Showing posts from December, 2010

Skywatch Friday: Endings and Beginnings: Blessings, Both

This morning on Topsail....I drank my coffee and waited for Adella and Clyde to waken so we could prepare for our journey back to Connecticut. I decided not to rush things, to let her get up when she was ready, to walk the beach with her and her pup, to hit the road when we were ready.
While I waited, the sun rose.
I still wait for us to be ready. We never are though. We never will be. We leave because we must. When we return, we take heart, and we move on. We will.
Wishing you the joy of waking to what is beautiful and the freedom to love it every way you can. Happy New Year.

Skywatch Friday

My World Tuesday: A Polar Moment in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

We stopped in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on Sunday morning to buy some baby gifts at Artworks and to get Clyde out for a stretch of the ol' legs. The shopping was a success, but the day was bitter cold and blowy, so we lasted for about two blocks before we high-tailed it back to the car and headed farther south to Mount Vernon, the home of George and Martha Washington. Before the cold crept into our bones, I took a few quick shots of a store window. I really liked the dreamy grandeur of the display of paintings Lincoln, Jefferson and Washington.
My World Tuesday

Today's Flowers: Christmas Tree Universe

We decorated my parents' Christmas tree on December 23. This was a variation on the theme of decorating on Christmas Eve. When my sister and I were little, Santa would decorate the tree when he stopped by on Christmas Eve with gifts. Christmas mornings were very magical as the tinseled and decorated tree glistened in the moonlight in the living room as dad took his time finding the light switch.
Times change just a little, but the ornaments don't. December 23 was a trip down memory lane as my folks' tree slowly but surely bore witness to decades of family love. We were fortunate to have a beautiful tree that was soft and fragrant--a Christmas universe just with the lights on. Beautiful.
Today's Flowers

One Single Impression: Comb

Close your eyes to the sun
And find yourself immersed in mystery
As you lie stretched in the warm sand
Near the relentless surf
Let your toes comb the beach
Reaching for the cool sand and damp
Where you can only imagine in the dark
Life beginning small and singular
And teeming to the surface
To breathe air
In the open sunshine.

Open your mouth and breathe.
Open your eyes and see.

Your life is new.

One Single Impression

Merry Christmas!

Santa, when he was a Rockette
On Thursday at school, my students and I read some articles I had downloaded from the History Channel's Web site. The first one discussed this history of Ramadan, the second one discussed the history of Hannukah, and the third one, of Christmas.  My students are struggling readers, so it was an adventure to pronounce the exotic words in the various texts.  The Muslim kids helped us out with the Ramadan-related words, and I got us through the various mythological terms connected to Christmas, but we were on our own the the Hebrew words.  Still, I had enough Sunday schooling to know the story keep the conversation going. 
The Muslim kids were able and happy to share information about their faith and traditions. The Latino kids told us about the variations on the Christmas theme that take place in their respective places of origin. It became a conversation about faith and family, feasting and friends, commitment and love. It also became a conversation abou…

Blog Your Blessings: 46

Tonight my nephew Adam gave me an Andy Pettitte Topps baseball card: "2007 Achievements, King of the Hill, Andy Pettitte." For long have I heard about this card, how my nephew had it and perhaps someday it could be mine. "Andy points at you," Adam said when he first described the card to me so long ago. Bring it on!
Well, years have rolled on since the initial banter about this magnificent card.
Those years led to this day, when Adam handed me the card. Made a gift of it. No fuss. No fumbling. No strings attached.  Here is your card.
Thank you, Adam, for the gift. More than that, though, thank  you for you.

Skywatch Friday: Warmth

This is the sight I beheld every time I ventured onto the beach after lunch last summer. The clouds were big, sprawling masses of moisture and movement and light. I would lie on my towel and watch them move and make my own sense of the shapes that formed in the sky. One day I watched a turtle follow an alligator across the sky. I don't know where they went, but it was a happy dream. Skywatch Friday

