The Gift of Muchmore

To Send or Not to Send or When to Send?

This year I had hoped to carve out the time to create a holiday card to send to one and all. I watched each progress deadline pass on the calendar with regret and knew in early November that I would not succeed in producing one ON PAPER this year. As a working communication professional, I understand that we are falling deeper and faster into a paperless world. Nevertheless, I love getting snail mail–and I have loved the cards I’ve received from those who have sent them. And I am excited like a kid when a package arrives which makes it hard when I can not reciprocate when I want to.

It’s what’s in the card.

I thought about what I’d put on the card if I’d made one this year. And came back to the thought that outside the joy of sharing something via the card, the most important aspect of the card tradition is hearing from and connecting with the people in my life this time of year.

Long time neighbor, Debbie Anderson, and I swapped holiday emails today. I miss having her next door, but am so glad that we are still in touch though so far away from each other. Elaine Hale, one of my oldest friends from college, and I connected through our blogs. Tom Waters, dear friend from Platteville days, sent a card reminding me that I have not made a voyage to paint in his part of the southwest. There were picture cards from my other McFarland “son,” Jim and his new wife and proud new parents in the making, Kurt and Megan Mueller…an ornament from a dear friend in Texas and other wishes too many to mention here. Yes, no matter how the greetings come, I am grateful and delighted to get them.

Yesterday before bed as I thought thankfully of my two boys sleeping upstairs at Muchmore, I realized that I could turn the paradigmatic corner (so to speak) and use the sometimes seemingly impersonal electronic network to address my current holiday dilemma. It was not to late to share a creative expression this season. I did not have to create a painting on demand, I had a new one in the wings.  Though untraditional, it fit the holiday quite well. So this year, this blog is my holiday greeting–complete with an original painting and the toast I would have delivered had I hosted a caroling party for you all.

My Gift

My Christmas painting is only the second oil I’ve completed in 15 years. It began as an impressionist interpretation inspired by a photo I took in the Rocky Mountains last May while visiting dear friends, David and Susan King. Somehow I could not continue painting in the style I have been using the last 10 years. I began to think about a Bauhaus inspired painting in my bedroom. I made that painting during my Monroe period some 40 years ago. I see a bit of Chagall, a touch of Gauguin, and a good splash of Bauhaus. It is about line, color, and nature. All incredibly influential components of my work. It is very different from what I’ve been doing, but it pleased me and is now a companion to the original Bauhaus-esque piece of 40 years before (see below). It resides over my desk in my bedroom and is one of the first things I see in the morning.

That I have finished my first full year here with such a painting is quite symbolic of where my head is. I have made a very bold and fast transition into a new chapter in my life. I like that the painting shows me that I am capable of other big changes. It suggests to me that some of the things I can’t replace from my old life are holes that may be filled with, not the same pleasure as what I lost, but nevertheless a pleasure that can grow to the same stature. That is my hope.

And so I share with you at this time of magic, the progression of a painting done in a majestic place interpreted with a fresh eye and celebrating a wonderful memory of an adventure with two dear friends.

A Toast to Those Dearest

Muchmore has seen two big holiday events since I arrived, both the holiday parties for my branch staff. They and the job have heretofore taken all the energy and time I have for entertaining during Christmas. And so, the age old Caroling Party has not quite transitioned to Cincinnati. We did sing at this year’s branch party and I introduced them to the toasting and appetizer competitions, but these are not “my” people. Maybe next year, I will figure what to do and who to invite to “fledgling” people–but not this year. So, for now, here is my toast to you, my people:

The prince said you can’t see that which is essential

And pardon my lack of a royal credential, but

I second that notion

With love and emotion

So let’s tip a chalice to all that is heartfelt

To memories, secrets, laughter, and tears

To our loyal Leinie chasing chipmunks in Einstein’s universe

To thoughts to think and ways of seeing

To many more chapters and cumulous skies

To many more loves and many fewer lies

To reaching potential and flying so high

To a year full of giving the best we can give

And getting to know what it means just to live

I wish you all this and muchmore in 2011!

Merry Christmas, Joyous Solstice, Happy Hannukah, and a Wonderful Holiday to All from the Mistress and Sons of Muchmore.


The Sons of Muchmore: Sleep in heavenly peace (except for enduring a mother’s camera).


About vbassoc

Donna Van Bogaert is a researcher and consultant in the field of cognitive styles, health communication, and organizational communication and behavior. Her business, Van Bogaert & Associates, Inc., specializes in cognitive-based coaching, management consulting, and leadership development. When the winds are blowing her way, she travels and talks about workplace potential and creative problem solving. In another life, Donna sings jazz. For a very long time, she fronted two 18-piece big bands —All That Jazz (Madison, WI) and The Gardenia Big Band (Rockford, IL). She currently resides in Cincinnati, Ohio where, in a third parallel universe, she leads a media branch of a national research institute. Mostly she has returned to painting, poetry, and plotting the next chapter of her life.
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5 Responses to The Gift of Muchmore

  1. bob wolfe says:

    LOVE your art Donna!……You are not so bad either!……..You’re such an interesting, multifaceted, life force…….All the Best…..Love Bob

    • Cynthia A says:


      • Cynthia A says:

        Phoned you today hoping to have a long chat!! No luck. Now really Donna Van, WHEN are you going to make the big trip to Brisbane and Sydney???? Oprah did! Dying to see You! Merry Christmas and a fantastic 2011 to you and the boys. I’ll keep the spare room free!

  2. Richard Klemm says:

    Have a pleasant holiday season. Don’t od on the petit fours and dobosh tortes from Swiss Colony. I know they were your favorites!

  3. Bea says:

    And, a very Merry Christmas to you and yours! And, may 2011 bring more joy then stress and good health and of course, wealth. Keep the old friends and make lots more.
    Love ya, :)B

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