Yesterday was a beautiful, sun-filled day. 

I put Marty’s chicken and dressing recipe in the crock pot in the morning, and had my main meal at suppertime.

My younger daughter asked Wednesday if I’d like her to bring me leftovers Thanksgiving afternoon. But I told her no, I had my meal all ready to go. But it was mighty sweet of her to offer.

Charlie is sleeping on the ottoman with his tongue hanging out the right side of his mouth, blissful in his ignorance of this oddity. 

I guess he doesn’t worry about not having more than two teeth. He still manages to eat. Although I do have to hold Abi back, a greedy creature with a full set of teeth who always bullies him at meal time.

I thought I might do a bit of Christmas decorating. But I’m still just not ready for some reason. Usually around Thanksgiving, my decorating impulses kick in and I drag out my big plastic Christmas box. But that didn’t happen.

Did any of you start decorating yet?

As many of you have already mentioned, I find that the older I get, the less stuff I want to drag out. 

The less stuff I want around my home on an everyday basis. 

I suppose you begin to desire a more stream-lined and simplified life at some juncture. I’m there.

I don’t desire a bigger place to live than my 725 square foot apartment. I spend most of my time here and I never feel “claustrophobic.” And it’s the smallest home I’ve ever lived in.
I have what I need. I have my patio with the gazebo and container gardens. 

I have my living space that is elongated into my dining space. A small kitchen. A fairly big bedroom with two walk-in closets. And a small bathroom like most apartments seem to have. 

The place was built in sixties. And could certainly use some updating. 

I cleaned out the bird bath yesterday. 

I love to watch how the birds dip down, get a bit of water, then lean back and swallow. Almost like watching a seesaw.

I wonder if kids nowadays know what a seesaw is? Do they still have those things?

Oh, I still remember the school merry-go-round. How you jumped on and off while it was going round and round, and sometimes you fell and skinned a knee. 

How you’d feel a bit dizzy as it went faster and faster. Feeling a tad nauseated and exhilarated at the same time.

Back to birds… 


I find birds fascinating. My fifth grade teacher, Mrs. Lipsky, who took us on early Saturday morning bird walks and cultivated my interest in birds, would be proud. But I’m sure she’s long dead.

She gave me a gift however, when my love of all things nature blossomed. 

Around 6 a.m. on those Saturday mornings, a small group of us trudged through the woods, sticks and leaves crackling beneath our feet. 

Which brings me to this notion: Even when you don’t have any money, you can go right outside and be the benefactor of so much. 

The expanse of sky, in almost endless shades of blue on any given day. The stars against the inky black canvas of night.

The birds and squirrels with all their antics. Bird song. So many varieties of chirping!

A breeze briefly caressing my face. 

Rain. Oh, how I love the rain!

To me it is a daily gift. Without these sights and sounds I’ve grown so accustomed to loving, I think I would be lost.

I hear sirens in the distance. A part of living in the middle of the city. 

I always wonder where they’re going. If a house has burned down and left a family homeless. If a child has drowned or been hurt. 

I imagine the utter despair of having your home go up in flames, gone in an instant. 

I imagine a parent who could not have begun to imagine, when they awoke that morning, that by dusk, they would have lost a child. 

I think that must be the most cruel of life’s many chapters. The page on which your beloved child precedes you into death. 

And then I think of the parents I interviewed, years ago, who are still waiting for their child to come home. A child that would now be old enough to be a parent or grandparent. 

How do they do it? Those parents? Put one foot in front of the other and wonder if they will go to their grave never knowing what happened to their child.

I wonder if they can forget, for a minute or two, the tragedy that has trapped them in a cycle of never knowing?

Or if any bit of brief happiness is automatically eclipsed by the not knowing

Sorry to be so morose. I guess that’s just where my thoughts go when I hear those sirens. 

Until the sound begins to fade in the distance. Taking my woeful ruminations right along with it.

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  1. My daughter died this past August. She was 29. I haven't written about it before now because blog land has been a place to visit and escape from my new reality of having a child that has passed away. But, this post seems like a good place to finally share. There might have been sirens when she died — I haven't thought to ask her friends about that. She lives in another state, and her friends were trying to reach her to help her with packing because she was getting ready to move back home to our state. But, they couldn't reach her, called police, and she was found lying on her bed, fully clothed, covered by a quilt. Her friends said it looked like she'd laid down to take a nap and didn't wake up. The autopsy showed what we expected — her death was from anorexia nervosa, which had enslaved her for years. The autopsy showed a surprise — fatty liver disease, apparently from excessive drinking. We knew she drank alcohol but no one thought she was drinking too much. But if your health is so severely compromised as hers was from the anorexia, then any amount of alcohol is too much.

    She had been in treatment a couple of times over the years for the anorexia, but hadn't agreed to any sort of help for several years. We — various family and friends, were talking about ways we could try to encourage her to get help, because we were worried that she wouldn't make it to 35 or 40. We didn't grasp that her health was so bad that she wouldn't make it to 30.