Believing in Santa

“Ms. Carlson still believes in Santa,” one of my students remarked for me to hear as she and a friend were drawing and coloring words for our word wall—our collection of vocabulary master words that adorns my front wall. Word walls are meant to help students remember the words they have learned; I help them remember first by asking them to create the bricks.
“That true, Miss?” her friend asked.
“All I know is the big guy leaves stuff at my house every Christmas Eve, and it’s for my daughter. And that’s all I know.”
“Believe in the tooth fairy?”
“The tooth fairy has given me no reason to doubt her.”
This is the silly banter that goes on as kids are relaxing in class two days before the break we no longer call the Christmas break. I let them draw and color and be themselves among their peers. Such simple socializing is learned behavior; it has to be taught.
During the day, I heard things that broke my heart.
One boy said he was at a friend’s house and watched his friend’s father beat his fr…

Wordless Wednesday: Kisses for You


My World Tuesday: Baby, It's Cold Outside


Today's Flowers: Frost Line

My favorite luxury on the weekend is sleeping myself out, putting on the coffee, reading in bed until the coffee has perked, and then reading in bed with a hot cup of strong coffee. After that, I go for a walk for as long as my feet feel like carrying me and back again. This morning's walk included many frosty confections like this one.
Today's Flowers

One Single Impression: Stillness

Every Christmas Eve
I light a candle
And before bed
Put it on the front step
To burn.

Every Christmas morning
I step outside
To marvel
How deep and clean
Can burn
A single light

If you leave it be.
One Single Impression

The Right Burger

I wanted a veggie burger. I had hoped this little shack could do them the way Frankie's does. I so wanted that--wanted that so badly that I had wished they were Frankie's and not Denmo's. I felt so unfaithful. Why was I here if I knew it was so good there?  How will I feel, I wondered, if the veggie burgers are as good here as they are there?

I was not enjoying myself.

But things became simple fast. "We don't do veggie burgers," the girl behind the glass said.

No way. "No veggie burgers?"

She heard or saw my disappointment. (Perhaps she felt it through the glass.  Who knows?)  "We can take the meat out," she said.

Take. The meat. Out.

In my mind, I saw this gaping space between the lettuce and tomato and mayonnaise and cheese stuck to the bread.

More emptiness.

"You mean a cheese sandwich," I said. I did not ask.

The girl behind the glass laughed a little. "Well, yes. I guess so. It's a meatless burger."

I wanted a…

Skywatch Friday: (Almost) in the Pink

Topsail. Paradise. Heaven.  This summer photo at evening feels a lifetime away as we shiver in the early dark and cold of mid-December.  Today I checked to see what kind of temperatures might await us when we return after Christmas, and I saw numbers that look very Connecticut-like.  No matter. It will be paradise--heaven--to hear the surf, to walk in the sand, to watch the sun rise and set over that magnificent and mysterious Atlantic. To breathe that beautiful air.
Skywatch Friday

Wordless Wednesday: The Party Marches on

Wordless Wednesday

My World Tuesday: O, Christmas Tree

My daughter and her cousins decorated the Christmas tree last Sunday. We had fun recalling the time and place the homemade ornaments came into being and, later, enjoying the way the colored light bounced off the ones that are still shiny. The soft light of Christmas forgives the older ornaments of their wear and damage. The ornaments tell stories, and they're all good.  The above ornaments are the ones I like most.  Sadly, the last one suffered a break when I dropped the star tree-topper on it by accident.  I kept it on the heart all  year so it wouldn't completely crumble in the rough and tumble of being moved in and out of the attic.  This one was a gift from a dear friend in high school.  It had been his grandmother's.  He adored both Christmas and his grandmother, so it was an extra-special gift. Despite my clumsiness, the message survives.
My World Tuesday

Today's Flowers: Life Gives Way to Life



Today's Flowers

One Single Impression: Win

Angels whisper:

And snow comes,

A soft shawl
On the tired shoulders
Of night.

Angels whisper in the dark:

And sleep comes.

Angels whisper

And dreams unfold.

(Nights like these I call a win.)

