‘Twas The Night Before Christmas – Blog Edition

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Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the blogs
Edward Hotspur had his bacon, Angie’s Grapevine had her dogs.
The synonyms were used by Honie Briggs with care,
And Conscious Cacophony, her feelings she would share.

Short Stories was nestled, all snug amongst his words,
While Sethsnap had artistic visions and took pictures of the birds.
Sage Doyle was getting poetic, authoring memorable scenes,
While Drinking Tips was creating, snacking on Poutine.

JannaTWrites newest blog had created such a clatter,
And Moderate Mama’s  comments only added to the chatter.
Away to the keyboard The Daily Post flew on its quest,
Tore open the gates of creativity and posted its newest contest.

The Modern Philosopher, his brilliance did show,
And masterful words from Dianne Gray, were shared from below. (well, Down Under, but it didn’t rhyme)
When, what to YarnSpinner’s eyes should appear,
Ned’s Blog, in all its glory, showing no WordPress fear.

With a well-versed writer, so lively in blog,
I knew in a moment it must be Trudging Through Fog.
More majestic than eagles the stanzas were put,
And I knew in a heartbeat, El Guapo was afoot.

“Now Grammar Ghoul! now Wordy! now Notebook and Leash!
On, Margie! On, Lindau! On, Bad Guy! on, Wine and Cheese!
To the top of the Fresh Press! to the top of the wall!
Now write away! Write away! Write away all!”

As Rarasaur roars before the wild hurricanes fly,
When they meet with Two Sentences, and mount to the sky.
So up to the Matticus Kingdom they flew,
With High Five & Raspberries and a Writer Fellow too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard in my Realm,
The Ambling and Rambling of TwinDaddy at the helm.
As I closed my keyboard, and was winding it down,
Unawarebutunderlined was making a sound.

Jill Weatherholt spoke with a great deal of fervor,
And words were carefully crafted by The Mercenary Researcher.
A bundle of phrases HastyWords took from her stack,
And Shouts from the Abyss, the words he attacked.

With their keyboards they created with zest and with zeal,
They wrote just as passionately as brunch for every meal!
It was Apoplectic Apostrophes, the words she did reap,
And, in between writing, they read shrinksarentcheap.

They wrote from their hearts, like it was their favorite job,
And inside of them all lurked a Geeky Book Snob.
The Cutter rambled and wrote to make you think,
While a little Fish of Gold was readied with paper and ink.

On The Homefront took a few precious moments to reflect,
While somewhere during Red’s Rants and Raves their writing they did perfect!
JoeTwo spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
Blending a symphony of phrases, responsibilities they did shirk.

The Writer I could be pounded endlessly on the keys,
While My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog kept up the pace with ease.
 You’ve been Hooked had amused us, FortyOneTeen surely did see,
And we quickly lost H.E. Ellis to the feeling of writer’s glee.

Inspiration sprang to its feet, to its words gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like a high powered missile.
But I heard it exclaim, as our brains turned to fog,
“Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good blog!”

 typewriter

(image credit: lhj.com)

 

Good grief, it’s almost Christmas

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  “Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?  Aaaaahhhhhh.” ~ Charlie Brown

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 This photo may be a crude interpretation of a ping-pong table, but this is my creation for my mom’s memorial Charlie Brown Christmas tree this year.  As part of our new traditions, my brother, his family and I agreed to either make or buy an ornament that reminds us of a funny story of my mom.  Because this is the first Christmas without her, we will keep those funny memories alive by telling the story behind the ornament as we hang it on the tree.  I’m sure Charlie Brown would be proud.

Charlie Brown was determined to find the true meaning of Christmas and, after being dismayed by all the commercialism surrounding the holiday, he discovered that it is not about the presents.  Christmas isn’t a gift that you can unwrap, it’s a feeling that embraces you and warms you.   Christmas is sharing your heart with others and remembering those who cannot be with you.

This year, this is one of the many ways we will remember my mom.  This ornament reminds me of some of the best parts of my mother – her carefree attitude, her sense of humor and her zest for life, along with her quest to take ping-pong to a whole new level.  Although my heart may feel empty now, I know as we share some love and laughter during the holidays, my heart will once again be filled with joy and the spirit of the holiday.

My wish for all of you this holiday season is to find the same joy and happiness that I know I will find being with family and friends.  Christmas is about presence, not presents.  The spirit of the holiday is about spending time with the ones you love and allowing yourself to be cloaked in their hugs and saturated by their laughter.

The best of the holiday to all of you.

Holding on to the light

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It is the eve,

not of the approaching holiday,

but of the shortest day of the year.

Darkness will swallow this landscape tomorrow,

giving us the fewest number of hours

to enjoy this beautiful sky

and create a seemingly everlasting night.

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 But through that darkness,

the light will grow strong once again.

The days will battle the nights

and the warmth will conquer the cold.

The blue of the sky will be deep

and the setting sun will linger,

allowing us to once again hold onto the light.

Under the night sky

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Dusk descends.  The deep blue of the night sky edges its way into darkness and evening begins to fall.  Stars mottle the nightscape and any heat the earth consumed during the day is slowly released back into that vast open space.  The long spindly finger of Old Man Winter begins to caress the world and the cold enters everything it touches. Trees snap and groan in their defiance of the stinging night air and animals have long since retired to the protection of their dens.

winter sunset

The smallest portion of exposed skin is ambushed by the cold and is threatened with the repeated gnawing jaws of frost bite.  It hurts to breathe, but the beauty of that cold winter night is unparalleled.  The sky seems anxious to introduce every star in the milky way without the intrusion of clouds and the silence is deafening.

