May Your Days Be . . .

Here we are, late November.  Thanksgiving is behind us.  Christmas lies ahead.  I haven't started doing anything Christmas-related yet.  I haven't decorated.  I haven't started my shopping.  I haven't ordered cards.  I haven't listened to Christmas music.

What I have been doing . . . is a lot of thinking about All of the Christmas Things.  And making plans for doing All of the Christmas Things.  Not in a panic-y way.  Just in a making lists and prioritizing kind of way. 

How do I want to celebrate this season?
What are my priorities during this over-booked time of year?
How do I keep myself on track and not let myself get swept away by the crazier aspects of the holiday?

I decided that what I really want to do this year . . . is to make sure the holiday season is fun -- light and bright and merry.  When the Holiday Overwhelm comes knocking (because you know it will) (I'm talking about you, 10 pounds of Swedish meatballs), I want to remember . . . to make it fun.

So last week, I decided I needed a "theme song" for the holidays -- a phrase from a Christmas song that I can play on endless-loop in my head.  A snippet of a song to keep me on track and remind me of what I want from this very busy time of year. *

I decided on this one . . . 


Part of the last line of that old standby, White Christmas.  May your days be merry and bright . . . 

I figure that my theme song can help me remember my priority this season.  When I'm trying to decide whether (or not) to do One More Thing, or fit some other obligation into my schedule, I can ask myself:  Will it make things merry and bright?  Because I can't do everything.  And I'm tired of trying to do just that.  This year?  It's all about merry and bright!

How about you?  Do you need a theme song this year?

  • Maybe Laughing All the Way . . . if you're trying to keep your sense of humor this holiday season
  • Or All is Calm . . . if you're trying to relax and let things go
  • Deck the Halls . . . if you're focused on the d├ęcor this year
  • Or Throw Cares Away . . . if you're usually trying to do too much and end up panicking
  • How about Oh What Fun . . . if you're looking to lighten up
  • Or Comfort and Joy . . . if you're wanting a hygge-holiday

Let's sing our way through the holidays this year -- and get just what we want!

* I had the idea of finding my holiday "theme song" . . . and then I listened to the Happier podcast last week and laughed when Gretchen and Elizabeth started talking about finding a "holiday motto."  Much the same concept (only they're famous)! 


I was running an errand at World Market yesterday when I found that Merry and Bright ornament (in the photo).  Of course, I had to have it -- a lovely visual reminder of my holiday theme song.

Sometimes Mondays

. . . look pretty black-and-white.


(Heavy on the white!)

I hope your Thanksgiving time was peaceful and restful, with just enough pie.  And I hope you're easing yourself back into "regular time" today.  (Unless you happen to live in Southwest Michigan and thereabouts . . . where you're probably hunkering down for another day off.)

How's YOUR Monday looking?


Thankful Hearts

Happy Thanksgiving!


"Give us thankful hearts . . . in this season of Thy Thanksgiving.  May we be thankful for health and strength, for sun and rain and peace.  Let us seize the day and the opportunity and strive for that greatness of spirit that measures life not by its disappointments but by its possibilities, and let us ever remember that true gratitude and appreciation shows itself neither in independence nor satisfaction but passes the gift joyfully on in larger and better form."
                                                    --- W. E. B. DuBois

Thank you for sharing this space with me.  
Enjoy your day, and may your heart be filled with thanks.


This list came out this week in the New York Times.  Each year, I'm surprised by this list - the 100 Notable Books of [fill in year here].  I mean, I regularly scan the New York Times book reviews, and I (mainly) read from the longlists of the Man Booker Prize, the Women's Prize, and the National Book Award.


And yet . . . 

I usually haven't even heard of the 100 Notable Books of [fill in year here]!

This year, I've read 5.  (Which includes one I'm in the midst of reading right now.)  And a few more are on my want-to-read list.  But not many.


Looks like my list of possibilities just got longer.  (Again.)

How about YOU?  How many have you read? 

Sometimes Mondays

. . . feel like the start of something new.


This year, I've decided to re-think all the ways I celebrate the holidays.   Kind of a . . .Kon-Mari of my holiday traditions.  I know it's time to let some things go -- and then, perhaps, I can make room for the new and the different.  Or just create some empty space to relax and enjoy.

