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 . . . ."


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