Where else in the world would you see a sherbet flavor named Turquoise Trail?
It’s been some year! Lots of travel both for both work and family. Lots of goals set, some accomplished and some not, and tons of lessons learned.
We wrapped up the year in true Arnold fashion, cookout in the back yard, hot dogs, s’mores, and sherbet punch.
Happy 2013 and here’s to an equally fabulous 2014!
It was a magical day at the Japanese Gardens, we discovered a rare breed of fish we named FireCarp:
And then we found where the birds collect their leaves:
And we almost got eaten alive by spiders:
And then my kids learned how to fly:
In all seriousness, it’s the perfect time of year to visit the Botanic Gardens. The days are getting longer, the early afternoon is usually sunny and calm. It’s officially Winter so I won’t go on about how amazing Fall is in New Mexico, but wow, was it a beautiful day.
I love the Twelve Days of Christmas, the days between Christmas Day and Epiphany or Three Kings Day. There’s disagreement about whether the 12 days end the day before Epiphany or on Epiphany, but I happen to like the idea of ending on the 6th of January, so that’s what I go with. Either way, it means we keep our Christmas decorations up until the 6th and keep singing carols.
A while back someone told me that the words to the song The Twelve Days of Christmas had some sort of meaning for young children learning their Catechism. Wikipedia reports this is a myth, but that’s ok, I think it’s a cute idea. It goes something like this:
- The partridge in a pear tree is Jesus
- The turtle doves are the Old and New Testaments
- Three french hens are faith, hope and charity
- Four calling birds are Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, the four Gospels
- Five golden rings are the first five books of the Old Testament
- Six geese a-laying are the six days of the creation of the world
- Seven swans a-swimming are the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit
- The eight maids a-milking are the eight beatitudes
- The nine ladies dancing are the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit
- The ten lords a-leaping are the ten commandments
- Eleven pipers piping are the eleven faithful apostles
- The twelve drummers drumming refers to the doctrine listed in the Apostles Creed
Personally, I think this song is hard to remember and it would be easier to remember the info without the song, but that might just be me
Speaking of Christmas traditions, I’ve painted the windows in my house since I was about 12. The first window I remember was a large square window our front door in our house in Sabanitas, Colon, Panama. My sister and I had to perch on a ladder to do the job. I wish I had pics, but it was a beautiful stained glass image of Mary, Joseph, and Jesus.
One of my favorites was a scene we painted on the sliding glass doors on the balcony of our apartment in Panama City. We put one half of the scene, the sheep and shepherds, on one panel and the other half, the angels, on the other panel. When the doors were opened the angels would come to the shepherds announcing the news of the birth of Jesus.
Over the years, I’ve painted windows in many houses, including my dorm room in college. Once I had kids and they were old enough to help, it became a family effort.
This year they were busy with crafts and I was inspired to get it done. I guess since we celebrate Christmas through the 12 days and up till Epiphany or Three Kings Day it’s not too late yet. I based the design on a bulletin from church.
Here’s the final result. I’m quite pleased.
We let the kids open a gift on the eve of Christmas Eve. This year was no exception.
As usual, we ended up with more under the tree than we expected, but this gift rules them all. I picked up some super cute Lego minifigs in September from a coworker and swagmeister. So excited to finally be able to gift them.
I just got a new tablet so that I can blog with the awesome WordPress Android app. The picture quality is way nicer than my poor little iPhone 4. And it’s a bit different from the iOS app, but I like it so far.
That being said, check out this crazy snow on the cactus in front of my house. We got dumped on overnight and most of the day today.
While ridiculous, I will admit it is a bit pretty.
My dad used to make this crazy homemade hot pepper, onion, vinegar concoction that made my eyes water just smelling it across the table at dinnertime. He would cut up the onions and little tiny explosively hot peppers, put them in a clean empty glass mayo jar, pour vinegar over it, seal it up tight and let it sit in the sun until the metal lid would corrode. Then he would pour it liberally on his food. I thought it was horrid.
My views on hot peppers changed when we moved to New Mexico and I discovered green and red chile. It’s amazing. AMAZING. Did I mention green chile is amazing?
I put green chile on pretty much everything now. Especially eggs. This is what I had for breakfast this morning.
It started out like this:
So, if you know anything about New Mexican cuisine, you know about Christmas. Not the Jesus kind of Christmas, but the “give me green and red chile at the same time please” kind of Christmas.
You’ll notice from the images above that an essential part of this breakfast is green chile in the eggs and then a pile of red on top. Hot, spicy, and just right. Comfort food for Karen.
