One Week to Christmas

Damn updates! Can’t put up the pictures I took of me eating Christmas cookies for breakfast. That’s okay – just know that I did it and enjoyed it tremendously.
Busy week. We dodged a family feud bullet – lots of hurt feelings and tears but it’s working out, thank heavens. Imperfectly, but perfection is boring.

So this week I made nightshirts and sleep pants for Erin, Alex and Ali (I had a bunch of Hello Kitty Christmas flannel I’d bought more than a decade ago). I’m putting the binding on Alex’s quilt today, I’m attempting to make Ali’s quilt (it’s all cut) but I expect that’s not gonna make it in time for Christmas. I spent Thursday making Christmas cookies (cut-out sugar cookies, m&m cookies from my aunt’s recipe, cute green and red cookies with lemon extract). They were for GAAR (our theater group)’s Christmas celebration, which was a staged reading of A Christmas Carol interspersed with carols and music. I’ve been in such pain I tried to get out of it, even though it’s one of my favorite things, but Sabra talked me into it so I was Mrs. Fezziwig, the third narrator (and I got to read all about “luscious pears” and “twelfth-night cakes”), plus, my children I sang “Dona Nobis Pacem” With two other women. One was Cara, a magnificent alto who’s been the Mother Superior in Sound of Music (Climb any Mountain, anyone?) and the other was Heidi, a professional opera singer. My knees would have rattled if they weren’t so swollen, but I summoned forth my long-forgotten training, supported from the diaphragm, and managed to hold my own. In fact, was told I had a voice like an angel. I’m still shaking my head about that – my classical voice is weak. But not on Friday night.
I spent Saturday in bed, and finished up the nightclothes on Sunday. Today I sew while Richie decorates our tiny tree (I’m in too much pain to do much – can’t raise my right arm to hang things, etc). But I’ll try to do some cleaning. This year I’m embracing hygge with full force – it’s a long, cold winter and we need to be cozy.
The kids are safe and well, so I don’t need to panic. Sally and family are coming for Christmas (to their own house, thank God) and while I’ve got appointments this week we’re sliding into celebration mode rather than preparing mode.
Did I mention I love Christmas?
It’s really nice not to feel pressured about presents, or socializing (or lack thereof). We can just celebrate the return of the light (central to Christmas, Hannukah and Saturnalia) and be happy.
I hope you’re all going to have a lovely holiday, with no politics, lots of good food, family you love, friends and pets and everything with a candlelit glow. to quote one version of Auntie Mame, we need a little Christmas in this world of ours. Let’s seize it!

Merry Christmas, my children. Let’s hope that 2018 will be better than 2017 (which somehow managed to be worse than the god-awful 2016). Things have got to get better, and they will. We each just have to do our part to spread love and good-will.


All About You (Krissie)

Photo on 12-21-12 at 7.46 AM Daniel’s home, and we’ve managed to slip into calling him Daniel and using the masculine pronoun with no difficulty at all. Tim is having his ups and downs in Tahoe but I’m hoping more up than down. I had to miss my Al-Anon meeting, which was not a Good Thing, The roads were icy, trucks were sliding around, and a tanker was stalled on a hill. No way I was going to try to pass it, no way to go around, so I turned around and came back.
At least we’ve got snow, though it’s going to be in the 50’s in a couple of days so no white Christmas. Which is just as well, since I have to go to the graveyard to light luminarias on the graves of all the dead ones … Jesus, no wonder I’m fighting depression.
But I digress …
(Just a small bah humbug – I watched the George C. Scott version of a Christmas Carol and felt as manipulated as I do when I watch a Hallmark movie. I doubt the Cratchits were any happier than the working poor today. Then again, I’ve always hated Charles Dickens except for a Christmas Carol, so now I can add that. Though I still love A Muppet Christmas Carol. And I bet Alastair Sim wouldn’t have made me feel manipulated).
How are you guys doing? Going crazy? Fighting off the holiday blues? Done your shopping and cooking and sewing? Family arrived to the smell of brewing coffee?
Stop it, Krissie.
We’ll go see Star Wars tomorrow night. And all will be well, all manner of things shall be well.
So enough about ol’ Ebenezer here in Vermont. How’s about you? Photo on 12-21-15 at 9.42 AM

And a little quiz. One of those photos is from this morning, one from three years ago. Can you tell which?
Oh, I just heard that it’s the Solstice! Okay, I’ll celebrate the Solstice and short days! That I can be into.

