Pride Cometh Before a…..

I am often lecturing my sweet hubby about his balance.  His balance isn’t the best because of past injuries.  Having had one foot broken off on his left leg and a severed quadriceps tendon on his right leg, I repeatably tell him he hasn’t a foot to stand on.   He often takes a tumble and then I grab my soapbox and remind him of his problem with balance and how he needs to have a plan before overextending his reach.  I write all this so I can continue on.

Yesterday, (and yes, I do realize it is only October) I went upstairs to the little storage cubby where all my Christmas decorations are stored.  Again, I do realize it is only October.   I wanted to look at what ribbons I have to see if I wanted to buy more.   I am planning ahead here, folks…    I remember that I had a container almost completely full of ribbon and I wanted to see how tattered it may look and also give me an idea of what I want to do with my decorations this year.

I stuck most of my body in and saw that Charlotte had moved in.  Trying not to disturb the cobwebs, I ducked down and picked up my empty box of fall decorations.  I put it in the next room because, well, I need to pack up my current decorations once Thanksgiving is over.  Then, I saw it, a box laying in the small distance, marked “Christmas”.   Instead of walking in further, remember those cobwebs, I leaned in to reach the box.

With my right hand stretched out, I started to comprehend my dear hubby’s situation.  That box was just a bit out of my reach.  I glanced back and put my left hand on a stack of boxes.  That didn’t help.  Empty gift boxes are just that, fluff…  The boxes went flying.  I started to think that I was going to land head first onto the small opening on the floor.  I hollered , “Help!”.   Many thoughts racing in my mind, none of them pretty.  I felt my lecturing days waning.   I knew my soapbox was going to be removed.  I knew it was going to hurt.

Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a big red storage box.  I grabbed at that.  Victory!  Again I hollered, “Never mind!”   I regained my footing.  I backed out of the storage area, with the box I was reaching for!

Laughing, I went to reassure my hubby that I was, in fact, okay.   I returned to check out that box of ribbons.  The ornaments in there were all wrapped nicely.  I returned to that storage area, I looked, and decided that I really did not feel like pulling everything out as I know that whatever I am looking for is usually in the very last box.  I will wait another month.

I went about the rest of my day, not giving my acrobatics another thought.  I went to bed, fell asleep and then, in the middle of the night I woke up in pain.  My knee hurt.  My hip hurt, my shoulder hurt.  My neck hurt.   I lay there a few minutes contemplating the reason.  I hobbled into the bathroom to put on the muscle cream.  As I got to the bathroom memories of  attempting gymnastic moves came to mind.  Image result for cartoon falls

I learned a couple of things yesterday.   First, don’t judge.   Second, why in the world am I concerned about Christmas ribbons in October?  Get a grip, Cathi!

So, humbled, I close this out, a bit sore from being old and having a momentary lapse of good judgment, but all in one piece!   Thanks for stopping by today.  Cathi (DAF)



Today I started to take down Christmas decorations.  The key word here is take down, not put away.  My extra room upstairs looks like Christmas collapsed in there.  Garland is strung across the floor, drying from being outside.  The outside ribbon is doing the same.

It’s funny when you take down decorations. The rooms that seemed normal before putting out Christmas now seem bland.

Add to this, the day outside, damp, dreary and rainy and it looks like the proverbial winter day.

Most days when I start to remove Christmas, I am sad.  I hate to see it go.  Today was not like that.  Of course, most of the yard decorations are still up, and the living room  is stuck in the Christmas mode with the tree still up and lit.  My dining room is decked out in winter glory though.  Off white flowers on a winter white tablecloth.  Hints of shades of green are in the vases also.  I like it!  I like winter.

I like the gray skies and the dampness and the rain.  I would prefer snow, but I will take whatever winter weather I can get.

So, today, sitting here with a blanket across my lap, and soup cooking on the stove, I am thinking of the damp weather and winter.  A quiet season where growth is hidden and color stands out just a bit more.

Hope you are enjoying your day today.  DAF

Lights in the night…

When we moved to South Carolina, hubby and I started to decorate outdoors for Christmas.  I was amazed when hubby really got into the fun of decorating.  He figured out what he wanted for the yard and we have slowly gotten all the pieces for the yard.  There are still more pieces we want, and eventually he will have all the parts he has dreamed of for the yard.

So, this year, hubby had shoulder surgery in November.  I knew that the decorating part was going to be up to me.  While our oldest was here, we decorated the inside, well, actually she did most of the inside and I hung some garland outside, put candles in the windows and decorated the mailbox post.  I was done.  Thought simple, elegant, finished.

Today hubby got up and went to physical therapy.  He came home and opened the door to the garage and pointed to a box that I had glanced at and ignored a week ago.  In the box was the nativity set for the yard.  I had thought it was a car part, not a decoration, in my defense.  We set up the set, which was easy, put out some of the trees that was also very easy.  Hubby looked at me and I knew I could not deny his look.  Off we went to the storage unit and I went in to retrieve another box.  I had to do that because, technically, hubby is not supposed to be lifting anything.

After a couple of hours the yard was finished.  In hindsight, it wasn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be.  I just wanted the decorations to be easy up and easy down this year.   I was wrong.  Looking at hubby, I saw that he needed the decorations this year.  He needed to see the normal decorations and feel like his interpretation of Christmas was done.  He has not been able to do normal every day things for  over a month now.  His world has been his laptop, his couch and the television.

Gifting and thinking of others comes in many forms.  Today, in thinking over the day, I gifted my husband with a sense of normal for him.  His smile at seeing the job finished spoke volumes to me.  I looked at him this evening and asked if he liked the yard.  He smiled.  Christmas has begun for him.

Here are a couple of pictures of the outside of our house.  Thanks for stopping by, DAF

The outside, simple elegance, one upped....

