All posts by simplady

Ho, Ho, Ho…

The stockings are hung…

Ho, Ho, Ho! The stockings are all hung on the mantel with care.

Not with hopes of gifts, but stuffed full of memories from Christmases past.

Ho, Ho, Ho! Santa should come on a sleigh. 

Ha, ha, ha—no snow here, but then there are no children here either. So perhaps no one will notice.

The music of the season fills the airwaves, the shopping spaces, vehicles and homes. Taking listeners on journeys back to their past, those years of prior Christmases. Some smile, some shake their head and think it is all nonsense. I’m one who smiles with memories of being a child, memories of being a mom and surprising a child. My memories overflow and allow me to derive pleasure watching others as they celebrate the season.

Back home, it is quiet here. Not an eerie quietness, but a quietness that settles like a soft comforter one wants to snuggle into. This season has brought contentment, joy and peace. I revel in these feelings.

Lights and baubles bedazzle the tree; some shiny and some not. 

Each bauble holds the secret of its history waiting for the dark when only the lights of the tree allow them to speak of their origins and how they became part of this holiday tradition. How I would enjoy hearing them tell their own story, how they feel being out of the box for a brief season. 

The nativity scenes on full display sit in several rooms, emitting their own scenes and memories from years past within the family tree. Now they live together in our home, with our family, and share their pride of being treasured for so many years. Their story continues to live in our lives.

Ho, Ho, Ho! 

May this Christmas season come to your home and bring hope for the future, eyes to see the good in others, and peace to all who enter through your doorway, thus leaving you with many happy memories.

This time of the year…

What’s your shiny object?

While holiday songs fill the airwaves and pine fragrances permeate the air, I find my days filled with decorating, getting holiday letters written, gifts for children and grandchildren to be mailed. With those things going on, my personal pattern finds my mind pulled to evaluating the year’s writing goals, and developing plans for the next year. This trend has been consistent, and you’d think I would expect it instead of finding it to be an annual surprise.

Reflecting on 2021 writing was an interesting project. My major goals were accomplished. I have “first drafts” of three distinctly different writing pieces completed. It also means many hours of editing, creating cover designs and proof copies will fill 2022.

Be on the lookout for upcoming information on:

  • The sequel to Dream Glasses, which is Finding the Way Home. Liz returns from Paris excited to start the future she has planned, only to discover life doesn’t always move in the direction we expect.
  • A collection of short stories, poetry and little quips—Clouds. Most of this writing occurred during COVID, and was inspired by various writing communities I am involved with. The inspiration and camaraderie of like-minded artists is invaluable to me.
  • A children’s story, Charley’s Great Adventure. The story of Charley the Chipmunk on his first big outing without his mom. He’s excited, he’s nervous—and he’s totally unprepared for what he encounters. How does he react to a fearful situation, to knowing he failed to follow his mother’s advice?

On the less than stellar accomplishments, my commitment to write as regularly as I had in 2020 was a struggle. Between moving and connecting in a new community, there were more interruptions. My excuse “shiny objects distract me.” I’m fortunate to have another writing mentor who assures our group, even when writers are not writing, they are processing information for future writings. I take heart in her words.

As your year is winding to a close, where are your thoughts and dreams for the coming year? Did you feel stuck in 2021, or did you discover new passions and interests this year? 

Holiday Decorations 2021

This is the first year since leaving Wisconsin that we have a Christmas tree inside the house. Our Colorado years sported a dressed tree on the deck outside our dining area. Sturdy ornaments able to withstand the elements donned the tree. Many of the years, dustings of snow graced the branches and sometimes birds would land in the tree. All those years our fragile ornaments hid in boxes wrapped in tissue. It was a treat to open those boxes and see treasures stored away.

The decorating process unleashed memories from years back, memories of family events, memories of friends. The nativity set I grew up seeing at my grandparent’s house now lives at mine. Unwrapping each piece stirs memories from my childhood, when its home was a corner table in their living room. I treasure the story of how the set was acquired. First the stable with the holy family, then, as finances allowed, they added to the collection. The pieces don’t match, but they warm my heart as it’s part of my history. Several years back, my husband purchased a new stable for the set. It was our way of putting our own touch on this set.

