Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Surprises

== My surprise Christmas present was Delightful - a new, high resolution, point and click camera. Same brand as I have just a really upgraded version. Dean said that as I had started making these books for the family and grandkids, I needed a really good camera to take really good pictures. It even takes movies. :D

Now there is an issue here: the person taking the pictures needs to take good pictures, frame them well, and have reasonably cooperative subjects. I discovered when I looked my pictures from Christmas day - I don’t take candids well. And when we tried to get a picture of the entire Mix clan, there is not one picture that is good of all of us. Oh the pictures are fine - the dinner guest who took them held the camera steady, framed the shot, got us all in. At least one of us in every picture was making a face, looking down, saying something so our mouths are weird. You know the kind of thing. I haven’t seen the ones off Dean’s camera yet. Maybe one of them worked. If not, I will use the one where I am the one talking so as not to embarrass anyone else ~ or maybe not. Heheheheheheh.

The house even received a surprise present: Dean bought us a convection toaster oven. It fits right under the microwave and I have a feeling that between it and the pressure cooker, we are set for our culinary lives. Of course I have to figure out all the supposedly simply settings, and I will. Already I can prepare wonderful toast!

In fairness and complete disclosure, Dean loved his Reed and Barton crystal old fashioned glasses. Christmas surprises were good this year and not a disappointment in the bunch. Maybe we have a new tradition. . .

Friday, December 23, 2011

A Little Bit of LIght

It is very subtle of course. Barely noticeable unless you are paying close attention. We left home at 5 last night and the sky was light for just a few minutes longer than the night before. This morning the sky was lighter just a little bit earlier than the morning before - just a tad earlier. Almost indiscernible. And it was there. Something new. Something different.

Sort of like the birth of a baby. Just a tiny new life in the great huge world of people ~ and yet, there is something different about the world. No one is sure quite what it is. Barely noticeable unless you are paying close attention like the shepherds and magi. Something new. Something different. Something just may have changed and whatever it is, it is Good.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Picture hangings

We received a generous gift from grandson, Kyle, our oldest, who is an artist. I had been complimenting his paintings that he had been posting on FB. One day we were talking and he said, you may have one if you would like. Wow. I went right to his FB postings and marked by comment the one I wanted. We brought it home in October.

Being us, however, it is only this week finally hanging on a wall big enough to hold it and allow it to be the impressive piece it is. Both moon and sun look down on us in blessing no matter what the sky outside is doing. We love it.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Fourth Sunday in Advent.

We are up very early because we slept really well. The fire and the Advent candles provide light in the room. The morning moon fades slowly against the on-coming dawn. The Advent candles reflect off Santa as well as the baby Jesus. A perfect blending of the special Joys of the season.

The pines are visible against a lightening sky. A day of blessings begins.

Reflecting on the colors of Advent. Some churches use purple candles, others blue. Sometimes pink is the color of one Sunday ~ I think for Mary’s love for the baby and I am really not sure. My own personal Advent wreath has always had red candles because I like the seasonal colors of red and green. The last two years because I have done minimalist decorating, the candle holders have been 2 red and 2 clear glass with some purple. Whatever the color, the center has been the nativity and a white candle lit on Christmas morning.

Energy follows intention and if the intention is to reflect, remember, anticipate and prepare for the birth of Light into the world, the colors reflect that energy as well. May your intention this season be Hope, Peace, Joy and Love so that your energy may be a blessing to the world.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Breathe, oh, Breathe

Dean was on lunch break from meeting and came upstairs. He wanders around and finally comes over to stand by my chair and look down at me with this silly grin on his face.

Me: What?

Dean: I bought you a Christmas present and it is a Surprise!

Me: - almost fainting and definitely hyperventilating - WOW!!

He told me a long time ago (it seems now) that he would buy me anything I wanted but he didn't buy Christmas presents because I would be disappointed. I assured him that in nearly 40 years of presents from my spouse, I had been disappointed a total of ONE time! Period.

Still - I never had a present under the tree for the past 10 years ~ and this year I don't have a tree and I have a Surprise for Christmas. :D :D :D I can hardly wait - don't know if he will wrap it and have it sitting around or just present it in its box Christmas morning. I think I brought it in from the PO this morning - and it is a medium sized box that is Very Heavy. And if that is my surprise, I am Very Curious. Heheheheheh - oh my, I didn't realize how much I had missed being surprised on Christmas morning. :D

I think I will spend my afternoon grinning!!! I feel like I am about 5.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

My Journey with the Eclipse

Speaking of moments under the moon. I got my times for the total lunar eclipse mixed up and I thought it was full at the time it was just beginning here. So I have been up and about and watching and going back to bed and up and about for what seems like Hours. Finally about 4:30 I checked my computer to discover it started here at 4:45. So I have seen the tiny beginning - come back in and made myself a cup of tea (resisting unloading the dishwasher at this most early hour) and will check on it off and on for the next hour or so. It is supposed to be full at about 6:10 ~ at which point I could be legitimately up.

