Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Thursday Thirteen #290

Thirteen words to choose for 2023. It's a popular concept: choosing a word to represent you for the coming year. It's the word that says what you're looking for and helps you focus on achieving it in ways big and small. 
Here are 13 thought starters in the quest of the right word ...

1. Thrive

2. Brave

3. Confident

4. Grateful*

5. Blessed

6. Forgive

7. Compassion*

8. Bloom

9. Grace

10. Passion

11. Resilient

12. Grow

13. Create

*Grateful and Compassion have been my "word" in the past. So have More, Now and Focus. I have each of these words on necklaces that I rotate. Instead of choosing a new word for 2023, I'm revisiting these.

What about you?  What single word best represents what you want, need and wish for in 2023?

Please join us for THURSDAY THIRTEEN. Click here to play along, and to see other interesting compilations of 13 things.



WWW. WEDNESDAY asks three questions to prompt you to speak bookishly. To participate, and to see how other book lovers responded, click here.  

PS I can no longer participate in WWW.WEDNESDAY via that link because her blog won't accept Blogger comments. I mention this only to save you the frustration I experienced trying to link up.

1. What are you currently reading? Elizabeth Taylor: the Grit and Glamour of an Icon by Kate Andersen Brower. More than 45 movies, five Academy Award nominations and three Oscars (one honorary for her humanitarian work). Millions of dollars in jewels, millions of dollars for AIDS research, millions of dollars in her perfume company. Eight marriages to seven men. Four children and 10 grandchildren. No one has lived a life like Liz'. She was a force of nature.
This book was instigated by Husband #7, the late Sen. John Warner because he was frustrated by the chasm between her public persona and the woman he knew. And so Kate Andersen Brower had access to Taylor's private papers, remaining friends and family members that other biographers haven't.
So far I haven't learned anything new. But damn, this book is fun.

2. What did you recently finish reading? Dachsund Through the Snow by David Rosenfelt. Lawyer Andy Carpenter is independently wealthy and only handles cases that appeal to him. In this book, he takes two: In the first he advocates for the retirement of a police dog and in the second he represents an accused murderer. An accused murderer with a little boy and a cute dachshund named Murphy. Andy wants that dad to start the new year home with his son and dog.

The mystery was involving and had a twist at the end I truly didn't see coming. Plus I adore Andy Carpenter and who doesn't like dogs? I just wish it was more authentically Christmas-y. The holiday overlay felt forced. The suspect is arrested in November, just before Thanksgiving. It's unreasonable to expect a murder suspect to be arraigned and a trial to be launched and completed by early January. 
3. What will read next? I don't know.



Bah! Humbug!

I got home from church on Christmas Eve and immediately had my holiday buzz harshed. There it was: my sixth (6th!) jury summons. Just in time for Christmas.

I am patriotic. I was a Girl Scout. My minister just reminded us of duty and service. I was quite open to being a juror.

It's just that I have been assigned to a courthouse that is virtually impossible for me to get to via public transportation. I'd have to take one train into the city, wait about 40 minutes and take a connecting train to a suburban stop, and then take a 17 minute walk to the courthouse. That's 2 1/2 hours each way. Or I could take a $30 Uber. That's $30 each way.

Cook County has, I believe, eight circuit court locations. Three are easily accessible by train. One more wouldn't be too great a hassle. Yet the computer randomly assigned me to the courthouse farthest away.

I followed the directions on the summons and explained in writing (I can't call) that:

•  I don't drive, and worrying about public transportation that includes a connection and a 17 minute walk in unpredictable January weather is causing me great stress (I printed out the Google Maps itinerary for them)

•  I am a retiree on a fixed income and the rideshare cost is prohibitive

I sent all this via UPS, signature required, so that I don't get held in contempt of court if my envelope gets lost. That cost $18. I resent this expense.

You know what else I resent? I had lunch with my friend Elaine yesterday. She's been a Cook County resident and registered voter for more than 40 years. She has never been called. My kid sister is a lifelong Cook County resident and a registered voter for more than 30 years. She has been called once. I could go on and on, listing friends and acquaintances who have either been called once or not at all.

This is my sixth jury summons.

I wish I had this kind of luck with the Illinois State Lottery.


Good for my soul

It was really cold here on Christmas. The mercury languished in the single digits almost all day. Between the winter storm and the flu outbreak, my minister decided to make all three Christmas services* available online. I was tempted to stay home and worship in my pajamas. It's just ...

Somehow it felt important to attend in person. I'm here, not in Key West with Henry. There's a reason for that, though only God knows what it is. This Christmas has sharpened my feelings of loneliness and loss: I miss my late mother, I miss my favorite uncle, I miss Henry, who has dementia, so he's still here but not.

Christmas and New Year's ... Jesus' birth and the dawn of 2023. It feels like this is the last Christmas season of my old life. That my new life has yet to begin. I need help adapting to this new life. I can find that help in my church. Not just church. My church.

I don't go to church for the sense of community. Beyond emails about congregations matters, I don't communicate with my fellow churchgoers. I don't attend services there to socialize. I go to focus and and learn and heal.

So wearing a blouse and my heavy black cardigan and a scarf and my biggest and puffiest down coat and my wool socks and my boots I walked around the corner and went to my church for the Christmas Eve service. 

It was the best choice! Zoom would not have been the same. I needed the purity and concentration that can only be experienced in person. Singing along with "O, Come All Ye Faithful, "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing," and "Joy to the World" helped me get my mind right. And my minister! I felt like she was speaking just to me.

She's not our official minister, but she's been with us for more than a year as we search for a new minister. I wish she would stay, because for me, she's perfect: imaginative and challenging. 

She acknowledged that Christmas can be loaded for some of us. That not everyone is feeling merry. That memories tug at our hearts and expectations can go unmet. She was funny and charming and empathetic. She read The Advent Poem about Christmas in the modern world. I laughed out loud at these lines:

I want to welcome angels and say yes to anything, but if I saw an angel I would hold him hostage and send a ransom note demanding answers, to God.

I admit that's been so me lately! I believe everything happens for a reason, that God knows the reason, that He is driving the bus. Still, I'm frustrated because so much has been going on and I can't figure out why. My faith is not shaken, but my patience has been.

Just hearing her address it, and in the House of God, made all the difference. I'm not alone in this. My minister gets me. I can find comfort and understanding, if not answers, in my spiritual home.

We ended with "Silent Night." I slipped out into the frigid night feeling lighter and more grateful.

 *Two on Christmas Eve, one on Christmas Day