I have already talked about my recurring desk envy. But Walla Walla, WA is a town made for house envy of the Western American kind.
I did not know anything about the American Craftsmen architecture style before my parents moved there and the city is full of it. Beginning in the late 19th century in Britain and continuing into the 1930s, it was developed as a sort of revolution against the ornate and stuffy “Victorian” architecture and proved very popular in West Coast America. It encouraged handicraft and functionality, often featuring large front porches, open living spaces with connected kitchens (as opposed to separate servants quarters in Victorian houses) and built-in closets and cabinets.
The last photo here is an example of Craftsmen style. The rest show how much variety you can find in small town America vs the “suburban America” like you see in the movies. If you are ever in Eastern Washington or Oregon State, pop into Walla Walla and have a look around. If not for the architecture, then for the WINE… (post to follow tomorrow.)
Christmas at the Henderson household has always been amazing. We are a one-present-on-Christmas-Eve (ok, last night we cheated and opened two) all-others-on-Christmas-morning kind of family. Fires in the fireplace. Padding around the house in slippers. No alarm clocks for days. Bowls of green and red M&Ms scattered about the house. Long midday walks and massive cooking sessions in the kitchen. Amazing Beef Wellingtons and experimental desserts. The cat jumps in the wrapping paper and the dog gets so overexcited he has to rest his face wherever he can find a spot.
But this year’s highlight was undoubtedly the limericks my Mom wrote on all of our packages which had us in stitches.
For a pair of gloves:
“I really think these are so awesome
And the moment that I saw some
I was smitten I confess
And so I bought them for our Jess”
For a shirt my brother requested:
“You’ll feel joy and never anger
When you see this upon a hanger
It will be a perfect fit
because I did not order it!”
And another shirt:
“This is a present that you chose
On your computer, I suppose
If I’d known how, I would have hacked it
So Christmas wouldn’t be so anti-climactic!”
And a lovely new coat:
“Some warmth against the London cold
In colors that are not too bold
And also Shoreditch – apropos -
From Steve your dad and your mom Mo”
A new Christmas tradition has been born! Merry Christmas, everyone :)
8 months ago I found myself standing in front of the airport in Johannesburg fighting back tears. The two week trip that was ending – my first to Africa – had left me stunned: overwhelmed with how beautiful and generous but also how brutal and unfair the world can be. The tears just snuck up on me.
8 months later, I found myself in my apartment in London, again fighting back tears at the news that the world has lost Nelson Mandela. And thoughts of South Africa are overwhelming me again.
Because I am still baffled by how complicated a country it is. You can’t fully grasp that kind of complexity on a vacation. Everything was amplified in South Africa: the countryside, the personalities, the politics, the pride, the divisions. I couldn’t ask enough questions when I was there. I couldn’t see enough to understand it.
Perhaps my tears are apprehensive, because I have listened to so much talk of what is at stake. Maybe they are tears of happiness – because I feel lucky to have come to love a country in such an amazingly short amount of time. Maybe I am sad because we need more Mandelas in this world.
For now, I will simply settle to let the tears come for an evening and remember a great champion and a beautiful country I wish I could go back to.