Christmas 2021

I gave myself permission to break traditions. I don’t have to do everything. Or anything.

People kind of freak out about that. What? No tree? Am I okay? Is something wrong? Sad face, hugs and care emoticons.  Sheez. Can’t imagine being ME?

Okay, I will admit that slapping a wreath upon the door without decorating the interior of your home is ye equivalent to hiding depression behind a smile, but can we normalize being “alone” on holidays?

I’m tired of pretending life is a Hallmark movie fantasy, of silently letting others assume that I might have plans, that God forbid I wake up “alone” on Christmas morn just the same as I do on the 364 other days of the year.

Side note:  “alone” is in quotation marks because the word is defined differently by those who thrive in solitude than those who find being alone with their own self for any length of time to be unbearable misery.

Permission extends to all aspects of holiday prep. Do I need to bake cookies in all those varieties? No… one batch with grandchildren, sent home with the boys. That’s enough. I made Chex Mix with only my favorite ingredients, heavy on the peanuts.

My sweet treat for company this year will be a special pie baked in a rectangular dish, which I’ve yet to bake as I don’t know when my daughter plans to stop by, might not be until Boxing Day. She’s got her own traditions started… making memories with her children. They snuggle in for a family movie night on Christmas Eve. I suggested getting together on the 26th as their 25th is already a full day, better to enjoy a relaxed visit than a pop in and out, on to the next.

That’s part of it, letting go of old ways to make way for the new, the next generation takes the stage, does things their own way. It is a letting go of preconceived notions, of letting things just be, and being open to my own next. This is the space in-between.

Thanks for reading!

BTW, I decorated in Fishdom. It’s the only game I play, much to my grandson’s amazement. Grandma’s on level… what?

Screenshot of grandma’s game, lol.

Strawberry Kiss Cookies

It’s a holiday tradition to bake cookies with grandma. These two rowdy little boys wanted to make strawberry cookies. That’s not on our traditional list, so we did a twist on an old favorite and used a cake mix for an easy strawberry flavored dough. They turned out okay.

Strawberry Kiss Cookies

  • 1 strawberry cake mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1/8 cup flour
  • 32 to 50 Hershey’s Kisses

Mix dry cake mix, eggs, and oil in a bowl with a wooden spoon. Stir in flour, if needed, to make a nice dough (ours seemed too moist without it). Drop by spoonfuls (we used a cookie scoop) onto cookie sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 degrees until just lightly brown on edges and bottoms. Remove from oven and press an unwrapped chocolate Kiss on top of each cookie.  Our batch made 32 cookies.

NOTE: Extra kisses required if kids are in charge of unwrapping candy.

Thanks for reading!

WIP: Tilt


I started a new drawing with a tilted horizon.

My world is tilted. I’m seriously thinking of composing a list of questions for my shrink as I want to know what he thinks we are working on as, quite frankly, I might be flipping nickels to Lucy for nothing.

The little boy in the photo is my grandson, the middle child of my daughter’s three. He is four years old and as ornery as can be. It was his turn to spend the night at “grandma’s house” so I hooked him up with some paints when we went down to the community room on Sunday afternoon for the Arts & Crafts Society’s Sunday Draw.

Speaking of “grandma’s house” with this being a small unit in a high rise, my rental application to rent a whole entire house was approved. I haven’t called to view inside that big old boarded up house yet because I still need to raise some cash up for deposits, appliances, movers, and other costs that will be incurred during relocation. I’m still thinking on it, too.  It might be too much house for one person and the Vet thinks a ranch would be better for me legs, which is true… but, there are very few (maybe zero) affordable ranch style homes for rent located on main bus routes near business districts.

As for the shrink, I told him what I was thinking about doing and his advice about ANYTHING uncertain or unsure of is to WAIT as in DO NOTHING… well, that don’t fly. I took his advice before when I was struggling trying to tell a friend about some things, not sure why I couldn’t bring myself to tell him, my every attempt halted and… well, WAITING cost me a friendship.  But, the end result might have been the same for different reasons. I still think it is because I fell off my damn pedestal.

Oh well, I can’t sit around doing nothing, so it is time to sell stuff…

I will be at the Four Seasons Flea Market over on the east side on Wednesday mornings. This week I’m taking buttons and handmade jewelry.

UPDATE MAY 8, 2016: that was a marketing lesson on choosing the right venue for my items… another vendor suggested slashing my prices, told me no one would pay more than 3 dollars for a pair of earrings… I had gemstones, crystals, real pearls, and sterling silver already priced ridiculously low… ear studs starting at $5! In all honesty, I think I could have priced everything at a buck each and STILL no one would do more than walk on by… their eyes were already on the ground looking at the next display. That flea market is the perfect venue for old junk laid out on tarps. I couldn’t even sell a button. I also left early because I made another mistake… I took one of those fold up stadium chairs to sit on and it was awful. My bones crunched when I sat down, so I was dealing with pain and stiffness for the rest of the day. So, axe THAT… flea market idea is off my list.

Then, on the first Friday of each month (at least this month, hopefully every month) I will be a street vendor selling buttons and my original art from 5 to 9 PM on Champion Street for the “First Friday Art Walk” near SOAP Gallery, which has a show opening that night, in beautiful downtown Youngstown.

I will also be bringing a button machine and special paper punch (it cuts precise circles out of actual photographs – or ye photo paper thick art papers – sized just right to go on buttons) to First Friday Art Walks so I can make 2.25″ button pins, magnets, pocket mirrors, bottle openers, and key chains (two types) right there on the spot.

So, BYO photos (good idea to have prints made first) if you want photo buttons made at Art Walk. Price is $2, your choice of back. Chains will also be available if you want to turn a bottle opener into a necklace.

If you are not in or near Youngstown, some of my original art is available online in my Webstore, but not on First Fridays, as odds are that I will put the store in vacation mode OR pull listings of what I plan to take for display on First Fridays, if a vacation mode is not available.

I’m also thinking about taking the mosaic guitar this week… maybe it will sell.


Wish me luck… and thanks for reading!