"She refused to be bored, chiefly because she wasn't boring." Zelda Fitzgerald

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Electric Blankets, Furnaces and Other Warm Thoughts

Our furnace has made me so glad that we live in California. The wires got chewed by rodents and suddenly everything flickered and then cooled down to a rather brisk temperature. At first we thought maybe the kids were messing with the thermostat but we quickly realized that it was something bigger than that and our heat was caput. Its usually pretty warm here and the cool temp in the winter is usually kind of 60ish but its been in the 30's at night and the 50's during the day this week. This morning when I got up to make breakfast I could see my breath in the kitchen. I was laughing over the fact that I live in California and I was turning on the oven and standing there rubbing my hands over the opened door before I started breakfast. It feels so cold when your body has become used to 60-70 degrees all of the time.
 It does feel rather seasonal though! I have to say that I grew up pretty prepared for this. It makes me think of wood fires and power outages, stacking logs by the cookstove and getting into bed with our coats on when we came home from a trip away during the winter. There's something good about learning to be a little bit tough. Coffee and tea are amazing when its a frosty 40 something in your kitchen. Also, snuggling with your man never felt more alluring.
 A bought me a heating pad for Christmas, though I am embarrassed to admit that this California girl wanted one in the very worst way. It has been the most delicious treat to slip it into my spot under the quilt and turn it on as I do that last pick-ups around the house and brush my teeth. By the time I get into bed, its made my side of the bed into a glowing little oasis. I am now contemplating an electric blanket.
 My grandma had electric blankets, I think she really was the only person I knew who had them. I sometimes could use one when I slept overnight at her house. She would let me have one but I couldn't sleep with it on all night. We would go to sleep in side by side twin beds, the wind off of Lake Michigan making the gentle whoosing sound that it always does. I would lie under that electric blanket and we would make gentle conversation together before sleep: "What do you think we should do tomorrow?" or "What shall we have for breakfast?" It was always a little bit of a guessing game with Grandma, trying to think of something that would be special and make her feel inspired but nothing too demanding or rich feeling which she would never have been okay with. My grandma was a slightly imposing woman who wanted to be seen and elegant and illustrious but practical and frugal at the same time. I would float my ideas her way in the quiet room, both of us tucked in up to our chins, while the waves outside shushed rhythmically. She would mostly listen to me and then say. "Aha!" in response like she often did when I told her my plans or my thoughts. And then pretty soon she'd tell me that it was time to turn out the light and she'd remind me to turn off my electric blanket with a click, we'd goodnight each other and then I was lying there in the dark, wiggling my toes under the fading warmth and listening to the waves rock me to sleep.


Friday, January 6, 2017

Poetry Friday: Three Kings, One Mama and A Poem

Today is a good day to have a brilliant idea. Its Epiphany and Poetry Friday! Today is the final day of Christmas, which in our house means we celebrate by taking down the holiday decorations, putting the house back to order and moving on....but it also means that I want to take the time to actually mark Epiphany itself as a meaningful day, not just as a day to end the meaning. Three Kings Day is when we remember that the Christ child was not just for Bethlehem but for the far-flung world, he was visited by these kings who came from some mysterious,  far-off, not Jewish land.....summoned by stars and irresistible telegraph messages from the sky. Epiphany is a day when we remember the appearing of this celestial "idea" in the sky, the appearing of Christ to the far nations of the world and the appearing of these kings as guests of The Holy Family.

Its a day to celebrate light, as we remember the star that called for inclusion, and Christ who is named Light of the World. We will light our Advent wreath one last time and we will light luminaries outside our door too. Its a day to celebrate guests and remember the role that these strangers had in the story and the part that warmly welcoming them played as The Holy Family opened their door to them and brought them into their house and life. We will chalk our door tonight with a holy blessing for our home and all who come in and go out in 2017. Chalking the door also echoes back to Passover and the many Jewish parents who marked their doors with a sign of protection on that important night. We will also have an apple gallette with a bean hidden in it....that lucky person getting to wear the crown around the house for the rest of the evening, just for fun. And we'll sing a few more carols around the piano and making sure to hit We Three Kings. I'll read the story of the magi's visit at bedtime as fodder for sweet dreams and we'll be off and running towards our New Year, kissing the holiday season goodbye and looking on towards Lent.

I love the church calendar, the way it pulls me into history, the way it marks our whirling round and round and ties our revolutions into sacred time. I love the reminders to tell these stories to my children, to focus on things like blessing our home and remembering light in our lives. I love the cultural habits that bring gentle little traditions to our life and maybe even a sense of who our people are ancestrally.

Epiphany Song

On this day of eureka,
Bright ideas, lit by starlight
Infuse amongst us like
The fragrant smoke of incense
Let us know clearly.
There is an open door with a
Blessing sifting onto the heads
That enter, like chalk dust
Filtering down in a beam of sun,
Let us love each soul.
We look for the exotic among us,
The sage voices of other lands,
People baring their hearts of gold
Hands fragrant with scents of love.
Let us seek freshness.

The prettiest pastry we ate this year, inspiration for our Epiphany pastry!
Enjoy the collection of other poetry contributions, some original and some inspiration from greats at our host site this week Teacher Dance.