Single women at Christmas


Here's to hearing angels on high all year long

Single women have pretty much the same array of choices for spending Christmas day as non-singles. Some will spend it with family, some with friends, some alone (e.g., the non-single woman who is estranged or separated from her mate—or wishes she was). Some will get Chinese food and see a movie, some will rest and read, some will clean or perform other chores.  Some will volunteer at soup kitchens. Some will exercise their creativity—cook, write, paint, play music.

Some, like me, will hang out with their grandchildren and see Christmas again through the eyes of the child. Some of us have spent hours planning, shopping, and wrapping. Some have foregone this practice and decided just to share themselves in some way.

Some of us, like me, who are moving, may be practicing the art of letting go—there’s a joy in releasing stuff to do good elsewhere in the universe. I’m pleased that I can give some of my treasured things to my family members this year. This Christmas I decided to do a little of each: “shopping” from my own possessions, wrapping, and writing about my move within Chicago.

Whatever you’re doing this year, try spending a few minutes every hour just stopping and feeling your feelings. Regard them with respect and tenderness. Send love and appreciation to yourself for all that you do, for all that you share with others, and for all you contribute to the world around you. And while you’re doing that, be sure to express your love to people and send appreciation out to all those who touch your  life.

Merry, merry Christmas to all the wonderful single women in the world. Extra good wishes to all the single mothers who work so hard to make Christmas special for their kids.

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No lust here – Book Review: The Way of All Flesh


This book is a classic, and I have always avoided reading it because somehow the title made me feel it would be prurient–like one of the romance novels you see in the grocery store checkout lines. Boy, was I wrong.

A New York Times reviewer called The Way of All Flesh “a time bomb of literature. It lay hidden in Samuel Butler’s desk for 30 years. When it was published after he died, it blew up the Victorian family and with it the whole great edifice of the Victorian novel. George Bernard Shaw, the free thinking iconoclast, called him the greatest English writer of the latter half of the nineteenth century.”

I loved the author’s observations on human nature. Butler wrote this with beautiful Charles-Dickens-type-English word choices and complex but elegant sentence structure. But it’s the incisive observations about people that make you want to turn down the corners of so many pages so you can remember the brilliant insight in this sentence or that paragraph. He thinks much more like a modern person than someone who lived in the Victorian era.

Living in a very small condo in Chicago means I have limited room for “stuff” including books. But this is one book I will buy and keep on my shelf. I look forward to letting it give me pleasure many times in the future.