Saturday, December 29, 2012

Another Tree

The little tree by my desk.

Friday, December 28, 2012

What's Blooming In Winter

The garden doesn't have a lot of color this time of year, but a close look reveals a few bright spots.   Above, a sweet scented narcissus, whose flowers escaped the marauding snails, so far.

Gallardias bloom all year here and reseed freely.  Their fiery color combo works well with purples and blues.

The paper whites bloomed very early this year and are just about spent.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Day After

Ready to forsake the sweets and holiday foods for normal fare, but not so anxious to bid adieu to the trees.  This one brightens a corner in the living room, where the window is awash in light as the sun sinks slowly in the west.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012


We're big on hand made gifts.  My daughter sewed a beautiful kitchen towel with hand embroidery and tiny red pom pom trim.   And below, she made an oil painting of Thomas standing sentry on the front walkway.  My cup runneth over.

Monday, December 24, 2012

A 459 Years Old Christmas Carol

One of my all time favorite Christmas carols, first published in France in 1553 and translated to English in the 18th century.

Bring a torch, Jeanette, Isabelle!
Bring a torch, to the stable run
Christ is born. Tell the folk of the village
Jesus is born and Mary's calling.
Ah! Ah! beautiful is the Mother!
Ah! Ah! beautiful is her child

Who is that, knocking on the door?
Who is it, knocking like that?
Open up, we've arranged on a platter
Lovely cakes that we have brought here
Knock! Knock! Knock! Open the door for us!
Knock! Knock! Knock! Let's celebrate!

It is wrong when the child is sleeping,
It is wrong to talk so loud.
Silence, now as you gather around,
Lest your noise should waken Jesus.
Hush! Hush! see how he slumbers;
Hush! Hush! see how fast he sleeps!

Softly now unto the stable,
Softly for a moment come!
Look and see how charming is Jesus,
Look at him there, His cheeks are rosy!
Hush! Hush! see how the Child is sleeping;
Hush! Hush! see how he smiles in dreams!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas In Denmark

The ever charming "Glade Jul" painted by renowned Danish artist Viggo Johanson in 1891.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Out And About

My favorite neighbors took me out for a Christmas feast earlier this week.  We watched a couple slow dance from the balconey of an iconic old California hotel, where wrought iron chandeliers were entwined with greenery, then climbed 10 flights of service stairs to get to the tower for a view of the city and sea.


This year's mannequins were as impassive as ever.


Friday, December 21, 2012

Last Night

Autumn ended last night bright and cold under a blurry moon.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Making Himself At Home

Thomas often stops by in the evenings for a nightcap.  He's very fond of the Christmas trees and has found a way in through the ornaments to just the perfect spot on the tree skirt.  Below, he's hunkered down under the tree, taking in the lights.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

More Impressionism

"Shade Tree" by Henri Edmond Cross (1856-1910).

Saturday, December 15, 2012


My daughter and Thomas both stopped by late in the afternoon and enjoyed sitting together in the fading sunlight near the Christmas tree.  The picture came out of the camera totally blurred, but its soft imperfection pleased me.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Homemade Ornaments

 Our homemade ornaments have evolved over the years, but they always come together with whatever we have handy.  We made these with pipe cleaners, glass balls, spun cotton, red scrap fabric, a little black paint and gold paper wings.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

On The Mantel

The motley spun cotton ornaments, above, are far from fancy but are some of my very favorites - someone's projects from very long ago.  It's been some 30 years and we still haven't figured out what that orange creature on the left is...   The snowman on the right has definitely seen a better day.  The big Swedish Dala horse, below, was passed down to me by my mom's best friend, who, not having a daughter, treated me as if she did.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

More Impressionism

"The Artist's Wife" by Norwegian Impressionist Peder Severin Kroyer, painted in 1893.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Flying South For The Winter

A lone monarch butterfly's southward migration ended in my front yard.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Not So Long Ago

The caption to the picture reads:  View of the airfield at Naval Air Station (NAS) Ford Island and flames from burning ships in the background taken during the Japanese attack, 7 December 1941. (U.S. Navy) 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

More Impressionism

"Woman With Cat" by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, painted in 1875.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


This photo goes back a ways.  The kids' shoes look wooden.

Monday, December 3, 2012

The Help

 Thomas stopped by as the glass ornaments were coming out of their tissue paper wrapping.   He loves to be where the action is, so made himself at home on the mound of tissue paper.


 He seemed intrigued by the crunching sound it made as he rolled around.  After about 5 minutes of goofing off, he was sound asleep.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Christmas Lights

The Christmas lights go up differently every year, depending on which strings still work and how far they'll wrap.  One year was mostly pink and green.  This year it's mostly yellow and white.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

More Impressionism

Two Tahitian scenes from Paul Gauguin, painted in 1892.