Friday, December 30, 2016

Five Hope-they-lift-my-mood Things, Last Friday of the Year

Not sure if it's the inevitable post-Christmas dip or if it's more to do with the crashing reality of all the changes that 2016 has ushered in, but I'm feeling more than a little fragile this morning and grasping for tangible To-do's that might lift my mood.

1. The gloomy fog outside will delay a run for a bit, but as soon as some light filters through, I'm hitting the streets for some much-needed endorphins.

2. A friend included some extra cards, envelopes, and personalised stamps with the Christmas card she sent me, with instructions to "Use them." We've been talking about the value of hand-written letters and cards in these days of email and social media-communication, and I'm determined to try creating a renewed habit that includes putting pen to paper and stamped envelopes in mailboxes. And then Pater surprised me with a new pen for Christmas (remember that we'd agreed not to exchange gifts this Christmas? Yeah, he ignored that agreement. I didn't complain too much.).  Yesterday, I sent a card off to a friend, using one of the In-Canada stamps, and today I'm sticking an International-postage stamp on another envelope. (If you're on Instagram, you might check out the cards and stamps I'm using - my friend Sandy @sandymairart had her delightful character, Wiston the Mouse, printed onto official stamps -- too cute!)

3. I'm going to finish casting off the body of the Little Shore cardigan I'm making 8Year-Old g'daughter, and start one of the sleeves.
4. I'm going to leave all these To-Do's behind to go with Pater and meet a daughter, SIL, and 8YO for Lunch and a Panto. Endorphins guaranteed. Laughter (and/with Family) is the Best Medicine, and all that. . . If Little Red Riding Hood is even half as funny as last year's pantomime, I should be in a much lighter mood by this afternoon.

5. Nevertheless, I'll keep at my List of To-Dos this morning, keeping myself active to stave off the Sads. . . doesn't always work, isn't always advisable, but sometimes a "fake it 'til you make it" approach does the trick. So let's see, what's next on this list? Oh, yes: Write a blog post for Five Things Friday. . . Well, done and dusted, right?

I had toyed with the notion of a retrospective post, looking back on my travels this year (Portland, Rome, Ottawa, Montreal, Rome again, Bordeaux, Paris, Berlin, Bayonne, Paris again!) but that task seemed a bit overwhelming. Ditto a post about the many changes this year has brought, selling our island home, moving to our small city apartment, finding and moving to our new (bigger) city apartment, beginning to make it a home. . . But seriously, I don't know how some bloggers find the energy or time for these Looking Back posts at this time of the season. I'm saving my strength for jumping that big hurdle into 2017 -- see you on the other side? And meanwhile, may I thank you, once again, for your regular presence here. As often as I debate abandoning the blog, I'm pulled back into commitment to it by your comments which are cherished, every one (well, excepting the very occasional Nasties). Wishing you all a very Happy New Year and looking forward to many more conversations with you throughout it. 

42 comments:

  1. There definitely is a post-Christmas slump as the excitement wears off and the hum drum returns along with the short gloomy day and long, long evenings. It is foggy here in Suffolk too! And ditto the thoughts of abandoning the blog, wondering why I do it and for whom? Apparently most of my readers are in the US which is interesting. Also Russia! Who? Why?

    As for retrospective posts, life moves on so fast it's hard to keep up with here and now, never mind collate what has happened. So many posts not written my end...

    Happy 2017 Frances and hope you will enjoy settling into your new home xx

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    1. Happy 2017 to you Marianne, and thanks for letting me know I'm not the only one facing a bit of gloom among the glitter.
      I'm glad you haven't abandoned the blog, but again, appreciate the company in thinking about it -- even if just for the occasional sailing jaunts we get to accompany you on, I hope you keep mustering the energy and enthusiasm. There's something that keeps us going, whatever it might be ;-)

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  2. Happy New Year Frances! All the best (like a real wish and not just a phrase :-))!
    I'm working on being good enough and happy,not the perfect one,living the life!
    And,yes,I still like to write a few paper Christmas cards!
    Happy New Year to our community here!

    Dottoressa

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    1. That's a very good project to take on for the year, for always. . . Good and happy enough, let's leave perfection for later!

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  3. So many trips! My goodness you have had a super busy year...no wonder you are on a wee bit of a roller coaster emotionally, that and your move all contribute to your fragility.
    Is your pen a "fountain" pen? I used to love writing with one and I had a peacock blue ink cartridge...it was a Shaeffer pen, not expensive but it is long gone.
    Best wishes for the New Year Frances.

