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.

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.

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.

Son Day

I’m so excited to see my son today!  I get to have him home an extra day for the Thanksgiving holiday, even though most of his time will be spent with his friends who are also coming home for the holiday.  Just knowing he’ll be here feels so good to me, although I know it feels nearly opposite to him.  It’s not that he doesn’t like being home and seeing me and his other family, it’s that his life is at school now, with his own group.  He told me he doesn’t sleep well when he’s home, and doesn’t know why.  I think it’s because he’d rather be in his world.  We will always belong to one another, but he has his own life now, one in which he sleeps better than when he’s here…

It made me sad to hear that, but I got over it.  It’s not personal in a mean way, it’s just life stages.  I had a really different childhood experience, and was separated too early from my mother, after her divorce from my father (which was a very good thing for all of us, but still disruptive and chaotic).  My son got to have a healthy, self-directed separation, and he’s so much less emotional or sentimental than I am, so it sucks for me…

We have the same sense of humor and like to talk about a myriad of subjects (when he’s willing to talk), but when he’s home and not with his friends, he prefers to spend his time reading or working on the computer.

I’m doing my best to find common interests to connect with him on, but it’s tough when our personalities and styles are so different.  Maybe if he ever has children, we’ll get to re-bond then.

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

All Hallows

Rabbit, Rabbit.  The ancient Celtic year begins today, marking the start of winter.  Winter was already ushered in rather harshly with our recent Nor’easter dumping thirty inches of snow in some areas.  I feel lucky that my town escaped with just over a foot of the heavy, wet snow.  I was only out of power for part of a day, while some of my friends are yet to get back their electricity.

Yesterday, I visited my Mom because her phone was out and I wanted to make sure she made it through the storm alright, even though I know that one of my aunts was staying with her, and the guy who works for her and lives nearby would also have checked on her and I figured I’d have gotten a call if anything bad had happened.  Then I thought that all phone service in the area might be out, and I just wanted to visit regardless of anything else.  I was a bit worried that fallen trees or downed wires would prevent me from making it to my mother’s house, and it might well have earlier in the day because I saw evidence of cleared trees and other debris all the way there.

It was almost evening when I arrived, and I brought a flashlight in case it was dark by the time I left.  My mom doesn’t have electricity or running water, so the storm changed nothing for her except interrupted phone service.

The glow of the kerosene lamps, and warmth from the wood stove, enveloped and welcomed me even as I was welcomed by my mother and aunt.  They were happy for my unexpected company and we chatted about the snowstorm’s effects, and how weird it was to have a major storm before Hallowe’en, as we sipped coffee and evening began settling in.  I don’t know if it was the time of day and the way the lamplight glowed and cast slight shadows on the walls, or the steamed windows and cooking smells from whatever dinner my mother was making, or simply spending time with my mother and one of her sisters, but there was something so extraordinary about being there that I noticed and enjoyed in the moment, and that feeling, or experience, actually, has stayed with me since.

I left before it was dark and made my way up the path without needing my flashlight.  I noticed the stillness of the woods around me as I walked, and had a sense of being present to life in a way that I rarely sense.

I got up this morning and began working on things that I often think about doing rather than starting – or finishing.  I feel my life changing, almost radically (for the better), and I hope that’s true.

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

Spooky Hallowe’en!

Jack-O'Lantern in the snow

I’m looking out the window at the six inches of snow still on the ground, and it’s hard to get into the Hallowe’en mood.  There are still green leaves on many trees around here, and we haven’t really had a proper autumn.  These climate change indicators suck.  We had a hurricane two months ago, along with a record-breaking flood.  We had a tornado two months before that, which decimated several areas in Massachusetts.  If you had said that we’d have a tornado and a hurricane, a record-breaking flood, as well as record-breaking early snowfall, I’d have packed my bags and moved to – where?  Is there any place relatively unaffected?  We’ve had tornadoes for the past several years now, not like they do in the flatter mid-west, of course, but it is extremely unusual weather for this area, and it’s frightening how common it’s becoming.  I’d rather go through a haunted house or see a scary movie – at least I know that has an ending.

I suppose climate change is the spook this year, and giving it candy and sending it on its way is not going to appease it.  Any smashed eggs or strewn toilet paper tricksters might dole out do not usually cause dire consequences, however annoying it may be to clean up, but getting the power back on after heavy snows brought wires down and cut off electric service to millions, is not so easily remedied.

Trick-or-Treat, indeed!

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P.S. For anyone who looked for the hidden object in yesterday’s post, I updated the post with a photo pointing to the object.  Cheers!

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

Too Young To Trick-or-Treat On My Own

On Hallowe’en, when I was around five or six (maybe even the same year I split my head open), my older siblings were allowed to leave on their own to go trick-or-treating, but I had to stay home until I finished my supper, and wait for my mom to get my little brother in his costume.

