a christmas like no other

Nutcracker display. 1990s. My parents’ home.

Ahh the ghosts and spirits of Christmas past. Never more poignant or important or even pronounced than Christmas 2020 in the age of COVID-19. I have been thinking about these people a lot recently.

Today my brother in law is gone 10 years. Taken by a cruel, swift moving cancer at 49. December 22, 2010 he died from peritoneal mesothelioma, a rare cancer of the abdominal lining. He was a great brother in law. He was also just one of the nicest and kindest people. Seriously. Not just saying that because he is gone. He was a good guy. The last thing he ever said to me was in a brief e-mail a few days before he died. “Save me some Christmas cookies.” The day he died I was home from work and I was baking. Only time I ever burned Christmas cookies.

My father. Gone 15 years in November. You feel him at Christmas. Like my late brother-in law, he loved Christmas. But he was more controlling than me about putting up Christmas decorations. Yes, I know where I get that trait from. So many memories of him at Christmas.

Daddy and one of his Christmas trees. 1990s.

A friend of the family named Dee. She’s been gone a year. She loved Christmas too. She was always so enthusiastic about Christmas and her house in Rosemont was a Christmas wonderland during the holidays. Beautiful decorations and the best Christmas parties. She was the first of my parents’ friends to really treat me like an adult on my own and I would get my own invitation to things, not just one through my parents. Dee had a great laugh too, and her eyes would twinkle when she was laughing.

My mother’s friend Dee, center with my parents’ at their house for a Christmas part of long ago.

Christmases long ago. I remember wandering around Bryn Mawr with one of my best friends Christmas shopping when it still felt like a village, and not a hospital town. Back when both sides of Pennsylvania Avenue by the hospital was lined with street trees and wonderful old houses, most with gracious front porches. Today it’s oversized and unattractive townhouses, and hospital buildings and a parking garage.

When we would walk around Bryn Mawr as kids we would check out Katy Did. And there was an awesome bookstore next door, and Mr. Fish the jeweler was in the basement storefront. And don’t forget Parvin’s Pharmacy. Along Lancaster Avenue there was an amazing toy store, antique stores, and even an Eskil’s Clog Shop for a few years. And Walter’s Swiss Pastry where my mother always bought a Bûche De Noël.

Matching pajamas at Christmas.

Christmases longer ago were in the city. Memories of going as a very little girl with my father in his red VW Bug (that was their car) down to the snow covered rail yards to get a Christmas tree. He would lash it to the roof and we would wind our way back home. We had 12 foot ceilings so we had a TALL tree. This is why in part that my grown up Christmas tree has mercury glass VW Bug ornaments with little trees on top.

Christmas at Babette’s in Harleysville

Christmas when I was little also mean trips to 9th Street – i.e. the Italian Market. Cappuccio’s Meats to get the Christmas roast. Harry the butcher always had a smile on his face. Then over to places like DiBruno Brothers for special Christmas Cheeses and pickled things. Christmas on 9th Street is an awesome Christmas memory.

I also remember Christmas shopping in the city when we were little. Cute little stores near Head House Square (the “Shambles”). Christmas displays at Lit Brothers, Gimbels, and Strawbridge & Clothier. The light display and organ at John Wanamaker’s and special Christmas Lunch in the Crystal Tea Room that made even little girls feel grown up and quite special. Seeing the displays of all the ladies holiday finery at Bonwit Teller and the Blum Store.

And the Christmas concert at St. Peter’s School. We had these white robes and would wind our way into the church next door to the school. And there was a Christmas Book Fair that was so wonderful. It was there as a little girl I would get to see my favorite children’s author, Marguerite De Angeli. Thee Hannah and Henner’s Lydia plus many other books. I still have them. She was a friend of the mother of the headmistress and/or her companion’s mother. I still remember these events distinctly. They were magical and full of holiday spirit and political correctness didn’t get in the way.

Just like when I was older and we were at Shipley. There were the Shipley Christmas Shops. During our era my mother and her friends and other parents made it amazing. The event wasn’t relegated to the gym where the parents of today don’t deign to speak to most of the alumni and just clump together like girls at a middle school dance. The Shipley Christmas Shops back then were often held in old houses and mansions. I am not sure that all of those places even still exist. The little shops and displays back then were festive and holiday wonderful. Treats, decorations for your home, beautiful woolens and all sorts of Christmas gifts to buy. Again, before the era of political correctness. This year there was shopping online. I will admit I bought nothing. I wanted to support my alma mater but there was nothing I wanted. It was like the magic was gone.

And we can’t talk about Christmas without talking about Christmas parties hosted by my mother’s friends Susi and Babette. They are German by birth and they both put on Christmas parties that will never be matched. Probably because in part they cooked as well or better than Julia Child. Yes, seriously. And I still wonder if Martha Stewart got decorating ideas for Christmas from them somehow? (No not seriously, they are just that amazing.)

It seems Christmas 2020 more than any other time in my memory that I hear these echoes of Christmases past.

No family is perfect and no Christmas is ever perfect, but I miss knowing we will all be together. And as we have all aged, it is not like we have had every Christmas together, but this year because of COVID-19 it feels more pronounced.

And this is where I struggle. 2020 has also been a year of loss and not just to the dreaded virus. Cancers, old age, other things. We’ve lost friends, old neighbors, friends of parents, people we knew in our communities.

People have lost jobs, taken salary cuts, shuttered small businesses open for decades. Other friends are trying desperately to keep their small businesses afloat – stores, restaurants, bakeries. And it has gotten to a point where I can’t say I know of any family that hasn’t been touched by COVID-19 in some way. And by touched I don’t necessarily mean getting the virus. COVID-19 in 2020 is like a giant Pac Man gobbling up little Pac Men. It oozes into every corner of our lives.

I know we have to keep looking forward for that light that is at the end of the tunnel. But it’s hard some days. No getting around it.

Orpheus Christmas Concert a decade or so ago.

Other things missing from Christmas this year? Things like the Orpheus Christmas Concert. They had a virtual concert last evening . Here is the video I found for 2020 that they are nice enough to share with the world:

2020 is the Christmas that families get together on Hallmark and Lifetime Christmas Movies. The same for Christmas concerts. And who will go to midnight mass this year? It’s like 2020 is even testing our general and not just family-specific Christmas traditions, isn’t it?

Yes, even I am a little sad about all of this.

But then we all have to close our eyes and take a deep breath. Being together apart I thin is just harder for Christmas, but we have to hold the course and remember next year will be better.

Celebrate the Christmases past and pay them homage. But remember we will have more holidays ahead of us if we just stay home and take care.

I think this may be my last post before Christmas, and possibly for 2020. It just depends if the spirit moves me. And how.

Be safe out there. Wishing you all Christmas blessings even while we are all together….apart.

A Christmas dinner long ago.

darkness before the dawn continues? please remember it’s the christmas season.

I just read an article in New York Magazine I found very disturbing. It’s about Trump not leaving White House on January 20th, 2021. Then there are the articles about January 6th, 2021, including a fascinating history lesson via the National Constitution Center.

Electors from all 50 states just met on December 14 to place their states’ official votes. On January 6, that vote count is finalized and election results are certified in Congress. First day of the new Congress is January 3, 2021. Congress then reads the election results out loud at like 1 PM on January 6, 2021.

Then the President of the Senate, still Vice President Mike Pence, will announce the results. But what everyone is wondering at this point is will Trump-supporting Congress members try to disrupt this process one more time? Is Trump going to attempt a coup one last time as The New Yorker is pondering?

And I see people posting on places like Facebook what they think are little things no one reads about 1/6/2021 and well are they supporting anarchy, martial law, tyranny, and domestic terrorism then?

The people I see posting this are among the biggest hypocrites I have ever met. I guess it’s OK to use things like abortion as birth control as a teenager (among other things), and then become a fake born-again southerner super conservative pro-life refined lady? Bless your heart honey, I have got your number and the way your brain works now. I am saving the stamp and not sending a Christmas card. I just can’t.

I guess at the end of the day what I don’t understand is that for time immemorial in this country, one candidate has won, while another candidate has lost. And it hasn’t evolved into nonsensical conversations about certain southern states once again seceding from the union and everything else that has gone on in 2020.

I said a while back this year that it was almost like this country was on the verge of another Civil War and what is that going to gain any of us? Are people so afraid of other people that don’t look like them and act like them and vote like them that them can’t even live in the same communities with them anymore? Will Parler go from app to living zones?

I was talking to a friend of mine the other day. We’ve known each other since we were young because our parents were friends. We now sit on the opposite side from each other at the political table, yet we still share so many similarities in philosophy, even politically. We had this total conversation and it wasn’t angry, it wasn’t nasty…. we talked. It was awesome. We spoke about how we were so in the middle on so many things, yet all you see in this country is extremism in politics from both sides of the aisle ruining this country.

It’s the week before Christmas. We have all had a trying year including but not limited to a global pandemic. For the love of all that is holy can you people stop pretending a crazy man who tweets from the toilet had the election stolen from him? He didn’t. And y’all won’t turn to pillars of salt with Joe Biden as President. And while we’re on this conversation can people of a similar band also stop talking about how Joe Biden is not healthy and Kamala Harris is awful?

Just stop. Give peace a chance, quite literally.

Please. There is one week before Christmas. Can we act like it’s Christmas? Do something nice in your community. Pay it forward.

Or at least just think about it. Thanks for stopping by.

christmas traditions

What are your Christmas traditions? Are you keeping them in the year of COVID-19?

We’re trying . Santas came out today and outside lights went up. When my husband went out to buy an additional strand he discovered another 2020 shortage: Christmas lights. A friend of mine said today she thinks people are trying light up the darkness of 2020. Kind of a beautiful thought if you think about it.

People are baking up a storm. I have not started baking yet. In a few days I will. I haven’t decided what I am baking yet.

Christmas cards have started to arrive. I have ours…. but I have to actually address and mail them. That procrastination has nothing to do with 2020, I do this every year. I just have to sit down and carve out the time. That and will the cards reach everyone since the post office seems more than a little problematic right now.

I have been talking with people and getting ready for Christmas is happening in fits and spurts. We start and then we pause. 2020 is a year like no other thanks to politics and COVID-19.

For me personally? As much as I love Christmas it has been hard some days because you put up some decorations and then you realize no one is really coming over. But it’s Christmas, so you still do it because it is a simple good and pretty thing to celebrate in a year when there often has not been much that was good or pretty.

Another tradition at this time of year I am keeping? Neighbor gifts.

When we first bought the house, we didn’t actually live here the first Christmas. We were updating appliances and putting in new heating and air conditioning and things like that. So we kept “visiting” and around this time that year, and little presents started to appear. We didn’t know what to make of it, until a new neighbor explained the tradition of leaving every neighbor a little Christmas treat.

I love this tradition and today I filled my little bags with treats! I am not sure when I will deliver them but thy sure look cute!!

Keep your traditions! And I wonder if we get snow this week, will we have a white Christmas? It’s feels like forever since we had a snowy Christmas !

Merry, merry. Thanks for stopping by.

bit by bit, christmas comes to life

Bit by bit, Christmas is coming to life. The tree is getting there. It takes a couple of days. The ornaments get layered in. Mostly vintage with some new. My nod to 2020 is the gnome with a little face mask.

Every year is a bit different. But constants like my father’s German mercury glass pine cones mixed in with the ones I have collected which include German and Ukrainian mercury glass pine cones.

The Ukranian ornaments I discovered thanks to my friend Kristin. They are really special. A little more primitive in style compared to their German counterparts and often more brightly hued and the glass is slightly thicker than their vintage German and Austrian relatives.

I use a lot of woodland themed ornaments made of mercury glass. As a homage to our woods acorns, pinecones, nuts, birds, foxes, and even a tiny red squirrel. I delight as each ornament emerges from it’s protective wrapping cocoon. Every December it’s like greeting old friends.

Santas and nutcrackers will join little elves throughout the house. Yes for a little over a month, it’s a lot of work. This year I went back and forth in my head on what I was going to do. In the end, Christmas won.

In a year when COVID19 has kept us in the grips of a grim pandemic reality, getting Christmas out is a sweet reminder there is more out there waiting for us.

This year there will be no Christmas parties, and Christmas Day will just be our small pod, but we will have Christmas…and still (hopefully) love every minute.

18 days until Christmas. #MaskUp and stay safe.

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.

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.