Saturday, December 27, 2008

Someday at Christmas...

Crazy today...treadmilling the Christmas calories off at the gym...still listening to Christmas music, specifically "Someday at Christmas" by Stevie Wonder, and right when it came on my ipod, I looked up at one of the 20 televisions and it was tuned to CNN, and the most recent bombing in least 228 dead...they vow to retaliate against the cafes and streets...then came the images of the crying children, the young boys running, the frightened mothers, the destroyed buildings, the men weeping over the dead, their sons are dead...I could not take it, I just cried. I tried to pretend that I was just wiping sweat, but they were tears.

God help us.

I don't care who knows, I would pray for the world if I could!

Someday at Christmas men won't be boys
Playing with bombs like kids play with toys
One warm December all hearts will see
A world where men are free

Someday at Christmas there'll be no wars
When we have learned what Christmas is for
When we have found what life's really worth
There'll be peace on earth

Someday all our dreams will come to be
Someday in a world where men are free
Maybe not in time for you and me
But someday at Christmastime

Someday at Christmas we'll see a land
With no hungry children, no empty hand
One happy morning people will share
A world where people care

Someday at Christmas there'll be no tears
When All men are equal and no men have fears
One shinning moment, one prayer away
From our world today

Someday all our dreams will come to be
Someday in a world where men are free
Maybe not in time for you and me
But someday at Christmastime

Someday at Christmas man will not fail
Hate will be gone and love will prevail
Someday a new world that we can start
With hope in every heart

Someday all our dreams will come to be
Someday in a world where men are free
Maybe not in time for you and me
But someday at Christmastime
Someday at Christmastime

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve in Cambridge

I woke up this morning, unbeknownst to me that it would be so, to a live broadcast from Cambridge, England of the "Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols." It was 8:00 AM here in America, and 3:00 PM over there. It was opened by a single boy soprano singing "Once in David's Royal City." I wondered if my Mom's Cousin, "Uncle Johnny" were the church in Cambridge. He lives there. He is the same uncle that I will be singing for in Guatemala, hopefully this summer, for a benefit concert to build schools there.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A Christmas Awake...

Do you know what I love about Christmas? The fact that you see people out and about. People that you never see at any other time of year. But around this time they somehow magically appear and all go shopping at the same time. Every walk of life, every nationality, age and the whole of the socioeconomic strata are there...just shopping. Not the "Black Friday" perversion of Christmas, but the days in between...where everyone is simply coexisting...and smiling at each other. I listen to the conversations and exchanges that are just a little bit kinder...a little bit more patient. They are almost like a special species of animal, these holiday shoppers, that are brought to life only by the December snow, the lights and the Christmas fudge...I watch them, with almost scientific fascination.

Today at the store, I saw my mom's car in the parking lot and, not having seen her yet, grabbed a full box of Peanut Butter Twix, a Blackberry Hostess Pie, Twinkies and two pints of Häagen-Dazs in hopes that she would see me sneaking around with the overstuffed box of naughties and raise an eyebrow or two (hee-hee-hee!!!) worked! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! This same mom is teaching me to REALLY play the piano. I am so grateful to her.

I am now snuggling down with what I believe may end up being the favorite book of my life, "A Christmas Carol" (I feel a particular urge for Dickens as of late...I am the same age this year as he was when he wrote the novella). Truly, Dicken's words fill up my soul like no other; they do not appeal to my rebellious nature like Joyce, or any fits of romanticism like Austin or Charlotte Brontë , but to the truest yearnings of the spirit with which I came to this earth, about the world, and easing suffering somehow.
God bless me to do anything half as good with my life.
I will perhaps leave the better part of the reading to tomorrow, it will be Christmas Eve after all. And reading A Christmas Carol on Christmas Eve is like blowing out your own birthday candles...*your favorite wish*...on your favorite birthday cake.

I may not go to sleep, I would like to watch Miracle on 34th Street, too. I would rather not sleep anyway, I could miss something. I like staying awake during Christmas... and a Christmas awake is better than any sleep.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

And so this is Christmas...

This peppermint hot chocolate was given to me today...for free.

I had left my credit card at home and a girl at the Orem Starbucks told me that it was on the house. I almost started to cry...ah Christmas. Her name was Jordan, "like the Country," she said. We both agreed that the Capital of Jordan is Amman.

