Summer Solstice Revisited

11/2/17  8:53 am

I’m dreading Saturday night/Sunday morning. That’s the night we turn our clocks back which, in my mind, officially marks the start of my most hated time of the year. Darkness. AKA Winter. I will bide my time through the next six weeks or so until December 21st, the Winter Solstice. I love the Winter Solstice because I know that the worst is over and every single day after December 21st, we’ll get back a few minutes of light. Having it get dark at 4:23 pm instead of 4:21 isn’t much difference, I know, but it’s improvement nonetheless. It’s hope.

As you may remember from my June posting, I’m all about the solstice’s. I love them. This last year, I actually set some goals for myself to accomplish by the winter solstice. Here’s a link to my Summer Solstice Post.  Summer Solstice – The New Year’s Resolution for Commitment-phobes.

I went back and read that post again this morning for the first time since I wrote it. The person who wrote those words is an entirely different person than the person that is writing these words now.  That person didn’t know that her mother would be hospitalized four days later, never to return home. The voice of my writing, the whole tone of the piece, is far different than what I write now.

I find it both scary and exhilarating that life can change in an instant and we never know when it will happen. When I wrote the Summer Solstice piece I knew that my mom had health problems, and I knew that someday she would die, but I had no idea how close at hand that time was.

There have been other times that the life-changing moment has been good. I remember being introduced to Dennis on my first day of work at a new company. I don’t remember meeting a lot of people, I but remember vividly meeting him. It took us years to start dating, but I knew from the start that he was going to be important to my life in some way.

The winter solstice is exactly 7 weeks from today. Back in June, I set three goals for myself to accomplish by December 21st:  1. Write in this blog every day. FAIL 2: Finish the rough draft of a book I’ve been writing for 15+ years. FAIL – ish.  3: Donate a quilt I made to charity. PASS. Twice.

1. Write in this blog every day.  It just didn’t happen. When my mom got sick, I continued to write some, which in fact helped me a lot with the whole ordeal. But not every day. And after she died,  I just couldn’t keep writing about grief.  I honestly didn’t want to and I didn’t think anyone wanted to read it. But I did keep writing here and there and I will continue to try to post more frequently as the grief subsides. That’a my new goal for the winter solstice. There are still good days and bad days and even good weeks and bad weeks so I won’t set an unrealistic expectation to post daily. But I definitely will post more often.

2. Finish the rough draft of the novel I’ve been writing. Even with seven weeks left, I doubt that I will finish it by December 21st. I have been working on it these past few weeks, though. There are many versions, with many different voices that I’ve written and rewritten over the years. My first hurdle is deciding what version — what voice this book will be. I still love the premise and I’m still determined I will finish it.

While I was looking for all the old versions of the book (it’s working title is Killing Time) I found another book that I worked on many lifetimes ago. I started it back in college, on a typewriter. It’s morphed many times since and has been re-typed in many different technology versions throughout the years. Word Perfect on a 5” floppy disk. Microsoft word on a  3 1/2 hard disk. Burned to a rewriteable CD. And finally, copied over from hard drive to hard drive as computers upgraded. Now it’s in the Amazon Cloud drive in both Pages (Apple) and Word (Microsoft format). I read through a bit of it, and like my Summer Solstice post, it’s very different in content and tone from what I write now. it would have to be. The last time I worked on it was probably seventeen years ago or so, and I’ve had a lot of training and done a lot of living between now and then. Reading it is a bit like opening a time capsule and catching a glimpse of what younger me felt and thought. I still like it and I think the story might still have something to say.  This book has a song attached to it. Sometimes when I’m writing a story, a song pops into my head that underscores the theme of the story. I like to play it over and over while I write it. This book’s song is I Came for You by Manfred Mann, so it’s working title is …I Came for You.

Killing Time doesn’t have a song. At least not yet.

So the new goal for the Winter Solstice with regard to writing is to keep plugging away and see how far I get. On one or the other books. Probably Killing Time, but maybe I Came for You if the mood strikes. How’s that for being non-commital?

3. Donate a quilt I made to a worthy cause. I did this one. Twice. When Hurricane Harvey slammed Texas, I donated a lap quilt that I’d finished a month or so earlier to an organization called Quilts of Compassion. Quilts of Compassion go into areas ravaged by natural disasters and they  allow the people to select a handmade quilt to keep and help start their new life. They’re obviously not the first team in after a disaster because a pretty quilt falls way below the needs to sustain life — food, water, shelter. But once the dust settles a bit, they do go in and spread comfort and happiness with their quilts. One of my quilts is part of that effort.

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The second quilt that I donated I made special for the recipient. When my mom was at hospice she was visited twice by a service dog named Gracie. Gracie is an extraordinary dog. She’s well-mannered like all service dogs.  But unlike other service dogs I’ve met who were well-mannered and docile but didn’t show much of their true dog personalities, Gracie exuded joy in the form of tail wags, nuzzles and the occasional lick even though she wasn’t supposed to do that. She also wasn’t supposed to get on the couch in Mom’s room and lay on an extra quilt I kept there, but she did. Every chance she got. And being dog-people ourselves, we didn’t mind at all and we let her.

Gracie is a Soft Coated Wheaton Terrier, and she looks almost exactly like Charlie, my mom’s dog, only larger. This is Gracie. Gracie’s mom insisted on laying a towel over the quilt.

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This is Charlie, my mom’s dog. Notice a resemblance?

charlie

We all loved Gracie. She was the only bit of joy we encountered at the hospice. A month or so ago I made Gracie her very own quilt an sent it to her mom. It’s a simple 9-patch pattern that I did with Scottie Terrier fabric I found. Not exactly the same as a Soft Coated Wheaton Terrier, but close enough. It used super fluffy batting so it should be extra soft and comfortable. I hope Gracie is enjoying it.

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So, seven weeks out from the winter solstice and only one goal completed out of three? Not so good. But better than zero out of three. We’ll see what the next seven weeks bring. No more bad surprises, I hope!

11/2/17 10:05 am (I went a little over because I had to find and upload the pictures.)

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