Thursday, December 8, 2011

Dear Ones, If You Are Sad And Melancholy For Times Past During The Holidays, Make New Memories, Write New Stories...

“When one door closes another opens. Often we look so long so regretfully upon the closed door that we fail to see the one that has opened.”
~ Helen Keller ~

This piece is dedicated to my dearest friend, the woman who is the sister I never had, who once again brought me out of the darkness and into the light with her good counsel. Telling her that I was sad and melancholy, as I become every year during the holidays, stuck in the memories of Christmases past, and how now, divorced, children grown, the hub-bub, excitement, secrets and surprises, decorating the house and more no longer exist. I get up on Christmas morning alone, save my menagerie of animals whom I dearly love, they who make my lives richer, and make me feel loved every day, but still it is not the same.

My dear one said, "Okay, that was then, this is now. You need to write new stories for your life right now. What new rituals can you create, what new delights can you bring into your life that you can do just for you that will create a new narrative for what the holidays can mean for you now?" Of course I am paraphrasing, she said it much better than that, but her point was well taken and set me to thinking. So I am making new rituals, I am dreaming new dreams, I am living in the now, and all of a sudden I am finding myself delighted, joyful, giddy-happy and doing things just for me that I never did before because those around me didn't want to or it wasn't their cup of tea. It all began, about 6 weeks or so ago, with bad plumbing.

I hired the brothers of my best fella friend who do amazingly beautiful work at very fair prices. They fixed the plumbing in both bathrooms and the kitchen. And then we stood in the kitchen and one said, "You know, I could get a used sink that is practically new. It would be $500 new but I can get it for $50 because it was in a new house that the new owners didn't want. It was my dream sink. Old fashioned white porcelain with white handles. A big open sink, deep, and beautiful. I looked and looked at that sink, and it looked so grand that the old worn white speckled counter-top looked drab and everything in the kitchen was painted white, with white appliances, an off-white tile floor, and all circa 1970. I sighed. I had to have some color.

The one thing colorful in my kitchen was the old vintage wooden booth that I had purchased when moving in nearly 2 years ago. Everything I bought for the house, my beloved cottage, was old, used, vintage, cozy, the things that I loved dearly, and I brought some old things with me that I had purchased in years here and there since my divorce. Charming, says everyone who comes in, but it was not yet quite right. Never mind that before I moved in not only every room was painted a different color but every door down the hallway was painted a different color. My studio was painted a bright pomegranate peachy-orange and I had the ceiling painted sky blue. I just love it. When I sit here writing it's like looking up at the sky.

So we three stood in the kitchen with a beautiful new sink. A very, very white kitchen. And they looked at me and laughed and said, "She's got that look in her eyes." They were the dear men who did all the work when I was moving into the house. They painted the life-size Magic Ship purple, orange and pink; an old aluminum shed lime green with a bright pink roof, painted a nicer shed on the other side of the huge fenced back yard the colors matching the ship, and put a picket fence next to it that they painted a bright candy pink. They have just built another picket fence for me, a large one for the garden I will have next summer, a bright green which matches my green shed. More than one person has come into my yard and said it looks like a Dr. Seuss book. I will be taking pictures of my kitchen to share but you can see my color sense in the back-yard work!

The incredible Magic Ship which I had restored and painted when
I moved in. The guys said, after they restored old boards, built the
stairs, and so on, "We suppose you want it painted. What color?"
To which I responded, with a twinkle in my eye, "Purple, pink and
orange." They were about to begin an adventure the likes of which
they'd never had, and they loved it!

Well, you can't have a rickety old aluminum shed right
close to a magic ship so it got painted green and pink. Now
we were on a roll!

And of course there had to be a pink picket fence with
a crookedy purple door...

And then there's a giant fish named Albert who hangs
from a tree and flies through the air. (Well, there's a
Magic Ship for goshsakes. There surely should be a

And so the guys that made all this colorful magic happen, even though they couldn't believe they were doing it, were back with me with the pretty white sink, and they knew, they just knew that this kitchen would not stay white. I had been living in a house. I was making it a home. A place of my dreams that I could live in, really live in, and write my new stories and dream my new dreams. So in the last six weeks, the cabinets were all painted yellow and blue, the refrigerator and dishwasher painted a bright orange. A little shelf was built up high all along the wall with the sink and down the side wall to the refrigerator, painted bright yellow with blue trim to match the cabinets, and it is filled with my collection of vintage teapots. An old 1915 cabinet I got really cheaply because it wasn't in good shape and the back was falling off got a new back and sturdied up, and a new cabinet was built in an "L" shape and attached to the old cabinet so the two cabinets make a perfect "L" and go down the wall and fit perfectly behind the big old wooden booth bench. The cabinets were painted sky blue with orange shelves and the "L" shaped cabinet is open so you can see the brightly colored shelves. A new counter-top is a "denim blue" and finally (yes, we're finally getting to Christmas) we needed something to finish it off. The boys got that "Uh-oh" look in their eyes again and waited for my next idea to burst wide open. "What if..." I paused for a second because the kitchen opens down into the little room I call "The Cozy Room", 2 steps down from the kitchen, all open to one another. It is pine panelled all the way around circa 1970 which I love but it is really pretty dark in there because there are no windows in the room.

