2011 Christmas Day

It was such a lovely morning.  My son gave me a beautiful sweater, and he liked the few gifts I got him as well.  He really enjoyed his stuffed stocking, and it makes me so happy to see his happiness.  That’s the best aspect of parenting.  I don’t care how old your child/ren is/are: wanting for, and taking pleasure in, their happiness, and success, is paramount.

We had a scrambled eggs and bacon breakfast, and then we made our Gingerbread house.  We don’t have a good track record at that activity.  We’ve only made two of them before, both of which came out awful.  We didn’t name the first one, but we dubbed the second one: “Sucky, the Gingerbread House”, and this one my son named: “Mediocre, the Gingerbread House”.  We did have a lot of fun making it, and maybe any future attempts will give better results.

My son’s feeling mostly himself again, although he still has a cough, and he told me he woke up drenched in sweat in the middle of the night so he left his room and slept on the couch, where I found him this morning.

He left a little while ago to hang out with friends, and while I want him to stay well, it was really nice to have him home and wanting my help and company for the last few days.

Merry Christmas every one!

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Christmas Eves

1989: I spent the evening with Joe; I moved in with him here in Vernon, Vermont, a few weeks ago.  I’m happy that there’s snow on the ground so it will be a white Christmas.  My brother, Scott, died in October, and I’m sad for my mom this holiday season.  I still feel nothing.  I don’t know why death doesn’t affect me directly, I guess that’s a coping mechanism.

1990: Our son’s first Christmas.  He’s only two months old, so it’s not really a big deal for him, but Joe’s daughter is spending Christmas morning with us, and she’ll be happy to get the Super Nintendo game system with, The Mario Brothers/Duck Hunt, and, Donkey Kong, games, and spend time with her brother.  Things have not been good between Joe and I, but we’re trying to work it out.

1991: My father and step-mother are visiting from Florida.  I’m happy that my father is getting to spend some time with his grandson, although it’s been kind of awkward when they’re here because my mom is spending Christmas here in my new apartment.

1992: I’m in my new apartment in South Portland, Maine.  My mom is here with me, and there is a lot of snow this winter, which Austen loves to play in.  My car broke down a few weeks after moving in here, and I can’t afford another one, but there’s a bus stop down at the end of the street, and a few of the Bahá’í‘s here in South Portland bring me to run errands once a week.  Joe is visiting over the holidays, and it’s been horrible and stressful – as usual.

1994: San Diego Christmas is quite different from what I’m used to.  It’s not really warm, about the mid-50°F’s, and rainy, but the air feels different, and I’m not sure I like it.  I’m at a 10-day program because I don’t want to live anymore but Tammy convinced me to see if this will help me.  I’ll get a counselor, and start an antidepressant, and I know it’s what I need to do, but I feel horrible being away for Christmas.

1996: Back in Massachusetts.  My mother is spending Christmas with me and Austen in our tiny apartment.  Things have been awful.  I’m still not getting child support, so that just makes everything tougher.

1999: It’s been a strange year.  I’m wondering if the Y2K thing is really going to screw up computers worldwide – I doubt it.  I told Austen that Santa was a real person a long time ago, and his spirit still lives on through all of us.  The other kids at school were picking on him for still believing in Santa.  He refused to believe me when I told him Santa isn’t still alive.  I don’t know if I did the right thing.

2001: I consider this the millennium year, even though I know many people considered 2000 to be the turn of the century.  I guess it’s both: 2000 because it’s no longer 19-something, but 2001 because CE started with year 1, so 2001 makes two-thousand years.  We’re still here, although a bunch of freaks were trying to convince whomever they could that the world was going to end.

2011: I think my favorite aspect of Christmas Eve is filling my son’s stocking.  When he was little, it was so gratifying to see his delight, and share in how fun Christmas was for him.  He used to love Christmas carols and we’d sing them together, and now he can barely stand them.  He’s feeling so much better tonight, but still coughing a lot.  I might watch, It’s A Wonderful Life, but I’m feeling tired, so maybe I’ll just go to sleep.  My throat is feeling a bit scratchy, and I hope I don’t get sick too.

