Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Celebrating the Solstice

The sun, nearing winter solstice, travels low across the sky in a multiple-exposure picture made in Maine in 2002.  (photo: NatGeo)

Cool pic, eh?  So, yesterday was the Winter Solstice and it's official: we're all in winter now.  Yays, and all that.  I suppose most people in the eastern half of the country don't need an announcement to confirm winter's arrived... all that white stuff piled up in your driveways and beside the road should be enough, eh?   

So... we gave some thought Sunday about an impromptu trip to Stonehenge to celebrate the solstice, knowing as we do it's a right good time and big party occasion.  The Second Mrs. Pennington and I DID think about driving down that way on the solstice (both winter and summer) when we lived in Ol' Blighty but we somehow never got around to it... and we were MUCH closer then than I am now.  And then there's the somewhat inconvenient fact my passport expired five years ago.  So:  the trip was a non-starter from the git-go.  There are home-grown alternatives to the original, like Carhenge up in Nebraska or the Cadillac Ranch... a mere two hours from where I sit.  I don't think either locations are big party sites, what with being a lil short on Druids and/or other types of pantheists, and I wasn't all that fired up for a drive... even one of only two hours duration... so we threw those alternatives to the wayside as well.  

In favor of laundry.  Yep, we celebrated the solstice by doing our quarterly batch of laundry, only this time we washed about 80% of the clothes we own instead of the usual 98.2%.  Incremental improvements are a Good Thing, Gentle Reader.  Our goal is to do laundry on a monthly basis at some point in time and we're getting nearer.  Some day...

The other Good Thing about laundry these days is it's really, truly a celebration of sorts.  Daughter-in-law Erma and I sat out in her garage smoking cigars and drinking beer while her machines sloshed, thrashed, and tumbled my clothes to a clean and dry state.  We also celebrated by firing up SN1's Big-Ass Harley and letting it serenade us with its basso profundo potato-potato-potato chorus for about 20 minutes.  During which time all conversation ceased, coz that thing is LOUD.  But we digress.

Three beers and two cigars later... the laundry was done.  We moved the party...which by now included granddaughter Felicity, grandson Sean, great-granddaughter Mya, and The First Mrs. Pennington (who broomed flew in from California this past week for a visit with Erma and Family*) to Cattle Baron, a local purveyor of big-ass slabs of red meat and good beer.  And yes, we did have a generous portion of prime rib done rare accompanied by a perky pint of Fat Tire and topped off with coffee and cheesecake.  And it was good. 

We went right to bed when we returned to El Casa Móvil De Pennington... and slept the sleep of the just (knowing ALL your clothes are clean will do that) until about 45 minutes ago, which explains why I'm posting at oh-dark-twenty.  But six hours of sleep is enough for anyone, eh?

* TFMP could have gone to Stonehenge, yet chose to come to Portales.   Go figure.


  1. Are ya bein' a bit snarky these days what with the "broom" comment? Clean clothes, beer, prime rib, and cigars seems to have put you in some sort of mood. There is just something about not going to a public laundry that boosts the spirit!

    I heard on the news last night that a woman in TX shot two of her neighbors during an arguement. Then she shot her husband when he tried to restrain her. For some reason the news blurb made me laugh - kind of like your broom comment.

  2. This post had me chuckling lightly all the way thru.

    And you'd be right about those of us here in the NorthEast not needing any reminder that we are indeed in winter.

    15 inches of snow in my yard; 18 degrees when I woke up this morning. It's a bright and gorgeous day - with the big cornflower blue sky that only comes in winter. Can't let that fool ya cuz it is a cold day with a deep chill wind of about 20 mph.

    You know, if you can only do laundry once every few months, it sounds like the way you do it is the best way.

  3. My girlfriend (I mean Spousal Unit)and I made it to Stonehenge in the middle of December, but we purposely missed the Solstice because I prefer to stay away from the nutjob crowds. It snowed while we were there.

    I think it's nice that your first can come by and that you both are on friendly terms. That's a good thing!

    Go buy something fun and frivolous!

  4. Lou: Yeah, the broom comment is sorta out of character, ain't it? But all in good fun. Heh.

    Kris: I'm glad your day is bright, if cold. My quarterly laundry schedule is mere laziness, not a function of can or can't... more like won't.

    Darryl: Somewhere in these pages is a shot of TSMP, my friend Kim, and I at Stonehenge in December. It was freakin' COLD that day, with the sort of damp, chilly, and penetrating fog that only seems to exist in Ol' Blightly. Stonehenge in summer is MUCH more pleasant, even with the crowds.

    re: TFMP and I. We're on polite terms. Friendly might be pushing things. ;-)

  5. We have a Stonehenge up this way in Maryhill, WA. To wit:


    It was built as a memorial to local soldiers killed in the First World War. It's out in the middle of nowhere, on the Columbia River.

  6. You're a brave man. I happen to know that TFMP has the skills and ability to turn you into a pretzel. Things that we males find humorous is often times taken as a war cry to our ladies. My own lovely Bride has the ability to destroy my peaceful almost instantly. She has forgone the broom since she developed the ability to hover and the only sign I get is the subtle rolling of the eyes before the maelstrom strikes. That brief second of warning has saved my most favorite appendages from violent removal... Be wary my friend, be wary. Merry Christmas all, and have a happy, safe New Year.

  7. Ok, however many ex-wives and all, I get lost, but you're still alive, so it must all be all right.

    But let's get back to this once a month laundry thing!! The concept might be all well and good, but in the grand scheme of thy small, yet charming I'm sure, humble abode -- where do all these dirty clothes
    pile up? Humpf. You left that part out.

  8. Laundry and ex-wives. Yeah.

    I have eaten many, many chicken fried steaks in the Cattle Baron. Does Jeff still own the joint?

  9. BR: Thanks for that link... I had no idea.

    Dan: re: TFMP. The key is in knowing who reads you... or, more to the point, who doesn't. ;-) But you're probably right... TFMP isn't renowned for her sense of humor, even though I AM joking.

    Kath sez: however many ex-wives and all, I get lost...

    It's reasonably easy to keep track, as there are only two. There will never be a third...

    -- where do all these dirty clothes pile up? Humpf. You left that part out.

    They don't "pile up." The dirty bits are tightly rolled and packed very carefully in the Mom of All Laundry Bags, which is about the same size as this, only larger. The bag sits unobtrusively in a corner until full or slightly overflowing... which is about three months worth of dirty clothes - worst case.

    Gordon: I have NO idea who owns Cattle Baron... I'll ask my DIL.

  10. Figured you had a better plan than just an overflowing hamper!! :)

    Just checking!

  11. Buck and Gordon, I also noticed the Cattle Baron was the steakhouse of choice. I have eaten there when we used to come to the big horse sales in Clovis (mini vacations). I've eaten at the one in Ruidoso.


Just be polite... that's all I ask.