days worth celebrating

Pretty much every one knows by now that this week was a landmark week with National Siblings Day and National Pets Day. We know this, of course thanks to social media and all of the I-really-don’t-like-these-national-whatever-days-but-here-is-a-picture-of-my-punk-brother-and-brat-sister-and-me-and-my-cat-and-my-dog-and-my-hedgehog. Thanks social media friends, even if you really don’t care abouhonoring those life-long cradle to grave relationships that are the ones you share with brothers and sisters or celebrate the joy pets bring to our lives and to create public awareness about the plight of many different kinds of animals awaiting a forever home in shelters and rescues all around the globe. Yeah, we see your feigned indifference and we are not buying it. Not at all.

You care about those people we practice on, the people who teach us about fairness and cooperation and kindness and caring, quite often the hard way.

Your cat, on the other hand, probably doesn’t care. She probably doesn’t even care about National Grilled Cheese Day, which is today.. She would care if I were to make this grilled cheese sandwich. WE ALL WOULD CARE! Alas, my darling husband is on a strict diet right now and I am joining him in solidarity and because I could stand to lose a few myself. 

Meanwhile, this picture posted on social media in celebration of days worth celebrating is truly the best and the one, for me, most worth celebrating.

Although I fear I might never be able to forgive their parents for allowing them to grow up so fast.

Sister is probably the most competitive relationship within the family, but once the sisters are grown, it becomes the strongest relationship.

~ Margaret Mead

it’s beautiful, we’re beautiful

Did you see the big game? You know that there was a game, right? Alexander Hamilpup proved to be quite the MVP. Yeah, Brady also finally joined the big game with the Patriots in the 4th quarter and upset the Falcons. That was definitely NOT the outcome we wanted to see under The Big Top. But my son-in-law won $5 accurately predicting when Brady would get sacked in the game. Most of our family circus was together under The Big Top. Together we all ate way too much finger foods, watched the Puppy Bowl XI, Super Bowl LI, the original Schuyler Sisters celebrating America, brotherhood and sisterhood, Lady Gaga’s amazing halftime performance that was patriotic enough to make the Trumpkins happy with a healthy dose of protest in there too…“liberty and justice FOR ALL..No matter gay, straight, or bi, Lesbian, transgendered life…and enjoyed all of the silly and the sublime that were the Super Bowl ads. Some argued that the ads were disrespectful and trolling the 45th president, known as Lord Dampnut here under The Big Top; but they were actually the sane and good things about America that makes us great…which might seem like trolling when one considers what the actual fuck has happened in the last two weeks in America. But this is where we are in Lord Dampnut’s America – and commercials that celebrate American values are an insult to him and the office.

Yeah.

Like the opening song and the halftime show, what I saw was a celebration of the diversity, the drive, the can-do spirit that made America great before an angry man with the worst comb-over ever and his even angrier people declared it to not be so.

Coca Cola’s It’s Beautiful ad actually first aired during the Summer Games broadcast but it was still relative as it was one of the first ads to play during the big game. More followed as did all the ugly, angry comments all over social media. Honestly, people were more angry over these spots than the fact that it took more than 3 quarters before the Patriots and Brady finally started playing like it was a big game.

Hate all you want, but pretty much all of us came from somewhere before we arrived here. Thanks to my father in law’s hobby, I know that my darling husband’s ancestors came here from England, Scotland and Ireland mostly before the Revolutionary War. My ancestry hails too from England as well as Germany, France, Switzerland and Scandinavia. Pretty much all of us come from immigrants fleeing religious persecution, famine, ethnic cleansing, poverty to seek something better. Some of us also came here against our will in chains. Like Budweiser’s Born the Hard Way ad, our people were likely greeted with a mix of open arms and outright hate, as it seems today. All of us, literally all of us, unless we are 100% Native American, came from somewhere else and, it’s beautiful. We are beautiful. America is beautiful.

And, were it not for an immigrant coming to America in THIS century looking for something better, my youngest child, my favorite son, would not be here right now calling me “Mom”.

THAT is truly beautiful!

things needed

When Bill’s step-mom was alive, she was known to always ask for the simplest of things for Christmas: pot holders, placemats, dish towels, note cards. Nothing fancy, mind you. I learned that gifting her with the fanciest of place mats when all she wanted was some simple-everyday-when-the-grandkids-are-here kind of placemats. The simple things were the things she wanted, needed and loved the best. Me, the 20 and 30-something, who had the most complicated (and often expensive) of wants and needs never got why someone would want pot holders for Christmas.

Here we are, years and years later, and when pressed to share what I might be wishing for Christmas this year I could not think of anything…nothing that I desperately wanted or needed. Nine months ago I downsized in a big way moving our Big Top to 800 less square footage. The last thing I needed was more stuff…except maybe I could use some new potholders.

POTHOLDERS?!

Yes. I know. I seem to be channeling Barbara but the potholders I have are old and raggedy and have to be at least 13 years old. Sure I could pick up some while making a Target run…and I should have. But while making a Target run, I am usually there for other things: prescriptions, t-shirts for the guys, trash bags, shampoo, soap, whatever, anything…anything but potholders because when I am running through Target, likely spending too much money, the LAST thing I am thinking of is those ratty, blue potholders that have seen better days.

Point taken.

And so Christmas morning, I received

Oh yeah! Potholders! Also these sweet counter height stools from Pottery Barn for my kitchen along with lots of others wonderful, thoughtful and much needed gifts including chocolate and wine; because I really do need other things.

But this, this was the best and what I need more than anything.

Even potholders.

Yeah, I’m feeling very thankful, very blessed.

in the end, just a day

Checking my Twitter feed this morning, I found perhaps the perfect sentiment that sums up exactly how I feel this Christmas.

At this time of year, we’re bombarded with images of perfect lives, which bear little relation to reality as tinsel does to gold.

If you’re lucky enough to be with the people you love, warm and safe, with enough to eat, I’m sure you feel as blessed as I do.

But if your life is full of difficulties; if you aren’t where you want to be, either literally or figuratively,

remember that extraordinary transformations are possible. Everything changes. Nothing is forever.

Thinking back to my worst Christmas, I found it hard to believe that my unhappiness would pass. I was truly afraid of the future.

You never know what the future holds. Astonishing reversals of fortune happen every minute.

So if you’re sad, or lonely, or bereaved, or ill, separated from your loved ones or in any other ways suffering this Christmas,

I send you love and wish you luck and better times. Millions of us have been where you are now.

Remember Christmas is, in the end, just a day. It isn’t a test or a scorecard of you or your life, so be kind to yourself.

Merry Christmas!

~ JK Rowling

Looking back from where I am and where I came from, I can agree that during my worst Christmas ever, it was impossible to imagine a life where I would be happy…and full…and warm…and not afraid…and safe. But here I am!

Right here, right now, under The Big Top surrounded by some of my family circus and looking forward to tomorrow to spend more time with the whole circus together, I know that Rowling is right. Christmas is just a day. Just another day for me to give thanks because I am here.

Happy Christmas! Merry Hanukkah! Warm holiday wishes, y’all!