Thursday, December 30, 2021

Make a Wish

I am going to spend this year collecting ideas, plans, for a birthday, for birthdays... all that are ahead. I am going to devise celebrations, themes, menus, and color schemes. I am going to create playlists, guest lists, and imagine outifits to wear, flowers to arrange, destinations to visit. Some of these will very likely be fantastic, as in... entirely immersed in fantasy, and wildly over the top, I hope. Some of my plans will be modest affairs, fraught with the very most humblest of mindful simplicity, sincerity, maturity and sophistication. I want to have a scheme for any circumstance. One never knows! And, I fervently hope that at least a few designs will emerge that are feasible, inspired, congenial, that when the time comes and anyone asks, I can reply with a sense of optimism and confidence, I have some ideas. I won't stammer, no panic or embarrassment, no dread... just a guest list, and cake flavor, happy anticipation, trust. Maybe a trip to a cabin, but with genuine expectancy of feeling that a comfortable celebration is in store.

This birthday, my 55th, had some really nice moments, in spite of me. I know... it's because of me, but trust me, it could be easier if I weren't standing in the way, cringing and wincing. Anyway. I love the messages. On social media... the texts, and cards. People say the nicest things, and I always want to tell them, I bask in this glow, the light you are shining on me, and your kindnesses make me smile, or tear up, and I am astonished at it all. Thank you for doing that. Thank you. My mother-in-law sent scarves, and I've been wearing them, like beautiful hugs around my shoulders. And my Mommy and Dad, sent cards, and a package that was stuffed full of treats, and words of encouragement, and love. And Geoff, too... he wants me to have a happy birthday, and I try. He spoils me, all year long, really. I want for nothing... nothing, but the ability to feel at ease. Anyway, he saw that I got some pampering. And he lead me to cake. And a taco. The taco was delicious. And we put a candle in it. I wished that next year we can try one of my wildly over the top schemes!
Later that night, our friends' text message came through, about a gift they'd left at our door. I was sorry I didn't see the message before they'd left. Look at Bex's bird! I love her art. I love the post it notes, and the lapel pins, the bookmark, and most of all, I love our friends. I love that my life now is more than I ever imagined it could be, in many blessed ways. I love that Geoff's best gift to me has been showing me that big ideas, plans, and wishes are good and worthwhile to have, that it's not only ok to make plans, but we should believe in them, reach for them, work for them, because they are often attainable, always worthwhile. I will reflect on this... on faith in goodness, and planning for happiness, as I consider my intentions, and resolutions for the New Year.

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Days of Christmas

Christmas day after Christmas, or even two or three days later, is a good idea. We did this at least once before, and it remains one of my happier recollections of a holiday well celebrated... it was relaxed, unrushed, there was time to take deep breaths, and take notice of the small and big things that matter most, like family, friends, time. This year, once Maria was out of school, we took some of those deep breaths, and started to bring our attention to family time, to home, nature, and play, and by reclaiming the calendar, we regained an easier, more comfortable rhythm.

Ha! Ha! All of that talk about calm and serenity, before I launch into a description of December 26th when we wildly ripped into opening gifts and chugging hot chocolate! Okay, "wildly" isn't an apt description, since we are striclty a one gift at a time family, and likely each gift is going to get passed around, admired. We might read an excerpt from the new book, or give the gyroscope a test spin, or two. We love exchanging gifts, and we love sharing them, playing with them, immersing ourselves, and squealing in delight and appreciation. And we were as excited for the cats' pleasure and amusement, as our own. The kitties were in the thick of it with us, a joy into itself. Unto itself? Into unto.
Do I say this every year? About gifts, and sharing, about how eventually things wind down, and we are reading books, assembling LEGO, on the phone to loved ones... I take pleasure in the sameness, in the scenes familiar and normal. Normal, especially in recent years, is a blessing. Normal is the new Awesome. Give us warm flannel, and leftovers! We are home, with cats and ribbons, Zoo passes, and Nat King Cole! This is bliss. Merry Christmas!

And now? Now are the really blessed days, when we lose track of... is it Monday? Is tomorrow the 28th or the 29th? Things get fuzzy. We build more LEGO, break down boxes, roll up ribbon, watch one more movie. We got two more of us boosted. And rain! So much rain. It did dampen some plans, though not as much as Omicron. Eight days after the events, we received two school notifications of Maria having had two exposures to COVID, and these besides the one we deduced for ourselves. Sigh.

