tis the season for creative expression

tis the season

I secretly love addressing Christmas cards. Sometimes when I’m fifty or so in, I start to get hand cramps and not love it so much but that doesn’t really stop me from loving the whole process. I love what I suffer for. I love to work on my penmanship. I could slap a label on the outside and scrawl an “xo” after a printed message but that’s not my style.

Of course more than half of the Christmas cards that I’ve already written, stuffed and sealed are NOT my best work. In fact, they are quite sloppy. Writing in pen is sooo permanent! There is no backspace! Sometimes I leave out letters and have to go back and squeeze them in all tacky-like. Also, I chose to stamp my greeting this year and stamping is messy!

Bug helps

Then there’s Bug who likes to assist me in all that I do. She “helps” me by bouncing off the couch onto my back as I lean over coffee table scrawling out my thoughtful messages. She helps by climbing on my lap via a hand-hold on my writing arm and then of course there are the 101 interruptions to go find something that she can’t find ANYWHERE!… it’s all been a challenge to say the least.

But I have to admit, when she writes “HO” in big scrawly letters right in the middle where I was going to write, it’s priceless. Some of you will get very personal messages from Bug, some of you will not. We had to let the creative energy flow where it would.

Land and Labor

grove worker

So here we are at my mom’s again. I try to stay home but my silly family constantly has ways of involving me in their lives—which I love of course. It doesn’t take much more than a phone call to get me in the car and driving off to the sticks. Poor Toby though. He doesn’t see much of us.

I didn’t mean to stay more than a day after Rapunzel’s holiday concert but the thing about visiting my family is that there is alway so much to do here! They don’t call it Camp Chaos for nothing. I constantly get sucked into projects. Which I totally and completely love. I am weird that way.

I cannot just sit around and watch television or read a book. If I see something challenging to do like say: some boxes that need organizing on the carport or a giant juniper bush that looks like a marshmallow just calling out to be trimmed into a beautiful Japanese bonsai tree… I can’t help myself! So I call up Toby, ask him if he can eat top ramen for another night, and throw myself into the latest project.

out back

Even though I love love love living at the beach, I love the country too. My mom’s new house sits on a pretty big lot and there are trees and grass to play in here! It’s so pretty and over-grown. The yard just calls out to be taken care of. There is space to garden here! I want to plant a really big garden and come out every week to keep it up. Of course that’s not very practical, considering my schedule is pretty busy as it is but it is fun to dream when we are out here.

With the on-coming depression (That’s what we call the “economic downturn” in our house.) I’m thinking crazy thoughts about planting vegetables and making do with less and less. Someday there might come a time when we go to the grocery store and the shelves aren’t lined with every convenient food you can think of. Already, I leave the store half the time without the cut of meat I wanted when I first walked in. Cookie brands are going out of business… what next? Maybe I’m being an alarmist but I like to think about these things. Not in a negative way but more as a challenge. What new thing can I do? How can I ride this out and make it work to my advantage?

serious lemonage

So anyway, when I show up at my mom’s and I see her fruit trees so heavy with fruit that the lemons are breaking their own branches and rotting on the stem, I can’t help but think about this. Her yard is full of rich soil that is waiting to be tilled. There is so much space out here. Why don’t we take advantage of this? Of course the answer is complicated.

My dad is a trucker. He’s gone most of the time. My mom is getting older and has trouble gardening like she used to. Her hands ache with arthritis. My brother is gone trucking too and my sister-in-law has her own half acre to take care of. There just aren’t enough bodies to do the work there is to do. And this isn’t even a farm!

I guess that leaves me. But you know how it is. I have a life home at the beach too. I have freelance work to do and household chores to keep up. I have a husband who likes to see his family once in a while. I have friends at the beach who wonder where I am. I’ve thought about putting Bug in preschool but I’m gone so much it would be a waste of money. What about ballet or gymnastics? I haven’t even thought about signing her up for anything like that.

I guess it’s just a lot to think about.

a big ol' bag o' lemons!

We’ll just try to get here whenever we can.