About Me

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Kymberlie Ingalls is native to the Bay Area in California. She is a pioneer in blogging, having self-published online since 1997. Her style is loose, experimental, and a journey in stream of consciousness. Works include personal essay, prose, short fictional stories, and a memoir in progress. Thank you for taking a moment of your time to visit. Beware of the occasional falling opinions. For editing services: http://www.rainfallpress.com/

Friday, December 31, 2010

We Shall Be Free

Garth Brooks - We Shall Be Free

“This ain’t comin’ from no prophet, just an ordinary man… when I close my eyes I see the way this world shall be when we all walk hand in hand…”

It’s time to put the tree away for another year, take down the glittering lights – and cross our toes that they will work next year, despite their being brand new this year.  China has us over a Christmas barrel, and they know it - we’re never going to cash in that “warranty” that comes inside the box.  We’ll just trudge down to Kmart next December when we’ve pulled them from storage to find that half of each string has gone out, grumbling all the way.  Ho ho humbug, and all that.

One of the reasons I love the holiday season, despite my best curmudgeon fa├žade, is the giving.  The receiving is most excellent as well!  But it’s the giving that takes away the chill in the air.  To be able to treat a friend to a special holiday meal who otherwise couldn’t afford it brings out my inner elf.  Helping to gather toys from strangers in an effort to make Christmas a teeny tiny bit better for a child gets my jingle bells jangling.  Hosting parties that leave friends smiling, surprising someone with a card or a gift, forcing my cats to humiliate themselves with their annual holiday photo to send in the cards that I will spend eight hours signing, updating, and addressing – priceless.

Today, I zipped out on the road to lunch with a friend, and got back to the reality of everyday music.  No more being serenaded by Bing and dreaming of a white Christmas.  All of my holiday friends – Karen Carpenter, Kenny Rogers, Julie Andrews, Charlotte Church, Mariah – are being put back into their file folder on my hard drive until after the next turkey has been carved. 

As I got back to my country roots, heading over the green hills toward Highway 4, the holiday buzz carried me along, and I sang out loud to my favorite cowgirl anthems.  It was a concert to behold, let me tell you.  I’ll be appearing all week, check back for showtimes. 

In the back of my head, though, every year as the calendar turns over its last page, comes the thought: Wouldn’t it be amazing if this sort of goodwill carried over into the new year?  We all feel charitable when the food banks start rolling out the ads looking for donations as Thanksgiving approaches, and Toys For Tots hangs their colorful signs all around the community. 

What about in January, March, even in July?  People will still be living on the street, hungry and unclothed.  Children will still need to know that someone cares.  Schools and libraries are always in need of volunteers.  Seniors will still be there looking for a new friend.  There’s no way to take on all of it, but every so often it is possible for each of us to look beyond December, and contribute an afternoon to others. 

I find New Year resolutions to be quite pointless – all they do is set us up to fail, and personally I have plenty around to feed my gargantuan sense of guilt.  January is a beginning of a new calendar, not of our lives.  Every day that we awaken is another chance to look around ourselves, see past our own noses.  It’s really not even as daunting as it sounds, and has a different feel to it than simply writing a check to assuage a sense of obligation. 

It’s rather freeing, in fact.  If only Santa really did stay in our hearts after the stockings have disappeared from the mantle.  Imagine what a world it would be. 

Imagine how much brighter your corner of it could be.

“When the last child cries for a crust of bread, when there’s shelter over the poorest head – stand straight, walk proud, ‘cause we shall be free…”

Saturday, December 25, 2010

My Grown-Up Christmas List

Amy Grant - My Grown-Up Christmas List

“Do you remember me?  I sat upon your knee and wrote to you of childhood fantasies…”

I want to be a Who.  I want to sing songs with words like pantookas and ding dang donglers.  Then I want to gather around a tree, hand in hand with my entire village of friends, watch it light up and bloom while we sing “Christmas day is in our grasp so long as we have hands to clasp!”

Dr. Seuss was never an idol of mine as a child, but I think he nailed this one pretty proficiently.  I’ve been the Grinch.  I’ve experienced my heart growing three sizes in one day.  Have watched others morph from their own Grinchiness.  And yes, this year my family will gather ‘round the roast beast – I’ll even dare to say it could be a merry occasion without the trepidation that I might just be jinxing it. 

It will be a small gathering, as it has been the last several years.  The family is dwindling.  This year, all over the nation, celebrations are shrinking along with our budgets and our hopes.  Expectations that next year will be any better than the last are disappearing like reindeer dashing away in the sky. 

