Archive for December, 2009

30
Dec

Wild Silver Strand

   Posted by: MB    in Daily

One Wild Silver Hair

29 December 2009

As I brushed my hair this afternoon, to make ready to go to No Frills Grill for our Trivia Night, I was struck by how outrageously curly and wild this one little silver hair was—so I got the camera! I was amused at myself, looking in the bathroom mirror to see the reflection of the viewfinder, since the camera was pointed back at me! I am actually very excited about seeing a silver hair every now and then. My mama has gorgeous salt and pepper hair, and her original colour is very similar to mine. I am hoping for the same sort of luck she has had!

Kyle had his one year follow-up exam with the eye doctor that performed his lasik surgery—all good! After that appointment, he picked me up and off we went to NFG to meet Jill and Brett. And, in a spontaneous event made possible by Facebook, our friends James and Annette met us there as well. They are in town for the holidays and a special family celebration of Annette’s grandmother’s 100th birthday. Despite wet and “snowy” weather, they made it to Arlington and we got to do some much-needed catching up. Life is good—and once again made even better by Facebook.

~MB

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28
Dec

Warm Light

   Posted by: MB    in Daily

Antique Floor Lamp

28 December 2009

I have an odd sense of d&#233j&#224 vu about this photo tonight. I think it is probable that one or both of us has taken a shot similar to this in the past and used it on The Daily KRuMB. But, tonight, after curling up in my chair and finally getting warm for the first time in hours, I refused to leave my little cocoon to take a photo. So, I simply leaned over and looked up. This is the inside of the antique floor lamp that sits beside my chair. It provides a beautiful warm glow to the room and a considerable amount of light immediately beneath its shade. And, it’s pretty. 😉

On a completely different note, I had an odd realization today—just now, really—when I looked at the calendar, and did some math. Exactly 25 years ago today, I got married for the first time. Roger and I were married nine years when we divorced and were very close friends at the time of his death. It’s just very surreal to think I could have been celebrating a silver wedding anniversary today if life had unfolded differently.

Funny, I don’t feel that old! 😉

~MB

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28
Dec

Another Peacock

   Posted by: MB    in Daily

Another Peacock

27 December 2009

Kyle is awfully good at noticing when I bring home something new. One day, not too long before Yule, I adopted another pretty peacock figurine while I was out shopping. I believe it is meant to be a bookend, but I only bought one. Well, the little guy wasn’t in the house but a few hours when Kyle picked it up off the kitchen counter, carried it into the living room and inquired of his origins. He has lived on the coffee table ever since, and tonight he caught my eye as I realized I hadn’t used my camera today.

Not only did I not use my camera . . . I am afraid I must admit I didn’t do much of anything. Kyle and I did have one burst of productivity when we decided it was time to clean out the kitchen “pantry” cabinet. We don’t have a “pantry” per se, so every little bit of storage space really counts. It’s amazing what accumulates even in a kitchen where cooking doesn’t happen on a regular basis! We are trying hard to change that, though. Kyle made an awesome meatloaf the other night, and we just finished off the leftovers of that. Yum. And, I have decided I want to become one with my slow cooker . . . anybody have any great crock pot recipes?

~MB

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28
Dec

Boxing Day Sillies

   Posted by: MB    in Daily

Scott on Boxing Day

26 December 2009

Boxing Day

Determined to pack a little more fun into our holiday weekend, Kyle and I and Scott, whom we recruited to join us while at dinner last night, headed to the Rahr Brewery for their weekly tour and tasting. We were hoping for a smaller crowd than normal, but what we got instead was a bigger than normal invasion of beer drinkers. The winter warmer was free-flowing, the band was very good (a nice change) and we found other friends there, too. We enjoyed ourselves immensely, and Kyle even came home with a half-price fleecy sweatshirt and a new mug.

We came back home and I attempted to finish a project I’d started three years ago—a Victorian dressing gown for Kyle. I was unable to figure out where I was in my old project, so I started from scratch. I suppose that was my mistake, because when it was time to go to the Victorian pajama party at Ginger’s house, I still wasn’t done. So, Kyle wore his union suit under his night shirt and the old, later period dressing gown he already had. And, he was able to accessorize perfectly with a stocking cap. I threw on a velvet dress under my dressing gown, clipped some feathers in my hair and off we went. In hind sight, I think I’d have preferred a little flannel nightgown, a mob cap and a teddy bear, but you know what they say about hind sight . . .

