Mom, Winter Solstice and More Tradition

A friend and reader text me earlier to check on mom. He nudged me since I hadn’t written. Mom is doing ok. I say ok because while her drive, outlook and spirit are very much all going for her, her body is becoming frail. As long as her blood pressure can be controlled she shouldn’t have any more small strokes. She will recover in a couple months from the small ones she had. Her health checks out good otherwise but she is dizzy, unsteady and tires easily right now.

Her 85th birthday is in late January and I have already booked the trip out to be there. We are installing a chair lift for her staircase, getting her an “I’ve fallen and can’t get up” button and changing a few things to make life alone in the house she purchased in 1957 a bit safer. She wants to work, she wants to live alone in her house, she wants to drive and she is determined.

I realize her days are limited, as does she. However she has enough means to bring in some help if she needs it. As her son it’s my job to keep an eye out, advise her strongly if necessary and help her achieve her goals for enjoying what time she does have. I’ve asked her if she would move here as I have a first floor bedroom suite she can move into, she says maybe one day.

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Happy Solstice to All Y’all! …(pleural for y’all)

On this the shortest day of the year in the northern hemisphere, I am reminded that tomorrow really will be a new day. Tomorrow starts the new cycle. The sun will begin its return. The world will turn yet again. I am given hope. I realize that all of life is a cycle. It is simply the pattern to which we are born. The earth revolves, seasons revolve, our solar system revolves, all life including all plants and animals cycle and all have a time and a place. The universe is one big revolving circle and I am blessed to be a part of it.

The fulfillment of my life has to simply be to do my best to leave here having left something good behind. Nothing is too big or too small, it just has to be good. Just do good, give good, share good and leave good.

My grove of traditional trees from my childhood.

My grove of traditional trees from my childhood.

This years Xmas dinner of chosen family at our home is themed “Coming Home”. Last year we weren’t here for our chosen family’s traditional Christmas dinner gathering as we went to be with my mom due to my father’s passing. This year we are back to our home in San Diego. Therefore given the theme all gifts for the white elephant gift exchange are to be from small neighborhood businesses. I chose two natural open growth Nobel Fir trees from our neighborhood nursery to decorate in a style that we fifty somethings remember from the 1960s. They are complete with tinsel icicles and not a single LED light. Yup the 1960s weren’t exactly environmentally friendly. No worries though as I will recycle the trees after properly disposing of the tinsel and the incandescent lights are powered by my solar power system.

One other seasonal tradition of ours I will leave you with on this winter solstice day is Author Feidler and The Boston Pops rendition of Sleigh Ride.

It’s officially winter …Enjoy!

Tradition

Beware! Small soapbox ahead…

Xmas time is here.

Yes I spelled Christmas just like that, Xmas.

I was reprimanded in the past by a one time commenter about just that. Imagine.

A little history while we are on the title subject of tradition:

As a child in the 1960s and 1970s I was taught by my mother that Xmas was a perfectly acceptable way to write Christmas. She was not only a church going woman but a member of the choir, in good standing I might add. She wrote “Merry Xmas” on all of her cards when signing them, I noticed many cards we received were the same. I had never been told otherwise so when I was reprimanded via this here blog thingy’s comment section early in my blogging days I decided to investigate this hubaloo…

See this SMALL excerpt of what I find:
“The word “Christ” and its compounds, including “Christmas”, have been abbreviated in English for at least the past 1,000 years, long before the modern “Xmas” was commonly used. “Christ” was often written as “Xρ” or “Xt”; there are references in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle as far back as 1021. This X and P arose as the uppercase forms of the Greek letters χ (Ch) and ρ (R) used in ancient abbreviations for Χριστος (Greek for “Christ”),.[1] The labarum, an amalgamation of the two Greek letters rendered as ☧,[note 1] is a symbol often used to represent Christ in Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox Christian Churches.[19]

The labarum, often called the Chi-Rho, is a Christian symbol representing Christ.

The labarum, often called the Chi-Rho, is a Christian symbol representing Christ.

The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) and the OED Supplement have cited usages of “X-” or “Xp-” for “Christ-” as early as 1485. The terms “Xtian” and less commonly “Xpian” have also been used for “Christian”. The OED further cites usage of “Xtianity” for “Christianity” from 1634.[1] According to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of English Usage, most of the evidence for these words comes from “educated Englishmen who knew their Greek”.[11]

In ancient Christian art, χ and χρ are abbreviations for Christ’s name.[20] In many manuscripts of the New Testament and icons, Χ is an abbreviation for Χριστος,[21] as is XC (the first and last letters in Greek, using the lunate sigma);[22] compare IC for Jesus in Greek.”

The relief I feel for not actually removing Christ from Xmas is absolutely liberating!

I can now continue my family’s tradition of writing Xmas.

I can also start a new tradition by re-posting one of my favorite performances of one of my favorite Xmas season holiday tunes ever…yeah!

Change is in the air

I returned to San Diego safe and sound about 3 hours late on Friday. Unlike the week before, this time I luckily missed the incoming Chicago snowstorm only to be prevented from landing in San Diego due to heavy rains and wind. After circling above in a holding pattern and one aborted landing attempt we were taken to Ontario just east of Los Angeles to sit on a tarmac while we got more fuel and waited out the storm. Our SoCal winter weather was finally here.

