Tag Archives: general topics

The Day After Christmas

Christmas Love

My bed was warm and cozy this morning. I managed to sleep until almost 8 a.m. I have made an executive decision that most of the day will be spent in my flannel pajamas and thick fluffy robe, tube socks, and slippers that are faux fleece lined. They look ridiculous because several years ago I covered them with green felt when I went to a Red Hat sleep over. I wore a huge sleep shirt with a picture of a gigantic frog perched on a lily pad. The slippers were converted to frog feet. There were toes at one time but I had made them too long. I kept stepping on them and almost falling so they now have a toe-ectomy. Since no one will see them, I continue to wear them because they are the most comfortable and warmest in my closet.

I’m staying in this attire because it is the warmest and coziest outfit I can think of. I have given up trying to stay warm in my house when the thermostat is set on 68. As the years go by, I have made staying warm more of a priority. It is now set on 70 and the furnace is running almost constantly since it is in single digits outside. My home is as insulated as I can make it, but there is still a slight chill. I give thanks for warmth on cold winter days.

Every once in a while I am given the gift of realizing that I feel really well…not just physically but also spiritually. Today is one of those days. Even though Christmases are a little hard for me, I found comfort in this one.

A birthday buddy I found about seven years ago has included me as part of her family. She has reunited with her estranged father and so she hosts a dinner for him and his wife. After so many years there seems to be a bond forming between them again. I kind of envy that since there was never enough time for me to experience that with my own father.

After the dinner the two of us went to the candlelight service at church. It is the same every year, but this year I felt a solace that I don’t usually sense. Ill feelings about Christmas go all the way back to childhood. It was a little sad when she confided to me on the way home that she is thinking of changing churches. There has been much conflict the last couple of years in our congregation and we split almost in half. She stayed as I did but she is thinking of moving on.

Yesterday I was invited to the gathering at another friend’s home across the street. She cooks a huge pot of tortilla soup, tamales, beans, and makes wonderful chip dip. They buy a honey baked ham which gives me my pork fix for the year. Her family and friends arrive whenever. I walked across the street around one and had a nice visit while all was calm. It was very nice visiting with her and watching huge snow flakes fall outside. As the day went on, her two daughters and their families appeared, and a short while later two more relatives and their families arrived. The house was getting crowded so I decided to come home, full of her delicious food.

Her home is a little more drafty than mine so I had wisely chosen to put on another layer of underwear. By the time all those people had gathered, I was getting a little toasty. My introversion kicked in and I realized it was time to move on. I weary after four hours with any group.

Before I went to bed, another friend called to share her success about hosting her family for Christmas. She has so many best friends I can’t count them all, but she has chosen to add me to her “club”. It is one of those rare honors one is given in life to find a friend like her.

Back in 1968 I was dating a young Marine. He surprised me at Christmas and came home on leave. It was during that time we got engaged. Since he was in officer’s school and knew he would be heading to Viet Nam, I had no idea what to give him as a present. I decided to borrow a negligee gown and wrap from my aunt, (which had remained unworn in her drawer for several years), wrap a ribbon sash around me and sit under the tree with a gift of a big smile. It was a wonderful Christmas. I believed I had been given the gift of love. Things didn’t work out with him, but if I concentrate, I can connect with the good feelings of those few days.

I woke up this morning realizing I had been dreaming about him. I realized that the dream was probably because of “King of the Hill”. John reminds me very much of Hank Hill.  If I wake during the early morning around 4, that show is usually on. I guess I was hearing it in my sleep and started thinking of my love. After all these years I accepted the fact after fighting it for almost fifty years that for a number of reasons there will always be a part of me that loves him, but I realized today that I am setting myself free. Maybe the memories will now fade and I will recognize that that relationship also had its toxic moments that I have too long suppressed and all worked out for the greater good.

Whatever the cause of my feelings of joy today, I am grateful and will relish every minute. It is a new feeling to associate with Christmas and I will hold onto it as long as possible. I hope your days were as blessed as mine. Namaste. Attic Annie

holly

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What to Wear on Christmas Eve

sue's sweater

…and there it was, hanging right in front of me.

Once again it is Christmas Eve. I have been invited this evening to a friend’s home for tamales before going to the Candlelight Service. I have known this friend for about six years. I think this is the fourth year of invitations. I have been trying all day to figure out what I want to wear. It makes little difference at our church. There will be many in jeans and several in new outfits with every style in between. I guess that’s one of the reasons I like going to this place. I have never felt any sense of pretension. It really isn’t a matter of what one wears.

I have not bought any new clothes for Christmas in more years than I can count. Actually after twenty years of being unchurched, it has only been eight years that I have attempted to attend. My memory of Christmas Eves does not extend much beyond that.

I have a black long sleeve tee that is decorated with an embroidered cardinal and sequined white poinsettia  flowers. The cardinal is the state bird of Illinois, my home state, so it is a little connection with home, even though I haven’t lived there in thirty five years. The cardinal is a beautiful symbol for Christmas and winter I think.

“The cardinal makes a fantastic animal totem. It reminds us to hold ourselves with pride – not ego pride. Rather, the cardinal asks us to stand a little taller, be a bit more regal, step into our natural confidence as if we were born to lead with grace and nobility”. I tend to hold back in crowds. I thought perhaps if I wear the cardinal I can be a little more joyous.

“As we observe the cardinal – particularly against the backdrop of the stark winter months, we are reminded that even when things appear bleak or isolated, there is always the presence of beauty, hope, and love”. The tee was a gift from my cousin’s family. She transitioned two years ago. The top still had its tags on. I had been with her when she bought it. The cardinal was her favorite totem. I wanted to feel close to her tonight.

I mentally went through other things in my closet. It’s not supposed to get really colder until tomorrow when it might snow. I don’t think it will, however. I think any snow will stop about forty five miles north of us around Denton.

I washed a couple of loads of clothes and hung them on my rack in the laundry room. And there was my answer hanging right in front of me. The very last time I saw my cousin she was wearing a new sweater. When we hugged, I was amazed by the softness of the weave. It felt so like her. Her husband asked me to take whatever I wanted when I left because by that time it was a matter of weeks. I couldn’t get myself to take anything without feeling very uncomfortable. I kind of felt I would be in the deathbed scene of Scrooge when the chambermaids were stealing the curtains before he was even dead.  I did ask him to mail me a couple of things when he was able to get around to it. That sweater was one of the few things I felt I truly wanted.

So tonight I am wearing that sweater. It will be warm enough to wear without a coat as opposed to the thinner tee. It will be soft and cuddly and I will be sharing  the service with Sue once again feeling her loving arms wrapped around me. The number of people I share this holiday with has almost entirely dwindled away but the spirit of my gentle, talented cousin will be with me to the end…at least until the sweater and the tee become too tattered to wear. Merry Christmas, y’all. Namaste. Attic Annie

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Is There No Respite? Not in Politics!

politics

The battle between the candidates just ended. Thanks to donors with unendingly deep pockets, there were, it seemed, hundreds of ads on TV every day. Every show seemed to have something to say. There were heated discussions on talk and news shows. Social media was completely sated with “Friends” expressing their own viewpoints. It was grueling and unending. It even made a little girl, who reached her limit of tolerance of Romney and  Bronco Bamma, cry.  Truth be told, I was ready to cry with her.

The President hasn’t even taken office for the second time. He doesn’t renew his oath at the inauguration until January 21, 2013. The world may end a month before then anyway.

So, are we taking a break from politics to allow us to get over our PTSD? I’m not belittling those who are suffering from PTSD. I’m just adding the American public to the list of those who have been traumatized the past couple of years by the constant bombardment of politics.

Heaven forbid that politics be allowed to slip out of our consciousness for even a little while during this festive time of year.

I often fall asleep with the TV on. What do I hear the first thing when I wake up this morning? MSNBC has a panel that is discussing Hillary Clinton and her run for President in 2016. It was not the first news show that has begun covering that issue. They were also throwing around the names of Joe Biden, Jeb Bush, and several other possible candidates but the primary topic was Hillary.

