Home, Sweet Home

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  To say I am a homebody would be quite the understatement. I just love being home, in my little sanctuary. Especially in the winter, when those bitter winds are wrapping themselves around my chilled-to-the-bone body. I feel like I am running around so much these days, that a whole day of not having to go anywhere is, indeed, a treasure. Seriously, I don’t even want to drive the mile and a half to our feed store, and I will not venture so far as to the mailbox. These cherished days at home, with absolutely nothing on the agenda, excite me as much, I think, as a trip to Hawaii would someone else. Obviously, my needs and wants are simple.

  And today is one of those glorious days, as was yesterday. Ah, two stay-at-home days in a row. Unheard of! Oh, I have big plans, most of which will be carried out in my flannel nightie. I will write my column (which I am doing right now), and I will read and I will watch reruns of “House.” I will spend some time on the book I am writing for my Swedish grandson. (He, of course, is the hero of the story.) I will lollygag on the phone with friends. I will revel in my Christmas lights, which will be with me until the spring. I might do some coloring as I listen to some soul-soothing music. I’m sure popcorn will wiggle its way into the day at some point. I will not-I repeat, not-be cleaning the house, as this is, after all, my mini vacation. Today I am a lady of leisure. Well, I suppose it wouldn’t hurt to sweep up a couple of the larger dust bunnies. But all in all, it’s a day when the world stops just outside my door, and I am recharging my batteries, so to speak, so that when I re-enter the world, I am ready to go.

  Friends tell me they get bored if they spend too much time at home. I never do. To use a term my folks often used, I love putzing around the house. Just doing whatever my little heart desires. Staying in the moment. In the warm seasons I am outside all afternoon reading. In the summer I will be swirling around in my pool. None of this ever gets old for me.

  I wonder if these days would feel so golden if I had a whole slew of them, one after another, thus making them not quite so much the occasional treat, but rather a routine matter. I think they would still hold great delight for me. Oh, I wouldn’t want to spend every day just schlepping back and forth between the couch and the fridge. (Or would I!) I would head out the door from time to time. But I do suspect that I was meant for a life of leisure. Only someone did not get the memo!

  So tomorrow I will enter the world again. I will be responsible again. I will do what needs to be done. But today-today is mine to have and to hold, in any manner I see fit. Today there are no bills to worry about or obligations to meet. Today is golden. Today I am in my own little paradise. In my flannel nightie, of course.

 

 

 

 

More Doable Resolutions, I Hope

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Another year, and, again, we are inundated with plans for our “improved” self. We will lose the weight, we will get off the couch and out the door with our walking shoes laced up, we will write that novel, we will find the love of our life. Well, I am here to say that I will not be doing any of those things. I’m not even going to try. Oh, in past years I tried alright. I was good for maybe two weeks, and then I fell back into my old ways. So now I avoid the disappointment. I set my sights much lower. I’m looking for things that are a bit more doable.

I would like to give more attention to my toenails. In short, to clip them before they become talons. I don’t give them a passing thought until they start poking holes in my socks, and stabbing me when I roll over at night.

I need to be better about mowing the lawn this summer. I really do. I have a lawnmower that has blades, no engine, so it takes a little more muscle, but once I get going I am fine. It’s the “getting going” part that has me stymied. I usually wait until the yard has taken on a striking resemblance to the Everglades, and I fear there could be some serious wildlife buried in there.

I would like to open the fridge door and not see anything in there with fuzz on it. I can’t even identify some things, they have taken on such a grotesque appearance. I fully expect them to jump out at me and yell “Boo!”

I need to eat more fruit, so that I can meet my daily quota of vitamin C. It’s just that fruit bores me so. I start off with the best of intentions, buying this fruit or that. And then it all turns into the aforementioned fuzz-bearing stuff in the fridge, because it has, once again, been neglected. All that good-for-me fruit just travels from Stop N’ Shop to my fridge to my garbage can. I don’t think it is very happy about its trajectory.

It wouldn’t hurt to cut down on my viewings of Dr. Phil. I’m afraid I may be a bit hooked, but I would like to not be. I watch it nearly every night, but I think that might not be the best thing for me. So much of it is people yelling and screaming at each other, not to mention the good doctor’s snide comments and sarcasm. The more base aspects of human nature seem to be highlighted, and I would like to bathe myself in a more gentle, more positive and light-focused energy. But there I am every night at 7:00.

I might want to take a bit more care with my nighttime snacking. I always feel that what is on my lap, as I am perched in front of my TV, makes its way quite nicely into my mouth. But then, without thinking about it, I run my fingers along the side of the cushion, and what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a cornucopia of treats that have slithered away into the dark recesses of my couch. I find popcorn and crackers and nuts, and all kinds of goodies. I hate to think I let so much as one morsel of my “yummies” slip away. On the other hand, it is like having my own little pantry, for things to be savored in the future.

It would probably be a good idea if I stop lopping off recalcitrant strands of my hair that just love to pop up. I never know what to do with them-they stick out like antennae-so I solve the problem (well, I don’t actually) by taking the scissors to them. But all that does is keep me in a perennial lopsided appearance in the head region. Nothing ever gets a chance to grow out and thus, behave itself.

I like to think I will be brushing my long-haired kitty, Dakota, on a regular basis. I like to think that. I have been, I am somewhat ashamed to say, sorely remiss in this area. I just never think about it. She always looks so shiny and smooth. And then, overnight it seems, she is just one big wad of matted hair, which I am not able to “unwad” because I have missed my window of opportunity, and I must schlep her off to the vet so that they can work their magic on her. I really must do better.

It probably wouldn’t be a bad idea to get the winter boots before the first snowstorm.

I have told myself that this year I will not be so obnoxious about my birthday. I start campaigning for it months in advance, and will even tell total strangers about my upcoming BIG DAY. I was thinking that I would be a bit more mellow about the whole thing this time around. Well, I do not have high hopes for this one. Just as a reminder, you might want to mark off March 29 on your calendar. See? No high hopes for this one.

And last, but certainly not least, I want to be privy to more sunrises and sunsets. To take notice of the songbirds. To feel the magic of every day. To open my arms up wide and announce to the Powers That Be, “I am ready to receive the very best that you’ve got. Because I deserve it.” We all do.

And if you would like to pop over for a little visit, we can sit on my couch and fish out some snacks. There’s bound to be something good in there.

Happy New Year, and here’s to a spectacular 2020 for all of us.

 

So What Kind of a Year Will You Be Having?

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So here comes another year rolling around. And most of us cannot help but wonder what it will be bringing. Hope does, indeed, spring eternal. Will this be the year all our dreams come true? It just might be. Just for fun, I took a gander at what the Internet predicts for each of the zodiac signs. Take a look at this. It might have you ringing in the New Year with more enthusiasm than ever. Depending on your sign, of course!

Aries (March 21-April 19)

Everything will work out in your favor, but you need to take the initiative and make the first move.

Taurus (April 20-May 20)

It looks to be a calm and steady year for you folks. You’ll be ready to settle down this year.

Gemini (May 21-June 20)

You need to set the pace for yourself this year. If life feels too slow, become more active. If life seems too fast, slow down.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)

Be ready for changes. Your love life and your career will see an improvement.

Leo (July 23-August 22)

Life will be full of twists and turns, but overall, this will be an enjoyable year.

Virgo (August 23-September 22)

Though you are usually practical, you may make some very impulsive decisions. Think twice before making any serious commitments.

Libra (September 23-October 22)

This will be a relatively easy year for you. Relax and rejuvenate. Enjoy. Make merry.

Scorpio (October 23-November 21)

You can look forward to a year of liberation and freedom. You will feel free of the restrictions and limitations in your life.

Sagittarius (November 22-December 21)

This will be a year of resolutions. It’s a good year to let go of past baggage and to clean up aspects of your life that have been bothering you.

Capricorn (December 22-January 19)

You will strive for calm and tranquility, as you are tired of the rat race and are ready to take a break.

Aquarius (January 20-February 18)

This is the year to prove your abilities. You will be at your creative peak.

Pisces (February 19-March 20)

This will be a year of excitement and adventure.

Well, I hope your particular horoscope brings you glad tidings. Mine did, mostly. I’m of the Aries variety-being assured that everything will work out in my favor, but at the same time being advised to take some initiative. That’s a tough one for me. I just hate leaving my couch! Maybe I’ll scoot over and join the Libra folks, who are to relax and rejuvenate and make merry. I would love to make merry.

And here’s something that just might put the giddy-up in your step. 2020 is predicted to be “a refreshing year for all signs, and a year of new opportunities.” Let’s hope.

 

Winter – Ugh!

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I am not on board with winter this year. At all. Which is unusual for me. I mourned summer’s departure, as I always do. I don’t let summer go easily. I try, in vain of course, to hold on with both hands. But I usually adjust, in time, to the changing of the seasons. I relish fall’s crisp, colorful days. And when winter shows up, I take the leap. I am all in. I cherish the cozy nights and the stillness and the snow in the trees.

Well, I’m not there yet, and I’m not sure that I will be. I have a bit of a “humbug” attitude this year. I get up at a ridiculously early hour, by most people’s standards, and every morning the black-as-tar darkness outside my bedroom window has me shrinking down under the covers, longing for more time in my beloved bed. And I get up, and it always feels cold. This year I feel like a persistent chill has taken up residence in my bones, with no plans for an early departure. And then it feels like an eternity before the night gives way to the day. I keep checking, but that sun does take its time. I’m envious. It, apparently, gets to sleep in.

I used to admire the bare trees. Without the camouflage of their leaves you can see their shapes, their bones. I found beauty in them. Of a different sort than spring’s display, but beauty nevertheless. But now they just look ugly and bleak to me. I am in sore need of some green. I attempt to marvel at the snow and the ice in the trees, the winter wonderland before me. It really is beautiful, after a snowstorm or an ice storm. But these days I am impressed for perhaps a minute and a half, and then I head out to my driveway with my snow shovel, and all fascination with the snow has vanished.

I have always hated winter driving, and that is not going to change. I am the person who inches along at a maddening slow speed-turtles could pass me-frustrating anyone behind me. And, of course, that person feels that he or she absolutely must tailgate, which does nothing to calm me down. My knuckles are white, I am gripping the steering wheel so tightly. My stomach is in knots. I resort to prayer. When the meteorologist warns us of an impending storm, and I know I must navigate through it, I worry incessantly. I try not do, but I always do.

Well, as I write this, we are only four days away from the winter solstice-the shortest day of the year. And the next day we start creeping, slowly but surely, back toward the sun. That gives me great cheer. I have heard, or read, that we get back two minutes of daylight a day. I’ll take ‘em! I keep track. In two weeks’ time we are treated to nearly a half-hour more of light. My bones are starting to thaw out, just thinking about it.

I am trying to have a good attitude, I really am. When the winter winds are assaulting me, and my feet are cold and wet from the slush, I tell myself that these days will only make me appreciate those soft, warm spring days all the more. It is, I realize, all about contrast. Years ago I worked with a woman who was from California. She moved to our fair state because, “Believe it or not, when every day is 72 degrees and sunny, it gets boring.” I believed her.

My friends, please forgive the litany of complaints. Next week I will be back to my sunny self, I promise. Meanwhile, if you see a car travelling at about three miles per hour, in a snowstorm, know that it is me. And please give me a wide berth. You already know my nerves are jangled.

 

 

 

Dippsie Doodle Strikes Again!

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I may be something of a dippsie doodle. This is not a recent thing, mind you, brought on by the march of time. This has been a lifelong pattern. I used to be appalled by the rather frequent faux pas, but now I accept myself, warts and all, knowing that my head is almost always in the clouds, making navigation down here on the earth plane a bit tricky. If not downright funny. Let me give you a glimpse into how my mind works. Or rather, sometimes doesn’t work.

I recently took a dog walking job. I had been to the house a couple of times, but in my usual fashion, I did not pay much attention to my surroundings. You know, my mind being such an airborne thing and all. The woman had told me that the door would be unlocked when I came the next time. So the following week I proceeded to march into the house, calling out the dog’s name. I heard, “Hello?” “Mary?” I called back. I was surprised to be greeted by a woman I had never laid eyes on. Yep, much to my horror, and I am sure hers, I was in the wrong house. A friend told me, jokingly (at least, I hope jokingly), that was a home invasion. Well, lucky for me, this encroached-upon woman was absolutely delightful. When I called out the dog’s name and his person’s name, she knew where I had intended to be. I apologized profusely, thinking how horrified I would be if some stranger just walked willy-nilly into my house.

And that’s not all. My “dippsie doodleness” has been with me from a young age, as you will soon see. There was the time my mother and I were in the grocery store and she told me to put the groceries in the car while she paid for them. Which I did. Or thought I did anyway. When we went out to the car, we saw that there were no vittles to be found. I was dumbfounded. “But I put the bags next to the umbrella in the back seat,” I wailed. My mother proceeded to tell me, in a not-so-calm manner, that we did not have an umbrella in the back seat, and it was obvious that I had put the groceries in the wrong car. Well, somebody had a good supper that night. It wasn’t us.

And of course, I am always hugging strangers, thinking that I know them. I don’t. Years ago I was to meet someone for lunch-someone with whom I had taken a hypnosis class, and whom I had not seen in a while (that last one is my defense). So I rushed up to some poor unsuspecting woman, exclaiming how good she looked and how wonderful it was to see her. To her credit, she hugged me back and thanked me for the compliments, but then told me that she had no idea who I was. Oops!

I have, on more than one occasion, hopped into the wrong car. And been grateful that the car’s owner did not come out at that particular time. I might have had the appearance of a car thief.

I have also been known to walk off with other people’s carts in the grocery store. When I realize that nothing in that cart looks remotely familiar, I must scour the store, aisle-by-aisle, looking for its rightful owner.

So a word to the wise. You might want to lock your doors, or someday you may come downstairs and find me perched on your couch, watching one of my favorite sitcoms. You might, however, want to leave your car doors unlocked. That could get you some free groceries.

 

With a Little Help From my Calendar

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As the year draws to a close, I get a multitude of calendars from the animal organizations to which I contribute. I just love them! You’d think I had received some fine jewelry, they thrill me so. They are so pretty, with the most heartwarming pictures of puppies and kittens and every other adorable animal you can think of. I am especially fond of the ones that impart each month with words of inspiration and wisdom. I need inspiration and wisdom. Following is the sage advice given by the calendar that will be perched on my wall throughout 2020, boosting my morale all along the way.

The theme for January is respect. And now Aretha Franklin’s song, where she sings about respect, and she spells it out, is dancing around in my head. Aretha, you really do live on forever!

February, not surprisingly, is about love. I’ve got this one. I love so many things, and so many people (especially my sons and my grandson), and so many animals (Dakota and Shiloh, that would be you). Love I’ve got by the bushel.

March is for playfulness. I daresay, I have a lot of that. I have, deep down (and maybe not so deep down), the spirit of a child. I have never really grown up, and I do not intend to ever do so.

(Oh, and lest you need a reminder, my Big Day, a.k.a. my birthday, is March 29; I’m going to play.)

April encourages companionship. I am lucky to have wonderful friends whom I adore. And two awesome kitties who just cannot get enough cuddling. Me, either!

May would like me to show kindness. I like to think that I do, more often than not. I always hold doors for people, and I smile at strangers, and I help short people (well, shorter than me) get things off the top shelves in the store, and I let cars get in front of me.

June wants me to bask in graciousness. I wasn’t even sure of the exact definition of this word, so I turned to my dictionary. The first meaning is “having or showing kindness, courtesy, charm, etc.” I am courteous, but I’m not sure how charming I am. I may have to work on this one.

The buzz word for July is protection. I think this is open to interpretation. Protect what? Protect my home? My person? My heart? Protect myself from “the slings and arrows” of life? Upon introspection, I am taking it to mean that I should protect myself from anything or anyone  not for my highest good. To avoid whatever or whomever that would bring me down, not raise me up. To make self-love and self-care a priority.

August urges me to live a life of acceptance. I really need to work on this one. Oh, I try not to rail against life’s misfortunes. Not even misfortunes. I can get my knickers in a knot when things simply don’t go my way. I am trying to take my hands off the steering wheel, but like I said, this is a big one for me.

September wants me to live a life of gratitude. That has always been my goal, but I am afraid I need almost constant reminding. I get caught up in life’s travails, and I forget. Oh, but when I do remember, life is magic, and everything is good, and I am blessed. I want to live in that place more often.

October would have me be hospitable. I rarely get a visitor, but alright. I can put the tea on.

November would have me show tenderness toward others. Tenderness for all critters, both the four-legged and the two-legged, I have, in spades. No stretch there.

And rounding out the year, December’s advice is belonging. “The heart finds peace in belonging,” it tells me. Amen to that! Living alone as I do, I can sometimes feel adrift. But then a friend calls and tells me how much I mean to her, and my boys call and tell me how much they love me, and I head out the door and mingle with all sorts of delightful and friendly folks as I go about my errands, and I realize that I belong to a lot of people. I’m not adrift at all.

Well, I think my new calendar has a lot of plans for me. It obviously wants me to be the best person I can be. I hope I don’t disappoint. And if you want to connect with me in 2020, you might want to pop in sometime in November. I’ll be working on my hospitality skills then. Or you might want to hook up with me in March, when I will be playful and a lot of fun.

I hope your 2020 is awesome. With your calendar’s help, of course!

 

 

 

A Letter to Santa

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Dear Santa,

Well, here we are again. Another year gone by. These years seem to have wings on them, don’t they?

I so enjoy our annual letters, as I do see you as a lifelong friend. You were so good to me when I was a wee one. You brought me, over the years, sleds and flying saucers and ice skates and dolls that cried. You did not disappoint. Of course, as you know, I spent the weeks leading up to your arrival trying to get on your “nice” list. Yes, I admit, I was buttering you up. In my defense, though, my uncle used to tell me stories of how one Christmas he only received coal in his stocking because you had put him on the “naughty” list. I found this to be a very disturbing story. I didn’t want coal, so I made sure to be on my best behavior at this time of the year. Well, time has matured me, and, hopefully, made me better and wiser. I no longer use those tactics, being nice just before Christmas so that I can get presents. Now I try to be nice all year long. Just because. I don’t always make it, but I like to think more often than not.

I guess you know by now that the Missus wrote to me. Oh, isn’t this just so much fun! (I hope the elves don’t feel left out. I imagine I will get around to them sometime.) She sounds like such a lovely lady. I would love to meet her sometime. Perhaps we could bond over tea and, of course, cookies. However, my itinerary does not lean toward any trips to the North Pole in the foreseeable future. Maybe you could bring her with you on Christmas Eve, and she could just hang out with me while you are running your errands. No? Well, it was worth a shot. I know, you have no room for passengers, what with all the toys and such.

I’m so glad that Ethel wrote to me. She gave me a bird’s eye view of your life during the off season. You know, she loves you dearly and is a bit concerned about your health and your slowly but surely expanding middle. So she asked me to put out carrots sticks for you on your Big Night. You know I always leave something for you, as a way of thanking you for all the good Christmases you have given me. Dearest Santa, I can feel you cringing at the mere mention of carrot sticks. I hear you! I’m a vegan and even I find them boring. Alright, you wore me down. I will sneak you a couple of cookies. Please don’t tell on me.

Alright, let’s get down to business here. About the Speedo. Now that’s a visual I could live without. But in all honesty, I admire your hutzpah. You are being your own person and obviously not giving a fig about what others think. Good for you! I am not so brave. I know what I look like in a bathing suit. I tend to let only close trusted friends see me in it.

Your Lady Love says that you enjoy soap operas. I know of what you speak. For many years I was hooked on “Guiding Light.” Unlike the other soaps, it moved along at a good clip. If you missed a day you did not know why Beth and Phillip went their separate ways, or who was fooling around with whom, on the sly. When the show ended I went through a period of mourning.

It seems that you have a lot of fun in the snow. Good thing, since there is so much of it in your neck of the woods. Eons ago I loved the snow, too. I was always playing in it. But now it just means shoveling and slippery roads. I guess the kid in me has gone by the wayside. Of course, you don’t have to shovel. I believe you keep your sleigh in the garage. And you certainly don’t have to worry about tough driving, since you will not be on the roads. Although I imagine the visibility could be poor, up where you are flying, if there is a snowstorm. But I know that Rudolph and the gang will steer you safely through.

I know that these days you are spending long hours in your shop. Things have changed a lot over the years, haven’t they? Now it is not so much Barbie dolls and action figures, but electronic games. Well, you are keeping up with the times nicely, Santa, as evidenced by all the happy children who wake up to these electronic marvels. I don’t think that Radio Shack exists anymore, but I believe, in days gone by, you could be seen strolling up and down their aisles, checking out what was in favor that year.

Well, Santa, say hi to the Missus for me, and to the elves, and pat the reindeer on the head for me, and maybe scratch behind their ears. I know that I started this letter by saying that I am not wrangling for presents, and I am trying to be nice just to be nice. But you know, if you were to leave a present or two for me under the tree, I would not object. I mean, I always hold doors for people.  Does that give me any points?

Merry Christmas to you, dear Santa.

 

 

Your Lifelong Pal,

Diana