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Someone Told Me it Was December!

My place w/ white lights & an ocean-island view

It's officially December with Santa on the way and I haven't quite accepted it. 2023 has been epic. It's been a year of expanded learning as a writer. It's also been challenging on a personal level, not to mention the experience of a lost and chaotic country. The world stage presents far too much conflict as well . It can't be sugar-coated but we can discover daily moments of grand beauty in our daily lives. The holidays have proven to be a lot of things to a lot of different people. I've been so busy with writing projects, SBCC screenwriting class, and a taxing amount of tech issues since the summer, I ignore the speed of time. My chores, appointments, and friends also keep me occupied and my kitty is the cutest demanding little thing. She wants to do everything with me. We have our walks on a leash twice a day and I happily spoil her to fulfill her every need and desire. It's okay because Lucia is a gift of devotion and affection tied in a red ribbon. She's my only family. The holidays are so much about family. Some of us are without family or a partner find ourselves solo over the holidays and it's mostly lonely. Our pets are such a comfort. If you're considering a fur friend, please adopt! The shelters are full of pets wanting a loving home!

Change is ever-present. Friends move on or move away permanently. Another friend has left California. I met her in Italian class in January 2020 and she was in Italy the same time I was there for my writing assignment in Rome fall of 2022. We did some traveling together. She and her husband are retiring in Italy. One has to continually find themselves in a place of acceptance. A close friend (who happens to be the first friend I met in Santa Barbara nearly thirty years ago) has been quite ill. My friendship is there for her and thankfully, she has a big family to support her as well. Starting as a young child, our cat was my greatest source of support and affection. So began my love for cats and all animals.

As a kid, my family was fraught with dysfunction. I fantasized about my own life with a dozen kids of my own and a loving spouse. The number of kids decreased as the years passed but the desire to be deeply connected in a family never did. While I'd still like to believe in magic, the years have flown by and that right and perfect mate who may drop out of a plane or off a cruise ship in Santa Barbara may just not be in the cards... sadly.

At the end of every year I say, maybe next year I'll be blessed with a Christmas fulfilling my dreamy vision of what it can be--Just like the movies. I continue to think that life should be like the movies as naive as that may sound. My favorite movies are the black & white classic films from the 1930's and 1940's filled with elegance, hope, and happy endings. That's the thing, since I was a small child, I searched for and envisioned the perfect, loving Christmas. It didn't quite show up so I turned to the ocean to soothe my spirit and feel cradled by the warm sea and lapping waves. I would swim deeper to the cooler water by the sandy bottom and chase seahorses. I was their mermaid soaring through the silent water.

Meanwhile, until I can find my way to a tropical ocean for a much needed break, I stay busy and engaged. I am aware of beauty on a daily basis. Winters in California (Santa Barbara) deliver the

most beautiful sunsets. The fog is completely swept away and the ocean-island views are crystal clear. My favorite month for 1st Thursday art walk downtown is December. I saw spectacular exhibits. At a local gallery there was a showing of one of the more creative artists (Inga Guzyte) I've seen in a long while. All her pieces are completely made from skateboards (graphics included), which I found hard to wrap my head around. The SB Museum of Art had an exhibit by prominent photographer, Ellsworth Kelly beginning from the 1950s to 2002. Below are samples of discussed art and photography.

I've enjoyed a few Holiday gatherings and the annual Christmas party I'll be attending next week

Association for Women in Communication (great group for writers) holiday gathering. I'm on the right in a green jacket.

up in the hills is a legendary one. More than a hundred guests attend and mostly couples. I like to show up early and help out in the kitchen. It's fun and I am one that loves a useful task in a big crowd. I'm more of an observer and a one-on-one conversationalist.

I trust that all of you who kindly read my blog enjoy a warm, lovely, and joyful holiday. If you know someone on their own, consider inviting them into your holiday festivities.🎄🕎 May 2024 be a splendid year and may your dreams be blessed by an angel 🪽and manifest. ❤️

Keep on swimming through life,

Valerie Anne

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