Tuesday, December 27, 2011

christmas (now) past

Phew, long time no blog! The world of work has been largely prohibitive when it comes to time for blogging, and by the time I get home there are other things to be done. The fact that I hadn't even noticed that the photo in the banner was way past time for an update was an indication to me that neglect had set in! At least that is corrected. I have missed these moments of reflection to share what is happening in our world here and to "muse" about the larger picture in which many of us live. That said--I am off from work this week and am stealing this morning time while it is still dark outside to share this and that.

A brief review of recent undertakings at work: two major events that fall under my direction are well in the works. The first is a two-day adult learning conference in February.  Publicity for that got held up for various technical reasons (translate that as government bureaucracy), but went out a couple of weeks ago. Yay! My wee committee is now tackling the bits and pieces related to presenters, but it is all coming together nicely. 

My major coup is that I was finally able to secure funding to put in a contract for Marlee Matlin to come to campus in March as our keynote speaker for National Women's History Month. I am very excited about that! You'll be hearing more, I'm sure, as the weeks go by leading up to both events.

Christmas has come and gone! The weekend prior to the Big Day we enjoyed an early celebration with Ashley, Travis and the boys when they came to Tennessee for a long weekend. The highlight of our time together was simply being together, but tucked into our activity was a trip down to the Opryland Hotel and seeing the Rockettes Christmas show. As many years as I've lived in Tennessee I have never seen the show, so it was time!

Christmas Eve Ken and I spent several hours helping prepare a meal to be delivered Christmas morning to seniors in Madison, TN. Apparently there are more poor seniors in Madison than any other town in the state, so an effort has been put forth by one woman in particular to be sure they get a nice meal at Thanksgiving and Christmas. The next morning we returned to help assemble the meals and ended up delivering some since our car was bigger than the intended vehicle to transport 60+ meals! And let me tell you, this was a feast: turkey, dressing, gravy, sweet potatoes, wild rice salad, vegetable medley, cranberry sauce, roll and applesauce cake! The containers were heavy and near to bursting with all that food! In all about 550 meals were put together and delivered, and it was nice to be part of that effort. Back home we made a simple lunch and then had our own quiet Christmas.

I have discovered this Christmas that I was very  much off my game when it came to being prepared for this favorite of holidays. I calculated that it has been about 20 years since I was last confined to a corporate-type schedule of "9 to 5," and it hindered me greatly. By the time I realized the fix I was in it was too late to regroup, but I am now attuned to be prepared for this next year.  

One casualty of running to catch up all through December was my in intention to document in a personal way the meaning of this time for me. I had made my holiday photo checklist, for instance, and managed to stage one photo from that list. Pathetic! I did accomplish a handful of things, however, so I have gathered them into the collage below to share. The stack of Christmas cards became something of a running joke for me. I wanted a substantial stack for the photograph, so hoarded them over a period of days without opening them. Over the course of those days putting aside the incoming cards became a habit, and it wasn't long before we had a very full stack of unopened cards to go through! No matter. In a way it was fun to open so many at one time and then put them up around the doorways, which has become our way to display what we have received. 

A brief note about the ornament. I have been in the habit of giving ornaments each year to the kids in my life so that when they have their own first tree they have their very own collection of memories to hang on the branches. I have bought ornaments in previous years, but have decided that the gift would be more meaningful coming from my own hand. Some beautiful glass ornaments on Pinterest caught my imagination, so I attempted to recreate the look. Though the result looks nothing like what I had hoped, it's not a bad effort, so I'm sharing the one I made for Cross here.
It is clear that time away from blogging also means that I have too much to squeeze into a single post for ease of reading. For that I apologize! In the meantime, I hope the holiday has been a blessing to all, and that there is time for some relaxation and fun between now and the close of the year. I will be spending much of my time working on a jigsaw puzzle that was under our tree. Ah, the leisure of it!

Merry, merry, this third day of Christmas!

Friday, December 09, 2011

friday five: random

At RevGals Revkjarla writes:
I don't know about you, but my life seems to have a lot of random surprises lately.  Just little things,
like the doggy in the picture, who was rescued by a Good Samaritan from running into traffic, who then brought him to the police, who brought him to my neighbor's house.  I took the doggy, now named Scout, to the vet on Monday, and the woman behind the desk said, "This dog looks so familiar.  Were you here last week?"  I told her no, that this particular dog is a stray, and she looked at me, and said (use your best Boston accent here), "Oh my GAWD!  I rescued that dog on Satuhday!  I took him to the police!" and then she proceeded to tell me the story.  She was Scout's angel.    
Random, right? 
So, for our Friday Five, I invite you share five random things about you, or five random thoughts, or five random surprises in your life. 

Just be random!
I started out with some small world stuff but quickly realized that they probably only seem fascinating to me...
1)  I wrap presents without tape and my bows don't have knots. I learned this from my mother, who learned it from her mother. Now my daughter and daughter-in-law want to know how to work such magic. Glad there will be at least one legacy by which to be remembered!
2)  In spite of the fact that I'm not a jock and I hate to sweat I graduated from college as a phys. ed. major.  My conversion came about when I checked a book out of the library the summer after my sophomore year called Winning is Everything and Other American Myths, which is a collection of essays on sport sociology. Who knew there was such a discipline? The clincher came when what I was learning in my Kinesiology and Anatomy of Human Movement classes became applicable as a gymnastics coach. That was one of the most exciting periods of my college experience.

3)  I play the recorder. It's been years since mine has seen the light of day or ear heard its sweet song. My brother and I used to play duets with some regularity, and once upon a time I played as a member of the "Cathedral Consort" when I lived in Hartford. It was wonderful discipline to be part of that group and they were forgiving when I had a tough time on the high notes. I also got introduced to some great music as a result. Gosh, thinking back to that time brings a smile to my face...

4)  I learned about a woman who celebrated her 38th birthday by doing 38 random acts of kindness for people. It'll probably take some doing (not to mention some time) to do as many raks as years I will have to celebrate on my next birthday, but I've already got some ideas about some things I might do. I'm open to suggestions on this, by the way. On facebook there's a page called The Birthday Project that is about the same kind of thing.

5)  I have an extra vertebrae in the coccygeal area of my spine. This might contribute to my "long rise."


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