And I'm kicking things off with a big Thanksgiving . . . shift.  
Because this will be the first year that none of my kids will be around my table.  In fact, this will be the first year that NO ONE (even Tom) will be around my table!  

This Thanksgiving, I'll be driving Tom to the airport  . . . so he can fly off for another fishing adventure at his favorite lodge in Patagonia.  I remember many, many months ago, when Tom was first arranging his trip, and he told me it would mean flying out on Thanksgiving Day.  My first thought was . . . (gasp) Not Thanksgiving!  But that thought only lasted about 15 seconds.  Because . . . why not?  We already knew the kids wouldn't be able to come home for Thanksgiving this year.  It would be just Tom and my dad and I anyway . . . 

So why not celebrate Thanksgiving on a different day???  We'll be celebrating with our turkey dinner tomorrow night! 

(And isn't this the perfect way to start my holiday shake-up?)

Big As the Nose On Your Face


Yesterday I got a new phone.  (Very cool.)  But there was a little glitch in the setting-up . . . and I needed to "erase" and "re-pair" (not repair; just re-pair . . . as in bluetooth) my Apple Watch with my new phone.  (Not cool.)  Now, if you've read David Sedaris' newest book, Calypso, you'll be familiar with David's obsession with his FitBit and Apple Watch.  I'm just . . . slightly less obsessed with my Apple Watch.  So losing all my watch data and awards and records and all of that?  I got an eye twitch.  But only for a couple of minutes.  (It's not like I lost my contacts or my photos or anything. . . )  I'm coping.

Anyway.  Here's something fun for you to read today . . . while I play with my new phone and marvel at the facial recognition feature.


A couple of weeks ago, I went to Chicago for the SOFA exhibition.  It was an overload of cool stuff.  And pricey stuff.  And some really bizarre stuff.  (More to come.  Eventually.)

Here's my favorite thing from the exhibition . . . 


It's called "Truth Be Told" by artist Joan Rasmussen.

Joan, who creates her sculptures from found objects and clay, happened to be in the gallery space when I walked in, and she was happy to tell me all about the piece -- which is about 3 feet tall and designed to hang on a wall.

Joan told me that she found the little wooden cabinet first.  The cabinet has a hinged door that opens to reveal about 99 little compartments.  She knew as soon as she saw the cabinet that it would be a perfect torso, and she added the head and limbs to form a clown.

Inside the cabinet, Joan crafted a small "tablet" to fit into each compartment.  Each little tablet has a . . . lie . . . written on it.  Properly attributed to its teller, of course.


Each tablet is attached to the cabinet, so you can easily fit them back in place, or you can let them rest on the shelf, or dangle from the compartments.  

Joan encouraged me to explore all the lies.  While most of them were political in nature (and certainly represent Joan's response to the current state of affairs), some were more innocuous . . . about Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy, for example.  And the last tablet in the cabinet?


A quote from Pinocchio, of course!

Best of all?  The clown is holding a counter in his hand.


Each day, Joan checks a site like this one (which tracks the number of lies Trump has told since his inauguration) and adjusts the counter appropriately.  (The counter does get clicked during the day by gallery visitors like me, who can't help but add a few clicks to the counter.  Joan encourages this.)

I loved this piece.  (I actually loved ALL of Joan's work.  It's incredible.)  It was fun and whimsical . . . all the while making a point.  

And telling the truth.


Have a great weekend!  (I'll just be sitting here.  Playing with my phone.)


In Other News

These days, I avoid watching and listening to the news, entirely.  I even limit myself when it comes to reading the news these days.  But, one thing I do every day . . . is scan the headlines.  (I want to know what's going on, but I don't want to upset myself with news-overload.  Y'know?)

Anyway.  Sometimes the headlines are . . . interesting!  My son-in-law, Keith, has a little project going.  He's "collecting" strange and humorous headlines, and I've decided to help.  (Unsure, of course, if my help is welcome or annoying.  But he's a very good sport and seems to be willing to humor me.)  Here are three I've sent him recently:

1 - From our local online "newspaper":


2 - And here's another gem from our local online news source:


3 - And, saving the best for last, here's my favorite headline EVER . . . from NPR:


(If you want to actually read that NPR story, here's the link.)

