I think I’m taking a break, here. Although I’m doing short reflections daily for Advent on the church site blog, I’ve been less than active here.
Today, at least I think it was today, maybe yesterday, that shows how far I’m behind on email too, Michelle W. who’s part of the WordPress staff, posted Lights Out: How to Take a Holiday Hiatus (sort of an onomatopoeia Christmassy sound to that). The most important part for me is the permission to say I’m taking a break.
I’m taking a break.
Life, oddly enough, is sort of slowing down. Son-Who-Lives-With-Us left to visit his father and brother in Florida. We are home alone. Shopping, although not wrapping, is done; mailing is done (okay, there’s still a family email to do); baking for “my boys” is done and either on the way to San Diego or in above son’s suitcase heading to Florida. The calendar is emptying. So why the break?
Well, Christmas isn’t just the tree and lights and presents, although we dearly love those, but a more reflective, and I’ll venture to add, spiritual time for us. We talk story and remember our families and childhood; we sit and watch the sparkle on the tree; Cliff builds fires and we listen to Christmas music. But the most important thing we do is reflect on our journeys this past year: what we’ve learned; what we choose not to bring into the new year; what we want to develop.
Although I don’t write much about our religious life on this blog (that URL is above if you’re interested), you’ve probably heard a tone of it in my writing. That’s my focus at this time of year. Peace. Justice. Kindness. Joy. Reflection. With the spirit that is part of us all and called by many names.
It’s Hanukkah, the festival of lights; Solstice, the return of light; and Christmas, the rebirth of light. There’s Kwanzaa, the celebration of culture and the wisdom of elders (that’s it’s own kind of light). The Buddhists get left out of December holy days, and the Islamic new year was in the western month of October this year. But I expect we can all celebrate spirit and light at any time of year.
Celebrate. Rejoice in your light; your heritage; your life. And the most important resolution any of us can make for the New Year is to be kind. That’s all. Kind.
I may not be back until the second week of January. It takes a while for this old bear to roll out of hibernation; and we may be going up to the farm the first full week of January. I’ll return, I promise. In the meantime:
My friend Teresa has a blog called CRAZIE TOWN. She writes funny stories about her family. Lately, she’s also been writing about cleaning out her office. Mostly, she writes funny stories. I never write funny but I’d like to. So Theresa, you’ve prodded me. Here’s MY cleaning office story. I’d also like to steal her title and use it for my life right now, but she already has it. So I could say crazy family or crazy house or Just Crazy, which, given my life over the past month or two, seems the most appropriate.It began in the spring with Youngest Son talking about the necessity of leaving San Diego when his son, my grandson, is deployed to Japan. My daughter-in-law is working away from home right now and Youngest Son neither likes living alone nor does he like what it costs to live alone in San Diego. Could he come here if he needed to, he asked. Sure, we said. No problem.
And like a log jam caught in spring’s thawing river ice, “Sure” got things moving. Tumbling, one could even say.
When school was out, Oldest Son, who also lives with us (you will notice children remain nameless — their condition for me writing about them), flew out to San Diego to help Youngest Son move. We’d already begun cleaning and tossing in preparation for the move. It was like a giant house jigsaw puzzle. In order to make space for another bedroom, we had to move the Big Office which my husband and I share into my Writing Office, which we’ll now share, but in order to move into the Writing Office we had to move the sofa from the Writing Office to the basement, and in order to move the sofa to the basement, we had to clean the basement. Ergo. Puzzle making.
We also had to clean out the garage so the items moved from San Diego could be stored in said garage until we completed all the rest of the shifting. I made an appointment with the city for Bulky Item pickup. That was good. We needed to toss some stuff. So we cleaned and tossed and made a pile of expendable things inside the backyard gate.
Then Two Sons returned and offloaded all the stuff they brought back from San Diego into the cleaned garage and spent the night and left the next day for Florida because Youngest Son has stored household items from his move before moving to San Diego. Now we have boxes and bins and a motorcycle. And a very small garage.
So while Two Sons were gone, Husband and I cleaned more. And since the Writing Office was empty of sofa and since we hadn’t filled it back up, it seemed a perfect time to do some painting. We began with a base coat.
Notice the small rectangular shadowed spot at the bottom corner of the window. That’s a faceplate for a plug. I took said faceplate off so I could paint around it. Simple, right? A bee flew out. Okay…. That set off a flurry of activity. We shooed the bee out an opened window and put the faceplate back on and looked out the window you see here and a swarm of bees were lining up at the edge of the roof below the gutter as if it were a runway. It was. We had a wall full of bees. We could hear them if we lay an ear to the plaster wall. We hadn’t before but then who listens to a wall?
At about that time, the Two Sons returned from Florida with more stuff and with moving and layering and a big trailer and all that, we finally got around to finding a bee removal company on Monday. They came. Yes, we had a wall of bees. But they were booked (seems June is big bee time in Kansas City). They could come on Thursday. Early? Can you come early? we asked. We were leaving to fly to grandson’s wedding in San Diego on Thursday. Ah, yes, that’s an added piece of adventure. Husband and I were presiding at said wedding and since it was Younger Son’s son, well, we were all going. A friend, bless friends, came to babysit the house and the bee removers and the bees until they were finished so we could leave. For the airport. (And if you are really really interested, we have a zip file of photos the bee removers took of the process — they removed the interior wall, the bees, and about 60 pounds of honey.)
We left the house in chaos and came back to chaos (the weekend in San Diego wonderful, the wedding wonderful, and if you’re interested there are photos on my Facebook page). All the books, the ones we didn’t toss, are congregated on one wall of what is no longer the Big Office but Younger Son’s bedroom and all the file cabinets which have been cleaned and purged are stacked along the wall with the pieces of a desk, and I can’t find anything.
And we have a room that has no wall against which nothing is stacked. I’d prefer a desk with computer. But not.
But no bees. Or honey. No sons either.
Two Sons went to Las Vegas with their dad, smart men, for a vacation. They will be back in a few days and in the meantime, we are resting. What more can we do? Except I can’t find the recently purchased bag of epsom salts to soak my resting body. As I said, I can’t find anything.
Younger son is a builder and Elder Son is an electrician so he will run wiring along the bottom edge of the studs so I can have another outlet (sans bees we hope) and Younger Son will put up sheet rock and paint and so mostly right now Husband and I are resting and searching for things. You don’t even want to see all the stuff stacked in our bedroom. I’ll spare you that shot.
We dragged all the unnecessary items stacked against the backyard gate out to curbside and Bulky Item Pickup picked up today. That’s done. And since I don’t have anything else to do, I mean how much resting can you do?? this seemed the perfect time to re-finish the old desk for the Writing Office. Might as well. It’s already on the back porch.
So while we wait, I’ll just be crazy. Might as well. It passes the time. .