Sunday, December 31, 2006

Just Who's In Charge Here?

The sun is--finally-- shining through my (spotty) windows this morning! 

For too many mornings and long afternoons the sun hid behind clouds all November and December (it seems). I never remember such an endless stretch of grey, still, eerie days. 

So in the midst of all these I-can't-stand-it days, I've found myself having to keep my hands firmly on the reigns of my emotions, or else, they'll jump and swish! Fly off into the night all helter-skelter, careening into ditches on both sides of Life's Road.

I cringe when I speak of emotions and feelings here in my blog. Some people exclaim about their opinions' rights to be Kind, but not me. No, been there, done that years ago and now I'd rather follow wisdom, the Bible and God's still, small voice. 

I prefer the level path David spoke of in Psalms.

For those lead me to the best places in town, in my head, my heart. I mean, my changeable feelings whisper things like this:

"Now, you'd better stay home and not go driving anywhere. You might get in an accident."

"Ah, go ahead and eat that whole pie/cake/carton of ice cream/ huge bowl of spaghetti. You deserve it after what you've been through."

"After what that person said to you, you have every right to stay angry at them and to send them a mean note like the one they sent you."

Well, that list is endless, believe me.

No, I want to be the person who makes clear, precise decisions with her head and heart according to what is right, not according to how she just happens to feel at the moment. 

May wisdom from God move me. He's got a certain place where He wants to scoop at my Life's end, so hey! I want to be there. On time. At exactly that spot. 

So may I be moved by God, even on oh-so-grey days when I'm tempted to just wander around in emotions, searching for relief not found in Him.


Saturday, December 30, 2006

Wandering Around My House Tonight...

For ages I've not even touched our camera, but after seeing some special corners of your homes, I went around tonight and took pictures of some favorite corners of my own home. 

(Click any photo to enlarge.)

Since you last saw this, I added a couple old photos to the leaves and 

I made this hook thing (that's obvious,I know.)  :)

I'd wanted a Kit-Kat clock like this one for 15 years, ever since I first watched Honey, I Shrunk The Kids. His tail and eyes move back and forth. He was a gift this year from my parents.

I wish you could see the little white lights I keep above the bookcase year-'round... they make it look special.

The cannisters are my answer to Amy's question about our favorite retro kitchen items.

I can't just put plates on a plate rack any-more heavens, no!


Friday, December 29, 2006

Thinking Of Heaven...

I'd not planned to take a walk today (it's cold out there!) but I went ahead, mostly because my parents called and told me that my Aunt Marian (who I wrote about here), well, she had passed away on Christmas. Christmas morning, in fact. I almost told them, "I know," because somewhere inside me I did already know.

I think most clearly while passing those tall, old houses. Somehow I feel like the real me in a more custom-made world for my old-fashioned soul. As I walked along the sidewalks, I thought about my Aunt Marian having arrived in Heaven and how she must have been greeted by lots of people, Jesus and my grandparents (her parents) and then suddenly, the nicest scene popped into my head.

I 'saw' my Aunt Marian, her husband (my Uncle Ray), who pre-deceased her, and my grandparents--all four--sitting at the outdoor patio of a heavenly coffee shop. And it came to me that--of course! Heaven must certainly have coffee shops, ones more perfect than any in France or Italy or well, anyplace here.

And I 'saw' both those couples seated around a small table there on the coffee shop's patio, drinking coffee (such incredible coffee!) and each of them laughed, remembering good, harmonious times in the past. And looking closer, I glimpsed in the eyes of each, a light of anticipation of many more beautiful times to come in that place of Light. 

And then later, out of the cold, I stepped inside our warm house, smiling, and caught myself anticipating when I, also, will be seated around that table with those who arrived early and are waiting for me, even now.

And all was well with my soul.


Thursday, December 28, 2006

Night At The Museum

Tom and I had planned for weeks to go see The Pursuit of Happyness, but this morning I told him, "You know? I've already cried every time I've watched the previews and then I saw Oprah's show about the whole movie and well, I feel like I've seen it already!"

Tom agreed, and so this afternoon we drove to the theater and saw Night At The Museum. Oh wow. What a fun, imaginative, fun, laugh-out-loud, fun, crazy, fun, wild, and did I mention--fun?--movie! We absolutely loved it. And definitely it was a 'you-gotta-see-it-on-the-big-screen' film.

