once upon a time, i thought if i was wealthier, healthier, or more in love, i would be happier. it turns out the happier i am, the wealthier, healthier, or more in love i will be. *big sigh* this tree is for my grandfather and the land he ranched. papande, my grandfather, was simple and always at peace. i only ever knew him as "grandpa"...and to me he was wealthier, healthier, and more in love because of that contentment in him. he knew everything there was to know about trees, bushes and shrubs,... cattle breeds, horses... he grew giant sunflowers in a small garden patch in his back yard. i would walk through the stems, when i was a little girl, and pretend that i was a bug lost in the labyrinth of bright, happy flowers. this was papande. always gentle. always wise. always happy. i never heard him raise his voice (the loudest sounds he ever made were his sneezes, which did cause me to jump out of my chair because they were so abrupt-- they were just "grandpa-sneezes", though)...
i never saw him frown, except once when i was in college. he was scaling a fish out on the porch, and scales were flying and falling almost like snow, glinting in the sun. i remember thinking, "oh, how pretty...the scales catch the light and shimmer like...well, a fishy christmas." frustrated by the flashing mess before him, he furrowed his brow and said, "cheese", which was really "geez", but sounded more like the dairy product. my best friend who was with us at the time, looked at me and said, "now, that's a REAL grandpa!!!" his "cuteness" almost overcame me, but i fought off the urge to hug him and squeeze his cheeks....well, i did hug him.
i wish i would have known him better, you know? not as a child, but as an adult. (i think i'm going to talk to my tia eugie about this.)
one of my greatest desires is that my children get to know their grandpa (who also has ranching in his blood) like i know him. daddy has always been my hero. if i could be more like these men, i would do my boys much good. the ornaments on the tree are symbols for that which has existed in our family for generations and has been passed down to me. i have a great respect for the land my family has tended and cared for. it's part of me now, too. daddy would like that.
i dream of my grandparents quite often, and it always pleases me to "visit" with them for a while.
years ago when i was in college, papande got sick over christmas break. i went to visit him at the hospital, but my uncle asked me to step outside while the nurses bathed him. i waited 90 minutes. tio forgot about me in the hallway. i only sat with him for a little; school was resuming, and i had to drive back the next day.
on a cold january morning, he was on my mind...there is no english word for what i felt, but is spanish we would say "presienta", which loosely translates to --"pre-felt" or "pre-feel" or just "feel". well, i felt him all around me, so i went to a gift shop, bought him a get well card, and went to the campus post office to drop it off. AS SOON AS i walked out of that usps, it started to snow ever so lightly...and a quiet voice inside me said, "it's too late." i knew he would never get my card. it was bizarre because he wasn't even that sick to begin with!... at least that's what we thought at first. i rushed home and called my dad at the office. daddy wasn't there. his secretary, who did not recognize my voice, informed me that he had just left because his father had just died. i put the phone down and scrubbed my apartment to kingdom-come. when every toilet was scoured, every window wiped, every dish washed...when there was NOTHING left for me to clean, i sat down on the floor with rag in hand and wept for hours.
the only thing of his i ever wanted was his cowboy hat...not the clean, boxed-up, new one, but the dingy, sweaty, crumpled one he wore day in and day out when he checked on his cattle....the one stained by his labor of love. this is that hat. a family treasure that crowns my tree.*i'm smiling*
grandpa missed grandma. he only lasted two years after she passed, and both passed in winter. do the old ever go on warm, sunny days?...when flowers are in bloom and children pretend to be bugs and play in the grass? they probably do, but none of my grandparents did. mine said goodbye when snow fell.
this time of year is always such a wonder and yet always so rushed, but i have learned this past year that this is the only moment that exists. i call it the "everlasting now". there is only now. the rest is in our imagination in the form of memory or hope, but all we have is this moment. and it is so easy to be happy in this moment, but we tend to tell ourselves, "i'll be happy when... this is over, or when my kids are a little older, when i lose 20 lbs, when my kids come home to visit, when the weekend gets here, or when he finally shows me how very much i mean to him... and we end up wasting the everlasting now with meaningless-nothings to fill the empty spaces in between. the deal is that THAT moment never comes, or if it does it only visits us for a little, and our minds are filled once again with useless waiting. learning to be happy is a skill, i have always believed, but now i know how to lasso it. it takes a decision to be present. the difficulty is that that decision has to be made over and over until it becomes second nature. i suppose that's where the 'skill' comes is.
i bring this up right now because i am trying to sneak in a few moments of blogging while my husband freaks out over packing. he isn't content because i'm not freaking out with him. whatever emotions i feel, it won't matter...whatever gets done, gets done...whatever doesn't-- doesn't. and it won't matter a bit. two years from now we won't remember that i forgot to go through my old teacher manuals and throw out useless markers that dried up years ago.
but, i'll pretend to be frantic for his sake, so he doesn't think i don't care or don't understand how "important" this is. it is to him, so i'll pretend, but inside, i'm laughing and having fun.
so, excuse me if some of these pics are doubled...i worked on this in a rush and typed while soothing my crying children about empty sippy cups ;-)
this, obviously is my dining room. and by the way, this is the stuff that i set up last year. i never posted my christmas last year (i only started blogging i believe in feb, i believe)... and i am posting last year's christmas because i can't live without christmas decor and my house is almost all boxed-up...or about to be tomorrow. (mover get here tomorrow). i made this tree skirt out of silk taffeta and an old wedding dress ( i cut off the bodice)... yes, amy-- i cut it off! (but i did so years ago before i met you and have saved the beautiful leftovers for another project) :-)
i cinched the tree skirt and sewed in pearls for accent. forgot to take close-ups...way to go, jess.
this is my aviary tree with apple green accents. the tree is like 50 years old. it looks pretty ratty, but i still love it.
glass painted ornaments from...wal-mart!
gold and cream houses from "bloom and bee". carmen and i bought these mercury bulb trees at "deck the halls" last year.
my house collection...have had these for about five years now...and keep collecting every year.
tere's husband made the china cabinet and buffet for me. i stuck on bethanylowe's "icicles", but they didn't stay long, as you can see.
nicolesayre'ssanta...i love her and really miss her stuff.
one of my favorite things to do is to pile up my odds and ends of china...
...again, as you can see. just stack 'em up!
i keep stockings in every room... i made these in honor of our grandparents who are no longer with us, but i forgot to take pictures of all of the ones i made...oops!
my favorite postcard...really describes many of us. vintage sue's ball gown...i bought this from her last christmas at carol caroll. miss you very much, sue!