Silver Stars, Jingle Bells & Silence.

All is quiet today. 

The gifts were all unwrapped yesterday, the squeals of joy still echoing softly within my memories. 

The food, copious amounts of holiday delectables, were all devoured, the leftovers packed & sent along, saving only a few, choice morsels for myself.

The hugs & kisses warm me when I think back, bringing a lump to my throat & a gleam to my eye, as I know it’ll be a long stretch before it happens again.

But yesterday was successful and merry, just what I wanted for my Solstice gift.

And today…I spend alone.

You see, I am Pagan. I don’t celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday. Mine happened days ago, on the 21st, the Winter/Yule Solstice. To me, it is a time of homemade, heart-made gifts, not all of the tangible & able to be wrapped in brightly -colored paper. Sometimes, it’s as simple as someone not-Pagan remembering to wish me a “Blessed Yule”. It shows they were thinking of me, & thoughtful enough to remember that my holidays are different, but are not forgotten.

Other times, it’s a child offering their help with preparations, without being asked, &/or just doing something helpful without my knowledge. 

I do participate in the tradition of gift-giving, & my family has done this on Xmas Eve for many years. There are many reasons for this, but the simplest is that my children all go to their fathers’ on Xmas Day. 

So, Xmas Day is my Quiet Day.

A day of contemplation & relaxation. One I usually spend in decadent repose, lounging in my jammies, hair wild from sleep & no desire to “fix it”.

A day of grazing on leftover treats…a little pumpkin pie for lunch, some fudge for snack…maybe some stuffing, veggies & mashed potatoes mixed together with turkey for supper. 

I miss my kids, don’t get me wrong. 

I loved having all 3 home again, noisy & raucous, leaving little messes lying around of drink cups & my grandson’s toys. It’s odd to not hear him saying “Gramma…you know what-uh?” 

Speed Racer in his race car, complete with padded “helmet”.

But, last night, after all the hustle & bustle of the rituals of food & gifts… There was the chaos of the leave-taking. Packing items for travel, packaging leftovers for a long haul to Washington for EldestDaughter & her SO, for the shorter trek for YoungerDaughter back to her apartment, & getting OnlySon ready to go to his father’s.

And…when all had departed for their next destinations, I was left staring at the silent night, inside and out.

The silver Star atop my tree will join the jingle bells I had hanging next to the door – both will be put away tonight, clearing the holiday decorations swiftly, now that the revelers have fled.

And I spend today alone, watching the silent snow fall, content with yesterday’s success, mourning it’s passing, & hoping for the new year to be brighter.

Happy Holidays, all.

(EldestDaughter, OnlySon, & YoungerDaughter)

From our homes & hearts to yours.

EldestDaughter, SO, & Grandson. (Newest grandson also in picture, but not snuggleable till Feb. release date!)

May your days be Merry & Bright!

Into the Hush

Tonight is Christmas Eve, and I am spending it alone for the first time in my life.

Christmas is not my holiday, so I’m not as upset about this, or lonely, as one might think. It’s truly not that big of a deal, now that I’m in it.

Plus, we celebrated the gift-giving & dinner on my holiday,  Yule, so I did have that holiday experience.  And it was bittersweet… but I had some happiness mixed in with the grief. It balances, to a certain extent.

My children all scattered to celebrate with their other family members, or with friends, my parents are at home, quietly celebrating my Mom’s birthday – which just so happens to be tonight.

I took down the tree tonight, denied the house of its decorations. And that was ok, too.

Funny, but it was actually kind of a relief to turn my house back to normal operating mode.  I even started a load of laundry – completely domestic chores, not holiday -related at all.

And now, I’m showered, in my jammies, & relaxing…knowing that tomorrow will bring me the opportunity to do anything I want.

I can sleep in.
I can stay in my jammies all day, if I so choose.
I can eat when I feel hungry, nap if I feel tired, read, play games, craft.
With the holidays behind me, & no more pending orders in front of me, I can craft simply for the pleasure of it. Make anything that strikes my fancy.
I can sit in the still & the quiet (cut occasionally by the antics of the fur fools -2 cats, a dog & a ferret )

I can go into the hush, & be still.

