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Getting Back On Track

POSTED January 5, 2010 3:37 p.m.
Here’s hoping you made it through the holidays safe and sound and only a few pounds heavier.
It’s almost like a six-week eating binge, starting with Thanksgiving and lasting through New Year’s, what with everyone bringing in homemade treats and the requisite holiday candy, cookies and other goodies. And of course that’s in addition to the various dinners, family gatherings and holiday parties to attend.
Maybe that’s why people tend to make those New Year’s resolutions to lose weight and get fit; they have to recover from the holidays.
I gave up on resolutions a long time ago; why set myself up to fail? I will resolve to try harder at certain things but in no way will I declare this is the year I keep my desk clean or get everything on my ‘to do’ list done the day I write the list. I am human, not a superhero.
The holidays were peaceful, relaxing and spent with family and friends, so that makes them both memorable and successful in my eyes. My parents in New York State got their Christmas box after the holiday; it got snowed in somewhere along the line. My brother and his family (who are a mile or so from my parents) got theirs on Christmas Eve and, since it was sent the same time as my parents’ box was, my guess is that my brother’s made it on the last plane out before the storm grounded flights. As long as everything made it there safe, that’s what really matters.
Sharing the New Year with my sister and her family over near Fairfield was fun as well; after welcoming in 2010, we opened our Christmas gifts about 2 a.m. on Jan. 1. As my brother-in-law noted, everyone was up and everyone was there at the house before some left for their own homes; what better time to do it?
The start of a new year always makes me a bit nostalgic, remembering holidays of the past. When I was a teenager, my brother, sister and I would often go to the skating rink for the New Year’s Eve party and roller skate (yes, with four independent wheels per skate, not on roller blades) our way from one year into the next. We would typically come home to a fire in the fireplace my dad built — without having to check to see if it was a ‘no burn day’ — and sometimes roast marshmallows in it or just sit on the hearth soaking up the warmth after being out in the winter cold.
This year for the holiday, I spent a little time ‘traveling’ with my nephew as he used his computer to pull up a variety of locations, courtesy of Google Earth. I re-visited Times Square, which we discovered had been photographed fairly recently because one of the billboards was promoting a movie that was released this summer.
So we estimated that the Google van had been there in May, while my trip was in June. He then zeroed in on his parent’s address, and we discovered those images were a few years old, because his dad’s old truck was in the driveway and the neighbor’s pool had not yet been installed.
You can go almost anywhere in the world, if you have a street address or at least some landmark. We headed from Fairfield to Oakdale so I could check up on the jobsite. Those images, too, were from a few years ago because the relatively new Oakdale Community Center on South Second Avenue was not yet built and there was still parking available behind The Leader office.
It was obviously a weekend because on the street outside the front of the building, the street was virtually deserted … with only a couple of parked cars in sight. Mine included.
Which means I was at work. Imagine that.
Google caught me, or at least my car, at the office. But you can also see their van, reflected in the window as it was driving by, so they inadvertently caught themselves on camera too.
Speaking of cameras, my 18-year-old niece is thoroughly enjoying using her handheld mini video camera and her older sister tried multiple times during my New Year’s visit to capture me surreptitiously. I think she succeeded once; most times I had to tell her that in order to film someone without their knowing, you can’t be giggling as you attempt to sneak up on them.
It made me realize, though, that ‘spying’ on people has been a game played in my family for years. My brother and I would often use the movie camera — from our basement hiding place — to film our mom heading down cellar with a load of laundry, use our ever-present walkie talkies to report on our sister’s every move or secretly run a tape recorder under the kitchen table, preserving the night’s dinner conversation for years to come.
Not always the most riveting cinema vérité work, but at least they were good for laughs.
And who can’t use more of those?

Marg Jackson is editor of The Escalon Times and The Oakdale Leader and assistant editor for The Riverbank News. She may be reached at  HYPERLINK "mailto:mjackson@escalontimes.com" mjackson@escalontimes.com or by calling 847-3021.

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