Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Tearing Off the Page

Some years more than others I find tremendous relief in the tearing off of that last calendar page of the year, gratefully welcoming another forgiving starting place.

This New Year's Eve finds me there - relieved.

While 2008 shared enjoyable 'ups' it has ended in too many miserable 'downs'.

Even as I hold the precious gifts of 2008's lovely moments close, I conscientiously pluck the seeds of wisdom and experience gleaned from the ugly moments, realizing the gems, carrying them with me as healing tools which offer clarity to keep and to share.

A fresh start. I know time is only a perception. January 1st is as much a winter (or summer) day as December 31st. The way of nature has no mind. But I do. Marking time with celebratory or cleansing rituals nourishes me. Nourishes us.

As my heart quietly observes the old year's passing in the midst of boisterous friends and family I will raise my glass to the spacious possibility of the new year along with all of you. Cheers!

May 2009 enter gently into your life.

Happy New Year!!

(The little wine bottle caps and scarves are available at, in case you're wondering.)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Signs of Life

We're not snowed in, we're frozen in. Powdery snow, slippery ice. The four of us decided to chance a walk around the neighborhood. The girls held hands. I held Tom's arm. Slip slidin' away! Only four other houses shoveled their sidewalks so we had ice to walk on most of the way. Thick ice, especially on the streets.

With temperatures finally rising above freezing we are seeing thaw, but wait! We're approaching the freezing mark again!

So this is cabin fever? A tiny dose. Yes, yes we are wimps. It's all so unusual, to have thick, slippery ice for ground. Driving on frozen freeways at 30 m.p.h. is interesting. Snailing around town is especially harrowing when insane people drive inadequate cars (or is it the drivers who are inadequate?!?) while jabbering on cell phones - or smoking long cigarettes, dahling! - sliding menacingly toward others who are trying their best to keep it going forward, unsmashed. Do NOT step on the brake.

To assuage cabin fever we look for signs of life...

...and cheer.

Found some.

And had a little fun.

Merry Christmas from me to you!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Five Days 'Til Winter

With winter still five days away we're enjoying its Pre-show.

I've learned a few things this morning.

While hunting for winter photos I can only stand bare-footing it on shoveled sidewalks in 10 degree weather for approximately 90 seconds before I, California-native though I be, begin to hop and howl and run for the heated tile in the house. Wimp.

To find the warmest spot in the house, follow the beagle.

Tom loves his job when the weather grows frozen - driving heavy, dual-tired shop trucks around town in the twinkling freeze of snowy nights, under a slivered moon. He's working 12 hour shifts until the storms pass - a keeper of our safety.

Glittering reflected sunlight off frozen-snow takes my breath away - still.

Now, where did I put my wool socks!?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Snowy Mid-December

While aware that my Alaska and Canadian friends have feet of snow, and my Minnesota, Colorado, Montana, Maine, and Ohio friends, too, still I offer snapshots of our little valley snow. We are so proud of it!

The pot that once grew basil rests under its new white blanket.

Patiently awaits the man for the woman who snaps photos on the way to the store.

Rosemary looks pretty in her winter finery, no?

Muffled neighborhood here...

...and serene park there.

Just a little bit of snow fell from Oregon skies, yet contentment floats heavenward.

It's beautiful to us.

Sunday, December 14, 2008


Stupid cold.

I've been fighting it off since my exposure on Thanksgiving weekend.

Cassie and Caroline have had it. Caroline is not 100% back to health, yet, but almost.

I fought it off last weekend and felt great all week. Energy. Clear-headed. Happy.

Saturday morning - yuck. Today, worse yuck.

I ask myself why I fight so valiantly. Why don't I just run outside into the frigid weather in my underwear and let the battle be won by the enemy? "Take what you want and LEAVE ME ALONE!"

But, I'm a fighter.

Maybe I'm the stupid one.

Monday, December 08, 2008

'Oldest and Coldest' Parade

It may still be the oldest parade in Oregon but on Saturday it wasn't the coldest. The sun shone down 54 degrees. A glorious day for angels and elves to glow and scamper amidst the wide, tidy streets of Springfield.

The Grand Marshal rode in vintage style at the beginning of the Christmas Parade.

Springfield High School's band didn't miss a beat.

The Grange displayed a festive float.

While these little girls bubbled up joy at seeing Sam, our beagle, Tom and I adored their little pony.

I love the gleam on the front fender of this fire truck ridden by members of Twin Rivers Baptist Church.

Standing behind this little kid and his two friends gave us lots of laughs. The parade participants pointed at him and said, "I like your beard!" or "I've been good, Santa!" to which he robustly answered, "Your wish has been granted!" This photo shows him in mid-ho ho ho!

Can't have too many bands playing Christmas music on a sunny Saturday in Springfield.

Penguins and Christmas - but this one had trouble finding an ice floe!

These horses remind me of a parade in another town in another decade. The horse was a funky looking breed made all the funkier because of odd, shiny, feathery bling attached to every buckle and loop and braided into its mane and tail. It's rider, an immense woman weighing well over 300 lbs., was wearing as much ridiculously gaudy decoration as the horse. When I gasped, "What is THAT?!" Tom, his focus not on the decor but the rider, calmly responded, "A strong horse." Yep. Yep.

The Grinch in a baby stroller. Wonder if that kid's gonna need therapy when he gets older? Wonder if he'll remember why?

Another fire truck.

Sammy was in good company as canines were well represented in the parade, beginning with this Santa dog who I thought looked embarrassed, peering over his shoulder to make sure his doggie-friends didn't see him in that get-up.

Dogs and owners.

Sparky!! (Notice the regal looking greyhound watching the parade from the curb. He sat like that the entire time. When Sam barked at him now and then the dog just looked over at him. I swear he raised his eyebrows and yawned.)

And on the last big evergreen bough and red-bow strewn utility truck, leaning over the rim of the wide bucket, high, high above the onlookers, was the Jolly Old Elf himself!

Tom and I received a decent dose of Christmas - and community - Spirit as we observed and cheered this Christmas Parade. The sense of community experienced while chatting with strangers on the street, and seeing friends along the way warms a winter heart and gives evidence that 'things' are not as bad as they seem.

Far away from the media hype-and-scare is the soul of our country. It steadily glows in schools, in churches, in community organizations, and small businesses. It thrives in neighborhoods. It dwells safely within loving family homes. It's a power that puts up with a lot but, should the need ever arise, will boldly shine forth from its nurturing nests to illuminate the faces of the men, women, and children who are this country, who care, and who hold dear the self-evident truths.

Nothing like a Christmas Parade to reveal this best in us.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Low Sun, But SUN!

As winter approaches, that great ball of fire hugs the southern horizon more and more. Thankfully the weatherman got it wrong - we haven't endured ten days of fog, low clouds, no sun, "Sorry, folks."

Today the sky is clear blue and the sun's generous, warm energy makes its way to the soil.

And to my skin!

A sunny spot, a pair of shorts and sleeveless shirt, a beagle at my feet. Relief!

Cold invigorates. Rain pleases the senses. Fog makes for introspection and mystique. Snow muffles and soothes. Unexpected, unfiltered sunshine stimulates!

This sort of winter weather-stew I can live with.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

The Good Consumer

Give yourself five and a half minutes to watch this thought-provoking video, please. It's well-done, in my humble opinion, and worth your time. Especially during our annual Season of over-consumption.

Don't be a pawn in their game!