Saturday, December 25, 2021

Looking for an Invite

 Today, I engaged in one of my favorite holiday traditions: scheduling phone calls with my family at the exact same time as when dinner preparations need to begin. The beauty is that I've been getting away with this for more than a quarter century. Hubby, being both hungry and valiant, gets things started in the kitchen. If dinner's not ready when I'm done with the first phone call, I call the next relative. And so on until dinner is ready or I'm lured into the kitchen with a glass of wine.

Is that selfish?

Oh, hell yes.

I've been warned that I will not be able to get away with this next year.

Would it be okay if I spend the holidays with you? I offer that I'm good at washing dishes. I am fully vaccinated and my passport is in order.

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

I didn't see it coming

 Of course I saw it coming! It happens every year: Christmas. And, every year about this time I think Crap! How will I get it all done?

I'm not sure what all needs to get done but I feel like there's a ton of it and only two and a half weeks to do it. 18 days, exactly.


I hear lists are good. 

1. Make list.

2. Shit. What's supposed to go on the list??

    a. names

    b. gifts

3. Order gifts. 

See? That wasn't so bad. It's getting started that's hard for me and the thing is my list isn't so big. I don't buy a lot of gifts but somehow I get tangled up in the enormity of it, the weight. Seriously, I could have purchased the few gifts I need in less time than it took me to write this post.

Ah, but remember the thing about getting started? I am easily distracted by - literally everything. Reading, writing, a jigsaw puzzle, getting regular exercise and nutrition, drinking my latte - oops, I need to brew more cold brew coffee for tomorrow - oh, and work. Wait, what's for dinner? Do I need to pull something out of the freezer. Or, maybe I should cook. . . . 

Work isn't all that busy right now. No hard deadlines. Just a large project that continues to nag, You don't want to put it off, much like Christmas. There's also travel and hosting travelers. And, cookies. Today is cool and threatening to rain (in a place where it rarely rains). It's a perfect day for baking. But, work! When am I going to do that? And what about all those other things?

I just need to focus on the next indicated thing: What's the most important thing in this moment? Just that. Also, I need to realize that none of this is really important. None of the hoopla, none of the worrying, none of the cookies, not even the gifts - none of it is important. What is important is saying "I love you" and meaning it. And that should be said all year round.

What I really did today:

  • Worked (go figure, would rather work than shop)
  • Did a crossword puzzle
  • Worked the jigsaw puzzle (but only a little)
  • Started (but didn't finish) a Sudoku puzzle (think I like puzzles much?)
  • Walked (about 8,000 steps today)
  • Started the cookies (and vowed I would shop while they're in the oven but I'm writing this and have a date in 45 minutes so it's looking highly doubtful)
  • Worried that I also need to send cards and made a mental note that the above list is supposed to be checked twice
  • Toyed with the idea of canceling Christmas altogether

Monday, December 6, 2021

The show was Hairspray.

Intermission was almost over so there was no line for the restroom. I thought I was alone until I heard a flush from another stall. I came out of mine and saw a woman behind a walker (the kind that has a seat and hand brakes), holding one of her shoes.

I recognized her. She was the woman that had been sitting in the seat in front me in the theater. She wore a beautiful black coat that was fringed in fur as her nearly bald head was fringed in wirey wisps of red hair.

Her eyes implored, “I need help.” I wasn’t sure if she actually said those words or if I only saw her lips moving. She stood with one foot bare and pointed at a plastic cap. She asked if I would get it for her. Meanwhile, she was able to retrieve the canister from the floor of her vacated stall. I guided her to a chair that was in the restroom. I’d always wondered why there were chairs in the ladies room. Perhaps for a moment such as this.

The woman was in pain. She sprayed her bare foot with whatever was in the canister. I don’t know what comfort it brought her. She had no toes, only a knob where her big toe should have been. I knelt on the floor and helped her put her shoe back on, loosening the Velcro straps as much as they would allow.

She grimaced as I tried to get her foot back in her shoe but she didn’t cry out. Her pain was inescapable, her endless reality, and she was handling it as best as she knew how. As she got back to her feet a theater usher appeared, ready to help her back to the theater and I wondered why this usher didn’t appear two minutes ago.

