Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

"The Herdmans were absolutely the worst kids in the history of the world." So begins the laugh-until-you-cry story of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson.
Any of us who have ever watched, directed, or been in a church children's Christmas pageant will Love this story. Every thing that happens from the first moment the horrible Herdmans' herd slouch into church because they thought there would be refreshments will resonate with church members. 
You can tell by looking at my picture that this is a well-worn copy. I used to perform the story which is told from the point of view of an 11 year old girl. It is so funny that I really had to be in character to keep from joining in the laughter from the audience. Until of course they began to cry. Then I had to be careful too as my character wasn't crying.
Before I ever posted this, I received a comment on the previous blog asking why I hadn't included the Herdmans in my list of stories. Only because I got started later than I had planned and also wanted to give the pageant its own blog. Just imagine what it would be like if you had never heard the story of Jesus' birth, what would you think? Would you be amazed that there was no room in the inn? If you were a wise man, would you bring ointments and balms or maybe something just a little more practical? The Herdmans' view of the Nativity story opens our eyes and hearts to the story as it just might have happened on that star lit night in Bethlehem. Enjoy the read. 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Never Too Late to Read

Thus beginneth the twelve days of Christmas. The Twelve Days of Christmas (Correspondence) by John Julius Norwich with illustrations by Quintin Blake is a perfect balance to all the times we have heard the song sung, played and otherwise parodied over the last month. The book contains the thank you notes from the true love who is the recipient of all the gifts which keep multiplying as the days go by. Starting with loving gratitude, the correspondence slowly degenerates into irritation, frustration (what do you Do with all those pear trees??), and recourse to a lawyer. Fun read. 

One of those little tiny books that make nice stocking stuffers, Bear Hugs for you at Christmas is clever and cuddly with the cute bear being in every picture. The book means more because of the friend who gives it to you so for that reason I read it with pleasure every year. 

Here's the classic! How the Grinch Stole Christmas! by Dr. Seuss is for young and old alike. And no matter how many times you have seen the cartoon or the movie, there is nothing quite like reading the original. Although delightful to read on your own, this one  really needs to be read aloud with a circle of children at your feet or snuggled next to you on the couch. And of course, it can be read and enjoyed any time of the year. It is always good to remind ourselves that Christmas means so much more than boxes and bags. ~ Christmas blessings all year round, dear readers. 

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

A Wee Bit of Christmas Humor

I was almost 2 or almost 3. Old enough to have heard the Christmas story and seen the pictures at Sunday School and on my mother's knee. So I was "reading" the story to myself. My version, according to my mom's diary, went something like this:
"And they found the baby lying in a manager, wrapped in swaddling clothes, trying to wiggle but couldn't." 
Merry Christmas to all who drop by here today. 

Monday, December 24, 2012

The First and Best Christmas Story

I bought A Baby Born in Bethlehem retold by Martha Whitmore Hickman and illustrations by Giuliano Ferri, because of the illustrations. I know the story. However it was retold, and it is retold with great love and affection, I could tell the story. The pictures looked like this might just really be a Jewish family from the middle east. I was to read the story at a children's Christmas Eve service at church and I wanted special pictures for them to see. This version was perfect. 
The children's service evolved into the children being enlisted to take part in the pageant so they were listening and being the characters rather than watching the book as I read. Still I used this version. Although I am no longer leading the service, when I pulled the book this year, there were my notes, what carols to sing where in the story, and my instructions to the crew when to send what characters down the aisle. 
As much as I miss the telling of the story to the children, my favorite memory of this book is watching our Chinese daughter-in-law read it one day. It was her first Christmas in the States and she had no idea what the fuss was all about. I shared some of the books with her but told her she had to read this one first. And so she did. This is after all the first and best Christmas story.

Even More Christmas Books

As many of you know, I love mysteries and so it should come as no surprise that I have a number of books whose mystery is focused around Christmas time. Christmas Ghosts, An Anthology Selected by Seon Manley & Gogo Lewis, includes those most famous Christmas ghosts of all, Past, Present, and Future from Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. It is a shortened version that Dickens used when he gave readings of his most famous story. Charles Dickens is a hard act to follow which may be why his story is toward the end of the book. The other stories are fun, scary, familiar and easy to read at your fireside with your cup of cocoa on a cold winter's night.

