Friday, December 30, 2016

a little tree

There once was a pretty little Christmas tree in a pretty little yellow house

And the little tree was happy. 

The little tree was also cute and practical ... and portable

have tree, will travel
And then there was a pretty little tree in a pretty round house

Hello, Kitty!
And the little tree was happy.

Then the little, portable, happy tree moved to the beach! Who wouldn't love the beach?

We have a piper down! I repeat, the piper is down."
Meanwhile, back at the castle...

Construction was underway, with close supervision
Our village was a little smaller this year, but change is good!
looking promising, kids! And those jammies are winning
The final result was stunning, a triumph of architecture and confection

Let's see the other side, shall we?

why so glum?
2 minutes later....

Oh dear
Well, let's see how the tree made out

A pretty little tree in a pretty little room, fulfilling its Christmas destiny
And then the pretty little tree went on the move one last time (because I always change rooms. always.) and having fulfilled its destiny, the little tree lost its lustre, and its balance, and its gumption. 

but the little tree maintained its charm right up til the bitter end, when it was unceremoniously abandoned on a beachfront balcony
The End. 

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

May you live in interesting times

It’s been quite the year, hasn’t it? I was giving 2016 some thought this week, and for fun I took a look back to a Chinese New Year prediction that I read back in January of 2016. It predicted that this Year of the Fire Monkey would be volatile and exciting and “interesting,” with a reminder to readers that the fortune cookie proverb, “May you Live in Interesting Times” is actually considered a curse.

Much of what was predicted was amazingly accurate. I mean, how apt is this excerpt?

Expect the unexpected and don’t become complacent. There will be more trickery, deception and opportunism than usual. Watch out for con artists and hucksters, as it is easier to be persuaded, fooled or taken advantage of this year.

Is that what happened? Because it is the perfect segue into the swampy mess that is American politics. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been feeling disillusioned and angry and disbelieving about what is happening socio-politically in this country. There was, of course, the Presidential Election, which to me seemed like a slo-mo nightmare the night of November 8th, and the subsequent cabinet and other administrative appointments, which weigh heavily on my mind. But there was also the DNC and its treatment of Bernie Sanders, the media’s completely slanted coverage of political events in general, the tampering of the election by a foreign government, and the seeming abandonment of fact and truth in American media and politics.

Add to this the human rights abuses at Standing Rock, the travesty that is Aleppo and the increasing number of terror and hate attacks both here in the US and abroad (eg, Brussels, Orlando, Berlin), and it’s no wonder that we feel like running away/ crying / staying in bed / taking to the streets (please pick your favorite).

It can be downright disheartening.  But I agree with Mark Ruffalo when he warns, “Don’t fall into despair….Because when you feel despair you don’t act.” This rings true. Plus of course, despair doesn’t feel very good, and neither, frankly, do apathy or ignorance.

So what to do? How do we get out from under feelings of despair and despondency? For me, these words from an email I received recently from the organization Science and Nonduality  helped to re-frame my outlook. Maybe you’ll find them helpful too:

As we move through the intense sociopolitical moment unfolding on the world stage, and struggle to embrace the unsettled, the unexpected, the unknown, it is good to remember that the certainty we grasp for has always been illusory. Groundless is the nature of reality and this chaotic moment is simply pulling back the curtain of certainty and inviting us to step more fully into the flow of Mystery.

Yes! This is absolutely true, and important to remember. We have control over so much less than we think we do. (Rarely even our own minds!) So why not step bravely and confidently into the unknown?

And why not also bring our attention to all of the good things that are happening in our world?

This list of 99 reasons why 2016 was a good year is an excellent reminder that good things are happening and that we can all do our part to act and to contribute. It may all seem a bit overwhelming at times, but if we all continue to do our personal best, to make individual changes that aid the environment, improve the future opportunities of our children and support and serve our neighbor, be they next door or across the world, then these rocky days will not beat us down. They will instead only intensify our resolve and make us stronger.

May we all move into 2017 with hearts full of intention and free of despair.

Monday, December 26, 2016

The Eve and the Day

Oh, what a Day.

Not bad for a nonagenarian, right? Aunt Lill, not MB.
And before that?

Oh what an Eve.

It all started there, at our house, on The Eve, with lovely family . . .

. . . and lovely friends. Oh, the Eve was good.

 And our Tree? . . .

Well, yes. I know. Majestic. Watching over us.

And then . . .

The Day.

 The Stick.

The Presents.

And the Fun.

Let's sum up, shall we?

Love and Christmas and Aunt Lill and fabulousness and love and Mom and hospitality and Mumsie and family and freighbors and Love.

Thank you, my peeps.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

This kid

I love all of my girls infinitely and equally, but this one sure is full of spunk. We end up hanging out together, the two of us, on the way to, and from, and in between getting her older sisters to their various athletic, social and other activities.

