dearanonymousfriend

Ramblings from a would be writer

41 and counting…

41 years ago tonight I was packing my bags and boxes getting ready to move.  It was a big move as I was leaving my childhood behind.  I looked in the closet and looked at some of the things flung onto the floor and decided that what was left was left.

41 years ago I was filled with excitement and anticipation and had no concept of what was ahead of me.

41 years ago tomorrow I woke up to a blizzard and snow falling all over.   I curled my hair, put on my make up, put on my dress and it was time to pose for pictures.  I left the apartment with the bags all packed and went to the church with my dad and my sisters.   It was time for my wedding.

People were late getting to our wedding, the snow and the roads were relentless.  People arrived in hunting clothes, not having time to change from long drives to the church.  Slush covered the aisle that the runner only covered half of.

Afterwards, my best friend’s father stood outside the church tossing a snowball waiting for hubby and I to leave  the church after pictures.  Yes, we had snowballs thrown at us instead of rice or birdseed.

The parking lot for our reception did not get plowed and cleared in time for our arrival.  We slid into a parking space and I hiked up my gown and tromped through knee deep snow.  I entered the hall and slid a few feet before being caught by my aunt.  Behind us, snowballs were being thrown.

Our reception band had three accidents on the way to the reception, and they trudged in during the meal bringing in snow drifts and excitement that they had finally made it.

We danced and ate and had some cake and left, driving north for the evening.

Yes, 41 years ago I was filled with anticipation.  I thought my love story was unfolding and it would be like the romantic comedies and love stories I watched on the big screen.

41 years later my love story has unfolded.  It’s not been a romantic comedy.  At times it is more tragedy and tears than laughter and joy.   But, it’s been my love story and I have lived it.  There have been bouquets of roses, and fancy dinners, and sparkling jewelry, and romantic trips.  But, there has also been silence and tears and angry words that cannot be taken back.  There have been years that we were oceans apart several times.

Love stories come in all shapes and sizes.  Today my love story was my hubby making certain I was warm enough on a cold evening.  Lighting a fire to warm me up and watching an old movie that we have both seen so often we knew the lines before the actors spoke them.

I am certain had I know then what I know now I may not have been so filled with anticipation on that snowy day.  But, I am grateful for the past 41 years I’ve had with my hubby.      DAF….

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Crumbs from Christmas….

Before I dig into my day I stop and think of what I want to accomplish.  I know I need to clean.  I look where our Christmas tree stood until late yesterday afternoon.  I swept up most of the fallen needles, but there are a few left on the carpet… waiting to be swept up by the vacuum.

The fake presents I wrap and decorate so that our dog does not lift his leg on our tree or drink the tree water lay around the floor looking oddly out of place.  Today, I will unwrap those boxes and throw them away, saving the ribbon and decorations on them for next year.

The dining room has the sad remains of my ‘snack’ table.  Sad, forgotten and unwanted cookies lay on the plates knowing that they will never be eaten and today will join the wrapping paper and boxes in the trash.

The mostly empty tins of pralines, now soggy and too sugary  await their final destination also.

The only hopeful is the tin of peppermint bark, almost completely empty, but still tasty.  I think that will be my reward for cleaning up the Christmas crumbs.

So, onward I move, not nearly as excited as I was a month ago when the ribbons and wrappings were fresh and looked beautiful.  It is a new year now and time marches on.  Valentine’s Day  decorations are beginning to peak through the mounds of Christmas decorations awaiting their long summer’s sleep.  Red and green is replaced by red and pink.

I already feel like this year is speeding by.  I look around in anticipation of what this year holds.  But, first, I must get busy.   Thanks for stopping by.  DAF

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Sweet Overload…

I have spent many hours this week on that addicting site called Pinterest.  I have looked and pinned several things I am dreaming of for our hopeful home.  I have had a wonderful time looking, pinning and dreaming.  It is a great filler before I start to pack and clean and all that fun moving stuff… but, I digress.

Today I went on Pinterest to look for comfort food recipes.  It is a brisk, damp, rainy day here and I wanted to make something different for supper.

