Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year's Eve

This is it, the end of 2012. What will you be doing to welcome 2013? What resolutions will you be making?

In this house, we will not be doing anything special. Husband and I are relaxing and resting as we try to recover from the crud. Slowly but surely we are improving.

I will be choosing a word to shape my new year, but more about that tomorrow.

I wish for all of you a good last day of 2012. Hoping 2013 will be a winner for everyone.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Family Love

I am full...replete...gorged on family. Last Sunday at this time the husband and I were putting away groceries and supplies while awaiting families coming for the holidays. This Sunday saw an early morning drop off at the airport and saying goodbye. What a wonderful week it was. Despite some illness all the gifts got unwrapped, stockings opened, meals cooked and eaten, games played. We laughed as we formed new memories.

Now life slows down and turns toward normal. A new year will begin. I am fueled with love and wonder for this talented, hardworking, creative group who are my family!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas Eve

Quiet time with family. The final gifts are going under the tree. Tummys are full with our traditional meal of cheese fondue. Just putting out cookies for Santa and filling the stockings before tucking into bed.

Love to all and to all a good night!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Quote of the Day

Remember the quiet wonders. The world has more need of them than it has for warriors.
Charles de Lint

Shame on You!

Shame on the NRA for their stupid statement. Putting guns in the hands of more people is not the answer. We are not living on a movie set where the good people can shoot the bad people without more lose of innocent bystanders. I'm not sure what the answer is, but I'm pretty sure this is not.

Peace and understanding!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Still Here!

The world didn't end today...or at least so far. Let's take the chance for another cycle and make it a mission to spread kindness.
I love the idea of random acts of kindness.
Let's smile at each other.
Buy a cup of coffee for the person behind you in line.
Let the person behind you in line, go first.
Pay a toll for someone else.
Give a dollar to 10 people. (Or 2 to 10 kids.)

You get the idea. It doesn't take much to make someone else smile. And let your message be, pass it on.

Let me know what you did to brighten someone's day.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Small Joys

My dog wriggles with delight in the bright sunshine as he rolls in the grass. If dogs' could smile, he would.

A gift emerges from my hands. Birth in my designing mind ends in success!

Wrapped presents under the tree. Many thanks to my husband who has taken on, not only buying many gifts but also wrapping them.

Time with grandchildren. They are all so special. Their smiles light up my life.

Christmas lights that sparkle in the night.

The morning parade of deer down my street.

My life is filled with so many of these small joys.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Stepping Along

After a moment of absolute panic last night ("There is not enough time to finish all that I must!"), I am settled in humming along and putting some finishing touches on gifts. There is still so much to do including my least favorite task - cleaning. Where are those elves who come in the middle of the night to get my house in order? Oh, right, only in my dreams.

(We need those elves in Washington. In the face of the tragedy in Newtown where adults and kids lost their lives while going about doing what they were suppose to do, it seems so trivial and immature that our "leaders" can't do their jobs. It's a strech to connect previous part of blog with this observation, but I can't help myself. Raise taxes and decrease spending. We know it is coming.)

Today is wrapping, baking, ironing and (yecch) a bit of cleaning. I wish everyone a productive and fulfilling day.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


As I work to get ready for the big family Christmas extravaganza, my thoughts keep returning to Newtown. Unimaginable. Incomprehensible. So many lives lost. So many lives changed for parents, siblings, grandparents, friends and neighbors. The survivors will endure but they will be changed forever. The colors of the holidays have left; now they grieve in black and white. The mourners leave the funeral services  surprised to find the sun shining. They wonder how  people can Christmas shop, carolers sing and fairy lights sparkle. How can life go on in the face of such a tragedy? We, lucky ones, continue with our ordinary days doing all the tasks to prepare for the happiest of seasons, while Newtown's days are filled with viewings and funerals. So sad. Words cannot express the unending sorrow for all those families.

Peace and love to all.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

'Tis the Season

Lucky me. For the next several days I have a variety of holiday programs to see. It's always a fun part of being a grandparent to see the holiday singing, dancing and acting. Those earnest shining faces are a joy.

First, "The Messiah" performed by Providence Classical School in Spring, Texas. Quite an undertaking for grades 1 - 6, but they are awesome. Then a choral celebration and nativity in the great outdoors by Life Point Church in Magnolia, Texas. Finally a Hanekka play at the Meridien School in Round Rock, Texas. Whew!

So this proud, happy Grammy takes off a few days to get in the spirit, applaud wildly, and dispense hugs!!