Anne Perry writes the Victorian, Thomas and Charlotte Pitt mysteries. Anne Perry's Christmas Mysteries includes two holiday novels. The first, A Christmas Guest, is about Charlotte's irascible Grandmama who learns a number of valuable lessons over what starts out to be a dull, boring and terribly unsatisfying Christmas holiday. While learning about herself, she also learns the answer to a family mystery and in doing so frees several people to live their intended lives. 
The second, A Christmas Secret, brings Dominic and Clarice Corde to fill in for the suddenly vacationing vicar of Cottisham. Except, of course, nothing is as it seems. The Corde's unravel the mystery and learn about themselves as well. Anne Perry writes wonderful characters and all her books are worth the read. I am very glad she chose to indulge a little in Christmas. 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

More Christmas Books

When I married Dean it was early December and so shortly after out came the Christmas decorations. Among the ones that were here was The Santa Claus Book by Alden Perkes, Ph. D. S. (I believe that means Alden has a Ph.D. in Santa!) This book is certainly authentic, having a brief statement of approval in the front, signed in red, by Santa himself. The book is a composite of all the things we might ever want to know about Santa: how can he live so long, how does he get all those toys in the bag, how do reindeer fly. There is a sketch of the aerodynamics of antlers. We even learn why Rudolph's nose is red. This is a delightful book for all ages. I read it without a grandchild in sight ~ and will be glad to read it again when they arrive. 

In a totally different vein is a book I have had since 1965, the inscription from my friend says. American Christmas, edited by Webster Schott and Robert J. Myers, is a compilation of poems by 48 American poets celebrating the beauty of Christmas. The scope of their lives covers 150 years and so we read of the promise of the Nativity at various times and places. All the poems deal with hope and birth, gifts to the soul. I would share the entire book but that I will leave to you. For now, two verses of my favorite poem, one that I would read to every pregnant woman, at the birth of every child; one that speaks of the hope we all carry with us regardless of the darkness around us. 
from For Another Birth by Louis Untermeyer

The miracle is now. The place is here.
No angel's wings. No throne. No diadem.
Yet, in this hour locked and rocked with fear,
A birth may mark another Bethlehem. 
* * * * *
Some clild unborn may rescue us, for still
The wise men come with promise of release:
The myrrh of hope, the gold of men's good will, 
The fresh and precious frankincense of peace. 

Friday, December 21, 2012

Speaking of Books

Every Christmas I put out a selection of Christmas books and stories. This year Trinity helped me design the table. Here they are for anyone to read and enjoy. Sometimes I am anyone.

The first book I usually read is by Sandra Boynton, Christmastime. It is full of her delightful and fun drawings and off beat clever humor. She starts by reminding us that Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Christ and that she might have a better chance of hitting this spiritual center if she didn't aim directly at it. 
Given that understanding, her wit and humor remind us of many Christmas times and all the festivities, parties, shopping, singing and gift giving that surround that center. I love Christmas, and I love how Boynton tells the story. 

This is a very old book. Not just by publication date but because I was read to as child from this very book. The Tall book of Christmas includes a number of stories from the Biblical story itself to the story of Giant Grummer, who was a "very bad giant" ~ and as children we learned to know when those words were going to show up and we would all recite them very loudly and with great glee. When I became an adult I wrote to the woman who read to us from this book and asked the name of the book. She sent me her copy - the very copy from which I had learned the story of Giant Grummer. In later years, I discovered it one day in book store and bought several copies, one for each daughter and for some of my grands as well. The tradition continues. 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Good News!

Many of you know that one of my daughters is a writer. Well, check this out:

Now all three books in the trilogy are available in Kindle format on Amazon.

RIGHT HERE! In time for Yule. And Christmas. And New Year's. And just because.

With a special hat tip to Rose, who helped her learn the Amazonian ropes. Books by Rose.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Do We Have to Ask?

