Quiet Light

comments: 51

Light1If only early morning could last all day. I love it so much. In the summer, I sit in the backyard as early as I can, when the sound of the highway miles away is all I hear. I pretend it is the white noise of the ocean, that dull, full clatter.

In winter, I'm inside, watching the windows go from black to ultraviolet to, at last, gray, occasionally blue. Usually gray. I get up early. When I was in school or working in offices, I never got enough sleep. I hated morning so much. I was a crabby riser, a crabby showerer, a crabby dresser, and very crabby hair-doer. It's my least-favorite daily activity, by far. My dream is to one day get one of those dryers like at the beauty parlor, where you sit under the thing and it gently poufs up your head while you read People. Whenever they tell me I'm "done" there, I leave so reluctantly it's pathetic. I stare back at the chair while they lead me over to the . . . mirror. No. Nooooo. Just let me stay in that warm, gently blowing chair and read. Some day I'm gonna get me one o' them things, I swear. It would be so nice, especially in the winter, when, seriously, who on earth wants to be blasting oneself with the monstrous hand-held hairdryer in the pitch-black depths of 6 a.m., while standing? Gah. The alternative is air-drying, and having a head that looks like a Weeble (as in, they "wobble" but don't fall down; as in "hair, plastered to one's cone-shaped skull" [at least, they used to look like that — I don't even know if they still make them] ) for the rest of the (very long) day. Anyway. Nevermind. Let's look at the next pretty picture.

Light5Ahhh. Better. Why would you want to disturb the silence of that. You wouldn't. Which is why you should always grind your coffee and set up the coffee maker before you go to bed. Better yet, let the hubby do that. He makes better coffee. Speaking of, he won't be drinking coffee anytime soon. The whole "I feel better today . . . I think" thing turned out to be a cruel illusion; what he feels is actually worse, which is why he is still upstairs in bed, having called in sick to work again (after having gotten sent home from it yesterday), claiming that the only way he feels okay is if he stays completely horizontal. I'm starting to worry. He's on the BRAT diet: bananas, rice, applesauce, toast. Dry toast, no butter. I can see why, when your stomach feels as tender as a toddler's, it might be appealing to know that only soft, white things are going into it. A call to the doctor is probably in order today, alas.

For the rest of us, here's a recipe for (Bis)Quick Applesauce Muffins that we always made growing up. It's no Santa Lucia breakfast, but I dare you to eat just one:

2 c. Bisquick
1/4 c. sugar
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 c. applesauce
1 slightly beaten egg
2 T. vegetable oil
Melted butter
Cinnamon sugar

Mix ingredients together for 30 seconds. Fill muffin pans 3/4 full. Bake for 12 10 minutes at 400 degrees F. Cool slightly, then dip top lightly in melted butter, then in cinnamon sugar. I don't remember how many they make, maybe Makes a dozen. I'm going to go make them so I'll let you know. Photos tomorrow [munch munch].

Light6Speaking of Betty Crocker, the inventor of Bisquick, how adorable are these little tree cookies. I will make them the second I get caught up. I'm all about the packaged sugar-cookie dough. My favorite Christmas cookies, hands down, are the kind you see at kid's school parties: sugar cookie with buttercream frosting and a few sprinkles. I like the stars, frosted in all sorts of pastels, with glittery bits. Maybe I'll do trees and stars. There are so many things I want to do.

But not until I get all my work done. I know it doesn't seem like it with all the dancing, and dolls, and dogs, and barfing, but I have been working like crazy to get all the orders that came in on the 4th and since the 4th out. There have been an almost-overwhelming number of orders this month so . . . please don't panic if you haven't received yours yet; I haven't forgotten you, I promise. Almost anything with a bird in it still has yet to leave the studio, but will be flying the coop in the next couple of days. Orders that came in after the 4th will be going out this week, too. I'll officially "close" on the 15th for a few weeks. So any orders placed between the December 15th and December 31st will not go out until around January 9, 2007.

Wow. 2007. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense." I like to think that about a new year, too.



am I honestly the first commenter??

I love this post, early morning is my time of the day, I crave being in it, preferable alone, for just a bit. I sure hope Andy feels better soon. I can't remember the last time I threw up, but I know it wasn't fun.

I found the most amazing cookie sprinkles this weekend. Can I send you some? They are worth mailing, truly. THAT AMAZING! xo

Thanks for the cool soothing early morning pictures. My hubby and I usually get up at 5:00. He does it because he doesn't need much sleep, and always seems to have some pressing computer project that lends itself to the wee dark hours. I get up that early because I discovered a few years ago that I'm at my most productive before noon. I am capable of some activity from noon to 4:00 and then there's a big energy crash... right when I have to start teaching my students. So, if I want to get anything done, I need to get up early.

