Monday, December 28, 2015

Don't Make Assumptions

Christmastime, this year, evolved into something different. Thankfully, I've re-written the above 3rd of the 4 agreements (see link below) to no expectations.  

My daughter and I seem to have accepted and integrated this agreement into our lives for Christmas did not occur in its usual way.

My son invited us over for dinner on the night before Christmas Eve. We had a wonderful time. I did not bring their presents - we have a Christmas brunch at my house every year. Mark is a supreme chef and made a wondrous pork roast with glorious baked, herbed potato-wedges, and a tasty green-bean casserole - not the kind with mushroom soup and onion rings on top - but a delightful and different one. Their tree sparkled and shone in their redecorated living room. I grew tired too soon and the party broke up, with many hugs and kisses and terms of endearment. It was lovely. I went home steeped in peace.

Sometime the next day, I realized that my son and his beautiful wife were not going to come to my house on Christmas morning. 

Christmas Eve I dressed for the evening's frolic at my daughter's home. When I arrived, my niece and her Rich were in the process of leaving. No others cramped the living spaces. Hmm. My granddaughter came out with her new and beloved American Girl doll - both dressed for the festivities. We left shortly after for services at our church where the little one sang in the choir. The priest delighted us with an uplifting and humorous service and my little one shone, of course, more than any of the others (Grandmas are allowed to be prejudiced). After the service, I learned that none of the other family members were coming back to my daughter's - they were planning on seeing each other on Christmas Day in the afternoon. A care package with some cookies and ham accompanied me as I was escorted from the home - the family was going to a friend's for the rest of the evening. Pippin and I drove home, surprised at the turn of events, but, after a few choice tears, the blessedness of a quiet evening soothed my soul. I slept in contentment.

The next morning, knowing no company would be forthcoming, I rested in jammies, held Pip on my lap and fend him wee Christmas treats, and opened a few presents. It was lovely.

Until my daughter called, inviting me to her house for Christmas brunch. I dressed in two seconds and Pip and I were out the door before the phone had cooled off. The morning was lovely, the breakfast was very good, and we ended up making more Christmas cookies, which was most fun.

The Four Agreements has been such a blessing to me. Neither my daughter nor I were upset by the oddity of the Christmas celebrations and rejoiced in having family at all and food and shelter and laughter.

I pray you all had a glorious Christmas - whether as expected or not - and that your New Year is incomparable, with warmth and joy, good food, friends, and health. But, of course, with no expectations.


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Purses are the devil

Finished the cards (see earlier post) and put them in my purse to mail them.

They are still there! I can't believe it. Finally had the wherewithal to do them and then - the purse ate them. I'm sure of it. There have been other instances of cannibalism where it concerns my purse. It loves to eat my keys - it doesn't matter what kind - car, house, playground, laundry.  It eats insurance cards, too.

I didn't realize it, at the beginning of the year, that I had bought a rather voracious purse to accompany me on my daily tasks. It seemed like a good purse. Four separate areas for storing things - two of them with zippers - a heavy front flap, designed to keep things inside. Lovely little thing (well, not that little - cause it has to hold my cell phone, my purselet (?), my tablet, my writing materials, Kleenex, emergency supplies.... but with four compartments, I could organize things and have them always at my fingertips.

Not - Lovely little purse hides things, when it's not eating them. My keys go in the little pocket with the zipper. I put it there every day. When I'm done with the keys, they go back in the little spot and I am content. Until I go out the next day and they are not in the little compartment, they are not in the big compartment, they are not in the extras on the side. They are nowhere. After much grumbling and searching, finally pulling everything out of every corner of the bloody thing - the keys are in the pocket where they belong.

The purse laughs - I can hear it in the breeze - and I know that tomorrow, the purse will begin its little game with me again.

Help me, Obi Wan, you are my only hope.  :)

Saturday, December 19, 2015


Oh dear - some people love to write and send Christmas cards. I've gotten them for years with their cheery waving and hello's and well wishes. I love to get them. I hate to send them.

It's not that I hate to send them - being a procrastinator - I hate to see them lying in their little bin AFTER the event they were bought for.

Do you have a clue as to how many cards sit in peoples' drawers and sigh heavily? Do you not feel a guilt and sorrow for the little things - created with such hope and languishing in despair?

This year - well, about two weeks ago - I decided - ENOUGH. Send cards, blast you woman. The years of money spent and joy at picking them out are waiting for you to do something.

I sat down on Thursday with a truckload of new-bought cards - let the old ones languish - and vowed to fill them out and send them on their merry way. Hmm - finding addresses not as easy as I thought. A friend called. How about breakfast? Whoo hoo. Left the cards where they lay and ran out the door, coat flying behind me, obscuring the sounds of weeping coming from my desk.

Later that day, sat down and picked up pen. Friend called. I'll be over in a minute? Yes - please come. Darted about the room picking up dog toys and the ever-present dog-chewed kleenex. Wiped down the bathroom and poured the wine. Spent a wondrous evening.

Friday - doctor appointment. Baby-sitting my glorious and precious granddaughter. Exhausted by the evening. Closed my ears to the sounds of sobbing coming from my desk and slept.

Saturday - OK. Some envelopes have been addressed. Why is it so difficult to fill out the cards? I love these people that I'm sending them, too. They are worth every moment. It's delving down and opening myself up to nostalgia, sorrow, and joy. Tears spring to my eyes as I look at each name I'm sending these to. Bits of memory flood my soul and I am glad to be doing this.

But, mark my words, it's still hard. :).

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Murder and Mayhem

Spent a week-end with a bunch of writers (what do you call a gaggle of writers?). The writer-in-residence was Julie Ann Lindsey. She was brilliant. The first night she showed us her outline. (BTW - Claudia Taller - the woman who creates the week-ends, is awesome.)

BACKTRACK - I was concerned about attending this 'retreat' because the first order of business was outlines and I am not a fan of outlines.

Julie showed us her outline and I took note. She uses color-coding, she's probably not the only one, but most folk I talk to (or have listened to in seminars) spend so much time on their outline and make it beyond complicated that I thought, how can I enjoy writing if I've already written my book in outline form?

Next book I start, I'm using an outline - but my own kind. I am stubborn.

The rest of the week-end was as exciting as the first. Mary Bodnar showed us some really great moves to prepare our bodies for writing and our souls for creativity. It was fun, even if I had to sit in a chair to do it. (Still recovering).

The murder and mayhem mentioned in the posting title is due to Julie's books. She is a mystery writer. I'd love to share my love of mysteries at the moment, but I want to concentrate on the book I read.

When I go to these week-end affairs, I almost always buy one book by the author's attending. I bought one of Julie's that intrigued me. It is the third book in her Patience Price mystery series. 'Murder in Real Time' was a blast to read. The characters are each different and Julie makes it easy to discern who is talking or doing or having fun or getting murdered. The backdrop, the scenes, all take place on an island that is usually filled with tourists or birders. The plot is good and kept me wondering. I love to figure out who the killer is, but Julie surprised me. I'd had a thought, but I didn't follow through with it.

A former FBI counselor moves back to her home when she is 'let go' - redacted as the Brits say. I think. She finds her childhood friends and is followed by an FBI special agent who might have a crush on her.

The island is transformed form the wondrous, serene and comfortable home that Patience longed for and expected. Not this time - some fool has invited a realty TV producer and his entourage to film a 'Halloween' segment on the island and mayhem happens on Day 1. Two of the cast are found dead in a locked room. Shades of Sherlock Holmes.

Patience tries to agree with her FBI friend to not investigate the murders, but her own curiosity, and the needs of her friends and fellow-townspeople force her into action.

And what action it is. Great book. Lots of fun. I refuse to divulge anything else because -- spoilers.

Here's her blog. I plan on buying the first book in the series and then finishing the second and then on to her other series. She writes well and kept me questioning every twist and turn. Not too many to stupefy but enough to keep me on edge.

Hope you enjoy. Very glad Julie started writing and sharing her stories with the world.