Sunday, December 15, 2013

Midnight Thoughts

Late nights, you either love them or hate it.  I don’t think there is much in between.  You are either a person who loves to see the waking of the day.  The sun as it streams up over the city, the sound of the birds as they start to wake the rest of the world.  The whirling magical hum of the night is slowly drowned out by the hum of people, cars and things that go bump in the day.  It doesn’t mean the whirling magic is gone, just so hard to hear with all the clatter and chatter. 
The day carries on with every mechanical zip and zap you can imagine, and some you haven’t even thought of.  People get louder too.  Maybe because they can’t here themselves above the clatter, maybe because they are overwhelmed with the amount of noise they are surrounded with, never a moments rest, cars, phones, computers people all trying to be heard it just becomes a buzz, like the ringing you sometimes get in your ear and no matter what you try, it just won’t go away. 
The sun begins to set and some take the time to stop and watch the fading and to take a deep breath, maybe the first of the day.  The air cools the graying of the sky begins and the night creeps in oh so slowly.  The daily rush is over, people are home and the roads begin to empty of the hundreds of cars and trucks, computers by the thousands are down, even though thousands are on as people try to connect with others.  The roads are never really empty, the night has an entire world of people who’s nights are their days and they are striving to find their connection with the magical whirling hum too.

The animals for the most part are sleeping except those who thrive in the night as it’s home to them.  City lights glow all across the city as the night continues to move in filling up the corners and softening edges everywhere.  The whirling magical hum that never scenes begins to fill the air again.  The daily grind begins to falter and the small remnants of star dreams begin to flicker and fill the air touching all things and everyone.  Some are never aware of their magic, others speak of this one special time they thought they felt something, others speak of the times and long for more, and some are touched each and every night.  Small miracles of magic filling them with thoughts of love and life. So overwhelmed with the sheer magnitude of its beauty, no words could describe the feelings, and they tilt their heads upward as magic gently caresses them.   They linger in the night embracing each moment longing for the dawn to never come.
The trick it seems is to be able to hear the whirling magical hum no matter the time of day or night.  Yes, in the day the sounds of the ordinary can overwhelm us, but the voices of the night that we fill our heads with can drown out the magic as well.  All the feelings of inadequacy, lounging, loneliness, swirling around in our brains drowns out the magic we were gifted with if only we would hear and listen for the whirling magical hum.
 I have found myself guilty of just such moments when the old records begin to play telling me the lies I’ve learned to trust start to fill the air.  You are never good enough, you’ve done something wrong, you will never be loved, and you are not going to ever be successful.  Sound familiar?  Have a few of those old records hanging around?  I have been on a quest for some years now to find new music for my heart and soul.  To find new songs to sing all the time, not just in the quiet of the night or the break of day, but each time my eyes and ears and soul are listening.  Some days are really quiet remarkable and I drifted off knowing that this song is worthy of singing.   Other days, I have to pick up the chorus over and over, but the song, the song is still there and I will continue to sing it.  Old records are just shadows of sound I use to know by heart, now, now my new song fills me. Like the magic that washes over me in the deep of night it too comes and goes but I know now, it’s always just a note away.  

Bells of Christmas

Putting up Christmas decorations last night I felt the magic of memories flooding the room all around me. Memories of Christmas’s past when I was a little girl bundled up riding up to the woods with my parents to find our tree, or watching my own children run through the trees on a local tree farm to find the perfect tree for our family laughing all the while.

     This truly is a magical time of year. But it’s bitter sweet as well.  My mother passed away on Christmas Eve a number of years ago, and I know she picked the day for it was her favorite time in all the year and she wanted to always be close to us and what better way? She taught us to believe in Santa Claus, as he was the spirit of giving. She also taught me how to love, for she was a magical woman who loved with all her heart and who touched the lives of everyone she ever came into contact with.

     My mother loved bells, never sure why but she did.  On Christmas Eve of the year she passed, I got up to go start a fire in the fireplace and I had a bell that sat on the mantle for Christmas that year.  Just as I started to build the fire, it fell off and rolled across the floor.  I knew it was my mother coming by to let me know that she was with us and that everything would be OK.   Now, each time I hear a bell ring two things come to mind, my mother and the classic movie, It's a Wonderful Life.

     Just like George, my mother was the kind of woman that everyone loved.  She cared for so many in her lifetime and was loved deeply.  Life was wonderful and magical with her in it.  One year, we celebrated Christmas in July because it was the only time they could come to visit.  My mom went outside and cut branches off the Blue Spruce in the yard to create a tree for the kids out of a potato and branches.   The kids were so happy, they put some of their favorite decorations on it and we hung the Christmas stockings for Santa.  We enjoyed a beautiful Christmas with fireworks and Christmas candy she had made for all of us.  That evening we all gathered together with gifts and wrapping paper spread all over the living room floor and watched our family’s favorite Christmas movie, Home Alone.

