Practice period ended and the holidays were quickly upon us. And boy did we do it right, it really only just ended yesterday with the opening of the final gifts. My little brother and his girl were the givers of this delightful 'ikebana-style' vase, knowing my current delight in the anything-but-simple Japanese style of flower arranging.
The Dito children descended upon 12 Ashwood Court in waves this year. Vince and Moody (his fiance, birth name Lauren) were in Oklahoma for the 25th and Brian, littlest brother, was home early this year. Austin and I took a break from our Green Gulch house sitting and headed to the Dito mothership the 23rd. We had brunch with Grandma Jean. She's doing well despite the very slow dementia that is settling into her 93 year old brain. Then we just sat around drinking coffee, bullshittin, cleaning the house, cooking, playing cards, etc. We had a low key Christmas Eve with a dinner of Green Gulch Farm squash soup and bomb tamales from the Mi Pueblo market in San Rafael. This was also the epic day when 2012 became the year of the remote-controlled helicopter. Apparently they were all the rage this year. All I can say is they are FUN FUN FUN!
Christmas day was relaxing and joyous. Gifts were simple (many homemade knitted gifts by me) and thoughtful. Austin surprised me with Japanese kimono tops perfect for our various tea events at Sowing The Moon Teahouse at Green Gulch Farm. I surprised him with an original piece of artwork from our own priest/artist-in residence, Daigan. All of these unique items were procured with love with the help of many Green Gulch friends. We felt very lucky.
We had a joyous dinner with special guests Reirin (the priest who performed our wedding ceremony last year) and her friend Jim. As well as my best friend Lacey, her boyfriend Ronald and his parents who were visiting from France and just so happened to have joined us last year! It's becoming a great tradition. They even invited us to France for next year.
I could go on and on about the holiday joys. We ate lots of meat, drank coffee with Bailey's, played more cards, stayed in our pajamas 'til 2pm, read from the book "Stupid Things Republicans and Democrats Said" laughing until we were crying and more. But all the while we felt the gap where Vince and Moody should have been and we started to plan how to get on schedule where we could spend every other Christmas together and in the other Christmas we could spend it with partners' families. We did get to see them a few days later and that was great too. More helicopters (of course Vince had to get a bigger one :-), a visit to Dharma Trading company, cards, etc.
Finally New Years Eve arrived. Austin and I decided to stay at Green Gulch and help with the annual event. More like Austin committed to help with many things and I was...uh...backup. Very low key. The next morning, the first morning of 2013 was lovely. We have a procession (think Zen second line) to all the altars of Green Gulch and end at the Suzuki Roshi memorial to toast the new year with sake. Then we all have delish breakfast and Green Gulch goes into official vacation mode. So it is noon on a Thursday and I am still in my pajamas. But I have brushed my teeth just to be a little responsible in 2013.
Happy New Year! Who knows what's in store but there will be another practice period, a trip to Mexico, becoming staff at Green Gulch perhaps, a jukai ceremony where I formally set my intention for living my life with the Buddhist precepts as a guide, my dad's 70th birthday, and many other surprises. XOXOXO to all and to all a good year!