Welcome to The Epic! I am launching this blog as a manifesto for and a guide to living well. The title and motto of the blog are taken from the Epicureans, at least some of whom believed in the notion that not one minute of the future was guaranteed to them and that as a result they had the duty to live life to its fullest every moment.

I believe in discovering fun and pleasurable things wherever I find myself each day and I am told I have a knack for unearthing them. My hope is that by sharing in my pleasures and some of my ways of finding them you will begin to collect all the riches that lie in the moments of your life. They are there. Take them! All our lives should be.....Epic.

Monday, December 25, 2017

First Christmas

Hello to all Epics everywhere with my best wishes for a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

I suppose a lot of you are wondering how this first Christmas of the New Era has been for me and for the Future Rock Star.  The truth is, it was rougher leading up to Christmas Eve and today than I imagined it would be.  The Irish Redhead and I just adored Christmas and our entire family was always swept along in her enthusiasm as was usually the case.  The returning reader may recall my post about driving all the way back to Florida from Wisconsin just so I would not miss our tradition of attending evening services on Christmas Eve.  I had hoped that the heartache of the other special days this year which have come and gone would be cumulative and would in some way insulate my feelings on the greatest day of our spiritual year.  I was wrong.  The week or two leading up to today were filled with special challenges and trepidation, at least for me.

The first thing of course was to resist the temptation to bury my head in the emotional sand and skip Christmas altogether.  As on a roller-coaster [if I were to ever ride one] to close my eyes and just hold on until New Year's Eve brings the turbulent ride which has been 2017 to a merciful close. It would have been pretty easy to opt for that approach.

But Christmas remains.  It is and always will be my favorite holiday of the year. And, despite the cool exterior obtained over twenty years of life, the Future Rock Star loves it too.  So I decided to put up our tree, and decorate the house.  A bit.  I admit that I did not have it in me to get out all of my wife's favorite decorations for the tree.  I'm not sure that I will ever use them again.  But Christmas remains.  I bought gifts, wrapped them [horridly, I admit] and did my best. 

Part of the problem is that I so vividly recall what we were doing a year ago.  The IR was discharged from the hospital on Christmas Eve after an awful three week admission.  After getting her home and properly installed in our bed for some real rest, I faced the daunting task of trying to get a particular time-released pain medication that, even with her very high pain threshold, she absolutely had to have to stay out of the hospital for Christmas.  For all the charms of small city living, access to medication the evening before Christmas is not one of them.  I drove to every pharmacy in our county that was open without success.  Then, on a tip from a benevolent pharmacist, I drove to the adjoining county where, at midnight, I got the medicine.  Amazingly, we had a very fine Christmas with gifts, a great dinner prepared by me and the Future Rock Star, the works.  The Irish Redhead was in her full Christmas mode, delighting in every moment.  The spirit continued unabated [with usual post-hospital recuperation time each day of course] through New Year's Day.  Three weeks later, she was gone.  Along with half my cell structure as I have previously mentioned.

Santa can do a lot of things but he can't give you that cell structure back.  Santa can, however, give you the restorative gift of a lovely day.  I am so pleased to report that that is exactly what I have received for the past twenty-four hours.  Yesterday I had a nice breakfast and then went to see a special new friend who's company I have enjoyed on a few recent dates.  I gave her a gift that I bought for her in New York a couple of weeks ago and she was as delighted with it as I had hoped she would be.  I seem at the very least not to have lost my gift for paying attention to the nature of a lady.  We chatted for a couple of hours and had a lovely time.  Then I went to pay my mom a visit at her Assisted Care place as I do every Sunday afternoon.  We had takeout food and gabbed about nothing in particular. After leaving my mom's I was invited over to the home of a pally where I used to perform Christmas standards with him at the piano.  It was a gasser [as Frank would have said] to re-start that tradition.  My singing was not quite up to par but after a couple of cocktails nobody much noticed. Then I went to church for the late service and back home to enjoy a great baked ziti prepared by the Future Rock Star.

By the time we finished eating it was already into the wee small hours of Christmas morning and the FRS said "can I play the eight year old card and open my presents"? I balked initially because I was YAWNING but I eventually gave in.  It is the New Era after all.  All of the presents were his anyhow, and he had specifically asked for most of them in the weeks leading up to Christmas.  That said, there was one gift he requested that was whimsical even by his standards.  An Irish Penny Whistle.  He seems to have developed the notion that he should learn to play pub songs on it.  I am very happy to report two things.  First, that he was just as happy when he unwrapped that whistle as he was by any present I have ever seen him receive on Christmas.  It revealed a boyishness that I haven't seen much from him this year.

Second, I can say that the finest Christmas present I have ever received was the distant sound of random tootling on an Irish whistle from the living room while I drifted off to a very contented sleep around 2:30 this morning.  I know his mother was smiling.

