Thursday, December 12, 2013

Backing into the holidays

We had a wonderful evening in the heart of downtown last night, up 23 floors, admiring art and books and having terrific conversations with colleagues on the Seattle Public Library Foundation board.  Tonight, we're attending a combination potluck and group watercolor show at Montlake Community Center.  My teacher, Jan Morris, has invited students in all three of her classes to bring work to show.

Of course I would rather leave all my work at home.  I went back over everything I've painted so far, and decided to keep working on some pieces, and to toss others altogether.  These are the four I am taking, on the theory that my teacher was right and that, "once [you] get the hang of it, you'll be a bold painter."   The rule in our class is that we are not allowed to make negative comments about our own work or the work of others.  So after having looked at so much art over the years, I will try hard to give myself a break.

As I grade papers at the end of the quarter, and work on tweaking my course for the next quarter, I am slipping in home maintenance work and prep as we move full gear into dinners and parties to celebrate the season.  James arrives on Saturday evening, by which time I plan to have most of the work done and the holiday decorations up. 

His plane gets in too late to join us to walk at Green Lake on the annual "Pathway of Lights," an amazing celebration that includes carolers, hot drinks, and festive behavior. 
Photo: Amy Duncan

 All the setup for the lights is done by volunteers.  And this photo is taken before the coziness of darkness sets in for walkers.

On Sunday afternoon, I am hoping James and I can go for a walk at Dunn Gardens for the annual solstice walk, certain not to be so packed as the prior evening's event.

On Monday night, we sit down not just with our friend Hazard, but also with his two sons and our son, for what I hope will be a festive dinner that includes a pie made from Wild Mountain Blackberries collected in past summers, direct from the freezer of the late Diana Adams.

I am away at National Academy of Science meetings in Irvine from Wednesday to Friday afternoon, but back in time to set up for a weekend  open house that precedes the one my friend Suzie always has.

There will still be time to stroll through "Candy Cane Lane" by walking across the Ravenna Park bridge in our neighborhood, and to catch up with close friends who fly home for this time of the year over other gatherings for drinks or dinner.

We finish it all off on Christmas Eve in our Ravenna neighborhood with Luminaries, and a last stroll through streets filled with our neighbors.   

These are well-honed traditions for us.

And you know how the rest of it goes, just like other families across this country.

Happy holidays everyone!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Holiday Intentions


When a wreath arrives from Children's Hospital each year, we know it is from Hazard and Diana (this year, in spirit). And it signals the beginning of the holiday season.  We have a great deal to reflect upon this year, and simpler is the order of the day for gifts, gatherings and celebrations.

We lack for nothing, especially since James will be home for two weeks of the month.

Our children and grandchildren are all thriving, each uniquely himself or herself.

We'll celebrate with neighbors and friends later this month --- Leroy reminded me yesterday that our holiday open house is actually older than I remembered.  We started it in 1978, with a full contingent of neighbors, university colleagues, Seattle Art Museum staff and Seattle area press.

Since I'll teach my last class of the fall quarter this week, there is a bit of a break from routine for the rest of December, and thus an opportunity to mix things up a bit more.

I'm going to add a weekly yoga class to my workouts; and try to maintain two hours a week of painting even after this watercolor session has ended mid-month.  And I'm determined to actually take advantage of some of the invitations I usually can't accept this time of year, to catch back up with others.

If I play my cards right, I won't have to make new intentions for next year -- I will already be living them.