Saturday, December 31, 2011

Just Now: After The Party Edition

Current time:  12:14 a.m., so I guess it's actually Saturday.  We just had my Mom's surprise 60th birthday, she never guessed.  Everyone just left, tucked the girls in bed.

In my glass:  A very last bit of Carmenere wine I found that I left upstairs.  Also half a Smithwick's, a small glass of champagne with a hibiscus in it and three glasses of water.

In my belly:  Tuscan bean and vegetable soup, bread, marinated olives and way too many cheese and crackers.  Oh, and don't forget a scoop of bread pudding and a slice of my grandmother's apple cake.  (Yes, we do know that food and wine make the party).

In my ears:  "Georgia on My Mind"  Ray Charles, have had my Nora Jones Pandora station on all night.

Out the window: A clear night, a bit of a chill, just went out to turn out the Christmas lights.

On the editor:   A few from tonight but not too many.

Last watched: An episode of River Cottage last night on the computer.  All my television shows are on hiatus for the holiday :-(  

Feeling good about:  Family.  We had my little family, my sister and her boyfriend, my grandparents, my brother and Claire up from Salisbury and my Aunt and her husband all here tonight.  It was fantastic having my house full of family.  It was wonderful being able to surprise my mother.  I love having a house full.  My parents played Just Dance on the Wii and the girls were playing tennis with my brother at 11:00 pm.

Feeling bad about:  Not really bad, but I'm having a hard time getting back into a routine after the holidays, there was Christmas, then this party and Karelyn's birthday is Tuesday.

By my bedside:  Almost done The Ninth Wife, got Deborah Madison's Vegetable Soups from the library this week on Calum and Claire's recommendation.

Making me think:  How lucky I am.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Just Now

Current time: Thursday evening, 7.40pm

In my glass: Coke Zero, though I am seriously considering a Baileys

In my belly: Cold chicken chow mein, leftovers from last night's takeaway

In my ears: blissful silence

Out the window: cold, dark, wet, miserable. I am very happy to be indoors, wearing my favourite warm jumper, yoga pants (I should call them non-yoga pants) and fluffy socks, snuggled up on the sofa by the fire. 

On the editor: nothing. I haven't taken any photographs since the day after Christmas, it's been a very lazy few days here, and likely to continue until January 3rd, when the Prof goes back to work. 

Last watched:  Four episodes of Stargate Universe back to back last night - I bought the Prof the whole series for Christmas, we don't have Sky so haven't seen it yet

Feeling good about: Looking forward to dinner with my parents and brother on New Year's Day, my birthday

Feeling bad about: nothing, right at this moment 

By my bedside: Nicci French's Blue Monday, enjoying it very much 

Making me think: making plans for 2012 and beyond. Mainly my concern is how to make plans without it feeling like a huge to do list. As soon as I have a list of things to do, I want to rebel and do the opposite ;)

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Thursday Inspiration

How to Start Over - Maya Stein

resist the temptation to wipe the slate clean entirely.
you cannot do this.
you are where you are.
but you can dust. you can mop. you can cleanse your belly
of all the heavy cheeses you ate at last month's holiday parties.
you can initiate the day with decaf.
you can rake four batches of leaves from the lawn.
you can sing, loudly, in the car to no one
but the man on the radio who is singing with you.
you can decide that the apple pie you are craving
will not come from your hands, your oven, your kitchen,
but from the bakery aisle at your neighborhood grocery.

ignore the titles from the self-help shelves and glossy
women's magazines, with their sound bytes of colorful insight.
you do not need a makeover, a diet, a religious conversion.
you do not need to get more in touch with your feelings.
you do not need potassium, or St. John's Wort, or a colonic.
you need a walk, communion with shore birds, a rainstorm,
a glass of wine in front of a fire, lip gloss, a whole evening
of the novel you read only incrementally, at night, before bed.

ignore the calendar, the clock, the larger itineraries
ticking their niggling bits of time.
you will sleep when you need to.
you will know when it is time for water, for a shower,
for a phone call, for a kiss, for solitude, for Indian food,
whatever nourishment you need for your throat, your ears,
the palms of your hands, the hunger just under your skin.

imagine, despite your unbearable faults and fissures,
you are still a thing of beauty, a rare creature, a snowflake,
a singular, spectacular atom circumnavigating the tangled astronomy
of your life the only way you know how.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Here and there: our Christmas

Christmas dinner - Auntie May, Mum,
my brother Darren, Dad,
the Prof, The Young Philosopher
and my cousin, Simon. 

