Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Back to normal

Well, another Christmas has come and gone.  I'm back at work today after having a 3-day weekend.  It was a very simple affair for us, and I enjoyed it more than many Christmases that I can remember in recent years past.  I think it may be that I had no expectations this year.  None at all.  That's quite different for me, as I consider myself "queen" of the expectations.  I have a habit of visualizing the "perfect" holiday in my mind and then the reality of everything hits me and leaves me feeling very let down.  However, that was not the case this year.  Our festivities began a week ago with a day of walking around in downtown Portland, window shopping and viewing of Christmas lights.  We met my husband's brothers and their wives at a little Italian restaurant and enjoyed a wonderful evening with them.  The following night we attended the Nutcracker Suite Ballet.  It was wonderful!  I have wanted to see this ballet for many, many years, and I was not disappointed.  The costumes were astounding, the music enchanting and the dancers divine.  We loved it!

Last Friday evening after work, I stopped by our favorite Chinese restaurant and ordered take-out.  It was amazing!!  We ate out of the boxes in front of the television and it was a very nice evening.  Sabbath morning we woke up early, and headed to church.  Usually, I fuss and worry over what to wear because I have so very few "nice clothes".  This morning however, I heard a friend's voice in my head..."I just go".  So, after showering and having a cup of coffee, I threw on some black slacks, a sweater and a neck scarf and away we went.  We listened to some beautiful Christmas music on the way and I was only a tad late for greeter duty.  Afterwards we listened to the sermon, enjoyed singing and headed home.  It was a beautiful day!  Christmas Eve day had dawned bright and sunshiney - what a blessing!  We grabbed a quick breakfast/lunch and preceded to make up cookie gift boxes for some friends.  We spent the afternoon delivering cookies and visiting with some wonderful friends and got home in time to bring the horses into their stalls for the evening (wonderful hubby had taken care of stall duty earlier) and head to my sister's house for an evening with my family.  The festivities of gift exchanging, the annual name draw gift exchange game and dinner were finished by the time we got there.  My sister had arranged for an early afternoon rendezvous because a family member had to work Christmas eve and Christmas Day.  So, we ate leftovers while visiting quietly around the kitchen table.  This worked out perfectly for us.  My family isn't exactly spiritual in any way, and Christmas doesn't seem like any other family get-together outside of the gift exchanging.  We said our good-byes after a few hours and headed home via some country roads and took in some beautiful light displays on the way.  The air was cold and crisp and the stars shone brightly.  Peaceful and beautiful.  I loved it.  My hubby gave me his gift.  It was a beautiful rain chain for our house.  When it rains, the water cascades down the chain and is visually beautiful, and the sound of the water is enchanting...I love it!  I gave him his annual gift of new socks and underwear, along with a few music CD's.  Then we headed off to bed.

Christmas morning we slept in.  We had nowhere to go.  What a blessing!! We had coffee by the fire and then fed the horses in their stalls. They enjoyed their hay and some treats of carrots and oats.  Back inside, we fixed a breakfast of french toast with homemade boysenberry/whipped butter compote and smoked ham.  It was delicious!!  We lounged around the house listening to music and noshing on cookies for most of the day.  We were totally lazy and it felt wonderful!  Later on in the afternoon we headed out to do the stall cleaning and listened to some beautiful Christmas music in the barn.  It was peaceful and relaxing.  After we finished the chores, we headed back inside where we enjoyed an afternoon nap.  I woke up feeling luxuriously refreshed, enjoyed a nice warm bath and got dressed in (real clothes) for the first time that day.  We went to the local theater and watched the movie War Horse.  It was very well done, beautiful cinematography and I cried most of the way through it.  It was just too barbaric, way too gruesome and just plain painful to watch for this horse lover.  I spent a lot of time covering my eyes with my sweater and worried that I might need to leave.  I left with a headache and even shed a few tears on the way home.  The only saving grace of the movie for me, was the human kindness and compassion of some people throughout the story.  Without that, it would have been a total wash.  I liken this movie to "Schindler's List" (which I also couldn't watch), but with horses being abused and sacrificed instead.  War is brutal business.  When will we ever learn?

I had Monday off and that was our day to catch up on housework, laundry and chores in general around the house.  It was overall a wonderful Christmas.  I am thankful for my husband, our warm and cozy home, beautiful friends and family, our dogs and our horses, more food than we need, and jobs to support ourselves.  Life is good.  God is in heaven and all is well within our hearts. I'll probably always miss my mom and and my dad, especially around Christmas, but this one was peaceful and I was content; and for that too, I am so very thankful.

Blessings everyone, and may 2012 be a good year for all of us...

