Saturday, December 31, 2011

Looking Back

Around this time last year I was sitting in my living room, sick as a dog, writing about the significance of the season.  First there were the special dates and the ways I was unable to commemorate them.  Though illnesses and injuries often hindered my plans, I chose to focus on the meaning of the moments, celebrating in my heart when I couldn't go out.  Then there were the new year's resolutions that I resolved not to make.  I was on a journey of self-improvement (still am), but it didn't begin or end with the date on the calendar.  

Today, I sit in my living room (once again, sick as a dog), thinking about both of those posts, and the year that has passed since then.  It's only now that I see the irony:  in one post so focused on the meaning of specific dates, and then specifically refusing to be defined by the date in the next.  I suppose the reality is that it all depends on us ... and on whether we choose to give meaning to a particular day.

There are so many opportunities (or excuses, depending on how you look at it) to reflect on time past: birthdays, anniversaries, new years (school year, fiscal year, Chinese or Jewish new years, etc.) ... or really just any time we're feeling particularly nostalgic.  So maybe it's because today marks the end of 2011, or maybe it's ... just because.  Whatever the reason, I find myself reflecting upon the past year ... so of course, I'm sharing those thoughts with you.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

It's Not (Just) the Christmas Spirit

I've got a bone to pick with the "Christmas Spirit."  

Now, now ... don't panic - this is not a religious (or anti-religious) rant.  I am not looking to cause controversy, and I am grateful for whatever belief system brings anyone peace of mind, so I would never challenge that.  I'm not feeling the ambivalence of last year's Holiday Purple, either.  Though this holiday season naturally brings the sadness of missing Gram (really, I feel that loss every day), I'm feeling more festive this holiday season than I have in a while.  I finished my shopping early, got our tree decorated in time to put all the presents under it, spent quality time with family for Hanukkah, and I'm now looking forward to our traditional Eve alone and Day with the in-laws tomorrow.  I don't have a problem with Christmas (or any other December holiday) or the spirit of the season ... but if you ask me, that "Christmas Spirit" is a bit of a credit hog.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

A New List of Smiles

I had a really good day today (ok, by now it's "yesterday", but I started writing this piece before midnight).  It was an emotional roller coaster of a day, but even the low points had highlights.  Thinking about that made me realize ... it's time for another list of smiles.  So ... without further ado (and in no particular order), here's a list of things that made me smile recently - sometimes even through tears.
  1. I had a really great day with my mom.  Sounds simple enough, but it's been a while since we were able to really talk like we did today, to laugh, to cry, and most importantly, to hug.
  2. Over the past week, I "met" (through a facebook site about one of my Relay For Life events) someone who is struggling with a very sick loved one.  Though her story made me cry, her faith and her dedication to the cause are inspiring.  Most of all, I'm hopeful that we're going to be able to do something to help this family in need.
  3. After a month of questions, tests, drugs and more tests, there is finally some major improvement in my latest medical saga.  We're still working on figuring things out, but progress is good!
  4. Went to see The Muppets with hubby the other day ... and it was even better than I expected!  Totally took me back to the innocence of childhood, but with emotional moments & outstanding cameos that the adult in me could really appreciate.  And of course ...

Monday, December 5, 2011

What Do You Ink?

"The world is divided into two kinds of people: those who have tattoos, and those who are afraid of people with tattoos." ~Author Unknown

Back when I was teaching, I often gave my students free-association writing assignments.  Sometimes they were completely limitless, the only instruction being "just let your mind go wherever your pen takes it."  Other times it was more guided, with a given starting point to see where it led them.  Every time it was entertaining, and led to some great discussion afterwards.

Once, I asked them to begin by choosing a color, and then writing whatever came next.  I asked for volunteers to read theirs aloud, and got some very ... interesting responses.  Of course, there were some of the typical associations.  Yellow: sun ... sunshine ... summer ... warmth.  Blue: sky ... clouds ... having the blues ... sad.  Green: grass ... nature ... money ... envy.  Red: blood ... tattoos ... freaks.  Wait ... what?