Another Christmas Passes Into Memory

This has been an extraordinary Christmas for me simply because of the Jeep. I find myself thinking I will need to take it back to whomever it belongs to any minute now.  It doesn’t seem real that it is mine to keep.  I still can’t believe he bought me such an extraordinary gift.  Sorry my mind still doesn’t wrap around the California Dream living in the shadow of the mountain in the photo.  She is real and yet elusive in my comprehension.

As I was sitting here pondering what to write about, I was looking at the Christmas tree. I plugged in the lights again.  I love colored lights on the tree.  I miss the adjustable twinkle lights we used to have.  I could turn the dial to the perfect speed to set a tranquil mood in the darkened living room.  I would sit and drink my coffee with just the tree lights sparkling to illuminate the room.

I will probably take it down this evening or tomorrow rather than leave it up through New Year’s Day. The thought makes me feel sad, as usual.  The feeling seems amplified because of the feelings about the Jeep being temporarily at my disposal.  If I take the tree down, Christmas is really over.  And I will wake up and the Jeep will be gone, too.

Craziness of my thoughts. My mind argues with my heart.

I am already looking into the next year. I have a line-up of projects to do.  I have the materials to do all of them, too.  Just need time and focus to get them done.  Time is not so much of an issue as focus.  I piddle around, stalling.  Stalling because the creative endeavor might not turn out the way I had hoped.  Or maybe I won’t be able to work it out technically.  Will I have the skills needed to turn the idea into a successfully completed project?

I am such a sporadic “crafter” I don’t have a depth of skills. I have hit a lick at this and a lick at that.  Never really committing to one thing or another.  I don’t seem able to get too involved in something.  I tell myself it is because the something isn’t Something.  That I am not really all that interested in it.  I’m not sure what is the underlying issue.  Maybe the shadow of my father’s illness?  Fear I will get too involved and go over the edge.  Maybe some notion that the only thing I should be really interested in is evangelizing lost people and anything that takes from that energy and focus is sinful.  Concerned that I will get lost in the “flow” of creativity and lose track of time and not have supper ready or my chores done and he will be put out or inconvenienced because of it.

Maybe all of the above. There is a song on the radio: “you keep a slip knot in the strings you attach”.  Yes. I do.  I don’t maintain long term relationships beyond my family.  I keep to myself most of the time.  Oh, I yak and laugh with co-workers at the 9-5 and with fellow members at church.  But, I have difficulty socializing outside those arenas.  The friends we’ve had over the years have, like us, moved along in life phases and most have moved geographically, as well.  The ones nearby are busy with other things.  No one has the energy to take time to be together anymore.

One of my hopes for the New Year is to re-learn how to “visit”. To drop by a friend’s house to chat.  To call someone up on the phone to trade gripes about some trivial nothing that happened to us.  To ride to town and go “fumbling”.  That is what my grandmother called what might be translated as window shopping or browsing.  All we would end up buying is a cold coke to drink on the way home.

Another Christmas passes into memory. Another year passes along right behind it.  I feel like Bilbo when he said, “I want to see mountains, again”.  The “mountains” I want to see again are friends.  I want to see my friends, again, and see them often and casually.  Without all the planning and strategizing it seems to take these days.  It feels like a mountain of a wish.  If it plays out, it will bring a mountain of memories.

Next Christmas with two Dreams in the world………………….

Come on New Year. Bring with you more time with certain little Dream girls.  Bring with you more time with friends.  Bring with you mountains of memories and tie my strings into knots.

import-12716-755

 

 

Autumn…….Fall

Mama always called it “Fall”. Autumn is for a place that actually has a time of cooler weather with all the trees showing beautiful colored leaves shimmering in the sun before fluttering and dancing to the lawn.

Fall is for a place that has a time of cooler weather followed by hot weather again, followed by cooler weather followed by hot weather……….usually in the span of a week. This goes on until the rain starts.  Then, we can expect gray, damp, chilly days followed by the most beautiful shade of blue on the planet.  Texas Winter Sky Blue.  After a blue norther comes through signaling Winter’s arrival.

Before that time comes, we have Fall. Some of the trees give up their leaves, dry and brown.  He doesn’t like sweet gum trees because of the balls they dump on the ground.  I forgive them the balls littering the ground because of the blood red color the leaves will soon turn.   Sycamores make the biggest mess of all our trees.  But the yellow leaves shining against the blue sky are lovely.  When they have shed their golden treasure, the stark white of the ancient trunks gleams brightly.  An invasive species of tree I only know of as a tallow tree does have a wide arrange array of colors and a large bank of them makes a fine show.

This is the time of year when my loved ones start asking for a fresh batch of hot chocolate mix. I will blend up a round in a few days.  I keep promising to make marshmallows again.  Perhaps this year I will tackle the sticky challenge.  There is no comparison to store bought with these treats.

