Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Close Enough

I may have mentioned that my family of origin? Not so much into traditions. Perhaps the way some families aren't into vegetables. I've seen them line up their offspring at Souplantation and allow all the kids to fill their plates with shredded cheese, olives, and eggs. One day, one of those kids is going to become a raw foods diet enthusiast. Just wait. And I'm not sure whether it will be an act of rebellion, or an attempt to end years of malnutrition.

So maybe it was rebellious of me to want to attend Midnight Mass. Maybe I was just soothing a latent longing for the scent of myrrh so strong it burned my eyes a little. For processions of priests and altar servers in special Christmas vestments. For an Advent wreath and Mary looking out over a hedge of poinsettias. It was almost okay that only one person stood briefly when the choir started singing the Hallelujah Chorus and my don't-stand-out-in-a-crowd part of me had to fight with my this-isn't-right part throughout the entire, very beautiful song. Every sensory detail of the service was wonderful.

Just as Father John began the homily, at about 12:10, I think the police report reads, a friend of ours came up to the pew and called d out of the church. Of all the cars in the parking lot and down all the nearby streets, someone thought it was a lucrative choice to break into my twelve-year-old vehicle and steal my worth-almost-nothing stereo. And my husband's sunglasses. And a birthday card which contained a five dollar gift card to Jamba Juice. They left my cool new basketball which claims that it will stay well inflated for over a year. And they passed over my ream of canary photocopier paper. They also left my CPR mask. My husband came back in and sat through the remainder of the mass with me. Instead of heading to Denny's afterward for pancakes, which I had thought might be fun, we helped our friends (who ironically are in charge of security and therefore felt doubly bad about the break in at their church) clean out enough of the glass to drive home. Without a driver's door window. In the cold. Then we had to make room to park the car in the garage, which took awhile because all the junk that used to be in my office hasn't quite made its way to the Salvation Army yet.

Not exactly how I pictured Christmas Eve, what with being burglarized and getting to bed past 3 am, but not too far off either. I got my infusion of tradition, and a fresh reminder that things are replaceable and aren't really so important.

Friday, December 22, 2006

So I Finally Bit the Bullet

I hit the mall today, early enough to beat most of the crowds, and put a major dent in my Christmas shopping. I would mention what I found, how I came upon inspiration and how I vascilated at certain points. How employees hired for holidays aren't, shall we say, the most helpful? I would say that I did not buy my husband designer jeans for Christmas, because I saw a guy today in $150 jeans and realized I'm not sure men should care that much what their butts look like. I would disclose that The Sharper Image? I pretty much don't get any of the products in that store. Except the massage chairs. Those are cool. I would tell you the contents of the bags I concealed carefully in my decoy bag, but my man reads my blog. And that would just spoil the surprise.

It feels more like Christmas. Maybe it's having a few red paper wrapped packages under the tree and watching my husband shake them, trying to figure out what's what (he has no clue). Maybe it's getting more sleep since it's now vacation. Maybe it's that there is more natural light now that the days are getting longer again. Maybe it's that I was hearing about the blizzard in Colorado that gave my Southern California mom a raging case of cabin fever (she's home now, lucky enough to have caught one of the first flights out). Maybe it's my new addiction to the Grilled Veggie burrito from Baja Fresh. Whatever it is, finally it feels very close to Christmas.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Coming On Christmas

Why is it Christmas already? The calendar must be joking. I'm melancholy this year, like that Joni Mitchel song River, and I can't seem to shake it off and be merry instead.

I cannot make myself feel like Christmas this year. Nevertheless, it's just a few days away, and that continues to surprise me. Yes, we already have the tree up and decorated. The requisite wreath is on the door. The stockings I knitted for Knitting Olympics are hanging above the fireplace. I've even had the Kitchenaid out, mixing up cookies that my students are happy to eat. We went to the Christmas party for d's work Friday night, driving through neighborhoods lit up like adobe versions of gingerbread houses. So I should be feeling the vibe, yet it feels like mid-October.

Yesterday, I finished three knitting projects/Christmas gifts. Which is a lot of knitting in one day if you are me. I prefer to sip my knitting, and yesterday I was gulping. I wasn't doing a marathon of knitting in order to be done ahead of time. These projects had to be done yesterday because my mom is on a plane today taking said gifts to their recipients in Colorado. I knitted a simple, fast beanie for my brother using the Hot Head pattern from Stitch & Bitch and charcoal grey Lamb's Pride bulky yarn. My sister-in-law is getting these fingerless gloves in black baby alpaca. And my mom, who thinks 65 degrees is "freezing," has a new chunky scarf to ward off the chill while she sees the sights in a place that really is cold.

I'm knitted out. Today, I'm making cookies. Christmas cookies. Even though I feel like I should still be finding Halloween treats.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Four and a Half Months Later

Brilliant Hand Surgeon: "Hi, how are you?"
Me: "Fine, thanks."
(BHS glances over my evaluation note from physical therapy.)
BHS: "Do this?" (BHS holds his hand up, fingers all straight.)
(I hold my hand up, fingers all straight, pinky mostly straight.)
BHS: "And this?" (Hand up, fingers curled into a fist.)
(I hold up a fist.)
BHS: "This again." (Holds hand up in straight position.)
(I comply.)
BHS: "Okay. I think we're done here."

Seventeen thousand dollars of Blue Cross double coverage money well spent.

Before and After:

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