Saturday, December 01, 2012

and now begins December

Ed calls me from the sheep shed. We do that -- he'll be working on some project or other there and I will be at the farmhouse and we'll call each other with some trivial observation. Though perhaps not so trivial this time. He tells me -- you know, the door looks kind of nice.

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He's referring to the string of lights I had him put up (with his height, he need only stretch his hand just a little and push the string over the frame). For a non-holiday guy, Ed is awfully agreeable when the spirit strikes me. Today, the spirit kept striking. Like when I decided to work on holiday notes.

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And, in a repeat of last year, when I moved my now somewhat puffy (rather than svelte and erect) Norfolk Island Pine so that it can stand in for a Christmas tree.

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Here it is, all lit up and, this year, it's sporting one decoration -- my daughters will recognize it as one of my all time favorites from the family set:

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Oh, you see something else underneath, on the crate? Yes, there is a Santa and Mrs Claus. These guys were ornaments purchased when I (finally) embarked on adulthood. Year: 1976. (I was 23. You might say that I became an adult very quickly in some respects and less so in others.)

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So, the farmhouse recognizes the season! Between the bells, the lights and the "tree" with its small trimmings… oh, too, there is a tiny poinsettia. Right behind Ed, who has just sat through a hair trim. Poor man. It takes me a while to work around all those curls.


I can't help the shirt. Ed's favorites can never be thrown out.


You, Ocean readers,  are all correct, of course: my supreme, heart palpitating work demands will taper off soon. There will be then a taxing, but dull period of exam reading, mixed in with a holiday lull, and a slow refocus on the next semester toward the end of January, when it will start again. But with the end of classes (soon!) everything becomes more flexible, more fluid. Work never completely disappears, but there will be travel There will be yoga again, I hope. And great family times, and times with Ed and Isis. Okay, maybe I don't need to reconnect with Isis. Isis is quite good at inserting himself into the scene even in these more busy times.

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But enough about work. Let me tell you about non work moments today. In the morning, after breakfast...

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...I went with my girl to the Stock Pavilion -- a place on campus where the Forestry Department holds its annual tree selling event. My daughter picked out a nice, hefty balsam fir. A forestry dude showed it off for us...

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The red donkey car was there to carry the tree to her home.

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We're in the middle of a warming trend -- this puts everyone in a good mood, gray skies notwithstanding. And there's music in the air. (Yesterday I passed a construction site where a high-rise (for Madison at least) was going up and I heard holiday music coming out from the insides, so that the whole skeletal structure virtually shook with the melodies of the season.)

Music, light, color. All that you crave in these dark days of early winter. (Note, please, the jingle on the  farmhouse door:)

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In the evening I help the lovely young couple (you know, the newly marrieds...)

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...decorate the big balsam fir.

There aren't many who would display the needed patience for it -- all those ornaments! the lights! the tinsel! -- but my girl carries proudly the banner of reverence for this holiday (I taught her well, you could say...). And so we toddle forth, unwrapping each ornament in turn, placing it with great care on the branches...

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It isn't all whistles and cheers. Decorating the tree is not an easy task and it takes a certain amount of nerve to carry it through. For all the years until now, her sister (my younger one) was there to help it along. Not this time. As the younger one could not get away from work demands, we had to be the sole torch bearers. In placing each beautiful (or sometimes not so beautiful, because we have those as well) ornament on the branches of the great big balsam, we thought how perfect it was when we could all work together on this ridiculously complicated project. But, new circumstances place new demands on our time (and they'll do that again and again) and so this year, I'm the only helper and my older one (and her husband) persevere and in the end, we pull it off: the tree is beautiful...

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The spirits are bright, December and the holidays are upon us.

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