View from the Shoe

What’s Old — is New Again.

2021 was one hell of a year.  But if you’re waiting for a sparkly new one, well, you might have to wait awhile.

iStock photo by Oatawa

An unrelenting pandemic. Shocking violence in the US Capitol. Devastating forest fires. Desert locusts. Murder hornets and the craziest, scariest year of politics anyone has ever witnessed. No wonder we’re jonesing for whatever will stop our brains from melting! It doesn’t seem to matter what the calendar says. From everything we see and read — Groundhog Day continues.

COVID-19 rages, once again, across the nation, though now disguised as the variant Omicron. Masks and mandates were ignored or fought against giving the virus a get out jail free card. Our brains were exhausted, often savings were, too and food insecurity was evident in our nation of plenty. In the face of all the grief, confusion, fear and disillusionment, we badly need to find the flip side – and hope it’s a whole lot better.

“What a heavy net is it, indeed, carrying as it does all the births, deaths, tragedies, wars, love stories, inventions, transformations and calamities that are destined for all of us this coming year.” Elizabeth Gilbert

Will 2022 be the turnaround we need or — just another magic trick? In a country where a 2-year pandemic is still a runaway train, every day is a challenge. Vaccines are here, but Omicron proved that our COVID testing supply was caught with its pants down and availability has become more like a stagecoach than an Acela. We are realizing that though this new variant maybe weaker in scope, apparently so are our masks. N95’s are the coveted remedy, but it’s also short in stock and high in price gouging. It will take a while, probably quite a while, for us to live ‘normal-ish’ again. And if we continue to set virus forest fires by still living large instead of adhering to pandemic social distancing, masking, vaccination and a decent helping of common sense, it will set up housekeeping permanently.

We all want our lives back, not just those who strip off masks in hissy fits in Walmart. Until we get the simple fact that what hurts one, hurts all, a spanking brand new COVID free year will be a long time coming.

What do we do in the meantime when often the smallest positivity can be a heavy lift? I find myself swinging from yearning for family hug marathons to being resigned to the admittedly comfy nest of my house. What if we did committed to a reset, something out of the box and outside of ourselves? How about a little New Year Nengajo? Cousin to our Christmas cards, this Japanese custom is a nifty new year way to show gratitude to friends and family who’ve looked out for us, were kind and helped us during the shitshow year we just put to bed.

Continue reading “What’s Old — is New Again.”
Holiday Madness

ENOUGH . . . is a feast.

Nothing encapsulates the meaning of Thanksgiving more than this Buddhist proverb. When we realize gratitude isn’t turkey or a holiday but a way of being, we are already blessed.

Image by iStockphoto

Not every Thanksgiving finds us spilling over with gratitude. Times of loss, of grief, of illness all color our gratitude scale. At times, we might even feel as carved out as the bird on the table, yet there are always blessings to be found, often in abundance. And that gratitude is what we share with others.

It’s easy to be thankful when life goes our way but when bad things happen, it’s a lot tougher to see the silver lining. When we look around or even back, we find moments of peace, joy, laughter and love. Sometimes, pictures help jog our memory so I thought I’d use a few to express some pictorial gratitude of my own this Thanksgiving.

Expect nothing. Appreciate everything.
Even during a soul-traumatizing pandemic, the ‘helpers’ showed what it is to be life affirming. Hopefully we will not ever forget to be grateful but to also . . . pay it forward.
The secret to having it all, is feeling you already do.

Life is full of surprises.

Let the great ones take your breath away.

Continue reading “ENOUGH . . . is a feast.”
Chick stuff

But First . . . Tea.

Quarantine. Climate. Political insanity. A short commercial break with a cup of tea may not be the craziest idea.

Pink still life with cup of tea

Starbucks diva. Yeah, no. I’m not the cool chick who nonchalantly orders a Double Mocha Grande, extra whip Macchiato. (Is that a thing?) You can tell I’m not a coffee maven. Though the heady aroma of a steaming cuppa-joe will always be enticing, my belly says otherwise. To this queenager, tea has never been coffee’s poor relation but a pretty badass elixer.

For as long as I can remember, tea has been my drink of choice. Though I ditched cream and sugar a long time ago, I grew up watching my parents sweeten their cups of tea with mounds of the stuff. Through the years, tea has been my go-to with friends, family and anyone who needs a little somethin-somethin. Steeped in aromatic little gossamer bags, tea has absorbed too many stories, laughter and tears to count. It’s been background music through years of kid playdates, grief shared and friend connection. Steaming cups of tea have held secrets, belly laughs, copious tears and advice, both given and taken, making apt the term, Tea and Sympathy.

You can’t buy happiness but you can buy tea — and that’s sort of the same thing.

My life is steeped in tea. It begins my day, and accompanies me throughout its hours. Tea is a grounding, a connection to nature, the proverbial cup of life. Herbal is my thing, though I admit the decadent Chai Latte, a tea equivalent of a venti caramel frappucino with a double shot of espresso, is my guilty pleasure. Sometimes ya just gotta go with it.

View from the Shoe

WORDLESS WEDNESDAY

Signs of the pandemic times.

In our neighborhoods, in the city, in our own homes, signs are all around us that we are ‘not in Kansas’ these difficult days. We are physically separated but together in our common fears, hopes and desire to help, to do good in whatever ways we can to help those heroes who are doing what we cannot.

I invite you to post your OWN images below of what life around you looks like around these historic and critical times!