Feeling lucky?

morning

I snapped this as I was leaving the school parking lot this morning. I’m lucky this is my view every weekday as I drive away from the school.  The others waiting to pull out of the lot behind me are not so lucky.

I’m feeling lucky.  Lucky, that is, that I discovered WordPress and to be part of the WordPress family.  (As well as to have stolen this shot of the sun peeking out of the clouds this morning.)

As I’ve told many, I feel truly grateful to have such a wonderful group of bloggers out there who are so very supportive and kind.  It really is like having another family out there.  Fellow bloggers who don’t judge or compete, instead offering kind words of encouragement and support.  I truly thank you.

I’ve been nominated for the WordPress Family Award by Sonel, writer of  Sonel’s Corner (I get to experience Hartbeespoortdam, South Africa and wonderful photos through her blog), and Kira, writer of Wrestling Life, who writes some terrific poems and is also part of the Rome Construction Crew organized by Green Embers, and Let’s Talk About Family who is a wise and caring fellow soldier in this parental Alzheimer’s battle.

wordpressfamilyaward_2

Thank you so much for nominating me. I am honored to be considered part of your WordPress Family.

The founder of the The WordPress Family Award established the award because they felt that the WordPress family had taken them in and showed them love and care like a family, always there for them.  Even though we may never meet in person. I’m continuously impressed by how cool of a concept this blogging thing is.

Here are the rules to accept the WordPress Family Award:
1. Display the award logo on your blog.
2. Link back to the person who nominated you.
3. Nominate 10 bloggers who’ve had an impact on your WordPress experience
4. Let them know you have awarded them
5. That is it. Just please pick 10 bloggers that have taken you in, and spread the love.

This is the part I don’t like – having to narrow down just ten bloggers who have enriched my blogging experience in these short nine months.  There are so many! Please know that ALL of my readers and fellow bloggers enrich my blogging experience in a positive way each day, and for that I am grateful to each of you.

So here are ten of you who I feel like I could easily hang out at Starbucks with even though I’ve never met you (hoping that doesn’t creep you out).  Some of you have been with me since the early days last fall, and some just over these last few months.  All of you provide perspectives on life that make me breathe more deeply, or smile, or laugh, cry or think.

Free Penny Press

Nature Restores Me

Transformed by the Journey

Diane Gray

Lame Adventures

Sonel’s Corner

Wrestling Life

Let’s Talk About Family

Angie Inspired

Ambling and Rambling 

There are so many more that this list could go on and on.  Thank you all!

What do you feel lucky about today?

Ten Things – What Christmas Means to Me.

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1. Family. This year, like many years of late, we get the extra bonus of having my sweet niece (aka daughter, best friend, sister) here with us. Then on top of that,  we get to see some of my cousins and their families in the mountains for a few days after Christmas which is an extra special family treat. We also miss our family who we don’t get to see on Christmas but who we keep near to us, in our hearts.

2. Food.  In particular, a much more expensive slab of meat that I usually buy which traumatizes me because This Bitch Can’t Cook and I don’t want to ruin it.  Plus, lots of other wonderful food like buttery mashed potatoes and pie.

3. Tradition. My family tradition Christmas cookies and the old tin cookie cutters that were my Grandmother’s which I use to make them.  I always think of my mom having the dough ready for me after school to help her press out the cookies when I got home.   I would help her make green and pinkish red buttery frosting and we would carefully frost each one and add multicolor sprinkles.  Every bite brings back those memories tenfold.  I can’t remember a year when she didn’t make them for us or when we didn’t’ make them for her.

4. Meaningful Moments.  A Christmas tree so pretty each year that I can’t stop staring at it  — with multicolored lights and each branch covered in sentimental ornaments.  Nothing about it matches which makes every glance meaningful.

5. Festivities. Fun and new cocktails that my niece makes for us – usually cranberries involved — with a jazzy Christmas song playing in the background.

6.Memories. Sleeping in my sister’s bed on Christmas Eve when I was little (this was a treat as she only let me do this on certain holidays).  I swear I can feel her green checked bedspread at my fingers now and picture and smell the antique furniture that surrounded her bed.  And hear myself asking her if it was time yet to go downstairs.

7. More Memories. My Grandma sitting in our green and white wing back chair with her slippers on in our fancy room watching my sister and I open gifts with an occasional giggle, especially when we opened whatever Madame Alexander doll she had given us that year.  She had a smile and giggle that were perfection.

8. Music.  Especially our Charlie Brown Christmas album that my husband has played every Christmas morning since we’ve been married for the last 21 years.  This, with a hot cup of coffee and crumpling wrapping paper noise — more perfection.

9.  Joy. Exemplified by our dog Tony completely freaking out when he hears us opening gift bags and rattling tissue paper on Christmas morning because he thinks every bag has a new toy or bone for him (this dog has a good memory).  Monkey dog follows suit.

10. A tradition of Counter-Tradition.  Staying in our pajamas well past noon on Christmas. Going to the local Chinese restaurant down the street on Christmas night (we do our big home meal on Christmas eve).  Being the only Christmas- celebrating folk there makes us feel ‘edgy,’ as my niece would call it.  Always reminds me of the Christmas Story movie (You’ll poke your eye out) and the restaurant scene with the singing and the duck (Chinese Turkey) – CLASSIC – you have to click and watch this scene.

What does Christmas mean to you?  

Wishing you and yours the happiest of holidays….

My Own Little Red Riding Hood. Gratitude: Day 91

I saw her as she started to get out of the car today at the end of my sidewalk. In her little red hooded coat. Mom was more hesitant than usual today, but I got her to come with me —  out of the car, up the walk and into the house.  She even giggled a few times as I did my best Three Stooges silliness to make her laugh.

Today was my Wednesday with Mom day, when my stepdad drops her off to spend time with me while he goes to his doctor appointment.

As I took her little red jacket off once we were in the house, I felt the circle of life rounding up to a near completion.  As if I was my mother taking a coat off of me when I was little.  But instead, it was me taking her coat off as she looked at me quizzically, wondering what I was doing as I gently removed her coat.  I ushered her to a seat at my kitchen table with magazines for her to shuffle like she seems to enjoy.  I even made her a sandwich and thought about how she used to make me a peanut butter and grape jelly sandwich each day after school with a glass of milk in a jelly jar glass.

Her Alzheimer’s continues to progress and she hardly speaks.  But she is happy and I can still make her smile.  For that I am grateful.  I dread the day when I can no longer make her smile, but I try not to focus on that.

The little red coat she wears was given to me on Christmas when I was almost 16, by my Dad and stepmom.  I always loved that Woolrich coat and it matched my first car — it was a clue that Christmas that I had a red present that might be in the driveway.  (It’s actually the same coat that I was wearing in the photo from my post ” letter to my 14-year-old self .”  And I’m pretty sure that picture was  taken that same night as my sister and I celebrated Christmas with my Dad and stepmom.)

Mom always liked this coat too, and as I grew out of it, her petite frame was still able to wear it, so she adopted it. And because she has always taken perfect care of everything,  today it still looks just as new as it did years ago.  It has a plaid lining and hood, and sometimes my Mom wears the little hood when we go out.  Like my own little red riding hood.

Today I am grateful that I am able to spend time with my Mom in her little red coat on Wednesdays.  The days are a bit long, sometimes zapping my energy from the emotions of it all, but I am glad I can spend time with her.

What are you grateful for today?