While reading through some of my Grandma’s old journals I found this entry:
1975-10-03-Friday: On this day, 1939, I was married to Torald Teigen. He died five years ago. Carolyn washed clothes, baked bread and Indian pudding & met her mental healthgrp. Supper at Lyle & Beth. A sandwich supper with bread, cheese, sliced tomato, mayo,sliced avocado, alfalfa sprouts, to make your own sand. Preceeded & accomp by a glass of almaden, and a bowl of mashed potatoes & rutabaga. In background Charles Ives early American organ.
At first I thought, geez Grandma, way to skip on to the next thing there. No details, just, I married him and he died and oh, yeah, we washed clothes today, I had some wine, food, and listened to music. But as I kept reading, I noticed that for the 10 years of journals I read, she consistently marked the day of his birth, the day of his death, and the day the day they married.
How interesting that she marked her years by the milestones of his life and his life with her. Now, I have no idea how close my grandparents were, Grandpa died before I was born, but I do know my grandma was a rockstar, a solid, amazing woman. She had 7 kids with my Grandpa. I heard a rumor that a gentleman pursued her at some point, but she never re-married. And she certainly never had gentlemen callers when I was around.
This next journal entry is particularly lovely. Grandma wasn’t very verbose in this particular journal unless she was visiting with one of her kids and grandkids, but here she paints a delightful picture of a winter evening with my Aunt Anna, her youngest child.
(No date, I think sometime after December 1975 and September 1976): As the bus neared Ashland the landscape looked cleaner & fresher with a deep fresh blanket of snow. The snowfall was recent enough that the spruces still had a light powdering of snow. Snow is piled high in the middle of the street downtown. Anna was there to meet me. With her baby due in less than two weeks she picked up my heavy bags & put them into the car. She brought & cooked a nice dinner featuring venison in mushroom, a jar of canned beans from their garden. We ate at the dining room table on the Guatemalan table clothwith the Nicaragua tree as centerpiece. Later we drove to Burche’s to get mail. The Maya manuscript book, the Psychedelic healing in Peru and the Weaving – but no Berlitz. Shelley Smith, the girl upstairs, has kept things up. The house smelled so good. And the stairway was fresh & clean. Home never looked so good. This was such a warm, pleasant homecoming. [...]. I have such a glorious feeling of well being to be here in my own housethis morning. In Sept 1976 it will be six years since Torald died. (emphasis mine) Homecoming this year was a joyful event after an absence of 2 ½ months spend in Thornton (5wks) Madison (2wks) Mpls (___days).
But then she goes back to the dry version, yup, he was born on this date and I took a walk. He would have been only 64:
1977-03-28-Monday: Heavy fog. Torald Teigen born March 28, 1912. Max, N.D. Walked to Northern State to pay for Sony.
1978-09-03-Sunday: Torald died on this day 1970. To church with my bronze chrysanthemum picked at 6AM.
Still pretty short and to the point, but eight years after his death she picks a flower to mark the day. I’m not sure if there’s meaning behind the chrysanthemum, except that I am assuming she wore it to church that day in commemoration his death or maybe picked some from her garden to put on the altar.
I remember my grandma had a beautiful garden. I learned all about peonies when I was little because she would talk about the things in her garden as she gardened. And she was big on picking flowers and bringing them in. She would send me out to cut peonies from these enormous bushes on the side of her house and we’d put them in a vase and try to ignore the silly little ants crawling out of the bouquet. That’s what I know about peonies, they are full of tiny little ants. I don’t remember Chrysanthemums in her garden and had to look up what a bronze ‘mum looks like. They’re sure pretty.
But my favorites, probably because she gave me to understand that they were her favorites, were the Forget-Me-Nots. And I think that is what my Grandma taught me. Never forget. Love the people you love and keep them close, even if it’s in your journal to mark the milestones of their life after they are gone.
We had snow a week ago and I panicked.
I had one too many winters in Minnesota and South Dakota and every time it snows here or looks remotely like real winter I have this irrational fear that it’s all been a cruel joke and New Mexico really is a frozen tundra after all. The fun’s over and it’ll be back to wearing 15 layers of coats, scarves, mittens, boots, slogging through slush, sliding across ice, scraping snow off the car before an outing, and on and on and on. Oh, and did I mention, fighting with kids to put on the above mentioned layers of clothing? And being stuck inside for days on end because the sub-zero temps really will freeze the snot in your nose? Cabin fever here I come!
OK, calm down Karen. It’s ok.
The dusting of snow melted and we are back to our normal weather. Which is lovely. As is proper. We took the kids out to play in the leaves at a nearby park and I took pictures to prove it.
And I made a gif of my joyful daughter throwing leaves in the air. It’s my first animated gif, don’t judge:
My blood pressure is back down to normal, the weather is great, the sun is shining, and life is good. Phew!