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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Bringing In 2010

My back hurts, my two youngest children are vomiting, I'm babysitting an 80 year-old, and my refrigerator is empty. I do have wine, though, and if I don't show symptoms of my children's stomach virus by midnight, I plan to drink some or a lot. It's New Year's Eve, after all, and an occasion for celebrating beginnings.

When I was 10, I decided to look for patterns in the good vs. bad years of my life, to determine whether there was any connection between the odd and even years and general outcome. I decided that my even years were my worst, and that the best things occurred in the odd years. I don't know that this was really true. I was 10. It was actually a ridiculous conclusion, but an admirable attempt at understanding and predicting life.

Astrology is another way to predict things. I don't really follow the daily predictions, but the sun and moon signs have been very helpful to me in determining personalities, compatibility, and probable behavior.

I'm a Scorpio sun with a Leo moon. Water sun and fire moon. My first child was a Scorpio/Sagittarius (water/fire). The second, a Leo/Aquarius (fire/air). My third child, almost twenty years later, is a Cancer/Scorpio (water/water), and my fourth, an Aries/Leo (fire/fire).

What does all this mean? Nothing. I just enjoy looking for patterns. And if I had one hundred thousand children there might be some appreciable patterns to consider, some insight we could all gain regarding human evolution and development (if there is any validity to astrology, which is debatable, for some, maybe even many). Or then again, even if astrology holds up, we might discover rather than an ordered pattern, a disappointing random conclusion. That's okay. Conclusions are good. But what if a pattern emerged in the second hundred thousand? So much to consider.

I have come to some of my own conclusions regarding my children's astrological signs, birth order, the effect of having my last two children so long after my first pair, the matching 21-month gap between both the first and last pair, the girl/boy/girl/boy pattern.

But it's New Year's Eve and I'd rather focus on the fact that we're entering an even-numbered year. I'm a little concerned about that. Did I mention that my refrigerator is empty? What do you think that means? Could be another pattern emerging.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Christmas Cards

I brought several mismatched and incomplete boxes of blank Christmas cards with me to the Mercedes dealership where my car was scheduled to receive its routine "B" service, whatever that means. It's only a week before Christmas, the usual time of year for me to address and mail my cards, whatever that type of procrastination means (by the way, I was 1,200 miles late for my "B" service, too).

As I looked over my list of friends, family and in-laws to whom I send cards every year, I realized that my assortment of blank cards wasn't "appropriate" for everyone. I had to select certain types of cards for say, a friend, as opposed to a former coworker or in-law.

For instance, the card with a picture of a fashion-conscious woman gaily carrying tons of shopping bags while walking her tiny dog on a pink background, wasn't appropriate for one of my in-laws, who would prefer something of a religious nature. My close friends, on the other hand, would much rather have a silly card with something, let's say, sacrilegious, on it.

Is this bad? And what about what's written inside of the cards? I have a friend who doesn't get along with my husband and viceversa. Why would I write that my card to her is also from him? So I didn't.

And then what about the relative with whom you've recently had a falling out? Do you sign the card "Love" so-in-so? I think not. Well, maybe I do still love her but I'm just not feeling generous enough to tell her so... My bad.

Some of the people in our lives know us better than others, and a few misunderstand us completely. But at Christmas we must all get along or at least pretend. Our relationships with others have certain boundaries and shapes, intensities and definitions. Our Christmas cards reflect these. In some cases I suppose it's appropriate to allow for these differences and in others, it's just sad.

Friday, December 18, 2009

What Is Wabi Sabi?

The simplest way to remember what Wabi Sabi means is to break it down into three parts:
1. Nothing is perfect 2. Nothing lasts 3. Nothing is finished.

It's a beautiful way to frame the world, to see it as ephemeral and imperfect. We rush too much, we expect too much, we berate ourselves with every breath. That was never the way we were meant to live. Life is a gift. Every day when we wake up breathing still, it's as if someone has placed in our laps a lovely box wrapped with shiny paper and iridescent ribbons.

This blog is about keeping perspective, looking inside the box each day. It's a place to be human and fall down, and a place to figure out how to fall down less often. But we won't be looking for perfection here, because it doesn't exist.