Mrs. Santa Clause

christmas decorations

My mother is an amazing woman. We don’t always see eye to eye but I wouldn’t be who I am today without her. Her house always looks so neat and organized and everything has a place. I strive to be like that but it doesn’t always work out that way. My mom gave me a little plaque that says “Creative Minds are Seldom Tidy” and it seems appropriate.

For as long as I can remember, my mom has had a flare for holiday decorating. She knows just where and how to place decorative items to add just the right seasonal touch to every room. This year is no exception. As soon as the girls and I stepped in the back door this afternoon we were greeted by the sight of tinsel, holiday banners and colorful strings of lights. It’s a very welcoming and warming feeling to step into all that.

Over the oven...

Over the oven…

In the kitchen...

In the kitchen…

In the living room...

In the living room…

When I was younger I used to think that my father would make a great Santa Clause. He had the beard, giving spirit and hearty laugh. I imagined him dressing up in the red suit and pretending to be Santa Clause for my future children. My girls were very fortunate to have him in their lives for a few years and while he never dressed up as Santa Clause, they knew and now remember his merry spirit.

If my father was Santa Clause then surely my mother is Mrs. Santa Clause with her talent for holiday decorating and making my daughters and I so happy. She knows how to make everyone laugh and there’s always lots of goodies in the form of food and toys at her house. She loves to give and receive hugs and has a kind, giving spirit. My daughters are still of an age when presents of toys are what they focus on but for me, having the gift of my mother in my life is one of the greatest presents in the world.

Missing the Point

burning-christmas-candles-1024x640

I thought I needed a few things at and near the mall this afternoon. I was wrong. The mall is already over crowded with swarms of shoppers searching for gifts in a less than warm and fuzzy way.

I loaded my girls in the car as the snow began to fall and we drove through the whipping winds and blowing snow. We managed to find a parking spot as someone else pulled out and in we bustled. Seeing the massive amount of people inside, I decided to scrap my shopping plans and just take the girls to the toy store so they could look around and get Christmas gift ideas. The girls loved that idea!

My best friend was in town on a short visit so she and another friend met us in the store and wandered around with us. She was kind enough to buy my girls the last two Equestria Girls they don’t own and they were over the moon in happiness! They’ve been playing with them from the moment we got home.

When we parted from my friends, we headed back toward where we’d come in and I decided it was time to go home. There were more necessities I wanted to get but I just couldn’t handle the crowds and I wanted to be home with my girls doing fun, relaxing things. So home we went and I started making Chex Mix.

It seems to me that a majority of people these days are missing the point of the holidays. They think the spirit of giving means buying as many gifts as possible and outdoing each other. I will always believe that the intangible gifts are the ones that really matter. Time with family and friends, a roof over my head and all my basic needs satisfied. You can’t wrap my favorite things up in a bow or stuff them in a sparkly box, my favorite things are always safe and warm within my heart.

Rainbows without Sunshine

Photo courtesy of Food Network

Photo courtesy of Food Network

The sun never came out today but to me it was a bright, beautiful day! Something that I’ve been waiting a long, long time for finally happened today and a great burden has been lifted from my shoulders. It is an amazing gift just in time for the beginning of the holiday season and I’m going to spread the sunshine I feel within me wherever I go!

I’ll finally have more time to write in Unbroken Flames and my New England stories. I can get my house all reorganized and start knitting, crocheting and painting again. I’ve missed expressing all of my creativity and it’s eager to escape in every way possible now!

I did a lot of running around today and tying up loose ends that have been tripping me up for months. By the time I reached my second to last stop of the grocery store, I was starving! I grabbed some food from the store’s cafe, ate enough to curb my hunger and then headed into the aisles for the few items I needed there.

In the bakery I saw a delicious looking rainbow in the form of cookies on a shelf. I love rainbow cookies and they seem to pop up all over the place this time of year. I decided to give myself a little treat and buy a package. There was no sunshine out today but those cookies were bright, beautiful and eager to be eaten! I sampled one on the drive home and it tasted like a little bit of heaven!

The path of my life continues to head upward in new and interesting ways and I’m never afraid to climb the hills to see the breathtaking view waiting at the top. Blue sky, sunshine and rainbows are always there, even in the rain.

Little Girl, Big Voice

I'm looking rather fierce in my pink fuzzy slippers!

I’m looking rather fierce in my pink fuzzy slippers!

When I was little, I was very shy. So shy that I remember hiding behind my mother when we’d visit her friends’ houses. I didn’t speak up much. I didn’t see a need to when my two older brothers were making enough noise to fill the house.

I didn’t really stand up for myself either because quite often my brothers would stand up for me. Most of the time I just didn’t want to make trouble or draw attention to myself. I had some good close friends that lived on the street of my childhood home and they understood me. Those who didn’t understand me ignored me, avoided me or worst of all, bullied me.

I suffered the worst bullying when I did finally stand up against some mean girls in middle school. I stood up to them because they were harassing my girlfriends and me during gym class. I stood up to them and used my flare with words to call them creatively cruel names. Perhaps not the best course of action but I’d endured more than enough harassment. My girlfriends didn’t stand up with me so I found myself standing alone. Worst of all, those bullying girls reported me to the gym teacher so I had to apologize to them! Their bullying grew even worse after that and had my family not moved that year, I’m not sure what would have happened.

