Thursday, December 09, 2021

Good Days and Better Days

We are having good days and better days. Last night I was about to lament about how it had been a bad day, but then I had to admit that even with the genuinely bad parts of the day, there was still a lot that was good, worthwhile. So, without denying that some days are the worst, and some moments are wretched, I am here to share some highlights from the week, so far. And if you will indulge me, I might throw myself a brief, but well deserved pity party.

Saturday was kind of brilliant, because it was full of normal stuff... normal, pre-pandemic kind of stuff! We had a project going in the shop, some mentoring-tutoring activity, as Geoff helped Leo figure out laser engraving oak, for part II of Leo's Eagle Scout project. Leo is making signs to identify individual native plants along a park trail. Practice and fine tuning yielded terrific results! Simon was over to work on math with Max. Bex and Leslie hung out and we played with the doll house, art supplies, and tried one of the Adagio Advent calendar teas. Have I mentioned? We have an Advent calendar that holds a new tea, one for each day until the 24th? Then Bex, Maria and Bambi worked on the fairy puzzle, and Simon hung out with Leo, and Geoff in the shop. And I started a big pot of tamale chicken. It may or may not become tamales, but it's already made delicious burritos!

Sunday, Max came with me to pick up our tree. It arrived at the school very late, because the poor driver got a flat. They were so apologetic about the delay, but it all worked out fine, for us. Leo and Michael were back in the shop with Geoff, and they finished a whole stack of signs. Alex, Bambi, and William were busy in the kitchen fixing good eats for our family day and Thanksgiving sequel. Maria finished up physics homework, and some writing. Besides holiday fun, she's trying to keep focused on end of semester work, readying for finals... the school has never ended the semester before winter break. There's a lot going on, and I am feeling good about the navigating and juggling! And cats! I can't not say something about Cats and holidays, cats and ribbons and boxes, and the tree, and lights... the cats add so much fun and mischief, and joy!

Sakamoto in the box, with the Nativity figures, is a favorite moment. He looks like he is auditioning for a part. Were there landseals in Bethlehem? My order from High Hog Farm, arrived, and I couldn't wait to feel the wool, and smell the... nevermind! I must be careful not to let Christmas secrets spill! I have lots more shopping to do, and I am happy to visit artists, small businesses, and local vendors, as well as the second-hand shops, and doing some of our own making! This kind of shopping feels like a three way gift... good for vendors, good for recipients, and I feel good, too. We had a bit of rain, and lots and lots of fog... about as close as can come to a white Christmas! And a neighbor was out walking her 8 week old puppy, and lucky me, I can confirm the puppy feels as soft and darling as he looks! We've had good family dinners, and cozy nights together. I feel thankful and uplifted by each happy moment, by days that begin, or end, on a bright note, that feel productive or inspiring.
My plans for a seamless and shiny holiday season were never going to be exactly flawless, I know. But I hadn't counted on getting an earache. Are those the worst? Don't answer that. I know. They certainly are not the worst. But, sometimes they are really really awful, and this is one of those times. And yesterday, for at least 75% of the day I was kicked in the head with every kind of delay, mix-up, setback, and pain (literal and figurative.) There were, not kidding, a few moments when I thought it would be nice to pass out. If I detailed the phone call to make an appointment, or described going to two pharmacists, or gave some backstory on how my poor ears are a mess, ever since... nevermind, but you would have to agree, I was totally worthy of a tender, sympathetic pity party. 100% But it was not a bad day and I will tell you why.