A very happy New Year to each and every one of you!! 


CashmereLibrarian said...

Oh, Epic! A Happy Christmas to you and the FRS!

It is what it is, it’s hard and it’s beautiful, in any case, I’m very glad to read your posts.

Happy New Year!

M.Lane said...

Cashmere, you may be the only person still reading The Epic!! Thank you for dropping by, for the comment, and for just being you. STILL the best name in the blogosphere!!!!

Happy New Year...


kihrig said...

A beautiful Christmas memory in spite of the hurt. Best to you and the Future Rock Star now and in the New Year mon ami.

kihrig said...

You have been in my thoughts. I know this has been a tough year for you but what a wonderful memory this Christmas will be for you and the Future Rock Star. Cheers to you Mom Amir and the Happiest of years for 2018.

kihrig said...

Sorry, autocorrect changed what should have been “mon ami”.

Ben said...

Merry Christmas, Epic! And Happy New Year. I'm glad that I am able to go through this trying time with you, however infinitesimal my participation is by enjoying your writing. Aloha!

Suburban Princess said...

I haven't looked at blogs for such a long time. I decided to see what blogging friends have been up to and am saddened to read your wife died this year. I am so sorry you have been going through this.

Uncle Beefy said...

Hello ML,

As you know, I've been rather absent from the blogosphere for some time. But in revisiting old blog ties tonight I came across this post. I am so very sorry to hear about the loss of your Irish Redhead. Your love for her always came through so warmly and sincerely in your posts. You were clearly gifts to each other and what a glorious gift to share during a lifetime. My deepest, albeit belated, condolences.

I'm glad that you and the FR were able to make the most of the holidays while still, from the sounds of it, being gentle on yourselves.

Know that I'm wishing you well on this new chapter of your life.

So nice to read your eloquent words again.

Happy New Year...


M.Lane said...

KI, Don't you just love auto-correct??? Thanks my friend. I hope to see you soon.

Ben, you have been here from the start and I'm so glad you have stayed along for the ride, whatever the bumps may have been. Someday.....the BIG ISLAND!!

Princess, what a nice surprise! Thank you so very much for dropping by. Hearing from you and my other pals that have been away for a while means so much to me. Especially now.

And...speaking of nice surprises....

Mon Oncle, I really miss your writing and have often wondered about where your path has led you. I am so very glad that it led you back to The Epic. The New Era began with the worst year of my life but there have been some really wonderful moments as well. The Epic philosophy constantly seeks the sparkling gems that are scattered about along all of our paths and the challenge is to collect them while getting through the rest of the dross. I hope that you have found some quiescent place where your many gifts can flourish. Whatever the New Year holds, I hope that you will visit again and be a part of it.

Here is a glass of champagne lifted to all my blog friends!! Hearing from you all means so very much more than I can ever say.


Uncle Beefy said...

Hi ML,

Thanks for the kind reply. So glad to reconnect, mister.

My path over the last few years has been an arduous and painful one but not without the grace of many miracles and "sparkling gems" - as you say - along the way for which I'm deeply grateful. You may remember my mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer's and we had to have her placed in a facility. My dad then decided to sell the family home which my sister and I packed up and poured through decades of life's memories. We got dad settled into a smaller home but in a short few months he decided he hated his new place. He was having an enormously difficult time adjusting to his own new chapter with increasing emotional outbursts and fits of anger and sadness. We finally decided to pack him up once again, sell that place, and move him closer to me. It quickly became apparent that his difficulties were not associated with adjusting to new life circumstances but the sign of some kind of problem. He ended up diagnosed with Alzheimer's, as well. So, I became his daily caregiver for just over a year before his condition required round-the-clock care that I simply couldn't provide. He doesn't even know who I am anymore but, thankfully, still knows my mom and sister. He and my mom are in the same home together and it's sweet to see how attached they are to one another. But he still struggles and his pain and sadness are so hard to watch.

With all of that going on, blogging just fell by the wayside and didn't hold much allure for me. I've missed it but just haven't had the time or energy to dive back in. But I still think about it. There are some remaining loose ends my sister and I are working on tying up and by February I may be able to start breathing new air and being able to consider what I intend for the new road laid before me. We shall see.

Sorry for the *long* reply but wanted to fill in the gap. For now, I raise a glass to you in return and look forward to seeing what the world holds for us in 2018.


M.Lane said...

Oh Mon Oncle.....I appreciate you sharing this more than you could imagine. How brutal. The Epic in me though thinks how lovely it is that they still connect that way. It warms my heart.

Know that all of your blogpals like me are always thinking of you and praying for your strength and that you can find entertainment for yourself in the midst of all this travail. I did and I know you will as well.

Keep in touch please.


Ben said...

Amen, Counselor.