Happy New Year

In my last post, I promised to ponder ways to stop the year 2011 from ending prematurely. I failed as always. The clocks struck midnight, the neighbors’ kids made a bit of noise, and I went to bed.

December 31 always arrives for me with a feeling that reminds me of high school: If I could just turn back the clock a bit, I’d do better on the final exam. No really, this time I’ll study more! Not that I did badly in school, but I could have done better. And I doubt I’m alone in the belief that if time would just slow down, I could do better in my life today.

The wheel is turning and you can’t slow down,
You can’t let go and you can’t hold on,
You can’t go back and you can’t stand still,
If the thunder don’t get you then the lightning will.
— The Grateful Dead

Such existential angst makes champagne contraindicated.  I’m glad to say, if nothing else, that I woke this morning free of  hangover. And despite having a nastyass cold, I went for a walk in the sunshine out on the bluffs.

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So it goes. So we find our consolations where they are. For me, that means January 1 should remind me that I am a by the grace of God a Christian man, and by my actions a great sinner.

I guess my point is that if we’re going to assess and take stock, undertake a fearless and thorough moral inventory or something less than that, it’s good to start with the basics. Remembering first what’s at the core.

Here’s a little video. Really, it’s music with a picture to look at while you listen. Some might recognize it as the icon of The Holy Trinity.

Here’s an alternative picture.

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The music is cool, because it’s the Valaam Monastery Choir in Karelia, Russia, but they’re singing the 103rd Psalm in English.

Whatever you find at your core, the light in me sees the light in you. God bless. And let’s just forget this whole New Year’s Day thing, remembering Matthew 6:34: “ Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”

Or as they say in certain other rooms, One Day At A Time.

Happy Halloween

A vigorous Boo to all of my loyal readers. I appreciate you all more than I can say, as far as you know. If you were here, I would give you a piece of candy and tell you to get the hell off my porch. 


I kid. Be safe. And – especially if you’re back east in the deep snow – be warm. 

Now if you want a little something scary – monstrous – for your All Hallows Eve, here’s a bit of poetry:

  In the desert
  I saw a creature, naked, bestial,
  Who, squatting upon the ground,
  Held his heart in his hands,
  And ate of it.
  I said: “Is it good, friend?”
  “It is bitter-bitter,” he answered;
  “But I like it
  Because it is bitter,
  And because it is my heart.
– Stephen Crane

Turn Out The Lights

[Sigh] I guess it’s time to take down my Christmas lights again.

Rats. I love Christmas lights. They help take the cold blue steel edge off the winter gloomies; the long, dark midnight of my soul.

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I always leave the lights up and shining on my balcony irons until after Eastern Orthodox Christmas, when all the Christians in the world have finished celebrating The Nativity, and most have moved on to Epiphany. But yeah, it’s time.

I wish we could leave things bright and happy until spring, but I guess that would make it all less special.

Some people leave them up all year, and just wait until December to turn them on. Tacky, very tacky. Last year, the condo association had to ask one resident to pack hers away … in March.

So, where do you stand on the issue of lights, or on the issue of standing, on principle?

Home Again

My folks and I returned last night from our annual trip to visit my brother and his family for Christmas. We were gone for several days and now we miss our loved ones very much.

We got to watch my 9 year old nephew T swing from rope swings which hang from big trees in his back yard. He put on an excellent demonstration for us on Christmas Eve. Later, we went to church, then had a beautiful dinner with wonderful people.

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My brother and me at the dinner party. Don’t bother pressing me to explain the headgear. I could tell you, but then I’d have to drown you in a vat of mulled cider.

There was much more celebration on Christmas Day, which lasted into the evening. And there was rain to keep things moving along without drying up. Then on Sunday, a few of us traveled to the coast, to San Francisco, for more fun. Others stayed home to break in the new toys.

A great time was had by all. And again, I miss those I had to leave behind up yonder, in the dripping trees and enviable quiet, amongst the nibbling deer. I love you all… I would rather be with you on Christmas than with the finest people in the world.

In the words of Alma Garret, “We do love each other. Our being together ought not to seem so outlandish a proposition. … Except for every other single thing.”

Christmas in Santa Barbara

I know that a couple of my readers are in the midwest and the eastern part of the country. So I wanted to share this: At mid afternoon today, the ambient temperature on my parents’ back yard deck – on the southern, sunniest side of the house – was 87 degrees. Humidity about 45 percent.

Neener neener neener.

Perhaps a visit to Santa Barbara at the holidays would be nice for you.

You are most welcome! Though I have to admit, all this sunshine does not make for a traditionally picturesque Christmas.

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But I imagine having to dig your car out of a drift doesn’t set you to singing carols either.