Saturday, November 24, 2012

My Side of the Tree

     Years ago I used to have a rule that no ornament went on the tree unless it was "Christmas-y." No sports figures, no movie characters, no inanimate objects unless they were covered in snow, red and green, or wearing a Santa hat. I have digressed since. Now the rule is, if I like it, it gets a hook. Therefore I want to present to you, "My Side of the Christmas Tree." Let's take a look, shall we?

My superhero ornaments are the main reason for the rule change. I love my superhero collection. They are predominantly from Hallmark who does a good job putting several out each year. Captain America is a cool, colorful ornament. I never was a big "Cap" fan when I read comics, but I always thought he was a stud. 

This Golden Age Wonder Woman ornament was one of my first purchases on Ebay years ago. I like my superhero stuff to be vintage, specifically the Bronze Age (the 70's-early 80's). 

Pac-Man was a huge part of my adolescence, so this piece is about recapturing some of my childhood. How many quarters did I stick in to that machine? Probably more than what I paid for this ornament. 

Last year, Hallmark produced this Green Lantern ornament, probably because of the release of the movie prior, but here's the deal with me and superhero ornaments: I do not buy ones based on the films.  Their costumes usually reflect the movie characters' and not the comic book's. I'm a purist. Don't like the modifications, but this GL is NOT Ryan Reynolds. Don't need a reminder of that milquetoast movie on my tree. 

This Batman and Robin set really fit the mold. Robin's cape is in great form. 

Had a huge crush on Catwoman because of Julie Newmar's portrayal in the old Batman TV series, and this design is straight from my comic book days. Sigh. 

I did read Marvel Comics as well as DC, but didn't buy Spider-Man mags. My son was really digging Spider-Man when this ornament came out, so I bought it in his honor. I do like the 3-D effect of him swinging through the buildings of New York. 

Everybody had a lunch box as a kid in the 70's. It's a shame I didn't have this one and I coveted the kid's who did. This is an exact replica of the Super-Friends lunch box (with Catwoman prominently displayed on the thermos! Sigh). 

I was a big Archie fan back in the day and bought this from a comic book shop in 1988. Still have the original box. It has been on my tree every year since acquiring it. There was a whole set including Jughead, Betty, Veronica, and Reggie. I should have sprung for them all. Thank God for Ebay. 

Hallmark did a short-lived series on comic book covers. The first one was a generic Superman cover that didn't represent any actual comic book issue. I have it, but it's not on the tree. This one depicts Spider-Man in his first appearance in Amazing Fantasy #15 in 1962. Love the way he's flying off the cover.

This Hulk cover is a little more understated than Spider-Man's, but still better than the Superman one!

And could this Avengers cover have been inspired by one of the biggest movies of all time? 

Here's Spider-Man with his most famous arch enemy, the Green Goblin. 

Harley Quinn wasn't originally in the comic books, but rather a character made for the Batman animated series in the early 90's. This ornament was an exclusive issue, limited quantity only available while supplies last. She didn't prove to be too popular as an ornament and I found her on the shelf way past the ornament premiere (when exclusives usually disappear). Wish she looked more like the cartoon character, so not one of my favorites. 

Batman and Robin in the Batmobile. This ornament was issued several years ago, but I just bought it online last year. 

I can't believe this ornament is on the tree. I debated because it is an excusive. It was available only at Comic Con 2010, made in limited quantities, and was not cheap online (I got it at one of the lower asking prices and I haven't seen it go for that low since). I ended up putting it on the tree because life is short. Might as well enjoy it rather than stow it in the closet and then die one day!

Just this month I found Jughead on eBay at a pretty good price. With shipping, he was only 10 bucks! His Christmas sack is full of hamburgers! 

Bought the Flash a year or two after his debut at a Hallmark store, so he was on clearance. Works for me!

This is one of the most dramatic superhero ornaments I have. Batman's cape is awesome in this design. Plus, his costume is all the right colors from when I read comic books. The Joker is in the bottom left corner of the shot. I always position Batman on the tree swooping down on his arch enemy. 

Just got this at Target. Not a huge fan of blown glass ornaments, but it suits the Superman insignia. 

Closing off my side of the tree with Superman from the now defunct WB store. Got this in the late 90's when my "Christmas-y" rule was still in tact. Love the "Peace on Earth" globe he's holding. 

     So, there you have it, my inner-geek displayed on our Tannenbaum. Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Art of Listening

     I had a three hour flight ahead of me. My carry on had plenty of books and of course, my journal to keep me occupied. I dove into one of my reads and about an hour into the plane ride, I noticed the lady next to me was just sitting there. No book, no Nook, nothing to pass the time. I didn't want her to be bored the whole flight so I put my book away and asked her how she was and where was she headed. For the next hour or so I listened to this woman's heart which contains stories about her two adult sons, one that moved out to Dallas recently with his wife and four boys whom she was going to visit, and the other that lives in Fremont but works in Walnut Creek and also directs the award winning drum team from Homestead High School in Cupertino, so he drives a lot. He's not married, and she and her pastor just pray for that right woman to come along. One time he moved in with his mom because he had a mice problem. He can't handle any kind of bug or rodent, so she gladly took him in. She remarried 14 years ago, but her husband doesn't go to church, but he volunteers a lot, doing grounds work and whatever's needed. Her mother passed away a few years ago, strong Portuguese woman. She lives in Oakley. She was forced into retirement a couple years ago, but she wasn't ready. Worked for a lumber yard until it went out of business...

     I admit, it was a little tedious to hear so much detail about this stranger's life, but I wasn't listening for me. I wanted to lend an ear. So I asked questions along the way. I was interested. She confessed she's a talker (really?), so I let her talk.
     I got up to use the lavatory and when I came back, she asked the passenger on the other side of her if he liked his Mac (because her son works for Apple). I pulled out my journal and began writing about my flying partner when I had to chuckle softly because I heard her telling the man to her right that her son had to move in with her once because he had a mice problem.
     At the baggage claim I recognized her loved ones. She had shown me pictures. I watched out of the corner of my eye so I could catch the reunion between Mom and son and Grandma and grandkids. I watched those boys bolt for her open arms and it made me smile. I thought to myself, Now, there's some ears that probably don't ever get tired of hearing Grandma talk.
     After I grabbed my bags, we waved a silent goodbye to each other, and I was glad I met the talkative Portuguese lady. She helped teach me further the art of listening.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

And the Winners Are...

     Sorry for the delay, I flew out to Texas the day after the 31st, but I'm ready to announce the winners of the journal give away. First, just to clarify, my very first commenter posted on my facebook after reading my blog, so he is actually the number 1 commenter. Then, those who commented on my blog are numbers 2-4. And the winners are, according to the random number generator on
#3, Randi, who wins the first choice of Lands, then #1, Don, who wins The Hardy Boys, and finally, #4, "Unknown," who will take the Hollister book. Congratulations. Either private message me your name and mailing address on facebook, or email me at and I'll get those in the mail next week. Enjoy!