blue yoga sock

cattails

Dear People of the Web,

I’m falling into my hibernation period and snuffling around for something new to keep myself occupied in the cave until the world thaws and the crocus sprouts.  So I’m wondering, how do you do Christmas? If you would be so kind, please pick a question or two and share your answer in the comments below:

What holiday songs do you have on repeat?

What Christmas movies are you binge-watching?

Are there fattening recipes you’re making that we need to know about?

What wish-list books are you gifting or re-reading or hoping Santa brings?

 

 

Δ My Answers Δ

Δ Music Δ

As for songs, I can’t help but love The Murdering Crow’s version of the Snow Miser Song:

Δ

Δ Movies Δ

I haven’t made it through the movie The Year without a Santa Clause yet.  Maybe this is the year.

The Nightmare before Christmas gets played nearly every year. Lines are quoted; songs are sung.  “There Goes Christmas” is what we tend to say around here in a cartoonish voice at the slightest disappointment or provocation. It never loses its funny.  I’ve also been known to mechanically chant, “Making Christmas. Making Christmas. Making Chriiiiiiiiiiiiiiistmas….” with a blank stare while wrapping presents.

Δ

Δ Food Δ

I don’t cook as a general rule, but when I get a wild hair around this time of year I make my Kiki’s banana bread.  When inspiration really strikes there could be pumpkin pie or banana pudding.

Δ

Δ Books Δ

“It makes one’s mouth hurt to speak with such forced merriment.

–David Sedaris

David Sedaris’ Crumpet the Elf from Santaland Diaries is fun and available on NPR.

Last December, my near-and-dear read me nightly bedtime stories from one of his childhood books, The Animals’ Merry Christmas.  Published in 1972, its pages had a rich and musty scent and were embellished with drawings, dialogue, and musical notes from his 7-year-old hand. The Animals Merry Christmas.jpg

My favorite character was Pussy Cat Smart.

Come here Lion

It was a super sweet gift.

Today I’m sharing another page from my yoga planning journal. This theme was inspired by the beauty of the season (of course), by the writings of Rainer Maria Rilke and Parker Palmer, and by my sister who has taught me interesting ways to work around mistakes.

Autumn Page Yoga Theme

The first time they walked the bridge linking Memphis to Arkansas was December 26, 2016.  She didn’t have her phone, so she asked him to take the picture she wanted.  It later became his album cover.

Making Waves

The second time they crossed the bridge spanning the big river was November 24, 2019.  She didn’t have her phone, so she asked him to take the picture she wanted.

bridge.JPG

Does the geometry of the scene remind anyone else of the arcade game Tempest?  She wonders.  When she looks at it she hears electronic white noise and feels like she might suddenly swirl around the playing field and warp to the next level.

On the bridge they walk and they talk. One thought bubbles up after another in a constant stream that flows as fast as the muddy water beneath their feet.

“Remember that performance years ago at the Church on the River?”

“Yeah, that was weird.”

She thinks of a friend, an atheist who sometimes teaches a Sunday school class at church, and she giggles.

A man rides by on a motorized unicycle.  She’s instantly flooded with envy.  One churchy thought primes the next, “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s unicycle.”

They stop at the in-between point and stand half in Tennessee and half in Arkansas. There a sign warns that the powers-that-be have no qualms about cutting off love locks, so couples might as well go lock their love elsewhere. Near the sign, others have continued to lock their love defiantly in harder-to-reach places.

They walk on.

At the end of the bridge, there’s another picture she wants.  He takes it. Team work makes the  dream work.

bridge 2

That’s the view from the fence going west.  She ask for his phone so she can take the view going east.

bridge 3

They sit in Arkansas on a park bench and marvel at this bridge, where industry, commerce, construction, technology, logistics, architecture and nature collide.

Brimming with wild ideas and errant thoughts, she babbles on and on.  He patiently listens, sort of. There’s music happening inside his mind, but he bobs his head and makes noises in all the right places.

On the way back across the bridge, they run into a friend, a teacher, who talks about recently recording a “Tuck You In” story for her students. Suspended high above the Mississippi River they discuss all sorts of things. They make plans and share ideas, then they go separate ways and the river flows on.

≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈

Recommended viewing:

History of Big River Crossing  — there are vintage photos of the construction and bridge plans, drawings and such.

Recommended listening:

Little Sunshine — her theme song, written by Joe Michael, Making Waves

 

 

The earth flower and sky flower unite.

Butterfly in the Garden

Dead Things.jpg

O sweet spontaneous
earth how often have
the
doting
 
             fingers of
prurient philosophers pinched
and
poked
 
thee
,has the naughty thumb
of science prodded
thy
 
        beauty      how
often have religions taken
thee upon their scraggy knees
squeezing and
 
buffeting thee that thou mightest conceive
gods
         (but
true
 
to the incomparable
couch of death thy
rhythmic
lover
 
             thou answerest
 
 
them only with
 
                              spring)

 

–ee Cummings, #21

 

Link for Fever Series Review: Books 1-3

I am going to review books 4 and 5 of the series in a non-linear, stream-of-consciousness sort of way ’cause they’re spaghettied up inside my head.  

Book 4 of the Fever Series by Karen Marie Moning

DreamfeverDreamfever

“Life’s not linear at all. It happens in lightning flashes. So fast you don’t see those lay-you-out cold moments coming at you until you’re Wile E. Coyote, steamrolled flat as a pancake by the Road Runner, victim of your own elaborate schemes.”

