Friday, December 30, 2011

Far Too Soon

As I sit kicked back in my recliner, cleverly avoiding working on both a freelance assignment AND an unfinished novel, I take in the room around me. It's disheveled to say the least, bits of tinsel hang on the mantel, colorful glitter clings to the carpet, making the living room look almost like a stripper interrupted mid-strip. The Christmas tree is down at least, leaving the rest of the penguins, reindeer, Santas, and bits of Nativity scenes looking forlorn and lonely.

In case you missed the memo, Christmas is over, coming and going as usual in a whirlwind of finger foods, apple cider, wrapping paper, and twinkling lights...leaving behind destruction, new toys to play with, and just a hint of sadness that such a joyful season is gone once again.

This year I had fully intended to enjoy the time after the holiday. I would leave up my decorations until the new year and maybe even past. I would continue to partake in the guilty pleasure of Christmas carols as I tidied the house, cooked more holiday goodies, and stretched out the feeling of joy and magic for just a few more precious days. Before leaving work, my best bud and I had discussed how we would leave our offices decorated so that we could enjoy the whimsy once again upon our return. I even declared it bad luck to take the decorations down before the Day had even arrived.

I'm always full of good intentions.

But then the day after Christmas arrived. I logged onto Facebook to see what happiness had been spread to my friends, and I saw status updates declaring that houses had been disrobed, that trees had been discarded, that any and all traces of the Christmas train had left the station. Depression sank in. Friends and family were already shedding themselves and their houses of the Christmas season. How was I supposed to keep that magical feeling of the holidays alive when I, too, was beginning to get the bug to strip down the decorations and purge the house of Christmas?

And so, the tree came down. It took all of twenty minutes. I worked like a madwoman, carefully wrapping the precious ornaments, stuffing them unceremoniously into storage boxes, where they wouldn't see the light of day until the season arrived again, far too soon as always.

But then I stopped. Far too soon?

If the season arrives far too soon and leaves far too soon, then when do we have time to enjoy the in between? Time speeds past us, ushering in and out seasons and holidays, gobbling up moments and memories and leaving little behind but bits of tinsel and glitter, which clings sadly to a mantle, refusing to be swept away in the whirlwind of us all. We enable time to move faster. We rush the days. We rush the seasons. We wish our lives away. We barely remember to take a deep breath and enjoy each moment.

No more.

My living room sits in a state of in between. Not quite post-holiday blues but not quite full-blown spirit of Christmas. From the hearth, a resin Santa Claus smiles at me, cozied up close to our heater, frozen in time and in merriment. I think I'll leave him out just a little longer. Together with the remaining reindeer and penguins, Christmas cookies and tinsel, we'll ring in the new year and try to let those moments sink in before they pass us by once again, speeding past as the universe spins to some unknown fate and some unknown destination that we will arrive at far too soon.

Are your decorations down? How long do you usually leave them up after the holidays? 

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Where Do Blogs Go When They Die?

Once upon a time, in a land of mommies and marketers, humourists and impeccable cooks and crafters, a Plain Jane without any real talents or purpose started a blog. The blog was named Chicken Noodle Gravy and had humble beginnings as a amateur foodie blog, but soon enough, the restraints of being a specific type of blog became too much for the Plain Jane Blogger to manage. A post or two about writing snuck in and then a post or two about owls and about fellow bloggers and about cats, and gradually, CNG became A Blog With No Identity and found its own unique, one-blog niche among the mommies and marketers and humourists and cooks and crafters.

CNG and her blogger were happy for awhile. Regular posts and participation in various linkies and prompts ensured frequent visitors for the blog and helped the Plain Jane Blogger make many new (and very precious) friends. But, with the passage of time and the onset of some freelance writing assignments, the Plain Jane Blogger began to neglect her relationship with CNG, as well as her other blogger friends, and things became stressed.

When the going got tough, the Plain Jane Blogger got going, and slowly, CNG began to die....

...Which got me to thinking: where do blogs go when they die?


We've all seen it before. Our favorite blogs suddenly disappear off the face of the interwebz never to be heard from again, or...sometimes worse, the blogger just stops updating. Each time you visit their blog, you hope for a new post, some sign of life, and there's usually nothing. Just an outdated blog and an empty promise that one day the blogger will return.