Christmas Questions

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping paper, all the way. I am a proud member of the Hallmark Gold Crown Rewards Program. I keep them in business.
2. Real tree or Artificial? Real, Real, Real. I don't know people can have anything else. They just smell so goooooooooood. :)
3. When do you put up the tree? Two weeks before Christmas, usually.
4. When do you take the tree down? Two weeks after.
5. Do you like eggnog? Oh yes. I love anything that has to do with eggnog. Ice cream...truffles...eggnog custard pie...yum.
6. Favorite gift received as a child? (I really will have to think about that and get back to you on that one...)
7. Hardest person to buy for? My Gramma. She is my only living Grandparent.
8. Easiest person to buy for? Kath.
9. Do you have a nativity scene? Yes. People seem to think they need to run off with the baby Jesus, though.
10. Mail or email Christmas cards? Real, tangible cards in my own handwriting. :) There is something so magical about getting physical cards in the mail. You can keep them forever. :) And that person's soul is forever present...their own handwriting whispers to you...
11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? Oh dear...I will have to get back to you on that one, too.
12. Favorite Christmas Movie? I can't pick one. Miracle on 34th Street, It's a Wonderful Life, The Polar Express(seeing this film 3D IMAX at the Universal City Walk was the greatest cinematic experience of my life.)
13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? August. No joke.
14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Dangit...YES! But I am not telling you whose!
15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Ham and cheddar cheese grilled sandwiches. ;) And Dobosh Torte from Swiss me please.
16. Lights on the tree? 600 white minis.
17. Favorite Christmas song? This year, "Someday at Christmas" by Stevie Wonder. Last year it was "Do they Know it's Christmas" by Band Aid...2005 was "Believe" by Josh Groban. The Christmas of 2004, when I was in London, was "Happy Christmas (War Is Over)" by John Lennon. I usually have one or two songs each Christmas that really stand out to me...I feel that they represent where I am in my life, and my feelings about our world in general.
I could not tell you my favorite Christmas CAROL...they are all so beautiful, and reside in different sacred places in my heart, all of them. If you have time, though...and the inclination, look up the story behind Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's "I heard the bells of Christmas Day." You will never be able to think about it the same. Or read about the unbelievable opposition that came to try to stop Handel's "Messiah" from being performed at it's 1743 London debut in Covent Garden...and about the lead soprano, Suzannah Cibber. It teaches us all about redemption...and that God's music will find a will find a way.
18.Travel at Christmas or stay home? HOME. :)
19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? Comet, Blitzen, Dancer, Vixen, Prancer, Cupid, Dasher, Donner. And whatever that one reindeer that had that Rhinophyma or something...
20. Angel on the tree top or a star? Star.
21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? One present on Christmas Eve, the rest in the morning. :) Ahhh...Christmas.
22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? Hard to find time actually ENJOY it. And that I feel so many of us have TOTALLY gone bonkers and have missed the train on what Christmas is all about. SO sad.
23. Favorite ornament theme or color? Colonial...anything old. I love the red and green. And anything antique. Cream and Gold.
24. Favorite for Christmas dinner? We have EVERYTHING...Turkey, chicken, roast beef AND ham. My "Mashed Potatoes of Death" and Moms's stuffing...oh man...the eggnog...I love it all. Most of all I just love who I get to sit down and eat it with. =)
25. What do you want for Christmas this year? A new alarm clock radio. The one I have right now...the alarm never turns off once it starts...a white one would be nice.

Christmas Pictures

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Up on the Roof...

If you had opened up a dictionary on Monday and looked up the word 'contemplation' you would have seen this picture of me, on the roof of the Standard Hotel in Downtown L.A. .

When this old world starts getting me down
And people are just too much for me to face
I climb way up to the top of the stars
And all my cares just drift right into space

On the roof it's peaceful as can be
And there the world below can't bother me
Let me tell you now

When I come home feeling tired and beat
I go up where the air is fresh and sweet
I get away from the hustling crowds
And all that rat race noise down in the street

On the roof's the only place I know
Where you just have to wish to make it so
Up on the roof

At night the stars put on a show for free
And darling you can share it all with me
I keep-a tellin' you

Right smack dab in the middle of town
I found a Paradise that's trouble-proof
And if this world starts getting you down
There's room enough for two up on the roof

Up on the roof..........

Barstow, California

Wolfgang Puck's and the Standard

On the roof of my favorite hotel in Los Angeles, the Standard.

I love this pool but people hang aroud here na-kee all of the time. Ew.

I love, love...






love this place.

Light on the Standard.

I waited two and a half YEARS to have this maccaroni-n-cheese at Wolfgang Puck's Express across from the Standard in Downtown was worth it. MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

They were playing Vince Guaraldi's Christmas...ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh....

Everyone go here for lunch.
630 W. 6th St
Library Court Building
Los Angeles, CA 90189
(213) 614-1900
By the way though...they are closed on weekends. Yes, that is why it has taken me so long to finaly get my maccaroni on!!! =)

Christmas in Boulder City, Nevada

"Um, has anyone seen the power bill? Hey honey, why is the paper shredder on?"

On my Way...

to an eventual L.A. ...

Thank Heavens for the invention of the ipod.

And what was I listening to the whole way...?