I found a recipe for a soup that I had had this summer and enjoyed thoroughly.  Decided that was our entrée, and I had crusty rolls in the fridge, so that was taken care of.  I knew I would head to the store and made a list of what I needed to get.  Then, in those wonderful  pictures that cover Pinterest, I saw our dessert.  I started to drool.  I knew I had to make it.  I added those ingredients to my shopping list and off I went.

The soup was wonderful.  Hearty, thick and hot.  We are looking forward to round two of it tomorrow afternoon, knowing it will taste even better the second day.

Our dessert?  Butterfinger hot chocolate.  It is made in the crock pot and takes over two hours to make.  Hubby and I have each had one cup.  We would love to have a second cup, but know we would go into a sugar coma and either fall asleep immediately or (and most likely, me)  start bouncing off the walls while talking at the speed of light.

I usually do not fall prey to pretty pictures of desserts.  By that, I mean, I usually drool, but don’t make.  I must have been very weak today.  I went to the store, bought the ingredients and then caved and bought two boxes of girl scout cookies on the way out.

Today, I need to be locked up.  Or, as one of my dearest friends would remind me, a prayer I once prayed in her presence, “Lord, please bless this sugar!”

Amen, I mean, thanks for stopping by, I have a wall or two that I need to bounce off.  DAF

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A Blustery Day…

I love winter.  I really do.  I love the cold, the wind and whatever is thrown at us in precipitation.  Snow, rain, ice, it’s all wonderful.

Today is a blustery day.  Yes, I know, I live in the south.  It can’t be that blustery.  But, yes, it is a blustery day today.

I just came in from walking our dog.  The moon is bright in the clear sky.  The flags on the porches are all blowing straight out, like they have been starched stiff.  The wind is whipping around the cul-de-sac and down the hill (well, as much of a hill that can be found here in the Lowcountry).

As I walked up the hill, I thought how blustery it is.  I chuckled because I know there were times in my life that I would consider this weather a hot spell.  So, as I walked our little Shugo, I thought of the different places I have lived and the blustery days I have experienced.

Being born and raised in Northwestern Pennsylvania, I know what cold is.  I know what snow is.  I have fallen on ice walking to and from school, uphill, downhill, two miles along.

From there I went to Norfolk, VA.  We lived in a small cheap beach apartment the winter before we were transferred to Japan.  We would turn on the wall heating unit before heading to bed and wake up in the morning to see a mound of sand gathered on the floor around the heating unit, which was stone cold….  Youth and young love made me think this was wonderful!

In Japan we lived on a converted WWII Japanese airstrip.  We lived in occupation era Navy houses.  The view was incredible, Mt. Fuji and Sagami Wan (bay), but our house was one all by itself at the end of the runway and we had nothing in front of our house except open field.  The wind would whip up and buffet that little house and it would almost knock me over every time we left the house in the winter.  Of course, now it most likely wouldn’t move me at all, since I was young and skinny back then.

From Japan, we went to Maine.  Need I say more about knowing what cold is like?  When the temperature rose to  O degrees we thought it was spring!  I loved the winter in Maine and the other two seasons, July and August.  It is heaven on earth and I would move back there in a minute.  Snow, ice, wind chill and all.  It is truly God’s country.

From Maine we thawed out in San Diego.  I know you are thinking, no bluster there.  You are right for the most part, but, living there as long as I did, I saw some frost, and even a hint of snow.   And, we went for a 40 minute ride to the mountains to experience our wind and cold.  The last Valentine’s Day in California, hubby and I actually took a ride in the mountains and got snowed in up there.  It was cold and windy and very snowy outside the beautifully warm bed and breakfast we landed in.

So, I have decided blustery days happen everywhere.  Those days that chill you to the bone.  Where you come inside and think of warm drinks and warm jammies.  Tonight is like that and I am very content and happy that my hands got cold as did my cheeks while I walked our dog.   Who knows, I may decide he needs to go back out again, just so I can enjoy this winter feeling.

~ DAF

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Five Rings and Love…

February is one of my favorite months.  There is much to like about it.  Every four years, though, I love February.