Maybe I, especially, loved this film because, ever since my wonder-eyed tiny girl days, I've gazed up at manikins in department stores and wondered, "What would it be like if they all came alive after the store closes?" The same for museums, display windows and I confess--even my own backyard. Don't tell anyone, but when I lug the trash outside at night, I peek over at our dark backyard and imagine that I see people sitting in our chairs and drinking lemonade, laughing.

No, really. Perhaps that comes from the After School Special based on the book, The Night Swimmers. I don't know. 

Anyway, Night At The Museum fed and tickled my imagination. My favorite parts were rather simple--people in Victorian and other period costumes strolled together in pairs talking quietly down the museum halls. People who had no speaking parts, but were there to add ambiance, a sense of motion, oddity.

Also? This film struck a familiar chord. Shortly after I began this blog 2 years ago, I began having almost nightly dreams filled with crowds of people. Folks I'd known in California, in Nevada, others from New York and people my brain creates. All these many folks together in one place! 

The dreams are all different, but they're always crowded with people. Not much happens, but by morning, I feel I spent all night chatting with folks in crowds.

Perhaps given my lone writer lifestyle God gives me these dreams so I'll connected to others? Satisfied, content to spend my days mostly alone? Hmm.

Enough rambling. Night At The Museum is pure delight and fun, though a bit long, so little ones might be best left home (some scary parts appear, also.)No, be brave and see it with another adult--ha! Even without the excuse of taking little children. You won't be sorry.


Tuesday, December 26, 2006

My Favorite Day

"Oh, it's the most won-der-ful time... of the year..."

Can't you just hear Andy Williams singing that? Well, for me, he's singing that about today--the day after Christmas.

I love this day.

I mean, yeah. December is nice. The cards, the radio carols, the family gathered together, the gifts, the food, the people in shops smiling and wishing you Happy Holidays (well, some people, anyway). The old Christmas films, of course.

And the yearly Christmas miracles are great. Ours, this year, being that Christmas came in the middle of Tom's 9 days off! (We nearly fainted. "Has that ever happened before?" we wondered.)

But give me December 26th, my own New Year's Day, of sorts. The day when Christmas The Way I Love Best begins all over again for eleven anticipatory months ahead. 

The day when I leap back into Life As Normal, with normal feeling downright pleasant. Normal mornings of secret coffee meetings with my Friend, hanging-out with my husband, and puttering around my old house in my aprons. Feeding the backyard birds, squirrels and mice, running errands, taking walks through snowy or sunny neighborhoods ninety years old, sitting on the front porch with 1930's magazines, reading books and blogs and recording in my own blog these simple, but satisfying old-fashioned days of mine.

The most wonderful time of the year, indeed! Eleven normal months ahead--and I can hardly wait.


Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas To My Readers

On this Christmas Eve I am wishing all my readers a wonderful merry Christmas--

--and sending my thanks to each of you who leave encouraging comments throughout the year and to those of you who simply visit, read and step away with something to ponder.

--and thanking you, also, for contributing to this dream-come-true of mine, this blog within which I write words from my home where I prefer to spend most of my time. Words which I fling to friends all over the world without my having to leave my home.

Instead, God has simplified (as only He can) what I once, for years, put-off for fear of complication (and rejection slips) and He's, instead, made a way where there was no way for a very long time.

So I thank Him, too, and you again, my Blogland neighbors, who I've been so blessed to meet by way of this blog these past two wonderful years.

Today and tomorrow I'll bake my pies and the turkey and putter in my old-fashioned kitchen and, all the while, wishing each of you a very Merry Christmas with much gratitude.



Thursday, December 21, 2006

Bitter? Or Better?

Sometimes Tom and I speak over the phone to old acquaintances and after their dire predictions, lists of complaints and general gloom they spread, I've looked at Tom and said, "If I ever become like that, you have my permission to shoot me."

Some days I pause and ask myself, "Am I becoming bitter or better?"

This month for example. I know I've become better about receiving Christmas cards--you should have seen me years ago each December.

No, I'm glad you didn't. I mean, I'd mail my Christmas cards (with handwritten notes and tiny surprises) early and then day after day I'd trudge outside into a cold, wintry blast of snow to our mailbox where it seemed, inside, an even icier blast slapped me because there would, generally, be no Christmas cards until, oh dear, three measly days before Christmas.

