Last night, before dinner at The Abbey Inn ("traditional" British pub on the downtown Denton square...)
If you read this post, #1, you'll know that I approached this occasion with some joy and a lot of trepidation. Thanks be, it turned out to be quite low-key and enjoyable. Here are some gifts Son gave us during the evening:
1) The sterling cross was Son's gift to me and has words on it drawn from this passage (Matt 17:20):
"I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed,you can say to this mountain, "Move from here to there," and it will move." Yep, a mustard seed. Even as small as a mustard seed.
2) "Let's go somewhere for dinner that's kind of quiet, so we can talk."
3) "Anything you can do for me, I will appreciate."
4) "Dad, I am getting a job and I want to go back to school."
5) "But I still want to help you (his dad) and you don't have to pay me...I just want to help you."
What more could I ask? Not a darn thing.
Now, the weather...looks like it might be snowy/icy this eve, preventing me from being at Christmas Eve church. I'll deliver my supplies for the between-services meal that DOK does for choirs and altar party early today, just in case.
Here's the weather. I'm at that little point just northeast of Dallas, and the whitey-pink appears to be headed this way. Then there's tornado warnings out in Louisiana...go figure.
That year my parents were moving, in stages, to The Florida Beach House that my grandfather had built just after WWII. This was a few years before my grandparents died, and it turned out to be a good thing that my parents were living there by then...but that's in the future.
We had a large home to move across 5 states into a very small home. We took a load at Thanksgiving that year (a whole other story), and repeated it at Christmas time.
That Beach House...was cold. COLD. It would eventually be weatherized, but at that time it had never been used much in the winter, and there was a reason why. Set on a 12 foot dune, it caught a good deal of wind. Electric blankets saved us!
Having moved part of the household, and not the rest, we didn't have any seasonal decorations (or couldn't find them). So Daddy went into the woods and cut some kind of scrub oak, and we set it up on the table and decorated it with whatever we could find, including my dangly earrings. It was beautiful.
We went to Christmas Eve church at the little mission church in Carrabelle where my parents would become an integral part, and were warmly welcomed.
And Christmas Day, we spent with my grandparents. For the first time ever: our Christmases had always been in Texas with Daddy's family.
I gave my grandmother a smocked tree ornament that I had made in a co-rec class at the university. She was so impressed. She was hard to impress. I gave my grandfather a mug that said "Lovable Huggable Grandfather." He drank out of it until he died. I still have it and drink from it as I write.
At one point, Mom said to me, "I had no idea how much it would mean to them to have us here for Christmas...we could have done this before." And I said (or I remember that I did?): "We're here now. Let's be glad of it."
That was a very good Christmas.
(Looking across the bay at The Beach House - from Alligator Point)
I saw a Facebook status a few days ago, for the Solstice, from Christine Valters Paintner that has stayed with me for a long time. (Visit her website: www.abbeyofthearts.comfor more info on her work.)
Blessings on this longest night, the turning point when the earth is swathed in her fertile darkness.
What new possibilities are waiting to break through in you and spill radiant light out into the world?
What new possibilities, indeed?
This has been a hard year in several areas. I won't enumerate. But it has. And I find myself, with Christmas nearly here, wondering where my magic went.
I used to have such a sense of excitement surrounding this season. And I don't any more. Where is the anticipation, the joy, the thrill? With Christmas...and more?
Christmas was NEVER about gifts (okay, maybe when I was 6 or 10, but not for a long, long time). I have trimmed my giving to the bare minimum, and hopefully my receiving, too. I have a hard time getting gifts...it makes me uncomfortable.
I have put up a tree, but still no lights on it...just can't seem to get it done. Ken promises to help with that tonight.
Part of it is no longer having a child (even if he is a grown up child) to make Christmas for. But I used to put up a tree when I was single...all those years until I was 33.