The tree at Mum and Dad's 
My brother's dog Fudge opens her presents
Boxing Day. Mum, Grandad and Rose.
The Young Philosopher and Curly Girl

Mum and Dad's garden

 Boxing Day sky

 First signs of Spring

Monday, December 26, 2011

Weekend Update: Christmas Day

At Mom's house.

James waiting for dinner. 

My grandparents and my Mom.

My brother Calum (purple crown), my sister Karen and her boyfriend Kevin.

Calum's girlfriend Claire and Emily in her kitty cat pj's.

Karelyn having very berry pie at about 9:00 p.m.

The living room after gifts.  

11:00 p.m.  when we picked ourselves up from lying in front of the fire and made ourselves go home.

from the weekend:

Friday, December 23, 2011

Just Now

Current time: Thursday evening, 9.30pm
In my glass: Coke.

In my belly: My homemade chicken soup.

In my ears: too much noise from some manic sports programme on the tv. If I could be bothered to get up to reach the remote control, I would turn it down.

Out the window: Twinkly Christmas lights in the neighbour's window opposite.

On the editor: Some photographs I took on Tuesday evening at the fortnightly meeting of our English History group, silly Christmas hats, Saxon helmets, mead and sloe gin. 

Last watched: The Knowing, last night. There's two hours and twenty minutes of my life that I will never get back. 

Feeling good about/ bad about: Today I am made of equal parts jolly and Christmassy and absolutely bloody exhausted. 

By my bedside: This delightful version of the Night Before Christmas, which I bought for myself this year. The Woman He Loved Before, by Dorothy Koomson, which was recommended to me. Not sure about it so far, but giving it time. Half tempted to give it up in favour of Comfort and Joy, by India Knight. Also the Dummies book for my new camera, which I am looking forward to having a look at over Christmas

My wishes for the New Year: Simplicity. Peace. Love. Joy. Cherry brandy and the occasional Cream Tea.  

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Inspiration Thursday

"Frosty days and ice-still nights,
Fir trees trimmed with tiny lights,

Sound of sleigh bells in the snow,
That was Christmas long ago.

Tykes on sleds and shouts of glee,
Icy-window filigree,
Sugarplums and candle glow,
Part of Christmas long ago.

Footsteps stealthy on the stair,
Sweet-voiced carols in the air,
Stocking hanging in a row,
Tell of Christmas long ago.

Starry nights so still and blue,
Good friends calling out to you,
Life, so fact, will always slow...
For dreams of Christmas long ago."

-   Jo Geis, Christmas Long Ago

I found this little poem and liked it.
A reminder I guess, to slow down and enjoy

Monday, December 19, 2011

Weekend Update: A Flurry of Activity

No photo and this post is running late.
By all accounts it is already Tuesday there, but it's Monday night here.

The weekend was a blur.
Shopping, cooking, baking.
We had snow Saturday night, just enough to coat the outside a bit,
I saw it when I took the dog out before bed, was glad it was still around when the girls woke up.

The girls and I watched Mr. Popper's Penguins, I was prepared not to like it, but it was a good movie for the family to watch together.
We made a boatload of cookies.
I have come to accept that my pants are just going to be tight until after the New Year.
I cannot resist all those cookies, they just call out my name.
Cookies in the morning, cookies before bed.

I have family coming over for Christmas Eve dinner.
I have no idea what to make.
So many dietary restrictions and it will be Christmas Eve
And I'm worn down.  Tired. Toast.

I love Christmas and this year I was prepared.
And yet there still seems to be a million little things left to do.

Weekend update

Things that didn't happen this weekend:

The dishes
The housework
Writing Christmas cards
Wrapping Christmas presents

Things that did happen this weekend:

Visiting family
Decorating the Christmas tree (thanks to the Young Philosopher and Curly Girl)
Going out for dinner
Finishing the Christmas shopping
A wheel nearly falling off the car

Friday, December 16, 2011

Just Now: Nine days out

Current time:  3.45, Thursday afternoon

In my mug:  cold coffee. I am always forgetting it, and we no longer have a microwave so I can't warm it up. Think I'll put the kettle on again.

In my belly: do I have to admit all I have eaten all day is a packet of crisps? 

In my ears: nothing today. the last thing I listened to was yesterday, my Salvation Army Christmas CD. It reminds me of Christmases when the Young Philospher was younger, as he went to Sunday School there and we sometimes went to services.

Out the window: It looks cold and windy. Hopefully my washing on the line will be dry. 

On the editor: nothing. I haven't even been using the fancy camera. No inspiration.

Last watched: Do you know, I don't remember. I don't think we have watched any television for a few days. This evening I expect we're going to catch up on taped editions of Masterchef. 

Feeling good about: Last night I went to the Women's Institute Book Group for the first time. I have held back from joining as the one thing I can't stand is to have to finish a book I am really not enjoying, but I have joined in now as it seems the group is very laid back if someone doesn't want to/can't get a particular book read. Last night was held at a local Indian restaurant and it was a really good evening, with ten of us eating good food and chatting books and everything else all night. There was also Secret Santa, we all had to wrap a book we had enjoyed and swap them. The one I wrapped was Thaw by Fiona Robyn of Writing Our Way Home, which I really liked. It is original, funny and a little bit dark, a really good read. The one I was given is May Contain Nuts by John O'Farrell, which looks really funny. I read the first chapter last night and laughed out loud. 

Feeling bad about:  the deadline for posting Christmas cards is in a couple of days and I have not written any yet. It's only nine days to Christmas and I still don't have a tree and decorations up. I have approximately seventy gift items to wrap. That is all. 

By my bedside: A Cupboard Full of Coats by Yvette Edwards. I am about halfway through and thoroughly enjoying it. 

Making me think: I have a big pile of Christmas music and films and I am going to find time to listen to/watch them. Just as soon as I have put up the decorations, written the cards and posted them, given myself Repetitive Strain Injury wrapping presents, and had a nervous breakdown. 

Just Now: Thursday While Girls Are in Bath

Current time:  7:35 p.m.

In my glass:  Glass of iced tea.

In my belly:  Bacon, scrambled eggs and toast.  It was a breakfast for dinner night.

In my ears:  "Unfold" by Jason Mraz.  I don't know I kind of just needed it tonight.

Out the window: Rain.  Yesterday, we went to the concert at school with no coats.  My grandfather mowed the grass yesterday, ten days before Christmas.  I could really go for a snow day, stuck inside.

On the editor:   A few photos from our trip to Longwood Gardens.  I really haven't had the camera out much.

Last watched: Miracle on 34th Street with the girls last weekend.  Love this movie.   

Feeling good about:  This is a tough one, it's been a rough day.  My daughters really cracked me up at dinner though.  Their laughter makes me happy.

Feeling bad about:  I don't know how I didn't give up today.  Overslept.  Almost left without packing Ems lunch this morning.  Put all the Christmas/gift cards for work on my passenger side seat and then my soda fell over and I found them in a puddle of cola when I got there.  Bashed my hip on the crazy heavy vault door at work.  Screwed up about a zillion little things all day.  Got home to a giant envelope from the state prosecutor today (don't like attorney mail, too many bad memories, but they arrested the people who tried to break into my house (teenagers, two boys and a girl) and sent me paperwork for restitution).  Dropped the plastic spatula into the oven tonight, slightly melty.  Dripped bacon grease all over the floor and counter..........ugggghhh.

By my bedside:  The printed pages of the book.  I've been editing a bit at night and do it better on paper than laptop.  Hoping to send them off to you to take a little look at around the first of the year.

Making me think:  How sometimes even surrounded by so many people, when all goes quiet at the end of the night, sometimes I feel really alone.  Your poem yesterday, was such a help.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Thursday Inspiration

Love After Love  -   Derek Walcott

The time will come 
when, with elation 
you will greet yourself arriving 
at your own door, in your own mirror 
and each will smile at the other's welcome, 

and say, sit here. Eat. 
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart 
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you 

all your life, whom you ignored 
for another, who knows you by heart. 
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf, 

the photographs, the desperate notes, 
peel your own image from the mirror. 
Sit. Feast on your life. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Here and There: 2011 Favorite Photographs

I've been seriously, consistently taking photographs for three years now.
When I look back on these compared to a few years ago I cannot believe the difference.
Enjoy that new camera friend, the more you take the better you get.
You've already got a fantastic eye.
Isn't it fun looking back?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Here and there - 2011: my favourite photographs

I just got interested in taking photographs about a year ago, and over the year I experimented a little with the settings, and also learned how to edit the pictures a little, and I am really pleased with some of them. These are a few of my favourites.