And because those days I based my happiness upon the mail I received, if my dearest friends signed only their names to the card or sent a long, type-written page of brag--, uhm,memories, well, I'd frown, fume, and feel totally blown away.

That, my friend, is called becoming bitter. Not better.

But now? Now I'm one happy Christmas camper. I mean, each year I sign-up on two Christmas card exchange lists from favorite online groups, and those ladies keep the cards coming in a regular flow all month long, giving me my Christmas card fix. Also, I receive cards from other online friends, as well.

As for the simply-signed cards or long-missives-but-no-personal-message from old friends three days before Christmas? Heck, I love them all--now. I've come to realize that people are different, that I should give them the freedom to be themselves and to do the best they can. 

And somewhere along the way? I even began sending out my own type-written letters(!) and now I love every similar letter I receive, no matter how braggy (definitely some God-made changes there!).

But the largest change? When I stopped trying to get from people what only God could give. I began to accept people as they are. Probably because finally I could accept myself as I am. 

And now each year I'm accepting December and Christmas, itself, in a whole more kindly manner.

And that is better. Not bitter.


Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Staying Awake

Most nights of my life, these words of Laura Ingalls Wilder flash through my mind like falling stars as I lay beneath the blankets of my bed:

"That was such a happy supper that Laura wanted it never to end. When she was in bed with Mary and Carrie, she stayed awake to keep on being happy...
A splash of water on her face dimly surprised her. She was sure it could not be rain, for the roof was overhead. She snuggled closer to Mary and everything slid away into dark, warm sleep."

The majority of my days, my hours, are quiet, uneventful. They're not rollicking nor full of big happenings, crowds, friends or parties. Most days aren't full of pretty cards in my mailbox, emails that make me feel great, fun trips or coffee dates with friends. And Tom and I love each other, but it's certainly not all passion and roses around our house, especially after 28 years.  ツ

Years past, I needed happy times and favorable circumstances to make me snuggle down with smiles at night. But now? Many nights, just as Laura did, I try to stay awake simply to keep on being happy. And sometimes I, too, am dimly surprised by a splash of water upon my face.

My days are not full of huge, wonderful things. No, but they are full of a big, wonderful God who I enjoy so very much.


How To Fake Having a Memory

I'm becoming an expert at giving the impression that I actually have a memory left. I've had to, because I think I lost my memory, oh, around age 44. (I can't remember for sure.heh.). 

So in case any of you have also dropped your memory somewhere along Life's Road, here are some hints to help you pretend you've got the same memory you once had:

1. Whenever you go shopping, always park in generally the same area of the parking lot. That way, when you come back outside from the store, you won't be searching for your car in such a huge area, but rather, a small one.

2. When you have two things to do at once, always choose the thing you're most likely to forget, first! For example, if I need to 1.) feed my cats or 2.)take the laundry out of the washing machine down in the basement, I would first choose the laundry. There's no way my cats will let me forget to feed them, but hey. The washing machine sits quietly in the basement.  ツ

3. Keep lists and pens in every room of the house and even in the car (or your purse) to jot down all those things which come to mind at the oddest times. Refer often to those lists.

4. Try to keep a series of routines going so that what you do will simply be a result of habit.

5. Take at least one krill oil (omega fatty acid) capsule each day. That is, if you can remember to take one.  ツ

6. If you can't afford one of those little hand-held computerized substitutes for a memory, get a free Yahoo email account and use the calendar feature. You can program it to send you emails to remind you of everything from people's birthdays to appointments, tv shows, paying bills or taking your vitamins (see #5 above).

7. Never tell yourself blithely, "Oh, I'll remember that. No need to write it down." That's just asking for trouble. heh.

8. Never walk out of a room where you've left the water running in a sink. (See #7.)

9. Only have two places--or at the most three--where you set down your keys, eyeglasses, billfold or purse. That way you're searching in only 2 or 3 places for them, rather than tearing through every room/corner in the house.

10. Discover clever little ways of avoiding calling people by their names when you've forgotten what they are.  ツ

11. Ask God to remind you of anything you may be forgetting. He never forgets anything--or anyone!


Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Approaching Hooves of Change

Your comments to my last post sounded curious as to how I am handling this possible move to Virginia. And well, truthfully? I'm excited. 

For thirteen years we have lived here outside of Buffalo and I have loved those years, yet now I'm thinking the sand in the hour glass is emptying upon our stay here.