I think maybe I have been waiting for the old things to make me feel the way they used to...and I think that is not going to happen any more. I think I have to listen and look for new possibilities, things that resound for ME (and not for anyone else).
I have vacation ahead. I hope that the days ahead can be a time of listening to what I really want and what might help me find the magic again.
Without going into a lot of detail you don't want, I'll say that the sinus infection proved this weekend that it was NOT through with me. So, I am glad I didn't go to my parents' as planned. I will get there next week for a few days.
Ken headed off happily for the Big Texas Toy Run this morning.
I thoroughly swept our bedroom floor, washed all the bedclothes and remade bed, made rice to eat with fat-free refried beans mixed in, and boiled water with cloves and cinnamon on the stove. A good day.
A gorgeous day. Sunny and chilly...I was able to go out in the yard with dogs in shorts and t-shirt (on me, not them!) briefly...but not stay for long.
I got back on Facebook. That was not fun, that phishing. Dookie head phishers.
I did some reading, some laundry, some sweeping up, and finally got the Christmas tree assembled. I'd been wanting Ken to do it with me, but he kept not doing it. Ok, if I want it up, I put it up. Ta Da!
But he has to help with the lights. I shall ply him with margaritas until he complies. Mwa ha ha.
One of my favorite things EVAH, since I was a little girl, is reading by the light of the Christmas Tree. That figures prominently in my next-week break.
In a few minutes I'm going to meet The Vicar of Hogsmeade for dinner. How splendid!
It seems so funny to be in such gorgeous weather when a Monster Storm has FB friends cancelling tomorrow's church services already. Not that I am complaining. It's just odd. Praying for everyone to get and stay warm and safe.
Let me start by saying: this has been a good, productive, but VERY stressy day. The major stressor was a "phishing" attack
that showed up on my Facebook as I was trying to finish a task before leaving for work. It was panicky!! Hopefully it's on the way to a solution, but right now my FB account is disabled.
So. This week's Friday Five,. posted by Jan at RevGals, is about Christmas traditions. I thought I'd take a calming break and answer it, but the panicky feelings continued to build, because: My family doesn't really have a lot of traditions...although I grew up in a family with many strong and treasured ones, and somehow I think, "that's how it's 'supposed' to be." So then I started thinking, "what's wrong with us that we don't have traditions!? Are we not really a FAMILY?" This way lies madness, friends. It's falling into the Christmas Trap...when I thought I was doing so well at avoiding it.
When I married my husband and his 8-year-old son, almost 11 years ago, our major tradition was having Christmas NOT on "real" Christmas Eve or "real" Christmas Day," but on other days...because Son's mother had another, younger child who still "believed," and she very much wanted Son to be with his brother for that. Okay, that made sense. And so it continued through the years, because we decided that there was no special magic in THE DAY, we could do it any time, and we rather enjoyed being "off" from other people.
Somewhere there is a lovely photo of me in my new Christmas robe, riding my new electric scooter up and down the street. It was the morning of December 24th, so folks out for shopping or whatever might have wondered! though I'm sure they figured it out...
We did also have a tradition that my husband always gets a pair of Christmas boxers from Target, and son always gets a razor. Every year. Since he was 8. So, there's that...
My panic, above, comes from a few things I can identify (besides the phishers):
1. My son, who moved out about a year an a half ago, had a large disagreement with his father in August. He had been working for his dad, and was fired. And we haven't heard from him since...with the exception of a few, very non-commital text messages to his dad. It is a VERY needed separation; it was impossible to imagine how he would manage to individuate as the 20-year-old he is while working for his father and getting along so badly. But we didn't expect it to play out like this, or for this long.
THUNK. yep. It hurts, a lot.
We know he is alive and reasonably well, from the texts and because his mother lives in our town and would surely tell us if something happened. Also, he is on my insurance, so I would be called to verify coverage if there were something major.
We had a text the other day: "hey I have y'all's presents when do you want to get together to do Christmas?"
