We barely had our turkey dinner under our expanding belts when my daughter, Jenna, started hauling out my Christmas decorations. Our plan was to have a nice dinner and then put up the decorations....oh, how festive.What was I thinking?
My girlfriend, Carole, sat in stunned amazement at the collection of decorations I've managed to amass over the years. "I don't remember seeing half of this stuff. When did you get all this? It's like walking into a Hallmark store."
Yeah, Hallmark and I have been in direct competition for years now. I venture to say, I could give them a run for their money. The difference is, they're making money with this stuff...and mostly off of me.
Ever since I can remember, I've had a "love/hate" relationship with ALL of the holidays, with Christmas being the worst.I just can't seem to say NO. I've thought, when I die, who's going to want to be saddled with all of my obsessive purchases? Who's going to want to store them away and carry on the tradition when I'm gone? As much as my children LOVE when I decorate the house with all of my paraphernalia, not one of them would be looking forward to that task.
Jenna, who's VERY much like me when it comes to decorating for holidays, doesn't have a spare inch in her apartment for another thing. Joe, my son, doesn't decorate...It's a guy thing. But, let me forget even ONE thing that he's used to seeing at my place, and believe me he notices it. "Hey, where's that Christmas calendar you used to hang here?" OR "Mom, you ARE going to hang my Xmas stocking, aren't you?" Then there's my two minimalist daughters, Julie and Jory. I think...NO, I'm positive, most of whatever decorations they may have probably came from me. As a matter of fact, I've got two boxes just waiting to go to the post office with a bunch of "goodies" inside to make their homes more festive for the holidays. I can't help it....IT'S A CURSE!
As Jenna kept coming out with more and more decorations from the room I store them in, I became more and more overwhelmed. I wasn't even sure I wanted to get started. But, once they were all staring me in the face...I had no choice. OH, my aching body!! Just a prediction. Why did I get up so early Thanksgiving morning? Didn't I know I'd need any extra rest I could muster for this project? Normally, and I'm not sure how normal it is, we've waited at least until the day after T-day to decorate. It seemed like a good idea at the time when Jenna suggested that we do it early because it was just going to be the two of us all day. My friend joined us after some urging to get out and come join us. She said she was so glad that she did; but now I wonder. Her head was spinning and she came disasterously close to getting whiplash straining to see everything. I could see she was exhausted just watching. She left early to leave us to our fun and games....COWARD!
We managed to find a place for EVERYTHING...always a challenge that gets worse each year.Well, almost everything. I still have a wreath and a quilted "Jolly" sign that have no home yet. All in good time.
Next is the tree. That's today, when Jen will make a return engagement and Joe is available to help. The tree has become Joe's Christmas chore...but, he doesn't seem to mind. The only thing I should ban him from (and I think he's secretly counting on it) is actually decorating the tree. He doesn't have the eye...or the patience, that Jenna has for finding just the right spot for ALL of my ornaments. Another one of my obsessions....ORNAMENTS! All kinds...many handmade. My only criteria is that they are either really beautiful...or adorably cute; and anywhere in the middle.I'm sure you can see my problem. I can't blame Joe....honestly; but Jen understands. We have a lot of laughs every year with my tree....mostly at my expense. But hey, whatever it takes.
When we're done, noone loves to sit and bask in the glory more than my kids. Our own "mini" winter wonderland. And all it took was two hesitantly willing volunteers, a couple of tiring days, and ONE aching back. Well worth the tradeoff.
You know what I love?Those awakening moments when you really do appreciate that all you have in life is good.That you truly do have a reason to be grateful for rising every morning and making the most out of every day.Those moments before the pesky logistics and gnawing realities that life throws at you begin to absorb into your subconscious telling you to be a grown up and accountable.Sometimes I force all such thoughts from my mind; just to enjoy those beautiful pure moments and to revel in them for as long as I possibly can.
Those moments when EVERYTHING is a wonder and EVERYONE is a blessing.I think that’s what God intended each and every one of us to feel…deeply, and as often as possible.I think he wants us to feel the lightness that those moments bring.But I think he wants us to know them as more than just moments; but lifetimes.How ideal would that be?
A lifetime of lightness.I guess that would be the utopian existence that we all secretly search for.Don’t we all strive for that kind of existence?When all those moments of lightness accumulate into days, weeks….months….and finally years; on their way to being a lifetime.Who isn’t working toward that kind of a life?
The problem with those magnificent moments?I have yet to figure out how to make them last for very long…let alone a lifetime.Maybe that’s why they seem like little gifts when they happen….a “specialer,”as it were, from SOMEONE who doesn’t want us to forget that we all are given a gift, and to make the most of it….even if it only comes to us in moments.How we nurture those moments…can last a lifetime.
Have a warm and Happy Thanksgiving; and may you have a cornucopia of “specialer” moments. -Joy -xo-
Though I love reading memes, I don't do many...or as few as possible. But, I've been tagged by J. at Maya's Granny; and I just can't turn that sweet lady down. This is a movie meme....
1. Popcorn or candy? Oh definitely popcorn. Who can turn it down ...even at the horrendous price they charge now?
2. Name a movie you've been meaning to see forever. I honestly can't think of one. I'm such a big movie viewer that I don't think there's one out there that I haven't seen...that I really wanted to.
3. You are given the power to recall one Oscar: Who loses theirs and to whom? Unfortunately I can't remember who the other nominees were in the year George C. Scott won for Patton; but one of them should have gotten it. Don't get me wrong, I loved George's acting...he was great; but I thought his refusal of the Oscar that year was totally inappropriate, and probably not the best move for his career either.
