Gifting at Christmas

My 90 year old dad is blind, but exactly how blind is usually hard to tell because he functions very well.

The other day however, a circuit blew and the lights in the kitchen turned off suddenly right before dinner time.

My mom and I tried to fix them but figured out pretty quickly that we needed a new fuse.

I shrugged, and suggested that we use my camping lanterns and not tell my dad.

My dad stresses over these things and asks a bazillion questions and issues even more directives, making what would be a tedious task into a torturous job.

I was curious, would he realize we were eating in dim light?

The answer of course, is no.

He had no idea.

So when it came time for me to pick a Christmas present for him, I decided to get him a one-touch Keurig coffee maker.

Seeing him fumble around for a cup and try to fill it with water without missing or spilling before he even adds his coffee grounds or sugar made me stop and think.

He could really use an automatic Keurig.

Put the mug in place, put the coffee pod in place, push one button, and voila. . . coffee!

Today it arrived in the mail, with K-E-U-R-I-G in big letters on the box.

My mom took one look at it and knew what it was for.

And for once, instead of chastising me for spending money, she congratulated me on getting the perfect gift for my father.

This is why I love gifting at Christmas.

Hunky Guys

I’ve been noticing lately there’s a lot more hunky guys lurking about.

First of all, I was talking to Tejas about a mutual friend with a “hunky son.”

We both laughed at that characterization.

Then I’m on Facebook, and in the “You Might Know. . .” section, there’s a whole bunch of hunky guys.

Men who know LITERALLY 50 of my friends.

How it’s possible to share 50 friends with someone and not have met them, I’ll never understand.

But there you have it.

I’m surrounded by hunky men.

Which probably means my hormones are out of whack or something similar.

Just between you and I, I did feel so strongly attracted to one fella, I added him as a friend.

And he added me back!

Also, it’s rumored that I am sorta kinda on the down low seeing a hunky guy occasionally, so THERE’S THAT!

I’m flush with hunks, at least on paper.

And a little IN THE FLESH!

P.S.  I’m loathe to use the term hunky because the last time I called a guy a hunk he pulled a Napoleon Bonaparte on me (he went into action without proper coverage, if you catch my drift).

Sorry to my French friends.

Facebook’s algorhithms

Once upon a time, I HAPPENED to mention in passing that I was thinking of buying a something-or-other.

Verbally.

As in out loud, without typing a stroke on a computer.

Not a day later, I started seeing ads on Facebook for something-or-others.

The best something-or-others out there on the market.

With the most competitive prices.

Something like that happened today.

I bought a Nine Line t-shirt for my son – a pro-gun shirt because he supports the Second Amendment.

No judgment.

I happen to know he will LOVE this gift.

I can already hear his high falsetto voice cooing at me, “You REALLY know me, don’t you mom?”

Now, I’m getting ads for Shield Republic and other patriotism-focused stores and I’m amused.

Don’t get me wrong.

I’m not amused because the algorithms might think I’m a Republican.

I’m amused because those algorithms have to reconcile the fact that on the one hand I bought a Second Amendment t-shirt but on the other hand, I also bought a rainbow LGBTQ face mask.

I defy definition.

[Mic drop]

I don’t have a love story

I don’t have a love story.

And that’s okay.

I don’t need one.

The love in my life is so overflowing from other sources, from my family and friends, that it seems unbearably selfish to wish for more.

So I won’t keep wishing for a love story.

I already have too many to choose from.

Let me tell you some love stories.

My dad once bought me an enormous basket of every single type of fruit that Lunardi’s sold because I cried postpartum that all my fruit spoiled while I was in the hospital giving birth to my rainbow baby, Duncan.

Or my 15 year old birthmother who had to make an impossible decision about putting me up for adoption.

How heart wrenching to give up a beloved child.

There’s the time my sister-in-law cried with me because I was heartbroken over a breakup.

She felt my suffering like it was her own.

And of course, there’s the time my sister and I giggled as we sat in the back of a car in a hotel parking lot, drinking beer and thinking we were being unobtrusive.

We were SO obvious!

There’s my mom who spent countless nights staying up late, baking cookies for a bake sale or putting the final touches on a costume or wiping my fevered forehead.

And my cousin used to invite me to visit her on weekends because she knew I was alone and had no one to hang with,

So you see, I’ve not devoid of love.

I’m flush with it.

I don’t have a love story because I have love stories.

‘Tis the season

It’s raining.

Normally, I’d be itching to see sunny skies but I find this change in pace very satisfying this time of year.

My favorite sound to fall asleep to is the sound of rain on a tarp and I confess that having a bedroom that flanks the downspout of the house is soothing.

I listen to the patter of the slow drip, drip, drip of big droplets and the occasional gust of wind which blows the rain up against my window.

It’s this time of year when a huge nesting urge starts to settle into my body, motivating me to do things I normally would shun.

Baking cookies, cakes and pies.

Crafting.

Organizing my room.

Well okay. . . that one I do year round.

The urge to quilt and to make blankets for friends and family now beckons me to come and create.

I usually spend hours pouring over fabric samples online, selecting just the right ones to go in a quilt.

Arranging and then rearranging complimentary fabrics.

But this year I’m so far behind in quilting I don’t need to buy anything, I just need to work with the huge assortment I already have.