I don't want a present, dammit. I just want to see him. And on more than Christmas and his birthday, please. Sigh.
2. My vacation (yes, I'm panicking about my vacation). I've been LUXURIATING in the fact that I have 7 beautiful week days when I do not have to go to work...we have holiday from the 24th December through 1st January. My husband wanted to go somewhere, and I said, "NO." I have had a lot of unbloggables this Fall, and I badly need time to recharge, nest, putter, knit, read, love on my dogs. I also need to get a visit to my parents in there somewhere...and scheduling that (along with other things) is blowing my mind.
3. I have no Christmas decorations up yet. My husband PROMISED to help me this weekend with the tree. But I've sort of been maintaining this idea that, if I don't think about it, it won't really happen! As we and the Grinch know, it will.
4. Oh, and some various unbloggables. Who doesn't have them? But it all adds up.
So to get off of the stress train, here's what I propose:
1. Get together with him. Put it in God's lap and try not to run over and take it back.
2. Not think about it any more today
3. If I get a tree up tomorrow, great. If not, ok.
4. Head home and have a Bloody Mary with my sweetie. That's quickly becomng a tradition of ours. :)
(demonstration outside the Ugandan mission in New York - CNN photo)
I'm a big fan of getting local news about something, and talking with someone "on the ground." I've had too many panicky parents call and say, "there was an earthquake in Mexico!" wondering if their child is okay...not realizing that their child is as far from the earthquake zone as they are from Iowa, and he or she doesn't know it happened.
Today I was in a meeting with a person from Uganda. Someone else in the meeting asked, "so what do you know about that anti-homosexuality bill?"
She told us she had called a relative to ask that question, and he told her that yes, the bill would certainly pass, because the populace was definitely behind it. But that no one would be executed! They might be put in jail, but they would definitely not be executed. And that, really, it would be awfully hard to prove homosexuality anyway, wouldn't it?
Unless you were looking for it, I thought. No matter whether the person really was homosexual. What is proof, in that system?
Besides, it's not just "go to jail." It's "life in prison."
Persons found to be HIV positive can also be executed.
Since I don't have enough to worry about, I worry about silly things.
Like, I worry about The Leaning House.
This house is just down my street toward the University.
"The Leaning House," yes, that's its name. At one point I was describing it to a colleague who'd gone to school here long before. He said, "Oh, yeah, I've done a lot of partying in The Leaning House."
You can also find it via a Google search. According to one source it leans 12.5 degrees (is that all!?). According to another source, it's been leaning like this for at least 25 years, and "many later famous UNT artists and musicians have spent early days here. An underground stream runs underneath it to feed a lake that is now Willis Library."
A lake that is now the library?!
And apparently there was at one time a record label called The Leaning House label. My neighbor played on some of their recordings.
So, cute, quaint, funky...all the things that are (or used to be) hallmarks of this college town...but doesn't this look like a disaster waiting to happen? I imagine that one night I'll wake up to a terrible noise and that will be the end of The Leaning House. It's for sale now (ha!) but people were still living there pretty recently. I hate to think of the mashed people inside...
updates as they occur...back to your regularly scheduled fretting...
I need a little guardian angel person to fly down and remind me, when I am sick, of what works for the different illnesses. Because I forget, from time to time. And then I think, DUH! Why can I not remember? I don't know. I suppose it's a fortunate sign: I'm not sick so very often.
This sinus thing has been a true misery. What I did right:
LOTS AND LOTS OF WATER
Hot steamy showers
NeilMed Sinus Rinse!
What I needed that I did not have/do:
That awesome Kleenex with the lotion on it
Hot steamy showers - several a day
Vaporizer on all the time by the bed
If my face hurts, take something for pain. Duh! this came to me at about 3 am.
Dr. Christophers' Garlic Stuff
What I mean to do now:
Go to the doctor. I think it is infected and I have to get rid of it.
So, this is really a note to myself for the future. Will I remember to look it up? Probably not.