I hear those sleigh bells jingling….

I light up

It’s that time of year, time to clear away the clutter in front of those red and green storage tubs and bring out the decorations.  I’ll call it Christmas, that’s my tradition.  It starts with Diwali, Festival of Lights. There was a Celtic/ pagan tradition at Solstice but the Christians used that to represent that Light that came into the Dark.  (You can’t take away a good holiday). And Hanukkah, with the Menorah,  call it whatever you like….. every religion and society had a way of getting together to light up the darkest and most dismal days and ward off deep, dark depression and isolation.

The sun is taking the low road and can’t make it above a row of cedars lining my driveway. My deck is in the shade all day now so my string of solar lights is too weak to find my key at night. The porch light looks bleak, especially with no snow yet. It’s been warm for November, the grass is still green.

Way back when I was young and trying to get pregnant, I didn’t do any Christmas decorating. I had it in my mind it would be for the kids, when I had them.  After eight years of trying, I started to let go and consider life without children. Did that mean I was never going to ‘do’ Christmas and have a tree because I didn’t have kids?

The first year I decided to have a Christmas tree my husband reacted in the usual way; grumpy and calling it stupid, he cut a skinny Charlie Brown tree from our property with a “here’s your tree”.  I bought some cheap bulbs and lights from Zellers and decorated it. He liked it.

The next few years he did a complete about-face and got into it. He paid $60 for a tree because it was Balsam Fir. We started buying decorations after Christmas on sale and got excited the next year with our ‘new’ and forgotten decorations. We bought fake pine boughs, strings of lights and a big red and green storage tub for it all.  A few years later bought another big storage tub just for the lights.

When we broke up he brought me both tubs and said, “you might as well have these”. I offered to split everything but he said, “no” in a way that said, “no, I’d rather be miserable”

I’d rather be happy. Bring any bit of light and joy that I possibly can into the world, my world at least. It makes me happy to do it and to come home to it. You can’t see my house from the road and people rarely come here; I do it for myself.

I’ve really been looking forward to today. I have the day off, it’s sunny and going to be reasonably warm….. again!  I’m going to pull out those tubs and string up some white lights outside. Closer to Christmas I add a big star above the door and a light-up candy-cane.

Soon I’ll get my real, balsam Christmas tree, and yes, it IS worth the hassle. I laugh driving home with it stuffed into my hatchback. I cut the bottom with a saw and remember my Dad doing it. It takes me days to decorate it; a day for the branches to drop, a day for the lights then slowly the decorations go up in my spare time finding just the right spot. There is a whole box of icicles that have to hang just right.

(Here I am writing about it, procrastinating because of the clutter in front of the green and red tubs.)

This season is an opportunity for joy. Light up the gloom!

Christmas car





Continue reading

Abide awhile, Dude.

Tell us about a favorite character from film, theater, or literature, with whom you’d like to have a heart-to-heart. What would you talk about?

I love The Dude. No need for a heart to heart, his heart’s in the right place. I would love to sit down and smoke a big, fat doobie with him.  Hearing his take on the state of the world today would be so enjoyable and entertaining.

the dude1

The Dude, is Love, pure love, man. He’s perplexed by aggression and hate. It would be an entertaining afternoon listening and laughing.

“The Dude abides….. I take comfort in that…..”





With Sails Unfurled


This prompt from ‘theywalkthenight’  is a good description of how I’ve been feeling about my life this week. I have a sturdy ship but I’m holding on to the rudder, bobbing up and down, trying to steer through life’s storms by myself. Direction; unknown. Let the winds blow me to new shores.

Some good, some bad and the whole world in between. “Between our dreams and actions, lies this world” — Tom Waits.

I had the whole week off again (working weekends)  as we are slowed down in the bakery and they hired 4 new cashiers so don’t need me for a while. That’s been OK with me….. I socked away enough to get through this down time. Now I’m in hunker-down mode; if I stay home I don’t spend any money or use any gas. I eat what I have on hand and get a little more creative.  Actually make lentils and quinoa, squashes, sweet potatoes and broccoli.  Got a big bunch of leeks on sale that made 3 meals even better; used that wild rice in the fancy jar.

