New Year’s Eve 2000

It was a magical evening.  I was recently divorced, kids gone and living in a small town in Nevada.

I had a VERY small little home with the living room and dining room in one area and what had been a bedroom from days gone by off to the side of that, that was now just ….. well, just a room with really no designated purpose.

I decided to have a New Year’s Eve Party and invited pretty much the whole town.  That doesn’t mean hundreds of people by the way.  Anyway, usually when I invite a group of people to something, I figure about 1/3 might show up.

Well, for some reason (I think it was meant to happen this way)…everyone showed up!  We were sitting on chairs, tables, end tables and even the floor if not standing in groups, huddled up against the walls and even in the center of the room.  Some spilled out into the kitchen and also THE room off to the side where I had a TV set up to view the goings on around the world as we ushered in the year 2000 and waited to see if something big was going to happen.

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“Four Days Left to Recite a Favorite Line from Simon and Garfunkle”

“A winter’s day, in a deep and dark December…..”

It took me a number of years to figure out each of these words.  Finally when they came together in a meaningful sentence, they resonated as a favorite quote for me.  What a vivid painting to the imagination this portrays.  I picture it in a city somewhere; after hours. Someone is alone and feeling nostalgic (not necessarily lonely) but definitely very much alone.

They may pull their coat collar up against the chill of the night and dig their chin down into their chest to face the frigid air.  Or, they may be sitting at their window, staring down into the streets below (as is sung in this sonnet), pondering life in general; thankful for the isolation.

What is more, they could possibly be experiencing a magical wintry moment exactly like mine, years ago, living in Alaska during the pipeline influx when the power company couldn’t keep up with the demand and we were living a forced “off grid” lifestyle in the month of February.  We couldn’t drill our well till the ground thawed in the spring.  We hauled water from various sources.  This led to many interesting experiences.

One evening as my husband and I pulled out of our home in the middle of a thick forest off of Abbot Loop and turned onto the Sterling Highway with empty water containers to be filled, my husband took a sharp right turn that I didn’t even realize was there.  It was so perfectly concealed by the overgrowth alongside the highway.  Instantly, I found our vehicle pointing down a steep, narrow, winding incline that made me sit up straight and frozen in my seat.  It happened so fast, I’m not sure fear of slipping off this makeshift road even had time to hit my brain but my body was reacting.   Within a few minutes, our vehicle stopped at its chosen destination; a fast-flowing stream of water.

My senses jolted to piqued awareness as I beheld the first glimpse of the frost covered trees!  They were stark white with a the thickest layer of white frost I’d ever seen.  This sparkly frost highlighted every single branch and tiniest twig from the light of the full moon shining down on them.  They were glistening as if covered in tiny diamonds, twinkling in the moonlight.

It was a magical moment for me and although it happened many decades ago, it remains etched in my memory.  This event was on a winter’s day, in a deep and dark “December”.

Deep and dark do not necessarily mean gloomy and depressing.  Sometimes they are quiet, reverent and very special.  They may hold a glistening surprise if we are just patient.


Christmas: Is it over yet?

I wrote a long blog on this a few days before Christmas but somehow lost it.  Now, that’s sad.  Going to just summarize what I had written because I’d like to end my Christmas meanderings with this.

It seems I start getting in the Christmas mood as soon as the weather turns brisk.  Halloween, as much as I love it, holds the promise of Christmas just around the corner.  Thanksgiving is getting pinched in between these two holidays and I hear it on many lips that will soon disappear off the charts.  It is certainly falling into a “lesser holiday”, although, I think it will always remain an open invitation for families to gather and have a feast.

I anticipate all the traditional Christmas things very early on in the fall and start planning at that time.  I usually have all my shopping done, letter ideas of the past year in my head and various other plans.

It’s funny though.  By the time Christmas was a few days away still, I felt like it had already happened!  I was pretty much done with it before it even came.  Of course, if there are kids still at home, this would never happen.

As Shakespeare says and it fits perfectly here:  “All things are, with more fervor chased than enjoyed.”  Yep!  The fun is in the mind’s anticipation of the thing!

As a parting thought, my husband and I both got sick on Christmas Eve.  We made it to a wonderful dinner at my daughter’s home but our plans for Christmas Day were totally wiped out.  This included an open house at his son’s with many of his local kids there, then a trip to Vegas to visit my son and family then a round about way home to stop and see my daughter in a rural area then home.

