Accountability…

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It’s been a good week all up in here, with visible progress to show for it. On Monday I organized email folders, dumping over 5,000 messages in the process, taking the time to unsubscribe as I went along. This situation exists because I don’t really USE email anymore, therefore it slides off my cracker on a regular basis and clogs all the pipes and drains in the communication system. These entities are doing their darnedest to impart urgent information to me, the least I can do is give them a decent burial in the far reaches of space. So that was Day One. On Tuesday I made actual phone calls (GASP!!) to schedule overdue medical appointments, three of them, and lived to tell about it. The problem with procrastination is that it’s entirely self-sustaining — once set in motion it’s good to go forever.

So it’s like this…

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Since Wednesday I’ve been sitting at the piano for about an hour every morning, which is just now possible again thanks to the spinal surgery. My sweet little concert grand needs a careful tuning, and the neighbors might be suffering since all the steel, concrete, and glass in our building conduct sound fairly efficiently, but it’s heaven to be playing again. Yesterday I combed through a book of show tunes, including some stuff from the 40s that my dad used to play, and it was a party of one, with people I remember well listening in.

Whatever hurts you, feel it and let it go. Music helps with that process. Especially if you’re lucky enough to love music.

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My recently-adopted motto for 2023:

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Having survived it for a while, I tend to yammer on about life, but here’s how it really is and you can take this to whatever bank you trust:

“Life is like arriving late for a movie, having to figure out what was going on without bothering everybody with a lot of questions, and then being unexpectedly called away before you find out how it ends.” ~Joseph Campbell

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For me, it continues to be about perspective in all things. And this makes me giggle:

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This week, barring the unforeseen, I shall dispense with a short stack of unsorted mail and empty a couple of in/out baskets, so there’s no lack of inspiration or fodder on the horizon yet and nothing in this house is safe from the urge to purge.

Happy January. It’s almost over.

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The sun also rises…

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It happens every morning, in my experience, and life continues upon the planet. It all comes to us unbidden, with no effort on our part, each wake/sleep cycle delivering its allotment of STUFF TO BE DEALT WITH. And we do, amazingly sometimes, we do. Imperfectly we stumble in the dark of our own ignorance, giving it what we’ve got, and we deal. Humans astound me in every direction, but most of all in our capacity for resilience and new energy in the face of NO. “No” is no kind of answer, so we press on. This staying-alive stuff isn’t for sissies.

But here we are on a beautiful winter morning, with fog hanging in the trees and people showing up to make the day happen. The girls who own the salon in the next block have pulled up in their SUVs and claimed their spots below my window. All three are young moms who do whatever it takes to juggle careers, commutes, kiddos, schools, daycares, home, family, laundry, food for everybody, every day, and my 4th-floor remove isn’t the only space between us. They’re paying a price I never had to pay, that of running my own business while raising a family, and although I could tell you hair-raising tales of woe from past sacrifices, I sit here knowing I’ve been a spoiled girl all my life and at this point I’m merely trying to absorb the lessons coming my way before I run out of time. This I know:

“A wise woman wishes to be no one’s enemy;

a wise woman refuses to be anyone’s victim.”

-Maya Angelou

The first month of the new year has already shown us that it’s going to be more of the same, so what do we do, boys and girls? Right. We deal. We deal with what comes to us until we get it right. Wish I had an easier answer, but I can’t start lying to you NOW.

Dancing my heart out here, boss, keep the music playing.

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I’ve seen other versions of the following, but this was a good laugh yesterday:

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Doing a Vitals Assessment…

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Here we are, boys and girls, middle of Week Two, HumpDay, also known as “just make it up, nobody will notice.” How’s your YEAR looking? Yesterday, mine hosted a milestone when I saw my spine surgeon for my one-month-overdue one-year checkup and received my walking papers, signed, sealed, delivered, they’re mine. “Go your way and be well, my child, if pain intrudes again, call us.” I’ll miss seeing him, this kind, young, very tall, very skinny man who almost-casually handed my life back to me. In giving him shit yesterday about his weight, I learned that it’s the same number on the scale as when he left high school. Big deal, I can still wear all the earrings I had back then.

Last year, for all the reasons, will live in infamy in my head until memory fades. 2022 began in a complete fog of pain and opioids, followed by months of hard work. Somewhere along the way I had a second MOHS surgery for basal cell carcinoma, precisely in the middle of my forehead, thank you Ruth Buzzi for the shining example. Fortunately I had a beautiful Middle Eastern surgeon who uses her skills to safeguard women and our spirits, and I’m no scarier-looking than before. In October I fell, destroying my glasses and nearly breaking my orbital socket. The right side of my face and neck were rainbow-hued for too long, and three front teeth are still numb from that little oops. On December 23rd I tested positive for COVID for a second time (first was before all the vaccines), so 2022 ended in much the same way it started… in a fog of pain but minus the opioids, which I really could have used.

So MERRY CHRISTMAS, everyone, hope it was swell. Having totally missed it two years in a row now, I know it all happens whether we’re here for it or not. It’s the days ahead of us that count now, and I’m happy and relieved to have a fresh year to work with. Clearly, time is of the essence as I have a ten-year window to reach this goal:

Goal #2. I’ve already impressed the hell outta 5-year-old me.

That little farm girl is proud of me for growing a backbone over these years of existence, with their never-ending onslaught of real stuff hitting the fan. She’s impressed that I finally found my voice and that I no longer silence it under pressure. She’s living vicariously in the freedom I give myself to be me, and she’s a far happier child than I remember being the first time through.

If you don’t give in, life will try to kick you to the curb, teach you a lesson “once and for all,” and wash its hands of you, so all you can do is hang in and work toward better days, because sometimes life doesn’t know beans. 2022 taught me crucial lessons that will be helpful to have on board going forward, one being that, sometimes, briefly being selfish is the answer. It’s an effective shield if wielded judiciously.

Guard the pieces that comprise the real YOU. Don’t give those away indiscriminately.

I’m taking at least two solid truths forward into 2023. First of all, this… I hope to never lose sight of it:

And its corollary:

I hope 2023 finds me doing the things that make the process of staying alive a better proposition for everyone around me. Happy New Year to you, I missed the last two celebrations but I’m here for it all now. Let’s hold hands and do this thing…

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The view from here, Week One…

Maria Alfie – Marbles III, 1983, oil on canvas

We survived it. If you’re reading this, you got through the intro to the 2023 dance, along with plenty of other brave souls. And if you’re like me, always going the extra mile, you may even have been recognized for your efforts.

The fresh new year is already bringing its daily load of challenges, and that will likely continue unabated, so remember…

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Life comes at us without letup most of the time, and we each deal in our own way…

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I found this yesterday and it’s so perfectly said that I sat here in silence for a full five minutes letting the truth of it permeate. It’s exquisite:

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I did an uncharacteristic thing yesterday and clicked on a Facebook link to a “psychic reading.” Turns out they know me there.

Worth sticking around to find out.

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So here we all are, putting one foot in front of the other because we weren’t offered another option, doing our best, hoping for the right outcome, human-ing like our lives depended on it. We know we don’t have it all figured out, we’re simply trying to get there in time to catch the last train.

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A message to 2023:

The past decade has extracted a toll while providing growth and insight.

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“In this universe we are given two gifts: the ability to love, and the ability to ask questions. Which are, at the same time, the fires that warm us and the fires that scorch us.” -Mary Oliver

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Each new odyssey around the sun comes with its own unique set of events and circumstances, none of which humans are privy to before it happens, so if we want to continue our existence we DEAL, end of story.

BEGINNING of story… here we go. You’ve been warned, bright new year.

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Hello? Anybody else here yet?

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Don’t let me startle you, I’m just over here in 2023 snooping under rocks, checking the temperature, looking at the trends two days in. What I’m picking up so far is that it’s still all about the little things, the crucial details, the fleeting, precious parts of life that we can’t afford to lose sight of or we lose our way.

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There are unlimited ways to have fun in life… and to BE fun! Amirite??

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This seems important to carry into the year ahead.

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As we skeptically eye the blank slate before us, it helps to remember that every new beginning feels this way, and very little of it hinges on us except in the most important ways… one to one, where we have the capacity to make a difference. We don’t know what the year will bring, but experience does tell us a few things: there will be wondrous amazing happenings; there will be heinous horrendous happenings; there will be everything that happens upon the earth with sometimes distressing regularity; and we will deal with it. All of it. Welcome to life.

A word from the truly wise to send us on our way:

“Try not to resist the changes that come your way. Instead let life live through you. And do not worry that your life is turning upside down. How do you know that the side you are used to is better than the one to come?”

― Rumi

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P.S…………..

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Almost there…

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Peace. Quiet. Insulation from the bitter cold. Isolation from the bitter of any sort. These are welcome qualities embedded in The Day After, and with a steaming mug of Kim’s coffee in hand, parked in front of my space heater, eye on the frigid streets below, where absolutely nothing is happening at 9am… it’s an okay perspective, good for processing.

We did it, boys and girls. We’ve survived 2022 thus far, with enough optimism left over for contemplating yet another go ’round. Every new year, with its staggeringly-blank slate, presents an Offer We Can’t Refuse, so off we toddle like lemmings, eager to test the waters and prove the worth of all those valuable lessons we learned in past contests.

I have no idea what to expect from the year ahead, except that it will most likely play out in ways I could/would never program on my own. And it will undoubtedly be more of same in many ways, so the resulting balance/imbalance will be key as always. What will life look like as 2023 progresses?

In these days between Christmas and the New Year, we’re afforded an opportunity to think about that question in detail, should we be feeling especially brave and bold. How might things continue to change, for better or worse, since change itself is a given…

For me, 2022 was the year life actually did change big-time: I was provided a way to leave behind the nerve pain that had haunted the 50 years of my life just prior, thereby opening doors thought permanently closed to me. The effects are ongoing, with no reason to switch horses or alter plans, regardless of any setbacks, which are part of everything. A bad fall in October slowed me down but didn’t stop me, so we’re still bringing you our regularly-scheduled programming for the foreseeable future.

One thing humans are desperate for is restarts. “Let me try again. I can do better.” And more often than not, we do. I’m 100% for restarts and second chances and the grace to use them well, and I’m ready for lots more of that in the year ahead of us… grace, mercy, communication, comprehension. Connection.

This part of the calendar year is packed with holiday celebrations of every sort around the globe, with something in it for everyone. As we take a little time to wool-gather… reminisce… make a pin-cushion of our thoughts… I hope we’ll each gain a renewed sense of respect for each other and what it takes to coexist in the world. And work on doing just that…

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A gift from last Christmas…

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Finneas is a brother to Billie Eilish and has worked with her from the start of her career.

How do you know
If you’ve done everything right?
Is it the love you have at hand
Or the cash you kiss at night?

How do you know
If it was worth it in the end?
Did every second really count
Or were there some you shouldn’t spend
On anything but anyone you love?
Was this the life that you were dreaming of?
A movie night, a yellow light
You’re slowing down and days are adding up

So don’t waste the time you have waiting for time to pass
It’s only a lifetime
That’s only a while
It’s not worth the anger you felt as a child
Don’t waste the time you have waiting for time to pass
It’s only a lifetime
That’s not long enough
You’re not gonna like it without any love
So don’t waste it

I’m unimpressed
By the people preaching pain
For the sake of some small gain
In the sake of someone’s name

I’m unprepared
For my loved ones to be gone
Call ’em far too often now
Worry way too much about mom

Don’t waste the time you have waiting for time to pass
It’s only a lifetime
That’s only a while
It’s not worth the anger you felt as a child
Don’t waste the time you have waiting for time to pass
It’s only a lifetime
That’s not long enough
You’re not gonna like it without any love
So don’t waste it

It’s family and friends, and that’s the truth
The fountain doesn’t give you back your youth
It’s staying up too late at night and laughing under kitchen lights
So hard you start to cry

Don’t waste the time you have waiting for time to pass
It’s only a lifetime
That’s not long enough
You’re not gonna like it without any love
So don’t waste it

–Finneas O’Connell

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Christmas happens…

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Mid week. Hump day. We’ve almost made it to Santa’s birthday, when an angel comes down the chimney and passes judgement on the snacks provided, taking notes for next year. But first… a special weekend with friends… a bit of family time… and then 2023 shows up all shiny and hopeful. The cycle has faithfully renewed itself each year of my existence so I’m going to assume protocol will be followed once again and we’ll be here for it.

Christmas is a Zen affair in our household. No kiddos around to awe and impress, so after our first two extravagant holiday seasons together we’ve foregone the fuss, skipped the middleman, and celebrated in our hearts without need of trappings. TRANSLATION: We’re lazy heathens no longer full of piss and vinegar for every project. We do, however, have a beautiful poinsettia brought to us by friends which is performing a quite admirable solo gig. There are a few people who know to look out for us a little, and I love it so much because here’s the background: farm kids are trusted with responsibility and expected to sink or swim. Same with farm wives. After all that, when I met Kim I’d been looking after six older people… and then two… and then one. He showed up saying “You’re okay, I got you,” and for the first time in memory my personal safety and future didn’t hinge on my own brave efforts. It feels amazing to realize that someone stronger is taking care of the details. And in that vein, I’m grateful to the friends who “see” us and subtly prop us up as things change. That’s an art because WE ARE NOT GETTING OLD, DAMMIT! so it takes a soupçon of tact.

Current outlook encapsulated:

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So here’s to everyone who takes up the slack… all you real people we depend on in one way or another…

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In every season of life, I feel an urgency to know things, to understand how it all works, to relate my existence to something meaningful… and that’s why I write. My thanks to Caryn Mirriam Goldberg, a past Kansas Poet Laureate, for sharing this quote.

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Whatever the days between Halloween and the New Year mean to you, observe them consciously, absorbing their value, and make good memories.

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Still thinking…

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It’s cold and gray again this morning, which calls for another mug of coffee while I stare out the windows some more. I may be slow getting underway but no worries, all the quiet mornings are belong to ME.

Life hack: give yourself 8 to 12 hours of alone time in the morning to mentally prepare for the day. -Roshan Patel

Three’s perfect but I’ll settle for one.

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I feel this in my soul.

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The deep quiet of winter is a boon to anxious humans, soothing like a weighted blanket. [DISCLAIMER: They give me claustrophobia.] If you aren’t personally acquainted with anxiety, it feels like everything-all-the-time-stacked-layered-and-shredded. Your brain runs from one end of the track to the other without letup unless it’s veering off on a side rail or briefly waylaid by sportsing or digital games. And even then…

I have a cousin who’s more of a sister, and we’ve planned since the last time we saw each other… maybe five years ago? … to spend some time on the phone together catching up again. As mom to many kids and grandkids, phone conversations are her life-blood, whereas in my little world they look a lot like this:

Today holds a doctor’s appointment and a Christmas party, one after lunch, one this evening, so of course I woke up at 6am planning for both because they’re mere hours away with nothing between now and then. It makes no sense… but if reason is what we’re after, we can let that go… anxiety doesn’t provide that commodity. Being a neurodivergent bundle of contradictions isn’t a glamorous assignment but I’ve lived to tell you about it so far, which counts as a win every day, and I hope it gives somebody else a spark of optimism. It’s imperative, considering reality, that we pull together any time we can. Life is hard. The more we know, the better.

It’s likely that between now and New Year’s Day most of us will survive the daily requirements plus all the extras. We’ll drift into a fresh calendar with what passes for optimism, and sail on. And we’ll be happy… because we find the stuff of happiness everywhere, we can’t help ourselves. Anxiety as this girl lives it isn’t worry and it isn’t ABOUT anything. It’s about EVERYTHING. The details, timing, deadlines, other people’s expectations, navigating the ins and outs. If you relate, come talk to me in COMMENTS, please.

Sometimes it would be so Zen to be a bug, not seeing every sight, thinking every thought, feeling every feel… until an errant boot heel ended that pleasant reverie, and I’d be quickly reassessing my possibilities for continued existence. Better to stay in my assigned form and deal with what I know, convoluted and incomprehensible as it might seem sometimes. Where are the people who led us to believe we’d have life figured out by age 40 at the latest? Not here are they? I wonder if some of them had an all-encompassing epiphany toward the end and failed to tell us about it. Wouldn’t it save the generations a lot of work if we simply adopted a generous system of file-sharing?

Being an overthinker isn’t entirely bad:

See, not ENTIRELY bad, amirite?

We’ll eventually figure the whole thing out. Or not.

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Sail away…

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We could live aboard a ship

Hip to hip

And lip to lip

And if we ever lose our grip

We’ll go right back

To lip to lip

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And if our anchor doesn’t hold

If we drift and get too cold

If we falter, we won’t fold

We’ll go back to lip to lip

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If we sail for many days

Go too far and get too crazed

I will gladly spend my days

Sailing lip to lip

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Lip to lip

Lip to lip

On a big fat sailing ship

I would gladly spend my days

Sailing lip to lip

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Let’s get aboard a big fat ship

And we’ll go sailing lip to lip

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Composed by Kim Smith October 30, 2020 while attempting to achieve optimum weightlessness in the spa tub.

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Yes, it’s TODAY…

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There was one assignment on our minds when we woke up this morning: VOTE. We could have availed ourselves of that sacred right at any point during the early voting period, but we value the experience of casting our votes in a building constructed in 1873 which has served many purposes and is now an art gallery and event venue built of stone, brick, and heavy timber called Cider Gallery. Its heft and patina speak of the kind of temporary permanence humans seek in life, and that particular spot never fails to renew my hope, here in Free Kansas, that democracy will continue despite all odds.

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After the voting, we went across town to La Estrella for lunch, Kim’s choice and a totally intuitive one. They’re a family business, which when we discovered them consisted of a grocery store and a tiny kitchen/restaurant space. They’re now in a shiny new location, with the grocery store on the bottom floor and an inviting restaurant and ice cream shop on the upper level. The food is authentic to the family’s origins and we can’t get enough of it, but it’s the vibe itself that pulls me in. And today, on Voting Day, it was the place to be. The patrons are from Mexico, Central America and points between, with an eclectic mix of every shade of brown/black/white. At noon on a weekday it’s mostly blue-collar guys grabbing a quick lunch, sharing tables as needed, calling out each other’s numbers including ours, a thread of I-got-you running through the room. The place was packed today and we’re so happy for their success in Lawrence USA. And on this day, when our entire way of life as Americans could well be hanging in the balance, that singular message was a gift… I got you.

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And now we’ll wait for possibly a week or more to know for sure which way things went. That’s a long time to stay curled in the fetal position, so it finally becomes necessary to simply trust the wisdom of the ages…

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I hope you dance…

October Sunrise – Kim Smith 10/23/2022

There are few things in this life so soothing to me as a dark quiet house just before dawn, steaming mug of coffee in hand, a blank page before me. A day begun in peace and solitude generally turns out pretty okay, because it’s all about attitude and it starts on the inside.

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Fall makes me think about school, and school makes me newly appreciate children with their optimism and natural joy. For them, life is real every second.

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We can remain childlike if we never forget the important things…

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We can ask childlike questions…

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We can stay childlike about history…

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We can stay childlike in our hopes and dreams…

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A timely reminder for the adults in the room…

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If we so choose, we can keep a childlike spirit until the end of our days. We simply have to remember how to dance…

I hope you dance.

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Things… they happen

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Couldn’t find it on my bucket list when I went to cross it off, but I finally earned a decent shiner in my lifetime, and it was so easy to do! Almost made it home from my walk Monday afternoon when I stubbed my toe in the driveway to our building and went down. I don’t remember the fall, just the solid impact and the aftermath. Once my senses returned I was trying to see where all my stuff was… little shoulder bag with essentials, my glasses, my walking pole, the tiny hearing aid that flew across the pavement… when a svelte young businesswoman drove slowly out the drive, looking at me turtled up while deciding to do nothing. It felt precisely like somebody was looking but not seeing. I was a bug on the sidewalk. Fortunately, a woman likely in her 60s hopped out of her car and tried to help me get my feet under me. Due to my suddenly messed up right side we were having no success, when a man in his 50s strode over and carefully lifted me under my arms so I could stand up, gathered my detritus for me, and saw me to the door. Those two people have obviously lived long enough to know everybody’s gonna need a hand sometime, and they made all the difference. I actually feel kinda bad for that lovely young woman… Karma never forgets and this mama’s heart wonders what the cost might be. Oh well.

So yeah, that’s how that was. My cheek swelled about 3″ beyond its limits, with the outline of my ruined glasses showing like a roadmap, and now we get to marvel over the beautifully changing fall colors on this canvas of a face, starting with livid purple. It’s been necessary to show myself in medical offices, making sure everything still checks out, and I have a disclaimer: Be advised that if you indicate Kim and say “I’ll bet HE did that, right?” I will look you in the eye and ask why you’d say that. “Do you hit YOUR wife?” It strikes me as an old-white-man thing to say and I’ll call you out. An old white man with Dr. in front of his name asked me that question on Tuesday, but the right words hadn’t yet formed in my frontal cortex where expressive language resides. Come at me again, you old fart, with your not-humor, I’ve got your answer right here.

Here’s the truth: if you’re a woman and you ask me that same question you’ll do it tentatively, softly, with eyes downcast, and you either know me really well or not at all. If you know me enough to trust me, you’re asking for yourself, things have happened, and you need someone to tell. And you know Kim would never hit me, but you need an in. If you don’t actually know me, you don’t know my husband either or you’d have the answer already. If you’re a man and ask me, something in you is damn proud of him for supposedly asserting his rightful authority over a clearly insubordinate wife. I’m not having it, Mr. Cellophane, sit down. And don’t speak to me again without authorization.

Okay… all better now.

Anyway, if you’re either brave or a masochist, here’s what it looked like Tuesday morning:

By evening, gravity was carrying it all south down to my real wrinkles and I have a kind of wondrous scary pirate vibe going now. No more pics, and I know you’re thanking me. My medical-everything friend Regina told us to go to a Mexican grocery and get arnica gel for the bruises. She broke her orbital socket last summer so she knows… and she’s right. It works. Not fast enough that I won’t shock my hairdresser out of her boots today… but I can see a difference already.

I have a love/hate attitude toward the new boots I was wearing when I fell, but I’ll put something on and get back on the horse today, walking to my haircut and home again, before an excess of caution puts me back in my comfy chair to stay. Cannot, will not, have that.

You know why I write about getting older?

  1. Barring circumstances, everyone goes there.
  2. There’s no cure for it.
  3. It gets realer and realer.
  4. If I can scout ahead and warn you of some of the pitfalls, well… one is glad to be of service.
  5. This is a part of life to be enjoyed, if possible, rather than discounted as “just getting old.”

Don’t fear life, it goes on. Never let the bastards wear you down, compadres. Your horse is waiting…

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Theatre of the mind…

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She’s up at 6am, sitting in the quiet dark again, mind running… not an unpleasant experience since she’s never been very afraid of herself. Her DH** has already headed across town for a healthy morning of sportsing, while the sky darkens even more just before the sun starts to show its power. This is what she does… she thinks. The thoughts need no jumpstart, they come unbidden as soon as the dreaded wokeness arrives, and often they’re an extension of dreams rudely interrupted before resolution.

She’s hungry, but too rooted in place to go pour a bowl of cereal. She loves the dark but despises the cold… wants/doesn’t want to go walking. Knows she’ll suffer guilt if she doesn’t. She hates the news, but reads it most days because part of the cost of living is to stay aware of what’s coming at us. She has online friends around the world she can share thoughts with, any hour of the day or night… but she mostly leaves them their solitude, the thing she values most. She needs peace and quiet like breathable air; therefore, she can’t complain about the loneliness inherent in that environment… and doesn’t. She’s well aware that we can’t have it all.

A sobering realization sets in right about now on the personal timeline: The older people who told us things when we were younger people? They were right, 100%. At some point you run out of fulfilling things to do. People who once needed you, don’t. Even if you walk for two hours every day (the girl we’re talking about doesn’t), that leaves lots of hours before bedtime. If you keep every scrap of laundry washed and put away, there’s no dust in your house, the bathrooms sparkle, your computer files are organized… all of which is purely theoretical in my case… whaddaya gonna do with the rest of your sweet life, bubbie?

The answer can’t be the copout “I don’t know,” so if you’re in the neighborhood of my Boomer years I suggest you make a plan, because life doesn’t live itself. Now that I’m physically mobile again my body and brain have to have something to do. I love the lack of responsibility and accountability brought on by retirement, but did I DIE?? Not yet, so the same old thing every day (doing a lot of nothing) isn’t gonna cut it. Our grandparents knew real stuff: life is a lonely proposition, we’re pretty much on our own from womb to tomb, and a late-life plan is a definite priority… I’m just telling you these things so you don’t have to hear it from a stranger. If we’re lucky we get old and we’re still the same people with the same need to know things, do meaningful things, make a dent of some kind just by being here… and that takes planning, because the general world doesn’t know we exist by the time we’re this age.

I’m 75 now, the age some of my family members were when I became their advocate, legal and otherwise. Since I’m not old like, you know, they were, I’ve made a plan and I like it, but don’t tell Life… it has a way of messing with the intentions of mice and men. Wherever you are now, I hope you have some kind of schematic for the medicare years that goes beyond keeping body and soul together. Think about what sparks excitement in you, thereby keeping you out of depression, and do that thing. ALL the things. DO ALL THE THINGS!!!

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LIFE, like my bowl of cereal this morning, is too delicious to waste.

**Dear Husband/Darling Husband/Designated Hitter/Dead Heat

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Making way for the advents…

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It’s a magical world outside my windows this morning… leftover raindrops, kaleidoscope leaves, dogs happily taking their people for walks, dark blue skies carrying rain on down the line…

Fall seems like the ultimate dichotomy, with everything bursting out in glory just before the death and darkness of winter. But we can’t be fooled or depressed, the seeds of spring lie in silence and their time to shine always comes ’round again.

The autumn season is full of melancholy, even without the memories we attach to it, and then hot on its heels come The Holidays, DUN-da-da-DUN. For an oft-depressed introvert, Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day looms like a darkened maze to be navigated, but here I still stand, living and breathing, so it’s been survived before and will be again.

All of life, now, requires a certain level of preparedness, a considered mindset going in. The guardrails have mostly been obliterated from human interaction, leaving all of us to feel our way through the minefields and try to come out whole on the other side. The old traditional celebrations bring every feeling to the surface, all of it requiring patience and wisdom to deal with as it comes at us… and we aren’t always successful in that. And let’s face it, we weren’t that great at it in what we thought were the best of times, so a bit of self-kindness is called for since all the dynamics have changed.

The above is for my fellow introspective “feelers,” a miserable condition we share because we can’t help it. The Holidays will no doubt be as sweet and beautiful this year as always, and if any of it brings us angst we simply won’t tell anyone, no worries, The End.

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