me

would you rather – huitième partie

always be 10 minutes late or always be 20 minutes early
Twenty minutes early all day every day.

lose the ability to read or lose the ability to speak
Gah! Why did I do this to myself!?!
I think lose my ability to speak. I could write stuff down. I could sign and that would be OK once everyone around me learned to sign. I’m a visual learner, I need to be able to read all the things!

be able to command water or the wind
Water.
If Avatar: The Last Airbender taught me anything it’s that even though I’m a fixed earth sign I’d be a water bender. And I’d use my bending to be a healer.

know the history of every object you touched or be able to talk to animals
Know the history of every object I touch.
The idea of unlimited anthropological and sociological learning makes me absolutely giddy! What a powerfully important and helpful skill.

control space or time
Thing 1 and I had a conversation about this.
I was quick to choose time. Think of all we could do if we could control time.
One of my first examples was: Thing 2 could come visit and it would feel so long and we’d feel like we had enough quality time, but no time would have passed while she was here, so she wouldn’t have to take time off from work, etc.
She said, “Haven’t we learned that there’s always a catch? Don’t mess with time, Momma. Leave time alone.”
Um…

What would y’all rather?

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time to begin again

In a post on this same day last year, I wrote:

As I shift my focus to what’s ahead in 2020, I’m excited to see what the year brings. Interestingly enough, I find myself open to whatever comes with a surprising lack of expectations. (That’s today, be sure to check back to see how that changes.)
To be perfectly honest, I find it absolutely freeing!
No real expectations. What might that look like?

When I expressed my lack of expectations in regards to the coming year I could never have known what 2020 would bring.
And what it brought was a combination of horror and blessing.

The biggest part of me feels comfortable knowing I went into this ineffable year open to whatever would come. Especially when I consider what came.
From the first news of covid to the executive order from our governor designed to keep us all safe.
From the joy of teaching in the winter to the longest school break in my lifetime.
From the grief of all we lost to the opportunities being at home presented us.
From feeling lost and wandering the desert to that sparkle of hope the new year brings.

Disappointments loomed large.
I didn’t get into the grad school program.
Welcome to Night Vale Live postponed twice before finally canceled.
Not going to school.
Not seeing friends and family.
Not leaving the house.

Opportunities presented themselves.
I was able to begin and finish the Great and Arduous Process and share the photos and stories of our life with family and friends.
I purged and organized my closet and dresser.
I cleaned and sorted and organized anything that sat still long enough for me to touch it.
I went to Thing 1’s to ease my soul but the bonus was I helped her pack her house.
I met Thing 2’s precious new young man, Boyfriend M.
YBW and I went to Georgia and helped bring our daughter and her family home to our house.
YBW and I started the process of building our new home.

Change is tricky.
Sometimes good, sometimes simply inevitable.
Thing G left our home for the home of his mother.
Thing 1, Husband N, Baby K, and three dogs in our otherwise quiet home.
Living through the bathroom construction.
The concept of leaving this house for a new one.
The planning and packing and prepping for a move.

Joy is here. Sometimes shining brightly, sometimes partially hidden.
I am filled with gratitude.

I’m grateful the people I love are safe and healthy.
I’m grateful we’re financially stable, that we have a roof over our heads and food in the larder.
I’m grateful for what I learned about myself this year. And for what I learned about the people around me.
I’m grateful that I was a mood.
I’m grateful that I had opportunities.
I’m grateful for my growth. For learning more about myself. For realizing how strong and resilient I actually am.
I’m grateful that Baby K is in my house every single day. (Even Especially when she’s feisty AF.)
I’m grateful for this time with my daughter. I never expected either of us would choose to celebrate cohabitating, yet here we are. And sure, there are good and bad days, but we’re truly enjoying each other.
I’m grateful for YBW. For his love. For his sense of humor. For his kindness. For his ability to get under my skin. For his dream of a new home that sparked such lovely anticipation.
I’m grateful I chose to greet 2020 in this way:

I’m smart enough to know better than to ask 2020 to ‘bring it!”.
But feel completely comfortable saying, “I’m as ready as I’ll ever be.”
Because I have hope.
Because I am of open of mind and heart.
And let’s be real, that’s the best way to walk into anything.

I find myself feeling hopeful about walking into 2021.
It’s so much more than that feeling of living though the nightmare of 2020 and imagining the coming year to be easier. It’s more a feeling of curiosity. A feeling of anticipation.
*Something’s Coming plays quietly in the background*

Am I tempting the Fates?
I think not.
Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos have their hands full, they haven’t the time to consider me and my point of view.