Moving to a bigger school really didn’t help my shyness but I was able to make some good friends who stuck by me. I was so relieved when I got a boyfriend at 16 because he’d stand up for me and he became my voice. I liked having him order food for me because even at that age, I was afraid to speak up and say what I wanted. It took me many years to realize what a mistake that was.

Don’t think that I’m a mute though. Those that know me the best know that I’m a sarcastic, blunt, outspoken woman with a sharp wit who has always been marching to her own beat, even if it was one no one noticed at the time. When I’m not with my family, friends or those I’m really familiar with, I’m still a quiet observer, taking it all in. Have you heard that saying that it’s the quiet ones you have to look out for? There’s some truth to that.

I think it’s safe to say that I’ve now found my voice and broken out of the shy shell I hid in for a majority of my life. I still regress now and then because it feels safer there, but I know I’m not helping anyone by clamming up. There are many things I believe in and feel are worth standing up for and speaking on behalf of. I can’t do them all at once but I focus on what I can when I can and put my whole heart into it!

At heart, I’m still a little girl. Hopeful, optimistic, energetic and kind. Now that I’ve found my big voice, I know I have the power to change the world, one word at a time.

Navigating by Moon, Stars and GPS

Chapter Three – Navigating by Moon, Stars and GPS

Two hours after I stopped for dinner I was into Massachusetts driving along the familiar Massachusetts Turnpike. Traffic wasn’t heavy to begin with because it was past midnight and it dropped off even more after Albany when I went toward the Turnpike and not the New York State Capitol. The sky was beginning to clear and I’d catch glimpses of stars in the sky as I drove. For the first time in any of my Massachusetts trips, I headed up 495 north off 90 and this new route northward renewed my excitement and curiosity enough to increase my alertness.

I drove by Worcester, which I didn’t realize was pronounced “Wooster” until my GPS said it and I thought “what?” When it clicked that was how it was meant to be said, I was pleased that I wasn’t actually lost somehow. There was a surprising amount of traffic around Worcester and looking at the lighted not-quite-skyscraper buildings, I realized it resembled Rochester, New York (the closest “city” near where I lived) but that it was much larger and more spread out. I was pleased that I’d seen another new city and could now put a visual with a name on a map.

Jazzmin was alternating between taking short naps and sitting up staring out the windows. I could tell she didn’t understand why we were still in the car when it was dark out and we were usually in bed sleeping at that time. I tried to explain to her where we were going and why and that no matter what happened when we arrived, we’d still have fun. I was trying to convince her more than me obviously, because she doesn’t truly understand many human words. I failed at convincing either of us.

When I started seeing town names with “bury” at the end I knew I was getting closer and my GPS agreed. I drove by several towns whose names were familiar to me only because some of the accounts I followed on Twitter were from businesses in those areas. Again, it was nice to put a mental image with a name on a map even if it was too dark to see anything anymore. With an hour left in my drive, I could finally see the half-moon before me and I smiled because I knew my father was still with me guiding me. I wouldn’t understand why the signs had been pointing me to Amesbury until my adventure ended but I will always believe I read them right.

Upon finally arriving in Amesbury, I discovered it wasn’t anything like I’d expected. I’d been looking at pictures of the town online and businesses in the area but when I drove in at 2am and experienced the roundabout in the center of town, I was somewhat disappointed by my surroundings. The center of the town was hillier than I expected but not big tall hills like where I lived. The hills were smaller and steeper and the streets were tricky to maneuver. Downtown looked quaint enough but it was dark and I was tired and ended up turning up and backtracking several times trying to figure out where I could park and take Jazz out to answer nature.

I wonder how many people noticed my Explorer with the NY plates driving lost around Amesbury. Probably not many because most sensible people were in bed by then and all the bars had closed. I found an apartment complex with a parking lot and stopped just long enough to walk Jazz before she tinkled in my car.

There was supposedly a chain hotel somewhere in the area. When I pulled it up on GPS and on the internet of my phone, I realized it was out of my rather limited price range. Too tired to drive much further, I decided to see if there were any parks around where I could perhaps park my car and sleep for the night. My GPS search came up with a park about 5 minutes from where I was so I hit “Get Directions” and happily followed them out of the main town with its perplexing roundabouts.

I was a bit dismayed when I found the park and discovered the parking for it was just a large pull off area beside the road, but I knew it would have to do. I didn’t like having my car with its NY plates so obvious from a main road but it seemed like my only option.

No Entry Today

One of my favorite English Class memories was when one of my fellow students wrote a poem entitled something like “No Poem Today.” It was a rather well-written and amusing piece that gave various reasons why he couldn’t submit a poem that day when he was in reality, doing just that. The teacher thought it was clever and as it did count as a poem, he passed the assignment.

I’m stealing that clever idea tonight because I’m too tired to write anything sensible or to even repost an old blog from Corbin Creations. Instead, I’ll tease you by saying that tomorrow I will be posting the third installment of my latest New England adventure that begins to describe what happened when I finally arrived in Amesbury, Massachusetts for the first time. I didn’t know what to expect but it wasn’t what I expected…

You’ll just have to wait because there’s no entry today. *wink*