Tag Archives: Holidays

The Mane Event

Seth and I decided to go very light on gift-giving last year. And after an unexpected August engagement, I had received the only physical “gift” I might hope for from Seth.

Like many of my friends, I appreciate the intrinsic satisfaction gift-giving brings. Receiving gifts is nice too; it’s a chance to have some fun with friends, see how well they know you, etc.

In the past I’ve known people who will spend the entire year judging or otherwise measuring their relationships based on how much ‘thought’ (read: money) was spent on their gift. There are different kinds of relationships and people in the world – and I suspect these are some of the shallowest. But that’s okay. They make me giggle, and I have the time to judge. (Hahaha, I’m FAR from flawless!)

All this rambling is to tell you about one gift I received this year. As Seth would say, “It broke me.”

I have a huge heart for animals. But beyond that, I think I’m pretty average, maybe a little tougher than usual. Hallmark cards and movies about separated lovers don’t make me cry. I’ve never been moved to sponsor a fly-covered malnourished child shown on TV commercials. (I can’t watch the animal abuse commercials, though!)

I’m sensitive, but for most of my life, I’ve successfully kept it secret. I’ve decided to open up a lot since my diagnosis, but the open demonstration – exposure – of feelings is still a struggle.

For all of those reasons, even my mom was surprised when she handed me my gift. I opened the tiny box and had a complete break down.

She found an artisan who weaves jewelry from horse tail hair. Back in August, my mom clipped a (surprisingly thick!) chunk of Shadow’s tail hair and mailed it in. The resulting gift was a beautiful bracelet delicately woven from Shadow’s tail hair and sized just for me.

I bawled tears of joy. Then I cried some more. It is so special and thoughtful. I have yet to wear it; although the weave is very sturdy, and it seems perfect. There are no short hairs poking out like when I would braid my own hair.

I’m not sure I’ve ever received such a unique and thoughtful gift. Just like the pony it came from, I will cherish it forever!



The Joy of Christmas

On Sunday QVC had an all-day gift/decor/food event to remind us that Christmas is only three months away.  As you may or may not know, I’m a huge QVC fan; so this was a fun day where they didn’t sell boring jewelry or clothing.

But this post isn’t to share with you my affinity for retail television.  Let’s save that for another day.  Instead, I’d like to tell you how excited I am for the upcoming holiday season.

I was diagnosed with cancer on November 14, 2011.  And in the weeks that followed there were times, mostly late at night, I quietly shed tears wondering if that Christmas would be my last.  But, even with that concern, I had a great holiday.

Now that it looks like I’ll have no problem staying around for Christmas 2012, I’m getting very excited to start the holiday season.  Bring on Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and snow.  I want it all!

And I acknowledge that we’re an odd pair, Christmas and I.  I’m not a religious person.  But to me, it is a yearly representation of love and kindness.  I also adore sparkly things and shining lights, so American Christmas and I are indeed a match!

The best part, though, is giving to others.  There is nothing better than giving the perfect gift to a friend or relative.  I know it makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside!

Of course we give to strangers too.  We donate thousands of toys to less privileged children and drop pocket change – or gold coins – into red kettles.  We donate pounds of canned goods so our neighbors won’t go hungry, and some of us buy dog food too, so they can keep their beloved pets.

Christmas is a yearly reminder to be a decent human being and love the ones you care for.  Whether you believe in one, many, or no gods, you must love this about Christmas.  That… and the lights, of course.  🙂

Tooling Around

I’m pretty handy.  I know my way around a workshop, and I’ve done a lot of home upgrades and repairs.  I enjoy spacing out at home improvement stores like some people do in shopping malls.  So as you can imagine, it gives me a lot of satisfaction when I have the right tool for whatever task is at hand.  I pride myself on having two well-stocked toolboxes: one is mechanical, one is emotional.

It’s been a challenging year, and I’ve put both through their paces.

In May, we experienced a devastating event in which we lost three of our beloved animals and a lot of possessions.  We’ve worked very hard, both physically and emotionally, to get past that day.  We still grieve for the lives lost, and we use the ‘things can be replaced, people cannot‘ mantra to remind ourselves that ‘stuff’ is just that.

As the holidays approach, we realize there were some precious possessions lost which cannot be replaced.  And truthfully, my emotional toolbox is feeling a little light these days.  I’ve had to temporarily shelve ‘we have each other, and that’s all that matters.’  It’s true, of course, but it dovetails too conveniently with the ‘what if I lose you?’ dialog.  I’ve also permanently retired ‘things can be replaced, people cannot.’  We had a good run, and I certainly got my money back on that one.

I suppose I’m struggling with this now for two reasons.  First, I’m going to see my mom later this week.  ::squeals with delight::  It will be my first visit since my diagnosis.  This has been the longest I’ve ever gone without seeing her, and it’s really sucked.

The other reason this comes to mind is courtesy of the holiday season.  I haven’t responded to the first treatment yet.  And now that I am weaning off the prednisone (again), I feel more symptomatic: my cough is slowly returning, I’m feeling ‘blah’ more often, and breathing isn’t getting easier.  So, although it’s disgustingly dramatic and highly unlikely, the thought has crossed my mind that this Christmas could be my last.

But, alas, I can’t stand drama – even (especially?) my own.  I need to get my sh*t together and remember this isn’t all about me.  I’m really excited for Christmas.  I’m super excited to spend time with my mom.  That’s what I need to focus on right now.

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