Like The Queen
Whatever happens to strike my fancy, but surely some sort of fiber content.


Aargh! As Martha noted (below), sometimes your Mr. Horoscope is far too accurate. The last two have me blushing and cringing simultaneously! I have a quilt to tie this afternoon and then a Big Tidy Up, because my studio (formerly the living room) has been earmarked for the Tree!!

By Blogger Margaret, at 2:20 PM  

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Sunday, December 18, 2005  

I managed to weep my way through a full house cleaning yesterday. I am taking neurontin to help with peripheral nerve issues and the side effects are delightful: "may cause nausea, weight gain and depression." But I also think some of the mood swing has to do with a very low grade pain that just doesn’t go away, coupled with the ordinary seasonal frustration of unmet subconscious expectations.

I’ve been around long enough to know that there is no Christmas like the Madison Ave/Famous Star Holiday TV Special ones. They don’t exist. You won’t look like that in your holiday outfit. Your kids do not smile tenderly at each other. A chorus won't break into song when you haul out the Christmas meal. yadda yadda yadda. I know that and in fact, since we don’t have TV piping into our house I don’t get led astray by those fantasies. I’ve long since whittled my list of Christmas traditions down to a manageable few. Cards, tree, token gifts for library staff & volunteers, small gifts for immediate family, real gift for BD. Oh. Yes. And secret gift for me. An easy Christmas eve dinner of oyster stew and a Christmas Day dinner of roast beef with Yorkshire pudding. Sometime in the holiday week I will visit my folks - this year, on the 26th. Sometime during the season I’ll watch White Christmas and cry happy tears.

Doesn’t sound like too much, now, does it? But Mr. Horoscope thinks it is. Here’s what he has to say about this week:

Your week ahead: This may be a festival of celebration and spontaneity, but you appear to be planning your holiday season with almost military precision. You have so much you want to organize, so many commitments to honour and such a long list of people to please that you can hardly spare yourself a second to rest and relax. Do yourself a favour. Write it all down with a pencil. Then, pour yourself a nice drink of something seasonal and grab an eraser. Rub out at least a third of the items on your agenda. Don't trouble yourself with logic, just remove them randomly! If you absolutely have to, write something back in, and make sure you get rid of something else. Your sanity is worth more than your ability to say, 'I got it all done'.

Hmmm. Sounds like very good advice. I’m sure I can find ThingsToDo I can NotDo. Happily, we put up the tree last night and I only nagged BD the slightest bit about perfect draping and Please, don’t string the lights in knots or I’ll never be able to take down the tree. You’d think after 30+ years I’d quit obsessing about how the tree is decorated. BTW, ours is the most decorated tree in the world. It’s covered with everything one could put on a tree, including icicles - you know, that tinsel hair that girls hang, strand by strand, and boys throw at the tree, sure they will float down in perfect Disneyesque animated symmetry. I forgot to buy candy canes this year and now the tree is up, I shall omit them altogether, but know that they are usually on my tree.

Nothing so fills a house with magic like a lighted Christmas tree. We don’t have those pretty mini-lights, though I like them very much. We have the big fat colored bulbs of my childhood. Interspersed among them are a few bubble lights, some of which fail to bubble, but all of which bring back memories of a little brick house off Rockwood Road in western Henrico County. When all the decorating is done and the boxes have been moved out of the living room, BD and I like to turn off all lights except the tree, turn on the CD player, stacked with Christmas music, and sip egg nog (something else I forgot to purchase on Friday). This year I was so exhausted, I was good for only about 30 minutes, before I crawled into bed, but the beauty of something so glittery, so colorful, so sparkling and magical still has the power to lift my mood.

I remember how sweetly my parents used to indulge us when we were small. The tree was a Saturday project. This meant that we could not only enjoy it all day on Sunday, before school laid its powerful claim upon our completely distracted little minds and squirming little bodies, but it also meant that we could bring our pillows and blankets downstairs and fall asleep under the fragrant, lit and bedecked boughs of that noble symbol of the season. The tree was not just an art object, a piece of interior decoration intended to create an atmosphere. It was the world’s biggest toy. It was the playhouse you always dreamed of owning. It was the doorway to Oz. We were allowed to fiddle with, move, rearrange, and handle anything on it - even the glass ornaments that were as beautiful as any jewel worn by the Magi. There were two little elf dolls, cloth with plastic faces, that lived in the tree and even in high school I used to play “dolls” with them for hours after school.

Mama never had anything to do with decorating the tree other than to bring us something nice to drink and lay out snacks. Daddy was the one who helped and he was also, being my direct antecedent, the one who got fussy about things being perfect. I am sure there was at least one Christmas when I was sent to bed during the tree trimming because I got into an argument with him about how it was supposed to be done. That perfectionism that pops up in everyone, now and then, seemed to be drawn forth from the two of us every year, though, I soon learned not to argue with the Man In Charge even if he was putting the lights in the wrong place.

Fortunately, all that sugar and spice driven tension was short lived. And once the tree was actually up and the ornament boxes were empty, there were days of glorious play just waiting for you after school or during the long Christmas break. I don’t have elves on my tree - though in the early days I did - many of them, all made of bread dough baked in the kitchen and painted with tempera paint. They’ve long since been eaten by mice or crumbled away in our baking hot attic. But perhaps it’s time I got some. Two little elves who live in the Christmas tree, each with his own little “house” among the branches. Elves who like to visit each other and who go on adventures in the secret hidden recesses of the Kingdom of Christmas Tree.

So. The biggest task of the season is done. I had thought to hold a holiday party but I am thinking now it might be one of the items I’ll erase off of my list. And there is all of Sunday to wallow in holliday feelings. We’re going to Richmond to visit with friends but other than finding a grocery store that sells lady fingers I don’t think there is anything else we have on the agenda. It’s a hug and snuggle trip, not a hustle and bustle one.

In fiber news, btw, I did not finish the Christmas sock toe - too busy house cleaning, of course. But I did block that sleeve and wow - the cuff really flares out. This is good. This is very good, because it means I can knit only the 8 repeats, then do all the increases at once and they ought to block out into something like a rectangle. This happy news lays out the plans for the NBP in nice mathematical order. The only thought still niggling my creativity is whether I want a little bit of seed stitch at the sides, separating the front lace from the back. Hmmm. Well, time enough for that to perk while I knit a sock toe.

We get Friday off this week and I am going to take at least an afternoon off, since there is one shopping thing I really must do and must do alone. Remembering that - and typing it just now, seemed so happy - good to feel the gladness of a holiday task.

posted by Bess | 7:41 AM