Sweet Tennessee!

Sweet Tennessee!

December 31, 2011

My Not-So-Secret-Anymore.. Love of Staircases!

So here's the thing all.  Since i was a child of about three or so.. i've had a fascination with, and love of.. staircases of all kinds.  Spiral staircases.. steep staircases.. 'hidden' staircases.. and just the plain ol' straight up staircases!  Where do they lead?  What is UP there?  Secret rooms?  Neat surprises?  Books, possibly?  And is there an attic above whatever is up there?  Interesting view from 'up tall' like that?  (That's the three or four year old M wondering... )  I always wanted to go UP.  My mother, knowing i had this curiosity, always told me before we visited acquaintances or friends, to mind my manners.  That it's impolite to ask..  even nicely.. if i can see upstairs.  :)  So i used to stand at the foot sometimes and look longingly up when i thought no one was watching.  Now that i'm a grown-up; i live in a three bedroom ranch house.  I like it and all. But alas.. no stairs!  I MISS a house with a staircase.  My parents' old Victorian in New England has a pretty staircase in its hall.  My grandparents' 150 year old farmhouse has TWO staircases.  A front one and a back one!  How much fun was THAT when i was a kid?  Lots, i tell you!  No surprise then, that my favorite Nancy Drew mystery is 'The Hidden Staircase'.  Or that my second favorite is 'The Mystery of the 99 Steps!  Or that i adore the novel 'The 39 Steps' by John Buchan.  Some of my favorite books feature 'stairs' prominently, or the word is part of their title!  There's just something special and mysterious about a beautiful set of stairs.  I'll never forget the time i saw the Grand Staircase at the Breakers Mansion in Newport, RI.  It's breathtaking!

There are 'so' many sets of stairs i want to see in the Universe, and when i become the world traveler i want to be someday; i will see them all!  And i figure; when i'm traveling the world, i can pretty much eat whatever i want.  Well, within reason.  Because climbing all those steps will be GOOD for me.  I won't flab out on these journeys around the globe.  One of the first i want to see.. i also want to share with you.  It's the beautiful spiral staircase at the Musee Gustave Moreau in Paris!  It's magnificent!  There are a couple of beautiful photos of it on this link.


Gorgeous.. isn't it?  I want to climb that one of these days!  Sooner rather than later.  Another one i'd like to see.. and climb, of course.. sometime in the future.. is the gorgeous staircase at the Lello Bookstore in Porto, Portugal!  That is one breathtaking.. possibly in more ways than one.. set of steps!  Want to share that one with you also.  Maybe some of you have seen it and climbed it already?  I mean, it's in a BOOKSTORE!  What more could i want?!


How amazing is THAT?!  I know, right?  :)  And the one more link i want to share is probably one of my favorite set of steps of all time.  Though they're not long.  Or spiral.  Or steep.  Or hidden.  And i'll never be able to climb these steps...  They are.. drumroll please..!  The Stairs That Go Nowhere, from the film.. 'The Seven Year Itch'!  Yes.  I love those.  And they feature prominently in the movie too.  In fact, here's a staircase scene featuring none other than Marilyn Monroe..  :)


Love love love that scene.. and the entire movie.  Well, i won't keep you any longer on this wonderful New Year's Eve, 2011...  soon to be beautiful 2012!  Have a Happy New Year, and please keep yourselves safe this Saturday, December Thirty First, Two Thousand Eleven.  M for Magnificent Stairs to Climb and Marvelous Things to Discover 'Up Tall'!

December 28, 2011

It's Wintertime!

