Goodness. Wasn't I just writing about October or somesuch? Next thing you know the air is full of cinnamon and commerce and snow.
I've been experiencing those pre-ruminant rumblings that normally come before a blog post; I knew it would happen eventually. Sometimes there is so much to talk about that it all becomes an inarticulate blur before I can pin any of it down. I suspect I need medication.
The tipping point was on page 4 of my holiday issue of Every Day with Rachael Ray. There she is, swathed in as much religiously neutral sparkle as one can manage while keeping a silver pashmina on one's shoulders and hefting a frosted cake with five lit candles on it AND preventing one's long, perilously-close hair from catching fire. She's a multi-tasker, that one.
Page 4, the table of contents, really, suggests that for a 'quick, cracker-ready spread, stir a crushed candy cane and cracked black pepper into cream cheese'.
Excuse me, I have something in my throat. I think its my lunch.
I'm a bush-league foodie. I'm not afraid of tofu. I know what sorts of things you could cook using rendered duck fat. I know the difference between a shallot and a leek. But I'm pretty sure serving cream cheese with crushed black pepper and candy in it would put me in the company of not the Alton Brown set but the lady with all the dolls whose yard ornamentation is two seasons behind, who gives the kids bare-handfuls of circus peanuts in their trick-or-treat bags and thinks the government has put listening devices in her Lillian Vernon catalog.
I have a tenuous relationship with December. In years past it has just been the kickoff of Ye Olde Seasone of Suck, replete with weather-inspired anxieties and holiday expectation vs. reality funk. I'm disorganized, not the best housekeeper, and gift-purchasing turns me into Cindy Brady on 'Question the Kids' (more for the blank look than the 'Swiss Miss' braids). I find myself preoccupied with people who lack a social network this time of year, whose story does not have a Hallmark movie ending after two hours of gentle misunderstanding, over-magnified danger, and clever golden retrievers. (They're all around you! Try not to think about it. Ooops! Too late.)
Some Christmases past have been very dark indeed.
This December is better. I have a job I love. My obligatory bad-weather driving has been slashed to almost nothing. My house is still messy, but I do what I can and I release the rest. I'd like to have more money for presents, but since that only triggers my standing in Target with a deer-in-headlights look and a frozen brain its just as well. And I've realized just in the nick of time what I should do every year around this time-- slow down. Breathe. Look around. Take it in. Be peacefully quiet. Receive. Listen. Love with an undistracted heart.
And if all else fails, begin at the beginning.