Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Card Of The Mind --

Yesterday, for a little while, I took the nostalgia trip down the lane of Christmas Past. When I was very young, my paternal grandmother played a prominent role in things festive. She was a wonderful pal and playmate and really enjoyed talking and drawing and glueing and cutting out paper shapes at the kitchen table. She had a nice smile that made her eyes twinkle. Her eyes were kind of almond-shaped (like mine are). Living in Connecticut, we usually had snow for the holidays; in fact, we often had a lot of snow ... and in Connecticut, it can hang around into mid-April, in layers of old, crusty re-frozen, and new snow. Anyway, my mother had a great sense of humor when it came to what Santa would put in the "stockings hung by the (pretend) chimney (we didn’t have a fireplace) with care". Every Christmas, there would be an apple, an orange, a "book" of Lifesaver candies, and a tube of toothpaste, among other little trinkets! Sometimes on Christmas Eve, my father would walk around the outside of the house, jingling bells, especially as he passed my bedroom window. He did it mostly to have fun, though it was under the guise of cautioning me that Santa was approaching and all should be quiet in the house. So I would always comment, the next day, that I’d heard Santa, and I know my father was delighted. My mother would cook a big dinner on Christmas. Actually, I remember thinking of the season that ran from Thanksgiving to Christmas to New Year’s Day as "The Big Three" in terms of her dinners. We always stayed home for these holidays and our house was like a train station – with friends and relatives trudging up the hill by foot or, occasionally, driving up the hill if there wasn’t fresh snow or ice on it. It was a different time then, unhurried, and not very commercial in those days preceding malls and discount stores. Memories of Christmas Past bring a mix of feelings, especially as we recall the people, things, ways, that have exited – and smile at those that now grace ... our lives. It all makes a colorful, picturesque, and mindful holiday card.

The Leaf-Blower's Concert --

Don’t you just love the sound of a leaf-blower during dinner? The man across the street has, what I’ve long-ago decided, a fetish for his leaf-blower. Blowing his real and imaginary leaves is something he does recreationally in all seasons, as well as when the trees actually are shedding. Yesterday, our holiday dinner was accompanied by the loud, monotonous drone (non-lilting strains) of the leaf machine. Well, his yard is always tidy, so I look on that bright side...and turn on a music CD.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Holiday Greetings~~

As you may know (if you've been following my blog), this has been an especially different kind of year for me and has provided me with new and major opportunities for growth, introspection, enlightened perspective, and even humor!

Escaping the church shootings with traumatic, yet minor injuries (compared to the severe injuries and deaths of other people), I've realized more than ever, during the months since that day in July, that the cadence of time keeps rolling along and we need to make the most of every minute of every hour of every day of our lives. Each moment is special and precious, even those moments that seem, on the surface, to be quite ordinary.

I wish you a joyous, merry, awesome holiday season and a new year of peace, health, love and light ...

Celebrate life!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Just Thinking ...

At this time of the year, regardless of one’s religious or spiritual persuasion, it’s a tough time for people who have experienced or are going through the throes of loss – whether loss of a loved one through death or other separation, loss of a job, or in these troubled economic times – loss of their home or their retirement funds. It’s also a hard time to be dealing with illness. I’ve heard from two very dear people recently that they’ve been sick with shingles, that grown-up off-shoot of chickenpox. Another friend just lost his job. Job loss means not only lost income, but also a lost part of one’s identity; I remember that well, when I had that experience five years ago. Changing horses, career paths, and philosophies can follow on the heels of a lost job; happily, my friend has plans for training in a new and wonderful career! However we approach the festivities of the holiday season, there will be, for most of us, that thread of seriousness as we look back, look forward, and touch base with our values. Our values – maybe that’s what it’s really all about.

Just Wondering ...

Remember when (long ago and far away), during December, kids would say "Jingle Bells, Santa smells, Easter’s on the way"? Can anyone tell me: Do they still do that?

OK ...

A while ago I asked Jerry if there was anything he’d like me to write about in my blog. I added, "it can be silly, it can be serious, it can be outrageous". That last one was meant to be a joke but he honed in on it and said, "Yup"! He tends to be more conservative than I am. I gingerly use the word "conservative" because I’ve grown allergic to it, though I’m not using the word here in a political or religious sense. I don’t know (and I've often wondered) if he considers me to be fool-hardy or very brave. There is, after all, a thin, fuzzy line between those attributes!

The Cars Go By, Splish-Splash –

Well, this a perfect day for the Rainy Day Blues in east Tennessee. My backyard has become Lake Landau, with little islands of grass sticking up, here and there. My dog looks at me quizzically when I call her to go outside. "Why don’t you turn this stuff off"? I can read her thoughts. I gaze across the street at the huge oak trees on the hillside and hope that their roots have a very firm grip, deep into the earth (which is becoming very soggy).

As the song suggests, I did have my "cup of tea", though, and "sit by the window and let my thoughts drift quietly", for a little while -- but not long enough. There is something that feels very romantic and dreamy about a gray, rainy day ... it’s always been that way for me.