    Soon my kids will be home for Christmas and the house will be filled with joy and laughter.  As I put the ornaments on the tree remembering the year it was given a memory or two might pop up to delight me and I will smile and thank all that is for the blessings of those memories.  I will make the kids favorite desert for Christmas dinner and make sure all the special dishes are washed and ready to use.  The tree will be decorated and the gifts under the tree waiting for Christmas morning.

So with joy and singing I will honor my Mother this season and for all the Christmases to come.  You helped me believe in magic Mommy, and I love you and miss you every day.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Music to My Ears

Sometimes, here at Mama Jean's, the regular duties of life take the drivers seat.  Today was just one of those days. I have a big old house that has lots of character and when I say character, I mean it’s old and things have a way of breaking.  It really is a great old house and I am lucky. I even get to rent rooms out to the best roommates ever.  They are always so understanding when things take a twist of fate, but I do feel I can’t really wait until I feel like fixing it because lets be real, that might never really happen.  
      Today was just one of those days.  Last night after working long into the wee hours on last minute orders that need to get out for Christmas I went up into the kitchen and was met with the smell of death around the dishwasher.  Not the smell I was expecting but it was late and it wasn’t going anywhere so I waited until this morning to deal with it. 

     When I went downstairs I realize it wasn’t as bad as the night before but still lingering and knew it had to be under the dishwasher. The cat had decided to bring us a treat a few nights earlier and brought a rat into the house. It escaped into the vents but that’s another story for another time so I kind of figured it never made it out.  It didn’t look too good the last time I saw it.  So I gathered up my tools and pulled the dishwasher out from under the counter.  
     I was lucky growing up. My Dad taught me all kinds of things and as a single mother for years I have often had to fix and replace things in the house.  I would call my Dad and he would walk me through it.  From heating elements in hot water heaters to entire shower units, over the years I’ve become a pretty good plumber, however I am not for hire.  Sorry, but a girls got to draw the line somewhere. 

     When we pulled it out we found the poor little rat and I felt sad that it hadn’t made it back to its own home but with the help of a housemate we had it out and ready to put the dishwasher back in.  All went as planned or so we thought.  I went out to return the tools to the garage which I had gotten out when it was light outside but in returning them realized the electricity wasn’t working, this means the extra fridge wasn’t working and since we have two and I use the other one, I had no idea how long it had been out.  What I found wasn’t pretty.  It lives on the back porch just off the kitchen and it’s outside so it’s been pretty cold so no one really noticed.  They just thought the bulb had burned out.  So I began cleaning up melted ice cream and defrosted meat.  Not a pretty picture I can assure you.  Another housemate jumped in and finished up the project and I headed out to figure out the problem. 

      Remember, I said it’s an old house with lots of character, well one is that each room usually has one plug for the whole room and even though the kitchen has a couple more, there isn’t one for the porch so we have the fridge plugged into one in the garage and the garage is dark.  So I took off my plumbers hat and put on my electricians hat, another of Dad’s gifts and go out and figure out what’s up.  A wire was loose from a connector.  I reconnect and get everything back on line.  Feeling pretty good about now until I go back in the house and head to my studio. 

     Water is leaking though the wood floor into the basement from just under the dishwasher.  Really?  Can’t the dead rat be enough?  Now I have to pull the dishwasher out again because it has a leak in the intake pipe from moving it in and out.  It’s an old copper pipe and I must have bent it.   I turn the water off, remove the pipe and it’s off to the hardware store for a replacement.  Thank goodness they are open until 9 on Sat.  Found a new flex hose for the replacement with lots of adaptors to fit any size and back to home I go.  I put the plumbers hat back on and dive under the sink.  Guess what, the value to shut off the dishwasher is behind the shut off value to the water for the sink so now I’m tracing pipes in the basement looking for the shut off value for the hot water.  The whole thing wants to come off and it can’t with the water on.  I figure out that the cold water into the hot water heater is the shut off as no water in, no water out. Can someone tell me why are all the plumbing things in the hardest to get to spots?  Pipes are right next to walls, hardly enough room for the wrench to fit, under sinks in small places, etc.  It never seems to fail that one thing leads to another at least in an old house, but with a bit of luck and a lot of ump, the connectors are replaced, the water is on and the leak is fixed.   
     I put the dishwasher back into it’s home, screw it back into place.  All the must keeps under the kitchen sink have been sorted and cleaned up with several what was I thinking things thrown away.  The fridge on the back porch is humming nicely and clean as a whistle and the kitchen smells like bleach and furniture oil from a little spill when sorting the haves and the have not’s for under the kitchen sink. 
      So, maybe I didn’t hear the hum of my machine as much as I would have liked today, but with the smell of lemon pledge in the air, the hum of the dishwasher and fridge seem like music to my ears.  Thanks Dad.  Sometimes wearing hats can be a good thing.