My wish for all y’all as you move into the new year is you have love and hope in your pocket, you feel curious and of open mind and heart, you realize your own power and find good use for it.
It’s time to begin again.

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would you rather – septième partie

have a key the unlocks everything or a secret hideaway no one can enter but you
The Secret Garden showed me I can have both…
Though if I’m serious about it, I’d be more inclined to have a personal hideaway than want a key that could unlock everything.

build a snowman or a sandcastle
Snowman at the beach! (did Olaf teach us nothing?)

be able to play the violin or the drums
Drums and here’s why:
John Henry Bonham

have a nosy neighbor or be a noisy neighbor
I’d rather be a noisy neighbor.
I could choose to be quiet, but a noisy neighbor may not make that same choice.

listen to music or read a book
At this particular moment I’m going to say listen to music.

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this is the Christmas of my childhood

In the process of preparing to move, I went through my little two drawer file cabinet. Wedged into the very back of a file folder was a small stack of recipes.
These recipes are older than I am.
I set these particular recipes aside, put them in a safe place.
You know how that goes…
Meanwhile, Thing 1 has patiently waited for nearly five years for me to present her with the apple butter recipe. This recipe came from the next door neighbor, and is in her handwriting.
My mom made this apple butter as long as I can remember. Thing 1 loved when her Grandmommy would make it for her when she was a little girl. I think this might be her ‘golden ticket’ recipe.

It feels serendipitous that I came across these as we were coming into this time of year.
Advent is sacred to me. This most anticipatory time of year. When we’re enveloped in the spirit of Christmas, filled with love and hope and light.
Having these recipes in my hand at this time of year is perfect because they are absolutely the Christmas of my childhood.

My grandmother added her thoughts to the recipes she wrote out, and in the upper left corner you can see the words: Good Toots Recipe!
‘Toots’ is the pet name my grandparents had for their beloved and longtime friend. Grandaddy always called her Toots, but to me, she was ‘Little Grandma’ because she was small of build.

Little Grandma made these gingerbread men every single year. They were, and remain my very favorite cookie. They always had red hots as eyes, and hard silver dragées as buttons. They snapped in the most perfect way, and had the spiciest ginger flavor.
She only made them at Christmastime.
In the years since Little Grandma’s been gone, I’ve eaten many gingerbread men. Some disappointing ones. Some damn fine ones. But none as delicious as the ones she made.

I’ve been saying to my own baking guru Thing 1, I want to make Little Grandma’s gingerbread men. This is my childhood, I say.

Then I stop for a moment and I think, this is my childhood, and realize I’m actually hesitant to bake from this recipe.
How much of my love for these cookies is directly linked to loving Little Grandma? How much of my love for these cookies is about being excited to spend time with her in her little craftsman house in Clarendon? How much of my love for these cookies is about nostalgia?
Are they actually as delicious as I remember?
Can I just go to World Market and buy some Nyakers Swedish gingerbread men and be content?
Will Thing 1 and I bake these cookies and break my heart?
Will one of the last precious things from my childhood be broken?

That’s my fear talking. My anxiety. My sadness.
I’m sad that I’m the only one who knows what I’m talking about when I remember. I’m sad my sacred and precious Christmas tradition memories are foreign to my daughters, to my husband.
I’m fearful that I’ll ruin those memories by trying to recreate them.

I have to stop and breathe.
I have to be more mindful.
Perhaps it isn’t about recreating as much as it is creating something new from something sacred.
After all, Christmas is about hope.

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the snowy day

Wednesday last was Baby K’s first snow day!

I bought snow clothes with the intention of giving them to her for Christmas. Fortunately, I had them in a gift bag just in case it snowed before Christmas. She pulled out the tissue and got excited about her pom hat and little pink boots. (thanks, Lidl)
Thing 1 and I got her all bundled up and went walking in a winter wonderland.

Y’all! How cute is her little bouncy walk?
This girl absolutely LOVED being out in the snow!
My Birdie heart was bursting with snow day joy!

We walked up the street and found Meredith and Beau sledding down their driveway. Beau immediately put Baby K on his sled and pulled her all around their back yard! Meredith tried to teach her how to make snow balls. We’re so lucky to have such wonderful neighbors!

Though she loved the snow, she wore out pretty quickly.
We brought her home, snuggled up with a blanket and a bottle and it wasn’t too long before she went down for her ‘long winter’s nap’.

Later in the day snow turned to rain. After the sun went down rain turned to ice.
The next morning the sunshine made all the icy trees sparkle.

It’s a marshmallow world in the winter, y’all!

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o Christmas tree(s)

With all the wrapping finished, Thing 1 and I decided to take on another holiday project.
Yarn trees.

Last weekend I watched a reel on Instagram and was like, “Pfft! I can totally make that!”
Thing 1 was all, “I’m so here for it!”

We got foam shapes and made yarn choices at Michaels, went home waited for Baby K to take a nap then got to work.

Y’all, my daughter has always been a natural craft-artist and made this work for her from the moment she began this project.

Not satisfied with the trees we made, we returned to Michaels armed with coupons and rewards dollars for different yarn choices and more foam shapes.
We started with varying shades of green and white/cream and added grays and a white with rainbow-colored iridescent strands.
To say I’m pleased with the results is an understatement.

Now I’m asking:
What can I get up to next? (so much yarn to choose from)
Do y’all have any interest in being crafty? Do you do homemade holiday decorations?
Or is that all too much for you? Am I just super extra for doing this?

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merry and bright

Thing 1 and I had such fun wrapping Christmas gifts together this year!
We sat across from each other at that big desk and consulted on paper and ribbon choices. I shared some of my tricks. We enjoyed each other’s company. We sang along to holiday music.
We even let Baby K help decorate gifts!

Thing 1 isn’t super confident about her wrapping skills, but I have to tell you, that girl created some absolutely gorgeous packages.

Some of the ones I wrapped and decorated turned out beautifully too.

I hope your wrapping was lovely and your packages are gorgeous.
May your (holi)days be merry and bright!

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favorite things: December edition

Here’s more of my favorite things!
Y’all wanna play along?

What is your:

favorite holiday
C H R I S T M A S!!

favorite non-traditional way to celebrate the holidays
Christmas Eve at Church of the Motion Picture
YBW and I love to go out for drinks

then to the movies on Christmas Eve

favorite holiday outing
visiting the creche exhibit at the cathedral

favorite sign of the season
Christmas trees on cars

favorite Christmas song
Brian Setzer Orchestra’s Santa Claus is Back in Town
*hangs up fishnet stockings*

favorite Christmas hymn
O Holy Night
When I was a little girl, I thought ‘fall on your knees’ was ‘aww yawn ya ynee’ and that was how I sang it for years.

favorite holiday tradition
new jammies and a book opened Christmas Eve

favorite item on your holiday to-do list
wrapping pressies!

favorite Christmas movie
Miracle on 34th Street

(the original with Maureen O’Hara and Natalie Wood)

favorite holiday baked goods
crispy gingerbread men

What are your holiday faves?

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would you rather – sixième partie

be a professional sports player or a movie star
Movie star. They don’t let girls play professional baseball.

shovel snow or rake the leaves
Snow.
While I love the fall, raking leaves is a thankless chore. They’re not super cooperative, leaves. Flying about and never staying in a pile. Snow on the other hand has no choice but to leave the shovel in a pile and stay there till it melts.

be only able to whisper or only able to yell
I’m inclined to say yell. But I get shrill when I yell and that’s no good for anybody. So I guess I’ll choose whisper. I mean, I was in theater for about six hundred thousand years in high school, so I can stage whisper like nobody’s business.

eat healthy or exercise regularly
Eat healthy foods. It’s so much simpler than it sounds. And my cardio is pushing a buggy at the grocery store buying healthy food, so…

live without a cell phone or a TV
This is a no brainer, live without a TV.
I have an app for the weather. I can watch all the streaming services on other devices. If I didn’t have a cell phone, I’d never talk to Thing 2 cause she pretty much only chats and texts…that’s way more important than watching telly.

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wrap it up

Thing 1 and I set up a wrapping station in Thing G’s old room.
We moved the desk to the middle of the room and sorted gifts into bags so we’d know what’s up.

All the wrapping paper, ribbons and bows on the bed ready to make things merry and bright.

Wayne and I are kindred spirits.

And one of my most favorite things about Christmas is wrapping gifts!
I love to create beautiful packages for the people I love.

Husband N asked me if there is one, what is the word that means to create something just to then destroy it.
I actually don’t know if there is or what it might be.
He then told me my Christmas gifts are the perfect example.
You know, he’s kind of right.
I make them because it pleases me to give gorgeous gifts to my family. I don’t care if they get ripped up and destroyed in the opening. Because they’re beautiful in the meantime and that’s what matters to me.
You’ll see…

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