It's officially Winter all!  It has felt like Winter, at least in these Northwest parts, for about six weeks.  Now of course, with the celebration of the Solstice having passed and all, the season is officially upon us.  I've made a decision to embrace it!  To welcome it with open arms and a big happy grin on my face.  Today.. we have heavy rain and temperatures hovering between forty eight to fifty two degrees.  'Normal' Oregon Winter weather.  And believe it or not.. i'm loving the rain.  Just took a four mile walk in it.  Think it's time i check my feet for webbing.  :) ....  Nope.  I still have regular feet!  I love to walk in the rain.  I won't melt after all.  And i have a bright, beautiful, lemon yellow umbrella to brighten the gray skies!  The rain makes me want to walk faster to dodge raindrops.  It's more comfy to walk in the rain than it is in the cold.  I just need to wear the proper rain gear, and voila!  All set.  No sidewalks covered with ice.  And this moisture is excellent for my complexion let me tell you!  It's good for the trees.  For the grass.  The moss.  :D  That last item, we could clearly live without.  But all in all.. and here.. i like to quote from a song i like.. 'raindrops keep fallin' on my head!  But that doesn't mean my eyes will soon be turnin' red!  Cryin's not for me!  'Cause i'm never gonna stop the rain by complainin'!.....  And so on and so forth..   In the spirit of the colder, darker season, which, as i stated above, i'm embracing with a happy heart, i want to share two beautiful songs.. one classical and one a blues piece.. that go along with my wintry spirit.  Ready to listen to some beautiful music?  Sit back and listen with a nice warm mug of something yummy.  I will.  As i listen to the rain on our roof, and watch the darkening sky..  This is beautiful music indeed...


Vivaldi's 'Winter' is my favorite of his 'Four Seasons', and one of my favorite selections of music in the Universe.  Easy to embrace Winter.. the actual season.. when there's gorgeous music like that to be heard..
Now.. for number two..


Ah Stormy Weather.. in one's heart, AND in the great outdoors!  Wonderful.  Well.. peace all.  Hope you've had some time to relax and enjoy the company of your loved ones this last week or so.  Sending this out with love on this Wednesday, the Twenty Eighth of December, Two Thousand Eleven.  M for Musical Winter Heart!

December 26, 2011

Wassail Season!

Christmas Day passes too quickly.  Every year.  We had a beautiful day as every year!  Still and all.. the weeks leading up up to Christmas are so full of excitement, song and planning.  When the day is over; it seems like a happy blur.  I mean.. it CAN"T be over this soon?  Can it?  Why yes.  Yes it certainly can.  And the wonderful New Year will be here soon.  Very soon.  My heart is happy and full of songs left to be sung!  The days are getting longer.  :)  S and i are making plans for Spring and Summer vacations.  I've slacked off of late on my walking regimen.  Have walked some the last couple weeks, but before the Christmas season was in full swing, i had worked up to 4-5 miles a day.  Then we had a cold snap.  Especially cold for the Pacific Northwest!  And.. as i 'always' do this time of year.. i indulged a little too often in peppermint bark..( a favorite seasonal treat,) and peppermint whoopie pies.  MUST get back to my routine.  The damage isn't too heavy..  :) .. so i'm thankful i didn't go WAY overboard!  I do; however, feel quite lazy.  So, must get back into the swing.  It's time to celebrate the start of a beautiful New Year.  Full of possibilities!  I'll try to keep my New Year's resolutions realistic.  And i'll only make two or three.

There's one seasonal treat i've never made.  One that sounds delicious and is full of tradition.  I'll make a pot of wassail.  Always loved the traditional wassailing carol, though i wasn't sure what wassailing actually is!  Now that i know; i adore the idea.  The word comes from the Middle English 'waes hael.'  It was the custom, every year, of villagers going into their apple orchards around Southwest England, and singing to the apple trees to chase away evil spirits and insure a good harvest in Autumn!  Now that's something i would have done all those years ago and loved.  I 'totally' would have sung to fruit bearing trees.  Tree hugger and lover that i am.  Yes, those ancient ancestors of mine sang to trees and drank wassail until they were 'happy and joyful'!  So i've decided to make a 'batch' of yummy wassail for S and myself because it sounds fun, AND it will honor our forebears and the coming New Year!  And i'll want to make enough to share with neighbors and friends.  I want to share this recipe i found in case any of you decide to make your own special holiday wassail!  After all, love and joy will come to you!


Looks and sounds exquisite, and like quite a way to celebrate.  Don't you think?  I love the process of making new things too.  The scents, and putting ingredients together.  Love. It!

Also would like to share the 'Wassailing Song'.  Always a favorite of mine.  It makes me want to sing along.. and wassail.


Making my wassail sounds like so much fun i don't want to wait.  But it's dinnertime on this Monday, the Twenty Sixth of December, Two Thousand Eleven.  Think i'll wait until New Year's Eve eve.  Lots of fun!  Have a wonderful evening all.  'See' you soon..  W for Wonderful Wassailing and Wishing..

