Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The Wishing Season.

It was the day before Christmas and all
through the stores, no one was more frustrated
than the one not wishing to shop at all.
Not that I didn't want to.
Not that I didn't have occasions to.
No, my frustration was with the whole idea of coming up with a gift to dazzle all other gifts.
Not one thing seemed to fill the bill.
What to do? How to deal with
a desire that can never be fulfilled.
How to play Santa when I know that my people's dreams include
a world cruise
and a car that drives itself
while a  clean-sparkling house and a massage are more what they deserve?
I'm just a child
right now, going between wanting something so badly that only Santa could deliver
and having to be the very Santa who's too old and too practical to keep wishing real.

No, not the books at Barnes and Nobles.
Or the warm pajamas at Macy's.
Or anything and another presented at the Malls of America
Or at the local drugstores.

What I need is an evening back in the old country, a roaring fire in the chimney, snow on the roof top, and the family at the table making the traditional sweet ravioli that would be filled with mashed chestnuts and shaved chocolate, then fried, in a big cauldron, through the night, as we all, young and old, waited for the midnight mass. I would be carried as a sleepy angel baby through muddy and dark streets until we reached the Church.
Then, magically, I'd play my part with other children at the living nativity scene through the Mass and afterwords, through carol singing. After which, back in Father's arms and back home to eat a fried pastry now cool enough to enjoy.

I do hope somewhere in the world these scenes are still played.

I do hope that children everywhere feel the magic of this night in the way they are loved, in the way they are part of the bigger world that treasures them, and keeps peace on earth for all mankind.

May your wishes be of warmth and peace and family.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Promises to keep

Next year, I want to travel to places I've never been to. Quite often, and especially on cloudy and rainy days, on days when my four walls have worn me out, I make promises like this and I mean each and every one of them.

We retired early because we were exhausted from all our work; and we had never had time and money to do much vacationing in places we had dreamed about.  Now that we have time, we notice something we didn't know back in our working days. Then, we slept five hours, worked fifteen, and took care of family and household chores the rest of the time. What we wanted more than anything was more time.

Time when nothing was required of us.

Now that we have time, days and weeks and months with no real important stuff that needs done, we find out that what we really want is energy and passion to start something new, something meaningful and important, something that will allow time to slip by.

We spend so much time just going to the doctors and laboratories associated with our medical conditions, and because  these are too far away,  spending the night at a motel, visiting with family nearby, and shopping in stores that have more than the stores we can access regularly, these medical" necessities suck up all our discretionary funds.

When we return home, we are beat.

It takes two, three days to recuperate from all that traveling. You see, we are genuinely conscientious of every bite we put in our mouths due to our medical conditions. But, when we are away from home, we sin with abandon. Dessert? Sure! Extra gravy? Definitely! Trying a new dish at a new restaurant allows us to forget that these visits are necessities through and through and that after the trip, no more steak frites, no more creme brulee, no more Elmer's Special Breakfast with  Dutch Pancake on the side. Our lives are measured by teaspoons of low-fat salad dressings, mixed greens and  four ounces of broiled fish or broiled chicken. I can be as creative as I want when I cook, as long as I measure carefully, and often.

We have our fiftieth wedding anniversary coming up.

I wonder if we'll have the energy and the resources to pull off a trip of a lifetime to match the importance of this date. I wonder if we should just be happy and satisfied to take our medical mini vacations as long as we can. After all, as long as we keep going, year after year, and enjoy the little pleasures we encounter, who needs anything more?

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Winter Storms

(before the storm)

We live at the far end of the contiguous United States, right by Cape Blanco, Oregon, USA. Here is where all Pacific storms land and gather force before heading east. We are addicted to weather news, and we heed their warnings each time.

A couple of days ago we got the first admonition:
Gale force winds anticipated at Cape Blanco Wednesday eve and Thursday morning.
Yes, indeed, I can assure everyone that the weather channel was correct.

