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Archive for December, 2011

Day 9 – Here’s to Relaxing

December 30, 2011 Leave a comment

The City in Lights

No, you haven’t missed anything; I’ve skipped. The past couple of days have been very laid back, I’m proud to say. Finished a book I received as a Christmas gift in the company of a glass of juice, sunshine through my window, and the solace of an empty room. The book was a distraction just for fun, for the pleasure of reading, to proudly tell the giver that I’ve finished it already. I’m laughing at myself for reading The Cinderella Pact by Sarah Strohmeyer because I never embraced the Cinderella/princess thing. But I managed to learn a thing or two about dieting and the struggles some women face every day in their quest for love and acceptance. That’s something most–if not all–of us can relate to.

The book, well written and entertaining, inspired me to push my computer’s ‘on’ button and write. After walking my dog this morning through the railway trails, I returned home in a creative mood. Is this how Hemingway felt?

C’mon doggie, let’s go home. I’ve got some words to put on paper.

“Write until your thoughts dry up” was my determination. Did fairly well. Wrote for hours. Hemingway, however, made a living at it, and that’s where the similarity ends.

About my to do list. While I may not be making the progress that I initially anticipated, I am enjoying my freedom to experience and notice something new every day. They’re not big things. Just things that make me smile. Like Christmas lights. It is almost New Year’s Eve, and soon the lights will be gone for another year. I will miss them, but I will still have my vacation photos.

Day 6- Quiet Reflection

December 26, 2011 Leave a comment

Gombeys

Time for reflecting

We don’t have a tradition here of spending the day after Christmas back at the mall to return gifts. Ninety-nine percent of the stores are closed, and most people are just chilling out if they don’t have to work today or spending time with family and friends. It’s Boxing Day, a public holiday. I got a brief glimpse of the gombeys performing in a neighborhood with their colorful costumes and festive dancing–which is a tradition here.

Of one thing I’m particularly proud–tearing myself away from lingering at girl time with old and new friends to stick to my exercise routine. Zumba on Boxing Day? Now that’s a new one for me, but it was worth it. Yeah, me.

After the frenzy of the Christmas build up, it’s a good day for quieter moments. I have some books on my things-to-do-while-on-vacation list, and I plan to find a comfy corner, curl up like a dog on the sofa and lose myself in them, including the new book by a friend, “Sacred Thoughts“. Well, except for the work-related reading I must do; that’s not exactly comfy-sofa reading.

Now, who wants pie?

Day 4 – Google Gave Me the Giggles

December 24, 2011 Leave a comment

Bethlehem Scene at Church (Hubby's photo)

The Google homepage doodle wants to go caroling. I’m game; I love Christmas carols. I pressed all the little buttons–boxes–and each box changed to a Christmas animation. Cute. A bell, snowflake and snowman. Then a candle, gift and Santa. With all of the display in view, the doodle danced to Jingle Bells. I couldn’t help but giggle. Jingle Bells is okay, but I like Christmas hymns. ‘Joy to the World’, ‘Silent Night’, and ‘O Come, O Come Immanuel’. They focus my mind on the true reason for Christmas. The Google doodle celebrates with six symbols of Christmas. Perhaps ‘Xmas’ is more appropriate, since there’s no sign of the baby Jesus. But that’s okay, too, because Jesus is bigger than the Google doodle, and He’s not a baby anymore.

Standing in church singing songs that commemorate the birth of Jesus, the Savior, fills me with joy. To think that God so loved the world that He gave His only son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16).

Christmas Day is almost here, and my anticipation is building. Sightseeing has been halted, and shopping is finished. It’s time to read the real Christmas story (Luke 2) and enjoy the holiday.

Merry Christmas!

Day 2 – Bags, Bows and Kwanzaa

December 22, 2011 Leave a comment

When I was a kid the library was one of my favorite places. Its big, heavy doors always swung out wide to welcome me to any adventure I was willing to take when I wandered through its corridors of novels, magazines, newspapers and microfilm (does anyone remember microfilm?). I always felt at home in the library, a place I could lose myself and forget about whatever chaos was happening on the outside. Things are orderly at the library and mostly predictable. I can wander from the computer that replaced the card catalog to the bookshelves then to an empty table to study, use my computer or work on whatever assignment demands my attention.

