Monday

. Is my wattle getting bigger? I’m still on my nice, graceful slip down the scale – I haven’t had to worry about food for almost two years now. Things don’t usually tempt me. Mind you, I’m being reasonable. But for some reason I’m not tempted to binge on anything, I’m full without seconds and sometimes without finishing what’s on my plate. In other words, I eat like a normal person, which of course makes me worry that I have a dread disease. But I don’t – my interest in food has simply changed. Now why it couldn’t have happened when I was in my twenties or thirties is another question, but I have a suspicion it has something to do with … gasp … aging. Funny how we don’t like to talk about getting older, getting old. I started out thinking I should come up with a funny euphemism for getting older, but changed my mind. Avoiding the term is admitting it has power over you, and I’m so enjoying turning myself into an eccentric old lady. Then again, I always was an eccentric old lady, just in a younger body. Now I can let my freak flag fly and people will just chuckle and nod and say “old Krissie is at it again.” Hell, maybe they’ll just say “Krissie is at it again.” Coz I am.

As I approach 70 I’m thinking that it might be good to decide who I’m going to be when I grow up. I’d love to be some slim, gorgeous woman who’s active, has long, thick gray hair and beautiful crinkly eyes, one who travels and does yoga etc. etc. I think you need a strong interest in self-care for that, and I’m afraid that’s always been my failing. I know so many women like that – Judith and Cilla and so many others. But that’s not me.

And there’s Granny. The women who retire into grandmother-hood – their life is their family and it’s full of joy and frustration and love. My BFF Sally has done that, but she gives up anything of interest to her, like writing or sewing or travel. In that case the interest in the children trumps the interest in her own life, and that’s good. I love my grandchildren to pieces, but the idea of doing daycare for them is not me. (Love to babysit, just not every day). I still have too much life I have to live.

And then there’s the wispy character from a novel, with bizarre clothes and scarves and strange statements out of nowhere and a naive delight in the world with a strain of deep cynicism beneath it all. She’s usually called something like Great Aunt Minnie in movies and books. That’s my jam. Richie says we live in a Booth cartoon (if you don’t know the cartoons of William Booth go on a search – he’s wonderful!). I say outlandish things (I always have) and float through life with great kindness unless someone is hurting someone, and then the Goddess of Doom emerges.

Yeah, I like that one. It’s like a nice pair of ancient jeans – it fits so welland it doesn’t constrict.

So who do you want to be when you grow up?

A Day Late and a Dollar Short (Krissie)

That was a saying from my Danish grandmother. Probably common in the first half of the last century, I imagine. I’m sitting her with a spiffy new bottom of the line MacBook Air (people don’t usually brag about bottom of the line, do they?) but of course I didn’t have my sign in info so I couldn’t get on until way late in the day. But I got my proposal and 25k words out the door, and I’m juggling lots of stuff, but not feeling as achy or overwhelmed. Bird by bird, and this year I’ going to revel in the good things. I love your choices for word of the year – I’m looking forward to seeing Jenny’s changes.
As for me, I’ve made a couple of decisions this week. One, that I need to be braver. I don’t drive a lot of places because heavy traffic scares me (snowstorms, not so much). I know there are places where people panic at a snowflake, so I’m guessing it’s simply what you’re used to. Horribly long commutes are terrible in theory, but when you’ve got one you just do it and don’t think about it. I don’t get stage fright, I’m not afraid of failure. I just need to be more adventurous.
And … I realize I can finally be a colorful old woman! I’ve written plenty of them – women with flowing garments and ditzy behavior and fierce strength beneath their eccentricities. Now I can claim that for myself. (Yeah,i know, already been there, done that, but I like claiming it). I found a board on Pinterest (you guys know I love Pinterest, right?) that was incredibly inspiring and liberating.

Milan Fashion Week September 2009
DANIELA GREGIS
Ready to Wear Spring/Summer 2010

If you don’t know how Pinterest works, you find photos with links to instructions or articles either in Pinterest or on-line and you collect them (Pin them) to your own boards. I have boards for each of my recent writing projects, heroine ideas, hero ideas (yeah, I know, they’re mostly Tom Hiddleston, but there are other possibilities too). I have sewing and dolls and baking and crochet and house plans and Danish and writing tools and all sorts of good things.
Then, other people like the pictures you’ve added, and they pin them to their own boards. I followed someone who’d pinned a dress I liked to her board, and fell in love.
The board is by someone named Mariaelisabet, called Clothes and Things, and I just realized she’s Scandinvian (Swedish, I think). Anyway, the clothes she’s pinned are loose and flows, sometimes with masses of lace, etc. Stuff that an eccentric, skinny young woman might wear.
Except that she’s pinned pictures or larger models, and older models (some really old) wearing the stuff and my reaction was “hell, yes.”

So I am going to embrace my eccentricities (the world trembles). I’m going to wear any damned thing I please, because I am an old lady and I can do it. Mind you, I always did (nun habits to rock concerts, saris to Greenwich Village, maxi dresses when people wore minis. I remember one day I went to work in NYC at the Rockefeller foundation wearing hot pants and a graduation robe. Another time a vintage girl scout uniform (ca. 1940s) and fishnet stockings.
In fact, I tend to be more uncomfortable in classic clothes – I feel like I’m trying too hard.
So prepare for the glorious new, colorful, ancient me!

Funny that this just came to me in the beginning of the year. I hope I claim it and revel in it. Anything you guys want to claim? Anyone want to redefine themselves? For me, it’s just another level of reinventing my own fabulousness. How can you reinvent yours?

MILAN, ITALY – SEPTEMBER 22: A model walks the runway at the Daniela Gregis Spring/Summer 2012 fashion show as part Milan Womenswear Fashion Week on September 22, 2011 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images)

Happy New Year!

Grr. I still can’t figure out how to move photos, or I’d put a photo of me naked, dancing around the New Year’s Bonfire with elves and angels … Naaah, I’m too tired to go with the fantasy. It’s seventeen below right now, but at lest there’s no breeze. It’s been so freaking cold this week that I’ve barely left the house, and I’m used to the weather. I remember one Christmas when the thermometer dipped to minus 42 (but then popped right up to a balmy minus 36). I’m like the logger in the old song. I wear a hat at 10 degrees, at zero I button up my coat. But this stuff is nasty.

But I had a glorious Christmas, my kids are doing very well indeed, my grandchildren are fabulous – they probably initiated FaceTime more than half a dozen times this week – last night Ali fell asleep talking to me.

So it’s the new year, end to a horrible year, which followed a terrible year (remember how we all said 2016 was awful). Signs are not good for 2018. We have to stay strong against injustice, kind to everyone (even the people who don’t deserve it) and good to ourselves because right now life is a challenge given the state of the world, both natural and political. Apparently kindness makes the kind person happier. I’m generally a kind person, and I’m happy. Not necessarily proof – when I’m not in a depression I tend to be a happy person. Years ago (I’m thinking around 1960) I was in the library at Valley Road School in Princeton, and I had a miserable cold. Just awful. And I sat at the table and thought, instead of always noticing when I’m feeling awful, I’m going to pay attention to when I Don’t have a cold, and enjoy that. Pretty advanced thinking for someone in sixth grade, but I’ve tried to do that whenever I could. It’s a better way to live, when you can do it.

We’ve been picking words again to symbolize our coming year. Last year mine was “glide.” It wasn’t soar – that was too much effort, and I didn’t need to soar. I needed to glide peacefully on the breeze, smooth and free. It was a good pick.

Oddly enough, this year mine is “celebrate,” and it goes back to that day in the library. Each day when my kids are okay, when no one is sick, when the sky is bright blue, when the cats curl up next to me, when I’m writing, sewing, baking, cleaning, singing, shopping, sleeping.

Bad things happen. There’ve been many occasions this year when I’ve simply had to take a break from the news and the horrible things that are happening in our country. But I can still celebrate while I fight the good fight, and I can celebrate the fact that we’re not taking freedom for granted any more, that we are energized and involved and not just ignoring the terrible things the Fat Cats are doing. There’s good everywhere.

So choose a word. Sometimes it’s simply endure. Or comfort. Or laughter. Or growth, light, learn. Try for something positive rather than simply reactive, and remember it as you move through the year. I promise you it will help.

Okay, ante up. What’s your word?

One Week to Christmas

Damn updates! Can’t put up the pictures I took of me eating Christmas cookies for breakfast. That’s okay – just know that I did it and enjoyed it tremendously.
Busy week. We dodged a family feud bullet – lots of hurt feelings and tears but it’s working out, thank heavens. Imperfectly, but perfection is boring.

