• Tag Archives New Year
  • 2012

    Winter (snow, at last!)                           First Moon of the New Year

    OK.  I stayed up until midnight.  Now what?

    Another year.  Didn’t we just do this last year?  The whole new year’s thing.

    Kate and I shared champagne flutes of a Fre sparkling wine, toasted her retirement, our family and friends, the next year together, our 22nd as a married couple and then she went to bed, she who usually goes to be around 8pm stayed up until 11:30.

    We watched a Netflix streaming movie, Mao’s Last Dancer, a so so movie about a Chinese ballet dancer who chose to stay in the US after a year with the Houston Ballet.  This was the mid-80’s.  The movie barely makes sense in current time.  China’s much different, more confident and we’re much different, less confident.

    So, Happy New Year to each of you and all of you, all at once!

  • A Quiet New Year

    Winter                            Full Moon of Long Nights

    We have gained back a few minutes since the Winter Solstice, so the New Year will arrive, as it does every year, with a bit more daylight than the grimmer days of mid-winter.

    The neighbors have begun to shoot off fireworks.  They are a restrained lot for the most part, but when they perceive an excuse for celebration:  holiday, birthday, new year, they always bring out the fireworks.

    (Methuselah Grove
    The Methuselah Grove with the world’s oldest living things. The oldest living tree at 4,723 years, Methuselah, is not identified for its own protection.

    Kate and I have clinked glasses of champagne (her) and Fre (me), wished each other a happy new year and not shot off a single firecracker.  We did watch Jules and Julia, a middling movie in my judgment, though it had some interesting observations about cooking.  We also watched a great Nature program on the rise of the dog.  Apparently a Swedish geneticist has pinpointed eastern Asia as the origin of all dogs.

    Kate’s neck has begun to bother her again this week and her left hip is now  worse than it was before the operation.  The back, though, has improved markedly.   A day at a time.

    Well, a happy new year to you, whoever you are.  Back at you next year.

  • Once in A Blue Moon, But Only Ten Years in a Decade

    Winter                                    Full Moon of Long Nights

    “Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better man.” – Benjamin Franklin

    I want to weigh in on two critical debates germane to today and tomorrow.  First, the blue moon.  Current definition says a blue moon is the second full moon in the same month.  Since we had the full Wolf Moon at the beginning of December and now have the full Moon of Long Nights, this is a blue moon.  Therefore, anything you do over the next three days can be once in a. (astronomically speaking the moon is full for only a second, but the human eye can’t distinguish the difference among the night before, the night of, and the night after, so I say three days.)

    Yes, Virginia, there is a second and older definition of a blue moon.*  I agree with the infoplease folks, however, that it is fussy for contemporary purposes and not as applicable to current life.  So, I agree that this is a blue moon.  Go for it.

    Second debate I noticed in the newspaper letters to the editor.  A man claimed that decades receive their designation from multiples of the number 10:  2010, 2020 and so on.  Therefore, he claims our decade will not end this year, but a year from today.  He has forgotten two things.  First, the first decade is ’00–pronounced to rhyme with naughty.  That decade runs from 2000-2009.  Why? Well, as the dictionary definition says, a decade is ten years.  Count’em up.  Now the question is, at the end of the century, will we have an extra year?  Nope.  The 90’s will end in 2099 since December 31st, 2099 marks the day before 2100.  Doesn’t matter to me since time will have a much different quality for me then anyhow.

    *The Other Kind of Blue Moon

    May 2008’s blue moon qualified as such under an older definition, which is recorded in early issues of the Maine Farmer’s Almanac. According to this definition, the blue moon is the third full moon in a season that has four full moons. Why would one want to identify the third full moon in a season of four full moons? The answer is complex, and has to do with the Christian ecclesiastical calendar.

    Some years have an extra full moon—13 instead of 12. Since the identity of the moons was important in the ecclesiastical calendar (the Paschal Moon, for example, used to be crucial for determining the date of Easter), a year with a thirteenth moon skewed the calendar, since there were names for only 12 moons. By identifying the extra, thirteenth moon as a blue moon, the ecclesiastical calendar was able to stay on track.

  • And A Happy…

    7oaks250.jpg9  bar steep fall 30.12  ENE9  windchill 9   Winter

    Waxing Crescent of the Wolf Moon

    Friend and cyberwizard Bill Schimdt reminded me of a wonderful show the sky put on tonight to celebrate the New Year.  The moon with Venus in its arms.  This is the waxing Wolf Moon, a sliver facing up toward the east with Venus just above and centered over it.  The moon has an immediate tug on my memories, often creating a flood tide of associations from Islam to nursery rhymes to Neil Armstrong and Jules Verne.  It also fires my love of the night, creating a light in the darkness, a light that does not cause the darkness to flee, but makes it more accessible.  And they say lunacy is a bad thing.

    This new year’s I plan to celebrate in dreamland.  My new habit of a 10:30 bedtime is too fragile to wreck watching Dick Clark’s face-lift as the ball descends in Time Square.  Windy and -1 there.  Ouch.

    The new year comes this time with genuine opportunity for change, change that matters.  I plan to be part of it and hope you do, too.

    Sometimes I refer to our property as 7 oaks.  This is a photograph of those seven oaks, white and red.  They grow on a small hill, visible from where I write. They are a grove, a fine companion in all seasons.

    -30-  until 2009

  • One Day Down, 364 To Go

    0  72% 23% 0mph WNW bar 30.64 steep rise  windchill -2  Yuletide  New Year’s Day

                                  Waning Crescent of the Cold Moon 

    A day almost gone in the New Year. 

    Kate and I now have a weekly Skype call with Jon and Jen and Ruth+.  + being the one who comes.  This is weird because it means we have a video phone call, our picture and voice shows up there and their picture and voice shows up here, all in real time…well, almost real time.  Ruth says, “All Right.”  “Ma.” (grandma)  No. (snow) Bye. and so on.  All delightful and all wonderful, as if done for the very first time ever in the history of child development.  She’s a cutie, a blond Jewish Norwegian who lives in Colorado.  The mixing pot stirs on.

    Worked out, watched a Japanese movie and an Arctic Tale and the Descent.  Three movies.  A holiday.  All pretty different.  Samurai and Shogun, sword and kimono.  A poignant tale of Arctic babies:  a walrus and two polar bears affected by the warming of the Arctic Ocean.  The Descent is a horror movie and a good one.  It left me squirming and wincing.   Made by the director of Dog Soldiers.

    The morning I spent exegeting, then interpreting Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.  What a tale.  Important for our time, yet hundreds of years old.  

    Happy New Year.