I woke up in somewhat of a strange mood. It is an introspective morning and I’m looking both outward and inward.

Usually lighthearted, I am doing more soul searching today. For a few hours I’m taking off my rose-colored glasses.

Just thinking about things. And people. And those who have passed through my life.

It is sunny and cold outside. I’m already sick of cold weather. Nearly turns my stomach to look outside on my patio and see dead plants everywhere.

Santa figurine

Looking Forward To Spring:

I am so full of energy and enthusiasm in the springtime. I am walking out on the patio every few hours to see if I see green emerging in the containers. As if a few hours means they will make real progress.

Spring is a joyous time for me. I am like a child at Christmas. My presents are all the plants that come back to greet me once again.

Mid-April I always head to Southwood Nursery to see the plants that have arrived. I am in heaven with a cart full of carefully chosen veggies and flowers and herbs. Happy as can be.

Charlie in quilt

My Charlie Boy:

Today I’m feeling a little sad. Charlie isn’t looking so good. That is the barometer these days for me. He seems tired more despite the medicine.

I see Ivy flying all over the house like a bat on steroids, and it is such a contrast.

I remember when I first filled the Vetmedin for Charlie close to a month ago. Mary, who works at the front, said: “you just wait, dogs take this and they’re like puppies again.”

But that didn’t happen. 

I watch him closely. I tend to every need I think he may have. I give him lots of love and I sing that made up song to him every night after I turn the lamp off.

I think of this time last year. Abi was here. Full of energy and fire. Bossing everyone around. For a full year, I guess I’ll look at every holiday and think: She was here then.

So I’ve got Christmas and New Years and Valentines Day and Easter and then May. And then the circle is complete.

Ivy on the floor

End Of An Era:

I am typically a very upbeat person. I wake up each morning and look forward to the day. Of coming here to write to you.

This morning I woke up and turned on the TV while I stretched my limbs preparing to get up, and there was the late President Bush’s funeral about to be honored. It somehow seems like the end of an era in a way.

I didn’t vote for him. But still, that was a time of decorum. A time of manners and subtlety and kindness. In contrast to what’s going on today, it’s like night and day. I guess that too makes me feel a bit sad.

But I didn’t intend to sit down and start writing and bring you down. I never really lend credence to what kind of mood I’m in until I start writing.

I have so many things to be thankful for in my life. I have my home and my pets. My daughter and my grandson. And of course I have all of you. That is so important to me.

living room chair

A Time Of Renewal:

In a few months I’ll have spring about to arrive and winter winding down and it will feel like a time of renewal. Flowers will be budding and blooming. I’ll be out there with my camera, as I always am, so delighted with my subject matter. In my element.

Even the happiest of people are allowed days of quiet and introspection. Of looking back and remembering.

You can’t bring the past back. You can’t reach into the universe and grab moments and set them back in front of you. You have to leave them where they belong, and that is of course behind you.

I grew up with holidays just being another day of the week. And as I’ve gotten older, I’ve fallen more in line with that.

My kids are grown and my Santa days are over and now they are doing what I did then. The torch has been passed.

What My Granny Would Have Thought:

I think my Granny looked at holiday celebration and found much of it pure folly. She had lived a life guided by propriety. She didn’t smile a lot but didn’t complain. I didn’t understand then why she couldn’t show more excitement for my sake.

But now, as an older woman myself, I see that she had lived her life according to the dictates of what she felt was proper and necessary. She would not have understood much of anything about the world today.

male cardinal in tree

New Inventions:

I’ll watch the commercials showing new gadgets that magically and by some internalized computer switch off the lights and set the alarm, and think: That’s all well and good, but why?

I understand that businesses make money on the newest and the most technologically evolved inventions. That lots of people want to buy the newest and the best and the most forward thinking contraptions for their loved ones at Christmastime.

Businesses market the things that make life easier and that is what most people want in this busy world.

But I look at it through my Granny’s eyes and think: Why on earth do we need that? There are children starving in this world and animals waiting to be rescued. And this is somehow supposed to float my boat?

I don’t know. It just seems foolish. Said by this cranky old woman who sees things happening too fast. You know you’re getting old when new things confound you.

But no matter what they manage to invent, some things will always be the same. The seasons will change. The sun will rise and set. Nature will continue to inspire and delight us.

White Christmas tree

Do Unto Others:

I have to think that most people will be good people and helpful to others, regardless of what is going on in the world. That the ones who seem to have lost sight of the “do unto others” mentality will find it again.

I will get up every morning just like my Granny did and look around to see what needs to be done.

Every time I get up, Charlie will follow me to make sure I’m not intending to go anywhere. At least without him.