This year has been so strange.  As I looked back through old diaries and read so much of where I’ve been, and what my life is like now, I appreciate now so much.  I don’t care if someone reads my old journals someday, but I sincerely doubt they’d read for very long.  I’m just grateful that I’m not as affected by the vicissitudes of life anymore.  I also did a great deal of healing work to get where I am now, and will most likely finish that work with my last breath.  I’m thankful to be alive, and hope I won’t die until I accomplish most, if not all, of my goals.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Self-Portrait

There are so many ways I could have gone with this, but I decided to post the picture taken with my new camera.  One of my friends and I went down to Cape Cod for a weekend and I took this picture in front of the hotel bathroom mirror:

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

December 21, 2011

Ice is forming on the river that separates my town from the next town over.  Winter is truly here.  I drove by the river early this morning on my way to an appointment and I thought about years past, and ice skating with one of my best friends back then on that stretch of river.  She lived with her brother and father in a cabin at the end of the cove.  I think about her nearly every time I drive by, but especially in the winter, and I wonder about her life now.

I vaguely remember my daily life growing up, or even young adulthood, but some specific people, places, and/or events have never receded that far in my mind, and certain times of the year bring them clearly back to me.  I’ll open a particular hair conditioner every once in a while when I shop at the store that carries it, and the scent places me back to my seventeenth year, with my best friend at the time, and the situation we were in.  It’s an immersion experience, but only lasts a second, if that.  Like a dream, I try to remain in the moment, but it’s gone.  Smelling the conditioner again will not bring the experience back, even an hour later.  I guess it takes my brain, or psyche, or whatever, more time to reset its visceral memory capacity.

Most of the time, my memories simply detail times past with whatever emotions were attached to any particular one, as well as my current feeling about it.  I might miss friends who were part of that memory, or maybe feel grateful that I’m not there anymore, or regretful for having acted badly, or having missed chances never given again.

I hope that I’ve gained more than I’ve lost, and, that I’ll not only recognize, but have the courage to take advantage of any worthwhile opportunities presented to me, and treat the people in my life in ways that won’t have me looking back in regret.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Being Honored And Honoring

The Versatile Blogger Award

I think what I like most about blogging is discovering other blogs that make me want to read more, and often change how I perceive the world, and/or myself.  I so enjoy these folks who have blogged on topics impersonal and personal, tragic and uplifting (sometimes in the same post, or at least on the same blog), and my favorites are those who can pen nearly all those states with a sense of humor.  Some have made me snort out whatever I’m drinking at the moment in a fit of laughter (which is a cautionary tale about not drinking while reading blogs), while others have left me leaving my chair for a tissue to wipe my eyes (which is why I now keep a box of tissues by my computer desk).

Here are the requirements for having such an honor bestowed upon you (should you choose to fulfill it)

1. Thank the award-giver and link back to them in your post.

Thank you so much Renee Mason of:

http://pooterandboogersplace.wordpress.com/

I found Renee’s blog after she ‘liked’ one of my posts, and I was riveted from the start.  Although the first post I read was intense in subject matter, it was the way she wrote that pulled me along and invested me in what was happening, making me want to know more.  I’ve since found her to be delightfully sarcastic, hilarious, and real.  I’m grateful to have found another writing sista in the blogosphere.

2. Share 7 things about yourself.

~ I go out of my way to find humor.  I seek out friends who I can make laugh, but more appreciate when they make me laugh, or when we laugh together.

~ I can mimic accents fairly well (as long as I can practice them for a while before trying to speak them authentically – or at least what I hope is authentically…)

~ I have been singing since I was four or five, and first recorded a song for a local advertisement when I was seven or eight (with my entire second grade class).  I am not a great singer, but I am a good singer.  Singing is one of the few things I ever cared about excelling at.  Acting and writing are my other life pursuits.

~ I like meeting people and learning about their lives.  Humans, for the most part, are so cool.

~ I dislike judgment around age so much I never tell anyone, and I lie if pressed to reveal it.  It’s less about vanity and more about not wanting to be codified.

~ Fear and procrastination have been the biggest obstacles to achieving what I desire in life.

~ I am sometimes ridiculously selfish and petty, but I am also often generous and magnanimous.