Lately, however, with the convenience of the internet for research I don’t visit the library nearly as much as in the past. The library is a neglected old friend, I admit. My trip today was not the result of nostalgia or to gather information. I needed a diversion; I missed my bus by one minute. Since the next bus on my route wasn’t for another hour, I went to the library and used the opportunity to look for a particular book I am intereested in. I didn’t find the book, but I did find the Kwanzaa display, complete with the kinara featuring the seven candles respresnting the principles of the Nguzo Saba: unity, self-determination, co-operative economics, creativity, purpose, collective work and responsibility and faith. Bumping up to the Kwanzaa display, reading the articles, enjoying the African artifacts and reflecting again on the guiding principles added focus to Day Two of my vacation at home.

Day 1 – The Art of Looking Busy

December 22, 2011 Leave a comment

Day One of my vacation actually did find me at the airport; however, there was no boarding pass in my hand, only a dollar for the parking meter. After dropping my passenger off at the airport, I then considered my vacation to be officially “on”. Even though today would be stuffed with errands, I could still make it fun. Driving back from the airport in mostly sunny conditions (not ‘mostly cloudy’ as the weatherman describes it) and 70 degrees, I looked around with a visitor’s eyes. If I were visiting, what would be interesting enough to investigate? I didn’t have to wait very long to answer my own question.

Mats. Blankets. Carpet. Since Monday, local ecologists have been using these buzz words to describe the Sargassum seaweed that has washed up on our shores. As strange as it may look to the Average Joe, the seaweed, which has blanketed bays and beaches across the Island resulting from tides and the high winds we have been experiencing from the west, is actually an ecologically important event. According to Dr. Nicholas Bates, Acting Director of the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (BIOS), “The Sargasso Sea is a unique habitat.” Creatures such as fish, sea turles and some species of endangered eels use the Sargasso Sea as a spawning and feeding ground. We’re just not used to seeing the Sargassum seaweed up close and personal at Shelly Bay or Red Hole. Eventually, the seaweed will break down and become clear, returning our beaches to their enticing, pristine condition. Until then, it’s a phenomenon that has been attracting the curious across the Island who discuss it, photograph it, or just gaze in wonder.

The first day of vacation fell on the last Wednesday Farmer’s Market before Christmas–the only one I’ve been to, despite the fact that it’s only a 5-minute walk from my office. Hubby usually goes and picks up what we need. I understand that our Farmer’s Market is noticably smaller than its counterparts in the rest of the world, but it’s an opportunity to support local farmers and small merchants. Along with farmers selling fresh produce, including broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, potatoes, etc., other merchants sold local products that make perfect Christmas gifts: sweet, local honey from happy Bermuda bees, cookies and chocolates boxed and packaged for gift giving, plants, art and sweet treats. I bought a small but vibrant poinsettia that I hope to keep alive for more than 2 weeks instead of the wreath that enticed me with its wintry pine scent. I resisted, admired the sunflowers and left before I blew my budget.

Not sure what’s in store for tomorrow, but if the weather is as lovely as today, I must get outside to enjoy it.

What I Did For My Christmas Vacation – Day 0

December 20, 2011 Leave a comment

On the eve of my first day of vacation, I have a dilemma. What DO people do on their ‘staycations’? After hearing that I’m on vacation until January, my husband scolded me for not planning to get away for a few days. Well, that sounds lovely and everything, but I’m a lot more frugal. I can’t just jump on a plane because I have a few days off (no matter how much I want to). The question is: will I be bored? Surely, there are ways to entertain oneself when vacationing at home without giving up and resorting to doing chores around the house.

Frankly, this is a new situation for me. As far back as I can remember, my vacation time has been carefully allocated, first to accommodate my daughter’s school breaks, especially those periodic teachers’ professional development days that fall outside the realm of available child care. Later, creative planning was used to cram my birthday, Thanksgiving, a few days for Christmas plus a full vacation into 10 annual vacation days. I never carried over days. Until now. I’m not sure exactly how it happened, but I managed to hoard eight days, which I now have to “use or lose”. Now that I have passed my initial angst about the free-wheeling days ahead of me, I am starting to formulate a plan. Treat it like a real vacation–you know, the kind that involves passports, foreign currency and the travel clinic for pre-travel shots.

Enter imagination. When I wake up tomorow, what if I imagine I am in London rather than here? What would I do? Where would I go? The British Museum would be one mandatory stop. We have museums; I’ll put that on my list. I would check out the shops–especially Harrods. Well, we don’t have Harrods, but it’s Christmas, so I have an excuse to go into the stores. I would have my camera; perhaps I will find some interesting shots in my own backyard.

It’s the eve of the first day of my Christmas vacation. I know exactly what to do. Relax and enjoy the journey.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Celebration

December 10, 2011 12 comments

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The universal symbol of celebrations . . . fireworks!