Showing posts from December, 2017

Between the Years

While the rest of Canada and much of the USA are enduring deeply cold weather, we on the "balmy" west coast watch the rain pelt down. It's very grey outside, dull and heavy. The above photo was taken from my kitchen window - you can see how leaden the background is. 

So let's cozy up by the fire with a mug of tea (I can make coffee, if you'd prefer) and some treats. The photo shows my breakfast bowl of yogurt, berries and nuts, but that's long gone and it's time to break out the cookies. 

There's some Cranberry Orange Shortbread left, and Nanaimo Bars. My daughter made the shortbread. So pretty, and tasty, too. Help yourself. Take two. There's more in the tins.

The paperwhites bloomed beautifully, but didn't seem to have much scent this year. They were starting to fall over and the blossoms dry out, so I gave them a haircut. I don't want to miss any of this bright greenness that is such a wonderful contrast to dull outdoors. Twinkle lights on…

Rambling Thoughts on the Second Day after Christmas

A thin layer of ice lies along the far shore of Tod Inlet. Dull skies cast a monotone light over everything. Bits of snow remain in the woods and the path is icy with compact snow. Our boots crunch.

Early morning on Boxing Day (December 26). I awake around 8 am and my mind feels curiously blank. No mental list of tasks to accomplish. Nothing on the schedule. My head feels physically lighter, somehow, as if there is room inside my skull, and my brain can rattle around freely. 

The woods are infinite shades of green and brown. Tangles of moss creep along branches.

No lessons to plan. No student management issues to think about. No marking to do. (I worked very hard the last week before Christmas to get all the papers marked and back to students.)

Abandoned dock pilings, each with their scarf of emerald and cap of white, stand stoic in the cold. A family of placid ducks swims in and around the pilings. 

No meals to plan - there are plenty of leftovers in the fridge. In the morning I drank my …

Boxing Day Thoughts

Every year I wish for snow on Christmas Day. In looking back I see that 2008 was a white Christmas, and now, 2017. Light snow began on Christmas Eve. In the morning, I looked out the window to see delicate snow frosting branches and foliage, softening the lines of houses and cars, and transforming the landscape. 

It was the first gift of Christmas Day, and the gifting carried on throughout the day. 

Gifts of the day, in no particular order, included:
* little ones arriving in pajamas
* twinkle lights
* pretty, thoughtful presents
* food a-plenty
* interesting conversations observed, listened in on, and participated in
* cousin love
* creative moments
* a little snowman in the back garden
* talking to my parents via phone
* texting siblings
* cups of tea, hot cider, and homemade eggnog

Our son and his wife gave cardboard houses to the three grands. They came flat-packed and the size of each house is rather grander than first thought. We moved the furniture in the eating area/sitting room (some to th…

A Tree of Memories

Each year, as I pull out the two large boxes of Christmas decorations, memories flood into my mind and heart. This season of joy and celebration is also one when remembrance brings emotions of all kinds to the fore. 

When we were first married, Tim and I had a bit of a disagreement about how to decorate the Christmas tree. I wanted everything to be coordinated, with white lights and ornaments of a few, select kinds. He insisted that a Christmas tree should "smile brightly." As in many other things, we've compromised. White lights twinkle through (real) evergreen branches, and the ornaments, of many varieties, smile brightly. Each one holds a memory.

There are the ones stitched by friends, the blown glass ball from a local glassblower, the brass bells found on a trip to the mountain town of Riobamba, the angels that took years to complete, and so on. 

Our tree may never win a decorating prize, but we treasure each ornament it holds. 

These sweet teapot ornaments; there are th…

Before the Party

Dust is banished. China and crystal gleam, waiting to be used. The fridge is bursting. An air of expectancy fills the house as all that's left is to wait. 

How do you feel before a party? Up until Wednesday, two days before the party, my mind whirled, my hand wrote lists, and I woke up at night thinking of something I didn't want to forget (even if it was on the list). 

By Wednesday I realized that everything that needed to be done, had been done, and the rest didn't matter. Last night I did a final dusting and vacuuming. We're ready. I like this stage of hosting big get-togethers.  

I was thinking that this time is a parallel, on a much smaller and insignificant scale, to Advent. We prepare, we count the days, we anticipate, and finally, we just wait until our guests come through the door. Joy fills our being as we welcome each one. Advent, of course, celebrates the coming of just one, so eagerly longed for that the party is held again and again each year.  

This morning …

Across the Strait and Back Again

Morning sunshine streams through the living room window to the dining room. I was caught by the play of light and shadow on the tablecloth there. This past week was full of short, but light-filled days. 

On Friday afternoon, Tim and I rushed home from work, grabbed our bags and headed for the ferry. When we arrived on the mainland, around 6:30 pm, it was fully dark. A wall of fog blanketed the valley and made driving in the darkness seem darker. About 30 minutes from my parents' house, the fog lifted and the skies cleared. 

We didn't see anything of the mountains that night, but the next afternoon, driving into Chilliwack, beautiful Mount Cheam overlooked the town, clearly delineated against a cloudless sky. 

The reason for our visit? My sister's 60th birthday party, planned by her children. It was a fun time to visit with some aunts, uncles, and cousins whom I don't often see, as well as with my parents and siblings. Darlene was a good sport about wearing the tiara for q…

Counting the Days

November in our parts was particularly grey and wet - 27 days included rain; most days saw little or no sunshine. How different December is: clear days when the sun slants low across the garden to brighten home and heart. 

I went out with my camera this week after school to capture a bit of the light. How surprised I was to see this Mountain Bluet (centaurea montana) with a new bloom. I gave the plant a little cheer and praised it for being so stalwart. 

Most of the hydrangea blossoms have faded to papery brown, but a little pale blue remains here and there.

From our breakfast table we look out over the patio to the garden. I plunked some fir trimmings and a few holly stems into a pot, and placed it on the table for a bit of Christmas cheer.

A few people have expressed interest in my grown-up girl's Advent calendar, so here's some information.

For our first child's second Christmas (she was less than 2 months old for her first Christmas), I stitched up an Advent calendar. We we…

First Sunday of Advent

For several years, I joined other bloggers in a link up entitled "A Pause in Advent." The blogger who hosted the link is no longer active. However, I love this season of reflection, of waiting and preparation, and hope to post a little Advent thought each week. 

I looked over some of my earlier posts about Advent and found these words,

I try to read something during my day that I can pull out of my brain at quiet moments. Recently, it was this, from the Celtic Book of Prayer, "Do you have only one minute? Hem it with quietness. Do not spend it in thinking how little time you have. God can give you much in one minute." 

Hemming a day with quietness takes some intention, along with exertion of my will. Can I ensure that I'll take those moments of quiet in place of doing something that will tick one more item off my list? We'll see. 

The five-year-old's parents went to a party today, so we got to spend the day with Miss S. Are you familiar with Jacquie Lawson