We drank a little port, visited with folks, including Stephen whom I haven’t seen nearly enough of in the last few weeks, and came back home in time to be in bed by 11 p.m.

My photo of the day is just odd enough, I suppose it warrants explanation. We were feeling playful while on the way to the Rahr, and I literally lifted my camera over my head, pointed it down into the back seat and pushed the trigger. It took two shots to get one with Scott’s face in it, but as it turned out, I never used my camera again all day. So, there you go!

~MB

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28
Dec

A White Christmas in Arlington, Texas

   Posted by: MB    in Daily

Christmas Day

25 December 2009
Christmas Day

They say the last time the DFW area had a White Christmas was in 1926.

Kyle and I enjoyed a quiet, cozy morning and at about noon we headed out to the Movie Tavern. Unfortunately, lots of other folks did the same thing, and we got lousy seats for the first showing of Sherlock Holmes. But, we were able to enjoy the film and have some food and drink.

We spent the afternoon at home watching movies, and thinking alot about how glad we were it hadn’t snowed this time last year! Our Hogmanay Holiday to the UK might never have happened! We headed to Ginger’s around 6 p.m. where she and Kathy and Jerry and Scott had prepared a feast for eight, complete with turkey and dressing . . . and pie! When dinner was done, we chatted for a while, then switched from wine to port and started the mah jongg! We had a great time and although Kyle and I bugged out at close to 1 a.m., I’m guessing the tiles will be twittering until well into the wee hours of the morning.

Happy Christmas!

~MB

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28
Dec

Christmas Eve Snow

   Posted by: MB    in Daily

Christmas Eve Snow 4

24 December 2009

The best word that I’ve come up with to describe my mood for most of today, is “giddy.”

It snowed most of the day, today . . . in North Texas! We’re gonna have a White Christmas!!!

Combine that with the fact that it looked like my surprise trip to Florida was on, and I was one happy camper. Unfortunately, I never connected the dots in my head to realize that snow in DFW meant cancelled flights.

The day began cold, but not too cold. And, winter weather was in forecast. But, this is Texas. It simply never occurred to me that it would snow enough to make the ground white. When the precipitation first started it was a drizzly rain. I even posted on my Facebook page, that I didn’t mind the cold, but I’d sure like to trade the drizzle for some snow! Three hours later, I had my wish!

It had really just started to snow when I decided it was time for me to drive to Dallas to see Allyson at Beading Dreams. I had a special, custom-ordered item to pick up from her, and it was the only thing missing from the goody bag of little packages I planned to take to Florida. So, off I went, knowing that it was far too warm for the snow to stick, and I could have the pleasure of driving in it, with no real danger. I kissed Kyle goodbye (he was going to be gallant and do the grocery store run while I did my errand) and cleaned off my windshield with a smile on my face. I turned on the seat warmer, cranked up the Christmas carols, and headed east. I was in such a good mood! I called John in Florida to arrange a ride from and back to the airport. I called my mother to have a nonchalant chat, throw her far from the trail of expecting my visit, and wish her a Merry Christmas. I even took a wrong turn onto Lover’s Lane and had to backtrack ten minutes, and still, the grin simply wouldn’t leave my face! By the time I got almost to Ally’s store, the snowfall had increased in severity and I snapped this photo out my windsheild. It was so beautiful.

I arrived at Beading Dreams to find Allyson handing me the phone. Confused, as she said it was for me, I meekly said “hello.” Larry, her dad/my dear friend, had seen on Facebook where I’d posted I was on my way to see Allyson, and had decided to call to wish me a Happy Christmas! I was so amused that he’d seen that on Facebook, that I didn’t stop to realize that he really had called just for that reason! No sooner, had Allyson explained all that to me, but what she presented me with a familiar little cookie and said it was from someone who saw on Facebook that I’d be there, and was driving through town and decided to do a quick, spur of the moment delivery! It didn’t take me long to suss out that our dear Mary Dane was the yummy cookie fairy. Nobody makes those little chocolate/peanut butter cup cookies like she does! Thank you, Mary!

