Thursday, December 31, 2009

High hopes for 2010

I'm not making New Year's Resolutions for the coming year. I don't need the angst of breaking them. I am, however, starting a list of Hopes... one of which is to be more consistent in posting to my blog. We'll see.

Had dinner last evening with two lovely friends, a married couple. They quietly celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary this year and still act like newlyweds... not by being overtly touchie-feelie but in their solicitous attention to and respect for each other. When the wife left the table momentarily, the husband remarked that marriage is a crap-shoot... you never know what you're getting into. He said that his wife was not the woman he had married. She had changed, in a good way. Of course, he added, he wasn't the same person she had married. His favorite thing about her is that she continues to make him laugh. I've not often heard a man say he is glad he's married. If my husband had been like him, I might still be married. Of course, I would need to have been as nice as his wife is. They are exceptional people and I count it a grace to know them and be included in their lives.

2009 has been a wild ride, personally and world-wide. Economic havoc, ecological upheaval, momentous strides in knowledge (medical, scientific, in all branches actually), revelations of feet of clay. 2010 will be no different. With luck and grace, the good will outweigh the bad.

My present from Santa last year was eyelashes. (I had lost them after undergoing chemo therapy.) Due to starting a second round of therapy a few weeks back, I'm basically hairless again but I still have eyelashes... and there seem to be more than I have ever had. I may find them on my pillow tomorrow, but I had them for Christmas. A bonus from Santa?

The recent terror attack attempt has prompted calls to put the Full Body Scanners in use. I remember the ads at the back of comic books for xray glasses... let you see through clothes (usually pictured a teen aged boy looking at a glamorous woman). When I started my obsession with reading as a child, one of the genres I enjoyed was the emerging science fiction... reading about all the wondrous things that might happen and be invented in the future. I have come to realize that, if we can imagine it, it can happen. 'They' have managed to get a man to put explosives in his underwear.... ! I may never get over this one.

We will have a full moon tonight, a blue moon (traditionally, the second full moon occurring in a month), on the last day of the year. Not a common occurrence, but not unheard of. With luck, the sky will be clear for us to enjoy its light.

Happy New Year to all.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Santa, Baby, always visits early

Let's get this out of the way first thing... I believe in Santa Claus. (And, yes, I'm wa-a-a-y past the age of consent.) Santa has always come through for me. About fifteen years ago, I had an epiphany when I recognized for the fist time that Santa was responsible for a present that only he could provide. It's been a game for me every year since to wait, watch, and see if I recognize his gift. I start watching about three weeks before Christmas as the gifts have always arrived sometime within that time frame. (My theory is that he visits the adults early so as to leave Christmas Eve clear for the children.) Suspend your disbelief and think back. I bet you will be able to identify your Santa gift.

We had snow last Friday. Lots of snow... more than we were expecting here where I live. The weather people had said we'd get about 5" and that would be tamped down when it changed to rain. I watched the first 5 in comfort. Slept through the rest. Snow doesn't appear as deep when looked at from above. Had plans to do lunch with a friend on Monday. Went to the first floor and realized that clearing the car would be a little more involved than I had thought. Knowing I wouldn't feel like socializing (ditto for the doctor appointment on Tuesday morning) after taking care of snow-removal, I rescheduled the lunch date and headed out, giant combination-scraper-brush in hand. Contrary to the amount I had told my daughters about, I measured and there was only 12" of snow on my car. In this case, size didn't matter... it seemed like 2' while I was getting it off the car. No shovel to clear a path from the parking spot through the ridge of snow that had frozen in front of the car, created when the trusty maintenance crew cleared a lane for entering and exiting the parking area.

At 10am Tuesday morning, I set out for my appointed rounds. Made it over the frozen ridge and out of the lot. The city and state snow-removal dudes had done a great job, making my trek an easy one. Got gas, went to the doctor's office, went to the Garden (beautiful with the snow!), ran a couple of errands, made a short visit to a friend's house to see her tree and give gifts for her and her family. I returned home about 8pm. 'My" parking spot was open! Had another appointment at the doctor's for a treatment Wednesday morning. Got home about 2pm. The spot was open! As today is Christmas Eve, I expect the time frame for this gift may have expired, but I'll find out tomorrow, Christmas Day, after spending time with family. Santa is nothing if not a class act and one more day, THE day, may be included.

