best made winter break plans

On New Year’s Eve, Christmas left The Big Top; and it packed up and left very quickly thanks to the help from my darling husband and my favorite son. Nothing more motivating than the idea of kicking 2016 to the curb and getting our New Year’s Party on I guess.

Happy New Year Bitches!

Yeah, she hated us for a moment there.

And so onward because with holidays over and one more week of Winter Break before back to school it was time for a little fun. Block out a week off from work. Have that What do you want to do…I don’t know what do you want to do conversation. Make some plans thinking this week is going to be fun.

And…

You will wake up like this. Guaranteed! At least I am still a majestic unicorn. A sick majestic unicorn who can barely get out of bed and squeak I’m sorry son as he brings you tea and cup of noodles.

He really is my favorite son!

And come Friday, just as you are starting to feel a little bit better, except for the coughing up a lung, you learn that atmospheric river is an actual thing. A real thing that has people in Northern Cali who actually remember the 1997 New Year storm and flooding in the Central Valley to stock up some supplies, clear the gutters, maybe get some sand bags, have the candles ready, charge all the tech devices and hunker down

Probably a very good idea since I am still coughing up a lung and a little bit…okay, a lot of snot! And with the NFL Wildcard Games and the Golden Globes on this weekend, well, I’m sorry son. Spring Break will be here soon.

and when they learn to read and write

I once said that I have never felt old while my children fast grew from babies to teenagers and adults, nor even when that first grand baby was born…or the second. But when that first grand baby started kindergarten, suddenly I began to feel a little bit old because life does speed up when the kids skip off to school. But it’s all good because when they learn to read and write they enchant you even more with thoughts and words and dreams and wishes that will always make your day.

Always.

I will leave this one right here for you, for me, for everyone…until she erases it and writes something else.

Happy New Year’s Eve Eve!

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!

2016 festivus is best for us

Something about this year, 2016, makes Festivus the perfect thing to be celebrating right now. Should we begin with the airing of grievances?

Oh dear. We could be here for a very great while.

A. Very. Great. While.

Personally, today I have survived the epic quest that is grocery shopping on December 23. As I began my odyssey, two women were very angry at me because while they waited for a bagger to find them each a shopping cart, because there literally were none to be had, I offered to share my umbrella with a shopper leaving the store and walk with her to her car in exchange for her shopping cart. I must have an honest smile because she gratefully accepted.

Don’t hate angry women.

I dodged carts and shoppers and kids while filling my cart with all the Festivus, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day food supplies…and I might have added just one more bottle of wine because of the dodging carts, shoppers and kids and waiting in line to pay for my very full cart for over an hour.

Why would anyone be surprised that two days before Christmas the friendly, neighborhood Safeway would be so crowded?

To be honest, the wait for the next available checker was actually not bad. We became a community cheering one another on for finding the very last carton of egg nog or box of candy canes and watching each other’s carts because “Shit, I forgot ____ and _____.” It might be crowded, the shelves might be quickly emptying of holiday necessities, one might have to beg and barter for an empty shopping cart, and there might be that one shopper who tries to ignore the line completely, but I have survived and have completed my quest!

I think I got everything.

I hope that I got everything.

Oh well!

All the gifts are wrapped and under the tree, except that one for that one kid, I survived the epic quest that is grocery shopping on December 23. It’s windy, cold and raining right now. I’m cuddled up with my new heating pad for my aching joints and back. I just now opened that one more bottle of wine. I’m going to stay right here.

Happy Festivus to rest of us!