Archive for November, 2008

November’s Rain

So today is the last day of November and the end of NaBloPoMo.  I planned to write about that today, but I find that I need to deal with a different kind of ending- I have to go to a memorial service  today.

No, since you are probably asking, it’s not a family member.  It’s a member of the opera family.  A very sweet, humble, and hard working young man with a beautiful voice named Ryan Smith.  He tried very hard to have a career in music and after a lot of set backs and disappointments he won the Met competition in 2007 just a few months before he would have been too old to enter.  You can read more about Ryan here.  His death is a true tragedy in the opera community, to everyone who knew him, and we will all miss him a lot.

So since we are also at the end of the Fall season when the year begins to die and the time will soon come when:

The last leaf is gone and the glory has gone out of the sky*

I will finish up this month with a few last pictures of Autumn Glory:


















*T. S. Eliot



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I am not ready yet. I hate all the rushing about, crowds everywhere, and traffic.  I like to stay home, putter about, read, with a mug of something warm and nothing on the must do list.

Ahhh, yes, but it’s Thanksgiving weekend, those wonderful free days which is one’s window of opportunity to plunge into Christmas shopping, decorating, and baking before it all spins out of control.

Once upon a time I was uber organized about this.  I had to be. I had 30 some friends and relatives with every expectation of receiving gifts from me.  Plus, every adult in your child’s life who is not a family member wants a piece of him at Christmas.  There’s the school holiday program, one at the after school care, the Karate class demonstration at the mall, and the marching band has been invited to perform in the Local Christmas Parade.  We want everyone there at 7 am Saturday morning. You couldn’t possibly let him miss this opportunity to shill for the school now could you?  When you plug in the costume shop party, my then DH’s office party, and our traditional help Gramma and Grampa get their tree up event December is shot.

I could have, at that time, given Martha Stewart a real comeuppance too.  Part of my Thanksgiving weekend involved cutting greenery for the house, getting the Advent wreath ready to be lit on Sunday (sometimes the only time it was lit before Christmas Eve but it always looked nice) and beribboning the outdoor wreathes.  hmmm…should it be burgundy or plum this year?  Baubles or greenery?

I also used to make my own cards, in September.  Thanksgiving weekend I wrote personal messages in each one and addressed and mailed them.  

I’m not doing any of that this weekend.  I’ve taken a couple of walks and I’ve discovered that Mother Nature isn’t ready yet either.  However much we try and force the issue:

Who am I to argue with a superior force?

I might, if I have enough energy, go to here , find a lovely animated card, plug in my address list, and hit send.  No paper, no trees, no stamps, and no writer’s cramp.

I’d like to do some knitting today.  On gifts, maybe.

I’m probably going to make some Truffles as shop/office/emergency gifts.  If there’s room in the fridge for them to set.  Which there won’t be until the turkey is gone.  That means, I’ll probably eat some more turkey.  

Now just where did I set my mug…

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How I came to blog

Because I’m actually in a coma while my body finishes digesting yesterday’s meal-what I’m posting today is the text of an Email I sent out in 2003. (with apologies to those of you who read it then) One or two people, all people whose opinions I value, read it and suggested I should write more.  

Only I didn’t feel I had enough stick-to-it-iveness  to really produce something publishable so I started a blog instead.  Because anyone can start a blog- it doesn’t require any commitment except showing up- there’s no goal, no character development, no continuity, and no big finish.  Like a casual date.  Kinda like Email.

It’s particularly relevant for today because it’s about shopping and today is Black Friday:  That day when most of America goes to the mall- only maybe this year, not so much.  So for a little nostalgia from when shopping was fun, we still had money and credit cards could open Aladdin’s Cave:

 Life In a Cold Climate

Last week when I was without a car a treking to the bus stop in the cold nasty weather in Atlanta- I realized that my duffle coat was not going to get me through winter in Cincinnati.  The only alternative that I owned was a 15yr old full length dress coat which weighs about 30lbs.  It has some stains that won’t come out and, well, a few moth holes. Last year after I took it to Pittsburgh I swore that it would never swaddle my body again.  Was there ever a better excuse to escape the chaos of packing and Go Shopping?

I scanned the racks of down parkas- a pastel snow bunnie/sex kitten look in mind.  Unfortunately I look more like an overfed cocker spaniel in most of them. At last I found one flattering and with a suitably jet set aura about it- a Versace knockoff and outrageously expensive, but I didn’t get it after all.  It was a pale butter yellow and I had a vision of what it would look like after life (my life, anyway) happened to it. After reveiwing the affordable options I bought a brown microfiber coat with a quilted lining and a faux fur collar.  It is not a parka-it’s not meant for the ski slopes or anywhere sporty- It is ladylike, flattering, adult, and perfect for urban living. I haven’t yet realized its full potential as it is not cold here yet- and as usual the costume shop and my apt. are both 80 degrees.  Plus after I hike up the hill to the theatre I’d be sweating in a bikini.
 Welcome to the overheated midwest.

ah…BURP, excuse me, must nap now.

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This blog has been interupted

I had a whole train of planned posts dealing with Thanksgiving and it’s aftermath but I’ve been tagged by Little Lou.  So I’ve been derailed and the train has jumped into the alternative universe of memes.

