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Archive for December 21st, 2006

Ponderings in the Dark

Thursday, December 21st, 2006

sashimi.jpgSun, Shine on Me!

It is the darkest time of the year. Eric and Diana celebrate Yule which they will do tomorrow. Some calendars say tonight is the longest night, some say tomorrow. I say dark is dark and I’m glad to turn the tide. Come on, sun!!!

It is cold and rainy here. Bitter rainy, spitting mean, ugly rain. Not pounding rain, not a lot of it all at once, but the kind that feels as though it is slapping you in the face with its coldness. This sort of weather requires creative distraction. I live in the face of ugly weather much of the time, and I’m a wimp about feeling cold. People make it all worth going forth into the weather, at least for me.

People make the world go ’round

I had a pretty good Thursday, really. Started with a stop at the allergist’s office, they are a small office and the people are very good folks who really know me personally. I enjoyed exchanging holiday greetings there (they have next week off, lucky souls). Then I picked up a book at “Everybody Reads,” a new independent book store next door to the Gone Wired Cybercafe. Off I ran to see Altu for our weekly scheduled lunch, and when I got to her restaurant our friend Bev was there so I got to hug her also.

Food as Art

sushiroll.jpgWe had a great lunch at the sushi restaurant (Sansu) we often enjoy. It is wonderful to take time with her each week and just connect, really create space for our friendship. I will miss two weeks of Thursday lunches because I’ve consented to work holiday break afternoons at Foster Community Center for the computer lab. Four hours a day, three days a week, two weeks. I bore easily, and do not usually do anything for that many hours other than sit at my desk at home.

It can be very busy with children at the community center during holidays. I’m hoping my serenity stays intact during that vacation time. I will definitely bring my Ladysmith Black Mambazo CDs to play for myself. When I play a CD, my mind can focus on that music rather than the dueling commentary of all the video games, all playing at the same time. The CDs give my distractable mind something as a focus and I can come out at the end of my shift smiling. This is a very good thing… a success strategy before I get there.

Gatherings ‘R’ December

I have had a week of holiday gatherings, no doubt you all have had opportunities also. Last Sunday the Working Women Artists gathered and a friend presented me with some homemade spiced pumpkin butter. Three jars of pure heaven, pure ingredients, and lots of good vibes.

thermosfromrae.jpgThis friend had big surgery earlier this year and I brought her a homemade lunch one day, while she was still stuck in the house and bored crazy recuperating. The goodies were a thank you rather than a Christmas gift. She did not need to do anything in return, of course… for once I knew what I could do and I had the time so I did it. How often do we feel powerless over something? It was great to take her lunch that day.

But I tell you, I’ve really enjoyed the first jar of that sauce, it’s almost gone already… one day on buckwheat pancakes, and today on from-scratch oat/rice biscuits. There’s a little left of jar #1 in the freezer next to the other 2 full jars, and I will enjoy every taste.

More Unexpected Gifts

On Tuesday we had the big holiday event at the Mid-Michigan Knitters Guild. We had much amazing food available to eat, and much merriment. Rae brought me a gift, out of the blue, which was an Aladdin Stanley Thermos in lavender. A smaller version of the huge construction-green one I embellished a few years back, which is one of the most perfectly engineered products I’ve ever owned… it can fall from six feet (2m) and dent but not be injured in any real way.

I’m eager to decorate this new thermos as well. I’m well-known for my tea addiction (Rae included a box of my favorite tea in the world, as well) and I always seem to be leaving behind a tea mug at any yarn shop I happen to visit. This thermos will be well-used for years, I am sure.

We did a show and tell and a charity hat contest. (We knit hats for charity and we vote on which hats we like best, there are plentiful prizes to inspire us to knit away.) I’ve been really busy this season but I found a hat I knit years ago and never wore, so I donated that to the cause.

pumpkinbutter.jpgThere were some very fine contributions to the contest. One year I won the contest with a really special stranded-colorwork pillbox hat in about 8 yarns, but that was before I was in the knitting profession full time. These days there is not much time to knit for fun or charity, I’m sad to say. The days when I’d send 4 pair of socks to Afghans for Afghans or Children in Common are gone. One hat to a local charity is what I can do this year. I’m knitting for my family, my friends and my business. This is as it should be, for today.

Friends! The Best.

And I end the day with gratitude for my friends. Yesterday I drove to Detroit Metro Airport to pick up my friend Ulyana and her daughter. The airport is enough to make a person lose her cool, but the time with my friends in the car on the way home was priceless, and that is why I volunteered to go get them in the first place. They bought me a gorgeous woven “pashmina” and silk shawl in Chinatown, NYC, and it goes perfectly with my coat (even though they didn’t know what my coat looked like when they bought the shawl).

Hang in There

Remember, it’s a stressful time of year for most of us. We hear expectations all around us, what this should be like for us. (What is that word, *should,* anyway?) We are aware of all the losses we’ve had or the dreams we didn’t achieve. In order to stay happy at any time of year we need to look at what we do have, right now.

And so (luckily) as I was in the shuttle bus yesterday at Metro Airport, going from the place I’d parked to the place I should have parked near my friend’s arrival, I heard Julie Andrews sing “My Favorite Things” on the radio. A sort of syrupy song… but I adore Julie Andrews after all these years, and the sound of her voice made me stop and breathe. The song is basically a gratitude list. Raindrops on roses, and whiskers on kittens… Hmmm. Gratitude.

My Gratitude List

Tonight I’m grateful for heat, a roof over my head, wonderful food I didn’t have to cook, wool and alpaca clothing to keep me warm, a car that runs and money for gasoline to get my friend, a friend I love enough to give up an evening to get her at the airport, music, music, music, people I love, and especially my beloved Brian.

Photos: 1) Smoked Salmon Sashimi, on shredded daikon radish with sliced flavored ginger (pink) and wasabi horseradish (green at right). No, it was not cooked. Yes, I ate it and liked it. It’s smoked and salty, more like ham than anything else I eat these days. I don’t like any fish very often but I like the smoked salmon. 2) TNT Roll (fancy, spicy) with horseradish and ginger on the side, 3) Gift from Rae, 4) Gift from WWA friend.