Last week I took my semi-daily walk and pondered, "I love looking at these tall, wonderful old houses, but I'd like to see some different ones. And it would be nice to live someplace where I could take walks in the dead of winter with temperatures higher than 18 degrees, in a place which didn't loom so grey in winter, either.

Never before have I lived in the same house for more than 2 3/4 years.

 I'd lived the life of a nomad of sorts before we moved here (long story), but this house has sheltered us for 13 years and what its walls have seen! These walls which I've painted, like, 4 times each have watched me at my aproned June Cleaver highs and my Roseanne lows. And you'd think we'd lived here sixty years with the variety of music we've played, everything from Big Band era to the Beatles to symphony and Christian pop.

Naomi went from Middle School through college while living in this house (so many changes!). And I've gone from a young, physically-fit woman of 34 to a premenopausal, trying-to-age-gracefully woman of 47, one who, thankfully, is at least happier and made of stronger stuff than she was on Moving Day.

The dinners with friends around the table, the movies we've watched, the harsh winters we've survived. The bad news we've received over the phone, as well as the good, the Christmasses and birthday cakes with candles still in the drawers. The times we were sick in bed, the pies I've baked and the meals Naomi learned to cook at our stove. The huge, house-shaking parties we let Naomi have and all the times she made videos for school assignments here with a whole group of kids (and the dusty props we still have in the basement from those films).

The memories you make inside a house! I could go on remembering for years to come. Yet now my heart and God are preparing me for the Someday when I'll recall these times in a different place. 

But I'll create new memories there, also, and that, really, is fine with me. Besides, as long as God is there--as long as this is His idea--Life will be good. 

Changes are coming and the time feels right.


Sunday, December 17, 2006

Visiting The Past--Carefully

These days Tom is kinda-sorta certain he wants that Virginia job and so I have kinda-sorta been digging through boxes of all that paper they tell you not to keep (but you keep anyway).

I'm tossing stuff which survived previous cuts, but won't make the in-case-we-move-to-Virginia cut.

Good gracious. The junk we keep! So far, the silliest folder I've found is the one I labeled "Baby Information." And, uhm, well, every how-to-care-for-your-soon-to-arrive-baby article inside that folder was 27 years old! Rampant sentimentality at its worst--and into the recycling bag they went.

There are calendars I stashed away from 20 years ago, ones I kept as 'diaries' since back then I wasn't organized/awake/together enough to keep a real diary. Only three, or so, I'll save to remind me of the places we went and people we saw during Naomi's high school years, but the others? They joined the baby information.

Receipts from car repairs of cars we no longer own, insurance information from items long ago sold, my old typewritten lesson plans from eleven years ago when I taught adult Sunday School and women's seminars at church. All in paper grocery bags now.

And after all that sorting, I have that took-a-trip-back-in-time feeling. You know, the hazy one which clings to your head because suddenly you've bombarded your brain, like an awakened bee hive, with memories of people, gatherings and happenings you'd not recalled in years.

Perhaps you take trips back to the Past often, but I don't. No, I seldom travel back that way, even by way of video home movies. But when I do? I remain only ten minutes, or so, for those trips feel too much like riding a bicycle where I turn my head to stare and then lose my balance or crash into a telephone pole.

I lose my balance when I visit the Past and glimpse only the good times, but ignore the bad ones. 

You'd think that's a positive thing, but it isn't if it creates a yearning to return to something which was never as perfect as I recall it. Or there are the memories which mostly I recall as dark and humiliating and those are the kind that can jump into Today and haunt me for hours. 

No, if I take the road back to my past, I peek just a few moments and only as long as appreciation accompanies me, and generally, only long enough to learn something valuable. Besides, my past is now a lonely place, for all my loved ones live other places--they have moved on from there--and so should I. 


Friday, December 15, 2006

Christmas Gifts For My Readers

Since I like to keep Christmas as simple as possible, I am offering, again, the Christmas gifts I've given you, my readers, the last two years. I enjoy giving them early in case you would like to share some of the gifts with your own friends and family. 

Wishing you all an early Merry Christmas... I appreciate your readership and friendship so much!

