Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year?

I believe I said this last year - and I'll say it again: What is the big deal with New Year? Drunken alcohol consumption and fervent partying that leave folks at best, exhausted and physically ill, and at worst dead on a highway somewhere, hardly seem like any way to begin something auspicious. Tomorrow the sun will rise, in the east, as it did this morning. People will live lives much the same as they did before, despite resolutions to change.

Get a clue. Watch the drunken revels from the safety of your home TV set and get to bed at a reasonable hour. Wake tomorrow without a hangover and if you must make a resolution let it be to try to live each coming day as just a bit of a better person.

May 2012 bring that true for us all.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

I made two more KIVA loans today - using money that had been repaid from previous loans. This makes a total of twenty loans made since I began. An initial "investment" of less than $100 has gone out to do 5 times that much work in the world. Currently I have loans in Rwanda, Kenya, Senegal, Nicaragua, and Lebanon.

Himself and I are retired, living on a combination of Social Security and savings. It means so much to me to be able to reach out into the world in this small way. All of us try to share the bounty of our lives. What do YOU do to extend yourself out of your community?

Thursday, December 22, 2011


One of our "empty-nester" holiday traditions is to eschew the purchase of a cut tree and instead to harvest a few boughs from the plentiful fir trees on our property and arrange them in a vase made years ago by a friend who is a potter. Our old ornaments being too large we have gradually scrounged small bits and pieces with which to decorate it. Some years we add a small string of lights, others (like this one) we skip the lights and get the sparkle from a lighted star we place in the front window.

This year the holiday blues had me captive but yesterday Himself shook me out of it and we created our "tree" together.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Is it the holidays or is it aging? Either way I seem to feel more and more overwhelmed and less and and capable of keeping up with the world around me. In my 30s and 40s there was a relative self-confidence. It wasn't as if nothing in life could shake me but my inner sense was that I could cope. Sometime in the past couple of years that sense has evaporated and left me staring at anxiety, sure that I'm sliding slowly backward, losing touch with the world, slowly becoming lost and frightened. My whorl is smaller and I reach out to pull it closer around me.

As I see this change I begin to understand the fluttering hands and sad, lost eyes of my grandmother when I last saw her. The world moves faster as some of us slow down and it is not a comfortable sensation.

(I hope some of the power of this feeling will fade after the holidays… Spring will come and it is ever my favorite season!)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Mrs. Claus's Blog:


The arrival of December signals the start of the high expectation, rush around, and get it done season. Life around my house goes into overdrive. It isn't easy being married to someone who insists on cheer and goodwill toward man as he fusses and plans and dashes around like a bee in a florist shop.


There are lights to be hung, trees to be decorated. The entire neighborhood must be tinseled and garlanded while echoes of carols ring out. I swear if I hear one more "Santa Baby" purred by a velvet-voiced nubile wench I will head her direction with my tree-trimming axe!


That list of his… checking it twice? Whoever thought that glancing at the enormous list of "I want" and "please send" and "gotta have" could be handled with a couple of hasty glances? I've been alphabetizing and collating for weeks. Couldn't jolly old you-know-who learn to handle a spreadsheet?


Who left holly on the library floor? And where are the band-aids?


The logistics of making everybody on the list happy would tax the spirit of the hardiest elf. The usual crew is hard at work but I get so tired of the pounding and hammering. Don't think I can't hear those barely suppressed little cuss-words either. Elves have volatile tempers. And who cleans up after them? Who is fixing sandwiches and soup to feed all those little mouths? Mr. Ho-Ho-Ho gets all the credit and I spend my time slaving over a hot stove!


What am I up to as the days shorten toward December 24th? Cranberry stringing. Holly wreathing. BAKING! Oh dear, the baking! Fruitcakes. Gingerbread. Sugared nuts and sugared plums and peppermint this, that, and the other thing. The calorie count is beyond imagining but will you-know-who even consider Stevia or Splenda? He just gets rounder and folks admire his girth. Just how much jolly can one old man handle before his arteries completely harden?


Who left holly on the kitchen floor? I ran out of band-aids and had to resort to Duct tape.


Somebody left the front door open last night and eight tiny reindeer made themselves quite merry in my pantry. I'm considering venison stew for dinner tomorrow.


He's out the house at last. He forgot his mittens and after that last warm-up of Schnapps his nose is brighter than Rudolph's. I'm kicking off my boots and settling in with hot cocoa and a double-dip of marshmallow…

Who left holly on the bedroom floor?

Saturday, December 17, 2011


Memories are interesting things. Every morning as I shower the same one bubbles to the surface. It has been doing that for the past 18+ years. It never fails. Yes, I'm going to share…

I was on a ski trip with a bunch of friends and we'd all booked rooms in an older motel near the ski area in the California mountains. Since I'm not a skier, and hot water was limited, I'd wait for my morning shower until the rest had left for the lifts then spend my time hiking in the snow, reading by the fireplace, or enjoying the hot tub. On this particular morning, as was my bathing routine, I wet myself down, lathered my hair with shampoo, and began soaping up. Suddenly the shower went dry. Not a drop dripped from the tap. I waited a moment, my brain frantically trying to assess what had happened and certain that the water would start again but no, I was stuck, soap-covered, shampoo bedecked… high and dry.

??? What to do???

Luckily I'd brought a small electric water kettle for for early morning coffee. It was full, warm, and sitting - of all places - just outside the shower. And I realized I could also find water in the toilet tank. These two, carefully used, provided enough to rinse my hair and de-soap my epidermis. The water pump for the motel wasn't repaired until the next day but at least I didn't spend the waiting time in a lather!

My shower routine changed from that day. My hair is soaped and rinsed immediately - and never without the memory of those agonizing suspended seconds of "Oh dear… what do I do now?"