I enjoyed a delightful visit with Allyson and Rod, while Allyson made me a couple of quick pair of earrings, and I strung up some beautiful glass beads onto elastic for insta-jewelry. While I was there, and shortly before closing time, Kyle called to inform me that in Arlington, the snow was sticking, and the roads were getting more dangerous. Seems the temperature was dropping and it was only going to drop more with sundown. So, new goodies in hand, I said my goodbyes and pointed the truck toward home. It was indeed colder, and I was only about two-thirds of the way home when my windshield wipers decided to start to accumulate the icy snow. The wind was harsh, and blowing the snow sideways across the highway. When I exited the freeway, I actually pulled over and cleaned the blades on the wipers so I could see to drive the final five minutes to the house. And, still – – I couldn’t stop smiling. I pulled over one other time, just to take some photos of what I was realizing was going to be a white Christmas.

But, it wasn’t until I got home and was talking to Kyle, that I realized my travel plans were about to change. The flight I was planning to be on at six a.m. was no longer an option—all full. Severely oversold, in fact. A little quick research showed Kyle that the last two flights of this afternoon/evening had been cancelled due to weather. All those folks were now spread over the already mostly full flights of Christmas Day. So, as a non-rev traveller, going anywhere (much less the land of the Mouse) from DFW was simply not going to be an option. Before the night played out, I had to call and let John know I wasn’t going to make it after all. I was snowed in! (I’m so sorry, Mama!  I’m with you in spirit!)  What a crazy thing to say! Snowed in in Texas! The bizarre joyousness of the snow helped make the foiled travel easier to swallow, and I began to look forward to the day with my husband. And, I’d be able to attend the dinner party our Ginger was hosting. Good news from bad. And so the world turns. 

As we go to bed tonight, we do so with the childlike expectation of a beautiful sunrise over a world coated in white.

~MB

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27
Dec

Wednesday Night Downtown

   Posted by: MB    in Daily

Main Street Fort Worth

23 December 2009

Rahr Brewery—Open Wednesday and Saturday of Christmas week! Yay! Tickled pink that the Rahr Brewery was not going to give in to the Christmas crazies and decide to be closed, we were determined to support them this week. So, Kyle arranged his work day and I managed my Christmas card writing and post office erranding to allow us to be at the brewery by five o’clock when the taps started flowing. And, apparently, lots of folks had the same idea. It was the busiest Wednesday we’ve seen—probably the busiest ever. Once again, we were not disappointed in the special offerings: the bourbon-cask-aged Winter Warmer is some of the best beer we’ve every had—anywhere! Gone, now from the brewery, (I actually got the very last of the very last keg) I understand there might still be some at the Gingerman . . . hmm . . . might be worth a trip! We were very pleased to find some friends there, too. When the last call sounded, the group determined that The Flying Saucer in dowtown Fort Worth should be our next stop. So, off we went.

We met Jay and Bert and Matt (that’s just Matt) and Jessica at the Saucer just in time to score primo comfy seating. We ordered a round of the special of the night so we could bring home some F.S. Christmas glasses, and some food and proceeded to have a fun time. Not the evening Kyle and I would have planned, but a testament to why some things shouldn’t be planned!

I took this photo as we first arrived downtown. Immediately behind my vantage point for this photo is the big Christmas tree that the city puts up each year. After leaving the Saucer, we took a little walk around the Sundance Square area, and as we were admiring a building, (The Jett Building)  a man offered to tell us all about it if we had a few minutes. We did, and with our love of history, architecture, and Fort Worth itself, we could hardly refuse such an offer. What followed was a thirty-minute lesson on Fort Worth history and the beautiful mural depicting the cattle drive. A little research just now has taught me that the mural is one of three downtown, and another in the cultural district, painted by artist Richard Haas. Our experience downtown taught us all about the complicated symbolism included in this art. We enjoyed our little “tour” so much that we offered to thank our guide with a drink or a tip and we learned he lives at a shelter, and wanted only $8 for dinner. We cheerfully gave him that and hearty handshakes and compliments, as well as happy holiday wishes. We left downtown very pleased!

