Out with the Old, in with the New

9 Jan

Out with the Old, in with the New

It is over. Christmas passed by, and here we are already into the New Year of 2019. Now, Twelfth Night is done and it is beginning to be a little bit lighter each day.

Taking it all down, putting it all away, starting a new fresh year, even while trudging up to the attic and down to the basement, getting things out of the way. It is a bit ironic. Start fresh, but not for a few days. Right now, much of the house is clear of decorations, but the dining room table is full of every thing taken from the other rooms. These decorations in my mother’s house are sometimes as old as I am. Some of them are from my earliest childhood. I wish I knew their stories. Where did those Art Deco angels come from? A whole choir of them sit in the window near the front door. When I was very little, they sang on the dining room table. They are reassuring to me. Time passes, but some things remain the same.

Fresh starts are marvelous. We can always start fresh. But, the New Year makes a logical place to begin anew. And since I am not as fastidious and neat as my mother, I need excuses. My latest book has been languishing as a rather boring first draft, since October. I have not touched it since then. But NOW, I am ready. It is time to add the meat and the spice to that first effort. It is something like cooking from scratch. The first draft is a rich, but bland soup stock. It is sitting, simmering, ready to be changed into something much more interesting and tasty to read. There are many lessons to be learned in the book, but they are subtle. They don’t shout about their benefits. You could call them the meat of the soup.

Next comes the spice. The fun stuff, some gossip, some speculation, and some outright shocking stories that may, or may not, be family stories, or those of close friends.The question always is; “How much do I want to upset my family?” How much spice shall I add? The spice is the best part, in my opinion. But, there is more to the soup than meat and spice.

There are the veggies, these are good for you and useful. Like life tips gained from living a full life, and surviving. Younger readers might gain an insight here or there and older readers may identify. They need to be part of the story, whether it is anyone’s favorite part or not. I am good at mixing things together to make a delicious stew or soup. I am betting that the end result will be fun to read, informative and in the very best cases, life changing.

Of course I suppose that is what every writer craves to hear. “You changed my life.!” Those words are magic. Magic for me, as well as the speaker. And it has happened to me before. That is why I know how exciting it is to hear them.

Back when my entire focus was on childbirth, I was able to really help some women empower themselves. They were hungry for some support in their beliefs about giving birth. I was right there, with as much information as they were ready for. And in some cases they heard me and they took action. Those are the ones who later told me what I wanted so much to hear. They told me that if it were not for my council they would not have dared change doctors, or hospital or they would never have dared hire a midwife. Not everyone needed that knowledge, but for those wanted it, I was available with books and contacts and my own story of empowerment. Those were happy times.

Now, I am a different sort of “pregnant” and getting ready to birth a book. A book about my life and it’s transformation over the last 4 years from desperately unhappy, to a joyful existence in the same place, with the same cast of characters that made me miserable before. Now every day is a good day. I want to share that journey with others.

Copyright©.  2018 Bonnie B. Matheson

Happy New Year 2019

31 Dec

Happy New Year 2019

My favorite day of the whole year, the day after Christmas tops them all. Perhaps it is only an illusion, but this day seems to be such a clean and fresh 24 hours. It is a reward for the frenetic pace that we are forced to keep right up until Christmas day, sometimes long after midnight, at the finish of Christmas Eve.

As the mother of 5 and a real “Christmas lover” I threw myself into holiday preparations with my whole heart. It was an enormous undertaking, and no one else was really able to help me. Later I had helpers for wrapping presents and cooking meals, but in the beginning I did everything. All the time, visions of sugar plumbs danced in my head. I always had a mental image of what I thought should be the “Picture” of a happy family day. It was all Norman Rockwell family happiness, but with a great deal of money spent to make it fall together. And of course no one else besides myself knew what was involved in my vision of the entire holiday package.