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    1. There were so many trips -- I was a bit taken aback when I began listing them.
      It's a ballpoint pen, and I would have been quite happy with a Sheaffer, but he bought me a Montblanc (I do hope I hang on to it -- I worry it might go the way of yours. . .)
      Happy New Year to you as well, L

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  4. Yes to time outside (especially if a bit of sun can be found) and time with family. And yes to the days growing incrementally longer. I've received a few letters recently--yes, handwritten, via the postal service!--and was so pleased, and touched actually by the experience, that I'm motivated to do a bit of letter-writing myself. No letters yet, but I've send a little pile of newsy postcards. Here's to a happy new year--

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    1. Postcards are a really good option, and I realise that I've amassed a small arsenal over the years, so I'm going to try to get those in the post as well. Fun to send, fun to receive, I hope.
      Hope your new year has started well.

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  5. that Monday morningish feeling, reality check, back to the To Do list that can't be avoided - makes me feel a bit uneasy.
    Tomorrow I will be (happily) busy in the garden.

    Later, much later, when you feel settled in - then it will be interesting to read about you reflecting on moving.

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    1. Puttering or even working hard in the garden -- such a good way to get back to equilibrium.
      Yes, I intend to post more reflections on moving. Definitely been thinking about it.

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  6. I always feel a bit down around New Year's Eve. I hear that inner voice summing up the year that is ending and listing all the things I should have done... And that night I can simply feel time rushing on and on - and sometimes it frightens me a little. The feeling normally passes after a few days when everyday life takes over again. I sincerely hope it will be the same with you.

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    1. There is something about this time of year, isn't there? a combined sense of vulnerability and perhaps accountability. . . I suspect the lake is a wonderful antidote for you. Happy New Year!

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  7. I like the suspended feeling between Christmas and the New Year. Epact? I'm not sure that's exactly right. I should look it up. But it feels like a balancing. We had a big snow storm the night of the 25th and that along with mild-ish temperatures makes things quiet (i.e. it muffles sound).

    Happy New Year to all.

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    1. Hmmm, I just looked up that word, and it doesn't seem quite to cover what you're describing, but I generally quite like those days as well. A few things going on with weather, our move, family, etc., that have challenged the sense of rhythm I usually enjoy at this time (and perhaps I'm finally beginning to sense the difference retirement makes?). Enjoy the quiet, Happy New Year!

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  8. I hope the panto worked its magic and that 2017 will see you settling comfortably into the flat and that lovely terrace , enjoying the grandchildren and finding time to sketch more .
    And relaxing . Happy New Year !

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    1. Gloom can't survive a panto, not a chance!
      ;-)

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  9. Wishing you the best of health and happiness in 2017. Know that your blog is anticipated and enjoyed. Jules

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    1. Thanks you very much, Jules. I love to hear that about my blog!

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  10. Nothing like foggy weather to put a downer on the spirits. Your running I'm sure is the perfect antidote and those wonderful skyline photos. No doubt once Christmas is packed away and a new year has dawned your batteries will recharge and feel better. Here's wishing you every happiness in 2017. B x

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    1. Thanks B, It's been a joy getting to know you through social media this past year.

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  11. The huge commercial fuss around Christmas can drag me down rather but some traditions are very cheering in the deep dark days extending into the new year . I love a 'proper' Christmas tree , especially the smell . Everyone I know sends cards , many with little notes - often adding news of the latest grandchild now . The comparatively new tradition here of outdoor lights lifts my spirits as we travel around too . We always buy small presents like books or food treats for each other , nothing extravagant . The best part is meeting up with family ,friends & neighbours .People are so busy but we all make more effort at Christmas . I always dread it looming but then find it enjoyable & the dark winter would be dreary without it . Love that red granddaughter hair .
    Wendy in York

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    1. It's true -- there's much to lift the spirits at Christmas. In some ways, that makes it harder when the lifting doesn't happen, but we've had much good fortune and by next year here, we'll be even more settled.
      Isn't her red hair great? ;-)

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  12. Really look forward to your photos and posts. You have a wonderful spirit. Being in the US I actually DON'T look forward to the next four years and cringe at January 20th. Such a downer for me to say all this but it's true. Personally I mean to dig in to a 10 year plan so that by 80 I will still be a spritely spirit. Much love and good wishes to you and your family. Thanks for sharing your life and your thoughts with us all. XO Sally

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    1. I love it! "Spritely spirit at 80" -- such a good goal

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  13. You have had a busy year and even pleasurable events are taxing. Monsieur's sister and niece just left Puerto Vallarta for Calgary this morning. I'm doing laundry
    and contemplating my telephone calls home. Returning to less than ideal weather
    is not inspiring but I have book club the second day and some friends to visit. Perhaps the Trump inauguration will be a non-event like Y2K or the Mayan calendar thing. It is hard to know what the next year will bring and I don't enjoy transitions. Best wishes for crossing the hurdle.

