Friday, December 16, 2011

The Joy of Not Doing Any Christmas Shopping

That almost sounds strange doesn't it? Not doing ANY Christmas shopping?

Well it's true.

A couple of months ago I came up with the idea of taking what money we would have spent on Christmas presents and donating it to those in need - like Somalia, Uganda, World Wildlife Fund, Pakistan, Child Sight Foundation, Global Animal Foundation, etc. etc. The list of those in need is absolutely endless!

And we are not on it.

I brought my suggestion to everyone in my immediate circle of family and friends and they have all agreed to go with my proposal.

So instead of going crazy battling shoppers and worrying that we have everyone on our list covered, we are spending our time searching out foundations that we would love to support.

We do have one restriction. We want foundations that actually use the money donated for what the foundation is all about instead of for paying themselves an 'administration fee'.

And that's it.

Come Christmas day we are all going to arrive at my nephew's house WITHOUT gaily wrapped packages. Instead we will be arriving with items for a pot-luck supper. The Man is going to deep-fry a turkey, my brother is bringing Trifle, I really like brussel sprouts done in yogurt and garlic, Byron is bringing cranberries and probably more cranberries, and my nephew promised to dust the house in flour to make it look festive (and to tease Byron and I as we are both Celiacs and that might do us in).

Once our meal is over with (and the dishes done) we are going to sit down with our lists and explain who we have chosen and why. Our lists can be as long as we want or as short as we want. It doesn't matter at all.

And then comes that moment I'm really excited about. It is seeing my selected foundations up on the computer screen and clicking SEND. It's knowing that I'm going to be giving a far more valuable gift to more than one person this year and that my gift is going to make a difference. Perhaps it will be food or drinking water, or even the gift of a smile for a child. Perhaps it's keeping an animal from being euthanized or providing shelter for the homeless along with a good hot meal. And perhaps I can only give $5 or $10 dollars to a selected few or to many, but it will be done with joy.

Each donation I am able to give is going to be wrapped with love from my heart. You don't need to put a bow on that.

Monday, December 12, 2011

I Don't Know What To Think -


My mind wanders here and there - higgily piggily. I've thought of a million blog posts? No - surely I exaggerate! A thousand? Bah! Perhaps around 100? That's probably more like it but I don't remember.

Words come but mostly they go. Memories - especially recent ones, evaporate into the ether and I can't find them when I turn around. They aren't under the ottoman or behind the drapes. They aren't under my chair or behind my monitor. But certainly - most certainly - they are NOT in my brain anymore.

I often wonder about the pathways in that gray matter that resides between my ears. Is it like a maze? Or perhaps it's more like one of those games where the little shiny gray ball goes in one end and you have to tilt it and jiggle it around corners and down blind alleys, until finally, finally it pops out the other end. You've done it!

Except it's still just a shiny gray ball.

Words and memories disappear instantly. But some of them - especially the words, are caught by those around me and they pop them in their own mouths and finish my sentences.

It helps. But my frustration levels grow exponentially with each word or thought lost on the wind.

My brain is melting slowly. It used to be so slowly that I thought I was like everyone else. Those of us who walk around with words stuck to the tip of our tongues. A turn of the head with a question - 'What was I saying?'

But now - now it is something different. Now I look vaguely around me, searching the floor for the words and memories that surely must have fallen there the last time I was in the room. I've even asked the woman who helps me clean, 'Did you happen to see any words or memories on the Swiffer cloth before you threw it out? Were there any stray letters wrapped up in old dust bunnies when you swept under my bed?' Or - horrors upon horrors - perhaps they were sucked up by the vacuum and I will never see them again for sure! Not unless, of course, I switch to a Dirt Devil and I can rummage through the dust and hair myself and shake out the letters before I replace the little gray cup. Then I have to try and arrange the letters into words or elusive memories and I waste another day. Another lifetime.

Of course I don't know when I started to notice this. How could I? It would have been a short-term memory and I can't seem to keep those in between my ears. I think I noticed a couple of concerned looks that were instantly covered when I turned to search the face. 'Am I missing something?' The quick dissembling and reassembling could of been my first clue - but I don't remember really. Truly I don't. But it was there.

When those actions became something of the norm I knew something was amiss - I think I did anyway. My brother's darling face - the slight sorrow - the kind eyes - the turn of the head. Now I accept it as the norm when he seems to be the one speaking - finishing my sentences, popping in words. He admitted as much the other day. Funny thing is - he couldn't remember when it started either. How odd is that? Not really I think, because everyone around me seems to be doing the same thing - putting in a much needed word here and there for me - or just finishing the sentence. I didn't know I had so many speaking voices. I should have done something with that - acting or ventriloquism.

Did you notice that? I wrote tranquillism for ventriloquism and sat here stumped for a while - searching - using my hands to form something of what I was trying to say. It's little things like that. They may be small - uneventful for you really. But when your day is filled with these they do become extremely annoying. Yet it is still just another day.

I know of a doctor who swears that you wouldn't know you were losing words or memories if you actually were. I call bullshit on that! Who wouldn't recognize the frustration and the searching if it was happening to you? Surely this change in your lifestyle would be something of a flag just out of your line of sight? Anyone? Hello??

What I do remember and still say is that I have always had a love of words and I have clung to my memories good or bad and loved making them! I know this. I. Know. This. Each day is precious. I know that too. Sometimes people say, 'It's only words.' But that's not true. It's a memory as well that goes along with them. It's the physical movement of your lips and throat and a pathway in your brain that has opened and waits.

Still, my thoughts and words continue to run higgily piggily. Bouncing off the gray matter. Beating it down. Ricocheting off bone and leaving dents behind. I'm here! I'm here.

Ah well.

Now - what was I saying?