Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Happy New Year!!

Since I'm saying goodbye to Christmas 2009, I thought I'd leave you with a few images from our house this season.
I hope your holiday was merry and bright.

I hope it was filled with love and family and laughter.

And I hope, for all of us, that the coming year brings health, prosperity and fulfillment of all of our very best dreams.

Happy New Year!!!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Puttin' On the Glitz


When I was a little girl we always made a trip into San Francisco to see the holiday decorations and one of our favorites stops was always the big, four-story-high tree inside The City of Paris. Well, that store has gone the way of $1.50 a gallon gas but Neiman Marcus in now in that famous building and they've carried on the the big-tree tradition. Here is this year's tree.

View as you approach the front of the store:

View from one of the balconies that encircle the tree:


View of the top and the magnificent ceiling:

And another...


As we wandered the store we saw plenty of other delights such as these angels,


A red ribbon-bedecked tree,


A twin tree topper,

A tablecloth and ribbon skirt on a very jazzy carpet,


And what all of us will be wearing to our family get-togethers, no doubt.


Wishing you and yours a very merry holiday season!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Happy Holidays to One and All!!


My daughter, Krissy, was insistent that we take a holiday family portrait this year. Coordinating all of our schedules was tricky. Finding a place where the light wasn't too spotty or the wind too disruptive was dicey as well. But Krissy was determined. She dragged us to the park, set up her camera with a timer, and after a number of hits and misses she finally the scored the picture you see above. Then she created the card and graciously allowed me to post it here. Since I probably won't get around to mailing out any cards this year, may I just say to all my friends and family,

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Walking With Angels


I am in Washington state on a pilgrimage, of sorts. I am staying at the home of my very dear friend Madelyn, who lost her husband John to a stroke on October 28. We three have been close friends—like family-close—for many, many years. They have lived on this farm on the Olympic Peninsula since the mid-seventies when John designed and built the house I’m sitting in as I write. I mean John truly designed and built this house by himself. He’d never built a house but, as he told Madelyn, “There are books.” He built the structure slowly and she has spent her life filling it with beauty. It is like a magnificent, epic poem of love with walls, a roof and windows that provide views of some twenty-eight acres of trees, meadows and a meandering creek.

When I look up from my laptop I see birds vying for a spot at the suet feeder outside the windows. All kinds of birds come and go, stellar jays, chickadees, juncos and lots more whose names I don’t know and who I’ve not seen in California. Music plays softly and reverberates through this vaulted wooden structure the way notes emanate from the sound box of a well-made acoustic guitar. Outside, the sun transforms the powdered sugar snow to a field a brilliant diamonds, carelessly strewn about as though they were of little value—an abundance of riches here so immense that everything, and nothing, is precious at once.

Tears flow easily. Sadness mixed with such love and joy that it cannot be contained. The tapestry of love woven here fills me up and pours out unchecked.

The story of the three of us is intertwined like the grapevines that climb the deck outside. I have been here for so many pivotal events. We have made many stories together—many memories. A part of me lives here and walks the land even when I’m back home in California. And yet I’ve never lived here. What I experience must be powerfully magnified for John. Even though he is off somewhere on a new ethereal adventure, I am certain he walks the land and inhabits this house in very tangible ways. It is impossible not to feel him.

I have to wonder, is this how it feels when you brush against the wings of an angel?

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Just an Update

I know I haven't been posting much lately. Like many folks, I suspect, I have been all caught up in the day to day business of getting ready for the holidays.

First came the eighteenth birthday of my youngest child, Krissy. It is amazing to me that my baby is now an adult. Geez that time sped by quickly. We had a big party for her and I think she had a great time. A few days later we celebrated a quiet Thanksgiving.

Of course, getting ready for my daughter's party entailed a lot of cleaning and clearing away the clutter from when my husband finally moved the rest of our stuff from Tahoe (deferred housekeeping is my artform). So I threw my back out during that process. It was just about healed by Thanksgiving when I threw it out again lifting the turkey in and out of the oven. The days right after Thanksgiving, while both daughters were home from college, we began the task of decorating the house. My back was almost healed when I helped bring in the tree and...big surprise here...I re-injured it again. So the tree still sits swathed in netting in its stand in the livingroom awaiting my touch with lights and ornaments. My back is finally feeling up to snuff again so perhaps today...? When it's all done I'll post some photos and give you a home tour.

Added into this decorating saga is the plight of my little yellow canary, Monet, who caught the band on his leg (don't get me started on the insane practice of banding birds!!) on a millet holder in his cage. I discovered him upside down, hanging by his foot and bleeding a week ago. Now canaries don't like to be held, so managing to free him from this trap was a bit tricky but I managed to capture him and get the bleeding to stop. I carried him to an avian vet who miraculously happened to be in on a Sunday in a vet hospital across the street. He removed the bands on Monet's legs and told me it is quite common for birds to catch these bands on things in their cages. Long story short, I have had to capture Monet daily to feed him medicine. The first time I tried, my other canary escaped so I had to capture him amidst all the boxes of Christmas decorations that we'd brought inside. It is amazing how you do get better doing things with repetition and the past few days have been much easier.

Later today I'm off to read one of my short writings "Life is A Numbers Game" at Iota Press at 2:00 pm . My writing group will be there and we've each been asked to read one of our pieces which should be fun. There will also demonstrations of the antique letter presses. Following this, the family will drive to Sonoma where Krissy will be reading one of her poems during a Lights of Rememberance ceremony for the Hospice By The Bay. It is a literary day for our family, it seems.

All of this was just to say, sorry I haven't been blogging as much lately but I promise to do better. Hope you're all enjoying the craziness of the season.