3. Pass this award along to 15 recently discovered blogs you enjoy reading.

4. Contact your chosen bloggers to let them know about the award.

5. Post a picture of the Versatile Blogger Award on your site.

http://brendamarroyauthor.com/ – Brenda’s is one of the first blogs I discovered that speaks to my heart and soul, adding fun, joy, comfort and another woman writing friend on the journey!  Thanks Brenda!

http://belleofthecarnival.com/ – I don’t know Belle Of The Carnival’s real name, but I do know she’s hilarious, entertaining, and thought-provoking.  I’m happy to have found another phenomenal woman writer out here in Internet-land.

http://happyvalleynews.wordpress.com/ – Paul resides in the same area I do, and I recently found his blog and have looked forward to his writing, video posts and commentary ever since.

http://lesleycarter.wordpress.com/ – Lesley Carter’s blog is about LIVING!  Reading her blog has inspired me to be braver, laugh more at myself, and just do whatever I can to enjoy this limited time I’m given.  She’s who you want cheering you on when you’re not quite sure you can do it.

http://notquiteold.wordpress.com/ – Nancy Roman’s blog is fun and thoroughly enjoyable.  I like her take on every day life, along with her sense of humor!

http://quotidianhudsonriver.com/ – I found Robert Johnson’s blog after he had ‘liked’ one of my photo-challenge posts, and I’ve come back to his site again and again.  His pictures of the Hudson River and take on life around it make for a fascinating photo journal.

http://lifeasiknowitv1.wordpress.com/ – I first met Molly through another blog that she had chronicling some of her life and times in Alaska, particularly a hiking challenge she embarked on.  It was comforting to have her posts during a time that was not so great, and I love her new blog: ‘Life as I know it’.

http://talinorfali.wordpress.com/  – Talin had me at Lemon cake! Her blog isn’t a food blog, but she posts recipes sometimes that I can’t wait to try, and her writing style is comfortable and familiar.

http://kanatyler.wordpress.com/ – Kana’s Chronicles makes me smile and want to read more (ok, sometimes I cringe like when I saw the picture of the stitched up leg, but it was a good post…).  I appreciate her humor and take on life.

http://findinglifeinadeath.wordpress.com/ – I only know her as ‘Rising On The Road’, but as with many of my favorite blogs, I found her blog because she found mine.  Her writing is lovely, and her life journey is as varied as it is beautiful to read about.

http://melodygodfred.com/ – Another versatile woman writer I found on WordPress is Melody Godfred.  I’ve learned so much from reading her blog posts, and am looking forward to reading her début novel!

http://blinkutopia.com/ – I’ve followed Jim Culleny’s topical commentary for years in my local newspaper, and I’m delighted to read more of his writing and even some of his poetry too.

http://thelaughinghousewife.wordpress.com/ – Tilly Bud is another happy find on WordPress.  Her posts keep me giggling, and often pondering.

http://chicoryskies.com/blog/ – Deborah Gregg Folk Art Paintings.  I so enjoy Deborah’s art.  The colors, style and subject matter keep me going back to look at her latest creations.  Thanks, Deborah!

There are many other blogs that I’ve come across and read, so it was hard to pick some and not others for my count of fifteen, but there are some that would have been on the list no matter what.  I think I appreciate the varied audience that writer’s have.  Some only like humor, some only horror, while others go in for adventure or romance, and there are those who take a pass on fiction altogether and stick with facts – which we all know is often stranger than fiction anyway.  I appreciate being given this award, and I hope those I returned the favor to will feel honored as well.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Morning Frost

Still and grey.

A crystalline glaze coats the land.

The blazing aura of the sun, newly risen, remains celestial,

Its beams hindered by dense clouds resolving downward into mist.

A frozen Earth repels the moist sky gift.

Thus impeded, the icy vapor settles where it may,

Supplanting argument with silent resignation.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Festive Photos

I’m not sure if I wish I were a better decorator, or more into decorating, or if I wish I simply enjoyed the efforts of my friends and others, and leave it at that.  Decking the halls (any halls, in any season) is not my forte.  It never has been, and more than likely, never will be.  It’s so lovely when a home is made beautiful, and I can appreciate it, but I’m more of a minimalist.  That probably stems from having moved so often rather than any true life philosophy.

I know this looks like a sailor hat, but it’s really a Santa/Elf cap.  I didn’t realize how far back it had slid!

I like how my shaky low-light exposure picture-taking caused the lights to look like Christmas bells!  I should pretend that I meant to take the picture that way, but it would come back to me somehow.  I’d get asked to create more pictures like that, and never be able to replicate it! 😉

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

O Christmas Tree

I’m really enjoying my Christmas tree.  Part of me feels bad that a tree was cut down so I could bring it inside my house to decorate and light up, only to discard it a few weeks from now.  I’ve struggled with that dilemma the last few times I got a real Christmas tree.  I didn’t even have a tree last year, but it really cheers up the room.  I’ve bought artificial trees twice now, and used them until I became really allergic (because of all the dust they gather – and likely some mildew too from humid summer weather), and the best option is probably a potted live tree that I can plant in the spring.  Although, not only do I like a taller Christmas tree than is reasonable with a potted tree, I’d have to get permission from the landlord to plant it, or find some other land to plant the tree on.  Seeing the top of my tree nearly reach the ceiling is satisfying somehow, and no artificial tree has the lovely aroma of fresh pine – no matter how much they ‘scent’ it in the factory.