Ok. And when I say "Ok," you should hear me taking in a deep breath, and it sounds like resolve, like renewed commitment to moving forward, to finding all of the silver linings, pretty things, happy moments. Okay! Outdoors, between showers. Outdoors with chickens and goats, and looking closer at the garden beds, neglected though they are. But noticing what's blooming, in spite of the neglect, and willing myself to imagine digging around, pulling weeds. Outside, hanging with a friend, making plans, starting a new project, finishing the unfinished ones, too.
My next post... I want to write about how I would celebrate my birthday if. If it weren't raining, if there weren't a pandemic, if everyone could take time off from work, if I weren't self-consciously shy, reluctant, insecure. I want to imagine simple, and elaborate, possibly improvident, but certainly not wasteful, slightly lavish events, yet deeply meaningful, maybe even transcendent. I am formulating a hope, a belief that if I devise some plans, envision possibilities, I will be prepared, the groundwork will be laid for excellent celebrations for years to come! And, I want to post about bulbs and gardens, and the promise of Spring, of later. There is so much I want to do, to believe.

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

December 25th At Home Under The Rainbow

December 25th was the day we slowed everything down. Alex and Bambi had time to see her Mom and Dad. Geoff and I went for a walk... or, we intended to walk, but we were rained out. This rain is coming in cold! Instead of walking, we dashed into the market for salsa, and oat milk. And we all went to the backyard to see the rainbow. The rainbow was a double, and we could see both ends. It was a marvel!

It was also the day we lost a hen. I don't know why. She never showed signs of ailing, she didn't look as though she were injured, attacked. I found her beneath the roost. One of our three Black Australorps, Ventura. I hope it was sudden, quick. I hope there is a sunny field with seeds and low branches, running water, and good places to scratch and dust bathe, and she's there, now, with a flock of happy companions. I hope all pets and good souls go where their dreams are comforting and everlasting.

We had a sweet delivery from our dear friends. Leo was seen dashing away, and at our front door a homebaked confection, with delicious raspberries. Our side oven is small, and slow to warm up, but we were rewarded for our patience, and ate their gift on our campaign through the Witchlight Carnival, after a yummy salmon dinner. Good food pairs so nicely with rainy days at home.

Our Dungeons and Dragons adventure picked up where we left off... we began on Black Friday, which henceforth will be called Gamer Friday, because that is a better description of our day after Thanksgiving. Bambi is our DM, and we are playing The Wild Beyond the Witchlight campaign. I am a Harengon, by the way. And my name is Parsnip Coddiwomple Folklor "Fika." Maria is Caramip, and she's a gnome. We were raised together. We are at the carnival with Cehrabarq, Phil, Mr Dream, and Wort. I am pretty sure we will be at this, again, for NYE, Ground Hog Day, Valentine's Day, and any other free nights we can arrange, until we find what we are missing, and crown someone. Maria made a sketch of her Dad's character, Phil. Phil, who frequently brings out his bagpipes, sings, and generally makes things shiny.
This is a rare group shot, all of us in one photograph. It won't be enclosed in any Christmas cards. It's merit being that we are together, happy.
The young folk lined up stockings by the fireplace, in order from youngest to eldest, to cats. Cats, being old souls. Santa conveyed the message, that Cookies are not necessary. Kindly arrange for a machaca burrito for my breakfast. I thank you. Christmas wasn't cancelled or even postponed, at least, it didn't feel like that. It felt like we drew a collective breath, and very gently exhaled, savoring our time and each other's company, reflecting on the spirit of the event, mindful, thankful, peaceful, calm.

Christmas Eve

We enjoyed a lovely Christmas Eve... our traditional brunch, in Ruth's home, again, not at the park. I am only mentioning this, because, to everyone's dismay, this is year two in a global pandemic. Not the two or three week crisis we thought it would be. I often go into great detail about things, explaining our choices, or describing how or why we did what we did, but hey! This needs no explanation, there can hardly be a soul on Earth who doesn't have some inkling of things being terribly out of sorts, of an everlasting up-side-downess to all we do, and don't do! The day before we were in four unique and far flung places at once to get boosted, to get tested... it was a modern version of "Over the River and Through the Woods!" And, happily for us, we have had a happy ending. So far, we have dodged COVID, and it's variations. And we even had long breaks in the weather so we could be in the open air, or have doors wide open! Anyway, precautions and tests, and extra concern are the new normal, and worth the effort to see family, and share in moments of connection, celebration, and making memories.

We drove through some heavy rain, then into stunning views, where the occean was silver and gold. Ruth and Holly made a lovely table of good eats, and festive drinks. We missed the cousins, Izzy and Nick, but hopefully we can squeeze in another gathering, maybe at the Zoo, or a park. Our gift exchange was a fun one, as usual. I think Maria and Holly were especially delighted... Bambi made a holiday shadowbox for Holly. It looks like Narnia, right to the lamppost, and I almost expect Mister Tumnus to step out from behind the pine, laden with parcels. For Maria, Holly procured a scroll saw cut shelf with deer and woodland motifs. It's beautiful! Lovely gifts, and laughter. I am trying to recall the details of our gathering. I think maybe the most lasting impression, is the desire for more time together, more gatherings. And if COVID and spikes in illness are going to dash our hopes, yet again, then my wish is for faith and patience. The disappointments are keen, and it's not easy being separated from loved ones, traditions, peace of mind, but with patience, faith, and hope, I am looking forward to more days like this, with loved ones, and laughter.