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Archive for January, 2014

It’s Wednesday, isn’t it, which means this post is a day late. But I really wasn’t slacking off — I was working on a post for Writer Unboxed.  What’s that, you say?  You don’t know about this terrific resource for writers?  Then hie thee over there now and check it out. (Feel free to  leave me a comment, too.)

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So yesterday was a holiday here in the states. Which means my children had the day off. They are mostly very good at entertaining me — they build snowmen, they make up crazy dances, they try and explain their electronic games to me — the upshot of which is that I have a hard time doing any work in their presence. (I did hide in my study during the late-lamented football game on Sunday, because  I personally feel that if I am going to waste perfectly good brain cells there ought to be alcohol involved, and everyone else in my family HAD to watch it and it was too early for wine.)

And tomorrow they are saying may be a snow day, which at our house involves pajamas and popcorn and movies and reading and everything but WORK.  Because I only have my children and their childhood for a brief time and work is forever, ya know?  Except that I am only really working two days this week, because my daughter also has off FRIDAY.  Which means … I am screwed.

So, in lieu of a REAL blog post, I am leaving you a very pretty picture of what snow looks like near me. (Without the Slobbering Beast this time, because the day I took the picture he was curled up on his bed, completely over the white stuff. As am I, come to think of it.)  Enjoy, and if you want a longer blog post next time pray for school next week.

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There are days when I wake up and turn on the news and think, How did we come to this?  When I watch people interact with each other, when I see what passes for entertainment, and know that we are following in the footsteps of Rome, a long slow sad decline.

The last few days have been like that. Blame it on the rain, blame it on missing vacation, blame it on this manuscript that is trying to kill me.  It has been gray.

But the lovely thing about being part of a community of wise and thoughtful writers is that there’s always someone with a hand outstretched, virtual or no.  Yesterday the wonderful Therese Walsh (author of The Moon Sisters, which you ought to go and preorder now, because I got to read it in advance and it is a fabulous book) posted a quote on Facebook which I’ve been pondering ever since.

“There is darkness in the world but we don’t have to give way to despair. One of the best themes in The Lord of the Rings is that despair is the ultimate crime. Winter is coming, but you can light the torches and drink the wine and gather around the fire and continue to fight the good fight.” – George R.R. Martin

There’s always been strife and craziness. I look at histories set in the Wild West, I read biographies of men and women from the World Wars, I read about the Inquisition and the Black Plague and I think holy crap. What has always pulled us out of the those times are the people who refuse to bow to them, who stand with their backs to the darkness and toast the light, who become a beacon themselves if need be.

So cheers, my friends.  On this rainy afternoon, burn brightly.

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My daughter is blessed to have people in her life who love her and enjoy sending her beautiful things to wear. We spent lots of the holiday at home on the couch, reading and watching movies. I mostly did that in jeans (sometimes pajamas) but my daughter often chose to wear her new clothes. She came down one morning in a gorgeous print dress someone had sent her, for a day that involved little more than eating, napping, and possibly eating again.  I was all set to send her upstairs to change when something made me bite my tongue.

Yes, it was a fancy dress. But shouldn’t all our days together rate as special occasions?

We did the math this weekend, my husband and I, over a bottle of wine. In a little more than five years, she’ll be winging her way toward the start of a new life. Five years worth of weekends, of vacations, of Friday family movie nights. Less if you factor in high school, when I’m told those family nights become scarce. Suddenly 52 multiplied by five doesn’t seem like much.

I want every day with my kids to be special, to have meaning and weight and be a joyous occasion.

In my china cabinet I have beautiful cups and saucers that belonged to my grandmother. They’re fragile, they have to be hand-washed, they always seem like a little too much work to bring out and use. So they sit there, except on special occasions. My children have few memories which include them, which is a shame, because my grandmother loved those cups. She would have loved seeing us use them.

I think my daughter has the right idea. Our ‘best’ — best selves, best lives, best hearts — ought to be on display every day.

(Confession:  I did ask her to change out of her white ‘fur’ vest when dipping chocolate, however. There are some limits.)

What do you save for best these days that you ought to be squandering?

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