Thursday, December 30, 2010

From Home to Home

Today we're recovering from a long travel day - Chicago to Prescott.  This sojourn actually does include "trains, planes, and automobiles", peppered with an overabundance of holiday travelers and unwelcome delays.  Now safely back in Prescott, we are enjoying our morning coffee along with these snowy desert views out the back of our home at Talking Rock Ranch.

Hope you are having a great day, and are looking forward to a happy and prosperous 2011.

P.S.  Wow, these photos are already outdated.  A new snow squall has started, and we almost have a white out.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Dear Santa

Dear Santa,

This Christmas is a little different for me. I am enjoying the lights, the music, the snow, and the sociable bustle of the city. But I had trouble telling my husband what I might like for gifts. This is an odd state of affairs, as I usually covet this and that and get excited as wrapped presents appear under the tree. Unfortunately, this blasé-ness has insidiously infiltrated my feelings in regard to purchases I have made for others. I put thought into our gift-giving, but I’m not sure I did anything very special. I’m just not excited this year about the exchange of "stuff".  (No offense, Santa, I know that's kinda your thing.)

My focus has changed to an avid interest in gathering experiences and examining feelings. The best things I can give my husband are love and comfort. With my friends I want to share time and create warm memories. I ache to find a way to express the grateful feelings I have for my wonderful friends – you all help fill my life.

The answer for me is in remembering and pondering the origin of Christmas. We’ll forge through the snow on Christmas Eve to be reminded of the glory Christmas morning brought, a few thousand years ago. We’ll pray for peace and good will around the world. Merry Christmas!

"Today Christ is born in Bethlehem of the Virgin.
Today He who is without a beginning begins,
And the Word is made flesh.
The powers of Heaven rejoice,
The earth and her people are jubilant;
The Wise Men bring gifts to the Lord,
The shepherds marvel at the One who is born;
And we sing without ceasing:
"Glory to God in the Highest,
And on earth peace, good will toward men".

Thursday, December 16, 2010


We left Prescott to come back to Chicago for some holiday cheer; all the things that happen in the city that really help you get in the Christmas spirit. I was excited to experience the sparkling lights on Michigan Avenue, the window displays at Macy’s on State Street, the wreaths on the Art Institute lions, ice skaters in Millenium Park, the Chicago Symphony’s “Welcome Yule” concert, the German-style Christkindlmarket at Daley Plaza, and so many other joys of the season. But a major wrinkle appeared in my nice little plan – an old-fashioned nasty cold!

There are no signs that we have anything more serious than a common cold. We are an unfortunate duo of stuffy and runny noses, sinus drainage, and mucous-rich coughing rampages. We’ve gone through 3 boxes of Kleenex, and we’re into our second bottles of DayQuil and NyQuil. My Vicks Nasal Spray is almost empty, and we had to buy another bag of cough drops Tuesday. Vicks VapoRub keeps me comfortable at night, because Ron is sleeping in the guest bedroom wrapped in his own intermittent, snurfy slumber.

The past week has been spent mostly indoors, except when we need food or over-the-counter remedies. Ron’s birthday on the 14th passed quietly and with little fanfare. (I owe him, big time.) There hasn’t been much holly-jolly around the house…although we already had decked the halls and put the Christmas tree up. It’s unseasonably cold for this time in Chicago; in the teens and twenties. But the condo is warm and snug, and the fireplace is doing its duty.

Like a little kid, I am stamping my foot to complain, “S’NOT FAIR!” I should be happily shopping amid sparkling snow flurries, sipping spiked eggnog, and otherwise making merry.

P.S. We are feeling noticeably better, and hope to get into the swing of the season very soon! Thanks for all the well wishes.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Betwixt and Between

Here we are, wedged halfway between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Gourds and turkeys are passé. Lighted trees, snowmen, and gift wrap set the stage for the next big event. (How did my Jewish friends manage? You really didn’t have a time buffer this year before Hanukkah started on December 1! )

I started Christmas preparations early. The plan was to have most shopping for family and friends completed before we left Prescott on December 1. The goal was achieved via the internet and some targeted purchases in Arizona. All that remains is for Ron and me to shop for each other. We need to show a little creative restraint, considering all the unanticipated expenses associated with our home in Prescott this year.

Our Christmas tree is up and decorated, lights sparkle at the front room windows, stockings are hung on the mantel, and wreaths are on the doors. We aren’t kids anymore ourselves, and don’t have any children with whom to celebrate – but we do have our own traditions and ways to capture the spirit of the season.

We mark December’s passing days with an Advent calendar made for Ron by his parents many years ago. (Each of his siblings has one too.) We take turns hanging the ornaments, with Ron assigned the even-numbered days, so that he has his birthday December 14th.

On the 23rd, we’ll go to an afternoon holiday concert by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. It features music, dance, and a few skits. They also always have sing-along caroling. Our favorite song is “Christmas in Chicago”; so sentimental it brings tears to our eyes.

Christmas Eve is spent quietly at home together. We’ll have a dinner of special treats, like caviar, paté, and cheeses. Champagne will flow freely, and we’ll help Santa finish any wrapping.

On Christmas morning, we will hear the bells at the cathedral over on Sheridan Road tolling out Christmas carols that wash over the neighborhood. Ron will make pancakes for breakfast (a treat for me on special holidays). Then we’ll play Christmas music and settle down by the tree to open presents. Welcome interruptions will come via from phone calls from family, and we’ll share good wishes and love long distance.

Some important details are yet to be determined… Christmas afternoon will likely be spent with our sister-in-law’s gracious family in Evanston. And we need to decide when to go to church. But can you tell I am looking forward to this blessed season? Savor these happy holidays, everyone!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Hither and Yon

Steel and Concrete
Smart and Determined.
Glittering Lake and
Manmade Canyons.

Planks and Stone
Cowboy Spirit
Tough and Friendly.
Desert Scrub and
Granite Mountains.

Hither and Yon
Loving Life
Calm and Energetic.
Hard-Earned and