    I have been on the crazy train since she passed away, of course. Some days are better than others. Today has been a good day, so I won't write about the bad days since I don't want to stir up the feelings of anger, guilt, or whatever seems to reach out and grab me. Someday I want to share a couple of dreams I've had, since I know you are interested in the power of dreams, Brenda — I've had two dreams that seem to have a clear message that I'm to know that she is safe and healthy, she is free now and is OK, and I am supposed learn to accept it and continue on. So I try to hold onto that message.

    1. Oh my, I'm so very sorry! And she was so young. That is a terrible disease. And a stubborn one, I've read. Hard to treat. That was very recent, and I know you will carry the burden of her passing forevermore. But try to make sure you are good to yourself. Little gifts and kindnesses for having put one foot in front of the other.
      A mother always wonders what they could have done. But with that disease, unless she initiated help to deal with it herself, there really wasn't anything you could have done.

    2. Hi, thank you for your kind comment. I'm afraid you are right, there really isn't anything anyone else can do if someone doesn't want help. As someone has said to me, You did the best you could based on what you knew at the time.

  2. Ever since I had my son, when I've heard about anyone"s child being hurt or taken, Even though I might imagine how they must feel, I know in my heart that it must feel 100 times what I have imagined…Since Matt grew up I don't decorate like I used to…I put up a nice tree with vintage ornaments and maybe a few touches here and there but nothing elaborate…when he was a kid I decorated for every holiday…sometimes I miss doing it but I don't think I would do it again!

    1. When my girls were kids, we started making homemade ornaments the day after Thanksgiving. I always looked forward to that. But no one will see my apartment but me and you all, so I'm just going to decorate on impulse. No plans.

  3. The furthest I got on my Christmas decorating today was putting a Christmas pillow (cardinal) on my couch, lol! I did take down all my fall decor and got it packed away. I'm just not feeling the Christmas stuff yet either. I was going to carry one of the tote bins up from the basement, but it was too heavy, so I just said "forget it" to myself.

    I got tears in my eyes as I read about the siren and what you wrote about a parent losing a child by dusk. As you know, that happened to me 7 years ago. You are right – it's THE cruelest thing that can ever happen in one's life. No parent should have to bury a child – any age, any reason. I know an older woman who has buried 3 out of her 4 children (plus her husband). And still has a positive attitude and faith in God. I don't know how she does it.

    1. Every time I write about something like this, I know you're going to feel pain over losing your son. I'm very sorry for that. I know holidays must be even more difficult than every day. Wow, a woman lost 3 out of 4 children. And still manages to go on.

  4. Whenever I hear a siren, which is often here, it fills me both with anxiety and sadness. Because it usually means something bad has happened to someone somewhere…. I remember the sounds of sirens coming to take my father to the hospital as he had collapsed in our home. He was young. And he was never to return home. The sound of sirens haunted my childhood. And the profound sadness of the memories of my alcoholic father, who never returned home. I can't imagine losing a child, or how parents survive and go on…. But they really have no choice, do they.
    Your blog posts have been really interesting lately, Brenda. They make me think and feel things I hadn't felt in awhile. Both good and bad. But that's ok cause that's real life. 🙂

  5. We had small a very family gathering Thursday evening and I am nibbling on a few leftovers today. As for Christmas decorations this year…I am playing it by ear. I have a few out…but will go back to the basement to pick around to see what Else I want to bring up…knowing that I will have to carry it back down in a few weeks. Ha! Sheila

  6. Sounds like you had the perfect thanksgiving. Your post gave a feeling of comfort and contentment. Those of us who have not had to face a tragedy in our lives have much to be thankful for, and this post was a reminder to pray for all those people who have heartache or sad memories to live with.

  7. I also feel like cutting down of the amount of Christmas decorations I put out. I don't have the energy anymore and to me, the decorating is part of the fun of the Christmas season so I will only do as much as is pleasurable.

    A little boy disappeared around 40 years ago in my area. It's still a mystery, no closure for the family. Each year the local newspaper still does a story about his case and any leads, comments from relatives, etc. I can't even imagine having to live with that loss and unknowing.

    1. That's so incredibly sad. Do you recall that case, quite a few years ago, about four boys on their bikes, and someone stopped them and took one? I think maybe his name was Jacob??? Somewhere north. Can you imagine how those other three boys felt?

    2. Yes, I recall that case. Weren't his remains finally found several months ago?

      I hope the other boys aren't eaten up by guilt all these years. After all, they were only little boys against a man with a gun.

    3. Oh, I didn't know! I never listen to news. I Googled it and yes, you're right. The monster who killed him will not be charged with his death because he made a plea and told where Jacob was buried. What a travesty! Thanks for letting me know. I'm glad the parents can now bury their son properly.

  8. I hate to hear those distant sirens; with my nature I always fear the worst. Around here, most of us say a prayer when we hear those sounds, a prayer that the afflicted are helped to recover quickly. Glad you had a good day yesterday.
    Two of our four children (and families) were missing yesterday but we still had a great family Thanksgiving Day. I am thinking this Christmas season I will bring down less and less of the decorations from the attic. Just a lot of trouble plus I am noticing that a lot of decorators are opting for a minimalistic decor this time around so I guess I will do so,too! LIM – Less Is More…

    1. I think (and hope) that simple living and minimalism is catching the attention of more people. Maybe that would lead to builders building fewer McMansions, and smaller homes would be the new norm.

  9. The rain makes it cozier inside. For years I was frightened of sirens. Many years ago after I was thrown from an automobile which was before seat belts were available and I needed the ambulance my opinion changed. Take care.

    1. Yes, rain does make a home feel cozier, doesn't it? I'm not frightened by sirens. They just make me wonder and feel a bit melancholy for whoever is suffering.

  10. Many more reasons to be thankful for what we do have.

    We stopped off at a local Walmart yesterday before going to the movie (we had time to waste.) The employees were busy putting out sale items and yellow tape lines getting ready for the big sale at 6:00. After the movie we drove past the same store and you couldn't even find a place to park. There is NO WAY I would even consider getting involved in that mess.

    I am glad you had a good dinner yesterday. We thought we were being smart and went to the casino to eat. Worst Thanksgiving dinner I ever had. Guess that what you get when you gamble. LOL

    1. No, there is no way I would hit any store today. And very few from now through the new year. Oh, I was hoping the casino would provide you a nice meal!

  11. Happy belated Thanksgiving, Brenda! We had plans yesterday and everything fell through. First time ever we spent it alone, but I still did the turkey and dressing. Corbin was sick so it's been moved to this evening, since he's much better. I loved reading your beautifully written post today, which makes me feel so blessed for our family.

  12. Life is so precious and everyday a gift. It is a hard time of year when someone is grieving unbearable loss. My heart goes out to all those that are suffering loss at a time of year that should be full of hope and joy. I have decorated early this year and I am less is more for sure. I have a small place now and I want it cozy and not cluttered with stuff. So I am with you on that. Have a great weekend. Glad your chicken was yummy.

    1. I guess there would be no celebrating then. I recall about three years ago a blogger and her son were killed by her husband right before Christmas. I wrote about it. Her name was Christine. I didn't know her. But what a shame.

  13. i'm a sky watcher and a rain lover. the sound of thunder with rain is music to me. I think it's my favorite thing in the whole world.

    yesterday I put up my little four foot tree. it sits on an old honey colored pine bench. it's pre~lighted with tiny white lights and its only decorations are pine cones and red berries. around its base I put red poinsettias instead of a tree skirt. I use a lot of red tartan in the room and the tree's natural beauty makes me think of being in a little (550 sq feet) snug and cozy cabin!
    I love having the tiny lights on in the evenings. I've never done a lot of special decorating for the various seasons. cozy minimalism is more my thing.
    I'm in love with your yellow and white quilt! and the old washboards! I remember my gram using one! xoxo

    1. Oh, what rain shower is complete with a little thunder? Your tree sounds lovely. I like your stated style: "cozy minimalism." Maybe that's what mine is too. Or is becoming.

  14. I immediately thought of that school bus this past week where 7 or 8 little kids were killed by a bus driver that was speeding- no drugs or alcohol involved. An empty Thanksgiving for those parents. Heart-wrenching.

    I love these posts of your-just random thoughts that remind me once again of the depth of your heart and the beauty of your inner soul. Blessings to you, Brenda. I am thinking of dragging Christmas out today, too….and each year I do just a bit less than I did in the past….passing the 'torch' to the next generation. xo Diana

  15. I don't know how parents wait for years and years, hoping their missing child comes back. My second oldest left for ten days when she was 17. I drove around every day, looking for her. In crowds, I would see a girl her height, a girl with the same hair colour, my heart almost beating out of my chest, thinking I found her. The worst ten days of my life.

    1. I don't either. I don't know how they'd even manage to put one foot in front of the other one. I bet at the end of those ten days, you were a mighty happy and relieved woman!

  16. There was a large fire in our town last Sunday. No one was hurt, but it reminded us of a tragic event that occurred in Connecticut a few years ago. It was Christmas time (I think it was actually Christmas Eve) and a woman, her boyfriend, her visiting parents and her two children were sleeping. The boyfriend, who was a contractor and I believe helped build the house, disposed of ambers from the fireplace on the porch haphazardly, causing a fire that ultimately killed the woman's parents and children. I can't even imagine…

    1. I cannot seem to type today. I can't imagine either. How awful. I have never cared for fireplaces. Any place where I had one, I never used it. What a tragedy.

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