Thursday, December 22, 2011

Merry Christmas

Well,  here it is... Christmas is three days away.
 It is time to take a few moments to express my gratitude to everyone who has visited Living Life, joined me in this journey, and shared bits of your life with me.   I hope this past year I have entertained, made you giggle, or left you with something to think about.

You, my readers, have given me so much.  You have shared your travels, knowledge and creativity.  Mostly you have shown me your passions and your courage.   I am humbled.  Thank you!

The Guards are keeping a watchful eye.

Santa is making his final inspection.

    The reindeer are being readied for their night of magical flight.

All that is left is to wish you and all who surround you a most  joyful and peaceful Christmas.

I'm giving my muse sometime off, sort of an unpaid vacation.  We will be back after the New Year.  (Father Time and I change ages very near to one another, sh-h-h-h.)  When I return I'll have more to share of Sweden.  And... do you believe angels walk the earth?  Until next year.... embrace each moment and live life! 

   Hugs, Bonnie

Monday, December 19, 2011

A Ghostly Visit

"I wear the chain I forged in life," replied the Ghost. "I made it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded it on of my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it. Is its pattern strange to you?"
Charles Dickens, "A Christmas Carol"

Friday evening Roger and I attended the musical production  "A Christmas Carol" at our local repertory theater.   I loved every minute of it.  Not knowing how Dicken's small tale of industrial capitalism would translate in song and dance, I attended with an open mind.  I was not disappointed.   It translates beautifully.

A Christmas Carol was first published December, 1843.   One might wonder what Mr. Dickens might think about today's excesses.  How would he write the story today?   

"A Christmas Carol, The Musical" was a most wonderful and entertaining way to spend a Friday evening.  From the moment  the ghost of Jacob Marley emerged from the fireplace to the moment Ebenezer Scrooge's winter heart is melted like the frozen ground after spring's first breath, I was mesmerized. 

I needed a bit of a Christmas transformation.  I had my own Christmas spirits visit during the night, keeping me awake and reminding me of everything I needed to do.   My ghosts were more demonic and not nearly as entertaining.  Actually a tad rude and annoying.  They did however make their point and set me in motion.  I will sleep better tonight, I am most certain.

"He had no further intercourse with Spirits, but lived upon the Total Abstinence Principle, ever afterwards; and it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God Bless Us, Every One!"

Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Christmas Story

Many years ago, a dad, a mom and a daughter prepared for their annual night at the Ballet.  Each year, the weekend before Christmas, the family would dress up in dressy Christmas outfits, have dinner at a fancy restaurant  and travel to the theater to watch the magic of "The Nutcracker Ballet" unfold before them.   This Saturday night was cold, it had been raining and sleeting all day.  There was even discussion about canceling, but everyone was excited and looking forward to the night out.  Reservations had been made and tickets had been purchased, the decision was made to go on as planned.

The restaurant was downtown in a historic hotel.  The dad drove the car up to the door of the hotel.    The car doors were opened and the family emerged leaving the car to be parked by someone else.  The doors to the hotel were opened and the three were welcomed with smiles, into the warmth,  never having to feel the biting cold of the winter wind.

The dinner was wonderful.   Each course came out on schedule, more delicious than the last.  The food was everything one would desire on a night of pre-Christmas celebration.  The family lingered over dessert enjoying their fancy evening out, talking about past years and what made each special.

With curtain time approaching and needing to make one small stop before continuing on to the theater,  it was time to call for the car.  Once again the family moved from one place of warmth to the next.

On the way to the theater the family pulled into the post office to mail a few last minute cards and letters and some bills needing to be posted on time.  The Dad turned the car into the circular driveway where the letter drop boxes stood.  Next to the last box stood an old man dressed in a way that you knew immediately he lived on the streets.  His pants were baggy and soiled.  His thin jacket was too big for his thin body.  He wore no hat nor gloves.  He wobbled a bit and spoke into each car as it stopped and moved forward.  As the family approached the line of mail boxes, the Dad handed the Mom the envelopes to be deposited and said, "He's drunk, just don't make eye contact".

The Mom rolled down her window and placed the mail into the mouth of the waiting boxes.  Just as she rolled up the car window the shivering man said, "Merry Christmas".

As the Dad pulled through the drive and stopped to merge into traffic, he looked at the Mom and asked, "Did you hear him".  "Yes, I did", she replied.

"What do you think"?

"Well, when you have done unto the least of mine, you have done also unto me" was the Mom's reply.

