comments: 303

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When I was little, I used to like New Year's Eve. My dad was a musician and usually worked that night, and my mom would go to wherever he was playing. We three girls would spend the night at our grandma and grandpa's, and that was my happy place: The house was overly warm and almost new. Everything was tidy and beige. In the spare bedroom where we slept, the bed was dressed in heavy cotton sheets and thick wool blankets. There was wall-to-wall carpet, and we would become wild on the floor in a way we never did at home on our hardwoods; we did headstands and somersaults and backbends and walkovers and my grandma would just have a fit. I don't know if she was more worried that we would hurt ourselves or that our underpants were showing. We were so oblivious to either concern. Our grandparents were very old, the oldest people we knew. We were their only grandchildren. I remember one time in seventh or eighth grade, when it was the height of fashion in my crowd to wear rolled-up men's boxer shorts to volleyball practice, I raided my grandpa's dresser and came out into the living room wearing a pair of his. I asked him if I could have them. My grandpa spoke perfect English with a heavy Italian accent, but in that moment he was sure he did not understand my question. Confusion ensued. You want to wear my underpants, to school? Me, French-braided, smiling: Yes! To school? Um, Yes!?!? Could he not see how cool these were? My father gave me $10 and told me to go to Marshalls.

At my grandparents' we would lay on the floor in front of the television and watch all the New Year's Eve shows, and at midnight we would muster a sort of imitated enthusiasm, not old enough yet to truly understand what a miracle another year really is. At bedtime, my grandma would walk around the house, turning everything off. She finally would pull the chains on her cuckoo clock, lifting the heavy pine-cone weights, and then stop the pendulum so the clock would not cuckoo through the night; she'd set the hands for seven so that the next morning it was always ready to start again with just a push. It was so quiet at my grandma's house at night. Our parents were night owls; almost never did I go to bed in a quiet house at home. But at my grandma's you could hear every possible noise: the bed creaking when you moved. The heat turning on and off. The freight train approaching and then going past. Every little house-click and house-thump. Almost twenty years ago I had a panic attack on an airplane in mid-air. Tears streamed down my face. I closed my eyes and was back in my grandma's spare bedroom, in the warm dark with the night-light left on in the hallway, my grandparents sleeping in their twin beds on the other side of the wall. Safe.

I've conjured that place several times this past year, trying to find purchase in my life and in what has, at certain times, felt like being in free-fall. I think that's how most of life is, in a lot of ways. You step forward, and step forward, and then you touch back — everything still here? Still here. Okay. Forward again (then). Life pulls you forward, even when you feel tired. I never was an adventurous person, in my own opinion; I always had big plans but only for little, mostly prosaic things. I always was and still am happiest in slow, mostly quiet places, with long, mostly quiet days. Winter suits me. When I look back on 2011, I am, I have to admit, still sort of bewildered and shaken, not sure what happened or even what to do next. I'm trying to be at peace with that gauzy, half-blurred feeling, and on certain days think it is easy to just — let it go away from me, a long piece of crinkled muslin tossed up and carried off into the wind. On other days I seem to wear it, spiraled and close, like a scarf. Maybe I'll just lose it somewhere, and not even notice. Leave it on a bench or a bus. I won't mind.

I'm not much of a planner, and never manage to remember to make any grand resolutions for a new year. My regular resolutions always seem so obvious. But I like how New Year's Eve prods you say them, even the obvious ones, out loud, along with everybody else. I want to appreciate the health, happiness, and home-life, and the people and pets, that I am so lucky to have. I want to be more generous and helpful, because I haven't felt like I've had much to offer anybody lately. I want to be a better friend and listen more when people are talking. I want my shoulders to relax because they're riding too high. I want to be outside more. I want to cook more and eat healthier. I want to have patience. I want to trust my intuition again, and have more faith in myself. I want to not always feel so left behind. I want to be more free, and even brave. I want to give more love than I do. Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace. That is my wish for 2012.

303 comments

Thank you for this post even though it made me cry for so many different reason. Give more love. That says it all.

Your writing is exquisite, thank you for sharing it with the world. This post brought me right back to my childhood visits to my grandparents house, falling asleep in a dark quiet room, with the light left on in the bathroom in the hallway, listening to the creaks of the house my father grew up in ... just by sharing your writing you are offering up so much to so many you never see. Thank you, and warm wishes for a happier new year.

You touch more lives than you could ever know through your blog. You have given me joy just this week when I bought two of your designs. You are so talented and have so much to be proud of. In a humble way, of course. Happy New Year!

You are an amazing person Alicia! Your words are so inspiring! Wishing you a fabulous New Year, where all your wishes come true!

Alicia, you have such a beautiful way with words. Happy, healthy new year to you and Andy and the fur babies. I love your rememberances of your grandparent's house. My own two daughters are in their early thirties now, and both often will say to me "I can smell grandma's house - or grandma's basement". And that house hasn't been in our family for over 20 years now, but they still remember. It makes me happy. Peace! xo

Oh my goodness, you give more of yourself than anyone I know! I come to your blog to glean quiet and peace in my life. I come to your blog to receive creativity and beauty. I come to your blog so I can feel Andy's and your love! I feel I am the selfish one constantly expecting new posts, projects and photos so I can get MY "fix"!

