It’s Not Time to Hit The Breaks

Ducky on a cold yet sunny day, wearing a fur hat, sun glasses, and red lipstick.It snowed in Arkansas! Be still my heart!

I grew up in Minnesota. I loved the long winters. Living in the south where winter brings mostly brown grass and baren trees, I just long for snow. I miss a sunny day with blinding, sparkly fresh snow.

It’s a little baffling to me when I hear southern folks talk about snow with fear. They don’t have resources (salt, sand, and plows) or the experience to manage it well.

The days when it does snow down south I get to push people out of the ditch and tromp around in the weather, feeling exhilarated. (Part of the glory of heavy snow or ice to me is that it gives us all an opportunity to help our neighbors and remind each other that we are not alone.)

Yesterday I was driving when the worst of it hit. Mind you, it only snowed heavy for about an hour and then it began to rain. The rain brought slush. Within just a couple of miles I passed, in various locations, five cars in the ditch. I could see by the wheel marks they started to slide and disastrously hit the breaks.

Any Minnesotan worth their weight knows when you start to slide, you take your foot off the gas but you never it the breaks. Doing so will only make the situation worse, causing you to slide further and spin out.

A close up image of drops of snow melting on blades of grass.
Image by Susann Mielke 

All of this makes me think of my goals. It’s the new year. My goals are freshly crafted. They are lofty. I need to remind myself to stay on the road. It things get slippery, don’t hit the breaks. It will only make things worse.

I hope you too are dogged with your goals. Whatever they may be don’t give up on yourself.

Christmas is Over, Bitches!

Oh gawd, I love this winter holiday so much.

As a child I used to be dropped off by my mom at the most wonderful place in the world, my Norwegian grandma’s house. She lived in a small town in Minnesota. She would have a big tree, covered in tinsel. She’d have plates of cookies and bars. She’d have a mountain of gifts for me and my siblings. This was the only stable home I knew as a child.

My little grandma sitting in a big chair with a mountain of Christmas gifts in her lap.
My little grandma and the cardboard fireplace she would set up each year, complete with carboard fire and wreath.

We were poor so she would replenish our needs. She’d sew the holes in our socks. She’d give us a new tooth brush, a wash cloth, and one set of new clothes. She’d feed us until the clothes we arrived in would not fit.

Every Easter she would bring out the big Wards catalog and have us circle the items we liked, clothes, toys– anything we liked! She would then buy some of those items. By the time Christmas had come, I would have forgotten what I had circled and it was all a surprise!

Grandma’s sheets were always clean and crisp. The house smelled like home cooked food. She lived right next to the river. If the river ice was thick enough, I’d go ice skating. Everything about grandma’s house was dreamy and good.

Sadly, my grandma passed away from cancer with I was 17. Everything Christmas disappeared with her.

Christmas became the time of year when I picked up an extra job or two. I’d work in children’s toy stores most Decembers. I’d pick up all the shifts from my co-workers who were taking holiday breaks. It became the time of year where I could catch up on my bills and make my employers really happy to have me. There was however no family, no lights, no big meals, no sweets, no gifts, and my traditions were lost. It went on like this for most of my adult life.

The best I could do would be a small potted tree and a restaurant meal, if I had the money to splurge. Christmas became a season of work. Until I met my husband.

Swiss roll cake with holiday sprinkles on top and a swirly filling center.He doesn’t let me work myself to death, any day of the year. He encourages me to rest some. His family became my family. Christmas became big again and full of traditions with his family. I wallow in it!

I bake, we put up string lights, there are Christmas trees, and the joy is unbearably wonderful. I actually woke up from my sleep last night with tears in my eyes because I was dreaming about our actual life. What a curious thing, to have this much joy. I take none of it for granted.

Snap shot of my molasses cookies, with a dusty sugar coating on top.

Anyway, all that to say I ate too much sweets this year. I made molasses cookies, lemon bars, a Swiss cake roll with roasted chestnut buttercream filling, pumpkin pie, and an apple pie. It was glorious and I regret nothing!

Today, I come back down to earth. Time to prepare for the New Year, write my goals for 2024 and clean up my act. This morning it was tea and a porridge made of seeds and nuts, with an apple and a spoonful of ginger honey.

And you? How was your holiday? What are your goals for 2024? Write them down and make them real. It works.