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If we were having coffee: Deck the halls edition

Getting into the holiday spirit.
Mother Nature is putting out her holiday decorations.

As we struggle with shopping lists and invitations, compounded by December’s bad weather, it is good to be reminded that there are people in our lives who are worth this aggravation, and people to whom we are worth the same.

~ Donald E. Westlake

It's time to bring out the Festivus Flamingo!
It’s time to bring out the Festivus Flamingo!  The Christmas Lava Lamp can’t be too far behind…

If we were having coffee, tea, or some other beverage, I would be thrilled to see you again.  Welcome back to the Wabi-Sabi Ranch!  Let’s pour our beverages, grab something to nosh on (I have some really good hummus and pita bread; sorry, no sweets this week), and go out to the back porch.  It is warm and sunny out there, and I think you’ll like the view.

How are you?  What have you been doing lately?  Are you in the midst of some holiday madness or are you simplifying this year?  A little of both, maybe?  Do you do any seasonal decorating or do you leave things as they are?  Have you traveled anywhere since we last chatted?  Or seen any new sights?  How’s the weather been in your part of the world?  Have you gone out for any good walks?  Visited any museums?  Seen any good films or read any good books?

A weave of daylily leaves.
A weave of daylily leaves.

If we were having coffee or some other beverage, I would tell you that I don’t have anything to share at the moment in regards to books or films.  I haven’t finished any of the books I’m currently reading, and M and I haven’t had much time for movie watching.  We have been watching the series Orange is the New Black, Season 1.  It’s entertaining.  And sometimes surprising.  And we can fit it in when we have an hour to spare in the evenings.

Mushroom mandala.
Mushroom mandala.

If we were having coffee or some other beverage, I would tell you that I’m not sure the opening quote is all that appropriate for most of you (because you are such a chill bunch), or for me, at least in terms of aggravation.  I decided on it for this post because it does seem that so many people get frustrated and aggravated this time of year.  It makes me wonder what the point of the “holiday season” is if people are going to get all bah-humbuggy and stressed about it.  Moderation is key, I think, whether it’s in shopping, spending, partying, eating, or any of the other holiday activities.

Holiday red.
Holiday red.

Since I mentioned the word Holiday, there is something I find slightly frustrating.  It’s the “war on Christmas” myth that spreads this time of year.  (A good reason to stay away from Facebook, no?  Yes!)  It is true that I think of this as the holiday season, not as the Christmas season.  And yes, I say, “Happy Holidays” if I’m just not sure.  You see, I have the United Nations and Faiths of friends.  Some celebrate Christmas, some celebrate the Solstice, some celebrate Kwanzaa, some have already celebrated Diwali or Ramadan, some celebrate Hanukkah, some celebrate Festivus, some celebrate everything and/or nothing at all, and well, I’m not at all sure what my Pastafarian friends (of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster) celebrate but I have seen a poster that asks us to “Put the Spaghetti Back in the Holidays.”

Red and green.
Red and green.

I practice no religion, as you already know, so it matters little to me whether someone says to me “Happy Holidays,” “Merry Christmas,” or “Blessed Solstice.”  I will joyfully respond in kind because I figure if you say “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Hanukkah” to me first, that must be what you are celebrating.  If I’m wrong, then that makes two of us so it’s all good.

Gold and bronze.
Gold and copper.

If we were having coffee or some other beverage, I would apologize for the start of a mild rant and stop now.  Let’s move on to something else.  How about mandalas?  I finished the Five Days of Mandala Magic course with Julie Gibbons yesterday.  It was inspiring, fun, wonderful, and a whole host of good things.  I don’t think I’ve clicked with an activity so completely since I first picked up a camera or learned I loved reading and writing (all of which happened long ago when I was a child).  I would love to take the year-long course.  Aside from the cost (which I could readily handle by giving up coloring my hair again — remember when I did that for a year so I could buy a camera?  Vanity is obviously not a priority in my life), there is the time commitment.  There are a lot of plans in the works for 2016, and I’m afraid that if I sign up, I’ll find myself falling hopelessly behind.  It’s not just the plans.  I am still working on my book, and the day-to-day stuff here at the ranch can be time consuming.

Time. (I did this one yesterday.)
Time. (Completed yesterday.)

