Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Day

Christmas Day after the presents were opened. My daughter insisted that one must rip the paper off the packages and throw it over your shoulder, so a new tradition was born. This contrasts with my mother's habit of carefully smoothing out and folding up each piece of paper, as presents were unwrapped. In this photo, Pepe is sleeping in front of my favorite present, a painting of Pepe sleeping that my daughter painted.

We also enjoyed one of our newer holiday traditions going to a movie on Christmas Day. We both wanted to see Bolt, an animated Disney movie about a dog who thinks he's a superhero, mostly because it also stars a hamster in a ball. (We have both had hamsters as pets.) So we went to the 12:50 showing downtown, sloshing through the slush to get there. It was a great Christmas movie, in many ways, sentimental and charming at the same time. But I think it would be upsetting for kids: there were many scary scenes, and I cried through about half of the movie, as did many other people in the theatre judging by the sniffling.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Under the Christmas Tree

This is what it looks like on Chistmas Eve at my house.
Pepe is snuggled in his little bed (that Shaw made for him) under the tree.

This was a new kind of tree for us, a noble fir, I believe. It's a hard tree to decorate, because it's so bushy. For some reason the red and yellow lights on the Christmas light set didn't work so that set the theme. My daughter Shaw decided to use only blue and silver ornaments.

For years we argued about whether or not to get a real Christmas tree. The artificial trees seem to be returning in popularity, partly because they're so
kitschy, and partly because they don't use up natural resources. I understand the reasons to abstain from getting a real tree but I love the smell. I consider it partial compensation for taking the life of the tree that I buy the tree from a charity and we burn the tree after Christmas.

This was a practice that began when I was a college student. It was great fun to drag the tree out onto the street and light it on fire. (Warning: don't try this at home! Christmas trees are highly flammable.) As I matured, instead of burning the tree in front of the house, I would take it to the beach on Candlemas and burn it. I remember doing this with a boyfriend, Jerry, huddled in the cold wind on a beach in the Pacific Northwest, with our daughters running around waving branches with lit ends, and making patterns in the darkness, like sparklers. For the past ten or fifteen years, I've burned my tree at the Summer Solstice bonfire. That means storing it in the closet. I cut off the branches and store the bare tree trunk, along with garbage bags full of the branches and needles. It makes the closet smell like Christmas for half the year.

Happy celebrations to you.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Snow Art

One of my readers commented last year when I was posting pumpkin pictures about how pumpkin carving was a true folk art. I recognized that this is an activity in which every person feels they can participate, strives to make a unique design and is proud to display it in public, all unusual in other creative activities. And this year, in the midst of our snow storm, I'm realizing that there's another unique folk art form: snow creatures.

I have to say creatures because some of my favorite snow sculptures depicted animals like this dog and the cat below.

I found them all in Cal Anderson Park. The whole park was dotted with them,
strange white shapes emerging from the snow, quiet presences.