To every decoration, there is a season

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I knew I should have been taking more vitamins. Practicing those limber-up moves and establishing regular sleep habits. Repeating positive thoughts at regular intervals to myself.
Because the Big Day is tomorrow. March 1. The day that will require every bit of energy and organization and perseverance.
It is the day the winter decorations come down.

People, I have a lot of winter decorations. These are not to be confused with the Christmas decorations that come down January 2. After ditching everything attendant on that season, I perform a hasty cleanse and pull out the Winter Box.
Down with the Christmas tree, up with the Winter trees. Away with reds and greens and golds, in with silvers and whites. Angels are replaced with snowmen. So. Many. Snowmen. Poinsettias make way for greens and frosty pinecones.

 

For almost two months I enjoy the cozy season and my cozy decorations. Then, the last week of February, a strange restlessness sets in. The snow might still be up to our windowsills, the temps might still hover around freeze-your-nose-off, but I’m beginning to cast glances of disfavor at the snow globes, the ice fishing moose, the ice skating American Girl outfits.
That’s when I know. It’s time to strip my shelves and walls and tables of all things winter. The St. Patrick’s Day decorations, though paltry in number, will come out. The green reminds me that spring will come. In spite of the aforementioned sill-high snow.

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But before the greens and the shamrocks can claim their rightful places, hundreds of winter things must come down. Did I mention that a family of four could easily live in the Winter Box?
Tomorrow, March 1, you’ll find me chugging the coffee and repeating positive phrases and stopping for deep, cleansing breaths. At the end of the day nary a snowflake will be seen. Everything winter will be packed away, waiting, (Lord willing) to be greeted with shouts of approbation and great affection on January 2, 2020.

Version 2

Ode to a Germ

Two weeks ago, I WAS SO SICK. Every possible symptom of the flu attacked me, from the tips of my hair follicles to the ends of my toes, and every major and minor organ between. I was so, so sick that I couldn’t talk about how sick I was when I was sick, and now that I’m better I fight the urge to tell family, friends, casual acquaintances and our mail carrier about every symptom. In detail.

When I was sick I was too sick to really worry about how sick I was but now that I’m better I’m worried when a little grandson is down with fever and chills. This poem is for you, sweetheart. Get better soon and we’ll swap symptom stories.

 

THE GERM

A mighty creature is the germ,
Though smaller than the pachyderm.
His customary dwelling place
Is deep within the human race.
His childish pride he often pleases
By giving people strange diseases.
Do you, my poppet, feel infirm?
You probably contain a germ.

Ogden Nash

 

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A Song of Thanksgiving

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Thanksgiving and Christmas don’t mix. Here is how I know: I’ll turn off the T.V. at the end of a Hallmark or Lifetime Christmas movie, my eyes filled to the brim with red and green and glitter—all the colors of Christmas. I turn to my living room. Filled with orange and gold and brown and all the decorations of Thanksgiving. And everything tilts a little and my stomach gets queasy and I need to shut my eyes and allow them to adjust. Not a smidgen of Thanksgiving can be left in my house before the holly and ivy and other million billion things get put up. And THAT does not happen till after every bit of Thanksgiving dinner is digested.

But oh boy. What a great holiday Thanksgiving is. Worth celebrating every single day of November. At least till Black Friday.  After all, there is so much to love. Here are a few loved by me—

Songs: “Let All Things Now Living (a Song of Thanksgiving) “For the Beauty of the Earth.” (Folliot S. Pierpoint ) Oodles more, but I am too lazy to look up the composers.

Books: These three, among others. I have never bonded with an adult book on Thanksgiving.IMG_2997

The one in the center is the newest favorite with my grandchildren and I. SO FUN TO READ!

Vintage decorations:  These are my maiden decorations, purchased many years before I married and I was a fledgling Thanksgiving devotee.IMG_2996

Favorite show/movie: Movie? The Mouse and the Mayflower. Show? WKRP in Cincinnati‘s episode “The Turkey Drop.” As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.

Favorite Food: Apple Pie. MY apple pie. Oh, and my Tollhouse Pie. Then there is my sister’s pecan pie. My daughter-in-law’s cranberry sauce, my other daughter-in-law’s sweet potato casserole…that is more than one favorite, you say? Hey, I didn’t make the rules.

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Old tradition: The hayride after supper to jostle all our food into a corner of our stomachs so we can come back and eat the above-mentioned pies.

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New tradition: Spoons. Our crew plays for blood. And sometimes marriages are stressed. All in good, clean fun. (We hide the small children and tiny adults when the game begins.)

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At Thanksgiving, I’m surrounded by blessings. Family, friends, food, fun. So many good things begin with “F.” Faith too. The top of the list, the beginning and the end, the gift of God to grab hold of the grace so freely given.

I’m thankful for you, too, my friends. There are problems galore with social media and the blog world. But so far, none of them have showed up here. What a classy group you are. Happy Thanks Giving—even if you are not an American. You are a blessing.

