Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving blessings to your and yours.

Happy New Year!

BBC Symphony, Chorus & Singers

Happy Solstice

The Winter Solstice is at 5:30 a.m. UTC (formerly known as GMT) tomorrow, Thursday 22 December 2011, which makes it 9:30 p.m. this evening, Wednesday 21 December Pacific time.

For those of you who celebrate the Solstice, Solstice greetings and blessings.

For those of you who celebrate Christmas, know that immediately after the Solstice the light starts to return, so that we are already seeing increasing light as we celebrate the coming of the Light.

Sacred Music Friday: We Gather Together

We Gather Together, Kathryn Grayson

Happy Thanksgiving!

All the best wishes of Thanksgiving to you and yours.

Please forgive the Christmas decorations. It’s otherwise a great performance. Courtesy of Unapologetically Episcopalian.

yes we have no tomatoes

Terry pulled up our tomato plants on Saturday. For the first time since we’ve been in the house and started container gardening in the late 1990’s we have not had a single tomato ripen. We’ve had blossoms, and we’ve had had a few green tomatoes and a few of those got fairly big, but we had not one single tomato ripen to red. The summer was just too cool and mild.

Let’s not let the naysayers get their foot in the door. We should not be talking about global warming, we should be talking about global climate change or global climate weirdness.

We’ll see what next summer brings.

Happy Halloween!

Found in my brother’s front yard. Got such a good laugh out of this! (Photo courtesy of Terry)


The term "global warming" gives, I think, the nay-sayers too much of an out when weather-weirdness takes the form of something other than heat. I prefer the term "global climate change."

I don't know if it's the result of climate change or just natural cycles, but this summer has been unusually mild. It reminds us of our first year here, 1997, when we had a very mild summer. We joked about special introductory teaser temperatures for the buyers (ourselves included) of all the new homes that were going up at the time. We've had our hot spells, but overall this summer has been similar.

For the most part I've enjoyed that. But I have to say that there is one big disappointment: no tomatoes. Here it is September, and not a single tomato in our container garden. Plenty of bell peppers, a few blueberries, and lots of spinach, but no tomatoes.

I think we're past the point where we'll get any. Will have to see what next summer brings.

a New Year’s reflection

I read this poem at a New Year's service at the First Unitarian Church in Oklahoma City in the early 1980s. It always struck me as an appropriate reflection for the new year. I've published it here before, but I think it's worth repeating.

Happy New Year and wishes for all the best in 2011!

     by C.P. Cavafy (1863-1933)
     translated by Edmund Keeley & Philip Sherrard


  As you set out for Ithaka
hope your road is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery.
Laistrygonians, Cyclops,
angry Poseidon-don't be afraid of them:
you'll never find things like that on your way
as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,
as long as a rare excitement
stirs your spirit and your body.
Laistrygonians, Cyclops,
wild Poseidon-you won't encounter them
unless you bring them along inside your soul,
unless your soul sets them up in front of you.

Hope your road is a long one.
May there be many summer mornings when,
with what pleasure, what joy,
you enter harbors you're seeing for the first time;
may you stop at Phoenician trading stations to buy fine things,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
sensual perfume of every kind-
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
and may you visit many Egyptian cities
to learn and go on learning from their scholars.

Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you're destined for.
But don't hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so you're old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you've gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.
Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you wouldn't have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.

And if you find her poor, Ithaka won't have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you'll have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.

First version probably writtem January 1894. Final version written October 1910, and published November 1911.

Courtsey of Kyriacos Zygourakis, A.J. Hartsook Professor in Chemical Engineering, Rice University.

This translation:
C. P. Cavafy: Collected Poems, Princeton University Press

pressure cooker Thanksgiving

Normally we have plenty of capacity in our kitchen. But yesterday was Thanksgiving. We usually roast our Turkey, but Terry had a butternut squash recipe that she wanted to do in the oven, and I wanted to see how our Turkey breast would come out in the pressure cooker. So we were different this year.

Terry did the squash in the oven. I did the turkey breast in the pressure cooker with a cajun rub and sherry. Terry did her spinach, poached pear and pomegranate salad. I made Yukon Gold mashed potatoes and at the last minute decided we needed rolls from scratch. We had cranberry sauce on hand and Trader Joe's turkey gravy. We pulled a Navarro Gewurztraminer out of our wine cooler.

It all came together, and came together manificiently. We've had some marvelous Thanksgiving dinners, but I think we outdid ourselves this year.

What a great day and so much to be thankful for!

(promised Advent blog on Monday)