December 22, 2011

Our Tennessee!

To the right of the page is our beautiful cat Tennessee.  Tennessee Tuxedo.  He of the magnificent whiskers and puma paws.  An all around sweetheart of a boy.  Tenn came to us as a feral cat.  It took months for him to trust us.  We have a large koi pond in our backyard, and he first started coming around to drink.  He cried and cried and cried then.  A tiny, hungry little guy.  S and i began leaving bowls of food out for him.  We left them quite a distance from the house and then we 'disappeared' inside.  He always waited behind a bush until he was certain we were gone; then he came out to eat.. stopping to look cautiously around the entire time, until every scrap of food was gone.  This went on for a couple of months.  Eventually, we were able to trap him and take him to the vet to be neutered and to have all the necessary shots.  For a year, he stayed outside during the day; and at night, he slept in our storage shed with a comfy, warm kitty bed, lots of water and plenty of food.  We have coyotes in our neighborhood, and have friends who've lost their kitties to those dangerous (to cats) animals!  He's been with us for six years now, and he is an indoor kitty ALL THE TIME!  My little Tenn-Quid, as i love to call him, is such an affectionate kitty boy now.  Many nights, he sleeps at the foot of our bed, and sometimes leans on me the way i've seen some Golden Retrievers lean on their people.  Our little man has the most wonderful whiskers we've ever seen, and huge mountain lion-like paws.  And his purr.. well it's quite a noisy motor, and almost sounds as if he's trying to sing.  We adore him with all our hearts, and we know he loves and trusts us implicitly.  When an animal sleeps near you, he knows deep down that you would never.. EVER hurt him/her.  We love that he trusts us like that.  I think it says S and I are good people!  :)  I believe we were meant to be his.  It was good fortune that he found us, some might say.  At one time, that's what i thought.  Now i think he was meant for us, and has taught us much.  Whenever someone tells me that animals are incapable of love.. (i know, right?  Can you believe THAT?)... i tell them they're full of s***.  Well, i don't say that exactly, but i beg to differ!

And while i'm here.. i'd like to post Tennessee's theme song.  Yes!  All four of our cats have their own individual theme song.  :)  So..  Tenn's theme is 'Green Peppers', by Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass.  A perky. mischievous song that fits his personality to a T!  Here you go!  Enjoy.


Cool song, right?!  And vintage too.  I love vintage, by the way. So, i guess that's it for now.  This Thursday, December Twenty Second, Two Thousand Eleven.  M.. for Marvelous Tennessee.

December 20, 2011

Homes and Love Forever!

My afternoon was made when i found out that a blind hound mix, who'd been at the Oregon Humane Society for five (long) months, had finally found a loving home!  Dallas went home with a nice older man who already has another special needs dog in his home!  :)  The dogs were able to meet and become acquainted before Dallas was happily adopted.  Yay for humans!!  As i state in my introduction, i love to find the joy in everyday life, and i certainly found some today.  The news makes this pre-Christmas week extra special.  I also love animals of every species with my whole heart and soul.  Their well-being is important to me.  Too often, the stories i hear are bad and profoundly sad.  I have to change the channel on the television every time i hear or see the advertisement from the ASPCA.  I can't stand to see those sad faces looking longingly into the camera!  But today there is a beautiful, loving doggie-boy who has found his equally lucky, loving human.  Every day, on my facebbok page, i post a picture and article about a shelter pet who is looking for a home.  I posted Dallas on my page a few times, and thought to myself; if S and i didn't have four cats here, we would bring Dallas home and love him forever.  This sounds odd to you, i know, but i will sleep better tonight.  I will have a little more joy in my heart, and i will say a little prayer of thanks to the Universe for finding sweet Dallas a home!

There are so many pets waiting in shelters everywhere for loving homes.  I'm sure you know this.  If i ever become super wealthy, i'll open a home for unwanted, neglected animals.. dogs.. cats.. rabbits.. goats, etc.  Make sure that they never feel hungry or scared or lonely again.  If i ever win the lottery; that's where the money will go.  I swear it.

So i'll take this opportunity, (because it's my blog, and i can if i want to..)  :D to post a pet from the Oregon Humane Society.  So you can see one awesome animal who is searching for his/her own loving match!  Just look into those eyes and fall in love.. if not with this pet.. with a wonderful shelter animal near you who could give you a lifetime of unconditional love!


