Thursday, November 29, 2007

Twixt and Tween

The quiet November days after Thanksgiving prepare me for the upcoming excitement of December.

Christmas break from school. Hopes for snow. Decorations, special foods, music. The intoxicating evergreen aroma right here in my living room. Christmas Eve's magic and the joyous energy of Christmas Morning. And finally that calming week which culminates in a Brand New Year.

All worth looking forward to. Not hurrying toward, but savoring the moments from now to then.

I'm breathing deeply, staying calm, remembering what it's all about.

This Christmas poem comes to mind.

Noel: Christmas Eve, 1913

A frosty Christmas eve when the stars were shining,
I traveled forth alone where westward falls the hill.
And from many, many a village in the darkness of the valley,
Distant music reached me, peals of bells a-ringing.

Then sped my thoughts to olden times, to that first of Christmas's
When shepherds who were watching heard music in the fields.
And they sat there and they marveled and they knew they could not tell
Whether it were angels or the bright stars a-singing.

But to me heard afar it was starry music,
The singing of the angels, the comfort of our Lord.
Words of old that come a-traveling by the riches of the times,
And I softly listened, as I stood upon the hill.

~~~by Robert Bridges, 1936

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Moochers and Mosquitoes

Something is bugging me. Yes, bugging me, like a pesky mosquito biting and flitting and biting again. Won't leave me alone. A stupid thing, petty even. But then again the conflict is one many people experience. Politeness dictates we keep it to ourselves, but the injury claws and struggles to get out, to be heard.

The Injury Du Jour concerns spoiled children who become spoiled adults. We who were raised to be considerate and appreciative often find ourselves flustered by those who walk all over our politeness, mock our generosity, then slouch away leaving us pitying them and at the same time hoping we never see them again due to aggravation.

Kindness is its own reward, sure I believe that...most of the time. And I can tolerate rudeness now and again because I'm rude now and then. Rudeness as a lifestyle, however, tests my patience and sets me to examining the motives behind my kindness. Why do I feel the need to know my efforts have been appreciated? Normally I'm happy to create a warm and glad environment. Perhaps it's because normally those who surround me reciprocate with their efforts and we complement one another just fine without many words. A feeling of give and take. Working together by offering our personal talents and abilities for the benefit of all. An easy understanding. Appreciation is given almost subconsciously through an extra-tight good-night hug, a wide smile of satisfaction on the receiving end, or a quiet 'thank-you' politely uttered.

Yes, that's what's bugging me. The Takers. They take and take and take from everyone, consuming the kindness and efforts of others, but they give absolutely nothing in return. Not a thank-you, not a lent hand, not a nod of appreciation. In their silence they impart no wisdom, no joy, no consolation. Taking but never giving, expecting care but not caring to contribute.

Camaraderie exists among those who are taken for granted by spoiled takers. Afflictions are easily soothed. Pity replaces annoyance. There is power in numbers, it's true. We soon realize that the disdain isn't directed toward us personally, no it's impersonal and universal. The spoiled do not aim at us, we are merely the incidental wounded in their war against civility.

The sad thing is that takers only increase their isolation by mooching around. Their reputation precedes them, and adjustments are made by we who have been once bitten and are now twice shy.

Spoiled children who become spoiled adults tend to dampen the gatherings of the unspoiled. A little. Their mosquito-like buzzing generates a swat here and there, and the determination to use 'bug spray' the next time, which translates into non-invitation. We watch in amazement at the unconsciousness in which these moochers move. It's so unbelievable it becomes entertainment of its own. In that sense, I guess something is offered, however pathetic.

The shocking behavior of takers causes me to examine my own self, looking for ingratitude, greediness, and lack of compassion. And it causes me to re-evaluate why I serve. For appreciation? For love? For attention? Out of compassion? Out of love? Good questions all.

The cares of this world could be lightened considerably should we all take the time to question our own motivation, searching out greed, criticism, haughtiness, rudeness, selfishness, and ingratitude among other things.

Determined self-evaluation improves the world.

Moochiness simply diminishes a moocher's opportunities.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Four Days of Family and Fun!

(Updated: Wednesday Morning)

Wednesday is bake day. Thursday our out of town family and local guests arrive.

Besides all the trimmings, we'll be having a little of this..

...and a little of this...

...and later in the day, a little of this, too.

I'm so excited!!

Sandy tagged me with a Thanksgiving request, that I list three things for which I'm thankful, other than the obvious (God, husband, kids, family, etc.). I am neck-deep in Thanksgiving preparations, but I have a few minutes here to post what has been rattling around in the tiny spare room of my mind since I read Sandy's post. Here goes:

1. I'm thankful for the mute button on the remote control because the blathering frenzy of most commercials annoys me.