Well, this Plain Jane Blogger doesn't want that to happen to Chicken Noodle Gravy. I've grown far too fond of this place and the people that it's helped me to discover to just let it die. And so with this year ending and a new one beginning, I'm jumping back on the blog train.

But I will warn you. I don't follow any of the typical "rules" of blogging, and I probably never will.

I don't keep up with a post schedule of any kind. I post when the mood strikes me, and typically not a moment before because of my lifelong struggle with a disease called procrastination.

I don't post pictures. Especially my own. Look, folks, I suck at photography. You want a photographer? I know a great one, and I can refer you to her, but as far as I go? Yeah, I suck at it. When I'm in the moment, having the time of my life, I never think "PICTURE! Take a picture of this!" Usually, I just live in that moment and enjoy it, and then regret not taking a picture later. That's probably not going to change. I wish I could at least draw some stick-figure re-creations of my life events, but I suck at drawing, too. Yes, even stick figures.

I don't fit in anywhere. I'm myself. I've said it before, and I'll probably say it five thousand times again. CNG has no purpose, and despite what others say about finding your blog "identity" and the importance of having  focus, I don't see a damn thing wrong with that.

I hate rules. I have to follow them everyday at my job. When I get home, when I WRITE, I don't want any rules to follow. That's just me.

So I won't promise that my posting will be frequent or that I will suddenly start taking pictures or that  Chicken Noodle Gravy will ever have a reason for existing, but I will promise that she won't be one of those blogs that just dies. If CNG and I break up, you'll know about it, and she'll be sent to some bloggy afterlife, where she can rest in peace. But until that fateful day, I'll continue to entertain you here with infrequent posting, weird-ass fiction, and googled images.

See ya real soon, blog world, and may your new year be merry and bright!

Author's Note: This was written in response to The Lightning and the Lightning Bug writing prompt: "Year's End." We were supposed to write about whatever the words "Year's End" mean to us. If you'd like, hop on over to check out some great posts from more Lightning Bugs or, even better, to participate yourself. 

Have you ever witnessed the death of a blog? Have you ever had your own blog die on you? What would you like to happen to your blog if/when it dies?

Saturday, December 17, 2011

My Favorite Things

My favorite movie of all-time is It's a Wonderful Life. I can say this with reasonable certainty for a few precious seconds, but as soon as the words are typed, I start remembering other movies I love, like Edward Scissorhands, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and then, I feel guilty...yes, guilty...for ever saying that It's a Wonderful Life is my favorite. I really wouldn't want any of the other movies to feel bad that they're not my favorite, you know? Sure, you may think that movies don't have feelings, but do you really know that for a fact?

Since I was a little girl, I've had a hard time narrowing down "my favorite things" for just that very reason: I don't want to hurt any feelings. I'm such a dyed-in-the-wool people pleaser that even pleasing inanimate objects is important to me...which is quite sad really, so let's not focus on that for now. Let's just focus on the fact that when I say something is my "favorite," I'm probably going to follow it up with twenty other things that are also my favorites in that same category. If you get me rolling on naming my favorite things, then you're going to be listening to me ramble on for awhile. Not unlike right now.

Jeremy has gotten used to this personality flaw trait, as it even reared its ugly head on our honeymoon. Allow me to set the scene:

Day 2 on our magical honeymoon to Disney World. We're cuddled up together on a transport bus to the Magic Kingdom. Love fills the air. As we are reminiscing over the adventures of the previous day, I look up at my dear, new husband with adoring eyes and ask, simply, "What was your favorite part of the day?"

To my dismay, he could only shrug. "I don't know."

Don't know? How could he not know? I could understand having a hard time narrowing down a favorite activity, but if I had been asked this question, I would have started chattering right away, naming off all of the wonderful parts of the day. Instead, he stuck with: "I don't know."

By the time the bus pulled up at the station at the Magic Kingdom, we were having a full-fledged argument. By the time we entered the gates of the park, we were no longer on speaking terms. We spent the first hour of the day on opposite sides of Future World, each fuming for very different reasons.

Pirate Me, on the honeymoon, happier after forgiving the hubby for not having a favorite...arrr!
I've since learned that asking Jeremy about his favorite something is an exercise in futility. It might be a guy thing, but he just really doesn't think in terms of favorites. For him, something is either "fine" or "okay" or "pretty good," and that's about the extent of his displaying any sort of favoritism.

