Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Time To Love

The kitten looked at us with wide innocent eyes wondering what all the fuss was about.  My Dad had brought us the Christmas tree  -- which in Haiti was not easy to find-- and we had set it up in the living room while waiting to bring the box or ornaments and decorate it.  It was an irresistible attraction to our kitten who jumped on it and climbed to the top investigating the side branches.  We were flabbergasted and at the same time laughing, as he cast a look of total surprise to us from the top of his perch.  Getting him down was a challenge in itself but that is another story. That was the beginning of the Christmas season for us and I still smile remembering.

How far it seems compared to my life now in Colorado with our dry weather ( so far) and fairly mild one that seems to some very unseasonal and to me -- wonderful.  I was born in an island of the Caribbean and the lack of snow is normal to me.

I still remember my first Christmas as a young and inexperienced bride in Mexico City having put the turkey in the oven and expecting it to be ready in a few hours. Well, we waited and I cried and checked on the bird in despair and it was not until late in the afternoon when the thing was finally cooked.  I could have looked in cook books but figured on my own that if I could cook a chicken, a turkey was not much different. Mistake!  In Haiti we had a cook who took care of such things but my ignorance paid off.  Now I can cook the bird and enjoy Christmas.

I am on a sort of a semi vacation. My studio calls me but I have many other things to do.  I recently joined a mostly fiber group to satisfy my craving for wool and threads ever since in Columbia I walked in the studio of one of my artist friend and Gallery owner at the time, Marlene Hoffman.  I was so thrilled by the variety of yarn tossed in baskets and waiting to be woven into her tapestries that it has became a life long love of mine.  The Fiber group recently put up a sale and show and more than twenty artist participated with unusual scarves with little windows made out of transparent fabric in the middle of felted material and others in a fantastic textured silk all ruffled, beckoning and so fulfilling to the eyes. Many handmade purses caught my eyes and I bought some little triangles sachets made of fabric, lined in interesting colors like a mini container and big enough to display an earrings to give to someone dear.  Jewelry hang from a copper tree and fantastic work from Karen Pierce and Marc Jenesel filled a corner with their fabulous shapes. Many other intricate towels were woven in complex designs and warm colors.  I loved being there.

This is the time for shows by artists of all kind and the stores are also beckoning us with the Christmas music piped in to set the stage plus all of their displays to grab our attention. I must say I love all the excitement of walking in the aisles of a store smiling at some women while others look rather harried and rushed. I look for a gift for a certain person that is my way of saying to them; I have loved you all year long, this is one of the ways I can show you.  Of course our love is so encompassing it would be a bit meager to equal it with a gift, but our giving is just a form of expression and as such, getting it is a real pleasure.

It was my husband birthday recently and some friends of ours Paul and Julie, had us over for dinner and at the end brought a good chocolate cake and a gift bag for him.  It was filled with so many interesting and wonderful things to please a man and I thought how hard it is for me to pick a gift for the guys.  They seem to love things that seem so foreign to me unlike all the goodies that a woman loves; like perfume, silly clothes, purses, jewelry, frilly scarves, fragrant soaps, creams, in short, what makes us women the prime shoppers all over.

This is to me a magical time of the year.  I just finished putting up the tree with my daughter's help and now it is all decorated and with so many ornaments, some very old that bring many memories.  It stands up in a corner of our living room and glows as I write.

I realize that Christmas time is loaded with sadness for many different reasons.  The loss of a dear one this time of the year, the feeling of being overwhelmed with shopping and and the stress of getting the right presents and the pressure of it.  Others celebrate Hanukkah and not Christmas but also have to buy presents. For many, Christmas is a religious Holiday, a time to remember that it was the birth of Christ. Which is great but this time of the year can indeed be difficult. I myself do enjoy the spirit that brings us together and the celebratory feeling inside myself that propels me daily to go out and bathe in the ambiance as also we say goodbye to the year passed.

So we have no cats to climb our tree but I have a whole guest room full of gifts and paper, scissors. tape, and cards to finish the presents and come to the glorious day with joy.
My cards with many addresses filled the living room table and music remind me that so many artist created symphonies and songs to delight us and to live forever. My husband found for me a bag of precious gifts I bought months ago and could not find anywhere. He tends to be my finder!  So I can wrap them now. I am almost ready to go to the post office and mail to loved ones that live far away the little things that will tell them; I love you much....To me, this is the time to show how we love and be loved back.  The gifts are all a good pretext.

This Christmas as so many others bring so many memories engraved in my heart and so many more to come and the joy is endless. Cheers!


  1. Memories come flooding when I think of Christmas over the years. As a child I could hardly wait for dawn so I could take a first peek at what Santa left under the tree. I always hoped for a pretty doll. On this day, no one else in the family was an early riser--so I had to sometimes wait 3 more hours before the fun began. How could anyone not brim with excitement and awake early on this special day?

    One Christmas we had relatives visiting from Northern California--my dad's sister and family. There were 5 children. I sneaked back to my room to take a break from all the noise and found that someone had decided to unravel my half-knitted sweater from Home Ec class! I was so proud of that sweater and was furious when I saw the mess. My grade depended upon completing that sweater! My Mom told me to just be quiet. In that same visit, the smallest cousin decided he wanted a particular candy cane on the tree--the cane in the back of the tree. Well, you know what's coming. The tree fell over and pop pop pop went most of the ornaments. We never discovered the culprit who unraveled my sweater, but, I suspect he's the same one who toppled our tree.

    One of my most unusual Christmas surprises was the year my first husband decided to give me a piano. It arrived on Christams Eve and I was thrilled--it was a beautiful mahogany with a floral design carved into the wood. The next morning I did not expect to see 7 more presents sitting on top of my new piano! My husband loved shopping for Christmas and he couldn't stop with just ONE gift. (ha)

    There are many stories about the hand-sewn gifts I made for family and friends. Thank goodness all the recipients were pleased with my creations. I just couldn't wait to see the expressions on their faces when they opened their gifts.

    I agree Micheline, that giving a gift is so rewarding because it is an expression of your love for someone. Presents rarely match the magnitude of love you feel for another person--but, the point is to bring that smile.

    This Christmas is going to be a different experience. There are no parents to be my personal Santa. My brother will be spending Christmas with his partner and I will spend Chrstmas Day alone. Randy and I have made arrangements to have our special Christmas this coming Saturday. We will travel to the historic Mission Inn in Riverside, Ca. There are several fabulous restaurants on the property and the decorations are spectacular. I told Randy that there are plenty of shops close by that will be fun. And he said that he was looking forward to enjoying an "historical cocktail". I guess that means ix-nay on the shopping.

    I've made an agreement with many of my girlfriends not to exchange gifts this year. The economy has dealt us an unfortunate blow and we've just decided to spend TIME together. We'll enjoy our decorations by fireside, catch the twinkle of the Christmas tree out of the corners of our eyes, and regale each other with stories while we sip some Christmas cheer. We will tell each other how much our friendship means and breathe a sigh of gratefulness that we have each other. Micheline it would be lovely if you would join us next Wednesday at my home. I'm fixing Mexican fare and that includes a pitcher of margaritas. What do you say? I could tell you how much our friendship has meant to me and how dear you will always be. Even if you cannot join us, I know you'll be here in spirit!

  2. Sweet Micheline:

    As usual, your blog was precious . . . just like you! Smile. It gave me a sweet moment's pause of reflection amidst all the hustle and bustle of Christmastime. Thank you, dear friend.


  3. I love reading your blog by the way!
    Suzanne Quintana

  4. Dear Micheline,
    just read your beautiful article, brought back a lot of different memories to me also. I especially loved the kitten story and all your experiences at this time of the year.

  5. Thank you so much for sharing your writing. As always, it was beautifully written about sincere and positive thoughts. Wish we lived closer so we could get together.

  6. Your latest writing was pleasurable, interesting and apropos of the the holiday ... cats and all.

  7. Dear Friend; Your writing is a beautiful and inspiring gift. Your
    "presence" soon, the ultimate gift. Happy New Year to Barry and you. Love, Arlene