seeking christmas mojo

Today I realized I needed help finding my Christmas mojo. The past couple of days I felt it slipping away. This morning I fell smack dab into a case of the Christmas Crankies.

Yesterday my mother texted me to tell me they weren’t coming for Christmas. The COVID19 of it all. Ok I get that. It was the fact that the queen of proper communication texted me and signed off on her text with her first name, not mother.

Umm yes, even my own relationship with my mother is complicated. Life isn’t a Hallmark Movie and she’s not Donna Reed meets Carol Brady and never will be. Sigh.

Last evening I made a male approved dinner. Scratch macaroni and cheese and chicken cutlets….only the son of it all blew me off for video games and got dinner at 11:30 PM. Right or wrong I am sick as F of video games and it hurt my feelings.

Recently my good growing up friend Tiger died. And another good friend’s husband is gravely ill.

On a cheery dysfunctional social media site known as Facebook, I help run a gifting group. The nail files and pitchforks came out when I had to discuss something from a group administrator perspective.

I really am tired of the pack mentality or mob mentality for lack of a better description. If you aren’t part of their immediate circle or the least bit different in thought process you are a badd, baddd person. Never mind that some of them spent hours messaging one of my moderators who had nothing to do at all with what I said. It made me have several oh bitch please moments today with the mob mommies, which is contrary to my wanting to have Christmas season feelings.

And then there were the people who made up bad fake reviews on the business of friends. That is a special kind of mean. Not nice.

Politics. Done with the election and the giant orange baby throwing temper tantrums in the White House as he tweets from the john. Dude…it’s over…moonie-like followers, it’s over. One guy won, your guy lost. By all means, leave for the Island of Misfit Toys via Mar a Tacky, just shut up already.

Also impeding my Christmas mojo is the apparent inability to use the word Christmas. People, people every year, really? We celebrate and name every other holiday, so why not Christmas? I don’t want to say Happy Holidays and I do say Merry Christmas. The political correctness police need to give it a rest already.

And the COVID19 numbers are rising. High school kids and college kids are half being responsible and half not so much….just like all the so-called adults. Someone came to my house yesterday wearing a mask with his nose hanging out. All I could do was stare at the nose and be grateful they were OUTSIDE.

Wear your damn mask and wear it correctly. That way eventually when there is a vaccine we can all eventually stop feeling walled up by our own four walls, yes? And the vaccine? How will they really control distribution or will it be pay to play?

2020 is a hard slog, OK? Today it got to me. Just got to me. I can’t pretend to be Sister Mary Sunshine all of the time.

I miss seeing my friends and family. We all stay home so we CAN see each other again. But when?

The bah humbugs threatened to rise to the top, so I had to take assertive action. Very assertive action. It was Santa time. And at 56, no I am not going to visit a Santa and give him my Christmas wishes. I had to get out a Santa.

I bought out the big Santa. He always puts a smile on my face. Bought him from a yard sale group a few years ago. I feel MUCH better now and will find my inner decorating elf tomorrow.

Thanks for letting me gretz.

22 days until Christmas! Decorate! Bake! (Whine when necessary.)

Thanks for virtually visiting.

are we worthy of our own opinions expressed in our own space??

I woke up this morning like every morning. Happy to see my little world. I had a great oncology appointment yesterday so waking up was a little more special today. Then I looked outside and Mother Nature had given us a magical little snow frosting over the back woods.

Then, and please cue the screeching record sound in your head, I made the mistake of checking in on Facebook. Yesterday I had posted a Bloomberg News article about Attorney General William Barr saying that the US Justice Department has found no evidence of widespread voter fraud.

There was also some commentary about using the criminal justice system to pursue legal battles that are better suited for civil court systems. I found this interesting so I posted it. And I don’t post much about the post election or try not to. Truthfully, I’m tired of reading about it. One guy won and the other guy lost and we need to all get on with our lives.

Overnight post article posting a bit more of my timeline seemingly exploded. It started with someone literally saying an article from Bloomberg News was “fake news”. Alrighty then.

