Archive for December, 2012


The year is ending. Tonight, in case you didn’t know.

Ha ha”, you laugh. “Who doesn’t realize it’s New Year’s Eve? ”

“It can happen”, I warn. And I should know.

I was once invited to a New Year’s party and spent all of New Year’s Eve day planning what I’d wear and what I would bring to the party…the next night. I felt entirely ready and completely organized until my then boyfriend said;

“Ready to go?”

“Huh? Where?” I asked.

“Umm, the party?” He said, slightly incredulous.

“Don’t be an ass,” I told him. “It’s tomorrow.”

The moment I said it, my mistake oozed over me like slow melting wax, hot and cold all at the same time.

As we approach 2013, I am happy to say good-bye to the unfortunate and even content to leave the good that came along with it. I’m ready for new good.

I started this blog in March of this year and it has become a much loved, much needed part of my life. I owe a large degree of my small amount of sanity to it. I wish I could spin you a mind-blowing story explaining how I came to write. (I read someone else’s the other day and I won’t lie; I was a little envious.)

I was never privy to such obvious, fate-enforcing signs. I have simply always known that writing was something that I thought was pretty nifty. It also seemed to be one of the only things I was…sort of…good at. Most of all, I knew I was definitely at peace while doing it.

I am thankful to this passing year for many things and the renewed passion and opportunity in writing is a big one, but the thing I am most very grateful for is my family’s encouragement. They’re the clamps holding me steadfast to the unanchored dream trailing me through jungles, pulling me through sand and swooping me up, over and into the clouds.

Oh. And I’m thankful I’m not missing the party.

A happy, healthy and heartwarming 2013 to all of you.



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Let’s not get all snappy. I appreciate what I have. I do! There’s a roof over my head. Okay, it happens to be a brand new, 30,000-dollar, high end, cedar shake roof, but I’d appreciate it no matter what kind of roof it was. Truly.

The fact is this house is old. It’s not cool old, like everything in it is assorted, artful and antiquish. It’s old, like everything in it is corroding, crumbling and collapsing.

Alright, alright. It’s not that bad.  In fact, my house is quite lovely.  It’s a warm and cozy, well used, lived in home.  But it is becoming apparent that a little more than a lick of paint and a few new area rugs are required.

I’ve referred to my dining room and talked about my bathroom in previous posts and…I’m doing it again. Sorry! I’m just sooo darn excited! Getting new things is always nice, but knowing things are being repaired, replaced and renewed the right way is glee-inducing. (think Mike Holmes of Make it Right)

I’m giddy just dreaming about my grown-up showerhead and freshly poured cement. I’m ecstatic imagining a ceiling without cracks and a pristine vanity. The old one was stained with every color my hair has ever been and the bottle of porcelain chip repair sat on guard 24/7 in the medicine cabinet.

Yes, getting new things is wonderful, but having old things is a privilege. It means we’ve shared our space, we’ve created memories, we’ve…lived. Out with the old, in with new as they say, but let’s not forget the value of the scratched, the scuffed and the scraped. After all, they were there for us when we needed them.

BEFORE photo of a sideboard I bought at Value Village for $40

BEFORE photo of a sideboard I bought at Value Village for $40

Sideboard After 1

Said sideboard, revamped.

Bathroom before 1


Let there be light…

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Will I ever be a good writer?

They say the best are those who have no one, hermits, recluses, loners. Everyone they know, dead and gone, all chance of new connections sacrificed. Perhaps, purposely avoided.

I know a lot of people.

I like them. I want to keep them.

I think about and analyze each word, never mind sentence, that I write. It’s hard. Hard to write fiction that may be taken as truth. Is she the sexually abused, the office wallflower, the promiscuous teen…the brokenhearted? 

Writing is a risk. People are always going to read into your words….your stories and make them into what they need them to be.

It’s dicey and, it. is. frightening.

But, it is what we’re gifting. Leeway. License. Liberty. Those who know us will get it.

The ice may crack, a bridge might collapse and we could be dealt a crappy hand.

Forget easy eights, but if we’re willing to work a hard six, we may just hit a lucky seven.

The writer must be in it

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The Wrought Writer

In case you don’t read right down to the very bottom, (although I advise you to do so) I want to make it clear that I did not write this beautiful story.  I’m merely sharing it in the true spirit of Christmas…


It’s just a small, white envelope stuck among the branches of our Christmas tree. No name, no identification, no inscription. It has peeked through the branches of our tree for the past ten years or so.

