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» Sunday, January 17, 2010Deck the Halls With Boughs of Snowflakes
After-Christmas is a strange season. For me, as a Christmas lover, it's hard to let go of the holiday. I've always loved the lights, the color, the music, the idea of giving gifts to friends and family, the beautiful Nativity story, reading of the customs in different cultures, the tales of the season.
Plus Christmas is the culmination of what I think of as our "social season." It starts slowly, with James' birthday in conjunction with DragonCon, then segues into the fall events: Yellow Daisy, Blue Ribbon, Apple Festival, what little we put into Hallowe'en along with our vacation usually being in the fall, and Thanksgiving. Then it ramps up into my birthday/Christmas/New Year's/Twelfth Night and the various gatherings that go into it (Christmas with the Butlers, Christmas with James' family, gift exchanges with various friends, Bill and Caran's party).
Frankly, now it's all downhill from here. Oh, there will be some fun things: we want to have a game night, there's Valentines Day, and James' mom's birthday, and Atomicon in the spring...but there is that specter of spring...and the warmer temperatures...if it must get warmer, there's just not enough of open window weather. From May through September the house is shut up and air conditioned to keep us from suffocation and suffering. It's depressing.
In the meantime, the house holds dual personalities, but both of them I like. There are winter decorations on the porch and in the foyer, in the dining room, around the doorway to the bedrooms and the door to the deck, and on the divider and on the hearth and a few winter things dotting near the television. Everything else has gone back to its fall persona, and once winter is over, it will all migrate back to fall except for the small seasonal touches: the blue table in the foyer, seasonal decorations in the dining room...until summer, when it all goes to fall to remind us during hideous summer that there are civilized seasons waiting to come again. :-)
James toted the Christmas tree downstairs this morning. It's as annoying as getting it upstairs; even though it's a slimline tree it's a tough squeeze down the stairs and even worse trying to fit it through the closet door—they're so narrow! Before we put it into the closet, we had put up the boxes that belonged on the shelves, and then we put a red translucent cover over the entire tree and "back it in." The long shelf that goes on the fireplace mantel to fit the entire village is wedged next to the tree, then the five big clear storage containers go against the other wall next to the steamer trunk—the library/woodland/airplane tree container, the village one, the porch/divider one, the Thanksgiving one, and finally the Hallowe'en fall one. The box with the tree ornaments and the box with the manger set is on top of the trunk...and that's it. Vacuum where the tree was, put the glider rocker back...
...golly, it looks empty!
Put the fall things and Mother's little clock back on the mantel, too.
The stairs are still dotted with artificial tree needles...I'll need to get that tomorrow. We spent the afternoon grocery shopping: Kroger where we found meat on sale, BJs for Chex and "particle board bars" as James calls 'em, and Lowes for more safflower seed to go with the birdseed, finch seed, and thistle seed we bought on sale at Kroger. By the time we were done, it was after three, so we went home, dismembered a chuck roast into beef bits, and I put on The Wizard of Oz.
We had salad and egg rolls for supper and watched the news, and now are whiling away time watching HGTV—for me at least until the second half of Return to Cranford comes on. I do like the little village of Cranford, with Judi Dench as sweet Miss Matty. Very funny last week when Miss Pole made a cage for the parrot that Peter Jenkyns gave to her, and didn't realize it was a set of hoops for hoopskirts! I found the book on Munseys.com (the book Cranford itself is only part of the television story; adapted into the Cranford saga also are two other Elizabeth Gaskell novels of the same vintage, My Lady Ludlow and Mr Harrison's Confessions) in e-book format and am reading it in odd moments—odd, perhaps, reading about a small 19th century English village that resists change on the latest technology?