This is my winter.  These are the nights that I am drawn into the cold for the sole purpose of watching the stars put the sun to bed for another night.  I tilt my head back to take in the constellations and wait for a shooting star.  This is life in my Northern town.  This is the pastel portrait that saturates my brain before I go to sleep.

The perception of time

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“Time you enjoy wasting, was not wasted.” ~ John Lennon

Time is a less of a constant than it is an illusion.  Although it seems linear, it can deviate from its path if  you are not keeping track of it at every turn.  Time can occasionally seem like it is a figment of your imagination.

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Yesterday, I experienced time on a whole new level.  My hour-long drive seemed to take a week and the four hours I spent catching up with an old friend was gone in the blink of an eye.  And although twenty-five years have passed since we last saw each other, the ease of the conversation made that twenty-five years feel like only one year.

Time has a unique way of showing us what really matters.  The faster those seconds tick by, the more you want to make that clock stop and hang onto those moments.  Because time really is measured by those moments and not by a clock.  You will never remember the counting of those seconds, but you will remember the company you shared and the laughs you had as those seconds unknowingly ticked by.

I can only hope that the time that passes between now and our next visit doesn’t feel like another twenty-five years.

 

It’s all fun and games until you run into the Minister

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Lately, I’ve been happily ensconced in a world of avoidance.  The less I think about Christmas, the fewer the number of tears that threaten to roll down my cheeks.  I have only managed to put up one Christmas decoration in my house so far.   It didn’t come with shiny lights or reminders of Christmases gone by.  It stands alone,  in a spot that has never adorned a decoration and really looks as sad as I had been feeling.  But it gives me hope that I can find some of the joy the holidays are meant to bring.  If Charlie Brown can do it, so can I.

CB the tree

But recently I’ve felt much more like Peter Pan than a forlorn Charlie Brown.  My mind has been filled with happy thoughts.  Although none of them have been about the holidays, they have been happy nonetheless.  I have been blissfully distracted by work, by the return of my writing muse and by reacquainting with a dear old friend.  The big phantom red X’s on the calendar to indicate the counting down to the big day have gone unnoticed.  Until today.

It was during an innocent trip to the Post Office when I saw him.  Stealthily, he crossed the street like an apparition.  His white hair and white beard made me recognize him immediately.  Had he been wearing red suit, I would have thought he was Santa Claus but the all-black ensemble with a hint of white on the collar to match his beard was a glowing reminder of his true identity.  He was the minister at my mom and dad’s church, a dear friend of my mom and dad’s and a good friend to our family.  I knew as soon as I saw him that I would end up in tears before getting back into my car.

It’s always tough putting on a brave face when the person you are facing knows that you are struggling.  I like to think I walk around in a suit of armor but on the bad days that suit is filled with nothing but a puddle.  Today, seeing the sorrow and understanding in Steven’s eyes converted me from brave face to wet face in mere seconds.  I knew the happy bubble could only float for so long but I certainly have been enjoying the ride.

I know my mom is around.  She is the positive force making the good things pop out of nowhere when the sadness comes calling again.  I can feel her energy and that makes me happy.  And though this Christmas is going to be filled with some sadness and many changes, it will still be filled with a family who loves each other and cherishes the memories of the people they will be missing, especially during the coming holidays.

 

 

Oprah has a name for this…….

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Not everyone has the opportunity to experience a full-circle moment in their lifetime – that epic twist of fate when something you had spent so much time dwelling on in your past creeps up on you in your present.  I had one of those moments today.

I am a product of the 80’s.  I was never a slave to the hair and poorly-chosen fashion (most days) but the movies of the 80’s live on in my current reality.  I can recite those movies verbatim and I recognize a bit of myself in each one of those iconic movie roles that I watched as an impressionable teenager.  And though there were fleeting moments of seeing similarities between the starring roles and my teenage psyche, I always felt a deeper connection with the weirdos, the poets, the dreamers.

It was this truth that bonded me to Andrew McCarthy’s character, Kevin,  in St. Elmo’s Fire in 1985.  Though his role was meant to be a bit of an outcast, Kevin was the definition of how I saw myself in those days.  He was a creative soul, misunderstood on many occasions but he held true to himself.  Unlike me at the time, Kevin knew who he was and, although he struggled, in the end he wasn’t afraid to be that person.  He wanted to describe what he saw in a myriad of ways.  He wanted to describe life by every little detail and not just watch it go by.  He wanted to write.  And he was going to see his way to his future on his battered Underwood typewriter.

That line stuck with me.  It haunted me, actually, and I have seen that written line in a loop in my head for many years.  Like a headlining banner at a movie theatre,  the words “battered Underwood typewriter” scrolled incessantly around my brain.  The image of that machine, the clacking of the keys, kept me bonded to that dream of writing.  And now that image has become a reality.

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In a moment of complete serendipity, I have been gifted an Underwood typewriter.   I have been given a battered, plunking, beautiful, historic typewriter that could write chapters of its own given the chance.  Its stories are burned into the keys.  Its ribbon holds a wealth of ideas and the rest is not history, but my story.  It is up to me to cajole the remainder of the tales from this relic.  This battered Underwood typewriter could be the one thing that reminds me that I can write and, just maybe, will help me get to the next stage of my writing success.