Upon arriving home I noticed that our deciduous trees had finallly started to change. While many trees here are evergreen, we have some deciduous trees that drop their leaves in the fall. Some even have bright color shows indicating the change of seasons. Like many areas these trees always shed their foliage in October, sometimes November.

We have six such trees in our yard. The coral tree is finally half barren with no color changes just dropped leaves. The crepe myrtle is abalze in bright red/orange/yellow hues which it typically shows off in early November, this year it has saved the show for Christmastime. The euphorbia cotinifolias are all four still content with their fully foliage selves not yet dropping a leaf, yet by now should be completely barren as I usually decorate them for Christmas by wrapping lights on their branches.

It’s strikingly odd. It’s also a bit disturbing.

We have not only had the hottest summers ever in my living here for more than a quarter century, but also the longest. We turned the furnace on for the first time this weekend having run air conditioning almost continuously since May. We used to only ever use AC for about 3 weeks around Labor Day.

So why a subject so shallow as the weather on this typically deep, enlightening and life changing discussion blog?

Change.

This post isn’t about delayed travel or the obvious changes in our climate. It isn’t about the obvious effects of everything that happens on the earth, such as over consumption of fossil fuels, each action sending its wave of effect accumulating into great modifications of the environment from which we evolved and depend.

This post is about reactions to change.  It is about contemplating reactions, acceptance, choices and actions to interruptions or modifications of the expected.

Do I get upset that my travel plans are changed, delayed, interrupted and become enraged and stressed? Or do I accept, go with the flow and take the opportunity to simply be in the moment making the best out of the unexpected?

Do I react in fear about greater changes in climate possibly modifying life as we know it by bitching about it yet sitting idly by making no changes in my personal habits? Or do I accept it is happening and make better choices for my consumption such as purchasing a fuel efficient vehicle, voting appropriately, buying the carbon offset credits with my airline ticket, changing my thermostat, installing solar and even saying no to beef choosing a vegetarian meal instead?

Winter Storms, Dr. Appointments, Tire Blowouts and a First Class Seat

It’s 8 am, outside it’s 27 degrees F and the wind is briskly blowing. We already had our high for the day of 30 degrees F at 5 am. You guessed it, I’m not in San Diego but at my mother’s house in Virginia.

I’m booked out of here tomorrow at 6:45 am. The temperature at that time is forecast to be about 12 degrees F. Snow isn’t expected here until later in the day tomorrow. I fly through Chicago, landing at about 7:30 am and out to San Diego at 10:30 am just ahead of the winter storm that’s to bring that city snow later in the afternoon as well.

My phone buzzes with text from United warning me of possible delays and free flight change options. I’ve already called the Premier hotline and discussed options with an agent and we were in agreement that keeping my current schedule will hopefully precede the storm and be most prudent.

Mom had a heart echo yesterday morning. Shortly afterward we were to be at her Dr. Office for a follow up appointment. Her Dr. Office is about a 20 minute drive involving Interstate 81 north into Botetourt county. We jumped on the road and headed that direction in her Toyota Camry Hybrid. Like son like mother, she has a hybrid too.

As we were headed uphill around a curve on that semi truck laden two lane interstate I heard a noise and felt it best to pull over. Yup nail sticking out of passenger rear tire. I know better than to pull that out as we still had air, the exit was about a mile ahead and the shoulder we were on was tight and dangerous. I got back in and back onto the Interstate freeway. We made it about a half mile before the noise was worse and I looked into rear view mirror to see the white rubber smoke billowing out behind us. We had blown the tire.

I pulled off again out of absolute necessity. This time a much better spot that was flat, visible and very wide. Much safer. I first called her Dr. as her getting in was priority and they had one opening 3 hours later, score. I called my SoCal AAA and they quickly connected me with Virginia AAA. The most helpful woman on the other end sent a truck immediately as being on the side of an interstate is considered dangerous and urgent. She looked up the closest garage where I could get a tire and gave me their number. I called and they had the exact tire to match her set. The AAA truck was there in 10 minutes, tire changed in 5 minutes. We drove to the tire place and they had a bay open and waiting with the tire. We had a new tire on the car, were paid and out of there in 20 minutes.

Wow. Shit happens and what was it I wrote about angels the other day? They are here and even though life has bumps, the angels get us through. I took mom to a wonderful lunch and we were at her re-scheduled Dr. appointment 15 minutes early. The appointment went well. We still have a couple tests to get back in before they can make any definitive decisions on her rehabilitation. She is doing pretty well and her go-getter attitude sure helps. She is easily tired with a dose of dizziness. My brother, who lives here, and I will keep working together to help her remain as independent as she wants to be as long as possible. She’s planning to go back to work in a few weeks if she can. I hope she can as she loves it there.

What does a first class seat have to do with my travels? The travel that was delayed a day coming out due to a winter storm and the travel back that is being threatened by another winter storm? I checked in for my flights this morning and scored an upgrade from Chicago to San Diego in first class. They will be serving lunch. I will enjoy it.