For free bookmarks go here:

Mary Englebreit Bookmarks (these can be printed-out full-size, but you didn't hear that from me, ok?)
Hundreds of Bookmarks
Printable Bookmarks

To watch free movies online go here:

Movie Flix

To listen, free, to old radio shows from the 1930's and 40's, go here:

Radio Lovers

To walk in and visit a beautiful cottage home, go here:

Becky's Cottage

For free Christmas gift tags and enclosures, go here:

Christmas Fun

For a fun online Advent calendar for kids of all ages, go here:

Tate's Advent Calendar

To have fun trying on clothes online (forget those depressing dressing rooms! This is more like the days of paper dolls--and you are the doll.)--go here:

Lands End (Click on My Virtual Model to get started.)

To receive a free issue of Good Old Days Magazine (no credit card required), go here:

Good Old Days Magazine (Scroll down to 'Send No Money Now' when subscribing.)

If you enjoy Victorian photography, go here:

Victorian and Edwardian Photography

To download free charts and lists to help keep you and your family organized, go here:

Digital Women

For lots of cool old black and white photos from life in the 1930's, go here:

The 1930's

For free dollhouse accessory printables, go here:

Dollhouse Printables

To find amazing pictures to copy and paste into your emails for friends, go here:

All Posters

If you are into the fairy scene, go here:

Wee Folk Studio
Cecily Mary Barker

If you would someday like to visit 'Mayberry', go here:

Mt. Airy NC

If you were a big fan of 'The Waltons,' go here:

The Waltons

If you like all things Victorian, go here:

Victorian Trading Co.

To read hundreds of classic books online, go here:

Page By Page Books

If you like vintage paper dolls, go here:

Betsy McCall
Dress the Digital Dolls (there's more than one page)

To receive a free issue of Reminisce Magazine (no credit card required), go here:

Reminisce Magazine (click on Bill Me Later when subscribing)

If you'd like to go window shopping in New York City, go here:

Window shopping


If you'd like to do something kind for fellow bloggers, leave comments at the blogs of those who almost never receive comments.

Add blogs to your blogroll---it's a compliment when you do so.

If a blogger's writing has meant something to you this year, let him/her know.


Thursday, December 14, 2006

My Aunt Marian

My Aunt Marian, my dad's sister, is 74, but whenever I remember her, she's in her forties, already grey, smiling and kind.

I visit my grandparents' house in my memories and my aunt sits there, also, because she'd bring her children to visit when my parents brought theirs, (my sister, brother and I), even though it meant she traveled by train from Colorado to California. Somehow we all fit inside my grandparents' small house, a chair for everyone around the table and a place to sleep.

Then in my late teen years my aunt moved to California, married again, and lived near my grandparents, caring for them in their final years, even after her children remained in Colorado with their own families and following the death of her husband.

In my memories my aunt is quiet, yet she is strong. She never speaks to us children as though we are small-brained, but instead, as she would to her friends. And sometimes she and my dad sit at the table, discussing the differences of their religious denominations while the rest of us, smiling, think, "There go Dad and Aunt Marian again...," and know a miracle would have to happen for either to change the other's made-up mind.

But mostly I see my Aunt Marian with her camera, the old classic one she'd hold at her waist and look downward into its top. (The above photo is not of my aunt, but it always reminds me of her.) To me, Aunt Marian and her camera with the strap around her neck just belonged to each other. Only when I later married and Tom nudged me, chuckling, and asked, "Why does your aunt use such an old camera?" did I even notice how she must have looked, there in the 1980's, to other people. And I remember how Tom and I giggled when Aunt Marian mentioned to the family, "You know? It's getting harder to find and buy film for this camera lately."

Later, Tom gave my aunt a camera for Christmas and the next time we saw her, Aunt Marian said she enjoyed using the new camera and being able to easily find film for it. 

Yet I'd watch her take pictures and it just wasn't the same. 

Always at Christmas, until last year, we received from my aunt a card as well as hand-written, two-page letters on lined tablet stationery--and who does that anymore? Aunt Marian is the quintessential example of a woman contented with simple things and ways. If you give her a gift, she is thrilled with it, no matter how simple it may be.

After my grandmother passed away, Aunt Marian moved back to Colorado, near her daughter's family and in October my parents finally took the train to visit her there. It had been 11 years since they'd seen her and for two weeks they talked, remembered and caught-up on days gone by and spoke of days ahead, also. How my aunt was ready for Heaven after having lived in pain for years with arthritis and other health issues. Aunt Marian and my dad, both, told each other that neither expected the other to attend their funeral, if anything should happen in the years to come, especially now that they'd had this time to visit each other while both were very much alive. 

