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Monday, January 9, 2017

January Days

I'm not sure what day this is,
Am I the only one?
The only thing I know for sure is
A new year has begun.

What is open? What is closed?
It is quite confusing
If I remain confused like this
At least I'll be amusing.
Last week was a short workweek, but those are the ones I find that I never seem to know what day it is.  Throw in a holiday on a Sunday and then try to figure out what businesses are observing the holiday on Monday, and which ones only closed on the actual holiday if at all, and it gets confusing if you're used to running on auto pilot.  I run pretty much on auto pilot, at least as far as the day of the week is concerned.

Dreary January days
Have us dreaming of the summer
Then we see they forecast
More cold and wind
Geez! What a bummer!
Well really, even though the days are getting slightly longer it seems that there are more cloudy days than sunny, and frequent forecasts for some type of frozen precipitation, freezing temperatures and wind.  When it's below freezing in temperature even just a light breeze makes it so much worse.  How much we miss those warm sunny days of summer when we are bundled up against the cold and expecting icy and snowy conditions!

January settles in with cold and snowy threats,
Those days when we complained of heat last summer we regret,
We don coats, hats, scarves and gloves and go about our lives,
Feeling sluggish as the worker bees hibernating in their hives.
Again, we were whiners last summer about the heat and humidity; right about now we would welcome that heat with open arms.  Oh to be relaxing in the shade of a big tree with a nice cold glass of iced tea and a good book right now!  I would miss the seasons if I moved somewhere that it was always hot, but the piercing cold and threat of bad weather do have me longing for that climate sometimes.  Being bundled up in winter wear loses its allure after a few weeks and coats, gloves, and boots make it tough to move freely; and I don't know about you but the lack of sunlight makes me tired.  Some days, in spite of lots of coffee or tea, I just don't feel fully awake.  This is a long month and it has settled in to a cold, gloomy, set of weeks.  The bright spot is that somewhere toward the end of the month, maybe after the 20th, the days seems noticeably longer and things start to look up a bit.

I hope you find something that comforts you and warms you during these cold, gloomy, sleepy days.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Farewell 2016! Welcome 2017!

The Christmas rush is over and I can't say that I'm sad about that because as much as I like Christmas and all that goes with it, things tend to get a bit stressful.  We hosted Christmas Day, as usual, which I love doing but somehow I didn't get as much done ahead as I had planned.  So my brothers and their families arrived and I was still in the kitchen trying to get those darned mushrooms stuffed and into the oven.  The dining room was not decorated nor were the tables for the buffet arranged, dishes weren't out, napkins still in their packages, glasses not out, but my daughter was trying her best to get things done when the first of them arrived, followed shortly by the rest.  Did I panic?  Nope, not me; I'm used to people arriving before things are ready because it happens nearly every day at work.  It actually worked out really well.  As soon as "Merry Christmas"es were exchanged and coats laid on our bed my sister in law and teen-aged nieces helped my daughter finish the dining room.  Among the laughter and chatter I heard as I worked diligently at the mushrooms, lights were strung, table cloth and placemats as well as chairs were arranged and any food that was ready was placed on the table.  The men, and Hillary, stayed in the living room talking amongst themselves until told that food was available.  Later, after everyone crowded into the living room for gift exchanging, we ladies gathered in chairs in the dining room to play games which included holiday charades.  The hours passed quickly and once coffee, tea, ice cream and cookies topped off the day everyone left and the house was quiet once again.  I love remembering these happy times and when my home is filled with the chatter and laughter of those I love.  It makes for a very Merry Christmas indeed.
This perplexing year is winding down
Our heads have not stopped shaking
As if we're experiencing a wild dream
From which we're having trouble waking.

