Friday, December 25, 2020
Do you know Reddy Kilowatt? He found his way into our stockings, along with notebooks, pencils, Pez, and kazoos!about them on Instagram. For weeks William has been very busy at several different projects, including these kazoos. They sound good, too. Funny thing is, instinctive kazoo playing may be a hereditary skill. Maria and I are still trying to get the hang of it, while Geoff was able to bzzzzzz out a tune right off the bat! The kazoos look pretty, and feel buttery smooth. We love them. This is the same knife Alex rescued for me. It never should have gone into the dishwasher, but life happens, and after four years, my favorite knife needed another rescuing. This time Max took charge. He chose ancient African bog-wood and a band of purple acrylic. Max sat beside me and described all of the steps he made to refurbish my knife. The brass pins were formed on the lathe, and then all the parts were assembled around the knife's tang, so he could shape the handle on the belt sander, with a spindle handle, and finally, sanding it by hand. He sharpened the blade, too. Everyone knows... my favorite knife doesn't go in the dishwasher! It's beautiful, and lovely to hold.
Thursday, December 24, 2020
Christmas Eve at Tutu's has been a happy tradition, and not one we were ready to give up, despite everything. Ruth devised a plan, and with some tweaks, adjustments, compromises, and lots of precautions, we did get to be together, for Christmas Eve, distantly, and happily. I am glad, and thankful, that she didn't give up, that we made safe choices, and still managed to share laughter, and engagement.
Wednesday, December 23, 2020
Tuesday, December 22, 2020
It's Winter, now. In Southern California, on the coast, it's necessary to announce it, to state and clarify that Fall is over, and Winter has begun, otherwise we would have no idea that anything has changed. For all we know, it could be early June. It's not impossible to tell one season from another, but we have to pay attention. Afterall, June can be cold, too. And yesterday we had temps in the 70s, which is definitely not at all cold. Signs of Winter around here... Uggs worn with shorts, flip-flops worn with down jackets, reindeer antlers on SUVs, surfers in wetsuits, Christmas trees on the beach, and tamales selling like tamales at El Nopalito.
Another sign of Winter, of holiday cheer, are all of the loving gestures and kind favors going around. School clubs sponsor Adopt a Family events to help families in need, and there are toy drives, food drives. On our bike ride, we go by a home with a table on the street, laden with snacks and water bottles, all for the delivery drivers, postal workers. Down the street, neighbors have boxes of key limes out for sharing. And on our gate, a very special treat, delivered fresh from our local mountains, by our dear friends... Carol, Grace, Leo, Bella and Michael shared their mistletoe! It's such a big, bright bunch; the best I've ever seen. And I decided that if flowers come in bouquets, and herbs in bunches, if we have a litter of kittens, and herds of cows, then mistletoe should be a kiss. A kiss of mistletoe makes a merry winter gift. but the day began pleasantly, calmly, and that's how it went, all the way to bedtime. I thought about the neighbor's limes, and hoping there were some left, I hopped on my bike and went to collect some. While I squeezed limes, Alex and Bambi opened the gingerbread house kit, then called Maria in to assist. And by sheer coincidence, a text came from Leslie... Simon, Bex, and Spencer were completing their house, too!
Monday, December 21, 2020
I admit some days are harder than others, when it comes to being content to scale back, reflect, and revel in good memories, instead of making new ones. Since March, and sincerely, I have declared that I am glad for all the travel, visits, celebrations, gatherings, events, and adventures we have enjoyed, because the memory of them, the pictures, even blog posts, have been lovely to revisit, have given me a happy, thankful heart. It's not any less true, but this week, with Christmas coming, and Solstice, and all of the traditions, and expectations I cherish, being turned on end, cancelled, I have been struggling... struggling to devise new plans, to feel inspired. I feel really really really sad that we won't have an open home tonight, that we won't see the kitchen full of friends plating up potluck, juggling, laughing. I am sad I can't (shouldn't) dash up to Oregon, keep Mom and Dad company, offer support. Stop me! This list could go on, and on. And it's even sadder when I contemplate on the bigger losses, and that disappointment, and struggle is happening for just about everyone. I am sorry. Truly sorry, for whatever you are missing, for the something you long for to make these days brighter, that can't be had.
I fed the goats and chickens, then mindfully walked around to the front of the house. I was hoping to spy birds at the wreath, again, like yesterday. I sat down. I heard birds in the shrubs behind my chair. I saw the bunny that lives on the slope, hop out of the orchard and head back into the undergrowth beneath one Torrey Pine. New bird songs drew my attention to the tops of the Torreys, and I wished I'd worn my glasses. But there were my binoculars, the $5 pair that work well enough. With naked eyes, I scanned the branches for movement, and then brought up the binoculars... a woodpecker! On a pinecone, finding something tasty, maybe the big pine nuts. Could be a Nutall's woodpecker. (Why won't my Merlin app update anymore?) I watched the woodpecker move from one pinecone to another. I saw a Western Kingbird in the bare tree by the trashcans. We always debate about taking that tree down, because it's half dead, and always looks shabby, but it's the same tree where we see cedar waxwings every year. And the goats love the big, crunchy leaves that the tree drops. The tree stays. And the leaves stay... I read about how all of the fussing with manicured lawns, and raking every last leaf is leaving our gardens bare of biodiversity, so we scaled back on all of that. I can see a big difference. We have more birds than ever, and they are visiting the ground, where leaves, and decomposing bits are housing bugs and good things to eat, they are in the shrubs, and the canopies of the tree, at the birdbath.
I am not sure what else I will be doing today, and I would like it to be special. But I know it started special, and I am glad for that... just those few minutes of sitting, and observing, of reflecting on some simple choices we've made, and what I have learned, and hope to learn, calmed and centered me, eased my mind. It's no small thing, and I cannot take it for granted: We have a birdhouse home, a place that we share, and enjoy, where we are visited by many birds, and many kinds of birds, a place where we have been blessed with opportunities, safety, comfort, company, and time. To observe all of this makes me happy, and feels like a worthy celebration of another trip around the sun.
Sunday, December 20, 2020
seeing a comment from Carol, on Instagram. She filled in a bare spot! How sweet is she? Not only did she make us this beautiful wreath, now she's come by to add to it. She thinks it's "marvelous" that the birds are appreciating her gift, too.