Jonathon's Closet

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas to All!

I so appreciate all of my friends who stop by to visit. And sadly, I'm aware that some of you are also living with loss in your lives. Although I realize that words are often inadequate, words are all I have to offer ...

When someone so loved is gone from the circle, a time like this can tug at the heart. Quietly, gently may the spirit of the season shine through your shadows and touch your world with warmth and light.

Wishing you peace and love at Christmas!
~Kate and Jona

St. Nicholas in the Forest with Holly: painting from an early 1900s German Postcard

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Christmas GIVING found here!!!

Want to GIVE without having to use your credit card, or any money at all? The parenting advice web community Minti is giving a dollar to the fantastic Starlight Starbright Foundation for every new member that registers. You heard right. And they are aiming to raise $20,000 by Christmas.

What an incredibly generous group, these founders of Minti.
All you've got to do is register at Minti through this link and a dollar will be donated on your behalf.

Minti is about advice, friendship and community for parents. Parents can join for free, get their own family page, keep a blog and make friends with other parents. Advance through the Minti ranks by contributing advice, rating articles and writing comments.

I'm not moving the Closet to the Minti site, but I've been checking out the community these past few days ... and so far I'm liking what I'm seeing. But even if you don't want to be active on Minti, what a GREAT cause! Please register! Thanks!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

And the verdict is in ...

There will be no Christmas tree this year.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Sticky, Sticky ...

My hands, not my life. Ok, both. Right now, everything is sticky!

My hands, my jacket, and my gloves are sticky - from pine sap! I finished decorating outside, with fresh cut pine boughs all along the porch rails, on the front door, on the garage, and on the mailbox. It looks great, and smells even better! And I brought some pine boughs in and put them in vases ... the living room smells good now too!

Still haven't put up a tree. Not sure if we will this year or not. Guess I'll have to figure it out soon - I'm running out of time!


Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Because Blogger refused to upload photos earlier today

Father Set High Goals to Memorialize Son

This past summer John stood on Jerimoth Hill, the highest summit in the state of Rhode Island. His summer trip to New England took him to the highest mountain summits in four other states as well; Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine. John’s goal is to reach the highest summit of all fifty states. Rhode Island marked state number thirty. His quest started almost five years ago and has taken him from Maine to California.

On December 10, 2001, John’s life was changed forever. His 17 year old son Ezra, a senior at Rockford High School, national honor society student, Eagle Scout, lifeguard, and rugby player was killed during a traffic accident on his way to school. “Ezra died five days before my birthday, eleven days before his eighteenth birthday, and fifteen days before Christmas”, John recounts. “I was emotionally, spiritually, and physically devastated.” For weeks John was not able to work, eat or sleep. He knew he could not go on like this, and decided he needed a goal in life. One day while looking at a road atlas he noticed that each state was marked with its highest point. That day he set a personal goal to climb to the highest point in each state in memory of his son; After all, Ezra was always up to a challenge.

Ezra was diagnosed with dyslexia at an early age and had to work twice as hard as most students. Despite his disability he was a high school honor roll student and the top student in an aviation technology program at the Gerald R. Ford Airport in Grand Rapids. He took on the challenge of becoming an Eagle Scout and earned Scoutings highest honor. John’s decision to climb the highpoint in each state was a big turning point in getting back his life back on track.

Not all his summit treks have gone smoothly. Near the highpoint of Michigan he buried his Jeep up to the bumpers in mud. In North Carolina he ruined two tires when he hit a log in the road after a hurricane had blown through. A winter ascent of Mount Marcy in New York resulted in ripping the flesh off his heels after walking over 15 miles with crampons on his boots to reach the summit. The ascent of Mount Whitney in California resulted in windburn on his face from a snowstorm combined with severe sunburn from the sun reflecting off the snow.

Each highpoint is as unique and varied as the geography of the United States. Some highpoints are as easy as driving up to the highpoint and walking a few yards. Others involve strenuous rugged mountain treks requiring camping at base camps to reach summits 12,000 to 20,000 feet above sea level. Highpoints tend to have one thing in common; they are usually located in some of the most remote areas of their state. “Some of the views from the highpoints have been absolutely spectacular”, shares John. Each time he reaches a state summit it has been a spiritual experience.

