Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone.
I will return soon to post my annual "highlights of 2008" later. I stay in Porterville Mon through Fri - taking care of my mom - and I don't have as much time to devote to writing (other than my work at the newspaper daily) lately.

Christmas morning 2008

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Favorite Christmas cities

A country or small town Christmas experience is beautiful and actually - it is the place that I would want to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day - but on the days leading up to Christmas, this country mouse loves to go into the city for a day or two. There are some things that our small towns just can't offer -- the sounds of the city, people everywhere, giant stores with beautiful decorations, ice skating in a central plaza or central park, and one of my favorites - going to a symphony orchestra Christmas concert.

So, with that in mind - Here are some of my favorite cities for Christmas:

New York City
San Francisco
Disneyland (not a real city, but oh so beautiful)
Seattle/Victoria, B.C.

"cold" cities - with snow (or if no snow - with rain)

Christmas traditions

I have several traditions at my home, though they are all quite special, I will share a few of them here.

Every year, since my girls were little, I have bought each of them a special ornament. When the girls were in ballet, I got them little porceline "girls in pink tutus" ornaments. As they grew, and had different interests, they got more individualized ornaments - softball player, musical instruments, and other unique ones -- Paris' eiffel tower, NYC's empire state building - and other gold, silver, and gemstone ones.
Jennifer treasures her Care Bears, Marisa her Back Street Boys ornament s- and Catherine, her Barbie ones.
Someday, when they leave and have their own place -- they will each take their box of special ornaments to hang on their first tree.

There is another tradition we have - shopping in a "big city" --normally that means San Francisco Union Square (always have to go see Santa at Macy's) --The trip is not complete without a special brunch or lunch, hot chocolate and ice skating in the plaza.

Last year was truely magical. It snowed. I was promised a "little girl" Christmas experience I would never forget - and I certainly got it -- an awesome light show and listening to Christmas music played on the largest pipe organs I have ever seen at the biggest, most beautiful Macy's I had ever been to. I will never forget it and will forever treasure the photo with Santa I have as a reminder of that magical day.

Disneyland at Christmas is another tradition. I take the girls twice a year. In the summer, and at Christmas. Disneyland is always magical - but even more so at Christmastime.
We will go on Friday, and I can't wait. Marisa especially, is counting the days. Every day she asks "how many more days?" and she jumps up and down and claps when I tell her.

And, my favorite tradition - opening gifts on Christmas morning. Growing up, it was always done the eve before. I wanted to give my children the excitement of Santa (Marisa still believes.)

Whatever your traditions are, may they leave beautiful memories for your loved ones.

Christmas time is here again....

It's finally happened.
My home is slowly getting transformed into a glistening Christmas home.
I got a big tree up in the entryway - and decorated it all evening/night. (all by myself.)
I got a smaller 5-ft white tree for my daughter's room. She decorated it in blues, pinks, purples and penguins. It's so pretty.
I placed three smaller trees in the dining room, and a small table top tree in Catherine's room. She returns next weekend from UC Santa Barbara. Yay! I'm so excited. I can't wait for her to see our little winter wonderland sparkling home. Marisa's room is too small for a tree (she has the cutest room - at her request, she wanted that room - think half a dorm size) but we are placing green garland around her window. It's lighted, plays Christmas tunes, and she can hang some of her small ornaments from it.
My mantel and piano is also covered in beautiful rustic garland, with silver and gold accents.
My house smells like gingerbread or home-baked apple pie (depending on which candles I light) and I constantly play Christmas music - I am listening to Eugene Ormandy conduct the Philadelphia Orchestra (Glorious Sound of Christmas album) "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" as I write this.

I have always loved decorating my home for Christmas but it has been a few years since I've really gone all out. It kind of stopped in 2003 when Catherine was dying in the hospital and I "lived" there for a couple of weeks - never coming home. (that year we got our tree the day she came home - Christmas Eve.)
Since then, I've decorated but never the same again....though last year I started getting back into the swing of it.

Yes - it's definitely beginning to smell, sparkle, and look a lot like Christmas at my home.

Monday, December 01, 2008

From Beethoven with love

Broken hearts do not heal. People say they do, but they don’t.
They are hollow, like a broken drum – silent and undone.
And life goes on but the spirit doesn’t. It remains,
with such longing and such unfulfilled belonging…..

She thought this year would be different.
She thought he was different.
Yet, she’s alone.… through evenings, weekends and holidays.

The heart beats but no rhythm is played......she remains alone....and he does too.

Love letter from Beethoven to his immortal beloved on July 7, 1812

Though still in bed my thoughts go out to you, my Immortal Beloved, now and then joyfully, then sadly, waiting to learn whether or not fate will hear us.

I can live only wholly with you or not at all—yes, I am resolved to wander so long away from you until I can fly to your arms and say that I am really at home, send my soul enwrapped in you into the land of spirits.

—Yes, unhappily it must be so—you will be the more resolved since you know my fidelity—to you, no one can ever again possess my heart—none—never—Oh, God!

why is it necessary to part from one whom one so loves and yet my life in Vienna is now a wretched life—your love makes me at once the happiest and the unhappiest of men—at my age, I need a steady, quiet life—can that be under our conditions?

...Be calm, only by a calm consideration of our existence can we achieve our purpose to live together—be calm—love me—today—yesterday—what tearful longings for you—you—you—my life—my all—farewell—Oh continue to love me—never misjudge the most faithful heart of your beloved.

ever thine
ever mine
ever for each other