Sunday, December 7, 2014

Strong Christmas Spirits

 (Those aren't my nails, but you had better believe that I'm doing mine like this tonight!!)

Oh, how I love this season! Love love LOVE.
(Even the parts I hate.) ☺︎

I am so full of the Christmas spirit, I burst into tears just looking at a fruitcake. (That quote is not original to me, but I bet I've said it more than the original author, Ms. Betty MacDonald, did. And if you've never read anything by Betty MacDonald, get yourself to inter-library loan right this minute and request The Plague and I or Anybody Can Do Anything, two of the funniest books ever written.)

Yesterday was lovely, even though it was Chore Day, which usually has me gnashing my teeth and muttering over the filth-wallowing debris-strewing sloths I live with. But I poured a glass of wine at a relatively early hour (Christmas spirits!!), which is a good coping strategy for me, and I stayed mostly serene and mostly merry and bright, and all was well.

Then I went to hear my girl sing with the Madrigals at Barnes and Noble. It was a slightly rainy afternoon, three Saturdays before Christmas, and as you might imagine the parking lot was a jungle. But I employed my parking karma (I also have the gift of unseasonal-weather-whilst-vacationing karma; natives are always commenting, "It's never this warm/lovely/dry this time of year!" when I'm there — it's a gift) and got a spot almost directly across from the front door. The singing was lovely; a B&N employee commented that the group sounded "practically professional," which is always a nice thing for a proud mama to hear.

My girl has been a bit blue this season; she told me a week or so ago that she just wasn't "in the Christmas spirit," so we had a little heart to heart yesterday about the words "should" and "have to" when it comes to Christmas. I urged her to do only the things that sounded fun to her; this season is about celebrating the birth of a baby who grew up to change the world, and nothing else. All the other stuff is frippery, and if it isn't fun, there is literally no point to it.

Whether it was my wise words** or the irresistible joys of the season, I dunno, but after she sang, she and I had a nice dinner at Legal Seafoods and then did some Christmas shopping at the Burlington Mall — and that perked her right up. The mall is magic!!! God help us.

Everybody come and play
Throw every last care away
Let's go to the mall today
Let's go to the mall, everybody!

I wish Mom were still here (I've washed her sheets and towel and washcloth and the shirt she borrowed from Mimosa because she didn't believe me when I told her how warm it gets here on some days — winter weather in Massachusetts is a mix tape of delights — but I forgot about her napkin, and I teared up when I reached into the placemat-napkin drawer the other day), but I'm having fun re-decorating the tree (the kids hang ornaments right in front of each other, were they raised in a barn???) and lighting my Christmas candles at night and sipping eggnog and eating Trader Joe's Christmas cookies and thinking about what to buy everyone. Soon it will sink in that Christmas is three weeks away and I only have a handful of presents in, well, hand . . . but that day is not today.

Dad's birthday is in 10 days. He would have been 81. Mimosa and I are seeing a play that night; I'm glad I have something concrete and fun to look forward to. 
My tummy is happily full of homemade chili and cornbread and salad and applesauce; I'm going to go sit in my comfy green chair and read my mystery and have a cup of coffee and go to bed early. (And paint my nails, of course!)

A perfect weekend!

— Lady C, Christmas queen

** B&N had a 10-percent-off sale for teachers yesterday and a store employee asked me, "Are you an educator?" I said, "Well, I say wise and instructive things all the time, but no one actually pays me for it; I consider it my gift to the world." Without batting an eye, she said, "Tell me about it."


  1. What do I love the most? Is it your perfect Robin Sparkles quote? Is it your witty repartee with the sage B&N clerk. Is it the thought of Mimosa mustering her wits? There is so much to love here!!

    1. And so much to love of me!!!! Thank you, pumpkin! xx

  2. Yay for Christmas spirit! Also, you ARE a paid educator oh, substitute teacher. Grab those discounts -- they're the only good thing about a mall!

    1. My mom said the exact same thing! You are both wise and good — and savvy shoppers. I am a dope. Next time! xx

  3. "Muster your wits"! NOW I know where that's from!!!
    I spent this entire Sunday evening reading _Emily of Deep Valley_ on your recommendation, and I love, love, loved it!!!

    I had to look the Shakespeare quote up---I assume you know? it's from _Love's Labour's Lost_:

    Thank you so much for pushing for me to read EDV, when I didn't much like the teen Betsy-Tacy:
    you're right, it's entirely different and stands all on its own as a truly excellent book, I think because it's so honest about the dark and hard stuff in life and the gumption (muster) it takes to face it.

    While I love Betsy, I relate more to Emily, with her problems. I also loved how MHL catches the Minnesota seasons in this book in particular. And Emily's generous and creative approach to the immigrant kids was so heartening---and weirdly modern too.

    In fact, the whole book felt very modern with its discussion of immigration issues, depression (not to be toooo modern & rush to diagnose, but is poor Don suffering form untreated bipolar disorder?), and even the grandfather's memory loss, now I'm working with Alzheimer's and the like. (Remember, Emily says she's used to having the same conversation with her grandfather over & over?)
    Anyway, the book cheered me up enormously---here in the darkest week of the year as we head toward winter solstice, which also happens to be the 12th anniversary of my mother's death. (And your dad's birthday is soon...)
    So--perfect timing, and thanks again.

    Aaaand... on a lighter note...
    have you painted your nails? :)

    Happy Holidays!

    1. I am so so SO glad you read and loved it! I had a very strong hunch that this would be your cuppa. Interesting take on both Don and Grandpa W. True confession: I do not love this book, though I love all of Maud's writing. But my personal diagnosis is that Emily is clinically depressed, and 200 pages of her misery is hard for me to live with. I once did an actual breakdown of the number of pages before she puts up her hair and the number of pages after Jed says he loves her and she's truly happy (which would be ONE) and worked out the ratio to the rest of the book . . . I don't remember the actual numbers, but it's a hella lot of misery. I miss Betsy!!!!

      But as a wise woman once said: If everyone liked the same thing, we wouldn't have menus. Words that I have taken to heart!

      The 12th anniversary of your mom's death is the 21st? That is Li'l Martini's birthday. I promise to think loving and healing thoughts of your mom, and of all lost parents too, on that day.

      Anyway — thanks for reading Emily, thanks for reading my blog, thanks for reaching out! You and your blog are one of my nicest surprises of 2014.

    2. Ha, yes, Emily is depressed---I noticed that MHL uses that actual word (depression) at least a couple times---I hadn't known it was in common use in the... was the book published in 1950?
      Anyway, you were so right, it is my cuppa---have been around so many depressed people, I guess, that to me it just seemed normal and, in fact, very, very encouraging because Emily decides to and IS ABLE TO do something to get out of her depression. (So many people try but can't budge it.)
      So to me it was a heartening and even optimistic book, to say some people can muster their wits to good effect.
      I wish my mother could have. (I'm just lucky to have a merry personality, by nature.)
      The anniversary of her death is sometime the week before Solstice---the coroner called us on Solstice... Truly the darkest night of my life.
      I had a sad start to the week, this year, but actually lightened up as it went aong and the weekend was lovely---even full of friends and fun!
      Take that, depression!

      Happy Birthday to Li'l Martini---he sounds a treat!

      I'm so glad I found your blog this fall---can't even remember the route I took to get here, leapfrogging through other people's blogrolls.