Friday, December 28, 2007

Family Christmas

The infectious joy of children's laughter. The thundering herd of little feet. Wails of tiredness & lack of ability to share. Attempting to remember a recipe for coconut cream refrigerator pie I'd never made before and brought all of the ingredients but forgot the instructions. The mystery of the disasppearing pillows. Watching the dog try to figure out how to smell the parakeet and the parakeet totally ignoring him. Yummy broccoli and cauliflower and cheese and sour cream and cracker casserole. Peach and blueberry galette. Sinking up to the tops of my shoes in the mud pit that used to be the front lawn. Visiting with my sister and my mom. Discovering that two family pets didn't live through the Christmas Season, and how sad their families are. The surreal scene of my BIL surrounded by people and food and festivities but talking over a headset with World of Warcraft players online. Listening to adults try to figure out how to text on a cell phone. Sympathizing with my Lovely Sister who has to write 4 20 page assessments (among other arduous requirements) to qualify for a national certification in her specialty.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

World Peace

is totally out of reach. Have you READ THIS? This is so ridiculous.

Thursday 13 #35- Poets

Click here to see other Thursday thirteen participants. Thirteen favorite poets, in no particular order:

1. Robert Frost

2. ee cummings

3. Edna St. Vincent Millay

4. Shel Silverstein

5. Christina Rossetti

6. Edgar Allen Poe

7. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

8. Shakespeare

9. Robert Louis Stevenson

10. Lewis Carroll

11. Sara Teasdale

12. Emily Dickenson

13. King David- Master Psalmist

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Drive By

Just a quick drive by to say hi and happy New Year and Merry Christmaqwaanzikah and whatnot. We're still around. Busy. Tired. Overscheduled. Eating too much. Happy to spend time with Graduate while he's been home, sad we've had to work most of the time he's been here. Gonna be out of town for a couple of days visiting the family, but hope to post a Thursday 13 some time tomorrow.

Hope all of you out there had a joyful and rejuvenating Holiday- whichever winter fest you choose to participate in. Many happy hours curled around a good book with more hours and books in the near future.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Cheap and Easy

Yup, that's me. Cheap and easy. So here it is:



Sunday, December 16, 2007

Meditation on Winter

The sky was a rich blue heavily laced with dark grey storm clouds late this afternoon as I waited in the biting wind. Tiny finger size twigs and bigger branches tossed back and forth like coral in a current. The wind played with me- chasing up the sleeves of my winter coat and tying my hair in knots. I could feel my body heat rising from my head into the sky.

I wanted to walk for blocks in the nighttime quiet. For that's how it was this evening in Old Town. Quiet. The little white lights draped in the trees danced frantically over our heads, clinging to their branches like barnacles in the surf. Winter's frozen currents rushing and swooping around us swirling fallen leaves over our heads. Other than a group of college age carolers, laughing and singing as they rushed up the street, we were alone in Old Town- a rarity neither of us can ever remember in the years we've lived here.

I was refreshed and invigorated. The cold winter wind reminds me of how human I am. How alive I am. I feel brighter. Full of possibility. The earth rests and recuperates, but I'm energized. Somehow in the summer I'm sluggish. Lethargic. I want to hibernate. Like an ant trapped in honey. Winter, though, that's more my season. Gathering energy for the year to come.

2 DNFs

Do You Believe? by Ann Lawrence

Set in contemporary England, this is a gothic romance with a bad boy hero who has slept with the heroine's sister- who is now missing. Could've been interesting, plot wise, but sleeping with the heroine's sister is definitely a no go for me.

Sword of Darkness by Kinley MacGregor

Simply didn't work. Couldn't make it past page 32. I just don't buy the world Ms. MacGregor built and I intensely dislike men who fall in instant lust with a woman because she "tastes of innocence" (my words, not hers). I know some men really do get off on virginity and very young women, but this particular phrase really turns me off.

Friday, December 14, 2007

In hopes of snow tomorrow:

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Out of the bosom of the Air,
Out of the cloud-folds of her garments shaken,
Over the woodlands brown and bare,
Over the harvest-fields forsaken,
Silent, and soft, and slow
Descends the snow.

Even as our cloudy fancies take
Suddenly shape in some divine expression,
Even as the troubled heart doth make
In the white countenance confession,
The troubled sky reveals
The grief it feels.

This is the poem of the air,
Slowly in silent syllables recorded;
This is the secret of despair,
Long in its cloudy bosom hoarded,
Now whispered and revealed
To wood and field.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Thursday 13 #34- Classic Authors

In my permanent collection you will find the following classic authors, usually several volumes each. All are old favorites, some deeply treasured gifts from long deceased family members.

