I Resolve To…

It’s that time again when people look back at the year that was and say, “Geez, what was I thinking?  I’ll never do THAT again.”  But I’m determined to focus on the positive so let’s think about what we want more of in 2009.

I resolve to:

– smile more.  A sweet gentleman I used to work with always said, “Hey, it’s the girl who’s always smiling” whenever I came into the mailroom where he worked.  In turn, that always made me smile.  Things in our lives may be complicated right now, but that’s no reason not to smile.  Besides, what’s that expression about how you should “fake it ’til you feel it”? 

– make at least one something beautiful, either knit or crochet, or whatever else I happen to be working on.  (Maybe I’ll learn to sew this year.)

– find the joy in cooking a lovely, inexpensive, tasty meal, and then eating it with gusto.  (Have I mentioned how much I love having a working dishwasher?)

– think more before I eat or spend.

– tell more jokes.  The people around me could use a good laugh too.

– breathe.  Sometimes taking a deep breath and looking around can make all the difference.  (If you could see the gorgeous, fat pink sun-setting clouds behind me right now, you’d understand.)

– listen for the meaning in things.  Sometimes it’s not the words you say, it’s the voice you say them with.  (Just ask Tillie when John calls her “freak-head” in that loving, soothing voice.   She purrs up a storm anyway.)

– write more.  I find great passion in writing a story, and whether I’m any good at it or not makes no difference.  I love doing it, and I need to do it more.

– love more.  In the past I’ve lost so many people and I never got around to saying “I love you” because I was always sure there’d be another chance.  Sometimes there isn’t another chance.  If you feel the need to say it, say it now. 

That’s about all I can think of right now, except to let the important people in my life (you know who you are) know that I love them and I’m grateful that God put us together when He did.  My life would not be the same without you, and you mean everything to me.  I hope we share more love and laughter, and we create new stories with our lives in the coming year and always. 

If no one minds, I’m going to borrow the Gaelic blessing for my last blog of the year:

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

Merry Christmas to All

It was a wonderful day.  Other than the time spent cooking, I don’t think my new KnitPicks needles have left my hands for more than 10 minutes at a time.  That may change once I have to do laundry again, but I’ll be putting that off for as long as I can possibly get away with it. 

I wanted share this with everyone, in case anyone still has any Spirit of Giving left in them.  It’s a link to Stephanie Perl-McPhee’s blog, The Yarn Harlot.  I plan to help out with her cause because I feel obligated to give back for all the pleasure I get from reading her blog.  It’s my favorite blog, and when she doesn’t blog, I feel like my day is missing something, so I’m grateful she took the time to post today.  If it weren’t for her, I wouldn’t be working on the Noro Silk Garden Scarf on my couch right now (just an hour or two from done), and I wouldn’t be debating making a quick run to Yarnings for more NSG.  It’s a fight; I know I have other things to do, but I want the yarn.  I don’t need it, but I want it.  So sue me. 

The boys are happy with their presents, and Alex is already counting down the days ’til next Christmas.  Ryan’s delirious on his new computer.  John spent the day on the desktop, trying to fix a virus.  I napped on the couch during the “House” marathon, then found the Star Trek:  Next Generation marathon and the rest of the bottle of pre-mixed margarita.   Friends don’t let friends knit drunk, but I’m not so far gone that I can’t remember a simple K1P1 stitch.  Too bad. 

I’m relaxed and life is good.  Merry Christmas to all, and to all a healthy and prosperous New Year!

All I Want for Christmas

I can’t say I have a Christmas Wish list for myself this year.  The down side is that it makes me impossible to buy for.  Poor John.  I know he’s been trying to come up with ideas, but even when I try to tell him what I want, I don’t really know.  But in my mind, that’s a good thing.  Not wanting anything for Christmas, to me, means I already have what I need. 

I have a warm, secure home for me and my family.  After 8 years, my sons have separate rooms again.  I’d like Alex’s room to be a little bigger, but what he has now is good enough for him.  (He’s not a demanding kid.  Guess he gets that from me.) 

I have more yarn than most local yarn stores.  Of course, now that I’ve turned into an anti-acrylic Yarn Snob, this could pose a conflict, but I’ll make nice afghans with the acrylic yarn I have left.  (Afghans are WAY too expensive for natural fibers.) 

I have my health.  Those who know about my non-appendicitis attack on Saturday will know how important that is.  Those who don’t have their health will also appreciate it. 

My extended family is all happy and healthy and in a safe, warm place.  A few of us are bitching about what we have to get done for Christmas, but really, we enjoy every minute of it.  I know lots of people who say, “I can’t wait ’til Christmas is over.”  I said that once, and lo and behold, it was over and I felt like I missed it from all the stressing out.  I’ll never ever say that again. 