This year the focus of that love is Sochi.  I love those five rings in February.  They are okay when they arrive in summer, but they pale in comparison to those February rings.

I am excited that the Olympics start this week.  I love the winter Olympics.  The snow, the skiing, the ski jumps, the slalom, figure skating, speed skating, the snowboarding, the luge.  There is so much that I love about this winter sporting event, I find it hard to contain myself.

Poor hubby is so sick of me squealing when a commercial comes on announcing it.  He knows I will commandeer the remote.  He will move to another room to watch his movies online.  That is just how it is.  I am a meek television watcher.  I will sit and watch whatever hubby wants, that is, until those rings appear and that music plays and then it’s me and the television.

I cannot wait until this week when I can watch the teams march in, the pomp and circumstance, see the opening ceremonies and finally see the flame lit.   It is a tradition and I am a fan of traditions.

So, while there may be better things to do with my time, I know I will ignore most of it.  I will be sitting in a comfy chair and watching men and women fly through the air, or fly down a course or spin on the ice.  It is all beauty and grace and talent.  The little girl in me still longs to go down the luge course, or fly off a ski jump and most of all be tossed in the air over the ice to be caught and skate into glory.

In reality, this middle-aged, chunky woman will be yelling at the television when someone I like will be beaten.  It’s like this every four years.  Now you know how to pray for my hubby, he will have no peace until the flame is extinguished.

Thanks for stopping by.  DAF

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DAF finally gets Winter…

Most of this country is tired of winter.  It’s been cold, frigid in some places.  Snow accumulation has been high.  Here in the low country we have had some chilly nights and days, but that is about it.  Until this week.

Watching the weather channel at the beginning of the week we saw that yes, we were in the path of the storm.  I was thrilled!  I could not wait to finally have some winter.

Hubby and I went for some groceries on Tuesday morning.  Each store we entered reminded us that they were closing early.  “Storm is coming.  Roads are going to be bad.  Be careful.”  We heard this several times on Tuesday.   We finished our errands and headed home.

Settling in, the rain started.  The wind blew.  We took our puppy out before it got bad.  The temperatures dropped rapidly.  Hubby and I kept looking out.  We would go out to the porch to see what was happening.  We giggled like little kids.  We heard the sleet.  We listened to the wind, we waited for the snow.  We waited until two a.m. for the snow.  We finally gave up, but I found myself waking often, like a kid at Christmas.    I got up around 5:30 a.m. and looked outside.  The roofs in the neighborhood were covered in white.  The trees glistened with ice, the grass was shiny.  There was only a trace of snow in our neighborhood.  Other parts of Charleston got an inch or two, but we got a dusting.

Disappointed in the lack of snow, I donned my coat and scarf and gloves and hiking boots (they have the most tread on them) and took the dog for his walk.  The air was winter.  The sky looked like snow.  The smell was wintry.  It was heaven.  We crunched our way across the shiny grass and the dog was confused.  It all looked the same, but there was a clear shell on top of everything, his scents were gone.

It stayed cold for a couple of days and I was happy.  Today, the sun is out and the roofs are clear and the icicles are gone.  But, this week, I had winter and it was wonderful.

Tree in my front yard

Tree in my front yard

My backyard

My backyard

Brush beside our pond

Brush beside our pond

My car window

My car window

 

Thanks for stopping by today… DAF

 

 

 

 

 

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Belated Birthday Wishes…

Two days ago marked the 35th year of being a mother.  I cannot believe I have been a mother for that long.

Thirty seven years ago, I was told that I had a very slim chance of having children.  This news did not disturb me as I knew that I serve a God who can do the impossible.   I knew that He was able to give me children even if modern medicine did not think it possible.

Thirty five years ago I received the impossible from God.  Our sweet girl came into this world and the world has never been the same.  I am thankful it has never been the same.

She is a mixture of both her dad and me, but, I think she favors her dad more.  She has his wonderful brown eyes and her grandmother’s cheekbones.  She is tall and graceful.  Her hair is a mass of natural curls that have tangled all her life.  They used to be a cause of great frustration for me, but now, I think they are beautiful.