Just to get this out of the way first: the 4th book is a sexstravaganza. That’s all I have to say about that. 

Mac is lost and broken.

The blasted book is still running around Dublin creating chaos.  I absolutely love that the book is a character.

Now, there are a lot of characters weaved through the first three books that I  haven’t mentioned, like Ryoden and the Nine. The Nine are a bunch (well, 9 to be precise), of seemingly immortal, buff dudes. Ryoden is the leader of the pack, and he owns Chester’s, a multi-level nightclub and the headquarters of the Nine on the private lower floors, which I imagine as a high-tech and sophisticated version of batman’s cave. When the walls between realms fell, Chester’s becomes the “it” hangout spot for both human and Fae. Barrons, though one of the Nine, doesn’t reside at Chester’s because he has living quarters at his own bookstore, Barrons Books and Baubles. The bookstore is all magical and warded and sits on the border between Dublin and The Dark Zone.

Dani, is another important character. She’s a 14-year-old Fae-killer with the power of superspeed.  At this point in the series, Dani, like Mac, is a sidhe-seer outcast. The sidhe-seers are an order of women with unique senses and super abilities, who have protected humans for centuries against the Fae when the Fae slip through cracks between the realms. At this part of the series, the walls are mostly down.

shadowfever

“Nightwindflyhighfreeeeee.”

–The Hunter

Mac, aka “Rainbow Girl” due to the color palette of her fashion choices, goes to the dark side. She returns in black leather as the evil Lord Master’s sidekick.  No, I haven’t told you about the Lord Master yet, and that’s mostly because I think it’s an unfortunate name for a character – even if he is the ruler of the Unseelie (i.e., the grotesque, evil Fae).  It’s just embarrassing. I guess it is for Mac too because she resorts to calling him “LM.” To make matters even weirder, he was Mac’s sister’s boyfriend at the time of her murder.

I haven’t read anything quite like the world and the monsters that Karen Marie Moning makes. There are fantastic things going on in this woman’s imagination – plots and subplots and twists and turns and interesting places with weird monsters.  In this book Mac goes through the Silvers and winds up lost in the Hall of Mirrors where there are portals to fascinating and dangerous worlds. The series is so entertaining.

 

darkfever

Book 1 of the Fever Series by Karen Marie Moning

Darkfever

“Sometimes Ms. Lane, one must break with one’s past to embrace one’s future. It’s never an easy thing to do. It’s one of the distinguishing characteristics between survivors and victims.”

–Jericho Barrons

 

MacKayla Lane (aka Mac) leaves her carefree life behind to travel to Dublin to investigate the mysteries surrounding her sister’s murder.  In Ireland, Mac uncovers family secrets, unknown powers, and a dark underworld inhabited by the Fae. In the midst of all that, she meets two central characters: V’Lane, a Seelie prince who holds a humorous at times “Death by Sex” power over humans, and the enigmatic Jericho Barrons who owns a bookstore and who is on his own quest to capture a sentient, omnipotent book – the Sinsar Dubh.

Having finished the entire series, in retrospect, book 1, was fun, but it was my least favorite.  MacKayla, preoccupied as she was with her hair, nails, outfits and general Barbie vibes, annoyed me at times, but I also liked her for the same reasons.  Overall, there was a lot of groundwork, character-setting, and world-building that had to happen to set the stage for the fun that follows.

Book 2 of the Fever Series by Karen Marie Moningblood fever

Bloodfever

“Well done, Ms. Lane. Just when I think you’re all useless fluff and nails, you show me some teeth.”‘

–Jericho Barrons

There was something about a vampire in this book, but that part was terribly uninteresting.  What was interesting were the interactions between three of the main characters: Mac, Barrons, and V’Lane.  Barrons continues to be cultured, self-contained, intriguing and mysterious.  The reader is left wondering what exactly he is and what manner of shrieking thing he keeps hidden in the lair beneath his garage. For her part, Mac uncovers more about who and what she is.  The banter between the two in their continued pursuit of the Sinsar Dubh is fun. Every scene with V’Lane, the immortal prince who has a knack for turning humans into sex addicts, is fascinating.

Book 2 of the Fever Series by Karen Marie Moning

faefeverFaefever

“Nobody looks good in their darkest hour. But it’s those hours that make us what we are.”

“…in the Deep South, women learn at a young age that when the world is falling apart around you, it’s time to take down the drapes and make a new dress.”

–Mac

The evil book, the Sinsar Dubh, is still on the loose and wreaking havoc.  The walls between the realms are starting to come down.  Without revealing too much about the cliff-hanger ending: it was dark and disturbing and Mac gets broken.

 

Suffering should be creative…(it) should give birth to something good and lovely. 

–Chinua Achebe

Darkest before Dawn is a theme I have in the works for a yoga class. Aspects of the playlist and sequencing are coming together as depicted below.

Darkest Before Dawn

Beyond that, I’ve been pruning the Rose of Sharon and the crepe myrtles, cutting back the monkey grass, planting spider lily and crocus bulbs, repotting the amaryllis.  And there were more rescued flowers. Does gardening count as creative work?

flowers

I vote yes.

There was also banana pudding with the custardy pudding made from scratch.  I followed a recipe, so I’m as not sure if that qualifies as “creative.”  But I stirred that pot for half an hour of my life and the ingredients transformed into something beyond what matter I started with, so that counts as alchemy, right? And it was magically delicious.

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