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The Clock Ticks

Time with family
Precious and too limited
By our busy lives

I think of it as a hazard of modern life, this overbooking, overlapping, overscheduling, but perhaps it’s always been a challenge to fit in a social life.

Facebook is super for helping me stay up to date with people, one post at a time, but sometimes I want more than that.

“Let’s do lunch”, I write in Christmas cards and a year late I write it again, with no lunch date in between.

That’s no good.

The only thing that works, I’ve found, is to regularly schedule events, i.e. “the last Wednesday of every month”, etc. Or to start scheduling a get-together several months out.

Some cousins and I take at least two months to find a date that will fit us all and that date is usually two more months off! Still, it’s a way to ensure we see each other now and then. (And writing this is reminding me, it’s past time to begin planning our next brunch.)

When I was in 5th grade, our teacher told us, “Every year of your life will go faster” and I remember thinking that couldn’t possibly be true.  But, of course, it is.

So let’s pull up our calendars right this minute, to book some time with someone special. There’s not a moment to lose!

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During these few fleeting months of fine weather, I always make a point of getting away from my desk and out into the sunshine on lunch.  Well, in today’s case, I made a point of getting out under the overcast sky, which in a way was even nicer.

There’s nothing very scenic near where I work, but there are some railroad tracks to wander along and a stretch of empty field, full of the nodding heads of Queen Anne’s lace and grass tall enough to sway in the breeze.  That’s enough for me.

For the time it takes to make a circle tour, I could be enjoying a day off–meandering anywhere, pondering a story, thinking about a cup of coffee, making a to-do list in my head.  Never mind I’m only do some of those things and must get back to work in a few minutes.

Just this morning I read an article about meditative walking on one’s lunch break and, as is often the case, my first thought was “I could have written this!”  It was fun, though, to read someone else’s take on stepping away from work,  and into the world for twenty minutes.  That’s exactly what I did today–and I spent the other ten minutes of my lunch break writing about it, saving the everyday moment forever, right here.

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My Christmas Card

The gifts are all purchased

I spent hours wrapping

While the cats lounged on sofas

Long-winter napping

 

I watched Christmas movies

One after the next

While scanning my list

The boxes—all checks!

 

Now I sit with my feet up

Chocolate in one hand

And watch Christmas peace settle

All over the land

 

 There may not be snow

(That’s a plus, in my book)

But the lights and the glitter

Bring a warm Christmas look

 

 Every tree decked with baubles

Every village aglow

Send my holiday wishes,

Wrapped up in a bow

 

Happy Holidays, Everyone!

 

 

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(Published in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel December 24, 2014)

When I was a girl and already had a well-developed sweet tooth, Christmas brought an extra treat — chocolate candy from the Quality Candy store at Packard Plaza in Cudahy.

We always had tiny Santas, wrapped in colorful foil, and little round ornaments in equally dazzling wrappers. It was a challenge to unwrap the Santa without tearing the foil. Then, if you were a reader like me, you could spread the foil out flat and use it as a bookmark in one of the new books under the tree.

To this day, I use Grandma’s poinsettia candy dish to hold my Quality Candy Christmas chocolate. Of course, the company is called Buddy Squirrel now, and the Santas and ornaments have morphed into toy soldiers and gift boxes.

No matter. When I (carefully) unwrap them, the familiar and wonderful scent of that chocolate fills the air around me — and Christmas is here once more.

Kate Fellowes

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Over the summer, I took a class on writing and enjoying poetry. The emphasis was on finding ways to bring poetry into everyday life. Our instructor, the always-inspiring Jo McReynolds Blochowiak, suggested we read a poem every day and write some poetry of our own each day, as well. Haiku, three lines, seventeen syllables, are wonderful. What can you say and how can you say it in such a short, Twittery fashion?
Well, I’ve been trying lately and now find myself thinking up a sort of “My life in Haiku” nearly every morning. I’m posting them on Twitter and can’t help wondering if anyone else will try the experiment, writing their own poetry Twitter posts. I hope so.
Here’s one effort, from a walk by Lake Michigan:
While out on a walk
Butterflies on the asters
Colors of the fall

And here’s the one I’ll post today, combining my poetry-writing goal with my writer-outreach goal:
Come, friend, to Facebook
I’m at “Kate Fellowes, Author”
Try to write each day

Give it a whirl and see if you like being an everyday poet, too!

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End of summer

With the way one day follows the next, I was surprised to look at the calendar this week and notice it’s Labor Day weekend.  The end of summer.  The start of another school year and the intro to autumn.  I remember as a girl being so sad to see the end of long summer days at home, reading in the back yard (or on the front porch, or in my room, or…), swimming in the afternoon, ice cream sundaes in the evening.  All the things that make summer summer.  But it was also an exciting time, thinking about being back in the classroom, wearing a new school outfit from top to toe, carrying a new binder and notebook and brand new pencils with no teeth marks on them–yet! 

I must say, I still buy a new notebook every back-to-school season, and a few folders, too.  I wear new pencils behind my ear, when I’m working, until they end up with teeth marks, which indicate intense concentration, now as then.

Like everything in Life, there is happy combined with sad, now at the end of summer.  Anticipation of things to do in fall, regrets at the things I didn’t get around to over the summer.

I used to have a favorite season.  For a while it was spring, with all that promise.  And then, for even longer, it was autumn–cool and beautiful.  Now, I’m not sure I have a favorite any more, because each season–even quiet and breathtaking winter–contains reasons to take notice and celebrate.

“Look for the wonder and joy in a moment,” a dear friend told me long ago.  Those moments come all year.

Happy End of Summer!  Welcome to Autumn!

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So here we are two full weeks into the new year and for once I can say I’m making good on a few resolutions.  I’m an organizer, so I spent a heavenly day recently organizing all the notes and research I have for my current Work-in-Progress.  They’d managed to scatter themselves into several different folders and plenty of them were scraps of paper with a few words jotted on them.  I don’t think that is the way Nora Roberts or James Patterson work, do you?!  So I am happily anticipating a steady flow of forward momentum on the book.  It’s a mystery, this time, without a romantic interest–well, there is a bit of romantic interest, with the small town’s bad boy…..

Plus, I’m dusting off all my former interests which have gotten set aside, a trend I’ve noticed with a lot of people I talk to.  We all used to have hobbies, whether it’s knitting or painting, or who-knows-what, and now we rarely seem to get to them.  I’m cross-stitching a gift for a friend and won’t stop there!

What resolutions have you made?  How are they working out?  What hobby have you abandoned?  This is the year to return to those simple pleasures.  Happy 2013!

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