Too cold to stay out for long even bundled up. So I go out about every 10 minutes or so and note the progress and am grateful I can still see it through the trees. It is beginning to set now so even as the shadow grows larger, so does the moon. I read where there is some optical illusion when the moon gets close to the horizon. It looks much larger. No matter what cameras or physics tell us, our eyes say, it is larger. And so I watch the moon and its shadow grow.

Oh boy - it’s 9 out there. Maybe I shouldn’t have looked. No wonder I can’t stay out long.

5:23: now the moon wears a red night cap or Santa hat tilted rakishly over it’s bright face. So far I am lucky. Even though I am having to view it through tree branches, I can still see it without going too far off the deck and the red color is definitely there even half way through the process. The trees do keep picture taking from being an option ~ although my camera is in my pocket.

6:00 OK!! And all I had to do was walk out on my deck. I wish I had really prepared for a hike up the hill. As it was I only had my old flashlight instead of my new really good camping headlight. Nor was I dressed for a hike. I looked rather comical actually: long johns, night shirt, 2 robes, Dean’s vest, ear muffs, gloves and hiking boots. Heheheheh. Even that prepared, the view from my deck was fine even through the tree branches. If Dean had been with me, I would have tried to get higher up the hill. We do live in a forest, however, and there are nocturnal animals heading home this time of morning and I did not want to encounter them alone. No one is hibernating yet.

Nonetheless, I saw it! Red with a sliver of white at the bottom that slowly disappeared as I leaned on my deck rail in chilly awe and amazement. Three years from now, if we are lucky enough to be in the viewing area again, I will remember to lay out hiking clothes and be prepared to venture into the forest and further up the hill. For now, I am very happy to have watched the autumn red moon.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Under the Midnight Moon

I couldn’t resist. The night was just too gorgeous. Closing the bedroom door so not to disturb Dean, I donned robe and fuzzy slippers and walked into the the magic of the midnight moon.

It rode high in the sky - not quite overhead, just a tilt to the west. The deck and land was flooded with light, “a luster of mid-day” seems seasonally appropriate. I stood with my head thrown back looking at the amazing star-studded, moon-washed sky. The stars were fewer of course and they were there. The air was quite chilly but not yet cold. I was able to breathe deeply and relish the moment of glory. Still it was a little chilly to spread my wings and dance. I will save that for a summer moon.

I know I will read and re-read these words remembering my magic moments under the mid-winter midnight moon.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Advent Blessing

As I light my Advent candles this morning, I want to share with you a quote from my blog friend Mike (http://csquaredthoughts.wordpress.com/) that he quoted from Rachel Barenblat, the Velveteen Rabbi, who had some profound and useful words for Rosh Hashanah. I told Mike I thought they would also fit for Advent and I believe they do.

"I’d like to invite each of us to cherish the memories which bring us joy, and to release the memories which bring us pain. To let go of the vision of what we imagined these holidays would be, and embrace instead whatever they actually are.

I want to bless you that you might find the connections, the insights, and the spiritual richness you need, in whatever your experience of [these days] may be."

Blessings, my friends, as you prepare ~ for Christmas, for Hanukah, for the Solstice, for Kwanza, or for whatever your holiday (holy day) of blessing and grace. May you be present in the experience of waiting and preparation.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Reflections on a Decade

Wow - the first of December. Not sure where time goes any more. It seems to be rushing by just like it did when I was 17.

Tomorrow will be Dean’s and my 10th anniversary. Amazing. Didn’t I just arrive in Tahoe? Isn’t this still a “new” relationship? I guess part of that has to do with an insight Dean shared last month.

He mentioned that this was our 50th year of marriage. I laughed and said, it may feel like that and we had really been married almost 10. No, he reminded me. We both married for the first time in 1961. Yes, there was a little break for both of us after more than 35 years of marriage after both spouses died. And then we married - ergo: we have been at this marriage business for 50 years. Amazing.

And have we gotten it “right” yet? :) I don’t know. With 50 years comes some wisdom and the one thing I do know is that trying to live with another person, even someone you love, is just plain hard. Some of us have it easier than others and really do enjoy our time with our spouse. I think we were both devastated when our first spouses died. I know I was. Then we found each other and as Dean puts it, “now we get to do it all over again.” I guess that means we had good marriages the first time around because the good ones are hard enough. To go through it again if it had been awful is just not the way to go.

Before I ever reconnected with Dean, I asked an older woman who had been a widow for a long time if she had ever considered marrying again. This lovely little old lady looked at me with fire in her eyes and said, “HA! Been there, done that.” And that closed that subject! I realized then that the first experience had a Lot to do with whether you wanted the second or not.

And so it has been ten years. You don’t just exchange one spouse for another so we have had our ups and downs learning lessons we thought we had learned before only to realize we learned them with someone else. I am not Nancy. Dean is not Rex. So we have learned to be Susan and Dean together. We’re doing fairly well at that. After ten years we deal with who we are now and have become rather than who we were in our first marriages.

Time continues to slip by. Days come and go. We grow, we change. Basically we are happy and content in a rather exciting way. Comfortable does not have to be dull, witness camping in Death Valley and celebrating life with eleven grand-children. So it is with joy that I celebrate with some amazement the passing of ten years and look forward to the future sharing life with my first-grade buddy.