Antique Nativity

The other set comes from hubby’s family and was purchased by his parents many years ago on a trip to Italy. The pieces all have exquisite facial features, all are in the same style. It is a simplistic piece that finds its home on an end-table each Christmas. I love both sets, and unwrapping them is our introduction to the holiday season.

Italian Nativity

Unpacked ornaments lay on the table, ready for the tree. Hubby picked up a piece and said, “Is there a history here? I see so many snowmen.”

I chuckle. “Yes. I have a friend who knew I liked snowmen and for many years, she gave me an ornament or two for my tree.”

I’m grateful he asked. It brought back so many pleasant holiday memories after my children were adults and I lived alone. Friends are so important in life.

He asked about other ornaments or decorations. Some were from my mom; some made by children; some purchased on travels; some, I don’t remember. Then we talked about some ornaments he brought.

I have many things my mother gave to me over the years. So much has changed since last year when we were absorbed with cleaning, unpacking and getting settled in our new home. There were no Christmas decorations. In retrospect, I recognize that may have been healthier for me. This year, I’m able to pick up a piece and enjoy the thought of my mom giving the ornament or decoration to me. Many of the items reflected her personality. The simple styles, or elegant lines, reflected who she was and how much care she gave in selecting gifts for others. Last year, I wasn’t ready to appreciate the memories associated with those items. 

Time is a healer.

Thanksgiving 2021…

Our second in this house

Much different from the first

When we shared a simple meal alone

This year–

Family, food and laughter filled the house

More food than we needed

Laughter abounded

Memories to savor

Traditions from years past

Introduced with new foods and different stories

For 2021, this event is over

Yet, the memories linger

Thanksgiving 2021

Seven Dwarfs Humor

Storm Clouds

Nothing else matters more than sharing kind thoughts with friends and those you care about. Let me tell you a few reasons why. Friends carry one another burdens. Friends make friends laugh. And friends make life fun. I have friends scattered around the globe and they enrich my life. I’m the connection point in this story that spans three countries. I hope the story stretches even farther.

It all began as the result of a writing prompt from an Irish group I’m part of. They gave us about 10 minutes to answer the following question.

If you were one of the seven dwarfs, which one would you be?

My initial reaction. Ugh. What am I going to write?

Then the words flowed. I read, and to my amazement, the group laughed.

The next day, I was chatting with an overseas friend, suffering from the effects of COVID, and she stated she knew she was grumpy, and hated feeling so. I offered to share what I written, hoping she’d find humor in the piece.

What I received back was totally unexpected. It was delightful and left me laughing. My husband, not wanting to be left out of the humor, read both pieces and joined me in the laughter.

Words are so powerful. If you can share something which will lighten another person’s burden—I encourage you to do so.

Here are the two pieces. If you have a response to either, please leave a comment.

Who knows what type of dialog we may get going here…

The prompt:

If you were one of the seven dwarfs, which one would you be?

Today, I would be GRUMPY. You know how they say one gets up on the wrong side of the bed? How can that be? I share my bed, which means I only have ONE side to get up from. If I’m GRUMPY today, and only have one side to get up from, does that mean I’ll be GRUMPY again tomorrow, and the day after?

I can’t bear the thought of having the name GRUMPY hung around my neck. It feels like a two ton weight. Carrying this burden around continues to wear me down.

“Get outa my way! Can’t you see? I’ve got a load to carry and you’re making my work harder than it needs to be.”

“Don’t you smile at me! There’s nothing to be happy about today.”

“You. You, over there… Stop talking about me. You’d be GRUMPY too if you had to lug this rock around with no one to help you.”

“Don’t go telling me what to do. I’ve gotta mind of my own.”

“When will this terrible day end? …and who else is going to show up thinking they can tell me what to do.”

“What’s wrong with this porridge? It isn’t sweet, and it has lumps in it?”

“Time for bed again already?”

“Hey you. Shut off the lights and shut up your mouth. I wanta get some sleep.”