This person went on to list their curriculum vitae and life accomplishments as justification for her opinion. I kind of quietly said to her that I knew she was a Trump supporter and that was her opinion and that was fine, but essentially not to say one of the more reputable news sites in this country is publishing “fake news”.

But the comments didn’t stop. And soon this person was literally quoting their entire curriculum vitae or résumé as justification for their statements. That they were a former journalist and award-winning blogger and writer and had worked on political campaigns and was on the board of non-profits. And what does this have anything to do with what we were discussing?

I have been blessed in my life to know lots of interesting people. And for all those people who do include quite literally award-winning writers and journalists, and renown political strategists and campaign managers and more, not one of them has ever kind of made me start out my day feeling like a lesser human being.

Because I am not an award-winning blogger and haven’t written any books does that mean I have less value than other people? Does that mean if we don’t have those credentials specifically we shouldn’t have opinions?

Is there a New World pecking order that I am somehow unaware of?

Why I also find this upsetting is this is a person who belongs to several groups for women who support other women. Either via mentorship or showing mutual support for female owned businesses and how is this supportive? How are you supporting anyone in this world when you use your résumé as a defense of your opinion yet in the same moment make others feel less worthy?

I know so many amazingly accomplished people. I celebrate their successes and I’m glad to know them. But these people don’t make others feel bad about their lives and possibly their life choices. Am I as accomplished as a lot of my friends? No but we all give to this world differently, which doesn’t make any of us lesser human beings in my opinion.

I feel that in the USA the past few years has changed so many people. And not necessarily for the better. It used to be (because that’s what our forefathers fought for), that we could have different opinions and not feel attacked. But since the election it’s only gotten worse. And here we are at the end of a terribly long and difficult year in the season that is supposed to be magical, and will it be?

We all don’t have to have the same opinion. Nor should I be made to feel on my personal social media page that I am a lesser human being.

And of course if you go to this person’s timeline they say if anyone posts anything negative about a photo of this year’s White House decorations they will delete the comments. It’s that old do as I say not as I do approach, However, in a sense that is OK because it’s their timeline so people want to respect that, so why not equally respect my timeline on Facebook? (And truthfully this year the decorations look better than they have in the past few years. It looks more like Christmas and less like the Jadis the Narnia white witch ice queen lives in a castle there.)

Sorry not sorry, but I don’t wish to belong to some insecure writers support group. And yes, I actually am a writer. Maybe I won’t ever write a book, and maybe my blog won’t ever win awards, but I’m also not a lesser human being for my efforts.

The world is a big place and we should be able to express our opinions. Or even post an article we find interesting on our own Facebook timeline. I see plenty of things posted by people I like that I completely disagree with, and I don’t feel the need to comment on these things. For the most part I kind of scroll on by. If it’s some thing that I really disagree with I might send them a private message, but that’s it. I don’t pollute their timelines. I try to respect their virtual space.

2020 has been the year from hell for all of us if we’re honest. We have survived a global pandemic, but it has affected every aspect of our lives and our children’s lives and our friends lives and the lives of the people with small businesses we support. so instead of screaming a legitimate news source is fake news why don’t we try to support each other instead?

Thank you for coming along with me on this ramble this morning. I felt I needed to explore all of this because what I saw on my own timeline is happening on the Facebook timelines of people everywhere. We all don’t have to agree, we don’t even have to agree to disagree, but we need to respect people social media pages as their own kind of like a virtual house.

Celebrate the blessings that we have.

Thanks for stopping by.

rabbit, rabbit

Do you say “rabbit, rabbit“ at the beginning of each month? I have since I was a little girl.

“Rabbit rabbit rabbit” is a tradition found in Britain and North America wherein a person says or repeats the words “rabbit”, “rabbit” and/or “rabbit, rabbit white rabbit” aloud upon waking on the first day of a month, to ensure good luck for the rest of it.

Today is December 1, 2020 in the year of COVID-19.

We have all survived thus far, and we need to make it to 2021.

So please, follow the COVID-19 protocols and wear masks and socially distance, and prepare for very small Christmas gatherings. We have to do it this way because you’re already seeing serious upswings in virus numbers because people didn’t pay attention over Thanksgiving although they were basically bagged from coast to coast.

