Saturday, December 30, 2017

Ending the Year


This has not been my favorite year.

Too many people I care about dying, having terrible illnesses, the October wildfires here and all of the other fires and floods and hurricanes in other parts of the state and nation, and don't get me started on our national scene with the wholesale devolvement of government; removing funding and regulations for the things that help people, making it harder for those who already have it hard, and enriching and empowering those who are already blessed with wealth and power, without a commensurate requirement that they do anything useful with that additional power and riches. The amount of increased alienation is powerful as is the answering renewal of interest in making a difference at a political level amount the less powerful, including women and minorities. It will probably all work out in the end, but it has been disheartening to see so much hatred and finger pointing and scary to see how far we, as a nation, are from working with other nations to solve mutual problems. Well, I guess I got started anyway. Sorry.

On a personal level, there were a number of positives this year, including finishing up my tenure as chairperson of the California State P.E.O. Ethel O. Gardner Scholarship Committee after having awarded over 60 scholarships, finishing up my year as the Recording Secretary for the regional P.E.O. group, and beginning my year as President of my local P.E.O. chapter where we awarded seven scholarships. Made a new friend through the regional group, too. I also purchased two items that I have been wanting for quite a while; a new couch for the living room and an expanded toaster oven for the kitchen. Both have been getting plenty of use the last couple of months!  My garden flowers this year were a joy for such a long time, beginning with wildflowers in the spring and continuing on until now, although there are only a few primroses at the moment. The most abundant were the morning glories and I collected seeds, so there will be more in 2018! I've done some painting in my newly refurbished art studio and am currently working on a large piece for K, although it has taken a back seat since Beth died in late November.

Bread baking has slowed down at Sweetie's request. He has no willpower to resist warm freshly baked bread and our waistlines don't actually need any bread, so about once a month I bake bread...seems a reasonable compromise to me. My sourdough starter gets fed in between and when I bake and that seems to be working out, too.

Sweetie continues to be the most important person in my life and I feel very blessed that we can share each day with one another, still find plenty to talk about, still enjoy our walks together with Pi dog, and still enjoy watching the news together at dinner time, although lately we have watched local stuff for half the time, then switch to PBS. We are both slowing down a bit, but keep up our gym habit so the slowdown is slowed, too. Ha!

I find that at the Christmas holidays that I miss those who have died more than I do the rest of the year. My Dad was a kid at heart and he just loved Christmas, so I think of him when I decorate the tree and hang the stockings. My Mom made the best Christmas cookies, so I think of her while I'm baking cookies and making the special meals of the holidays. That is often when I think of Max, too, because he enjoyed decorating the cookies...and eating them too! Beth came to mind often this Christmas since she has been gone for such a short time. As I write this tears come to my eyes because she should still be with us. My dear friend Jean (the middle photo in the three at the top) is missed, too. I always took her a cookie plate and she gave me an amaryllis plant. Today I'll be visiting her daughter to meet the new puppy, so I'll take her the cookies. Not the same, but heartening nonetheless.

Wishing all of us a better, brighter New Year. More caring for first ourselves, then others. More good food and drink, more baking and painting, and all kinds of creativity. More gardens and birds and bees and walks. More time with friends and family and fewer funerals. Maybe even a train ride or two.

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