When does that happen anymore?


The Countdown

Busy, busy day today. I’m getting yet another new tire on my vehicle, working on my crafts I need to finish for gift-giving, finalizing the shopping ( stocking stuffers, mostly), and preparing myself mentally for the big family get-together tomorrow.

No matter how much I might love my family, there’s always tension, especially on holidays. Something about the “forced closeness” brings out emotions that I’d rather stay buried.  So, ahead of time…  I have to psyche myself up for it, get my Zen in a good, thick fog around me, hoping that it’ll shield me from my own issues, as well as others’ emotional baggage.  (Rather like downing a couple of “mental Xanax”). 

Sometimes it even works.


Love/Hate the Holidays? Yeah, I do.

I have a serious love/hate issue with holidays.  All holidays. 

And even though I’m Wiccan, not Christian, I still end up doing something on the Christian holidays such as Christmas and Easter.  Most of my family is Christian, and the kids have been raised in a mixed-religion household, so we end up doing a LOT of holidays, from both the Pagan and Christian faiths.

I actually love getting things ready for holidays.  Planning the purchase of gifts for Christmas, and making the gifts for Yule; decorating the house for the purpose and season for each one, I get a big kick out of contemplating the children’s reactions to whatever they are getting, or are going to be doing, for each holiday.

For the Pagan holidays, I try to keep things a little more low-key, a little more “nature based”, as  in making  the gifts and decorations, rather than purchasing them.  And the kids, of course, love the fact that they get twice as many holidays to celebrate.  What kid wouldn’t?


There are also so many expectations associated with the holidays, the preparation of the “perfect” meals, having just the right gifts for everyone, trying to make sure that everything gets done in time, and that everyone has a good time? 

Exhausting.  Both physically and emotionally.

Take yesterday.

Yesterday was Easter.  My girls were at their dad’s, so just OnlySon, my nephew, and I went to my parents’ house for dinner.  Not just for the holiday, but also to spend time with my grandmother, who has been staying with my parents for most of the winter, before she heads off to one of my uncle’s house in Oklahoma for a while to visit.

I love my family, don’t get me wrong.  But there are tensions that exist, for various reasons, that often make spending time together very strenuous and anxiety-ridden.  I sometimes dread the holidays simply because of the strain that hangs in the air, waiting for someone to say the “wrong thing” that just sits there, making everyone uncomfortable and on edge.

Yesterday, actually wasn’t too bad.  My family gathered at Mom & Dad’s, had a nice dinner; Mom handed the kids each some small “Easter goodies”, and we hung out and talked for a while.

Yeah, there was still tension, but we all attempted to avoid the more difficult subjects and to be civil and social.

And, after we left my folks’ house, we headed back home, where my nephew helped me to move some furniture, and we just chilled out for a while, catching up with each other.  Both of us have had such a busy time for the last few weeks, that we really haven’t been able to talk much lately, so it was wonderful.  We shared some leftover pizza and got some DQ, and laughed ourselves rather silly.

Holidays are a tough thing for many people.

Some, because they end up spending them alone, which is terribly hard.

Some, because they end up spending them with people that they don’t necessarily get along with, which is also terribly hard.

But, in the end, holidays are about making connections with the people in your life.  Remembering, by sharing a meal, or opening presents, or just some quality time, that you and they are important to one another.  And yeah, there will be tensions, when you, or they, put too many expectations on that time.  When the holiday doesn’t live up to the ideal, or the dreams that are portrayed in movies and store commercials… then there is disappointment, and sometimes, even resentment.

I love holidays.  They allow me to spend time with those that I love.

I hate holidays.  They force me to spend time with people that make me tense.

Will this love/hate relationship ever change?  Probably not.  But, I think that’s ok.  Keeps me from being bored with the whole thing, at least.

