I already love today. Early up, a cup of perfect coffee, a new book (Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, reviewed by Fence), and the anticipation of a few hours of work at my parents’ and later, shopping for yarn.
Wait, I suddenly hate today. I was sitting here writing the above paragraph when I heard the familiar blub-blub-blub of the motorcycle in the distance and thought, “Uh-oh, not good”–as Scott had ridden off to work only half an hour earlier. Apparently the brakes are frozen (it’s 30 degrees at 5 a.m.) and not working properly so he has to use the car. Damn. This means Torie will need to scrounge for a ride to work at 7:30 a.m. I will need to call my mom for a ride to her house later, and unless she wants to go yarn shopping, that will have to wait until tomorrow. Well, adjustment. Let it go. Breathe.
Everything will work out.
This reminds me again of the concept of detachment, of how much peace it brings when I can manage it. It’s perfectly fine to look forward to something, but when I get attached to the idea of a day to myself, frolicking around doing my own thang, then when a monkey wrench gets tossed in the works I’m thrown for a loop and can sometimes get positively enraged, or at the very least extremely pouty. If, on the other hand, I hold my plans loosely, circumstances plucking them away won’t ruin my day.
Remember me telling you about Susan, the artist I met at the craft fair awhile back? The one I exchanged phone numbers and email addresses with, something I don’t usually do (see: never) with strangers? Well, she contacted me the week before last and I invited her to my apartment this past Wednesday. It was really super great. She’s a very dynamic person, animated and energetic, a self-proclaimed gypsy (I can see that), and we sat on the floor drinking coffee and eating apples with peanut butter dip and talking about everything. Or as near everything as you can get in four hours. The best thing is that we’re in almost perfect alignment personally and spiritually, though of course our unique experiences aren’t the same; it’s the way we’ve landed and the perspective we’ve gained from them that’s the same. We’re also the same-ish age. I’ll be heading up to her house in Brightwood next, where she has a small stack of books waiting for me.
I’ve been discovering how little I need in order to be happy. Warmth, running water, enough food to keep my tummy from rumbling, hot beverages, the library, regular interaction with my family, a couple friends to talk to, something creative to do, my cat Horatio…Netflix… but Netflix is negotiable. Also negotiable but dearly appreciated are: the little grove off the back patio and the patio itself, a large safe neighborhood with sidewalks for taking long walks, writing in my blog, further friends who pop up occasionally like little lights, having the car for the day, small thoughtful gifts…
There are other things on the list but I want to tell you about one of those thoughtful gifts, which I was able to enjoy last Monday. Our friend Rod, whom we’ve known for forever, manages the Title Wave Used Bookstore in Portland, and for my birthday this year he gave me a $100 gift certificate. A hundred dollars! This is no skin off his back because he’s The Boss and can merely wave his hand and his will is done, but imagine my joy and anticipation. So for the second time (the first time was around two months ago), Scott and I took a trip to the bookstore and loaded up with anything that looked interesting, which amounted to about fifteen books, and I still have almost $50 left! This kind of thing is extra, but what a lovely extra.
It’s funny, but after really dreading the holidays, as was my wont, I suddenly took an inexplicable turn and got excited about them! This happened the week before Thanksgiving and I honestly don’t know why, but I’m not wasting any time trying to figure it out. I’m simply enjoying the phenomenon. Well, part of it is that I’ve been practicing being myself more and not hiding behind any masks… boy, did I have about a million masks, or the few I had felt like that many. I was thinking the other day that it’s been a huge relief to not have to follow any rules other than the intrinsic ones of common human decency. This alone has stripped away most of the masks because I simply no longer need them. I can be myself. I’m discovering who I am for the first time, really. And when you can be yourself, life takes on a brightness and ease that it didn’t have before. People seem friendlier, they smile at you more, make lots of eye contact. Stuff that once lay heavy on your chest tries to alight but has to hover now because there’s a big “No Trespassing” sign where it used to land. I’m learning what I want and am making the hard choices necessary to get it, or keep it, and am finding that the difficulty of choosing is lessening all the time.
The mack-daddy of all holidays, Christmas, is always the biggest challenge because of the cultural leviathan it is! But I believe that this year as a family we’re finally going to wrestle it to the ground and make it our own. One thing we’re all going to do is pitch in to help a family in our community have a happy Christmas, and that will be good for our hearts. Regarding our own celebration, we’ve collectively decided that the emphasis will not be on presents because we’re tired of the pressure this puts on already-stressed pocketbooks. We’ll fill stockings with goodies and have discussed doing a white elephant exchange of dollar store sundries and thrift store finds. (Each of us is an avid thrifter, so this is less of a concession than you might think.) There’s also the possibility of a few theoretical crocheted cowls thrown in. This could be really fun. Also, no tree this year! This is a personal decision because our fake tree is huge and takes up an entire corner of our small apartment, and as far as a fresh tree goes: 1-I am philosophically opposed to cutting down a living tree for a month of fleeting pleasure, 2-I can’t keep the tree from turning brown and shedding its needles all over the carpet and becoming a fire hazard, 3-with a lower emphasis on gifts, there’s no reason to have a tree, which functions, in my mind, as mostly a repository for said gifts. The ONLY way I’ll change my mind on this is if we stumble upon a tall narrow fake tree but, it doesn’t matter. Really, garland swags on the mirrors and twinkling lights and the small Christmas village and the Nativity scene and a bunch of white candles on the mantel will suffice nicely. And on Christmas Day, maybe there will be a movie we’ll all want to trudge out and see, after the feast!
See? I’ve already talked myself into a better mood. :) I knew everything would work out… Torie called a coworker and has a ride to work. My mom will have no problem picking me up, as she lives three minutes away, and if she wants to go yarn-shopping, it will be infinitely more fun with her along. Scott will have a warm drive to work and back. I’m going to believe everything is all the better because the bike brakes froze up. It sure beats being bitter and cranky all day. Love to you all!
Apple Slices and Peanut Butter Dip 1 or more crisp apples sliced, depending on how munchy you and your guests are Dip: Several spoonfuls of crunchy peanut butter, a healthy dollop of honey, enough dry oats to give it a stiff consistency. Mix together, put in pretty bowl. Yum. Enjoy!