I looked up. They looked up. The said, "You're kidding, right?" I said, "No, I'm not." They knew that I wanted the ceiling painted and it couldn't just be the kitchen because the kitchen and the cozy room share the same ceiling, so the whole thing got painted a beautiful pistachio green." Yep, a green ceiling. Which leads through a big open doorway to my studio with pomegranate walls, a sky blue ceiling, and windows all the way around. The green looks gorgeous in the kitchen, brightened up the pine-paneled cozy room, and it is really lively looking from the colors in the studio to the cozy room and back again. The guys were getting a big kick out of all of this. The said, "There's not another house like this in this town." I said, "There's likely not another house like this in the world." They laughed and said it suited me. and now here we are, finishing up, three weeks before Christmas. And my Sissie said, "Write new stories for your life to make the holidays bright and cheery and NEW for you." And all of a sudden I realized that's just what I'd been doing from the time that white sink got put in my kitchen. I had flung the doors and the windows wide open and done what I wanted for a change. I was making a dream come true. I have been making a magic house. And the boys said they would stay on and help me with Christmas decorations. We sat and we laughed and we planned.

They know it's hard for me to leave the house so their help was much appreciated. And herein my new Christmas story begins...

"Write new stories for yourself. Do things that delight you..."

Okay, so I wanted a big fresh tree brimming over with blue lights. They went and got the tree and the lights and put it up for me. I didn't have time to be lonely for the holidays. We three were too busy planning and conspiring to think about being lonely. At the end of the days mostly I was just plain tired and fell asleep early on the couch with pugs all over me sleeping and snoring. They were pooped too from all the activity!

I said I really want sparkly lights all around. My studio has always been dark, and they had also built high shelves all the way around the room and floor to ceiling shelves on one wall for my massive amount of books which I've never had anywhere to go with. They got some 70' of white LED lights and put them up all around the room attached to the shelves. Now, ahem, these are not little twinkly lights. They are not as big as the old fashioned Christmas lights but they are, well, biggish compared to the tiny lights I had imagined. But the LED lights are cool and run on very little electricity saving on the power bill and brighten the once dark room up no end. At first I was so startled by the lights I felt like I was in Vegas! But they are so bright and cheerful and really make the colorful room shine so cheerily that you just want to giggle when you see it. And an old, very old  ver large mirror (I'm into collecting really old mirrors that are somewhat flawed so cheap!) got hung on the opposite end of the cozy room which -- la di da di da, I am bouncing with delight -- is so big and placed just where the Christmas tree chock full of blue lights reflects all the way into the studio so as I sit here typing and can only see the corner of the tree, but I see the whole thing down across the room reflecting in the mirror. Heavenly days, I am living in a magic cottage and  to top it all off a woman came in, took one look at the kitchen and said, "It's like a doll's house!" He he he, that thrilled me to pieces. But it's Christmas now, and I got "that look," in my eyes again. I looked up, the guys looked up, I looked at them, they looked at me, I said, "Wouldn't it just be GRAND to get green twinkly lights and put them all around the ceiling in the kitchen/cozy room! Today the green lights went up and I tell you they are so gorgeous, the bright green lights against the softer pistachio green ceiling that you nearly swoon when you look at them. It's very Christmasy now, but after Christmas when all of the decorations come down, the green lights will remain and the rooms will just be enchanting.

A new Christmas story... Give yourself the gift of living the life you always really wanted to even if it mainly means painting everything wild bright colors (or whatever colors you like... I once saw pictures of a woman who painted her whole entire house bright pink and black and it knocked me right over. I have been looking for her ever since but can't find her. I'd love to see pictures of that pink and black house again...).

I live in an enchanted, magical cottage just made for Christmas. And I am not going to worry about feeling like I have to get gifts I end up spending too much money for, I am going to get things that are wonderful and will be dearly loved and that I love buying and I am not going to stress over it. I have given myself a little cottage filled with wonder and delight, and it has set the stage for writing all new stories for myself all year round.

I would love for you to sit down and write a list of everything that would change your holidays, if they aren't already all that you would dream them to be, things that you can do, and start doing them. And make a list of things for the whole year. And dream big dreams. And stop looking at the closed door and throw all the windows wide open. It's time, for you and me and everyone in the whole wide world. 

It all reminds me of a book that I read to my children when they were young. I always remember the lines, "The time has come, the time is now, Marven K. Mooney will you please go NOW!" It's Dr. Seuss of course. Dr. Seuss would have loved my house. And I am over the moon with the very thought of it.

This Christmas will be filled with cheer and joy. I know it will. I'm writing the story right now...


Mr Lonely said...

walking here with a smile. take care.. have a nice day ~ =D

Regards, (A Growing Teenager Diary) ..

Maitri said...

Thank you so much dearheart for stopping by. Your blog is lovely and I enjoyed reading through it. Keep that smile on your face. Truly, the online community, as much as it might not seem "real" to some people is very real and I have made some of my best friends online. We are never alone here. Know that you are loved and accepted just the way you are. Walk happy in the world. You are loved... Maitri

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