Weekly Photo Challenge: Wishing You a Happy New Year with a Photo Year in Review.

I remember a little conversation I had with myself on December 31, 2011. I made a mental note, almost a declaration, that I was going to do all I could to slow down. I was not going to rush from one calendar event to the next. There would be no talk about “how time flies.”

I was about as determined as I could be to savor the moments and enjoy the year.

Despite my self-talk, time DID fly. In fact, this year passed in what feels like record time, and yet I discovered that at the same time I DID savor so many precious moments. This was a challenging year for our family, but it was also a very good year. A happy year.

I don’t always have time to follow WordPress topic prompts, but when it was suggested I might enjoy the weekly photo challenge: My 2012 in Pictures, I thought that would be fun. I spend a lot of time looking back at favorite photos, so I decided to play along.

Here are some of my favorites in a 12-month review. Just scroll over the photos to reveal the caption.

So here we are at another year’s end, December 31, 2012. Tonight Jay and I are headed to the Disney Concert Hall for a New Year’s Eve performance. Pasadena is gearing up for its famous Happy New Year Party with marching bands and majestic floral floats, the 124th Annual Rose Parade, themed, “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!”  If you are unfamiliar with this marvelous event, I shared some photos last year and you can review them here.

This year I won’t bother to have the discussion about slowing down. It’s going to be a very full year, and anyway, I have had to take a closer look at myself. I am always on the go to somewhere, and I don’t do a lot to invest in slowing down. Time to get real!

And I’m tremendously pleased and looking forward to our son getting married this year. We will be welcoming a new daughter into the family sometime this spring or early summer. There’s a ring and a promise…and they’re working on the details.

So another year comes to a close and seamlessly a new year begins. And I’ll wish everyone a year of finding happiness and contentment in each day whether you’re interested in slowing down or not. Simply put, Happy New Year!

A happy New Year! Grant that I

May bring no tear to any eye

When this New Year in time shall end

Let it be said I’ve played the friend,

Have lived and loved and labored here,

And made of it a happy year.

—Edgar A. Guest

A Visit to the Ice Kingdom–Help! I Can’t Feel My Fingers!

I confess to sometimes feeling a little self-conscious with any weather-related stories. Yes, compared to many geographic locations, our Southern California winters are quite warm. Once in a while we dip a bit and the night temperatures might barely kiss 32 degrees. That’s rare.

Sometimes in the early morning there is a little frost on the roof. On those mornings I remotely start the car from the house, grab a hot cup of coffee and dart out the door, quickly making my escape from the cold into the pre-warmed car.

I don’t really know TRUE cold!

So that’s what made our little winter field trip a very interesting first time experience. We made our way to the Queen Mary, Long Beach, to experience the seasonal ice cave exhibit “Chill.”

Family photo pg

Do we look suitably dressed for 9-degrees? Brrrr! We knew enough to wear warm clothing, but as we entered the Ice Kingdom we were outfitted with additional long parkas. In Southern California we don’t have clothing to keep warm in freezing temperatures.

The Ice Kingdom is a spectacular multi-room exhibit of fantasy ice sculptures, utilizing more than two million pounds of ice—crystal ice, white ice and colored ice.  The 12-foot tall Fairytale Castle, covered in icicles, opens to a beautiful 13,000 feet of winter wonderland.

Ice sculpting is a fascinating art. Many of the sculptors responsible for these impressive creations came from Harbin, China, where beginning in 1963, the Mayor  turned the annual Ice Lantern Festival into a formal competition. It is now one of the largest and most popular ice sculpting competitions in the world. Maybe there aren’t that many talented ice sculptors in California. Where would they get the practice?

The girls climbed the frozen Queen Mary with Papa and then enjoyed an exhilarating slide down the bow! Good thing they were wearing their well-insulated snow pants!

The teacher in me would have enjoyed showing the girls some of the more interesting aspects of the ice itself. The white ice looks a lot like compacted snow with its cloudy appearance. I wonder if they thought the colored ice looked a little bit like popsicles? There were signs reminding “big kids” not to lick the ice! And the crystal ice was in huge blocks. I wonder how long it took for them to freeze?

BUT…

After about an hour my fingers began to lose feeling and then numbness shifted to pain. It didn’t seem the time for a mini-science lesson anyway. This was simply a visually stunning experience, and at 9-degrees, we had our first introduction to what REALLY cold weather must be like!

But 9-degrees?  I’m not sure I’m made of the right stuff! Brrrr!

We wish you a joy-filled Christmas…and a peaceful New Year!

This year my life  has expanded to include so many  thoughtful and interesting, kind and compassionate, fun and humor-filled friends from all over the world. I am so much the better for it!  And I wish each and every one…

Christmas Greetings

And thank you to my family (particularly my daughter) for allowing me to  so liberally share our granddaughters Sophia and Karina.  And there will be new Darwin adventures in the coming year. He sends his holiday greetings to you, too.

Peace, Debra