In Search of a Holly, Jolly Christmas

Yesterday we got our tree.

I scraped my snuffle-nosed, chilled self up off the couch, out from under the warm blanket, woke Maverick from his lazy, Saturday afternoon nap, and together we joined Mr. A on a trip to a local tree farm in search of the perfect tree. There used to be six of us wandering out in the cold, pointing to different ideas of perfection. Now there are three. Soon there will be only two. (I see a Noble Fir in the future.)

In about 15 minutes we had our tree chosen, cut, loaded and paid for, a very quick and efficient trip, a small-sliver reminder of the joyful family times we used to enjoy at this time of year. I should be happy, but I’m feeling rather melancholy.

I have two kids who’ve moved to different states and one stubborn Goose who has decided he doesn’t celebrate Christmas. (I’ll be slipping him a copy of Dicken’s Christmas Carol.) Maverick is left to hold the banner for the offspring branch in this family tree, and he prefers his room to the common area. I am starting to understand how that holly, jolly feeling can be obscured by a dark cloud of unfulfilled expectations. At the same time I am confronted by a social media storm of carefully curated photos of happy, close knit families enjoying the holiday preparations together. Time for a Facebook break.

Maybe I will find my holly, jolly Christmas yet.

Maybe when my system beats back this cold.

Maybe when my Sunshine arrives for a 5-day visit.

Maybe if I can convince my Scrooge McGoose that Christmas is about time with the people you love.

In the meantime, the tree is up and taking up half of my living room. In the spirit of going through the motions, it’s time to decorate.





Share Your World – 12/3/17

Here are my latest answers to Cee’s Share Your World:

What household chore do you absolutely hate doing?

I hate most household chores. I love doing so many other things and get annoyed that the drudgery of cleaning up takes my time from those things. The only time it’s bearable is if I have a good audiobook for zoning out while I clean. I’m currently listening to Anna Karenina, which should occupy me for a while.

At what time in your recent past have you felt most passionate and alive?

There have been a few times when this was the case. First was when I first moved out on my own. I still treasure this time of independence and exploration. The next was when my kids were born. I was able to see the world again through their eyes. Later, I had a medical scare and things took on a new and deeper meaning, though life also became fraught with anxiety. Now it seems to take travel to make me feel passionate and alive. Twenty-three years of sameness isn’t doing it for me.

How many times have you moved in the last ten years?


Zero times.

Which means we have a 23 year accumulation of possessions that I have to clean around. We’ve even built a couple of outbuildings to store things we will probably never use again. I’ve always thought a good move every few years would help cull the clutter and define the really important.

What inspired you or what did you appreciate this past week?  Feel free to use a quote, a photo, a story, or even a combination. 

I was inspired by nature as I stood on Newport’s south jetty at moonrise, trying to get a decent shot of the supermoon. I didn’t quite get it, but it was pretty awesome being out there and seeing the moon rise over the iconic Yaquina Bay Bridge.


Thanks to Cee for the chance to share our worlds. Have a great week!


Share Your World – 11/27/17

And in the time it took me to write the last post, Cee put up the most recent questions. 🙂

Here are my answers to those:

Would you prefer a reading nook or an art, craft, photography studio?

Decisions, decisions. Can’t I have all rolled into one? (Though honestly, that reading nook in the picture is a dream and would totally distract me from arts, crafts, AND photography.)

Tell how you are feeling today in the form of a weather report. (For example, partly cloudy, sunny with a chance for showers, etc.)

Cloudy with a chance of showers.

If you could witness or physically attend any event past, present or future, what would it be?

I’ve always thought I would have loved to be a part of the Lewis and Clark expedition.

What inspired you or what did you appreciate this past week?  Feel free to use a quote, a photo, a story, or even a combination. 

My mom, who at 74 still hosts Thanksgiving dinner.

Thanks for reading. Have a good week, everybody.


Share Your World – 11/20/17

I’m late with my post, but here it is:

If you were having difficulty on an important test and could safely cheat by looking at someone else’s paper, would you do so?

I wouldn’t. The real test would be a life lesson test. Will I have good character and learn that I need to focus, study, and communicate with my teacher, or will I take the easy road and slide by on someone else’s success? I would hope I’d pass the life test.

What things in nature do you find most beautiful?

Colors. Sometimes I stand in awe at the blue of the sky peeking through the clouds, or the golden sunlight filtering through the forest in the late afternoon. I think my obsession with photography is trying to capture the intangible, shifting colors of the natural world.

Complete this sentence: When I travel I love to….



Educate myself.

Thanks to Cee for this chance to share our worlds!


Share Your World 11/13/17

Here are my answers to this week’s Share Your World:

Do you ever sit on a park bench for more than ten minutes?

Rarely do I sit in one place for more than ten minutes unless I’m eating (which I now do insanely slowly nowadays) or on my computer. My mind functions more like the like the dog/squirrel scenario. If I can force myself to sit still, to be in the moment, I do find that it’s a richly rewarding, highly calming experience.

When you lose electricity in a storm, do you light the candles, turn on the flashlight or use your cell phone for light?

We have a box of candles that have been collected over the years that we pull out for these rare occasions. One year the power was out for an extended time and the kids and I played board games by candlelight. What memories! Of course that’s not to say we don’t use flashlights or cell phones to avoid breaking toes in the dark.

Would you rather be given $10,000 for your own use or $100,000 to give anonymously to strangers?

I’ve always wanted to have the kind of money that I could do just that. I would give money to strangers. I’ve been in the position where this little windfall has made such a huge difference and brought hope to my life. The ability to spread this around would be so satisfying.

That being said, I’d still keep a little for myself so I could live my dream of traveling.

What inspired you or what did you appreciate this past week?  Feel free to use a quote, a photo, a story, or even a combination. 

  • a ripe Hawaiian pineapple
  • authentic conversations, difficult though they may be
  • sunlight hitting the clouds just so
  • the bluest of blues peeking out from behind those clouds
  • taking time to focus on the small things


As always, thanks to Cee for this opportunity to share our worlds. Have a great week, everyone!


Share Your World – 11/6/17

It’s time for another installment of Share Your World. Here are my answers:

Would you rather take a 2 week vacation with an organized tour or take a cruise of your choice?

I would take a cruise, and it would be a barefoot cruise. I couldn’t sit around and let everyone cater to my needs. I’m too antsy for that.

Did you like swinging as a child? Do you still get excited when you see a swing?

I loved swinging as high as I could go as a child. I tried swinging as an adult, and decided that, like cartwheels and rollerblading, it’s something best left to kids. I do like reliving my childhood experience vicariously through children, though, so I can often be easily convinced to be the pusher.

What is the most important thing that you ever learned ? (I bet it’s not something you learned in school)

When I was 11 or 12 my grandma passed away without warning. It’s the only time I’ve ever seen my dad cry. This was one of my defining moments. I learned that nothing is guaranteed, that people are not here forever, and it’s best to take every chance to spend time with those you love. It’s a hard lesson, and it doesn’t translate well to those who have not learned it yet.

What inspired you or what did you appreciate this past week?  Feel free to use a quote, a photo, a story, or even a combination. 

  • foggy tree-lined hills
  • foamy, wild ocean waves
  • kind words, freely given
  • a hotel cat that chose me
  • thermals

Thanks again to Cee for helping us share our worlds. Have a good week, everyone!


Dancing in the Dark

Golden sunlight pierces a rift
In draperies drawn closed,
Warm photons passing through floating motes,
To land upon a fallen streamer lying
Coiled in a graveyard of listless balloons.

For a brief moment the hovering dust
Swirls and eddies
As a figure slowly sways through the light,
Stocking feet shuffling
Back and forth,
Back and forth.

Eyes closed in reverie,
Softly humming,
Moving in time,
Her graying hair shifting loosely
Around thin shoulders,
As she sways
Back and forth,
Back and forth.

Arms opening wide
As if in expectant embrace,
She slowly twirls
Out of the light
And resumes her swaying
Back and forth,
Back and forth.

The balloons scuttle heavily out of her path,
Carried on disturbed air.
Streamers whisper as they form new entanglements
On the wooden floor,
And as she makes her latest pass,
All becomes quiet again
As she continues
Dancing in the dark.

Share Your World 10/30/17

I’m back to share the latest of my world this week. I haven’t been writing much lately. But here I am. This is a great chance to put pen to paper, or in this case, wear down the keys on my keyboard. If you want to join the fun, click here. Here are my answers:

Where do you eat breakfast? 

I’ve given up breakfast. I know, I know, most important meal of the day. But if I don’t want to gain a thousand pounds, something has to go. I figure I get a little boost from the cream in my coffee, and I have a snack around 10:00, usually the staff room at school or in front of my computer if I’m not working. But no breakfast, per se. This way I can maintain my already stout physique.

Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want have a evening with?

Someone caring and funny. If Robin Williams were still alive, he’d fit the bill.

If you could be a tree or plant, what would you be?

Not the Giving Tree. I feel a little bit like that’s getting too close to my life, and I’ve never liked that story to begin with. I’d be an oak or walnut, wide and expansive and giving of my shade, but if anyone wanted to cut me down to make a boat or whatever, I’d drop a branch or two on their head.

What inspired you or what did you appreciate this past week?  Feel free to use a quote, a photo, a story, or even a combination. 

This week was a good one for appreciation. I took an impromptu solo camping trip down the Oregon Coast. I was inspired by the following:

  • Mother Nature in all her glory. Whales were feeding in a cove off of Cape Arago, so I spent some time watching them surface and dive. The next morning I hiked in the dark to catch the first light at Sunset Bay. Beautiful! Then, on Saturday there were high wave warnings, meaning great stormy surf without stormy weather. I don’t know the phenomenon that would bring one without the other, but I appreciated watching the end-of-days crashing waves without getting soaking wet and windblown for a change.
  • The kindness of strangers – whether it’s remeniscing about past storms or how childhood stomping grounds have changed over the years, the willingness to share with a stranger is heart warming.
  • The peace, the absolute serenity of sitting on the edge of the continent in the shadow of a historic lighthouse on an unseasonably warm fall day, picnicking on cheese and crackers, my only company a squirrel and a few deer.


Sunset Bay-1454
First light at Sunset Bay, Oregon. So amazing!
Sunset Bay-1452-2
I turned around to see this. Beautiful clear skies… and stars!
Picnic by Cape Blanco Lighthouse
Sunset Bay-1984
One of Oregon’s many ocean monoliths.
Cape Arago-3437
Foggy day, so pictures aren’t clear. Stormy seas at Shore Acres, Oregon Coast.

As always, thanks to Cee for giving us a chance to share our worlds. Wishing everyone a wonderful week!