Welcome to my newsletter, Abbe’s Ruminations. I mull, contemplate, ponder – old and new experiences, finding what I call the joy and laughter of repetition or the abandonment to not knowing.
Imagine you are nine years old and love to dance. The sound of taps on the tips of your dancing shoes echoes rhythms of the music. Pirouettes have you spinning in circles. Pointed toes with high arches create a fluid extension from your toes to the head with wings fluttering through your graceful arms and lifted fingers.
The leotard plus the frills with the crinkly crinoline surrounded your waist. All this comes crashing down as your body changes. Suddenly the other little girls in your class stare. You are exposed. They have remained flat chested, innocent with their tiny frames.
I on the other hand have matured early. No costume can hide my curves—hips and breasts. No costume can hide the new sway in my lifts for I, still a child, danced inside the body of a women. Embarrassed, I asked my mother to help me coverup. Not adapt at sewing, and with no extra money to buy a more appropriate outfit, my mother declared I had outgrown dance lessons.
The joy came rushing back to me this month when I and my entire family attended the Nutcracker Ballet. Magical dreams of a young girl, just like I was when I first danced. Her care of a broken Nutcracker soldier—sets her and the audience off to foreign lands. I found my feet twitching to rise on the toes, my heart soaring with glee to see all the dancers perform the impossible.
My grandkids didn’t understand the story, but the regal costumes and dance lit up their imagination. Oh, to be young again. I’d fine my dancing shoes and venture out into the swirls of ecstasy. But newly arrived at the age of 70, I realize that my mature body, might have a hard time with the needed stamina.
The ballet reminded me of why we celebrate the winter with different customs. The Christmas tree with all its light and glitter are there to bring hope. Chanukah, the Jewish festival of lights, reminds us to endure dark times.
Now living in a new hometown, I decided to create unique ways to celebrate the winter months. I found a stained-glass towered church, when plugged in, light flickers through the bright colored panes. I’ve always seen candles as dangerous, but technology invented votive flameless candles run on batteries. They turn on at your designated time and turn off eight hours later synchronized with the setting of the early winter sun. A gift from my oldest daughter of a blown glass candle holder and a gift from youngest daughter of a hedgehog made from a pinecone—painted white, rounds out the ensemble. On the mantel, another set of white votive lights surround a small wooden Nutcracker. Their presence mirrors the warmth of the fireplace below.
Each evening my home glows. If the night isn’t cloudy the moon and stars shine in through the window. The early dark days are bright with the cosmos of winking loves who have come before. My inside display spreads wonder.
If you peer into my home, you might find me dancing to old carols and sentimental tunes. I’ve discovered a new to me song, Tim Minchin’s, White Wine in the Sun. The song encapsulates the holiday spirit without the cynicism.
Winter is my time to reflect and express the wonder once lost, the new sense of free spirit and possibilities. I believe in all ways to give honor to cultures and religions, that celebrate internal faith, joy, and sharing. I wish you a merry winter.
Thanks to www.Wordsmith.org and A.Word.A.Day with Anu Garg, I have received for the last twelve years in my in-box a “word” with pronunciation, meaning, etymology, and usage. I must confess that the words eek into my brain and sometimes into my stories. Here are two words that struck me as noteworthy:
PRONUNCIATION: (LYT yeer)
MEANING: noun: 1. A unit of length equal to the distance traveled by light in one year in a vacuum, about 5.88 trillion miles or 9.46 trillion km. 2. Very far, in distance or time.
ETYMOLOGY: From light, from Old English leoht + year, from Old English gear. Earliest documented use: 1888.
NOTES: A light-year is a unit of distance — there’s no such unit as a heavy-year (nor is there a dark-year). To get a light-year’s worth of frequent-flier miles you’d need to travel between New York and Moscow only a little over a billion times.
MEANING: noun: 1. A good deed. 2. A duty, obligation, or commandment.
