Christmas Photo a Day, December 31, 2019

I KNOW Barbara Walters’ voice is in your head as we get ready— Say it with me– “I’m Barbara Walters and THIS is 20/20.”

Word of the year.

2020 hindsight… .people always say, well, if only I had known this would be the result of that, I’d have done it differently, … that idea that being able to see into the future would change the decisions you make as you go through your life….

But your life, your life experiences–all of them, good bad or indifferent– have put you in the spot you are standing right now, with the people you are surrounded by, loving, working with, raising…. so, if you had 20/20 hindsight….would you use it? Of course, if you had known that I-95 was going to be backed up 6 miles, you might have taken 288 instead, right? Then your boss wouldn’t be on your case about being late again.

But, what I mean, is for the big stuff, would you use it?

When I was 13, my mother, who had abandoned me when I was three, convinced my newly teenaged rebellious self that I was wanted once again. That my strict grandparents only wanted to deny her more than an every second Sunday visitation, and that I would have freedom and love and A MOTHER if I moved back with her. I believed her.

Instead, I became Dobby the House elf and the primary caregiver of my 3 year old brother, and disappointed my grandparents beyond belief. They still loved me till the day they died. (I don’t recall getting the love part, or the mother part.)

In hindsight, though, using that 20/20 vision…. I can’t say I would change a thing. Because I met my daughter’s father on the bus-stop going to high school in sophomore year. A bus stop I would have never been on, going to a school I probably wouldn’t have attended. Then, I wouldn’t have my daughter. I might have had other children, but not HER. And that would mean I would be missing that experience, that child that I love, that woman who I adore with all my heart. THAT I can’t imagine.

And if I hadn’t had her, then, maybe I would have gone to a different college, and not met friends who are still my besties 35 years later. I could had a different career, in a different place, and met different people, and not had the chance I had when I met my hunny, and if hadn’t met him, I also wouldn’t have my granddaughter, and…. It’s not even close, is it?

LIFE IS WHAT HAPPENS WHILE YOU ARE BUSY MAKING OTHER PLANS. (john lennon)

So, how to tie this into a word of the year?

CLARITY. That is the word of the year.

clar·​i·​ty | \ ˈkler-ə-tē  , ˈkla-rə- \ the quality or state of being clear.

How I see it being used this year is somewhat amorphous … unclear… I know… It’s a work in progress, even to define…

2020… we are heading into the Roaring Twenties??

But it is important that we (I, it’s MY word of the year) see things clearly. Be certain that decisions and opinions are coming from a place of clarity and informed thought, rather than knee-jerk reactionary behaviors. This can be as little as if I am posting a Meme, have I done due diligence? Do I know that the website it may take you to isn’t simply collecting your personal information for purposes that may not be honorable? I don’t want to misinform, and I DO want others to have clarity of information, because decisions need to be made this year, and we need to be eyes wide open and we all need to see clearly, no matter how uncomfortable clarity of vision may be.

So, CLARITY. What do I want and how to get there, visualized? Like I have said in years past. the word appeared, as it does, without my prompting– I will go with it.

Christmas Photo a Day, December 24, 2019

Jolabokaflod
Read about this Icelandic tradition!

There’s something to be said for introverts getting to spend Christmas Eve wrapped up with a blanket and a book!

And now, an appeal. I am linking my 5 year-old great nephew Derek’s Go Fund Me to this post, He needs cochlear implants and his parent’s insurance (which doesn’t cover his hearing aids) is gone because his dad was just laid off. If you want to read his story, see his smiling face, or donate, go here. Thank you.

Christmas Photo a Day, December 14, 2019

Eire, Cymru and Alba My 2019 addition to my tree, memories of my trip.

I can admire the artistry of a themed tree. One that is perfectly coifed, with evenly spaced globes of silver and gold or purple and teal or whatever colors and styles and shapes that present visual splendor.

But for me?? While I might change from colors to white lights (I enjoy the zen of untangling to string them on the tree, so that can change without having to buy a new tree when my vision changes), and some years are Victorian with garlands of pearls and candle lights, and such, the ornaments are decidedly NOT themed.

The only coherence any ornament on my tree has is it is a memory.

My Aunt Gael gave it to me from her trip to New Orleans or that she ordered the one year from Lillian Vernon for EVERYONE with our names engraved, or that we bought together on a trip to Quebec.

There are ornaments my favorite highschool teacher made, who was like a mom to me in those chaotic teenaged years,

There is a silly Chinese lantern that we got at a Chinese restaurant when Arlie was a baby, with Nana and Boston Pop, when we flew to Boston to establish a relationship with that fractured bit of family.

William the Hippo brings back thoughts of the years that cousin Thomas lived with us, and the tale of the Missing Hippo, as well as fond memories of traveling to the Met with my grandfather.

(I could do this all day, you do realize, right?) Taking the tree down with someone, or putting it up alone, and the stories are there…sometimes expressed out loud and sometimes just smiles on my face as I pack them up till next year.

Then there are of course, the handprint ornaments, on fragile glass balls, as my granddaughter grows bigger, and the ones she makes for us. There are the vacation collections, one for each of the kitties, and the one very precious paper one from my grandmother’s tree…

Keep your perfection. There is a place for that kind of beauty.

Me? Unless my tree gets BIGGER, it’s only things that have a story that will make it onto the tree.

Christmas Photo a Day, December 10, 2019

Do you know the secret about Christmas?

What is CHRISTMAS, if it’s not about GIVING?

It’s not about GETTING… we buy what we want and need (and don’t need), when we want and need it, all through the year. We treat ourselves. Pretty well, in fact.

But, GIVING! Why are there lines and lines of people in every shop? What suddenly makes us positive that more sweaters, earrings, toys are necessary NOW?

Hint– It is the JOY we get in doing something for someone else. It’s about putting that smile on their face. About not being able to wait to see their face as they open what you found for them. About knowing we have found that perfect thing, that thing that says I was thinking about YOU when I bought this. We can’t wait to give it.

Take that feeling a step further and GIVE something to your favorite charity. Or find a new charity and give to that. Or, don’t pass by that “Go Fund Me” that scrolls by on Facebook, but read it and decide that you do have $20 to spend online, for someone who found it necessary to ask Cyberspace Santa for something this year.

….there but for the grace of God go I …

OLD CITY BAR, by Trans-Siberian Orchestra –Youtube in case it isn’t opening automatically https://youtu.be/V6Sw-czf0ow

We recently bought a house for our “community cats”… since they feel safe in our yard, we feel a certain obligation to care for them. There are three currently… two who are feral/skittish and won’t let us near them, but who will come for dinner on our deck— Fuzzy Wuzzy and Ditto….and Gray, who has a home but apparently doesn’t like it there. Gray is social and a talker.

(Of course, ONE did decide to move inside with us a few years ago)

Alastair, the cat who stayed.