Rabbit, rabbit.

threads of life

I was messaging with a friend today. We were talking about many things including friends we had lost in 2020. And she made the comment that metaphysics taught her about life being similar to a giant cobweb. She said there is no such thing as coincidence in her opinion; everything and everyone are connected.

Threads.

My friend is Italian or at least half Italian like me. I really am not sure which it is. But she laughed and said that Italians always look to find a thread. I agree with her — we do look to find the thread, it’s sort of inherent in our DNA. A thread is a connection. A connection brings us together as humans.

There are all of these threads the tie us together. How we meet people and become friends. Who we meet them through. Look at our communities. There are threads everywhere which tie us together. Schools, church, neighborhoods, volunteer work. Life in general.

In the Chinese culture, a red thread is believed to connect us all together. Think of it as a beautiful red ribbon. It weaves in and out, throughout our lives, throughout our communities.

If you look at Kabbalistic traditions, read is a symbol of courage, bravery, and protection against what people referred to as the “evil eye.” The whole “evil eye“ of it all is actually a symbol of someone you feel who looks at you with negative energy and jealousy. And that’s not what I’m talking about here.

If you are speaking specifically about wearing a red thread, it can be that these red threads or cords are supposed to bring luck and offer protection but also serve as a reminder of the vows if Buddhist vows were taken.

However the ancient Chinese legend to which my friend alluded, the red thread of fate, is this invisible thread that ties us all together, as in all of us whose lives will intertwine at some point. The Chinese god of marriage, Yue Lao, looks over this.

In Christianity I am told the red thread symbolizes redemption. I think in essence, the tradition of a red thread crosses over many cultures. And today things get blended tradition-wise.

I don’t wear a red thread, but I know people who do and who have. When I’m talking about this thread today I am visualizing the threads that softly twirl around us joining us together at different parts of our life or throughout our lives. More simply put, I’m speaking about the threads that tie us together and even draw us together.

There is that other old adage of people enter your life for a reason, a season, or for life. Personally I have found it difficult at times mourning the loss of people who are only around for a reason or a season and I thought they would be around for the entirety of our lives. However, even when people aren’t in your life anymore sometimes there are still these ties, these connections. Sometimes not. It really just depends how life happens.

I don’t ever pretend to have all the answers. And I certainly don’t exist on a mystical plane. I just think about these things because I think you have to sometimes. As human beings we are tied together. Our paths cross. We impact each others lives. That’s why I think the people in this country need to get back to the business of living and put aside the business of ugly politics and in essence, worshiping false political prophets.

Life is short. Value it. Value each other.

Thanks for stopping by.

a tale of two cities…err chester counties

A friend commented today that whomever thought all this new construction was a good idea has hopefully made buckets of money ruining the area.

Among other things I blame the Chester County Planning Commission as well as the various municipalities.

Now these aren’t thoughts I wouldn’t expect from this person but are they wrong? So much construction and so many unfortunate, truthfully ugly apartment buildings. It’s just too much.

Start in Easttown and move west. From fakakta apartments they want to build essentially in the shadow of traditional and lovely Devon Horse Show neighborhoods via rezoning, to the supersizing of Berwyn Village.

Move onto East Whiteland. Apartments everywhere in various stages of development. Ugly, architecturally unfortunate buildings utterly devoid of charm.

And West Whiteland. Oh we can’t forget West Whiteland. A sea of apartments and wait until they develop at Ship Road and Lancaster Avenue which will create the urban canyon corridor from hell.

Here we are at King of Prussia west. And it literally sucks.

The tale of two cities errr ….Chester County.

Here we are in one of the most beautiful counties in Pennsylvania. But due to greed and urban sprawl, how soon before Chester County is referred to as formerly one of the most beautiful counties in Pennsylvania?

We are getting towards the end of 2020 and even in this brutal year of the global pandemic known at COVID19 the development has continued it’s relentless march across Chester County.

I have to ask when will it stop? Single family, multi family, fake carriage homes, apartments, town houses whatever it is ALL TOO MUCH.

gather wisely. give thanks.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. A very beloved national holiday. And yes it is the year 2020, or the year of COVID19 and ugly politics.

However, it’s also the year that as a country we have started to come together and say enough to the specter of racism which has haunted our country for a very long time.

It’s definitely a year where more seems broken than fixable. Yet here we are. And we’re still standing. So we should indeed come together and give thanks.

Our first Thanksgiving in this country was basically people coming together to give thanks that they survived. I think that should resonate with all of us after the way 2020 has treated us.

In Pennsylvania, people are fixated on the fact that a lot of people won’t be able to go out to bars tonight. That they’re shutting down the sales of alcohol after a certain time. I was somewhat disgusted last night to see on the news a bar that was opening at 6 AM so they could make sure they serve all their drinks. In my humble opinion that’s playing Russian Roulette with their lives and the lives of others and is morally questionable.

Don’t get me wrong, I have plenty of friends in the service/hospitality industry. Businesses are suffering terribly. But we’re talking about a global pandemic which is already spiking again way past our wildest imaginings. I know people whose restaurants have closed and will never reopen which makes me really sad. But I think wanting to keep people from gathering in large numbers right now isn’t a bad thing. It’s more like common sense. I have said it before to let history be your guide. Look at the last time a global pandemic gripped this country in 1918. In the Philadelphia area alone, it’s spread like wild fire because the parade wasn’t canceled.

If you want to support your local restaurants and businesses, and want to be safe, contact them and find out what kind of gift cards or gift certificates they offer. That will keep money coming into them and keep everyone safe until people feel more comfortable. Maybe it won’t be the monetary bonanza that everyone seeks this time of year, but if enough of us do that a lot of these places might be able to squeak by until 2021 when hopefully life will return if not to the old normal, a new normal.

Like it or not, and again let history be your guide, life will be a new normal. It won’t be the same old same old. And maybe it shouldn’t be. Maybe this life reset we have experienced in 2020 has a larger meaning. Maybe it’s wanting us as Americans to get back to basics and appreciate what we already have and not be spoiled about what we don’t have right now.

Someone said to me yesterday that they weren’t going to really decorate for the holidays and even set a pretty table for Thanksgiving. I disagree wholeheartedly. I think if ever there was a year where we should deck the halls and use our good dishes, it’s this year. What are we waiting for? Maybe our pods will be smaller and our holiday tables won’t be bursting at the seams, but we’re alive. And we have survived 2020 thus far.

Instead of the glass half empty, maybe it’s the glass half full. It’s not what we thought the year would be when we rang it in on January 1, but it’s the hand fate has dealt us.

Give thanks tomorrow for what you still have and the people you still have in your life. Give thanks to the memories and the good times of the people who are no longer with us. Remember them fondly and with laughter. Just try to put aside the negative energy that has had us in the grip of stress all year long. And I really wish that the news would stop interviewing fools not wearing masks at places like major train stations complaining that their personal liberties are being impinged upon as they’re getting ready to board a train to go visit family. How about all of those complaining stop being selfish for five minutes? Maybe it’s not all about these lovers of purportedly missed freedoms, maybe it’s respecting and loving your family, friends, neighbors, and even strangers enough that everyone does things differently this year. It’s one year. And maybe you don’t believe that there is a virus, but given all of the millions of people who have died worldwide? Their families might beg to differ. We’re all a long time dead, right?

So tomorrow parades, football, and our Thanksgiving tables themselves will look much different. But we should still celebrate and give thanks for still standing at this point in this crazy ass year.

Gather wisely. Give thanks hugely.

Wishing all of my readers a happy and safe Thanksgiving.

thanksgiving grace wanted.

It’s almost Thanksgiving. Our little turkey is resting in the refrigerator and the cranberry sauce has been made. I am trying to figure out which dishes I’m going to use and what the table will look like. I don’t think I’m going to get out all of my little ceramic turkeys this year, but I still want my table to look pretty.

Someone remarked to me that they are just navigating this COVID-19 world the best they can, and trusting God has it all in hand.

I replied that part of it was people had to be willing to listen that it was time the world was a little different, time for us to take things a little less for granted.

Thoughts like this was also partial impetus for me to write my “broken people” post on this blog the other day.

There are so many people that want to blame everyone for what is going on with them. And they don’t realize that you do have to take ownership of yourself, and with ownership comes grace. Or hopefully that’s how it works.

And as you know I do not really ever get religious in my writing. And as an adult although still Catholic as I was born Catholic, I am more spiritual than religious.

And these are just some of the things I’ve been thinking about. I mean if you think about it and try to be positive in a year that has been so filled with negative, maybe part of the lesson here is teaching us all grace, or how to find grace.

Because of COVID-19 things will undoubtedly get worse before they get better.

So maybe, instead of worrying about the big things that for now seem to be out of our control, we look for the blessings we have.

It’s all about that magic of ordinary days.

Open your eyes, shut up about the politics, and realize that we are here and should try to be present with our loved ones and not get sucked down the rabbit hole of unpleasant minutia.

Try to love and appreciate people for who they are, not who you want them to be. As human beings we are all flawed. And if someone can’t be present for you at this time, let them go on their journey, everyone needs to find their own path no matter how old or young they are.

2020 has been a brutal year and so many regards. But when we look back, what will be the lessons we take away from it? And with a year like this we have to have learned something right?

I am grateful for my little family unit and love it very much. In the distant recesses of my mind, are the memories of Thanksgivings past, most of which contained a lot more people than this year will.

And if I’m being honest, all those Thanksgivings past were not like Hallmark movies with perfect tablescapes and happy endings. Some of them were quite stressful and not so much fun and that’s OK.

So this year, as you gather round your tables in your smaller pods of Thanksgiving people, give thanks for what you do have. And drag out the good dishes. Don’t let COVID-19 diminish your Thanksgiving. Just because we’re sort of doing it differently doesn’t mean it won’t be a great holiday!

Thanks for stopping by.

broken people

I have been wrestling with something recently and especially in the last day. I knew I wanted to write about it, but I didn’t know how to write about it until this morning.

This morning I was going through some Christmas ornaments in the attic. I accidentally dropped one of my little ceramic elves. The elf split neatly in half and I was able to glue her back together quite easily.

It’s a shame broken people can’t be fixed as easily as a couple of dabs of super glue. But they can’t be. They have to want to fix themselves to some extent.

I’m not saying I have led a perfect life. I have not. I have made mistakes. But if we’re honest with ourselves mistakes can teach us things. If we want to listen, that is.

I lost a growing up friend the other day. I was asked by his family to let the people we went to high school with know. Unfortunately, social media being what it is, you also get the people you weren’t actually notifying. One of those people left a comment.

And I deleted it. And the reason I deleted it is because they tried to make this tragedy about them with their comment. The comment more or less was maybe my newly deceased friend would say “hello” to her mother. Now that in and of itself, would’ve been a sweet sentiment if my friend had actually been friends with this person, let alone actually knew the mother.

This person who left that particular comment is somebody who is very troubled. But this is also someone who has hurt so many other people I know, that I actually have a hard time finding kindness in my heart for them.

When this other person’s mother died, they left comments all over all sorts of social media pages as if their mother had been a local celebrity or was famous. I get that this person probably misses their mom on some level, but there’s more to the backstory which includes a couple of years they literally weren’t really around for their mother. And they don’t own that. The comments were bizarre.

This person is full of issues (and addictive behaviors) they have never acknowledged or owned. When this person does anything like this, it’s strategic in a twisted sort of way to get attention. For years many have tried to help her, but the hard work, the heavy lifting, had to come from her and she hasn’t ever seemed to want to do it. So people have walked away.

When she left that self-serving comment on the post announcing the death of my friend, it bought a lot of how I felt about this person back. When you run across someone like this, you’re always torn. Do you tell them off or do you try to help one more time? The problem is they are manipulative, so attempts to help becomes enabling. That is why I decided to do nothing, and I simply deleted the comment quietly.

There is a second person who I am also struggling with right now. And this is someone I actually care about. But again, it’s a woman who won’t own her issues, and people have tried to help to no avail.

I mean this most sincerely when I say that I truly hope this other person can find something within themselves to stop the slippery slope. Because she is on the precipice of the point of no return. This is someone who has a lot of positive things to offer the world.

And I swear it’s during the holidays that you see broken people. And because 2020 has been so hard for so many people, I think we’re seeing more broken people than ever. But other than trying to be kind, this is the year we have to tend to our own families and our own people first. And I’m not saying that to be selfish. I’m saying it because it’s the truth. Or I think it’s the truth.

There are professionals equipped to deal with assisting broken people. But these people who need help have to take some of the steps themselves. We can’t literally walk the walk for them. It’s impossible.

However, I am sending up a prayer that these broken people out there find the help they need and can get through the holiday season. And take steps to heal. But as hard as it is to accept, it’s not as easy as gluing a ceramic figurine back together.

Well those are my thoughts. We can’t fix all who need fixing, sadly. Thanks for stopping by.

further adventures in search of christmas spirit

Today we went to visit our friend Lisa who owns Brandywine View Antiques in Chadds Ford.

Three floors of festive fabulous and Christmas magic!!! Enjoy a sneak peek in my photos and go visit! Masks required and hand sanitizer stations throughout the store.

Brandywine View Antiques is located at 1244 Baltimore Pike in Chadds Ford, PA. Wednesday through Sunday 10 AM – 4 PM.

roam with the angels, marine

In September, I wrote a post about my growing up friend Tiger, who was battling horrible cancer. This morning at 6:15 AM, Tiger went home to God.

His beloved wife Sarah was at his side.

One of his brothers contacted me, who is another kind of forever friend at this point. I owe my two friends whom I was with at the an apology, because I completely lost my composure (in a face mask no less) when I got the news. I knew the end was coming, but I don’t think you’re ever completely prepared for it nevertheless.

Tiger was also a friend to my husband growing up. They were in the same class in high school at Shipley. I was the year ahead of them. Tiger and I had been friends since I think I was about 14. I actually was friends with him a couple of years before my husband got to be friends with him.

2020 is just one of those years where I am ready for the next year. It has been a very difficult year for so many reasons for millions of people. This is just another glaring example of dear Lord, what a year.

And I don’t know about any of the rest of you but this is the year where I’ve been having weird dreams. Dreams of people who are no longer with us like my father, or people I am no longer connected to for no more of a reason then life took everyone in different directions.

I don’t know what all this means, and the dreams haven’t been bad it’s just been kind of pleasant. And I’m wondering if dreams can be a little more pleasant when the reality of the world we are living in is that it’s a little harsh right now.

And I know people are going to think I sound like a bit of a nutter, but my friend Tiger who died early this morning was in one of my dreams last night in the wee hours of the morning.

The dream was not anything weird or anything bad or sad, he was just wherever I was outside in someone’s garden and came up to say hello. I woke up shortly before 7 AM remembering that part of my dream because it was nice, and also because Tiger was probably even more of a rabid gardener than I am.

After I heard the news he passed away, which wasn’t until about lunchtime today, I’m still wondering if there was a reason I had that dream last night? This is where my Irish DNA kicks in and I feel a little fey, but I’ve had these experiences before over the course of my life.

When I found out the news I was with friends and for that I am really grateful. When it’s somebody who’s your own age who had meaning in your life it’s just so damn hard and it doesn’t matter how young or how old you are, it’s just hard.

This is just yet another reminder, a very somber reminder, of the value of life itself. Sometimes we take things for granted. And if 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that we can’t take life for granted.

I know Thanksgiving is going to look very different for people this year. But don’t be sad if it’s just a smaller group of family, be grateful that you can spend any of it together or even together virtually over a zoom call.

Life will go on, but I wanted to pause and take a moment to write about this. Tiger was a United States Marine for many years of his life, so that is why I chose that title for the post. It was very important to him.

Thanks for stopping by. Live your lives gratefully and always appreciate the magic in ordinary days.