Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas! Twinkling Lights in Santa Fe and Las Posadas!

Basilica of Saint Francis, Santa Fe

Merry Christmas!!! 

Hope you enjoy the lights from Santa Fe!
(two weeks ago!)

Lights in the main Plaza in Santa Fe, the night we arrived! ... before the snow!

My Mom and me all bundled!

There were Christmas decorations everywhere, and the farolitas on the tops of the buildings (very Santa Fe) were one of the reasons I wanted to go during the holidays! So pretty.  The traditional way of doing the farolitas, is to put sand in a paper bag with a candle, and though I saw a lot of examples of this, many buildings had electric versions. I mean, can you imagine lighting all those candles? But they had them right on the street! Here is a perfect example of the farolitas or Luminaria, below on the Inn and Spa at Loretto ...

We were driving by the Loretto and I hopped out to take this photo above and of their tree outside ...

The following 3 photos are of the little place we stayed The Inn of the Governors, which was only a few blocks from the main Plaza.

In my previous post I said we'd planned to go back to the swanky Inn of the Anasazi for a cocktail ...

Mission accomplished! REALLY good margaritas, but I had my tequila neat. ;)

Kind of hard to see the lobby but it was definitely casual elegance, Santa Fe style. It was just redone, and that's my mom standing there. Sorry it's so dark!

That was Saturday evening and all of the sudden we realized, we needed to get over to the Plaza, for Las Posadas!

I had thought it couldn't get any prettier but the snow made the Plaza even more magical!

Crowds were gathered for the annual Las Posadas, where everyone follows Mary and Joseph around the square, as they look for a Inn. There is singing and candles carried ...

In the above photo, that's Mary and Joseph on the left ...

As they make their way around the square, followed by guitars and singing, these devils show up, in second floor windows, balcony's and roofs, refusing them entry (I'm guessing because it was in Spanish.) and the crowd boo and wave their arms at the devils ...

Mom and Penny watching the devils (which were pretty funny actually!)

This funny devil comedian looked to be waring a Gryffindor scarf!?

Finally, Mary and Joseph make it to the Palace of the Governors (1610), an adobe structure which is the oldest continuously occupied public building in the United States!

And this time they were let in! And there was hot cider and cookies (for everyone!) and Christmas Carols in this big snowy courtyard. That's Mary, in the photo below, in the turquoise ... and do you see the little crescent moon above the building?

And there were all these little bonfires right on the ground! I think there were guards keeping a look out that no one fell into them.  Hard to tell, but that's my sister and Mom, below.

I had my sister take a picture of me with one of the funny "devils." (Which I refer to now as the "Gryffindor Devil.")

I don't know who this girl was but I appreciated her holiday spirit!

Here we are! It was a perfect weekend to be in Santa Fe!

This years Christmas Card ... the silliness continues!
That's my parrot, Beatrice, on my finger. 

May the magic of the season
inspire you 
and touch your heart,
opening it to even greater love.

Blessings and light!
Buon Natale!!!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

New Mexico at Christmastime and the Loretto Chapel!

Let it snow
Let it snow
Let it snow! 

Francesco de Asis Mission Church ~ Ranch de Taos

Weekend before last, my Mom, sister and I headed to Santa Fe for our first ever Mother Daughter trip! New Mexico was beautiful and I fell in love with Santa Fe and the little Mission Church in Rancho de Taos (seen in many photographs and painting by artists like Georgia O'Keeffe and Ansel Adams.)

There is so much to post about but since it's right before Christmas ... I thought I'd start with a Christmasy overview and the Loretto Chapel in Santa Fe which was so lovely, decorated for the holidays.

We arrived into Santa Fe on Friday evening, and Saturday late morning, we headed to the International Folk Art Museum and it started snowing! We were so excited, you'd think we'd never seen snow before! Living in Southern California we have snow in the local mountains but I rarely go up and there is just something so magical about it!

Nativity Scene from the Polish Set at the Folk Art Museum
(carved wood)

Nativity, Teodora Blanco
Santa Maria Atzompa, Oaxaca, Mexico, ca 1965

Mom outside the cafe on the Museum Hill ...

The next morning, the sun came out in Santa Fe and it was glorious!

Above and below are pictures taken at the New Mexico Museum of Art ...

Walking near the main plaza ...

This cape, below, cracked me up. I joked that I could wear it with fishnets for Christmas!

This, below, is one of the beautiful, famous, hotels in Santa Fe and we decided we'd have to go there and have a cocktail at some point. (We did.) Love the architecture and classy decorations ...

This, below, is in the little park area next to the basilica. It's hard to see but they've wrapped all the light posts, as well as the posts on the little buildings with Christmas greenery. So pretty!

It really looked like someone and come along and dusted everything in white for the holidays!

The Loretto Chapel
Built 1873-78

Below, the little tree outside the chapel where people have hung rosaries ...

The reason most people visit the Loretto Chapel, is this staircase, which is referred to as "The Miraculous Staircase."

From the Church Website ...

Two mysteries surround the spiral staircase in the Loretto Chapel: the identity of its builder and the physics of its construction.

When the Loretto Chapel was completed in 1878, there was no way to access the choir loft twenty-two feet above. Carpenters were called in to address the problem, but they all concluded access to the loft would have to be via ladder as a staircase would interfere with the interior space of the small Chapel.

Legend says that to find a solution to the seating problem, the Sisters of the Chapel made a novena to St. Joseph, the patron saint of carpenters. On the ninth and final day of prayer, a man appeared at the Chapel with a donkey and a toolbox looking for work. Months later, the elegant circular staircase was completed, and the carpenter disappeared without pay or thanks. After searching for the man (an ad even ran in the local newspaper) and finding no trace of him, some concluded that he was St. Joseph himself, having come in answer to the sisters' prayers.

The stairway's carpenter, whoever he was, built a magnificent structure. The design was innovative for the time and some of the design considerations still perplex experts today.

The staircase has two 360 degree turns and no visible means of support. Also, it is said that the staircase was built without nails—only wooden pegs. Questions also surround the number of stair risers relative to the height of the choir loft and about the types of wood and other materials used in the stairway's construction.

Over the years many have flocked to the Loretto Chapel to see the Miraculous Staircase. The staircase has been the subject of many articles, TV specials, and movies including "Unsolved Mysteries" and the television movie titled "The Staircase."

Needless to say, it was a magical time to be in Santa Fe! There is so much to show you but obviously I had to get to the charming "Christmas spirit photos" up first! I'm going to try to get the Christmas light/ Las Posadas (procession where Mary and Joseph look for an Inn) post up Christmas morning!

OH! I also wanted to share a clip from The Bells of Saint Mary's, which I watched the other night while addressing Christmas cards. I watch Going My Way pretty much every year in December, but somehow had never watched the follow up movie. Same central character of Father O'Malley played by Bing Crosby but this time he plays opposite the beautiful Ingrid Bergman who always looks like she glowing.

Anyway, I thought this Christmas play scene with tiny kids was so dang cute! It really does seem, in large part, to be improvised. Either way, it'll make you smile. 

 For more on the Loretto Chapel, click here

My idea of Christmas,
whether old-fashioned or modern,
is very simple: loving others.
~Bob Hope

Hope you are enjoying the holiday season!
Blessings and Light!