1. P G Wodehouse

2. Pearl S Buck

3. Robert Louis Stevenson

4. Louisa May Alcott

5. Nathaniel Hawthorne

6. The Bronte Sisters

7. Lewis Carroll

8. Charles Dickens

9. Henry David Thoreau

10. Shakespeare

11. George Orwell

12. Gustave Flaubert

13. Alexandre Dumas

The purpose of Thursday Thirteen is so that members of the blogosphere can get to know one another better. Click link in the title above to see a list of other participants. Leave a link in the comments below and I'll link to you here.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Bumperstickers III

Part I can be seen HERE and part II HERE. Recently seen while out and about within our region:

1. I hear voices and they don't like you

2. H2 recovery vehicle seen on a Land Rover

3. Next time you curse a trucker or a farmer please do it with your mouth full Seen on an 18 wheeler waiting at the truck scales

4. You can't be pro war and pro life

5. Ignore your rights and they'll go away

Sunday, December 09, 2007

2 Traditional Regencies

I've always loved traditional Regencies and Christmas stories- this fat volume combines 2 Elizabeth Mansfield stories. One is A Christmas Kiss, originally published in 1978 and the other Winter Wonderland originally published in 1993. I sat on my keister for a whole afternoon and read them- no housework, no errands, no chauffering. Just sat and read, something I've not done since before I went to work.

The first one, A Christmas Kiss, unfolds as both a misunderstanding, not the famous 'big mis' some novels are known for and a device I dislike, and as a May-December governess romance. House parties. Jealous wanna be wives on patrol for a rich husband. Loving siblings. Snow storms. I never knew it snowed so much in England.

The second one, Winter Wonderland used a plot device that has worked in the past, but not in this instance. In this case the male lead was horribly emotionally scarred by a single encounter with the heroine at his first ever ball at the tender age of 19. I finished it, but it never really clicked with me. I found myself picking it apart, and that's always a bad sign.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Toward the Winter Solsitice; Timothy Steele

Although the roof is just a story high,
It dizzies me a little to look down.
I lariat-twirl the cord of Christmas lights
And cast it to the weeping birch’s crown;
A dowel into which I’ve screwed a hook
Enables me to reach, lift, drape, and twine
The cord among the boughs so that the bulbs
Will accent the tree’s elegant design.

Friends, passing home from work or shopping, pause
And call up commendations or critiques.
I make adjustments. Though a potpourri
Of Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Jews, and Sikhs,
We all are conscious of the time of year;
We all enjoy its colorful displays
And keep some festival that mitigates
The dwindling warmth and compass of the days.

Some say that L.A. doesn’t suit the Yule,
But UPS vans now like magi make
Their present-laden rounds, while fallen leaves
Are gaily resurrected in their wake;
The desert lifts a full moon from the east
And issues a dry Santa Ana breeze,
And valets at chic restaurants will soon
Be tending flocks of cars and SUVs.

And as the neighborhoods sink into dusk
The fan palms scattered all across town stand
More calmly prominent, and this place seems
A vast oasis in the Holy Land.
This house might be a caravansary,
The tree a kind of cordial fountainhead
Of welcome, looped and decked with necklaces
And ceintures of green, yellow, blue, and red.

Some wonder if the star of Bethlehem
Occurred when Jupiter and Saturn crossed;
It’s comforting to look up from this roof
And feel that, while all changes, nothing’s lost,
To recollect that in antiquity
The winter solstice fell in Capricorn
And that, in the Orion Nebula,
From swirling gas, new stars are being born.

Poem found at Click link in title above.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Chalchihuitlicue was here

Image found on

She is the Aztec goddess of rain and flowing water. It rained all Sunday afternoon, a light barely noticable drizzle. Enough to soak the ground and drip down the windows. Bead on my potted plants. When I went to bed, though, much later- Chalchihuitlicue poured her blessings upon us.

The wind shook all of my chimes and leaves blew down the street, visible in the yellow glow of the streetlamp. I curled up in our bed listening to the rain drum on the roof and snuggled deeper into the cocoon of warmth. Somehow the rain always helps me sleep better.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

November Synopsis

I managed three titles last month, listed here in reversed reading order.

A Lick of Frost; Laurell K. Hamilton

In This House of Brede; Rumer Godden

Free Food for Millionaires

I've reached the completely uninspiring number of 65 new to me books finished this year. Far, far short of my original goal of 106. Life and times intervened and so I'm satisfied that I've done the best I could under the circumstances. December being the busiest holiday month, I doubt I'll manage more than three books- but it'd be great if I could reach 70 by January 1st.