See you all in a couple of days.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Life Questions

Why is so difficult to except a compliment? Recently I found myself in a situation where my knee jerk reaction to a compliment in front of a group was to deny it. Why?

I want to be recognized. I want my achievements to be recognized. But in a public situation I'm embarrassed by praise. (And, conversely, I'm hurt if ignored. Make sense out of that!) I've tried to learn to accept and thank the person who is being so kind as to acknowledge me, but I still have so much progress to make. I do appreciate every kind word spoken about me. New Year's resolution - to get better at being complimented. After all, aren't I fortunate to have nice things said about the projects I have and continue to work on.

Why wait to the last minute to get anything done? I need a deadline. Why? In my view of the perfect world, I work steadily toward various goals in my business and volunteer projects. Reality!!! I can't seem to get really productive until the end is close.

As the holidays near with the long list of gifts to finish, baking to be done, cleaning to accomplish, my stress is high. I regret every minute I spent in the month of November in time killing game play, daydreaming, lollygagging, and other mindless activities. I need that time back in order to get it all done. Why did I waste this time...again?

Confession - I feed off this stress. Having a day of whining is part of my process. Not very pretty, is it? Sorry. I'll leave you now to tackle some of my projects.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

I Love Emily

Emily Dickinson's poetry always moves and amazes me. So simple; so profound. She birthed my interest in the art of poetry. Monday was her birthday. Let's all celebrate.

Not knowing when the dawn will come
I open every door

                                                                                      Emily Dickinson

Monday, December 10, 2012

Happy Hanekkah

Sending to Linda and her family a wish for a very happy hanekkah. (Never sure what the correct spelling is.)
Ours is a very eclectic family with many different philosophies and ethnicities. I think it makes for a very vibrant group. We don't always (never) agree on politics, religion or lifestyles, but we respect and love each other.
As varient as we are, there are some traits we share. A healthy sense of humor. Love of words. Respect for education. A thirst for knowledge. Voracious reading. These traits cut across our differences and bond us as a family.

So I send forth wishes for a Happy Hanekkah to Linda and her family. And in 2 weeks I know she will have a Christmas tree and share a Christmas meal with her community. (She's been known to invite her rabbi.) Hooray for differences!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Like Lemmings to the Cliff

Yes, that fiscal cliff that everyone is talking about. My question for all  - if we fall off the cliff, doesn't that raise taxes on almost everyone? Doesn't that break the "no higher taxes" pledge that the Republicans agreed to? Can inaction be embraced as "not our fault?"

Just asking. Staying tuned for the rest of the story.

PS. Lemmings go over the cliff as a natural form of population control. Too many lemmings, not enough food;  run to the cliffs.
      Political parties - too much power, not enough common sense. Let's run for the cliff. Maybe it's time to winnow the power brokers in the parties. Too much posturing, too many senseless words; time for common sense, doing the job they were elected to do, caring more for the country than the party.

Just saying.

(Every time I try to finish this post, I hear something else.) Bob Schieffer on Meet the Press this am.
"What hypocrisy, what fakery!" Well said.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Rain, Rain Go Away

Linda writes a response to my blog of December 4. Since she lives in the Portland Oregon area, she is much too familiar with rain while here in central Texas we are in the throes of a drought. If only we could share. I'd send her more sunshine, rosy sunrises, golden sunsets. In exchange she could package up a few gentle, long showers to delight our lakes, trees and grass. Sounds like a great gift exchange to me.

So from the sodden Northwest here is the poem.

Skies glower grey with rain for days,

which dawn late, and nights creep in

too early. The year spins down and out

and we struggle against the brevity

of life and light.

Today, at last, clouds float like gauze

In front of the rising sun which reaches

Through with five fingers of silver

Light toward the frets of earth,

To pluck the notes of a Gloria in excelsis.


Linda Knowlton Appel


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Words, Words + Sketchbook 2

Words are such important things. They tell of love, friendship, neighborhoods, news, gossip, our history and our future. With the growth of social networking and electronic communication words are the new pop stars - even if often abbreviated or initialized for the sake of speed.  New words are born and old words are often discarded along the way. Lately a few old-fashioned words have been uttered anew.

Bamboozled  Love the way it sounds. Aren't the meaning and the vocalisation synchronized? This is what "pulling the wool over someone's eyes" sounds like.  (I'm tempted to go on a rant about how over-used it would be in any discussion of Washington and the political rush to the fiscal cliff, but I don't have the time today. Lucky you!) See if you can use bamboozled in a sentence today.

