Friday, December 31, 2010

my year


I'm ending this last morning of 2010 in pajamas and new slippers with a mug of coffee in hand and (probably the last of the) holiday music playing and the view of my partially-decorated Christmas tree out the window, at an hour when I usually would have been at work already, for quite some time. It's leisurely and slow-paced and I like it.

2010 was a tough year. There have been moments so low I never thought them possible. I've been working hard to clear out space in my life, perhaps harder than I've ever worked on anything in my life. I've made big changes and awoken to new possibilities and gotten clearer about what I want out of life. I've had to shift my priorities and discover what feels true and cope with my surroundings in a different way so as to hear my own heart.

In a word, I've been refocusing.

And now that I'm slowly making all this new space in my mind and my soul and my heart, I'm beginning to feel ready to let new things in. Things that will meet my new requirements, that will feel true to me, that will serve me. They will probably not be the things I've accumulated between 1987 and 2010. They will be new and tingly and scary and bursting with life.

And I think in 2011 I'll get that much closer.

It's about time.


So once again I've completely stopped posting out of fear of what I'd write.

Because I knew exactly what I was going to write.

Christmas was lovely (I love the season probably more than is healthy), but Christmas Eve I found myself at the grocery store wishing to invite myself home with the sweet old woman buying bagels or the gentleman in the parking lot unloading party goods.

It's propelled me forward to see more clearly what I wish for my future. And holding back tears in the grocery store on Christmas Eve wishing to go home to parties with complete strangers is not on the menu.

There. That's settled. (Sometimes typing that out is the hardest part!)

Nevertheless, Christmas Day was entirely peaceful. Family stayed over until long past they usually do while we played board games, listened to Christmas music, ate exorbitant amounts of dessert, opened gifts, and lit Christmas sparklers in the cold.

table settingsrachel on christmasthe old christmas switchplateready for christmasmulled wineornament hung with carethe sibs (james, rachel, mary, ruth)cranium of course

Sunday, December 26, 2010

there's a blizzard warning in effect...

nighttime christmas lights

...and I plan on doing nothing else but staying indoors and drinking tea and playing with my new toys.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

a better view

decoration from my mother

I told my mother the view from my bedroom window was too boring--no festivity, no decoration, only a huge evergreen. Let's put lights on that too, I told her.

Don't be silly, she said. Years ago we could place a star on top, but now it's grown to over twenty feet high. Impossible.

A week later, she's decorated a small section of it, just a small part I see through my bedroom window. Baubles hang from its branches and ribbons blow in the breeze.

It, and that simple act, make me smile.

crafty crafty

old bolts of

Last week when Jana asked me if I had made any presents this Christmas, I panicked. I had such high hopes for saving money and getting creative and planning each gift out.

So, naturally, six days before Christmas, I went into crazy-mode, and spent my entire Sunday hunched in front of the sewing machine.

I'm proud, though. And finally done. Bring it on, Christmas.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

baking night

christmas apronspeppermintsbusy bakingpeppermint cookies

A friend who gets just as giddy as you

to stay in on a Saturday night

and don a Christmas apron,
turn up the Christmas music,
and bake Christmas cookies

is quite invaluable, I think.

Thanks, Lauren.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Sunday, December 19, 2010

fairly certain


There are times when I'm fairly certain

that purchasing a scented candle from Target for $4.99

(that comes in a decorative glass holder)

greatly contributes to the quality of my soul.

a dapple of my weekend

piano-masternativitynew headbandblurry reflectionchai and sewingeggplant, sliced

Christmas is coming.

I was hurrying, like usual.

But it was a good hurrying.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

a little reprieve

winter garland

Last night, I was in a sour mood and wanted nothing more than to wallow in bed with The Office and fall asleep early.

This morning, I feel wintery and Christmasy and in much better spirits.

Funny what an unexpected morning off from work can do for you.

Monday, December 13, 2010

a snowy morning

a dustingsnowfallthe shed roof

Saturday morning, we awoke to a blanket of white.

Granted, it was only a dusting, and was melted by noon, but still.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

getting into the season

presents wrappedchristmas lights strunghouse lightsblanche under the tree

This weekend, we finally got around to decorating for Christmas (and with two whole weeks to spare, at that). My mother and I decided to get bold and even climbed ladders to pin lights up on the roof. It was seriously impressive.

The tree can be up and the lights can be on and the garland can be strung and the presents can be wrapped, but I still feel like I'm not quite ready for Christmas yet. My head's not in it, all the way.

Maybe I just need to get my cards in the mail. That must be it.

a growing-girl birthday party

Mary's eleventh birthday party filled our Friday night this past weekend. (How is she eleven already?!) Remember the days of silly games and watching presents be opened (always the most boring part) and awkward encounters with girls-you-only-slightly-knew?

I'm glad I get to relive these days through a little sibling.

Happy birthday, Mary!

singing and cakelaughing like a crazy womanparty craft

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

christmas future

christmas trees for sale
christmas lights galore

Maybe someday I'll

put Christmas lights out on the lawn

and shop for my own Christmas tree.

Maybe someday.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

in the morning.


It was 7:25am. I needed to be gathering my things and leaving for work. Not in the backyard taking this picture.

But it's my slow step. Maybe tomorrow I'll be ready earlier and have time to take a picture leisurely. Maybe after that I'll set the alarm for a few minutes earlier. Maybe someday I'll be able to practice yoga on my mat on the dining room floor, before anyone else is awake. Maybe someday I'll have enough time to walk through the woods before scrambling out the door.

But for now--I've taken a picture. And I'm setting the intention.

waiting for me to arrive


My thoughts turn to something I read once, something the Zen Buddhists believe. They say that an oak tree is brought into creation by two forces at the same time. Obviously, there is the acorn from which it all begins, the seed which holds all the promise and potential, which grows into the tree. Everybody can see that. But only a few can recognize that there is another force operating here as well--the future tree itself, which wants so badly to exist that it pulls the acorn into being, drawing the seedling forth with longing out of the void, guiding the evolution from nothingness to maturity. In this respect, say the Zens, it is the oak tree that creates the very acorn from which it is born.

--Eat, Pray, Love

Sunday, December 5, 2010

a dapple of my weekend

chilllllyold crab applepretty branchesat the base of a quad-treeby the pondbalancingperiloussunlit tree topsclementinesparsnip cake

1. A chilly weekend.
2. An old crab apple lingering in the driveway.
3. Some pretty branches.
4. A huge tree in the middle of the woods, growing up into four separate trunks.
5. A walk by the pond with James, Mary, and her friend Kelsey.
6. Balancing across a fallen tree.
7. Being wary of the mud below.
8. Fading afternoon sunlight, only lasting on the treetops.
9. A bowl of so-much winter citrus.
10. My parsnip cake with cream cheese frosting.

Last week's cyber-absence (well, for the most part) was much needed. Sometimes I put too much pressure on myself to blog and it just doesn't become fun anymore. I tried to limit my computer usage overall last week and felt much better. I think I'm learning that it's way too easy to lose track of time at the computer, and that I'd have so much more to do if I took out half the time I spend staring at my screen. Priorities, priorities.

This weekend felt a little off. Despite the beautiful weather and so much free time (after a busy week at work, it was exactly what I needed), I still couldn't settle into the lazy mornings and free afternoons. Hopefully getting back into the swing of things this week will quiet my mind. Funny how that works.

Here's to a not-too-busy getting-closer-to-Christmas week.