Friday, November 14, 2014

Misc Friday

Dubuque, IA river walk

Dubuque IA river walk

Dubuque IA river walk, Pat

View from the top of the 4th street elevator

Mississippi Palisades Park view towards the river
We are having "below average" temperatures that would be average for January. This is the second year in a row that we are having temperature readings in November that should be in January. Do you think that the local FOX affiliate will actually use the words, "climate change?" Hell, no. It's FOX!

As the weather turns colder and you see big flakes of snow swirling, as I did yesterday, one's thoughts turn to the holidays. Yep. The holidays. You know. That time of year when we should be happy and full of joy, falalalalaaaaaaa. Therefore, let us share a few ideas on how to survive this time of year.

I have been a widow for 14 years, and lived a minimum of 170 miles away from my three adult step children and their families the entire time. Their dad, my husband, did not want to stay in the Chicago metropolitan area, and I agreed to move to central Indiana. We always had Thanksgiving dinner with the kids, usually at our home. Christmas we played by ear, very aware of the tug of in-laws on kids. After the two dogs we had when Ken retired passed, we started going to Florida the day after Thanksgiving, solving the Christmas dilemma completely.

I am a firm believer in the concept that blood doesn't mean you have to like one another, and that you can create your own family. Step kids are not blood, we do love one another, and they are my family. But the distance and busy lives have gradually put a wedge into the holidays. I am okay with this. I have created another family with friends. Some are close, some are in the Chicago area, none the less they are family. So the kids (I use that word loosely. They are all in their 50's) are free to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas with the other side of their families. All I want is an afternoon in December. Because I am the one traveling, I get to pick the date. I let them know 2 months in advance. This is working, by jove! We go out to eat somewhere, exchange presents with the grandkids, and boom. We are done.

This time of year used to be full of angst, sorrow, memories, and tons of stress on everyone. About 3 years ago I said, to myself, that waiting for invitations was bullshit, and if I choose a date and make everyone stick to it, the stress is gone. Or as much of the stress I can help alleviate. Thanksgiving? I spend with friends. This year I am going to a man's house that I have never met. He is the nephew of my friend, Cathy. I know almost everyone else that will be there, so that is cool.

The point I am trying to make is to stop letting others control the holidays. Stop waiting. Stop having your heart break just a bit every single year. Just do what feels right to you. Don't want to go anywhere with people that you know? Go to the movies on Thanksgiving or Christmas day. I love seeing a movie on Christmas, and trust me, you will not be the only one in the theater. Go bowling. Go to a Chinese restaurant.

It is your life. Live it for you.

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