And he has learned that life is not about how many breaths you take, but living for those moments that take your breath away.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

The Lyrics That Prove ...

That I shouldn't be playing around with my guitar at 3 am:

I miss you, I miss your smile
And I still shed a tear, every once in a while

I miss you, I miss your touch
I can still feel it, just enough but not too much

I miss you, I miss your joy
I still hear your laughter, from our own little boy

I miss you, I miss your songs
I cannot believe you’ve been gone so damn long

I miss you, Oh how I miss you

Friday, December 08, 2006

Message from Santa

Dear Friends;

I have been watching you very closely to see if you have been good this year and since you have, I was going to bring you all of the gifts from the 12 days of Christmas, but we had a little problem here at the North Pole.

The 12 fiddlers fiddling have all come down with VD from fiddling with the 10 ladies dancing, the 11 lords leaping have knocked up the 8 maids a-milking, and the 9 pipers piping have been arrested for doing weird things to the 7 swans a-swimming. The 6 geese a-laying, 4 calling birds, 3 French hens, 2 turtle doves and the partridge in a pear tree have me up to my sled runners in bird shit.

On top of all this! Mrs. Claus is absurdly menopausal, 5 of my reindeer are in heat, the elves have joined the gay liberation movement and some idiot who can't read a calendar has scheduled my Christmas delivery for the 5th of January.

Maybe next year I will be able to get my shit together and bring you the things you want.This year I suggest you get your asses down to Walmart before everything is gone.


*being shared from my e-mail box - Wow! Santa has my e-mail addy! Who knew???

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Grumpy, Grumpy ... maybe I need a nap!

When did we lose the real meaning of Christmas? When I was growing up, Christmas was commercialized but the main reason for the holiday was still in the forefront. Nativity scenes could be seen everywhere, mistletoe was hanging over doorways, everyone acted a little nicer, and it was about getting closer to the family.

Christmas is about spreading joy to the less fortunate, being extra kind to those around you, and sharing your blessings with friends and neighbors. It’s not about what you buy. Corporate America tries it’s hardest to get us worked up about the latest things. Every message we are sent focuses on what we have, not what we hope; what we buy, not what we believe; what we spend, not what we share. It is easy to lose track of what's really important. Family. Faith. Friendship.

For those who want to debate the origin of Christmas, here is the truth: The Christmas season is a combination of Christian (Roman Catholic) and Pagan winter celebrations. It incorporates Christian religious ceremonies (the event that fills us with so much joy and gladness that we celebrate it each year, with more attention than for any other event; it is the entrance of Jesus Christ into our world. It is the living proof that, "God so loved the world that He gave His one and only son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life" -John 3:16) with the traditions of ancient winter festivals such as Yule (the winter solstice celebration of the Germanic pagans) and Saturnalia (the feast at which the Romans commemorated the dedication of the temple of the god Saturn). What emerged after Constantine came into power were religions that had borrowed some rituals and incorporated holidays from each other’s cultures.

The real meaning of Christmas is being lost by groups on the left who think it is 100% pagan and groups on the right that believe it’s 100% religious. It is a weaving of both and therefore both need to be observed. If someone is so easily offended by a Nativity scene or a Star of David or even a Kwanzaa wreath, they should be ridiculed as ignorant and intolerant and be sent on their way!

Christmas is a time to find someone less fortunate than you and give a gift from your heart. It is a time to be with your family. It is a time to reconnect or repair friendships, to give your fellow man a smile and wish them Merry Christmas and if they get offended, they’ll get over it. The changes start with one person and snowball from there. Be that one person who breaks from the norm and remembers what the season is really all about. In the end, it doesn't really matter what you do to have a more spiritual holiday; only that you do something.

As you can see, I'm still looking for my Christmas spirit today.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

I'll regret this when I have to get up for work tomorrow!

I’m having a hard time finding my Christmas spirit this year. I strongly suspect you’ll hear me mention this again, as this issue seems to be popping up almost daily right now. I wish I felt more Christmas-y, I just don’t.