Your description of sick Andy was so funny that I thought about it and giggled a few times yesterday :)

I have NEVER been a morning person either. Detest it. Im one of those procrastinators that sets her alarm for some weird time because if I hit my snooze 3 times, it will still go off at the time I need to get up. LOL.

Love the link to the tree cookies. Im a preschool teacher and Im going to make these tonight for the kids tomorrow as a take home treat after their party.

Just curious, have you seen any Ina holiday recipes???

Oh few! Maybe there is hope for me yet. My son started public school last year. But he started at noon! Kindergarten. This year I have been forced from my sleep until your rested morning plan. I figured after a bit we would wake up at 7:15 all ready to go. Ugggh. 4 months later he is still an average of ten minutes late because I keep hitting sooze.
I have school anxiety and just know the teacher is thinking...."You know you really need to value your son's education!" I know...I know. In fact just this morning his dad go thim to school by er...umm..9:00! Woops. SNooze again. Bad, Bad mummies & daddies.
So your post makes me think there will come a day when we will spring happily from the bed!
And I totally agree about cofee grinders, hair dryers and the worst of morning offenders, my vitamix blender!

before the advent of hand-held hair dryers, my mom bought a used beauty shop hair dryer that came attached to it's own chair. the up and down height adjuster was broken and set permanently on the lowest level so we all had to sit with our feet stuck straight out in front of us and our posture mangled. i fell asleep in that chair more than once and woke up with a horrible crick in my neck, but what i wouldn't give for one of those models now. it seems like a terrific waste of time to dry my hair for 15 minutes each and every day when there are so many other purposeful things i could be accomplishing with that time.

What you need is one of those huge conehead/hatbox hair dryers like I lugged off to college (yes, I am ancient) and spent much time sitting under while reading sociology texts.

Thank you for sharing some early-morning quiet time with us.

My husband and I have decided that it is not in my DNA make up to enjoy the mornings. Or even really be awake in the morning. I just move along in a coffee and cheerios haze until noon and then I am good to go. I am more of a night person. While you like to sit in the backyard and watch the day unfold, I like to sit in our backyard and watch the slip away. I love the feeling of sitting outside after dinner with a cup of tea or coffee (the latter of which my husband makes divinely and I can't make at all) watching my son run around and play. I especially love the cool evenings in fall when the leaves are turning and a hot day slowly becomes crisp and cool. Divine!

Lovely post as usual, my dear!

Chris Howard says: December 13, 2006 at 09:33 AM

Poor sweet Andy :( Okay hon, you don't need to worry so much about the food as you do the liquid. Make sure he is getting enough water and that it is staying in his system. Check his pulse periodically, if it drops a below normal it's off to the hospital ASAP. Otherwise, it's best to just let him work it out of his system on his own.

Oh, and I'm not a doctor nor do I play one on TV. My BFF is a physician, and that was the advice he gave me when hubby had that 24- hour barf fest. We managed to weather it without a trip to the emergency room.

Hope Andy feels better and you get to enjoy all the Christmas fun! No worries about my birdies!

quiet light.
we got up at 4AM to take my spouse in for surgery.
it was quiet heading into the city.
even calm.
anything seems possible at that time of day.
early morning seems sacred & full of mystery to me.

you inspire.

I am a political consultant in LA, you can imagine how different our lives are...yet, everyday I get to read your blog (please post everyday or I will suffer) and feel very close to a community of women who are truly inspiring. I cannot wait to join you. Anything with Bisquick is a good idea.

Drats! That dreaded winter illness has plagued your sweet man! Well, I hope Andy has a speedy recovery. Get well soon Andy.

Alicia, you reminded me of one of my favorite memories writing about salon hairdryers. When I was between 5-9 years old was my favorite time growing up. My sister who is 11 years older than me was still living at home. Every Saturday afternoon I took a bath and my sister would put my long locks in those soft, pink, foam rollers and then I got to sit under her hair dryer (which was a home version of those salon dryers). All of this took place in her wonderful, purple and white bedroom. I got to stay in there and listen to Mo-Town and read fashion magazines while she got ready to go out with friends. It was usually a guarantee that I would fall asleep. Actually, there are several pictures of me fast asleep with that "shower cap" on my head. Ah... I love my sister!

If my sister still had that fabulous dryer in it's fabulous aqua-suitcase-like-carrying case I'd gift it to you. You could craft for hours with that drying your hair.

lovley alicia, what can't you do? all this christmas loveliness (despite the barfing) and you are still erudite enogh to quote Emerson.

your charming origami ballon s inspried me to get off my booty and make some myself. go see, they turned out sweet!

ps: my home remedy for barfing: medicinial grade charcoal caps and recharge popsicles (summer) sipping miso broth (winter). and I am a doctor.

