Not really. But that little skit from Saturday Night Live featuring Horatio Saenz, Jimmy Fallon, Chris Kattan, and Tracy Morgan playing and singing that little Christmas song makes me smile every time. Look it up on YouTube. “I don’t care what your mama says; Christmastime is here.”
It’s been a busy fall and summer. I’ve gotten out of the habit of posting and I promise to do better next year. A new year’s resolution, perhaps? But I get ahead of myself.
With camping (glamping), traveling (I went to Italy!), tutoring, and grandkids I seem to wear myself out every day! Consider these photos my Christmas card to you.
My setup at a Girl Camper event in Glen Rose, Texas.
Stella and me trying to stay warm at the campsite. She has become quite the little traveler!
Me at the Doge’s Palace in Venice. Behind me is the largest canvas in the world, Il Paradiso, by Jacopo Robusti. Amazing.
A gondola on the Grand Canal in Venice. The gondolier is behind me.
A partial view of Assisi.
The Trevi Fountain in Rome.
At the airport in Rome waiting for the long flight back. Do I look like a tourist? ; – )
Of course I have a million more photos from Italy but not many of just me!
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! May all your wishes and dreams come true!
I am a bonafide nester. From childhood I have liked to have my things in proper order, in their proper places. I frequently went through the large box I kept on my side of the closet (I shared a room with two younger sisters) to reorganize and purge things I no longer wanted or needed. I kept my side of the room neat and organized, careful to own and curate the only space in the house I could call my own.
I carried that principle into adulthood. When I moved into my first apartment during college I was careful to stake out my personal space in the shared apartment, even down to a shelf in the refrigerator. I wanted my things in their place.
I was blessed to be married for 41 years to a man who didn’t mind me keeping things in their proper places. I didn’t mind him having his things in the house, but they were to be kept in the spaces I designated for them, and he did a really good job of complying with that. His work shed out back? A completely different story. It was his domain, and I didn’t give input on it. I rarely even went out there.
I said all that to say this. My house is driving me crazy right now. I have been blessed by being able to have new flooring installed, but the process is testing my patience. Every piece of furniture, all my books, knick-knacks, and decor items have been shuffled all over the house. Closet floors have been cleared and the contents stacked in the middle of the rooms. It only took a few days to get the large areas done, but now I am waiting on the closets, bathrooms, laundry room, and trim work to be done.
In the middle of the job my contractor contracted Covid. He’s been unable to work for two weeks. After one week of sleeping on the sofa I finally cleared off my bed and put sheets on it and can at least sleep in my bed now. The sofa and coffee table are in good places, and the TV has been reconnected. I can get to my clothes and my food and appliances. I moved my laptop and printer onto the dining room table, which is pushed up against the bar in the kitchen. I can still write and do eBay.
So why am I complaining? I’m trying not to. I have waited years for new flooring and I am finally getting it. What has been completed is absolutely beautiful. Patience, I say to myself, patience. Anything worthwhile takes time. This is October, though, and I usually decorate the house for Halloween. I can’t do it right now, but I did add some things to the flower arrangement on my dining table to get into the spirit. And I decorated my porch like I always do.
This too, shall pass. And I’ll take pictures of the results to show you. In the meantime, drink a pumpkin spice latte for me. I’m doing the Whole 30 program and haven’t had one yet.
When I was younger I used to hate the week after Christmas. It was so. . .blah. After the anticipation of Christmas Day, the beauty of holiday decorations, the visits to and from extended family, the fun of school parties, the excitement of opening gifts–well, the week after was a huge letdown.
Not that I wasn’t grateful for the new things, and I did enjoy them, but knowing that the decorations would soon be coming down and school would soon be resuming made the week kind of a downer.
That was then. Now that I’m all grown up with grown kids I see things a little differently. I don’t take all the decorations down right away. I used to follow my mother’s lead and keep everything up until New Year’s Day, but now it seems that the season goes so fast, I have been leaving everything up until my birthday on January 6, which is Epiphany, the day the wise men supposedly visited the baby Jesus. This year, amid the challenges of the coronavirus and details of moving my husband into a memory care facility, I may leave everything up until mid-January or even later.
Caring for him and juggling visits with loved ones has left me little time to reflect on the meaning of the holiday season. It was a strange one in that I did not work like crazy wrapping gifts at the shop where I’ve worked every Christmas for seven years. This year I did all my wrapping with materials I already had, and I wrapped what I had ordered online or bought at the dollar store. I haven’t set foot in a large store for months, it seems.
