ChrisHanuKwanSolstice

The Winter Solstice on December 22 was rained out this year here on the shores of the Long Island Sound, but Christmas Eve was spectacular!

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So Top Cat and I did our annual Praising of the Light champagne and sun set watching ceremony on December 24,  and it was 72 degrees, which is why even though I am three weeks away from my 60th birthday, I am wearing my go-to T-shirt on this wintery eve!

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Yes, it was warm, but cloudy — that’s the sun, glowing from within that dense stratocumulus, above — and we did not expect much…but as the twilight fell at approx. 4:31 pm, this happened:

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And then this happened:

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(Above, the Manhattan skyline is to the far left, and that’s New Rochelle at center-right.)

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And there it goes, the light from our own gorgeous star departing from our skies on its way to Cleveland, and Sioux Falls, and Coeur d’Aline, and Tacoma. There goes the sun, Welcome in the Winter Light!

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While I have your attention, I feel obliged to tell you one last short tale from my trip to France two weeks ago, and it’s about the space-tree (see above) on display at Galleries lafayette (the famous department store in Paris):

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Yesterday I found a newsletter (of sorts, above) from my visit to the shop while I was unpacking my haul of ephemera from my journey, you know, the usual assortment of ticket stubs, museum pamphlets, cafe coasters, phone numbers of gents met in cafes, etc., that one tends to accumulate whilst vagabonding. And yes, we already know that the Galleries went with a [weird] Christmas From Another Planet theme this year…but we did not know that there were robots involved:

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This stuff is printed in light gray ink so I did the best I could to enhance it so you can read it — and because I know my mother is going to complain that the print is too small to read I’m going to repeat that you can click onto the photo itself to get an enlarged (full screen) version…you might have to click twice depending on whatever elves are in charge of your computer machine, not that I think this is actually worth reading, but I take my obligations as your Paris corespondent seriously so I must let you choose to read, or not read:

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How about we nominate this as the Worst Christmas Story Ever?

Now, as I mentioned above, my 60th birthday is happening in three weeks, on Jan. 16.

I am bracing myself. Birthdays that end in Zero are always a challenge to one’s identity, but this one is walloping me. Of course my dear Top Cat has something special planned, which may or may not include a tiger, so even the whiff of big cat-titude almost makes it worth it, this shedding of old/youngness for young/oldness. But we will have to wait until The Day to be sure.

In the meantime, this is how I am welcoming in this new phase of Vivianness:

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I am ditching my ratty, falling apart, 15-year old address book for this:

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I’ve been putting off this task for several years, but I came across this spiffy book at Barnes and Nobel and finally the time was NOW.

15 years ago, I was not married to Top Cat (or to anybody). I was not living on Long Island, I was not writing books, and I was years away from picking up a paint brush! I did not have a computer or a saving account, and I was still drinking martinis.  Of the ten cats that were living with me at the time, there is only one left — dear little Coco, who is rather frail these days and spends most of her life snoozing on her special heating pad bed.

Ah, there are so many memories in an old address book. The names of editors I used to write for, back when newspapers and magazines paid for writing…that fling in London whose name I never would have remembered…Stephen King’s home address (?)…”Mr. Lucky” in New Orleans (nice Indian guy who ran a great souvenir shop on Decatur Street)…the lady who runs the Penguin Encounter program at Mystic Aquarium…

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…a list of places to meet English guys (above), which (as my note says), I got on April 1, 2002 when I went to the British Consul to sign the condolence book on the event of the death of the Queen Mother. (I did like the Queen Mother and all but hey, life is for the living, as they say, and to the 2002 version of me, English guys made life worth living.) The Red Lion is still going strong, and it looks like NW3 closed shortly after I checked it out, and the Sporting Club closed in 2005.

There’s also the card from the guy who ran a sky diving business:

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I have obliterated all identifying info because I just Googled this guy and I don’t want to blab any more about him because of  an unfortunate incident involving the death of two skydivers in 2010 — he was a good guy, and gave me his home contact, and I used to be the kind of person who thought I’d go sky diving one day.

(Part of me is thinking that in 2000, I was 45 years old…isn’t that kind of old to be bar hopping with Brits and thinking about jumping out of planes when you couldn’t even stand to look out the windows when you were at Windows on the World in the old North Trade Tower…ohhhhhhhh….right….that’s gone, too…..)

Oh well, so much for maturity: For now I am holding onto the contact info of three people who, as I reach the sagacious age of 60,  I may or may not want to still get even with.

I don’t think I’ll ever remember why I needed the phone and address for the Ferret Rescue of Westchester, but isn’t running into that kind of thing exactly why updating a very old address book is such a nostalgic and annoying thing to do?

In all, bet that less than 20% of the names and numbers in my old address book made it into my new one.So, Yay! I have lots of room for new friends! And isn’t that something to get happy about? No matter how old you are?

This is both a rhetorical question, and a moral to the story of The Old and the New Address Book. Because I am writing this post on New Year’s Eve Day and I think that having a new address book, cleared of all old business (mostly), ready for filling up with all kinds of new amigos and idiocies, seems like a good mindset to have for 2016.

Happy, happy, happy New Year to you all, my Dear Readers and Friends.

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Well, Dear Readers, here we are once again, leaving the darkness behind as we head into the light of Winter — and here is my 2015 ChrisHanuKwanSolstice wish for you:

ChrisHanuKwanSolstice card 2015, solstice card

I wish for you a light-filled life of whim-fulfillment and ice-cold champagne, random kindness and loving serenity in 2016.