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I is Understood

This post is from a few years ago. Long enough that I forgot most of what I wrote in it, so I’m hoping you did too, and it will all be new and fresh. AND I got really frisky and used hashtags in this updated version.

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Prudes are often self-appointed grammar nannies, making sure apostrophes are tucked in the cozy correct spots and participles don’t dangle dangerously.  The Tuesday Prude, however, hated diagramming sentences in school. Maybe it looked too much like math. When it was time to explore the beautiful world of grammar with our homeschooled prudlings, we choose a curriculum that didn’t technically require diagramming.

It was a good program and they learned enough not to embarrass me. The closest they came to diagramming was the requirement to pull prepositional phrases from each sentence and label the leftovers:  subject, verb, direct object etc.
Occasionally an imperative sentence reared its imperious head:
Shut the door.
Stop strangling your brother.
Rescue that dangling participle.

Where is the subject in the above sentences? We learned that the imperative is addressed to “you.”
You” shut the door.
You” stop strangling your brother.
You”. . .
You get the picture.
Their job was to label the subject as “You is understood.”
It was sort of fun to say. Try it. “You is understood.”

The fun didn’t stop when my boys finished school. There is a new way to use this rule.

It keeps the world from knowing just how inflated an ego I (aka The Tuesday Prude) am prone to.

One of the first rules a good writer learns: avoid beginning every sentence with the word
I.
Even in a blog, even on a Facebook status, or personal communication—start too many sentences with ‘I’ and readers get the notion that the writer is self-centered.

My readers would be right.

Ever hear the phrase “She thinks the world revolves around her?” Try as I will to convince myself that the world actually revolves on a tipsy axis, my id, ego and superego all argue the opposite. In the world of the self-centered, I am firmly in the middle.

Narcissism, however, wears thin. As an author, I don’t want to alienate readers. They want to believe I am interested in them, and I am. Truly I am. But I can’t seem to evict this nasty little core of me that wants to make sure no one bumps me from Centerville. Because no matter how much evidence to the contrary, deep down in my self-fascinated self is the idea that everyone else should be captivated with ME.

So I develop strategies to hide my absorption in spellbinding me. Look back and you’ll discover the sneaky ways I wrote an entire post about ME without once starting a sentence with ‘I’.
Sometimes, unfortunately, it is almost impossible to keep the
I-word anywhere but the engine part of a sentence. Unless one wants to totally convolute the syntax till the reader has to stand on his/her head to make sense of it.

That is where my ‘You is understood’ training comes in handy, with one crucial change.

Instead of writing
I am trying to avoid starting sentences with ‘I’”,
I drop the ‘I’ at the beginning of the sentence and it becomes a friendly, informal
‘Trying to avoid…”

The ‘I’ is understood but it sits modestly out of the reader’s line of vision, understanding that I am really the subject of me but not trumpeting the fact.

It gets easier:
“Loving this organic casserole that just came out of the oven!”
“Going to buy a new pair of jeans in a smaller size!”
“Just enjoying the cutest grandbabies on earth!”

All the above are just underhanded ways of saying:
#allaboutme  #mememememe #wanttoknowmoreaboutme #sureyoudo #stilldidntstartasentencewithI

Empaths: We feel your pain. Here, have some more.

Empath is psycho-shorthand for ‘someone who is empathetic.’

Empaths can put themselves in another’s shoes and experience their emotions.

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You want an empath around when you need more than someone to pat you on the shoulder when you are miserable and say “Poor, pitiful you.” That is a sympathizer. They serve a purpose. When you wallow in your particular wretchedness, the sympathetic person will not get overly-involved. The sympathizer will just feel sorry for you.
Then there’s the role of an aloof. This detached person sees your gloom, and wonders how you got there. And possibly is glad he isn’t in there with you.
Unlike the jurist—who will critique, censure, and castigate you from the edge of the pit of despair.

 
The sympathizer will offer you a shoulder to cry on. Sometimes we need sympathy. And sometimes we need cool appraisal from the aloof, to give us a sense of perspective on our hurt. There could conceivably be times when we  need the jurist, who tells us exactly what we did wrong (if anything) that got us into the pit, and MAYBE even instructs us how to get out.

 
But the empath will mourn with you when you mourn. The empath’s cheeks will burn when you are humiliated, and the empath’s heart will beat faster when you are afraid.
The empath will climb right into the ooze next to you and sob along.

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I could always, from the time I learned to read, put myself into a character’s shoes. Shoes? No, I climbed into the character’s skin and walked around in it. If I were a more open child and had shared these tendencies with my parents, they might have been able to act as aloof, or even a jurists, and convince me that too much empathy is too much. By the time I was about seven the damage was complete. There was no going back.

