weekend lookback, december 15

If you guys have been reading around here for any length of time, you know I'm an early riser. Oftentimes, alarmingly early. Four, even just after three sometimes. It's not all bad. Sometimes all I do is climb under the cozy throw on the sofa in our family room and doze in front of the local news, and sometimes, like this morning, I re-write the blog post I wrote last night. I had two nightmares last night (WTH?) so I'm feeling wakeful.

I have a favorite routine at this time of year, where I pad down the stairs in my slippers and jammies and slip into the darkened living room and plug in the lights (this could be dangerous given the old outlets in our home) on our Christmas tree. I love how those lights are the only ones on in the hose and their golden glow faintly illuminates own whole downstairs. I always wonder if the early morning runners going past, either those from the sports teams or the ROTC from the college nearby or our neighborhood die-hards, wonder if someone here is up early or if we just forgot to turn the damn thing off. We have new neighbors behind us, and in their back yard they've set up two of those illuminated reindeer, and every night when we head up to bed we can see them from our bedroom windows, gently nodding. Neel said last night he wants to yell a "thank you" over the fence as we both think that this light is the perfect way to bookend our day. Gently lit from dawn to dusk.

This morning I woke to the same news I read before going to bed. This awful hostage situation in Sydney, Australia. Doesn't it seem that this year has had one desperate story after another? It's been months since I stopped watching the news, but bits and pieces creep in, and we have friends in Australia and from Australia, both blogging and otherwise. My heart is aching for them, and for our collective peace. For the fact that there is so much darkness in the world.

Yesterday evening,  Neel and I went to a departmental open house hosted by the chair of the pediatrics department at the medical school where he works. This man, the perfect image of a kindly pediatrician, has a giant, table-sized castle made of sugar cubes in his house for Christmas. I'll share photos. He makes each brick individually and "glues" them together with royal icing. He's been making them every year, and it takes him NINE MONTHS to make it. It has working lights, stained glass windows and a tiny Santa Claus inside. He's done Notre Dame and the Tower Bridge in year's past. How impressive is that? I think I have another sinus infection, and this makes the homemade cocoa I could barely pull it together to make this weekend seem pretty lame. But the whole point of this story (since the photos of the castle are still on Neel's phone and not here to wow you) is that our host, and said department head said to us, and we agreed, that he loved this time of year. More joy, more light, less darkness. (Although I do have a sinus infection and I feel pretty crummy. I think things will look up once I get to the doc. And make a list or two.)

Cal has his German exam today. I was thinking yesterday that I haven't said it enough to him, how proud I am that he's pushing himself with an extra class this year. I tend to forget that he's doing it, actually. We just truck along and I have my mom worries that he could (always) be working harder, and I forget that only a few of these kids this year are carrying the load he's carrying. So I think I'll be sure to say that before he leaves to tackle his German exam today. School is a journey, and these kids figure out stuff about themselves every day, I think.

And if you come back tomorrow, I have a little story about my own photography journey to share with you. How's that for a teaser? Thrilling only to me, I promise. Here's to a great week, kiddos! Nothing but blue skies ahead. Gently lit, from dawn to dusk.