I’ll keep my wish list simple this year.  For everyone but my husband, that is.  He still has some shopping to do. 

But for everyone else, I wish this:
A promising future for those with a long road ahead, and for those whose path has grown shorter but none less bright.

A year to bring wealth and blessings that aren’t always found at the bottom of a thinning wallet, and can’t be charged with a plastic wish.

An education that isn’t always found in a classroom, but at the hand of a teacher who doesn’t need an apple and a chalkboard to earn the title.

 A moment of happiness – more than one if you are so lucky – whether on a winter’s night when the moon brings about a luminous kiss, or a warm, sweet summer’s day when laughter rolls off of the sun’s tongue to tickle your ears.

Success that fills any little void leftover from these hard, recent times – or plants a seed to grow upon.  Find your inner Who - trim up your tree with bingle balls and wuzzle wuz.

World peace is out of our reach, but inner peace can be found quite simply by gazing upon the colored holiday lights, wrapped in the arms of a loved one or in a moment of solitude, a gift unto itself that doesn’t need a ribbon to be meaningful.

“This is my only lifelong wish, this is my grown-up Christmas list…”

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Holiday For The Rest Of Us!

Watch this video for a multimedia edition of this blog

Why does Christmas have to be the bully of the holiday season?  The big fat kid on the playground that keeps all the other holidays quivering in their corners? 

There’s been a lot of unrest the last few years over cultural celebrations such as Kwanzaa, and Hannukah.  Political correctness has reared its ugly, green Grinchy head in the workplace as well as the public, with fear of offense to any and everyone for wishing good tidings for the wrong holiday.  It’s gotten beyond the point of silly.  Frankly, I’d love to wish everyone a good Festivus (a holiday for the rest of us!) and take any happy greetings I can get – especially if they involve gifts. 

There’s been a movement circulating on Facebook, and prior to that in email chains and various other social sites, claiming back CHRISTmas (because it is a day of Christ, after all – who cares that it isn’t his real birthday … details and bygones).  “I say Merry CHRISTmas because it’s about CHRIST – if you don’t like it, f&#@ you!”

That’s the spirit, alive and well, right there.

I don’t care if someone wishes me a Merry Christmas, a groovy Kwanzaa, or wants to light a menorah and think of me while doing so.  Glad tidings are hard to find in this dirty, deceitful world, so I’m happy to have them piled at my door whenever and because of whatever. 

Many of my friends are Jewish, but I’ll be honest in saying I don’t always know who.  I’ve never been one to pick one out of a crowd - don’t go by traits, noses or last names.  I don’t automatically assume that every black person I know celebrates Kwanzaa, because it is to highlight the African culture, but not all blacks come from Africa. 

I have my own meaning of the Christmas holiday, and it’s not to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.  My holiday is to remind me to appreciate others, reflect on the year, to bask in the warmth that arises from the chilly winter air as people take a moment to breathe, and muster up a spirit that only comes around at this time of year.

Every year in the magical waterland of the Bay Area known as Discovery Bay, there is a lighted boat parade that comes around, and we gather to see all the glitter, the fun, take part in the cheering and carrying on.  This year, for the first time, there was a little boat in the midst of all the Santas and snowmen, with a beautiful blue Star Of David displayed on its bow, and I heard my friend Andi whisper “Isn’t that something?  It’s a Hannukah boat!  I’ve never seen one before in this parade!”  Andi and her husband Joie celebrate the holidays with the rest of their friends, host beautiful parties, and never, ever make a big deal over Christmas versus Hannukah at their home.  They welcome us all for a festive occasion, but I could see how touched she was by this little boat quietly taking its place in this holiday parade.  I hope in the future we’ll see more of them participating, for the Andi’s of the world. 

Is there really something so wrong in saying “Happy Holidays?”  It doesn’t make me “politically correct,” it means I’m wishing you a very happy holiday season – makes no difference to me which one, or ones, that might include.  It’s Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanzaa, Festivus, and New Year’s Eve all rolled into one lighted Times Square apple ball.

I’m not selling out, not afraid to offend anyone.  It’s a time of peace, hope your season is merry and bright, but whatever your celebration includes, make it a freakin’ happy one already!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

When My Heart Finds Christmas

Like a lost little girl, it’s and I am gazing at the lights of the Christmas tree, reflecting on the past year.  The green, the red.  The blues.  Friends lost and found, changes that crept up and left me with questions asked more so than answered. 

It’s a festive time, and the joy of the season always wins in the end, but it’s after the holiday parties, after the fun gatherings that I find myself in the light of my tree, darkness closing in.  Childlike twinkles that recall the past, a symbol of wishes and dreams.