I was SO looking forward to all of that.  We just barely opened our gifts to each other last night.   “Life is what happens when we are making plans for something else.”  JL

Winter Fun With Grandkids (Kids)


We made some cute Sledding Party Invitations using Smile Box (Read more about Smilebox in my “Tools I Use Section”) and sent e-copies to our families and posted them on their Face Book Walls.  Sadly, very few were able to come that year.  We are not easily daunted though and plan to do it  this year and everyone is on board with it.  We’ll have a big bonfire, hot chocolate and all the trimmings for a fun Winter Party!

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Gifts That Cost Little To Nothing

Since I have been posting on Gift Giving, I’d like to share some ideas on inexpensive gifts and, the least expensive, “The Gift of Time”.


MASSAGE:  One needn’t be a licensed masseuse to give a good foot rub, you just can’t do it wrong!  One time, a woman’s husband died unexpectedly in my small community.  Of course I knew her but we weren’t close friends.  I wanted to go visit her and share my condolences.  I decided to take some Lavender Essential Oil and give her a foot rub.  This was perfect.  We didn’t have to stumble through difficult, shallow conversation that neither of us wanted.  I took her foot in my lap (after soaking it in bubble bath water from the basin I brought) and tenderly dried with the towel in my lap then poured the oil into my hands and began massaging her foot. Words were unnecessary and we spoke very little.  I like to bring a portable music device and play relaxing music which adds to the whole experience. I have never forgotten the bond created that day nor the satisfying feeling of doing something of meaning for one suffering.  “The Heart That Gives, Gathers.”

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Managing Gift Giving As Our Posterity Grows



My real name is Mary but my husband dubbed me Maggie Pea, many moons ago, and I like it so use it often on sites like this.

I am a grandmother of 15 amazing grandchildren (of course) and 2 great granddaughters.  When you factor in a very common scenario in today’s world; mixed families due to divorce or widowhood and remarriage; the number can become staggering.  The above number of grandkids doesn’t reflect my husband’s grandkids and great grandchildren; which are more than mine!  This brings up a whole issue in and of itself.

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“Bells Will Be Ringing”

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SHOPPING:  12/01 Finished: Except for a few Gift Certificates to mail.

WRAPPING:  I LOVE picking out Christmas wrapping paper, I am a total “paper freak”!  It’s fun to create a theme.  This year I found the coolest brown-bag type wrapping paper with metallic silver designs on it, two different styles.  One is just large “dots” of silver and the other is a swirly, fancy design.  The two complete opposites really compliment one another, the very common brown and the shiny silver.

I found metallic, silver ribbon, the kind you curl with scissors, and white also then plain brown hemp twine for the boy’s.  I tie silver jingle bells on the twine.  I found silver tissue paper for some of the fancier gifts for the mothers on my list.

I’m giving families my “famous” homemade granola (it really has been a hit with my family who ask for it on certain events, like reunions, etc.)  I found, to my great delight, SILVER coated Mason Jars with regular lids to put the granola in as well as over-sized, gallon-size, Mason Jars with SILVER Tops for large families.

This has been a fun theme:  Silver Accents.  People have actually commented on the paper when I’ve delivered the gifts, it really is eye catching.  I had the presents piled high on an antique chest in my little apartment living area (waiting to deliver them) and as I went outside, I glanced back through the  door’s window and the sun was shining directly on the silver foil on the gifts, and caused them to glow like sparkling lights!  It was so pretty!

DELIVERING:  I’ve already given some families, who live far away, their presents at Thanksgiving (to avoid shipping costs and just the hassle of mailing).  I even gave presents to the locals (to free up room in my little apt).  I’ll deliver the remaining ones on Christmas Day when we attend my husband’s family’s open house.  I finally got smart and instead of mailing presents, try to just get gift certificates for the out-of-towners that I won’t see before Christmas.  I now turn my attention to other, non-demanding activities of the season.  Ahhh.freedom!

MORE:  Baking treats for friends and neighbors and attending various holiday events.  “The Dicken’s Festival” starts this weekend.  This is a wonderful, old English themed setting with booths crammed tightly throughout the indoor arena so as to feel like you are walking amid the narrow streets of Dicken’s England.  We did a booth one year ourselves!

Driving around looking at decorated homes with outdoor Christmas lights is a tradition I have done since childhood and now love doing with my local grandkids, listening to favorite Christmas Music CD’s.  We have our regular homes we see in the surrounding neighborhoods and beyond.  One is amazing, he works for the power company and there is not one inch of space he hasn’t covered in lights.


As I left my apartment last evening to return to my little home in the “country”, it was getting dark and all up and down the streets, Christmas lights twinkled.  They’re such a part of the festiveness of Christmas and I’m happy to see this, in spite of the daily headlines of the darkness going on in our nation and around the world.

I’m glad there are still some signs of gaiety and peace on earth in spite of  staggering world events.