Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Christmas Catchup and Other Random Oddities

Yes, the Christmas Bitch in me gave way to the Celebratory Babe, and we did have a Christmas here as evidenced by the decorated tree standing guard o'er all the presents. If you think you're just hallucinating the monkey at the top of the tree, you're not. He's the Christmas Ape, and he sits atop the tree every year, wearing the Christmas star as a hat. We did all the usual family things: church on Christmas Eve, driving home the back way on a dusty country road; cinnamon rolls for Christmas breakfast; turkey and tofurky for Christmas dinner. I passed on the Christmas bubble bath but did manage to curl up with a good book for a while. I undecorated on New Year's Day, only forgetting a couple of items that now sit by the door awaiting transfer to a Christmas box in the garage. I've also cut out gift tags for next year from the fronts of some of the Christmas cards we got this year, though I still need to update the address book I keep on Mr. Mac to include some updated snail mail and e-mail addresses I learned about in the cards.

I participated this year in the Book Blogger Christmas Swap. I sent a parcel up to Maryland, and took great delight in reading about the recipient's glee in opening her goodies. I had my own glee opening the box I was sent. In my "registration" paragraph, I noted a desire to get back to reading science fiction after many years away (I read so much sci fi while I was in grad school that I basically overdosed on it). My Secret Santa (who turned out to be Carl) put together a fun package with something old (Glory Lane by Alan Dean Foster) and something new (The Little Book by Selden Edwards). The Catwoman card was a nice touch as was, in true Book Blogger fashion, the return address on the package written on a card catalog card (for the subject heading GRAMMAR, COMPARATIVE AND GENERAL--SYNTAX). I haven't started either book yet; I may save the small paperback to take on the upcoming adventure halfway around the world.

Yes, I did make some New Year's resolutions and so far am keeping them. In the food for thought for a new year category, I loved Neil Gaiman's New Year's wish on his blog: "...I hope you will have a wonderful year, that you'll dream dangerously and outrageously, that you'll make something that didn't exist before you made it, that you will be loved and that you will be liked, and that you will have people to love and to like in return. And, most importantly (because I think there should be more kindness and more wisdom in the world right now), that you will, when you need to be, be wise, and that you will always be kind." Definitely some words to try to live by there. In the same vein, my Zen Page-A-Day calendar had the following entry for January 1:

"Eliminate something superfluous from your life.
Break a habit.
Do something that makes you feel insecure.
Carry out an action with complete attention and intensity, as if it were your last."
~Piero Ferrucci

I'm trying to do some of these, too, as the year revs up. In particular, I'm feeling pretty darned insecure about...

...having started taking karate classes in addition to my kendo ones. Though some of the stances are the same as in kendo, there are some major differences; hence, the feelings of insecurity. At the same time, it's as challenging or more to be learning totally new material as opposed to the fine-tuning of already-learned kendo material that I'm doing as I work toward a black belt there. It also means that if I make every class, I'm now doing martial arts six days a week (every weeknight and Sunday mornings). Hey! It keeps me off the streets and may actually make me safer when I'm on them.

Finally in the surreal world in which I live, I looked up yesterday to see the sight below through the door out to the deck. That's the younger son who, having crafted a climbing harness out of rope, was attempting to lower himself from the balcony off the master bedroom to the ground two storeys below. I don't know why this surprised me enough to grab the camera and snap a quick photo. Both sons often descend from their rooms upstairs, having gained entry by climbing up to the balcony. Or they appear at the kitchen door, having climbed down from their rooms. This was just the first aided descent, or at least the first one I've seen. Since older son was playing around with the harness last night, it probably won't be the last. They do keep my life interesting; I will say that.


Debi said...

Hmmm...almost makes me glad we've got a one-story house.

Sure wish my decorations were all down as I'm frankly sick of looking at them, but I just can't seem to get anything "extra" done these days.

What a fun, jam-packed full of goodies post!

A. said...

Hey Jean -

In response to your question, Squid now occupies pride of place on the windowsill -- you can actually see him from the street if you look hard enough.

Snail pony actually isn't here, his snail clamp-on plastic loop gave out just before I left and I didn't want to risk any snail losses. He's safe stateside though.