Tenth avenue freeze out

Brrrr.  We may be having a freeze out (freeze in? I haven’t left the house except to get the paper since Thursday night), but a little Bruce Springsteen always warms my heart and soul – and body because I can’t stand still to “Tenth Avenue Freeze Out.

But standing still hasn’t been a problem in my life – busyness is the flavor du jour on an almost daily basis, but I’ve noticed a shift, a burden lifted, a lightness of being of late.

This has been one hell of a year, but I feel it moving on. Maybe that accounts for the lighter feeling. Maybe it’s happiness and recent forward progress. One step at a time, but whatever it is, I hope it holds.

Meanwhile, let me capture a few things from the past few days.

Marie-Noelle left Wednesday, after being fogged out of flying back to Los Angeles on Tuesday. We had a great time just being together, especially father and daughter.

Marie-Noelle and John are checking something out, something that required a slamming of the laptop when I walked over. Hmmmm ...

Marie-Noelle and John are checking something out, something that required a slamming of the laptop when I walked over. Hmmmm ….

Though I wasn’t there to witness the work most days (being at work myself at ESSE Purse Museum, where I do an assortment of things, including writing The ESSEntial Blog), Marie-Noelle assisted her dad with woodwork in the upstairs living quarters.

This film-noirish nighttime shot shows the progress they made on the large oak trim separating the walls from the cathedral ceiling – and around the ancient windows.

This film-noirish nighttime shot shows the progress they made on the large oak trim separating the walls from the cathedral ceiling – and around the ancient windows.

That extra day in Little Rock also allowed her to help John hang the giant light in the foyer, the one I’ve wanted installed for years but that John thought was too big. Marie-Noelle voted with me, and voila! We have a gorgeous new addition.

See, it fits just fine.

See, it fits just fine. Now about that door …

Daytime view from below.

Daytime view from below.

Since Marie-Noelle is back in the states, her leaving wasn’t as bittersweet – and it’s particularly sweet that she refers to coming to visit as “coming home.”

We’ve got three good kids. Yeah, yeah, they’re grown, but they’ll always be our kids.

John and I still feel like kids in many ways, especially when we’re sleeted in and can take the day to decorate the Christmas tree while watching “Love, Actually.” (Yes, I cried again, for a variety of reasons: It’s sweet, it’s sad, Liam Neeson plays a widower with a son and now he is a widower with sons – and Hugh Grant reminds me of Daddy. But I adore it and it makes me feel good overall.)

OK, I decorated. John helped with the lights then left me to it – and declared it perfect even though I slipped most of my Barbie ornaments on once again. He protested in the early years but has given up on the Barbie issue. Someday they’ll be divided between the granddaughters.

We also have many, many German Shepherd ornaments. We don’t do “theme”  or designer trees. Just happy trees.

Many of our ornaments are German Shepherds – this one looks like it was made as a likeness of Zuzu.

Many of our ornaments are German Shepherds – this one looks like it was made as a likeness of Zuzu.

The dogs are always happy about our Christmas tree – they’re like big kids, too. Zuzu was named after a Christmas character, Zuzu in “It’s a Wonderful Life” (possibly my favorite movie of all time and one that always makes me cry), and she was a Christmas present, ostensibly for John but as much for Tess and me, three years ago.

And, oddly, the older Tess gets, the more playful and demanding she is. After eight years of refusing to return anything after catching or chasing it, now she’ll bring a ball or toy back and drop it or toss it to one of us over and over and over – alternating whom she gives it to if we’re both there.

Pretty darn cute, if a bit annoying when we’re trying to watch a movie and she’s doing her “Let’s play; let’s play now” yip over and over. But that face is hard to resist.

Look, Mom, I brought two choices. Will you throw one, huh? Huh? Huh?

Look, Mom, I brought two choices. Will you throw one, huh? Huh? Huh?

Well, rats. I had a whole next section about books, but the clock says otherwise. A party beckons and I’m officially running late. Maybe tomorrow.

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