We have a refrigerator full of wonderful food for dinner tonight, tomorrow, and Saturday.  (I’m taking Friday off from cooking.)  Tonight it’s seafood and rice balls.  Tomorrow it’s a gorgeous ham with an orange juice and brown sugar glaze, spiked with cloves and maybe some garlic.  I”ve fallen madly in love with fresh garlic.  Saturday I’m trying out roast pork a l’orange, if I can make myself go into the Spirits Store for Cointreau and Madeira.  (It’s a madhouse in there right now.)  I’m also grateful for my working dishwasher.

I have the most gorgeous niece in the world, and she’s bright, happy, and not autistic.  🙂  God willing, she stays that way. 

I have a job.  I bitch about that too (they’ve decided to freeze our salaries next year and stop contributing to our 401K’s and lower the cap on our banked vacation time) but they flex with my schedule and so far they seem to want to keep me around.  (They believe I know what I’m doing.  Is to laugh.)  I also have a really cool manager who understands my situation.  He has a great sense of humor.  It took me a few years to get used to him but now I think we know each other well.  I really like working with him, and he’s a good guy and a good manager.  It’s not easy to find both in one person.

The Phillies won the World Series.  What more is there to want (sports-wise) when you have that?  I know John’s wishing for a Bills SuperBowl, but, well, maybe next year. 

I have stories in my head.  Even though I haven’t had the time to devote to them, not having stories in my head is WAY worse. 

Of course, I do have a short wish list that only I can provide for myself:  an agent and/or a publishing contract.  I came close in 2008.  Let’s see what 2009 has in store.  Considering all the wonderful things that happened for us in 2008, I’m frightened to ask if 2009 can be better, but as the saying goes, “Ah but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s a Heaven for?” 

Blessed Christmas to all!

Touched

The apartment (or condo, depending on how you see it) is almost empty.  Today I spent 5 hours there, non-stop, cleaning up, organizing, and getting it ready so John and his friend can go there on Saturday and haul out the heavy stuff.  Who needs a gym when you can just relocate out of a 2nd story condo?  Believe me, it gets your cardio working.  My problem today was going out with bags of stuff for the trash.  Going from the 60-something-degree apartment to the 30-something-degree (and rainy/sleeting) weather, I wasn’t sweating, I was condensating.

I saw the funniest thing.  I was taking out the trash when I saw this furry white butt sticking out of one of the recyling cans (big plastic trash cans with hinged lids), trying to back out but not succeeding.  Finally it fell into the can and the lid shut on top of it.  The squirrels–bless their industrious little hearts–had been all over the place, collecting for the winter, and I guess this one thought he’d found a new source.  (He doesn’t know recycling contains no food products, I guess.)  I dropped the big trash in the dumpster and went to rescue the little guy, knowing full well he could come springing out at me like something from “National Lampoon’s Christmas”, so I tipped the lid over all the way and took a quick step back.  Out from the bottom, this little gray squirrel rocketed out of the can like he was jet-propelled, and the shock of seeing him fly out of there made me bust out laughing. 

As long as I was moving in the apartment, I was plenty warm, but for a while I sat on the bedroom floor to go through a bag I found with old cards and mementos my mom must’ve saved for me.  What a treasure!  My high school yearbook from 1982 (not the year I graduated; I’m NDA class of ’84), newspapers, magazines, test strips from my photography class.  Among them was a short note from my grandmother (“Nana”).  It took me a while to recognize the handwriting; she’s been gone for 11 years now.  It was signed “Mom and Dad”, though I’m not sure why (unless I’ve been reading my mother’s mail).  Something about touching that note that she touched all those years ago made me cry like a baby.  I loved Nana and Grandpa so much but it wasn’t until that moment that I was hit, full force, with a reminder of how badly I miss them.  And for a moment, it was like she was there in the room with me, smiling. 

I’ve been doing a lot of knitting lately (Laura inspired me) and knitting always connects me to her.  She was such an amazing knitter, I know I could never be that good, but I do enjoy it and it relaxes me tremendously.  When I pick up her needles, I feel like I’m holding her hand, in a way, for all the years her hands touched those needles to make something wonderful.  For a few moments, we can be together again. 

Something else I found in that bag was the birthday card from my high school buddy, Wallis.  For some reason, that that card stuck with me over the years, simply because she wrote on the envelope, “Keep this card; some day you can hock it.”  That was SO Wallis.  For all her bluff and bluster, I’m pretty sure she was just as nervous and anxious as I was to get the future started.  I hope she understands just how proud I am of her.  All those years she signed everything, “Wallis A. A—-, Esq.”, and dammit, she’s a lawyer now.  She really did it.  She amazes me, the way she put her mind to what she wanted and she made it happen.  She’s my hero. 

I found cards from friends and relatives I haven’t talked to in years, and some who’ve been gone for longer than that.  Opening up that bag and looking at everything, I touched the past for a little while.  Of course, because I sat still for as long as it took to read through the cards (and yes, I threw some out), I froze my fingers off, but it was worth it to share some time with the people I loved, and especially the ones I lost. 