I remember thinking how completely unfair it was that I had to wait for my baby brother, and be treated ‘like a baby’, when my next oldest sister was only two years older than me, and she got to go out with my other sister and brothers.  After enough complaints, my mother warned me that she could leave me home while she brought my brother around if I kept harassing her.  I don’t think I uttered a word after that until we finally went out into the chilly night.

We had split-pea soup that night, which was one of my favorite dishes my mom made, but there would be no seconds that night.  I wanted to get out there and trick-or-treat until my pillowcase was filled to the brim with candy!  I never stopped to think how heavy it would be to actually fill a pillowcase full of candy.  Back then, there were no ‘fun-sized’ candy bars, only full-sized bars, but people often gave things like small boxes of raisins, or popcorn balls, or apples.  My mom would usually throw out anything that wasn’t store-bought, so I had to beg her let me keep a candied-apple one year, and she finally acquiesced after I badgered her so much that she told me it would serve me right if I found a razor-blade in the apple.  I also think I lied and told her I knew who it was who gave me the apple, so she could have them arrested if I died.

All week before Hallowe’en I walked home from school singing the Five Little Pumpkins song, and felt a chill up my spine when I sang, “Oo, ooh went the wind, and out went the light…!”  I would pull off any leaves still clinging to their branches that I could reach on my way home, as though that would hasten the arrival of the much-anticipated day.

My older sisters and brothers always ended up with more candy than I, or my younger brother ever got, and I remember thinking that I couldn’t wait until I was old enough to get as much candy as them.

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

Hallowe’en Decorating

I don’t think I put any effort into Hallowe’en last year; I wasn’t as motivated for whatever reason.  I didn’t remember how many cool decorations I have (mostly eerie candle holders), but even looking through my old costumes has been so much fun this year.  I forgot that I had picked up old clothes for a straw-man two years ago (or woman, or alien…), but it’s been raining off and on for the past week so I’m not going to gather leaves to stuff the outfit, or buy expensive straw.  I’m irritated when I see corn stalks selling for ridiculous prices because they’re ubiquitous around here.  I’ll go pick my own.  I was growing corn every year, and then using the stalks to decorate, but my landlord won’t let me have a garden, so the next place I move, I’ll make sure gardening is allowed.

Putting up my decorations brightened my mood and I feel happy every time I look at them.  I like Hallowe’en much more than Christmas, but I enjoy having a tree to decorate and singing carols as well.  I’ve always considered Hallowe’en to be the start of the holidays with Thanksgiving on its heels, and then right into Chanukah and Christmas.

I haven’t settled on my costume for this year, and I only have a couple of days left!  I prefer cobbling a costume together to buying a commercial one, but I’ve never been patient enough, or have the skill required to make one from a pattern, or design my own.  I suppose going to thrift stores and finding elements to make a costume out of is akin to making my own, but if I don’t settle on an idea, I’ll have to go with one of my old standbys.

I thought about dressing up as Medusa because I’ve never gone as her before, but I also like the idea of Cerberus.  I won a prize for the scariest costume when I went as a zombie prom queen two years ago, but I had longer to get that together than I do for something different this year.

Regardless of what I end up going out as, I’m just glad I’m having so much fun this year!

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

A Stitch In Time

When I was about five or six, my family moved into a two-story house heated by steam radiation.  I used to try spinning on the twist knobs at the bottom of the cast iron radiators, and managed a three-quarter turn.  I stopped my efforts at a full turn when I fell and got a black eye after hitting the knob. 

My older sisters and brothers used to scare me and my little brother around Hallowe’en by taunting us before bedtime with a ghostly sounding chant of: “There’s a bad guy in the window!”, starting low and soft and reaching a high crescendo after the third or fourth refrain, and we’d run screaming up to our rooms.  A night or so before Hallowe’en that year, my brothers got the bright idea of cutting out a cardboard silhouette of a man, placing it in the upstairs window near my bedroom, and illuminating it with a flashlight behind the curtain.

While the 'bad guy' in the window didn't look like this, this drawing I found is creepy enough to represent what it looked like to me.

I got so scared when I saw it, especially because one of my sisters was chanting the ‘bad guy’ theme just before my brothers moved to reveal the cut-out, or somehow made sure I saw it.  I ran screaming with my hands over my eyes and my head down, directly into one of the cast iron radiators.  I cut the top of my head open so deep that my mother had to bring me to the hospital to get stitches.

I remember that when we got to the hospital and they were cleaning the wound, the nurse told me that the doctor was going to sew me up, but if I needed him to stop, just tell her it hurt, and they’d stop.  I was lying face down in a pillow, and yelled as loud as I could for them to stop because it hurt so much, but they didn’t listen.  My only consolation was that it took three nurses to hold me still enough for the doctor to finish sewing up the wound.  I was so mad at that nurse for tricking me.

Being lied to about pain when I was a child led me to always tell my son that shots, or stitches, etc., would indeed hurt, but that I believed he could handle it, and it would be over as quickly as possible.  Thankfully, there weren’t many times I needed to prepare him for pain.

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