Year’s End

December 28, 2013

self-made bouillon de volaille (chicken broth).

self-made bouillon de volaille (chicken broth). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I made a pot of chicken and vegetable soup for Christmas dinner (and supper). And before you say, “Poor old woman,” this was a deliberate choice based on several factors – the main one being, had I bought a whole turkey, or even a turkey breast, I would still be eating parts of it next Christmas (let alone all the “fixings”). To the bits of roasted chicken I found hiding away in the vegetable section of my freezer, I added some chicken broth, some diced cabbage, spinach and green beans from my indoor winter garden, corn and diced onions from my summer garden and some carrots and peas (neither of which I’ve had any luck growing) from a bag of frozen supermarket vegetables. In honor of the cabbage and spinach, I threw in a healthy handful of rice and a dash of soy sauce. With a slice of toasted whole-wheat bread topped with butter and a chuck of dark chocolate for desert, the meal was both delicious and sufficient.

Other than listening to Christmas music and wishing friends and family (including you, dear readers) a merry Christmas or a happy holiday season, I don’t celebrate the day. Nor do I celebrate the coming of a new year, other than to be surprised (and grateful) I’ve survived the old year.

As the new year approaches, it does seem wise, however, to spend some time reflecting on things I’ve accomplished, not yet accomplished or have been particularly grateful for this past year. I find it frees up my mind to look forward – to what I need to or want to accomplish in the coming year. So, in that spirit, here are the things I’ve been most grateful for this last year:

I’m grateful for my health.

I’m grateful that both of my older brothers and my sister, who is a year younger than I am, are still around and in relatively good health, that, after all these years, we still love each other and remain good friends as well as siblings.  And I am grateful for their many progeny who drop by or keep in touch, who make me laugh and leave me glad that they are in my life.

I’m grateful for my son who, as he was making his own plans to move to California, took the time to help me move to the downstairs apartment, made sure I settled in, arranged for a man to help with the lawn care and one who would do needed repairs the warranty insurance didn’t cover and made arrangements with both his friends and mine to check up on me and see that I had a way to get where I needed to go if I needed it. (I’m also grateful that, since he sold or shipped ahead most of his belongings and took off a week early on his motorcycle to avoid a snow storm that was moving in, he made it to California safe and in one piece – even though he ran smack into the tail end of that snow storm as he crossed into New Mexico and it took him three hours to make the thirty miles to the first town.) And I’m grateful that he has matured into a compassionate, aware and questioning adult.

I’m grateful for my step-son, his wife and children who, though I do not see them nearly often enough, have touched my life and taught me so much about love through the years.

I’m grateful for my two friends from south Springfield who took the better part of a day to come up north and help my son and me with my move downstairs and who come to visit, phone and keep in touch by Facebook to make sure I’m all right. And I am grateful to my friends at the store next door and those in the neighborhood who keep a watchful eye out for me, in both foul weather and fair.

I’m grateful to the readers of this blog, my acquaintances on the forums and blogs I frequent and on Facebook who, although they probably would not recognize me if they ran into me on the street, nevertheless share my grief over what we have done to the earth through our carelessness and greed and my passion to live a simpler, more self-sufficient life to reduce the many burdens we have placed on the earth and the non-human inhabitants with which we share it.

I’m grateful to all of you – family, friends and acquaintances – for the wisdom and laughter, the sorrows and fears you have shared with me and allowed me to share with you throughout this year. I am one lucky lady and the better for all of you.

I wish each of you a new year filled with love, joy and strength for the days ahead, whatever they bring. It comforts me to know you are there.

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15 Responses to Year’s End

  1. CaityJ says:

    I’m glad the comment section is back online. I missed it the last couple of times. Thanks so much for your writings (and recipes), Linda. Having such heart-felt, well-expressed thoughts cheers me and prods me to appreciate this life of mine in a new way. Thanks much… and best wishes for continued writings in the new year.

    • theozarker says:

      Hi Caity, I’m glad it’s back, too. I’ve missed hearing from people. I have no idea what happened to it for those two weeks! The soup really was tasty. LOL, my famous “recipes” – start with a base, throw in everything that seems like it would taste good together, add a little seasoning and taste, taste, taste until it seems right. 😀 (cause that’s the kind of cook I am.) Happy new year and best wishes to you too.

  2. graveday says:

    Well, ho, ho, ho, I too am grateful the comment section is back. What was with it’s departure. I was beginning to fear it was a new, terrible, thing. I’m sorry to hear your son will leaving, but if he is heading to upstate California, perhaps I can extend some help or advice. Let me know.
    Can’t help much if he is heading to SoCal except to say, don’t go there.
    I made a chicken soup with a left over carcass. It has been a while since I have done that as my wife usually does that. She should have done it this time too as I forgot to take out the wad of rosemary, the lemon halves, and whatever else I had stuffed into the cavity when I roasted it.
    I was so proud to be making the broth, but no one but me will eat the soup, sigh.