Tuesday Theology-Imbolc

February 2nd is tomorrow.  I love February 2nd.  Even with the continuing cold, and the darkness, I find myself looking forward to it, waiting, impatient, urging the calendar to flip over and be there.  Because February 2nd was the beginning of something very special to me.

On February 2nd, 1999, I formally declared my intention to be Wiccan, after almost 2 years of studying it, practicing as much as I could on my own, and weighing whether this was the right path for me or not.

February 2nd is also known as Imbolc, which is a Celtic word that translates roughly to “In the belly of the mother”; or as it’s also known, Oimelc, which translates to “mother’s milk”. 

This holiday falls around the time when the ewes were giving birth to the lambs, when the earliest flowers would crack through the snow’s crust to bloom.  The lambs, snowdrops and crocuses were welcome signs that Mother Earth had not abandoned her children, but was promising Spring to come.

Most people now simply associate this day with Groundhog’s Day, waiting to hear what Punxsutawney Phil has to say about the remainder of time before they can go outside without longjohns and mittens.  In the past, it was a day for weather predictions as well, but the people watched the snakes and badgers for their weather news, instead of groundhogs.

“Imbolc is the day the Cailleach — the hag of Gaelic tradition — gathers her firewood for the rest of the winter. Legend has it that if she intends to make the winter last a good while longer, she will make sure the weather on Imbolc is bright and sunny, so she can gather plenty of firewood. Therefore, people are generally relieved if Imbolc is a day of foul weather, as it means the Cailleach is asleep and winter is almost over.” Wikipedia

For Wiccans, at least for me, it is a day of renewal.  It is the day that I restate my vows to my Goddess and God, and to myself, reaffirming that I am on the path that I am meant to follow.  It is also a day for new beginnings.  It is the day of hope, of promise, that the seeds that were planted, that lay fallow for the winter, hibernating, are ready to sprout and grow. 

One of the seeds that I planted is almost ready to sprout.  It is full of promise, full of hope, and ready to grow into a lovely garden.  This seed is the idea that I was now willing to teach a class — Wicca 101.  I planted the idea last fall, letting others know that I was contemplating it, and was willing to go ahead, if there were willing students.  And they were.  I am going to be watching this seed sprout this Sunday, as my students and I get together for the first lesson.

It is a time of great promise, for the sun is returning.  Bringing light, warmth, and life.  It may be still hiding right now, not obviously visible, but it’s there.  It’s creeping up on us, slowly, stealthily, ready to burst out and surprise us with its beauty.

Get ready – it’s coming!

Merry Misty Memories

Christmas in the post-War United States

Image via Wikipedia

I’m sitting today, in my jammies, with OtherHalf and OnlySon, relaxing and figuring out mechanical toys for the boys (I read the directions and set them up, they get all grinning and giggling). 

All the presents were opened last night, as is our tradition now.  The girls go with my folks on Christmas Eve, and their dad picks them up from there on Christmas Day.  It’s not perfect, but it works.  Christmas Day has come to be a day of relaxing, catching up, and just basically loafing around.  We usually watch movies, or play games, and graze our way through the leftover treats from the night before.

When I was little, though, Christmas Eve was not the night of noise and presents.  It was a night of Mysteries and Magic.

My parents would set up the tree the day after Thanksgiving, and presents would appear periodically, always with the admonition to “Don’t touch, shake, poke or pry”.  The mystery of what was in the boxes was like an itch that I couldn’t reach.  Of course, we’d sneak little taps or shakes when the parents weren’t watching, but we never learned anything.  They wrapped stuff pretty well.

Anticipation would build throughout the month, and on Christmas Eve, it would reach its peak. 

That night, I would to sit in front of the tree, just watching the lights, and dreaming about the magic of Santa.  Knowing that he would soon be coming to the house, while we were away.  Because, Santa always came to our house… not while we slept, but while we were at church.  After checking all the doors and windows, making sure that everything was locked up tight (I was a stubborn, skeptical kid, and had to know that he didn’t have any way in but the fireplace), we’d head out to go to the evening service.

I was raised Lutheran, but my parents have never been especially religious people.  One of the services we always attended though, was the Christmas Eve service.  The church we went to had a wonderful pastor, a man I still remember fondly.  His name was Pastor Senf, and he was soft-spoken, kind and funny.  And Christmas was just this magical night, when he seemed to light up the church by himself, with his soft words, and heartfelt message.

All I remember was the beauty of the candles that everyone lit, as the church lights were turned off, and we sang Christmas carols.  All those tiny lights, shining in the dark, as we all walked softly out into the night, still humming from the message Pastor Senf left us with.  Love, acceptance, and hope.  A message that I, even though I’m not Lutheran anymore, try to carry still in my heart.  Love transcends all religions, acceptance opens the way, and hope keeps us all striving to work together.

And once home, my parents could barely get us through the door, before we’d raced to the tree, only to see that Santa had been there during our absence.  The area around the tree was now full of presents, towering up and around the base.  The stockings would be stuffed full, showing us that we’d missed him once again. 

Magic had occurred.

I have never really tried to explain how the presents got into the house.  I’ve thought about and discarded many theories.  And in the end, I decided it didn’t really matter.  Because, Christian or Pagan, the message is all the same.

Because the real magic, well, that was the hope, the acceptance, and the love, and all those tiny lights, shining in the darkness.


Something’s Humbuggin’ Me

I’m a fan of the holiday season.  I love the colors, the lights, the smell of the gingerbread ornaments hanging on my tree, the purity of the snow falling.

I was always the kid that started playing the Chipmunks Christmas 8-track on Dec. 1.

THIS is the version I had!

  Getting everyone into the right frame of mind for snow, holly, tinsel, ornaments and presents, of course!

Our family would put up the decorations and the tree the day after Thanksgiving.  It was just one of our traditions, and one that my kids still love today.  I’m just glad that I can trust them to put up the tree now, and don’t have to do it all myself!

Because, the last couple of years, I’ve been humbugged.

*The tree would have stayed in the box.  Maayyybe I would have gotten out our white table-top tree, and found a place to set it up.

*Most of the ornaments would have gone unused this year.  YoungerDaughter would have been highly disappointed in that.  She has to make sure that every single ornament gets some holiday love, and gets placed juuust right on the tree. 

*I cringe when I hear carols on the radio, and immediately change the channel.

*I put off shopping for the presents I have to get in person (not online, I LOVE online shopping!), till the very last minute, usually when they thing they want isn’t available, or I can only find 1 when I need 2.

*I had the children put up all the holiday decorations, and we haven’t even hung the outside lights yet this year.  (It’s always my job to hang the outside lights, and I simply haven’t felt like doing it.)

*I am working on holiday cards this year, and I will get them sent out.  This alone says that something is wrong.  I never get cards actually done.  I always say I’m sending them, and I even get them written.  They just never seem to make it in the mail, for some reason.  But this year, I’m ahead of the game.  I’m actually going to get stamps. Bah, Humbug.

I’m not quite sure why I’m so grouchy about the holidays.  I think it’s a lot of little things that have been building for a while, coupled with the negative spin that got put on the festivities last year, due to a family dust-up. 

I just wish I could get back to the holidays I used to love.  Simple, uncomplicated, and spent lying under the tree, listening to Alvin, Simon & Theodore, tellin’ me about how Rudolph is like George Washington…


What to Gift?

One of the reasons that I detest this time of year, is my utter inability to decide what to get for people.  I’m horrible at it.  Either I have to have a list, written by that person, or I have to try to guess *shudder* what they would like/want/admire/keep.  I also have to try to stay within a certain budget, not just because of available-fund-issues, but also because if one family member finds out that I spent more on someone else’s gift than theirs, there will be Guilt for dinner on the New Year’s banquet table.

Build-it-yourself Dino lamp

I think my new favorite place to shop, however, has got to be

They have amazing, funny, smart gifts, and I can even get gift-cards for family members that I can’t decide for.

Some of the things that I would like to be able to gift this year, but know that I can’t/won’t/don’t dare to:

Civet crap coffee - for the coffee lovers that always take it too far!



For my pregger friends


For my single again friends - it's a Ex-Pen holder!


The Tannen-bomb Ornament(makes obnoxious noises from hiding)

And the personal soundtrack t-shirt
That I want for myself!  Every move is another sound!  WANT LIKE BURNING!
This website has enormous amounts of fun things for everybody in a geeky bent.
They even have tribbles.  Live long and Prosper, Geeklings!

Random Sarcasm 11/3/10

So, election day was yesterday across the nation, and yeah, I voted.

(Nope, all I’m gonna say about it, thanks.)


Working on my story last night was great.  I’m getting about 2,000 words a day, so far, and I’m hopeful that I can hang onto that.  I’m going to shoot for more on the weekends, as I’ll have more time to devote to it.  The story seems to be coming of its own free will, and I’m not entirely sure where it’s headed, so that’s a good thing.  As long as the words keep coming, no matter the source, I’m happy. 

The “no editing” clause, though, is KILLING me.  My fingers itch when I see a phrase later that I want to change, or wipe out completely.  Drives me nuts to see something that could really be fixed or tightened up and not to make the changes.  Do they have an App for that on my Crackberry??

And, I’ve been reading some of the other WriMos out there, checking in and seeing how other people work.  So far, I’ve had some really nice people encouraging me, a few that talk about making “plans” and outlines (*shudder* I can’t plan these things, I just can’t), and a couple that really confuse me.  These poor people seem to think that this is about beating others up with how many words you’ve produced, “OOH, I’m up to 6,000 words, and it’s the first day, but, you know, I’m feeling just a little lazy today.”  Really?  Must mean that you decided to clean out your apartment in MOM’S BASEMENT today.  

It’s not a competition against anyone but yourself, people.  Get a clue.  Here, I’ll loan you a quarter, and you can CALL SOMEONE for a clue. 


Found out yesterday that EldestDaughter has had some changes happen in her life lately.  Funny thing is, I found this out from my mother, who lives an hour away, but who talked to the kid yesterday, and drove her to an appointment.

Eldest has a new boyfriend.  Yippee.  Life is all butterflies and puppies for her now, even though she’s swimming in debt, has no job, no car (it’s still not running after an accident a month ago), and has to complete 80 hours of community service from her legal troubles in May, and they have to be done by Dec. 31.  But hey – she has a boyfriend! *cue shower of purple heart sparkles* so all is “well”.

*Place bucket in middle of busy street, place head firmly in bucket, wait.

Eldest is also, supposedly, planning on moving out, starting this weekend.  After cornering her last night and asking her about it, I learned that she’s moving in with a friend that’s still in high school, and her father, and his girlfriend.  Cause THAT’s gonna work.  I know, the negativity won’t help the kid get back on the right track.  Children need positive reinforcement, right?  Well, I’m positive that eventually, this arrangement is going to go up in flames.  But, she’s 19, and mom doesn’t know squat.


Went to the grocery store last night for a couple of things, and stopped in the middle of an aisle, to hear the end of “Jingle Bells” over the store radio.  Really??  Halloween is barely over, and Thanksgiving is still almost a month away.  CHRISTMAS MUSIC??? ack. 

Why such a rush to get to Christmas?  Can’t we all just agree that stuffing yourself, and indulging in one of the 7 deadly sins, gluttony,  is more important than spending all the money you made this year on wrapping paper and scotch tape, only to throw it all away at the end of the night in the yard-sized garbage bags you bought for just that occasion?  Yeah, I thought so, bring on the turkey, fatman.


Next month marks the 1-year anniversary of this blog.  I can’t believe it’s been that long already.  Wow.  Is there some protocol for this?  Am I supposed to do the “very special memories” episode?  Is there supposed to be cake?  I can do cake.