I had planned on a blog about my Christmas books but my intentions were over come by one particular event. The question: Where Was God? The answer from the people who seem to be asking the question is that we have taken God out of our schools therefore the children were killed. 

Actually what we did was uphold our constitutional separation of church and state saying that public and government institutions will not promote any particular religion. 

We certainly have a lot of audacity to think we have the power to take God out of anywhere. God, Goddess, Spirit, The Divine, Allah, Yahweh, The Universal Source, whatever name you choose to call your Higher Power is Present, in the moment, in the Now. And on Friday that Being was weeping with the children of earth and welcoming the little ones into Love and Light. 

Being a Christian, I am rather amazed that it is mainly Christians who are asking this question. Our God says, “I Am”. Simple. Clear. In Christian tradition, our God also knows what is like to lose a child to violence. So let’s not politicize the issue. Because it really is a political question, not a spiritual one. God is. And God was there and is there and holds those parents and loved ones in arms of love and caring. If the lights of the Menorah, the Advent wreath, the Solstice, Kwanza have any meaning at all, it is in this very time of pain and tragedy when we need the Light to shine in the darkness which shall not overcome it. ~ blessings as you follow your Light

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Once in a while I will ask a friend what she is reading. About a month ago one recommended The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. What a delightful story! 

Written in letter form rather than straight narrative, the book tells the story of the people of Guernsey (one of the Channel Islands) during their German occupation in WWII. The historical research is impeccable and although a novel, you know you are learning true experiences. 

I was very appreciative of the maps at the start of the book. I “know” where the Channel Islands are - but not really. Seeing the maps helped me understand the Guernsey experience in greater depth. They were so close to England, where their children were, and to France where some of them were taken to German prisons, and yet they were totally cut off: no mail, no radio, no news for five years. And they survived. 

Their story is written with caring and humor. Of course there is sadness. This was not a happy time in the world. The authors found ways to incorporate very human humor into the narrative and the present day story which flows through the history is a delight. 

Well written. A really good read. And because of the letter format, it is an easy read. I have already promised to lend it to a friend and I will make certain she returns it because I already know I will read it again . . . and again. 

Friday, December 14, 2012

Certainly a Possibility

My friend Ralf Weiser posted a statement on FB this morning: “ ‘I would rather have a mind opened by wonder than one closed by belief.’ Resist being reigned by fear. Celebrate love.” 

Do you suppose this could be what Jesus meant when he said we must become as a little child? “Let the children come to me” -- maybe not just the children in chronological age, but also children of Wonder. Minds open to all the possibilities of love and compassion, of diversity and probability. Children of the Heart who challenge fences and stone walls, plunge into the latest video games and the rush on the soccer field with no fear, just the possibility that they can do it. Children of Love who walk the way Jesus walked with the poor and oppressed, in the soup kitchens, homeless shelters, and tent cities; who walk with all the marginalized of society without asking any proof in return. 

Maybe, just maybe, those are the children Jesus hoped would come to him, be allowed to come to him. Children of Wonder, turning no one away, open to every soul without judgement or fear. Maybe, just maybe, that’s what it means to be a Child of God. ~ blessed be

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

We Wish You a - - - What????

Merry Christmas!
Happy Hanukkah!
Merry Kwanza!
Happy Yule!
Blessed be! 
Happy Holidays!

If you care enough about your tradition and my person, even if we have just danced around each other in the grocery aisle, to wish me any one of these, Thank you! I appreciate your blessing and your intent to make me happy. 

Even though I am a life-long Christian, I try to offer a suitable blessing to the person I am addressing. If I have no idea what their tradition might be, I do say Happy Holidays or have a blessed season. The return of the light at the Solstice, the eight miraculous days of light at Hanukkah, the birth of the light of Christ, the light of peace and love of Kwanza have all had their beginnings at this time of the year. We all celebrate the return of the light starting with earliest humans recognizing that one day (December 22nd) had just a little more sunlight than the day before. Why separate ourselves when we have So Much in common in the coming of the Light? 

