Tuesday, December 25, 2007

On my nose and eyelashes

Merry Christmas, from me to you. It's Christmas morning as I write this. I'm sitting at the dining room table in the little cabin we rented. Out the window, the snow is falling. I've forever dreamed of waking up on Christmas morning to snow falling outside my window. Until this morning, the dream has gone unfulfilled. What I've learned is that sometimes you can't sit and wait for your dream, you have to go to it.

The children and my friend are sleeping. It's deliciously and peacefully quiet and I'm deliciously and peacefully content. I'm also spiritually uplifted. Hard not to be with these surroundings, but I believe it more to do with the Christmas Eve Service I attended last night at a tiny Episcopal church that opened it's doors to me and let me sing Christmas songs and get on my knees in prayer and open my heart in celebration and joy. It was the first time I've worn jeans to church, but that's all I had and that's okay because I fit right in with the rest of the people there.

Earlier this morning, I took Cheyenne for a walk, first putting on her jingle bell collar and her new coat that she loves and does a little dance around my feet whenever I hold it up to put it on her. While out there in the snowy elements, I took this picture. It's peaceful, and that's why I'm posting it. I want to share it with you. I hope that your Christmas is filled with peace and joy.


Saturday, December 22, 2007

Friday, December 21, 2007

And we're off (soon)

Saturday morning at the very early hour of 5:00, my neice, nephew, friend, Cheyenne and I will pile into the car and begin the first leg of our drive to Colorado. Woo hoo! We're going to Colorado for Christmas! One week in the guest house of a ranch just north of Durango. We'll ride horses, the nephew will ski, we'll ice skate, we'll take a train through the snowy mountains to Silverton. We'll drink hot chocolate with marshmellows. We'll make snow angels and have snowball fights. We'll warm our hands and feet by the fire.

I have absolutely no idea if I'll be able to access the internet, so on the chance that I'm unable to do so, I leave you with the wish that I hope you have a very happy and safe holiday. And I hope that into your life falls a bit of the magic that this time of year holds in the air.

Christmas Ornaments

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Coal in her stocking, no doubt

There’s not much I can get my mother for Christmas. Her needs are taken care of, and she’s unable to express her wants. I decided this morning to get her music. She loves music and does not have access to music in her room, so I set out this afternoon during lunch to get her a CD player and some CDs from Target. Going to Target seven days before Christmas is a brave thing to do. It’s also foolish. Maybe not as foolish as going to Target the weekend before Christmas, or on Christmas Eve, but it’s right up there. People begin to turn not so nice when they shop the week before Christmas. They become more driven with running-out-of-time purpose and less driven by the spirit of the season. I shop early each year to avoid that very thing.

Except I couldn't decide until this morning what to get my mother.

During lunch, I happily strolled through the store, picked up a couple things for my niece, some socks for myself, and went to the electronics area for the CD player. I found that and then headed towards the music selection. Three CDs later, I headed to the checkout lanes. On my way, one of the CDs slipped from the cart and hit the floor, just in front of the woman who was tailing me with her cart that was laden and heavy with all sorts of things, presumably for her grandchildren. I fumbled, put my hand up in the air to give her a heads up that I was stopping and to please not run over me, and said, Oh, sorry, excuse me, as I bent down to retrieve the CD. The woman looked at me, saw me, and then ran over the CD with her cart. I quickly moved my hand from the CD so as not to be caught beneath her mean wheels, and looked up at her with I guess surprise on my face because as the CD case cracked, she said to me: Don’t blame me, you’re the one who dropped it. I would have doubted myself that she saw or heard me until those words spewed from her mouth. That's when my face went to Huh, what?

Standing up, CD in hand, I regained composure and smiled at her back as she mowed her cart through the crowd. You have a happy holiday, I called out. Because what was in my mind could not be spoken out loud in public. And because you're supposed to take the high rode. And because it's the holidays, for darn sake.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Oh what a night

Friday was my good friend's thirty-seventh birthday. It naturally follows that on Friday night I attended her birthday party. And oh what a party it was! There were old friends and new friends and co-workers and bosses. There were parents and Aunts. We even met a couple strangers. There was a birthday cake in the shape of a Fleur de Lis in the gold of her favorite football team, the New Orleans Saints. There were rings and necklaces and feathery bracelets that blinked. There were balloons in the air and gifts on a table. And smiles and hugs all over the place. My friend gave a touching speech about her love for those of us there, before slicing into the cake she'd been eyeing most of the evening. There was fun conversation and a lot of laughter. It was one of those warm and memorable nights where everyone and everything comes together just right, where everything sparkles and shines.

