December – Holiday Season

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​Five days in, finally posting in our last month of 2018.

Finally getting rid of last month’s snow.

Darkness at 4:30; feels like midnight.

My whole clock is off.

Asleep at 5pm; wide awake at midnight.

And then again at 3am.

Taking medicine all at the wrong times.

It’s cold out, but the car is hot.

Wear a jacket? Or just cope between the heated house and the heated car?

Monday was my birthday. I like to pretend my birthday is in the spring. If the sun is out, and there’s no snow, it’s my spring, and I take myself out while the kids are in school and my husband is at work, and for a little while I’m me.

So, on Monday morning, I got up early and went to mass, and then I took myself out for breakfast (free entree – I love birthday freebies!) and a movie. Across the restaurant from me was a woman, a little younger than me who was also having a birthday. I knew this because she was wearing a crown that said “happy birthday”. She wasn’t shouting from the rooftops, she wasn’t laughing loudly, but once she put the crown on, she did seem regal. Poised. Special.

Part of me was like I would never – too much attention, too much shiny – but a part of me was also like why don’t I have a crown? I should have a crown.

Or was it a tiara? Whatever it was, I should have one.

November – Gratitude

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November begins with the Solemnity of All Saints and finishes with the beginning of the liturgical year and Advent. In the middle are parent-teacher conferences, Veteran’s Day, Morning of Service volunteering, church breakfasts, health insurance open enrollment, medical procedures, a court appearance for a traffic ticket, the premiere of Fantastic Beasts, and  Thanksgiving.

I’m sure I’ve left things out, and I can hear all of you readers going over your lists in your heads and groaning. I know, I know. I’m sorry I brought it up.

First and foremost, November is about colors. We’ve been very slow at leaves changing colors. They seem lazy and slow to change, and they seem muted with the grey, cloudy, dreary-ish days that have started today, but they’re still beautiful, and mesmerizing as well as introspective.

Second for November, is gratitude. We need to slow down, and remember how lucky we are, and in reality, while things aren’t perfect for anyone, we are still very lucky in so many ways. Now is a good time to think on our blessings and remind ourselves of what we have and simply be grateful.

Third, November is National Novel Writing Month. I have signed on to participate again, and I’m hoping to settle into a rhythm of both updating this website and writing for Nanowrimo, and other writings and creative plans. Look for my daily, 30 Days of Nano column, offering suggestions and tips for a successful writing experience for Nanowrimo or your own writing endeavors.

October – Fall into Halloween

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​October is my favorite month for a lot of reasons. It is also the beginning of a very stressful and anxious time for me. It’s almost every year, and once this was brought to my attention, I was able to pay attention to the signs, to be self-aware, maybe a little overly self-aware to remember to take care of myself and to enjoy what I do enjoy and push through what I find difficult.

For one thing, school is humming along. All of the back to school paperwork has been handed in, drama club has begun, my son’s birthday is in two weeks, the leaves are changing, we’re planning our applepicking day, choosing Halloween costumes, not buying candy so we don’t eat it before the 31st, and I’m kind of getting ready for Nanowrimo. For the past two Halloweens, we’ve only started buying candy on the 29th and 30th. So far, so good.

I have a lot of medical stuff getting done this month. I’m about to schedule a mammogram, and my physical and colonoscopy is near the end of the month. I’m getting hearing aids in two weeks, which is nerve-wracking, depressing from a getting older perspective, and also excited anticipation so I can hear half of the things I’ve been missing.

I was also just informed (cautiously, nicely, with as much gentleness as was possible) that my oldest child is moving out. To be honest, I know he’s ready, and he’s thought it through, and he’s good and decent and it’s time, but also to be honest, I’m devastated. I can’t think of anything else. He’s been working two or three jobs for the last year, so it’s not like I’m used to seeing him around anyway. His main job is an overnight, so he gets home in the morning while I’m still sleeping, and he’s sleeping when I get up for the day. He hasn’t eaten dinner with us in weeks (months, really), he only answers about half my texts, and so physically not much will change.

But I’m still distraught.

The depression is building.

It’s also an election year – it is the most important election year in our lifetimes. That is no exaggeration. It’s time for those of us in the majority show the rest of the country what that actually means.