Offer your blessing. I will offer mine. May we recognize genuine caring in both. ~ Have a blessed, merry, happy season whatever you call it! 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Bits and Pieces

Know this wonderful little device? I have used it for a long while when traveling. It makes things easy. I finally decided this week that it also made things easier when used at home. All the pills go in on one day and for a week thereafter, I only need to open one lid to take all my supplements. Nice.

The most comfortable sneakers I have ever worn. Brand: Ryka. Made by women for women ~ with a narrow heel and broad base. So much for trying to save money on shoes. I will buy well-fitting shoes from now on even if they cost more than I have been paying. I can buy my clothes on sale.

Speaking of which: cable knit sweater. I have four of them now: white, red, purple and teal. Blouse underneath was also on sale so I have this one with the black stripe and a plain white one. Another one in cream allows all sweaters to have a blouse. They match with 5 pairs of pants which were also on sale over the last year. Two jackets from Costco. I am Set for winter in Tahoe! As daughter says, "It isn't dressing UP, mom. It is just dressing."

First Christmas tree since the year before hip surgery. Thanks to my family who helped bring it in from the forest and decorate it. I like to wait until dusk to turn on the lights and now I am turning them on by 4 o'clock. I'm ready for the solstice. 

Until then, there are plenty of candles to light ~ blessings to you all

Monday, December 3, 2012

On Turning 40 ~ all those years ago

There has been a headline on CNN for a while: Don’t Freak Out over Turning 40. The accompanying picture is of Carmen Diaz, all the other pictures are of women and the article is written by a woman.  I really didn’t know women freaked over 40 any more. Before I ever turned 40 nearly 30 years ago, Gloria Steinem had famously said, “This is what 40 is supposed to look like.” 

I celebrated my 40th in the lead of Forty Carats, the show in which the 20 year old man falls in love with the 40 year old woman and she with him. We invited friends to the Sunday afternoon matinee and then had a great party. A good time was had by all and I certainly didn’t freak out over anything. As I am on the cusp of the baby boomers (having been born during rather than at the end of WWII), my 40th was followed by lots of articles titled “Look Who’s Turning 40” ~ with lots of pictures of really good looking women who certainly didn’t look like they were freaking out either. And that was 30 years ago. To give them credit, the women under the same head line in this article don’t look like they are upset either. 

My 40s are all turning 70 now. And we aren’t freaking out about that either. Age is such an illusive concept. It helps us know things like what size clothes to buy our 4 year old, and (sort of) what our first grader should be able to learn before heading into second grade. It gives the government a guide to when we are smart enough to drink, drive, vote and fight. All of those guide- lines have been changed off and on over the years however and people mature and learn at different times and speeds. Fashions make our girls look like women and women look like girls and techno-geeks with no fashion sense at all are millionaires in their late teens because of their understanding of computers and the internet. 

Why in 2012 should that headline or that article be at all relevant? You are who and what you are regardless of how many full moons have passed since your birth. No need to be upset about any of it. Live it. Enjoy it. Be in it. And be blessed ~ 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Happy Anniversary, Us!

Eleven years - we’ve started on our second decade. Yesterday I said, “Tomorrow is our anniversary.” Dean: “It’s been a good run, Sweetie.” Me: “We’re still on the track, right?” Dean: (Big Laugh) “Of course!”

Well, sometimes you just want to be sure. 

I was married 36 1/2 years before my first husband died and very often we would spend our anniversary simple talking about what made us a couple, how we were now, and what our future looked like. Not all anniversaries need big dinners or fancy celebrations. 

Today will be spent in front of the fire, wind and rain lashing the windows until the snow level drops to meet us. We will be grateful for each other, for our new tightly fitted windows and for being safe. Sometime this morning he will make waffles. Later in the day he will grill pork chops and I will prepare whatever we decide goes with them including my homemade apple sauce. We will watch tv and Netflix, read books, write in journals, play with the dog and be with each other. Oh ~ and keep looking for a camper so that our camping times which we both love will become just a little easier to manipulate. Sounds like a good way to start a new decade together. 

