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Friday, December 30

kicking and screaming

I hate New Year's Eve. Almost always have. I hate the maudlin looking back aspect of it. The ubiquitous "people who died" montage on every news/entertainment show. I was very sad about Steve Jobs, but I lost 2 mothers this year and their pictures won't play anywhere but in our hearts. They didn't invent anything awesome or have 8 husbands or make movies. They just lived simple, honorable lives dedicated to their families. Both of them worked hard and prayed hard. I will miss them every day.

But, as usual, I digress.

We usually try to be asleep by midnight, but we live reasonably close to downtown and there is a local ball drop that is accompanied by the loudest, longest fireworks extravaganza that we may be able to sleep through but annoys the schnitzits out of the dogs. I've tried actually attending the thing. It is advertised as family friendly and alcohol free, but it is neither. I have no problem with people drinking and having fun. I do mind when drinking makes them stupid, rude and puky. (Is puky a word?). So, we stay home, wait it out.

I don't want to have a rerun reel playing through my brain. This year had chemotherapy in it. And loss.But it also had remission in it and my son's beautiful wedding to the woman of his dreams. So, maybe I can have an edited reel?

Looking forward seems to be the way to go. We have plans for the house and I'm ready to work. I have a new book idea and when I can't sleep I tinker with the design in my head. Makes me excited about the season to come.

Every morning is a new start, every night is a time to reflect on what is past. This weekend will be no different. Except for the relentless booming from downtown, of course.

I will probably have a glass of wine tomorrow. But don't try to get me out to celebrate what happens every single day..a new beginning. I have learned to celebrate each one in my own, quiet way. With thanks.

Sunday, December 18

surfacing

The shows are over. I missed the last one because we were with Dottie. My latest 3 month scan at Roswell has been read and I am still without cancer. Next scan now 6 months away instead of 3. Soon it will be once a year. Christmas is in a week and the tree is still atilt in a bucket on the front porch. It's like I've been in a marathon race with the finish line obscured by fog. Suddenly it is clearly there and I am closer to it than I imagined.

And my sneakers are untied.

It is very hard to make long range plans when there is an underlying understanding that long range may not be an option. It is impossible to look forward with joyful anticipation to the future when you have been hobbled by loss.

I lost 2 women this year who were very dear to me. My mother and Russell's Mom who I loved as a mother. It is a trick to juggle joy and grief. Is it right to celebrate my return to health as 2 loved ones lost theirs? This is my struggle. I console myself that both of them were close to or older than 90. A good run.

Well, this is a festive holiday post, is it not?

U turn

This year I got myself an awesome daughter-in-law with whom I will celebrate this weekend. And I got to see my son happier than he has ever been. Sheer joy.

I will pull the tree from its bucket, set it up and force it to be beautiful.

Did I mention that I am still cancer free?

My annual stocking stuffer buying binge (I am renowned for my stockings) will have to be a one day sprint, but I know I will laugh at least a few times while accomplishing the task.

I missed a couple of last minute shows that would have padded my shopping budget nicely, but so be it. It means I have stock for the retailers that need it. That will be a nice change. Usually I say "Oh, sure, I can get some to you" and then I dash upstairs in a panic.

There will be no baking this year. Oven is dead and we are behind in stripping and painting the kitchen in preparation for the delivery of the new stuff. It can wait until next week. I've learned that a lot of things you think are important can wait. Except for Dr visits ;)

My brother and his wife have picked up the responsibility for hosting Christmas and, bravely, recreating Mom's traditional foods. Have I mentioned how much I love them? Well, I do. On top of all the acceptance and loyalty and love, they make me laugh until I cry.

Yesterday I wallowed in a deep funk and allowed myself to do so. This morning, the sun is out, Oliver is curled up on my lap, I just listened to reggae Christmas music and I am contemplating pancakes.

This will be a week devoted to Christmas. Then guess what? Yep. Application season. Ho Ho Ho. I have 5 of them just waiting for me to get the pen out. Not sure why these shows can't allow us a few weeks to burrow and not even think about art and craft and commerce. Yes, I whine abut this every year and, yes, every year once the season starts I am having fun. But I have designated January as my bitchin' month.

Oh, I did get one awesome thing accomplished. I made real greenery garland for the porch, two large swag wreaths...one to anchor the garland and a bigger one for the front door. Then I made 2 small ones for the french doors. They all have bundles of silver balls and red berries at the center. Total cost for all of it....3 bucks. Give me paddle wire and a glue gun and I am unstoppable.

Feels good to be back in the race.

Wednesday, December 7

Dottie

Russell's Mom had 9 children, all of them as different as snowflakes. They are all here now, except for a son who passed away a few years ago. They stand around her hospital bed and stroke her hands, touch her cheek, joke about what the others are doing. They tell her "I love you, Mom", "rest", "here we are". The nurses smile tender smiles at the gathered families, but there is no sign from them that this is anything other than what it is. A long goodbye.

We drove through the night to get here, knowing yet not knowing what we would find. What we found was this quiet, sad, accepting knot of siblings standing guard. And Dottie. Breathing with help from machinery. Her face, peaceful yet different. Her life ending. At least this part of it.

I loved this woman. I loved her spirit, her dry sense of humor, her love of books and crossword puzzles, the conversations we would have about religion and family and kids. Nothing much got under her skin and I so admired that. But as Russ always said, when you have 9 kids, you pretty much have to have a Zen quality about you. She didn't suffer fools, but she accepted them for what they were.

As she aged, she lost most of her hearing and vision. Never complained. She just got audio books and a headset.

Tomorrow they are going to disconnect the machinery that is keeping her "alive". She will stop breathing, we will lose her.

But I will remember how she always wanted to feed me as soon as I walked in the door. How she would make 3 quick kissing sounds against my cheek. How she loved breakfast at a diner decorated with cow knick knacks.

I was blessed to have this woman in my life. I loved her.