The Best Christmas Ever

Christmases have been kind of hard for me since every single member of the large, close, happy Waller has clan passed on, or left for parts unknown. I'm all about kith and kin and for the past couple of decades I've spent the holidays feeling terribly "family sick". There's just something that felt great about spending Christmas with people whose DNA I shared. After I met Nettl it got even harder because her immediate family tends to look at me as a nice but unredeemable antichrist, they being dyed-in-the-wool Southern Baptists and I being their once-preacher's-wife daughter's same sex partner and all. We spent our first decade together celebrating the holidays within our own blended family: Nettl, myself, and our five kids who are now all grown up and out of the nest...


Almost California

This was our house two Christmas Eves ago. This year it looks more like California out there: sparkling blue sky, birds singing... At least we had weather (rain) the last two days while I was shopping...


Boxing Day at Bookends Cottage

This year, while Nettl plans her Christmas dinner (traditionally, she makes the three major holiday meals because I do the "every day" cooking throughout the year), I'm working on my menu for Boxing Day. People in the States aren't blessed with this December 26 day of friends and food—most poor suckers are back in their cubicles at work—but I was introduced to it when I lived in England in the way back when, and I liked it so much, I brought it home with me...


85 BPM

Since Badger is inquiring after the state of my pulse, I thought I really should make another entry. I'm sorry I've been so remiss in posting lately. I'm just not sleeping well, the result of which is Thyroidzilla making my day times rather sluggish. Not sleeping soundly and comfortably play hell with the Hashimoto's and it has been years since I've had any consistently good sleep. And then, editing "War and Peace" takes out of me whatever little physical and mental energy I have left...


Thirty-One Years

With your bravado and your pain, your merits and your faults, your voice and your silence, your ideals and your shortcomings, I miss you. I shall not canonize you, I shall only remember.


Chips and Doors

Thanks to Mrs. Anke's blog entry today, this is what I'm craving, and it is what I'm getting us for dinner tonight.

I'm sitting in the living room listening to our eclectic mix of holiday music, freezing. The heat's on, but it's bloody cold today and our front door leaks. It's an old house, you know, and I've put a rolled up blanket on the floor to block some of the cold air, but what I really needand really wantis one of these. Well, maybe not that ornate. Seems a bit over the top. A simple tapestry on a swinging rod would do just fine.

Anyway, not much to write today. Just got over a migraine. They're not lasting three days like they have for so many years; now they pass in about half the time and they're not as severe. Anyway, that's it for me today.


No Snow, Yet

I don't know why this year is different from any in the past 10 years or so, but I got a big dose of Christmas Spirit fairly early on. It's not from the televised hype because we don't watch TV, and it's not from the radio stations that began their 24-hour Christmas playlist as soon as Halloween was over because I never really go anywhere. I think it was Thanksgiving that brought it on. We had such a perfect one this year, we could have made Norman Rockwell's famous painting look like a portrait of a dysfunctional, crack house family. Yeah, it was that good...


We Don't Need No Steenkin Humbuggery!

On this day, December first, for the past decade, I have woken to a depression the sort of which could drive a less lighthearted person than myself to self-harm. This is no joke. We've been so broke that one year we could only buy each other (meaning the entire family) one thing from the Dollar Tree. On that year our Christmas meal was provided by gift cards that Nettl had received from co-workers. It was dismal, and I seriously wanted to die. Last year, we had no money for Christmas until the mail arrived at 3:30 on Christmas Eve, and that was only $300. Talk about a mad scramble. It's no wonder my health has always taken a nose dive every December. With Hashimoto's  disease being strongly triggered by adrenalin, good or bad, this stuff nearly kills me.

But this year is different. We seem to be slowly reaching the end of a long, terrifying chapter in our life as a family. I woke up this morning with food in the pantry, the rent and utilities paid, and a slowly increasing income. Oh, it's not huge, but we can go get a Christmas tree tomorrow afternoon (we borrowed an artificial tree from Ville and Beau last year, which was a real lifesaver. If not for them, we wouldn't have even had a tree), and presents will begin to appear beneath it over the next couple of weeks.

This is all too good--and I'm still glowing from Thanksgiving! The humbuggery is over at last! Last night, while buying groceries, I even found myself singing along with the Christmas music.

We've learned huge lessons over the past decade. We've learned to tune out the holiday hype (not having cable has separated us from so much stress and propaganda, it's not even funny) and we've lost the drive to spend, spend, spend (not having credit cards has taught us that we don't need to go into debt over silly, extravagant gifts). We've learned to keep the holidays centered on being with the people we love, making music, sharing laughter, and all that good, old-fashioned, Home For the Holidays stuff. These have been very hard lessons--devastating lessons, in fact--but we've learned them.

Oh! Speaking of Home For the Holidays, Nathan will be here! I haven't said much about it, but he's been in the Army since last summer and we haven't seen him since he left. Needless to say, Nettl is fairly dancing on air over this. I can't think of a better gift: our boy home, safe and sound.

So today, instead of editing, I'll be putting together a Holiday playlist for our household music. We just never use our CDs anymore and I prefer music to be shuffled anyway. I'm going to start a shopping list for the holiday foods I want to make, and I'll be making my gift list and checking it twice. It would be perfect if we got snow sometime between now and the 25th, but I'm not going to complain if we don't!