Autumn leaves

I was writing an e-mail to my grandmother this evening. I live far away from my grandmother and don’t get back to visit very often so I always try to include stories and pictures of various things I do in my life. Even though we are far a part I still want her to feel included and involved in my life.

One of the topics we talked about this week was the changing seasons. The weather in both of our areas has now firmly dialed in to “fall”. After hitting send on my e-mail I paused and stared at the e-mail for a very long time. We talk about fall every year but for some reason I couldn’t take my eyes away from the message.

What was it that caught my attention this time?

While I was browsing through writing prompts I figured out what it was. There was a line in my grandmother’s e-mail that I couldn’t shake from my head.

We have to do things slower, and be careful.  Getting older isn’t easy and can be frustrating.  I’m thankful and count our blessings.

I see it now. It’s fall. It’s fall for us, and it’s fall for her as well. The seemingly never-ending days of summer youth have come to an end and life for my grandmother has moved into an autumnal state. Everything must run its course, just as the seasons do. A deep and disturbing realization but one my grandmother is so gracefully able to summarize with a few strokes of her keyboard.

One day fall will turn to winter, as it always does. There will be cold, dark nights that seem unending. A profound sadness. Emptiness. Finality. After the winter will come the spring, a new beginning and memory of all that has come before it, and all that will follow.

I’m not ready for winter yet. Neither is my grandmother. So for now, we will both play in the autumn leaves and count our blessings.

With love, Mia


Nov 4: Today I am thankful all the beautiful memories my grandmother has helped to make.

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Sunday Snooze

Today was an unusually warm day considering the recent weather we’ve been having. To celebrate we… stayed inside all day!!

Sometimes I feel bad that we “waste” good days by sitting inside, but today I couldn’t have been happier. We had stayed up late Saturday night playing games and both were awake off and on throughout the “night”. I say “night” because we didn’t go to sleep until probably 3am. Around 4:30 we woke up and chatted for a bit and then Tony fell back asleep. I headed downstairs for a change of scenery and snoozed next to the fireplace in our over-sized armchair.

The house was still quiet when I woke up a few hours later so I stretched out on the blogging couch and read for a little bit. When Tony came downstairs we had some brunch and headed back upstairs for another round of games. It was good fun.

All our laziness meant that we put off most of our chores, but you know what? That’s just fine by me. It was a quiet day to recharge and I spent it with the one I love. I’m looking forward to being home together on Thursday too. Here’s hoping Tony won’t get called into work that day!

Today I am thankful for: being able to fall asleep with a full belly

Calor Amor

Tony and I had lunch at the mall today. On our way to the food court we saw the inklings of Christmas; racks of sweaters rolled near the aisles, Uggs and Ugg knock-offs lining the shoe displays, store employees preparing decorations… the “Santa HQ” had even been set up downstairs already. I sighed and we continued to walk on. I’ve already mentioned how the Christmas creep bothers me so I won’t hop up on that soap box again. We’ll just leave it at a sigh.

Actually, forget the sigh. This story has a happy ending! We sat down to enjoy our lunch and listened to the mall tv show “Calor” between bites. The mall show always makes me laugh and seems to give us something to talk about (usually it just gets us talking about how old we feel, haha). Today Calor was doing holiday segments on different ways to prepare pumpkin, and on different things one of the anchors was thankful for. Wait, what?! That’s right, a segment on giving thanks. Since it’s mall tv they were a mix of purposefully funny items and the occasional genuine item.

So, in the name of Calor, I give you a handful of things I’m thankful for:

  1. Good health
  2. A climate controlled home
  3. An amazing auto insurance company
  4. A warm bed to sleep in
    and last but not least,
  5. A husband who keeps me laughing all day and keeps me feeling warm and safe at night

Perhaps it is just my upbringing, but taking time to reflect is very important to me. The act of feeling thankful should be repeated on a regular basis. With that I’m going to do my best to end each post with a little note of gratitude or thanks. Sometimes it will be something small and silly, sometimes it will be something more serious. It will always be genuine.

Today I am thankful for: a mother-in-law who loves and cares for me as though I am her own child. When we first moved out here she knitted me a scarf. I wore it today and thought of her. It always keeps me that much warmer. ❤

What are you thankful for? (remember, there’s nothing too small!)

What if we painted the world a lovely shade of pink?

My eyes opened to a bright and quiet room. I smiled at the sun beaming in through the blinds. It was a morning where I didn’t have to rush out of bed and I wanted to enjoy it. I blinked a few times and rolled over… the bed was empty. He must have gotten up already, I thought. I held my breath to listen for where he might be and heard the quiet but distinct sound of a computer game. No electric shaver, no blaring music, no chair wheels on the hardwood floor. I smiled again. You see, quiet does not come by accident in our house.

As I type this, I can currently hear a computer game, a live stream of someone playing background music while talking about a different game they are currently playing, a (pretty fantastic) mash-up song coming from another computer (make that two mash-up songs from another computer), and an oddly familiar tune being toe-tapped from the office above me. So, this morning, the faint computer game sound I was hearing was actually a deeply purposeful quiet. Something I can’t even explain how much I appreciate.

Remembering this morning I can’t help but think about the people I know who are unhappy with the relationships in their lives. I know relationships can be complicated because emotions are complicated. Humans are often illogical creatures at best, and downright heart-breaking at worst, I get that too. Still, looking back at moments like this morning, I find myself thinking that maybe -just maybe- relationships aren’t that complicated after all. Maybe, all it takes is recognizing there are other human beings on this planet who care about our health and happiness. The world is a big and fast moving place. Nobody needs to grab our hand and take the trip with us, and yet, that is exactly what some people choose to do. Pretty amazing if you ask me.

“Hi” he said, walking quietly into the room.
“Hi.” I looked at the time (it was past 11am). “It’s late… you let me sleep in,” I said to him, stretching and yawning.
“Yeah, I did,” he shrugged, stuffing his hands in his pockets. “Would you still like to go get that food we talked about last night?”

Why yes, yes I would.

Oil paintings

When I was 10 my maternal grandmother died. Despite all of the time I spent with my grandparents as a child I have very few memories of my grandmother. Most of my memories are of the circumstances surrounding her decline and eventual death. She was sick for a long time. I remember when my grandfather cleared out the dining room furniture to fit in a specialized hospital bed and I remember later visiting my grandmother at the hospital. It was all very strange and unfamiliar. I also remember our first visit to their house after her death. Most of all, I remember crying at her funeral. I was surrounded by people I had known all my life, mourning a matriarch they had known for all of theirs. I cried that day not for what I had lost, but for what I had never had. I cried because I wasn’t sad; there was no piece of my heart missing. I cried for them and I cried for not being able to understand their heartbreak. What a strange feeling to have.

Shortly after her death my grandfather sold the house (which she shared with three of his children and their families) and moved over a 1,000 miles away. He needed a change in environment and I completely understood. We went to visit him one year, and though his health was starting to fail him, he seemed to be learning how to live his own life again. I was hopeful and I was happy for him.

Soon, he remarried. He traveled back to his children and invited both families to become one. His new wife, Marie, seemed to be a wonderful person and they made each other laugh. It was beautiful to see. She had also lost her previous spouse and I hoped to myself they could help each other work through their recent losses. It seems like they did. Life went on and time continued to pass.

As my grandfather’s health worsened over the years, Marie was by his side. She managed her health and his. Her children supported my grandfather when his own children were unable to make the trip. I found myself hoping that was the type of love he had shared with my grandmother. If not, I was certainly glad he had found Marie. My grandfather died this past year, with his loving wife by his side. It had been nearly 20 years since my grandmother’s death. 20 years he took to build another beautiful relationship. How lucky to have two loves in his life.

Yesterday I found out Marie has been working on oil painting. She painted a picture of my grandfather and she wanted to show it to the family. His smiling face was peering back at me through my iPhone while I was on my morning commute. What a deep and wonderful love they had. You can see it in the way she paints him and in the way the painting smiles back at her.

When I leave this Earth I hope I will have made an impression on someone’s heart as lasting at the impression my grandfather left on Marie’s. ❤

Yarnosaurs

When my sister and I were little we used to get into all sorts of benign childhood trouble. By far one of our favorite things to do was trick my mom. My mom, the poor thing, has always been very easy to fool and very easy to startle… and we ate that up. My sister would often think up a wonderful prank and I, the younger sister, would willingly help her do the dirty work. A few of my favorites:

1) We hid a stuffed dolphin in the door of the fridge so that it would fall on her if she moved the door too sharply (hiding the dolphin in the freezer was even better because my mom is blind in one eye and so it took her longer to catch on to the fact that it was a stuffed animal)

2) We would hide the TV remote in the fridge whenever she left it on the kitchen counter (bonus points if you could do it while she was talking to you)

3) My mom was a mask collector and had an array of masks on her bedroom wall. One day we put glow in the dark googly eyes in all of her masks. (midnight shrieking? So worth it!)

4) Pretending ketchup was blood (an oldie but a goodie and mom always fell for this)

Thankfully for everyone involved my mom had a pretty great sense of humor. She would often re-tell stories with tears of laughter in her eyes. I think she enjoyed the time and attention we put into freaking her out. I can say this with a certain amount of confidence thanks to the handful of pranks that um, weren’t met with such wonderful reactions.

I remember one time in particular where we raided her sewing ottoman and set up a “booby trap” in our bedroom. We pretended the strings were like security lasers and touching one meant you set off the alarm. We weaved complex patterns around our bedroom incorporating anything that could have yarn looped around it and then we practiced crawling jumping and falling through various holes in the security system. When my mom called us for lunch we fell quiet and hid under our bedsheets. Of course she came down the hall and pushed our door open – tightening the threads of our security web. Apparently nearly clothes-lining yourself is not on a mom’s list of “preferred things to do when trying to get your children to eat”. I’m certain our near maniacal laughter didn’t help our case either.

To make a long story shorter, our security system was ordered to be de-comissioned and disassembled immediately and we were chastised for wasting so much yarn and causing a fire hazard (we didn’t have the only mom who thought any/all impediments to doorways constituted fire hazards, right?) After lunch were ordered to go play quietly in our beds.

And so, we did as we were told. We fashioned dinosaur reins out of the leftover yarn and rode around on our imaginary yarnosaurs. We made sure the yarn was long enough that when mom came in for a spot check we could slide flat in our beds hiding the yarn under our blankets. As soon as we heard her steps fading down the hallway we would leap from under our sheets and stick an imaginary spur into the sides of our yarnosaurs.

I’m sure that wasn’t what she had in mind, but hey, it didn’t technically break either of her rules. 🙂