But we have fun. We we do lots of things. Like:


And climb.

And hug trees.

And even, you guessed it.....

fall on our asses.

But even after spending about half of her time on the ground during her inaugural trip to ice rink this weekend, she's still both thumbs up.

Monday, December 19, 2016

The Holly Jollys

I may be coming around . . .

. . . it may be sinking in . . .

. . . it may be actually happening . . .

. . . I may . . .

. . . finally . . .

. . . be getting a case . . .

. . . of the Holly Jollys.

And not a moment too soon.

My darling peoples, on this day, one week out . . .

. . . may I say . . . 

. . . a Happy Jolly to you.

Friday, December 16, 2016

flashback friday: dear santa

I'm only recycling this post because it's the best thing that ever was. I'm super duper extra ultra nostalgic this Christmas, and there is nothing in the world that sparks my holiday spirit as much as this list my boy made a million (aka eight. only EIGHT) years ago, back when we all still had our innocence: 


Dear Santa

At Costco, the Christmas season starts sometime just before Halloween. I find it amazingly irritating to listen to piped in carols and skirt past giant inflatable snowfamily menageries, especially when it's 80 degrees outside. It dampens the spirit of Christmas, this pressure to start shopping, get it done, buy more.

At home, the kids are bombarded with huge glossy catalogues and a constant barrage of tempting commercial promises. They always make a list for Santa that generally represents the toys promoted in whichever dozen commercials have been most recently viewed.

Next year my boy will be 10. This could be our last year for magic, the last year that his Christmas list will be submitted with the trembling hope of expectation and wonder, and the image of its recipient's careful consideration of each request.

You can see the care that my boy took care with his list this year. He handed this to me and said: "I don't expect to get everything on this". It is just so quintessentially him - and everychild.

My small heart grew three sizes that day.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Non-official reindeer cam

Who knew reindeer could talk? And that when they did, they'd be so ditzy!

Monday, December 12, 2016

The Dark Part of the Day

It is dark around here, this time of year.

Like, four o'clock-getting-dark.

It's anathema to those of us who, in the summer, go to the beach at four o'clock because that's just when it starts gettin' good.

But Mistah and I learned a long time ago that we cannot accept four o'clock as nighttime. It's black as night, yes. But four o'clock is not nighttime. It is, instead, the Dark Part of the Day.

And before it gets dark? Well, it's light.

I mean, it's not light light, but it's a little bit light.

And that light -- as fleeting and tenuous as it is these days -- does pretty and dramatic things to the world . . .

 . . . to the last of the leaves . . .

. . . and to the clouds in the big blue sky.

It's a challenge these days, when four o'clock comes around . . .

. . . but when night does fall? And sticks around for hours and hours and hours?

Well, at least the Big Dipper come out to play . . .

Friday, December 9, 2016


I recently received an invitation to my worst nightmare:

I had naively thought it was a really cool course of study in 10th grade humanities. My girl had spent the semester researching, conceptualizing, writing and editing a horror story. I was impressed with the films and readings they were doing as a class, including Jaws (those two notes!), the Raven, Hitchcock, etc. it was good old fashioned scary shit. I used to be a fan of scary movies when I was her age, did I ever tell you about that time I was watching Friday the 13th or Halloween or something with a friend in the den and we didn't know that Dad was in the doorway watching too, and at the end part where the monster/bad guy popped up out of the river or the grave or whatever, my dad screamed from behind us and we died of the fright? Anyway. I don't like scary movies anymore. They're scary!

So although I was impressed and enthusiastic about this 10th grade course of study, I began to experience increasing trepidation as snippets emerged about the exhibition that was being planned for this end of project celebration. I strongly suggested that she invite her dad to this special event because I was pretty sure I was going to be very, very, busy with important things.

And yet, there I was. Standing before that poster up above, and being handed a piece of chalk with which to write my deepest fears. Puke!

Then I visited 4 stations, each with its own procedures and disclaimers. The first one was a maze in a dark room. Here is the disclaimer:

In other words: worst case scenario, hulk smash your way through the walls

I had a personal escort through this first experience, whose delight in my fear increased my suspicion and anxiety right back up to level orange.


I survived the maze, then went to the next stop:

Interestingly, I was actually wearing a blindfold when they showed me the sounds

I wish I could tell you what I experienced in that room, but I'm a struct follower of rules.

Next was the invitation to try a virtual reality experience, which really was quite scary up until the incoming text flashed before my eyes: "hi it's dad, I'm in the maze." So I paused to deliver the message to the student who was in charge of scaring me.

Finally, the last stop - the scariest one of all:

No thank you. 

High school is different in 2016, isn't it?