Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A Christmas Day Letter, 2012

Dear Friends and Family, 

I do not think I have ever been so very late with my yearly Christmas card. Part of it has been a typically overbusy December, but it has also been equal parts "I don't feel like doing it this year!" and "Why do I have to send it out BEFORE Christmas?" I don't know about you, but every year it seems I get a little more bored, or tired, or disappointed with aspects of the Holiday Battering Ram that begins at Halloween and ends on New Year's Day.

I am trying to come up with a modified approach; keeping the things I like, discarding the things I don't, and above all, remembering WHY we even started going through this all in the first place. Halloween-Thanksgiving-Christmas... all of them have good and enjoyable components; All Hallows-eve before All Saints Day on November 1st (and costumes! and candy!), Thanksgiving for our blessings (with food! and pie!), Christmas for the birth of Jesus (and presents! and food! and trees! and food! and music! and food!), and finally New Year's Eve to finally shut down the whole bloody mess.

So I put up a tree and a wreath, but no ornaments or swag. I gave gifts, but as many as possible were homemade. I baked, but most was given away. And even then, I feel a sense of disappointment because some unknown anticipation wasn't met. Partially because for me, Christmas as a single person is naturally difficult. I will go to my sister's house today for a big-ass dinner and presents, so I'm not completely alone... but yet, it's simply not possible to avoid the realization that the older singles of this world are inevitably Secondary and Tertiary in the pecking order of the modern Christmas.

Lest you worry that I am falling into a Victorian spinster decline, let me assure you that I have had a splendid morning sleeping in later than any of you ; that I had a lovely cup of coffee and homemade sausage-cheese balls for breakfast while watching Lord of the Rings DVDs, had Bunny curled up in my lap for a longer spell than Squeaky George will usually allow (interfering little booger that he is) and did some housecleaning that is long overdue (and barely scratches the surface of the Mess That Is My Home). This is the 95% of my life that doesn't actually mind the singleness. It's a sweet life.

It's a pretty busy life, too. Same as last year, more or less; I still work for the American Economic Association at Vanderbilt, I still have my House Calls computer repair business on the side, I still sing regularly with the Music Ministry at St. Bartholomew's Church, and I still have two cats. But there is a new couch.

Bunny & Squeaky George, moments before
George stops licking and starts biting.
You may have noticed that there is a new kitty-name. Daisy (Bunny's twin sister) decided this past spring to hop off my second floor balcony and go on an extended Walkabout. At the time I was devastated, but after a couple of months I decided Bunny needed a companion to keep her from getting too lonesome, and so Squeaky George, orange tabby kitten, was added to the family. He is energetic, cheerful, very vocal (and very squeaky) and plagues the life out of Bunny. She has become a very quiet, wistful cat (with a reproachful expression of “why did you bring that bitey kitten into this house?”), and George refuses to respect her boundaries. He regularly chases her around or pesters her so she'll get out of my lap so he can sit there. If he weren't such a purry, entertaining and cuddly kitty, he would be intolerable. As it is, I suspect he's good for her. He provides occasional aerobic activity, in between bouts of enthusiastically shredding Kleenex and chewing labels off of power cords.

My nieces and nephews are all growing exponentially, it seems—naturally, the girls are all lovely, the boys all handsome, with varying personalities that are more interesting every year. Elliott is the first to go off to college this past fall, and I miss him more than I thought I would. More for the convenience of having him with a car, in town, available to help me lift heavy things. ;) And because I have been pressed into frequent service to chauffeur his younger siblings hither and yon, since he is no longer there to split the load with his mom. He’s also got a serious girlfriend relationship, which I am watching over via social media. God bless Facebook, and a generation incapable of filtering what they post therein.

The second tear-duct surgery (Dacrocystorhinostomy, or DCR) I had last December has ALSO failed to fix the problem of a chronically clogged tear-duct, and so we’re trying it again in February and this time adding rhinoplasty with an ENT surgeon, to make sure there’s plenty of room in my nasal cavities for the tears to flow down into my sinuses. (Don’t worry, I did get a second opinion!) I am very, very tired of this, but I remind myself that a drippy right eye is small potatoes on the scale of chronic health issues.

I still do an excessive amount of needlework and crochet, and to add to my pile of Intended Projects That I Will Get To Someday, I have begun to knit socks. There’s something exhilarating about making an actual practical, functional piece of clothing; in fact, I am going to frame my first sock the same way as I would frame a cross-stitch sampler, I’m so proud of it!

I shall leave matters there so I can get this sucker printed out and mailed before I go on my annual AEA work-trip to another far-flung city on New Year’s Day. This year we get to go to San Diego, where I will eat lavish meals, will work 10-12 hours/day, and see very little of the city. But at least I’ll be able to add it to my list of Cities That I’ve Been To But Couldn’t Really Describe Very Well.

God bless and keep you and your families safe,