Post-Christmas Blues

It's too bad that N does not have school tomorrow (Monday). She's got the post-Christmas blues, when none of the presents she got for Christmas is quite the thing she wants to play with, and she doesn't really want to play outside, but she doesn't really want to play inside either, and nothing anyone suggests sounds like any fun.

R's got a similar problem, which is that he's spent the past five weeks agonizing about it being the holiday season (a time of great angst and depression for him), and now that it's over he's left with nothing to agonize about so he doesn't know what to do with himself. But he's going back to work tomorrow for one day, which will be just about right for him, I think. Enough to get his jitters out and then come home again for some more vacation. ;-)

As for me - well, we had two days' worth of very pleasant visits from friends & relations, and now today I am enjoying just not doing much of anything. Which Z & C enjoy as well. But "not doing much of anything" is absolute torture for R & N. Which is why they're feeling antsy.

I am currently sitting in my favorite chair, wearing my new slippers, listening to my new iPod nano, and inhaling the fumes from my new Himalayan salt candle-holder. All of which would be just a little more peaceful if R were not irritated with me for not wanting to go walking in the rain with him, and if N were not ringing the doorbell (the door is unlocked, so this is entirely unnecessary) to complain to me that it is raining.

I am ignoring them both.

The question of when to take down the Christmas tree is what I am currently pondering. I think I'd like to take it down some time in the next couple of days - before C & Z go back to school. If I wait till they leave, it will be sad when I do it, plus I won't have their help.

So it would seem to be a no-brainer, wouldn't it?



Chappy Chanukkah!

So it's the first night of Hanukkah, also Yule and Solstice and, coincidentally, four days till Christmas. And around my house we're pretty laid-back about it all. Which is nice.

I spent a good chunk of today getting the holiday cards written and addressed, except for a few for which I still need addresses. I scrounged up enough stamps and return-address labels so that they can even be mailed tomorrow - I think this is the first time in many years that they've gone out this early (i.e. before the end of the year). Z made a few cards for special friends, from scratch, and they are lovely. C loaded a mess o' CDs onto my computer for me so that I am now listening to Kitaro as I type, yay! N played outside with friends all day, and is now sleeping the sleep of the just. And R worked on various tasks that had been calling his name. The four of us (minus N, except when she and her friends came in for refueling every so often) kept each other company cozily most of the day, and it was truly gezellig.

I've been doing a lot of soul-searching the last few days, and have discovered that there are two things greatly lacking in my life. One is people: I never - really, never! - see my friends any more. It's been six months since I last saw my two close friends here, because of busy schedules and difficult lives. And the other people I know around here are more acquaintances and colleagues than friends. I need to change that. Not sure how to go about it, yet, but this absolutely needs to change. I have good, special, dear friends in far-flung places, but I need more people about me here, where I can see and touch them. I've always been a very people-oriented person, and yet somehow I have ended up a virtual recluse.

The other thing lacking is a soundtrack. I used to play music all the time, but our stereo system is old and fading, and I need something I can take with me on the run. This is why I've asked for an iPod for Christmas/Hanukkah. It's not just a fun little techno-toy - it's something I can carry about from room to room, can go to sleep to, can listen to when out walking. (I won't wear it while driving, though, I promise.) All three of our kids have mp3 players and love them, and they were enthusiastic about my suggestion that it would enhance my life. And the kids are going in on an iPod for R for Christmas, too, and loading it with a sleeptime playlist and a brisk-walk playlist for him. They're very excited about it.

So: people and music. That's what I need more of, and that's what I hope to add more of to my life in the coming year. I know, it's too early to blog about the new year. As far as Christmas is concerned, we've already done one of the traditional holiday rituals. Yesterday we watched both of the "Batman Animated" and the "Justice League Unlimited" Christmas episodes to get us in the mood. The scene in which Superman tries to use his x-ray vision to peek at his presents, only to find that his parents have wrapped them in lead-lined paper, inspired N and C to go to our tree and start shaking the presents underneath to guess what might be in them.

"Jingle Bells, Batman smells, Robin laid an egg . . . ."




I seem to have put off my Christmas sewing projects till the very, very, very squeaky-last minute. Worse than usual, but I needed to get all the grades in for my courses first (at least, this is what I told myself).

I've now finished 8/11 of the top of a quilt for my niece, and expect to complete the top in another couple of hours. Then I'll head out to Joann Fabrics to get the batting, more black thread and some black yarn for the ties (she's heavily into the Goth scene, so there is a lot of black in this quilt). Home to do the quilting.

Once hers is done, I will get back to the first quilt I started, which was for a wedding present in September (oops). It, too, has a lot of black in it, so I'll be buying PLENTY of black thread when I go out. ;-) I don't need to finish it by Christmas, but I do want to finish it during this vacation break.

And then there's a pillow I want to put together for Z, using two of her old favorite t-shirts that are too raggedy for her to wear any more. She adores them and noticed they were missing (I took them for this project before they could disintegrate any further), and will enjoy having the pillow as a "comfort object" at school.

N was happy this morning: the school district called a two-hour delay, due to icy roads. She enjoyed the extra time with Z, who hadn't really planned on getting up quite that early but was willing to play with her new XBox 360 anyway. She bought it for herself two days ago - the first thing she's ever bought herself that cost more than $20. She is enormously proud of it.



Are You Ready For The Holidays?

I threatened on Facebook today that I would slap the next person to ask me that question, and I meant it. It implies that there's some kind of competition to get everything bought and wrapped and mailed and decorated - to get all that nonsense out of the way as quickly as possible because it's such a pain in the neck.

Personally, I love the baking, the choosing of presents, the wrapping and, to a far lesser extent, the decorating. (Okay, I detest the mailing and am always happy when that's out of the way.) I find the process, not the end product, to be the Whole Point. For me, "getting ready" means cleaning the house enough to make space to set up the sewing machine, and scrubbing the kitchen in preparation for baking enough poppyseed cake to take to all the neighbors.

Now I've turned in my grades and started the cleaning. Tomorrow I take out the sewing machine.

I am psyched.