Monday, December 27, 2010

A Snowglobe Christmas

We had a surprise gift late Christmas night--snow! When I woke up yesterday there was over an inch on the ground and it continued to snow lightly all day long. Although the roads here are not safe when there is any ice at all, and even though I still had to go to work, it has been just beautiful outside and I find myself repeatedly drawn to the windows to look. It is beginning to melt today in sunny spots, even though it is bitterly cold outside. I think the high today is 38F, with strong winds and tonight a near-record low of 18F is expected--and the winds will continue. The wind chill is expected to be below 0! We're getting real winter weather for the holidays this year!

We have discovered a new (to us) band this Christmas...Pink Martini. I bought Husband a copy of their new release "Joy to the World" for his stocking after he heard them perform live on NPR and thought they were awesome. It's a holiday album, but in addition to some traditional carols that you might expect, there is a Hannukah song, a Chinese New Year's song, and other assorted surprises. Our favorite is "A Snowglobe Christmas". It features a steel guitar! :)

"...and when the snowflakes fall among the Douglas fir
it's like a snowglobe Christmas and we're living in a perfect world
of trees............and harmony.........
I'm there with you
you're here with me."

Our very own snowglobe yard!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Just rushing in quickly to wish everyone a merry, joyous Christmas! May your hearts be full of warmth, joy, love and peace!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Solstice Day

It is finally here-solstice, or the point of the year when the darkness reaches it's pinnacle, and the longest night arrives. After this week the light will slowly begin to return, but for now the sun seems to "stand still" in the sky, and the darkness holds sway.

Today I am doing the last bit of shopping for the holiday (mostly food items) and some last minute house cleaning. Then I plan take Ginger for a quiet winter walk late in the afternoon. It's a cold, cloudy day here that feels right for the season. Almost everyone in our neighborhood has decorated their yards and porches. Despite the cold I love walking around and looking at all the lights as the sun goes down. After it gets dark, I plan to mark the longest night by lighting candles all over the house and keeping a warm fire burning in the fireplace. It's a night to gather around the hearth with loved ones and enjoy the warmth and light we can create for each other.

Happy Winter Solstice to all! May the returning light bring you hope, joy, health, and happiness in the upcoming new year!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Ready or not...

I can't believe how cold it is here. Last night was 26F with 20-30mph wind. Brrr! That's pretty chilly here in South Carolina, esp. so early in the winter!  Tonight is supposed get down to 19F, and tomorrow to 17F. Although I am dreading the power bill next month, I have to admit I kind of like this. It really feels like the holidays are here when it's so cold outside. I love our new fireplace (the first time we've ever rented a house with a working one!) and getting cozy with my knitting and a glass of wine while the wind howls outside. I sure hope this early cold means we'll be seeing some snow this year! Last year we got a couple of inches one night, but it melted away by noon.

Snow for Christmas would be nice, but that hasn't happened since 1989. I remember exactly because that was the Christmas day that my dad's father died suddenly of a heart attack. Although it would bring back some sad memories for my family, I think enough time has passed that it wouldn't be so bad. I' m not counting on it, though. I was 14 (!!!) when it happened last, so I don't think the odds are all that great!

I am officially very behind on holiday preparations. Tomorrow is my last day off until Dec. 21 so I must get some cleaning and shopping done. I am not by nature a shopper, it is not something I enjoy, and I always seem to put it off for as long as possible. This year since we're not buying lots of gifts it shouldn't be too bad.
My two biggest shopping problems are what to get my dad and father in law. They're tough ones to buy things for. Besides that, it's just lots of drudge the house, making lists, planning meals, and shopping for those meals. Since this is our busiest time of year at work, I don't have much energy left when I get home, and I've been procrastinating on making the holiday happen. I have a feeling I'll be paying for it for the next week if I want to have a celebration at all this year. Thank goodness I don't have kids! Then I'd really be in trouble! :)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

That Winter Weather

I have a song stuck in my head this morning (I am prone to earworms!) thanks to the unseasonable cold that has descended on my part of the world:

"I love that winter weather,
so the two of us can get together.
There's nothing sweeter.....finer
when it's nice and cold,
I can hold
my baby closer to me
and collect the kisses that are due me.
I love that winter weather
'Cause I've got my love to keep me warm!"

My apologies to the the singer, I was too lazy to go check out who to attribute this to. A few years back this was on the holiday CD that we played at work. So now it's spinning endlessly in my head, and probably will be for the rest of the day. Oh well. At least I like the song!

We really have had some serious cold weather for early December. It has been well below freezing for several nights now. A couple of those nights got down into the teens. When I took Ginger out for a walk yesterday the wind was up from the east and it felt like ice against my face. Between the bitter cold and the long nights, I am finding that all I want to do is crawl under the covers of my warm bed and sleep for long hours. I've been falling asleep early and staying asleep 10 hours or more every night. I am dreaming more (or remembering my dreams more) and I wake up groggy, which is unusual for me. I suppose it's an inborn urge to semi-hibernate.