S’mores were never part of our camping trips when I was a kid. I first experienced them at the campfire of our best friend and his bride when their boys were tiny.  We have had them a few times through the years.  I have gathered some recipes on Pinterest for variations of the s’mores theme.  I want to practice some different things to see which to do for Hallowe’en weekend.  We have a couple of events that weekend and I want to bring a traditional fall flavor with a new twist.

I love pumpkins and Hallowe’en decorations and candy and costumes. Many childhood memories involve fire department, church or school sponsored Hallowe’en carnivals or Fall Festivals.

Then, of course, Fall means hunting and football. Or football and hunting.  Depending on the day of the week and the weather.   We don’t have a deer camp to go to this year, since changing clubs.  He is making me a fire pit under the trees in the yard.  I will be able to pretend I am off in the woods….and still have a flush toilet available!

Bright fall colors, slightly cooler weather, hunting, football, baking goodies (cool enough to turn on the oven), Hallowe’en events. Fall is here.  By the time it gets to be winter, the California Jewel will be arriving in San Dimas.  This is going to be one of my favorite Falls of all time!

fullsizerender-19

 

Simple Ambitions

 

I have such painfully simple ambitions.

Once upon a time, you could eat off my floors.  Ceiling fans to baseboards, pantries and potties.  All were kept immaculately clean and tidy.  Even when I started working at the school, I had enough time and energy to keep up with things.

Between working a full-time 9-5 and reaching my 50s, I don’t keep up so well.  We discussed the possibility of hiring some help for me.  At least someone to do the ceiling fans and floors.  I’m not sure how our puppy dog would feel about someone being in the house with us not here.  So, that is on the back burner for now.

One thing I have noticed.  The messes don’t bother me as much as they did when I was younger.  I don’t think my standards have lowered. Rather, I have begun to have more compassion for myself.  Historically, by this time, I would be having a nervous fit over the condition of some areas of the house.  Don’t get me wrong, the house is not filthy.  Things are not piled up everywhere.  Still, things are not as pristine as I would like them to be.

A couple of my phrases from my life book are:  über tidy and operating room clean.  Some of my other catch phrases include words like immaculate and other such “perfection” words, it is easy to understand how I fall ridiculously short of my goals.

Yes, it is my intention to “put wash away warm”.  My poor beloved knows how to dig socks from the hamper of clean clothes.  I console myself by noting that the clothes are clean.  I have heard of those having to dig in the dirty clothes for something to wear.  Never at my house in all my years of housekeeping have any of them had to do that.  Please forgive my boast.  I need something today to reduce the level of guilt over my neglected floors and rugs.

So, my house is not looking the way I would prefer.  My schedule is looking great.  I have several events upcoming.  Nearly every Saturday has some special something to occupy my time and energy.  I will have a large quantity of memories scheduled for accumulating over the next several months.  Memories with my church family, my nieces, cousins, aunts, daughter.  Memories with him and our son and his bride and the Jewel of California arriving soon.

That accumulation more than offsets any anguish I might feel over the accumulation of dust bunnies in the corners.  Über festive, immaculately pleasant, are those good phrases? Maybe I will adopt those to replace the more difficult ones.

Perfection is being in the presence of my family and friends, him, Him, and especially that Jewel on the way.

img_1290

Still Too Much

Last week I did a photo group of what I was taking with me for five nights in San Dimas, California, via plane trip.

I still had two shirts I didn’t wear. I opened my Nook for about 3 minutes on the flight out there.  I didn’t wear or need the jacket I took.  I would take it again anyway.  I left my damp swimsuit with my son’s bride to run through the wash and stow.  We had a late evening swim the last night I was there in the newly filled pool.  I plan to need it there, again.

Hollywood is an experience! The crowds on the street were a little overwhelming. Like midway at the fair here in the country.  I did love the opportunity to see some things in person.

The pier at Santa Monica is crazy. Well, the folks on it seem to be. On the pier and along the boardwalk we saw some interesting characters.  I know what slacklining is now.

I got to put my feet in the Pacific again. I always try to take a photo of my feet in the sand at the edge of the water.  Just one of my personal traditions or rituals.

The best part of my trip was simply the visit with two of my favorite people in the world. Just being in the house and watching them living was worth more than anything.  Did I mention how talented his bride is at decorating their home?  So lovely and tastefully done.

Well, actually the best part of my trip was this:

I had the privilege of feeling our little one kicking and squirming. I got to hook up to Facetime and share a photo session with him.  It was a shoot of her perfect little face and a wonderful little hand and two little feet with legs crossed at the ankles.  The wonders of technology exposing the miracles of Him!  It is all so surreal.

It’s good to be back home. With him.  But, come on November!  I am ready to fly again.  Next time we go together.  For a very special someone’s Grand Entrance!

There was a lot of too much this past week. I took too much stuff in my bags.  I was stunned by too much traffic in the Greater Los Angeles area. The concept of that little girl growing is still too much for me to grasp.  I can’t completely write or even think about her.  I become overwhelmed with too much emotion, still.