    • theozarker says:

      Hey Grave, I missed you. Still don’t know what happened to the comment section. One week it wasn’t there; two weeks later, it was. Mysteries of life, I guess.
      Son finally made it to LA and is staying with friends until he can find an apt. in one of the burbs. He had a job waiting for him (and has already posted a pic of him and a friend lollygagging around on the beach – tsk, tsk.) But thank you for your kind offer.
      LOL, that sounds like some of my soup disasters. We live; we learn. 🙂

  3. Aubrey Enoch says:

    I’ve been enjoying your writing for a few months now.
    It’s not easy to find a voice with sanity in it these days.
    Your everyday practices that save energy are a model for our society.
    We could reduce our CO2 emissions by half tomorrow if we chose to do so.
    A kilowatt saved is a kilowatt earned.
    The grid doesn’t know the difference.
    Burn coal and put in more electricity or don’t use the electricity and don’t burn the coal.
    It’s all the same to the grid.
    We waste so much everything.
    It’s up lifting to see some one that realizes how much we have to be grateful for.
    The future will probably be a tragic spectacle beyond our wildest dreams, but for now I am grateful for the air and water and food and shelter that I have.
    I’m a maintenance man and all day I’m fixing something. I love to fix stuff.
    Doors, drawers, heater and coolers, faucets and toilets, lights, locks, curtains and rods,
    it’s always something.
    I don’t think I can fix that tragic spectacle of a future that we have coming.
    But trying to make it a bit less painful is a good road to follow.
    The excerpt from UNCIVIL WAR sure says a lot about the future.
    Thank you for the good job your doing.
    I’m looking forward to 2014. Lots of good work to do.

    • theozarker says:

      Hi Aubrey, welcome to the blog. It’s tragic that there is so much deliberate disinformation out there, yet I’m pleasantly surprised at the number of people who have figured that out and are seeking/finding ways to move past that anyway.
      You have some important skills. I have a feeling you’ll be pretty popular as we move into the next step(s) down in this slow collapse. 😀
      A lot of people are doing important work to make a difference. We won’t escape the damage to the climate that we’ve already done. But we just might squeak by as a species by leaving the rest of those fossil fuels in the ground. If not, I’m pretty sure the earth will heal itself and go on without us.
      I wrote the novel before I knew about peak oil and economic collapse, though I was aware of climate change. Many times since, I’ve looked at that war, the wars we’ve inflicted elsewhere in the world and the wars people have inflicted on themselves around the world and wondered how we could take such chances with those we love and the world we and they depend on for our survival – for more “things”.
      It breaks my heart, sometimes, but like you, I’m looking forward to a new year and another chance to reach out to those who are struggling to understand our peril and, hopefully, encourage those who already understand it to keep working at solutions – personal and communal.
      Thanks for your post.

  4. Rob says:

    And your son is grateful for you. Love you mom, happy new year ❤

  5. Silvia TIC says:

    Linda,
    I’m truly grateful for your blog and your beautifully expressed wishes and thoughts for the New Year. It takes courage, knowing what we know about the world, to still be grateful and hope for good things to happen. But at the same time, it makes compete sense and it makes the thankfulness and hopes more honest: because only when you know the fragility of it all, the interconnections, the pain and the damage done is when you can also see the goodness, the efforts, the worthy things to fight for, the possibilities and opportunities ahead…
    Thanks for encouraging us all to continue this path of awareness and courage. May 2014 be a great year for you too.

  6. Nadia says:

    Oh my goodness. I thought I was not able to comment any longer – found this area by accident…. doesn’t indicate comments any longer after the posts.

    So grateful that I found your blog as I had been feeling like I was going crazy in this evolving mad mad world….. Yours is a voice of calm, genuine heart and peace, (albeit fierce peace), in this culture that is not comfortable and recognized by many of us in our sixties…. We do, however, like you, keep on keeping on.

    You take care of yourself. I am happy that you are “only down the road a pace” from me and that we probably see eye-to-eye on many things. I’m glad that you are surrounded by sturdy and loyal friends and family. It makes all the difference, eh?

    Nadia

    • theozarker says:

      Hi Nadia, happy new year to you and yours. LOL-I think we all have our “feeling crazy” moments, looking around at what’s going on. But I agree; we just have to keep on keeping on. Glad to know you’re “only down the road a pace”, too. Friends and family, that’s what it’s all about. Hugs.

  7. Happy solstice! Keep up the good work in the new year; I enjoy the clarity and sanity of your writing.

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