Lorie @ Cingspots

Thursday, December 1, 2011

December dawns bright

It's been cold, dry and sunny for the last several days here.  In fact, it hasn't rained much since last Friday, I think it was.  Otherwise, it's been dry and crisp, and the days that weren't sunny were foggy and grey, but dry! I'll be happy with any day that doesn't involve water coming down from the sky.  Yep, this is my kinda weather!  Love cold and crisp, but your coat on and do anything weather!  Sure helps my attitude and outlook on life in general.  I'm a sun loving kinda gal!!

So, the long Thanksgiving weekend was spent quietly around our house.  Wednesday shortly before quitting time, I started to have a sore throat, which was quickly followed by a stuffy head...sigh, first cold I've had in a couple of years, maybe more.  Anyway, Thanksgiving morning dawned sunshiney and I felt like crap.  But, there were pies to bake and a turkey to be cooked.  My hubby helped out a lot, he even made the pumpkin pies all on his own.  And, they were good too!!  Gotta love a man who can bake a pie.  So, together we cooked our holiday feast and by mid-afternoon we enjoyed dinner together by the fire.  It was cozy, quiet and very, very good.  The remainder of our long, holiday weekend was spent at home laying low.  We slept in, lounged around the house and took life easy.  Since I wasn't feeling exactly "swell", the only thing I did accomplish was a few hand-dipped beeswax candles.  Oh, the smell of warm beeswax is simply divine!!  I've never made hand-dipped tapers before, but they turned out splendidly, albeit a little shorter than I would have liked.  The problem with their length was in finding the perfect melting and dipping pot that was long enough, but not too big around as to require more beeswax than I ultimately had on hand.  Oh well, they're still quite lovely and will smell heavenly when burned.

My wonderfully handy husband took care of all the horsey chores over the weekend so I could rest.  What a sweetie!  He also got my new kitchen sink installed!  We did make a quick trip to Lowe's to pick out a new faucet.  The sink is a huge improvement over our old one, which was sadly in need of being disposed of when we moved into our house some 17 years ago...no sense into rushing into things, right?  Anyway, this sink is off-white porcelin over cast iron.  It's a very heavy sink.  It has one very deep basin on the left side and a smaller (but still deeper than the old sink) basin on the right side.  The faucet is off-set and sits right of center.  The new faucet is brushed nickel and is a very tall swan-neck style with a sprayer.  I love having a sprayer again!!  I'm a simple woman with simple needs, okay?  It doesn't take a lot to make me happy.  And my new sink, which looks perfect and very much the "farmhouse" sink, fits in perfectly with our kitchen style.  I love it!!  So, that was pretty much our Thanksgiving weekend in a nutshell.  Nothing exciting, really; but it was spent at home staying warm and being grateful for our many, many blessings.

Last night my boss, his wife, their son, my hubby and I attended the "Cavalia" show in Portland.  It was beautifully done, had amazingly well-trained and quiet horses, incredibly "fit" dancers and acrobats, and we had a wonderful time.  The show was quite enjoyable.  I have to admit that it wasn't exactly what I had expected, but it was very entertaining and was well done.  I had envisioned more of an opera of sorts performed with horses, you know, telling a story I guess.  Don't ask why I thought this, that's just what my mind had conjured up.  Regardless, it was a nice evening and we loved the show.  After all, there were horses, music, dancers, acrobats and all kinds of lights and imagery...what's not to like?  I have no pictures to share because cameras with flash were not allowed, and my camera does not do well in low light conditions.  Michelle took a few quick pics of the tent with us outside, so maybe I can get some from her.

I'm happy to report that after almost 2 weeks off from his schooling, Eagle had his first session this afternoon.  My friend Kris, spent an hour or so with him this afternoon.  She stopped by the clinic with a full report for me...I knew it had gone well because her smile was one of those beautiful ear-to-ear smiles that said all I needed to hear.  She said he had done remarkably well, and had picked up right where we'd left off.  She did ride him a little today as well, she even did some trotting, which Eagle was happy to do.  I just couldn't be more pleased with his progress.  Eagle is a very, very willing and sensible horse who really seems to enjoy his time spent with people.  Our next session will be after work tomorrow.  I will be there and can participate in this one.  I'm so glad Kris is working with Eagle and helping me out with his schooling, because with the shortened daylight hours and the variable weather conditions, it has seriously curtailed my available time to be able to work with my horse.  This is a win-win situation for all three of us.  I'm really getting anxious to get onboard my boy and see how he feels...can't wait!!

Well, gotta run!!  I'm headed for home to do horsey chores and wrangle up some dinner, and spend the evening with my hubby whose had the last couple of days off from work.  Lucky dog!!

Christmas baking begins in earnest this weekend and shopping for that perfect tree!!  It's time to deck the halls and join the chorus!!