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Granting You Three Wishes

Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay . Solstice is my Christmas, my world reborn.  Christmas is what was and what might have been. It's the memory of feeling safe and loved when I woke. It's the excitement of waiting at the top of the stairs until Mom called my brother and I down for the start of the big day. It's the wondering what today would have been like had I had my own children — and possibly now grandchildren — to create that cocoon for, to do the baking and gifting and cooking for their memories. Yet my Catholic roots still tell me that it's the birth of hope. I love the lights of Christmas that seem to rebel against the encroaching darkness. They tell the night it cannot have the entire clock. Every year it works. Every year the Northern Hemisphere pauses and begins to turn its tilted face to the sun again. We have three new years each winter. There is the Solstice, the return of the light. There's Christmas, the birth of hope. Then there's the turni

Writing Rules I Can Live With

Photo by Susan Mark I chafe at lists of writing rules, all the nevers and don'ts that imply there is one way to tell a story. If I want to use a dialogue tag other than "said," Mr. Leonard, I will. (She opined.) Despite that, a few years ago I wrote my own list that I'm reposting this morning. RULES FOR MY KITCHEN Coffee first, then food. Live dangerously. Lick the batter off the spoon. Eat what you want. Listen to your body. Make a mess. Clean it up. I love you, but stay out of my kitchen when I cook. Food is forgiving. Create recklessly. Recipes are mere suggestions. Experiment. You can never go wrong starting dinner with sizzling onions. Although there are limits. Sizzling onions over ice cream? Doubtful. On the other hand, I could be mistaken. Try onion ice cream if you want. When in doubt, err on the side of too much butter. Vanilla, too. Measure it over the bowl so the extra spills over. Garlic makes life complete. Fresh is better. Invest

2021 Didn't Start as Planned

  Photo by Susan Mark My Aunt MaryJane's death didn't feel real until the next morning. It didn't even process. My brother called, and I wanted to be supportive, but I still hadn't felt her death. It wasn't until the next morning that I cried. Like many, I was never so glad to take one calendar off the wall and put up a new one on January 1. The year of 2020 seemed cursed. We never yelled BINGO, but we had enough unfortunate squares on our card that we were in the running.  2021 actually started out gloriously on January 1 with a long cross-country ski on that rarest of Wyoming days: no wind. The next day my mother* called to let me know Aunt MaryJane had just passed away.  MaryJane was funny. Sometimes it was without meaning to (eg. the time she set the microwave on fire), yet she laughed so easily at herself that you still ended up laughing with her and not at her. Chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia left her flattened a fair amount of time, but she used her limited