Undecking the Halls

Bowl of OrnamentsMany feel a distinct sadness when Christmas ends and it’s time to start storing away the holiday decorations for yet another year. I don’t.

Christmas, as much as I love it, begins to feel like much too much – and I love the tradition, the beautiful Christmas tree and decorations, and most of all, the special time with my family and my friends. But suddenly, I’m ready, and I welcome clearing the shelves, the tabletops, the windows; you name it, I may have put a holiday decoration there. I’m ready to pare it all down and return to simpler space.

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Japanese_Red_Maple_by_wearebombsThere’s a Japanese red maple tree in my side yard, massive in stature, its normally vibrant, deep red leaves darkened by autumn to a rich purplish-black hue. The tree came to us as a sapling – a gift to my oldest son when he was just a young boy, by a beloved grandfather who would one day betray the grandson he adored.

The tree has weathered much; New Hampshire nor’easters are never a gentle thing, yet the tree persevered and continue to grow no matter what kind of battering came its way. Over the years, it’s not only grown, but flourished, and then a couple of years ago, a particularly treacherous storm almost split the tree in half. We lost about a third of its branches and a piece of its trunk, and I wasn’t sure if it would survive.

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To Just Be for a While

ImageI was away overnight, involved much in the way of team building, active listening and discussion over the course of two days. Although it was thought provoking and enjoyable, the simple fact was that I was with a ton of people for an extended period of time and I found myself seeking out a quiet spot by lunchtime on the second day. It was a bit cooler out than the day before, graying skies and dampness in the air, and yet I sought the outdoors and targeted not the community tables where others enjoyed their lunch outside, but rather a deserted gazebo, directly on the water at the end of a short dock.

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Open to the Possibilities

256px-The_Path_through_the_IrisesThe new year is off and running, and I suspect at a faster speed than I am thus far. In spite of some of my best intentions with nearly two weeks off, far less was accomplished than I had hoped for and mostly because I ended up sick and with two additional days off from work as a result. At least I think I had two additional days off, but they passed in mostly sleep-induced blurs—I know there was a huge snowstorm and I even made a brief call-in for a meeting, but the rest seems far removed from any conscious activity. So here I am, four days into January, four doses of antibiotic in my body and starting to feel almost human once again. Almost.

I’m revving up for what I know will be a busy week ahead. You can’t be out of the office, even during the holiday season, for two weeks and not have a whirlwind of activity just waiting for you to step back into—and we have a new baby heading our way within the next two weeks, too. Everyone’s been sick in the family, including the mom-to-be, and my plan is to jump back into work, have everything ready to lend support to the new family in whatever way they need, and off we’ll go. . . Continue reading “Open to the Possibilities”

Remembering a Day

FredMy father would have been 86 years old today, and to be honest, I can’t imagine what he would have been like at that advanced age. This is kind of funny given that my mom is 85 and pretty kick-ass in spite of her elder status—or maybe because of it. She has more energy than most people far younger, and more interest in the world at large than many people of any age. And she can throw back a shot like nobody’s business, too.

My dad died back in 2001, which seems like a lifetime ago now. I still miss him everyday and something brings him to mind several times each day. I wish he could see all of his grandkids now—he would be so very proud and pretty fascinated by their ‘adult’ selves.
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Buzzing Through Each Day

256px-Busy_beeIn spite of my best intentions, it’s been nearly two months since I last blogged. There’s been lots going on that I would have liked to have written about, but for one reason or another, I’ve been immersed in so many things that I haven’t had a chance to. And it’s been all good, but I’m just engaged in more things than I can even begin to fit in a single day.