I wished the woman a merry Christmas as the pair left. Alone now, I washed my hands. Twice. Back in the theater, the second act had already started but I found an empty seat near the back and that was good enough. Easier than climbing over a row of people to get to my own seat, the one that had been behind that woman.

That moment of kindness for a stranger was both sad and beautiful. It was, no doubt, humbling for both of us. If I had only one gift to give this Christmas, that was it.

Sunday, December 5, 2021

Have a heart.

It's only December 5 and the Grinch has already been sighted. Shortly after this image was taken, it's reported that the photographer was escorted off an undisclosed Palm Springs area resort. 

A witness to the event, who was not authorized to speak about it, said that "Grinchy" (as the woman identified him) often vacationed in the desert area prior to the holidays. "He just wants to be left alone," she said while a small dog cowered in the background.

It's reported that once identified, the Grinch lunged at the photographer vowing his Christmas would be the first to be ruined if the Grinch had anything to say about it. An altercation ensued which included the dog, the Grinch, the photographer, and one unfortunate waiter. Amid the chaos, the photographer's camera and nose were broken while the dog lapped up mojitos spilled during the melee.

Resort staff requested the resort not be identified stating it was for "obvious reasons." A statement was later issued by the resort management:

While it is unfortunate that paparazzi found access onto resort property, we continue to assure guests - both beloved and despised -  that guest privacy and safety is of paramount concern. We strive to provide a relaxing atmosphere for all our guests especially as preparations are made for the holidays. We understand that not everyone feels all warm and cozy at this time of year. However, we hope that this incident will not have a negative effect on the presents currently stacked under the tree in our grand lobby. (It is with great hesitation that we remind our guests that pets are not allowed.)

It is unclear whether the photographer will press charges against the Grinch. Meanwhile, the Grinch remains a guest of the resort.

While the the Grinch receives overwhelmingly negative press (in this and other publications), it should be noted that he has his supporters. As soon as news of his presence was leaked, a small protest of sorts was launched in downtown Palm Springs. The group, made up of children and adults with large ears, buck teeth, and strange hairstyles sang nonsensical lyrics while holding hands. The apparent leader, who was identified only as Cindy Lou, stood in the middle and held a sign that read, "Even the Grinch has a heart. You should too."

Friday, December 3, 2021

Is it over?

 Thanksgiving was a quiet affair. It was just the two of us with none of the obligations that usually come with a major holiday. We did all of whatever we wanted and none of whatever we should be doing. We hiked, ate cinnamon rolls, had breakfast for lunch, and made the traditional feast of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, and pie.

All the food came from Costco and was fool proof: 1) Put it in the oven. 2) Eat. Mostly, it was a day of doing dishes. Feasting and cleaning up.

We watched football, started a jigsaw, and read books. There was no family around to invite over so we invited a neighbor who would have otherwise been alone so we weren’t entirely selfish. As it turned out, though, she couldn’t make it so our selfishness felt guilt free. (We tried - a little.)

It was easy to appreciate all our bounty when we didn’t have to share it with anyone. But we also thought about our families who were elsewhere for one reason or another. Friends, too. We reached out by text which felt more genuine, in a way, than sharing a crowded room with them. It was a brief moment to share honest appreciation for one another without the chaos of a family gathering. Not that family gatherings aren’t joyful but they’re a lot of work.

The holiday started early in the week, as soon as the pies were either purchased or made. There were more cinnamon rolls than we could possibly eat so it made sense to get started on those early as well. Afterwards, of course, there were leftovers. We made tetrazzini with the turkey and we tried diligently to get through all the pie for more than a week.

Finally, it was garbage day and, sadly, whatever was left got tossed. The refrigerator and all of my food storage containers were reclaimed. (More dishes.)

As if I knew the void was coming, I'd already purchased baking ingredients. Cookies are not far off in my future. As one holiday swells into another, it's hard to think about work. No time for that when there's cyber shopping to be done.

Knock, knock! says work.

*visions of sugar plums dissolve*

This is not over! I shout.

And, indeed, it is not.