Friday, December 6, 2013
At last. A perfect day. Woke up to snow and dark clouds and that wonderful hush that only comes with snow. The boys are not thrilled--nothing like snow on the manly bits--though I'm very pleased we're not going down the mountain today. After breakfast I put together the ingredients for turkey soup and it's now simmering away in the crock pot--and thankfully, that's the last of the bird.
Contentment isn't a feeling that comes often, is it? It's one of those fleeting emotions, like being blissfully happy or totally at ease, emotions we have to treasure and savor because the gods will be jealous and won't hesitate to ruin it for us.
Today I am content. The house is warm, the soup smells delicious, the dogs are napping, and I'm alive, to watch snow fall and birds peck at seeds and deer munch on the tall grass across the road.
Today I am content. Because the snow has made everything pure and clean. It doesn't matter that underneath the illusion lurks the reality of melting snow and dirty slush. Right now, in the soft, pristine beauty of this moment...magic surrounds me.
Thursday, December 5, 2013
Monday, in the midst of all my running around, I drove to my favorite coffee kiosk and ordered my usual. They weren't busy, so while I waited for Heidi to make the drink, Nicole began to chat with me about Christmas, buying presents, yada yada. Nicole mentions that she loves Pier 1 but it's way too expensive, and good thing Real Deal is around cuz they're at least 50% cheaper.
My mind whirls as she runs through a litany of things she's bought at this mystery place. When I can get a word in, I ask her if it's anywhere within an hour radius of where we are currently talking. She laughs and says it's just right out in the valley, all the locals know about it. Is she talking about the valley below my house? The same valley I have criss-crossed numerous times in the past two+ years?
By now my coffee is ready. I pay, wait for change, and ask how I find this Real Deal. Between the two of them, pointing, gesturing, contradicting each other, I discover that I just might know "the big green shed-looking building" they're talking about. I thought the only thing in that building was the taxidermist, though, come to think of it, the taxidermist would have to be stuffing a tribe of Sasquatch to need that much space.
I'm all excited now. I have insider info and can't wait to check out this warehouse of goodies. Then Heidi casually mentions, as she hands me my change, that the place is only open on Sunday afternoons and all day Thursdays. That's it. A day-and-a-half per week.
Impatiently, I wait, until finally it's Thursday. I had several errands to run in the morning, but managed to get to Real Deal this afternoon. And seriously, can you even imagine, dear readers, that there could be anything worth looking at inside this building?
Now, I have to say, I was just a tad disappointed that most of the shop has been turned over to Christmas gewgaws and ornaments, Santas and holiday décor. I will have to go back in the new year because I could see some really intriguing and cool stuff buried under the layers of Christmas.
First thing in the door. This was just one of many, many shelves, tables, sideboards, cupboards, nooks and crannies that were covered in holiday cheer...
It was a very festive atmosphere, with cinnamon and apples scenting the air, Christmas carols playing and a huge crowd of people--no doubt because of that pesky "only open a day-and-a-half per week" issue. Unfortunately, due to the sheer volume of moving, shuffling, 'scuse me, pardon me bodies, I wasn't able to take many photos.
Even the walls were covered, with some great signage and lovely artwork. There was a large oil painting that just totally captivated me, called "Lost in a Dream" of a boat drifting down a placid river, foggy tendrils trailing behind, both sides of the river lush with greenery and large shade trees. I tried to get a decent shot, but they had a spotlight that screwed with my camera.
I liked this...
Way in the back, far from the Christmas stuff and the people, I found the "junk drawer" room. Lots of weird things, everything on sale. On the floor in a corner a large grouping of palm leaves caught my eye. They were made of hammered tin and honestly, I loved how they looked, though for the life of me couldn't figure out what to do with them.
So, in the end I bought myself a little Christmas tree. I've decided since I don't have a regular tree, I'm going to buy little ones. Last year--my first tree--I bought one with spangles, this year it's a pine, wrapped in burlap like a living tree would be. Maybe some day I'll have enough different little trees to make my own unique forest...that would be cool, wouldn't it?
But for now, the two I have will do just fine...
It was fun to discover a new place for the 52s today. An Aladdin's Cave of treasures were in that innocuous green building. I can't wait to go back...
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
I think I'm suffering from an overdose of tryptophan. Really. Because if a body eats turkey for five straight days, the lethargic, loss of motivation, need frequent naps thing must kick in. That's the only reason I can come up with for my total lack of give-a-shit.
The past few days have been very busy, though throughout all the shopping and appointments, inside/outside work, and daily life...it feels like I'm slogging knee-deep in molasses. I was making the bed this morning and all I could think about was how great it's going to be to crawl back under that flannel duvet tonight.
It's got to be the turkey.
I don't have SAD (seasonal affective disorder), where a person gets all depressed from the gloom and doom of Winter. I actually love rain, and black clouds, and dreariness--no doubt due to spending my formative years under six months of darkness in Alaska. No, it's that nuclear, burning yellow orb that affects me.
Maybe my brain is subliminally telling my body to slow down, be mindful, acknowledge that another year is soon to end and a brand new year full of the unknown is coming. Or maybe I just want to hibernate...