So there you go!  Isn't she awesome?!  Gotta go.  That's all for this Tuesday the Twentieth of December, Two Thousand Eleven.. Y this time for YAY DALLAS!

December 13, 2011

To Facebook or Not to Facebook?

I must confess to you that i have an addiction.  Actually two addictions.  One to food.. which i have under control these days.. though i deal with it one day at a time.  My second addiction is to facebook.  And i cannot believe i'm addicted to what, really, is just a website.  I didn't have a cellphone until about two years ago.  Now i have a Droid that i refer to as my 'precious'.  If you've seen the Lord of the Rings movies, you'll know what it means.  :D  That object has ludicrously become like my right arm.  I check my e-mails.  I make unnecessary calls that i obviously lived without making pre-cell.  But the thing i do most on that thing is..  check FACEBOOK!  Sigh.  How on earth did it come to this?  I also have a laptop i log on to every day.  I check facebook on that, and make posts from it too.  I read lots of interesting, useful articles there, but mainly, i check FACEBOOK!  I gotta do something about that, man.  I really do.  It's just that it's so much fun to be in touch with so many people.  People that i haven't seen in many years.  Now i get to know what they're doing 'all the time'.  What they do on weekends.  What they eat for dinner.  Pictures of their children.  Grandchildren.  Pets.  Trips.  Facebook is FUN!  But the same things that make it fun also make it kinda creepy.  Do i really 'need' to post pictures of where i'm eating lunch?  Or what i'm eating where i'm eating lunch?  I mean, even if my reuben looks super yummy and IS super yummy.. do i NEED to post a picture?  No.  But often, i find myself doing just that.  Geez!  And i look at my friends' pictures and think, ooooo!  That looks delicious.  Wish i had one of those!  Yep.  Like i said.  I have a food addiction.  (I'm certainly not blaming facebook for it, by the way.)  :)  I've tried to take breaks from fb.. Hah!  Short for facebook.  You knew that, right?  LOL!  And there's that abbreviation thing again.  I've become too lazy to spell out actual words.  Takes too much time.  Yep.  That sounds idiotic because it is.  But when i've taken these (brief) facebook breaks, i've ended up going back on before i planned.  I've found something i just have to post.  Yeesh!  And i may find these things fascinating, but others probably think meh.. i'll ignore.. or hide that!  I find myself jealous of people who've never 'joined' fb in the first place.  But, i find, now that i'm on, i really don't want to give it up.  Completely.  I have, however; decided to cut back.  A lot.  It's amazing what i get done when i give myself more time away from that world.  And according to an article that i read just today in the New York Times, more people are making the decision not to join at all.  Oh my gosh!!  Not join facebook!??  The idea.  I want to share that article with you.  You might find it interesting.  :)  Should i post it on fb?  Just kidding.  And actually according to this article.. fb is going to be rolling out some kind of 'public option' soon.  Sounds a little like health insurance, doesn't it?  The way health insurance should be, in my opinion.  This new thing might be just the nudge i need to get me to take an extended technology break.  Sounds a little stalkerish to me.. this public idea.  So here's the piece from the NYT if you're interested...


Will leave you with that question, alas.  To facebook or not to facebook?  I think, myself, that i can find a way to live peacefully with it.  To not be such good 'friends' with it.  Bahahahahahah!  Get it?  Facebook friends?  Sorry.  Couldn't resist.  Will log off my laptop for this Tuesday, the Thirteenth of December, Two Thousand Eleven.  M... for Much Less Facebook Goin' On!  See ya.  Just not on fb as much.

December 12, 2011

Awesome and Fascinating Archaeology!