Friday, November 30, 2012

It Comes Out of Left Field

Jim Boatman, George Cunyus, Charlie Young, Philip Miller, Ralph Shank, Jim Thurmond, Al Pedersen, on the day of Philip's ordination at Central Christian Church in Dallas.  (I'm guessing 1973)
When my first husband died a friend told my daughter that her grief would come to her out of left field. It would get less over the years, last a shorter time, and it would take her by surprise at times. 

I am a FB friend with the pastor in the center of this picture. This is his ordination photo, in about 1973. He posted it on FB tonight and there they are, men who mattered in my life as I grew up. 

Jim Boatman, lower left, probably my dad's best friend, surrogate father to me, dear friend. Al Peterson, lower right, father to a good high school friend. And center back, my dad, looking just like I know him. These three men at least had no idea of the internet, FB or any other modern technology. And yet, here they are. And I am crying. Because even after all these years, it came at me out of left field, surprised me and made me remember with tears of both sadness and joy the really good times these days represent. 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

In Praise of Puttering

My 12-hour non-drowsy antihistamine was just that. It probably contained something to keep me awake and it did. So I lay there without sleep for a long time. Then I got up. And I puttered around. Not sure where the word comes from but I certainly know it when I do it. I emptied the dishwasher. I prepared my computer bag for the trip to Reno this morning, remembering to put in my banana and peanuts for mid-afternoon. I moved some things around. I read a paper that was lying on the counter. I puttered. And then I went back to bed. Didn’t sleep but felt a lot better having puttered around for a bit. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Apple Sauce

These apples may be the very best apples I have ever had with which to make apple sauce. They are so red and ripe that my apple sauce is red in color and needing very little sugar. These come from the librarian at Michelle's school who evidently has an orchard full of them and she gives them away. And Michelle gave her three bags full to me. They are crisp and delicious for eating and so yummy when made into apple sauce. I knew I was working hard but didn't realize how hungry I was for lunch until I was ready to eat the entire bowl of still warm sauce when I tasted it for sugar. Had to stop after that batch and have lunch. As I said when I posted apple sauce earlier in the year, I wish this blog had an aroma key so you could inhale the richness that envelops my kitchen. Lovely. 

Monday, November 26, 2012


A blog I read made me think of the shifting tide of friendships. L is the first person who comes to mind of course. That friendship has lasted a life time and it doesn’t matter how often or how seldom we connect. We are always there for the other. We call or email and start in the moment just like we were on the phone an hour ago. I call and say I need you and she comes. She calls and says I need you and I go. She is there. I am here. We are ~ and that is all that matters. 

For three years way back when, J was my best friend in the town where we lived. She knew more about me than anyone else including my husband or family. And I knew the same about her. We clicked within days of meeting each other and for three years and a number after we moved, we knew each other. Today, I am not even sure if she lives in the same place. I have been to the town and not found out. Regrets? I don’t know. I know I would love to see her again, visit, catch up and I guess there is something in me that trusts what we had ergo, I could have it again . . . maybe. 

D was my first real love. And then I married someone else - my second real love - and D and I didn’t hear a word from each other for 14 years. Then we reconnected. And have been very special friends ever since. He has known, respected and been a friend to both my husbands. I am a friend to his wife whom I think is a delightful woman. I have been in their home several times. They have supported me and my family through hard times and fun ones. We email occasionally. Once in a great while, he comments on my blog. And in spite of the interesting shift and spaces in between, I know that I can call and he (or they) will be there for me. 

Special friends. Interesting shifts. Gratitude for what they were, are and will be. ~ with blessings

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving, 2012

It was a rather skewed Thanksgiving. Interesting to say the least. Having been really sick and almost canceling the party, I am glad I didn’t. Had an “I’m not well yet” meltdown early Thanksgiving morning but after good conversation and the air was cleared, it was a delightful day. Friends arrived at 3 laden with good food. Dean had put on a turkey to smoke about 8 am. Michelle and I made dressing and she put a turkey in the oven about 10:30. At 4:30 we had a feast: turkey, dressing, gravy, two kinds of potatoes, green beans with mushrooms, pearl onion au gratin, a veggie tray, and all topped off with pecan pie, pumpkin pie, ice cream, or whipped cream. Michelle made the pies and she and Marc roast their own pumpkins so their pies are Excellent.

