Friday, December 24, 2010


...from around our town & neighborhood.

The Common 

Something rather uncommon to find on a common these days. 
I look for it every year :) 

pub window

Another "common perspective"...
That boy statue looks frozen solid.
 Every now & then someone has compassion & gives him a new coat ;) 

 antique store window

 Our neighbor's window 

 "Funny" story. We've lived here about 10 yrs. - don't really even know this neighbor & his wife tho' who live just a few houses down & across the street.  They're an elderly couple. We're really friendly but not really friends. Anyhow -  yesterday he was in line behind me at the grocery store & I wasn't sure he'd recognize me out of context but we chatted a bit & I told him how pretty his front window looked & that I'd actually photographed it the night before - & it seems that compliment was the "ticket" for admission into their home...the key to their front door so to speak :)  He invited us in anytime to see it from the inside out! Apparently he & his wife have been collecting carolers over the years & each year they display their ever increasingly large collection beautifully in their front window. We'll probably stop over sometime very soon. I'm looking forward to getting to know he & his wife better after all these years! 

Our next door neighbor's front yard

  hanging from our dining room lamp

 a beautiful "bokeh" of lights!

I did it!  This is basically the same pic as the one above but out of focus. This is an actual photography technique...& it's called "bokeh".   I'd love to be able to claim that I've mastered it! --- but in all honesty, I captured this effect quite by accident. 

Thursday, December 23, 2010

I believe

Christmas is about believing...but even more so it's about who you believe and who you believe in and why you believe what you believe....and if you believe that what you believe is really real.

Creation is the most creative & convincing form of communication I've ever seen - which is probably why this song, tho' it isn't exactly a Christmas song, illustrates & communicates so well so much of why & what & Who I believe...tho' I'm still hardpressed to understand why what I can see so clearly (some say seeing is believing), some can't seem to see at all.

Creation Calls
Brian Doerksen

I have felt the wind blow,
Whispering your name
I have seen your tears fall,
When I watch the rain.
How could I say there is no God?
When all around creation calls!!
A singing bird, a mighty tree,
The vast expanse of open sea
(Musical interlude)
Gazing at a bird in flight,
Soaring through the air.
Lying down beneath the stars,
I feel your presence there.
I love to stand at ocean shore
And feel the thundering breakers roar,
To walk through golden fields of grain
With endless bloom horizons fray.
Listening to a river run,
Watering the Earth.
Fragrance of a rose in bloom,
A newborns cry at birth.
I love to stand at ocean shore
And feel the thundering breakers roar,
To walk through golden fields of grain
With endless bloom horizons fray
I believe
I believe
I believe
I believe
I believe
I believe just like a child
(Choir I believe..)
I believe

More lyrics:

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

That's MY boy!!...

...on the left! :)

Spokes took 2nd place in a hometown cyclo-cross race Sunday! I cheered like CRAZY!!!! He ReALlY wanted to win this one & the race was soooooo incredibly close the whole entire time (aprx 45 min)  that I guess I felt like perhaps if a screamed louder or pushed him a little harder it would make all the difference in the world.  The winner was dubbed New England Regional Champion for the New England Bicycle Racing Assoc (NEBRA) but in the end (unfortunately after all was said & done) Spokes was given that honor & the red, white & green jersey that went with it bc, as it turned out, the winner was not from New England after all. I'm so prouda that kid -- certainly for how well he did - but even moreso for the character he displays when he races...perseverance, really hard work, good sportsmanship & the list goes on.  He would not toot his own horn - but I'm quite proud (can ya tell?!) to do that honor :)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Story as told by Children

A tender & mild start to a busy week ahead...

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Gifts money can't buy

 a favor  
bit of humor
helping hand
honest answer
a simple "Thank you"
simple show of interest
random act of kindness

Can you think of any others? 

Friday, December 17, 2010

I've converted... a Mac that is! And from a desktop to a laptop.  I love this new machine! The only things it doesn't do that I wish it did are clean bathrooms & do laundry...bc then I could spend more time here w/ you all :)

I think my 200lb laptop, Big Mak (you can see him in the previous post),  is jealous tho' ;)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas Card Pic

I hafta laugh. 

Is the attempt to capture the perfect (key word here) annual Christmas Card pic, the epitome of the  paradox between reality & what really is?! 

This is not at all what I had planned for our Christmas Card Pic - but -  all of the people I love most in the entire world are in it again this year - along with 200lbs of unconditional love w/ his tongue hangin' out. 

Who could ask for more?!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

true/very short/sad story

Was talking over dinner w/ friends last night. Their daughter has an overdue book at the library that she checked out w/ her very own library card. When her mom inquired about just which book was overdue  she was informed that they could not tell her.  The only one privy to that info is her daughter. The fact that she's only 5 years old(!) - had no bearing on the issue whatsoever.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Heartmelting Christmas Surprises

She has this way of wrapping her creations in the warmth that melts her glass - so - when I opened my mailbox the other day & found a package from her, it was more like opening the oven!  I unwrapped the surprise she'd sent & found myself wrapped in the warmth that wafted out.