I can’t wait ’til the move is over and everything is in the house.  The future starts now.

Deja Vu

I apologize if I’ve used that post title before, but it fits here (and it’s all I can come up with until my caffeine kicks in). 

I had a funny feeling the other night.  I was climbing the stairs to help Alex get ready for bed when I had the feeling I’d been there before.  Not just the “oh geez, here we go again” feeling, but “this is starting to feel like home to me” feeling.  I’ve walked up the stairs a few times now and I know where they’re creakiest and how it feels to pull myself up the steps by the railings.  (I used to think railings on both sides was ridiculous; after yesterday, I’m grateful they’re there.)  I know how to walk so as to make the least amount of noise.  When I get to the top of the stairs, I know where things are. 

Granted, I’d take a bet that in 5 years, where things are now is not where they’ll be then.  We’re still fitting in, trying to find a system that works.  I don’t remember how long it took, when we moved into the condo, that it started to feel like home.  I think we lived among boxes for months.  My plan had been to empty one box per night, but that was before we could work remote.  Eventually it all settled out; some things stayed in boxes, some boxes got emptied, and some got thrown out.  It took a while before it was “what we’re accustomed to”. 

Yesterday, the boys had a school district half day and I spent a good portion of the afternoon emptying out boxes and straightening things up.  Until then, sitting at the dining room table, using my laptop, I started feeling closed in by the mountains of boxes behind me, so that’s where I started.  Now it’s a lot better; two people can walk, side by side, through the main path in the dining room, and you can even walk around the dining room table and not make contact with anything.  We couldn’t say that on Monday afternoon. 

It snowed yesterday, starting out as sleet but switching over to fat-flaked snow by the time we left the supermarket.  I knew how bad my parking space in the back was torn up (four inches of mud meets 4K pounds of car; my tires look like I went off-roading in a swamp) so I parked in front instead.  When it looked like things might get icy, I put on my sneakers and jacket and went to sweep up the walks.  (I did our neighbors’ walk too; they’re older and it seemed like the right thing to do.)  The boys saw me and put on their sneakers and jackets and went outside for a snowball fight.  Because now they can.  Back in the condo, there was room in the “back yard” but it was public space.  Now they have their own yard, and then ran all over it, throwing wet snow at each other.  I took pictures as I soaked in the atmosphere of feeling like I belong somewhere.

It’s starting to feel like home.

Circle

“Me, I’m a part of your circle of friends, and we noticed you don’t come around…

Being alone is the best place to be; when I’m all alone, nobody else can say goodbye.”

I had a Deus Ex iPod moment again this afternoon.  I’m slowly recovering from last week, which was not my best week ever.  (Probably my longest week since Ryan had his last major surgery, spiked a post-op fever and needed an ounce of water dropped into his mouth every half hour throughout the night.  That Friday I drove home from Shriners during Hurricane Floyd and I was late getting home by 3 hours, but I was determined to get home or die trying.)  I started to come back to life again with the help of my friends.  Laura walked me through Yarn Therapy (a wonderful little yarn shop called Frou Frou) on Saturday, and this morning Robin L gave me a boost, followed by Robin K this afternoon via IM chat.  I know I’m not alone, but sometimes it’s just nice to be reminded.

I’m not giving up.  Far from it.  I’m wounded but I’m not dead. 

I drove home from work feeling, which in itself is good because I wasn’t feeling much of anything lately, and I started noticing what came on the iPod.  (I put it on shuffle; putting it on Gabe’s playlist only felt like beating a dead horse.)  First it was Edie Brickell’s “Circle”, which I quoted above.  Then it was Maroon5’s “She Will Be Loved” (I’m taking that at face value).  Then it was Martina McBride with “This One’s For the Girls”.  That just ties it all together. 

Tomorrow I work on queries.  I’ll give up when I’m dead.

Love is Letting Go of Fear

Sorry for not posting.  It’s been a long week.  My agent and I parted ways (for market reasons; no conflicts between us, and I promised I’ll invite him to my publication party when it happens) and I volunteered to organize the department Christmas party which took place yesterday, and in the middle of this there’s still the apartment to clean out and the house to unpack.  Is it a surprise I keep waking up feeling like I haven’t slept? 

I found a book when I was setting up my shelf, something my brother gave me years ago that I didn’t look at ’til this past weekend.  “Love Is Letting Go of Fear.”  I looked at the preface this morning and it said people will find this book when they most need to.  Chalk up another one, because after this week, I really need to read it.  (It means putting aside my friend and CP Robin Kaye’s book “Romeo Romeo” but I swear I’ll get back to it.)  If anyone’s read it and it helped them, let me know.  I feel like I could use some peace and tranquility in my life, or is that an impossible quest at this time of the year, between the holidays and the end of the accounting year? 

Serenity now…