Monday, December 19, 2016
Jane Ann asked to see my holiday mantle. (Thanks!) I assume she meant the living room one -- and yep, it's similar this year. Every December I break out my collection of mercury glass candle sticks -- there is something so festive and pretty about them to me. This year, the turquoise and silver brush trees are a new addition. More sparkle! I seem to be drawn to glitter this year. Go figure.
Here's more of a context shot. I love how the living room is so sunny in the morning, and I often sit there to have my morning coffee and read the paper.
And in case you're wondering, the family room has a fireplace and mantle too. Usually my "White Christmas" dolls are up but they are resting this year. Some years I put a small tree in the family room as Miss C and I hang out in this room most evenings, but this year I only had one tree in me. So, the funny tall trees are on the mantle to loom over the little holiday village ad provide a festive twinkle to the room.
Various guys from my snowperson collection are on the top of the bookshelf. I know it's kind of odd for a California home to have so much snow theming in the holiday decorations, but I do miss living in New Hampshire. I'm always dreaming of a White Christmas!
Happy holidays, friends -- whether sunny, snowy, or something in between.
Thursday, December 15, 2016
I knew I'd been rather quiet here. But it startled me to log in and see it's been July since I posted. Yikes! The reasons? Some good, some not so good. A new puppy -- very good! Some family health crises which were distracting, to say the least, and not so good. Lots of work -- also good. Lots of introspection, both good and not so good.
But I have decided that I miss blogging and I'm finally in a mental/emotional place where blogging doesn't feel like I'm forcing myself to sound artificially cheery or interesting. So, 2017 will represent the start of many new things, and among those will be a return to regular blogging. Maybe I'll even go crazy and give the blog a new look.
Meanwhile, I thought I'd share some of the reflections rolling around in my head over the last months.
There is nothing more important, really. And I count among my family some folks not related by blood but connected by love and experience and the absolutely certainty with which I can count on them for support. I'm so lucky to have parents and siblings and a dear aunt and wonderful cousins to connect me to who I've always been and wonderful lifetime memories. Over the last years as my marriage dissolved it has been odd to discover that people I thought were family turn out to be temporary. I know it happens all of the time, and maybe it's less common when in-law family members do stay connected. I've been surprised to see people choose sides even when they don't need to. Ah, well. Clarity isn't always comfortable, but it does make things, well, more clear. I am reminded more than ever these days that it's important to appreciate the family we have.
I am so lucky to have many amazing, wonderful, delightful friends. We all have casual friends, acquaintance-friends, friends of circumstance who may recede as circumstances change. I have been amazed and sometimes surprised at how, just when I needed it, friends came forward to throw me lifelines exactly when I needed one. I have a new, and maybe wiser and more realistic, view on friendship now. Not every friendship is meant to last forever. Relationships evolve. I think I'm seeing the relationships in my life more clearly now, and I treasure my friends all the more. You know who you are. Thank you, with all of my heart.
My daughter will turn 21 in 2017. It simply astonishes me. She's become a lovely young woman, with so much wit and humor and creativity. She has a fine-tuned sensitivity to authenticity in people which is remarkable. She's still finding her way, and it may not be at the pace of her age-wise contemporaries, but she's making remarkable strides. My mom role has changed a lot, but I'm appreciating the truth of that old wisdom about how a mom doesn't stop worrying about or mothering her kids.
Speaking of mothering, that thing about having a puppy being like having a child? I knew the truth of that in superficial ways, of course, but having added Starlie to the family in August I've been astonished how true that maxim is on a lot of levels. I have spent more time sitting on the floor in the last 4 months than I have in the last 15 years -- since Miss C was a toddler, really. I had forgotten how laugh-out-loud entertaining puppies can be. I can see the faint outline of the lovely adult dog Starlie will be some day, but I am delighting who she is every single day. Seeing a creature grow this fast reminds me (just like mothering a toddler) how things change so fast, and how important it is to appreciate the moment.
I have had such a weird waning of creativity. Perhaps I should say that really, it's been a shift. I've not had the interest in making original art quilts. When I sew, I want to handle pretty printed fabrics and sew them into simple patterns. (Thank you, Pinterest!) I have been playing a lot with paper and books and rubber stamping, which has also been a funny return to past enthusiasms that seems like another echo of who I used to be. The room that was once dedicated to fiber art how now become a crowded jumble of fabric, sewing machines, paper, watercolor supplies, die cutting tools, book binding materials, card making supplies, and more. (And more and more and more.) I may deserve a record for how many craft supplies I can fit into a 10x12 room. I look at all of this as another lesson on evolution, on interests waxing and waning but creativity always stays. It just shoots off in different directions some times.
A name is a funny thing piece of personal identity. I remember when I got married, I was so excited to take my husband's name, to share a name and give that to our child and create our own new family. But, with divorce and resulting events, I've not felt like that name fit any longer. I've been in a phase where Diane Hock doesn't fit, and I don't feel a part of the Hock family any longer. Diane Perin is someone I was 25+ years ago, and it felt weird to try to be "her" again. I was talking recently with a friend I've known since high school, and we were musing about how, when we were younger and approaching marriage, we discussed the pros and cons of changing our names. My friend opted to keep her maiden name for professional purposes and took her husband's name for personal purposes. I opted to adopt my husband's name for a lot of reasons, but having the same name as our children was key. So we were laughing at how, 25 years later, our choices have turned out. I'm dealing with the hassle of changing my name back, and having to sort out so many different places where that has to happen. I'm okay with not having the same name as my daughter now that she's a young adult (but was surprised and sort of amused when she asked me if she had to change her name too, or if she COULD change her name if she wanted to. I told her that she didn't have to, it wouldn't change automatically because of divorce, and if she wanted to change her name she could do that, there was a process. So far she's keeping hers.) My friend complained that her option has turned out to be a pain, too -- she never remembers what name she is where, and said she feels like she must look like a crazy person at the pharmacy, say -- "Don't have me under that name? Try this different one" as if she's not sure of her own name. I think I'm finally feeling like I'm getting to know the new, older, wiser Diane Perin. Somehow that core person got lost along the way, and it is good to find her again. So, please note -- name change, email address change, same person at the core but growing. Always growing.
Oh dear. It's been a discouraging, dire time. I never thought I'd genuinely fear for our democracy, our institutions, and our constitutional rights. But that's what I'm feeling now. Enough said.
I love Christmas. It's not just the lights, and the decorations, and the music. It's the reminder that despite all of the craziness around us, it's good to have a season to pause, celebrate family and friends and spirituality. Holidays don't have to be crazy with shopping and noise and fuss. We can choose to create quiet times with loved ones, sharing fun and remembering what the season is about. It's a season of comfort and joy, and I find myself humming "all is calm, all is bright" to myself often. May yours be happy, peaceful ones, where ever you are.
So I will be back in 2017. I am not sad to see 2016 end, but am looking forward to all the wonder that lies ahead.