A few weeks ago, I got a call from the director of the local community band. They had gotten my name from the director of an orchestra I played with several years ago. The band was badly in need of an experienced soloist. Yes, I still play, but really only for myself. I haven't "really" played since Don died. When tonight began, I had only practiced with the band once, and with the quartet twice. But it’s somewhat like riding a bike …

Today, the community band performed for 3 large nursing homes. The residents all seemed to enjoy it, and I think the musicians did as well. And the staff at each location thanked us profusely for coming.

No, I really wasn’t in the mood to play Christmas carols. But seeing as I was a soloist in 2 of our numbers as well as part of a featured quartet, I couldn’t very well not attend, now could I? Anyway, it was a good excuse to dress up, so out came the black velvet dress and the ankle strap pumps, dangly earrings, and fur jacket. Trust me, I don’t get to do THAT very often!

I spent the better part of today with the band, playing Christmas carols. We would play a 45-minute set, then pack up and move on to the next location. We played at 4, 5, and 6 o’clock. Quite a hectic schedule, especially considering that our group of 72 was traveling in a caravan of nearly 40 cars! Try parking those in your average nursing home parking lot! And then navigating the icy parking lots in high heels!

As our quartet broke off from the group for a final performance destination, the high heels thing – UGH - 5-inch spikes on an icy parking lot! You can see it coming, can’t you? Took a small slide, didn’t fall but twisted my ankle enough to SNAP THE HEEL OFF MY PUMP! This necessitated a quick trip home to change shoes (and tomorrow I’ll have to drop that one off to have it repaired!) And, being the computer addict I am, I of course took the time to check my e-mail and forward a few messages to friends while frantically changing my torn stockings!

Our quartet performed for the local hospice center. We arrived at 6:58; 2 minutes to spare, which might just be a Christmas miracle considering the side trip home for the shoe emergency! There were a few patients, several family members, and a handful of staff. Our “stage” was a centrally located “living room”.

We softly played the 7 carols we had rehearsed and then prepared to leave when a nurse approached us. “We have a guest,” she quietly explained. “He won’t be with us much longer, doubtful he’ll make it thru the night. He has no family, just a staffer staying beside him. Although we’re doing everything we can, his pain is great – and the music is soothing. Can you stay and play a little longer?”

How do you say no to a request like that? The answer is simple – you don’t. Unfortunately, we had no choice but to softly and gently repeat the same 7 carols, as it was the only music we were carrying. Thankfully our group of 4 is made up of very accomplished musicians who are quite capable of “switching things up” a bit and improvising some interesting interludes. So we continued to play as we were asked. Softly we played long into the night.

And that’s why I’m posting this at 1:30 in the morning, EST, bleary-eyed and weary, my body aching as well as my heart. We played until James left this earth, and then I drove home, tears gently rolling down my face in the icy night air.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

From one foot to another

I have never called a man by the wrong name.

Well, that’s a statement that was true right up until last night. Apparently at a, uh, rather inopportune moment, I called “The Man”, uh well, I called him Don. Umm … Oops!

I didn’t even realize it and, at the time, he didn’t say anything. John just let it pass.

This morning as he held me in his arms, he quietly asked, “Do you know what you called me last night?”

I looked up at him blankly. “No”, I answered.

“You called me ‘Don’”, he stated gently. At that precise moment, I believe I felt my heart actually stop beating.

Carefully, breathlessly, wide-eyed I asked, “I did?” in barely a whisper.

He nodded. “You didn’t realize?”

“No, oh god no! Oh, baby, I’m sorry!

“It’s ok – I sort of thought you didn’t know you did it”

“Baby, when I’m with you, well – I’m with YOU. It’s not like that”

“Kate, it’s ok”, he reassured me again. .

“No, baby, it’s not like that – you’re not 2nd to anyone, never have been!

“Kate, I know that”, he replied. “I didn’t take it that way. It’s ok – it’s kind of a compliment, really. I know what Don was to you and somehow I’m falling into that same category”.

The tears started to flow. Mine, that is. He truly does understand. I am in awe.

“I love you”, he said in that throaty low sexy voice of his. And he held me and reassured me and quietly told me that all is well.

And throughout this entire exchange, his gentle smile never faded. Not even once.