Yesterday afternoon we did the last minute repairs.

At our age, just inserting a tube is a big deal.
Good thing. We have a flat roof, and if water piles at the top, the whole house will suffer.
We went to bed last night knowing we were safe.

Throughout the night, all that wind and creaking of trees and roof and windows kept us awake.
This is what's it like at nine in the morning on Thursday. We're still under a storm watch, remaining indoors and hoping our electricity doesn't go out. We use electricity for cooking and heating as well as communication and entertainment. Without electricity, we're back to the cave age.

(toward the end of the storm)

At this point, it's a dry storm, still able to disrupt utilities and down trees.)
In the next few hours we'll know what the damage is around the neighborhood.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Time and regrets.

My young nephew and niece in this photograph taken in 1970 have just recently gotten in touch with me. Actually, a son of the boy began to research, found my memoir blog and got in touch with me, someone he had never met, someone his father had met only once.

In this picture he sent me, I'm twenty seven years old returning to my homeland after an absence of ten years, all grown up, married and with a two-year old in tow, Pictured here are my nephew and niece, children of my eldest brother.

My niece and nephew, now in their fifties and forties, look today just as they did back then.

I, on the other hand am unrecognizable. I notice how much better looking I was back then! Why didn't I know that at that time? I only remember that I worried about my figure, my clothes, my lack of time, my lack of resources...

Do you feel that way looking back?
That somehow you were better looking and even happier than you remember you were?
That your life was more exciting and fulfilling than you thought it was at that time?

There I sat for this photo, preoccupied, in my own world, while the children, especially little Laura was so eager to accept me. I wish I had kept up with them after that visit; I wish my own children could have communicated across the ocean with their cousins.

Truth is that regrets come with age and usually too late for making amends.
Yet, while I have time on this earth I shall remind everyone of the following things:

1. You are most critical of yourself when you are young. Looking ahead, you'll appreciate yourself more.

2. Keep in touch with your loved ones; they are the ones who put their arms around you right away and are willing to take you in regardless of your worth.

May your holidays be with family and loved ones.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Grateful for

Nobody at this station tells you how to clean the fish you caught just a stone throw to the left. Nobody anywhere around to show you how to cut, fillet, dispose of entrails, or what to do with the heads of the fish you caught. You're on your own. Yet, something quite logical occurs if the tools are intuitive, as the water basin, platform and trash can are.

Why it is exactly this thinking that got most people to jump in and try BLOGGING.

I started blogging exactly seven years ago in December, when I turned sixty five, and had this desire to write some personal pieces regularly. The trouble was that I had very little experience with computers.

At that time, our old computer had trouble downloading anything. Yet, my husband purchased a laptop for me, gave me a quick tutorial, and encouraged me to keep learning.  Actually, he sent me to the tutorial pages. There I got lost and almost gave up until a friend of mine in a writing group told me about

I found Blogger and started my blog with my first entry on a platform that was easy and non-demanding. It took me a year to discover by accident that if you want visitors you have to have a gadget that allows people to sign up. Within six months I had followers, and visiting enough blogs to begin to notice the rich variety of style everyone brought to the endeavor.

Through a blogger, Dave, a journalist from Melbourne, Australia, I learned the simple (yet difficult for me) task of importing pictures. Discovering other tools took much longer.  When Blogger changed its platform, I got lost.

My learning curve had come to a precipice.

I have admired the ease with which other bloggers incorporate media and enrich their presentations. I tip my hat to them. Sure, I could take a course and have the full arsenal of tools available to me. Perhaps, I will feel the need to do that one of these days.

For now, I am grateful that programmers and designers who work for Blogger understand how humans learn and provide us with easy to follow instructions. My life has been enriched by the contacts and the knowledge I've gained through this type of sharing and learning.

A great big THANK YOU to and the talented and patient staff who support the website that allows me to touch the world without ever leaving the comfort of my home.