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Monthly Archives: December 2014

As usual I am up by seven, while dawn still snoozes; when the sun comes up though, colours are spectacular – peach and golden hues spilling over frost-clad tree branches.

dawn

frost

Minus thirteen degrees Celsius and blue skies. Yet another short illuminated day with crisp layers of sparkling snow. Perfection.

redandwhite

Mood is uplifted by strategically alternating time spent in the open with time spent inside in excellent company.

wayneslunch

When the moon rises, it’s early afternoon and energy levels are high; after all, there is still much to experience.

palace

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I am savouring the flavour of the days: so comfortable in the present that I wish the future could wait.

There are windows that look over pine tree tops. There are priceless early sunsets and cotton candy clouds.

dlmakhnispices

There are pots with creamy dal bukhara and Iranian dates smothered in spiced cake batter.

mellowmacaronbatter

There are tubs filled with water that you can sink into once a year without feeling guilty for spending huge amounts of water on pure indulgence.

madona bath

There are visits to local libraries and cousin librarians. Stashes of books to be read and bags of black tea to be brewed.

books

There is awesome homemade bean-soup made by a loving Greek chef and expatriate Calamata olives.

fathersbeansoup

And there is only so much you can ask for Christmas.

Landed and not stranded.

I was really looking forward to reuniting with my kin; two friendly faces at the train-station and a couple of hours later, a dinner customised by the house chef, to suit individual preferences.

dinner

dinnertable

Despite not doing anything other than grocery shopping, cleaning and entertaining, the first day of the holidays felt quite active and  passed quickly.

xmastree

As I am writing these lines, I am wishing that this couple of weeks will go by slowly, in small and mellow sips.

eveningcocoa

 

The days before Christmas have been a lovely blur of activity. The memory shutter can’t really keep up with the speed of movement.

blurr

Soon the 365 days of 2014 will belong to the past, and even though this year is ending with the bitter taste of intolerance, I have been enjoying the mixity of my circle of friends, old and new.

365tea

The weekend started with a nameday party celebration for a special guest. We ate lots of home-made food and  held our stomachs dubbling over with laughter –not indigestion.

almondcarrotballs

On Saturday a Christmas gathering followed by a Sunday birthday drink. The human fauna around me is blooming and beaming; I am happy to be part of the clan.

cake

Sleepovers, gatherings, Swiss cheese, improvised pizzas and good people. If these days did not exist, someone would have to invent them.

Second advent and I am snug. Snug as in safe, comfortable and content.

rsz_snug

What is the state of play? So far, I am have been housekeeping and lounging, counterbalancing last week’s activity. The days before Christmas are packed and that is in many ways a positive thing, considering that meeting and catching up becomes a priority, which has a nice effect on the social calendar.

ricepuddingbowl3Last week, with its late evenings and early mornings was filled with human warmth.

As I’ve said before, I consider myself lucky for having so many good people in my life, but that’s not always good enough. It is as important to create opportunities for people to get together and exchange – that’s when you experience the magic of interaction and the sense of community.

ricepudding1

pumpkinsoupcoriander2

I am holding on to that feeling of warmth with my insulating socks, fluffy rice porridge and hot soup. Once Monday is at my door, I will trade inertia for activity. I admit that I am looking forward to the coming days already. Nice things are planned and I do like action – it nurtures my cells.

First advent.

First Sunday leading up to Christmas. I like the word advent. It makes me think of anticipation flavoured with a hint of adventure and excitement. Of course, that always depends on what you are waiting for. Whether there is a spiritual aspect to this countdown or not, I guess that the holidays are per se most welcome.

Some people will of course be even more relieved once the festive season is finally over. What I also know for a fact is that December tends to come as a surprise, like a guest who arrives half an hour early while you are still cleaning up your kitchen mess before heading for the shower. It is a mystery how  October suddenly materialises into December: a quantum leap repeated year after year.

Thinking of how empty January is comparatively, I don’t understand why we still insist on celebrating Christmas on the twelfth month of the year.

origamicrane

On the morning of the last day of November I decided to take it easy. Meaning I got up and started baking…

saffronbread

I rewarded myself with late breakfast and the fragrant smell and delicate taste of a saffron focaccia.

As I do not intend to spend energy and money on commercial extravaganzas including presents,  I thought that I might as well opt for creating some nice atmosphere conducive to relaxation, joy and inner peace.

adventbreakfast1

I have to accept the fact that this annual exercise of anticipation always finds me unprepared; even so, I can still try to savour the fleeing moments.

This advent is also a time for remembering. My grandparents are very present in my thoughts. I am thinking that at this time of the year, my grandmother would put up her Christmas curtains and my grandfather would carefully unwrap the advent star and candle-holders to deck the window sills. I have probably only celebrated advent with them a couple of times, if any, but I can very much imagine how they would set everything up with true respect for domestic cosiness and tradition.

My curtains are beige and I have no advent star, not yet in any case. But my little home smells of saffron and I have some beloved people with me in spirit. If they were here I would give them a big and long hug; the kind of embrace that you really look forward to giving, counting down til that moment when your arms become a cradle of warmth, a universe filled with love.

 

sofiawise

Clockwise, otherwise & likewise

The Chick on a Pea

Clockwise, otherwise & likewise

Buttercupgoeswest

Buttercup is a newborn and we are taking her on a 5000 KM journey from Ahmedabad to Kanyakumari

Sadness Theory

Music with passion for the environment

zee pause café

taking a moment, having a coffee, writing down some thoughts