As dinner started I took a picture of the table. Do you know those “weird family picture” web sites? This one might qualify. Friend was frowning, Dean had his mouth open asking a question. Another friend had antlers of light sprouting from his head from the lamp behind him. And we thought the two guys biting into their turkey legs were going to be the weird ones. So much for posting that. 

Delightful to watch and participate in: the 28 year old engaging the 10 year old about trumpet playing and music - as if the 10 year old was 20. Grands made turkey place cards for the tables. Lots of food left over. Lots of family and friends to take it home. Leftovers for lunch today were as good as the original. Always happens that way. So much to be thankful for. Feeling blessed and happy and glad to be alive. 

Friday, November 16, 2012

A Different Perspective

My gym is my physical therapy office and it is in an old building and we are to move across the parking lot into a larger, remodeled building. There have been permitting issues however as there always are in Tahoe. So we are still in the old building. The roof leaks. Stop gap measures haven’t really been working and the melting snow or rain has been pouring down a post. Paint has peeled. Mold has formed. Riding the  bike right in front of that wall the other day, I could smell it.

 Some of us began to complain that we come there to get healthy, Not to get sick. They covered the mold with plastic. Last night the receptionist called to say the office would be closed today and maybe Monday because of the building. First time I have ever been told to stay away from gym in order to improve my health. Time to get that final permit signed and delivered. We need to move!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Veterans' Day, 2012

Veterans’ Day. We have them in the family. Many families do. They are no longer grizzled old men who fought the Battle of the Bulge or even at Busan (Pusan). These are young men and women whose memories are of Iran, Iraq, Kuwait  and Afghanistan. They may be veterans’ of one deployment knowing that another lies ahead. They too have seen horrors we do not even dream. All of them, old and grey, young and returning, home for good from whatever job they were assigned, they are all heroes. They have all said Yes to the call of country and been willing to stand between evil and the triumph of good assuring the latter to the best of their ability. God bless them all. They have our eternal gratitude. 

Monday, November 5, 2012

A Thanksgiving Thought

There are some Things that are blessings. Any list of thanksgiving on my part always starts with clean sheets, indoor plumbing and anesthetic. What prompts this blog this morning though are my birds that sail in lovely formation across the blue wall over my mantle. They were a personally chosen Christmas gift out of a catalogue about 3 years ago. I love them. I don’t often pay them a lot of attention. They are in the periphery of my vision whenever I am in the living room. This morning however as I lay back in my chair feeling yucky, I looked up at them and was blessed. Whatever angle, whatever the shadows they cast, whenever I pay attention, they are lovely. They continue to be just exactly what is needed in that place. They are a blessing and I appreciate them and am grateful for them. 

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Election Reflection ~

I remember Meredith’s first chance to vote and she was sick and contagious. She was So disappointed. I commented on that to a friend who was a poll official and he said, bring her up and I will bring the ballot out to her. I had to help her into the car, brought her to the parking lot, Cliff came out with the ballot and while we chatted over the top of the car, she voted in her very first presidential election.

We have three grandchildren who are of voting age for the first time this election. I did my Mama Susan thing and sent an email extolling the vote. This is such a Privilege we have in this country. And even here among free people, women and blacks had to fight and struggle to obtain that right and privilege. I remember the first free election in South Africa and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, in his red robes, Dancing around the box into which he placed his vote. He would start to put it in, raise it up again, smile and dance some more. Over and over. Sheer Joy on his face. 

When we have been through this kind of election (and there may not be any other kind), when the rhetoric has been mean-spirited and ugly, when names have been called, when issues have been ignored and questions not answered and we are Just Plain Tired of Politicians, it would be So Easy to say, why bother? Why should I vote? Why does it matter? 

Why? Because you Can! 

After all of this, next Wednesday morning, whomever is elected will be “our” president, however we ourselves voted. And we will spend the next four years exercising our right and privilege to complain and criticize our government until we to go the polls and do it all over again. 
Forget politics for a little while and enjoy the Vote.  

