In one year — and out the other.

bigstock-new-year-sign-27449927Confetti and noisemakers are so yesterday. Seriously, my husband and I never did the expected New Year’s Eve frolic.  We were either too lazy to do the whole dress up/party down scene, or thought our own couch, movies and snacks more closely equalled ‘cozy’ over ‘crazy’. Either way, we did New Year’s Eve our way.

Truth be told, we were never wild revelers. More often than not, our Saturday date nights were either a quiet dinner out, alone or with friends, or Netflix with whatever nosh looked good at the moment.  We both had been there, done that and had no wild oats to sow. We didn’t need any more hoopla to be happy; being together was plenty good enough. As long as your loving sidekick is beside you, it’s all good, right?  When they’re not, even New Year’s Eve — is just another night.

The way I figure it, the New Year’s Eve ball doesn’t need my help to make its descent this year. No liquor store will miss the sale of my one glass of wine and the only noisemaker will be the sound of my snoring. (No lie, unfortunately) No worries about a gala outfit; my flannel lounge pants will do just fine. My snacks are obscenely healthy and I won’t need excuses to duck away for calls to my dad and kids at exactly midnight. No matter my choice for this end-of-year merrymaking, my husband will still be AOL — and it’s still a hard pill to swallow.  The empty space on the couch next to me or at my side making social chatter. His absence still makes it hard to be home – and hard to be out. Awkward.

For some strange reason last week, I thought about the wide eyed, sweet little New Year’s baby who, by the end of the year, morphs into the weathered, tired Father Time. As each year closes, that long bearded dude passes the torch back to the diapered newbie who takes tentative baby steps into the next 365. While I can’t imagine ever being as innocently full of hope about a brand new year as that little tyke, I’m not yet ready to be a cynical Father Time either. Yes, the grief of this past year really, really sucked, but it also held some beautiful moments, too. Friends who touched and supported me in ways I can never repay. Insights that I am grateful for and the courage to do things I never thought I would. Continue reading

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We’re Bigger Than This.

Flag USA July 4 Celebration Indendence Day ConceptYes, it was inevitable. Post-election fallout has forced everything else that populates my peculiar mind to take a number.  Actually, I suspect every everyone in the US has PLENTY of thoughts to share right now but these are my two cents — so, fasten your seatbelt!

No one escaped the stress and strain of a seemingly endless campaign that often defied description. Regardless of which side of the aisle you sat, the seats have been horribly uncomfortable. Constant rhetoric irritated tempers and eardrums. Hats were promotional party favors. The issues, candidates and constant rallies neatly sliced up this country and escape to Canada became a handy exit strategy.

Election night saw a fair amount of hand wringing, nail-biting and yelling at the TV. In the end, like white smoke from the Vatican chimney, the results were in – there was a winner. Some were thrilled; others not so much to put it mildly. Whether joy or anguish, there was certainly no lack of emotion on either side and some have not recovered. The dark horse won, not by popular vote, but by something most people only heard in high school history class – Electoral College. Social media was on fire, the airwaves were filled with ‘Monday morning quarterbacking’ and everyone was shell-shocked with either happiness or devastation.

Who I voted for and how I felt about the outcome doesn’t matter. I have plenty of company either way. But one thing seems clear. The real election results evidenced the tragic birth of us’ — and ‘them’. Yes, I realize that our treasured ‘melting pot’ has been melting, in many ways, for years beneath the surface of our indifference and complacency. It just took the proverbial last straw of this year’s vitriolic, inflammatory campaign rhetoric for the pressure cooker to explode – and explode it did. Wedges have been jammed between white people and people of color, LGBT and religious fundamentalists, liberal vs. conservative, urban vs. rural, educated vs. uneducated and — men vs. women. We’ve heard the most inflammatory statements. Racial harassment is rampant. A canyon has opened up and we are all in danger of falling into the abyss. No matter which camp you’re in, to say it all pretty much sucks is a mammoth understatement. Continue reading