~MB

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27
Dec

Mistletoe, Anyone?

   Posted by: MB    in Daily

Who wants some?

22 December 2009

I packaged up seven little boxes and sent them to friends today who responded to my Facebook offer to send mistletoe. It’s freshly picked, ready to enhance your holiday gatherings!

In the process of this incredibly tradition-oriented exercise, I got inspired to write a year-end letter for our friends. I used to do that regularly, and recently have allowed other things to steal my focus from it. Today, it just all fell together and I got it done. And, I had a great time doing it. Now, we’ll see how many I get mailed out . . .

On the subject of the mistletoe, for those who might be interested, this is the result of my research, and the information that I sent out along with the happy little sprigs.

*******
From the earliest times mistletoe has been one of the most magical, mysterious, and sacred plants of European folklore. Referred to as “the golden bough,” it was considered to bestow life and fertility; a protection against poison; and an aphrodisiac. The mistletoe of the sacred oak was especially sacred to the ancient Celtic Druids. On the sixth night of the moon, white-robed Druid priests would cut the oak mistletoe with a golden sickle and catch it in a white cloth, not allowing it to touch the ground. Two white bulls would be sacrificed amid prayers that the recipients of the mistletoe would prosper. Later, the ritual of cutting the mistletoe from the oak came to symbolize the emasculation of the old King by his successor. Mistletoe was long regarded as both a sexual symbol and the “soul” of the oak. It was gathered at both mid-summer and winter solstices, and the custom of using mistletoe to decorate houses at Christmas is a survival of the Druid and other pre-Christian traditions. The Greeks also thought that it had mystical powers and down through the centuries it became associated with many folklore customs. In the Middle Ages and later, branches of mistletoe were hung from ceilings to ward off evil spirits. In Europe they were placed over house and stable doors to prevent the entrance of witches. It was also believed that the oak mistletoe could extinguish fire. This was associated with an earlier belief that the mistletoe itself could come to the tree during a flash of lightning. The traditions which began with the European mistletoe were transferred to the similar American plant with the process of immigration and settlement.

The Legend of the Goddess of Love

Both the mystical power of mistletoe and the tradition of kissing under the mistletoe owe themselves to the legend of Goddess Frigga and her son Balder. Frigga was the Goddess of Love and her son, Balder, was the God of the Summer Sun, and Mistletoe was the sacred plant of Frigga. Balder had a dream of death which greatly alarmed his mother, for should he die, all life on earth would end. In an attempt to keep this from happening, Frigga went at once to air, fire, water, earth, and every animal and plant seeking a promise that no harm would come to her son. Balder now could not be hurt by anything on earth or under the earth. But Balder had one enemy, Loki, god of evil and he knew of one plant that Frigga had overlooked in her quest to keep her son safe. It grew neither on the earth nor under the earth, but on apple and oak trees. It was lowly mistletoe. So Loki made an arrow tip of the mistletoe, gave to the blind god of winter, Hoder, who shot it , striking Balder dead. The sky paled and all things in earth and heaven wept for the sun god. For three days each element tried to bring Balder back to life. He was finally restored by Frigga, the goddess and his mother. It is said the tears she shed for her son turned into the pearly white berries on the mistletoe plant and in her joy Frigga kissed everyone who passed beneath the tree on which it grew. The story ends with a decree that who should ever stand under the humble mistletoe, no harm should befall them, only a kiss, a token of love.

Kissing under the Mistletoe

Kissing under the mistletoe is first found associated with the Greek festival of Saturnalia and later with primitive marriage rites. It was believed that mistletoe (and the dung containing it) had the power to bestow fertility, or “life-giving” power. In Scandinavia, mistletoe was considered a plant of peace under which enemies could declare a truce or warring spouses could kiss and make-up. If enemies met by chance beneath it in a forest, they laid down their arms and their arguments and maintained a truce until the next day. Later, the eighteenth century English adopted the “kissing ball” at Christmas time, and the repressed Victorians made it an art form. A young lady standing under a ball of mistletoe, brightly trimmed with evergreens, ribbons, and ornaments, could not refuse to be kissed. Such a kiss could mean deep romance or lasting friendship and goodwill. If the girl remained unkissed, she could not expect not to marry the following year. In some parts of England the Christmas mistletoe was burned on the twelfth night lest all the boys and girls who have kissed under it never marry. And yet, in other traditions, a couple in love who kisses under the mistletoe, is proclaiming an intention to marry and ensuring the blessings of happiness and long life!

