Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Coffee Chat - Past, Present, Future




Oh Hello!  Do come in...Isn't it nice to have a brief respite here during these holidays?  I think so, I do really.   Let's have some coffee...For us, the holidays are over and done.  We seldom do anything for New Year's Eve or Day either one.  Years ago, we had a big dinner on New Year's Day, all the traditional Southern foods that were meant to herald in a prosperous New Year ahead.  I don't mind not doing that and haven't noticed any great lag nor improvement in our usual  prosperity, lol.  John asked me years ago to do something different and have a big Submarine sandwich or something like that.  This year, I'll be going out with Mama on that day while he rests here at home, preparing for his first day back at work.  No celebration, just plain routine and I confess I look forward to it.



I am feeling better.  Finally.  Not healed yet but better and I'll take that over where I was.  I'd love to tackle my home cleaning and bring it back around to where I want it to be, but I know eventually I will.  Housework always waits upon me.  John has been good to help me keep the daily stuff done and worked really hard at keeping up with it at the beginning when I could do nothing.  I was grateful then and now. I confess I'd give much to mop the kitchen, de-scum the shower, move Christmas items out to the shed and pick up the branches that blew from the trees (broken during that windstorm last June but only just now falling from the tree tops).  John is equally as adamant that I 'take it easy'.  He drove that point home yesterday afternoon when I vacuumed out my seat while he walked around the car at the car wash.  "You're going to hurt yourself!  Leave it alone!"  {{Sigh}}

Our Christmas holiday was very quiet overall.  Just John and I here and while at first that made me a little unhappy, Thanksgiving had been so nice that I decided Christmas would be as well.  Then I had this bout of pain and didn't get to shop as planned, nor finish Christmas shopping either.  I've learned my lesson this year.  In years past I've tried hard to be done by Halloween or most certainly by Thanksgiving but this year I gave in to John's wanting to wait and not 'rush' the season.  I was still ordering Christmas gifts  the week before Christmas!  Hated it, every worrying minute of it. 

Well John went off to work while I was still struggling to recover and was working mighty long hours towards the end of his work week last week.  He literally was taking an hour or two to run home check on me and then going back to work for 22 hours or so.  He'd promised to take me to town to shop but it was obvious he wasn't going to have time.  I told him I thought it time I tried to get out of the house.  I went  to the grocery store on my own to pick up the items we'd need to get through these two weeks, as well as items wanted for our holiday meal.    I shook like a leaf, I was so weak, but I managed and felt a right champion when it was all done.

John had to work Christmas Eve day and night.  His off week began Christmas morning.  We had our special breakfast and dinner meals for Christmas, and set the table prettily with our china. We relaxed and caught up with one another (he'd worked nearly 70 hours in three days time), exchanged our gifts, spoke to the children on the phone and watched a plethora of Christmas movies.  It was quiet, and relaxed and pleasant and just what we both needed I think, given how weary we both were, he from hard work and me from ailing.

I had reason this year to really examine traditions.  With my children scattered hither and yon, and the youngest two now in long term relationships and therefore involved with their partners' families, as well, John and I spent both Thanksgiving and Christmas alone.  I didn't mind so much about Thanksgiving.  We'd had a lovely time with our eldest son and  his wife in mid-November, celebrating Thanksgiving, their anniversary and the twins birthday, just as we'd done last year.  But Christmas we found no one coming our way, work schedules colliding every which way ...We were both aware, I think, at that moment, that the loosely held traditions we'd had were past.  It was time to start anew.

Now mind you, I think every one voiced their displeasure prior to the holiday and then put a brave face on but Christmas morning I found myself consoling my Katie.  As much as I hadn't wanted change, I found I had to encourage her to embrace it and begin to find her own traditions.  Samuel coped.  He suggested that his fiancee and her mother join him in HIS traditional breakfast of canned sweet rolls and baby sausages.  Bess had set the example there by asking ME to join in her tradition of attending the Nutcracker Ballet with her and her mom mid December, something I'd longed to see for many years.



Lori and Jd managed a fly by trip on their way back home from visiting her brother.  They dropped off the beautiful mantle Jd built as my Christmas present and I got to see the children for an hour or so. The children were still dressed in their cute pajamas, which were nice and warm for the briskly cold day. 


Katie didn't realize until Christmas morning how much her traditions had meant to her, nor that last year had been her last one having them and she suddenly found herself grieving the loss of it.  I was sorry for her.  I knew the depth of my own sorrow when we'd realized we weren't going to have that traditional Christmas.  I had had time to remind myself of the many changes we'd experienced over the years as family members grew and left home, others died, friends moved away, etc.  As I looked back, I realized we'd had various ways of celebrating the season over the years and few of our traditions were lasting ones.  They were ours for a season and then we adjusted to our new circumstance and started fresh with a new 'tradition'.  Well, this year was a new circumstance. As it happened, I didn't feel well and our day was just about as much as I could handle.  Which points up yet again that things generally tend to work out just as they are supposed to. 

I confess I really don't know what we'll do next year.  I have no idea.  Right now everything is up in the air as we await news of a possible change in John's job scheduling.  This was supposed to be his last year working Christmas...will it be?  We don't know.  We've discussed various scenarios, like going away for the holidays but again this possible schedule change will come into play there, too.  So for now, we've dreamed of different ways we might celebrate Christmas on our own but we'll leave it and see what happens next year.

I have to tell you that I'm relieved to see 2013 gone.  I shared with John yesterday afternoon that while I can pinpoint but two really sad events that occurred this fall, the year as a whole was a major struggle for me in many ways.  I struggled emotionally and spiritually but found peace at last.  We struggled a bit financially but came right at the end of the year.  I've found myself grieving over a good deal more than I ought to have.  I've struggled with surrendering.  Here at the end I've struggled physically, although I know that overall this year I've been much stronger and my energy levels are higher than ever.  I can see the balances in the year. And yet, despite things working out for the best in the end, it was a year of struggle and stress and strife.  Nothing came easy.

A few years ago, perhaps ten or twelve, we had a year where nothing major happened.  No big life events, no crises, no real hardships, no struggles...It was a calm and lovely year.  I really feel I'm about due one of those years.  I say this knowing that the coming year already promises to be typical.  Here we are with the proposed schedule change that will shake up our lives, two grandbabies due in June/July, a marriage. Those are just the known things. Not likely to be uneventful, but certainly normal.

This year is the first in many that I've come to this point with no goals for the coming year.   I thought about making goals. I meant to make them, but somehow when it came time, I just couldn't do it.  It's not that I mean to wander aimlessly through the coming year, but I felt I've been limiting myself by planning so far ahead.  I don't know. I felt it was time to do things differently, but I'm not yet sure what different is supposed to be just yet.  I do have a handful of resolutions most meant for pleasure as you'll see.  I want to make a cake a month and I think perhaps a pie, too, now that I've finally learned to make a decent enough pie crust.  I mean to plant more daffodils (must hurry on that one),  pansies and flowers overall because they do make me happy and are worth the effort.  I want to read more.  For some reason I've read very little this past year.  I want to read at least one book each week.  I mean to visit the library twice a month.  I want to buy more music to enjoy through the days and weeks as I watch less and less television. 

Of course, I want to pursue hobbies: genealogy, writing, quilting/sewing.  I am determined to find time in each week for those activities.

Financially we continue to work hard at paying off that loan.  I made a huge dent on it this past year and now I can see light at the end of the tunnel I want to make a huge concentrated effort at paying it off entirely by spring.  To that end, I thought I'd work a bit harder at the grocery budget and make more items from scratch, cut costs still further.  One way I mean to do this is to buy poultry that is $1 a pound or less. I prefer white meat, but seldom see it for that price except on occasion.  This means I'll likely buy whole chickens and cutting them up to divide into parts.    I want to concentrate on making a set goal each day for Swagbucks and earning those Amazon gift cards, hopefully one a week.  I will also take advantage of shop and earn from Swagbucks to build up my points.

I'd like to see my flea market booth operating at a profit at all times.  I'll need to really work with it, but because I can't control customers coming and going in our small town, I think I'll also be selling once more on Ebay or possibly Etsy in order to make best of my thrift finds.  Those are the few things I've determined I want to do this coming year.   Ultimately my goal is to generate some sort of income, however small, to help with post retirement expenses in years to come.

So you see, I have thought of what I'd like to do in the coming year, although I've not made hard and fast goals yet.

I started this post last night.  This morning, I found our lovely old Trudy had gone to sleep for the last time.  I won't write more about that.  It's a sad day in our home.  She is one of several dogs we've loved long and well and lost.

Yes, I'm glad to see 2013 end...

2 comments:

Tammy said...

Your new mantel is gorgeous! JD did a very nice job on it.
Those grandbabies are also pretty gorgeous - and they're getting so big! I love the pic in their jammies.

lislyn66 said...

Oh, sending you hugs for Trudy. I remember all the posts you had about her and how I would chuckle at her and her antics. You have precious memories there.

The babies are getting so big! I guess I need to read back further to see how Katie is getting on and where she is. Last I read she had just gotten married, yes, that's how behind I am.

Thank you for sharing so much with us.

Lisa