The Christmas decorations are stowed in the garage, the last decorated cookie has been eaten and the radio stations have stopped playing Christmas music. It's 2023 and I'm suffering from my usual case of the winter blahs. It doesn't feel like winter here in North Texas, with temperatures staying in the 60s and even 70s. We had one cold snap when the temps dipped to 10 or 11, so I brought in my patio plants and my daughter Hannah and I draped a couple old sheets over my perennials. Alas, I think a few of them didn't make it, but I'll trim them back and hope for a miracle.
The trees have lost all their leaves, except for the live oaks common to this area. We haven't received much moisture recently and all the lawns are brown. All in all, a rather depressing look, but the sun is shining today, so I'll take that. One of my orchids has burst into yellow blooms, which is cheerful. I'll make my usual January trek to purchase some new plants for the entry and my office.
I got out one of my favorite 1,000-piece puzzles, a cover from The New Yorker magazine published in 1943 and have been working on that while my husband is watching what seem to be endless football games. The illustration shows a young woman on a bicycle with a Christmas tree astride the bike. She's wearing goggles and a small black dog is running ahead of her. In the background is a country market with a display of apples in front. Two people are chatting near the Christmas tree display.
I'm still searching for some freelance writing opportunities to relieve the boredom of this time of year and perhaps earn a few bucks. I've continued with the My Life, My Story project of the Veteran's Administration. I interview veterans who have volunteered for the project, learning about their time in the service and life afterward, as well as the care they have received from the VA. It's always very interesting. Then I write their story as if they are telling it themselves and submit. A coordinator from the VA goes over the story with the veteran, making any necessary changes and corrections. It's attached to their medical record so that doctors, nurses and other caregivers can get a better picture of their patient. I've very much enjoyed this project.
With the holiday school break over, I've resumed getting Noah from the athletic center he goes to after school, giving him a snack and dropping him off at the martial arts class just around the corner where he is learning Taekwondo. He recently earned his green belt, quite an accomplishment for an 8-year-old! He still loves to stay overnight with us and is often dropped at our house for breakfast and school drop-off on days when Mom is headed downtown for work.
Life is good. I appreciate everything we have, especially the closeness of our daughters and their families. Despite a few healthcare hiccups in the past year, things are now going well for both of us. Happy New Year to all!
I'm Chris Barabasz, retired from a 35-year career managing communications for health care development (that's fundraising for you civilians). I'm a wife, mother, grandmother and freelance writer. My husband Andy and I moved from Delaware to Texas to be closer to our daughters and three adorable grandchildren.