Can’t we give it a rest? There are three years and eleven months before the next election. I have nothing against Hillary. I have been impressed with her intelligence and leadership abilities for as long as she has been on the political scene. I even forgave her the tacky (newscaster’s adjective, not mine) comment about baking cookies and holding teas. But, GOD, are we going to have to listen about her constantly until the next Democratic Convention? As far as I have been able to google, The Dems haven’t even decided where to hold the convention yet. That doesn’t stop us from talking forever about who is going to be the front runner.

The only reason I can see for politics to be constantly thrust at us is to keep the American public stirred up. If we start arguing candidates now, our attention won’t be as focused on everything else that is happening around us.

This season calls for Peace on Earth. Can’t we have just a little time to settle down before we prepare to do battle again? Can’t we just “live in the now” a little while before we become so engrossed with the future? It certainly would be nice to listen to the news and actually hear the news that is happening, not opinions about future political events. Come on news media. At least think about giving the public a little break. OK?

peace on earth

Namaste. Attic Annie

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It took three years to reach 365!

pen-vs-sword2

Yesterday was a milestone of sorts. I posted my 365th blog! When I started writing in 2009 I tried to post every day. I even wrote enough posts to cover my absence when I traveled to Japan to vacation with my son who was living there. I had heard of the dangers of broadcasting the fact that I was leaving my home vacant for those ten days so I arranged for my blogs to be published daily instead of just stopping them or sharing where I actually was.

In looking over my flag counter, I see that at least one person in 183 countries has read something that I have written. I reached the most people on November 12, 2009 when I had over 1,100 hits on a single day. That was one of the times my blog was chosen for being “Freshly Pressed”. I’m not good at remembering things but I think that honor happened a total of three times. Over that time my blogs have been viewed more than 122,000 times. I know that is just a drop in the ocean to those who get thousands of hits a day but for someone who has spent the majority of my life not speaking up, it means a lot to me.

When I look at the list of how many read individual blogs, there are far more that have 0 or 1 as a total than have any significant numbers. On those that have 1, I can almost guarantee that 1 was my cousin who was my greatest encourager. She passed away in April of 2010 and took her comments with her. I still miss the closeness we were achieving because of my blogs. There were so many years before the internet that we drifted apart.

This week I watched CNN heroes. Seven out of ten of the heroes were women. They have the courage to act upon their convictions. The only thing I do is express my opinion. At this point I don’t have the strength to do much more than write. Much has happened with my health these past two years when I have become more and more silent with less and less energy. It has only been in the last couple of days that I have increased my desire to write more than just a few sentences on Facebook. Facebook has given me the opportunity to still express my opinions, albeit in a much shorter form. There are times I feel compelled to write. Thanks to a new supplement, I’m just beginning to feel that compulsion returning as I feel more like my former self.

I am frequently in groups where I am asked what my wishes are, how I would do anything different, how I would change the world. I am reminded one person can make a difference.

I would love to find a cause which set me on fire as much as those seven women this year in 2012.  I secretly would like to positively influence the lives of others. I would love that, for now, my writings could influence others. If I can’t do something myself, I would like the idea I lit the fire under someone else.

With the power of the internet, I believe that the adage “The pen is mightier than the sword” is more true now than it was when that phrase was first uttered. I would love to think that something I wrote made a difference.

There is a new device on the market that allows people to talk while the computer records their voice in words. I have never been able to speak with clear thoughts for  very long. Ideas just don’t come out of me that way. Put a pen and paper in my reach or a keyboard and ideas flow out of me almost instantly. Some times I have to think about what I want to say for a day, a week, a month, but eventually most of the time it comes out in my words on paper.

For yesterday and today I am grateful to write two blogs in a row. It’s too soon to say I am back, but I am hoping. Namaste. Attic Annie

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Let A Woman Be A Woman…not a sexy teenage Mouseketeer!

What does America have against curves on a woman? It seems all the fashion gurus want are women who perpetually look like emaciated teen age boys.

Granted I am speaking from the viewpoint of a woman who has had weight issues most of my life. When I wore a size 10-12 I looked to myself and others as quite thin.

I am not a big music fan. Perhaps it is because as a child we only had one radio in the kitchen for the whole house. I was never encouraged to enjoy music of any kind. I never intentionally listen to music when I am in the car or at home. I’m not sure why the “plight” of Christina Aguilera even caught my attention.

It seems many want to make her a social outcast because she now has curves. I would dearly love to have her figure. She looks like a woman. She is thirty one years old and looks well nourished. She does not look like an overexploited, overexposed sexy Mouseketeer any longer. Which reminds me….when did the female Mouseketeers change from being the wholesome teenage girls to the provocative teenage vixens?….another topic.

Recent comments about Aguilera have not been flattering. She is being criticized about her weight. I would like to know why. Depending on the camera angle she may now have a hint of a double chin and rounded face but nothing that maybe losing five pounds wouldn’t take care of. She is very normal looking for a thirty one year old.

Her pictures remind me of Mae West. Mae was certainly very sexy for her time even as her weight appeared to fluctuate in her photos. She definitely knew how to be a woman. She definitely knew how to be sexy. She definitely knew men did not appreciate a string bean.

Aguilera seems to have the same attitude. It is the entertainment media who seems to view her weight as a “plight” rather than her. She says she comfortable in her own skin. I applaud her for not caving in the the media moguls who want big boobs and an 18 inch waist before they give any woman the time of day.

Do I think weight is important? Yes. Believe me, I know the consequences physically, emotionally, and socially to being overweight. Have I been “comfortable in my own skin” as Aguilera claims she is? No. To some, she is a very accomplished vocalist. I am not familiar with her works. I’m not really into the dirrty hooker images for young women which are so prevalent these days. I yearn for the years when they were just suggestively sexy. But I do feel a woman should be judged, if she must be, on the health of her body, the generosity of her spirit, and her talent. Not her weight. Namaste. Attic Annie

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It IS a Wonderful Life…if you let yourself know it

One of my all time favorite Christmas movies is “It’s a Wonderful Life”  by Capra. I’ve seen it many times over the years. I was pleased to see that it is being shown in four theaters in the Fort Worth area today. Followers of this movie are increasing. Unfortunately I cannot attend any of them because my Christmas Eve celebration starts at 5:30 with a dinner with a friend and her family and then 7:00 candlelight service.

It is sad to me that NBC has sole rights to the showing of this film and only shows it once at 8:00 p.m. I will be able to make it home in time to see part of it but I’ll miss about the first half hour or so.

I often wonder why I enjoy this movie so much. It was pretty much panned when it was first out so many years ago. I’ve come up with several reasons.

It was released in 1946 the same year I was born. It gives me an insight into how people lived over sixty years ago. Life was so much simpler then but the problems of living day to day have really not changed all that much. Kids still get sick, young people start out married life with little money, parents still get mad at teachers, corrupt people still try to control their towns….etc etc etc ad nauseum. I guess that is because we are human. We can’t seem to get beyond the day to day problems of just living.

I love the idea that guardian angels can intervene in our lives. Based on situations I have found myself in, I have no explanation other than the protection from my guardian angel that I emerged without harm so many times.

Many times throughout the years I have wished I have never been born because I have seen myself as a very insignificant being on this earth. Then I would think about the baby I rescued in the pool, and the very angry young boy in summer school who learned he could understand math if we went back to the point where he did know what to do and proceed from there. He was going into sixth grade ( a year behind) and was in a third grade remedial math class. He had an attitude in the beginning that was downright scary. The last day of the program he came back into the room where I was alone. For a second I was fearful but then he put his arms around my neck and gave me a big hug and thanked me. Then he turned around and left again. I will never forget that hug.

I think about the patients when I volunteered at the hospital who were grateful that the only thing I did was listen to their heart wrenching stories. I think about the parents and former students I come in contact with occasionally who still thank me for the way and what I taught. They tell me now of their successes.

Most of all I think about my son. A son who has no logical reason for being able to be here. I was married to a traveling salesman who was gone from Monday through Thursday nights and often spent Friday and Saturday nights at the bar. I was told for many years that because of my anatomy It would be improbable that I would ever be  able to conceive or carry to full term. Yet there he was. I had no indication he was even with me the first trimester. When he arrived, I was only in hard labor for about four hours. He arrived at 7:00 A.M.on the day he was predicted to be born after four hours of labor. His estimated date of arrival was a sheer guess on the part of the doctors.

That’s kind of off the track but my point is I heard Jim Carry say of his mother that her life was significant, even though she was plagued much of her life with illness, because she had given birth to someone who was significant. That thought has resonated with me. My son is a significant person and the child that is expected in June will be a significant person as well.

I am learning the value of true friendship. I have never had many friends in my life who I “hung out with” to do things socially. I was never a part of a group in any years in my school life like so many girls. I was an outsider. But over the past few years I have developed friendships that I feel I can count on if I ever really needed help. I think they would come through in a time of emergency just like in the movie.

On this Christmas Eve, I am thankful for my life as it is and has been. Life’s lessons have been hard to learn, but I am grateful that in many ways I am learning them. It IS a wonderful life. I wish a wonderful life to you too. Merry Christmas. Namaste Attic Annie

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The beginning of my bucket list to change the governmentt

If you could heavily influence the running of the United States government, what would you change?

Ever since I started blogging, I’ve become much more interested in what is happening in the world around me. I’ve paid more attention to the military and political situations than at any other time in my life. If there is truly a moral law that allows for righteous indignation then I am claiming that state of mind many times as I read what is going on in this world.

If I had the power, I would act on a bucket list of changes before I leave this plane of existence and move to a higher consciousness. These are just some of the things I would consider changing.

I would instruct the military to stop telling the young privates, airmen, seamen recruits, ensigns, and lieutenants in our armed forces that they are fighting for America’s freedom and our Constitution. I would make them completely inform these men and women concerning the purpose of their missions. “To make the world safe for democracy” is a cover up for the real reason we are engaging in conflict about 99% of the time.
There have been very few conflicts since the Revolutionary War that make that a righteous claim. I would scale back the U S Military to where it was a defensive force only. If we are not being attacked, we do not join in any one else’s wars. I would stop the aggression of our forces and the major bullying we do. Eisenhower warned of the military industrial complex a long time ago, but the American public has allowed an all out expansion ever since his presidency and made it seem like it was for  the good of the people. I would make service to our country mandatory for all young persons for two years to rebuild America’s infrastructure, roads, schools, hospitals, etc. instead of sending them out of our country to destroy.

I would set term limits to our Congress and our Supreme Court. I do not believe the framers of the Constitution EVER visualized the length of terms that some of those senators, representatives, and judges  have achieved. I would ban all inclusions in a bill that do not pertain directly to the bill. This to me is an insidious, heinous practice that has led us down the wrong path to pay offs, vote buying, and corruption.

I would end the parade of lobbyists that have mushroomed into an army unto itself with their deep pockets and one sided corrupted information that is harming the American public in so many ways. I would also change the law that allows corporations to be counted as people with the privilege of using money to buy our government. I would change the tax structure to be more equitable getting rid of all loopholes and ways of hiding extra income. All persons would pay according to their ability, if not in money then in service to the community.

I would force all those who deal with our health to give us all information for us to make correct decisions. The pharmaceutical companies would have to conduct unbiased tests on the drugs they force on the public. I didn’t realize until recently that if drugs are expected to cause negative side effects, the companies just don’t test for those effects or they don’t test long enough to discover effects over time. The idea that drugs should be sold until enough lawsuits for damage force them off the market is pathetic. I would stop the insurance companies from selecting only to cover the young and healthy. I would make hospitals and health personnel charge reasonable and fair prices for their services to stop bankrupting those who are least able to pay even with insurance.

I would do whatever necessary to clean out the vipers in the corporate world who put massive profits over the health and safety of our citizens. The food that we eat, the air we breathe, the water we drink, the cleaning products that we use in our households and on our clothes and body all contain chemicals that are known to cause cancer or are producing super infectious organisms, weeds, etc. as a byproduct.

There is so much to be done to get us back on the path I feel we should be traveling. These few paragraphs are just the beginning of what I would do if I could influence the United States government. Which way would you lead us? Namaste Attic Annie

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