4. Steal one costume from a movie for your wardrobe. Which will it be? Are you kidding? Hmmm, that cool black slinky dress Angelina Jolie wore in Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Hey, noone said it had to fit.
5. Your favorite film franchise is... I'd have to agree with Maya's Granny on this one. The Lord of the Rings. Indiana Jones. Star Wars. But, I'll add The Godfather to that.
6. Invite five movie people over for dinner. Who are they? Why'd you invite them? What do you feed them? Only FIVE?Okay, well I'm going to make this as easy as possible and pick five people who are still with us...otherwise, I'd go nuts trying to figure this out. Al Pacino because he's brilliant and would fill all the lulls in the conversation. Paul Newman, because he's Paul Newman, he's ultra cool, and I'd have to see those blue eyes in person. Robert Redford because of his smile and because he shares the other half of ultra cool. Robin Williams because I just love that guy, and we would need a change of pace...every few minutes...whether we wanted it or not. And Sean Connery....just to listen to him talk. What I'd serve? Who needs food? Conversation would be enough. Okay, okay...deep dish, stuffed pizza....whatever they want on it.
7. What is the appropriate punishment for people who answer cell phones in the movie theater? Banished from the theatre for a year...or required to attend kiddie matinee shows for a week.
8. Choose a female bodyguard: Ripley from Aliens. Mystique from X-Men. Sarah Connor from Terminator 2. The Bride from Kill Bill. Mace from Strange Days. Ripley from Aliens, for sure.
9. What's the scariest thing you've ever seen in a movie? Jennifer Lopez's acting.Mrs. Doubtfire's breasts catching on fire. No? Okay... For some reason..the shark in the original Jaws still does it to me. Just a little angst.
10. Your favorite genre (excluding comedy and drama) is? Here's another I agree with J about.Good science fiction/fantasy. Love that stuff. I'll add Romance to this. I love a good love story....but, it's got to be really good...lots of kleenex involved.
11. You are given the power to greenlight movies at a major studio for one year. How do you wield this power? Now that's scary! I'd get all the stars whose work I really love to be involved with half of them, and then I'd get no-name actors and film makers for the other half. There are real treasures out there just waiting to be discovered. I'd like to find some of them.
12. Bonnie or Clyde? Neither. As cool as Faye Dunaway was in that movie, she and Warren both ended up looking like ground beef at the end. No thanks.
13: Who are you tagging to answer this survey: No tagging from me; but feel free to join in...anyone who wants to tag themselves.-Joy
November 17th will be a year since the death of my husband, Joel.In some ways it feels like yesterday, and in some ways it feels like forever.
A couple of days ago I went into the room we call “the office” to check something out on Joel’s computer.The office was Joel’s room, where he spent virtually ALL of his time…for years and years.He lived there really.He was surrounded with all of his sailing plaques, pictures and trophies.He had his computer, and his TV, and his Bose sound system.And, for a man who was a voracious reader….he had his beloved books.He had everything around him that he wanted, or thought he needed; except his family.
It just became automatic that Joel retreated to the office more often than not….especially in the last few years.There was a time when he’d join in with whatever was going on with the rest of the family, but he pulled himself away more and more, and involved himself less and less; devoting his time to his little corner of the world.I consider it part of the depression I felt he was going through….even though he may have disagreed.The more I speculated as to WHY, the more obvious it became that Joel didn’t want to talk about it.He made it very tough....and very clear.
As I sat in the swivel chair behind his desk, I thought about what had been happening at this time a year ago.Joel had been diagnosed with Stage 4 stomach cancer.He had lost 80 pounds and literally stopped eating.Whenever I attempted to talk to him about it, the pain and frustration in his eyes told me to stop....if he didn't point blank say it himself.I became an enabler….an unwilling enabler.Joel gave us all no choice.
For months I made my attempts to bring conversation out of him, urge...but not nag...him to go to the doctor, tell him how worried I was about him.And what I got back was…”Hey, I don’t feel that sick.I’m just not hungry.”I guess he thought I’d accept that.At the very least, it gave him more time between my appearances in the office to ask more questions.I played a role I didn’t ask for, and I played it well.Again….Joel didn’t give you choices.
From Joel's diagnosis to his death….it was three weeks.Three horrible weeks in October/November that have been creeping back to me in spurts.Last Halloween was spent very differently than this one.While I answered the door for Trick or Treaters, Joel was in his office, ensconced in his hunter green recliner/rocker and God only knows what was running through his mind.He wasn’t eating…just whatever liquids I kept pushing on him.By now it had become a family crisis, with my kids completely involved….doing whatever needed to be done.All too soon, it was over….at least HIS pain.And honestly, that’s all any of us cared about.I will go on record now, saying to anyone who has gone through it, is going through it, or will have to go through it in the future… that my heart is with you....and my admiration, for the strength it takes to stand by and watch a loved one die.Joel’s devastation was fast.Many aren’t.
On the corner of Joel’s desk is the marbleized urn that holds his ashes.I haven’t known what else to do with it.The kids and I thought about spreading his ashes out on Lake Michigan where he spent so many of his happiest days sailing.As poignant and appropriate as that may have been for Joel, there are laws about that kind of thing.And so, his ashes remain on his desk in HIS office. A place that somehow feels right….exactly where they should be; and where I can brush my hand over the top and let him know I’m still around….now, he has no choice.