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    1. Thanks Mme. You're right that the weather here has been chilly and we've had a few bouts of slushy snow -- but this week will be sunny and the mountains are sparkling with the fresh powder. You'll just need to bundle up! ;-)

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  14. Happy New Year, Frances. So many changes great and small have come your way that it must seem a bit overwhelming. The events you have planned for the next few days sound life affirming. Me, I am curling up with "Butter: A Rich History," a Christmas present, planning fondue with good bread and a dry riesling tonight, and then getting back to life sans bread and butter for a few weeks!

    I love sending handwritten notes; my mother's example of sending little notes to her children and grandchildren often with a magazine or newspaper clipping inside because the article was something she thought would appeal, has stayed with me. Brenda.

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    1. Thanks Brenda! I'll Google that title as soon as I'm done here -- sounds, um, delicious! As does fondue -- the perfect NYE meal, if only we hadn't given away our 70s fondue set.
      I'm tucking away that idea of tucking in an article or clipping with a letter. Your mother sounds a marvel, so many good examples she's set...

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  15. There is so much hype and pressure to be happy at this time of year. And I have turned off radio and moved away from internet news, left unread the sections of the paper that sum up the year and make predictions for the next. But what I love is the time after Christmas and New Year. The slow, calm, peaceful days of January, where nothing glitters or flashes and nothing very much happens. Only the growing light, day by day, and the slow upward turn of the year.
    I have loved discovering your blog and Instagram this year. Wishing you a Happy New Year when it comes.

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    1. Thanks, Linda, I've enjoyed becoming Social Media friends this year, and I hope we might meet IRL someday -- in Bordeaux, perhaps, or Scotland....
      Yes, this expanse of January quiet is what I'm sinking into now... "slow, calm, peaceful days". . .

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  16. Happy New Year Frances, to you and Paul and your family...just over an hour to go, here in Switzerland. ..A few hours more for you I realise :)
    Here's hoping that 2017 is a very happy and healthy year for all of us :)
    Enjoy your New Year Celebrations!
    Rosie

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    1. Switzerand seems such a good place to welcome the NY -- hope it was all you expected!

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  17. Happy New Year to you and yours! May 2017 be a good year for all.

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  18. Thank you, again, for adding so much to my 2016 through your thoughtful musings on this blog and your sharing your French watercolor class with A.Watt. I'm hoping to fly up from Los Angeles to take one of her classes in March. A Blessed New Year, Frances! Charlene H.

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    1. You're very welcome, Charlene -- It's a pleasure knowing I helped with that connection, that wonderful experience in your life.

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  19. Someone is going to be delighted by a hand-written note! They are true treasures now, and even some Christmas letters I've received by post are computer-written.
    I hope a lightening comes very soon. 2016, with that much change, is bound to deplete even though many aspects are exciting.

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    1. Thanks, K. And yes, I'm going to make the lightening happen -- some deliberate foot-dragging will have to take place 'round these parts . . .

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  20. Definitely much to be said about the embodiment of the handwritten missive casts a strange spell down the decades.

    I understand - I imagine we all do - that there are occasions when your blogging muse might seem to have wandered off but please how many friends are happy to wait to catch up with your news.

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    1. Thanks for the understanding and the encouragement, Ceri. Makes such a difference having readers, friends such as yoursef.

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  21. Happy 2017 - my promise to myself to be more positive and upbeat is already a challenge Day 2, but that just means I have time to perfect it.

    Re "real mail" I started sending post cards and letters to the grandson 6 (!) years ago when we discovered how much he enjoyed them....the content has evolved to include especially funny comic strips, etc, and sometimes I consider tapering off but then he will comment positively on a recent mailing and I don't. It helps me feel closer too!

    You of course have many more grands.....lucky you!

    ceci

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    1. I like your opening -- yes, we have a whole year (and the rest of our lives!) to perfect our positive, upbeat selves!
      It's lovely that your grandson minds the absence of the mail, treasures the tradition. My two oldest, the ones most likely to appreciate mail, now live only a few blocks away, yet I'm thinking they might still enjoy the occasional card. The others are still too young to appreciate the practice much, but soon. . . (and yes, I'm lucky to have five, so lucky!)

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I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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