ETYMOLOGY: From Hebrew mitzvah (commandment), from tziwwah (to command). Earliest documented use: 1723. Plural: mitzvahs or mitzvoth.
NOTES: The most familiar usage of the word may be in the terms bar mitzvah (literally, son of commandment, or of the age of commandment) and bat mitzvah (girl commandment). Jewish children are considered adults at the age of 13 (in some versions of Judaism, the age for girls is 12). This comes with rights and responsibilities. The bar and bat mitzvahs are observed with rituals, ceremonies, and celebrations.
You are blessed with a great mitzvah and good luck. Your son traveled a light-year in his ramshackle of a car, through wind and snowstorms to arrive just in time for your performance. He brought with him the glow of joy and happiness for your success.
The Supreme Ethical Rule: Act so as to elicit the best in others and thereby in thyself.-Felix Adler, professor, lecturer, and reformer (13 Aug 1851-1933)
Fatigue is the best pillow.-Benjamin Franklin, statesman, author, and inventor (17 Jan 1706-1790)
I confess that it has taken me over 125 pages to understand more of Sealy’s life. I’m pulling together all the threads and wrote the first big reveal. I feel like Agatha Christie or better yet, Poirot, when the pieces of characters’ lives begin to make sense. The final chapters will pull together side story lines. Sealy is my first mystery romance. I’m enjoying the first draft.
My selection of books this month has wowed me. I’m thrilled with the depth and creativity of these authors. Trevor Noah’s autobiography, Born a crime: Stories from a South African Childhood, gave insights into the holes in our thinking. Trevor pulls together a philosophical, political, and humorous book that leaves you breathless. His success as a comedian stands on his resilience as a person caught between the worlds of the black, the white, the poor, the rich, and the in between where he is never fully accepted. This is a man not impressed with himself, but one who humbly explains the hypocrisy with all live in. I felt enlightened and inspired by his brilliance and humor.
Circe, by Madeline Miller, took me by surprise. This is the rewriting of myths, where Circe pits herself against the wrath of the Olympian gods and mortal men. I’d forgotten my love for mythology and Miller stayed true to the power of the gods but invoked the power a woman.
The Sentence: A Novel, by Louise Erdrich, found me spell bound. As a former bookstore owner and an avid reader, Erdrich created mystery and a ghost story within a bookstore. The haunting life of one of the employees, the poor soul who died, and the present situation in the Michigan bookstore, is an ode to readers.
Libertie, by Kaitlyn Greenidge, is a coming of age novel about a black woman who can’t pass as her light colored mother, even with her brilliance. She ultimately makes a choice between a subservient life with the man who claims to love her and to be her own person as a black woman in a prejudiced world.
The Girls in the Garden: A Novel, by Lisa Jewell, is who-done-it mystery with twists and turns. Don’t be taken in by the serene garden communal village.
I’d love to speak via Zoom or in person at your next Book Group or at a special event. Request this on my website.
As the holiday season approaches, I’m offering all my followers a chance to buy directly from me, signed copies of all my books. I’ve created special bundling so that I can offer you a discount. I’m not Amazon but this way you’ll receive a message from the author, made special if you give me a hint of what makes you smile.
The special offer is: For those looking to buy a children’s illustrated book, you can gift to various people 3 hardback copies of Bubbie’s Magical Hair, for $44.99 plus freight a savings of about $3.00 per book. The hard copy books will no longer be available to purchase on Amazon.
Purchasing my three novels; River of Angels, Color of Lies, and Founding Stones allows you to read the entire series and follow Rosie in all her changing roles. The bundle would be $40.99 plus freight which is just shy of $11.00 in savings.
Beauty of another kind
Where weathered lines
Tell a story of depth
of repeated sacrifice
and smiles of reward.
Where the patches
hide worn seats
who devour adventures.
Where cracks along edges
Allow the light to shine forth.
Calloused hands that hold
A child up to see the moon.
Eyes widen in surprise.
Visions of the cosmos
burst forth into
Thank you Abbe, Jim