Just a (relatively) brief post today.  I hope.  :)  One of my favorite things in the Universe to be is an 'armchair archaeologist'.  If there is such a thing, i am one.  I adore TV shows about anthropology and archaeology on the History Channel, Nat Geo, Discovery Channel.  They fascinate me to no end.  Just think how many years old this planet is!  I love learning what our way back, (and i mean waaaay back!) ancestors ate.  What they wore.  How they hunted and the tools they used.  I want to know as much about them as i can.  I subscribe to Archaeology Magazine!  I pore over the photos and read the articles, and would love someday to go on an expedition.  To see the pyramids.. the Nasca Lines, the Mayan Ruins.  Forget People magazine and shows about Kim Kardashian.  I couldn't care less.  I can't get enough of ancient cave paintings, dinosaur teeth, the bog bodies in Ireland.  Instead of being a cowboy, i shoulda been an archaeologist.  LOL.  But i'm not.  They say it's never too late, but at my age, i 'do' have to pee a lot.  I don't think the Egyptian desert is known for its porto-potties.  I read a fascinating article in the News section of Archaeology Magazine the other day, and i want to share it with you.  It's a short article for those of you who have time constraints.  And who doesn't these days?  Especially this time of year!  This piece is about a statue called the 'Lion Man Sculpture' whose 'remains' were dug up in the Stadel Cave in Germany in 1939.  This sculpture, scientists believe, is 35,000 years old!  Thirty-five thousand!  I love that.. though it's hard for me to wrap my 48 year old mind around the concept of that many years.  It is thought by many that this statue represents a male shaman.  But there are some who believe it may be a female!  A female shaman.  :)  Recently many more pieces of this statue have been discovered!  How exciting is that?  But i'll let you read the article for yourselves.  If it turns out that this sculpture indeed represents a woman.. then women may have controlled the religion of our ancient ancestors!!  Woohoo!  Women RULE.  A fact i've always known.  Hah!  But perhaps they've actually ruled longer than previously thought.  Well, here it is.  It's kind of an educational article, but like i said.  Brief.  So hopefully you won't be bored.  :D  I sure wasn't.


Have 'A Christmas Carol', the 1951 film, on the television, and it's almost over.  So.. want to catch the rest!  Beautiful movie.  But maybe for another post someday.  Was this post brief?  Likely about as brief as i can make one.  Signing out this Monday, the Twelfth of December, Two Thousand Eleven.  M.. for Merry Archaeological Findings.  :D

December 11, 2011

Serendipity or Something More? :)

I've been torn lately.  In a good way.  Have many questions and thoughts about chance and its role in my life versus the existence of a guiding spirit.  Dare i say it?  God?  Maybe it's because of the season that i've been thinking about my life.  How it's been.  Wonderful.  It's a wonderful life.  Like the title of that film i love so much.  I've been lucky.  Should i say fate has been good to me?  Serendipity?  More than just plain luck?  Well, i'll come right out and say it.  I believe in my heart it's more than luck.  The world isn't random.  There's a plan.  I don't think i came to that conclusion today.  It happened over the course of time.  Although there's one recent.. (today).. incident that sealed the deal.  :D  It's going to seem small to you.  Insignificant.  Minor.  Like.. is this chick crazy or what?!  I'll spell it out later in this post.  There are 'so' many things that have happened over the 48 years of my life that couldn't POSSIBLY be random.  There's no way.  I've faith that these things aren't chance.  I'm lousy at math.. statistics.. logic. And this is a powerful feeling.

I met the man i have loved for 20 years 20 years ago.  We were set up on a 'random' blind date by mutual friends.  I was perfectly content as a single woman.  Tired of my friends' determination to find me a man.  Won't go into detail about the ludicrous dates i went on because my friends thought each new man was perfect for me.  At least half these matches were made because i and the man in question were both single.  Zero in common.  Anyway, looking back on things, i started working where i worked then in '90.  Sat in one cubicle for a year, then was moved to another next to my friend Sue, who lived next door to S.  Sue said.. i know someone who would be perfect for you!  Eye roll.  No really, she said.  What were the chances that i would be sitting next to the woman who lived next door to a man i believe now was made for me?  Talk about being in the right place at the right time, and S being in the right place at the right time.  And the timing  right at the right time.  And yeah.  You can lecture me on the statistics if you want.  But i think our meeting was planned.  By someone who knows much more about the world than we do.  And i could list countless times when 'fate' intervened in my life and in the lives of my family members and friends.  And yes.  I've made certain choices that have ended well.  Some not so well.  I don't believe all the things that have happened are chance.  I have faith.  A feeling that they're not.  How do i put this feeling into words?  There's some power pulling strings somewhere.  Not sure what it is.  But it's there.  I know it.  I can't call myself an atheist anymore.  Have always had a kind of spiritual side.  Is the correct word agnostic?  Don't know.  Anyway.. there it is.