Friday, November 2, 2012

A Healing Process

I had a virus. A nasty 24 hour virus. Woke practically 24 hours to the minute from its start to know it was over and I would be fine. I still have no energy and every little thing I do saps it. And so I am finding healing warmth and staying there. I am dressed in layers. I wrapped my self in blankets in my chair in the corner this morning. I ate hot soup for lunch. I sat in ~ and napped in ~ a very warm corner of the window seat with the sun pouring through the windows. Even in these few moments that I have moved from there, I feel the need to return. To be warm again. To feel the healing power of the sun against my back. Once in a while, even a butterfly needs to fold her wings and retreat to the warmth of the cocoon before emerging again as her energetic, strong self. 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

All Saints Day

There was once a little boy who attended a church that had magnificent stained glass windows depicting the lives of Jesus, the Disciples and other prominent scriptural figures. One day in Sunday School they were asked if they knew who the saints were. His response: they are the ones who let the light in. 

I love that story. Today is All Saints Day and I have enjoyed all day reflecting on some of the saints who have let the light into my life. 

My Daddy: I was raised by a giant
Jim: whose dilemma as a black man in the south in the late 40s raised my awareness even though I had to file away what I had learned
Larry: whose life and being taught me we were all God’s children
E.C.: who took a teenager’s crisis of faith seriously and blessed me with his answer
Mary Louise: my mother in the faith
Martin Luther King, Jr
Rosa Parks
Aunt Lalah: who taught me the gift of hospitality
“Miss Ilene”: in whose love and faith the children of our church were raised
Mother Teresa
Pastors I have known and loved: Wally, Topper, David
Husbands and daughters: who, in the midst of living together, have found moments of blessing and grace, love and joy that have opened my eyes and let the light into my life. 

Thank you all ~ and so many more ~ for your presence throughout my days and being. 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Halloween, 2012

A number of friends have said that Halloween is their favorite holiday. It isn't my favorite - Christmas is my favorite - and I do like Halloween. I like the fun and the delightful scariness, costumes, funny faces, the wonder of children asking "Trick or treat"and coming home with bags of candy. I like the grinning faces of both the kids who carved them and the pumpkins lining the sidewalks. I like children's parties and adult parties and decorated lawns. Have a Happy Halloween! Enjoy the day and the excitement of the evening. Let it be fun both for you and the children you know. ~ Boo!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Elephant in the Room

In my last blog, I expressed my opinion on all the adjectives that have been used to describe “rape” throughout this presidential campaign. As you can read there, I do not believe it has an adjective. It stands alone as a crime, committed by a criminal, period. I link my blog to Facebook. There several women “liked” what I had to say and a couple commented in support. On the blog site one man commented in support. When he did, with an emphatic “Yes”, I replied with my thanks as he was the first man to say anything. 

If even one other man had checked “like” or commented, then I wouldn’t be writing this blog. But when he stayed the Only man, his comment became the elephant in the room. Where were the other male voices clicking “like” or speaking out on this issue. Oh, I know, the political comments are so crazy that we are tempted to ignore them and pass them over and just shake our heads. But you see, just because the election is over, just because a person who also believes rape is a crime wins, these ideas about women and rape are Still in the Minds of the men who said it in the first place, Their ideas don’t go away. They are out there, raising daughters, living with wives, interacting with women in Congress or the Senate or in the law office or school room. 

So ~ male friends o’ mine, readers of the blog, check “like” or comment or in some way make it known that you too believe that rape is a crime and only the criminal, not the victim, should be punished. Thank you, dear ones. I know you are out there. 

Friday, October 26, 2012

I Have to Say It ~

I know I said I had spoken my political rant for the duration but . . .

