Monday, December 27, 2010

Celebrations, beginnings, and endings

It has been a peaceful holiday here in the mountains. Some snow, some friends, some family, and lots of good food. What more could we ask for? December 31 will mark our 18th wedding anniversary; the marriage that surprised many folks who had known us the 15 years we had shared each others' lives before quietly eloping to Santa Fe. What amazing years these have been...all 33 of them. My folks were married 67 years when my dad died...I'm thinking it's a bit optimistic we might live that long, but it's certainly a great goal!

This is always the time of year for personal reflection, and I've certainly been doing my share. It's like mental housecleaning, thinking about the past, planning for the future. I've made a decision to spend lots of time in California, visiting my grandchildren. I want them to grow up knowing grandparents, since I didn't. I want them to know and remember their Opa as the kind and loving man that he is, and their Mimi as the loving and fun person I want to be. I want to be around like family, and not company. I want to be there for them during the subtle changes as they grow. I definitely feel I'm embarking on a new phase of my life, and I couldn't be happier about it. It is reminiscent of that same feeling of excitement I used to get just before school started: a new adventure, learning new things and meeting new friends.

As for endings...well, along with leaving one decade and heading into the next with all the rest of you, I've decided to leave this blog for now. It began in spring of 2006 as a link and marketing tool for my yarn shop. Over time it has evolved into something much more personal, and I've taken your friendships and caring so seriously, I've even hesitated to use it much to promote my little Etsy shop. I've loved being able to share my world with you, and have greatly appreciated your advice and feedback when I've asked for it; it does, after all, take a village sometimes. Having the viewpoints of so many others has often helped me change my way of looking at things, and that has been invaluable to me; for those many gifts, I can't thank you enough.

However, having said all of that: I haven't felt terribly inspired to post lately, so I'm paying attention to that. I love writing, and have often dreamed of writing on a more serious level; I am allowing myself to imagine that maybe, just maybe, by not posting here, I will use that energy to write privately instead. Who knows? I only know that I feel like this blog has, for now, run its course. I am not ruling out posting again...just not in the near future. I need some time to, well, "marinate" on some things. Sort of like starting with a blank canvas and wondering where to start, I am both a wee bit nervous and a lot excited.

So, dear friends...thanks so much for being with me all these years. I will continue to watch your own blogs, and am sure I'll pop in now and again with my comments.

May you all have the most wonderful new year, filled with love, happiness, and health. I shall miss you.

With love,


(and my editor, Bob, sends his good wishes, as well.)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas in Taos

Christmas in New Mexico has a definite feel all its own. In the early years of living here, I would try to get out and see the beautiful light of the farolitos, not to mention a few Christmas eves spent observing the celebration at Taos Pueblo. (Now I'm just as happy to stay home and cozy and not be outdoors with hundreds of people I mostly don't know, freezing.)

I've taken the liberty to copy a photograph of a painting I found on the internet to share with you. It is by local artist Jane Grover. It's a beautiful depiction of this magical evening. In addition, I'm going to share with you the description of this celebration, taken directly from the Taos Visitors Guide on line.

While Christmas is still a few days ahead, I send you my greetings now for a safe and loving holiday!

In the northern villages of New Mexico, ritual re-enactments of history by the Hispanic community — combined with medieval morality plays known as autos sacramentales brought to the area during the Spanish conquest — are faithfully re-created in distinctive Christmas celebrations.

At the Indian pueblos, Catholicism is intertwined with ancient American Indian beliefs. When the Spanish arrived in New Mexico in the 16th century, missionaries assigned a patron saint to each pueblo in an effort to convert tribal members to Catholicism. Because tribal rituals coincided with the saints’ days, these religions eventually merged.

A Taos Pueblo spokesman says that a large percentage of tribal members are baptized Catholic and that the church service is much like Catholic services elsewhere. The only difference, he says, is that the motifs in the chapel have native elements and tribal members wear blankets and moccasins.

On Christmas Eve, the northern pueblos celebrate this most important Christian holy day in a distinctive Indian way. Most moving are the vespers with bonfires and the procession of the Virgin Mary at the 1,000-year-old Taos Pueblo— a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The drama of the event unfolds at the foot of the Sangre de Cristo mountains, amid the orange and purple hues of a winter sunset. At sundown at the pueblo’s San Geronimo chapel, the archbishop of Santa Fe presides over vespers. As the sky darkens to a deep blue, torches are lit, and families build huge bonfires of ocote pine in the main plaza.