Without another spoken word the Dad pulled across four lanes of traffic making a u-turn and drove back into the post office driveway.  All of this took less than three minutes.

When they arrived back at the mail boxes, the man was no longer there.  The family drove down surrounding streets and alleyways.  They searched doorways and places one might be shielded from the night's wind, until they finally realized they were not going to find him.  A chance to help someone without judging had vanished.  Eye contact had not been made.  Opportunity had knocked unanswered....

 A lesson was learned on that cold winter's night, a week before Christmas, many, many years ago.

We often talk about that night over twenty years ago.  It is an experience that will remain the rest of our lives.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A Rainy Day in Copenhagen

Traveling to Denmark and Sweden in December when one should be preparing hearth and home for the holidays, and taking a week away from school at one of the busiest seasons would have sounded preposterous a year ago.  And yet, a week ago it is exactly where I found myself.

The days in Scandinavia this time of year are short (very short) cold and dreary.  With the heart of an explorer I couldn't let the weather keep me from an adventure. There were streets to roam, sites to see and people to watch.

I find I am at my best, and discover the most extraordinary things when I set out without an agenda.  I think when one limits one's self with a destination much is overlooked and missed along the way.  I enjoy the surprises around every corner.

I visited H.C. (Hans Christian) Anderson, trespassed through Christiansborg Palace,  found the Royal Library and happened upon a mermaid (not "The Little Mermaid" though).

A few of my favorite images of Copenhagen.

The moon is up by 3:30.  
Time to catch the train.

Monday, December 12, 2011

A Beautiful Photograph

Yes?  Alas, I can not tell a lie, it is not mine.
Well, technically,
 it is my photograph...
I took a picture of a postcard.
Why?  This is the Copenhagen I wanted to see.
This is probably the Copenhagen I would have seen
had the calendar read May or June,
 not December.  

We had one day to spend in Copenhagen, Denmark before catching a train to Lund, Sweden.  The day just happen to be a Monday.  During the winter months,
 castles, museums, and all exhibits in general are closed on Mondays.
I was, needless to say, disappointed.

Give me streets to roam.  People to watch.  Things to learn.
I can have the best of times.
This is really all mine.
I did make it to the harbor.
It was very cold and started to rain.
We slipped into a little Italian Resturant for a bit of lunch.

We had the choice of sitting outside; blankets were provide
to ward off the cold.
We opted a table by the window...


This was a beginning of a wonderful time, albeit, cold and rainy week,
exploring Copenhagen and Lund, Sweden.

I am suffering a bit of jet lag, but will be sharing more of my week as the week progresses.

Friday, December 2, 2011

"Planes, Trains and Automobiles"

image via
Tis the season to get busy....exhausted and stressed.
I am not a "have all the shopping done before Thanksgiving" kind of girl.  I cringe when I see Christmas decorations up before the turkey is finished roasting in the oven.  

Now the day after Thanksgiving is a whole different ballgame.  Routinely we head out to cut our tree the morning after Thanksgiving.  Decorations slowly come down and out of the closet; my "this year I'm not going to do a lot of decorating" statement
becomes my one lie for the year.  

This year....I am not going to do much decorating....seriously!  We broke with tradition and went to the nursery two days after Thanksgiving.   Our tree was pre-cut, who knows what month.  It is still outside in a bucket of water.  I may decorate in a week or so.   December is going to be an unusually busy month for us this year.  We will be in and out, traveling here and there throughout the month.  And yes, we will be hopping on planes and trains, and spending a fair amount of time in the car.

I will will have a good amount of time to enjoy a little light reading.
I've downloaded
two new books on my e-reader.

 Daphne, Justine Picardie, was recommended by
Jeanne at Collage of Life.
A story of Daphne du Mauier.


 The Time In Between, Maria Duenas
I was intrigued with the overview.

"...between youth and adulthood
...between war and peace
...between love and duty"

The Time in Between

They both promise to be good books to enjoy while traveling or to escape into while sitting by a fire after a busy day of  Christmas preparations.  I simply cannot wait to jump between the pages.  I may have a problem deciding which to begin first.

I recently finished Waiting for Snow in Havana,  Carlos Eire.  I'm not really sure how I feel about the book.  It is beautifully written.  The characters almost jump off the page.  I had a bit of difficulty embracing Carlos.  It is not necessarily an easy read, but you can certainly put it down and return without needing to review.  Each chapter could almost be an independent essay.  With that said I would recommend it simply because of the history lesson.

Waiting for Snow in Havana: Confessions of a Cuban Boy

Have a great weekend!  I will be checking in and posting when I can.