I stayed in the neighborhood today.
My Sunday started with a walk around the corner to church.
Today's sermon was about mixing diverse ingredients to make a tastier holiday season -- you know, the benefits of being inclusive this time of year. (Or, maybe include the Maccabbees in our thoughts, along with the Wise Men.) I found myself sitting with my neighbor Jen, who is moving to Colorado right after Christmas. She was feeling wistful about sitting in these pews for nearly the last time.
Then I took my camera to our independent camera store. As smartphones and digital cameras have revolutionized photography, this store has gone through changes. Now about half of the floor is devoted to educational toys. But for those of us who still need a camera store, this is the place to go. The staff is knowledgeable, reputable and so very honest. Today the owner fixed my camera and replaced the cheap CVS batteries with better Duracell ones -- no charge. He recommends I bring it back after Christmas, when he has a full staff, for a good cleaning. I took the $20 I thought I'd pay for the repair and used it to buy three Melissa and Doug Puffy Sticker Play Sets.
I dropped the play sets off at the sporting goods store, which has a Toys for Tots collection box in the window. I nearly bought myself an ugly Cubs Christmas sweater because, well, I don't have one and I want one. But it was $69. Maybe after I'll find it on sale at an after Christmas sale.
On the way home, I stopped at the little pizza parlor and grabbed a slice to go.
I realized anew how happy I am living here. I feel sorry for people like my oldest friend, who has lived in Beverly Hills for 7 years now and still hasn't put down roots. I belong where I'm at.