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Friday, December 18, 2009

The View From Here

Winkie the cat and I have retired to the front of the house where the 50- year-old cast iron baseboard radiators, well--radiate, unlike the helpless burners beside my cubby at the rear of our home. Fourteen years ago we completed a renovation back there that required tearing out the old heating system and “modernizing” things. Hmmm, as so often is the case, “new and improved” isn’t always so. Let’s just say the fleece scarf I am currently wearing around my neck would be enhanced by the addition of a hat and gloves, and yes, I am inside. Sorry to say, dubious Yankee frugality does not allow adjustment to the self-timer on the thermostat--yet anyway (we can discuss this again in February).

While marginally warmer, relocating the laptop to the front of the house affords a lovely view of the rime building up between our inside storm windows and the original leaky glass panes--here “new and improved” might mean so--but replacements are a dream that will have to be packaged beside a successful business writing career.

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Ah, the holidays. A skim of ice crusts on the pond down the street and the grass crunches under our feet. The car coughs and puffs white frost, failing to warm up during short trips to drop off at school, to the grocery store, the pharmacy. While there is no snow yet, the thermometer is doing it’s best to convince us that Christmas is only a week away. We however, start tomorrow on my side of the family which means, if I can get this blog post written and complete the last class in my grant writing program, a massive baking project for this afternoon. Holiday preparation is good fun but guilt inducing, as I attempt but fail to neglect Middle Passages, an outlet that many months ago felt a tad self-indulgent, but which has morphed into an essential part of my day.

Here’s an early resolution though. I’m proud of what I have accomplished over the last year, and pleased with my efforts over the past week. That said, for the next few days, I’m going to absolve myself of anguish if I can’t get everything done.

And, I’m going to put on a hat and bake a lot of cookies. If anything, rubbing my hands together over a hot stove may help to keep me warm.

What do you do to cope with the challenge of holiday stress?


Wander to the Wayside said...

Sorry about your heat, but at least you do have a warmer portion of the house to retreat to, and baking will definitely warm you up!

Hmmm, the challenge of holiday stress. This Christmas is more stressful than any we've every experienced, because we are down to our last few hundred dollars, not even enough to make the house payment. My husband is in a furniture repair business in relationship with moving company claims, and it has been excrutiatingly slow. I clean houses and pet sit for extra money when not taking care of my grandsons, and that is slow. Stress to the max. I bought the two grandsons a few things before we ran out of money - and I mean a few things, like a hot wheels building and some dollar store finds. No gifts for each other or our daughter. BUT...to help counteract the stress, I am concentrating on decorating the house and tree with as much Christmas stuff as possible, especially the tree and the Christmas village on the buffet. Lots of lights and candles around the house, driving around looking at decorations on other houses and singing carols, letting the boys help me with cookies and breads. We are concentrating on the SPIRIT of Christmas, the LOVE AND LAUGHTER of Christmas, not the GIFTS of Christmas. Except for the 4 and 6 year old boys, and they won't know that I spent $25 instead of $250 on toys!

I also escape into the blog world - reading and writing. It truly helps in so many ways. And you have every right to be proud of what you've accomplished on YOUR blog this last year - I was late coming here but have done a lot of back-reading, and your writing is beautiful.

glnroz said...

yes, Ms Wander is right you have a right to be proud. I have gained a lot for myself. I hate winter, so I shivered at your "window" story.

Tamika: said...

Unfortunately I eat! And eat! There seems to be no limit to the sweets I'm willing to consume to comfort the woes of presents.

Liza said...

Linda, I will say some extra prayers for you. I am grateful for and honored by your compliment about my writing. Glen, I thank you too...try to stay warm. It's OK to be chilly in our bones, as long as we keep the old hearts glowing by paying attention to all that is good. Tamika, you don't want to know how many cookies and chocolate I've consumed already this month. It doesn't help that I love to cook. That's where New Year's resolutions, come in, right?

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

I absolutely love that photo, and you made me laugh picturing you in your hat baking cookies. Stay warm and keep blogging.

Sharon said...

Merry Christmas, Liza. You've enhanced my year with your daily word pictures.

Diana Paz said...

Stay warm Liza! There's an award for you on my blog :)

Helen Ginger said...

Oh, man, that picture of the window made me soo cold. Wear socks, mittens, fuzzy hats, whatever you need, but stay warm. Bake those cookies and stay near the oven.

Straight From Hel