Last year, I found this friendly fellow from her in my mailbox. The moment I laid eyes on him the corners of my mouth turned up like his & my eyes sparkled like he does. And -when we hung him on the tree again this year, it happened again!  


And ....three Christmases ago now she sent me something so meaningful that I've been paying it forward ever since. Its sparkle sparked a new tradition - a new ADVENTure  - that I've found to be much more meaningful than candy calendars.     

Only Christmas surprises from GlassMelts could warm (melt!) my heart the way they do. 

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Dear Secret Santa,

Thank you so much for the sweet surprise I found in our mailbox! The snowflake card was timely. And the Dunkin Donuts gift card warmed me from the inside out in much the same way the hot coffee it buys will too. And the note... really, Santa, you're too kind.   

God knows, your random act of kindness was so personalized  -
& it made my day so .... special ;)

The Sweet Smell of Christmas

Last night the kids baked & decorated cookies - & filled our home with the sweet smell of Christmas ...

Saturday, December 11, 2010


 They look exquisite....

...but they're so simple to make that I think I can handle it. 
 Click the pic to reach the recipe if you're interested.

A Taxing Question

What IS a "fair" tax?

Read THIS, then you decide.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Laughed hysterically while crying my eyes out

I'd rather have a half hour of wondeful than a whole life of nothing special.
Shelby (Julia Roberts)

 Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion.
Truvy (Dolly Parton)

I think perhaps the last time I laughed hysterically while crying my eyes out at the very same time was the last time I watched this movie twenty years ago!

                                             In a good shoe, I wear a size six, but a seven
                                                       feels so good, I buy a size eight.
                                                               Truvy (Dolly Parton)

When someone asks me about my favorite movies, Steel Magnolias always comes right to mind but the truth is I've only seen it once & it had been so long since I'd seen it that I'd  forgotten most of it. I remembered the basic plot, a few characters & that I sobbed & sobbed - which is unusual for me.  Anyhow, I was curious to see again just why I liked it so much! - sooo - a while back I placed it in my Netflix que where it finally worked its way to the top. Last night I talked my girls into watching it with me. My husband stuck it out for a bit but couldn't take it... much too much of a chic flik for him.  Nostalgic in a 1980's/retro sorta way -- think pink(!), big hair & small southern town friends, family, food, fun & faith combined w/ a wide range of personalities & stuff of life -- from celebrations to sacrifice.

                          I'm not crazy, I've just been in a very bad mood for 40 years!

                                       Ouiser - aka Weezy (Shirly MacLaine)

Truvy's beauty shop reminds of the little shop, Pink Puff, where my mom & I used to have our hair cut when I was a young girl... lotsa little ol' ladies gossiping while the stylists w/ boufon (I have no idea how to even spell that!) hairdos, blue eyeshadow, black eyeliner, fake eyelashes & polyester pants worked magic on their clients (not me!) w/ a teasing comb & hairspray ;)

                                   There's no such thing as natural beauty.
                                               Truvy (Dolly Parton)

Based on Robert Harling's play, this comedy-drama directed by Herbert Ross (The Turning Point) follows several years in the lives of women who regularly see one another at a beauty shop in their small Louisiana town. The story deepens as Julia Roberts, playing a serious diabetic and the daughter of Sally Field, goes downhill in her health. But as an ensemble piece, this is one of those enjoyably lumpy tearjerkers with many years' worth of stored truths suddenly being shared between the characters, lots of grievances aired, that sort of thing. Daryl Hannah and Shirley MacLaine assume the most eccentric roles, Dolly Parton the most fun, and Olympia Dukakis the most dignified, while Sally Field essentially provides the moral and emotional center of the movie. --Tom Keogh -

                        That sanctuary looks like it was hosed down with Pepto Bismol.
                                     M'Lynn / Shelby's momma (Sally Fields)

                           Remember what Daddy always says. "An ounce of pretension
                                                   is worth a pound of manure!"
                                                        Shelby (Julia Reynolds)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Year in (alphabetical) Review

The ABC's of 2010

A - Africa! & Ark-e-o-logy

B - Bats - at the Sixth St. Bridge in Austin, TX

C - Congrats to our College Grad! (Spokes)

D - Dual Enrollment (Playmaker)

E - Employee of the Year! (Husband)

F - First day of public (charter) school

G - Grampa's 90th Birthday!

H - Henna tattoos at the beach (The girls)

I  - Inner Space Cavern in TX - (husband & I)

J  - JV Ice Hockey Team (Playmaker)

K - Katie (our dog) died :(    -  Kites at the beach & Kayaking

L  - Started making homemande laundry soap! So simple!

M - Spokes moved out.  - Malakai's 6th Birthday

N - Ngaparu - had great fun there at a beach house in Africa

O - Ohio & Old Orchard Beach, ME

P - Canned pickles, peaches & pears - Hiked Purgatory Chasm - Pond Hockey/Skating

Q - Quote tacked above our kitchen sink: 

                    "To be different is easy. Making a difference - now that's a challenge!"

R - Retaining Wall - rebuilt ours

S - Sweet 16 & Soccer (Playmaker)

T - Strike's a teenager!

