Lacking an impactful and attention-grabbing opening sentence or two today, I am admittedly in a bit of a quandary as to how to begin this particular piece.
After coming off the Writer’s LTIR (Long Term Injured Reserve) list, maybe I should have spent a bit longer stint in the Junior Writer’s Training League before rushing back to active duty following surgery. Undecided as I am then, how about we change pace and begin with a question of sorts . . . .
Is it appropriate for me to begin this by saying “Welcome Back!” to readers, since everyone has really been here all along I would imagine, and I am in fact the one who left for a while to have yet another surgery, this time a rotator cuff repair on my right shoulder? Or, rather, should I perhaps begin by saying “I’m Baaaack!”, instead?
In the end, the more I think about it, the latter might be the more appropriate opening to employ since it was, in fact, me who went away for a spell. So let’s do that, shall we? Thank you for your patience while I cleared away the writing cobwebs and worked thru a momentary bit of senior befuddlement. Here goes then, as we truly begin . . . .
Returned from recent surgery no worse and measurably better for the experience, my story friend Little Red Bear and I are raring to get back to it! The feeling has largely returned to my hands following the dual carpal tunnel surgeries in June with both hands and fingers still improving each month. And despite six more weeks of therapy to rehab my right shoulder and arm that lay ahead, I decided that they are both functioning well enough right now to be put back to work.
Little Red Bear and I simply cannot wait any longer to get back into the writing process once again, so let’s get to it then, shall we?
Thank you to everyone for your good wishes, patience, and kindness during the quiet period here over the past few months! We have actually added several new followers during that time, and that’s pretty cool.
Getting to it then, the following are some unassociated topics concerning the recent surgery, the coming Christmas and New Year’s holidays, the ongoing pandemic, and more . . . .
As tends to happen every year around this time, the Holiday Season is upon us! “Ho! Ho! Ho!” Time to grab the jingle bells and mistletoe!
Trudging thru our third COVID Winter, it looks like this will be the second year in a row where holiday plans are limited or altered due to the pandemic. As I write this, Broadway Shows are shutting down, NHL hockey games are being canceled, ICUs are overflowing, and more. Nevertheless, it is still a time when we can celebrate and find joy in the true spirit of the season despite how altered previous plans and traditions may be.
In that regard, I invite you to visit the many Christmas Holiday Features available here on my writing pages.
Please feel free to enjoy and share with family and friends, because sharing and spreading good cheer is what the Christmas spirit is all about. Here are just a few to get you started (hint — Little Red Bear’s “Happy Christmas” Left/Right Gift Exchange Game is always the most popular each year) . . . . .
- Christmas Thru The Window Glass
- It’s in the Singing Of A Street Corner Choir . . .
- Haddon Sundblom, Coca-Cola, and Santa Claus
- Yes, Virginia, There Is A Santa Claus” . . . . . . And So Much More!
- That’s What Christmas Is All About, Charlie Brown . . . .
- A Christmas Poem — “The General Store Christmas”
- A Short Story — “Susie’s Bear”
And not to forget — Little Red Bear’s “Christmas & Holiday Season” Coloring Pages for all ages. Again, please feel free to download the images and share!
If you know someone or perhaps have a family member (or for yourself) on your gift list who, like me, has difficulty putting on their own socks in the morning due to stiffness or other issues, I can highly recommend the Sock Aid from my own personal experience the past several weeks.
I looked at these a couple years ago following another spinal fusion surgery but dismissed them as gimmicky. They are not, and are rather worth every penny and more. A real game-changer for someone with limited flexibility.
Tired of working to put socks on with a reacher and knowing that I would be doing everything solely with my left (non-dominant) hand for possibly several weeks after the rotator cuff surgery, I decided to finally try the Sock Aid.
Being unable to pull a sock on over the device with only one hand though, I actually ended up ordering two of these. A friend would pull the socks onto each Sock Aid the night before, and then I would slip each on the following morning, able to do the pulling with only one hand.
The Sock Aids are easy to use and work perfectly. You can possibly find the Sock Aid available at local retail outlets, or on Amazon complete with a demonstration video of how they work. I am not affiliated with this product at all, merely passing the information and personal recommendation along for anyone who may benefit from it. This simple device made a positive difference in my life.
Dealing with the supply chain shortages at present, just a friendly “nudge and wink” reminder that if the hi-tech stuff is unavailable for holiday giving this year, please remember that old-fashioned books make excellent gifts. And most are available for Kindle and other e-reader devices, too.
“The Adventures of Little Red Bear: The First Holler!”, a collection of six short stories introducing Little Red Bear and many of his friends, is available in both print and for Kindle.
“Pine Holler Christmas”, a standalone Christmas-themed short story, is available for e-readers only at this time. Both books are available Free with Kindle Unlimited on Amazon. A week ago, we received a heartwarming note from one of our followers concerning the “Pine Holler Christmas” story . . . .
“I’m re-reading ‘Pine Holler Christmas’ as I do every year, it really gets me in the festive mood.”
Suitable for all ages, even for non-readers as “read-to-me” stories, I invite you to check the books out. You can check out Little Red Bear Book Reviews & Comments here to find out what others have had to say about the books.
When the pandemic began and we were all sheltered in place, I lowered the price of both books to Amazon’s minimum, eliminating any royalties so that folks would hopefully be able to afford and enjoy them while confined in their homes with family during the shutdown. The books still remain at ‘pandemic pricing’ until the end of the year!
Although not sharing new material live recently, my story friend Little Red Bear and I have been hard at work in the background preparing several new feature pages about Conservation, the Environment, and Our Children’s Future in a warming world.
Things today are clearly not the same as when I was growing up in the ’50s and ’60s. The seasons have changed with summer seemingly becoming longer each year, storms are more severe, and other impacts of climate change are being felt all over the world. Folks may still debate the cause (although I have no idea why) but the effects are all-too-real. and need to be addressed. The time to seriously confront the issue has already passed, and now we are forced to make hard choices and play catch up.
Mother Nature is a frequent mention and topic in the Little Red Bear stories, so we will be adding a good deal of material here on the writing pages after the first of the year which will be suitable for all age groups. I encourage everyone to share the pages, information, and activities with young people because they will be the ultimate ones to have to continue dealing with the issues of climate change in their lives. The Animal Alphabet Pages will continue to grow thru the year now that we are back and active again, as well.
So, just a heads-up to please watch for the new Environmental Feature Pages and posts coming in the new year!
At this point, it is understandable that so many people are worn out by the topic and feeling “so over with” the pandemic. They’re tired of wearing masks, travel hassles, standing in line for vaccine injections and tests, hearing about it every night on the news, dealing with bothersome restaurant and store restrictions, and on and on.
Believe me, I get it. But dismissing COVID because it is an inconvenience to the life we enjoyed before does not change the fact that we are still being affected by it and forced to deal with both it and the consequences.
Until the whole world is suitably vaccinated, I do not foresee this ending any time soon as new variants continue to emerge and spread. I hope I’m wrong, but am proceeding with caution accordingly.
This pandemic has been tragically life-altering and deadly for so many thousands so far, individuals and families, with over 804,000 deaths in the U.S. at this time, while adding over 17,000 new cases each day at the time of this writing as the new Omicron variant doubles every three days with the holiday season continuing and we near Christmas.
With two competing variants, Delta and the new Omicron, raging right now and hospitals’ staffs exhausted and progressively depleted, now is not the time to throw caution to the wind simply because we are tired of dealing with it all. Sometimes, as grownups, we have to make uncomfortable and hard choices. When confronted by any problem or crisis, it is best to view it realistically for what it is and deal with it. Wishing, hoping, and complaining about it will not make this pandemic go away. If things continue unabated as they are and with the grim possibility of reaching One Million deaths at some point in the U.S. alone, in my book that counts as a Crisis we can not turn our backs on in the hope it magically disappears.
I pray every day for the safety, health, and protection of my family, friends, and loved ones. And for everyone, everywhere. I hope that everyone who is able to benefit from the vaccines and boosters is able to do so. And quickly. I encourage everyone to take the necessary precautions and steps to stay safe and protect not only themselves but also their families and loved ones in the holiday season and coming months.
Taking advantage of the vaccines and boosters (which were not yet available at this time last year), wearing a mask, social distancing, and simply being smart about things are still the best ways to protect both yourself and others. It’s a bummer, but that’s the way it is right now. And we all need to do it. For ourselves and for each other.
The holiday season is always a bit stressful for many, and these COVID times are especially so. A simple kind word or gesture costs nothing and can go a very long way towards easing the stress and burdens for someone else. It may even change their day or entire life around! I invite you to join our “Smile & Compliment” club and to share a ray of light in another’s life. The neat thing is, you will feel better about yourself, too.
As always, Thank You for taking time out of your busy day to visit with us. If you made it all the way to the end here, please Like and Comment and I will ask Santa to leave an extra Sugar Plum or two in your dreams on Christmas Eve! And if new to the site and visiting with us for the first time, please register to join our growing community and be notified of every new post and feature, as there is much more to come soon.
It’s good to be back with you! Very best wishes for a safe, healthy, and happy Holiday Season! I am off now in search of a Snickerdoodle. ‘Til next time. – Jim (and Red!)
(p.s. — Likes, Shares, & Comments are truly appreciated and help immensely in expanding our reach and encouraging new readers to visit! Because together we can do so much!)
If you enjoyed this piece, you may also like — “I Will Greet This Day With Love In My Heart” and Wishing You Deep Peace, Love, Happiness, and Joy – And A Very Good Day!
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“Christmas, children, is not a date. It is a state of mind.” – Mary Ellen Chase
“Gifts of time and love are surely the basic ingredients of a truly merry Christmas.” – Peg Bracken
Meet Little Red Bear & His Friends — “Once Upon A Time In A Very Special Woods . . . .”
“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.” — Charles Dickens
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