So this week I made nightshirts and sleep pants for Erin, Alex and Ali (I had a bunch of Hello Kitty Christmas flannel I’d bought more than a decade ago). I’m putting the binding on Alex’s quilt today, I’m attempting to make Ali’s quilt (it’s all cut) but I expect that’s not gonna make it in time for Christmas. I spent Thursday making Christmas cookies (cut-out sugar cookies, m&m cookies from my aunt’s recipe, cute green and red cookies with lemon extract). They were for GAAR (our theater group)’s Christmas celebration, which was a staged reading of A Christmas Carol interspersed with carols and music. I’ve been in such pain I tried to get out of it, even though it’s one of my favorite things, but Sabra talked me into it so I was Mrs. Fezziwig, the third narrator (and I got to read all about “luscious pears” and “twelfth-night cakes”), plus, my children I sang “Dona Nobis Pacem” With two other women. One was Cara, a magnificent alto who’s been the Mother Superior in Sound of Music (Climb any Mountain, anyone?) and the other was Heidi, a professional opera singer. My knees would have rattled if they weren’t so swollen, but I summoned forth my long-forgotten training, supported from the diaphragm, and managed to hold my own. In fact, was told I had a voice like an angel. I’m still shaking my head about that – my classical voice is weak. But not on Friday night.
I spent Saturday in bed, and finished up the nightclothes on Sunday. Today I sew while Richie decorates our tiny tree (I’m in too much pain to do much – can’t raise my right arm to hang things, etc). But I’ll try to do some cleaning. This year I’m embracing hygge with full force – it’s a long, cold winter and we need to be cozy.
The kids are safe and well, so I don’t need to panic. Sally and family are coming for Christmas (to their own house, thank God) and while I’ve got appointments this week we’re sliding into celebration mode rather than preparing mode.
Did I mention I love Christmas?
It’s really nice not to feel pressured about presents, or socializing (or lack thereof). We can just celebrate the return of the light (central to Christmas, Hannukah and Saturnalia) and be happy.
I hope you’re all going to have a lovely holiday, with no politics, lots of good food, family you love, friends and pets and everything with a candlelit glow. to quote one version of Auntie Mame, we need a little Christmas in this world of ours. Let’s seize it!

Merry Christmas, my children. Let’s hope that 2018 will be better than 2017 (which somehow managed to be worse than the god-awful 2016). Things have got to get better, and they will. We each just have to do our part to spread love and good-will.

Amen.

Monday, Monday (Krissie)

Blasted upgrade. Now I can’t figure out how to find my photos. I need to spend time with the new wretched upgrade but the days are just packed. For instance, today I drive 40 miles, go to Social Security (and wait and wait and wait), then 25 miles further to pick up the back-up to my poor dead computer and drop off my only working one (the trackpad isn’t working), and then another 15 miles to Fedex to ship out a heavy present, then back to Montpelier to go Christmas shopping (JoAnn’s for fabric I mis-cut, sewing machine store to drop off good scissors to be sharpened, TJ Maxx because, Wal-mart for a list of things, the grocery store, anything else I need to do, then take Route 12 over the mountain to Morrisville to pick up meds and then home. Tomorrow was going to be a trip to Morrisville and my therapist, but we’re supposed to get heavy snow so I’m guessing I won’t get there.

So – many of you lucky people have snow! I know it’s a pain, but it’s Christmas, and man, I am a Christmas junkie! Everyone’s doing well for a change – Daniel has a job that he likes, we gave Tim a ski pass for Christmas and instead of staying in his dark room and never seeing anyone he’s out on the mountain and happy. It seems absurd that someone on disability spends his winter snowboarding, but he’s unable to interact with other people. He starts out fine and then gets squirrelly and paranoid. So getting him out in the sunshine is the best thing for him.

Which means I can enjoy myself and not worry. Neither of them are coming home for Christmas, which will be the first time since Daniel was born that neither of our kids are home, but it’s okay, as long as they aren’t dissolving into crisis. And my OBFF (Old Best Friends Forever – Jenny is NBFF) is coming for Christmas with her family, and they’ll have enough crises to keep my busy.

So Monday, Montpelier, Tuesday, MOrrisville, Wednesday a get-together to meet the new minister and baking cookies I promised, Thursday Burlington for a writer’s lunch, Friday all day rehearsals and carols, etc. that night. (Take a deep breath, Krissie).

Funny – I am exhausted and in massive pain. Yesterday I almost threw up from exhaustion and pain (and all I did was go to church and come home and sew). I’ve got all this creative and mental energy and everything just sort of pancakes. Not sure if that’s aging. Oh, hell, yes I am. Because it’s a combination of my body being no longer able to keep going as long, and the physical effects of the arthritis and fibromyalgia dragging me down. Except I don’t say no. I bustle and play, etc., collapse in exhaustion and then do it all the next day. Because life is fun.