U - U16 Travel Softball Team (Strike)

V - Vermont & homemade vanilla

W - Worm Farm - Water Skiing - Wild Animals (in Africa)

X  - Cyclo-X Racing (Spokes)

Y  -  Yippee! (Planning how to celebrate our 25th Anniversary next year :)

Z  - Zing! Zang! Zoom! (Ringling Bros. Circus) - Saw Zebras there & in Africa too :)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

O Holy Night

I'm enjoying playmaker's piano practice these days. She's learning a new techniqe & I love how she's applied it to this song.

O Holy Night from J L on Vimeo.

Friday, December 3, 2010


Had I been there, I would have been compelled to stand & join in .... or at least to stand! :)      ....

Christmas Past

Was just thinking about Christmas when I was growing up in Arizona. I remember ....

Big colored glass lightbulbs along the front roofline of the house that got really hot to touch.

A small green plastic Christmas tree w/ red berries on it sitting on the counter between the kitchen & the den & a Bible open to the Christmas story laying on top of a blanket of artificial sparkly snow beneath it. How I wish I still had that and the kinda odd blue-ish & gold nativity scene that I thought was rather unattractive. No set up required. The figures were permanently in place in the stable.

Our Christmas tree....I was mesmerized by it...thought it was so beautiful! - until I started comparing it to others & realized how pretty it really wasn't :) Artificial...olive green (seriously) & decorated w/ a gold ribbon of tinsel & colored lights...rather gaudy if you ask me - but what I would give to go back in time and see it again!

Spray on snow decorations in the window.

My mom showing me how to make candycane cookies - the kind where you tint half the dough red & twist two strands together to make the candy cane effect. I loved doing that!

I vaguely remember going to the mall to see Santa fly in on a helicopter!

We opened our gifts on Christmas Eve & our stockings on Christmas morning. Some of my most memorable gifts....

A teddy bear - I still have him today!

A shiny deep teal new two wheel bike my big brother gave me because he felt bad about running over my tricycle! I can probably count the times on my fingers that I've ever been so excited in all my life :)

A Barbie airplane.  I imagined how fun it would be to be a stewardess (that's what they were called back then) & travel the world. The Barbie airplane was like an odd shaped suitcase of sorts and opened up wide to form basically half a plane. I had more fun w/ that. I loooved Barbies.  

Going to the midnight (11:00) service at church that ended with everyone gathered outside holding candles & singing.

Chrismas dinner was often at our house. My mom's Aunt Helen & Uncle Mart, an odd couple, would usually drive from Tucson to join us  - & "Aunt" Jennie - a family friend who never married & was more like part of our family would drive from Tucson as well. She'd stay overnight on Christmas eve & spend Christmas day with us. She'd usually bring a green or red Jello something for Christmas dinner. The day after Christmas she and my mom would go out shopping the after Christmas sales for Christmas cards & wrapping for the next year.

aaahhhh memories. I wonder what my children will remember most.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

New Shoes for Christmas

The last thing I really need is a new a new pair of shoes, but the two pairs delivered to our door the other day are special  - in a rather magical sorta way!   They'll give my husband & me the ability to...

 walk on frozen water crystals
over the river & thru the woods
amidst a wintery wonderland
 making memories (a favorite hobby of mine),
taking pictures
leaving only footprints behind.  

A thousand thankyous & then some, Santa, for the new showshoes!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Snow beautiful

Each one is an intricately designed unique work of microscopic art. They're so perfect! - But that's to be expected considering how nature reveals the nature of the Creator.

Wouldn't this make a lovely gift/coffeetable book:

Product Description

A cute giftbook packed with glorious color microphotography of real snow crystals by Dr. Snow—Caltech physicist Kenneth Libbrecht. His photos of snowflakes have appeared in National Geographic, the New York Times, and on Martha Stewart’s TV show, as well as numerous other places. This thick “cube” book is packed with a blizzard’s worth of amazing images as well as literary quotes on the beauty of snow.

or - for those who prefer children's books... Review

Most children are captivated by snow, but how many go on to make it their lifework? This beautiful biography, winner of the 1999 Caldecott Medal, tells the true story of a Vermont farm boy who was mesmerized by snowflakes. Wilson Bentley was fascinated by the six-sided frozen phenomena, and once he acquired a microscope with a camera, his childhood preoccupation took on a more scientific leaning. Bentley spent his life taking countless exquisite photographs (many that are still used in nature photography today), examining the tiny crystals and their delicate, mathematical structures. Jacqueline Briggs Martin tells this tale with simple, graceful prose that will engage children's imaginations. Edifying and snowflake-scattered sidebars offer more information about Bentley's methods and snowflake science. The artwork of Mary Azarian, whose 19th-century hand-press illustrations decorate the charming Barn Cat, shines once again in Snowflake Bentley, with woodcuts that reveal an appreciation for detail as well as for the man who loved snow. The lovely illustrations and equally fresh text will inspire and comfort youngsters (and grownups too) who wish they could capture snowflakes all year long. (Ages 4 to 8) --Brangien Davis --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.