"The notion that such persons are gay of heart and carefree is curiously untrue. They lead, as a matter of fact, an existence of jumpiness and apprehension. They sit on the edge of the chair of Literature. In the house of Life they have the feeling that they have never taken off their overcoats."
- James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times

Friday, December 19, 2014

From our house to yours

My cards were all sent last week, but I don't have everyone's address. So here is our Christmas card, from us to you.

We'll take a cup o' kindness yet

At this time of year, kindness can get trampled as the crowds reach for one more trinket at the store, but I love a good cup of kindness on a winter’s day. Rest assured that the Carlines have been both givers and receivers of many kindnesses this year, and we hope for many years’ more.

Marcus is finally in that last year of his undergraduate degree at Cal State Long Beach. Unlike his light senior year in high school, he is buried in classes this time. To be fair, he’s the one who wanted to take physics for fun. He’ll have one more recital this spring, where he will present music he is busy composing when he’s not figuring out formulas. His plan after graduation is to work for at least a year to see what life has to offer a musician, then possibly go to grad school if that path looks more promising. By the way, he did eventually cut his hair. He is no longer Mushroom Cloud Marcus—at least until it grows again.

Dale has been working on the house in Norwalk almost all year, giving it the TLC it needed. He’s even learned how to stucco, although he’s not going overboard. I asked about the work on our house and his answer was, “I’m paying someone else to do that.” When he’s not working, he’s golfing, or taking trips, either with his buddies to watch sports events, or with me to my conferences. Let’s just say retirement agrees with him.

I’m the biggest bore of the bunch. I write books, I ride my horses or help at the ranch, and I do things with the Placentia Library. This year was a special birthday for me, so I’ve celebrated for the entire time, indulging in small trinkets, time with friends, and taking trips. One of my biggest events this year was the death of the minivan. I’d owned her for 18 years, but after the yearly trip to the mountains, she begged to be retired. The money I was going to spend on home improvement got redirected to a new Ford Edge. As I wrote the check, I nearly passed out from the amount, but kept reminding myself that I’ll keep this one for 20 years as well.

As for trips, we did our mountain getaway, which was beautiful, although the drought conditions are worrisome. We also went on a few weekend jaunts that were work for me and play for Dale, including a weekend in Las Vegas for the American Library Association convention. But the big trip for us this year was to Scotland. What can I say, except it was glorious? Beautiful, cool weather. Greenery all around us. Friendly people. I loved it all. Dale loved everything except the driving. I’ve never seen him happier than when we turned the rental car in at Edinburgh. I got to ride a fat black-and-white horse through the heather near Loch Ness. I could have sprouted wings, I was so joyful.

One of the remarkable things about Scotland was their constant reminders to be kind to one another, as well as yourself. Signs on the roadways cautioned drivers to pull over if they’re tired, and to maintain their composure and let faster drivers pass. I returned thinking that I’d love to see a kindness campaign in our own country. Looking at recent events, I can’t think of anything we need more. It doesn’t take much to let someone go in front of me in line, or to smile at a clerk and say, “Thank you.” Join me, and we’ll take a cup o’ kindness together, for Auld Lang Syne.

Here’s to a Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and a Joyous Hogmanay!

1 comment:

Babs Hightower said...

Love it. I enjoyed reading this post and seeing your family. Snoopy is looking good.

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