Sunday, December 16, 2018

Reflections at the Midpoint of a Holiday Season

Here we are, just a day and a week from Christmas Eve.  Let me capture some holiday thoughts:

--Last night, we went out for a short drive to look at holiday lights, which really helps me with my early evening Saturday restlessness.  I saw a couple leaving their house with several Christmas gift bage--probably headed to a party.  I thought about how few people in my social circle have those sorts of parties.  My family is far away.  For a brief moment, I felt sad.  But then I remembered some of those parties I have attended, and I felt relief.

--One of my Facebook friends wrote about Christmas cards on the same evening a different Facebook friend wrote about her intention to send more paper mail in 2019.  It made me remember Carolyn See's writing regimen which called for writing two notes each week to any variety of people: a writer one admires, an editor, and not for any purpose than admiration or encouragement; in other words, one isn't asking for a favor. Her book came out before Facebook, but even then, she was adamant about notes handwritten on good paper. I'm thinking about my grandmother, to whom I wrote regularly when she was alive. I bought a variety of cards, often from artists or institutions I wanted to support. The cards probably brought me as much joy as my writing did her. All of this is to say that I'd like to do more old fashioned communicating in the new year.

--This is the time of year when many post/give all sorts advice for making the holidays manageable.  Last night was not the first time I've reflected on the relative emptiness of my holiday calendar.  In part, it's because I've already done the work of keeping what's meaningful and ditching the rest.  In part, it's because I'm fairly good at resisting the capitalist values of my larger culture that would have me go, go, go, spend, spend, spend.

--Usually by now, I'd have baked one batch of cookies or one holiday bread.  Of course, most years I'm not in the middle of a kitchen remodel.

--We hadn't planned to move the stove back to the kitchen.  We planned to cook the turkey soup with dumplings outside on the grill burner.  But it was rainy, and the kind of rain that had settled in for the day.  So, we moved the stove back, which was much easier than I thought it would be.   And happily, unlike the washer/dryer, we plugged the stove in, and it's working just fine.

--So, did I immediately make a batch of cookies or bake some bread?  No.  I'm hoping that this will be one of the few holidays where I've avoided my usual 3 to 10 pound weight gain.

--Here is a picture from our Kitchen Remodel Advent, a different take of the stockings being hung by the chimney with care:

--And here is a poem-like creation sparked by my Friday evening of meditative wet laundry draping:

Twas 2 weeks before Christmas
And all through the house,
The clothes were hung drying,
Still as a mouse.

The dryer stopped heating,
The washer won’t spin,
But at least we have new floors,
They’re installed, all in.

The measurer will come next week,
The cabinets we’ll order,
Maybe our kitchen remodel can continue
In no short order.

Let us focus on what we’ve accomplished,
The floors, a new fence.
Let us not think of the damage,
The social fabric now rent.

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