Celebration Wednesday (Krissie)

krissiechristmas I probably should have used the term “holidays” instead of Christmas from the beginning, but in my mind Christmas is sort of a blanket term for Solstice, Hanukkah, Thanksgiving, , Kwanzaa, and anything else you want to celebrate. Not meaning to be Christian-centric, just being lazy. I like to celebrate everything — when my kids were young we celebrated Hanukkah (no menorah to be bought in northern Vermont but I used 8 candles) and we’d eat potato pancakes, etc. Years ago when Luke and Laura got married (General Hospital) my niece and nephew (ages 12 and 10) came over to watch and we drank ginger ale in champagne flutes and I baked a wedding cake. One should celebrate anything you possibly can, say I.
So I’ve written two days in a row, and that helps. I can visualize my box of sorrows and worry and where it goes — I might even put a box up there to remind me. Still a bit weepy — heard Band Aid singing “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” on the radio this morning and that set me off. But I’m being nice to myself, gentle. Some times are just more difficult than others, but Thursday we’ll have a town dinner with some of the professional actors and singers from the summer returning back to do some songs and readings, and then we’ll all sing Christmas carols, something I miss because we don’t start singing them in church until Christmas Eve and after four weeks of advent I’m usually in the mood for a sleep-in on Sunday morning. We have a new interim minister who’s so low-key I was afraid I might take a nap and start snoring, but I think having someone new in the pulpit is a healthy change, much as I miss our previous minister. (The one who, during a sermon, unfortunately came up with the following line: “the men’s movement petered out.” He was lucky I wasn’t singing in the choir and therefore in front of everybody with my efforts to keep from chortling.)
So carols and turkey and listening to Marla and Sean – we don’t have Christmas parties to go to (haven’t in decades) but this will do.
And I’ll be sporting my lovely, pampered toes. toes

Richie and I made tons of progress on the bedroom – now we just need the Christmas sheets and the Christmas comforter and pillow shams. The holiday season is shifting into high gear, and I intend to go along for the ride!

Dashing through the (lack of snow) ….

Christmas Wednesday (Krissie)

51Gc7lHXyGL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_But first, an advertisement brought to you by our sponsors <g>.  CONSUMED BY FIRE, my new romantic suspense, is a Kindle Daily Deal today for $1.99, which is a steal.  It’s got the usual sex and violence, a gorgeous, dangerous hero and a really tough heroine for a change.  Plus a great dog and it’s funny.

On the homefront, the hurricane is going to hit us (yeah, the one from Mexico)and we’re going to have record highs tomorrow, plus lashings of rain and wind.  Okay with me — I’ll just stay indoors.

I realized why I wasn’t feeling my usual Halloween/beginning of the holidays mood.  Last year my grandchildren left right after Halloween – the last time I saw them was when they came trick or treating, so it’s no wonder that right now I equate Halloween with grief.  (I have seen them four times since then, briefly. Could be worse, I guess.)

But I figure once Halloween is over I  can get into the mood.  I’ve got a couple of autumn quilts in the basement to dig out, and fake foliage to festoon the house, and I can start with the Christmas sewing/shopping whatever.  I don’t have that many people to shop for/sew for any more, which is just as well, I guess.  Well, not just as well – I’d much rather have too many people to shop for, but that’s one of those things that’s out of my control.  Nevertheless, I’m reclaiming Christmas as best I can, and I guess I better start with hoarding Minecraft Legos, since there’s supposed to be a Lego shortage this year.  Horrors!

I’ll even bake, but it’s gotta be healthy baking. Whole wheat white flour and whole wheat pastry flour is surprisingly good (though don’t trust that prune shit that’s supposed to be a natural sweetener — it’s gross).  Today I’ll make Richie some banana muffins from the bananas that have gone by, as a dry run.  I have no idea who’ll be here for Thanksgiving – maybe just Richie and me.  It doesn’t matter – we’ll toast our children and cuddle and it’ll be just fine.