I watched Auntie Name again yesterday. It doesn’t hold up that well, I’m afraid (I watched it for the Macy’s scene because of my WIP) but her mantra still holds true. Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death. Live!

Do I’m living, amplifier turned up to eleven, playing christmas carols on the stereo (almost the only time we use it), wearing Christmas clothes and having a marvelous time.

So, is anyone having fun with Christmas/the holidays? Or are you stressed and anxious? What are you doing to enjoy yourself?

If you’re blue watch a Christmas movie. It’s good for what ails you.

Never Update Your Computer (Krissie)

Well, I don’t really mean that, but think twice and make sure it’s a good time to do it. I use Macs, and my 6 year old laptop looked like it was about to bite the dust, so I took it in to see if it could be save (turned out it’s called “vintage” by Apple and they won’t fix them). But since it was so funky I couldn’t even copy or back up stuff, and at least they were able to copy it all.
But at the same time my working laptop, a MacBook Air, decided to upgrade to High Sierra and I foolishly said okay. Aiyeee!

First, it deleted my copy of Word 365 so I couldn’t write, it wiped out all my passwords, I can’t find the addresses of the people I text, and there was no way I could get into Refab. Getting to the site was easy, but I couldn’t get into the admin part of it, and I had to wait for Crusie to wake up so she could send me a link, and since she works late into the night I knew it would take a while.

But she came through and here I am. I love computers, but honestly …

So this week I want to know what you want for Christmas besides Work Peace and Donald Trump’s head on a platter while Mike Pence gives up politics, that the few “good republicans” figure out how to take back their vote for the tax bill (or writhe in shame in guilt) and Kim Jong-un falls in love and decides to make love, not war. Hey, a girl can dream, can’t she?

I have a long long list at Amazon (which is surprising, I usually don’t care) and I expect I’m not going to get anything at all for Christmas, which is sort of sad. Richie will get me stuff, but money’s been so tight we are careful not to spend much (and he and I would be all Gift of the Magi and give up what we want for the other and we don’t really need the confirmation that love is better than all the presents in the world – we know that.

I guess that’s why I have such a long list – in the past, if I wanted something and it was reasonable I’d buy it. Now it has to be cheap and necessary. Ah, the circle of life!

So tell me, Mrs. Claus, what you want for Christmas. I’m not giving it to you, but I’ll pass the word on to Santa.

All About You … Fuck it, all about me (krissie0

Okay, I slept late. And I realized that All About You is really All About Me so I need to have All About You on another day. When I drag my sorry ass out of bed on Monday I’m focussed on the week ahead … but then I want to hear about your week ahead too. I view this as conversation (with me hijacking most of it), not so much blog entry.

But we’ll see. We had a very nice Thanksgiving – the turkey was overcooked, the potatoes were gluey (never use an immersion blender), the stuffing was soggy and there wasn’t enough gravy. It was just Richie and me, and my cooking, so none of that mattered – it was delicious anyway. I’d been cleaning for a couple of days, actually making progress, and I ended up in ghastly pain by the end, so we didn’t even sit at the table to eat – just had dinner in our laps. And it was lovely. I did ace the bread pudding, though. I was going to go for an oil-based pie crust with whole-wheat pastry flour but the pain had won out by then so I made an apple bread pudding with cranberry bread I had on hand, and it was ambrosial.

Spent a lot of the long weekend face timing with the grandkids and Tim – yesterday I played parallel Barbies with Ali (I had Richie go down to the basement and find Daniel’s old Barbies). I had unhappy conversations about and with two people and my relationship with them is going through similar problems, which makes me wonder if I’m the cause and not them. Nah, it’s them. Not sure what to do about it – I’m afraid I have to let it go.

NANO has been a qualified success – I won’t make 50k but I’ve written tons, and gotten back into writing again. Putting off the knee surgery was the smartest thing I could have done – if I’d gone through with it I would have ended up stalled out for another six months and who knows when I would have pulled it back together.

You know what’s damnable? All that cleaning, including stripped the kitchen back of all the shit that had come to live on the counters …. it’s all chaos again. That’s what I hate about cleaning.

We’ve been having Saturday morning write-ins at the library this month for NANO, and I’m going to see about continuing it. It’s great for me, and good for other people as well, and it would be great if we could build a community of writers (I live in a town of 700 people but it’s a writing town, especially in the summer).

So back to work. Tons of stuff to do before I sleep, but mainly keep writing.

So, come on, tell me about Thanksgiving. What was the worst thing you ate (or managed to avoid). What was the best? And we you thankful for anything in particular? Despite my two troubled relationships, I’m thankful for EVERYTHING! Life is a banquet.