Annual Renewal

The loveseat enveloped my body last night when our day of Christmas celebration was over. There was the buoy effect as I tried to sink in but I was just too inflated to actually feel comfortable. “Why” I screamed in my brain as the melancholy set in. Now begins the day after Christmas.

Unlike several of my friends, I have never been the day after Thanksgiving shopper nor do I look forward to bargain shopping the day after Christmas. Manic buying, shopping, cooking, planning and the joy of Christmas decorations ends at sunset on Christmas Day. The week before The New Year has always been the week of renewed hope. I like to think of it as I have been loved and nourished on Christmas which gives me the courage for the “start over” week….and the new year!

So onward and upward…this beautiful sunrise reminds me I have my week of hope, love and renewal beginning.

Until next time…..

This morning

Preparing for Christmas Eve brunch.

  • Throwing the ingredients for monkey bread into the greased angel food cake pan, I reflected on how many times I have cringed while greasing the cake pan all the while wondering why you aren’t suppose to grease an angel food cake pan.
  • Wondered if my mother somehow knew I greased angel food cake pans which drifted into remembering my mother and Aunt Frances cooking every holiday meal together and even after 80+ years still arguing about it.
  • I had coffee with my dad (where ever he is) in his red and black Christmas flannel shirt and I repledged my undying love for him. My best qualities…the ones I don’t take credit for, I got from my dad.
  • Realized the Christmas cry was going to happen at some point today.
  • Made “company potatos” from a beloveds recipe and I hope she knows I miss her so much today!
  • Wondered if the girls and their families have the slightest idea how much I love and cherish them.
  • Turned on the cold water in the sink to rinse a dish and wondered if I just scalded “him” in the shower, felt bad, then snickered because he’s probably cursing.
  • Realized I am feeling so much gratitude for the love around me.
  • Commencing Christmas Cry.
  • Merry Christmas!
  • Losing the need to “tell my story”

    When I was in the grips of pain, depression, and overwhelming anxiety which I blamed on my job, my role as caretaker of my elderly mother and Aunt, feeling like an outcast in my husbands family and hating who I was because of the way I was thinking and the way my body looked…whew…I felt like at every opportunity, I needed to tell my story. My story had no happiness but involved my upbringing, my loneliness, my familial burdens as well as every other thing that I considered to be my negative personal affliction. By telling my story, at least I got attention, I had a line of people who felt sorry for me, I had friends who would get down there in the mud and wallow with me. I thought I was fortunate *fist on forehead, that I at least had that!

    Each step forward I thought I could make myself feel better by changing my surroundings and my personal appearance but the brick wall I was running into got thicker and thicker. Finally a therapist led me around the brick wall.

    Today…I woke up feeling like I was going to have a sensitive pre-holiday day…but I started out mindfully feeling gratitude…I took my oldest grandson to school this morning and he chatted as if he was in my head and knew I needed to hear what he was saying….gratitude. I’m babysitting my 3 year old grandson today and he’s laughing and full of joy…gratitude. I was thinking about Christmas past and I felt gratitude….I was loved and I have friends and family who love me. When my grandson pushed the button on the paw of a toy dog that sings Blue Christmas over and over again, I felt gratitude. My mom bought this stuffed dog for herself a couple years before she died…I felt an unusual thankfulness for my mother and her gift to me of memories of those cherished christmases past. For a moment, I felt myself wanting to rethink my story…the familiar story I used to tell myself… but I just stopped and realized gratitude was my new story and here I am. Right here and right now, I’m so thankful!

    Happy Holidays….

    Lonely or Nice

    The holidays….they can go either way..

    I have heard my friends lament about the sadness they feel especially when viscerally injected with holiday cheer bouncing off every wall, ceiling, music speaker and Christmas tree. It doesn’t really matter whether you are a reason for the season person; your ethnicity doesn’t matter, sleeping on the streets or in a mansion…you are either living through or celebrating the holidays.

    I especially mourn with people when a loved one transitions around the holidays. I don’t think I’m hanging crepe when I say that The “holidays” will never be the same for them. This happened to me…my dad had a heart attack on Christmas Eve and passed the day after New Years. Moving forward when the holidays roll around the reference is always that day, month, year before dad passed and after dad passed.

    A good friend of mine told me that I should accept the holiday feels by feeling the emotion, letting it pass through and if you feel like a thorough holiday sob, just let it happen. Stop fighting it.

    There really are no rules…the holiday is the holiday…one hour, one day you may feel festive and full of love and joy…and the next hour or day, you may not.

    Namaste

    Most tricks in a minute by a pig

    That would be Joy who is proudly in the Guinness Book of World Records…

    We have been away from our “Home Town” for nearly 6 years. It seems to be the perfect amount of time needed for me to forget about the things that irritated me about small town living; but, enough time that I can embrace what delighted me.

    Since we have been gone, old buildings on the square have been refurbished, new traffic lights down the main drag and the movie theater has been updated. The new theater owners have a pig named Joy who lives her life on display in a store front next to the theater.

    Under the heading, “you can’t make this stuff up”, Joy appears to have an idyllic life. She does tricks for gawkers passing on the square. I only stayed around for her twirling trick so I didn’t witness anything else she does…

    It’s just a precious snapshot of small town life. We stood in sprinkles at 35 degrees to watch Joy and the hometown parade which brings Santa to town following the courthouse lighting and tour of the trees on display at the courthouse…which includes a massive 3 story tree.

    Thanks for the memories Newton, Iowa.

    Happy Holidays!

    One time he screwed up the pumpkin pie

    …..and since then, his pies have been coveted by the family for the pumpkin pie holidays. It was simply the difference between evaporated milk and sweetened condensed milk. This year he added to the pie count with a butterscotch with meringue.

    Delicious…and I’m not terribly embarrassed to say I ate one full size slice of each in one sitting.

    We had the family for Christmas Eve Day Bunch and gift opening on Sunday and the second head cold of the month finally wore me down Sunday night so I didn’t go to the Brown/Faircloth/Callaghan Dinner on Christmas Day and while it just seems like a total bummer to be alone on Christmas, it was a little lonely with a slice of depressing, but doable. I ate brunch leftovers and watched movies for several hours. Remembering with gratitude all of the Christmases before helped me to remain positive seasoned with thankfulness!

    Onward and Upward!

    Until next time!

    This has been my most brutal holiday Season on record

    Just seems like a strange thing to feel in light of past Christmases when actually serious things have happened. Interestingly, I haven’t had my one wrenching Christmas cry this year, rather it has been chopped up between a range of emotions that have made the tears slip from my eyes from pure utter delight to all encompassing rage. I was actually sitting on the floor earlier in the week and thought…oh holy crap…maybe I’m just old and it has caught up to me? Then, I’m really not THAT old.

    Fast forward to this morning, when I broke down looking at historical pictures of a shopping mall in the town I lived in for 35 years that had closed down in 1994 and the tears started flowing. This is not normal.

    …..and then it hit me. This is the first holiday season in 16 years that I haven’t had anti-depressants numbing me. I’m feeling usual holiday cheer with just a little more delight, I’m feeling nostalgic now in my heart rather than just my head, my sorrow of the absence of past friends and family has hurt me in little bursts rather than all at once producing that sobbing Christmas cry.

    I don’t know how or why this realization has given me peace of mind but Understanding seems to have made it reasonable and doable.

    Until next time……

    Branson and the Christmas Extravaganzal

    WE had a great day in Branson and WE loved the Christmas Show at the Moon River theater. Spent the afternoon walking around Branson Landing. The weather was perfect, great stores for shopping we walked and we sat and let the breeze blow through our hair…well, my hair, anyway

    Then there was the Christmas Show. 2nd row seats. 😭My tears flowed through nearly the entire 1st half. The Lennon Sisters…after 62 years…were phenomenal. Dianne and Peggy have retired so now performing are Kathy, Janet and little sister, Mimi!

    Then there was Merrill Osmond….the check mark for my bucket list…Donnie is cute and all but my favorite has always been Merrill….

    NOW I’m in the Christmas Spirit

    Until next time….

    I’m all up into giving lip service to my inner voice

    So since my dad had a heart attack on Christmas Eve of 2000 and died a week later, I’ve had to put that sadness out of my mind and just get on with it. Let’s see. That wasn’t the only Christmas Eve I spent in the E.R. With family…then there was the whole septic tank fiasco one year and had to literally move my mother and Aunt Frances into my living room because my mother had not had the septic tank cleaned out for several years and it chose to purge on Christmas Eve. In fact, just to put it out there…I didn’t get to have Christmas Day at my house on Christmas Day because my mother and mother in law had their individual selfishness about the holiday and I didn’t have the balls to go against either one. It’s not lost on me that I’m just a bitter ballerina. I regret not starting a family tradition for my kids to have Christmas in their home rather than having to keep the peace and showing up for Christmas at our mothers houses at the assigned times! I realize now that I was just trying to be the good daughter/daughter in law and trying to keep the mothers happy.

    Once that wasn’t an issue, we had several good Christmases with some friends…we took turns every year. I think our mutual love for Christmas and each other healed a lot of wounds….at least for me.

    I was just chatting with a girlfriend because she is starting the holiday tears ….. the 2nd Christmas coming without her mom. I told her that I haven’t had that destination Christmas shopping experience for many years….I avoid it and just shop online and quite frankly, I have no idea why I keep setting myself up for a magical Christmas? Expectation that literally bites me in the ass every single year. I have my grandson(s) now and that is the only reason I don’t just say screw it and escape to a dark cave during the season. Jax gives me hope and shares my love for preparation, decorating and being mesmerized by Christmas lights and the season. I love his appreciation for the magic and I think he is the one thing that keeps me going.

    ……..and before anyone brings up the catch phrase ….. reason for the season….just stop….don’t even! I got off that bus several years ago.

    So, the holidays begin. Shhhhh…I need to listen and understand what my inner voice is saying.

    Until next time……