It all began because my husband Mike hated Christmas–oh, not the true meaning of Christmas, but the commercial aspects of it–overspending… the frantic running around at the last minute to get a tie for Uncle Harry and the dusting powder for Grandma—the gifts given in desperation because you couldn’t think of anything else.

Knowing he felt this way, I decided one year to bypass the usual shirts, sweaters, ties and so…

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Sandy Hook

Children are exhausting ~ a full-on, twenty-four/seven job.

I have three and I’ve never been so thankful to be run-ragged in all my life.

With respect to Newtown, Connecticut, I have lingered over my own public recognition of this event. After all, who am I? I know no one. I don’t understand. I can’t relate.

But, I do feel, I am heartsick and sadly, I have never lacked imagination.

To become entangled in deliberation, speculation and persecution would be unfair to the fallen and their families. In their honor, I choose simplicity…

Dear Santa,

Forget Christmas. Tragedy doesn’t regard time nor know its place.

Forever and always, gift peace, strength, safety and goodwill and, if you’re honestly magical, maybe one day it will be a shorter wait to access medical help than a weapon and the ‘right to bare arms’ will simply mean that shirts without sleeves can be worn by anyone, anywhere, anytime.


Truly Hazy


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Hung with care, I’m not so sure, but hung…absolutely!

The tree is up and lit, mind you, decorations adorn various nooks and crannies and from the outside the house emits a mysterious glow.   Mysterious, that is, because half our lights are burned out.  This realization came, of course, after hanging them.  Who checks beforehand?  “Probably everyone,” I tell my husband.

When the season was first upon us, I, in denial, stood before shelf after engorged shelf, each one literally bursting with boxes of dazzling illumination.  Seriously, if you had cash, credit or those nifty Canadian Tire dollars, the cream of the crop was yours for the picking.  They even light them now in tiny, little display portals so you can see what it is you’re buying.  This would’ve been handy years ago, when LED’s first appeared on the scene and we bought string after string of mismatched blues.

Fast track to today.  The shelves are bare, scattered with only what has been rejected and need I say…or, are you feeling my foreshadowing?  I’ll toy with you a little more…

They have big, acorn-sized white, they have primary shades (not the beautiful, crown jewel type gems) and they have, yes, the old school clear glass, non-LED (a.k.a. non-enviro friendly) type bulbs.

But, do they have the two strings of plain blue that I need to replace my, somehow, LED rule-defying burned out strings?  No.  They don’t have two.  They have one.

In the big ‘Christmas is too commercialized, this is not what it’s about’ scheme of things, it really isn’t a big deal. #firstworldproblems However, it is still frustrating and the fact doesn’t change that the lights, are indeed up, and our house be lookin’ cray cray.

Nonetheless, Christmas is well on its way in our good old homestead.  I was starting to think this was finally the year I’d actually have to say; I dunno what happened.  I guess we just missed it.

But missing it, we’re not.  There are all kinds of parties to get to, lunches to be had, shopping trips planned and family time organized and I know it will all be over and gone in the blink of an eye.

I do this every year.  I pull as Christmas pushes and anxiety builds with every popped Advent window.  It’s because I forget.  I forget that as it gets closer I start to stop.  I stop shying, shuddering and shirking and I start embracing, engaging and entangling whatever the season brings.

And it’s good.  Good to forget that I remember, good to remember that I forget, because I still want the magic and, it’s alway there….way at the back of the shelf.  I only have to turn on the lights to find it.

My Tree!

Our Tree!

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A spoonful of potato hits the plate with a wallop and a little spec of mash lands on the hand holding it.  Instead of shuffling on like most, he pauses, making eye contact.  I steel myself, waiting for a curse word or a dirty look but all I see is empathy.

It’s the last place I want to be and if I hadn’t already committed, I’d be home, covers over my head.

“Bad day?” he asks, his voice soft, but hoarse.

“I’m sorry,” I apologize.  “I didn’t meant to…”

“No big deal.” he shrugs.  “I’ve had worse.”  His smile, as he moves on, leaves me with goose bumps.

“Yes, please.”  The next one says as I turn away from the man with the smile.  Her toothy grin, oily bob and blackened fingernails win her an extra scoop.

“Oh, thank you!” she squeals, as though I’ve just given her a hundred dollar bill.

My head throbs and pain stabs at my sinuses as I wonder which would be more disgusting; wiping my dripping nose with my cuff or pulling out the last damp, crumpled Kleenex I’d tucked into my sleeve.