I haven’t said no to the possibility of signing up for the course because if it is something I really want to do, I’ll find a way.  But at this point, I’m leaning towards not this year.  In the meantime, I will keep practicing.  I am dreadful with a compass, wobbling the thing all over the place, but I did discover a secret about this small tool for drawing circles.  Lean in and I’ll tell it to you:  The best circles happen when I stop trying to control the compass and just relax into it.  If I become too controlling, the compass refuses to cooperate and spins itself out of control.

I do love creating mandalas even if I am on turtle speed and it seems to take forever to complete one.  I think the reason I enjoy it so much is because a mandala has structure, yet it is open to whatever you care to do with one.  Another paradox, perhaps, and I do love paradoxes.

My first "mandala proper" (not quite finished). I took a photo of it and inverted the colors (and like it much better than the original colors).
My first “mandala proper” (not quite finished). I took a photo of it and inverted the colors (and like it much better than the original colors).  Pardon that light saber ray of light across the top.  Before I inverted the colors, it was a shadow.  I should have moved the mandala out of the shadow and taken a better picture, but I’m feeling lazy lately.  Hibernation season is almost upon us.

If we were having coffee or something else to drink, I would tell you that on the blogging front I’m trying out a shorter format, something along the lines of small stones.  Except for the weekend coffee chats, I think it will be easier for all concerned, especially you, if I stop writing long, rambling posts with tons of images.  Brevity is not my strong suit (obviously!), and it might be a good challenge for me to learn how to capture the heart of the walk or the day or the whatever it is I’m trying to share and convey.  Distillation is a slower process for me than babbling, but then, distillation usually does take time.

Greens and golds.
Greens and golds.

If we were having coffee or some other beverage, I would ask if you’d like to take a walk out to the dock before you have to leave.  We can go now or wait until sunset.  The sunsets have been beautiful lately, the sun and sky painting awe-inspiring pictures for us to enjoy.  Sunset has been stuck at 4:43 PM for the past few days.  Let’s go early so we can explore the long shadows in the woods on our way to the dock.

A small ray of light on the Deer Skull trail.
A small ray of light on the Deer Skull trail.

Thank you so much for visiting with me today.  I always enjoy our coffee chats, and hope you do too.

Be good, be kind, be loving, be well.  Just Be.  🙂

The soft light of sunset.
The soft light of sunset.

This post is in response to Part Time Monster’s #WeekendCoffeeShare.  Put the kettle on, start the coffee maker, open a bottle of wine, or whatever your preference is, and join us.  I’d love to hear all about what you were up to this week.



Robin is a photographer, artist, writer, wife, sometime poet, mom, grandma, daughter, sister, friend, and occasional traveler currently living on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. She finished a 365 commitment to get outside every day in 2011, and has turned it into a lifelong commitment taking one or more walks each day. Robin will continue to share her walks through her words and images on Breezes at Dawn. Older posts can be found at Life in the Bogs, her previous blog. Robin and her husband are in the midst of renovating the house and property they refer to as the Wabi-Sabi Ranch, 35 acres that include marsh, a dock on a tidal creek, meadows, and woodlands. Every day brings new discoveries.

29 thoughts on “If we were having coffee: Deck the halls edition

  1. If we were having coffee, I would tell you it’s been a quiet week on my homefront, unlike what’s been going on in the world. I’m looking for a sandpile in which to bury my head – an attempt to fight off fear and grief. I am reading another book – wouldn’t it be nice if I could remember titles? It’s another of my purchases by an author I have not met before. So far, I’m enjoying it. As usual, my TV is on in the evenings, most often focused on HGTV or Food Network – those shows offer the kind of strife that is easy to deal with. Your comment about mandalas: “If I become too controlling, the compass refuses to cooperate and spins itself out of control.” pretty much describes life, doesn’t it?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Quiet is good, Carol. I understand about wanting to bury your head in the sand. I feel the same way. The news is not good these days, and I often wonder if I would be better off not knowing anything at all.

      And yes, that lesson from the mandala making is one that can be applied to life.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m all for putting spaghetti back into the holidays! I can’t help but suspect that ‘war on Xmas’ is nothing but a diversion by politicians to keep folks riled up and not paying attention to things that really matter.