On top of that we’ve had amazing weather for November. Tuesday was so nice I went for a walk on the beach. I admit I was feeling lonely and doing that stupid thing where I imagine my ex being someone he is not ever going to be. Sometimes I miss him and hate myself for it. We were best friends for 28 years, after all. There I was, walking on the beach on a beautiful day, feeling sorry for myself for being poor and alone.

There was only one other person on the beach with her dog, walking slowly, then sat down on the sand. As I got closer I realized it was a friend, and I use that term loosely, a co-worker who had quit without notice a few months ago. She had just left her abusive husband.

She was staying in a friend’s trailer with her dog so I drove them both back to my house.  When she walked in,  she gushed, “It’s beautiful! It’s huge!”  which is not the usual reaction by a long shot but compared with where she was living; a warm, bright mansion.

We talked all afternoon and she ranted about the crap he’d put her through. She brought back the memories of being yelled at everyday, called names and constant fighting, fighting, fighting. Living in a crappy, cold cottage and having no control of your finances.

What a timely reality check on how my life is going.  I have a house that I keep up, pay bills and property taxes. I can walk on the beach on a beautiful day and not have to feel the anxiety of wondering, “What am I going to do?” “What’s going to happen to me?”

My friend said she missed the old gang at work. Yesterday we were all there as the big bosses are coming and Health and Safety so we were stocking up, cleaning and getting our Christmas products ready. It felt good being part of the gang. Trained on both sides now, breads and cakes,  I started the morning getting freshly-baked breads out and finished the shift making banana cream pies and icing birthday cakes. For that I make enough money to get by and live in this house.

It wasn’t always that way.  It took at least six months before I didn’t go home crying because my boss was so mean to me. I had crushing anxiety when I started as a cashier but didn’t give up and stuck it out. Now I feel valued as an employee and have friends at work.

I have weathered some terrible storms in the last ten years. How many years did I spend being miserable because I couldn’t see a way out?  I’ve found strength in myself I didn’t believe I had.

There are more storms in the forecast , I’m sure, but hopefully my ship is strong and my sails unfurled.




No Singing, Please.

Yay, our clocks have gone back so we aren’t saving time anymore. Stupid notion. I can’t how it can save farmers’ time? Sun up to sundown….. who cares about the numbers?

I say, ‘yay’ because now I get the prompt at 8:00 a.m. instead of 9:00.  That hour makes a big difference on whether I write or not.

In the summer 9:00 a.m. is well into the day. I’m either leaving for work or wanting to do stuff around here. Now at 8:00 a.m. the sun is still struggling up so its coffee/computer time.

We are having a glorious Indian Summer and I have the week off!  Things have slowed….. hours are cut back…. they hired 4 new cashiers and screwed me but, hey, I’m off all week and the weather is gorgeous…….can’t be upset about that!

OK, the prompt;

Safe inside, toasty warm, while water pitter-patters on the roof… describe your perfect, rainy afternoon.

On a rainy afternoon you will find me in the corner of my sectional watching an old movie on TCM. It doesn’t matter if there isn’t a good one on….. I have a few in my PVR waiting for a rainy day off. I love old movies. But it won’t be ‘Singing in the Rain’ or any other musical. I’m just not into musicals.

Humphrey Bogart, Robert Mitchum, Judy Holiday, Carol Lombard, just a few of the names that will draw me to watch whatever they made.  Or from great directors like John Huston, Billy Wilder, Alfred Hitchcock…… you know it’s going to be good.

Some are so good I can watch them every few years and enjoy my favourite parts. “Treasure of the Sierra Madre” comes to mind. Gritty and raw, no glossing over the characters.  The screw-ball comedies in the 1930’s and early 40’s had fast and funny dialogues.  Movies before WW 2 were better; something happened after the war and into the 50’s…. The McCarthy Era stifled Hollywood with fear.

The styles of fashion and hair were sophisticated and glamorous. The hip lingo of the day, architecture, current affairs, ideas…..  all held in a capsule for us to experience.

Back in the old days there were only soap operas and game shows on in the afternoon. Now there is so much choice it’s crazy and still a lot of crap. I have TCM and a PVR, I can spend any rainy day off watching a good, old movie.  If it’s chilly, there’s a fire in the woodstove and I’m snacking on something delicious.




Aw, I just got a call….. I’m working tonight. oh well, I need the hours and at least I can still enjoy the best part of today.


In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Singin’ in the Rain.”