Many years ago, my next oldest sister and I, along with our younger brother, went to Florida to spend Christmas with our father and step-mother.  Our father didn’t want to get a Christmas tree, but we kids decided he and our step-mother needed one, so off my sister, brother, and I went the next day, while my father and step-mother were at work, and bought a beautiful potted Norfolk pine that stood about four and half feet high.

We also bought decorations for it, and after we adorned it, and lit the tree up, the house felt much more festive.  A year or so later, my step-mother sent me a picture of the pine, which they had planted in their back yard.  It had filled out beautifully and grown about six more feet.

I’ve always felt glad that we ignored my father’s ‘waste of time and money’ objections and got the tree.  Even though my father has been gone for several years, and he and my step-mother had divorced many years before that, I wonder about that tree every Christmas.  It must be fairly majestic by now, if it’s still there.

Maybe I’ll get a potted Norfolk pine for my Christmas tree next year, although I’m not sure it would take well in our frigid climes.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Celebration

New Year’s Eve, 2010:

The restaurant becomes a club after 10pm on the weekend, and while I usually feel like a chaperone amongst all the 20-somethings when I go out dancing with my friends, it was very fun last New Year’s Eve because it was a truly diverse group with many older folks as well as the typical club-goers.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

John Lennon, Remembered

Imagine
Imagine

When I was a kid, my older brothers had the Beatles‘ records and I wanted to listen to them all the time, probably more because my brothers didn’t want me playing them.  The Beatles had broken up as a band, and were well into their solo careers by the time I was really interested in them.  I thought Paul was the cutest, John was handsome, but had an edge to him that I liked, but also intimidated me.  George was the cool, aloof one, and I had a big crush on Ringo.  Ringo was the most accessible member of The Beatles to me.  Maybe it was because of the songs he was featured on, or maybe it was because he was more in the background than the others, it seemed to me, and he had an unconventional puppy-dog attractiveness.

It was John I remained most drawn to through the years, although I still liked the other former Beatles’ music as well.  Maybe it was John’s personal struggles and vilification that made me like him so much, but his peace activism awoke my sense of justice and I became a peace activist as well.

I’m tearing up just remembering how deeply his music and life affected me, and I still feel that his death came much too soon.  I felt so bad for his young son, but glad they had so much time together before John was gunned down that cold Manhattan evening.  I felt sad for Julian, who looked and sounded so much like his father, and I wondered if they had had a good relationship.  I felt sad for Yoko too, but I think I mostly felt sad for myself, that John would never make any more amazing music I could listen to, and I would never get a chance to meet him.

I nearly spoke with him on the phone once, but I thought I was being punked by the guy who told me I could say hello to John Lennon, so I declined to take the phone when it was offered to me.  I was maybe eleven or twelve at the time, and just a few years ago, I was reading the obituary of the guy who held out that phone for me to speak with John Lennon, and the write-up included how he had been friends with John Lennon.  I think I actually yelled when I read that.  He hadn’t tried to prank me after all, and I missed a chance to speak with one of my favorite musicians, and icons of the 20th century.

On the 30th anniversary of John Lennon’s assassination in 2010, Brian Williams introduces the last interview John Lennon gave in 1980:

http://www.videosurf.com/video/nightly-news-rolling-stone-releases-lennon-interview-1247381948

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Pearl Harbor Day

It was seventy years ago that Pearl Harbor was attacked by the Japanese, leading us into World War II.  I visited the U.S.S. Arizona when I was in Hawaii nearly twenty years ago.  I feel the same deep sadness about the attack on Pearl Harbor as I feel about the attacks on September 11, 2001.  No fore-knowledge of either event affects me the most.  I think that if you know something’s going to happen, you can at least mentally prepare, even if you can’t cushion the blow, or stop it from occurring.  I know others would rather deal with after-effects than have to anticipate horror.  I understand that surprise is what gives assailants an advantage, but I have a naive desire for fairness, even in war.

I’ve heard that both Pearl Harbor and the September 11th attacks were known as possibilities, or actually allowed to happen, to push through agendas that would otherwise fail in Congress.  Maybe that’s true, or maybe it’s not, but I’ll never know.