Most of you will probably be having massive Thanksgivings.  Even if you’ve got the requisite drunken brother-in-law and the inappropriate uncle, be glad you’ve got ’em.  The holiday season is a time for tolerance.

I think I’ll buy some pumpkin spice coffee.  I don’t particularly like it, but it’s festive.  (I do love Starbucks Christmas/Holiday blend when it comes out, though).

What have you all got planned for Halloween?  Anyone dressing up?  We live so far out in the country that no one comes by, but maybe I’ll dress like a nun anyway, just to make Richie and Tim react.

jenny tigger

Best Halloween story — Mini-me was always a Tigger sort of person to her husband’s Eeyore, so for Halloween one year I sent her a full-size Tigger costume.  At the time she was touring as a stage manager for an opera company in England, and I had it sent to the theater in York (or wherever).  She made the mistake of opening the package in front of the actors etc., and they insisted she put it on and wear it for the entire day while she did her stage managing duties.  Must have been pretty funny watching Tigger scoot around while Verdi was bellowing from the rafters.

So what’s your Halloween story?

Christmas Wednesday (Krissie)

sarahOkay, Christmas.  I bought my first Christmas present on the weekend, and today I bought my first Christmas album (Sarah McLachlan has a new one).  And I thought about the upcoming season.

I’ve always loved Christmas.  My mother used to call me her Christmas child, and I go all out, spend way too much money, have probably a roomful of boxes and bags of Christmas decorations down in the basement.  I’ve made half a dozen Christmas quilts and I’m bound to make more.

But I wonder why?  I don’t think Christmases were particularly festive in my childhood.  I remember opening presents while my father was passed out on the couch.  And when I was in my mid-teens and my mother started screaming at his I started singing to my sister, “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.”  In other words, Christmas was rage and trauma and alcoholism.

But Christmas is also a fantasy that I buy into. A Charles Dickens, fire in the fireplace (and I’ve never had a fireplace in any of my houses).  It’s family getting together, it’s strangers being nice.

But Christmas has a way of stabbing you in the back.  It’s grandchildren that are kept away, it’s horror scenes so bad (last year) that we didn’t even open our presents on christmas day, but instead three of us went out for a Christmas dinner at a restaurant.  Horrors!  But the whole time was a shitstorm.

And I’m wondering what it’s going to be like this year.  I always get cheery and silly when I see Santa Claus coke cans and holiday plastic bags.  I want Christmas!

I figure I’ll have to go into this one with clear vision and realistic expectations.  Which would be no expectations at all but simply to bring what joy I have, to celebrate it and be happy, and not be responsible for anyone else.  They’ll have their emotional breakdowns or rages or whatever.  Nothing I can do about it, but I can keep my own Christmas safe.

I gotta expect very little time from the grandkids, and not let that fact break my heart.  I’ve been feeling iffy about Halloween because I always used to do things with Alex — make cupcakes, carve pumpkins, watch Charlie Brown.  But he and Ali are far away, and at Christmas time I’ll get very little time with them.  Happiness is lowered expectations.  Happiness is not counting on other people to make you happy, but finding it in yourself.  (In case you can’t tell, I’m still going to Al Anon, thank God!)

So I’m going to work my way into Christmas here.  Figure out a way to just embrace it all without setting myself up for sorrow and pain.

But first — Sarah McLachlan!