And, because I know how many new readers find this little blog every week, this gallery is for you:

ChrisHanuKwanSolstice card 2007, Solstice card

Wanderers in the Wonders, 2007

*****

ChrisHanuKwanSolstice card 2008,  Solstice card

Comforts of the Season, 2008

*****

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Long Night Moon, 2009

*****

ChrisHanuKwanSolstice card 2010, solstice card

Praising the Light, 2010

*****

ChrisHanuKwanSolstice card 2011, solstice card

All is Calm, 2011

*****

ChrisHanuKwanSolstice card 2012, solstice card

Into the Light, 2012

*****

ChrisHanuKwanSolstice card 2014, solstice card

Heavenly Sled, 2014

*****

 

 

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I wish you happy holidays, Dear Readers,

and a joyful new year!

Meet me back here on

January 16, 2015

when this blog re-boots  for further mountain-making from the molehills of life and art here on the shores of the Long Island Sound.

The thing I’m most looking forward to about my new blog is getting serifs. Oh, how I have missed my serifs on this lousy Atahualpa theme. In 2015 it will be Times New Roman all the way. You have no idea how happy this will make me. Happier than playing Twister with Ryan Gosling, that’s how happy my new serifs will make me.

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Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall

ChrisHanKwanSolstice love for all.

Happy Holidays, everyone.

 

For this year’s holiday card I did a four-panel ode to the four seasons:

 

Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue is a good recipe for art, too…I took two of my favorite paintings of the beautiful Long Island Sound in Winter  from my first book When Wanderers Cease to Roam and I added new paintings of my own backyard in Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter again to give a panorama of the entire year that begins and ends with a celebration of this dreamy time of year when we give ourselves a new beginning, a fresh start, a whole new energy to create, to accomplish, and to share the best of ourselves. Right?

I do hope all you who put your names on my list enjoyed receiving your 2012 ChrisHanuKwanSolstice card — I had to make it special this year, for all your kind reviews of Le Road Trip on Amazon and Goodreads.  Merci Mucho to you all, and since we’ve have a lot of new readers joining us I thought I’d show my gallery of ChrisHanuKwanSolstice cards from the past:

2007  —  Wanderers in the Wonders

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2008  —  Comforts of the Season

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2009  —  Long Night’s Moon on the Long Island Sound

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2010  —  Praising the Light

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2011  —  All is Calm, All is Bright

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Have a wonderful holiday, everybody, and a fabulous Sostice, and a happy happy New Year —

and I’ll see you back here on January 4, 2013!

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Solstice Day dawned clear and dry here on the shores of the Long Island Sound. A good day to make our annual pilgrimmage to the south shore of the Sound, and say our thanks to the great DoG for this wonderful Season of Light.

We drove to our favorite spot on the North Shore of Long Island and on the way, we passed this bit of graffiti. Note to self: Find Out What’s Up With That.

( I did call the guy who owns this building, a marble import buisness on a busy main road here on the North Shore of Long Island. I asked him “Do you know what that means?” His exact words were, “I haven’t gotten to the bottom of that yet”.)

Back to the pilgrimage to Praise the Solstice.

We arrived on our sweet Solstice beach around 3:45 PM. Top Cat opened a bottle of champagne, and I tossed bits of pretzel into the air for the sea gulls.

 

Our Long Island gulls seemed pensive, basking in the rosy glow of the fading daylight. 

They also seemed to enjoy spreading their wings to gather up the heavy golden motes of light that were glowing everywhere.

I know the feeling.

I know the feeling.

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I’m writing this on Thursday, Dec. 22, the first day of Winter. So you know what that means:

Welcome to the Halcyon Days!

What’s the Halcyon Days, you ask?

Halcyon is a name for a bird of Greek legend which is commonly associated with the kingfisher. The phrase comes from the ancient belief that fourteen days of calm weather were to be expected around the winter solstice—as that was when the halcyon calmed the surface of the sea in order to brood her eggs on a floating nest.

OK. Maybe it’s too much to expect whole days of Halcyon this holiday season. Well then, how about a moment of Halcyon, here and there?

And that was the idea behind my ChrisHanuKwanSolstice card this year, which I call:

All is calm. All is bright.

 

There was another component to my ChrisHanuKwanSolstice card this year, a message that I put on the inside to remind you all to Go Easy in 2012:

Some of you may recognize this is my little joke on the very famous poster from WWII England:

What is ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’?

Right. Pay attention at the back, and no slouching.

Keep Calm and Carry On was the third in a series of World War II posters drawn up by the UK Ministry of Information in order to boost the morale of the British people by passing on a message from King George VI. The posters were a stark white text on a red background, with the only image on the poster being the royal crown of George VI.

The first two posters, “Your Courage, Your Cheerfulness, Your Resolution will Bring Us Victory” and “Freedom is in Peril” were widely printed and distributed. However, the third poster, which carried the simple message “Keep Calm and Carry On” although printed, was never distributed, as it was intended only if invasion was imminent.

At the end of the war, the posters were collected up and pulped. It is believed that only two original posters out of a print run of over a million survive to this day.

The story would have ended there were it not for Stuart and Mary Manley, who run a bookshop called Barter Booksin Northumberland. (Yay bookstores!) Whilst sorting through a box of old books, they found one of the few surviving original copies of the ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ poster. They liked it so much that they had the poster framed and placed near the till in their shop.

They soon found that customers were very keen on the poster – even to the point of asking if they could buy it! So, Stuart and Mary started selling and printing facsimilie copies of the poster. The rest, as they say, is history…

In the nine years since 2000 the poster has become world famous, having been mentioned in news articles, on TV and having been seen in many disparate places from country pubs to the Houses of Parliament.

The preceding text was brought to you courtesy of a website, where I also got my “Shine On” poster:

http://www.keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk/

Have a great Holiday, everyone. Go dance by the light of your ChrisHanuKwanSolstice dream.

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