Tuesday, January 23, 2007

let there be light!

Sometimes big joy can come from simple things. Like changing a light fixture (or two!). When we moved into our house we inherited a less than attractive light over the dining area, and two fluorescent fixtures in the kitchen—one over the sink, and the other over the space where we have placed a butcher block cart that is an essential work space. I can’t stand fluorescent light in a home—to me it’s clinical and cold.

Over the weekend we made a trip to Home Depot and got new light fixtures, which Ken has since installed. Ah, what joy to have the glow of warm light in the kitchen! It’s especially welcoming first thing in the morning when we aim in the dark for the coffee pot, and flip that switch. We are now bathed in soothing light, rather than shutting our eyes against the glare of the old bulbs. Bliss comes in many shapes and sizes, and sometimes as ethereal as the glow from a light fixture.

(note: the photo is not of our lights, but captures the glow)

Thursday, January 18, 2007

thoughts for today...

Well, it’s been a week since my last entry, and I have sat at the computer on more than a few occasions staring at the screen with nothing to say. In an effort at least to refresh this blog for the faithful that stop by for a read, I’m stealing the following from my friend Jayne’s blog. You all know how this works!
two names you go by: Anne, Mama (that’s what the dogs call me, or so Ken says!)
two parts of your heritage: English and Scottish
two things that scare you: idiot drivers in the neighborhood at night when I’m walking the dogs/small minds
two everyday essentials: morning coffee and sudoku
two things you are wearing right now: turtleneck and sweater
two of your favorite current bands/artists: Secret Garden, Alasdair Fraser
two things you want in a relationship (other than love): trust, communication
two favorite hobbies: photography and scrapbooking
two things you have to do this week: attend a Commission on Ministry meeting, pay quarterly taxes
two stores where you shop: Wild Oats and Kroger (until Publix opens!)
two favorite sports: gymnastics, swimming
two shows you like to watch: The Unit, Grey’s Anatomy
two things you’d buy if money were no object: a house on the water, establish a foundation for philanthropic giving
two wishes for 2007: for Ken’s and my businesses to flourish

I’ll see if I can think of something to say before another week goes by!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

staying afloat

In the last few days while issuing sailing commands I’ve been reminded of a favorite book: First you Have to Row a Little Boat. Although it may appear to be a book about sailing, the author, Richard Bode, draws on his experiences of sailing as metaphor for dealing with life. It is a wonderful book, full of wisdom, and beautifully written. I think it is so good that when I first read it I bought about ten copies to distribute to various family members and friends that I knew enjoyed sailing, or at least had spent some time on the water.

After writing yesterday’s blog entry I decided it was time to read the book again (this will be the third go ‘round), but, “Eeeeekkkk!” I haven’t been able to find it! It was an ordination gift from a seminary classmate, and the card that came with the gift is still tucked in the front, so simply ordering another copy won’t do. The search is on.

In the meantime, I am making slow and steady progress wading through clutter and clearing decks to be productive here. There’s a new product on which I want to begin work, but I also need to bring some order to the details of last year for tax season. I have never let those matters go as badly as in the last twelve months, and I am now paying the price. My work is cut out for me. Let’s hope for a fair breeze to get me through it.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

I'm teaching my dog how to sail

Okay, not really. We don’t own a sailboat, and even if we wanted to go to the local lakes and rent one, now is certainly not the time of year to do it! But I am using sailing lingo to train Juliet, sort of.

Our morning walk, M-F, is the same route, chosen because we encounter the least amount of traffic. We head up the street and around the block, but when we get to the end of the other block, we do an about face to come back. This is because the street we would walk to make a complete circuit around the block has no shoulders, there are no sidewalks, and though it isn’t a “busy” road, it is a regular flow of traffic. It’s not safe, so we turn around.

One day as we neared the point of return, I found myself calling to the dog, “Juliet, ready about? Hard a’lee,” and led her around in an arc to begin back up the street. Why not? I am now working with her more in a training mode, so that the lead will be unnecessary to get her to reverse her direction no matter where we’re walking. And though she’s a smart dog, and usually learns quickly, she’s not buying it. I can hear her now, “Geez Mom, don’t you know anything? The wind is not in our favor for this tack…” Oh well. It amuses me, and maybe, just maybe, one of these days she’ll surprise me and she’ll learn how to sail.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

curiosities

This morning I had an early errand to run, and on my way through the quiet, residential neighborhood en route to my destination I was rather astounded to see a whole posse of cars parked in the vicinity of someone's home. It was 8:30 on a Saturday morning, and they were parked in the driveway, in the yard, and flanked the curbs on either side of the house. On my return home the cars will still there, and I did a quick count: 30!

It had to be a meeting of some kind, and I began to wonder what this sizeable gathering held in common such that they were meeting in someone’s home. A common interest with that number of people will often result in meeting in a place related to that interest: a church, club house, meeting room at an office building or even conference center. But someone’s home, on a Saturday morning? I thought someone might have died, but that was still a lot of cars for paying respects, and pretty early in the morning for such a size.