She has some of me in her also.  She snort laughs.  She has a temper. She trips over imaginary objects that suddenly appear in her path.   She is tenacious (yes, that also means stubborn).

Mostly, she is herself.  She has faced obstacles and has moved on.  She doesn’t know the definition of quit.  I am proud of her.

This week I have often paused and thought of the past thirty-five years.   I have seen much growth, in her and in me.  I have seen her grow from needing constant care, to growing up and away from me.  I have dried tears as an infant, a toddler, over skinned knees and skinned hearts.  We have cried together, in anger and in joy and just because.

So, happy birthday Sweetie.  You were an answer to prayer all those years ago, and today, you are still an answer to my prayers.    May this year hold all the blessings your heart can hold, and may the only tears that fall be tears of joy.

 

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In the Midst of Winter…

I have skirted around winter topics all month-long.  One thing I have thought of and was hesitant to write about is the winter of our lives.

As I read several blogs today they talked about God’s perfect plan for our lives, about enduring through trials, about hope and trust in God.  I was encouraged by the words I read.

I have felt like the past few years of my life have been winter.  That season where calamities strike dramatically.  Pipes freeze, cars won’t start, sidewalks and driveways ice over and you fall.   Also icicles form, fall, sometimes breaking windows or shattering things underneath them.  Things happen in winter (and other seasons also).   The things that happen in winter seem more severe, maybe because of the cold.

The past few years have felt like this for me.  I have noticed my age and stage in life more.  I have often said, “this is not where I expected to be”.  At times, I have withdrawn, shielding myself from talking about the reality of where we are.  Other times I have been bold and known without a shadow of a doubt that I serve a God who is in control and loves us.   Both are extremes and are not where I am most days.

Winter is a time where things go dormant.  There is a quietness and a stillness that pervades the world around us.  Leaves fall, snow falls, and both give a blanket and covering of the earth.  Growth happens in winter.   Growth that bursts forth with new life and new color and new softness.

I asked the Lord to give me a word for this year.  Not a task or a job or anything difficult.  I asked for a word to hold on to.  My word?  Hope.   I am learning hope this year.  It is a word filled with anticipation and I am hopeful that this winter of my life ends soon.  That soon I will see the blossoms of spring in my life, that this feeling of age and weariness will be replaced with the newness and the beauty of fresh life that comes each spring.

I know that this winter time of my life is producing growth.  I just can’t see it. I know that things are happening and not happening in accordance to a loving God who is watching over me.   I know this to be truth.   I have yet to see the buds of new life poking through the cold hard ground.   It takes faith and endurance for a crocus to be one of the first flowers of spring.  I hope I learn a lesson from that sweet flower and that I will emerge from this winter as lovely and fragrant.

Day by day the Lord takes care of the innocent,  and they will receive an inheritance that lasts forever. They will not be disgraced in hard times;   even in famine they will have more than enough. (Psalm 37:18-19, New Living Translation) 

Thanks for stopping by today, DAF

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Winters in the Past…

I have lived with many types of winter.  Each one is wonderful in itself, but my favorites have been the ones with snow and ice and gray skies.  I miss those winters.

Growing up in northwestern Pennsylvania, we had good winters.  Sometimes they would arrive early and stay late.  I can remember wearing winter coats under Halloween costumes and wearing snow boots with the costumes also.  We had snow and if we were lucky we had snow days where we could miss school and stay home and play outdoors.

When I married we moved to Norfolk, VA.  The winters there were a shock to my system.  First off, there was the smell of the sea air that attacked my senses. It was cold in a different way.  The gray skies were not the comforting skies that I grew up with .  The snow was more like a heavy frost and yet the city would come to a halt when there was snow.  I really did not like the experience of winter in Norfolk.