Eartha, I know you're waiting for Santa, Baby to put your gifts under the tree, but eat your heart out... he's already been to see me.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

No "Bah, humbug" allowed

'Tis the season for giving. And receiving. Want to give a gift that costs no money at all? Be a joyful receiver this year. I know... we all hear "It is more blessed to give than to receive" all year long, especially at this time of year. Have you ever given someone a gift and their reaction let you know that it was beneath their standards? That they couldn't set it aside quickly enough? How did that make you feel? Unappreciated? Sorry you spent the time and money? Angry? So much for your holiday spirit, right?

It's okay to enjoy getting gifts. Even God wants us to be thankful for his gifts to us. We should do less for people who give to us? So what if it appears to be something that was grabbed and wrapped at the last minute? At least we were on the list. And that is no small thing.

So, give the gift that REALLY keeps on giving... a heartfelt "Thank you." Even if you have to mentally grit your teeth and smile through them. You won't be sorry. And the look on their face (sometimes it's relief that you didn't sneer at them) will be a gift you have given to yourself... no cost involved except a moment of your time. And, at some point in the coming year, you'll be glad you have that item, because whatever it is, you'll discover that it's just the thing that's needed, for yourself or someone else. I guarantee it. Works for me every time.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Matters of weather and taste

The parade started on time at 10 a.m. this morning in miserable weather... cold rain and wind. The grandstand was across the street from my place so I was able to enjoy watching it in dry comfort. My heart went out to all the participants. I've been part of marches in bad weather. The worst part is the standing around, waiting to get on the move. As soon as the whistle blows and the drum beat starts, the adrenaline kicks in. The weather is still miserable but more bearable. And the end is, at last, in sight.

Sometime this past November, supermodel Kate Moss stated that her motto is: "Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels." Some people have been upset by this as it is a slogan posted on Web sites encouraging girls not to eat. However skinny Miss Moss and others want to feel, I beg to differ. Nothing tastes as good as sharing a meal with family and friends.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The gift of moonlight

As a child, my favorite time of the 24 hours began at twilight on nights of the full moon. The heat of the summer day slowly dissipated, lightning bugs blinked their tiny beacons near and far, and the moonlight gave a silver gleam to everything in sight. On the clearest evenings, the light was so brilliant that it created knife-edged shadows. In Winter, the full moon's beams added silver outlines to the leafless trees and made the frost sparkle.

I was born at the end of June, a Cancer, under the sign of the Moon. I've always been a moon child. I could (and still can) fall asleep in the midst of a room-full of talking people, with the radio or TV playing. But let me be asleep in a quiet dark room and have a moonbeam fall across my bed and my eyes will pop open as if a wake-up switch has been thrown in my brain. For a time in my 30's, when I was a single mother of three working two jobs, having gotten my children to bed, I would lie on the lounge out in the back yard, enjoying the quiet under the full moon. A neighbor saw me one evening and asked what I was doing. I told him I was getting a moon tan.

I'm still a moon child and try to catch as many moon rays as I can. Which means I was truly delighted this past Tuesday evening while I was at the Garden. I had made myself get up, get dressed, and go to the Garden library for my volunteer hours.
.... A few moments after arriving, one of the workers finishing the installation of the Christmas... excuse me... Holiday decorations in the Reading Room offered to show us a project she had just finished and placed in the cabinet holding treasured floral porcelains. I looked at the figures in the cabinet and my reaction was 'so?' Then she pointed out that the largest, sitting on the bottom shelf, was one she had created from real dried plant material from the Garden. It is breath-taking, especially juxtaposed with the porcelain porcelains. I spent the rest of my hours there pointing out my favorite 'fake porcelain' to everyone who visited the library.
.... I discovered that the evening was Member Night (free admission). The air was just crisp enough to feel Christmas-ey and only a slight breeze was blowing. I decided to stay and walk through the Garden's Fest of Lights. I treated myself to a bowl of Red Pepper & Crab soup in the Cafe as I watched darkness descend and the lights start to glow. As I walked across to the Conservatory, I realized that there was a full moon! It was a soft golden orb, in a cobalt sky with gauzy clouds seeming to hang in place, throwing a golden haze over the Garden. Heavenly.

I've been taught that in Heaven there will be no night... the radiance of the Father will out-shine the sun. I hope that in a small corner, I'll be able to find quiet and moonlight.