Newfangled  Another example where sound and substance merge. Noises that bling make. A word of invention whether it is a product or an idea. Our world is moving at an ever increasing rate where daily we hear about newfangled things that will improve our lives. Just this morning I was treated to a new promising way to treat Alzheimer. Newfangled can be good.

Curmudgeon  My aspiration is to become a full blown curmudgeon. It seems like it is a rite of passage for elders. We get to complain, make pithy comments on modern life. At the same time we celebrate the good of the olden days. When Andy Rooney died this year, everyone used this word; so I guess I'm saying my ambition is to be Andy Rooney. (Not dead, but sardonically smart!)

Speaking of words below is the second poem from Linda Appel. "Excitement" was the blog title. These words and phrases are what jumped out at her.


“teaser”`         ”not sure”        “roads we will travel together”

“racing”          “WILL be done”

And the poem.



Excitement. This day

is off to a magnificent start.

Through our electronic messaging marvels,

I’ve talked with you, and I

am  energized with your excitement and spirit.

I have set a project in motion

and you are racing to your sewing

machine. Our tasks WILL be done today.


When I arose from bed this morning, the moon

shone full upon me. Later, leaving the house,

I crested the hill, turned left, and halted.

At the end of the alley of trees a rainbow

arched bright across my path.

Excitement at these blessings propels me

along the road we are traveling together

despite distance and distractions.


                        Linda Knowlton Appel, 12/1/12

Thanks, Linda, what a wonderful use of words! For all my readers I hope that your day is bright!!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Getting My Sparkle On

Thanks to the husband, son Jeff, granddaughter Ivy and two grandboys, Jack and Hudson, my living room is ready for Santa. It has become a family tradition for them to do the tree. Isn't that a great tradition? I love hearing the sounds of laughter, oohs and ahs as favorite ornaments are unearthed, and the occasional tinkle of breaking glass.

My family asks each year what I want for Christmas. My frequent reply is, "The hardest gift of all for busy people to give, time with you!" So this tree is a wonderful symbol of the gift of time. As far as I'm concerned, I've been given the best present of all. Thanks!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Morning Glory

Wow! This morning the sun and clouds were a symphony in grey and gold. All the clouds floated in front of the sun which painted their tips in a rosy gold. Some times mother nature justs knocks me to my knees with her glory.

Monday, December 3, 2012

The Sketchbook - "Every eye is different"

When last I talked to you, I was teasing you with the latest blogging idea - a collaboration between my sister, the poet, and me, the blogger. Well, here goes.

Let me introduce the poet, Linda Appel. She lives in the Northwest, too far from Texas. Mother of two, grandmother to 3. Half of a long, long marriage. Professionally she is a librarian. Now retired she writes. Her poetry is carefully crafted, polished, full of soaring images that evoke the universals of life. Currently she is working on compiling her second chap book.

As mentioned her poems are carefully created and usually go through many rewrites before the finished version is shared. To send me and allow my audience to read the quick reactions to some ideas or words  from my blog is new and a bit scary for her. Will people think her words are sloppy? Will it hurt her reputation as a serious writer?

I look at these poems as from a sketchbook. As an artist uses a sketchbook to record quick impressions, ideas and images so as to remember them for future works or to play with different takes on a project, so these quick poems are Linda's sketches. Not meant as finished, polished gems. They are flashes, thoughts, responses. At a later time she may go back to some and turn them into edited poetry; some will remain thoughts. I am thrilled that she is willing to share her "sketchbook" with us. I am honored that she is using some of my words.

So here goes. I hope you enjoy this experiment.

An answer to the blog of November 28, "The Eyes Have It". (click on link to read )

Every eye is different

Every eye is different  and responds differently. None are ever the same.

The body is complex and has a mind of its own.

Life is full of mysteries, and the human body continues to be one.


Every eye is different; every eye responds

differently, never ever the same.    My mind’s eye

sees you, sees you as you were last year, last decade, or when

as children, braided and bobbed and with brand new glasses,

suddenly the blackboard came clear, and from the rear

of the classroom I could read the letters, the numbers,

the problems in arithmetic.

But that has faded now and the color of our eyes as well,

reflecting not the startling blue of sky into which we might soar

but the  aqueous paleness of  the sea whose depths mysteriously

surround and support us.

On good days, we float in the salty source of life

and on occasion dive deeply, searching with failing eyes

for more, more, more.


Nov. 28, 2012