And now you know what to do if you stumble across an odd headline . . . send them on to me!  And I'll pass them along to Keith.  (Until he cries "uncle"!)


Be sure to stop in at Carole's for more Three on Thursday posts!


Unraveling . . . On Paper

I'm busy, knitting a few Christmas presents (and making fine progress, I might add; no panic at this point), so I have nothing to show for it here yet.  

In the meantime, here are a couple of other things I've been . . . unraveling.  I finished my colored pencil drawing of the water lily in my garden pond a couple of weeks ago.


And then I started a drawing of my lake up at the cottage.  (If you use your imagination, and squint just a bit, you can maybe-sorta-see that there is mist coming off the water.)


Still a way to go on the lake drawing, but I'm not tempted to throw it in the trash!  (Which is the drawing equivalent of . . . unraveling.)

How about YOU?  What are you working on this week?


If you're curious about what I've been knitting -- and you happen to be on Ravelry (Ha!  None of my gift-recipients are. . . ) -- you can see this and this.


Be sure to visit Kat today, for actual knitting (and, hopefully, not much actual unraveling).

Thinking About . . . 60

Way back . . . in 1996 . . . as my mom was getting ready to celebrate her 60th birthday, she struggled.  The whole concept of aging was hard for her to accept, and she fought it.


(My mom and dad in July 1996, as they celebrated their 40th anniversary -- days after my mom's 60th birthday.)

I think that, somehow, for my mom, "turning 60" meant walking through a door clearly marked ELDERLY.

I didn't understand this at all at the time, and quite frankly, I probably didn't try that hard.  Because as my mom was turning 60, I was 37.  With a 7-year-old and a 4-year-old. . .  


And a job.  And a dog.  And a husband who worked really hard.  And we were building our cottage.  And I was applying for grad school.  So.  Probably not at my most sympathetic.

And especially because my mom was vibrant, active, beautiful!  Not . . . OLD.  And certainly not on the verge of elderly.

But, at 60, she was mourning her younger self.  The smooth skin.  The tiny waist.  Jeans that fit.  Feeling good in a bathing suit.  A sense that life had meaning and purpose . . . and a future.  She was beginning to feel time slipping away.  And she didn't like it at all.

Eventually, she snapped out of it and got through it.  She turned 60 and settled into her life and pretty soon, we kind of forgot the difficulties she had . . . turning 60.

Fast forward . . . 23 years.

Now, it's me on the cusp of 60.


I've been thinking a lot about my mom.  Remembering what a hard time she had when she was standing where I am today.  And I've been thinking about how . . . I don't feel like my mom did.  At all.  Not even a little bit.

It makes me wonder why.  What's the difference?  Why was 60 so hard for my mom . . . but not for me?  

First, there's the cancer thing.  Once I got through chemo, I just didn't care about how old I was anymore.  Because getting older . . . means you're still alive!  And, for me, that's a gift.  (More birthdays!  Yes, please!)

So there is that perspective.  But even without the cancer thing, I just don't feel bad about getting older.  Sure, there are things that just suck about aging (lack of collagen in the skin, for example, or degrading eyesight; colonoscopies; the shingles shot. . .to name just a few), but generally, I feel READY to to turn 60.  
Ready to embrace my years -- ALL of them.  
Ready to tackle aging -- with intention!

Because, really.
What ELSE is there to do about it?

As I turn 60 next year, I'm going to be exploring . . . aging with intention.  I want to embrace turning 60 (and 70) (and 80) . . . 

  • feeling as good as I can
  • feeling as happy as I can
  • feeling as badass as I can

So stay tuned.
(Because we're all in this together.)

Sometimes Mondays

. . . look like you better get your butt in gear.


(Yeah.  This photo has nothing to do with Mondays at all.  But it is pretty.  And it will serve to remind me that I still owe you a post about the SOFA exhibit I went to in Chicago . . . 10 days ago already.  Because this is one of the photos I took at SOFA.)

Last week became one of those "lost weeks" for me.  Between the election and then that dang shingles shot . . . and then feeling like I was entitled to a bit of a break because of that dang shingles shot . . . and some other commitments, I just sort of checked out on Regular Life.

Definitely time to get my butt in gear!
(And how about YOU?  How's your Monday looking so far?)