Looking at the weeks ahead, I feel this expanding sense of happiness growing inside me, as I look forward to all the time I will get to spend with my kids, my parents, my sisters and my brothers, my extended family and all my friends.

Oh shit!

That’s right.

COVID.

A very merry pop art Christmas

Christmas is coming up and I’m hard at work making plans.

This year, my kid decided that she didn’t want to take Christmas photos so what’s a mom to do?

I hired a professional illustrator to create our Christmas card.

My only instructions were to make it look like pop art.

That’s right, I wanted a Lichtenstein-esque Christmas card.

And that’s exactly what I got from the artist (the talented Michael Samuel):

It’s cartoon meets pop art meets graphic novel.

And I love it.

I was so inspired by the card, that I even had the back side designed by the same artist:

The resulting card is spectacular.

I bought matching green envelopes with the polka dot/tree inserts to keep with the theme.

No one likes a plain white envelope, right?

Of course not.

I will be sending out approximately 90 Christmas cards this year to family and friends.

I can’t wait for the reactions to come rolling in!

P.S.  If you want to see the original photo that inspired this art card, click here.

Confronting mortality

Something strange has happened.

Three men I dated suddenly passed away within months of each other this year.

They were far too young to die.

David was in his early 60s.

Steve was 58.

Bob was 47.

I confess, I’m more than a little shook at the suddenness and finality of death.

It’s made me think about my own life in ways I wouldn’t normally think about.

What do I want for my funeral?

Who will be there?

Do I have a long time until I pass or will it be swift and sudden, as with them?

There’s no doubt they have left behind family and friends who are suffering from their losses.

Steve had a son and an ex-wife who he was very close with.

Bob had three kids.

And David was a newlywed.

Although I can barely stomach the idea, it seems important now to at least provide my family with guidelines for my funeral or memorial should anything ever happen to me.

I want the quilts I’ve made to be brought to decorate the service at Burning Man.

And I’d like for my children to both speak about me.

And my friends Michelle, Barbara, and my cousin Jennifer.

I want everyone to wear bright colors.

None of this black nonsense.

And at the end, when everyone is processing out, I want Israel Kamakawiwoʻole’s What a Wonderful World/Over the Rainbow to play.

I want to be laid to rest with the ashes of my dogs and my children Douglas and Ruby, who preceded me in death.

Kinda morbid for a Tuesday blog post, but there you have it.

I’m confronting my own mortality.

What do YOU think?

I have a bone to pick and I’m not proud of it.

But I’m gonna bitch about it anyway.

I have a friend, who will remain nameless, but who posts pics of kisses with their partner to Facebook ALL THE TIME.

Now I’m SUPER happy they’re happy.

And I’m SUPER sure that they’re madly in love.

But do I really need to be reminded of this EVERY TIME I DROP INTO THEIR PAGE TO SEE WHAT IS GOING ON?

The answer, my friends, is no.

And it’s not just because I don’t have a love story of my own right now.

I too, have pictures of me sucking face with men.

Although not as many as you’d think an exhibitionist like myself would have.

No, really?

Really.

I get it.

You’re in LOVE with a capital L-O-V-E and you want everyone to know.

So yes, I’m being a Scrooge about love and a Grinch about couples, but I just need to take a moment to say ONE THING:

What do YOU think?

Holiday Break

My work will be closing down for three weeks for the holiday break.

I can’t believe it!

The last time I had three weeks off in a row, I was unemployed.

Over the 2017-2018 holiday break, I took a one week trip to Sweden.

Oh, how I miss Sweden in December.

All filled with Christmas lights, snow, 3 pm sunsets, dala horses, advent candles and spiced wine.

This year there’s not much I can do besides stay at home.

There’s no point in travelling when you’d have to quarantine anywhere you go.

Were we not sheltering in place, I’d consider a trip to London to visit my friend Michelle.

Or perhaps a trip to Oslo to see where my great-grandmother came from and explore a little of my genealogy.

Sadly, I think my holiday will not be filled with travel.

I think I’m stuck at home, quilting.

Again.

I’ve got about 6 quilts to work on so I definitely won’t run out of things to do.

But part of me longs for travel, this year especially since I’ve got so much free time on my hands.

Just Because

When my son Douglas died, I was devastated.

I searched all over for things to do to comfort myself.

I adopted a rescue dog from the shelter, named him Mac and poured all the love I had for Douglas into that furry baby of mine.

I also donated all my milk to the Mother’s Milk Bank.

I can’t tell you how heartening it was to get Christmas cards from all the families who received my donations.

And I made up little business cards to pass out with random acts of kindness.

Once, I bought breakfast for the couple next to me in the diner and gave them the card that read “This random act of kindness done in loving memory of Douglas.”

I’ve been thinking a lot about random acts of kindness.

Mostly because Burning Man is flush with these kinds of gestures.

Someone following you on their bike for two city blocks to return an item you accidentally dropped on the playa.

Shared chapstick on a hot, dusty day (pre-covid, of course).

And someone stopping what they were doing to help you fix your broken bike.

Little miracles, is what I think of them.

Random acts of kindness and caring.

If you ask me, the world could use a little more care and a little less apathy.

Which is why I’m so excited that my work has launched a site to record random acts of kindness.

I’m reminded of those little business cards I passed out and am thinking I may resurrect them and log a few of my own random acts of kindness.

Just because.