So I will use this post-Christmas downtime as a time to reflect on the season. I will wait for the rest of the gifts still under my tree to be given out. Covid-19 has kept my grandchildren away but I’m hoping to see them very soon. Our Christmas may be delayed a bit, but it will be every bit as special seeing it through their eyes.
As 2020 rolls into 2021 (good riddance, right?), I will ponder making new year’s resolutions and may even write some so that I can break them later. My wish for you is a happier, healthier, more peaceful new year. You deserve it. We all deserve it.
“It’s the best time of the year. I don’t know if there’ll be snow, but have a cup of cheer. . .” And so the song goes, courtesy of the late great Burl Ives. Remember the snowman on “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” animated special? I was seven years old when I saw it for the first time. It was magical. Now I can’t even get my grandkids interested. The old claymation specials have nothing on today’s computer graphics animation. Ah, but they were magical, at least to my generation.
I got distracted. Sorry about that. I have decided to have a holly jolly Christmas at my house. I don’t care if a pandemic is raging, threatening my family and friends, threatening retailers and restauranteurs, threatening the traditions we all hold dear. Maybe the pandemic is a good thing.
What? What did you say? I said, maybe it’s a good thing. It’s changing our priorities. We are focusing more on loved ones, and not things. We are finding out that the most valuable things in life are not things at all. The things we miss are not things, either. Hugging a friend or relative, shaking hands, whispering in someone’s ear, getting close enough to detect a special cologne, gathering in groups at holiday parties, sharing a toast, kids sitting on Santa’s lap, being able to breathe without fogging up your glasses, last-minute shopping in a crowded store. Need I go on?
We have given up much this year because of Covid-19. But look at what we’ve gained: a new appreciation of freedom, gathering with friends, going shopping and dining wherever we want, gathering with family at holidays and special occasions, going to church and fellowship with fellow churchgoers. Boy, do I miss that.
I’m going to make it a holly jolly Christmas, though. I’m going to:
Enjoy small things like the lights on my beautiful tree.
Behold the wonder in my granddaughters’ eyes as they look at all the decorations.
Experience the delight in the two-year-old’s smile as she touches an LED C9 bulb and finds out that it’s cool to the touch.
Note the pride in the five-year-old’s stance as she finishes decorating the little silver tree for my camper.
Enjoy the taste of pumpkin spice in my morning coffee.
Relish drinking from my special Christmas coffee mugs.
Cozy up to my dog next to me in my chair while wearing comfy pajamas.
Relish a morning when I get to sleep just a little bit later.
Wrap each and every gift with love.
Give thanks for online ordering when I can’t get to a store.
Get the picture? There is a host of ways to make it a holly jolly Christmas. Even as my days are consumed with caregiving and my nights with intermittent sleep between calls from hubby, I choose to focus on the good. Yes, I have days, even weeks, when I wonder how this is all going to turn out–the pandemic, my husband’s disease progression, the next presidential administration, life in general. But I rest in this: my God knows it all, and holds it all, in His almighty hands.
So. . . Merry Christmas. May all your days be holly jolly.
I was dismayed to find that many of the fireworks displays in my area had been canceled due to concerns about the spread of COVID-19. Not that I would attend the big ones in the towns around here, but I at least would have had that option. I realize that our nation’s birthday happens with or without fireworks, but it just doesn’t seem the same without them. I had settled down with hubby in front of the TV to watch Macy’s Fourth of July celebration when I heard a big boom outside. We have some neighbors who have been known to shoot off fireworks during holidays, but the trees usually cover them up. Still, I had to investigate. I sprang from my chair with Stella the Boston terrier on my heels. We had to see what was going on. To my utter surprise and delight, my next door neighbors were shooting off those big fireworks like the cities do! I texted my mother who lives next door on the other side and she picked me up in my dad’s golf cart so we could drive across the road to watch the fireworks. It wasn’t a big public event and there weren’t scores of people sitting on blankets or tailgating, but there were fireworks and we got to see them. What could be better than having big fireworks at your next door neighbors? I didn’t even have to bring a covered dish or dessert. So, thank you, Turner family, for rescuing Independence Day for our quiet country neighborhood. I’m sticking my tongue out at you, COVID 19. You tried but you didn’t stop it. Maybe 2021 will be different, but I wouldn’t give anything for the lessons 2020 has taught me thus far. That sounds like good material for another blog post. I hope you had a safe and happy Fourth of July without a visit from the unwelcome coronavirus. Here’s to the Red, White, and Blue! XOXO