Birthday wishes ...

Happy 26th Birthday, Jared!

Happy 25th Birthday, Ashley!

12.29.2008 - Winding down ...

Well here's hoping that you all had a happy Christmas and that you found that Red Ryder BB gun, Chatty Cathy doll (or it's grownup equivalent) under your tree. (Man, I dated myself on that one, huh?)

I love Christmas and all the things that come with it -- the baking, the decorating, the seeing friends and family. But I'm just as happy to lay off the sugar, undecorate the house and go back to being a hermit --- (but, shhh! don't tell anybody!)

This was a really good Christmas. Four years ago we took Jared to Phoenix to attend school and only a few short weeks later, we lost my dad. So two of my favorite men were "gone" from my life in a way I was used to having them. This was the first Christmas Jared was "home" and the big bonus was that he brought Mikey and Hannah home, too! I loved it .. it made me happier than I can express but I couldn't help but think about all the Moms (& Dads) who were still missing their boys and girls who spent Christmas in Iraq or Afghanistan or any of the other places we send our military in times of (so much!) trouble. Worse yet were the families who won't ever share Christmas with their loved ones again ...

My favorite Christmas moment this year was surprising my mom (circa 1925) with an electric keyboard. Three years ago she sold her home and moved here, to the country, with us. Many of the "treasures" she had acquired over a lifetime shared with my dad were sold or packed away. One of the things she parted with was her antique piano. All my life she has enjoyed playing the piano and we thought the keyboard would give her something to do, keep her mind alert and bring a fair amount of happiness. To say that it was a hit is a major understatement.

There was another first this year -- TREY had his first Christmas and I think he had a pretty good time. Boys of all ages love Tonka trucks, just ask Trey's daddy. Ashley surprised us this year with a floor show while dressed in her red footy pj's (a gift from Papa Dave). Who knew she could lip sync so well to "Say A Little Prayer For You"? It's all on video ... and is bound to be used as leverage at some point in the future. Blackmail .. it does a body good!

We got so many nice Christmas cards this year (thanks everybody!) -- it made me feel extra guilty that I never actually got around to addressing and sending mine. (And I was so proud of myself last year when I bought them on sale after Christmas.) I am a big Card Junkie -- and this year the winner, hands down, came from a collector friend in Montana. This woman's attraction to raven anything is borderline compulsive (but in a GOOD way!) and it's clear that she spends a lot of time searching for just the right card. - CHECK them OUT!
You have to look closely but the requisite raven is there. I just love the creative birdiness of this card. It's called "OOOOOH ... SHINY!" and it's a block print by the talented Rick Allen of Kenspecklepress. You MUST visit this site if you love the outdoors and creative, funky art. Also -- they are really nice people. I wrote and told them how much I LOVED this card and Rick wrote me back. I love it when people write me back ... So CHECK them out.

So here we are at the end of another year. It's been a year of changes and blessings for Dave and I. We moved (for the last time, PLEASE God) into our new house on the hill. In April we received the most precious baby grandson and in July we got Jared & crew home. We survived Ike! And Dave managed to avoid having any medical emergencies all year long and Darlene didn't get snakebit or attacked by wild pigs (like Dave was SURE she would while tramping around in the woods) and Mom's health is pretty good for an "old chick". Oh sure, there were challenges and we lost some dear friends .. but it's all part of life .. and it's about how you handle the challenges, right?

I try to remember on a daily basis that we have much to be grateful for. And I make every effort to express that gratitude to God, to the man who carries my groceries, to the lady at the post office who always seems happy to see us (even when we arrive with an armload of parcels!), to Dave who makes me laugh every day ... Life is so precious and so short so don't waste it being miserable, grumpy or sad!

This is the last missive until we launch the updated & we have new Zuni fetishes ready to share, so I'll end this by saying Dave and I wish you all a healthy and happy New Year. We're thankful for each of you - our collector buddies and our carver friends - and all that you bring to our lives.
Peace to you and yours in 2008
Be well and all the best in 2009!
12.29.2008 - Darlene


Shauna Roberts said...

The decorating I like; the undecorating I don't. One year I never got around to taking down the Christmas tree, and about October I decided I should just leave it up for the coming Christmas. It was real convenient. ;-)

It sounds as if you had a great Christmas. Mine was the best I could have hoped for, and I'm glad to get my first Dadless, catless Christmas out of the way. I look forward to 2009 being a much better year, and I hope it is for you, too, and for all Americans.

Darlene said...

HI Shauna,

One year I left my outside Christmas wreaths, garlands - the whole shindig - up until almost Easter (hey, it was a MARCH Easter ...) and the school bus driver make a crack to the kids one day, so I finally made myself take it all down.

I was so sad to read about the passing of your kitty person. I know you must be lost without the company of such a longtime feline friend.

As for your first "Dadless" Christmas .. it's different, isn't it? Christmas morning I put a picture of Dad - one of the last taken - on the table by Mom's chair and lit a candle. I want him to know that he's ever in our hearts. I hope that you feel the peace about your dad's passing that I have been gifted with. My dad's dad and all his brothers died before they were 55. My dad lived to 85 so I feel oh-so-lucky!

Congrat's on your NOVEL! And I was very interested to know that you have a degree in Anthropology--- and are a PhD! I can't wait to read your book!

Here's to a better 2009 .. DMR

Shauna Roberts said...

We've had at least one cat in the house for 26-1/2 years, so it's strange not to have one around. Every time I walk into the bedroom, I look at the bed, expecting to see her. I think it will feel strangest once Dave (yes, I have one too!) goes back to work after the holidays and I'm alone in the house with no "editorial assistant."

I've come to a peace about my father too. There are so many slow and terrible ways for people to die, and so many older people get feebler and feebler. He was spared all that, and he got to see my brothers and stepmother before he died.

I received today from my sister a CD recording. Two days before my dad died was my sister's birthday. She wasn't home, so he sang "Happy Birthday" to her on her answering machine. She hadn't erased it before he died. The CD she sent me today is a copy of the recording. I'll always be able to hear my father's voice sounding happy whenever I want. I feel very blessed.

Thanks for the congratulations on my novel. I can't wait to read my book either! I will be bearing down hard on it in January.

Diane Buechler said...

Happy New Year to you and Dave too, Darlene. I love reading your stories and comments. They always make me stop and think...which is a good thing. You have a wonderful outlook and attitude on life. Please keep sharing!

Darlene said...

I'm sorry I have NO idea what you're talking about! I did NOT sign on VIDEO. (shaking head in befuddlement....)