Tuesday, November 30, 2010

the last day of November

This was the last day of November? Oh my. December is not for the timid. There’s too much going on.

For me, there are several dozen points to take note of in the switch to the last month of the year:

1. The end of the semester is suddenly there. This week in fact. Students whom I have come to accept as being part of my everyday will mostly disappear and go on to live happy and productive lives, only I’ll never know where, how and under what circumstances.

2. The eleventh month (November) seems too long. It takes forever to get to Thanksgiving and there’s not much else to distinguish one day from the next.

3. The twelfth month (December) seems too short. It takes no time to get to the end of the semester, to leave town, to return and plan out the entire Christmas hoopla, and finally, to reach the end of the year.

4. If you think of bright holiday lights as opposed to long dark winter nights, December will seem a lot less of a drain on your psyche.

5. I had a short night. I finished work close to 2 a.m. and got up around 5 to get the condo ready for a showing, prepare for class and switch cars with daughters who needed my old Ford wreck more than I did. Even as the evening approaches, I am spent. So you only get five points here. No matter – add your own. One can tell it’s no longer November when... music: how about that one? How do you feel about December holiday music? (Emotions run high on that one; mine are, perhaps predictably, of the thumbs up kind.)

Here is the first in a series of photos of Christmas tree selling places – the ones that make no promises about the splendidness of the trees or of the buying experience (cramped, with a limited selection, yet uniquely beautiful). By Knoche's, on Old Middleton Road:


thank you

In the last month, I have received some half dozen thank you notes, mostly from daughters’ friends who have come to a family meal here. I have to say, it’s made my heart swell.

In many ways, I may be called old school. Or old world. Or both. I love excessively good manners. In fact, I think politeness is a mere front for greater sensitivity and attentiveness to the needs of another. If a person can bother with a thank you note, don't you think that they are more likely to understand postpartum blues and menopausal hot flashes and midlife upsets?

In my office on Bascom Hill, I have a collection of thank you notes from students in years past. I keep them all on my desk, right there in front of me, as a reminder of what matters in a work day -- the effort expanded and the benefits (to the student) accrued. Now I am looking at an equally beguiling collection of thank-yous at home. On rainy days like today, you can’t ask for a hell of a lot more.


Wait – yes I can. An even better ending to a work packed day: meeting a daughter, or two on the Square for a drink. Or dinner. Or both.


Thank you, daughters!