Tuesday, December 29, 2015

A Brand New Day

It's that in-between time. Christmas is over but the new year hasn't yet started. Here in Anchorage, it's dark. Today we only have five hours and thirty-three minutes of daylight, and the sky is overcast so even that daylight is gray and flat. On top of that, we're having a Chinook, a warm wind that blows down the mountains and is melting our meager covering of snow, so once the sun goes down, parking lots will be ice rinks and the night will be that much darker.

But things are looking up. We have almost ten minutes more of daylight than we did on winter solstice a week ago. The new year is coming, along with resolutions and goals and a chance for new beginnings. Summer will come again, and the world will be green.

And, as a consolation for the nasty wind, just look at this morning's sunrise behind the Chugach mountains. 

A new day begins ...

Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 26, 2015

What does Christmas smell like?

The scent of a fresh evergreen tree has to be the loveliest smell of Christmas.
Unless it's baking cookies. 
Or peppermint candy canes. 
Cloves and cinnamon sticks in spiced tea? 
Sage and roasting turkey?
Wood smoke from neighbor's chimneys?

Whatever your favorite Christmas smells like, I hope yours was perfect, and that  all your Christmas Wishes came true.

Merry Christmas and wishing the Happiest New Year to you and yours.


Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Christmas Reads

It’s that time of the year when my reading preferences, which tend toward to sentimental anyway, veer into what some would call sappy. I love a good Christmas story, with tears and laughter, redemption and happily ever after. Cold dark nights, a warm cup of tea, and a dog to curl up beside me on the couch make this the perfect time of the year to settle in for a read. Yes, traditionally, the dog would be at my feet, but Roxy insists if she's under my blanket, we'll both be warmer.

There are a few stories I visit almost every year, like favorite relatives. First is the classic, Charles Dicken’s A Christmas CarolThe ultimate story of redemption, Ebeneezer Scrooge becomes a new man overnight after seeing ghostly visitors. What may be my all time favorite, Winter Solstice by Rosemunde Pilcher, is the story of a man who’s lost everything and the people, especially one amazing woman, who bring joy back into his life. Recently I finished a wonderful collection,  A Heartwarming Christmas, twelve interconnected stories of love and family, set in the lovely fictional town of Christmas Town, Maine. 

I have a whole shelf of Christmas mysteries I occasional reread. Mary Higgins Clark wrote some great ones. Just today I downloaded a Sherlock Homes short story set at Christmas, The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle. Can't wait to find out what a carbuncle is.

In between decorating, baking, and writing cards, I'll be spending some time with old favorites and meeting new ones. Do you have some favorite Christmas stories I should try?

Hope your holidays are filled with warmth and magic and heartwarming tales. Merry Christmas.