In France, the kissing customs linked to mistletoe were reserved for New Year’s Day: “Au gui l’An neuf” (Mistletoe for the New Year).

Even if the pagan significance is forgotten by most, the custom of exchanging a kiss under the mistletoe can still be found in many places. Today, whether it is interpreted as a promise to marry, as a passing romance, or simply as a token of goodwill and happiness, kisses can and should be exchanged under the mistletoe all throughout the holiday season. Whether we believe in its traditions or not, it always makes for fun and frolic at midwinter holiday celebrations.

*******

So, there you have it. All you ever wanted to know about mistletoe . . . and more!

~MB

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27
Dec

Solstice Santa

   Posted by: MB    in Daily

Casa Manana Santa

21 December 2009

Happy Yule!  Happy Solstice!

My original plan for the day was to be up for sunrise. Then, somewhere along the line I decided that what I really wanted to do was to make sure I was cutting my mistletoe at the exact moment of the Winter Solstice.  So, I let myself sleep in a little later.

The first order of the day, then, after getting Kyle off to work, was my breakfast date with Ronnie. We met at the Old South Pancake House where I allowed myself the luxury of ordering Dutch babies. How I love those crazy little German pancakes! We enjoyed a long-overdue breakfast visit, and since there was still plenty of time before he had to be at work, I hopped in his truck and got the Ronnie-tour of the museum district.  Construction is everywhere, and so was Christmas!  I was amused by this touch of holiday spirit way up in the air!   I got to see the brand new beautiful Fort Worth Museum of Science and History—at least on the outside. What a place! I am looking forward to visiting the inside (sometime after school starts again!). 😉 We also drove all around the up and coming Seventh Street area just west of downdown Fort Worth. I was unaware that the growth in that area was so extreme.  As we headed back to where my truck was parked, I took this photo of the huge inflated Santa Clause currently decorating Casa Manana.

Ronnie went on to work and I headed home just in time to change clothes, get out the little ladder, and to wish I owned anything that would pass for a “golden sickle.” Since I don’t, my garden pruners had to suffice for the cutting of the mistletoe. The official solstice time was 11:47 a.m. CST and at that moment, I was snipping giant bunches of mistletoe out of one of the black oak trees in our front yard.  I carefully caught the pretty berried greenery in a white linen tablecloth, not allowing it to touch the ground, and carried it back to the front porch.   I should have plenty to send to any of our friends who want some.  And, if I’m lucky, they’ll get it before Christmas!

It wasn’t long after all that, when Brittney arrived for a quick costume/measurement session and then a delightful lunch at Fuzzy’s Tacos.  Since I stopped regularly attending my dance company class, I don’t see B~ very often anymore, so this luncheon, like my breakfast date had been, was long overdue.    We sat and chatted and caught up on Scarborough news and just generally enjoyed the afternoon. 

I spent much of my evening getting holiday packages ready to ship to family and friends.  Tomorrow to the post office!  All in all, it was a good Solstice Day for me.   Good friends, good food, good deeds.

~MB

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27
Dec

Marita Beth & the Rahr

   Posted by: crazyBobcat    in Daily

26 December 2009
We went to the Rahr again today, this time taking Scott (hi, Dave!) with us. He was unfamiliar with Rahr prior to the trip, but I daresay he’s a fan now. When we got there, there was a short queue to get in, which we immediately joined. Despite the fact that it was bright & sunny, it was a pretty crisp 40 degrees, so MB wanted her hat & coat from the car. I love this Tibetan lamb hat on her.
Rahr
Cheers.

~KR (Written on 27 December 2009)

Camera: Canon PowerShot SD850 IS
Exposure: 0.006 sec (1/160)
Aperture: f/8.0
Focal Length: 5.8 mm
ISO Speed: 80
Exposure Bias: 0 EV
Flash: Auto, Did not fire

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