Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy 2014

Wishing everyone a year filled with joy, blessings, good health, love and peace.

Monday, December 30, 2013

A Quotation For Monday

"The ordinary arts we practice everyday at home are of more importance to the soul than their simplicity might suggest."  Thomas Moore

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Sunday Sunlight

Taken in February of this year.  It looks absolutely nothing like this here now...the snow that was still on the ground on December 21st is completely gone because we've had highs in the 40's and low 50's for the past several days!  This is the warmest December on record for these mountains, although the nights have been cold with lows in the 20's.  We've even been under a "Red Flag Warning," which means the wildfire danger is extremely high due to high winds (70 mph gusts) and dangerously low humidity.  I've lived here all my life, but I've never seen weather like this in December. 

Saturday, December 28, 2013

A Few Glimpses of Christmas

...Around our little cottage.  The tree was very different this year, due to the completely insane nature of my five youngest cats, Merlin, Malcolm, Penelope, Priscilla and Alyce.  (You have yet to meet the last three).  I bought all new "shatter-resistant" ornaments for the tree and only put a couple of plastic Hallmark ornaments from years past on it.

The little teapot and the "Merry Christmas" are old; everything else is cat-proof (so far, anyway).  Oh, and the wooden candles that my husband made are very old.  The sterling silver bell is our "dated" ornament from last year.  I figured it was cat-proof.  Things have been so crazy this month and last month I forgot to buy a "dated" ornament for this year!

Only six of the treasured ornaments from my childhood were brought out this year, and I placed them up very high.  The two little cardboard houses hung on my Nonna's Christmas trees, the three Father Christmas ornaments hung on my Godmother's Christmas trees, and the barely-visible-at-the-bottom-of-the-photo aqua glass ornament hung on all of my mother's Christmas trees from the year she married my dad (1927)  until she gave it to me in 1971.  I have a photo, somewhere, showing a three-year old me standing in front the Christmas tree with this ornament hanging on that tree. 

More Christmas around the house:


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas

I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas filled with joy and blessings.  I have lots more Christmas photos to post, but that will have to be after tomorrow because it seems like everything went into fast-forward right after I got up from the Thanksgiving table and I'm still behind...on Christmas Eve!  Oops, there goes the cookie timer......Happy Christmas!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Winter Solstice/Yule

On this day, every winter, the hours of day and night are equal.  Tomorrow, the amount of daylight will increase a bit every day until the Summer Solstice, when the amount of daylight starts decreasing. 

The Yule log is lit and burning brightly here in my living room fireplace.  It's quiet in the narrow valley where my cottage is tucked in among the pines and cedars, except for the sleepy murmur of the creek and the faint sound of the wheel of the year revolving as Mother Earth turns back to the light of Grandfather Sun.

Monday, December 16, 2013

A Quotation for Monday

"Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see." 
Mark Twain 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Sunday Sunlight

Icicles hanging from the roof of the cats' play yard.  The way the light was shining through them caught my attention.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Settled In

I finished this painting of a friend's cat a few days ago and remembered, for once, to take a photo of it before it went to live in her home, although I should have photographed it before I put it behind glass and framed it. She saw the small version a couple of years ago when she was out here visiting a mutual friend and called me last summer to ask if I could do a bigger one.  She sent me a photo of her cat; she wasn't kidding when she said the kitty in my original small painting looked just like her Tomaso.  I'm going to try to remember to take photos of each of my paintings before they go to their new homes because I know there is a day coming when I won't be able to paint; it will be nice to be able to look back at what I created.  I wish I had started taking photos of all of my work a long time ago.  Ah, well...

Saturday, December 7, 2013

December Snow

Out of the bosom of the Air,
Out of the cloud-folds of her garments shaken,
Over the woodlands brown and bare,
Silent and soft and slow
Descends the snow.  ~~ H. W. Longfellow

Sunday, December 1, 2013

A Christmas Memory

The first weeks of December were a wonderful time in Mrs. Van Ostrand's first grade classroom.  On the big windows that looked out on the forest, we used stencils and Glass Wax to make Santa Clauses, reindeer, candy canes, stars and snowflakes, even though real snowflakes were usually falling on the other side of the windows.  (In the Big Bear, CA, of the 1950's, you could absolutely depend on snow in December).  After we finished the window stencils, Mrs. Van Ostrand gave each one of us blunted scissors, construction paper, cotton puffs, glitter and glue.  Then she guided us in fashioning decorations to take home to our families and decorations to put on the little tree in her classroom. 

Each year her first grade class sang a carol at the school's Christmas pageant, and my favorite part of the day was when she taught us to sing the carol she had picked out for that year.  Our carol was "Silent Night," and we learned a few lines every day.  I was having trouble with the "round yon virgin" part because it just didn't make sense to me.  Shouldn't it be "young?"  Just what was a "yon," anyway?  Mrs. Van Ostrand patiently explained it to me, but I think her patience was sorely tried when, as we were singing for the second time the verse "holy infant so tender and mild," my barely six year old brain had a moment of misunderstanding so epic it caused her to never use this carol again.  I shrieked, "Tender and mild!?  They cooked Baby Jesus!?  THEY COOKED BABY JESUS LIKE A TURKEY!!

It's not always a good thing to have a vivid imagination...
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