Friday, December 04, 2015

~This Moment~

~This Moment is a Friday tradition, capturing a special moment from the week~

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your moment in the comments, for all to see.

Tasha getting scritches from Bambi. My thoughts are contentedly wandering, reflecting on what a joy it is to know Bambi, to be in her company. Then, I am happier, still, to think of how much I appreciate that Bambi and Alex bring out the best in each other.

Thursday, December 03, 2015

We Brought Douglas Fir Home For Christmas

Max, and William, Maria, and Alex... and our spontaneous visit to the tree lot on a cold school night, after homework.

We called Geoff and asked what he thought about us going out to look at Christmas trees. Would he be sorry to miss the venture? He said, "Just be sure to pick something awesome." And so, with his blessing and directive, we ventured forth.

"Have I ever done this before?" Maria asked as we crossed the parking lot, inhaling evergreen nostalgia. Has she? Yes. But it's been so long since the last time we brought home a cut tree, that the whole scene felt brand new. We've bought fruit trees, and other living trees, tried to deal with an artificial tree (or Foo-Tree, as it's come to be known), and sometimes just enjoyed evergreen garlands. For Geoff's sake, and to make long memories of enjoying this (lapsed) tradition, I took lots of pictures.

Only three trees were serious contenders. There doesn't seem to be much dissension in our party, and the final decision came so easily, so quickly, that we agreed to look around some more, just to extend our enjoyment.

I sent this picture to Geoff, with the subject reading "Nordman fir." That's a new one to me. Looks a bit Noble, and a bit Frasier. It was pretty. It didn't have a fragrance, though. I am usually the lone Noble fir enthusiast, and so far no one has joined me in my ironic-affection for flocked trees. (I cannot explain my fascination with this extreme faux variety of Christmas tree. It makes me cringe to imagine what kind of chemical-environmental nightmare all that fake white fluff is made of. Even as a child I found them the ultimate in crass and gaudy, but maybe I also, deep down, harbor a wishful longing to bring a winter wonderland into our holidays. Sigh. Do you suppose the crunchy-granola type environmentalists have developed a flocking material that reduces carbon emissions, decomposes into soil conditioner, and supports orphaned kittens? Because, sign me up for that!)

We debated wether or not the building supply store blows in winter weather for seasonal effect, because it felt cold enough for real snow in that parking lot.

Posing with Nordman.

Even though we were looking around, we already knew Douglas Fir, 6'5", trim, good smelling, not too bald, handsome and kind, would be coming to our home for the holidays.

In line, with Douglas, for a trim.

We were really eager to see how Mister Foo, our polka spotted kitty, would react to 6' 5" of evergreen nature coming into his home! Alex is insistent that we bring back Foo's tree, from the year when he was The Foo Who Stole Christmas!

Doug took up a lot of the back seat, and stretched clear up to the front, but was otherwise a polite and quiet passenger. And now we have a beautiful tree in our Bird House. It smells lovely, and inspires quiet reflection, happy gatherings, and wild snowball fights, but that's another story!

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Living in Particles of Light

What if we were all just tiny people living in a light particle?
~Leo C.

The tiny light particle feels infinitely vast today as my mom flies home to Oregon. It is, unfortunately, an early departure. But I understand... colds, and discomfort are never in anyone's travel plans, and so we do what we can, hope for the best. This might not be an ideal moment for me to write a post about a birthday, about friends, and celebration, because I am feeling sad about how far away Oregon is, and Hawaii, even the Central Coast. I am thinking about how nice it would be to travel, like light, to see my brothers, and other family, anytime, on a whim... an afternoon playing Scrabble in Wisconsin, an hour collecting driftwood from the beach at Bullards. I could drop in and visit Hans and Gretchen's new home, see the parade of feral pigs, and truly free-range chickens that cross their yard. I'd love to do Christmas tree shopping with Bill and Alison, Dom and Marissa. Long visits are nice, but not a luxury we can always afford. I miss the chance meetings, crossing paths, frequent, regular visits, without an agenda, or flights to catch. No reservations, no problem, if we could travel like light, or at least live in the same few-hundred mile radius.


Fortunately, while Delia was here, we made the most of her visit. We caught up on newsy things, solved world problems etc... jajaja. Well, we got dishes, laundry, and shopping done, at least! We prepared a fabulous and cozy Thanksgiving, visited the park, ran away to join the circus, fit three boys with new shoes, and rang in the holidays watching Elf! And, sweetly, she was here to enjoy some of Maria's birthday, helping us prepare, enjoying the accounting of all the fun, and filling us up with Mom-Grandma affection and kindnesses.

Now, about that birthday fun... well, it was indeed a fun celebration. Start to finish. Maria "suffered" to settle on a theme... no shortage of great ideas makes these decisions difficult. Eventually, she decided to go with Imaginary Play... a sort of Middle Zealand theme. She has a lot of friends, but there is smaller circle who love to write stories, and they have one particular narrative that they have been living in since summer. There are so many details, and subplots, they've taken to making maps, and illustrating scenes and characters. She couldn't resist the idea of bringing her friends together for a long day of playing and storytelling, while crafting imaginary worlds in gingerbread and gardens.

Here are more moments from Maria's 11th birthday celebration~

Success! And, just to be real: Flops, too! But no one despaired for long. Humor and good spirits kept the day merry. And Geoff and Paul kept building and re-building, until everyone had a sweet and sound gingerbread house. Finding the Wilton kit with four little houses (and the craft store coupon!) was a big bonus for this theme. Alex and Bambi splurged on a charming starter home of their own... and can they decorate, or what?

Following sugar and icing, we moved on to soil, sand, and succulents. Holly was terrific help here, plus this was just a very receptive and enthusiastic gardening bunch. Maria asks, "What was your favorite part?" and the answer is "Seeing all the little gardens take shape, watching how engrossed everyone was in picking their plants, and mushrooms, arranging everything." Izzy and Ruth definitely have the landscaping bug, and Paul couldn't resist playing, either! Fairy gardens, terrariums... I give them a green thumb-up for party activity fun and value. Heavy, wide mouthed dishes were found for 99 cents, succulents grow quickly, easily, and many little starters are found together, even in the tiniest pots. It takes surprisingly little to create very elegant, lovely planters. We all found ourselves peering contentedly into the pots, enjoying the small worlds created.

Did I mention this was a fun celebration? Plus, I am already feeling a bit holiday-sentimental, missing family, a little hiraeth, saudade.


So, as was my original intention in blogging, I am sharing a lot... pictures and words, to stay in touch with loved ones, both far, and near.

Once Maria chose her theme, and made her guest list, she added one more request, and she asked, "Is it alright if Max asks his friends to come, so they can enjoy a game of Magic? I think they would enjoy that." They did come, and they did enjoy playing. And after gifts, and more games, and running around, carrot cake, hide and seek, goats escapades, even an impromptu pirate chapter, there were group hugs and thanks.

oh my goats

"The chickens were fish, the goats were sharks," and Leo, Adrian, and William are in the dinghy!