In spite of a horrible earache, and running around trying to get help, and hours and hours doing nothing but trying to cope, yesterday was good. Alex drove me to the doctor, and picked me up, and brought me to the pharmacist, both of them. Janece was happy to bring Maria home from school (we have the best friends!) and Geoff was able to meet his brother Paul for lunch and a visit to the surplus shop (that was my idea, and it went as planned!) Gina was texting me pictures of my Mom and Dad. She was visiting them. I want to go to there, I miss them, and I am glad she could hug them for me, and I could see how lovely and well they are looking. William made us a comforting, hot, vegan stew, and since the ibuprofen had kicked in, I was able to eat. Our advent tea was another delicious one. One of the most anticipated and appreciated holiday packages arrived from the Northwoods, and everyone was exclaiming over Aunt Laura's and Uncle Gary's beautiful cookies. Even the kitties know it's a special arrival, and they took turns enjoying the new box. Alex told me about the visit at the surplus shop, with Paul and Geoff, and he described his Dad and Uncle as kids in a candy shop! I got the best seat on the couch, a perfect spot for watching the tree get decorated, then we watched A Christmas Story, a movie we know so well we were laughing, even in anticipation of every funny scene! And then I decided I couldn't go to bed without taking a walk in the fresh air. I covered both of my ears under a cozy hat, Geoff and I held hands, and my favorite tree was lit up, which always makes me feel sentimental and thankful. When we moved to the Bird House, their's was the only house on the street with holiday lights. A lot has changed, and some places go all out now, but this tree will always be most dear.

The ear is improving, just enough to make me feel the medicine is working. I am trying not to feel let down about all the ways yesterday was hard, or about the things that fell apart, or backfired (hiding Christmas gifts in the back of the van, the van that went to the surplus store... that was a backfire, and I feel like Failure Elf about that.) I am about to go to bed, to put more drops in that ear. And hopefully, very soon, I will be back on a better course, with more good and better days ahead.

Tuesday, December 07, 2021

A Family Day

It was a Thanksgiving celebration, a family day, a merry gathering. Paul is in town, from Wisconsin, so we enjoyed the opportunity to catch up on celebrations and being together. And really, this was a big catch-up, with our closest and coziest time together in a couple of years.

(I find we are doing more, since the begining of all of this lockdown-quarantine-social distancing business began. All fully vaccinated, some boosted, too, but still with some trepidation, and for me... an indescribable mix of resignation, doubt, hope, and confusion. I guess some people feel smug about their conviction that it's all a media scam, that we are sheep, but some of those people are not alive to debate this, and that's the truth about a real pandemic. Happily, all in attendance are considerate and mindful. Anyway, this all seems a bit downer to mention, but it's also a part of our reality, and hard to ignore.)

We took a lot of group and family pictures which turned out nicely. I am only sharing the one, because I think some will be Christmas cards, and I don't want to spoil the reveal. We are so rarely at new places, even familiar places feel new, again. Holly and Rich's home is as beautiful as ever, and especially appealing at Christmas. It's nice to get to see the cousins, Nick and Izzy, to get to know Emma better. There were birthday gifts for Maria, and Holly, and lots of delicious things to eat. Anakin Cat was happy for company and affection. And the day was gorgeous, even when it cooled off at sunset. We got to play a game. I'd almost forgotten about Just One, the game that Leslie lead us through, last year, when we played in the driveway! It's such a fun game, and Leslie was so kind, and dedicated to getting us all to play, under challenging circumstances, and so I ordered it as gifts for family. Now, a year later, and in a much more convenient setting, we got to play it with a new group, and with the actual game pieces, instead of a white board and cell phones... lol. Just One is easy to play, and has that fun quality of not necessarily being competitive. It low-key gets everyone engaging, and we were certainly having some good laughs! And I keep thinking how patient and effective Leslie was to get us all playing, an otherwise simple game. ("Simple," if you aren't playing outdoors, by campfire light, using text messaging so each family group can remain socially distanced! What an achievement!)

And so, that's three things done from our Advent page... Maria's birthday and seeing the Miyazaki exhibit, and I forgot to mention, but we have a Christmas tree, now. It was delayed, but it's standing and cute, and ready for lights and baubles. And we had our Family Day-Thanksgiving sequel. I am glad there is more to look forward to, and I certainly hope it includes more family, laughter, and merriment.