31 December 2021
30 December 2021
It's the time of year when "Year in Review" things are everywhere, and just like every year when they do them, I realize how much I forgot even happened at all; or someone will have died, and I'll remember thinking they had already been dead for years. Does that happen to you?
I mean, not all of it is worth making the effort to remember, but there are some things that were SO big when they happened, and I at least apparently moved right on.
Case in point:
I remembered the inauguration and the insurrection, but until someone posted this photo, I forgot all about Bernie Sanders and his mittens:
29 December 2021
27 December 2021
24 December 2021
Here we are, at Christmas Eve, and the end of the Virtual Advent Tour sponsored by sprite. She asked me if I would like to write the post for today, since I've done it for a couple of years, and I'm more than pleased to do it.
Until I was about 6 years old, we lived out of town, away from the rest of our extended family. My parents always had plenty of friends, so it wasn't like we were never around other people, but it was quite a shock to me when we moved back to the town where both of my parents had grown up, and all of a sudden I had tons of relatives who knew all about me, and I was just learning about their existence!
My father was part of a family that had four children: himself, his sisters Mary Agnes and Helen, and his youngest brother John. When he was about 13, his father was killed by a train, and the kids were split up to live with relatives - my dad and my Aunt Mary went to live with one set of grandparents, and Aunt Helen and Uncle John went to live with their mother and her parents. From what I was able to gather, they never spent a whole lot of time together as a family after that, and my father and my Aunt Mary were very close to each other as a result.
Aunt Mary married a wonderful guy from a really large Polish family, and they had four sons - the three older boys were in between the ages of my sisters and me, and the youngest boy was two years younger than I am. Aunt Mary's birthday was Christmas Eve, and of course, that was when her husband Uncle Eddie's family had their big Christmas celebration. So from the time I was pretty young, we always went to their house on Christmas Eve.
And oh, was it something! Uncle Eddie's family would be there, and they were such a fun group of people - they loved singing, dancing, and just laughing together. They treated us like family as well, and walking into Aunt Mary's house on Christmas Eve was like walking into a family reunion of people who had longed to see you for years (even though it was always just a year since we'd last seen them).
And the food - homemade by Uncle Eddie, all of the pierogies, cabbage rolls, breads, and sweets, etc. that you could imagine. Walking into the house, the smells alone made your mouth water, and even if you had just eaten dinner an hour ago, Uncle Eddie made you a plate, and no matter how full you were, you devoured every bite and it tasted better than anything you could ever remember eating!
But wait - then there was birthday cake! Always a bakery cake (I don't think Uncle Eddie ever tried to make a cake for her, and the boys were typical boys of the time and likely couldn't even boil water). Everyone - and there were usually at least about 40 people crammed into their small kitchen around the table - would sing "Happy Birthday," and we'd all have some cake. Then everyone would move into the living room, admire their tree, and Aunt Mary would have small gifts for each person.
At the time, I thought this was just the best - it was *her* birthday, and we were the ones who received gifts! It was never anything big, but it was a package to unwrap and take home, and frankly that was as exciting as anything else.
I think of Aunt Mary and her family every Christmas Eve, and especially remember that it's her birthday. She and Uncle Eddie both passed away years ago. We never really kept in touch with our cousins, nor did they make an effort on their part. When I was in college, I heard through a mutual acquaintance that the eldest had moved somewhere in the South to start over after kicking a drug habit; the next kid was in prison for drug dealing and theft; the third son had married, had a couple of kids and moved to Utah once he came out of rehab for alcoholism; and the youngest was married and working in the coal mine. I am sorry to say that at this point, I know nothing about any of them, or even if they are still alive, and that's really too bad, because I know that would make my Aunt Mary sad to know.
But even now, my sisters and I still talk about "Christmas Eve at Aunt Mary's" and how much fun it was, and who would always be there, the food, the singing, the polkas, and the warm embrace of love to anyone and everyone who walked through the door. They were like the rest of the family - hardly any money, making it through things as well as they could, and wanting the best for their kids. Outsiders looking in probably felt sorry for them, since they never had a nice house, or a fancy car, and because their kids had so many troubles as they got older.
But Christmas Eve at Aunt Mary's was the highlight of the year. And now I realize that it was because of the feeling of family and belonging, and unconditional love just because you existed. Not the gifts, not the food, but the people, the excitement and huge greetings you received when you opened the door and crossed the threshold. I've never experienced anything like it since, and that could be just my imagination and my memory telling me so, but I'm not convinced that is the case.
My wish for all of us this Christmas Eve is that we all have at least one small part of this feeling for the holiday. Whether you are with the family of origin, or the family you have created; with your friends, or your roommates, or even on your own with some furry or other pet companions. I hope that you will have one second of the feeling of being loved, being special, being welcome. Christmas should be that as much as anything else.
Merry Christmas to you and yours.
And Happy Birthday, Aunt Mary.
23 December 2021
22 December 2021
21 December 2021
20 December 2021
19 December 2021
17 December 2021
16 December 2021
14 December 2021
13 December 2021
12 December 2021
JOY, by Carl Sandburg.
LET a joy keep you.
Reach out your hands
And take it when it runs by,
As the Apache dancer
Clutches his woman.
I have seen them
Live long and laugh loud,
Sent on singing, singing,
Smashed to the heart
Under the ribs
With a terrible love.
Let joy kill you!
Keep away from the little deaths.
10 December 2021
Yesterday afternoon, I decided that I was going to take a personal day today, because I just felt so tired and so sluggish. I have been sleeping as well as I usually do - which isn't that great, but I've never been that good of a sleeper - but I was just feeling like I was dragging myself around the world. I know that it has a lot to do with the stressful situation at work, which has amped up comsiderably in the past couple of weeks. So on the spur of the moment I decided, since there was nothing that I specifically needed to be at work to do today.
Last night I just *had* to go to bed much earlier than I usually do, because I was just kind of sitting watching a show with The Tim, and missing most of what was happening, since I was dozing in and out.
Well, I think my self-diagnosis (such as it is) was correct. Because after going to bed really early, and then waking up this morning at 8:30 a.m., I feel So Much Better! And I can't think of the last time I slept so late. (Yes, 8:30 a.m. is late for me. I realize that for a lot of people it is too early, but there you are.)
So today I plan to do as much or as little as I feel like doing. I know that as soon as I go back to work on Monday, things will be extremely stressful again, and I'll start all over again, but that will be then. In the meantime, I'm going to just go with my own flow.
The only very specific plan I have for the weekend is getting my hair cut tomorrow, so the rest is just my time to decorate and do some baking (hopefully). I found a new recipe for some sugar-type cookies that use cream cheese as one of the ingredients, so I want to try those. I'll be sure to let you know if they are deemed successful.
The Tim sent this to me yesterday, and I decided to share it with you. I'm sure we've all heard of the Omicron variant of Covid-19, but did you know there is yet another one that's been discovered??
09 December 2021
08 December 2021
First of all, thank you for the comments about my office decorations. One funny thing is that technically, we are not supposed to have decorations that could in any way offend anyone. But my office at work is so out of the way, that you only arrive there if you mean to get there. And over the years, I've noticed that other very behind-the-scenes work spaces are the same with how they celebrate various holidays. If I go down, I'm taking them with me! 😊
So, you know how I am always talking about holidays having "rules," especially Christmas. Well, even if you refuse to admit it, I'm sure you have your own set of rules. According to The Tim, mine are "vast" but I notice that he goes along with all of them so who's the problem there, bud, HUH???
I have one friend who, every year during Christmastime sends me some version of this, because she knows it infuriates me, which amuses the heck out of her: