Christmas Passed – Decs Deferred

This is the year we were caught by surprise.

There were a few good reasons why our house seemed a poor uninspired effort amidst the joy and celebration visible all around us. We witnessed our neighbors welcoming and hosting a blockful of cars and SUV’s. Although our own family was outside of this arena, it still felt strange to come home and have to navigate a darkened driveway without all those garish eyesores blocking the way.

One of the reasons we forewent all of that was that when the time came, there was a daunting situation. How does an older physically challenged person climb a ladder, get those lights in perfect alignment and take hours doing it. Then, the decorations themselves were old. Old, elder lights that were crumbling with oxidation just like our old bones. Older Christmas village that may have been magical beyond when a small child, looked like a group of old paper covered in sparkles which were quickly falling off. Sad.

Then there was the tree itself. It isn’t a tree; it’s the top part of an artificial tree that was also very old, and long gone and forgotten. The needles are out of proportion to the tree, making it impossible to hang trinkets. This year my patience was lost. The tree sits on the dining room table, making it impossible to use the table in the event of a rare, rare, rare, visit by friend or family.

Hence the desire and the drive to make it up. Yule season, thee is not forgotten nor forlorn. No longer will I ignore, and deny myself the magic and anticipation of the return of the light to the earth.

Next year will be hard, yes, with new involvement in environmental and social pushbacks. Despite not speculating and guessing, my life will be just as difficult as anyone else’s. But I’m up to it.

Putting my needs before anything else, downsizing does not mean ignoring. A modified, sale priced lighting display and new tree that actually looks festive, is a goal. So I made sure of this.

Several shopping trips later, I’ve become the proud owner of a plan that will startle and surprise. I will walk the grounds, splying wires and tiny lights. I will attach, hang, tape and smear sparkles and color over all the surfaces out there. And after the feast of the epiphany on January 6, 2018, I will do the entire act in reverse.

Such is life. Holding breath until it is time to exhale simply causes one to understand the importance and peace of the wait. Seasonal decorations may be held absent now, but will brighten our eyes and hearts in years to come.

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Bracing for Impact – Just a Few More Daze to Go

Fate had the grace to grant me the privilege of reconnecting with those people I did not choose to connect with in the first place. If there is a lesson in this Thanksgiving holiday, it’s that you have to unburn those bridges at some point or it is not even worthwhile. It will make you compound the ills and mistakes made not by you, oh, no, but by the others.

And that was what they were to me. They have flitted in and out of my life, one flitting taking her daughter with her to end that line of thought with utter hatred, and others making up time when they can, and being very honest about that.

I was once a person who had no truck with the elders. But time has taught me the value of cherishing the nearness, the corporal experience, of one who will not be here forever. And I have the best of motives to be aware of that –

my thyroid surgery is in just a few days. I am quite ready; having read all the materials, incentive spirometer in one hand, advance directive in the other, TV remote in arm’s reach, and pets underfoot. It’s my understanding that the operation itself is quite routine. What is not routine, is the identification and staging of the cancer, and the fact that there will be many repercussions afterwards. I’m just biding my time to handle the complications that may occur – the appointments, the specialist advice, the treatments. All done before with my breast cancer. The goal is complete healing, and my goal is not looking like I just had a head transplant.

Of course, this all comes to a head! The excitement, the confusion, the endless talking and explanations, the overeating and excessive drinking, this will all end tonight, and serious thought begins to go into making my one-night stay in a hospital bed as bearable as possible.

So, looking forward to the landing. Bracing for impact – may it be a soft one, surprisingly easy and one that will allow liftoff once again.

Holy Weak!

(c) Jo Grazide
Not a trinitarian, I.

I never had thought about these things. I was a Catholic, but I wasn’t a Catholic. I was born into a family that wanted to say they were Catholic and that is about it. Growing up, there was no mastery of the mystery, only the misery of the rules.

There were a lot of rules about being Catholic. Chief among them, as I recall, sans Wikipedia, were the sins. You could make big sins, or you could make little or venial sins. Big sins were called mortal sins. A lot of my early childhood religious education emphasized the various penalties for committing one of these varieties of transgressions. If you died with a mortal sin “on your soul,” though, you were in a heap of trouble. You would go straight to hell, and there would be no way you could break out of there. So an after-life sentence was guaranteed. If you died with a couple of venial sins there, you would simply be sent over to this place called Purgatory, where you would lament and whine but you had a hope of getting out, eventually.

Funny how we use time in a sense where there can’t be time, in the immortal afterlife. I do believe in something, if not a consciousness, so this makes me uneasy. What if they are right! But then reason prevails, and I carry on hoping that I can leave the world a better place. What more can I ask?

Forgiveness is what I can ask. It used to be enough that Easter was honoring the death of a person whose father sent him here fully knowing he would be executed by the ruling class, for being a radical. For challenging the old way. For eating with sinners. I don’t think they had figured out, by the way, what the sins actually were. Because how could it be a sin to have like 40 wives and then kill your neighbors if they stepped on your sandaled toes, and things like that. I guess those were the days.

But we celebrate the death of a man who lived over 2,000 years ago each Easter. And I, a Pagan Unitarian/Universalist, am stuck with the goods. Long ago, in my adulthood, I was able to shake loose the chokehold of the confusion that being Catholic caused. I was lucky to be able to replace that tradition with one that made sense to me. One that embraced the natural world as all there is, and one that gave me a chance to do good here and now. So what – I would never be able to meet the Virgin Mother of Heaven or St. Peter as he guarded the gates to Heaven, or even reside in a place prepared for me since the beginning of time.

I could simply be simple. Live and die, and in the meantime, practice the example shown by the man who was called down from Heaven to live among us for 33 years only to die a thief’s death on Golgotha. Be that as it may, I’m grateful for the reminder that to be a truly real person, forgiveness has to come from your heart, your spirit, not from the fires of Hell or the heights of the sky.

So Happy Easter – make it a good one!

Dear Santa, here’s my Revenge

Hi, it’s me again. I know I’ve been bad a lot of the time. Like plotting vendettas over people who don’t even know they annoyed me. Or stores that give up using reusable bags in favor of their own plastic crap. Or people who adopt animals only to find out they have an allergy. Really.

I suppose I have an inability to be patient with things that don’t go my way. But that’s because I’m only human. My soul feels like like the cavernous hole where the stuffing goes into a dead burned turkey carcass, my dark side emerges yearly during the holidays.

But I’m all into it this year. After diligence yearly, yearly diligence about gifting any of my relatives who are still under 18, they have exceeded that limit, but are still on my mind. I show up, again and again, prepared to be generous, to show that I thought of that person. And go home disappointed. Not even a card.

I get some apologies. They are precious to hear. I have no money. I have no job. I have no car. I have no right mind. So who is left out in the cold. So I plot vendettas.

But this year, I’m putting up my tree, a small piece of a much larger fake fir. I’m decorating it with my lovely ornaments, collected over many years and from many places. I’m placing gifts under it. Gifts to my cat, my dog, my husband, myself. Yes, to myself. I’m buying and wrapping gifts that I will open on Christmas Day, happily and with much anticipation. New toys like software or camera accessories. And my gift to all will be a small donation in their name to my favorite rescue organization.

So goes my holiday. As for you, Santa, be aware. There my be something for you as well. A wish for a safe trip, good weather and many long years with Mrs. Claus and the reindeer, and the little elves who you keep in that little shed with barely any heat all winter. Long wishes for a long long winter and a better spring to come.

Merry Merry Ho Ho Ho

PatellaVane Report

Rain today. Bad, cold, driving, icy, gray, dark day. We are so not going to the gym.

Stop…