It was the day before Christmas…

ll the shopping is done (I think) Dad is supposed to be here and around 9 p.m. so he will be here to put the lights on the tree like he always does before we decorate. Even though I didn’t get what I wanted for as many people as I would have liked, I hope that they know they have given me the greatest gift possible. This year has been one test and trial and stumbling block after another and there have been many times I wanted to give up, sit in a corner and cry and not stop until there wasn’t anything left of me.  These people picked me up, dusted me off,  let me cry myself out, and then reminded me I was stronger than tears.  Most importantly they told me that on the days when I forgot they would be there to dry my tears and remind me and continue to do so periodically whenever I needed them to. Through all of this they have asked for very little in return .  So since this is one of the few things I can do for them due to time and monetary constraint here goes.

Greg: I almost didn’t give you the time of day when I first met you and now I don’t go a day without talking to you if I can help it. What a difference.  Happy Hanukkah and a joyful New Year to you and yours my friend.

Ivy: What can I say?A picture is worth more than a thousand hugs.Thank  you for your wonderful sense of humor. Merry Christmas Lady and a bright New Year.

Solo: Words fail me.  It seems that everything I can think of to say, I have said, repeatedly and at length.  So remember all the stuff you know that I don’t have to type.  Enjoy your white Christmas and throw a snowball or two for me before it all melts.I wish your family a prosperous New Year.

Gichin Thank you for listening to me rant and rave and cry and laug from all the way across the pond.  Thank you for pestering me it’s the only way I remember stuff sometimes.  Mouse definitely has Swiss cheese for brains. Even if it does take me 15 minutes to realize why you’re laughing at me you love me. Happy Christmas.

Just in case I didn’t say it often enough thanks guys for giving up the occasional extra 10 minutes of sleep just because I asked.

thoughts on the ties that bind

So I’m sitting here trying to write myself into distraction.  I hate feeling as though my hands are tied behind my back.  I am confronted with the unsettling reality of distance and am forced to wonder at the strength of the ties that can bind two people together in spite of the actual distance that may or may not be between them.  I have  found myself  inextricably connected to someone I would never have expected to be. That which ties us together?  Books,two knives, and a two-page handwritten letter.  That’s not counting the hours of conversation and untold emails back and forth.  It’s less tham two weeks before Christmas and while I’m beyond happy about this (Christmas at my house is crazy, you never know who is going to come in from where)  and yet the one person I’d give anything in the world to see won’t be there  except in my heart. Paper and steel ,tied with a dark blue ribbon  That and a packet of rose seeds that can’t be found in nature.  That is our friendship in a nutshell. Some people will wonder at  our relationship, that’s ok, so do we, everyday. All I know is I’d trade all the presents I might get on the 25th for a hug from him that day.

the pendulum swings… change and a resolution

I have been thinking a lot lately about change. I feel as though I am not the same person I was a year ago or even six months ago.I can’t decide whether I have gained faith in humanity or lost it this year  I suppose my view on that can still be classified as situational.  There are days when I feel trapped in a prison not of my making and days when I feel like I actually get more done now than I ever did at school.  I somehow find myself feeling more invested in the writing I do now than anything I ever did for a grade.  Over the past year I have fought to stay on my feet when it feels like everything in the world is changing before I’m ready for it to.   I swing back and forth between feeling uncertain of where I’m supposed to go and cast adrift in the world to feeling like I know exactly what I’m doing and having a pretty good hope that it will turn out all right in the end.

I can only assume that my more unstable moments are due to my more than occasional bouts with paranoia and depression.  On the other hand when paranoia doesn’t dog my every step there are parts of my life that are really good.  Over this past summerI have met a few people without whom I’m not sure I would have weathered the storm that blew through my life nearly as well as I have.Between them all they have helped to keep my sanity reasonably intact.  The coming year is going to take some getting used to and believe me, it always does when a friend moves away.  But I’m making a goal for myself to give myself something to do rather than be sad.  By next New Year’s Eve I have every intention of at least having the manuscript for Grove Wars sent out to publishing companies.  Someone once said that books were ships that the authors set adrift in the sea of life hoping to make to make some sort of an impact on the world.  I have put off sending out my ship far too long.  Change is scary and even though I feel as if I’m standing on the crumbling precipice of a cliff I do so with at least six people at my back or holding my hand that believe that when the time comes to make the one final step off that cliff I will unfurl my wings and fly.  And you know what?  I think they are right.

knives or the thought processes when receiving presents

Yesterday I received a package from a dear friend of mine which among other things included an absolutely beautiful knife which being something of a knife junkie made me exceedingly happy. Looking at this beautiful piece of art (that’s what it is, art with an edge) I felt and still feel slightly regretful that I will never be able to do something just as nice for them. That got me to thinking about gift giving in general. I know from my own experience that when someone receives a well thought out gift  then comes trying to figure out what to give them in return and should they say not to attempt something in return it can leave a person at loose ends.  My suggestion is instead of giving something to them, do something meaningful for them.  In the case of my friend and I, I’m going sit down in the next few days and start writing him a handwritten letter. Also I hate going to the dentist and have avoided doing so for years despite the fact that I need to. However and as soon as we can figure out how much it will run I’m going without complaint for the most part even though I can think of about a hundred things I’d like doing better that are far from pleasant in and of themselves.  A large part of my agreeing to do so is because of his concern for me.

Gifts are less about material possession than the thought behind them.  I don’t like metal anywhere near my mouth but I will put up with it knowing that it will make him worry less because I’m actually making an attempt at least to take care of myself.  My suggestion if you’re stuck on what to get for a particular person during the holidays is to think about actions that would mean the most to them, like making them a special dinner if you can cook or paying for dinner out if you can’t or if the other person regularly picks up the tab on your lunch or dinner dates.  Or writing a letter despite the fact that you think your handwriting is atrocious.  Smile.

thought on the holidays

Recently I heard on the radio that a Wal-Mart employee had died in the Black Friday rush.    At a time of year that is supposed to bring out the best in people Black Friday seems to bring out the absolute worst.   People have been telling me for years that my family is different but I didn’t realize just how different we may seem until after that radio report.   For instance we have rarely been shopping on Black Friday.  I knew what it was like to wake up on Christmas morning and be slightly disappointed.  I remember one instance not too long ago when I finally received some thing that I had been asking for for three years.  It seems that most parents nowadays live in dread of disappointing their children even a little.   On more than one  occasion our folks have bought supplies for us to make gifts for our friends and family rather than buying them.   Whatever happened to homemade gifts  being the best kind because of all the thought and care that had to go into making them?   Last year I spent almost 4 hours stringing together beads, something I hate doing, to make my sister a necklace, to which she still thanks me for.

I don’t care what holiday you celebrate, no gift is worth the loss of someone’s life, unless that person by their death give the gift of life to someone else through organ donation etc.    As the holiday season approaches stop and think.  Reflect on the reason for the season, what ever you believe it to be, and remember while standing in those checkout lines that seem to go on forever, that everybody in that store would be missed by somebody somewhere if they weren’t around in the coming year.