knee deep in weeds

a personal photo journal

delicious ambiguity

"For last year's words belong to last year's language
And next year's words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning." 
- T.S Eliot


i struggle a bit throughout the holidays.
like waves, my emotions beat against the shore.
some come in as smooth as glass, while others pound my perimeters
with such force, they break apart my heart and scatter it about.
i am left to pick up the pieces and arrange them in some sensible manner. 

my sister and i talk about this, and decide it is a normal Christmas hangover. 
she gets them too. i have celebrated 63 Christmases, she 73, many of them together.
and yet, we come away from those joint years of celebrating, with
contrasting memories and distinctive traditions which lead to
different expectations. she has more experience in this discombobulated
holiday stuff and i am thankfull for what i glean from her. 

we celebrate "the actual day" with the kids up north, our first real Christmas
away from home. i work on trying to figure out where i fit, what role i play, 
how i can help, but not take over. i do pretty good, but i see there
is room for improvement and have to apologize, only once. . . 
no-one seems to notice but me, so i feel pretty good. 
we eat, drink too much wine, sit by the fire and pass the dogs around, 
it is heaven and ends way too soon. 

We spend January 1st walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives...not looking for flaws, but for potential.
— Ellen Goodman

i lay awake at night and think about the coming year, 
how i want to cut back, simplify, and back away from some arenas
and lean more into others. . .  

i see growth and awareness has accrued, some of it in places no mother wants to go.
i set my boundaries and hang love hearts on them, to open when it is safe, 
and under my terms. . .  

Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.
— C.S. Lewis

i understand that what lies beneath the surface, is not what is reflected in the light. 
i recognize that i have worked for years to have a decent refection,
or at least one that was acceptable. but the truth is, below that surface
there is muck and goo and the messiness of life. scoop a cup of that muck up
and you are going to find life, energy, fortitude and stamina. 
every year i get closer to grasping what fills me up, makes me shine and soothes my soul.
the key for me is to remember to enjoy that reflection for what it is,
an imitation of the light around me,
and recognize the goo and muck below, for what it is. 

the life force of a beautiful and full life. . . 

I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next.”
”Delicious Ambiguity.
— Gilda Radner

this year has taught me a few things about myself . . . 

10,000+ photos on my hard-drive proves that that i can spot beauty just about anywhere
the need to come here each week and write tells me i have something to say
watching my boys with their wives assures me i was a good mother
rowing twice a week has helped me believe that i am capable of physical strength
meditation and prayer has taught me that faith was missing in my daily life, both have opened my heart and deepened my belief
listening to my instincts and the inner voice in my head has brought me me a bountiful amount of goodness this past year
and, accepting that i can only controle myself, my actions, and my thoughts, and no-one else's, has brought me some serenity

Thank you for stopping by. Thank you for your comments and likes this past year, and for reading my ramblings. This is my self-indulgent space. A place to balance my ego and a way for me to process and digest the inner and outer world around me. It allows me to let go and hold on. It is my way of working things out, opening my heart and my mind. I am honored you drop in. 

Outside, the ocean was crashing, waves hitting sand, then pulling back to sea. I thought of everything being washed away, again and again. We make such messes in this life, both accidentally and on purpose. But wiping the surface clean doesn’t really make anything neater. It just masks what is below. It’s only when you really dig down deep, go underground, that you can see who you really are.
— Sarah Dessen

celebrating the season

"First we’ll make snow angels for two hours, then we’ll go ice skating, then we’ll eat a whole roll of Tollhouse Cookie-dough as fast as we can, and then we’ll snuggle."
— Buddy the Elf (Will Ferrell)

The dog and I manage only a few walks this week as the rain, a good book, and a birthday celebration get in our way. But the days we do go out I make it worth our while and he shows me his appreciation by posing. 

Yes! Yes I do! I like Christmas! I love Christmas!
— Ebenezer Scrooge (Reginald Owen), A Christmas Carol [1938]

Darkness comes so quickly leaving us in deep shadows and the light is lovely. There are treats back at the car, along with a long drink of cool water and we both go home content. 

Oh, Christmas isn’t just a day, it’s a frame of mind and that’s what’s been changing. That’s why I’m glad I’m here, maybe I can do something about it.
— Kris Kringle (Edmund Gwenn), Miracle on 34 Street [1947]

Each day I try to do something to celebrate the season, instead of just preparing for it. We go out one night, driving through neighborhoods, to look at lights. I watch White Christmas for the umpteenth time and he brings us home a gingerbread house for us to decorate together. I even pull out our worn-out copy of the Grinch and read it to myself. I drink a few almond nog lattes and he makes Chex mix. 

