Tag Archives: Christmas

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Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

December 22, 2013
3 days before Christmas. Now there’s an original opening.
I’m at work because my coworker is sick. I’m happy to do it-I can use the extra money. I’ve finally found a place where my coworkers are ADULTS so anything I can do to be supportive, I’ll do it. Happily.

Still, watching the approach of my 60th Christmas is sobering. My birthday, on the 5th, was a quiet affair. My landlord went with me to buy tires for my car and later he took me to lunch. Actually, it’s the best birthday I’ve had in about 10 years. Really. We talked about the world, about being older, about lessons learned, and not learned, about giving ourselves permission to relax…finally. My job pays my bills and the occasional sale of my art gives me a little extra to buy supplies, the odd reference book, and a new coat from Goodwill. Sometimes, like this week, I’m needed at work to relieve my coworker and there’s a little spike in my paycheck. My car is in good shape, the cats are healthy, and I’m healthy. I have art projects I’m working on, but I’m taking my time to explore new techniques, or mediums, ideas.

I have tossed deadlines. No more. I will finish my art-and my writing-in my time. I’ve lived my life on deadline. No more. When I finish an art project, when I’m happy with it, when I decide it’s done, it goes out. Not before. No more getting it done as quickly as possible to make the most of whatever season is coming to an end. Same with my writing. I will finish the story and then look for a publisher. If there’s a call for that story, great, if not, eventually there will be. In the meantime, I have a story I’m proud of. No more deadlines.

And I’m sort of dating. Sort of. I’ve posted one of those perky, chirpy profiles and a picture. That takes a lot of nerve for me. I’m gaining in self confidence all the time, gaining clarity about life in general and mine in particular. Yet I still have that moment of “WTF???” when I pass a mirror because I’m still the same in my head. I haven’t aged. I’ve gotten smarter, I’ve gotten calmer, I’ve learned a lot of lessons but I don’t feel any older. I still love hiking for hours at a time. I still clean my house with the same passion and energy I always have, I still move around with the same enthusiasm. What’s with the sagging neck? The lines around my mouth? My friends remind me that we EARNED that proof of life on our faces. And then I think, “That’s right.”My face isn’t 30 anymore, but I still run circles around most of the people I know-even those half my age. Then I stop and say, wait a minute; it isn’t a contest, is it? AM I still trying to prove something? AM I still trying to be good enough smart enough, pretty enough to be accepted? Is that shit still happening? Then I wonder if it’s wise to even try dating. I definitely don’t want to get into that awful anxiety about who I am, what I look like. I LIKE not caring.

I met someone who, so far, seems very nice. He seems to think I look fine. It’s early days, and as I’ve said before ‘They’re ALL nice in the beginning.” To be fair to him, I don’t know what he thinks, whether he’s just curious to see where it goes. Maybe he’s reminding himself we all get better looking once we get to know each other. And maybe he’s curious about me, what’s in my head, what I think about him. Maybe he’s interested enough to want to show me he’s attractive enough, smart enough, nice enough to keep doing whatever this is we’re doing. Then again, maybe he’s just tired of microwave dinners and wants regular sex. The only real way to find out, it seems, is to do this dating thing. Or not. I’ll see what happens for a while; see if it’s worth giving up my precious free time. If I decide it isn’t, I can decide I don’t want to date and that’s that. I don’t HAVE to do this. So we’ll see.
Sigh.
Merry Christmas.

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New Year, New Art

Some new art-paper mache cats! I’m working on other paper mache projects, as well as other art, but I thought these were so cute you’d all enjoy seeing them.IMG_6246

Who doesn’t love a purple cat?

I have more cats, and more coming. I even have a nice big kitty with a tiny mouse pal.

This big kitty wears an allover design that is as pretty front as back. Like all cats, he doesn’t want to be set aside, he wants to be front and center!

IMG_6245IMG_6242IMG_6241The group at bottom is my first Mache family, but they have cousins arriving soon!

Almost Christmas

Well, we survived the dire Mayan prediction…whew!

It’s almost Christmas and most of the people I know-family included-are busy with Christmas stuff. My brother called just after the world was supposed to end (sorry, I’ll try to curb any more snide remarks.) We talked a bit about the holidays and his delight in seeing his children and grandchildren. Other people have called for short chats, but I don’t expect to be involved in other people’s holiday whirlwinds. And it’s OK. Really. I like this little bit of time to myself. I like the solitude, time with my cats, especially knowing I’ll be in a new job in a few days. Max and Annie will adjust to my new schedule, as they’ve adjusted to everything, and I hope it affords me more time for writing and art.

I must admit that I haven’t been as industrious with this time as I had originally planned. Actually, I’ve been goofing off. A lot. Watching movies, reading books-thrillers!- and paper mache. That last bit is art so I shouldn’t be apologizing for it. Still, I could have finished a book by now if I’d put my mind to it. Or at least built a new bookshelf or an entire paper mache dragon instead of the lovely, but undramatic cats and bowls I’ve been working on.

Still, I have enjoyed my laziness. In fact, I’m beginning to have trouble getting to sleep because I’m NOT TIRED! So, I guess I should spend the last few days frantically writing and making art. And hiking. The weather was cold and rainy and snowy so I used that as an excuse to curl up with movies and books instead. Tomorrow, though, is Christmas Eve and I’ll be helping Donna at Common Ground. Hopefully we’ll have a good day and make lots of sales. Christmas Day and the 2 days after I’ll work really hard. I will. You’ll see.

