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Archive for December, 2009

Merry Christmas Already

After any very great effort, there’s some satisfaction with having survived, if not with the accomplishment itself.  In the few days between Christmas and New Years, what a treat to draw a full, unhurried, unstressed breath. 

December began in November with Thanksgiving in Colorado.  I was there 9 days and it was lovely and fun and interesting.  There was knitting, cooking, shopping — it is a family tradition to shop on Black Friday — and, of course a big feast.  And house-hunting.  House hunting is a great opportunity to learn a lot about yourself and what you really value. 

The knitting – a lavender blue, pink and white yarn hand-dyed in Ecuador, brought home to be by my sister, Yvonne, from the Quito market.  The needles, Knit Picks from my dear friend Holly, who is a wicked-good knitter – of socks, shawls, sweaters of many colors, and other amazing things.  The pattern is a simple shell stitch (Old Shale) and the blanket is not the property of little Ariele who lives in NYC.

I returned from Colorado to Maryland, to face a heavy rehearsal schedule to prepare for the St Jude’s Christmas Concert.  Always over-extended, this year I directed two handbell choirs, and sang in 4 choirs at the concert, and was the point person on organizing the reception. I am willing to accept that I over-extend as a coping strategy for grief.  Holidays are hard, and this year was harder than last year.  Last year I was busy trying to maintain the Old Normal.  This year, John’s really gone, and there’s no normal to be found. 

But, the really great thing about this year’s concert (in addition to the very respectable performances of the handbell choirs) was that Gary, Cindy and Molly came from Connecticut to see the concert.  It was such a special thing to have “family” there.  On the Sunday after the concert, we went to the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum, which has amazing treasures. 

Gary took this picture;  the sculpture is called Gyrostasis by Robert Smithson.  I think it is made of painted steel, but it has a delicate sense to it of oragami. 

It struck me that I should frequent these amazing museums more often, since I will eventually leave this area.  I think of visiting museums as a group activity, something that must be shared, but in fact, that is a mental rut, and I need to get out of it.  My New Year’s resolution is to visit a museum, attend a concert, go through a garden, at least twice a month.

After the concert weekend (the 12th), the East Coast was hit by a snowstorm (on the 19th), and the Maryland/Virginia/WDC area received more snow than the 1979 storm that John and I experienced when we moved here.  I shoveled quite a lot of snow.

Our street was never plowed, but by shoveling 5 times during the storm (Saturday), and allowing the 4WDs and SUVs to pack down the center of the road (Sunday), we were able to drive out on Monday.  Unfortunately, Nina and Melissa, who were due to leave of England on the 19th, had to change their flight to December 24th.  All three local airports were closed, and the air traffic was badly backed up.

 

Here are Nina and Melissa killing time in the den.

Odin took it all in stride.  He says Happy New Year.

Be well.  Be kind.  Be your self, but be your best self.

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