Oh, wow! You don't know how happy you've made me. A muffin recipe with NO milk!!!! Those are so hard to come by and I totally love muffins.
As to the BRAT diet--ICK! I have Crohn's so I am always being put on that thing. I hate it. At first you are too sick to eat anything anyway and don't care and don't want it and then by the time you start feeling better you totally don't want that bland nasty stuff. I hope your hubby feels better soon.
Oh, and the pictures are so peaceful and pretty today.

Lovely Emerson quote, I will try to remember that every night as I go to bed. Maybe I should embroider it on a pillow or something?

And yes, they do still make Weebles. But they are *so* not the same. Very sad. Go check them out, you'll see what I mean.

Take care, Andy, it will get better, it will get better, it will get better!

You know I thought i was the only one who ground the coffee in the coffee maker the night before so I wouldn't have to listen to that sound first thing in the morning at 4 a.m.!

Sounds more like Noro-virus. My son had that last spring and it was NASTY! Lasted about 3 days.

That last photo - the rag ball on the right there? I have that same thing on my tree! It was an Amy Butler craft featured in Country Living magazine about 2 years ago. Right? And last year, I gathered up all the supplies - large styrofoam balls, strips of pretty fabric, pins, beads, and ribbons - and had my whole Birthday Club make them after our lunch one day. It was fun but I don't think I ever posted photos of the best ones. I like your's.

"My dream is to one day get one of those dryers like at the beauty parlor, where you sit under the thing and it gently poufs up your head while you read People."

Well, your dream can come true - http://cgi.ebay.com/New-Professional-Salon-Hair-Hood-Stand-Up-Dryer-606F_W0QQitemZ290059146485QQihZ019QQcategoryZ11858QQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem
There are actually quite a few dryers on ebay, including those tabletop models from years ago. Happy drying!

sorry andy is still sick. bleh.

jeff's grandma had a hair blower chair she got from a beauty salon clad in olive and gold vinyl. she used it everytime she washed her hair...which for some reason she only did twice a week.

why do Nana's and Gramma's seem to only get their hair washed when they go to the hairdresser? and how is it that the hairdo lasts for a week? hmmmmmm.......

Poor Andy--it does sound like that cruise ship virus, but without the fun of the cruise. I had it last year and it was no fun.

Thank you for the quiet beauty in your pictures. Early morning is such a hopeful time of the day, don't you think? My favorite time of day is around 4 pm, but only if it's been a happy, productive sort of day. Otherwise, I'll take early morning. Feel better, Andy!

Tea is good too when you are on the brat diet.

I love how real you are when you admit to using packaged cookie dough. I just blogged about how we all seem to be living in this glossy magazine type world where coffee cost $3 a cup, blah blah blah.

You say the things I'm thinking all the time. Maybe that's why I feel like you are so real.

poor andy probably has a rotavirus. it is going around portland. i had it last year and thought i had food poisoning (from a restaurant i frequent and love) but when my toddler started barfing a little later i realized we had a gross tummy bug. i hope he feels better soon.

Oh my mother still has one of those hairdryers. I used to hate it when I was little, but love it now. With a good project I can sit there for hours (or like you when I am at the salon, I get all warm and comfy and then think-- "what, I have to get up!").

Thank you for the recipe. I am going to have to try those. I may just do that this weekend.. when I DO NOT have to get up at 5 am. I, like you cannot stand the morning. I can do it.. but I am always tired and feel so rushed. That is why I love snow days.. I get to stay home, nowhere to go, no need to put on clothes. Just comb your hair (hmm, well do put on the bra). Fix some cocoa for Em, coffee for me and just enjoy being together and not having to hurry to go somewhere. I think I really miss that part of life.. the one where you don't have to be somewhere. I am not very good with the rushed part of life and really fear what things will be like when I am a little old lady... I will probably have to move to Europe and live in some little old village! LOL

I am so sorry Andy is still not feeling any better. I sure hope he gets to feeling better soon! How is little Miss Audrey?

Have a wonderful St. Lucia day!!

My friend and I are both morning people and sometimes we like to meet for coffee at 6. I think we feel a little smug for being up and cheerful before everyone else we know. He calls the time between 6 and 9 AM "the ternary" and considers it the best time of day, after which it's all downhill to dusk, or "the zero hour."

Feel better, Andy!

I adore getting up early - 5am usually. It is so quiet in my house at that time. I think I enjoy some time to myself before the kids wake, just to think about the day and get some computer work done before the kids are trying to push me off it. I have no idea what Bisquick is - can't get it over here - but I googled it and I think I can work it out...kind off. I'll give the muffins a go anyway and cross my fingers!

Hope the hubby feels better soon. I think the nurse needs a Dr. And oh, those Weebles. How I loved those little round wobbly people. How I would love to be 7 again. Thanks for the trip down memory lane. I'm off to finish some baking today, cherry pie. And maybe those cookies!

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About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at aliciapaulson.com




Since August of 2011 I've been using a Canon EOS 60D with an EF 18-200mm kit lens and an EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens.