Monday, December 23, 2013

Happy Holidays!

Hi All!

I may not get to my blog during the next few days, but I wanted to wish you all happy holidays!

May your homes be filled with happiness and love.

Sending you all good wishes and thanks for your friendship!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Addressing the Cards

My mom always sent out Christmas cards when I was little; for most years they featured her five girls.  It always took all of her spare time over the course of a week to get them all addressed.  Meanwhile, I watched out the window of our farmhouse for the little truck David the mailman drove to make its way down our road.   

Right after he left, I’d brave the snow and make my way out to the silver box on the wooden post stuck crookedly in the milk can.  I loved finding and opening those cards.  Even though our yard was covered with the real stuff, my favorites were those with scenes of glittery snow.  We strung a piece of red yard across one wall of our house and hung the cards there, adding to the growing art gallery each day.

I have carried on my mom’s tradition of sending cards each Christmas.  For years, they featured my children and charted their growth for relatives and friends.  I enjoy the process of sending the cards, writing notes, sealing the envelopes, feeling the stack in my hand as I walk to the mailbox to deposit them. 

While others have gone electronic, storing their addresses in the computer or on their phones, I still use an old fashioned Rolodex, the kind with the flippy cards that recline against each other like sleepy friends on a long road trip.  

I use my fingertips to gently awaken them one by one, the motion of my finger seeming to beckon each one to come toward me and bring whatever memory it carries.  Sometimes, they say little, others are more talkative, and some speak of a life I used to know, one that does not belong to me anymore.

The division of financial assets is a part of divorce.  It takes hours and reams of paperwork.  In the end though, it is done--down to the last cent.  The division of friends seems like it would be more nebulous, especially after thirty years.  However, when it happens, it happens in a chillingly predictable way.  In my case at least, the friends he came into the marriage with, went with him.  I thought I would always stay in touch with my in-laws, but, of course, they went with him too. 

As I flip through my Rolodex, I am amazed at the number of people in there I thought would be in my life forever, but now they are not.  For a minute, I think of them sitting at their desks, addressing Christmas cards.  Do they linger for just a second when they think about me?  Do they smile?  Frown? Have they scratched my name out?  Put me in an inactive file?  Deleted me completely?  Perhaps so.  Then why do I find it so hard to do the same?

A better question would be why I keep the cards of the dead: two friends and my mother-in-law.  I place my fingers around the cards, prepared to pluck them out, but I can’t do it just yet.  Their addresses belong to others now; their phone numbers have been dissolved, sent back into the busy sky of numbers that floats above us and yet….

Perhaps it is that little tap of memory each card gives me that I still need.  Perhaps it is the interspersing of all these people, those who are in my life and those who have moved on, that somehow gives me a fuller sense of the scope of my life.  For in with those names that cause me sorrow, are those names and addresses that give me a sense of warmth and also those that give my life a vibrant, forward motion.  I trace my children’s lives from home, to dorm, to apartments.   I add new names to the growing young families of my nieces and nephews.  I add more cards as my life and relationships expand in ways I never thought it would.

It seems fitting that this holiday, this season of faith, devotion, and miracles, garishness, glitter, gluttony, and, yes, sorrow comes to us just before the start of a new year.  

In the rush and chaos of the season, I am grateful for the simple act of sitting down with a pen, clean squares of envelopes, and a clean square of time in front of me.  

My Rolodex awaits.

I am ready. 

I begin to address the cards. 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Observation Pit: Christmas Cards

Welcome to the Observation Pit in which Betty shares her salient observations, asks meaningful questions, and, yeah, lets her Freak Flag fly. 

Ah, it's good to be back in the pit, isn't it?  

Last time we discussed food and I found out that a shocking number of you have the same lunches every day.

You are indeed a magical group of people.

This time in the pit Betty discusses Christmas/holiday cards.  'Tis the season and all....

Do you send Christmas/holiday cards?

If you send cards, do you send more than you get?

My theory is that 95 percent of people send more than they receive.  Let's see what you have to say.

Thanks for joining me here in the Observation Pit.  Have a great day!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Monday Morning Flowers and Weekend Wrap-Up

Happy Monday!

Are you keeping busy these days?

I am!

Let's all stop and smell our computer screens/Monday Morning Flowers.

Ah...that was good.  Now please back away from your screens (and wipe them down if necessary.)

This weekend was our town's annual Christmas parade!  

The day was warm but windy.

I love this parade and Brian (CVNM) came up to watch it with me, making it even better!

Gotta love a California Christmas parade!  

I ALWAYS cheer for the marching bands, but especially all the band parents who help out!

The theme this year was "The Four Paws of Christmas" and centered around animal care/adoption.
Clifford was the Grand Marshall!

As always, Santa was the Grand Finale!  

After the parade was over, everyone gathered at the park for music and food.  

 I love traditions like this.  Don't you?

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Stocking Madness

My friend Jim went on a wildlife tour and came home to report that the male elks he saw were “real jerks.”  Apparently, they can be selfish, sex-minded, self-centered, smelly creatures.  I joked with Jim that according to some of my female friends, there are some human males in the dating pool who can be the same way.

After talking to Jim, I immediately called Brian, that Certain Very Nice Man.  “Thanks for not being a male elk,” I said.  “You’re welcome,” he said without missing a beat.  

This is what I love about him.  I say wacky stuff all the time and it does not faze him one little bit. 

Months passed and I was obviously not thinking about this conversation when I was picking out new stockings for Christmas.  It was only when I got home and pulled out the stocking for Brian that I realized it had a big felt elk on it.  Ohhhhh…. For a few minutes I thought I could maybe live with the stocking, but then I knew I couldn’t.  I drove back to the store. 

“Is there anything wrong with the item?” the clerk asked.

Normal person’s response:  “No.”

Betty Response:  “It’s just that it’s got a male elk on it and apparently they are kind of jerks.  Well, that’s what my friend Jim says, and this is for my boyfriend and he is not a male elk at all.  In fact, he is the opposite of an elk.  He is really sweet and I’m afraid the elk will send the wrong message.  You know what I mean?”

Young employee, slightly stunned, “OK."

I went back to the racks of stockings and picked out a bear this time.  

Now, I know male bears may not exactly role models either, but this one looks like the state bear of California so I figure we can go with the whole native Californian theme. 

Hope you are having a good time preparing for your holiday!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Monday Morning Flowers!

Happy Monday!

I hope you don't mind some recycled flowers.

I have been down and out with a bad cold, but am hoping I get well soon since it's almost finals week.

Hope you are all doing well!  

As soon as things calm down a little, I will be baaaaaaccccccckkkkkk!

Being busy is better than being bored. Bored left a long time ago. Busy is always around for me.

--Tabitha Robin