And the small thing that happened just this afternoon was like the final tiny missing piece of a puzzle.  I found it!  And animal lover that i am.. that final piece came in the form of.. animals.  :D  That must've been planned too.  I had my heart set on going to lunch at a certain restaurant i love.  Well, we arrived at the front door of this eatery only to find that it was closed for a private holiday party.  So things weren't going to go as i planned.  We had to go somewhere else?!  The very idea!  We ended up at a cool little place around the block.. where we had a delicious meal, and an even more delicious dessert!  A peppermint whoopie pie.  LOL  They don't have whoopie pies at the the place i was just dying to go.  Aha!  But that's not it.  A cool thing.  But not IT.  I had to use the restroom.  On the way, i saw this beautiful photography exhibit.  Pictures of... goats.  I adore goats with my whole heart.  And, i could purchase one of these photographs with the proceeds going to the 'Silver Creek Animal Sanctuary'.. where they provide a lifetime place for abused or neglected goats, llamas and sheep. Happy sigh.  So, of course, D purchased one of those photos as an early Christmas gift for me.  And i've made arrangements to volunteer there starting in February!  So you see.. a small thing.  Likely minuscule to most.  But not to me.  And if we'd had lunch where I with a capital I'd wanted.. i never would have seen this exhibit or known about such a great place!  And this is a small thing, but it was like being bonked over my head with a hammer.  And furthermore, this is my blog, and i'll make it about small things if i want.  So there!  While i'm here, i'd like to post a link to this wonderful place i found in my travels today.  I hope you take a moment to check it out.  It might make you smile and wonder a little!


I sincerely hope you enjoyed that.  I know i love that site, and i can't wait to see the sanctuary 'in person' and actually work there!  Well, time for more football, i guess.  I'm content and feel the day was productive though all we did was have lunch and do a little antiquing.  So, i guess productive in a relaxing, happy way.
Bye for now, this Sunday the Eleventh of December, Two Thousand Eleven.  Today it's G.. for Good in the World.. and N for Not Random after all!  As well as Goodnight...

December 8, 2011

Dear Santa.. :)

Dear Santa Claus.  Jolly, wonderful gift giver in red!  I love you, you know.  Your joyful, generous heart and spirit.  This is a relatively short list.  And it includes just two things for myself that i may mention at the very end.  I understand that deep down you are a good being, and will do your best to make my wishes come true.  I've tried to be a good girl this year.  I have, and i think you know that.  :)  So.. here goes.  And i'll try my hardest to make this brief.  But well.. i have a tendency to run on sometimes.  See.  I'm doing it already...

Anyway.  First on my list.  And this is super, fantastically important.  Seriously.  I would like for every father and mother out there who needs a job to have one.  As soon as you can possibly finagle it.  So very important for all the children out there.  Times are hard.  For so many.  I don't know if you see that up there in the frozen North Pole, but it's true.  There are many people demonstrating in the streets of our cities down here.  There has been so much loss.  And there are so many willing to work hard to support their families if only they can find something.  Yep.  Unrealistic.  I know.  But you are Santa after all.  Truly, though, i think there are many kids around who would forgo the toys and pretty things if only their parents could find jobs!

And peace in the Mideast.  That will be a difficult one.  That's for sure.  There has been strife over there since well before Jesus, the reason for this gift giving holiday, was born.  Or, maybe if you can't grant that wish.. maybe you could somehow convince those who have a say to get on it.  Stop being so self absorbed and self interested and work HARDER at finding a solution so that those who live in that part of the world can co-exist 'better'.  Because that would improve so many things in the world.  If we can manage some kind of peace there we can do it anywhere.  Right?!