== *sigh* Ok, here it is. I am tired of all the headlines, sound bites and discussion about the various “types” of rape. Rape is a crime. It is the violation of a person’s body by another person who is a criminal. No question. No discussion. No variations on a theme. Crime. Criminal. Period. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

New Look for Winter

We spend summer on the deck. In the winter, we bring some of the deck furniture into the house, the rests gets stored. For a number of years now, the wicker chairs and love seat have been brought into the den. This year Dean found Adirondack chairs at a yard sale. He sanded, I oiled, he bought cushions for them. They are So Comfortable. I decided I wanted them in the house over the winter. I also decided I wanted the old green ergonomically correct chair inside somewhere. Meanwhile, Dean had bought two tables for the den - small and Large. The design took a bit of doing and when I finally realized we could switch the tables around, putting the large on between our tv chairs and the small one across the room, everything else fell into place. It also helped that I am not a linear person so space was created by angling the little table. Brook helped move it all around. I am very pleased and will enjoy my den this winter with new windows, letting in lots of sun and warmth, and very cozy chairs for reading and resting and visiting with friends. 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Essential Scarf

When Meredith lived in Boston and I would visit, she would tell me scarf stories and wore one all the time and I noticed people wearing them regardless of the time of year. Last year in San Francisco, I noticed the same thing: people wear scarves all the time. Witness, the person in flip flops, shorts, a tank top and a scarf around the neck. I was really chilly one day and stopped on my several blocks walk and bought a scarf. Had the salesclerk cut off the tag, wrapped it around my neck and was happy and warm again. When my friend from Wales was shopping here this summer, I bought another scarf with lots of my colors in it. 

I had not worn it, but for some reason tossed it in the suitcase as we headed north to Seattle, Friday Harbor and Victoria ~ and to the sea which is what these places have in common with Boston and San Francisco. It served me well. It kept my neck warm. It dressed me up as I had brought no jewelry. It was perfect with casual and a bit more dressy. And it went with every color I had with me. This morning, back in Tahoe, I threw the other one around my neck to head for the farmers’ market. I think I am sold. A scarf has become an essential wardrobe item for me. My collection increases. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

High Tea at the Empress Hotel in Victoria

When he knew we were going to Victoria, BC, Canada, Canadian son-in-law, David, said that High Tea at the Empress was the high tea by which he judges all others. So - given that recommendation, I had to go, right? Plus several other people recommended it as well. Knowing the meal that high tea can be, I chose to use it as lunch and so made my reservation for 12 noon just as the tea room opened. The following is as close to sharing the experience as I can be. 

The Empress Hotel

Place setting with Empress Royal Doulton

The menu was set. It started with a fruit of the season with creme fraise

The three-tiered tea tray. 
Bottom layer: sandwiches ~ sun-dried tomato on tiny rounds of crusty bread; chicken curry on brown bread; smoked salmon and cream cheese on wheat bread; egg salad on a tiny croissant; and of course, cucumber and ham on an herb bread. 

Friend Carolyn and the other side of the tray. The center layer held 2 scones, creme fraise and strawberry jam. 

The top layer held the pastries. Lemon curd with meringue; 

a light, whipped cheese cake on top of a light dough with fruit;

pistachio and chocolate cake with a strawberry icing;

mocha filled cookies dipped in dark chocolate. 
Carolyn and I had a delightful two hours, talking, tasting and drinking tea. She chose a specialty decaf tea and I had the Empress blend with cream. Thank you, David and all who have been there before me. It was a memorable experience! 

Monday, October 1, 2012

A Trip to the Northwest

Images so far

~ the ferry: big lounges for people and two decks for cars, lots of beautiful scenery to enjoy although if I commuted on one daily, I would probably be able to get some work done

~ I finally got it: the boats in Seattle and Friday Harbor were So Much Bigger than the boats on Lake Tahoe because they are ocean going boats whereas our boats are lake boats.

~ It would have been fun to come to Friday Harbor on a seaplane but two ladies we met had done so and had to leave most of their luggage behind. I don’t know what we would have done - had Nikki mail it back home I guess. One of them had a son who was meeting them in Victoria with the clothes. 
~ island hopping planes are small whether sea or wheeled

~ Friday Harbor was Filled with blackberry bushes
~ Huckleberries were in season in Seattle
~ Iced tea is sweetened and so we are back to making cups of hot tea and asking for glasses filled with ice

~ wide sky and the smell of the sea almost everywhere

~ and it is really nice to be in Victoria