Holiday schedules

Both the town office and the library will be closed Friday, Jan. 1 in observance of New Year’s Day. However, the library will be open Saturday, Jan. 2, regular hours, 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. All local schools will also be closed Friday, Jan. 1 with normal schedules resuming Monday, Jan. 4, 2010.

Town meetings

The Ordinance Review Committee will meet Tuesday, Jan. 5 at 7 a.m. and the Mid-Coast Solid Waste Committee will meet Wednesday, Jan. 6 at 7 p.m. Next week, the Library Committee will meet Thursday, Jan. 7 at 3 p.m. and the Conservation Committee will meet Friday, Jan. 8 at 8 a.m. All meetings are at the town office unless otherwise specified.

Books, plus

Wednesday, Jan. 6 the library book group facilitated by Jenni Ruddy will meet from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the library and discuss the January selection, “A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian” by Marina Lewycka. Contact the library at 236-3642 to reserve your copy. New members are always welcome. For information about programs, the library or special events, call 236-3642 or visit www.rockport.lib.me.us.

Merryspring

Watercolor classes return to Merryspring with Lesia Sochor, a graduate of the Philadelphia College of Art, who co-founded the Art Annex in Belfast and currently teaches at the Toddy Pond School. She illustrated “The Cat of Strawberry Hill” and “A Moose’s Morning,” two delightful children’s books. She’ll present four classes on Thursdays from 9 a.m. to noon beginning Jan. 7. Preregistration is required with limited class size. To register please call 236-2239 or e-mail info@merryspring.org.

Already fun

It’s nice for a change to have something frivolous to disagree about. What to call the new year, 2010, is shaping up to be quite the discussion with intellectual rationales and even wonderfully humorous explanations why one or the other is correct. How about you? Will it be “twenty ten” or “two thousand ten”? I’m of the thought if it’s “nineteen ten” then it should be “twenty ten.” We’re already hearing both on television and radio and it’s fun to note who does it which way. So far there’s no pattern that I can discern.

Night skies

New Year’s Eve, Thursday, Dec. 31, we’ll see the only “Blue Moon” of 2009. As mentioned in previous columns, the simple explanation of the “Blue Moon” phenomenon is that it’s the second full moon in any calendar month. I’ve already let go of the original theory – way too convoluted and unnecessary (for me) information.

Simple gifts

This year, my “I can do that/get that done” list of things to do and accomplish by Christmas exceeded reality. Christmas Eve Day found me in tears by 10 a.m. when I realized I just might possibly get everything finished, but I wouldn’t finish putting the ornaments on the tree until close to midnight when Eric and Hannah were scheduled to arrive from their flight from Baltimore and drive from Manchester, but I was so fatigued the chore seemed daunting and the tears came.

I’d earlier that day asked friends Sue and Bob to stop by for tea time and cookie tray pickup. I’d mentioned to Sue that almost everything was done, except for the tree ornaments and garlands. When she and  Bob arrived with their daughter Sarah and their son Zach and his wife, Lenka, I was ushered into an easy chair in the living room where trays of ornaments awaited placement and voila! The hundreds of ornaments lovingly collected for more than 50 years were placed on the tree with loving care in record time as I watched overwhelmed, speechless and in awe.

The tree itself was already a gift — friends Milt and Phyllis had been growing beautiful balsams from tiny seedlings for years with the idea of those trees becoming Christmas trees. Last year Milt decided it was time to start using the trees and had the perfect tree just for us. But last Christmas Alan was recovering from a major illness and there was just no room for a tree in our life (for the first time ever for me). But this year, we were ready and Milt not only cut the tree and brought it to us, he helped me get it in that sturdy, “at least-two-person stand.” I managed in subsequent days between cookie making batches to get the multi strands of LED miniature lights on the tree.

Every time I look at the tree or even think about the tree, I once again experience a tremendous feeling of warmth and gratitude and love. This gift of our 2009 Christmas tree, from the hearts of four of our best friends — the tree itself and the decorating — is a gift that will live in my heart forever. Blessed be.

Reflections

This time of year, I take the time post hustle and bustle of December preparations for the holidays to reflect on so many people, so many events from the past year as well as much farther back. I never know what holiday song, what snowstorm or clear, bright sunny day or what batch of cookies or so many other things may trigger the memories, good or bad, but they live abundantly.

Sometimes some of the memories scare me, very definitely humble me, because it seems that so far our immediate and extended family seem pretty much blest, if not without our share of major bad times, at least coming through those times (mostly health related bad times) healed and stronger. And every week or so it seems that I personally receive some unexpected gift of kindness from someone in my life, family or friends or at times, even strangers. My only 2010 resolution (again!) is to be more present and to take more time to truly savor and more deeply acknowledge those gifts of kindness and the people responsible for them. How about you? Anybody out there who makes resolutions for the new year? Any luck each year keeping the resolutions?