1/ I am grateful to have Thursday Thirteen as an outlet for my jumbled thoughts. Thursday has particularly stellar timing this week, as I struggle with that nagging, anticipatory sensation often known as "intuition." The stuff is strong today. My whole self is a-tingle with the feeling that something is up, coming, looming, good, bad, indifferent, but something. It's oddly satisfying and nerve rattling, all at once.
2/ It could just be the first flush of holiday spirit taking hold, although I sort of hope not, because nagging concern is a sad substitute for unbridled, charmed enthusiasm. That said, I did do some shopping today, and some wrapping. And I intend to begin some decorating this evening, which has been on my mind for a few days, so who knows, maybe the holiday jonesing is to blame for the queasy, off-putting unsettled state of my gut.
3/ We had a perfectly lovely Thanksgiving week, filled with family and food, accompanied by approximately 1,264 bottles of wine, but who's counting? We had 7 people staying with us at overlapping intervals; we entertained 13 at our holiday table. It was exhausting and wonderful, in equal measure, and I cannot tell a lie: when the last guest departed late Saturday morning, I was not sorry. It was time. Of course, I'd been diagnosed with full on strep throat on Friday and was feeling putrid at the time, and taking to my bed in an empty, quiet house was the absolute best medicine, when paired with amoxicillin and milkshakes.
4/ My family loves their wine, yes, they do, this is a capital-F Fact, Jack. I do not. Like wine. There's a lot of this that goes on in our family dynamic. Everyone in my family golfs, except me. Everyone in my family has been whitewater rafting, except me. Everyone in my family loves loves loves the sea shore, except me, who can take it or leave it, but leave it, mostly. I spent a lot of time as the only sober human in the house, aside from two sleeping babies and my youngest child, Jake the Dog. My BFF, who has joined us for the Thanksgiving holiday for three years running now, has been sober for ... nearly 15 years, is it? While she was here, I had a partner in lucidity, but she tends to go to bed early and wake up early (my polar opposite), so it wasn't much comfort most nights.
5/ There is no specific reason for my not drinking, beyond a simple one: I have to be in the mood. I do not enjoy sipping a glass of wine for the taste of it, or drinking a beer for the hydration of it. If I am going to drink my calories, it's going to be because I want to feel it, because I want to get drunk, or at the very least, buzzed. I don't often want to get drunk. No sanctimony, because when I do want to, I go for it with gusto. Just not often. Besides, I learn so much about my family members, near and far, when they are ... uninhibited, let's say...and I am listening. Heh.
6/ December is a very busy month for the nonprofit. Our seniors, like most folks, rush to book a flurry of appointments at year end to maximize deductibles, etc., and there is a persistent insistence to their requests of us. I need to take time to document tales from this job that lay bare the human condition; they are legion. I confess to existing under a sheen of self-imposed stress in service to our care receivers, most especially, and notably, during the most charitable of seasons. I feel a great deal of responsibility for these men and women, for their health and their well-being, both mental and physical. It's as though my extended family has multiplied and is comprised of hundreds of elderly people, all of whom need a piece of me, now and then. It's not a thing one "minds," per se, but it is a thing one carries.
7/ I can always detect the winter's meloncholia settling in my bones most pointedly in my writing. It becomes looser, more formal; a bit stilted, but completely unforced. The words enter my head, I write them down; after, I go back over them with eyes that scarcely recognize their content but know intimately their lassitude, and leave them, largely untouched, because. Because.
8/ This is not to say that I am sad. I am not. Seasonally, though, a numbness enters and will not leave; nothing to be done but wear it around your shoulders like an over-sized throw and grow comfortable under its weight. When nobody notices, nor suspects a thing, there is, admittedly, a hint satisfaction taken in perfection achieved after years and years and years and years of practice.
9/ Was it two Christmases ago or only one? I think two, but my memory can't be trusted, so whatever. In any case, I am working to establish a new tradition of the "Please open before Christmas!" package, delivered early to the grand-babies, special delivery from Garmaw and Garpaw's house, to help celebrate the final week before Santa's arrival. This year's is filled with a Rudolph book with two plushies, mini Gingerbread men, an Elf puzzle book and magic pen, one new ornament for each of them to place on the tree, a pair of holiday-winter themed pajamas for each, and packets of hot chocolate to enjoy with a Christmas movie. It's like a...stocking trial run, and stockings, in case you don't know, are where. it's. at. I love this tradition and look forward to it living on for years to come.
10/ Today (Friday) (Edited to add: I started this list on Thursday. I grew weary, went to bed early, and finished/posted it on Friday.), I took a care receiver to pick up her disability check, then to the bank to cash it, and then, yes, then...to the bowels of Hell, otherwise known as Walmart. On a Friday. During the holiday season. I consider the task penance performed for any and all sins, real or perceived, Hail Mary, full of Grace. I survived the trip, for better or worse.
11/ Tomorrow night (Saturday), we are keeping with recent (five years or so) tradition and attending the WV Symphony Orchestra's annual Home for the Holidays concert. This year's show will be bittersweet, as we are in the midst of a years long search to replace our current beloved conductor and this is his grand holiday concert finale. The event typically marks the beginning of the season for me; I love it with all my heart. While I look forward to a new symphonic adventure to come, I will miss this particular show with all my heart.
12/ I am still not over the election of an utter buffoon as President. I may never get over it. My goal in this realm for now is to reach a point where I can quit obsessing on his bombastic incivility and aversion to the truth without ever, not ever, accepting it.
13/ Are you ready for the holidays? In task list form, I seem to be tracking positively. In mental state and holly jolly-ness, it appears I am falling short. I give myself the weekend to rectify this situation. Just you watch. There will be a whole new mess o' sunshine in this space any day now. Any...day...
*Title quote from Lawrence Ferlinghetti, a co-founder of the famed City Lights Booksellers & Publishers.