Just like Abi did.

She was the “mama watcher” then. The torch has been passed to Charlie.

Life goes on. Just as it always has. As it should.

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47 Comments

  1. I read this post with tears in my eyes ,although I love all your posts I think this was very special for me .It certainly hit a nerve with me .My lil terrier had surgery a month ago for a mast tumour ,the vet said it might come back and it has .Makes me so sad for my sweet Mallory !Nothing we can do will give prednisone to her when energy levels drop but no more surgery she is 11 years old .The vet told me today we will know when it is time to let her go .
    This is just another loss for my husband and I ,every day I am waiting for another shoe to drop .Lost my only brother Jan. This year and my cat the same day .
    On and on and on it goes .
    My husband and I have major health problems now and are just trying to survive .Some days my sadness is overwhelming !But I still have hope that life will be better .
    Your beautiful and heartfelt posts and those of others on your blog mean the world to me ,they help me get thru my days in this ever changing world .
    Thank you !
    Have a great weekend and love on your babies it is OK to have a sad day sometimes !We all have them !

  2. Bless you for being human. So many bloggers are all fancy and happy all the time but you are honest and we all know that we have down days. You are so fortunate to have such a following of readers who are so supportive of you. That must tell you how much you are cared about out her in the world. I’m not even going to say “buck up” because I feel we need these reflective days in order to appreciate what we have. I lost my little Jack Russel a few months ago and am still crying over her. We probably won’t get another dog at this stage in life for we travel so much but I miss having that joy that a pet can bring.

  3. I could identify with so much in this post, Brenda. I’ve been feeling very introspective, too. Yesterday at yoga class, I started tearing up near the end when thoughts of Zippo popped into my head. I miss snuggling with him so much and how he’d follow me around the house, his sweet meow, etc. My heart hurts so bad when I think about him.

    I know what you mean about thinking of time in terms of when someone (even a pet) was was with us. Brian and I will be talking and we’ll say, “Was that before or after Phil died?” So I don’t know if that ever comes full circle.

    I miss flowers and greenery outside so much. I’m sitting here looking out my (dirty) living room window and all I see are gray skies, bare trees and the ugly, worn, brown privacy fence. I went outside earlier to see if I could somehow put a wreath hanger on the fence without my neighbor noticing (it’s her fence – and she’s a very mean person). I thought that I could at least hang a wreath on the fence so I could have something pretty and green to look at out the living room window. But turns out I’d have to hook the hanger over a post – where she’d see it on her side. I might just pound a nail into one of the boards when she’s at work.

  4. It’s funny how people can be so different in some ways, and alike in others. I am more of a cold weather gal — as fall advances into winter I feel more perky, and then as winter advances into spring I start getting apprehensive, since summer is on its way! Hot weather makes me grumpy. Oh well, fortunately the seasons keep changing! This is a good time of year to be introspective, whether you want to be or not. The holiday season brings that out in people. In the past seven or eight years we’ve had several family members to pass away, and a beloved relative and his wife got a divorce, and those losses really have caused everyone to be a bit off balance this time of year. But there have been other good things to happen, such as a couple of babies being born, a wedding or two, and life keeps going on. My husband and I lost two beloved cats, one who was well over 15 when he died and his sister reached 16. But we found another cat at the local shelter who has become very special to us, and we’ve been looking for a cat pal for him over the past month or so. Gosh, there are about three I’d love to bring home, but we can only handle one more. I will throw in that the best thing we do for ourselves when we feel down is to take a walk. If it’s really cold, we go walk around in a store, but that usually leads to buying something! So we have to be careful about that!

  5. I think the grey skies and the cold that keeps us preferring to be inside encourage a time of introspection and soul-searching. So maybe, despite the fact that most of us would prefer sun and warmth and flowers blooming, the season is a sort of “time out” to give us a space to take stock, remember, release and re-order our thinking. I try to accept the season as necessary mentally and spiritually to my well-being if I don’t fight it. Our culture doesn’t support that viewpoint with all the hype of the holidays. I find it easier and easier as I grow older to ignore most of the hype.

    I appreciate your post today, Brenda, because I think it’s important to allow those bluish feelings, to just go with them with the knowledge that in some way the tho’ts that come with them are ones you need to acknowledge and accept and let go. And understanding that the mood will inevitably change to a lighter one. Of course, sometimes it’s so much easier said than done, as you know.

    I am thinking of Charlie and know that you are worried about losing him. I am hoping that isn’t going to happen for a good while. I know you are the best Mama possible to him and that is what he needs most when he’s not feeling well. I’m sending tho’ts of ease and rest to both of you during this grey and bleak season. As for Miss Ivy Lou, may her craziness balance things out somehow for you and Charlie!

