The Last Sparkle of the Season

I have never been one to take my tree down right after Christmas. I have a pile of “reasons” for my procrastination that could rival the height of the gifts on Santa’s sleigh, but mostly it’s just that I love the sparkle.

I love winter. I like the cold and the snow and the chance to recharge from the wild summer months. I am, however, not a big fan of the dark. Right now we have just over 9 hours of daylight. The google search that told me that also told me that we only average about 4 hours of actual sun per day in January. I would scoff at that but I feel confident the sun has only been out for about 2 hours in the last week, so I’m believing the random internet sites today.

Stunning hoar frost is a happy perk of a foggy, sunless week!

We wake up in the dark, the kids go to bed in the dark and even when the sun shines, it barely has enough oompf to get over the horizon for many of these so called “daylight” hours.

My Christmas tree, on the other hand, is full of multicolored lights that shine from when I wake up to when I go to bed and I love it. But last weekend I looked at the train that runs circles around the tree and noticed it had been traveling so long that it drove itself from a winter wonderland to the green grass of spring.

It was time to take down the tree.

I had left it up for so much longer than was wise that any needles left on it showered to the ground when I touched it. There was no way there would be a single needle on it by the time I dragged it to a door. And those bare twigs looked like perfect kindling…

And so I got my pruning shears and trimmed my tree branches off into tiny pieces and stuffed them in my kindling pile.

Unwilling to get rid of the lights till the last moment, I just moved them in as I worked.

I sat back admiring my handy work, never feeling more like my father’s daughter than I did just then with my Christmas tree turned kindling, and decided to leave it up for just awhile longer.

Now I have a stick with a ball of lights globbed onto it lighting the room with its soft glow behind me, a cozy fire in front of me (dead Christmas trees really do make excellent kindling!) and I’m contentedly enjoying the last sparkle of the season from my rocking chair in between.

Help me out, what do you do to brighten up the house when the holiday lights come down?

Nightmare Meditation

Perhaps you remeber my futile foray into guided meditation? Well, I didn’t give up completely. Instead I decided to try (in that same afternoon brain rest time) just concentrating on my breathing while listening to my favorite non-music.

Apologies to the creators Macaroni Union, I’m sure this song made in a collaboration with sound therapists has got musical depth and integrity that are astounding. However I, having little of either, find it to be a soothing collection of noise that my brain can’t anticipate a pattern from. Making “Weightless” the perfect thing to use to block out background noise when trying to give myself some brain rest or outright fall asleep. This makes sense because it was scientifically created and then proven to be the world’s most relaxing song.

So back to my “meditation time”. I block out the light, turn on music found to lower listener’s anxiety by 65% and focus on my breathing until I either fall asleep, get bored but feel well rested enough to get up or actually achieve something like successful meditation as I fall asleep into a dream where my relaxed mind has let a demon crawl through the song into my realm and it’s now sucking the life from my body and it’s imperative that I “snap out of it” or die.

Meditation continues to not be my thing but I do recommend the music. Give it a try sometime and let me know what you think. I’m fairly confident it doesn’t always come with life sucking demons.

Next Up – Letter Writing

I love this November tradition of blogging everyday and reading my fellow cheer peppers posts but now it’s time to turn my attention to our annual Christmas letter.

This year, so far, I’ve got an abundance of envelopes, a paltry amount of stamps and zero ideas for a letter.

But I’m a Cheer Pepper. I’ve blogged everyday for a month. I’ll come up with something!

I love getting Christmas letters in the mail. Are you a fellow letter writer?

Grandma Jessie

I inherited her name, her wedding ring and a hundred stories. But my only memories of Great Grandma Jessie are nursing home visits and marigolds on a coffin.

People always want to know what famous historical figure you would like to raise from the depths of the past and have to dinner. Me, I’d just like a solid Grandma Jessie memory of my own to add some extra shine to my inheritance.

Before The Traditions Come Out

It’s been almost a month now of daily photos and posts following along with gratitude prompts. And perhaps it’s because I feel like the month of gratitude is starting to make me feel like I’m bragging or that my life is full of swimmingly fantastic things when we are just as much of a mess as everyone else. Or maybe, actually, probably, it’s because I didn’t take a single picture until tonight and nothing following the prompt “traditions” seems to want to be photographed. Either way I feel compelled to share this picture.

The cat with the crazy eyes, the dirty underwear, the random school paper, a rock, some garbage – Is that Jane’s missing toothbrush I see? – a belt from a Halloween costume, birthday decorations from the beginning of October and a drum mysteriously draped in a blanket too small to be used on anything but a newborn. I look at this picture and think, ” Ahhh yes. This. This is my life. “

Traditionally (it’s the prompt, it’s a challenge, I can’t help myself) I clean the house before letting the Christmas decorations out of their boxes. Since we are being all honest here tonight, I’ll tell you that means that I’ll for sure take those birthday decorations down because I walked up these stairs just a bit ago and thought “Wow, this is all picked up”.

Okay, fine.

I’ll handle the toothbrush too.

Do you have any “must do’s” before the Christmas decorations go up?

A Day and A Degree of Difference

This morning Jane and I went for a beautiful walk with the dogs in the snow. We slipped and giggled, caught snow flakes on our tongues and came back soaking wet.

Tonight Clara and I slogged through the rain to visit Granny. We slipped and grumbled, squelched through mud puddles and came back soaking wet.

What a difference a day and a degree make.