So here it is:

The Rules:
1) Link to your tagger and list all these rules in your blog.
2) Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.
3) Tag 7 people at the end of your post by including links to their blogs
4) Let them know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog
  1. My favorite treat from childhood is peanut butter with blue cheese sandwiches. (How’s that for weird?)
  2. My first pet was a black cat named Cinderella. 
  3. I was once lost in the dessert. 
  4. I was once stuck in the mud overnight in a cow pasture in Mexico. 
  5. While I was a student at Berkeley I had lunch with Mary Leakey. 
  6.  I am always on the look out for anyone who remembers my favorite childhood cartoon show Crusader Rabbit. 
  7. I didn’t sew my first real garment until I was 14 but I made doll clothes when I was 10 in secret because I wasn’t supposed to use the sewing machine.

I’m tagging- tonyfan4foreverfraggle, just 26miles, skipper, whatzerkitty, Diana, and Heather, mostly from the NaBloPoMo group on Ravelry because hey, it’s an easy post just here for the taking.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a pie to bake and a turkey to baste and potatoes that need mashing.

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One day I really believe we will celebrate all the holidays.  We will go beyond our western-centric obsession with President’s Day, Christmas and the Fourth of July.  We’ll include Dwali, Ramadan, Buddha’s Birthday and all the others I haven’t yet discovered.  I’m guessing there’ll be something almost every week (woo hoo- more 3 day weekends) although some things could be combined- I understand that in some parts of England Dwali is celebrated in conjunction with Guy Fawkes day. (blow something up, start a fire= festival of light, good over evil.  Ok, makes sense I guess)  and most cultures have some form of winter holiday around the solstice (Christmas-Eid al Fitr-Hanukkah-Kwanza-Yule anyone?) We could all just take December off.  No work gets done then anyway- we’re too busy shopping, decorating and watching football.  Frankly, we could all stand to do a little fasting after too much Holiday feasting (Eid), spend more time with our kids (Kwanza) and less time drinking at holiday parties.   

It’s really already begun. We already have Cinco de Mayo events here and I understand that many Japanese celebrate the secular aspects of Christmas- stores decorate to lure in shoppers and so forth.

Then maybe the rest of the world will celebrate Thanksgiving with us- because they want to, because we’ve included them, because they’ve included us. (although we might have to negotiate the date with the Canadians or maybe the US will just take Oct 12 as a free day and they’ll take the last weekend in November off for Christmas shopping) Because Thanksgiving is supposed to be for everyone- “A celebration of Fall, food, and gratitude”*- So come on in- We’ll find a place at the table and please pass the mashed potatoes.

So this year I’m grateful:  I am not in refugee camp in the Congo.  I have not lost my pension in the economic debacle. (I didn’t have one to lose, but right now, I’m grateful for that too) I am not adrift somewhere with no one who cares. I have a job, I have a roof over my head and a turkey (or will have if the oven cooperates) on the table. I have a lovely granddaughter, a great son, and good friends. 

I’m not sure I really need much else.  Although a Dwali/Guy Fawkes bonfire sure sounds like fun.

*Garrison Keillor 

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Mom’s Day of Martyrdom

Today I’m going to make cranberry sauce and cornbread for stuffing.  If I feel really energetic I’m going to bake my pumpkin pie too.  Yes, I know it’s not Thanksgiving yet but I like to take my holidays at a leisurely pace.  

Don’t get me wrong.  I like all the holiday cooking but I like to do it when that’s what there is to do.  When the house is clean, the oven isn’t going to catch on fire, (it shouldn’t this year- I cleaned it recently and it certainly appears to be drip free, but stay tuned because there’s no telling…) errands have been run, guests are expected later.  Then I can have a zen-in-the-moment experience and just cook. 

I think I approach the holidays like that because my mother turned into a holiday martyr every Thanksgiving and Christmas and really, who wants to channel Mom’s most irritating quirks?

I think she may have actually liked Easter but that might just be because she took Good Friday afternoon off from work and didn’t feel so much like she had to do a big holiday meal and all the other household stuff- I also think she liked hiding Easter Baskets, but that’s another story.

It’s not really surprising that she glumped around the kitchen on Thanksgiving after she banished everyone else, sighed over the windows that she could be washing if she didn’t have to cook and plopped hor d’oeuvres down in the dining room with a that’s all you get until dinner make the best of it… dare I say it?  Attitude.

The thing is- she did it anyway.  She never would have not done Dinner on Thanksgiving or put up decorations, or wrapped presents for Christmas.  Ditto for ironing the best tablecloth and polishing the good silver, and cleaning the house beforehand.

Really, I think she just needed someone to say thank you, we really appreciate it, you did a good job.  Of course, no one did, because women then were just supposed to do all that.

So Thanks Mom, belatedly. You did a good job.  I won’t martyr myself for the holidays- I’ve been given that option- but I can’t not cook either.     …and as long as I have a few minutes while the cornbread is cooking I think I’ll iron and starch the tablecloth.

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I haven’t really had a hard time finding things to say during NaBloPoMo and frankly I’m really amazed by that.  I was sure I’d have a few days of staring at the screen wondering if this would be the day I had to drop out. Turns out, if I have to write something everyday, I can.  And some for tomorrow and the next day too. It’s possible I might have enough material for a really boring novel about blogging.

I’ve even started writing drafts in my sleep. 

A few nights ago, it was so cold the cats slept on top of me- In my sleep I felt this was blog worthy and wrote and re wrote about it all night.

But just because I can I’m posting another fall leaves against the sky pic.


Arent Ginko Trees Swell

Aren't Ginko Trees Swell?

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