Krissie: All About You, Christmas Edition

Photo on 12-23-13 at 7.16 AM I got up early to go to the grocery store since the weekend was pretty wretched with icing, only to find that there’s still more ice. I’m going out anyway, driving very carefully. This weather has really been insane.
so here’s what I have to do:
Do food and stocking shopping.
Make breakfast for Christmas morning (overnight French toast)
Make turkey etc. for Christmas day
Make soup for Christmas Eve
Finish wrapping (with Richie)
Finish cleaning (with Richie)
Doesn’t sound like much, does it. It’s hard when there aren’t any more adults around to help … who am I kidding, no one helped anyway except Bill, Taffy’s SO. Part of that is my fault – I just sort of took over and took care of everything. I don’t think my mother or sister would have done anything — they just never did. Thanksgiving was a bit of a burn-out — gotta figure out how to make things easier. Tim makes gravy now, and Alex helps with the crescent rolls. Maybe we just need to go away some Christmas.
Anyway, the tree is up and lovely. Many of the presents are wrapped, and I’m big on letting go of things if it gets to be too much.
How are you guys reaching for sanity this week? Or have you given up the fight, knowing that insanity is a temporary necessity?
I want to get to church on Christmas Eve. I couldn’t get there the last two Sundays (snow last week, ice this one). They even cancelled church services in the state yesterday, which I thought was weird. But c’est l’hiver. (That’s winter).
So, hang in there, guys. I’ll be checking in tomorrow to see how you’re doing (and probably having a complete melt-down despite my zen-like calm).
But you know, Christmas is about love and caring and fun (I won’t get into the whole return of the light to the world that’s consistent in Hanukkah, Winter Solstice and Christmas). So craziness shouldn’t have to be part of it.
So I guess that’s my goal for the week. Not to get crazy.
What’s yours?

Krissie: The Weather Gods

Photo on 12-20-13 at 9.13 AM The Weather Gods are having a temper tantrum. So Wednesday was decent enough to get to my shrink, though the roads were still a little funky. Yesterday … short delay while Phantom climbs onto my chest, purrs a lot, looks for a place to lie, then gives up and goes over to lie on Richie’s lap.Photo on 12-20-13 at 9.27 AM … yesterday I took Richie to the eye doctor at the crack of dawn, thinking he’d need drops and have a hard time driving. Turns out he didn’t but we had breakfast at Panera and talked about what we want for Christmas. (I’ll get to that). But then we get a dumping of snow today, lots of rain tomorrow and then Sunday a major ice storm. Good idea that I finally gave up on the idea of going down to NJ until right after Christmas. That way I don’t need to worry about getting back if the weather continues to be “active” as they sweetly put it.
So I just need to make sure we have what we need in the house and we’ll just hole up.
In the meantime …
What I meant by what Richie and I want for Christmas is more what Richie and I want get from Christmas. It worked very well when I decided ahead of time what Disney was going to be. No mourning dead people, no letting anyone rain on my parade.
This year we’ll be missing Kaim, who’s staying out in SF (though we sent her a big package of goodies), and it’ll be Richie and me and Tim, Erin and Alex. Tim is, shall we put it, volatile. And I was thinking I would be at the mercy of his moods and we’d have a wretched time … and then I remembered that I claimed a lovely time at Disney despite his moods, just by sheer will.
So Richie and I decided we want to cuddle on the couch with Christmas tea (we like Celestial Seasonings) and watch the lights on the tree. (Richie made a crack about having the fire on the tv — I don’t care — I like it). If there are moods and temper we’ll just let it wash over us, unless it’s directed at us.
Not that I’m blaming Tim — he’s treated like the skeleton at the feast with Erin’s family, and it hurts his feelings and then he gets grumpy etc etc. But I’m not going there — he needs to work it out. I can’t fix it for him.
But we’ll keep things simple and relaxed, not get caught up in anyone else’s drama. Not get caught up in cozy ads of family gathering together, because there is no extended family.
I haven’t seen Mini-me in 15 months, and she’s my only family. So that makes me sad too. She’s been too busy, and she had to make so many flights in 2012 with her FIL dying and Moomaw (my mother) that she’s had to stay put. But I miss her.
So, no family gathering around. (Mini-me will be on the slopes in Tahoe, teaching children how to ski).
But I’ve got Richie. We can dance in the kitchen to “Layla.” I’m giving good presents that will make people’s lives more comfortable and give them pleasure. I’m not getting much in the present department but that’s okay, I’m prepared. Besides, I like to give more than I like to receive (and I really like to receive).
I got a fabulous present from Lani, and I know Jenny will have bizarre and wondrous things. And we’ll have a Goddess Gathering in the new year. so life is good.
But now I better get into gear and do all the things I gotta do before Christmas comes.