In my imagination everyone was happy and grateful. In these visions, everyone was in the mood for Christmas and all the trimmings. Yes, the reality was less romantic. Over the years many things interfered with the sweet images in my head. There were bills, often big ones. Nature combined with power outages, from snow or wind storms which stole my peace of mind. Other mishaps or missed packages, sick horses or dogs, more than once the Christmas tree fell over, but all was patched up and righted. And of course there were family squabbles and hurt feelings. Awkward, family relationships and unequal family situations. All this was made worse by the fact that no one else shared my personal idea of what should be happening. The beautiful image was only in my head. However as my children grew the image began to be shared by them. That made me so happy. I loved the fact that they knew our family traditions and helped perpetuate them. They knew where the Santa was supposed to go, which mantle held the Lladro angels, when this decoration or that one, was bought, made or given and the story behind each of them. They arranged the Christmas Creche and cherished each piece, putting the baby Jesus in last.

And Christmas was a happy time for my family. Not perfect, but happy. Some memorable things have happened on Christmas Day in our history. The last day of alcohol for one, the birth of a grand-baby on Christmas Eve, and even one on the day BEFORE Christmas Eve, and later a baby that waited until December 30th to be born, the first day of all sorts of resolutions and prayers for the future marks it as fruitful. One year I gave a horse as a present to my husband, one year a pony to a daughter, and on two Christmases that I remember I received puppies from my family. Serena and Lord Byron many years apart but among the great loves of my life, thank you my dear children and Charley. Christmas has been magnificent.

But now I am more than 3/4 of a century old. Christmas is more for my children and grandchildren than ever before. I feel like an observer, rather than a participant. And it is restful to have done such a good job for so many years. Now I can watch my family with their own traditions, incorporate some of ours.

Now hearing the worlds Peace on Earth and Good Will towards Men resonates on a different level. This year 2018 has been a very intense year for this country and the world. It has been eventful for me and my family, as well. Over all it has been a very important and beneficial year. I wish the same for everyone out there. Happy New Year! 2019

Copyright©.  2018 Bonnie B. Matheson

Dinner at DeCarlos

13 Dec

We eat at DeCarlos all the time. It is a wonderful restaurant for local people. We love to go there because we feel completely comfortable. Low lighting and no steps to enter the place make it easy for anyone using a walker or a wheelchair.  The parking is easy, too.  There are a whole lot of neighbors who use DeCarlos as their “go to” dinner spot.  And it is to their credit, that the waiters learn what drinks their regular patrons prefer.  They pride themselves on getting those drinks on the table, while the guests are still settling themselves into their chairs.

It is quiet because the tables are covered with table clothes, often two deep.  There is carpet on the floor and acoustical tile on the ceiling. The place is a lot bigger than it looks. It can seat something like a couple of hundred diners, in a night. Usually, it is NOT that crowded.  That is part of its charm.  Guests often feel like they are among the ‘few’ customers, in any given night.  But actually, the place has a lot more diners than are obvious at a glance.  There are several private rooms and alcoves and booths. Even if you sit out in the middle of the front room,  you can not really tell how full the place is.

We love going there. My 100 year old mother feels comfortable and cared for by the staff.  When they see she is coming in to the restaurant, the manager immediately grabs two pillows to put in her chair.  This is especially for her because she likes to move out of her wheelchair and sit in a regular chair. Almost every table seems to have at least one patron in a wheelchair, with a walker or at the very least with a cane.  There was a period a couple of years ago, when I was in a wheelchair, due to a broken ankle/leg and my mother was using a walker.  We were able to do just fine there, because it is so accommodating.The Italian cuisine is delicious and augmented with specials, which change daily.  They have wonderful things such as a whole steamed artichoke. This makes a low calorie, but delightful one dish meal when I am cutting calories. They usually have calves liver and bacon, which is “soul food” to me. The owner, Lucy DeCarlo runs a tight ship.  She is personable and friendly and often greets her guests in person.

The place which is located on Yuma Street behind the Spring Valley Shopping Center, is wonderfully near to our house. It requires little effort to go there.  The moment we walk in, we feel peace and familiarity.  I recommend it for those who may be physically impaired.

I often go there for lunch with a friend.  It even has a bar where one can sit and have drinks or a light meal.  This is the perfect neighborhood meeting place for enjoyable dining experience.  Don’t miss DeCarlos, if you are in North West Washington D. C. and feeling hungry. You won’t be disappointed.

Copyright©.  2018 Bonnie B. Matheson

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