One Single Impression

Skywatch Friday: And Then the Snow Came

The gray blue of early December is a special color. It promises snow and warm drinks and Christmas lights and quiet magic. On Sunday morning, I raised my bedroom blinds after I dressed, and I noticed then that flurries were floating slowly to the ground. I went and got my younger nephew to show him, and he jumped up and down for joy in the first snow, however mild. Later that day, the flurries grew into our first snowfall. We went to bed early and slept in the next day. The snow delayed the opening of school. We didn't mind. Skywatch Friday

Wordless Wednesday: Time Stopped


Review: The Social Network

If I had to imagine the person who created Facebook, I would imagine the Mark Zuckerberg of the movie The Social Network
Indeed, I would imagine an uncomfortable, social misfit eager for some kind of power--and especially the power to hurt people he can't own.  A player whose favorite pastime with the girlfriend is one-upping the girlfriend, routing her in every conversation. A frustrated social climber ready and eager to play and exploit those with money and social standing. A user bright enough to create Facebook and schizophrenic enough to justify every security gaffe that leaves users exposed and vulnerable for exactly as long as it takes for Whomever to get whatever information it wants from Facebook.
I would imagine a creepy, power-hungry freak who didn't care about whom he exposed or exploited on the way to wherever he wanted to go. 
Watching The Social Network on Sunday night, I did not imagine I was watching the biography of Mark Zuckerberg. I did not think for a momen…

No Jewels

Night comes early
And I am alone
Too soon.

In these solitary hours
I string letters
Like beads
Into words
And wonder which ones
Go together

And then I forget about it

Who but I would wear
What I string together?

I wear no jewels.

I prefer the silence.

Those words?
I drop them.

Don't trip.

My World Tuesday: Visions, Dancing

St. George's Episcopal Church in Middlebury, Connecticut, has displayed a gingerbread village every year for the past 43 years, and it is a high point of the Christmas season. Everything is handmade, and everything is edible, and the creative geniuses who participate in this event never disappoint. This year's theme is books, and we came across everything from Gone with the Wind to The Magic Treehouse to Harry Potter to Snoopy. Good people, good fun, good start to this wonderful season. (More images are here.)
My World Tuesday

Today's Flowers: Warm in Wilmington

Not a seasonal photo. I took this one in Wilmington, North Carolina, outside the battleship North Carolina museum. After touring the ship with my nephew last summer and preparing to head for the car and the quick trip across the bridge and into Wilmington, these trees and their blossoms caught my eye. I remember wanting to capture the experience of the tree with my camera but not knowing where to look. This is like taking a picture of how an ice cream sundae tastes. Capturing an abstract experience through a concrete image is tough. When you're dizzy in love with where you are and what you're doing, it's all the more challenging. I ended up making of myself a tree hugger and looking up. I'm a simple country girl. It is what it is.
Today's Flowers

Review: The World According to Garp

I love when a John Irving book has an afterword. What he has to say never simplifies the text or tells you What You Should Know about the Book after reading it. Reading his real-world voice after reading one of his novels is like waking from fantasy to find you are sitting in the living room with your favorite uncle and, though the fire is burning down, the room is deliciously warm and the story will linger to tell you many things.
So it was at the end of The World According to Garp. An adult reader should know what a book is about after he or she has read it, Irving said. And then he remarked that his young son told him what Garp was about after he read it. And it was about that. And so much more.
I like to fall headlong into a novel and then ask myself what happened. The question, like the answers, is a continuous loop. And the answers are never complete.
Recently I wateched a TED video in which the Chilean novelist Isabel Allende recalled a Jewish proverb that said something along th…

One Single Impression: Freedom

Drift and dream,
Skimming the beach:
Fine, dry sand that blows and flows
Becoming a dune here,
An open space there.

Give, take, and go.
There is no then and again
No error or shame
No questioning

You slip through that open space
And watch the sun set;
Climb the new dune
And watch the sun rise.

You are caught in between,
Captive of an open heart,
Free to come and go.

Drift. Create. Be.

This is not an embrace
But a letting go.

Call it love. Call it freedom.

free (v.)
O.E. freogan "to free, liberate, manumit," also "to love, think of lovingly, honor," from freo (see free (adj.)). Cf. O.Fris. fria "to make free;" O.S. friohan "to court, woo;" Ger. befreien "to free," freien "to woo;" O.N. frja "to love;" Goth. frijon "to love." Related: Freed; freeing.

One Single Impression

Skywatch Friday: Morning, Dear

This was the view before dawn a few weeks ago before we headed to New York City. The moon was full, I think. I am always kind of stunned this deeply nighttime vision can give way to morning in a matter of minutes. Nothing is forever. Nothing. Skywatch Friday

Wordless Wednesday: Wreathed in the Spirit