The response:

Hi, I am GRUMPY this week and I am told Covid is responsible for that bad feeling. I have been SNEEZY, SLEEPY, DOPEY and DOC too. I was so HAPPY to talk to you again today, but when I am better, I think I will be my old self BASHFUL again xx

All the dwarfs loved your poem and amazed you got that out in a few minutes. Thank you for sharing it with me, love from BASHFUL xx

–by Sony Gordon-Farleigh

Still learning…

Fall 2021

Almost a year of tending a rose garden

No prior experience

Gaging water and fertilizer needs

Spraying insects

Pruning for shape and plant health

Always guessing

Questioning decisions

You think you have learned

Then the seasons change 

So do the needs of the plants

Sigh!

Cooler temperatures arrived

Buds abound

First cutting this season

I know way more than last year

Yet know there is more to learn.

A Morning in My Life

…By Shamu

I uncurl from my sleep and stretch, allowing my front paws to touch your arm. You’re still sound asleep and I’m hungry. I knead on your arm, but you just roll away. That will never do. I stretch a few more times and jump to my feet and come up by your face. I butt my head against yours. With groggy eyes you glance at me and rub my ears. Still you don’t arise. I decide you must be told what to do, so I start to talk to you.

“Oh, Shamu, why do you insist on such early mornings? Okay. I’ll get up.”

You slowly grab your robe to head downstairs. I’m way ahead of you, talking all the way. You set out fresh food for me then fix your coffee. I pick at my food, then saunter around the kitchen looking out the patio door. I know you’ll never let me outside. How I would like to get out, but only if you’ll come with me. 

Waiting for you
…by Felicia Marie

I stretch out on the couch and watch you until you come and also sit on the couch. I roll over and approach to sit on your lap. You know I want to be close to you, but you never sit still for very long. 

Your daughter arrives, and I approach her. She will pick me up and cuddle with me. I purr and butt my head against her. She’s grand and I love her, but you are still my preference. 

In Charge
….by Felicia Marie

Timber…

The end has arrived. It was time to purge the agave before it became rigid and too tough to cut. The blooms hosted bees, honey birds and some butterflies. 

Timber…

When the stalk fell, a mild sweet fragrance filled the air.

Pieces cut to fit the green waste mounded on the ground. 

Then each was stabbed with a pitch fork and dropped in the bin. 

Smaller pieces were scooped in. 

Few pieces wait for next week’s trash collection day.

July 27 — Close up

Check out the close-up bloom. Each of those tiny tennacles were feeding zones for all the flying critters that hovered around the blooms once they opened. After sitting in the sun for several days, there was no fragrance, and no visiting creatures. This piece will join its kin in the bin next week.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this marvel of nature with me. 

We’ve yet to determine what will be planted in the agave’s former location. But the next selection will take into consideration the little bridge and mature size of the plant.

Patience…

Close-up blooms July 21

Obviously, I lacked patience when I wrote my last post

The blooms are breaking forth

Hummingbirds and bees swarm the yellow flowers

The green leaves shriveling and giving up their life blood

Soon the flowers will produce seeds as the plant withers and dies

My front row seat to this miracle of nature has fascinated me

Our blue agave bloom process took longer than my research suggested

The show has been fun

I’ve enjoyed sharing it with you

Gardner friends have encouraged we start to cut back the leaves

As their nourishment drains, the outer skin will shrivel and harden

As they say, 

July 21 — partial blooms

…the curtain closes on this performance

Where are the blooms?

Still no flowers

We’re nearing the end

The long spikey leaves are shriveling

Starting first at the base

The tall bloom spike has branched

Buds reach tall from the branches

No yellow flowers

Not yet

New plant sprouting at base

Advice to us

Cut the leaves before they dry

Or the work is much harder

The location is too prominent 

Don’t allow the dead plant to remain there

Yet no flowers

For now, the stalk remains

Each week, some of the leaves will be removed

Thanks for watching this amazing transition with me. It’s not over yet, but we’re getting closer to the end. I expected the flowers to bloom before the death cycle became evident. So, future photos will have fewer leaves on the bottom, and perhaps there will be yellow flowers. Or not…