That moment when you recalculate a chocolate Christmas treat and discover it’s twice the “points” you thought it was…and you’ve already shot your big mouth off like some kind of nutritional/diet expert about it…and weigh-in is coming up in a matter of hours…
You know you’ve had a good New Year’s Eve if you look at your Weight Watcher’s tracker and all the boxes are already checked off for the coming week.
And lastly, you know you’ve had a good New Year’s Eve if you have a vague memory of a circus – but it’s not in town ’til next month.
Wishing you a very Happy 2017! May peace and joy come to you!
Every once in a while, I pass a lawn sign that truly horrifies me. I am not talking about the political signs spread far and near, though it’ll be years before we get through our collective PTSD from this election season.
No, I’m referring to a piece of signage I saw that gave a blaze-lit-up, sparkly countdown-of-days ’til Christmas. Talk about your pre-holiday stress. Nothing like getting in the mood for spiritual contemplation by having something that reminds you daily, in neon, to get the heck to the store and buy, buy, buy.
Now, I’m not going to lie to you. I have begun my shopping. I’m trying to buy local, trying to support the little guy, trying to keep things meaningful and modest, trying to avoid the large conglomerates, blah, blah, blah. So, I thought I might make some gifts this year.
Trip #1 to a craft store netted me a bunch of T-shirts to start my project, reminiscent of the good old days when I sewed dolls, pillows, dinner…and I had to take Trip #2 back to the store because the fabric paint I had at home had dried up. I guess that happens after a decade passes. Go figure.
I thought about giving baked goods, like a very organized friend of mine does each year. I figured that to properly do so, I’d need to buy a bunch of those little mini bread pans. I’d have to find recipes for various breads, with choices that don’t involve something I like to eat, because that never ends well. Definitely no chocolate chip-anything. With that in mind, what’s worth baking?!?
There are 30-something, maybe 20-something days ’til Christmas as I write this… essentially about a month…that’s only four weeks…and during that time? Thanksgiving. TV ads. Meals to eat. Appointments, work, and showering. You know what? In real time, Christmas is basically tomorrow.
There’s no time to make stuff.
Happy Holidays, friends.
If you need me, I’ll be at the mall.
A week ago, when I called to tell her my sister was coming up from New York to visit and I might not be home and could she please let her in for me with the spare key, she said, “Of course. We’ll be home.” That’s just one thing I love about this neighbor. She is a lovely and generous human being. She makes incredible pies. And let me tell you, that woman is responsible. She does not lose keys. She has mine and I have hers.
But backing up – Two weeks ago, my realtor held an Open House here. I cleaned this place so it looked like a showroom. Then, I locked up all my personal information in case of wandering eyes or thieves who might walk through with ill intent. That’s how my mind works. Not “Oooo! The perfect buyer will be here today!” No, it’s more like “Credit card receipts? Check. Trash taken out and/or shredded? Check. Toothbrush locked up? Check.” I know. My mind is not well.
I cleaned and put away and cleaned some more and then checked all kitchen drawers to make sure they looked like everything was new, meaning all the rusty and gross utensils were hidden out of the way…and then I spied the key ring with my own spare key and my neighbor’s spare house key and said to myself, “Better hide those babies!” Complimenting myself on being so responsible, I hid them away in a terrific secret spot and said out loud to myself (yes, I also talk aloud to myself, and I’d like to say I’m a wonderful listener):
“I’ll put them here. I’ll remember this.”
The bad news is I can’t find them. Oh, they’re here. Somewhere.
The good news is I don’t have to worry about them falling into the wrong hands.
I do not have a green thumb. But due to circumstances beyond my control, I am left in charge of my plants, gardens, and a big piece of land. I have help, but because I have inherited my dad’s sense of, uh, economy (aka I’m cheap), I try to do some of it, in pieces, for myself. Mathematics would predict that taking care of it this way just doesn’t work.
I have two pots of purple flowers out front, one of which has turned into something of a crunchy breakfast cereal. I’m waiting for the day I see someone pouring milk on it. The other pot of flowers is closer to my door, so occasionally I notice it and water it. The rest of my yard is flourishing, and by that I mean that in less than two weeks, it has grown up like a tropical forest. It’s my personal “Little Shop of Horrors.” A stage set for Tarzan and Jane. Jack and his beanstalk have nothing on me. Particularly disturbing is a large once-vegetable garden that now is a combination of grass, weeds, and assorted vegetation. Last year, there were a couple of big, plump pumpkins in it by summer’s end.
Why not chop some of it down, you might wonder. Why indeed.
Well, I would, except I have no tools left. See, last summer I put my house on the market. It took a while to get everything tidied up and ready. I remember the day I started really getting into the idea of downsizing and decluttering. Get rid of the clutter, everyone said. You’ll feel so FREE!!!!! And I remember the day, soon after, when I thought it best to take it of the market for the colder months.
Here’s some advice: Think. Think twice, before you turn to your lovely grown child, who lives in another town in his own little home, and say, “You know what? Take all the tools, honey. Take the yard equipment. I won’t need any of it.” Oh – and also think twice before you pay to have someone load it, including all the large items, on a big truck to make it possible to deliver it to said grown child. sigh…
Um, yeah. That was when I thought the house would sell right away.
