We've come to the end of another year. And, of course, what would the end of the year be without my boring you with a list of my favorite books read this year?
But first, it seems only natural that I should discuss Christmas - not my favorite holiday, I admit. Oh, don't get me wrong, I love the "true meaning" of the day. What I have always dreaded is the stress. But this year I found a way around all that. It was quite simple really. Who knew?
1. What goes up, must come down. Keep decorating simple. For years I erected the 10+ foot behemoth that lurks for 11 months of the year in its two coffin-sized Tupperware cases - dangerous to drag down the stairs and difficult to pull back up. It takes an evening to set up and requires one to concentrate on the alphabet (is this row "W" or "V"? And although I know the alphabet and have for a very long time, I still have to recite it as I go from row to row to be certain which one comes next. One year G was attached before F and the result was a very strange looking tree.) A pox on that jazz. This year I opted for a fresh Frasier Fir not too much taller than myself...and a nice sturdy stand and Voila! I had tons of lights and ornaments left over, but I used the most important ones...the homemade ones. It turned out grand.
(I had second thoughts about the red lights over the fireplace. Definitely over-kill and a mistake; I took them down but not before I snapped a picture. I put the glowing orbs on some candle-holders I've had and I think I'll keep them up all year long. I just won't turn them on. I figure if people stop suing each other and decide to get along, I'll be out of a job and I can always set up a tent using the glowing orbs to tell fortunes. You know, to pay the mortgage. I can blacken one of my front teeth, dress in gypsy attire, and become
"Madame Gradskaya - Seer and Teller of Fortunes". Credit me with always thinking ahead.)
2. Avoid the Mall. I tried to do as much shopping as I could on the Island. What I couldn't find here, I ordered on-line. But if one pays attention and shows some creativity there are a lot of cool things to find right in one's own backyard. The WI Farmers Market has a few vendors about whom I am wildly and madly mad. My favorite is a beekeeper - he prefers apiarist - who lives on the Island and sells lovely honey and honey-based soaps (pumpkin spice, frankincense and myrrh, rosemary mint; lavender and mint and on and on). And then there is the artisan pasta maker who also sells a magnificent red pepper sauce in lovely distinctive jars. Who would not welcome a basket filled with any of that? I haven't even mentioned the breads, and cakes, and artisan jams and jellies. Speaking of which, I made my own Hot Pepper Jelly and Savannah Cheese Straws as gifts for some friends this year.
3. Get invited to dinner.
So there you have it...my prescription for a stress-free Christmas. And it was!
So on to books...but I've run out of time I'm afraid. I'll have to save that for another day soon. In the meantime, But wait! my my...what is that I see in your future? Come closer, my dear. Don't be shy. Look carefully...my crystal ball is misty...misty...what's this? The light is breaking through...the mist rises...yes...yes...it is becoming clear...and clearer. I see...what?...I see...Yes! I see a bright and happy New Year, filled with joy and happiness and many many books for you, my pretty (or handsome) one. Madame Gradskaya is never wrong...the Orb Sees All! (You may put a dollar in the jar...all tips are welcome.)
Happy, Joyful New Year, my friends.