Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Winter Stuff

I am up to my ears in angel wings and bathrobes. Somehow I got roped into organizing the costumes for the school Christmas program, so I have been digging in my fabric stash in the attic and sewing vaguely-Biblical robes and trying to figure out what a high priest would have worn on his head and hot-gluing tinselly trim (like a long golden glittery caterpillar--it has another name but I can't remember it) onto cardboard angel wings and making a white beard for Simeon out of furry white fabric from Emily's dress-up bin. I have two more robes to hem and then they're all ready.

Huge thanks to Zelma B., who sewed a bunch of costumes for her grandchildren and a few others.

Amy comes home in two days and I am giddy with expectation.

Matt is home for a month, working in the warehouse and once again eating me out of house and home, which I love. Erma Bombeck once wrote how, when her kids lived at home, she hollered at them to pick up after themselves and refused to do anything for them that they were capable of doing for themselves. Then they left home, and when they came back to visit she was like a concierge in a nice hotel, hovering over them, picking up after them, offering them food, fetching a glass of water for them while they lounged on the couch. I do make Matt cobble together his own lunch but otherwise I am disturbingly like Erma.

I've decided that Emily's recovery from West Nile fever will not be a gradual uphill climb but rather a lot of ups and downs. She has pretty good days and really awful days, and has not yet been back to school or church or much else. However, she has ventured out just a few times, and last night she accompanied her friend Justin to his work-related Christmas dinner. She had not applied for the job but was hired anyhow, and even though the evening had no romantic implications, it gave me and Paul something of a turn to have a well-dressed young man come and pick up our lovely daughter. She came home with dark circles under her eyes but also a big smile.

I am not much of a decorator for Christmas but last night I decided to put a few more welcome lights, (like plastic candles) in the windows. I put batteries in one and then went to fetch a new light bulb, and when I came back the whole thing smelled hot and the plastic had melted out the bottom. Yikes. So that one went in the sink with a quart of cold water dumped on it and then in the trash. Then I tried the next one and while I was getting it all together, it suddenly burned my hand. Yikes again. Matt thought I should contact the place where I got them. Well, the truth is that before I used them I peeled off the 10-cent garage sale stickers.

But I learned something: even battery-operated things can be a fire hazard.

I have noticed that in winter people tend to wear more black, which is fine, but it's not so good for people who cross our front porch and have to contend with Hansie the huge friendly shedding yellow dog. Last night Justin in his black dress pants did a bit of oh--what's it called--that dance where you shimmy under a bar--trying to avoid Hansie's affection. And recently a large well-meaning Jehovah's Witness lady had her black velvet skirt desecrated with blond hairs while she offered me literature and kept smiling, although I have a feeling she quit smiling once she was in the car and assessed the damage.

The forecast is rain, rain, rain. Which means I am fighting, fighting, fighting this everlasting SAD. "Anonymous" asked how I manage temperance on the Internet. Well, I don't do too well these days, since all I really want to do is hunker down with a blanket around me and lose all track of time and read all day. And eat. And sleep. [I also forget the words for things. (See above).] It helps to have deadlines and things I absolutely have to get done, to keep me going. I set a timer for what I think is a proper amount of time and have it by the computer. But it ain't easy.

A merry season to all and may all your sons and daughters come home safely.

Quote of the Day:
"10 things I've learned from living on my own for 2 months:
1. The more underwear and socks you own, the better. You can go longer w/out doing laundry. Better yet, you can save it up, take it home, and your mom will do it for you.
2. Children moving out can be hard on their moms. You can use this to manipulate your mom when you're home visiting.
3. You would not believe what will grow at the bottom of the sink when the dishes have been in there for over a month.
4. Taco Bell and Wendy's are the best fast food restaurants, hands down, and Taco Bell's drive thru is open until 2am.
5. Learn to cook at least a little bit for yourself. Cereal gets old pretty fast.
6. Eat somewhat healthy. If nothing else, at least buy some fruit and eat it.
7. If you live alone, get out of the house at least once a day. Going an entire day w/out seeing another human being can make you go crazy.
8. No matter what you do, no matter what you tell her, your mom will worry about you.
9. It's very easy to hit the snooze button on Sunday morning, go back to sleep, and not go to church. Don't do it. See #7.
10. You can't go home again. Even when you go and spend a few days in your parents' house, or even a month like I am, it will never feel the same."
--Matt, from his xanga


  1. long glittery caterpillar=garland

  2. Christmas came early this year. The box of books I ordered were a hit with all the recipients.My MIL said her husband snatched her copy of Upstairs the Peasants Are Revolting. He didn't go carolling last night--probably reading!
    We didn't have sunshine for over a week-- it does start getting to a body.
    May your days be merry and bright. Margaret

  3. Please explain SAD. We don't get snow here & my youngest thinks it's terribly romantic. I've seen it & just think it's wet & cold but I've never lived with it.

  4. I'm so glad Emily got to go out and exprience a little bit of Christmas!

    Also thanks for the hint to buy your books for gifts! Wonderful Wonderful books! Not quite devotionals, "but could be"!

    At present our kids are ages 2-15 years and I just can't believe that they won't always be sitting aroung the kitchen table. But... it sounds like it will change and I hope I can be graceful in accepting change when it comes, but for now, I am enjoy the moments!

  5. what's it called--that dance where you shimmy under a bar

    The Limbo!

    I do love your blogs ... you are about the only person who can make me smile while I'm drudging away at work. Even tho I'm not supposed to be on the Internet while I'm here!!

  6. I appreciated your comments about SAD. Seasonal Affect Disorder--or needing a frequent amount of sunlight to function well. This is our third winter in Oregon and I think it's bothering me a little more this year than before.(Maybe it's just the nasty cold I have right now.) I have also found that having appointments or reasons to get going in the morning and projects during the day really helps. I think what bothers me even more this time of year is the late daybreak and early dusk.
    In Iowa (where I lived for the first 57 years) the sun might be shining, but the wind chill could be -40 and we had a lot of white stuff to shovel. When I look at the alternative, I'll put up with the SAD and dream of sunnier days to come in the spring, summer and fall.

  7. Ah! Garland and limbo, of course. (thanks)
    To Ganeida--I get SAD in Oregon because it rains and rains and rains. And when it's not raining it's overcast.
    I spent 8 years in Canada and 11 in Minnesota and even though the winters were very cold and snowy, I didn't get SAD there because there was so much more LIGHT. There's nothing as bright as sunshine on fresh snow. In fact, too much of it can actually blind you for a few days.
    It snows here maybe once a year. I love snow.

  8. I just found out yesterday, due to a blood test for something else, that I have a Vit. D deficiency, "quite common in this area." Goodness. They must have to put it in the tap water in Canada and Alaska, don't you think?

    Have you tried the little UV lamp I've heard they sell at Costco? My friend reads next to it for half an hour every morning to help chase SAD blues away.

  9. Ah - never mind about Canada. I guess they get sunlight.

    Alaska comment still apropos, I think...

  10. Is there any relationship between paragraph 4 (disturbingly like Erma) and QOTD # 10? Pauline