And how that is much, much better.

Yesterday my parents called me. A few weeks ago my Aunt Marian was moving to a new apartment and fell and hit her head, hard. Afterward she called my parents and told them she had fallen and given her head a real goose egg. She was able to joke about it and I can just hear her, for her complaints always came with with humor. 

But then, two weeks later, she suffered a severe stroke while alone in her home and fell again. Fortunately, my dad's brother found her not too long afterward and now my aunt lies in a hospital bed, unable to speak anymore, bleeding inside her head, holding her daughter's hand, reaching for that hand again each time her daughter must go away.

And yesterday, at first, I didn't know how to pray for her. It's always hard to pray at times like these. 

But I think God told me to pray that my Aunt Marian would have her greatest heart's desire granted, whether it be to stay here or to go to Heaven where I can just see my grandparents standing at the shore waiting, watching for her. 

And that's what I'm praying-- that my Aunt Marian's heart's desire will happen and that everything will be all right.


What happened later...

Thinking of Heaven.


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Cottages & Bungalows

Since last summer, I'd been anticipating this magazine's premier issue (somewhere I read about it). I went and bought my copy today (first magazine I'd bought in eons, but still called it an early Christmas gift to myself), took it down to the hazy, windy river and loved every photo.

In the magazine's back pages there are listed home renovation blogs and this was my favorite of the ones listed:

One Woman's Cottage Life
Scroll down and click on 'Older Posts' so you won't miss more photos of her great kitchen.

And from there I went over to Making It Home, where her Christmas decorating delighted my heart.

And, for good measure, here is a renovation blog where you'll find many more listed:


Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Photos On a Tuesday Night

Here are just a few pages from my favorite kids' craft book, What To Do Now by Tina Lee.

It's a favorite because it's from 1946 and every page screams 1940's! (Click to enlarge.)

And see the green file cabinet made from matchboxes? If you'll look closely at the photo below (left), you'll see the one I made years ago. I added little pearl beads for drawer pulls and each drawer is lined with Victorian art I snipped from Victorian Trading Co. catalogs. I hide teeny treasures inside the drawers.

Below is a bit of a change I made in my dream room.

And at the bottom is my laughable attempt to decorate for Christmas. I may get good grades for decorating the rest of my house, but when it comes to Christmas decorating I get a D... especially when graded on the curve with all of you who are wonders at it! (P.S. That's a paper plate behind the lamp.)

The Things I Hide From My Husband

(Intriguing title, huh?)

I'm going to run this post again because it returned to my head minutes ago when I was (with a touch of annoyance) rummaging through our dark, awful basement, searching for some packing tape for the package I'd planned to mail early this morning for my parents. Huh. So much for that. Not a roll of it was to be found in all of the (mostly Tom's) clutter down there. But rather than get upset with Tom, I got more annoyed with myself because I should have, ages ago, added packing tape to my own list of Things I Hide From My Husband.

Here--read what I mean by that... This time of year, this idea may come in handier than ever for you:

I have been married a real long time and well, I've learned there are, generally speaking, two kinds of arguments:

The ones you cannot avoid.
And the ones you can.

And that's what I wanted to mention today--the arguments I avoid by hiding things.

Like what, you ask? Like my very own toolbox. Around 20 years ago I bought a toolbox and began collecting tools for it (cheap ones... it's not like I use them everyday). I'd become extremely tired of needing hammers/screwdrivers/stud-finders/nails, etc., while Tom was away at work and having to wade through piles of Tom's tools to find them--or not find them. Which, of course, required that I nag (nag, nag, nag) Tom about his lack of organization and my frustration thereof.

A real marriage-saver, that one. My toolbox is my responsibility... I keep it hidden... and so if a tool is missing, it's my own fault. End of where's-the-silly-tools? arguments.

Something else I hide? A chunky black indelible marker which I find indispensable for my kitchen. After probably 25 years and 300 did-you-lose-my-chunky-black-marker-again? arguments, I finally got the idea to hide my marker in a little cupboard in my hoosier cabinet, a cupboard Tom never thinks to look inside. Oh my... Life feels so good when I know my chunky black marker is waiting for me in that little cupboard. Life also feels good minus those long, loud, needless chunky black marker arguments.

Know what else is inside that little cupboard? My very own flashlight. It only took me 27 years to finally start hiding my own flashlight (which, ok... the older I get, the more I need one around the house to read certain things...). No more why-can't-I-ever-find-a-flashlight-around-here? arguments feels oh-so-great, too.

I also hide my own scissors, masking tape, stapler, Scotch tape, glue and measuring tapes.

Get the idea? I'm not talking about keeping secrets from your spouse,(lest you thought I was going there. Heh.) No, it's more like this:

Lots and lots of arguments saved(avoided) equals lots and lots of peace and harmony earned.

Well, at least, that's what I have found.

"The tendency to whining and complaining may be taken as the surest sign symptom of little souls and inferior intellects." ...Lord Jeffrey..........(Ouch!)

Monday, December 11, 2006

re: Rudolph and His Red Nose

Okay, now I'm not trying to start some new, crazy movement nor am I getting ridiculous like this and trying to ban the song Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer (just in case you start thinking that's my aim).

No, I'm just making an observation.

The song, Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer bothers me. The movie (which I grew-up watching and loving), bugs me, too. I can't help but roll my eyes each time I hear the song on the radio.

I mean, think about it. Here's this adorably-cute reindeer who just happened to be born with a bright, red nose. As if he could help it! And suddenly he grows up, goes to reindeer school and gets ridiculed by all his intolerant, bratty little schoolmates just because his nose is different. Just because his bright, cherry-red nose isn't small, dark and boring liking everyone else's.

And because of that one little difference, he's laughed to scorn and the majority don't take the time to discover that really, Rudolph, is a darn nice kid... uh, reindeer. He loves his parents, he's sweet and he just wants to be loved and accepted like everyone else at reindeer school. But no, that's asking too much. Even his teachers laugh at him.

But then, poof! Suddenly, Christmas Eve rolls in all foggy-like and since Santa can't see to drive his sleigh, Christmas is nearly cancelled. But then someone remembers that goofy little kid, Rudolph, the one with the nose like a huge red lantern, and Rudolph is whisked to the head of the reindeer pack and Christmas is saved, thanks to that funny little kid, uh, reindeer, who, just the previous week, was considered a royal loser.

Oh but now--now!--Rudolph is considered a hero. And then how the reindeer 'loved him' (if that's love, I'll take spaghetti). They even shouted-out with glee, because of course, now, Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer is going down in history.

But only now, only after he proved himself a useful member of society. Only after his 'disability' saved Christmas for all of mankind. Only after Rudolph became a valuable asset, a famous reindeer and a credit to his family and the entire world at large.

Give me a break.

Right there is the kind of stuff which is messing us all up, stressing us out and making us appreciation-hungry nuts. The fact is, Rudolph was valuable before that foggy Christmas Eve. He was a creation of God, a son, a friend, a member of woodland society and just a sweet little deer. And here is the truth:

Today you are valuable to God.
Today God loves you just as you are, famous or unknown. For you are not unknown to Him.
Today God would have sent Jesus to die for you, even if you were the only person on Earth.
Today, with God, you are a winner, not a loser.
Today, you do not have to prove yourself to God. He knows your weaknesses and He's standing ready to give you His strength in those areas.
Today, even if you overcame all your weaknesses, God would not love you any better than He does right this minute.
Today God is thrilled that you are His child and He wouldn't trade you for all the perfect, got-it-all together, famous, Christmas-saving people in the whole World.


And I hope you'll remember that.


Sunday, December 10, 2006

The Changing Face, Part 2

Y'all are too kind.

I mean, your comments after my last post about my changing face made me feel as though I'd missed what I meant to convey. That point being, that now, nearly ten years later, I appear older, greyer, wrinklier and altogether different than I did in that photo. The face I have now is not the one I had then.


There is a shock which comes when your face changes as mine has this past year. I wasn't writing about my crows' feet (which I'd thought were kinda cute and added character). I wasn't even speaking of the grey hair which has framed my face for years, but now glows like a neon light when I wear light blue sweaters.

No, I meant that my face has Changed. It's jumped the track I knew so long and is now zooming along the Old Lady Track, instead.

And it's when your face does that that you have to spend some real time accepting that what you've seen happen to others, you'll now watch happen to you. 

And that's where I am, still walking through the acceptance mode and not at the end of it yet, either.