There’s a lull in the line and I stand behind my steaming tray, looking out at the fifty round tables we had spent the morning setting up.  I find it alarming that all are full.

My toothy friend sits at the one closest, chuckling and chatting with whomever she can engage, her worn out red coat contrasting with her dark hair but matching her cheeks, her potato-covered tongue on display as she laughs.

They are all oohing and ahhing over the stockings we’d filled and placed at each setting; holding up the toothbrushes, bath beads and chocolates, hooting at the decks of cards and bags of mints.

Boom, boom, boom.  I’m tempted to leave my post to grab some aspirin, but the hoards are headed my way.  The warming lamps hover over the food, making me sweat and I start to feel very claustrophobic.

“Just a little, please.” The tiny girl in front of me requests. “I can’t eat very much and I’m not allowed to waste.”

She’s only about five and the sleeves of her shiny dress are completely tattered.  Her chin is just above table level and her big, gold eyes are like dollops of honey suspended over my shiny, silver tray.

“Yeah,” her dad confirms.  “Not too much for her.  Leave the rest of her portion for someone else.”

“How about you?” I ask.

“Oh, I’ll take my fair share.” He says, looking down.  I feel his shame.

“I meant, would you like the rest of her portion?” I shrug, trying to be nonchalant.

“Well, if…” he continues to look down, head hanging like a scorned pup.

Very gently, I place a double helping next to his peas.

“Anybody asks,” I offer, “you send them my way.”

He finally looks up and I can see that his eyes are an older, much more trampled version of his girl’s.  He too, smiles a smile that leaves me reeling.

After about twenty more servings, there’s another break.  I really am desperate for some relief.  My headache has turned into a machete attack and my nose is about to explode over the entire table.

I slide two fingers into my cuff and pull out the mutilated tissue.  Cupping it against my palm, I bring it up to my nose but it’s no use.  There’s more crumple than cotton.  Embarrassed, I try to stuff it back under my sleeve, unnoticed.

Plates are clamoring and I realize someone has cleared my tray away.  That’s my cue to get out on the floor and start helping clean up.

Coffee and tea is being served and everyone’s holding their cup with both hands, aware it may be the last warmth they feel until, well, who knows when.

I make my way around the room, the blinking Christmas lights taunting my overly sensitive eyes, while I push the bus cart loaded with well-used tableware.

As I reach out for yet another empty plate, a familiar finger brushes mine.

“I’m sorry.  I know I’m not supposed to touch you,” he says, “but I thought you might need these.”

I look up from the tan and weathered hand and see his forgiving face once again.  He’s holding out a small packet of Kleenex, the same one I’d placed in his stocking this morning.

I did need them.  I needed the Kleenex, I needed the compassion and I needed these people.

I was ignorant for being surprised that every seat was spoken for, naïve for being shocked that they wanted no more than their fair share, but mostly, I was foolish for thinking that this was the last place I wanted to be.

Give hands 3

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No really, things are going well.  Sure, my husband has been away for weeks on end, I’ve had the mother of all stubborn head colds – you know the kind where your skin and hair follicles weep when touched  – and a Bubonic Plague type flu has molested everyone else in our house Grim Reaper style, but…things are getting done.

I have made more than a dent in the Christmas shopping.  Of course there’s way too much for one and not enough for another, but still, achieving, and…I’ve wrapped pretty much everything I’ve purchased so far.  Oh, I said it.  Oh yes I di-id.

I’ve already mailed my parcels overseas (at least a month early for me – yes, they usually get there in January provided I’m ‘on the ball’) and I even managed to throw a few lights up on the house front.  Well, two mini trees, some sparkly snowflakes and a couple of LED wrapped urns to be exact.

Mini Tree

Mini Tree

Sparkly Snowflakes

Sparkly Snowflakes

LED Lit Urn

LED Wrapped Urn

I’ve been giving my dining room a facelift and we’re finally (after more than two long years) filling what I have affectionately dubbed the exposed beam and insulation display room upstairs with stuff to make it, well, you know, a bathroom once again.   We’re doing all of this now, after waiting all this time because right before Christmas is the perfect moment to start big projects, make an enormous mess and spend even more money, yes?  No.  But it’s all happening, regardless.

Chair Before

Chair Before

Chair After

Chair After

Bathroom Before

Exposed Beam & Insulation Display Room

Extra stress and every spare moment spoken for aside, it is awesome to be accomplishing so many things.  After all, what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger and at the risk of sounding all too presumptuous, I will live to see another tomorrow.

(Please excuse my shoddy snaps ~ a photographer I am not!)

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