Weed whacker, anyone?
Spring has sprung here in Maine, if you ignore the snow, freezing rain, high winds, and freezing temperatures. I’ve never had a green thumb, but even I know that the budding annuals that started coming up last week are now regretting it. All over the state, plants are wishing they had “just said no.”
In direct contrast, for no particular reason other than having fun and a bunch of laughs, I draw your attention to some different and exciting book events, which you will see listed on the next page. Here’s how to get there: 1) Get your pointer finger ready, 2) Put down your chocolate bar (just temporarily), 3) click on the picture of “Not Even Dark Chocolate Can Fix This Mess” on the right side of this page (it’s pink, unless there’s chocolate smudged, in which case carefully wipe the computer off without losing any more chocolate), and 4) read all about it, and please share with friends, 5) resume snacking and so on.
On the road, promoting “Not Even Dark Chocolate Can Fix This Mess,” aka Long-Drive-From-Maine-To-North-Carolina-taken-in-Small-Bits-with-Visits-Coffee-Lunch-Family-Friends-Desserts-and-Now-I-Have-to-Pretend-I’m-Doing-Something-Productive-or-I-Just-Feel-Like-a-Slouch-which-may-be-True-But-Why-Advertise-It.
Here are your instructions: 1) feel sorry for me (no particular reason), 2) feel sorry for the state of the world (plenty of reason), 3) click on the picture of “Not Even…(you know the rest)…Fix This Mess” on the right side of this page. There you will find excerpts (I love spelling that word. Excerpts, excerpts, excerpts) and simple instructions for ordering or finding it at the book store.
Excerpts. Your turn.
Ready, set, um – click.
When we were teenagers in New York, active in music and theater programs, my mom used to warn us about feeling let-down when a show came to a close. Ice cream helped a lot. That, and getting into another production.
This Christmas season, just over a year after my husband Ted’s death, I was surprised at how everything felt quite a bit easier than the previous year, when the pain of losing him had been so acute. Yes, I still miss him plenty. But this year, when my daughter Sally came up from Brooklyn several days before Christmas, the fun began immediately. Ted once remarked that he never heard me laugh so much as when I was with Sally. To be fair, there are a few others who can get me going to the point of wondering if I will, in fact, need to call 911. (Can someone actually die laughing?)
We buzzed through the hectic, wonderful week in good form, connecting with other family members and friends. I felt peaceful, even with tears. We sang carols at Ted’s grave in the dark on Christmas Eve, and I wondered if we’d be kicked out of the cemetery by some lurking security guard of my imagination. At home, we played a fast-paced trivia-type game Sally bought for me that left me with the question “Where did my brain go?”, which would be an apt title for it. We went to the movies, shopped, and took field trips to the refrigerator with complete “live for today” abandon. I do regret that part, just a bit, as I face the new year and all that resolution junk. Oh, well. Whatever.
I felt so good about this year’s experience that I wrote a long email to my former grief counselor. A model of hope and growth, I detailed how I got through the holidays in reasonable shape (other than the fit of my clothing…)
Then Tuesday morning came. We got up at what some people call early morning (aka the middle of the night, for me), and I drove her to the airport. I knew I would miss her company. But it didn’t hit me until later that day: the feeling of life in slow-motion, my head prodding me to physically move, to put dishes away, to unclench my jaw. The next morning brought that forgotten, familiar desire to stay in bed. I had to force-feed intentions to call friends, to make plans, to say yes instead of no.
The waves of loss and aloneness that have risen up have captured my attention – this unexpected piece of life that catches me when I’m not looking and threatens to overtake me.
The trick is to feel it…to let it be there…and still, somehow, keep the motion going.
If only it were as easy as signing up for another show.
For unto us a shopping list is born…hope you are all enjoying whatever holidays you wish to celebrate! May this be a time of great peace and joy for all. THANK YOU to all my many readers who have enjoyed Not Even Dark Chocolate Can Fix This Mess this year since its publication in May. I am grateful – and also getting ready for my first chocolate fix of the day.
It’s not to late to pick up a copy at your local bookstore or online! It’s fast and easy! Click on the book cover to the right, which will bring you (eventually…remember, it’s the season to feel peaceful and also pray for that prime parking spot at the mall) to ways to get your copy – for you, or for that special friend or family member who really needs a good laugh. Good news: There is absolutely nothing to learn from this novel. It’s just FUN!!!!
Love and hugs to you all! Make peace, laugh, and share chocolate.
For anyone else who has chosen the road less traveled (enjoying Thanksgiving a little longer and then shopping “local”, at least a little local (locally?) because let’s face it, I’ll be online, too, pretty soon and every cell in my body wants to go to a shopping mall right now except my hunger for more home cooking and family time has won out and plus, I really hate being trampled in stores where everyone is trying to get into that nice, warm holiday spirit) – where was I? Oh, yeah. It seems a little weird to envision and even follow through on this concept, but here it is:
I am going to “shop local” as much as I can this season. I hope you will join me at a couple of events where I will be signing and personalizing copies of “Not Even Dark Chocolate Can Fix This Mess.” Click on the book cover to your right and it will take you to where and when the magic will happen (dark chocolate.) TTFN!