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I bought our Christmas tree last night. I love Christmas, and always want to do everything early, like decorate the house, but somehow I don’t ever get around to it until ‘late’. The tree selection was getting quite thin at my preferred farm, but I found a lovely Fraser fir. Its very top branches twist together like a graceful ballerina’s arms. It took us three tries to get it in the stand, with my sawing off nubbins and bottom branches in between efforts. I’m very proud that I didn’t saw into one of my arms or legs though, and consider that my most significant accomplishment of this holiday season. And the tree is indeed up, though I’m giving it until tomorrow night or Saturday to relax and let down its hair (or branches) a bit before we take to ornamenting it.

The tree lot is next to a working farm, and at the edge of the fence, I found Pony and Farm Beast in a stand-off.

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Boulder, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “It is a miracle if you can find true friends, and it is a miracle if you have enough food to eat, and it is a miracle if you get to spend your days and evenings doing whatever it is you like to do, and the holiday season – like all the other seasons – is a good time not only to tell stories of miracles, but to think about the miracles in your own life, and to be grateful for them, and that’s the end of this particular story.” — Lemony Snicket

Daily gratitudes:
My Santa Hat
Joy
Knee-deep snow
That depression has taken a seat in the shadows today
Birds on a wire

 

It’s so nice to have a Jackalope for the holidays!

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Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Quote of the day: “A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us.” — Franz Kafka

Daily gratitudes:
Having a partner
Dot’s Diner
That Kelsea is here (and that she got a 97 on her Calculus final)
The reviews for Tuscan Whole Milk on Amazon.com
My string of holstein lights

I haven’t gussied up the Bungalow yet for the holidays, but our wonderful lodging in Santa Fe was all done up.  I love the simple red and green.

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Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Quote of the day:  “I wish you could have been there for the sun & the rain & the long, hard hills. For the sound of a thousand conversations scattered along the road. For the people laughing & crying & remembering at the end. But, mainly, I wish you could have been there.”  —  Brian Andreas

Daily gratitudes:
MKL
Festive times
Snuggling
Hawks
My Kelsea

I miss cabooses on trains, especially little red cabooses.  When I was a child and we were fortunate enough to be at the front of a railroad crossing when a freight train came through, we would always wave at the man on the caboose and the man would always wave back.  This cheerful little Christmas caboose stirred up some nice memories, even as MKL and I made new ones.

Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Quote of the day: “Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life.”  —  Jack Kerouac

Daily gratitudes:
MKL
Jerk chicken soup
A bath in my clawfoot tub
Slight fog
Rudolpho

It’s off-and-on pouring rain here outside of Boulder, Colorado tonight, so the always much-anticipated fireworks are not to be – we only get what the lightning provides.  Instead, I am replaying memorable fireworks exhibitions from years past in my head, and I wanted to share.

The first fireworks I ever saw were from the stadium at Duke University.  That was our traditional fireworks watching spot, and to my small eyes, they were quite impressive.  I (as always) had lots of questions as to how the whole thing worked, and I recall my dad patiently (as always) explaining.  I always worried that the guys on the track who were shooting off the fireworks were going to blow themselves up somehow, but that never happened.

For whatever reason one year, my family decided to view the fireworks show at the county stadium.  Since we didn’t like crowds, we put a blanket out in the field next to the stadium and watched from there.  It was amazing.  I lay on my back in the warm night and fireworks exploded right above me, creating an umbrella of sparkling lights.  I felt like magic.

After I moved to Colorado, Pat and I watched fireworks from a variety of memorable locations.  The rooftop of the pool hall we frequented, the top level of the parking garage where we used to roller skate, the pitch black hillside near the cemetary where we drank champagne on Sunday afternoons.  We always had a good time, and Pat always remembered his childhood fireworks-viewing experiences, in particular, a lady sitting behind him once when he was small who said, “Oooooh, that’s a pretty one,” with every display.

After Kelsea came along, we spent many July 4ths with another couple we had known for years who had a daughter of a similar age.  Our dogs have always hated fireworks – JT got out of the yard on one of his last 4th of Julys and we thought he was gone forever.  Champ and Roscoe are now whimpering softly at my feet in response to the pops around the neighborhood.  (I’m housesitting for Pat again – didn’t mention that, did I?  Well, it’s raising enough challenging emotions, just like it always does, for a whole blog in itself.)

I’m still a kid at heart – I still love the lights, the patterns, the sparkles, the colors.  As the cool breeze blows through the window, and I listen to the sound of the falling rain, it doesn’t feel quite like a usual 4th of July.  But glancing over my shoulder at the last year or two, from this house in which I tried and failed to make a home, it does feel like Independence Day.  I must remember that.

Well, another Christmas come and gone.  Overall, it was quite pleasant.  Mr. GF and I had an early Christmas morning opening presents, after which I went over to Pat’s to do Christmas with Kelsea and the clan.  Pat made enough good food to feed twelve people, and I stayed for about 4 hours.  I love being with Kelsea, but I missed Mr. GF and didn’t like leaving him sitting in my house alone, although as he told me, he’s a grown-up and can take care of himself.  Of course he can, but I want to be with my family at Christmas and he is rapidly becoming part of my family (and Kelsea’s – they seem to be getting a bit more accustomed to each other.)

Trying to balance my new life with my old life sometimes makes me break out in guilt pimples.  Or even extreme raging guilt acne. 

I adore spending time with Kelsea.  And I adore spending time with Mr. GF.  But as you might imagine, sometimes the two don’t mix, especially in the early stages of a relationship.  He and I need our time alone, and he and she need time to get accustomed to each other.  Due to schedules, logistics, work, etc., he and I don’t get to spend as much time together as we’d like.  And sharing Kelsea with Pat, I don’t get to spend as much time with her as I’d like.  The nice thing is that Mr. GF appreciates that she is a priority in my life, just as he is.

So  let’s assume that Mr. GF and I are together next Christmas.  How can I manage it?  He can’t very well go to Pat’s house for the festivities.  What if he and I want to go away?  I can’t take Kelsea away from her dad and her cousins at Christmas.  Perhaps it will be one Christmas with Pat and the next with me, wherever I am.  I guess it’s too soon to bother thinking about such things.  A lot can change in a year, as we well know.  People do this all the time with kids.  If anyone can do it, I can.  I love her that much.  And I love Mr. GF and I love my own new life.  The power of positive thinking… I can do anything, I can make anything work.

Love gives you strength.

Today is Guardian Angels Day, World Farm Animals Day, and Phileas Fogg’s Wager Day.  

I just read (well, about three books ago) Jules Verne’s Around the World in 80 Days for the first time. That seems unbelievable to me but it’s true.  It was a good book – if you haven’t read it, you should.

It is also the the birthday of both Groucho Marx and Ghandi.  I wonder if Ghandi liked Groucho Marx movies?

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