The loss of innocence as when Santa Claus becomes just another myth.

The sun will dry my tears tomorrow, but tonight the moon will see them fall.  My love of all things Christmas – the colors, the warmth despite the crisp chill, the songs – becomes faint in the frosty night air.  It wages a battle within my heart, gingerbread wishes chased by charcoal sketches, haphazardly drawn on faded paper thoughts.
I miss my family.  The loud holidays, the inviting smells that filled Grandma’s house, the shuffling of relatives in and out the door.  Cameras flashing to capture a memory.  Seasons when camaraderie triumphed over intolerance. 

Today I am missing my sister, and am discovering my brother.  Remembering my mother, and looking for my father.  I am sad for what has been lost, and thankful for what’s been found.

I have a friend with whom many hours have been spent recently.  Busy hours talking, quiet hours sitting.  This has been a gift that didn’t need a pretty ribbon to be meaningful.  Calm that I have found, and that I hope has been given.   Out of the blue this came, as though not a day had passed from the last confession to the first.

Candy canes are whispering in my ear, promising sweet thoughts, yet there is a sharp bite that forewarns me.  When the tree comes down, the lights are dark again for another year, and the ornaments packed carefully away, winter settles in.  A white blanket falls over the red and green, the silver and the gold.

A white shadow.  

Wonderings of what lies ahead sparkle around me like the shimmering champagne raised in a well-meaning toast.  But champagne loses its glow, and by the end of the blue dawn, so has the new year.  

Thoughts to be drowned out by cinnamonny cider and melting snowflakes. 

Pictures blaze before me like stars in the night sky.  Random scenes from a forgotten life.  Faded snapshots of a wanted dream.  Longing to fit into the memories, and the need to run from them.

My tired eyes are slowly closing as the green branches of the tree blur in a haze of .  Why does Christmas seem so much more magical after the night has fallen?  And why is it chased so quickly into the clouds like dashing reindeer?

Tossing my wishes into the air like pinecones and holly berries, for the tiniest of seconds there is a glimmer of hope.  Hope that I can skate away on the river beneath me without falling through the thin icy layers.

I told someone tonight that I had faith in very few things.  Questions abound.  I have faith, however, that these familiar feelings will find me while I sit quietly by the chimney, waiting for a new revelation to arrive on the hearth. 

I have faith that another year will pass by as swiftly as the last.  And I have faith that change will drift in like the flurries of yesterdays. 

Time to turn out the lights for another evening.  Daylight will arrive soon and this sleepy girl wants to fall into a bed of sugarplum dreams, even when she is frightened to find only empty footsteps in the snow.

“All the days are kind to me, but fall too far behind to see, but when my heart finds Christmas, I hope it finds you too…”

Friday, December 3, 2010

Love The Way You Lie...

Watch this video for a multimedia edition of this blog

The truth about lies is that we don’t always know when we’re telling them.  And when we do know, most of us stay in denial, convincing and justifying until we’ve given ourselves a reinvented truth. 

Little lies – “You look fabulous!,” “Mmm, tastes great!,” “Can’t make it in today.. sick..” give way to bigger fibs – “You mean so much to me.”  “It’s not you, it’s me,” “I’ll call you tomorrow.”    

It’s when a calculated risk is added that it becomes more dangerous, more appealing, more… hurtful.  This is when we begin to believe our own lies, and the lies of others.  Most of us need to believe whatever we want to so desperately that it cuts off the oxygen supply to our smarts.  Suddenly the alarms go silent, the blinders are firmly in place, and the fog blocks out any chance of good sense.  This is what many salaciously call a fantasy. 

The reality of fantasies is that it’s a mask, to hide our inner desires, our basic instincts … our fears.  So many colors, shapes, sizes – no mask is the same aside from the common thread of a suffocating need.  Society is one big masquerade ball, our lives being a very long party that we constantly spend looking for one whom we can reveal what is beneath, what is hidden.  But the instant our vulnerability is at risk, the masks go back up and we delude ourselves with make-believe.

A party is much more arousing with all of the moon’s enticing intrigue, than in the light of a cold gray morning when the streamers have fallen and the colors are nothing more than a wretched rainbow derived from the madness that is suppressed deep within us all. 

Whoever said “a little fantasy never hurt anyone” hasn’t made it to the end of the party yet – hasn’t gotten to the hangover of their drunken lies.  Some can’t face their reflections long enough to see the truth of their unintended deceptions, some of us stare long enough until we transform unintentions into truth. 

A lie always loses its shadow, and is always chased away by the dawn. 

This is the biggest truth of them all.