Oh, I know that "pretty is as pretty does". I know, I know! But still, it's going to take awhile for me to accept that--for my life's remainder--I may act in pretty ways, but my pretty ways will be done with an aging-by-the-minute, wrinkling, crinkling, sagging face. 

Well, unless I do something about it (surgery), but as of this moment, uh, no. Not me (but I have no problem with others doing what they want).

This is one of those things you have to experience to know what I'm talking about. 

And up until this year, my 47th year, I hadn't experienced it, but I'm going through it now. And yes, everything will be all right. It well. I know this.

I'm just working my way through acceptance of the new face which, magically, somehow, appeared like a mask over the face I once knew so well.

After all, most days I feel 25 years old inside, so imagine my shock when I pass a mirror and see that odd, haggard-looking woman who appears more like 50. And I don't know about you, but it's going to take more than kind words or reassurances and more than just 15 minutes to accept that aging woman staring back at me. 

Like anything else, this is a process and all process takes time. And well, I hope I've explained this better today.


Friday, December 08, 2006

The Changing Face

It's a rare day that I post a picture of me in my blog,but here I am almost ten years ago.

Let me add, I look different now. I'm not just talking about having shorter hair, either. No, I'm talking about something else.

Have you ever heard of that phrase, "The changing face of America?" I've lately wondered if that term perhaps referenced what has happened down through Time to women and men my age, that nearing 50 age.When I stand before mirrors now, I see my own changing face with it's new creases and unevenness and a sort of shadow of years lived and years yet to come. I have even seen my grandmother's face, on occasion, staring back at mine in the bathroom mirror glass and spying her there, I've gasped.

Yet, mine is not the only face which I see changing. No, I niew the same signs--these same similar lines and shadows--in strangers' faces and in recent pictures of friends who I knew when we were all 17.

We are, most of us, visibly transitioning from the face we grew-up with to the face with which we will die.

This freaks-out some people. 

And well, maybe on some future day when the creases and shadows have deepened upon my own aging face, maybe then I will freak-out, too. Though, of course, I hope I'll behave with more grace.

But for now, for today, I'm fine with my changing face and what it means. After all, that is part of Life, and living is all about change and growing-up and growing old, as well as, growing in wisdom, also. And thank-goodness for that wisdom which grows along with aging, bringing with it a peace that everything is going to be all right--even after my face turns and changes into what would have horrified me at 17.

Life is about much more than a face--and that's something for which we can all be grateful.


Christmas Favorites

Paige tagged me about listing my five favorite Christmas songs, so here they are:

Oh Holy Night
Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
Noel, Noel
Mary, Did You Know?
Angels We Have Heard On High

That last song is the one I hum while I am out and about every November and December. I hum it without realizing I am doing so. Just one of those things, I guess.

And while I'm at it, here are my favorite Christmas movies, though just a few since they are legion:

It's a Wonderful Life
A Christmas Carol (George C. Scott version)
Miracle on 34th Street (the original one)
The Snowman
A Charlie Brown Christmas
Bachelor Mother
Home Alone 1 and 2 (Deal with it.) ジ
While You Were Sleeping
Christmas In Connecticut

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Christmas Shopping The New-Fashioned Way

Yesterday morning I went Christmas shopping.

The inside of our car was freezing cold at 9:00 a.m., but who cared?

Snow and ice blanketed the roads then, too, and the wind was blowing icy darts, but I didn't even notice. The mall was crowded with people, even so early, but I didn't mind a bit.

For you see, I went Christmas shopping online.

I visited three different stores and didn't use one drop of gas nor did I and I search for, or squeeze into, a single parking space, or get shoved around by that frosty wind while winding through the back 40 of the parking lot.

I was the only person I saw in each store. Blessedly quiet, I didn't hear any screaming children, yelling parents or Christmas Muzak. I even drank coffee while I browsed the shelves.

The stores had exactly what I wanted, everything was in stock.

Always the very first person in line at the check-out, I never waited in long lines resembling a type of purgatory. Nope!

I carried no heavy packages to a freezing cold car in the icy, crowded parking lot. There was no traffic to battle my way through, no gas fumes or stop signs or near misses with other cars.

No, I was home, in my nightgown and robe. Warm and toasty and smiling like a Cheshire cat.


Kim reminded me that another advantage of shopping online is the avoidance of shopping in the midst of thousands of sickness germs. Gotta love that, also!