Thursday, January 8, 2015

January in progress

The general mood of January in the Pacific Northwest is Sleepy. On most days, the skies are over cast and gray. It's a rare treat to have a sunny cold winter day with bright blue skies. It's a good time for indoor projects, like scrapbooking and drawing.
Baby born in winter's sleep,
Snowflakes fall, snuggle deep.
(Baby Born, Anastasia Suen & Chih-Wei Chang,1999)
Typical overcast evening in January.
My favorite places in my weather app: two for family out of state, and four of the best places in Washington. Almost every place is cold and dreary right now. Supposedly, January 15, St. Hilary's Day, marks the end of the coldest days on average.
Not quite fifty, but several shades of gray.
The Christmas decorations have been taken down. I actually started early (for me) this year, on New Year's Eve. It felt like time to clear away the clutter, however cheerful and colorful it can be, and create clear spaces and a simpler view for the new year. I left the outdoor lights turned on until the twelfth day of Christmas (Jan. 6) and now we are just waiting on a clear dry day to take them off the fence. After this coming Sunday's celebration of the Baptism of Jesus (Jan. 11), five Sundays of Ordinary Time follow before we suddenly find ourselves in Lent.
Where we are in the Year
I'm working on a new drawing, possibly the first in a calendar series. One of the interesting traditions associated with New Year is First Footing. In Scotland, the first guest to set foot in your house in the new year brings the luck with him or her. We haven't had a true guest in the house since Christmas (my parents) and no visitors inside the house at all until Tuesday this week. I guess we aren't as social as traditional Scots. In the "old country," this first guest was a planned event and was greeted with a festive night of toasting to the new year. I can barely stay awake for midnight. I can't imagine starting a party at that hour. But I think that's the way it is with many celebrations like that, they really only happen for an individual once in a while, few people celebrate a tradition every year without fail. And that's perfectly okay.

JANUARY (in progress)
The girl on the left is based on a photo of my 11 year old daughter and the four bubbles are to feature four famous men of interest to me that have birthdays this month: Mozart, Robert Burns, A.A. Milne (well, I thought Pooh Bear, his creation, was more recognizable than Mr. Milne), and Martin Luther King Jr., in order of the year they were born. I should have added Ben Franklin, but realized too late that he is also a January man. [Have you ever thought about why famous men and women are honored on their birthdays but saints are honored on their death days? (Only three saints' birthdays are celebrated: Jesus, Mary, and St. John the Baptist.) There are lots of famous deaths of non-saints, of course, but when future generations come around to celebrate the life of that person, it is usually on the day of their birth, not the day of their death. I'm trying to think of examples that don't fit this pattern. I will have to come back to it.] The center drawing is a PNW take on the Epiphany, with the three wise kings coming upon a small house in the woods (Nazareth, WA?) and Mt. Pilchuck and the Cascade Range behind. I want to tie all these elements together with some quotes around the drawing and then frame it up in a square border. 

Ongoing Project: a scrapbook of ideas and pictures and journaling for 2015. I had fun picking out a new binder, paper and creating a cover. This is where I'm going to store all the little bits of memorabilia over the year. Things that don't belong in our family photo album, or in the very practical Household Hub Notebook, will go here. I had kind of given up on reading magazines because I just ran out of time to look at them, but now I'm excited to pick out a few and clip and glue in my favorite images and short articles.

My 2015 Yearbook ala By Sun and Candlelight
 The Household Hub Notebook was set up originally by my professional organizer friend Monika and I've kept it up for five years now. I go through it maybe three times a year. In here I put things like business cards, class schedules, doctor's referrals, warranties, any kind of necessary paper that I need to hold onto for a while. I don't put things in here like bank statements or utility statements, those go into my long-term file box until they can be purged (every 7 years).

At my desk.
The carnations and tulips are still looking fine. I switched out the nativity scene for a Stewart plaid serviette (that's fancy-speak for paper napkin).
If it's not Scottish, it's...ahem.
Scottish Heritage Days
Hogmanay - Jan. 1
Burns Night - Jan. 25

In a year, I usually manage to do something fun for one of these days, never all of them, lest you think I am an over achiever. I've still never been to a Burns Night supper, but some day I will, when I don't have to worry about finding babysitting and driving an hour or more to the closest event. Well, there is January, so far! Opera next week and a museum visit, I hope.

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