Please, please know we love you and your lovely life so very much! I pray God will bless you and Andy richly in this New Year as you give of yourself to others, and that you will have peace and joy in abundance!

I'm not one to comment often (shy!) but this post is so beautiful, it brought me to tears. Your blog is truly inspiring. I wish you a peaceful and fulfilling new year!

Hi Alicia,
I know I am a stranger to you, but by reading your blog so often I know you already are an instrument of peace. I see evidence of your generous spirit in every post you make. Thank you for sharing so much! I wish you a wonderful new year. May all the comfort, love, warmth,& care that I see reflected in your photographs & words shine upon you.

Thank you for sharing the beautiful, quiet days and places in your life, along with the gauzy, crinkly ones. May 2012 bring you all your wishes.

I've thought about you so often these past few months, even though we are strangers (except for what you write about your life). I've been struggling too, with anxiety and depression. The past year and a half have been very difficult for me, and I'm only now seeing a bit of light. I've had to be brave and motivated in ways that are hard for me, in order to make good things happen so I can get through each day. I'm lucky to have the support of my husband and family (even if they're all far away).

Your last paragraph is what I wish for my own life, but I couldn't say it so well as you have. I wish I could give you a hug, and show you it's possible to get through these bad times (even if I'm only just starting to believe that myself). I hope the new year brings you happiness, and the strength to be what you want to be.

What a wonderful post!!!! Happy New Year : )

What wonderful resolutions. Often mine are something silly like be more organized, lose weight, or even clean more.

I think we are hardest on ourselves more than others would ever be. Looking back in your blog throughout 2011 I see all the things you resolute to already be true. You give joy and friendship everyday with your words.

Wishing you, Andy, and the rest of the family a magical 2012 !

Alicia, you have spoken your innermost thoughts and feelings to us all and we thank you for it. Sometimes I feel things but don't know how to put it in words and then I read your blog and understand. Friends are like that aren't they -- even virtual friends. For 2012 I want to actually start and finish projects and not feel that I have to do it all in a day or two. Its okay to take a month if I want! Also, I want to not accept guilt that is presented to me on a platter -- I will look at it, think about it, and if its true I will do something about it; if its not true I will take it and throw it to the wind! I want to smile more and be more polite. May your family be extremely blessed in 2012 with unexpected riches and joy!

If I could, I would give you a hug right now. You are an amazing woman, and you have so much to give, and are aleady giving so much. Be kind to yourself. 2011 was a horror year for me too, for different reasons to yours, but it was also the year I realised how much each day was a blessing, and how much I wanted to live MORE than I ever had before.

Happy new year to you and Andy and all the fur kids. May 2012 be the truly awesome year we want it to be!

Oh I do love to read your blog Alicia...you need to write a novel, I love your words. It's so beautiful!

As for 2012, let's make it better than 2011...and while 2011 threw me on the worst rollercoaster in my life, I can thank my lucky stars that my baby sleeps on my lap (even if she hasn't quite gotten her medication that she should right now...she'll get it!)

Perhaps 2012 will lead you to another soul - one that was meant to stay with you, even though I know you left a piece of your soul with that little baby...

Love to you and Andy, here's to a wonderful 2012 for us all
xxx

I rarely leave comments. This post touched me and I want you to know that I appreciate and enjoy your blog very much. I wish you and your husband all good things in the new year.

alicia, andy and four-footed friends, what a beautiful post. thank you. happy new year to all. 2012 will be a wonderful year for you. all of your readers are certain of that. you are loved by all of us.

A minister came to our office today and I asked him for an inspirational Bible verse. Proverbs 3, verses 5-6 was his answer and it is so perfect for this New and hopefully better Year. Thank you Alicia for sharing your life experiences with us, they are like little blessings of encouragement every day.

Alicia, Julian of Norwich said it best, to me: "All will be well, and all will be well, and all manner of things will be well." Happy New Year and thank you for all the visual pleasure you've given us. Micki

Beth Wilson says: December 30, 2011 at 05:31 PM


You are Special, Unique and Beautiful.

And you bring and share All and Everything of the such
to others.

Thank you for being you !!

Love, Joy, Peace,
Beth in Va

Perfectly expressed and oh so similar to my wants for 2012...thank you! I love the picture in my mind of little girls being gymnasts, wonderful :)

puttermuch... says: December 30, 2011 at 05:46 PM

Simply beautiful Alicia....may God bless you this year, bringing much happiness to you and your family. You seem like such a lovely person ... I hope you don't change at all...!

P.S. can I have your dog ? :)

May God bless and keep you.

Blessings to you in 2012. You are a beautiful instrument of peace. You bring peace and calm to my busy life (with 3 small children) through your photos, crafts, descriptions of life and nature. God bless you and Andy this year! I always look forward to your blog updates.

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About Alicia Paulson

About

My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at aliciapaulson.com

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Photography

Since August of 2011 I've been using a Canon EOS 60D with an EF 18-200mm kit lens and an EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens.