Thursday, December 27, 2007

It's a Christmas Wrap-up Over Here

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping paper! I try to be inventive when wrapping, and choose as much natural/renewables as I can. Like real fabric ribbon that you can use again to wrap or for a project.

2. Real tree or artificial? I converted to artificial a few years ago when I found a beautiful one at the Salvation Army for $15.99. I love the ease and economy of it.

3. When do you put up the tree? I'd like to wait until the 12th or so. Annie votes for ASAP after Thanksgiving.

4. When do you take the tree down? I like to have everything put away and organized by the first.

5. Do you like eggnog? No.

6. Favorite gift received as a child? My folks made me a doll house from a Sunset Magazine how-to in 1972 when I was eight and surprised me with it on Christmas morning. It was a total thrill!

7. Do you have a nativity scene? No. I gave the one I had away this year. It was from Mexico. I have a lot of Mother and Child icons though.

8. Hardest person to buy/make for? Maybe my Father-in-Law.

9. Easiest person to buy/make for? My Mother-in-Law.

10. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? Hmmm. I cannot remember anything that fits here.

11. Mail or email Christmas cards? I love to send a Christmas card out each year.

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? Fanny and Alexander. I don't know if it's a very traditional Christmas movie, but I like it!

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? I don't do a lot of shopping. I try to make most of my gifts, but I try to buy little odds and ends as I see them, sometimes as early as Summer.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Yes I have. Not as a Christmas gift, but as a gift.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Bill makes a wonderful roast with horseradish sauce for Christmas dinner. He also makes a egg casserole with sage that is sooooo good. (I had some leftovers for lunch today. It heats up great!)

16. Clear lights or colored on the tree? Clear.

17.Favorite Christmas song? Gosh, I don't know...

18. Travel for Christmas or stay home? Stay home!

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer's? Dasher, Dancer, Donner and Blitzen, Comet and Cupid and hmmmm and hmmmm. And Rudolph.

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? A beloved felt Santa.

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Santa presents Christmas morning. Family presents after dinner.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of year? The focus on the extrinsic, rather than the intrinsic.

23. What I love most about Christmas? The opportunity to tell those around you how much you love them.

Post Holiday Fuzzies

We were going to get dressed at one point, but we decided instead to just put on fresh jammies. The matching one's that Grandma gave us. Tee Hee! We watched a documentary on Pocahontas and then a movie about photographing faeries. The we remembered where we had hid the truffles that Pop had given me in my stocking. Are you getting the picture? A cold and grey, silly silly day spent in a house that is layered still with Christmas delights. Now (I swear, after I post this) I will scurry around trying to pull it together for our flight to LA tomorrow to visit LaLa and celebrate Andalusia Eleanor Frances Cranes fifth birthday!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Merry Christmas Papa!

I finished the scarf for Billy today. I actually finished about a week ago, and today I just blocked it and wove in the end pieces. It looks so much better once I steamed and blocked it! It looked very rough and ordinary before. Now it has such a light and fine feel to it. Maybe the Alpaca needs to be stretched and threatened a bit to show it's true beauty. I made it very long, like he likes, almost five feet, and I hope it keeps him warm on the ferry in the mornings. (If not darling, this might warm you a little.) Back to the project. It's a very simple pattern. Just let me know if you want the instructions.

Christmas Stolen MeMe

I stole this MeMe from someone who stole it from someone else.
The blogger was Aussie, hence the ice tea and watermelon questions.

What color or design is on your shower curtain?
Subtle cream on white graphic pattern.

Do you have any watermelon in your refrigerator?
No. But I did last week. For Annie.

What would you change about your living room?
Maybe make the room wider. Oh and deeper seat size on the couch and chair.
OK. Throw in down filler to all the cushion. And new double paned sash windows. And....

Are the dishes in your dishwasher clean or dirty?
Haven't had a dishwasher since I was a kid living at home.

What is in your fridge?
Standard stuff, my food compost (ants get it if I leave it out) plus leftovers from Friday's dinner party.

White or wheat bread?
Santa Cruz sourdough, and wheat.

What is on top of your refrigerator?
The fridge is out on the covered back porch off the kitchen, and we keep the toaster oven on it since it's so ugly looking.

How many plants are in your home?
4 or 5.

Is your bed made right now?
No. I just took a holiday nap!

Is your closet organized?
Pretty much.

What kind of soap is in your bathtub right now?
Honeysuckle glycerin.

Do you drink out of glass or plastic most of the time at home?

Do you have iced tea made in a pitcher right now?
No. I don't like ice tea.

If you have a garage, is it cluttered?
No garage, just a basement.

Curtains or blinds?

How many pillows do you sleep with?
Three. Two to sleep on, one under my knees.

Do you sleep with any lights on at night?
No. Need total darkness.

How often do you vacuum?
At least once a week. It needs it more with Jasper the Wonderdog.

Standard toothbrush or electric?
Manual in the a.m. and electric at night.

Do you have a welcome mat on your front porch?
Yes, but it doesn't say anything.

What is in your oven right now?
Maybe a cookie sheet with used parchment on it, just waiting to heat something up.

Is there anything under your bed?
Yes, it's giant space great for storage. I can't remember what's under there though.

Chore you hate doing the most?
Tub. Or cleaning the oven.

What retro items are in your home?
hmmm…lots of stuff. Plus the house itself.

Do you have a separate room that you use as an office?
Yes. I share it with Annie. It's a mess right now since we're so close to Christmas.

How many mirrors are in your home?
Four or five.

What color are your walls?
Mustard in the LR, and bright burnt orange in the DR.

Do you keep any kind of protection weapons in your home?
No!! Unless you count Jasper the Wonderdog.

What does your home smell like right now?

Favorite candle scent?

Ever been on your roof?

How many TVs do you have?
One. But it's big. Oh, two. There's one in the basement and isn't hooked up though.

How many house phones?

Do you have a housekeeper?

What style do you decorate in?
Retro-Cozy, easy cleanable.

Do you like solid colors in furniture or prints?
Mostly solid colors with a few accent pieces in print.

Is there a smoke detector in your home?
Yes. But they go off so often in this old house, that two of them have batteries sitting near them, but not in them.

In case of fire, what are the items in your house which you’d grab if you only could make one quick trip?
I think we'd just get all living beings out.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

The Longest Night

Happy Solstice everyone!
We are all jammied up over here, with full bellies and a warm fire. I decided to recall my favorite story of Christmas, most of which I got from my Mother, with a few pieces of my own.

As the days get shorter, and colder, and plants go dormant for the winter, the cycle of life can get hard and harsh for humans on earth. This Wintertime can be regional or metaphysical, or both. At this time we may struggle to find beauty, hope and even food to eat.
Throughout time, people have devised ways to make it through to Spring without giving up hope. We search for green sprigs and bright berries to remind us of the beauty of Spring. We light candles to remind us of the warmth of the sun, and the miracle of life. Each of us can search within and find a song of light and joy and carry it to the ones we love as a gift of hope and love.


Some craft a symbolic blossoming tree with make-believe fruits and blossoms on it that delight the senses, or to celebrate the power of nature. Some light candles to remember that when we didn't have enough to get us through, miraculously there was plenty! Many enjoy tales of characters carrying an abundance of joy through the night sky.

However you celebrate, I hope you find warmth and hope on this winter night!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Little World

I got an early start this year making these small "theaters" out of foam core and various decorations for holiday presents. I had a lot of fun. Through the whole production, Annie kept saying "Which one is for me?" I told her that her's was a surprise. Well, I just finished it. It's the one with the owl. I added the element of light and it's a lot bigger. She's going to love it!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Date With an Angel

Click away now if you cannot stomach any more rattling on about my darling Annie!

OK. Those of you who are still with me, we went and saw Santa today and had a special Christmas lunch. Sushi. Which included a lot of hot Miso soup and tea because it was so cold. As we sat there, the light was so perfect, and Annie looked like and angel. She was so happy, funny and the most perfect lunch companion. I can't believe she's almost seven. What a delight! Part of why I blog is to record times like these for Annie, in hopes that someday she can get a glimpse at our lives together during these years and see the intense pleasure and satisfaction I get out of knowing her.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

My Girl!

My girl has lost her first front tooth! It feels like such a big deal! I think she looks adorable! She lost the bottom two already but the top one is just so visible. This is just a external sign of so many of the ways she is growing and changing. I'm excited for her and for the coming new year.

We are finally all getting over being sick. Thankfully it was mild for all of us, except for a intense fit of grouchy-ness on my part yesterday morning. I was supposed to fly to LA to celebrate Christmas with LaLa this weekend, and instead I was home sick and then made the mistake of standing in line at the UPS Store to ship a few packages. Nothing went well there. Then Billy wouldn't pick up the phone when I tried to call home, then *POW* I just went crazy. When I got home I was screeching and screaming and blowing my top. I was so frustrated and angry at all the plan changes and with holiday pressure and I just wanted to let everyone know. Annie at one point ran in and said "Pop, just do whatever she wants!"
They dressed and promptly ran for the park and by the time they came home, I felt better and I told them both how sorry I was for yelling, and having a fit. Annie said that she knows that I love her even though I was yelling. I still hate it when I get to that point. And yet, it felt so good to let it all out! If only I could just be heard for my needs when I'm in that place, rather than Bill or Annie hearing blame, criticism or fault. I really want to work on it, so next time I won't slime anyone, and just express myself.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Someone's Getting a Go Cart!

O.K. So I like to take my dollhouse fantasies all the way. So what? Who wouldn't love to get that go-cart? Or the kitchen set, or the big box of Lincoln Logs? Besides, this is the first year (after ten years of building) that I've ever had it out for the holidays!

So, I guess it's Christmas Eve already in the dollhouse and the children are asleep while the parents scurry around with last minute decorations and putting presents under the tree.

I still haven't gotten around to hiding the battery pack that lights the Christmas tree. See it there behind the Lincoln Log box? (Second photo down) And to those of you who want to see the dollhouse all lit up for Christmas, don't you worry! I'll take some pictures with the lights all-aglow before the 25th. Maybe by that time I'll have a tree skirt or a holiday box to cover the pesky Duracell's.

Would it be going to far if I left a tiny plate of (Fimo) cookies for Santa and some carrots for his reindeer?

Monday, December 10, 2007

Sweet and Simple

Annie has a cold so we're home relaxing and caring for our bodies. We made a delicious chicken noodle soup for lunch, Asian-style, and Annie slurped up a big bowl bok choy and all. I'm glad for the chance to just be cozy and slow, since there is so much I could do (or should do!) as the holiday approaches.
I was away for part of the weekend working, and I am amazed at how hard it is for me to leave my home, (wrenching) and how happy I am being back. Something about December makes me want sweet and simple and close.
The photo is of Annie doing her reading and writing workbook this morning in front of my Grandmothers Holiday tree.

Friday, December 7, 2007

After the Rain

Wow! It rained all day yesterday and it felt wonderful and Wintery. And then today was sparkling and bright so Annie and I took lunch and warm drinks to the beach. Ahhh! It was so bright and pretty, for about an hour, then it turned bitter cold so we had to roll up in our beach blanket and snuggle. I was hoping to get a beach picture that could be used for our holiday card, but nothing is really screaming out at me. These four are the best. Do you vote for any of them?

Yesterday the Home Schooler Craft Fair went really well! Annie almost sold out of her watercolor cards and I sold stuff too (see the little seller below.) We'll definitely do it again next year. I was pleased that the soup I made for the soup sale was one of the first to sell out! Yeah! I am feeling much gratitude for the home school mom's who work hard at organizing the many wonderful events here in the Bay Area. I'm glad to be a part of it all!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Home Schooler Craft Fair!

Annie and I have signed on to do the Home Schooler Craft Fair tomorrow. We have been busy making all sorts of goods. Annie has made a series of watercolor greeting cards, and some one-of-a-kind key chains , plus a banner and some ornaments. I've made some boxes, ornaments, cards, "peace, blessing and joy" banners, pencil holders and some little altars. Whew! I'm glad to be done, and curious how it will turn out. Part of the proceeds go to the BerkeleyWomen's Drop-in Center for homeless women and their children. I have also made a big pot of soup for the Soup Sale. Turkey Vegetable. I'll let you know how it turns out!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Setting up!

It took most of the day, and into the night, to set up our multi-generations of ornaments, knick knacks, and treasures! This year Annie did a bunch of the decorating herself, and nearly matched me in my excitement and enthusiasm. She whistled, sang and danced around most of the day, driving us a little nuts, but mostly delighting us! I still have a few areas to finish, plus knowing me, I will keep on shifting things around until I'm satisfied!
Oh there is so much to do, and so many people I would like to connect with during this season! I'm feeling sad that I will probably just do a small fraction of what I'd like to because my main aim during this month is to just enjoy and go slowly and waaaaaayunderbook so there is plenty of time for what shows up in the moment. So I'm torn between wanting the connection with the world, and connection to myself, and the sweet time Annie and Bill and I can carve away for ourselves.

So far we/I have plans to;
Go ice skating today!
Annie and I are in the Homeschool Craft Fair
Have a kids holiday party
Have a neighborhood, more grown up get together
I'm flying to LA to visit LaLa for three nights!!
Annie wants to go visit Santa
The Meyers' are coming to visit
Sara & Ezra are coming to visit
Grandma & Grandpa are coming to visit
Tuesday playdates with Ilana
Thursday playdates with Lily

Here are the things I'd like to do;
I'd love to fit in a visit with both of Annie's Birth families
I'd love to walk in a forest
I'd love to hand make more gifts
I'd love to clean off my desk
I'd love to go to the Imperial Spa and Chinatown one more time before 2008

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Happy December!

I tried to steal some quiet computer-time this morning while everyone was still asleeep, and usually it's Annie nudging me to snuggle on my lap, but today it was Jasper. So I snapped a few, which is tricky since he isn't human. He really wants to lick me and sniff my ear, and getting him to look forward at the monitor just makes no sense to him. So here are a few outtakes of us and my warmest wishes to you for a cozy and contented December!