What i don't do is decorate much, or bake, or buy tons of gifts. 

He puzzled and puzzled till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. Maybe Christmas, he thought... doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps... means a little bit more!
— Narrator (Boris Karloff). HowThe Grinch Stole Christmas [1966]

I sit one night, the dog in my lap, and just gaze at our tree. i think a bit of Christmases past and see how the season grew into a bit of a monster. i understand I created that. I remember all of us feeling something was off when it was all over, but I really didn't understand what it was. I get it now, I missed my little boys, I missed my parents and my in-laws. I missed everything they brought to the table and I was going to do my best to create that perfect old fashioned Christmas.

Today I no longer feel I have to be responsible for everyone's joy of the season. (What a crazy notion that was). Instead I let it be. . .  I allow it flow and unfold and over the past few years it has morphed into a season of calm and beauty with some real meaning for all of us. It feels right. 

We’re kicking off our fun old-fashion family Christmas by heading out into the country in the old front-wheel-drive sleigh to embrace the frosty majesty of the winter landscape and select that most important of Christmas symbols.
— Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase), National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation [1989]
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, ‘Fear not: for behold, I bring unto you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
— Linus Van Pelt, A Charlie Brown Christmas [1965]

Basil and I wish you a beautiful holiday season. . . 

Take time to enjoy your people and your pets, eat a few cookies, and hang your stockings. Feed the birds and give to the homeless if possible, hug hard, and laugh and love with your whole heart. 


turning my head

"I am a big advocate for the pursuit of curiosity. You've maybe heard me talk about this before? We are constantly being told to pursue our passions in life, but there are times when passion is a TALL ORDER, and really hard to reach. In seasons of confusion, of loss, of boredom, of insecurity, of distraction, the idea of "passion" can feel completely inaccessible and impossible. In such times, you are lucky to be able to get your laundry done (that sometimes feels as high as you can aim) and when someone tells you to follow your passion, you want to give them the middle finger. (Go ahead and do it, by the way. But wait till their back is turned, out of civility.)"

"But curiosity, I have found, is always within reach."

~ Elizabeth Gilbert 

if it were not for the weather, i fear the week would
have eaten me up. i find solace in long walks with
my camera as he and the dog wandered aimlessly ahead of me. 
i bake bread, listen to this podcast and start a new book

Beware a calm surface—you never know what lies beneath.
— Paula Hawkins, Into the Water

we wake to blue sky and crisp cold air almost every day. 
i fill the feeders and watch the birds eagerly forage
and the squirrels scamper and play. i spot two cats
in the yard, mocking Basil by just sitting there and watching him,
as he runs amok in the yard, nose to the ground following
their scent. his baying fills the air and pleases me because i
know in his mind he is on to something grand. 

She had an immense curiosity about life, and was constantly staring and wondering.
— Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady

we walk the lake one day, Mount Rainer in full bloom
and i watch the ducks and think about how he use to say to me. . .  
"are you happy now that all your ducks are in their pond?" 
"yes . . . i would answer. "  but today things are different and one day
worry takes over and i crash and burn and go to bed early. 
but the sun rises the next day and i find peace. 

i think about next year and what it might bring. 
knowing i have little controle over most of it, but wondering. . . 
what am i open too? what am i curious about? 
and right there i pick my word. . .  


1. eager to know or learn something.
”she imagined what her life might be like if she followed through with everything she was curious about.
Passion can seem intimidatingly out of reach at times - a distant tower of flame, accessible only to geniuses and to those who are specially touched by God. But curiosity is a milder, quieter, more welcoming, and more democratic entity. The stakes of curiosity are also far lower than the stakes of passion. [...] Curiosity only ever asks one simple question: “Is there anything you’re interested in?” Anything? Even a tiny bit? No matter how mundane or small? The answer need not set your life on fire, or make you quit your job [...]; it just has to capture your attention for a moment. But in that moment, if you can pause and identify even one tiny speck of interest in something, then curiosity will ask you to turn your head a quarter of an inch and look at the thing a wee bit closer. Do it. It’s a clue. It might seem like nothing, but it’s a clue. Follow that clue. Trust it. See where curiosity will lead you next.
— Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

how was your week?