I was talking to a good friend about this a few days ago. She switched jobs last year, and in her former job we had a chance to interact almost daily. We both have a lot going on and seem to be operating on conflicting schedules, making it hard to find the time to catch up. During our brief conversation, we marveled at just how busy our lives seem to be and how there always seems to be a need to catch our breath and find a bit of balance. The truth is, though, we like everything we’re doing. Actually, it might be safe to say that we love what we’re involved in. So when it comes to culling an activity or two, neither of us seem capable at this point because we don’t want to give any of it up.
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A Memorable Few Hours in Pensacola

512px-TileSSaludAllendePeople fascinate me–they always have. I like hearing their stories, learning about their lives and connecting my own observations to what I’m being told. When I travel, I particularly like to meet people wherever I am, especially if it’s someplace I’m not all that familiar with. It’s always cool to take in the local culture and visits some of the places that aren’t necessarily tourist destinations, although I’m usually down to see the must-go-to spots as well.

With that in mind, after a few hours in Pensacola the other night, I wavered between eating something really quickly and going to bed a bit earlier than usual and seeing a bit of the town. I took a quick cool shower to wake up a bit and decided to see what I could see since I didn’t anticipate getting back to Pensacola any time soon. I threw on a bright summer dress, quickly brushed back my wet hair and tied a scarf around my head before heading out the door. I felt like a bit of a mess, but I didn’t really care. Time was a-wastin’.

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Small-Town Spoiled

320px-Berries_(2)I am incredibly spoiled with where I live–a small town in southern N.H., which used to be known primarily as a farming community. It’s long been a place to get gorgeous fresh strawberries, blueberries and corn, along with many other fresh fruits and vegetables and people still continue to come from far and wide to purchase produce. In fact, we still see people coming at the end of the season, stocking up on potatoes, onions and the like for the months ahead, particularly those who believe in buying in bulk and have the means for cold storage over the winter.
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Late Fall Ruminations

512px-Fall_leaves_and_acornsWe’re an introspective lot – women my age – and perhaps it’s because we finally have the time to stop and think about a thing or two. While we’ve all had our own experiences, varying as they may be, one commonality seems to be that we were all incredibly busy; some of us raising a family, others running a business, working very hard to move forward in a challenging career or perhaps even all three. In my own group, everyone’s kids are basically out of the house now and we can finally exhale or at least schedule a bit of time to. Life isn’t any less busy, but it’s busier with things that we have in place for ourselves for a change – organizations we wanted to join earlier in our lives, lessons or courses or maybe just longer hours at work. But it feels different somehow because much of it involves just us for a change.

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Lakeside Reflection

271209_581666969228_1530764_o-1I am on vacation in an extraordinary place that I have been coming to for nearly 30 years now. There’s been just two summers that I have not been here in that time and there have been other years that I’ve been fortunate to come several times in one year. Throughout my childhood and early adult life, I enjoyed several long stretches visiting various places in New England regularly, from an area close to Cape Cod to the Lakes region of New Hampshire and White Mts., but this place, this wonderful place at Newfound Lake in New Hampshire has provided respite; blessed continuity for many, many years now and I cherish it.

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An Odd Sort of Summer

512px-Aloe_July_2009-1It’s been an odd sort of summer. Most of the time it doesn’t even seem like summer to me. I’m distracted and really busy. Each day seems to have a monumental ‘to-do’ list attached to it and no matter how much I get done, there’s a long, long list of things still to do. And I’m tired. A lot. Not sure what’s up with that but I guess there’s some direct correlation between being busy, having a lot still to do and being tired, but I don’t like it. I just want more energy and I want to get more done. It’s no wonder I’m not seeing a lot of this thing I normally think of as summer.

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Bouncing Back: Is Everyone Capable?

No excusesThe older I get, the less patience I seem to have with excuses. My own. Other people’s. My own. Maybe I’m being a bit of a hardass here, but trust me, I’m no easier on myself. Honestly. I know my faults. I know the excuses I try to give myself and I’m not cutting myself any more slack than I am you.

I’ve gotten to a place in my own life where I am more aware than ever of where I’ve come from, what I’ve managed to accomplish and what I haven’t, particularly focusing on why I haven’t. No excuses. I didn’t focus enough on a lot of things and I have no one to blame but myself. Sure, circumstances definitely came into play at times but I can’t say that I always did the best job in dealing with some of those circumstances but I did the best I could at the time for the most part. And when I didn’t, the results reflect that.
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