I’m sure hoping we don’t get bad weather tonight to cause us to miss our date night tonight, “Yesterday and Today,” with the McGuigan Brothers, Billy, Ryan, and Matthew. They put on a great show of Beatles music. Their love of the Beatles came from their father. They memorialize him every time they take the stage, and I’m sure he smiles down from heaven every time. The band is expanding to include Ciaran McGuigan, Billy’s son, who is a budding Eddie Van Halen, Eric Clapton, or Wolfie Van Halen. His guitar playing is improving by leaps and bounds, and I’m eager to see what he adds to his playlist for this and their other shows. Cross your fingers we can make it safely there and home. We’ve gone for the last nine years.
We had good news from the repair guy for the ice maker. The guy did the work three years ago. When the error happened, he read the codes on the computer. He is familiar with the parts and expected longevity for them. He gave us a tip about Samsung, as they now replace these parts when they break down. Great to know for future reference. We were grateful to afford the service/repair. We both had times in life where we could not afford what we spent today. Very thankful.
Finishing up the tree will be the order of the day today. And a dentist appointment for me this afternoon, hopefully before the weather sets in. It should just be a simple winter storm, but the cold will be brutal for the weekend. Hope we all keep safe and warm. Get lots finished up for the big day as you may be inside tomorrow. Thank you for reading today. We will see each other tomorrow.
Mom has a terrible time on days the sun isn’t out. Maybe it’s a good thing she has a multitude of Christmas trees lit in various rooms of her house. It is difficult if it’s dark and foreboding day after day when you’re nearly blind and housebound. Usually on weekends she has lots of company so those two days go pretty well for her. I have no idea how long I’ll have RSV and be contagious, and I guess I’ll stay away from her for another week to be sure. I have a couple appointments during the week coming up, but I’ll wear a mask.
Yesterday, I stayed in pajamas after showering. What’s the use, you know? I suppose I’m lucky we don’t make a huge deal about Christmas. The Babe doesn’t like it at all. His earliest memories aren’t good ones and they just seemed to get worse through the years. He tells me he was always aware his folks struggled financially (so many did during those years), and he knew they didn’t have the money for extras that Christmas brings.
Later, as a veteran and young father, times were always tough. It didn’t help with his growing need of alcohol to kill the PTSD thoughts and memories. Most young veterans from Vietnam didn’t know what was going on in their heads much less know how to deal with it. The generation before drowned their troubled thoughts. It was the thing that was done.
After divorce, being alone at Christmas was the norm, and he couldn’t wait for it to be over. I felt that way a lot, too. I had the kids, but no one for me in my life. I’m grateful we found each other, because Christmas is more special. It’s still hard, because Dad died before Christmas, Mom’s father died on Christmas Eve, and that’s not a good memory. There are many people who have a different story of how hard the season can be.
Losing a spouse makes a holiday hard, being unable to provide for your family’s basic needs makes a holiday extra hard; and PTSD can make life hard, much less holidays. When you’d rather be left alone, when the memories are too hard and the shadows plague your thoughts, holidays are hard. If you’re having troubles with depression right now, reach out to your local pastor, a trusted friend, or give the folks at the Centering Corporation in Omaha a call. They have a bunch of resources for grief and especially holiday grief. http://www.centering.com. I highly recommend them.
As we enter days of gatherings, parties, celebrations and fun of all kinds, look around the rooms you’re in; notice who keeps to themselves, who seems sad, and especially who isn’t there. Call them. Let them know they’re important. Find out how they’re feeling. Be prepared to listen. They need to tell their story. They need to share their grief. Let them share with you. You’ll feel better by including them, they’ll feel better not only with inclusion, but knowing someone cares. We all need that. It’s a gift that keeps giving.
Look around today. Observe. Include. Have a good weekend and know we’ll see each other tomorrow.
These last days before Christmas, I’m noting some seasonal songs I enjoy hearing at Christmas. Today’s is “Celebrate Me Home,” by Kenny Loggins. This was the extended version, so it’s a nice nearly ten minute break in your day. I love the thoughts about being home for Christmas. I never lived away from home, where I couldn’t come home for Christmas. All my siblings live in town, as do most of our cousins. My first husband took leave the first Christmas he was in the Army. He came home early from a cushy gig in Germany in December 1972. His older brother was in Thailand and missed two Christmases with the family.
I only had a few gifts to wrap, three for grandkids. I have one more for Gavin to assemble, then wrap or gift bag it. It’ll be fine. I’m coping pretty well at the moment about not seeing the kids at Christmas. My daughter hasn’t been home for that in many years, and that’s ok. They have two babies and it’s hard. Her mother-in-law would be alone unless they invited her along, but I’m not sure she would like to come. That’s ok, we wouldn’t want her to be alone.
It took a long time to come to terms with what Christmas is now, for empty nesters. Because of COVID, my one son who is in town doesn’t want to get together. His restaurant chef job could be shaky, and if he became ill, he wouldn’t have any PTO. It gets so complicated.
The cute header photo of two ornaments, two of our little neighbor children made. It was such a sweet surprise! The entire family walked over to present them. It was just so thoughtful. Mom is home-schooling because of COVID, and Dad works from home. My hat is off to her. She schedules them time to be outside; run their energy out and go back inside and be quiet to not disturb Dad’s ZOOM meetings. It’s lovely to see how they work together.
I decorate with snowmen once the Christmas decorations come down. It is less of a shock to just change out some decorations instead of looking at a naked house in the cold, dark days of January. Hopefully, we will have mass vaccinations by February and we can live our lives again. I’m praying for a good outcome that is safe.
If you know of anyone alone this Christmas, try to communicate with them. They would probably love a phone call or a little bag of candy and cookies. It takes very little for a stranger to brighten a person’s day. Be Kind. Be Thoughtful. Be Courteous. Be Safe. And Spread the Christmas Message of Love, not COVID. Blessings. See you tomorrow.
No, I’m not telling you to hurry and buy something. This isn’t about that part of Christmas. It’s about a subtle yet important part of the holiday for music lovers. I believe the backgrounds of all our lives has the same commonality; some of the most beautiful music of the world.
When I grew up in the late 1950s and 1960s, public schools still sang religious songs; God was present in all schools. Of course, we parochial school kids had more of the religious singing, but we all knew the songs we heard on television, radio, and retail stores since the 1950s. Yes, Muzak was around then. They also used it in work environments to increase productivity.
Maybe I brainwash myself when I write, I do so much better while listening to music. Today’s music to blog by is Ray Scott. He is a country artist, and I love his storytelling. You want to hear a dominant voice, a funny story, listen to Ray. He will have a new album soon, I’m in. And, as an old lady I knew once said, “He’s easy on the eyes, too.” She was a riot, so prim and proper, yet there she was, making observations you’d expect to hear from a 20 something.
So while cleaning the bathroom this morning, I was listening to one of my favorite traditions on Christmas; which sadly doesn’t happen anymore. I’ll save that one for later, but I sat down and listed some songs I think of at Christmas. They may not be on everyone’s list, but they’re around us. Too early (like before Halloween). One of them is “Deck the Halls,” by Omaha’s own Mannheim Steamroller. Chip Davis came out with this unique sound in the 80s, and is world-known for his trademark sound. I believe he doesn’t play concerts anymore, years of playing drums have caused some orthopedic issues in his cervical spine; I empathise with him. It must be so hard to give up what you love.
What is up for your Saturday? The Babe and I have a major cleaning of the house scheduled as soon as he gets home. I miss the cleaning ladies, but I don’t miss having a little extra money in my pocket. I’m using it for my online writing classes and tutorials. It’s all about compromise and imposing limits on yourself.
We’re cooking a bunch of chicken pieces to eat on salads over the next few days. The diet’s going pretty well. We both want to stay on it, and it’s easier with a buddy who cooperates with the plan. My ex husband was a thin wiry guy. Even before I was overweight, he made comments about my weight, a “should you eat this?” kind of guy. He ate constantly and just burned it up. The Babe’s not been like that in all the time I’ve known him. What a kind man he is. I always tell him, “You’re my favorite husband.”
I read in my “Days of Healing Days of Joy: Daily Meditations of Adult Children of Alcoholics,” how we all make a difference. We can be an example of positivity in someone’s life; or we can be agents of hurt. There are four ways to do that. I’ve lived through all four, folks. And it’s so good to recognize those aren’t the way to treat people; and it for darned sure isn’t the way to treat yourself. Let’s work on these things the last seven days until Christmas. Make your world brighter. And some else’s, too.
Criticizing: It’s our not our business nor our place to judge other people. If you make rude comments in public about morbidly obese people, you’re wrong. Keep quiet. You can be totally wrong about “how they got like that.”
Insulting: Snide comments rob people of their dignity. Nothing gives you the right to blurt out things to another, especially in front of other people. It damages their self-esteem.
Name-Calling: You’re not “only kidding.” This is abuse. And you’re abusive. Knock it off.
Ignoring: Why be indifferent to someone? Why give someone reason to doubt their value? Who put you in charge? Ignoring people can lead them to question their own value. If you say, “Good morning,” to a homeless person gives them value and dignity. Try it.
Our thoughtlessness and bad habits have more effect on people than we think. Be Kind. Be Thoughtful. Especially during this time of Love and Joy. Be Safe, Wash Up, Masks Where They Belong; I’m looking forward to 2021, and I’d like all of you in it, too. See you tomorrow.