Merry Bah Humbug!
I've stayed away from posting for a few days to save you all from the worst of my holiday meltdown. Nothing major. Just little things. Well, really a bit bigger than little. But still, little in the bigger scheme. Troubles, like snowflakes, pretty and manageable when they come down gently and slowly, but if they pile up day after day, foot after foot, they can lose their fantasy charm and become one big frozen or slushy pain in the ass. And so it's been for me. Not the literal snow, which has indeed been piling up day after day, although the weather has been one issue among many others. No, it's been ..... just everything. It all finally got to me and I had several days filled with feelings of being overwhelmed, tears, anger, and wishing I could take a carton of heavily spiked eggnog into a dark and quiet closet and just hide there until the holidays are over.
I know. Not very cheerful. See, I told you I was doing you a favor by ignoring you all for a bit.
But, I think I have it mostly out of my system. Moved past it. Knock on wood. In fact, I've moved past a lot of things, like the expectation of getting anything else done on time. I've moved past even caring. And that's a surprisingly cheerful place to be! I'm not sending out cards. I'll get the rest of the packages in the mail sometime in the next week or two. The gifts I planned to make will get made and sent.... before spring. There are no children's fantasies to be destroyed in any of my delays and January will be just as gloomy as December, probably more so. People will enjoy getting packages from me in January.
I've got candy canes decorating our outdoor trees and hubby strung two mismatched (but festive) lines of lights on the house. Inside we've got a tree up with enough decorations on it to call it done. There's also boxes - EVERYWHERE! I brought all the holiday stuff inside. It's still all sitting about making me determined to reduce it by at least half and stick everything but the most sentimental bits and bobs in the garage sale pile. I may or may not decorate anything else. Maybe I'll just truck it all back out to the garage and deal with it next year.
Several nights ago I tried to get myself out of my funk by spending an evening wrapping all the gifts while watching old sappy movies. It was lovely. Until I came home from errands the next day to discover that some evil furry spawn of satan had peed beneath the tree and it had soaked into all the gaily wrapped packages. I had to unwrap and rebox all but two boxes and throw away a number of expensive food gifts. That was the point at which I wanted to retreat to some forgotten closet. And I probably would have except all my closets are so full that there's no room for me to fit inside any of them.
But it's not all doom and gloom. I think this is sort of a pattern for me. I get all caught up in the holidays as a big production and just about the time Yule comes looming up on the calendar and I realize that, once again, I'm not ready soon enough, I find that what saves my sanity and is balm for my soul is reduced to focusing on the many small and wondrous moments that are truly the gifts of the season despite being free, unplanned, and unwrapped.
In the wee hours I had to take my old dog out to pee. Standing in the cold under rare clear skies, the crescent moon was high in the sky and beautiful and even just a sliver of it's full self, it reflected off the snow to make the night brighter than normal. In the quiet I heard a soft crunch in the snow and looked up to see a lone deer, framed by the branches of a redwood tree (yes, our neighbors have a redwood tree) silhouetted in front of the extra glow of a street light across the street.
The next morning I stood outside on my doorstep and saw the first half dozen of a covey of quail run across the icy street between the edge of my yard and the neighbors fence. As I watched, the remaining quail took their chance, a few at a time, across the open, icy road. They skittered, their feet sliding out from under then, they slid and slipped while the quail who'd already made it across chirped loud encouragement. I could almost hear them yelling "Come on Quinn, you can do it. Quentin, that's great.... Ohhhhhh! Get back up. Go for it Queenie! Yah! Oh no! Owwww! Yah!"
Equally cute, when I told William about the scene he laughed and said "Those quazey quail and their shenanigans!"
Or this neighbor's snow pile. The kids' original sign got wet and droopy so they replaced it with this new sign.
And let's not forget the person who stands between me and an enormous bill for psychotherapy - my friend Shelly and our regular dinners out to escape our families and pour out our problems over tea or pasta or enchiladas or moo goo gai pan.
Yesterday I was at the local bookstore picking up a paperback they'd ordered for me. A gentleman at the counter, a big man with a snowy white beard and a heavy coat over a red plaid lumberjack shirt (hmmmmm, could it be.....?) asked David, one of the owners, if he could get his purchase gift wrapped. David said that although they did indeed offer gift wrapping that the guy would have to come back for it the next day as he himself was absolutely fumble fingered when it came to wrapping and there was no one else to do it until morning.
"Do you want me to wrap it for you?" I offered. And so I did. When I returned from the back room with book wrapped in smiling Santas, the gentleman tried to pull out his wallet but no, of course not. It was a small thing. But I mention it because the look of relief and gratefulness on David's face, and the customer's appreciation at not having to come back out in the cold and snow, made me happier than I've felt in days.
And the sweetest moment of all - I stole this photo above from my daughter-in-law's blog. Lisa and Joli stopped to visit Sam last night on their way up to Oregon. This is my son, who fashioned a sling out of a bedsheet, so his niece could help him make brownies. If this doesn't make you go "Awwwwwwww" than your heart has already turned to stone.
And now I must go...... sigh..... rewrap presents. Maybe with some eggnog. Sans brandy. I might have to run errands on those slippery roads at some point today. BUT, hubby is home for the rest of the month starting tonight - YAY!!!!!! - so I'm soooooo gonna spike some eggnog tonight!