Week One of Winter Break

It has been an outstanding week. As I wrote that my grandmother’s voice was ringing in my ears, she calls everything that she likes outstanding.

I have had time to paint, finished my Christmas shopping, done a bit of travel, had time with girlfriends, time with family, multiple date nights with hubs, deep cleaning and reorganizing the house.. Week one had a lot of good stuff in it.

Here is what I have painted so far

One was inspired by a sunset I witnessed near our home. I was driving through our little downtown area in our neighborhood and it was setting over the power lines, it was beautiful. The second was inspired by Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr. Fox. The Wes Craven movie was on last weekend (I love his vision for the classic story) and after watching Mrs. Fox paint storm clouds I thought I would give it a try. I think I have more work to do in this area but it was a fun first attempt. I have really enjoyed breaking in  my new easel.

So I am going to go out of order with my stories.. Tonight I had dinner with a friend from undergrad who I have not seen since graduation in May. She is special. She offered to cook me dinner at her home which I was touched by. After our meal we sat on the couch drinking a delicious tea blend she made and eating dark chocolate I brought as my contribution to the evening. We talked and talked. It was the best kind of conversation; sharing ideas, relating over shared values, talking about culture and social issues, getting personal. It was so refreshing. She shared a story with me that made me cry and I would like to share it.

Someone she works with lost their mother to Alzheimer’s disease. Apparently before getting the disease this woman was a painter and was very self-critical of her work. What was so beautiful is that when the disease had progressed quite a bit the woman no longer recognized her own art, this sounds sad and it absolutely is, there is a twist though. One day she was walking down the hall in her daughter’s home and saw one of her pieces hanging on the wall and stopped to admire it. She thought it was stunning, she really really liked it. When she had painted it she was critical of it then later when she forgot it was hers she was moved by it. This is such a sad, beautiful, special story.

Something else that was unique about the night is the amount of things that went wrong. I showed up and my poor friend was having so many issues. Her A/C had gone out and was leaking all over her carpet, the blender broke and she was making coquito which apparently she blends at the end to make sure all the ingredients are incorporated so she was not able to do that like she wanted, she had no ice to cool the coquito after being in the hot pot on the stove, her toilet was acting up.. It seemed like it was one thing after another for her. I have to tell you though I had such a great time just being with her that I barely noticed any of it. I also kind of loved that it was such a human experience. Things go wrong, that is life. We cannot control everything, things break at the worst possible time, like when you are having a friend over for the first time. It was a great night because of the energy we shared, nothing was going to going to take away from that.

This past weekend was wonderful. Hubs and I went St. Augustine Friday and stayed in a fancy hotel at the beach (totally out of the norm for us). We walked all over the sweet little downtown area, did some Christmas shopping, stayed to watch the entire city light up with white Christmas lights, had dinner.. We checked out the love tree, and the cemeteries, and got a gourmet popsicle on our way back to our hotel.

It was relaxing and romantic and fun. I love exploring with him.

The next morning we got up and drove up the coast to Jacksonville to visit my soul friend.

Her apartment is cozy and inviting. The art on her walls is inspiring. She has a piece by the same artist who painted our boxer piece, that one is my favorite of all the pieces my girlfriend has. The piece I painted her hangs in her bedroom. We explored a small area of her downtown, had dinner on a rooftop, and walked by the river before returning to her apartment. That night she made us Moscow mules (I had a mocktail as I was finishing up an antibiotic) and we played games with her and a friend she invited over. I lost at everything, so did she, hubs won all the games.

The next morning we came home, picked up Lu from my parents and spent the rest of the day at home watching movies and playing games together.

Today I was cleaning and reorganizing and managed to finally finish the work I have been doing on my wardrobe for nearly a year. I have been cutting back on the amount of clothes in my closet for sometime. I used to use clothing as a way to numb. I have gotten better about not numbing and allowing myself to feel what I need to feel. This year I have been whittling down the amount of clothes I own little by little. Every time I purge I give clothes away to friends and family or at a sip and swap. This is the last of it and I thinking about donating some to a women’s shelter (there are a good bit of professional clothing from when I worked in the corporate world and I thought that might be good for women going on interviews etc) I also think I might try to sell a little bit of it. Regardless of what I decide to do it just feels good to part with this hoard. I definitely feel like this year I have gotten a handle on habits that were harmful to me in the past, shopping being one. Finally being at a point where I can keep all of my clothing in one closet in my home without that closet bursting at the seams makes me feel good.

I also finished my Christmas shopping today. Last week when I was taking my last final my best friend at school informed me that she bought me a birthday and Christmas present. I was completely caught off guard. She is coming over tomorrow so we can spend some time together and because she wanted to give me my gifts. I thought for a while about whether or not to get her a gift as well. In group therapy my therapist has talked to us before about the act of receiving without feeling the need to reciprocate. This would be a wonderful time for me to practice receiving without feeling the need to give. In the end though I realized I just was not there yet. I love her and wanted to have something to give her as well. I needed to get my Dad a bookstore gift card anyway so while I was there I picked up a copy of Rupi Kaur’s Milk and Honey (I highly recommend it to everyone but especially all my female readers). Then I ran to another store to pick her up a small Himalayan salt lamp.

While I was waiting in line to check out the woman in front of me turned around and said my name I looked up to see a dear friend standing in front of me in line with her husband. I was over the moon, it was the happiest surprise! I really really like this person and do not get to see her as often as I would like due to both of our busy schedules. I could not have been more tickled. We caught up as we moved through the line and parted with a hug. Really thankful for that little moment.

While at the bookstore I also picked up Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning. It has been recommended to me multiple times by my therapist and professors at school, I am finally ready for this story. You cannot read certain things until you feel totally ready because you have to know you are open to receive the message, somehow I know I am ready now. Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton is another book that is on my reading list right now. It was recommended to me by multiple women and I think it will help me with the work I will start doing next year around my relationship with my body. I think I am going to need support wherever I can find it when I start that work, at least at first.

So this is where I am at. Tomorrow I will spend time with my bestie from school, Thursday my mother has talked me into Christmas baking with my grandmother and niece at her house, Friday Isaac is spending the night, then Christmas will be upon us.

I am grateful for the love and connection this holiday season is bringing. A lot of what my friend and I talked about tonight centered around connection, a post for another day. I am happy with the way the year is ending and look forward to the dawning of the next. I am looking forward to quiet time for reflection over the next few weeks to really sit with my intention for the new year and what this transformation will mean to me.

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