Monday, December 27, 2010

Holiday Happiness

My family and I are, like so many others, in the middle of a nice, long break from reality (in a manner of speaking.) The children are off from school, I am off from lessons, Rob is off from work. It's been this way well over a week and will be that way for almost another week. We are getting spoiled!

We have had some wonderful extended family gatherings over the last two weeks. The fun began on the 18th of December at Uncle Bobby and Aunt Beverly (Spurlin)'s house. We gathered in with much extended family for Christmas finger foods and chili, and had a rollicking time playing Dirty Santa together. We hadn't exchanged gifts with that bunch as a whole like that in many, many years, and it was a blast! So funny what people will fight over. Of course my brother, Dave, wound up with a Rubik's Cube! (With a little help from his loving sis...) He has always been the king of solving the Rubik's Cube. But hasn't had one in a long time. What ever happened to those things?

We have a few December birthdays in our family, also. So, we got together at Nana and Papa's (Rob's parents) for his mom's birthday last week. Them, their kids, in-laws, and grandkids. 12 of us in all. We fill up a place. Ginny's birthday wishes? A sink and can lights. I know, right? So she got Lowe's gift cards.

Then that whole crew came to our house for Christmas Eve. Our first time to host. It went so well. We ate all the wonderful favorite foods, let the kids open gifts, enjoyed visiting. I even played Christmas music on the piano for awhile, something unique to hosting at our house. Some folks sang along. And the kids played with gifts. The pictures at the top are from Christmas Eve at our house.

On Christmas morning we awoke to sheer beauty. The joy on our children's faces that Christmas had finally arrived, and the blanket of whiteness covering the earth all around us, with beautiful snowflakes continuing to fall well into the afternoon. A White Christmas! An unexpected one, at that! It was absolutely glorious. God surprised us, as only He could. And we loved it, every moment.

For Christmas lunch, we headed out to my mother's house, where we met up with her, my brother, my grandfather, his friend, Wilma, and my Uncle Calvin. It was so beautiful, the snow out in the country. And the kids got a Wii! Mother cooked up a little scheme with Uncle Calvin, too. A couple of the kids had gotten wind of the idea that a Wii might await them there after snooping around and finding a Wii game at our house. So, one of them said to my mother, "When can we open the Wii? A bit taken aback, they decided for Uncle Calvin to open the Wii as though she had bought it as HIS gift. The kids were really sweating it, let me tell you.

Poor Chloe still thinks Calvin bought them the Wii. She sent him a note via my Facebook and everything.

Next up, cousin Sarah's birthday! Baby girl will be FIVE!!!! Can not believe it. The Hunters are taking us all to Chuck E. Cheese to celebrate. That will be a big hit, we always love Chuck E. I love my skeeball. The kids have to watch out for me, I'll take their tokens. (Not really. But I'll want to.)

I hope all your Christmas celebrating is going well...and that you have a lovely New Year's Eve and Day!


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

ivory tower

Ivory Tower...something I've long thought of. A place I am kept? A place I wish I were kept? A place I would like to go? A place to retreat...A place for princesses...A place from fairytales...Beautiful...Wistful. Distant. Cold? Isolated? Perhaps containing a puppy. Or (yikes!) maybe a kitty. Filled with beautifully-colored frocks, just right for singing and dancing around, just like every girl does, all day long...right? Oh, that's just me? Oh, that's right. I don't dance. (Anyone who saw my attempt at line dancing at the Halloween party will gladly verify.) Well, I twirl, anyway. And I twirl with the best.

I thought I would use my old pal, Google, to see what I could find out about the origin of the term "ivory tower". I found different ideas than what I had in my mind. I thought I would share them here. I mean, why not?

The first mention of ivory towers, everywhere I looked, is attributed to the Bible. Song of Solomon 7 :4 reads:
Your neck is like an ivory tower. Your eyes are the pools of Heshbon by the gate of Bath Rabbim. Your nose is like the tower of Lebanon looking toward Damascus.
Well, that wasn't anything like what I thought. At any rate, according to, in Judeo/Christian tradition, I discovered, the term Ivory Tower has been a symbol for noble purity. Also, in Catholicism, it is used to refer to the Virgin Mary.

The other meanings I came across for ivory tower were not half so romantic as I had in my mind. I found many long, fascinating, and some rather arduous explanations. Here I think I'll keep it simple. At the American Heritage Dictionary's definition is this:
A place or attitude of retreat, especially preoccupation with lofty, remote, or intellectual considerations rather than practical everyday life.
The term is said to be "used most often in reference to intellectuals and artists who remain complacently aloof." Uh-oh. I'm a musician--that's an artist of a sort. Hmm. Maybe this dream of a lovely ivory tower isn't such a great idea. I don't want to be preoccupied with lofty considerations. Well, okay. I do. Some of the time. But definitely not a place to stay. Practical everyday life is pretty important, too.

Maybe I can just go there for an hour or and then...