Grandma and Grandpa Boo's birthday package was full of goodies, including new bedsheets, covered in little cat sketches, and this hat. And a dress that fits like it was custom made! Her brothers gave her books, including Kiki's Delivery Service
, which she's already devoured. It was only recently translated from Japanese to English. I think there is a little more celebrating coming up, when we have a family gathering at Holly and Rich's. Paul is flying in from Madison, so there's going to be a Thanksgiving sequel, and more catching up, commemorations, and fun.
I was thinking of everything we might do, want to do, hope to do, in the next few weeks. In a barely audible whisper, reluctantly I admit, it's too much.
Insistently I declare that it's never enough!
I am famished for traditions, for all of the familiar and comforting symbols and rituals of the season. I have a playlist for Christmas moods, for sitting quietly in a corner sipping tea, for dancing in the kitchen with pots bubbling and tamales steaming! I have playlists for tootling around town, looking at lights and window displays, for bicycle rides, and decorating the tree, and family dinners. I want to see the city, the tall buildings and couples dressed in their finest threads, small children buzzing with excitement. I want to hear bells, carols, crowds of shoppers, exclaims of joy, glad tidings, good will. I want to stay home, slide across clean floors in thick socks, while preparing an old family recipe, and signing holiday cards. I want to hum songs, because I can't remember all of the lyrics. I want to sit in church and hear the songs I recall, and join a hundred voices, rejoicing. Sentiment, longing, nostalgia, wistful waves of rememberance, and sqeezing... squeezing in activities, appointments, engagements, events. It's all in hopes of recapturing lost days, memories, of filling in the empty places of missing loved ones, feeling old, and being utterly smitten with the smell of pine, the twinkle of colored bulbs, the consolation of warm layers on a cold night.
For me, there is an almost equal risk of doing too much as there is of doing too little. I think I'd rather collapse in a happy & exhausted heap, by January 2nd or 3rd, than feel like I missed it.
I don't want to miss the anticipation of seeing friends, the stimulation of listening to live music, a tinkling of bells, a favorite movie playing as we bake, or fold laundry. I want to see favorite ornaments on the tree again. I don't want to succumb to weariness or cynicism, and let things slide. If I don't make plans or give some push, it's easy for things to not happen
, and that feels like a heavy loss.
Yesterday I wrote a post, hemming and hawing, as I tend to do, even skirting around the issue, then over-stating it, and all because I am so preoccupied with getting it right, not offending, being thoughtful and
thorough... golly, I can be a long-winded thing. Someone read all that, then was kind enough to comment, and she summed it all up, neatly in not more than two sentences. Succinct. Concise
I said, aloud, then to myself, with every intention of adopting these styles into future posts. Alas.
I recall that Geoff suggested blogging, 20 years ago, because I was sending letters, all the time. To Hawaii, to Wisconsin, to friends. I'd fill them with news, and updates on our activities. I'd print photographs, and send those too. Snail mail, then email. He thought a blog would help me get the word out,
and in one fell swoop. I don't know why I am sharing this, again. Just thinking of it. Thinking, maybe it's time to go back to letters, email. And maybe I do say too much, overshare. I got so excited when a blogger recently asked for readers to identify themselves, to wave our hands so she could see us. I think she probably meant a certain kind of blogger, maybe the ones that cross-stitch, or have some genuine influence in the world. That's not me. I am a blogger expert in longevity, longwindedness, well practiced in gliding beneath the radar.
As I mentioned on Instagram, I ought to make an inspiration page for the real holiday goals: Housework. I should draw whimsical depictions of cleaning the oven, degreasing the hood, de-cluttering kitchen drawers, of getting the car serviced, and detailed. I should add an illustration of scooping cat litter, mucking out the coop, and mending the stack of clothes I've been gathering. I should aim for getting my haircut by a professional; it's been at least three years since that's been done. But. Then I turned on a dime and started dreaming up a fantasy inspiration painting, and there was far more interest in that.
December in a dream world
... Camping in the Redwoods, a cabin in snowy woods, and sleigh rides. Ice skating on a lake, in Wisconsin, then a train ride to New England, shopping in Concord, dinner with friends. A flight to Paris, a train to the Highlands, my birthday in Sweden. Somewhere we squeeze in a tamale making party, friends and family join in. Maybe it doesn't hurt to be specific, to elaborate. Maybe these words are my spell, and daydreams are the fertile ground for our plans to take shape and become dreams-come-true.