If We Make It Through December

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Everything’s gonna be all right I know

Photo by Timothy Eberly on Unsplash

 

Every year on December 1, the classic Merle Haggard song “If We Make It Through December,” becomes my theme for the next 31 days.

Released to the world back in 1973, Merle’s words still resonate in 2019 as I play the song on repeat in my car driving back and forth to my job.

I play it on those days when it’s both dark in the morning and dark in the early evening. When I’ve been inside all day, completely missing the sun. When the rain comes down. When my feet ache and my head hurts and I wonder why, for another year, I’m anxious, depressed and overwrought during what is meant to be the happy time of year.

Every year I look forward to December and the holiday season, hoping to capture some small bit of that childhood joy and anticipation and magic. I watch movies like White Christmas and Holiday Inn that are filled with optimism and dancing and songs about snow.

But every year I feel crushed by an avalanche of end of year business activities. It’s the nature of the profession I have chosen that December is just always going to be busy, stressful, and intense.

Now I don’t mean to hate December
It’s meant to be the happy time of year

Thanksgiving seems to come easy with a few days off of work and a bit of turkey and gravy. The moment the last morsel of pumpkin pie is consumed, the ho-ho-ho expectations ramp up into high gear. Already I see my calendar filling up with events which are all wonderful taken individually, but are a lot to manage all together.

I always wonder how certain friends are able to hold down a full time job while also decorating their home top to bottom, entertaining with ease, baking up a bunch of seasonal treats, getting their shopping done, presents wrapped to perfection under the tree, and look good (and calm) doing it, too.

There has been more than one year where it was a trick for me just to drag the artificial tree out of the garage, much less set it up, get the lights working and hang some ornaments.

Every year I dream of the perfect December where I move through the holiday season with the ease of Martha Stewart after one of Snoop Dogg’s special brownies. Color, sparkle, magic, joy. Calm.

Every year I fall well short of that mark and blame myself for not being more organized, not being a better hostess, not being just, you know, a better person.

I think my holiday present to myself this year is to ease up on all the negative self-talk. To give myself the grace to do the work that is demanded by a full time job and to do the best I can with the holiday preparations.

Perhaps good enough really is good enough.

This all sounds well and good, the words are easy to type, but it’s harder to go out there and really live that decision. Hard to unwind the old recordings in my head that tell me if I don’t pull it off perfectly, I’m a loser.

But this year I’m going to try a little harder.

If we make it through December we’ll be fine

And I will. I’ll be fine. This annual hell and highwater (literally, the rain is pounding down as I type) will recede, the perfect storm of work and holidays will draw to a close and we’ll all find our way back to level ground.

Maybe this year I’ll enjoy the holidays a little bit more for what they are, not what I should have done.

You know, December ain’t so bad.

In the words of ol’ Merle “I don’t mean to hate December.”

December certainly doesn’t hate me.

 

Shall We Play The Game?

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“So, did you get caught up in the Black Friday stuff last week?” a coworker asked me this morning as we kibitzed about the Thanksgiving holiday break.

“No. Did you?”

“Yeah, we were at Target until 2am standing in line for an iPhone on Thanksgiving day. It was crazy.”

“Wow.”

That’s all I had to say. Wow. There was no other answer I could muster. Why would anyone would want to stand in line at the ungodly hour of 2am to buy a piece of electronic gear?

And I’m a big fan of my iPhone. Still, I don’t need to take part in that.

I know, I know. Because it was a deal. Because it was on sale. Because it means saving a couple of bucks.

I think that people forget that their time and their sanity also has a value.

This is something that The Good Man reminds me of with some frequency. I was raised by an engineer. Engineers are fairly squeaky with the wallet. The lure of a good deal is strong with me.

If I take a look at my paycheck and then divide down (I’m salaried) I can figure out how much my employer pays me by the hour. Then I can apply that to the time standing in line just to get 20% off an iPhone.

Or, I can try to figure out the value of time spent with family and friends.

My coworker left for Target at 8pm after having turkey and cranberry with the family. Stood in line to get in the door. Stood in line until 2am to get the phone and spent another hour waiting to have it activated. 8pm to 3am is seven hours.

Seven. Hours. That’s dang near a whole workday.

Maybe I’m just a stodgy ol’ fuddy duddy but I spent those same seven hours with The Good Man and the Mom-in-Law and petting the ailing Feline. Those were good hours and time well spent.

Ah well, rereading this post I realize that I am judging and that’s not right either.

As my mom used to say, “To each their own.”

Happy Kickoff to the Crazy Days leading up to the Holidays.

Don’t forget to hug your sweetie a little bit before you run off to get in line. I’ll hug mine twice for you.

Salud.






Image found here.




Gobble, Gobble

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And here we find ourselves again on the eve of the Holiday of Big Eats. Of all the holidays each annual cycle brings, Thanksgiving and Halloween rank up there as my favorites. Mainly cuz of the snacking aspect so central to them both.

I do love a good day of eatin’.

So at this year’s Thanksgiving fest as I nosh and nom, I have many things to be thankful for.

I’ll start with gratitude for each and every reader of this blog. You may not be many in numbers, but you are huge in providing motivation. I love reading comments both here and on Facebook and each comment just spurs me on.

Thanks also for putting up with my most recent and quite maudlin post. I was in a pretty dark place that day. Writing the words out on the page always help me exorcise those demons. It is my greatest therapy.

I cried through just about every word of that post (a little awkward at work, so I had to stop and finish it up at home) but getting it all out really helped.

I’ve been a bit MIA since that post as I’ve been dealing with a lot of stuff. Work got really weird last week and of course I am already weird, so when weird is doubled down, it’s not really a good thing.

The good news is that I am off work this week. I have to admit I didn’t know how much I needed a vacation. Needed it so much. Yesterday I slept in to a reasonable hour, something like 7:30, and got up and started doing stuff around the house. Then I felt nauseous and had vertigo. So I did the only logical thing: I went back to bed. For the whole afternoon.

Turns out my body was saying “Lay it down sister, we need rest.” I have been running full throttle for a long while and when I let off the gas, I needed to actually rest. So as much as I hated to lose a whole day of vacation, it was totally worth it.

Today I’m full of the usual quantities of both piss and vinegar, so it’s game on. Look out world, I’m back! And grateful to feel good again.

So I’m thankful for my job, the ability to take paid vacation days, and for rest. All of these together make me a better Karen.

I might also mention here how thankful I am for The Good Man who puts up with my special brand of crazy including chronic rantings and frequent bad moods. He is the cream in my coffee, the salt in my stew, and he makes me a better person every day. Thanks for being you.

Also, looping back to my dark post from last week, I am thankful for the magic of veterinary medicine. The Feline is back up on her paws. She still has a chronic and quite terminal condition, but with some medication, some subcutaneous fluids and some love, she’s almost back to her usual zippy almost 15-year-old self. Who knows how long we have left, but we have her feeling ok today. And I am very grateful.

And finally on this by no means all-inclusive list, I am thankful for my best friend who, earlier this year came to my home bearing bags of green chile that she had stowed in her suitcase. Yesterday I discovered them in my freezer and realized that two of those bags were chopped chile, just perfect for making a green chile stew.

As the chiles and cumin and potatoes roiled and boiled, I was thankful that I am a New Mexican, grateful for the mouthwatering food, and thankful that my New Mexican by way of Texas best friend in the whole wide world cares enough to share her chile stash. That’s love.

Most of all on this sunny and warm California Wednesday, I’m just happy to be alive, to be loved, and to have my place here on my little blog where I can be weird or depressed or lame or just simply be me, and that’s ok.

Happy Day of Gobble Gobble to you all! May you have a wonderful holiday, wherever in this big ol’ world you may be.





Had to post this image, it’s tradition.




Photo and doodle Copyright 2010, Karen Fayeth, and subject to the Creative Commons license in the right column of this page. Photo taken with an iPhone 4 using the Hipstamatic app.




And So It Begins

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Well, with Thanksgiving done and dusted, I suppose that officially begins the Holiday Season.

No stopping the relentless advertisements and ho ho ho’ing at every corner.

Each holiday season, it’s always a bit of a toss up for me if I am in the spirit or feeling grinchy.

Honestly? More often than not it’s the grinch that emerges in December.

But this year is a bit different. I have to admit, standing there in Rockefeller Center watching the ice skaters and gazing at the tree, I did sort of feel a warm, happy Holiday spirit wash over me.

Now I’m ready to head home and put up our own tree and make spiced cider and hum a few carols and enjoy the holidays this year.

No worry, I’m sure it will wear off in about a week.

But until then…it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!



Copyright 2012, Karen Fayeth, and subject to the Creative Commons license in the right column of this page. Taken with an iPhone5 and the onboard camera app using the panorama feature.