Monday, December 27, 2004

Let it Snow!

After a long (but not as long as it was supposed to be) flight, we arrived in Virginia on Monday to celebrate Christmas with our families. We've been having a great time seeing everyone and eating too much, but the big fun was today when we woke up to a blizzard! The weather was saying "chance of snow, with an accumulation of 3-5 inches" but it had reached that by the time we got home after church, and now it's at 11" and still climbing.

Crystal and I couldn't resist the opportunity to build a snowman (and lob a few snowballs at each other!). Since Crystal has been saying for a few weeks that her growing bump has made her feel a bit like a snowman, it seemed only right to make a pregnant snow-woman! When it seemed that we were making things a little too anatomically correct, we added a modesty scarf. I tried to get Crystal to pose so we could compare size and shape but she declined.

Let it snow!

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Sunny Day


"What is that?" we asked one another this morning as we sat down for breakfast. "I think it's the sun...."

We were almost forced to pull the blind so we wouldn't be blinded, but the novelty of it all made squinting at each other over our porridge a better option. Not that the sun doesn't show itself here in the northeast of England, but not quite so much or so brightly! Crystal thought it was a perfect blue Texas sky. I was actually thinking of California.

It's not only that it's always a little damp and cloudy outside, but the fact that the days are so incredibly short as we approach the solstice. Sunrise tomorrow is scheduled to be at 8:23am and sunset at 3:38pm! To help with the math, that's a grand total of 7 hours and 15 minutes of sunlight. It has its advantages -- even a late sleeper like myself often gets up before (or only slightly after) sunrise, which makes my sleep patterns seem more acceptable than they are. But having it start to get dark after lunch is a little crazy. And if I go outside at (so called) "high noon", I can reach the horizon with my pinky and the sun with my thumb at arm's length.

Today when I was walking back from the library at around 4pm, I noticed the cathedral glowing a beautiful reddish orange. As I crossed the river on the old stone pedestrian bridge, I saw several people stopped, leaning on the stone wall and looking up into the sky. What a sunset...bright colors, patterned clouds, reflection in the river, two rowers guiding their boat under the bridge with their wake rippling the still water. I took it in for a few moments and then quickly texted Crystal on my mobile to go take a look before pressing on home. (I couldn't resist stopping by the bakery for a little apple cake on the way).

Noticing my own astonishment at the sunny day, I dared to look down at my hands. Yup, the palm and the back are exactly the same color. I think I'm truly an Englishman now. Hopefully not pasty, but certainly white (except when I've been outside in the chill and turn pink....). It was almost enough to make me wish I had stood outside in the sunlight for all 7 hours to soak up as much as I could before going home for Christmas. But I think it was probably better that I got that last paper written and turned in.

Don't get me wrong -- I'm not complaining. It's truly wonderful in its own way. And it means life will be nothing but sunlight come June. And even more, it provides yet another reason to sit down with a warm cup of tea, my apple cake, a good book, and my blankie.