 
That year, our family stood on the sidewalk in our little town, cheering as a parade went by. I think candy was thrown. (I wouldn’t have cheered as much otherwise.) When I heard jeers of some rascally-types up the street, I raised my eyes from the Bazooka Bubble Gum piece at my feet, and met those of a truck driver. He and his truck had somehow gotten caught up in the middle of the parade. All thoughts of that hard brick of pink adhesive wrapped in an incomprehensible comic disappeared. My heart and soul flew into the truck with the man. I was experiencing the humiliation from the jeering children. I was aching for the moment I could break free from the parade, park my truck on a private, tree-lined street, and salve my wounded spirit. The rest of the parade was spoiled for me. I was one with that miserable driver.

 
It wasn’t till decades later—I’m embarrassed to tell you how many—that I could call up that painfully vivid memory. And realize with a shock that the truck driver wasn’t humiliated or scarred or crushed in spirit. He was bored and had a route to finish and just wanted to get out of that treacle-slow speed of a small town parade.

 
And that is the problem with empaths. We might feel your pain. But some of us (I hope I am not the only -nth degree empath out there) will add more pain to what we think you are feeling. We might project, on you, our own perceptions of what we think your emotional state to be. We may assume you are reacting as we think we would. A seven-year-old should never suppose that she is simpatico with a middle-aged truck driver.

 
Us -nth degree empaths might be feeling your assumed pain long after you have moved on to a place of peace, contentment and even happiness. We may picture you in the Slough of Despond when you are actually only splashing your way through a mud puddle, regretting nothing but your dirty hem. We can be found weeping with you even while your joy is coming in the morning.

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The life of an empath is a tough one. Our emotions are constantly roiling around inside, looking for more tribulation and anguish to weep over. Sometimes we can be the most frustrating of friends.

 

 
But when you are in that pit, and the jurist has pronounced judgement and walked on, the aloof is peering over the edge wondering how you got there and how you’ll get out, and the shoulder of the sympathizer is too far to reach, wait for the splash. The empath has jumped in with you, and might even stay there after you’ve climbed out.

Version 3

A Wednesday Recipe from the Tuesday Prude

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This recipe might be all over Pinterest. But no one has shared it on Facebook with me yet.
If no one has shared it with you, let me be the first.
Please.
I’m never first.

It’s been languishing in a stack of old Macmillan activity packs I used with my boys in the mid-1990’s. None of them remembers me making this and I sure don’t. If I had, the recipe would have landed in my cherished recipe box Middle Son made for me when he was about 8.

My grandsons had them at Granny’s Preschool last week. Had them? They inhaled them. These pancakes (oh hey—this is the first I’ve mentioned what they are, isn’t it?) were in their tummies before I could cut them in tidy little squares.

After a glorious repeat performance this evening for Husband and Youngest Son, I realized they are too good to keep to myself. Without further ado, I give you:

Autumn Apple Cakes

2 apples, chopped fine (We cut them into reasonable, manly chunks)
2 cups pancake mix. Bisquick worked fine.
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 cup brown sugar
cooking oil

Mix all ingredients except oil until smooth.

Heat a skillet to about 325 degrees. Or whatever is your favorite pancake temp. Mine is “pretty hot but not smokin’ hot.”

Coat the surface with about a teaspoon of oil.

Drop batter onto hot frying pan (I’m going to call it a griddle from here on out. And the pancakes just became flapjacks. I’m feeling mighty autumn-y and yesteryear all of a sudden.)

The recipe says 2 tablespoons batter for each flapjack. I probably used about a third of a cup.

Fry till golden brown and turn. Ever notice how the first side of a flapjack takes almost a millennium to brown and side #2 is char in half an eye-blink?

Oil the griddle again and repeat.

The recipe make about 12 good size pancakes from this. Recipe says 25 if you follow directions. (Seriously. What are directions for if not to flout?)
We did top with butter and maple syrup, but Macmillan tells you to serve with applesauce. We like a little contrast, ourselves.

If you make them, let me know what you think, could you? I don’t always trust my taste buds. After all, I like Miracle Whip.

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No name is credited on the recipe but it is from a Macmillan Seasonal Activity Pack from 1996.

You’re not doing it right

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Ever hear of Bulletproof coffee? My boys introduced me. Start with rich, dark coffee, add approximately equal parts of coconut oil and butter, blend really REALLY well (trust me on this) and enjoy. Sound simple?
Forget it.
If you follow my directions, you’re not doing it right.

DOING IT RIGHT? HA!
Notice my instructions were vague? Dark, rich coffee. Forget about it. To do it right, according various online sites, you can’t just use the brand you bought on sale at the supermarket. Nope. Fairtrade, organic, low-toxin beans are the way to go.
Use $1.99/pound butter? Are you KIDDING ME? Grass fed all the way, baby. Unsalted.
Make sure to buy the coconut oil that boosts your brain power. I forget what it’s called.

 

Please hop on over to Heart”wings” via the link below to read the rest of the story!

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