We are about to seat a new Supreme Court Justice, and the nominee (without the baggage of credible allegations of sexual assault) is the least qualified, the most lacking in temperament, the most self-entitled man to be chosen by any President in modern times. I’m also still deeply pained by the disgusting partisan insulting treatment of Judge Merrick Garland, and the traitorous  behavior of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, not only for that, but also for refusing to sign onto a bipartisan statement informing the American people of the Russian election interference in the 2016 election.

I am not over that election. I will never be over that election.

A foreign government put their finger on the scales of a fair and free election, and our Republican party helped.

I do apologize for this political outburst. That is not what this monthly blurb is about, but this hangs heavy over my October this year.

I’m going to take a deep breath, and make a few suggestions to you, and to myself while I try to keep October on an even, mindful, centered keel. As the campaign season winds down to Election Day (in thirty-four days), more than likely we will all need some form of self-care, and October actually lends itself really well to some unique ways to bring ourselves back to the center.

1. Take a drive to see the fall foliage. Many regions of the US have a beautiful change of season. I am very lucky to live in the Northeast, so it goes from green to bright oranges, reds, and yellows, sometimes in a matter of days.

2. Go applepicking. While you’re there, definitely eat one apple from the tree. Clean it on your shirt, and listen to the sound of the crisp, juicy snap of that first bite of the apple, its stem still attached, the leaf brushing against your nose. My favorite variety is the snapdragon, a relatively new hybrid.

3. Cook something comforting. Stew, chicken soup, chicken pot pie, mac&cheese, apple bread, apple pie.

4. Have a cup of tea. Or better yet, a mug. And keep them coming.

5. Light a scented candle. I like lilac.

What would you add to this list?

August: Vacation/Staycation

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August comes in like a lion and out like a lamb.

That’s April.

That’s not right.

March is the lion and the lamb.

August is hot.

It has no personality of its own.

It’s school supplies already gathering dust.

It’s vacation.

It’s my wedding anniversary.

It’s an oven that doesn’t work, but if it did work, I’d complain that I’d have to turn it on in August.
It’s lazy and hazy and the air is muddy like April’s boots.

It’s melancholy and lethargic.

Or is that just me?

But it’s not all that bad, I suppose.

The birds are noisy, the grass is green.

The spices are fragrant.

The whirr of the air conditioner.

The hosta petals on the ground, and bunny prints in the drying rain.

I guess we’ll give August a chance.
Let’s go.

Mother, May I?: Flowers, Birds, Dances

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​It’s supposed to be warm. It’s May. But it’s still cold. We still have our heat on; the nights are still a bit too cold, but I’m about to cave, and turn off the heat. May’s a little ridiculous to still have it on. I might have to sleep in a sweater, but I need to draw the line somewhere, don’t I?

For those of us with school-age children, May is busy. We’re getting ready for the end of the school year, we’re making plans for the summer that hopefully don’t include eighteen hours of television and tablets per day. 

Locally, it’s tulip season. There’s a festival in the capital. Flowers and music and food. Mother’s Day is the same weekend. So much too do, and not enough time, like most of the year.

It’s dance season. Proms, which my kids are too young for, but middle school still has their dances where the boys don’t think they need ties no matter what the dress code says, and the girls want to wear gowns even though they’re so, so young.

We’re catching up on our snow days and sick days. My son is already talking about Halloween. For gardeners, things are blooming, or at least beginning to. Weeds are being pulled, birds are tweeting, loudly; I don’t like the heat of summer, but really…when will the sun return?

Fire

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Fire is all powerful, building up and destroying at the same time. Fire rises, sweeps through. Unlike water which washes everything away in an instant, fire stays awhile. It spreads, sometimes slowly, sometimes fast, but out and up, higher and higher and even when it has no place to go it still reaches out and grows, larger, looming, consuming.

Staring at fire is much like clouds in a blue sky.

There’s a bunny. And a soccer ball. But fire is not fluffy. You can’t help but to jump at each spark, wondering why there are no bunnies in the charred remains.

Fire is powerful and… weak is the wrong word. Fire can be subdued. Water, salt, even certain chemicals. I think it’s why we feel so much for fire fighters. They are like magicians in the night, taking the fire away, bringing back the calm.