    I had to chuckle when I realized that I was snacking on some really, really good dill pickles and potato chips as I read your post. A far cry from your coffee or something else offering. I seem to have a salty, sour side to me that I have to indulge every now and then. I’m sure you wouldn’t mind. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    1. lol! Me too, Gunta, but I’ve been loading up on carbs lately. The potato chips and dill pickles sound scrumptious. I have a salty, sour side, too. Must be from hanging out near the ocean. 😉


  3. I don’t get too riled up about the holidays anymore. I decorate a bit so there is extra light. I make things for people and make a little extra time for things I might not do otherwise. Beautiful mandala (not sure what the reverse is, but it looks good) and beautiful light through the evergreen boughs.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The holiday madness is mostly under control at our house. I simplified years ago. Today we are decorating our tree (it’s a leisurely do-a-little-at-a-time between football games process). I have some clippers and gloves laid out to cut a little greenery for the urn outside the front door tomorrow, but if that never happens, I won’t be too fussed.
    What am I reading? I like to support independently published authors, and I’m currently reading IN TIMES LIKE THESE, by Nathan Van Coops. It’s a time travel adventure and I’m just past the halfway point, and so far I think it’s really well done. (I’m an author too, so I might read books just a little differently than a normal reader!) Good premise, I like the characters, and the story is moving forward well. So far so good. Oh, and as usual, your photos are wonderful. I simply love that Festivus Flamingo! The Time mandala is marvelous too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Nooce. 🙂 The book sounds really interesting. Time travel warps my brain, but I enjoy reading about it anyway. Glad you’re not wrapped up in any holiday madness. 😀


  5. I always wonder about those folks who are offended by hearing “happy holidays.” I do actually know one or two, and it boggles my mind. I generally use the phrase myself, as I think of the holiday season as stretching from November-ish until January/February-ish, as there are lots of holidays in those few months. Makes sense to me to just cover my bases for all of ’em. lol Honestly, though, I think that (like that silly Starbucks cup hoopla) at this point there are people who just keep the drama stirred up.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Robin, I’ve been trying to take a mandala course for ages and can’t seem to find the time to commit. However, I’ve gotten some cool books on the process and have proceeded on my own. Maybe taking a course is merely a formalized commitment to the process, which could also be met by simply following a book with no schedule 🙂 Peace.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Lynn. Great minds think alike. 🙂 I’ve been exploring books about the process, too. If you have any recommendations, I’d be glad to hear about them.


  7. Glad you are doing well and I’m with you on the whole “Happy Holidays” deal. Let just respect everyone and be nice,shall we! BTW? of the young ladies in Orange is the New Black grew up here in our town. She went to the prom with our neighbor’s son. Her name is Maddie Brewer, not sure of her character’s name. I heard the show was quite good.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Well, we don’t have “the holidays” in Australia. Not sure what we call it. I wish people a Happy Christmas unless I know otherwise. It’s Summer here and the country pretty much going on holidays in January and it’s pointless trying to get much done in terms of work or getting anything fixed. We live in a beach town just North of Sydney and we’ll get the usual “blow-ins”. It gets a bit annoying when you can’t get a park but the crowds aren’t bad. We’re a bit off the tourist map but gaining popularity.
    I haven’t even thought about Christmas due to all our end of year performances but i did buy the ingredients for my Christmas cake and I have a pile of Christmas cards to write.
    The last two Christmases were quite eventful. Last year, I broke my foot just before going on stage to play my violin at the school carols service and the year before I had chemo to treat my auto-immune disease. I am wanting to keep a low profile this year so Murphy’s law can bother someone else and leave me alone.
    I have bought some presents and had better start wrapping and looking for gaps and finishing off the shopping. Start baking.
    Oh I almost forgot. I have been indulging in boxes of Lindt Dessert chocolates which are on sale. They go on sale this time every year and I’m never quite sure if it’s a Christmas promotion or because people aren’t buying chocolate due to the heat. We had a cool change this week so it was a good excuse to indulge.
    Take care xx Rowena

    Liked by 1 person

  9. The “war on Christmas” stuff just gets me angry. So ridiculous. There are so many real and horrible things for people to get upset about. I won’t start on my rant. Hahaha.
    I like good hummus and pita–I’ll bring the chocolate chaser. 🙂
    I did read some good books, but I can’t remember the titles. Typical. No movies this week–that’s a change–but I did watch the live “The Wiz,” on TV, and it was surprisingly good.
    Hope you have a great week!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I’ve given up on the whole what is the politically correct thing to say. There is nothing wrong with Happy Holidays as it is inclusive. What better way to celebrate than to include everyone?
    Oh… please do not feel the need to shorten your posts (especially the Coffee Share) and give us less pictures! I love them! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

Comments are delightful and always appreciated. I will respond when I can (life is keeping me busy!), and/or come around to visit you at your place soon. Thank you!

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