Orange flames illuminate the night sky, shooting up spires of smoke. Other smaller bonfires are scattered throughout the plaza and in front of homes. Residents gather on rooftops covered in snow.

At the end of vespers, the chapel bells peal. The archbishop and acolytes lead a procession out of the tiny chapel, followed by six men carrying a dais that holds the statue of the Virgin Mary under a billowing canopy. At the front of the procession, pueblo men carrying rifles shoot live ammunition into the air to announce her arrival. Drummers and members of the church choir follow, and the throngs of people there for the bonfires join in the procession. The beauty, mystery and power of the scene are profound.

The Taos Pueblo Community extends a warm welcome to their Taos neighbors and to all friends of the Pueblo.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

We woke up yesterday morning to about 7" of snow here in our little part of the forest. I think I'll never lose the excitement that a first snow brings, even if it does end up involving a snow shovel. The dogs really love it. Our oldest dog, Meika (who is a senior citizen at age 11), is the picture of pure joy when it snows. It brings a lightness to her step and her spirits alike. May we all know such joy.

These aren't great photos...I took them last evening with my cell is of the moon rising over the mountain behind us, the other from up above our house and the dog corral, looking down on the Rio Grande Valley far below. It was a ribbon of silver, had you seen it person.

I have been really down this week. On Tuesday morning, I drove past the scene of a fatal automobile accident. A young man was speeding to get home and lost control of his car. No alcohol...but no seat belt. It has rekindled the memory of our own Kara (a former Sunflower), who lost her life farther up that same road a few years ago. Senseless waste, so avoidable. My heart aches for these families.

Please have a great weekend, and stay safe. Remember that being in a hurry is rarely worth it.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Long time, no blog

The weeks here are flying. I've shipped off a box of donation scarves to the Santa Fe Scarf Project, and knitted several hats and another scarf to stash for next year's donations. This project is in its 7th or 8th year, conceived and managed by one wonderful woman named Sarah Bienvenu. She collects donations from the local yarn shops (my customers used to donate to this project as well) and when they are all gathered, they have a wrapping party sometime just before Christmas. They are then delivered to the homeless shelter in Santa Fe (St. Elizabeth's) for Christmas presents. The population there used to be primarily men, but given the situation our country is in, you can well guess that there are also women and children in need of these gifts. It is one of the highlights of my year; I love donation knitting. As a woman I saw on television said recently (after donating approximately 700 scarves she made this last year, knitted, crocheted, sewn, etc.): I do it because it makes me feel good.

There's been some time to spin, which has been fun. I managed some time at the drum carder this last week so I could make some wool batts to spin over the holiday. We are slowly condensing all the "stuff" in what was once the yarn shop; this photo is about half of what remains in my "fiber department" and the amount of yarn left in inventory is now down to not enough to worry about for now. It feels good. I never dreamed it would take two years to get to this place.

For those of you who have been suffering these horrible winter heart goes out to you. Forgive me for whining that we've not had snow (although some is predicted for tonight).

Off now to take care of more piles of paper. Hoping you're all well and warm.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Do you have our snow???

It appears that the predictions of a dry winter are true, so far. We've had gorgeous, sunny, days and if you didn't look at the calendar (or the thermometers), you'd think it was still fall. I know, I know...technically, it still is fall, but we should have winter snows by now, and especially considering our local economy is based largely on the business at the Taos Ski Valley.

A couple of days ago, Ani and I drove up to Pagosa Springs, Colorado. We saw some beautiful snow along the way. I'm posting a couple of photos to share with you...nothing worthy of National Geographic, but enough for you to get a little idea of the gorgeous vistas we saw.

This morning I finally got my act together and reopened my little Etsy shop. I've taken the last week to photograph new inventory, edit photos, give some thought to pricing. It's always so hard with the pricing, especially with the hand spun yarns. They always end up being a labor of love, no matter how you look at it; but then, I spin because I love to spin, not because I plan to sell it. I sell it because I can never use all that I can make.

Hope you're going to have a great weekend...stay safe and warm!