    Take care, stay warm, light a candle. I will light one, too, for you and for our world.

  6. And I am thankful for your blog, too. I find your writing very calming. After dinner each night, I try to make it back here to read a calming post. I understand about looking back at people in my life (especially the ones that I don’t have a relationship with anymore), being confounded by changes, and looking for the good in each day and each person. Comes with being an introvert, I think.

    My mom said many times when the big things in her life weren’t going well, that it was the little things where you could find gratitude: birds, plants, sunshine, etc.

  7. First off- your white Christmas tree is just beautiful. I love it!!! I, too, often turn introspective this time of year….remembering those that shared other Christmas mornings with me. I think of the places I have lived previous years and wonder where I will be in the years to come.

    I am praying that Charlie perks up a bit. It is so sad to see our pets start failing and know that there is really not too much we can do (if we have had vet care). Even vets can only do so much-sadly.

    I love that you have Ivy to entertain you and liven the place up. She’s a keeper!

    This was a lovely post, Brenda. I hope you have a wonderful night. xo Diana

  8. Speaking of Charlie and also essential oils, Dr. Melissa Shelton is a veterinarian with a very good reputation who produces veterinary essential oil blends. Her website is Animaleo.info and I have used her Calm-A-Mile and Kitty Boost with great success. Anyway, she does make a CardioBoost blend. She also has a FaceBook group where you can ask questions, as well. Worth a look.

  9. I have enjoyed this autumn/winter more than usual. But, I’ve got to admit, I was looking at my summer garden pictures today, and the longing for summer was…..poignant. I do enjoy planning the garden in the winter, but it’s definitely not IRL gardening!
    I think all the gadgetry and Alexa and always having a phone screen to your face…..it makes you miss out on being present in your actual life. Clutters up your mind and distracts.
    Robs you of the luxury of time to ponder, to consider, to enjoy the simple pleasures. It’s a shame.
    Well, I keep Charlie in my thoughts and Ivy’s antics never fail to delight. I am so thankful you’re their mama.

  10. Our winter started early here and we have had much colder weather than we did in the past two years, which were abnormally warm. I know what you mean about the depressing sight of all of the flowers being decimated and done for, until Spring comes again, anyway. I harvested some of my black eyed Susan seed pods today. That plant had particularly pretty almost painted on looking patterns around the dark seed pod.

    The lack of sun, abundance of snow showers, and hard blowing wind have been causing me to have insomnia and anxiety. I sometimes get that in winter, but never this early in the season before. I have found one good thing about this week’s insomnia, and that was the sound of two Great Northern owls hoo-hooting back and forth to each other in the quiet of the predawn hours.

    I am thankful that my knees (the arthritic one, and the knee replacement one) have been doing well enough that I have been able to do a little more around the house, and have felt like cooking some good winter, cold weather dinners.
    I hope your little Charlie will start feeling better. My little Fuzzy Pomeranian has trachea problems, too. I am hoping they don’t get worse as he ages. He will be 14 years old soon. He has arthritis in his neck area and sometimes it hurts him to eat from his dish off of the floor and we have to put it on a riser for him so he doesn’t have to hang his head down so far to eat.

  11. It’s very cold outside today! I don’t like seeing kids playing outside when they should be nice and warm playing inside…just cuz parents want quiet or alone time.

    I had some neighbors on the next street like that, when my kids were growing up. I would ask them *boy and girl* if they wanted to come in and have some hot chocolate and a cookie. They always did and played or watched a movie with my kids til the mother hollered for them to come in. She never thanked me…just gave me the evil eye, but I didn’t care. ? I just didn’t want her kids to freeze outside when it was stinging cold *single or below digits*!

    I have already had enough of winter too Brenda! Spring is my fav time of yr looking to see which flowers are coming back out.

    I’m getting stressed from my internet provider! Never get vm…r the worst! It’s suppose to be on LTE instead of 3g. They mess with my outvoice, take me offline, IP address isn’t all there, on my phone now screwing with my comment! I hit one letter and I get a long sentence showing virgin mobile in it with a bunch of other letters! What the what?! They finally stopped cuz I gave them a piece of my mind when they put it on Google talk! More proof they were on it watching…touching my comments!

    This is my fav time of year to look at websites with their holiday best from cookies, quick breads, cakes, candy, meals even decorations!

    Who can I get in touch with about this?! Also can see this in my settings what they’re doing. I can’t even go on a website without them timing it out or taking me offline! I see they have done it to loads of people from what I have read! Any suggestions from anyone? I don’t have the money to buy another phone right now and I would have to with another provider.

    My phone works fine when I have access to someone else’s internet, then when I get back home it starts all over again!!!

    I hope you and your fur babies are doing ok and staying warm!

  12. I try to think of winter as my “hibernation period.” I’m good at entertaining myself, as I know you are. I’ll watch a wee bit of tv. Read more books. Look up interesting subjects on the internet. Make soup. Bake, I’m going to try one more time to make yeast rolls, I’ve never succeeded before but I’ll give it another go. Also plan to bake cookies and share some with the neighbors/friends. I ordered some books on writing memoirs from Amazon – this winter will be a good time to pore over them and start putting some thoughts down. At least an outline. And somehow we’ll get through these dark days of winter and voila! suddenly it will be spring again. P.S. Thinking of Charlie and you.

    1. This place is my gratitude journal. I may be a little down, but I always stop in the midst of it and think of what I’m grateful for. Most of this is worrying about my Charlie boy.

  13. Brenda, like you I normally wake up cheerful, spend two coffees worth of quiet time in my living room, just pondering, and pondering on my pondering. This morning I was thinking about all the years I worked a high pressure job, yet one I loved, all the while keeping up with the demands of my own life. As already has been mentioned, at that time the world was a much kinder place, and even still we all felt the stress of trying to wear all our hats at once. It occurred to me how much more difficult it must be for women working in today’s atmosphere, trying to keep their lives and their families’ lives between the lines at a time when the entire world seems to be spinning out of control and the media lambasting us constantly with every little unpleasant or frightening thing they can scape up. I’m sure I would have handled it, but not with the fond memories I cherish. I truly feel for the younger generations trying to navigate through today’s climate. And all these new fangled gadgets that no one needs? It just seems we’ve gone off the rails and so few seems to know what’s important any more.

    1. I wouldn’t want to be a young mother with young children in this day and age. I sure would not. Too much going on and the smart phones and all, seems too much to me.

  14. Life does go on, it ebbs and flows. Some days we are happy, somedays melancholy, some days depressed, it is all a part of life’s circle. I am sorry that you feel like Charlie isn’t doing so well, I will keep him in my prayers. Perhaps he seems more sluggish because Ivy is so lively?

    I hope that you had a great day Brenda, your beautiful tree would cheer me up.

    1. I carried him down to the office. He kept staring at me as though fearing I would leave him. So I took him down there for a bit and now he’s home and fine.

  15. It’s been an emotional morning for me, watching the memorial service for such a kind courteous man while I’ve been looking through decades of family Christmas scrapbooks. So reading your words today tugged at my heart so much. I identify with the introspection. I think it is a necessary part of determining how we want to spend our present and future days, weeding out the unimportant and pinning down what is most important to us now.

    The sun just moved onto BreeBree as she’s lying in her nest on the floor as I’m writing this. My heart melts and I know it’s time to get up and take her and James Mason outside. Almost a month ago was the one year anniversary of losing Otis and Milo too only 19 days before him. I’m thinking of Abi and knowing what worrying about Charlie does to you now. I know you are doing everything from the focus of being everything that Charlie needs. Just try to remember, Brenda, that each day is perfect to him because he has you.

    Sending a hug to you and Charlie and your Ivy,
    Dewena

  16. I too mourn those days. I believe the beginning of, show we say, lost innocence in this country was when the planes hit the twin towers. Our lives and this country were forever changed at that time. It seems since then, it has further deteriorated to a bunch of bickering and hatefulness between both parties. I so long, especially this time of year for the feelings of long ago when their seemed to be so much more love and understanding for each other. The security and carefreeness we felt in the days before the attack may never return. You are correct Melanie, it was a softer world we were lucky to live in. Still, I would never want to live anywhere else except the USA.

  17. I have watched along with many more the remembering of our former president George H.W.Bush. It was such a glorious time back then. We didn’t have all the trauma that we have now. It was indeed a softer world we lived in, and I mourn that time in this harsh life I am living now.
    May God bless us all.

  18. Good morning Brenda. You may not have your lovely flowers to look at on your patio, but you have a beautiful Christmas tree with twinkly lights to brighten your days and evenings. Your shelves are so festive with your touches of Christmas sprinkled throughout. Enjoy the warmth and coziness of your Christmas decorated apartment. When Christmas is over you could remove the things that are more Christmas related and leave more of the items that represent a winter décor. (green wreaths, twinkle lights, snowflakes, snowmen, throws, etc) After Christmas, I leave the faux evergreen wreaths ( I have several) and the tall twigs in my eucalyptus arrangement in the entry hall. The twigs have twinkle lights attached and gives a nice glow in the evenings. They came with the lights attached and are battery operated with a timer. I got them at Kirkland’s and I just love them. I too am more of a summer person and I enjoy digging in the dirt and planting flowers. This is just some of the ways I bide my time after Christmas until I can feel the warmth of the sun once again in the spring. Take care and have a wonderful day.

  19. If thinking that a lot of the new “inventions” and gadgets that are out these days are just a waste of money and hackers and thieves opportunities to break into your home that they didn’t used to have is – confounding – then count me among the confounded! I don’t need to tell “Alexa” or whatever fake persona AI to turn on my lights or set the oven or keep the dryer spinning while I watch a neighbor get ready to fall off a ladder instead of running outside to help him! Geesh. This is what the world has come to? Today dawned yet again cold with unrelenting gloom. I thought – I CAN’T TAKE ANY MORE OF THIS after five days! I got up when it was still dark outside just before 7 a.m. and turned on the Christmas tree lights, LOL! Right now, though, there are some little bits of blue sky appearing and there were even a few elusive rays of sunshine. Please come back sun – go away clouds. Thirty seconds of sun a day isn’t enough! It hasn’t been this cold this early in the season for several years. The weather patterns are all messed up now – the “new normal.” I HATE this “new normal.” And not a thing I can do about it, either. I think I’m going to throw yet more decorations on the tree. By the time I’m ready to take it back down in early January, there will be hardly any green left to see on it. Happens every year 🙂 I pulled my 2 foot tall cardinal-decorated tree this morning out of storage and put my fake brown wood pair of deer on the kitchen countertop. Last night I changed out the curtains in the dinette to the large teal blue floral pattern that has the exact color of greenish-gold as the area rug underneath the dining table and also has the same red (in the flowers) as the red tablecloth I added to dress up the table. Later I’ll pull up from the basement the box of Christmas decorations I deck out the rest of the kitchen with, and swap out the current black and white horse pictures for photos of cardinals and pretty greeting cards featuring cardinals. Ornaments will also be hung from the cabinet handles. I do love me some Christmas decorations. They make me smile, and during this gloomy, dark, cold I think we all need to smile – a lot!

    1. You sure made me laugh with the neighbor thoughts. That’s how I feel. I mean…just why? And I know good and well that it just gives the hackers, as you mentioned, more to hack into. What do they do if their children tell the darned thing to do something completely wacky? I don’t want any of that tomfoolery. Smart phones vex me and stress me out.

  20. I agree with Kim, maybe the new meds have Charlie a little slower and quieter. You keep you eye on that little boy and I hope Ivy Lou has a great afternoon. I liked the article; alot of food for thought. Have a lovely Wednesday evening!

    Carol and Molly
    xoxoxo

    1. The syrup is the med that would maybe make him sleepy. But I have only given it to him once. Last week. He fought it so he ended up even more upset. So I will hold off with it unless he just can’t catch his breath. He looks at me like I’m torturing him and it breaks my heart.

  21. Brenda you are not cranky at all, I think as we age we just realize what is important to us and its not the newest gadget or new clothes etc it is more that people and nations will be kinder and gentler and look after those that cannot fend for themselves. This is what would make me very happy.
    Winter time is a down time for me too At first I welcome it because now I will get on and do some crafts but it doesn’t take long before I long to see the sun and feel the warmth and tend to the garden again.

  22. My moods from day to day are changing, almost mercurial at time. My Christmas’s are less hectic since the children are grown, no grandchildren, so we give donations to charities in each other’s name. So much more meaningful.

    We just donated to Wreaths across America, which puts wreaths on every veteran’s grave in national cemeteries. One was in memory for my husband’s father who was in the Navy and in honor of my uncle, who was in the Army. Money so much better spent than a gadget.

  23. As one of your readers, I appreciate your honesty of what you’re feeling or thinking on any given day. Optimism or introspection is how we swing from time to time. Comforting to know other people have some swings

    1. Don’t think it’s that. I’ve only given it to him one time. He fights it so it upsets him far more to give it to him. So I’ll only give him the syrup when I have to.

  24. Life goes on, that’s what it does. Yesterday was 6 months since I lost my dad, and I had a major breakdown. Some days are just like that, the grief sneaks up on you and overwhelms everything else. I’m sure you’ll be smiling at something silly Miss Ivy does before long! Our pets have a way of lifting our spirits on a ‘down’ day!

    1. I know what you mean. It just seems to come out of nowhere. I think I’m going to have to get Ivy a bigger and more sturdy cat tree. She’s knocking it everywhere.

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