Have fun with your friends and families this holiday. And if you can sneak a little time for yourself, curl up with a good movie or book. Take a nap. Be lazy, if only for a few minutes. I don’t want to be the only guilty party making resolutions New Year’s Eve.

Cheers!

Christmas thoughts

There’s only a week or so before Christmas and any of us are already in that panicked state that seems to define the month of December. We are beginning to anticipate the gatherings of friends and family, and dread them at the same time. We toggle between giddy happiness and glowering resentment. Old hurts and regrets that we hold at bay the rest of the year loom large now.

Maybe we should let go of childhood beliefs. There is no Santa Claus other than the generosity of our own hearts. WE carry Santa around with us.  Next time you pass a ringing bell for the Salvation Army, drop in a dollar (or whatever you have clinking in your pocket) say Merry Christmas and feel better. I’m not here as a spokesperson for any charity-the pont is to give. To everyone. Don’t keep a little notebook in your pocket to mark down what you got in return. I mean it. Just give. Give your smile, a kind word, hold the door. Help carry the garbage to the curb, make those last copies so your coworker can leave with everyone else, help your classmate edit a  paper so they can enjoy the holidays too.

Do you see ways to help but think, “oh yeah, if I start that he’ll expect me to do it every week and what is he going to do for me?” Stop it. Just stop.

Those of you who are lucky enough to have jobs that give you the holidays off, appreciate that. Now take a look around. Those people in the convenience store? They don’t get Christmas off and no, they don’t get extra pay either. Even if they did, they’re making $8 an hour…big deal. Those people who brought you that holiday special? That nice cold beer? They aren’t getting the holidays off. They’re working overtime. TIP them. Acknowledge that because YOU want to go out on the holidays these people are required to work. The guys who own the businesses are often at home with their families, but not the employees. Please, don’t take it out on them because you have to put up with your mother-in-law for 3 days. Be kind. It’s not that hard. Really.

You’ll feel noble and maybe the holidays won’t seem so dreadful anymore.

Happy Holidays!

Think Outside the Gift Box

It’s holiday time, the time of year Made for TV movies tell us we’re supposed to be happy and appreciate each other and commercials tell us this can only happen if we buy them THIS (whatever the commercial is selling.)

Standing in line at the grocery store, I overheard two guys moaning about buying Christmas presents.

“Oh, man, I don’t know what to get her. My sister said she would pick something up when she’s out shopping. I said fine, I don’t know what to buy…”
“Man, do what I do. Gift cards for everybody. Easy, fast, can’t go wrong.”
I remembered a boyfriend I had (briefly) who whined the same way the one and only Christmas I shared with him. He wanted me to go with him to pick out my Christmas present. I said NO and he ended up getting me a gift card. A generic gift card at the mall. Because I have better raising, I thanked him and kissed his cheek. He opened his gift from me, a hand- held drum I had painted a dragon on. He used to be a drummer and loved to talk about his band days. The drum was something he could play if he felt like it and hang on his wall the rest of the time. He loved my art, and I thought it was a great way to weave the two together. He was actually shocked that I had “gone to so much trouble.” I didn’t think it was trouble. I wanted to show him how much I cared. He still has the drum, but I doubt he tells his new girlfriends where he got it.

My point is, think about the reason for the gifts you’re giving. If you really don’t know what to get your girlfriend, you need to start paying better attention. OK, I’m easy to get presents for, I’ll admit. I write, read, make art, love the outdoors-in other words my personality is obvious. The fact that my ex-boyfriend didn’t know what to get me told me he didn’t care that much. Think about it. He could have gotten a gift card to the bookstore, the art supply store…anything but the mall, for goodness’ sake. I had gone shopping there with him once to get his mother something for Mother’s Day (right, I was supposed to figure this out for him and I hadn’t even met his mother yet…) and I told him then I didn’t like malls. We NEVER went to the mall.

No, this isn’t a rant about that boyfriend. It’s about thinking about the people in your life. Listening, watching, thinking- outside the gift box.

Anything can be a present. Presents are symbols of our relationship with that person. If it’s the girl at the convenience store who always has a bright smile when you stop in for 6AM coffee and helps you get a better start on the day, then give her a holiday card with $10 in it. She can spend it where she wants. She doesn’t make any money (I know, I used to do that work) so money is something she values and needs. Don’t wimp out with a gift card. That’s a sissy way of saying I want to give you money but I can’t be honest about it. She needs money. Give her money.

When I hear guys complaining that they don’t know what to give their girlfriend/wife I want to shout, “Listen to her!” Does she talk about clothes, movies, pop culture? Give her subscription to a classy fashion magazine (not any of those horrible paparazzi rags-boycott those things.) Magazine subscriptions are a surprise and a swell reminder of how you really thought about her. There are great magazines out there for guys too, girls.

If your mother loves to cook, give her something that reflects that. Go into the kitchen department of any major store, or any of the specialty kitchen stores that have popped up all over, and find something interesting she probably wouldn’t buy herself. Ask the staff for suggestions.

Listen to the people in your life. LISTEN. It’s not that hard, but it does take effort. And that’s what I’m talking about. Take the effort to let the people you care about know you care about them. That’s what this holiday is for, I don’t care what religion you are. Or aren’t.

What’s the old James Taylor tune? “Shower the people you love with love, show them the way that you feel.”

Think outside the gift box. Think inside your own heart. Give presents to the people who matter in your life (remember the convenience store clerk? She matters. The guy at work who annoys you with his music doesn’t) and give a cheerful nod and smile to everyone else. You don’t have to spend buckets of money on people. Really. If you pay attention to the people who matter, you will find ways to show them you love them. And that matters more than anything.

Think outside the gift box.