I grieve for those that lost their lives so tragically, and for those that remained, traumatized and having to cope with the aftermath.  Life throws us curve balls all the time: maybe it’s disease, or famine, earthquakes and tsunamis, or hurricanes, tornadoes, or floods.  We are constantly barraged by life’s changes, but stability seems to prevail more often than not.  I suppose we couldn’t exist if there weren’t times of relative calm and ease.

Acts of war and terrorism affect me more deeply because there was a choice involved.  An individual, or a group, decided to cause harm, and the more suffering, the better for their cause.  A few of them (groups or individuals) even think their actions were/are sanctioned by God – a mysterious, amorphous, unknowable being or force, and yet, they act as though they can know or understand what they can actually only guess at – when it is their own selfish desire to make the world, or parts of the world, be as they want it.

Maybe they’re right.  Perhaps ‘God’ wants us all homogenized, rather than creative, evolving beings.  Or maybe, ‘God’, if It exists, wants us to find, or create, our own tribes, and peacefully co-exist.  If that ever happens, I hope memorials will be built to commemorate that.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Trimmed Tree Pictorial Tale

It felt very odd to not decorate my Christmas tree with my son, but I didn’t want to leave it bare for two weeks.  I decided to put the tree in the corner by my bookcases, and I’m enjoying having one this year, even though I think I’m a bit allergic to it.

My lack of skill with a camera made this a kind of cool picture where the light trails remind me of Santa’s reindeer, flying through the air:

Christmas trees look so much better in the dark!

When I was four or five, until I was nine or so, I’d shimmy under the Christmas tree every year, looking up through the branches with un-focused eyes until the lights resembled something like this:

Almost every ornament holds a special memory, or marks stages of my adult life.  My first serious boyfriend and I bought frosted glass bulbs for our first Christmas together.  He got half of them when we broke up seven years later.  I doubt he kept his, but I’m glad I still have mine.

My son made a few ornaments during his grammar school years that bring back those Christmases to me when I hang them up.  A hardened dough, glazed, and painted bone he made in his sixth grade class, (the year my mother got a beagle from the animal shelter, and the dog was on my son’s mind when he created the ornament), and a variety of others from my son’s first Christmas, to this year’s ornament that the folks at the tree farm gave to everyone buying a tree, commemorating the volunteers who helped with clean up and salvage after Hurricane Irene’s flood devastation this past August.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Waiting

I’ve been waiting a long time for this one…

I used to think my life wouldn’t be complete or fulfilled without a husband, but I’ve come to understand that I’ve only ever needed myself.  Once I started making better choices, loving and accepting myself, and focusing on my life, other parts of my collage started to be fulfilled:

I thought peace and happiness would come from what I attained, or achieved, or especially, through someone else.  In fact, most of the turmoil I’ve experienced in my life was because I tried to get others to give me, or do for me what I needed to give to, and do for, myself.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Getting In The Spirit

I bought a Christmas tree today.

I didn’t have one last year, and the holidays are usually depressing and far too filled with expectation and anxiety for me to enjoy them.  I’d rather keep to myself this time of year.  I don’t like holiday gatherings or Christmas parties much, and I suppose I dissociate for the month of December, and often into January.  Trying to keep away from alcohol is harder this time of year too.  Most of my friends drink, and none of them abuse it, so they don’t really know what it’s like for me.  I’m at that place with drinking alcohol that I can either control it or enjoy it, but I can’t do both.

I am not as anxious this year as I have been previously, but I’ve been careful to not make many plans so I don’t have to pretend to enjoy myself or others.  My family gets together for a holiday dinner and then we exchange gifts, and that’s pretty much all I can handle.  Well, that, and having my son with me for his winter break.  Christmas isn’t as fun as it used to be when he was little, but I really like having a pretty tree all lit up, and getting cozy on the couch with a cup of hot cocoa and watching, It’s A Wonderful Life, or A Christmas Carol, on Christmas Eve, and of course, how could I let Christmas go by without watching, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, and, A Charlie Brown Christmas?

When I was in college, one of the girls in my dorm phoned her father the night, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, was playing, and he stayed on the phone for the whole show.  She told us that she had gone on vacation over Christmas during High School one year, and her father had phoned her so they could still watch the show together.  That made such a big impression on me, and made me wish I had a father like that, and probably made all the girls in our dorm who were there with us that night wish that too.

Even though there are aspects of the season that I can enjoy, I’m happiest when it’s all over.  My true celebration is the Winter Solstice; there is no one who appreciates the return of the light more than I do.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.