Thursday, December 18, 2014

Resisting The Urge To Word Play With Flocked

White Christmas, anyone? It's never gonna happen, not here, not in Sunny So Cal, where rainfall spins us into a weather phenom crisis, where women don scarves and boots with shorts while nursing their non-fat fro-yos.

Baby, it's not so cold outside, and only a lot full of faux-snow flocked Christmas trees, lights on houses, and our miserable sore throats clue me in... it's almost Christmas! It's not that I am Scroogy, Grinchy, or cynical, it's just that sometimes the holidays, the spirited joy, and decorating fervor, elude me. Some years I wish I could hit a pause button, give our taxed systems a moment to catch up with the dates on the calendar, find the gift tags we stowed safely away, and come to terms with some basic truths...

Basic Truths:

1. Pinning beautiful crafts, and snow covered cabins on Pinterest will not translate into a decorated home, and clean floors.

2. Beautiful rain, welcome and good, also brings mud, sad goats, heap loads of clean-up.

3. The sofa is broken. Not broken-in, cozy. Just broken.

4. The cats are never going to toilet train themselves.

We do have a Christmas tree. And after three days, we even put lights on it. No one ever need tell us, "Take it easy! What's your hurry?" And this year, for the first time since 2004, I bought, signed, addressed, stamped, and mailed holiday cards. My feeling of accomplishment, of old-timey traditional social engagement, is off the charts, and only matched by my feeling of dorkiness, and being painfully aware that this achievement is not that great, that a lot of it was actually slightly botched, and a bit too old-timey. Does anyone remember when Christmas cards were of glitter trees, manger scenes, or mice drinking cocoa, and they were simply dated, and signed? Some people included a personal note? I forgot that this is 2014... and Christmas a season's greetings card is a professional portrait of a family dressed in comfortable sweaters, on a beach, or in the woods. They look amazing. Christmas Season's greetings cards might include a single-spaced printed essay... reflections on travels, promotions, awards, and heroic accomplishments. I love those letters. I've noticed people have their friends' addresses printed on labels. Sheer genius, pure brilliance, and organizational fortitude! If I got my act together, and had all my friends addresses in a computer file, and knew how to print labels... you'd better believe I'd mention it in my single-spaced printed essay on our great year of heroic accomplishments.

We don't have a family picture, all of us looking in the same direction, an in-focus portrait. And as I signed our cards, I reasoned that it's fine. It's more than fine, because Chcikenblog Chickenblog is loaded with pictures. We've been sharing chickens, goats, cats, and us all over the Internet, and I am pretty sure everyone gets a general idea about that sort of thing... how we look, what we do etc. Then I thought, what about the essay, the catch-up letter? And again, I was painfully aware that no one can be longing to know what we've been up to lately. I was fiercely tempted to casually include a small url mention of, tastefully written in a corner of the card, a gentle reminder, for friends who have never heard that I have been banging my head pursuing a career in writing about all sorts of random topics, and hoping to land a book deal, so I can feed the goats, and put a new roof on our house. But thanks to an article I read {ten things not to flock-up in your Seasons Greetings card,} I knew better than to run a business advertisement in our holiday card. And even as I debated all of these things, I also questioned the value and sense of sharing my internal monologue, here. On Chcikenblog. Chickenblog. Apparently, I am a rebel, even against my own good sense, because, as you can see, I am posting all about my self-doubts, missteps, and goofynesses, here on Chiemcmelblog. {Also, hand addressing and signing fifty cards gave me hand cramps and the after-spasms make it difficult to type, or spell correctly, for that matter. (After-spasms are the post cramp wimpiness you feel when you have forgotten how to hold a pen for long periods of time, and cannot immediately recover from the task, but choose to write all about it for your blog.)}

Also, at 2:30 this morning my brain woke me up to inform me that I did not spell Aunt Margie and Uncle Howard's surname correctly. That I left out the T.

Thanks, brain. For waking me, and giving me one more basic truth... I cannot catch all of my mistakes in time to fix them, but I will always have the predawn hours to be tormented by them.


jennifer said...

amen sister! to all of it, from a fellow san diego girl who was laughing at myself this morning.... wearing a knit hat on my head and teva flip flops on my feet. hey, at least i see the irony in it right? oh, and have you found the pause button yet? because i would be mighty thankful to be shown where it is... just a bit of a pause is all i need. honest.

KathyB. said...

This post is brilliant ! I actually got all my Christmas cards out into the mail on time this year. My husband & I noticed though that many of the cards we're receiving do not reflect Christmas. Really, we got a photo card from family members showing them all sweaty at the finish line of another race the family runs in.( saw the picture on facebook last summer ) I am thankful they think of us, but there it is, picture of a sweaty family in the summer attached to our Christmas card banner along with CHRISTMAS cards.

This year I deliberately chose beautiful glittery snow scenes, and happy old fashioned Santa scenes. I did not include a newsletter because most of the people on the list are my facebook friends and should they really be interested in my family, they only have to click onto my name. For those distant friends & relatives not on facebook I hand wrote a short note of greeting in the cards and gave them my blog name , telling them kindly if they were interested in what we got up to around here they could google the blog name and find out. For our very old relatives I wrote a short letter. I think that anyone who knows you will find your blog way more enlightening & entertaining than the usual Christmas newsletter.

Love your Basic Truths, especially the one about Pinterest !

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

Oh, Jennifer! Thank you. Nothing helps more than sharing a chuckle. My flip flops are on, and I am still looking for that pause button!

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

Kathy B., thank you. I just now realized that I did not send a card to my MIL!! How? How could I forget? Or did? I'm afraid my brain is not helping me on this point. At least it's not too late to fix this, but goodness...

I am so glad you, and Jennifer, commented on this post. It's reassuring to know there are kindred spirits out there!

Anonymous said...

There's so much that I love about this post, especially the truthiness of your basic truths. I alluded to #1 in my Pinterest post. Yeah, I got out all the snowmen, and we got the tree decorated, but I didn't attempt any elaborate new decorations ala Pinterest. I love it, but it's mostly a fantasy world. I have found some wonderful recipes on there, but they've mostly been from bloggers that I already knew about. The house is in dire need of cleaning, and I actually had the vacuum cleaner sitting in the dining room for over a week, meaning to get the main floor done, but it sat there so long I decided to just wait until right before Christmas Eve, when we do our big thing. Thank goodness for the stick vac to use on the kitchen floor, because, otherwise, yuck, just yuck. Did I say that I think cleaning house is kind of a waste of time, especially with four kids living here, one of them being a toddler?

I got my Christmas cards out fairly early, for me, because of the new address. People still sent to the old one though. I even made sure I put "New Address" on the envelope, but they still missed it. The kid picture didn't get done this year. I didn't have the energy for it. I imagine the old folks probably missed seeing them, and I'll try to get some taken all together when they're all here, but I don't have much hope of it happening. It's always such chaos. I always send Santa Claus and snowmen cards, or pretty snowy farmhouse scenes. I really like ones with cardinals in snow, too.

I know what you mean about the hand cramping from writing. My handwriting has become atrocious from disuse. I rarely even write checks anymore. It's all debit card purchases. I pay all my bills online. I used to have beautiful handwriting. I think it started going downhill when I changed my signature to something unintelligible so it couldn't be forged as easily. My daughter told me mine was really easy to forge, and she would know this from her own personal high school experience many years ago. Ha!

I have to be an early riser these days. I need a couple of hours of peaceful quiet time before the young'uns get up and start the day. If I didn't, I would go insane. :)