What Happened to February?

If a month, say February, for example, has only 28 days, one can’t be blamed if one is sipping on a cuppa and glances over at the calendar to see March staring in one’s face and realizes one has completely skipped the monthly post on one’s personal blog.

So let’s just move on as if nothing’s amiss here. But February did seem to dash by. Or maybe that’s just me? I’ve been doing a lot of cleaning and/or organizing around the old Hall House AND listening to a lot of music whilst doing so and time has just flown! Also, I think perhaps I owe the dearly departed Mister Man an apology.

See, that man would sit in his office working, blasting his rock ‘n roll favorites way beyond the air waves of that room. Now, I like rock ‘n roll as much as the next person. Maybe more since I worked in radio back in the day. BUT.

There is a time and place for listening to Iron Butterfly and it’s not when one’s writer wife is trying to think up the next brilliant Great American Novel. Or even the next blog post for the Muffin.

It’s not that Mister Man set out to purposefully sabotage my great thoughts. It’s just that music was a necessary soundtrack for his work and so when I would (nicely) ask him to shut off the &*^& music, he would argue (nicely) that I should go elsewhere to work. Things would not so nicely escalate and eventually, he’d turn down the music a smidge because he was after all, working and actually making money, and apparently that carried more weight.

Whatever. The point is, since the first of the year and my Major Cleaning and Organizing Frenzy, I’ve found that listening to music has been very conducive to getting the work done and keeping me in a very fine mood. And certain work (such as emptying kitchen cabinets) requires ABBA, whilst other work, say writing this here post, requires Kris Kristofferson. And for optimum efficiency, the music must…well, blast throughout the house.

So, sorry, Mister Man, I get it now. And you can get all caught up with my February brilliant thoughts over at the Muffin. There’s Sign, Sign, Everywhere a Sign (and I’m working away on that manuscript! You’ll get it when you read the post.) and Letting Go of the SPECTACULAR.

(And thanks, Mister Man and Kris Kristofferson, for inspiring this February post. You heard me. February. You want to argue, take it up with the Calendar Powers That Be.)

And So It Begins

There’s something compelling about a door.

Anything can be behind a door. Open the door and a story begins. Or maybe it ends. But for sure, the doorway stands between what was and what will be. Which explains why Janus, the Roman god for whence the month January comes, is perfectly suited for this first month of the year. Janus represents the transition, the both-sides-of-the-story; he’s depicted with two faces, and often found adorning doors, or gates, or archways. That’s Janus–and January–for you. You never know what you’re going to get until you open the door.

I was sorely tempted to just stand on the other side of the door for this January and wait until I felt a little stronger, a bit more hopeful. But eventually, I stepped through.

Do you remember that game, “Mother May I?” I played it when I was just a wee girl and I taught my kids how to play it. One of my favorite ploys in the game was to allow a child to get almost to the finish line and then on the next turn, when the smug kiddo had just inches to go, I’d say, “Joey (because he was the oldest and best able to handle the vagaries of life), you may take THREE GIANT STEPS! (Pause for a beat or two) BACKWARDS!” (Oh, don’t get worked up, Joey would almost always win. And he learned important lessons about the Game of Life along the way. But now that I think about it, he will not so much as play a game of cards with his dear, sainted mother today. I believe I’ve suddenly had an insight as to why.)

Anyway, I really, truly wanted to take three giant steps backwards this January. Or maybe just call out, “Do Over!” the way my kids would when they didn’t like the way things were going. But those aren’t exactly very effective strategies in the grown-up world. So I just pulled myself up by my faith and carried on.

And then I remembered that Thomas A Kempis, who was a veritable font of quotes that one could copy on notecards and keep handy for inspiration, had one particular quote that should perhaps be above January’s door:

THEY TRAVEL LIGHTLY WHOM GOD’S GRACE CARRIES.

(And for those of you who’d like a little writing inspiration, The Muffin is also a veritable font this month, with my two posts, The Secret to Success, and Just for Today, For Writers (Part Deux) in the offerings. I wish for you a year full of writing happiness, and I hope you’ll let me know all about your beginnings or endings in 2021!)

The December Wonkiness

The week after Christmas is always a bit wonky for me.

Joey’s 2nd Birthday at Grandma’s House

I wander around in a sugar daze from all the sweets consumption, totally discombobulated depending on what day of the week the holy day fell. Because Christmas Eve always feels like a Saturday to me, Christmas Day a Sunday…well, I’m sure you can see why today–a Monday–felt like the day after Christmas and it was nearly 11:00 before I realized it was the 28th and called Oldest Junior Hall to say, “Happy Birthday!”

To be honest, this is standard procedure for me, though it is getting a bit later in the morning each year. But I’m pretty sure he was just waking up (he had the day off!) so he was none the wiser to his very own mother forgetting his birthday. Plus I had something profound and lovely to share that I’d read from Henri Nouwen’s Here and Now, thus glossing over any shortcoming on my part. To wit, Nouwen wrote about how a birthday is the one celebration that is strictly about the birthday person.

Just think about that for a moment. When we get a birthday card or a call or even a text, it’s simply and only, in Nouwen’s words, an opportunity to say, “Thank you for being born and being among us.” We’re not celebrating any accomplishment, achievement, or victory. We’re just happily celebrating a life, and that we’re glad to be able to share in that life.

So yes, it’s been my usual wonky week after Christmas, including almost forgetting my first born son’s birthday. But I’m grateful for all that because it means despite everything else going on in the world–and it’s a LOT, isn’t it?–it’s life as usual in the Hall House. And that’s worth celebrating, too.

D’oh. I completely forgot to cleverly tie in my December Muffin posts, but I believe I’ve expounded upon my perfectly plausible excuse for why that didn’t happen (See wonkiness above). So if you haven’t read “Faith over Fatalism” or “A Fine Romance” (Apparently, the letter for December was “F”), please go take a look-see now. And stay safe out there, y’all, till we meet again in 2021!