Just two more big things.. then i'll get on to the small ones.  There are MANY items on my list, but i don't want to go on forever.  And forever is just how long it might take to ask for all of it.  Those two things are..  lower gas prices, and a library card for everyone who doesn't have one.  Lower gas prices would enable so many families to have the money to buy other things they need to have.  Like food and warm clothing to get them through the winter months.  Gas prices are through the roof in many (or most) places.  Not sure if you're aware of that since you drive a reindeer powered sleigh and all, but that's the truth.  And it's all well and good to say we need to cut back on oil and gasoline consumption.  That's true too.  But, realistically, the majority of us get around in gasoline powered vehicles.  And many families need the cars to get around to the jobs that they're lucky enough to have in these hard times!  And on to the library cards.  Soooooo important for children and adults, i think.  Especially the ones who don't have the money to purchase books or own a 'fancy' kindle or iPad.  I take those e-readers for granted.  (Does that make me an ungrateful girl?)  But reading is important.  For everyone.  It's just like the old, kind of corny saying goes.  (Corny, but true.)  That books can take one anywhere.  Much to be learned from the written word, the artwork and illustrations in books.

So there are two things left on my list.  The first is that i would love for you, Santa, to help me get over my fear of flying.  Just when i think i've conquered it.. it bites me in my backside.  There are many places in the world i'd like to visit, but more importantly.. (and this comes first,) my family lives many miles away from me on the east coast!  I visit every so often when i work up the courage to get on a plane, but i'd visit them much more often if i was more willing to fly all those hours!  Perhaps when you're making your rounds on Christmas Eve, you could let me tag along in your sleigh for awhile.  That would help me get over my fear of flying!  I'm sure of it.  And there's quite a bit less of me than there was at this time last year.  So i would fit into the back of your sleigh better with all those presents!  So... what do you think?!  Will you consider it?  :D  Pretty please with sugarplums on it?

And last.. but not least really.. though this is specifically for me.  That would be the gift of brevity, because God and you, (i'm pretty sure,) know i could use it.  Really, i could.  Also sure that you could edit this letter and remove half of it.  And i was a journalism major.. so at one time.. i knew how to be brief!  That ability seems to have flown out the window.  No fear of flying, i guess!:  Eh?

So that's it.  I tried not to ask for too many things, though i did ask for A LOT!  And i'm sure you're aware of this fact too.  I'm not eight.. i'm 48!  Too old to write a letter to Santa.  This letter is written to the giving spirit that lives in most people.  And, hey, it's my blog and i'll ask if i want to.  And so i hope you, and anyone else out there who reads this.. takes it in the spirit in which it was meant.  It comes from my (most of the time) loving, compassionate, and quite-idealistic-for-my-age heart.

So Santa, that's all for now.. this Thursday the Eighth of December, Two Thousand Eleven... M.. for Mr. St. Nicholas Claus..  (Not) Make Believe Truly Generous Soul...

December 3, 2011

The Sensual Pleasures of the Christmas Season

Happy Sigh.  Well, it's my favorite time of year once again.  The joy filled, wonderful few weeks between the Thanksgiving Holiday and the Birth of a brand New Year!  And my favorite part of my favorite time of the year.. Christmas!  :)  This post by myself will be full of rhapsodizing about this glorious, and sensuous, time of year.  By sensuous, I do NOT mean sexual.  I realize there are some who confuse those two words.  I mean sensuous/sensual to mean a magnificent feast for all the senses!  The sounds.. the tastes, the sights.. the scents.. and the touch of things in celebration of Christmas.  Gosh.  Where to start.  I could go on and on and on....  But i won't.  For the sake of all your individual 'sanities'; i'll keep this as short as possible.  I think.. maybe.  :)

I believe i'll begin with the sounds of the season that i love!  And the first of those is the music.  The beautiful songs and the singing of those Christmas carols.  I love them all.  From the traditional Christian ones.. like O Holy Night and Hark the Herald Angels Sing.. to fun ones like Jingle Bells and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.. to the Bing Crosby/Burl Ives classics.. like Winter Wonderland and White Christmas!  I love them all, and can feel my heart swell when i listen.  Every time.  And my very favorite carol which i adore with all my Christmas loving heart.. is 'The Holly and The Ivy.'  It's an old, traditional English carol with Christian and Pagan influences. It speaks of the birth of the Savior, and also mentions holly and ivy.  Symbols of pagan fertility.  I think i've grown to love that song even more since we moved to Oregon.  A very green place filled with ivy, and at certain times, with holly.  And i think my favorite rendition of my favorite song is done by the King's Choir of Cambridge.  My heart lifts when i listen to that joyful version.  The music, and the sounds of those wonderful, talented raised voices!  And the setting.  Well, the setting just rings with festive joy.  Then.. of course.. there is the sound of bells!  Church bells.. the Carol of the Bells played in church.. and sleigh bells.  All happy, magnificent sounds.  Sounds that make me feel warmth even in December.  And hope.  The feeling of hope is one of the most important things about this season of giving.

