Thursday, January 10, 2008

If Christmas lights are off, what's on?

In our home, the fake greenery interwoven with little twinkly lights around windows often stay in place until Valentines Day. The bright, cheery decorations of the Holidays leave a void when finally packed away. I like the ambiance of the low lighting.

Feeling our home looks like a tacky restaurant, I sought a another solution for brightening the long winter evenings. I found it in timers—those little gadgets that automatically turn lights off and on at certain times. Like the ones used on my twinkly lights.

Because of our home’s layout, the kitchen area is not cozy. It is large, open and has seating at one end where we read. I plugged the three lamps in that area into my Christmas light timers. Now they come on around 5:30 pm and go off at ll:00 pm.

What a wonderful welcome. Stumbling in with all my gear after work, I found the three lamps casting their glow. The chairs and soft lights beckoned a cup of hot tea and a minute to relax. Just what the doctor ordered after a cold, dreary day.

Tonight, I finally removed the rest of the Christmas decorations.

The timers will remain until the longer days of spring.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Life's potholes

Life has a way of chugging along. Same rituals of work eat sleep, with plenty of play mixed in.

Then a pothole crops up out of nowhere.

Last Friday morning my brother called to tell me our Aunt Vi had passed. I wrote about her auction here and here. Uncle Grant and Aunt Vi lived close by my house while growing up. Of course, I saw them often at family gatherings but I also visited their home. If Aunt Vi needed help, my mother would send me over to pick cherries or dress chickens. While she was a true partner in the farm operation, her home was immaculately decorated. And, she had an eye for fashion. A hard worker yet refined, she was a person any modern young woman could emulate.

Then, early Saturday morning, a call came from mom’s care facility. We quickly dressed and rushed the hour and half drive. We found Mom weak but okay. If she wants to, she can recover from the temporary heart problem. We encourage her but her world is narrow.

As often happens at funerals, the day was entirely enjoyable. Aunt Vi’s service was a celebration of her life. The songs, In the Garden and The Lords Prayer, are two of my favorite solo hymns and beautifully done. Afterward, my brother and his wife invited “the cousins” along with Kim, Marc and Evan, for chili and an afternoon of laughter and story telling both of which are abundant in my family. As I sat at the table and enjoyed the conversation, I could have closed my eyes and be listening to parents of all those present, now gone.

So, tomorrow I am back to chugging along. I just hope there isn’t another pothole too soon.