‘Tis the Season

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Getting Seasonal.”

“The holiday season: can’t get enough of it, or can’t wait for it all to be over already? Has your attitude toward the end-of-year holidays changed over the years?”

It’s not as easy to get into the spirit of Christmas this year. I used to enjoy putting together care packages at Christmas. There were three that I shipped.

One for my brother, Jack. I would go to the shipping store and buy my box. Then I’d go next door to the supermarket (grocery store) to buy food. Since I live where we get a lot of visitors from Europe, our grocery store carries a lot of items from other countries. So I would get packaged cookies and noodles from Germany for him. And some instant potatoes. I never met someone who liked mashed potatoes, even instant, as much as he. Then hot chocolate packets, soup packets, really anything that would provide a bit of a meal if he would just add hot water or hot water and some fresh meat.

This year, as last year, I do not know where he’s staying. Without an address, I can’t send him his package.

The second went to my mother, Joane. Her package would have some of the same easy to make food items. She liked her Irish Oatmeal and tea. Then I would add craft materials, like fat squares of pretty cotton material, and ribbons, beads, paint, and other odds and ends. Joane spent her days and many nights making art. She painted, sewed, burned, wrote, glued, and imagined dolls, and flowers, and all kinds of magic.

Joane died last fall, so I will not be making a care package for her. And now I have more art materials and projects going than time to complete them.

The third was for Mom. Mom’s package was always much smaller, but its contents were so much closer to my heart. I would gather photos of my pets, my home, my accomplishments. I would sometimes add a few inches of a new crochet stitch I learned. I would add some yarn for her to use to crochet her projects because she was always knitting and crocheting for a whole host of charities.

Mom died in June. Granted she lived to 100 years old and really didn’t want to get much older, but I miss her with all my heart. So, now I will crochet and stitch for charities and gifts – just like she taught me. Here are some places like the ones she would donate her work to:

St. Dominic’s Heart Scarf Project

Crochet for Cancer

Crocheting for a Cause

10 Charities that Need Crocheted Items

This year I didn’t plan for the holidays, but to get into the spirit, I am looking forward to cleaning and organizing my house so that next year, I will feel like tackling all my creative projects with gusto. And to get me started, I’m reading at least one heartwarming holiday story per day.

Here’s today’s story! From Fox8 blog:

A real life ‘Christmas Story:’ Woman remembers living in historic home


New Year Indulgence

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “In Due Time.”

“What’s your next, most pressing deadline? Are you excited, stressed, or ambivalent about it? What’s the first thing you’d like to do once you’re done with it?”

This past year has been filled with deadlines both big and small. This is my last deadline of the year! I plan to complete the tasks on my To-Do-List before December 24th. Campus closes December 25th – January 2nd. I am not as excited as I am imagining the relief I will feel once the list is cleared. I shall then work on my own creative project! I will have the first draft of my book done by June. Yes, I know… I’m setting another deadline, but I do not know any other way to complete a project other than to picture it done and set a reasonable timeline to reach that goal.

I have a decent first chapter. I have quite a cast of characters. I have situations these characters must all deal with in their own unique ways. I’m sure a catastrophe or two will get in the way of my main character as she tries to accomplish something that would be so simple if it weren’t for the rest of the characters with all their idiosyncrasies.

Once the first draft is done, I can take a break for a month or so before going back to revise and hopefully have a piece worth sharing at the writers conference next November.

Wouldn’t it be lovely if the book would write itself? It’s had its chance. The first chapter was drafted by December 2011 and the book still hasn’t completed itself! So, it’s all up to me.

Wish me luck on this journey, friends!


Holiday Blues

I’m missing her so much these days. She has always been the most important person, even when I couldn’t understand because I was young and inexperienced at life. Now there’s 3 of us left and I am seeing how very different people can be and it is just terribly difficult since two of us are on opposite sides of the strategy for dealing with this loss.

I am the keeper. Things hold memories. Memories tie me to her even though she’s not here. I need the things.

My sister is the purger. She gets rid of, donates, gives away, or throws away all the things that have been in the house for years. A lifetime of things.

She calls me frequently to tell me of the latest thing she’s gotten rid of. “Oh, and I just gave away all of Mom’s baking pans. You know, they’ve been in that kitchen taking up space for years and I certainly don’t bake.”

So, out they go… the cake pans, the loaf pans… all bought likely in the 1920s or 30s. Mom stayed home and was a Mom. We stayed home before we were old enough for school. She taught us how to cook. That’s what they did before there was “electronic baby-sitters” and preschool, and working moms. Moms kept their little ones where they could see them. Moms kept their children’s attention as they went about their day by talking with them and teaching them all the skills that went into the work they did. Cooking, and gardening, canning, washing, housework, shopping for groceries, and even making things for other people.

“Today we’re going to bake some cookies for Santa. See? I have the recipe and I’m going to gather all the ingredients. Can you read some of these words? Flour, Sugar, Milk, Eggs… Now let’s measure… 1 cup in the sifter….”

That was my preschool and I began to learn, to read, to follow instructions, to measure.

Pop and Mom 1960s

Pop and Mom 1960s