Regardless, I still ask...everyday, at least once a day. He sometimes plays along. Like the other night, for example, after watching Glee, I was gushing about who my favorite character is.

"Rachel. It's definitely Rachel. But my second favorite is Santana. No Finn. I like Rachel, then Finn, then Santana. Oh, my gosh! But Kurt! I totally forgot about Kurt. So, it's Rachel, Kurt, Finn, and Santana. Definitely." Glee-speak is always hurried and delivered in a high-pitched, squealy voice. I get on my own nerves. "Who's your favorite Glee character, baby?"

... ... ... To his credit, he gave the question very serious consideration. He even twisted his mustache a little as he thought. "I like Kurt, okay, but I guess my favorite is Sue Sylvester. She's the only one I consistently like."

So, he definitely plays along sometimes. I guess we've both learned to compromise a little there. I only ask him about his favorite things half as much as I would normally, and he actually tries to pretend he has favorite things sometimes when I ask. This makes for a happy and relatively peaceful marriage.

And there is one favorite that I don't have any problem naming; Jeremy is unequivocally my favorite husband. Of all-time. In the history of the world. 

Author's Note: This is a new series on my blog where I'll be gushing about some of my favorite things. This is just the introduction, so expect more (much more) gushing on my favorite movie at a later date. I just know that I'm very passionate, about a LOT of things, and I want a place to share that passion. Enjoy!

Are you a person who has a long list of favorites? Are you like me and have a hard time narrowing down your favorite things? Or are you more like Jeremy...not so much into things like "favorites"?

Friday, December 9, 2011

Hand Me Down

With our bellies full and our sights already set on the joyful tasks of the coming season, my husband and I began pulling out our Christmas decorations over Thanksgiving weekend.  To call them our Christmas decorations may be a bit of a misnomer, however.  It’s true that the decorations are stored at our house now, and it’s true that, for the moment, they do belong to us, but the real truth is that these Christmas decorations, a lot like many of our possessions, are what you might call hand-me-downs.

You see many of the decorations that deck the halls of the Ross house are classic, maybe even a little vintage, passed down to us from our parents and grandparents and more precious than any brand new decorations could ever be. Each ornament has a story and memory attached to it, and when we start dragging all of those decorations out, the memories come with them. That’s what I love about hand-me-downs. Everything has a history, a story to tell, so that possessions take on a life of their own and become much more than simple “things.”

Since I was a little girl, I have lived in a world of hand-me-downs. Having a big sister meant that many of my toys had been played with before, carried on adventures through my sister’s imagination and then through mine as well. It wasn’t as if I didn’t have my own toys mind you, because I did. I had generous and loving parents who made sure I had everything I could ask for, but I also had parents who made me appreciate the little things in life, the simple moments, the beauty of imagination, and the joy and history of hand-me-downs.

To this day, I prefer old things over new. I drag my husband antiquing all of the time. We search for vintage Pyrex, handmade furniture, and all sorts of other treasures just waiting to reveal themselves. I love the thrill of finding something unique and old on a trip antiquing. I always try to imagine where that item came from, what stories it has to tell, what kind of people owned it before me.  I try to appreciate the history of something, while also giving it a chance to become a part of new stories and adventures.

Even our cats are hand-me-downs. Second-hand felines rescued from the Humane Society and brought to live among our rag-tag collection of antiques and uniques. They were all someone else’s discarded trash until they became a precious part of our family.

I’m sure that each of our cats have exciting stories to tell about the lives they led before they came to live with us. Just as I’m sure that the ornaments that Jeremy’s Granny made could tell all about the love she had in her heart as her hands crafted each one. Or the white oak basket that Papa made would tell of his love for Coca-Cola and biscuits and syrup and a favorite grandson that would become my Daddy. I would love to hear the tales that an abandoned biscuit cutter I bought for a dollar in a thrift store would tell of delicious meals and savory conversations over supper.

One day I’ll try to write down some of those stories, those moments of history caught forever in family Christmas decorations and vintage mixing bowls, just waiting to be handed down again so that the stories within them may continue forever. 

Is your life and home filled with hand-me-downs? Or do you prefer new over old?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...