Reflection 2016



by cheri block sabraw

I looked in the magnifying mirror  yesterday.   In my eyes, I detected an alertness that made me wonder if such spirit portended fear and survival or curiosity and wonder. Though I would like to believe the latter, I suspect that along with my usual ebullient approach to the life experience, the former has lodged there too.

New Year’s Eve and Day have always been holidays that I anticipated with fun, optimism, and a strong sense of the future. I suppose, as with so much that animates me, my feelings about the New Year holiday began as a child. We spent them all  at Lake Tahoe, skiing, sledding, ice skating, and throwing snowballs. My father Hugh made raging stimulating fires in the stalwart fireplace; my mother Joan made blueberry pancakes for breakfast, chicken soup for lunch, and homemade lasagna for dinner. What more could a child desire? My three younger siblings, Stevie, Cindy, and Jimmie tumbled (or maybe were pushed) out the door and into a snow drift. Icicles, like icy daggers, hung from our cabin roof. Occasionally, they would break off and we snow buccaneers would find our swords.

On New Year’s Day, we watched football all day. The Sugar Bowl, the Rose Bowl, and the Orange Bowl beamed in from KOLO TV in Reno. Full of too much football, as a teenage girl, I would don my tight pink ski apparel, put on my clunky white ski boots, and crunch down to the lodge to see and to be seen, hot chocolate included.

My mother insisted we analyze our previous year and commit to resolutions.


And so today, as I bid 2016 adieu and welcome 2017 here in the Arizona desert and far away from my childhood Tahoe memories, I take stock of my many blessings and continue to strive for personal improvement.

By writing these resolutions and blowing them into the atmosphere, they become real, unlike those resolutions that we tuck inside our secret selves.

I want to improve my posture this year, push more weight, walk every day, and write that book whose plot and characters still allude me.

I hope to find a part-time job this summer, paint every week, and maintain my blog regularly.

Maybe a volunteer opportunity, in which I am not committed to regular weekly hours, will materialize before my alert eyes.

And you?





About Cheri

Writer, photograph, artist, mother, grandmother and wife.
This entry was posted in Life, My childhood, My photography and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Reflection 2016

  1. Richard says:

    As the Christmas day approached, the special treat to Gamages actually to see Father Christmas and all the toys for sale – but none were bought.. The electric trains the grottos, the fairies and gnomes in attendance.

    The arrival of an avalanche of greetings cards, over the next few days, envelopes tucked in for cheaper postage, delivered by armies of university students earning essential supplementary cash.

    Much later, the homemade decorations, the Christmas Tree.

    The contained excitement and tension of anticipation on Christmas Eve as neighbours called for a small sherry and a mince pie. At bedtime, an empty pillowcase hung at the foot of the bed, bulging with parcels by the small and the immediate waking the household with, “Father Christmas has been!” and with my sister and I tearing wrappings apart to reveal the treasures inside, watched by drowsy parents as we sat in their bed.

    While mother worked her culinary miracles, everything Father Christmas had left was closely insected. Then the sharing of personal gifts, the reading of epistles from distant relatives, the mounting collection of 5/= postal orders.

    Long, white carvings of turkey breast bedecked with meat from wings and legs, slices of ham stuffing and sausage-meat alongside, bread sauce, cranberry sauce, sprouts, parsnip, potatoes cooked in every possible way and countless other vegetables piled high on the plate, all consumed to bursting-point. Someone discovered the wishbone and then followed the contest of breaking it with little fingers for the larger piece and the silent wish. Christmas pudding, silver thrupenny bits and another wish.

    Thank-you letters in the afternoon and seats by the wireless set for the King’s (later the Queen’s) Christmas message to the former empire.

    The arrival of friends, sometimes relatives, for the party and games until late, though I was quietly sent to bed after singing carols around the piano, Christmas cake and sausage rolls. The alcohol-free revelry went on until I slept.

    Boxing Day was more sober. Tradesmen called for their Christmas “box”. Lunch was cold turkey and pickles. But there was another party in the evening.

    Next day – back to work for fathers, though more parties, feasts and over-indulgences came with New Year’s Eve. On New Year’s Day all was back normal.

    A truly pagan festival in times of austerity. There was little mention of religion, though it was the season of peace and goodwill and we all knew what we celebrated.

    No resolutions!

    • Cheri says:

      Oh Gosh, I love this comment, which should be a blogpost in its own right. The vivid detail and precise description. The Boxing Day lunch sounds austere but because of the cold pickles, I would have like it.

      The description of the pillow case filled with treasures delivered by Father Christmas…ahh…this image brings a wave of sentimentality to my heart.

      Thank you for taking your time to put all of these rich memories into a comment and send it my way.

      Happy New Year to you and Glenys. May 2017 be a better year for England and America!

  2. Brig says:

    I’m not well structured enough at this point to have made definitive plans, other than to try to keep Dad & myself above ground and doing some small good…
    A Happy & Healthy New Year to you!

    • Cheri says:

      I wish you and your darling Father only the best in 2017. You are a powerful and admirable person. I look forward to your blog posts in this year.

  3. Cyberquill says:

    Will there be tension in that novel you eluded to?

