Celebrating Light and Santa Lucia

Tonight I enjoyed my first Festival of Light, also known as Santa Lucia Festival. I have been attending St John’s Lutheran Church and when I saw the announcement I decided to host a party.

Selecting children’s book for kindergarteners at the Avid Reader.

First we met at the Avid Reader and bought books for Ms. Watson’s kindergarten class in Loleta, CA. It is always fun to browse storybooks and to choose a book to match a child’s interest. My friends and their children were such enthusiastic shoppers that we had extra books.

We returned to my house for a light supper and finished wrapping the books. Then we walked to St John’s for the service. The sanctuary was full of beautiful lights. We were all given a candle on our way in. I was full of excitement!

Festival of Lights at St John’s Lutheran Church. Santa Lucia is in the center.

The service was chock full of special music from the children’s choir, young adults, and Celebration Singers. The last song was the most catchy as we sang:

Deep in the north’rn sky bright stars are beaming;

Christmas is drawing nigh, candles are gleaming.

Glad in her garment white, wearing her crown of light,

Sank-ta Lucia Sankta Lucia.

Glad in her garment white, wearing her crown of light,

Sank-ta Lucia Sankta Lucia.

Santa Lucia was so graceful with her crown of real candles

Our procession was led by Santa Lucia with her blazing crown of candles, followed by her court of attendants–all in white with red sashes. The littlest girl in white looked like she was less than 4 years old.

The festival is still a very popular tradition in Sweden where at this time of year it is dark almost all day. A festival of light does not have the same impact in California. In the USA, it is remembered by Swedes in Lutheran churches and at Sons of Norway meeting halls.

It is a lovely reminder of the hope that our faith offers and a big dose of beauty.

Mooching Around Midtown Sacramento

I moved to midtown Sacramento to be in one of the liveliest places in Sacramento, which is not saying much in a relatively sleepy place. It is the first Sactown neighborhood to re-embrace mixed use with restaurants and shops on the first floor and apartment living above. Plus it hosts the Second Saturday for Art events and a lot of other celebrations. It is loud and lively most every night from Thursday through Saturday.

Hoping for a kinder, friendlier police force.
Hoping for a kinder, friendlier police force.

I chose this light and spacious apartment 2 floors above the Rind restaurant to keep from becoming a hermit and to cycle to work and shopping (even more than in Davis).  I am finding that I interact with all sorts of people much more here. Just now as I type I can hear a duo busking with their guitars in front of Capitol Dime bar. I compare it to my experiences in Chelsea NYC.

My dog Lulu also gets me out of the house 3-4 times a day. And this week I am caring for Dozer and so my life is dominated by the dogs’ schedule–something I call living in dogtown. People are very interested in the dogs and this opens conversation as well as providing an excuse to cut it short and move on.

Beautifully restored home and garden near where I worked in the 1990s.
I used to walk past this dilapidated home and garden in the 90s and imagine how I would restore it. Someone else has done it beautifully.

I am enjoying riding my cruiser to church and around town for shopping errands or picking up my mail. I need to get on Map My Ride and begin making longer rides. Indeed, to prepare for RAGBRAI I restarted Bike Your Butt Off by Selena Yeager and.Leslie Bonci.  It is 12 week program that will peak July 4.

I love the Saturday Farmers’ Market at 20th and K Streets. I shopped at the Davis Farmers’ Market, but now I have a decent kitchen. So I am cooking at home more and making an effort to eat more healthy and fresh foods.

I thought I would give myself a challenge of picking one activity out of Sactown Magazine or Sacramento Magazine and do it each month. It turns out I do not need an official challenge. I have been inspired to try new restaurants, drink coffee in new places, go to the movies more, and generally enjoy the neighborhood amenities. I shop at Time Tested Books instead of the Avid Reader. Monday I will go to a Rivercats baseball game and in a few weeks a soccer game. Now I have a local wool shop in Rumplestiltskin. There are so many places within just a few blocks to watch rugby that the upcoming World Cup will be awesome.

Every move gives an opportunity to purge belongings, create new patterns, and make new friends. It also takes a while for my molecules to settle again. I have not learned to sleep through the night noise yet so I am tired in the afternoons. I look forward to the return to normal levels of creativity and energy.

Mostly I am glad to be here in this present moment and to explore my new neighborhood as if I were living in a foreign land.

Coming up: The Handle District will host the second annual Dress Up, Wine Down on May 9th between 3 – 9:30 p.m. The block party will be on Capitol Avenue between 19th and 18th Streets for a fashion show and wine tasting. Free to the public, donation to WEAVE suggested.