Friday, December 30, 2011

only 18 days . . .

I know the holidays are behind us, but I finally have time to catch-up.  This was my article for the Leaf Chronicle on Dec 11th  As it is Dec 30th, I will be posting the remainder of the December articles in “rapid fire successions.”  I think I feel a New Year’s resolutions forming.

The countdown is on the chalkboard. The other day it occurred to me that we’re less than twenty days out from Christmas! YIKES! So, I wrote this on my chalkboard, “Only 18 days left to decorate, shop, bake, clean and . . .”

18 days chalkboard

Just for the record, it still reads “18” days. (You do the math.) Raise your hand if you’re in denial, as well. If I don’t change it, maybe the days will magically remain. What happened to “the gift of time” I waxed on about two weeks ago? Where’d it go?

I’ll tell you where—to work. I have been so busy at the shop and with clients that I haven’t had time to do any of the necessary preparations for our household. Throw-in a backed-up sewer line, a few volunteer commitments, and a few loads of laundry and you have a really full schedule.

I’m sure each and every one of you can relate to this dilemma. Remember, misery loves company.

But wait, is that a fully decorated Christmas tree I see through your picture window? And those lights on your house, I know they haven’t been there all year. And, thank you, thank you for the lovely Christmas Greeting with the well-coordinated-in-red-attire photo of your family. When did you find the time to get all of that done? I mean, the family photo alone would be an impossible feat of scheduling for our crew.

Yet, I promised myself I wouldn’t stress out this year.

Then, the phone call that alerts me my daughter’s MRI for her wrist has to be rescheduled due to a problem with the machine. Dad was going to take her on Friday; now Mom has to take her—to Nashville—on Wednesday (a day previously set aside for some shopping and decorating). That means another week of no gymnastics—she is not going to like that. (I begged and pleaded, but I couldn’t get the MRI scheduling tech to call my daughter for me.) Another day—lost—and it hasn’t even happened yet! I’m mourning the loss of a future day.

Still not stressing.

It will all be fine. Once I submit this article, then run home to take and send the lovely photo accompanying it, I’ll then have a few hours before I return to downtown to join dear friends for a toast to the season. I can use that time to add lights to the tree we must get decorated this weekend. That’s how it will happen—in stages.

As you are running around trying to accomplish it all—think about the decorating you can do in stages. For instance, all of my trees are up. Tonight I’ll decorate the aluminum tinsel tree and return the boxes to storage. Tomorrow, I’ll aim for decorations on a different tree and in the kitchen.

You’ve got the general idea. I do make use of the teenagers in the house. They bring down and return the storage boxes as directed. I’m responsible for most of the decorating, but the youngest is anxious for it to happen, so she may start setting-up the nutcrackers or Santa Claus figures.

Her first chore however is to vacuum the floors so the fur balls will stop chasing me as I frenetically spin through the house, wondering what to do next. They just mock my futility and I will not stand for that—it stresses me out!

Thanks for your indulgence!


Friday, December 9, 2011

The Gift of Time

This was my Leaf Chronicle article for Nov 27th—unfortunately, there was a mix-up and it wasn’t published, well, at least not under my byline.  Then they ran it last week—so it’s actually two weeks old.  Regardless, I’ll share it with you now:


As I write this, there is a lovely sunrise on this cool, clear day. I am repositioning my writing table so I enjoy it. Still not a direct view, but I can see it reflected in my neighbor’s windows.

Today, I will head to the shop early to prepare for what I hope will be a busy day of shoppers and visits with my Hodgepodge friends. I hope to hear stories of Thanksgiving successes and mishaps. I also hope everyone is in the frame of mind that this season should bring--a season of love and sharing.

We shouldn’t be stressed-out about the holidays. We should be able to enjoy it and not dread it. Actually, I’ve never dreaded the holidays, but I have been stressed. This year, I am determined to be stress free. Already, I’m noticing things don’t feel rushed.

vintage advent calendar

I feel that we’ve been given some extra time this year. Thanksgiving was early--we still have nearly a full week of November left. So, there you go--the gift of time! A little extra time to prepare--to do your shopping, to plan your menus, to decorate your home. You’re welcome.

gift of time

No, really. I want you to have it.

Okay, so the gift wasn’t from me, but it’s for you and it’s what you’ve always wanted:

More time.



Today, I’m going to attempt to map-out the rest of my year. I have a calendar full of appointments with clients, volunteer meetings and various other obligations, but I haven’t figured out when I will decorate our house for the holidays. Today, I plan to put that on the schedule.

This weekend the kids did me the huge favor of prepping the storage area for easier access to the Christmas decorations. They went through our storage boxes full of clothes to determine what could be donated and what could be handed down to cousins. They loaded six--no, more than that--of those lawn-sized garbage bags into the car. I haven’t had the opportunity to go see, but I am sure that opened-up a huge amount of space in our storage area. (I will try to leave it open--I tend to fill those spaces far too easily!)

So with that chore out of the way, we should be able to get to the decorating right away. That was the goal of my youngest. She wanted to start bringing down the tree and decorations on Thanksgiving day! Nope, not ready for that!

I will, however, allow them to set-up the tree and determine the status of our lights, but no ornaments. We may go ahead and set-up the smaller trees, too--those we can decorate.

hydrangea tree

Some folks have had their Christmas decorating schedule down in their books of traditions since time immemorial. I envy those people. They know when their trees will be decorated, the presents purchased and Christmas cards sent. I’ve never been one of those people. I get a lot done, but it’s not on any predetermined schedule. It just happens.

It happens in between the hours spent at the shop, the husband’s new work schedule and the kids’ school and activities. Somehow it all happens and we have fun getting there!

That wraps-up the article.  I wrote the follow-up article yesterday—to be published this Sunday.  It’s a great counterpoint to this one.

Thanks for your indulgence.


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