  4. Cheri says:

    Happy New Year, Peter. Yes. I agree with you. There cannot be a novel without tension. But writing about tension makes me tense.
    Please send me your address off the blog: I’d like to send you a bottle of EVOO.

    • Cyberquill says:

      Thank you. I’ll be accepting Christmas presents until March 31st. Gifts arriving after that deadline will have to be reclassified as either Easter gifts or birthday presents.

  5. wkkortas says:

    I hope you find that Great American Novel at some point. At that stage, I am content to read said Great American Novel.

  6. shoreacres says:

    You have the courage to look in a magnifying mirror? My admiration knows no bounds.

    I love the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day. It always feels to me as though time stops, and there’s a chance for a slow turn from memory to anticipation. By the time January 2nd arrives, the process is over, and away we go. But always, the best part of New Year’s day was football, ice skating, and smörgåsbord. I’ve no television now, I’ve not ice-skated outdoors until the Great Freeze of Houston in 1983, but the smörgåsbord endures. Do you need pickled herring, crisp breads, egg salad with caviar, multiple cheeses, beet salad, cardamom buns and glogg? I can fix you right up.

    As for resolutions: I’ve already achieved my first. Well, almost. I have a nice, fresh template for my blog, and as soon as I rearrange the About page, that will be done. Resolutions numbers two, three, and four are nicely lined up, waiting. Number five is there on the edge of the crowd, hopeful that the others will be done soon enough for it to have a chance in 2017, too. But we’ll see. All of these are blog or writing related, so they’ll appear — when they appear.

    A happy New Year to you. Even though we’ve turned cold, with rain in the forecast, I’m blessed with inside work for the week, so I’d best get to it!

    • Cheri says:

      Happy New Year to you, Linda. I have briefly perused your new format and will thoroughly enjoy seeing the finished product. Your loyal and enormous readership will surely approve and be grateful that you are still writing your weekly blog with its many stories and instructive entertaining topics.

      I wish I had invested in stock for magnifying mirrors and tweezers…as we baby-boomers have aged, we use these implements daily! LOL

  7. Bogard says:

    Happy New Year to you and The Judge from Butterfly Lady and me! You know I can relate to your past New Year adventures at Tahoe as they were much the same as yours, but it has been a long time since I enjoyed the winter beauty of The Lake of the Sky. Maybe sometime again in the future (having long ago given up resolutions, I will nonetheless make it a goal). Been 15 years now since I clicked into some skis.
    As I continue into my first retirement year, the first three months being better than I had imagined, my goals and activities are much like yours: continued artistic pursuits (painting, drawing, photography, drumming), consistent exercise (going well), travel (less than optimum) and finding the right volunteer activities for which I can have passionate involvement (eluding me at the moment). Maintaining a positive attitude about the “golden years” is always a challenge, my cynical side often getting in the way of all the positive aspects of my life (I try not to look at the face in the mirror and reflect on the reflection, just take care of bidness). However, cynicism can sometimes be motivating, at least that’s what I tell myself, being part of my nature and all. Lastly, I must be more patient!! I have nothing but time now. But people still frustrate me when their lack of decisiveness block my goals!! I need accountability on that one.
    So again, Happy 2017, Cheri. Look forward to your upcoming blogs (I’m caught up now). Hopefully Butterfly Lady and I will have an opportunity to see you and Hizhonor during the year. We will be out there at some point.

    • Cheri says:

      Dear Bogard, I am so happy to hear from you. Thank you for taking the time to update me. I have felt all of the feelings you share. Retirement for me has been mixed. I still have not gotten to that place where it seems fully satisfying.
      And yes, patience is key (especially with others in our life!)
      We are doing well. Hizzoner is still working away with some fascinating cases but is taking off more time. We are spending two weeks of every month in Arizona until April when it is too hot there.

      He and Bruce B. (lived across from Hopkins on Driscoll) hooked up and are going on a road trip to Oklahoma in April. Hizzoner is looking forward to that. We are golfing while in AZ…now THAT is a frustrating game.

      Missed you on the Central Coast in September if you came but you are always welcome to stay at our place there.

      Hi to all your family from me.

  8. Chris says:

    My daughter, Amy, asked me what my New Year Resolutions were and I told her I didn’t do resolutions. So then she said, “What are your intentions for the new year?” I liked the subtle
    change. So here are my intentions for the New Year.

    My intention is to increase my repertoire of gourd art techniques; carving, burning, painting, polishing as well creating original pieces.

    My intention is to laugh more.

    My intention is to live in the moment, to leave the past behind and to not think about the future.

    My intention is to be kinder to myself and others.

    My intention is to read a book a week. How is it that I was able to do that when working full time and raising a family and now that I’m retired I can’t find the time?

    Most importantly, my intention is to wake up every morning and thank God for the beautiful life He has given me.

    • Cheri says:

      Dear Chris,
      These “intentions” are ones we all might consider (except the difficult task of producing gourd art…).

      I am drawn to your intention to leave dwelling on the past or future behind and will add that lovely thought to my own daily meditations.

      Reading a book a week…That’s a notable one too. I have two books going at the same time, read in bed, and move along like a snail.
      See you soon!

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