So I’m curious, and I suspect my curiosity will remain thus, since I don’t know anyone who lives on that street, and don’t feel quite compelled to go knock on their door and inquire just to satisfy my nosey need. But we do wonder about people, don’t we? When we’re at a restaurant and people are in a group, we wonder who they are, and how they’re connected. Or at the airport, where are people going, and why? I once felt inspired to write a novella when I got into a conversation with the two other women who shared a row of seats with me on a plane, and we shared our stories about what compelled our journey.

People are fascinating, for the most part, and we all have stories to tell. Now if only I could find someone to tell me the story about what all those people were doing at that house this morning…

Thursday, January 04, 2007

funeral fashion

I don't know if I'm old-fashioned, out of fashion, or simply confused. Maybe I'm all three. Most funerals I've attended in recent years I haven't had to worry about what I wore, because I had a role in the service and was vested accordingly. As long as my attire was "professional," the rest didn't matter.

Yesterday we attended a funeral where I actually sat in the pew. I always enjoy these opportunities to people-watch and yes, do a bit of fashion critiquing (even if I am clueless, I have opinions!). I was a bit startled to see two women wearing what I call “safari” prints—you know, fabrics made to look like animal skins. Another woman wore a long, chartreuse poncho over brown pants. The color certainly caught my eye! Others were in conventional blacks, browns, grays, and attire that falls under the category of “tasteful.”

Safari prints? Does it matter what one wears to a funeral? I remember being chastised some years ago when I attended my godfather’s mother’s funeral wearing a red tartan kilt and white boiled wool jacket. Too bright and cheerful, was the criticism. Goggy would have applauded, was my view (she was a bit of a spitfire, and proud of her Scottish heritage—I believed I was honoring her with my choice). Maybe the safari prints were a favorite of the deceased, in which case I’ll be the first in line to encourage the choice.

Lord knows that fashion protocol seems to be a thing of the past, but I can’t help but note that at Gerald Ford’s funeral there weren’t any colors popping out from the congregation. (And while we’re on that subject, can I pay the former first lady a compliment? That woman has great legs!) Perhaps this is just another occasion when people don’t necessarily think globally, but act locally nonetheless. KWIM?

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

thanks for the memories

I owe a huge debt of gratitude to my husband, who gifted me at Christmas with an iPod nano. The iPod hadn’t even been on my radar until a few weeks ago, when my stepdaughter, Ashley, introduced me to hers. I suddenly put two and two together (why it took me so long, I don’t know, maybe I just needed a demonstration), and saw a real use for such a thing in my life!

I have to admit that the iPod itself has been a source of frustration thus far. Nothing has performed according to instructions, and I finally have abandoned (for the moment) installing tunes for portability. I did, however, succeed in downloading a few items to my computer, and was swept away as I got reacquainted with a few “lost” favorites. What a gift it was to be transported by that special music.

One is an opera duet, from Bizet’s The Pearl Fishers, which moves me whenever I hear it. The rest have been Celtic tunes from Alasdair Fraser, whom I have the pleasure of knowing from a trip I took too long ago to dance in Scottish castles. Alasdair works absolute magic on the fiddle, and I have wept, literally, to hear again the music that first acquainted me with him, and to recall those two awesome weeks in Scotland. I was even inspired to dig out the scrapbooks from that trip and remember special moments (note to self—get those pictures out of those magnetic pages!). Pictured here (courtesy of the Internet) are places that we visited and where we danced: Blair Castle, where other dancers from across Scotland came to join us for a formal dance in the castle ballroom; and the Isle of Skye, where we spent three days enjoying the rugged countryside there, as well as doing a little dancing. I could flood this blog with other images that are associated with that trip, but will spare you!

My own CD’s appear to be missing since we moved, which grieves me. I’m not quite ready to abandon all hope and start downloading tunes I miss from them, but in the meantime this iPod will need to be loaded once it operates according to instructions. (There’s a reason I don’t lust after technical toys!) It is a joy to reconnect to the music, and the parts of me that resonate with it.

Monday, January 01, 2007

a toast to all!

Some friends had to go out of town over the weekend to attend a funeral, and we took care of one of their dogs while they were away. They returned New Year’s Eve evening, so we invited them to join us for a little festivity and to spend the night, which they did. Ken and I prepared a modest feast for late snacking: soup (minestrone), shrimp, cheese and crackers, veggies, cucumber and salmon canapés, a little antipasto, and meatballs. We toasted at midnight with champagne, grateful for good friends, the joys of the year past, and hopes for the year to come. If we’ve learned anything in life, it’s that we’re in this together. We’re here for those who need us, and appreciate those who have leant a hand, a shoulder, or an ear to us as we have had need. Thank you.

We wish an abundance of blessings and happiness to all our friends and loved ones. Happy New Year!
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