So let's face it, 2016 was no picnic.  It wasn't horrible, well the end of the year, beginning with the end of August was not the best for our family, and my eldest brother especially had a terrible end of the year with the passing of his beloved wife Alison who battled a chronic, painful and debilitating illness for most of her adult life.  He and his two teenaged children are trying to find their balance and learning to live with the grief that the loss of the gentle woman brings. 
As far as the rest of the year, there were many ups and downs in our house, expensive things that had to either be fixed, replaced, or in the case of our beautiful  old maple tree, removed.  It was the year that I had to decide whether to look for a new job or find a way to enjoy it as I used to.  I chose to find a way to enjoy my time there by focusing on the good things about it and  accept but not dwell on the annoying aspects of it.  I think that probably I did that in regards to many things last year.  Well it's good to reflect on the past twelve months and realize that over all I had a pretty good, productive year.
Now here we are at 2017 and I can't believe that is what year it is!  I don't think when I was younger that I ever thought about this year, what it would be like, what age I would be, and what I would be doing.  I've always tended to live in the moment and not look too far ahead.  I also have not ever been one to make New Year's resolutions.  I'm not making any this year either, (why change now?), but I will set one goal for myself.  I want to be more courageous. Yes, I want to be brave in trying new things.  Not a lot of new things, and really improving current or past things is more like it; but it will feel like doing something new to me.  Some of that has to do with writing, and submitting my work, and some of it has to do with going places, and some is house related. 
I don't know what this new year will bring my way, challenges for sure, happy things, and most likely some unhappy ones as well.  Hopefully the good will be more plentiful than the bad for everyone.
Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 18, 2016


The snow falls softly
Through the dawn
While we keep 
Our covers on.

We look outside
When we awake
Sipping steaming tea.
All is quiet when
At dawn it snows 
Let this peace
Please stay with me.

Are you feeling overwhelmed by all you have to do?
Let me tell you this, my friend: I feel that way too.
Maybe we should take a breath and clear our busy minds,
Remembering that those we love want with us to spend time.
Gifts and cookies are very nice as well as decorations,
But just being happy with each other is a stunning revelation.

The Christmas season is supposed to be one of peace. Yet how many of us actually feel peaceful? I'm struggling just as much as anybody with that concept. We seem to have created a season of stress and chaos instead of joy and peace. There are expectations we put on ourselves and others that cause us to feel overwhelmed and inadequate. It seems as if this has become a time when over abundance is what we strive for. If you buy into what the media, both mainstream and social, tell us, sugar cookies with colored sugar on them and a nice meal of perhaps roasted turkey and vegetables isn't good enough. No! Your cookies must be elaborate works of art, that turkey dinner needs ten fancy side dishes with it. Your Christmas tree must be color schemed and the gifts underneath it need fancy bows and rhinestones! Ummm, how does all this lavishness relate to Christ? He had the humblest of beginnings, and as far as I can tell from my limited time spent in bible study groups lived a humble life trying to spread the message of love and peace. Yet here I sit early on Christmas Eve morning in the soft glow of my Christmas tree thinking of everything I "must" do today to be ready for tomorrow. There is no quieting the voice in my head telling me to get moving and get it all done. I think many of us struggle with this every day of the year--the feeling that we need to do and have more--and during this season even more so. Yet when I look back on the past, I don't remember the food, or how the cookies looked, or the bows on the gifts. I remember the feelings of being loved, and having enough, and the inner peace that comes from that.  As I sit here by my tree which is decorated with a mixture of decorations both hand-made by us over our lives and store bought (some that were my mother's and graced my childhood trees, others were gifts), I wish for you a peaceful, loving Christmas. May you also have enough.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Christmas Frenzy

Frenzied days and sleepless nights

We all twirl round and round

Rushing through our daily tasks

Feet pounding on the ground.

We try to fit in all the fun

Alongside all our work.      

We rush and go without a break

Risking our common sense and peace,

Take the time to sip some tea

And savor some cookies or cake.

Christmas comes then Christmas goes

Do we enjoy it while it’s here?

Or before it’s over do we start to plan

Everything we will do for next year?

         I feel like the time goes so fast between Thanksgiving and Christmas every year.  As if somehow time speeds up, and the hours have fewer minutes in them.  With all the things I want to do to make things special for those I care about in addition to all the regular tasks I do every day, I can barely find time for relaxing, reading, writing, watching a movie, or playing a game.  This year I find myself needing to choose between things that are on the same day and I can’t possibly do both.  I want to do them all but of course I can’t be in two places at once.  I am sorry I have to miss any of them!  I also find that I am so tired that I must turn down invitations because I just can’t have an event to attend every single day or evening.  Such is the quandary of the person with a life full of family and friends.  How lucky I am to have to choose between things to do, even if I feel extra stressed by making that decision.  I can’t imagine if I had no invitations, no concerts to attend, no friends to hug, and no family to care for. I don’t think that situation would be stress free, I think I would feel empty and on edge trying to fill up my time.  I hope I never find out how that would feel; I hope I always have people around me to have fun with, and care about.  The people in my life are the reason for merriment, cookie baking, gift buying, and decorating; to share with others is my favorite thing about Christmas.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Holiday Thoughts

Time is passing so quickly and we are now into December!  I kept meaning to post on here but somehow things just didn't work out that way. A broken iPhone, broken refrigerator and all the general busyness of life kept me away from this.  I did, however manage to compose a few poems for my Facebook page.  So here they are with a few thoughts about each one.

When everything is said and done,
And things are figured out,
You'll find it's who you see each day,
That really, truly counts,
All the anger will subside,
We'll live our lives as we must,
Love your family and your friends,
They're the ones that you can trust.

**I wrote this one the evening of the election, before watching any of the results coverage.  I confess to being unhappy with the results and removed the post the next morning as I was finding it hard to feel the way the poem suggests.  Now that we are a few weeks past that and trying to move forward I can say that I do feel that way again.  However, I have much concern about what will happen in the future in our country.  Hopefully there are enough sensible heads helping to keep things going in a positive direction.**

Thanksgiving Ditty

May your turkey be moist 
And your stuffing be yummy 
May you have enough food
To fill up your tummy
May goodness surround you,
Your loved ones as well,
And thankfulness fill you 
To make your heart swell.

**So I skipped ahead to Thanksgiving because that seems to be how things went, we recovered a bit from the election and suddenly it was time to prepare for the feast.  We had a very nice time, although tinged with a bit of sadness from missing Alison. Her sudden death the end of August has left the family feeling a bit off balanced.  Seeing my brother and his kids making their way forward through the grief of losing his wife and the children's mother is as heartbreaking as it sounds. The holidays will be  especially difficult for them. Still, we were all glad to be together for the day.**

Are you making turkey soup?
Or shopping 'till you drop?
Perhaps you're watching football
Or wielding broom and mop?
Perhaps you're working at your job
And helping others out
Or maybe you are reading?
Well whatever you're about
I hope this day's a good one
And you get some time to rest
Don't forget that in yourself 
Some time you should invest.

**This was written the day after Thanksgiving, on so called "Black Friday"".  I did not go near a mall, and never do. Since I host Thanksgiving every year, I take that day to rest and putter around the house cleaning up from the big event and putting away the holiday dishes, silver, pots and pans. I also take some time for myself and work a nap into the afternoon since I'm exhausted from all the preparations. I wouldn't change a thing, though. I love hosting Thanksgiving! The leftovers are nice, too!**

Thanksgiving's over
The feast is done
Just turkey soup remains
The rush has started
With the shopping and stress
Of Christmas and New Year's again
Shouldn't we pause
And take some time 
To enjoy everything we plan?
To consider the meaning
Of the season we love
Before it all comes to an end?

**The Monday after the Thanksgiving break is a tough one for me. Getting motivated and returning to work are challenging  enough but then thinking about getting all the Christmas preparations started feels overwhelming.  It all seems so rushed knowing that the biggest holiday of the year is bearing down and there are only 4 short weeks in which to shop, wrap, decorate, send packages and cards, bake cookies, attend parties and concerts, visit friends, and prepare for another family gathering. Yes, I host Christmas dinner as well. It's easier with Hillary and I do enjoy having everyone here.  So, I try to slow down and simplify and enjoy all the things that make this a meaningful time--extra time with family and friends, and thinking of how Christmas came to be in the first place through the birth of Christ. It's not easy to avoid getting caught up in the frenzy of this season, but it is important to try because daily life is stressful enough without adding unnecessary and unreal expectations to it in the name of Christmas. It's supposed to be a time of peace.  I'm trying. I hope you will too.**