We moved overseas after living in Norfolk.  Mostly we did not see snow while living in Japan.  Although, there was one year where we did get a decent snowfall.  It was exciting.  I remember leaving the store after getting groceries and seeing snow flurries.  I was thrilled.  It continued to fall and accumulate.  We got about five inches and I was in heaven.  My best memory of that snowfall was having a friend who grew up in Hawaii call to ask me how to make a snowman.  She had two small children and wanted to take them out to play in the snow and she wasn’t certain how to make a snowman.  I stifled my laughter and asked if she knew how to make a snowball.  She replied that she did know how to do that.  I told her to make a snowball and roll it around until it was large enough to be the bottom, then to repeat the process two more times, making each ball a bit smaller.  She succeeded and was thrilled with her success.  Her children thought she was a genius and I still laugh at that.

From the land of not much snow we moved to Maine.   Maine was the perfect place for someone who loves winter.  I love Maine.  I loved the cold, the snow, the ice, the wind chill.  It was all wonderful.  I would move back in a minute.  But, alas, hubby is not as keen on snow as I am, so that’s not going to happen.

After Maine we lived in southern California for almost 27 years.  I learned to appreciate the winters there.  The winters appeared with a nuance.  There was a certain feel in the air and you knew winter had arrived.  Coats would appear and sweaters.  Sometimes we would actually need to put the coats on, most of the time we didn’t.   The mountains were a half hour from where we lived.  In the winter, we would get up, look outside towards the mountains.  Often hubby would say to me, “It looks like snow in the mountains.”   This would be followed by his taking a personal day off.  We would take our girls to school and head to the mountains to play.  We would drive around the snow,  have a late breakfast or early lunch up in the mountains and get back in time to pick the girls up from school with the tell-tale signs of leftover snow on the car.

Moving to the south we have had snow a couple of times.  The first year we were here we had three inches fall.  I was so excited!  The dog experienced it first hand and he fell in love with the white stuff also.  It didn’t last long, but, each year since I hold out hope for snow.  I look at the clouds and sniff the air.  The past week or so, it could have snowed, it smelled like it could and looked like it could, but, no snow for us.

Winter is one of my favorite seasons.  It is a time where you can dress warmly and snuggle under blankets.  It is a time that is refreshing and brisk.  I am enjoying this cold weather we are having.  I think on the winters of my life and am grateful for all the different types I have lived in.   What is your favorite winter memory?  DAF

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Sitting with a Friend on a Winter’s night…

My Shugo is going to be 12 in March.  In people years, that’s 84.   He’s getting up there in age and he is beginning to show signs of aging.  He’s not the happy puppy all the time.  His little bones creak and his movements are a bit slower.

Earlier this evening he looked at hubby and I, sighed and went into bed.  I could hear him stirring and soon he came back into the living room and laid down again.

When hubby and I headed to bed, he hesitated at the door.  We told him to get into his bed and he obeyed, the good dog that he is.

As usual, I did not fall asleep right away.  My mind wandered and I lay thinking of what I could write about winter.   The trains in the distant seemed closer tonight.  The whistles were louder and more impatient.   I focused on them until I heard a softer whine.  A persistent whine.

Shugo was not sleeping.  He laid on the floor crying.  I got up and we came back into the living room where he lay on the floor and shivered and cried.  I got him his blanket that he loves and wrapped him up.  I sat beside him and patted him.  He appreciated it, but did not want to be close.  He kept moving and I kept following him, covering him up.

So, here I am, on the couch watching my friend shiver on the floor.  He is now wrapped in his favorite blanket and another that I grabbed off the couch.  He is resting and my heart is aching.

I know his breed can live up to 20 years, but,  I don’t want him to live that long and have a poor quality of life.  What I can see is that this is the winter of his life.  This breaks my heart. This friend who has given me such joy and laughter.  He has given me stories and lessons that I will cherish for the rest of my life.  He has gotten up with me in the nighttime.  He has heard me pray in the early hours of the day.  He has sat beside me, waiting for me to do what I need to.  He is content with a pat on his head and ‘a good boy’.  He is my friend.

So, tonight, I think of winter.  The winter of age.  That time we will all face when aches and pains take over rest and relaxation.  Tonight I sit with a friend as he finally finds a place that is comfortable and warm, and I pray for him as he drifts off to sleep, snoring peacefully.

DAF

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