Archive | December 2012

Enter Winter, Solstice, Christmas

The Lion Gate and beyond after the first real snowstorm yesterday.

The Lion Gate and beyond after the first real snowstorm yesterday.

If tomorrow is the end of the world today will have been fine. Flustrating as it was on some fronts, it was otherwise perfectly fine. Better than fine. A crystal blue sky with a few puffy clouds, snow so cold it squeaks, a neighbor in the morning with his plow cleared the driveway. Jasmine green tea with ultimate ginger cookies for breakfast, a leisurely morning reading, a quick trip to Grand Junction for a doctor visit with a happy outcome. The wrong size tires with a long wait at Big O, but an unexpected visit with a friend in the waiting area. Pink sunset on the mountains, pink sky, home just in time for the first stars. The 26 degree difference between high and low temps typical most days all year… but this morning the low was -1.

Little psychedelic tree with ancestral ornaments; this year, stars, angels, sparkle.

Little psychedelic tree with ancestral ornaments; this year, stars, angels, sparkle.

Growing up, it was a live tree, cut, in water, always all the same decorations, every last one of them. Only lately I’ve learned I can pick and choose among them, follow a theme. There may not be another Christmas, so I’ll make the most of this one, pull out all the stops, put everything on the table. A trunkful of ancestral ornaments and gew-gaws, a few new decorations of my own. A night of jazz, a manhattan, some candles, and I’ve made Christmas at Mirador again.

IMG_8814

Auntie made this tree more than fifty years ago! Packed in soft bags in a wooden box handmade by the Colonel for most of every year.

Auntie made this tree more than fifty years ago! Packed in soft bags in a wooden box handmade by the Colonel for most of every year.

IMG_8803

The guy with the camel was always my favorite attendant at the creche. And I mean always. I've set up this set-up for as long as I can remember. Fifty years, at least: we got it in Germany, I must have been about three.

The guy with the camel was always my favorite attendant at the creche. And I mean always. I’ve set up this set-up for as long as I can remember. Fifty years, at least: we got it in Germany, I must have been about three.

Lemon cream puffballs...

Lemon cream puffballs…

... at the cookie exchange.

… at the cookie exchange.

It’s been more of a holiday whirlwind than usual, juggling deadlines and celebrations. Tomorrow we’ll have our Last Party, celebrate the Endo’ Times for at least the second time. Just in case. Comfort foods, like meatloaf, mac n’ cheese, broccoli—??? When did broccoli become a comfort food? Some time in the past few years, at last, I’ve developed a taste for broccoli. Cheese. If the world doesn’t end at least we’ll see the return of the light. More good food this week:

Ruth's hens eggs, fried in red pepper rings, with spinach from her greenhouse. An excellent breakfast.

Ruth’s hens eggs, fried in red pepper rings, with spinach from her greenhouse. An excellent breakfast.

The chef next door's Tom Kha Gai, maybe I spelled that right: in any case sublime Thai soup, a taste sensation.

The chef next door’s Tom Kha Gai, maybe I spelled that right: in any case sublime Thai soup, a taste sensation.

For these foods, and for these ancestral decorations, both of which bring sustenance, I am profoundly grateful; for the friends and family they represent, I give thanks.

Sunday, December 2

IMG_8595

Ten days or 18 from the potential end of the world, the transformational evolutionary loop or total extinction, we know not what if anything signified by the end of the Mayan calendar. If only a further deepening divide between factions, believers and the takers, the spirituals and the materials. Two ways of seeing the world that grow farther apart with each drawn-out hostile political battle, with each assumption of divine change by some who become the object of derision when their prediction fails to come true. These two sides, two (or more) ways of seeing the world, are becoming polarized from a common set of sources: the wedge between them thrives with malignant emotion. Love really is the only answer, giving, loving, thinking the best, making the most.

 IMG_8614

After weeks of bragging about how good my dog training setup is, I’ve gone and lost it somewhere between last night’s walk and now: if I retrace my steps from putting up hoses to cocktails maybe I’ll find it.

Hoses to cocktails and back again, fill the bird feeders; it’s morning, cocktails will have to wait. Where’s that transmitter? I’ll see it lying on the ground, it will be found, like the little golden frog. For now, I’m without it, the dogs can’t be loose in the forest with bucks in rut, random lions, confused bears.

Found! After filling the sunflower feeder, watering in the garlic, finding the next place to set the sprinkler. The last place I had it, I think, didn’t get quite enough yesterday, and there, I approach, I think I see the transmitter, but it’s a shadow. I stand there mulling… turn around, and there it is on the ground!

Oh well. It gave me something else to think about aside from all the things I should be doing and haven’t accomplished in recent weeks, months, and let me focus on observations in the garden. Now found, the dogs will be walked. And I’ll return to work on a deadline.

The Survivor. Transmitter found, the dogs and I walk the long loop through the forest. This ancient juniper, at least 600 years old, has fallen over, been cut with a chainsaw, and still grows green at the top.

The Survivor. Transmitter found, the dogs and I walk the long loop through the forest. This ancient juniper, at least 600 years old, has fallen over, been cut with a chainsaw, and still grows green at the top.

IMG_8610

Feeding my craving for color wherever I can. Or, my camera's craving. A lovely centerpiece at my neighbors' table.

Feeding my craving for color wherever I can. Or, my camera’s craving. A lovely centerpiece at my neighbors’ table.

And feeding my appetite, too: maple syrup-glazed pork roast by Cynthia.

And feeding my appetite, too: maple syrup-glazed pork roast by Cynthia.

Lemon chess pie by me, from Auntie's recipe. "We'll know more later!"

Lemon chess pie by me, from Auntie’s recipe. “We’ll know more later!”

 

 

 

First Day of December

The last Pamela egg of the season. The hens have slowed down laying in the coming cold. With homegrown potatoes and happy bacon, fresh basil from the pot in the sunroom.

The last Pamela egg of the season. The hens have slowed down laying in the coming cold. With homegrown potatoes and happy bacon, fresh basil from the pot in the sunroom.

The first day of December. Gardening in flip-flops, barely vested, more for pockets than for warmth. Sixty degrees in the sun. Feels like spring but looks like winter; subdued landscape of grays and browns, feels like early fall but lacks the brilliant colors.

Just a short snow, a couple of inches, to purify the brown ground. The white of rebirth, this is the day I’ve been waiting for all week. Time to stand and hear the nuthatch duet with the chickadee from the tips of two separate trees.

Inordinately fond of my goldfish, I spend too much time at the pond. Tiny fry burrow their mud-colored snouts into sediment on the sides, feeding on microbites.

The third flower finally opened on last year's orchid, perfectly lit on the kitchen counter for only a few minutes just at sunrise.

The third flower finally opened on last year’s orchid, perfectly lit on the kitchen counter for only a few minutes just at sunrise.

The more ease I feel among the people around me, the more I see conflicts averted and resolved in generous ways that took work to get to for everyone involved, just being nice. The Dalai Lama was right: being nice to others is as selfish a thing as you can do because you just feel better; things go better for you if you are. This played out in a recent potential conflict with  missteps by all parties and inadvertent exacerbations; all among us kept our heads and played our roles and stayed out of others’ roles until, lo and behold, we all walked away smiling on this beautiful, fall-warm winter day.

Traffic jam on the downhill to town.

Traffic jam on the downhill to town.

My favorite kind. Of traffic jam. Slowly plodding sheep, fast efficient dogs, Basque shepherds.

My favorite kind. Of traffic jam. Slowly plodding sheep, fast efficient dogs, Basque shepherds.