How could my mother do it, do it at Christmas? She hung the stockings, baked the cookies, wrapped the gifts, even placed baby Jesus in the manger. And then, she did it, smack dab in the middle of the living room! She put up a silver aluminum Christmas tree.
I hated that tree. It was not festive, fragrant or full. Worst of all, it was not green!! I was convinced Santa would take one look at it and, fearing high levels of radiation, shoot right back up the chimney. My brother, Joe, hated that tree more.
Since my father’s mechanical ability was limited to changing a burnt out light bulb, the job of assembling the tree fell to my brother. Joe was blessed with a methodical mind and a plethora of patience. On or about December 1, Joe began his work. He opened a large cardboard box and faced 642 individual branches of curled foil that fit into one, and only one, spoke on a spindly trunk. On or about December 24, Joe finished his task. [Read More…]
The holidays just amplify what already exists in our daily lives, which is primarily love with expectations and generosity with obligations. Let’s look at this paradox closely.
First of all, the holidays extend to us the presence and opportunity to spend special quality time to be with family and loved ones in a most intimate way, without the distraction of work and responsibilities. What a delight and opportunity to freely offer our loving presence!
Then, there are the other ‘presents’ or holiday gifts. This factor can be a joyful exchange or can be a stressful comparison or expectation. Joyful exchange means that we purchase (or make) something for a special person in our life. We offer it from the heart, with no expectations or demands. Sounds simple enough, but to be honest, we are not taught how to give like this. Most of our gift-giving has entanglements. Even obligations. [Read More…]
I call the months from October to January, (when the days finally start to lengthen) the “ Season of the Dark.” My rituals stem from the celebration of light in the dark. I love this special time of year, despite its commercial exploitation, for the palpable experience it provides.
Growing up in a family that was not traditionally religious, yet still connected to the foundation of spirituality, rooted me in seasonal tradition. My father grew up Jewish and my mother a Southern Baptist. Together our family created a compromise based in love.
I have somehow continued to honor ritual around the light with my own family, and am now aware that my daughter, even in her distracted teenage years, appreciates them. I saw how adamantly resistant she was when we contemplated a possible trip away from home during the Holidays. Her excitement during this time has spurred me on to establish new holiday rituals ones that my own New England family would never have embraced.
It wasn’t until I moved to the Midwest that I joined the frenzy of decorating the exterior of the house. New Englanders rarely string orange and white lights that look like candy corn all over the front porch, as well as hang spider webs and giant bugs over the railings. [Read More…]
Christmas used to be so simple. My girls would compose and illustrate their letters to the North Pole in their very best flowery handwriting and colorful artistry they could muster – giving Santa great ideas of what to look for in the children’s aisles. “Santa” would find a bunch of toys, games and stuffed animals and put them under the tree and the kids were delighted on Christmas morning. Sigh. If only it were still as easy.
It all gets more and more complicated every year. What makes it so tricky? One sister is 14 – the other is 8 – and the age of Santa Claus is sadly coming to a close.
The teenager has known “the truth” for a few years now – and has been marvelous at playing along for the sake of her younger sibling. But, just like she had to be coerced into dressing up for Halloween and opted to not have an actual themed birthday party this year, she’s not easily convinced of the necessity to sit down and write that letter to Ol’ Saint Nick with her sister. [Read More…]
Our Twelve Year Old On Tour and What Life Lessons He Learned From the Bass Player and Drummer (Part II of Touring With Thorazine)
I knew my son Ryan had formed a bond with our bass player and drummer before we left for the road. We see the band more than we see our biological families. Our band, Thorazine, always lived as a family and it is natural that the second time around we would fall into family roles again.
It started the first day we picked the band up from the airport in Los Angeles. Ryan does not always use his best table manners, although we have worked with him on this for years. Drummer Dallas and I both mentioned to Ryan about how he is going to choke since he eats so fast. He needs to slow down.
Of course, he is twelve, and has been oppositional since birth. Despite all this, we didn’t give up. Then bassist Hoover and my husband joined in. I think Hoover said it best, “One day, Ryan, you are going to want to impress a girl and you are not going to be able to eat like a caveman in front of her and keep her attention.” [Read More…]
I’ve been writing full time for almost five years, starting just after I turned forty. It’s a funny age isn’t it? On one hand we are told, over and over that life is just beginning, on the other, that it’s all downhill from here.
I, being a glass half full kind of gal, chose to believe the former.
Making the decision to change careers was a terrifying one. I was a Sales and Marketing Manager, with a company car, expense account and decent salary. To become a writer meant giving all that up, because there is no fixed salary for this profession. Many authors never earn a minimum wage, never mind a decent living. And taking aside that not insurmountable obstacle, every time I thought about sharing something I’d written, I’d become paralysed with fear.
It was one thing to kick stories around in my head, another to show the world those very words that up until then I’d kept hidden. who I wanted to be, who I really was. [Read More…]
Don’t you love it when your kids get excited about something? I know I do! One thing my eight-year-old daughter is most tickled about is “Pajama Day” at school. At the end of the trimester, their 2nd grade teacher lets them wear PJs and bring a pillow, blanket and favorite toy to be comfy for the class reading marathon. This novelty of wearing sleepwear to school is oh-SO cool to her and her classmates.
Well, then there’s me. I have my own opinion about going to school in jammies.
I SWORE I’d never be “that” mom who would show up to drop off her kid looking like she just rolled out of bed. (Excuse me, I’m way more professional than that.) I have a reputation to uphold. I spent 14 years in television news and am now a well-known speaker and coach. I’ve been a personal assistant to high-ranking leadership in the Idaho Senate, plus I served two terms as “Mrs. Canyon County America.” I could never be seen looking frumpy, with no makeup on and hair all amess. Have some dignity, please! [Read More…]
Everywhere we went, people stared and then thought, who gave them a kid? Driving across the country with my on-the-spectrum, ADHD-boy (Ryan) was a joy. The road was a novel place and every time he looked up things were different. He was joyful all the way across the USA. He didn’t sleep a wink and more times than not, he was staring out the window just taking it all in.
Ryan was so excited as we arrived in Los Angeles. The band would join us there and was thrilled to be somewhere for more than one night. He and I swam in the pool that afternoon and by evening were joking that we were poolside in LA. It was grand. The next day, a friend picked Ryan up. She is someone he knows well and her daughter is a few years younger.
Although (in California) they start school in August, Ryan was able to play Mindcraft with her and swim in the pool at their apartment. When we got to the show, the promoter said it would be fine if he showed up and it was the only show he was allowed to watch. (Of course, Ryan did not change after swimming and showed up to our punk show in his bathing suit.) [Read More…]