The outside, simple elegance, one upped….


come on in!

come on in!


When there is no tree….

Thirty five years ago, hubby and I were living in Japan.  We were waiting the arrival of our first child.  We were excited beyond words during that  time.
We were living in government quarters on an abandoned WWII Japanese airstrip.  The housing area was situated along two very long, wide roads which once were the runways for the Japanese planes.  Our house was situated at the end of the runways, the half circle area where the planes taxi from one strip to the other.  It was a beautiful place, as we had no neighbors, except the other side of our duplex.  There was a big open field in front of our house and looking out past the field, some farmlands and the bay that was below our area, was a magnificent view of Mt Fuji.  We were able to see this view from our living room and bedroom.  It is a view I will never forget.

The duplex we lived in was small.  It was a one bedroom unit.  We had a dining room where we usually put our Christmas tree.  That Christmas, 35 years ago we had no room in our dining room.  We had divided our dining room in half to make room for a crib and changing table.  It was crowded but cozy.   We decided to forgo all Christmas decorations, except for our nativity set.

We also decided to not exchange gifts, as we knew we would need money for the baby.  We were content with this decision.

A part of us missed the planning and shopping though.  I wondered how we would feel on Christmas day without the flourishes that go with the day.

What I found out is this….  and a part of the story of the Grinch confirms this to me.  When the day dawned, it was still Christmas.  There was something in the air that spoke Christmas.  The air is different on Christmas day.  It is special.  I don’t know what it is, but it is a holy mixture of awe, faith, giving, sprinkled with pine scent and candy canes.  At least that is how I see it.  It is like the Grinch who discovered that although he took everything away from the Who’s, they still celebrated.  They sang and they rejoiced, even in nothing.  This made the Grinch’s heart grow, and he obviously returned everything.

In the passing of these 35 years, I often remember that Christmas where there were no outward signs of Christmas in our house.  I remember that the decorations are nice, the presents are nice, but the true gift of Christmas is the celebration of Christ’s birth.  We have tried through the years to do something for someone else during the holidays.  Most of the time, it was just having someone over to share our meal.  This is a small gesture, but sometimes those are the moments that scream the loudest.

Today, I was able to have several outpourings of love given to me.  All have made me realize the love that is in the hearts of people.  My heart is glad and I am blessed.  I hope that this season you will be able to recognize the special scent in the air and experience an unexpected gift of love.  Thanks for stopping by.  DAF

Not a Creature was stirring…

It is the quiet of the evening after a day of Thanksgiving.  The house is silent except for the ticking of the clock in the dining room and the rumble of the train on the tracks a mile or so from the house.

I sit here wanting to get up and start to put away the fall decorations and pull out the Christmas decorations in the dining room.  I don’t want to disturb those sleeping and yet my mind is full of a wonderful day, thoughts of what tomorrow will bring and memories of Christmases past.

We have had a tradition that the day after Thanksgiving is the day we picked out our Christmas tree.  It started the year my hubby was doing an isolated tour of duty.  Friends took the girls and I to a tree farm in the rural part of San Diego.  We picked out a tree and had it cut.  Up to that point we had an artificial tree which worked fine.  It was on its last legs and it was natural looking complete with leaning off to a side.

After that time of visiting the tree farm, it became a family tradition.  Each Friday after Thanksgiving we would drive an hour out of the city and pick out our tree.  At that time we reserved the tree and returned a couple of weeks later to pick it up, take it home and decorate it.

The day after Thanksgiving was the day that heralded the beginning of Christmas to us.  We would get up early, put on Christmas sweaters and pile the girls into the car.  We always played a cd (yes, it was that long ago) of a Disney Christmas tape.  It was not a high brow tape, it was the characters singing songs and it was delightful.  We would sing along and hubby would give me glances that were a mix of loving it all and hating the cd’s sound.

The music played all the way out.  When we arrived at the tree farm, the girls would go one way and hubby and I the other.  It took us over an hour to pick a tree, mainly because we all played a game where we would each disappear and then we had to find one another.  Usually, we had each picked out a tree we liked and figured we would remember where it was when we got back together.  Hubby would measure it and make certain the trunk was straight.  (Mine never are, I still pick out crooked trees!).  Then the arguments would start.  We would not like something about each tree.  And then, we would forget who picked out the tree the previous year.  It was great fun.

When the girls were little we would picnic after reserving the tree.  There was a park across from the tree farm and I would pack leftover turkey sandwiches and hot chocolate and the girls would play on the equipment at the park.  There was a set of a circular monkey bars and when we started going to the tree farm our oldest was just able to climb over the monkey bars, our youngest could not.  Through the years we saw the girls master the monkey bars and then the picnics stopped.  We then went to lunch at a little cafe down the road from the farm.

We did this until the girls started to move away, or their schedule could not fit ours.  The last visit we made to the farm was six years ago.  It was just hubby and I.  We drove the hour, listened to nice Christmas music and it took us five minutes to decide on a tree.  It was a bittersweet experience for us as the trees echoed memories of laughter and squeals and discussions of  which tree to get.  The fun had grown up and started their own lives.

Now, we are across the country, and trying to find new traditions.  We have searched Christmas tree farms and may try one this year.  Our oldest will go back to her home in San Diego and in another week go to our old tree farm.  She and her boyfriend and his daughter have started carrying on the tradition of the tree farm.  I am blessed that it means enough to her to continue it.

So, I sit here on the night after a holiday, reflecting on the joys of seasons past.  The parade of memories is strong and it pulls my heart down many paths of my memory scrapbook.

Christmas is a time to remember.  A time of making new memories to remember later.  A time for family, faith, friends.  A time to be thankful for what we have and whom we have in our lives.    Thanks for sharing this time with me.  DAF