We are in the middle of the advent season after all, the season of waiting for the light to slowly return. The time to gather around the hearth, to tell stories and dream. The time to draw closer to those we love, and to wait for the light together. And to bring some of our inner light into the world.

Yesterday morning I saw some squirrels out in the bitter cold, digging in the ground looking for food stashed away and not having much luck. I felt bad for the little guys, so when I went to the grocery store later in the day I picked up a big bag of roasted unsalted peanuts. Before dark I went out and scattered them in the backyard. This morning I peeked out as soon as I woke up, and three squirrels were having themselves a feast! It gave me a warm glow to make life easier for them this time of year, even if they are just common neighborhood squirrels.

I also bought a box of food for our local food bank at the grocery store yesterday (they are a donation site with premade boxes for $5) and I have been trying since thanksgiving to buy a box each time I do our household shopping. It's a small thing to do when we have so much, but small things added together can do great things!

How do you share your inner light with the world this time of year? Does the winter weather inspire you to bring warmth to others?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Season Approaches!

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas here! Last week we bought a 7 foot live tree and it makes our house smell amazing! It's all decorated with shiny silver and glass ornaments, white lights, and my bird ornament collection. I plan to post some pictures later this week.

The weather is certainly cooperating to make the season feel authentic. We have had near record low temps the last few nights (15F this morning) for this time of year. Brrr!!!! It has been nice to curl up by the fireplace after work with a glass of wine.

Speaking of work, it has been especially stressful for the last week or so-I found out someone I trusted and liked was being dishonest and I had to fire her-but I am trying not to let it ruin the holiday. I spent a few days feeling just awful about the whole situation. Then I decided that it was time to move on...this person will have to deal with her own conscience. Mine is clear. Although I feel bad that she is now unemployed at Christmastime, she put herself in that position. I really had no choice. And now I hear that she is angry with me, and blames me....I guess it's easier than blaming herself. She is not the person I thought she was. I suppose we're better off without her.

Back to the holiday season....Husband and I have decided that we are only going to buy minimal gifts this year for immediate family. We're going to take some of the money we save and make a donation to Doctors Without Borders and our local food bank. We have so much, that we don't need more "stuff" to enjoy the season. Our house is decorated, the Christmas cards have been sent....we're planning Christmas morning brunch with my parents, and a New Year's Eve oyster roast with friends and coworkers...and our respective work holiday parties....we don't need lots of gifts to make our season bright!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

30 Things

I was tagged in a facebook meme by a friend of mine and decided it would make a great "get to know the blogger" post. Here goes!

30 Things About Me

Write 30 random things about yourself and tag 20 people, including the person who tagged you!

1. I once had a paying job raising and socializing baby parrots.

2. Spring is my favorite season, possibly because I am a March baby.

3. I am an only child. I wish I had siblings.

4. I played the flute for 6 years growing up, and in high school did the ultimate nerd thing for a year-I was in marching band.

5. I hated high school.

6. I am afraid of water. Death by drowing is my ultimate nightmare.

7. Green is my favorite color.

8. When I was in college I had a secret dream to join the Peace Corps. I still might one day.

9. I love to garden, and herbs and heirloom tomatoes are my favorite things to grow.

10. Lilies are my favorite flower.

11. I like British comedy.

12. My husband used to be a professional drummer. I am in awe of this. I cannot even learn to hold the sticks properly to do a basic drumroll.

13. I taught myself to knit, though.

14. When I was a teenager, my dad and I once discovered a dead body in a parking lot. True story.

15. I love (and need) to spend lots of time alone.

16. I don't watch tv. Haven't for years.

17. My husband is my best friend, and a really cool guy.

18. I am fascinated by Chinese history (esp. 19th century) and culture. I think I must have been a Chinese peasant in a past life.

19. Really Meg? Thirty? This is hard!

20. I love love love to read. This has been the case since I was 5 years old and first started to learn.

21. I hate pretentious people.

22. I like seafood, and could eat nothing but various forms of bread for the rest of my life, and die happy.

23. I want to take a long vacation one day to explore the Pacific Northwest. Hopefully within the next few years.

24. I am not afraid of spiders, but mice make my skin crawl.

25. I watch a lot of foreign films.

26. I make a mean strawberry daquiri.

27. I like to cook, but hate to clean up afterwards (and I make a mess).

28. A bird is sitting on my shoulder as I type this.

29. I truly believe in karma and the principle of reaping tenfold what you sow.

30. The madness stops here! I'm not tagging anyone!