A Christmas Merry Go Round

Christmas Tree

Winter greetings, friends! In this time of Covid isolation and observing attitudes around the country, I have seen too much ugliness to pretend that the Christmas season will ring in peace, people will care about their fellow man and all is well because, after all, it is Christmas time. I’m just not feeling it. The tree above is last year’s tree.  My husband and I are retired, and I do recognize that for families with young children, the season must go on. If I had small children right now, I would strive to instill in them the idea of gifting service to those with less, making handcrafted gifts for others, and exploring tools that add to their creative skills, rather than what the commercials tell them they should want.

I have always loved the Christmas season, personally. I love to make handmade gifts for people, bake Christmas treats and share the bounty and goodwill of the season. In fact, I have sometimes been a study of excess myself this time of the year. But I’m not seeing the “goodwill to men” this year. I’m seeing a split down the middle of our country drawn by selfishness and greed. Christmas is not going to make that better.

Christmas television commercials and store ads are accompanied by the usual frenzy of hyped-up holiday music, and a friendly, reasonable voice urging, “Ask Santa for this, ask your parents for that, don’t you deserve to have this?” There is no accommodation or recognition, not even as a side note, for the very deep loss, grief and illness that envelops our country. Even THIS year, of all years! Even during Covid, when SO many do not have enough to eat, are worried about losing their homes, being evicted, or have lost a loved one, the hype goes on, the same as usual.

I should add, I am not personally offended by any of it. I have not lost a loved one to Covid, I am not depressed, we have plenty to eat. In fact, we have a surplus of anything we want or need. But I am deeply and humanly offended, not only by the long arm capitalist reach of this country, but by the attitudes of some I know that call themselves Christians. I am not willing to live my life in the business as usual mode, in the midst of all the people and families that are suffering. I am not willing to pretend for two days or two weeks that life is normal right now. It most definitely is not.

Instead of decking the halls as usual, spending $70+ dollars for a fresh Balsam Fir Christmas tree, and several hundred more on sparkly gifts we don’t really need under the Christmas tree, we are jumping off the Christmas merry-go-round. We will still give a few (hopefully) thoughtful gifts to people we are close to, because we enjoy doing that. I will still make some special cookies and candies I usually make this time of the year. I don’t hate Christmas. I just don’t like how narcissistically commercialized it has become. I don’t like how it has taken on a life of its own depite the suffering throughout the world.

We have decided to donate the amount we usually spend on a tree and gifts to a local food bank, which we hope might help a few people feel happier during these cold months. That is a truly joyful thought to us. I wish you a lovely holiday however you choose to observe it.  Here’s to some snow days!  Marci


Summer in Upside-Down America

Summer greetings, friends,

First, I want to mention how much I appreciate that two of my fellow blogging buddies noticed I hadn’t posted in a while and contacted me to ask if all was well. It had been over two months since my last post. Thank you so much, that means more than you know! When I finally got the all-clear on the surgery date everything happened so fast I just went for it. I didn’t even consider that anyone would even notice my absence.

Covid-19 caused my shoulder surgery to be rescheduled three times.  Luckily, I have tested negative for Covid as mostly I just stay home. The surgery was first scheduled in Seattle for late March, then again in early May, but then Swedish Orthopedic hospital itself closed for a month. Covid numbers continued to be high in Seattle, then dropped enough by late June that I grabbed a window of opportunity and had the surgery done. I’m sure glad I did, as after all the protests the numbers have spiked upward again. The food at Swedish Orthopedic alone was worth the overnight stay. Wowza! It was not like any hospital food I have ever encountered before. They had a true chef on duty.

I think my arm and shoulder are going to be good, now. The surgery entailed a full shoulder replacement and a plate with four screws attached to the upper humerus. The surgeon had to break my humerus in three places just to dig out the old plate and screws from the prior, botched surgery, as the plate had broken jaggedly in half. I have spent 3/4 of every day in a sling since the surgery, to make sure all the structures were well supported while healing was occurring. I am almost giddy to report I am finally comfortable with key-boarding and light tasks. It has seemed like a long two months.

Prior to the surgery, I made over 30 masks for all my local friends. Good thing, since we are still all wearing them! I had a huge stash of fat quarters of Batik fabric, which is tightly woven with such a high thread count that it is pretty ideal for mask making. Along the way, I took the time to straighten out and reorganize my entire fabric stash, a task sorely needed.

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It is difficult to wrap my mind around all the adult anti-maskers that have caused our Covid experience to be more volatile than it needed to be. I know that is certainly something you are familiar with where you live, too. And we all must deal with the rabid political climate as well. I am crossing my fingers we get a handle on both in the next few months.

The Course in Mediumship I bought pre-surgery continues to fascinate me, and I am loving it. I have learned so much! I decided I am going for full certification, though I have a lot of class notes to type up, so it probably won’t actualize until October or November. The next step is to join a practice circle to hone my accuracy rate and confidence. Then, guessing by the following fall I might know what I’m doing enough to begin doing individual sittings for others.

I haven’t had any other major accomplishments this summer. But I am very excited my arm will be able to keep up with the rest of me from now on. My husband and I are pretty introverted, so we haven’t felt like we were suffering much by staying home.

Tom has made some spectacular extras for us in his woodshop during the past few months. I inherited some wonderful antique English bone china from an aunt, and I have wanted a corner hutch in the dining room to house it ever since. Tom designed and built a wonderful hutch for me.

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Next, Tom built a very cool organic bench for our wrap around porch, using live edge maple he milled. That’s where we have our coffee on summer mornings. I feel so spoiled!

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In the end, this summer is the upside-down of all other summers I can recall, but, it has still been good.