2. I'm thankful for the healing processes inherent in my body. When I become ill with a bug, or after I crash or smash a part of myself during the everyday movement of life, I wince, I moan, and then I tell my body, "I'm so glad you know what to do. I will aid your healing powers however I can." And I take care of myself on the outside, knowing that on the inside this amazing creature of a body is doing its thing, putting things aright. Soon I am healed again, and I thank my body anew. Amazing!

3. I'm thankful that my life has not always taken the sunshiny path I would have chosen, but has wandered down many a twisted, dark, frightening, injury-inducing trail, for those swift and sudden turns have held the most treasure. Unsought treasure. Treasure I did not know existed. The treasure of wisdom, of new experiences, of faith-testing trials, of soul-searching anguish, all of which I would not have found on the hypnotic, skipping trails of the unexamined life.

There. It's out of my head.

Thank you, Sandy. This has made my Thanksgiving all the more meaningful, for the thoughtfulness added to the holiday history, added to the family, added to the food.

The food! I'd better get to baking. = )

I'll be back here on the other side of the Holiday!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 18, 2007


He said he was eighteen.

He said his daddy was rich.

He said Daddy bought him a Porsche.

He said he would take her to Italy, Switzerland, and France.

He said she was the prettiest girl he'd ever known.

He said she was the only one for him.

He said he loved her.

He said he wanted to marry her.

He said if she loved him, she'd let him.

She did love him. She did let him...once.

She'd just turned 15.

She said it wasn't as fun as everyone says.

She said it hurt.

She learned he does this repeatedly, regularly to other gullible girls.

He has no Porsche, no rich daddy, no passport, no class.

He's sixteen, and doesn't want to marry her.

She feels 'lied to and used.'

She wishes she 'could turn back time and erase it, like it never happened.'

She wanted to save herself for marriage.

She was fooled.

Her mom is disappointed, but understanding. After all, she'd done the same thing, pregnant at 16, married at 18. Divorced at 25.

Her mom says she won't drive her to that boy's house again, for a Saturday of unchaperoned movie watching.

Her mom patted her on on the head, and gave her birth control pills.

Her school friends, instead of putting her on a pedestal, shun her.

Her true friends love and console her the best we can.

She's lonely. She's sad. She's depressed.

She wants to die.

Me? I want to castrate the kid who abused our friend.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Breathing Space

Slowly snow melts in soft curves of white against hard dark stone. No hurry. No worry. No struggle to create beauty, yet beauty simply being.

Time to hush awhile, and listen.


Still, transparent waters allow vision, study, knowing.

Sunday, November 11, 2007


"Man does not become another man, he becomes himself; conscience recollects itself. . . The richest personality is nothing as long as it is not chosen; and on the other hand the poorest personality is everything when once it has chosen itself; for greatness is not to be this or that, but to be oneself." ~~ Soren Kierkegaard

Saturday, November 03, 2007


City lights and other man-made trappings look downright gaudy in the presence of a gigantic yellow moon. From the vantage point of wilderness, a night sky is an awesome, even sacred sight to see. From my front porch, a newly rising, fat, orange moon is a certain reminder of who's really in charge.
Post-sleep consciousness whispered to me that today is one of those exciting, holiday-like Saturdays where excitement presses on the edges of time. Not only is all the housework done (yes, even the bathrooms sparkle!), but the first carpet of crunchy golden and red leaves now resides in the compost pile. A squishy November haircut tidied up the green lawn. The leftover Halloween candy is bagged up and frozen (where were all the kids this year?!). Dog clean. Laundry done. Bills paid, patio swept, and we 'got milk.'

All this realized before I knuckled the sleep from my eyes.

An important football game is being played down the road, at Autzen Stadium. We'll watch it on TV, me in my Angry-Eyes Duck Hat, my Quacking Duck Beak hanging from its lanyard around my neck. Decked in green and yellow - or red for the Arizona Sun Devils - bicycles, cars, SUV 's, RV's and pedestrians flow towards the stadium, flags and pompoms secured to rigs or hats or children's strollers. Eager faces painted in school-loyal colors. Tailgating crowds huddle next to ignited charcoal, blowing into fists, warming hands against the early morning fog, anticipation pulsing. Polish dogs, hamburgers, whiskey-sauced chicken, yes, but the Big Event which all these activities precede, that begins at three-forty-five with kick-off.

By this evening fans will be tuckered out, half euphoric, half droopy. Which will I be?

Time will tell...

But I'm getting ahead of myself. With no usual Saturday chores to complete, I am free to make a huge pot of chili and a 9x13 of cornbread. Leisurely the girls watch Saturday morning TV shows, no foot-tapping parents hovering with The List. Choices. So many choices. I shall walk the dog. I shall drive past the stadium and cheer on the tailgaters. I shall buzz over to Winco and pick up a few 6-packs of Henry's root beer to go with the chili and cornbread. I will take that bubbly spa that has been calling me ever since I shoveled wet dirt a week ago. I will open my Kierkegaard book and lose myself.

And I will get off this computer and not return today.