Sunday, December 7, 2014

T'is the Season

Oh, good....you can't see all the dust and cat fur on cold air returns.

The Holiday Season has descended upon us.  Thanksgiving is in the rear view mirror with Hanukkah and Christmas growing visible on the horizon and the twinkle of the New Year not far beyond.  This season can mean so many different things to different people.  It can be a time to reunite with family that you may not get a chance to spend time with throughout the rest of the year.  Great joy can be experienced through giving and seeing the elation on the faces of the folks on the receiving end of your generosity.  Not just material gifts but time, just your time.  Being with people that are important to you and you them.  It can also be a time of struggle.  Going through personal strife is unfortunately accentuated this time of year.  Financial troubles, health problems, loss and grief can seem exaggerated when comfort and joys is being shoved in your face everywhere you turn.  Here are the things that make my Holiday Season festive, merry and bright, even when the cat pukes in my bed.

Getting together with friends is something I typically procrastinate.  I work at home.  I love my couch with my super soft, pastel aqua, grey, and white fleece throw.  My DVR acts like a surrogate friend, reminding me that there’s a new episode of Getting On waiting for me.  I don’t have a vast number of close friends, where there are just too many to “fit” into my calendar.  I love my friends.  I just generally don’t care to interact with the masses.  This is one that leaves me feeling conflicted.  I want to catch up with my friends, especially during this time of year, while this is also the worst time of year to throw myself into the fray of the Black Friday public mentality that spans from Thanksgiving through the days after Christmas.  I swallowed my anxiety this weekend and met one of my good friends for breakfast on Saturday morning.  Breakfast was the compromise necessitated by my new work schedule.  Historically, she and I met up for lunch on a Friday, when the restaurants, cinemas and shopping venues aren’t nearly as busy as on the weekends.  Our work schedules were such that catching up at this time of the week worked for us both.  Well, I screwed that up when I took a new position at work.  Turns out, not many people want to get up early enough on a Saturday to go sit in a cafĂ© at 8:00 a.m.  We enjoyed the food and, even more so, the conversation.  Between our delicious Anaheim Scramblers with gourmet coffees, non-stop chatting and wandering around Ulta, post-meal, I got in the Big Red Jeep to leave a much happier gal than had arrived.  Not that I was grumpy or sad heading into our girl’s morning, I just felt so much more fulfilled and enriched having spent the morning with my friend.
The evening before, I had spent over an hour and 15 minutes on the phone with Mom trying to provide “technical support” with her budget.  This budget is a MS Excel-based file that I created for myself and have been using for years and I emailed to Mom a few years ago so she could use one, too.  At 73 years old, she has enough computer savvy to get around online, do the email thing and use the basic functions of Word and Excel.  Beyond that, my phone rings.  By the end of that phone conversation, we both agreed that we had to stop, despite the issue not being 100% resolved to her preference.  Sitting in the Jeep that Saturday morning after having such a nice time with my friend, I dialed Mom and told her I’d be over in a few to fix up her spreadsheet.
I spent the first hour of my visit sitting at Dad’s kitchen table (I had to move his laptop from the kitchen chair over to its back-up spot on the stovetop), as we chattered about the weather, how the Jeep’s been running, money, and food.  Mom came down to join us (her chair had been free of electronics but she did have to move a stack of newspapers and magazines in order to pull the chair out to take a seat) and the conversation turned to nail polish, coffee mugs, and then back to food.  Mom and I excused ourselves to go up her flat so I could get to work.  We sat in her cats’ bathroom (which doubles as her computer room) while I clicked away on the computer’s keyboard, making sure to ask her preferences on column width, centered or left justified, and to wrap or not wrap text.  All in all, it took me under ten minutes to get it all fixed up and saved.  She looked at me and called me a smart ass in the most loving way possible.  I know it’s an emotional struggle for her not to be able to do this kind of stuff on her own, feeling like she can’t learn it anymore.  I try to be as un-eye-rolly as I can, remembering that she’s my mother.  After the work was done, we moved into the living room and visited for another hour or so.
Back in the Jeep and ventured to WalMart for some cheap yet great smelling jar candles, aluminum foil, shaver heads, rubber gloves, and junk food (I do not intend to use all of those products simultaneously).  I made a new friend there by bonding over our mutual love of each other’s blue hair.  Onto Bed Bath and Beyond to meander my way through the crowd for an extension handled duster to clear the “cat lace” off of the ceiling fan blades and a couple packs of holiday doggie treats (impulse grab while walking toward the registers, damn their marketing prowess).  Finally, popped into an expectedly busy Pick N Save for the week’s grocery shopping.  I was pleased that I didn’t encounter even one rude shopper during my adventure.  Have I been wrong about the masses this whole time?
Ended last night with some bonding with the boy.  We watched As Above So Below, during which I accidentally banged my head on the wall in response to a particularly startling scary part (thoroughly enjoyed the movie, by the way).  Woke up today and made Bacon Pancake Dippers for the first time since seeing the idea on Facebook. They were easy and tasty.  I was on the fence about whether or not I wanted to pull out the Christmas tree this year.  I am not planning on hosting the family this season so I wasn’t sure I wanted to go through the hassle.  Smelling the combination of the bacon and my brewing Roasted Almond Chai tea from Fava just tipped me over the festive edge and the tree is now standing, all lit up, in the hall immediately to the left of the fireplace.  I have not committed to digging out the ornaments yet.  Hey, one snowy, glitter-filled step at a time.
I hope you find something this Holiday Season that brings you happiness and warms your soul.  Happy Holidays, everyone!
Yes, that is an Indianapolis Colts Pillow Pet on the boy's bed, in case you were wondering.