I will set aside a day, soon, to let my mind and heart go. I will let it all be too much and when my tears have been shed, I will know it is all much too wonderful, still.

FullSizeRender (16)

 

Strange Treasures

From time to time, I consider the following question. If I had to load my earthly possessions in my small car and evacuate, what would my I count as irreplaceable treasure?

Like most, I have photographs. I have two small trunks full of old mementos. The trunks themselves are heirlooms.  Then, there are my books.  I have a lot I would not pack. But, I have previously shared comments about the ones I would try to save.

I have a large pottery jar and an ostrich egg. There is a glass tray of sea shells.  An old flour barrel has some dolls and toys.

I do have a few pieces of furniture I would like to somehow stuff in there. They wouldn’t fit in my car.  So in my imaginings, I allow him to place them in the truck.  One piece is a credenza.  It is full of glassware collected from both grandmothers, my mother and my own purchases.

Three jewelry boxes should go in the pile. For themselves as well as for the odds and ends in them.

My kitchen cabinets are an entirely separate problem. The collection of dishes, pots, pans, casseroles is two lifetimes of work.  My mother’s and my acquisitions are interwoven behind those birch panels.

I am resisting getting up from my writing to wander the house and see what I am missing in my description.

Just today, I pulled from my shelves a small assortment of vinyl LP albums. These are the melodies I would put on the turntable on sultry summer afternoons.  Exotic, dramatic orchestral performances by Mancini or Mantovani.  What does this collection of music my mother acquired reveal about her?

Many of the tunes familiar from old movies that were broadcast on our little television that got two channels, NBC and CBS, until I was a freshman in high school and mother got an antenna booster than allowed us to get ABC, too.

Those albums would go in there someplace. Though I don’t have a turntable to play them anymore, I would rather not leave them behind.

I have had to let go of so many people and so many ideas and dreams for one reason or another. My treasures, strange though they may seem to onlookers, help me feel a connection with my ancestors.  Perhaps my strange treasures will help my descendants feel a connection with them also.  And with me.

FullSizeRender (9)

Busy Orchiding

I finally got to “unwrap” my birthday present this past Friday! He bought tickets a while back. He took me to see Travis Tritt perform! It was a wonderful event. The songs brought back so many memories of our past.

We have had so many wonderful years of living and loving together. We have had our problems, of course. But, we have continued to love each other through it all. We laughed as we remembered the songs. And we joked about some of the lyrics.

He has been helping me get a project done and I appreciate it so much. It’s one thing for someone to tell you they support your plan. But, actually helping move it forward makes all the difference.

Saturday was spent apart. He went to work on things for hunting season. I took one aunt to see the other. We had a smaller group this time, but still had a ball like always! Shrimp gumbo, brownies and homemade ice cream on the menu. Old fashioned dresses and bonnets for the group photos.

Our daughter had her iPad full of photos from the wedding and honeymoon. The aunts spent a long while looking through all of them while the cousins peeked over their shoulders.

Sunday was my first week to teach in my new full time position for the senior adult ladies class. Teenagers have nothing on them for being rambunctious! I love to teach and am looking forward to the continued experience.

After service Sunday evening, we caught up with a couple from church and had supper. We are in the process of getting acquainted with folks at our new church. She is precious and has been warm and welcoming to me from the first day. But, then, so has everyone else. We have been blessed to find a church family so full of love for the Lord and for others.

Looking forward through the fall weekends, I have lots of plans.  Festivals, birthdays, Hallowe’en, hunting season.  It will be the holidays before we know it!

The weekend brought many orchids. Monday, not so much. Maybe Tuesday will be back on track. Meanwhile, I will savor the fragrance of my weekend blossoms looking forward to many more.

IMAG1078

 

 

Tears

My little nieces came to visit this past weekend. They are wonderful little folks!

But, it is hard on me when they leave. I cry for an hour or so each time they pull out of the drive to go home.

This house is so painfully quiet most of the time. Our own children have been out and on their own for ten years already. He and I ramble around trying to keep up with things.

I miss my children. Yes, I miss the adult children they are now. But, I really miss my little ones. When they were babies and small children and even big children.

I tried to have special times with them every chance I got. I was selfish with them, too. I didn’t let the rest of the world have much of their time until they were too old for me to keep them close.

I suppose I knew even then these days would come. Days when those amazing grown-ups would call me Mother and I would look in wonder at the marvelous people who honor me with that title in their lives. I suppose I knew even then I would forever miss my little ones.

And so I cry because the little ones who come to visit me now will someday be grown-ups and I will miss their little selves.

Such is life. Hurling through time at the speed of love. Life is far too short to be in a hurry. My motto for many years. Better stop and experience this life at this moment. Don’t rush headlong into the future. It doesn’t exist. Only now is real. Only now fills the heart with love. Only now allows memories to build the beautiful life I so long for.

Let my eyes fill with tears and my heart ache only for a moment. Then let the memories sustain me until the next now happens. When I will not rush to do, but pause to be.

 

IMG_0114