IMG_0194 IMG_0191 IMG_0221 IMG_0217 IMG_0222 IMG_0203 IMG_0207 IMG_0208 IMG_0210 IMG_0186 IMG_0226 Wellies!

Do you love those boots? I do. They were my gift to her. When she opened the box, she was delighted and she pulled off her shoes and wore these rubber boots for the rest of the night. On Saturday morning she told me they were right beside her bed when she woke up.

Update: Birthday girl's Sunday brunch of cake with a side of bacon:


Friday, December 14, 2007

People's Choice Award - Mother approved

I won an award this week. I was nominated by my colleagues weeks ago, without my knowing it, and our Board voted on it, also and obviously without my knowing it. So, the past couple of weeks, I've gone about my daily business blissfully clueless. On Tuesday I got clued in. I was presented with my company's Award of Excellence. The award itself is sort of a paperweight maybe, I don’t know, but a thing you put on your office desk or bookshelf. It is made of recycled glass, which I appreciate, and has a round medal, like a silver dollar, atop it that has the name of the man who founded our company as well as our logo and “Excellence Award.” Although very surprised, I felt good about receiving the award. It’s for doing my job above and beyond expectations. (I think it's fair to say here that I have been in a new role since April, one that is yet to have an officially written description, so to be above and beyond, is a bit of a shock since I don't yet know the benchmark. Or perhaps I do.) In partnership with the trophy / paperweight / thing, was a check, a nice check. I was stunned by all of it, completely surprised. Thank goodness I didn't have to give an acceptance speech. I fear I would have gone all Sally Fields You love me, you really love me on them.

When I got in my car after work, I turned the engine over with anticipation of going to my parents’ house and telling them all about it. Dad would bring out some champagne and say, I’m very proud of you, Cat. His blue eyes would shine at me and we would talk about the importance of good service. Mom would remind me that I was right to stay with this company even when they (my parents) wanted me to find a different job way back when. I would feel good that they felt good about me.

It's true, that’s what I was thinking. It happens sometimes and it happens so fast, that sort of thinking and excitement, that it out runs reality for a bit. It’s fantastic, the forgetfulness, the purity and the energy in my heart. In a way, that thinking makes the scene happen, stages it and lives it in another place and time. And that's okay.

I stepped back to the present, put my car in drive, and headed towards Mom.

Mom, she was all smiles at me when I told her about it. Her eyes smiled at me. Her mouth smiled at me. Then her words told me she was proud of me. I sat beside her bed, my hand over her hand, the bright lights of her Christmas tree glowing, and let the moment and her smile and words fill me to the brim. My Mom, she loves me. She really loves me.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

No camera

It was not cold this morning, it wasn't even chilly. In fact, it's muggy and hot and nothing at all what I think December 11 should be like. Doesn't matter what I think, the weather is out of my control (Global Warming notwithstanding).

Cheyenne, on the other hand, set out this morning with the same bounce in her step usually only brought out when frost covers the grass. Maybe it's the excitement of her jingle bell collar, I'm not sure, but she circled and butt-tucked and kept her brown tail wagging at egg-beater pace the entire walk.

When we approached two neighbors, Cheyenne circled them and snorted and butt-tucked ran between them and me, and one commented that she was the happiest dog he'd ever seen. I thought about that a minute as as I watched the blur of her movement and I told him it was the same with me. That dog, she is most certainly happy. She takes to each day with such excitement that one can't help but smile. Cheyenne has "live for the day" fully ingrained in her genes. I find that to be a delightful reminder to do the same.

Sunday, December 09, 2007


I don't feel like coughing up the details because I'm not sure that anyone but she and me and possibly her would understand. But I will say that Saturday night, a certain friend of mine, me, and this beautiful logo became permanently connected.


Friday, December 07, 2007

This is a love song

In my heart, there's a dream here. Atop her head, floating. Floating higher than my memories that she's mine, I'm hers. In my heart, she's young. She is before my being her daughter. Eternally young and perfect, she is. We are friends, she and I. We play hockey, she tutors me in Economics. I stand outside her dorm, gaze into her window. And sigh. I love you, I say out loud, I will always love you.

Nothing moves but for the falling snow, the moon light shifting the shadows.

No one can reach her.

I am her daughter, not her friend. I didn't know her then, when she danced and played competitive sports, and rode trains to dates, and wrote in the journals that I now have, discover, trace my finger along every loop of her script. I'm trying to be her, understand her, sit beside her as she dreams her future.

Did she dream me?

Mom, did you wish for me? I know she wanted me, we've had that conversation. But I forgot to ask her if she dreamed of me, if she wanted me.

Too late to ask.

I walk into her room, arms laden with Christmas. The tree, the ornaments, the skirt, the colors. I'm not comfortable with this. Christmas outside of our house, Christmas in a room, in a bed. How can we do this? How can I?

I string the lights, one by one, through the tree. I have a purpose, insane focus. This tree must be perfect. My eyes defy me and I cry.

Mom, thank you for letting me do the lights this year. I know, it's your job and my job is the ornaments, but for tonight...

We broke it down. My father and I would get the tree; she would string the lights; I would decorate.

Thursday night, the tree was not eight feet, it was three. The tree was not Pine, but plastic. Or some other simulated something fiber.

I tug and push each light. It has to be perfect, because this is my Mom. I hang the ornaments, adjust the balance, step back, make some changes.

I lean onto her bed beside her. Mom, look at your tree!

She looks outward and nowhere.

I kiss her all over her face, hold her hand tight. Mom, look at the tree, it's Christmas.

Mom, it's Christmas. I kiss her cheek.

She smiles at me, moves the focus of her watery cinnamon eyes to the tree.

Quietly, in a breathy whisper, she says, That's nice. It takes energy for her to say those two words, for her to say something I can understand, to convey meaning, string a sentence. Yet she does it.

Her smile and her words, That's nice. It's the Grammy award, the Emmy, the Nobel. It's approval and delight.

She closes her eyes, flutters them open again, searches for the colored lights and focuses on the bulbs. I think it's focus, but I know she sees them.

She rests. I watch her, move my hand across her arm, whisper to her, I love you, Mom. I love you.

My Mother? She knows I've put a Christmas tree up for her. Somehow she knows.

That's nice.

For today, Pearl Harbor Day

This photo was taken from the Pearl Harbor Memorial, built over the sunken USS Arizona, this summer. My friend emailed this photo to me this morning. I love this photo so am going to share it with you. You might love it too, or you might not. Maybe you'll just like it. But whether you love it or like it or don't feel anything either way about it, I bet that a little rush of something will run through you when you first see it. Did you feel it, that little rush? What do you think that is?

hawaii 163

Thursday, December 06, 2007

It makes me smile

Message left on my cell phone the other night:

It's a beautiful sunset but what makes it more beautiful is that I am watching a tornado-size group of geese circle and fall into the field. It's one of the coolest things I've ever seen. I haven't seen this in... I don't know, I don't think I've ever seen this many geese in one spot. I'm wishing your Dad was here. But he's probably watching.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Isn't he lovely?

Normally when I speak of Stevie, one could be safe in the assumption that I mean Stevie Nicks. Since I'm pretty much a freak about Fleetwood Mac. But not today. Oh no, today's Stevie is Wonder. Stevie Wonder. I saw him last night. Second row from the stage, a little off the center to stage right. My oh my can that man sing. And he can control a packed house. He made us laugh, made us listen, made us sing and made us dance. My feet are a little displeased this morning with that dancing part since my heels were so high, but you know what? I was dancing to Stevie Wonder. Live in concert. In the second row. The feet? They can get over it.

That was some kind of spell going on at the Toyota Center last night. Oh yeah.

Postscript: What made the night all the better was that I had no idea I was going to a concert until my phone rang at 6:15 and I was invited because the person with the fourth ticket was unable to go. Now THAT makes a fun evening!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Morning Sun

Shelves in my living room at 7:30 this morning. Look at that sunlight coming in through the windows! I love this room in the morning. It makes me feel warm and happy.


Saturday, December 01, 2007

Not to be outdone by the frog

The Ladybug, she says Merry Christmas.


I know, I know, I need to find something constructive to do with my time. Something valuable and worthwhile. I just can't help myself. It's Saturday morning and I'm sitting here with a stack of bills to my left and on my right is a stack of catalogs with folded pages for Christmas gifts I wish to purchase. The garage needs to be cleaned, and I need to take the clothes from the dryer. But I can't be bothered to do anything beyond put Christmas hats on teeny tiny animal life.