Next.. Well next i can't help but think of all the wonderful scents of this season.  The scent of evergreen.  Of sweet treats baked in the oven.  Cinnamon.. cardamom.. pungent spices that smell of true happiness.  Peppermint.  Hand rolled candy canes.  Might try that this year.  Never have made my own.  To give as gifts to neighbors and friends.  :)  And maybe to sample one or two myself of course.  You know, to make sure they come out well enough to give away!  The smell of a delicious pie baking in the oven.  A smell that reminds me of my Maine childhood.  Cinnamon-ey, nutmeggy apple pie.  The salty scent of nutty TV Scrabble.  Popcorn and cranberries anyone?  Remind you of stringing them on the classroom Christmas tree when we were young school kids?  :D  Anyway.  You get the idea.  I said i'd attempt to make this brief so.. moving on to...

The tastes!  Oh.. the yummy tastes of Christmas!  Which, well, you know, are about foods.  Many of the same mentioned above.  But i left out a few up there to talk about down here.  Strudel.  I've never made my own, but LOVE how it smells in the oven or just out of the oven!  And the flavor.  Magnificent.  Think i will make my own this year.  Always good to try something new.  I've read that authentic strudel dough needs to be stretched!  And i could likely use some help.  Hey baby.. wanna help me stretch my strudel when you get home from work?  :)  Spiced warm cider.  Yummy.  Plum pudding.  More yummy.  Baked brie with jam?  Super duper yummy.  Creamy, sweet, pastry-like.  Just all around Merry Christmas-y!  Then of course.. there is always a favorite Christmas beer, wine, or ale to be savored.  Enjoyed with a spouse, friends, or by oneself in relaxation during this fun, but chaotic season.  Yep.  Could go on about all the deliciousness forever, but...

There are many gorgeous sights to mention.  Beautiful Christmas trees.  Whether you choose a live tree, a cut tree or an artificial tree.  All beautiful and up to your individual liking.  Sparkly gold, silver, blue, green, red ornaments.  The decked halls.  Living rooms.  The outside festive lights on peoples' homes. White lights.  Multi-colored lights.  Blinking lights.  Blue lights.  Which have grown on me in recent years!  So much glowing beauty.  Love to wear red and green this time of year.  (Though not in the form of a tacky Christmas sweater.)  And i love to do my nails in red.. especially the sparky, pretty kind of polish.  Brings out the girly girl in me that's still very much present.  There's the beautifully set Christmas table.  Sigh.  I even.. though i'm not a fan of shopping malls 'normally'.. love a decked out department store this time of year.  Love to ooo and ah at the pretty decorations.  Love the sight of a candy cane garnish on a holiday martini glass.  Containing a delectable martini, of course.  And S and myself go for many 'light peeping' drives this season just as we go for 'leaf peeping' drives in the autumn!  Soooo much to see.  I won't get started on all the Christmas specials i love to watch on the TV machine!  And... last, but certainly not least in my Christmas book...

Are the touches and feelings of this important holiday.  Christmas is all about loving.  Hoping.  Giving.  Joy.  And there are many ways to express this.  Of course there's gift giving.  Giving truly is much more fun than receiving.  I mean it.  :)  There's nothing like seeing a child's face light up at the gift that he/she just loves.  Brings so much feeling of joy to my heart, and touches me in a deep way.  Happy sigh.  Then, there's one of my favorite Christmas touches. Mistletoe.  Just think how much touching.. hugging.. and.. kissing a sprig of mistletoe incites!  Woohoo!  A parasite my eye!  lol  Yes.. seeing people happy and loving each other touches me deeply.  That's what Christmas is all about, baby.  Love, love, and more LOVE.  Touching each other in myriad ways and expressing our love and hope in the human race.  Yep.  Probably sound quite sappy don't i?  Well. :D.. my feeling about that is that i don't give a rat's behind.  Sappy is good sometimes.  So there.

Well, as usual, have gone on LONG enough.  So that's all for today.. Saturday, the Third of December, Two Thousand Eleven.  M... for...  Magnificent Song and Celebration at Christmas!