Christmas 2009

Dear Friends and Family,

As beautiful and heartwarming Christmas cards from those we love pour into our mailbox this time of year, my children look at me with recrimination in their eyes and ask, “Where is our Christmas card?”

Kids Christmas 2009

So, here goes:

The year 2009 was crazy hectic but truly wonderful for the Russo family.

In August, Joe achieved a lifelong dream by opening his own optometry practice, Attleboro Vision Care Associates, at 550 North Main Street in Attleboro. He is very happy with his new practice and I think he is clever for giving it a name that starts with A. He is easily found in the Yellow Pages. I work part time as a writer for our local newspaper and a substitute teacher for our local school system. I like to keep things local.

Elsie Christmas 2009

Elsie celebrated her 16th birthday by traveling to England, France, and Scotland on a trip with her mother, grandmother, and aunt, but not her suitcase. The loss of her belongings and an allergic reaction to salad dressing on the Eurorail notwithstanding, Elsie says she had a wonderful time.  This year, Elsie performed in High School Musical with the Bradley Playhouse in Putnam, Conn. and Monty Python’s Quest for the Holy Grail with Swamp Meadow Community Theatre.

Nick Christmas 2009.jpg

 

Nick is 13 and in the 8th grade.  In the summer, Nick spends a week at Boy Scout camp where he swims, camps, hikes, and shows off his mother’s pathetic sewing skills on his Class A uniform and merit badge sash. He runs really fast and likes hitting things with bats, so we signed him up for the cross country team and baseball team at Scituate Middle School.

 

Ben Christmas 2009

Ben, age 10 and in the 4th grade, also likes to hit things, so he too plays baseball. He also plays competitive basketball and soccer in expensive uniforms that have his last name written on the back. He joined Elsie in The Quest for the Holy Grail production as the iconic Killer Rabbit. Make no mistake, he’s not just a harmless bunny.

 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Love, Kristin and Joe, Elsie, Nick and Ben

I’m Back!

I’m back with exciting news! I finally surrendered to the notion that I will never remember my WordPress password and decided to reset it. I can now log in and post new posts. I have found my way back home.

Like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, I always had the power to do this, but I put it off. Oh, yes, that’s a thing I will do, I would say while I busied myself not doing it. I will revisit my blog and raspberries3connect it to my new website and keep writing about the things that happen day-to-day. The raspberries are ripening. The dogs are growing older (but seemingly no wiser). The kids are moving on. I have much to say about all of this. Why did finding my way back to the spot where I say it take so long? I’m not sure. Why do many seemingly simple things take so long?

Perhaps because I’m too spent from doing the hard things. I’ll get to it, I tell myself, right after I climb down from this mountain. But there always seems to be another mountain. My mountains are work deadlines (Who doesn’t have these? No excuse!); anxiety and delight for the people I love who were once tiny humans but now have their own lives (two quite far away); the need to clear and reorganize the basement and closets of 18 years worth of living; the time to repaint faded walls and replant the flower garden; the desire to sit and be and remember. Remember important things, like my WordPress password.

My mountains are worthy mountains all, but they have not kept me away for good. I’m back. I’ve found that even forgotten things can be reset, and I can keep going.

 

My New World of Hygge

It’s been about a week since my girrl headed out into the world into parts unknown, and by parts unknown I mean Italy, which has Wifi and other modern conveniences like FaceTime and WhatsApp. She has used these modern conveniences to post pictures of the charming medieval village where she lives: the gorgeous architecture, the cobblestone streets. So, we’ve been in touch and it turns out she’s okay. Happy even. Who saw that coming?

I have decided to follow her example and experiment with new life philosophy. This week I’ve chosen the Danish concept of Hygge, which, loosely translated, means that I should be 100 percent comfortable 100 percent of the time.

Luckily, this has been easily accomplished. I have simply gone out into the woodland garden and created spaces where I can lose myself in complete comfort. I have cleared brambles from beneath a blueberry tree to create a spot for my morning coffee.

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I’ve moved stones (sorry for the thunderstorms) to plant roses to enjoy while I take my mid-morning tea.

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I have enjoyed reading time (which may or may not have turned into nap time) here.

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Or sometimes I switch things up and do some reading or restful contemplating here. Though Hygge advocates for the comfortably familiar, I want to be careful not to get too complacent. (Or maybe that’s missing the point. I don’t know. I’m new at this.)

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My late afternoon coffee is taken here, near my way-in-the-back vegetable garden, so I can meditate and tell the deer not to eat my spinach.

 

Or sometimes here, for a better view of the roses.

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Late-night chamomile tea, taken to offset the late afternoon coffee, is enjoyed outdoors under the stars and the moonlight, which is not crazy at all, no matter what people say.

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I’ve also made some lovely new friends, who also speak a language that I don’t understand.

In short, I have stopped at nothing to create a world in which I am always comfortable, all the time. I believe the complete and total physical comfort promised by Hygge is a worthy goal, and if I have to suffer poison ivy rashes, insect bites, burns, bumps and bruises to get it, then I’ll do what I have to do.

So you see? Though my girrl is far away, she’s still inspiring me. I’ve embraced a different culture and a new way of life right here in my very own back yard, thanks to her ambition and boldness.

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By the way, I’ve found Hygge to be exhausting. Next week I’ll try something else.

If I Could Talk to 2-Year-Old Me…

A young but wise beyond my years 2-year-old me.
   A young but wise beyond my years 2-year-old me.

This is a picture of a 2-year-old me holding my very best friend, the doll I got for my birthday and named Baby Hat. I know it’s not possible, but if I could talk to 2-year-old me, this is what I would say:

You are not going to grow much taller than you are right now.

See that black-and-white TV on your right? Laugh at it. In 25 years, you’ll understand why.

Keep that silly pink hat on your head. You are going to need it to cover a horrible perm when you’re in the 7th grade.

You will never learn to cook.

Baby Hat is not a bad start, but you are going to get much better at naming babies.

BLOG Kristin jr highThis is what you are going to look like in junior high school, but like all painful things, it, too, shall pass.

You are going to marry the man of your dreams and live happily ever after.

You should take care of your skin.

I already know that you’re not going to, but don’t worry about it. When you start to wrinkle, your eyesight will fade, and it will all be good.

You will travel the world wide, but you will always love home the best.

You will survive childbirth, a car crash, and your first year of teaching, but wisely, you will never submit to having a root canal.

People will think you are weird, and they will be right. It’s okay, because all of your favorite people will be weird, too.

Put your head down and go.

Do the hard thing first.

Chocolate loves you.

You won’t remember anything I’m telling you, because you’re only two and do not have a memory bank yet, so you’re going to have to figure all of this out on your own. But don’t worry, you will.

This is what Baby Hat and I look like today. I am not sure to whom time was kinder, but it doesn't matter as long as we still have each other. We are nothing if not loyal.
This is what Baby Hat and I look like today. I am not sure to whom time has been kinder, but it doesn’t matter as long as we still have each other. We are nothing if not loyal.