Saturday, November 30, 2013
Saint Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland, and November 30th is Scotland's official national holiday. There are celebrations throughout the country with traditional Scottish food, music and dance. Today kicks off the season of winter festivals, like Hogmanay (New Year's) and Burns Night (Robert Burns birthday).
Happy St Andrews Day to all my friends and family! Goes without saying that I wish I was there to share in the celebrations...
Friday, November 29, 2013
I got a call this morning from my friend Bunny, who lives further along the mountain road from my house. She invited me to go with her and a few of her family members to the annual Christmas show at the Grange, down in the valley. Unfortunately, I was just heading out with the boys for the morning walk, but after getting directions, I said I would try to meet up with her.
Course, the dogs were in dawdle mode so by the time I was finished with the walk, then drove out into the valley and found the place, Bunny and family were long gone. Still, I've never been in a grange in my whole life, I'm a city girl, so this would be something new for sure.
Though the photo below doesn't show it, the parking lot was packed. Turns out the Crafters Guild plans for this all year and it's a local kick-off the Christmas season event where most of the county will show up at some point between Friday and Sunday.
There were crafts of every make and model you could imagine. I meant to take more photos, but got sidetracked by all the wonderful things to look at. There was a small stage area so I took a moment for this quick shot, though it only shows a small portion of the room. Way in the back there was the bakery area with Christmas candies and cookies and other temptations...
I had great conversations with some guild women, bought a few things, and had a really pleasant and far better Black Friday than most of the world, I'm sure.
My little snowman in a bird's nest. He is adorable and I couldn't resist...
In the Seattle years, my BFF and I had a business together. One of our best-sellers were fabric baskets like this. I know just how difficult these are to make. I loved the color and the tiny cording and the beautiful workmanship...er...workwomanship? Plus, I'm a basket person, you can never have enough of them...
I don't usually buy handmade soaps. I know how to make my own, though for the most part I just use shower gels these days. Except, this one guild member had the most amazing variety, I couldn't believe it. The soap is made from her own herbs and from the milk of her own goats. The smells were heady and fresh and unique. I wish I had some way for you, dear readers, to smell the bar I bought because, frankly, I can't begin to describe it...
...maybe...like a man, fresh out of the shower; or a mossy glade in the deep forest; or sunlight on warm skin. Or all of that and more. It's heavenly.
She had another soap I wish I'd bought, and I just might go back before Sunday. It was called Earth and smelled like...that moment in Spring, when the ground is just warming and you dig in with your shovel to turn the soil for the first planting of the season. It smelled like rich loam and green grass and promise.
One of the local Native American tribes had a beautiful booth, with leatherwork and Dreamcatchers and beaded items. I saw several women carrying around tiny little baby moccasins which I heard are very sought after. I love Dreamcatchers, though haven't had one since I came back to America. This one seemed right and I will most likely hang it in the car. It's small--only about 3" across--and will fit nicely with my other rearview mirror danglers.
Then. I don't know what possessed me. Well, wait. Actually I do. It was this sweet little woman, no bigger than a minute, with the most twinkling, mischievous eyes, like a tiny sparrow. She's been making dolls, mostly Raggedy Annes, for nearly seventy years. Yep, that's right, seventy years. I think it's a family affair now--daughter, granddaughter--and she very proudly told me she will be 93 on her next birthday. I loved her. After talking with her, I just had to have one of the dolls...
Is this the cutest thing, or what?
She tea-dyed the fabric and the lace edging to make her look older and a bit worn. But for me, it was the face. And just look at the corkscrewed hair! Too, too cute...
Every couple of years, Alan and I would leave Edinburgh behind and go down to London for Christmas. We always had a great time wandering and shopping and eating our way through town.
Harrods has a Christmas teddy bear, different every year. They are very beautiful, collectible creatures, and those times we went to London, Alan would buy me a Harrods bear for my Christmas present.
Why am I telling you this, dear readers?
Because my little Raggedy Anne has joined the Christmas bears...
What a great way to spend one of my least favorite days of the year. I found some cool things, met some very interesting people, and did a really fun thing for this week in the 52s.
Thursday, November 28, 2013
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Who would ever imagine that southern Oregon was the fog capitol of America? I swear, there's more fog here than in San Francisco. Seriously, day after day. This morning, driving down the mountain to walk the dogs, I had my head hanging out the window so I could see the edge of the twisting, one-lane road. There are no guardrails and a great drop, so with visibility about 6 inches, I figured freezing my eyeballs was better than doing a dive off the ridge.
It was equally daunting once we got to the park. I could see a bit farther--maybe ten feet--but it was eerie and ominous, my thoughts running to boogeymen and Jack the Ripper. There's just something truly creepy about a cold, dense fog.
Here's the view up my road right now, approaching 1:00 in the afternoon. The fog is lifting a bit because I can see the shadows of the oaks. Earlier there was nothing to see.
I had totally intended to work on the serial yesterday, but one of my favorite authors had a new book out and...well...I spent the afternoon not writing. And it was so worth it. There's just nothing quite like escaping into a great book.
But now it's time to get back on track with my own stuff, which isn't getting done while I sit here procrastinating as the fog swirls around my windows...though the atmosphere is pretty cool. If I was writing a Victorian murder mystery set in London.