap! But getting to the hospital to see baby Riggs made it all worth it! Hope everyone stays safe….the roads are not fun to travel on!


Oven freaking out. Cook freaking out. Please please not today!!!! Not today!!!


So excited! I booked a transatlantic cruise to Spain–but it’s a secret! My box set ladies don’t know, my husband doesn’t like traveling, and my kids think I’m broke due to KU! So this is just between us! Barcelona here I come.


Where is there a legitimate arcade on the Sacramento area?

-Heaven Leigh

Anybody else have sweet potatoes, stuffing, corn, and green bean casserole for breakfast?? Breakfast of champions! !


48,122 words on Nano.. almost there…


As of December 1st, Tiffi as 2,478 “friends” and counting




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All rights reserved. The views and opinions are those of the writers, and not necessarily of the staff and management. ‘Nuff said!


and not necessarily of the staff and management. ‘Nuff said!



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