Sunday, November 28, 2010
I was so thankful when the meal turned out fantastic. We served a moist, brined turkey, baked mac and cheese, mashed potatoes and gravy, sauteed mustard greens with crispy bacon, roasted cauliflower with dates and pine nuts, candied sweet potato casserole, sweet potato biscuits, spinach salad, and the obligatory but always delicious cranberry sauce. I consider myself very much a rookie in the holiday feast preparation department, so it was quite rewarding that this one turned out so well.
The rest of the weekend was spent laughing with my siblings, enjoying how we are all so different and unique in our own ways. I slept very little on the trip, my insomnia rearing its nasty little head, reinforcing the sad fact that I'm not as great a traveler as I once was.
I arrived home last night to Matt (who wasn't able to travel with us) and a blazing fire in the fireplace. I had secretly hoped on my drive home that he would have a fire going. I kissed him straight away, thankful that he knows me so well. I woke up this morning at 11 am to another warm fire (double swoon!) and Matt applying temporary tattoos to the hand of my giddy daughter. I arrived just in time to stop him from applying a couple of snowflakes to her neck. It would be creepy, I informed him.
We got dressed and headed out for brunch with the Sunday morning church crowd. We each ordered our own breakfast and then ordered pecan pancakes with maple syrup to share, an essential stop on the breakfast tour. The next stop was the Christmas tree tent where we picked out a goodly-sized fraser fir, loaded it up, and listened to our sleepy, over-stimulated-by-holiday-festivities daughter whine the whole way home. A prompt nap was gifted to her upon arriving home. Matt and I followed suit.
We have a family date to put up the tree tonight, lug the plastic Christmas bins out of the storage room, deck the tree, place the stockings on the mantle, and enjoy some holiday music.
Today is not like other days. Most are filled with the mundane obligations of keeping life afloat, with hurried schedules, house chores, work commitments, bickering, and little time for big milestone celebrations. And while there is so much beauty in those ordinary type of days, I'm so thankful for special days like today. Days where we stop and celebrate and feast and have fun. I know I need the ordinary, but I also really need the special. Like...I need them deep, deep down in my soul. Somehow they speak of the joy of living and the reality that we are, after all, only human.
Photo: The church folk around us waiting to be seated for brunch.
Posted by Alina at 5:07 PM
Monday, November 01, 2010
Two images haunt me. They are images that I wished I had taken photos of when I was standing there thinking to myself, "I really should take a picture of this." But, for various reasons, I didn't. What's ironic is that in both situations, I had my camera with me, and yet I still didn't take the shot. And now those images haunt me.
The first one occurred a few months ago. I was driving in my neighborhood, and I drove past a bench on the corner of Main Street, with a woman was sitting in it. She looked tired. Haggard, really. She was wearing dark pants and a black jacket with one bright orange stripe across her shoulders. What stood out to me was the vivid orange color contrasted against her dark clothes and the taupe-colored building behind her. I was also drawn to the weariness in her face and body language. I couldn't help but wonder a little bit about what her life was like.
I was sitting at a stop light, a few yards away from her when I saw her, and I vividly remember arguing with myself about whether or not to pick up my camera and shoot. My compassion for her weariness won out (as well as my pride in not looking like a wierd-o), knowing that me and my camera taking her photo without permission would probably be unwelcome, at best. I didn't shoot.
The second image I wish I had recorded was one I saw last week. I drove by a church with signs for a fall festival taking place that day. People were beginning to file in for the festivities. As I drove past the church, I noticed the prayer garden which is a year-round ministry of the church. It centers around a life-size stone replica of Jesus' empty tomb, the door rolled back to celebrate His resurrection. Benches have been placed nearby for people who wish to sit, pray, and reflect on Jesus life and death.
On this particular day, as I drove past, I saw in the field behind the tranquil, reverent prayer garden....(said in a big, male announcer voice)...TWO GIANT MONSTER TRUCKS, crashing down on a row of beat-up cars--the main event of the festival.
Yes, that's right. Christ's tomb in front of a monster truck rally. I still kick myself for not turning my car around to photograph that one.
So, with these missed opportunities fresh in my mind, I was driving Karis to trick or treat at her Great-Grandmother's house a couple of days ago. I turned down her street, and noticed, just before her apartment complex, a large field with overgrown weeds. It was five o'clock, and the magic hour of golden sun was beating down on the tops of the weeds, making the area look like Sting's "fields of gold"...or Bates' "amber waves of grain". Upon seeing it, my brain immediately began lighting up with great photo ops of Karis in her costume, the gorgeous back light, and fun, overgrown background.
So I did what any sensible parent on the road would do. I looked in my rear-view mirror, braked (safely), did a U-turn, parked in the grass, and prevented myself from regretting another missed photography moment.
Posted by Alina at 5:16 PM