With the events of last week still fresh in my mind, and the Seabrook Christmas preparations in full swing, I decided to take a moment to voice my gratitude.
1. I’m grateful for my husband who always knows what I need, whether it’s a hug, a break from the daily grind or whatever new bit of fascinating technology I’m currently drooling over.
2. I’m grateful for my eldest son who every Wednesday at noon gives me advice on plot holes or social media or computer issues.
3. I’m grateful for my youngest son, who makes my coffee before he heads off to work each morning and ensures there’s enough there to get me through the day.
4. I’m grateful for my family and our 2009 trip to Cuba. Not only was it the first time I’d ever been to a vacation resort, but it was the first time since I was a kid that my parents and siblings got together for a family vacation. I’m also grateful for this trip because it was the last vacation I would ever be able to take with my dad and I still cherish those wonderful moments we shared.
5. I’m grateful for the chance to spend more time with my mom. Having worked all of my adult life, visits with my parents were always rushed and fraught with stressors from a stressful day job. Now that I’m focused on writing full time, I call her every day or two, and manage to slip out of the house at least a couple of times a week to visit her and catch up on all the latest news.
6. I’m grateful for the bountiful table we are fortunate to have this Christmas and pray that others less fortunate have a local food bank in their area to supply their needs, as we have in our small town. If you haven’t yet done so, please donate.
7. I’m grateful for my many online friends, who come into my virtual house every day and share their life with me. It makes this huge world almost tiny and intimate, and I get to experience life through your eyes.
8. I’m grateful for the upcoming year. It always feels like a fresh start with infinite possibilities. May 2013 bring each one of you good health, much happiness, and fulfill your cherished dreams.
From my house to yours, may your holidays be filled with laughter and joy.
Last Saturday night, I started out the holiday season by dragging my Better Half to a local Christmas concert. We listened to a men’s church choir, women playing Christmas bells, and two teenage girls who played violin and sang beautifully. Since I was raised with a mixture of classical music, church hymns, and rock and roll, the entire evening was a joy.
The following morning, I popped over to Chrissy Olinger‘s blog to read her latest post Hard Candy Christmas. Okay, if nothing else, just go over there to see the adorable picture of her puppy. Trust me, you’ll love it. 🙂
Chrissy’s post reminded me that for some, the holiday season is difficult. My Better Half has a love/hate relationship with the season. There are a multitude of reasons why, none of which I’ll go into here, but we have adapted our celebration so we can both enjoy the holiday.
So whether you love or hate the holidays, remember that there are those who feel different than you do. Respect their individuality and be kind to each other. This is, after all, a season for love.
Years ago, one of my former co-workers decided it was time to tell her teenage children about menopause. She sat them down and when she was done telling them about the mood swings and weight gain and irritability and sugar cravings, her seventeen-year-old son asked, “Should we hide the knives now?”
At the time, I thought this was hilarious. But deep down inside, I was terrified. My own mother had been irritable to the point of insanity … although in hindsight, it may have been the three teenage children living under her roof that were driving her nuts.
So I tried to prepare my husband for the inevitable. Mostly I told him, “When it’s that time, just lock me in a padded cell.”
Fortunately we have resources today that we didn’t have back in the day when my mom went through menopause. Like the internet, where we can talk about our problems with people who are going through the same thing. Like naturopaths and health food stores and a host of other remedies designed to fit the individual user’s needs.
Thanks to years of preparation for The Big Moment, I find I’m sailing through these years without a padded cell in sight. Sure, there’s the odd sleepless night, the occasional moment of teeth-baring confrontation, and the daily hot flashes. But for me, the most outstanding menopausal side effect has been the lack of creativity. Pulling story ideas and words from my brain is akin to building a space shuttle, an impossible task for one as mechanically challenged as I am.
But it’s getting better. And now the awesome PJ Sharon (Young Adult author of Wanning Moon, Book 1 in her latest series), has written a wonderful post on menopause. Whether you’re a reader, a writer, or just someone who’s looking for help on dealing with this tricky time of life, check out PJ’s Survival Guide to Menopause.
Make sure you read through the comments for more helpful suggestions. I’ve found a few tips to help me get back my writing mo-jo.
And remember to follow PJ’s advice to do your own research and to see a doctor to discuss your options.
You may have noticed the revamped logo at the top of my website … or not. This week, we’re celebrating our 37th wedding anniversary. It makes me sound old, doesn’t it? But we were young when we got married, practically babies, and because of that, we had to grow up together. I’ve learned a lot from my husband:
1) How to wash clothes: The washing machine was THE ONE THING my mother didn’t let me touch. So when I moved out of the house, I didn’t have a clue how to wash clothes. Fortunately, my husband – at the time he was my boyfriend – knew a thing or two. He taught me how to wash clothes, mixing colors all together so I can run through as few loads as possible. It was years later that I discovered this wasn’t how women washed clothes but it was too late. I was hooked on the fast, easy method. Yes, sometimes all of the white socks in the house are pink but at least they’re clean.
2) How to cook a roast: Although I could bake anything, my pre-marriage cooking skills were limited. My specialty was chili, fire hot chili. My brother used to say we could eat my leftover chili without bothering to heat it up. Needless to say, the first time I wanted to cook a roast, my husband had to show me how. For years I struggled. My roasts were so tough, they were like chewing leather. I resorted to cooking them twice and our kids actually grew up believing everyone cooked their roasts twice. Eventually, I left the roasts for my husband to cook and every time, he would patiently instruct me on his method. Frozen roast in the pan, a little water in the bottom, 300 degrees for 3 hours. How hard could it be, right? I finally caught on that it’s all in the direction you cut the roast. My roasts still aren’t as tender as his and I still have to confirm with someone that I’m cutting it the right direction, but at least I no longer have to cook them twice.
3) How to build almost anything: Okay, so I’d never actually build anything on my own because it would be terribly crooked but my knowledge now covers a wide area. After building two houses on our own, after years of always living in a house that’s under construction, I’ve learned enough to get me by. In a pinch, I can even change the bathroom taps, although they might leak a little … I’m just saying.
4) How to commit to one person: When we got engaged, his father told us that there were a thousand and one people out there who were right for us, but it was our responsibility to make sure we found THE RIGHT ONE. Years later, I finally understood what he meant. Our dreams, desires, and values mesh. My husband may have a trait that I can’t tolerate in another person but in him, it makes up the whole of who he is and I love all of his good qualities and bad.
Happy anniversary, babe! May the next 37 years be as wonderful as the first 37!
Yesterday morning, I woke up to a gray sky and an even grayer mood. I grabbed a cup of coffee, started a fire in the fireplace and sat down to write.
Nothing. Nada. Zilch. It’s not like this is anything new. All writers occasionally come up empty. But this was annoyingly familiar…
As I sat there, toasty warm by the fire, it occurred to me that I’d been mopey and sluggish and generally all around blah for quite some time now. I could feel the ideas in my head. They hovered in the dark, waiting, watching, seeking an escape route from the unchartered territory of my brain. But they were trapped…locked behind a month long diet of ice cream bars and Twizzlers.
I’ve been blaming my lack of ideas and glum mood on the fact that I don’t get out much or see a lot of people. But as I considered the lethargic state of my brain, I knew there could only be one explanation.
There’s no lock on the pantry or freezer doors.
Sugar is my weakness. It overloads my brain and puts every idea on permanent hold. Coupled with the fact that I’d stopped exercising in the spring because I was so busy in the yard, the over indulgence of the past couple of months had finally caught up with me.
I’m in good shape, healthy, usually mindful of what I eat and do. But every once in a while, I falter, then fall down. If I’m not careful, I end up flat on my stomach, one hand clutching an ice cream bar, the other hand filled with red Twizzlers, my nose pushed into a bowl of richly buttered popcorn.
This junk food isn’t just clogging my arteries and promising to cover my body with an extra layer of warm fat for the winter. It’s frying my brain, killing my darlings…oh, those wonderful ideas that come from the mysterious depths of our sub-conscious.
After I finished whining into my cup of java, I made a few healthful decisions. Resume those daily walks. Cut out the daily sugar and save those junk food extravaganzas for a Saturday night movie fest. Focus on those delicious brain foods – fresh vegetables, fruits, and salmon. Half a day without sugar and already, my mind is humming along and the Idea Fairy is chasing her children out into my world.
I know I’ll fall down again. It’s in my genes. My dad always knew exactly where my mom hid his favorite go-to treat, the supersized bag of chocolate chips.
So what foods make you falter, then fall? And what snacks or foods do you reply on to keep you and your brain in premium condition? Busy minds need help to stay sharp.