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Wrapping up and starting over [Dec. 30th, 2010|01:38 pm]
Yes, my Christmas tree is still up. And will be up, quite possibly until the end of the month. When you don’t put it up until just before Christmas, it’s got serious hangtime. It will tell me when it’s time to go. One day I will slam the door and...tinkle, tinkle, tinkle...all the needles will fall to the floor. They’re really easy to take out, then.

I’ve been saying this to years to people who look askew at me for insisting on a live tree: fake trees are NOT the environmentally friendly choice. Don’t get me wrong, I am so hooked on the smell, look and feel of a live tree, that I would gladly take lukewarm showers all year long to store up enough carbon credits to have a real tree at Christmas. Honestly, I would love to have one YEAR-ROUND, changing in a new one, with different seasonal decorations, as the old one expired. But I can’t be responsible for THAT much tree death.

Have a fake tree because it’s easier, because you like it better, because otherwise your dog, cat, parakeet, child eats, pees on, or otherwise destroys it. But don’t even try to give me the “better for the environment” argument:


Something I need to get better at next year:

Pouring the right amount of salad dressing on my salad. I either totally douse it and thus have to even eat more salad to keep from wasting dressing, or I don’t put enough on, so as I get going, I add more...which is always way too much and leads to having to add more salad to soak it up. And since I’ve totally fallen in love with salads that contain pecans, tart dried cherries, raw pumpkin seeds and crumbled feta, the calorie count is starting to add up. Please let me get better at this without having to get out a bloody measure. I’m a former chef and even bartender...I should be able to eyeball an appropriate amount of dressing, for crying out loud.

Things I won’t miss about this year:
My dog died, my partner lost his job, the car needed expensive repairs and the plumbing went kerplooey. One soured relationship away from being a country & western song. Thankfully, I’m pretty sure the Captain and I can hold it together into 2011, so we can avoid THAT cliché. Was it all bad? No, there was lots of wonderful and joy. Look, it’s not like the slate gets wiped clean on Jan 1. I expect the bad to keep happening. The good to keep happening. Although, if I am dead wrong about that – O, Bookkeeper of the Universe, please note that the “bad” side of the balance sheet is a little heavy. Please to improve good to bad ratio.

Every day is a chance to turn over a new leaf. If I didn’t believe that, I’d be as a big as a house and need a scooter to have any hope of mobility. Self-improvement is ongoing and continual. There are very few things on which I’ve given up. Sports that involve balls are most of them. And running. Unless I'm being chased by a bear. But on pretty much everything else, I can do better if I really want to. I’m never going to be skinny or have a spotless house. But I’m going to continue to find that place where I’m getting better, without beating myself up for not achieving an unobtainable goal. In most things, I go for “Good Enough”.

Things I am going to do differently this year:
I am going to get my family’s birthday, Mother/Father’s day right. I’m going to get the cards, buy the gifts, or make note of what needs to be ordered, and when. I’m going to write out the cards, package up the gift and all but seal it, so that they’re pretty much ready to go unless a semi-perishable needs to get added. Now. In January. Because I am finally going to accept that I will NOT have the time or presence of mind to get that all done during the spring, which is when everyone in my family has all of those holidays. My friends...small attainable goals, my chiclets, I'll work on remembering your special days next year.

I’m going to start a blog. Don’t worry, I’ll still be here – even though most of what I post here is public, a blog is just THAT much more public, unless I want to make it anonymous, and I don’t. I’ll do a lot of duplicate posting, but here’s where I’ll be when I want to be amongst friends. But I want to explore this, force myself to develop some new skills and this seems like a reasonable way to do it.

I’m going to turn inward a little bit more. So, if you see the Captain alone at events, it’s not because he’s unloved, or I’m not well...but my house, my yard, my office, my “stuff” has all gone semi-feral. So, a little bit less fun for me this year and little more keeping on top of things. The unhappiness generated by letting things slip is starting to overshadow the fun and my inner hermit is starting to get whiny. I need to strike a better balance and I think the pendulum needs to swing hard before it can come back into balance.

I do need to suck it up and take better care of myself. I’ve been avoiding the dentist, the eye doctor, regular doctor and gyno, mostly because I’ve spent most of the year in “one more thing to deal with and I’m going to just lose it”. Time to put on the big girl panties and start dealing. And now that I'm not in constant pain with every footfall, it's time to get back out there and use it. I don't have to wait for a damn dog to get me on my feet and moving. Although I am going to wait for the sinus infection to clear up.

Good Harbingers for the Upcoming Year:
I had to use that word. I don’t know that I’ve heard it said out loud until fairly recently. Which is when I realized that I’ve been pronouncing it wrong in my head for pretty much forever. And I’m trying to remember if I’ve left any physical evidence revealing that, in my head, until now, it’s been harbringer. Never too old to be a doofus. Never smart enough to hide it.

Anyway – those harbingers. My leg/feet/ankle/knee issues seem to have improved dramatically. Frequently, I will catch myself walking normally and with little to no pain. That is awesome. And there is so much more room in my head now that a good part of it is not concentrating on hiding, dealing, compensating. I don’t know how long it will last, but I will take every freaking second of it. Last year at this time, I was actually concerned that I would lose my job, because I couldn’t keep up with the work, couldn’t meet the deadlines. This year, same time, I’m expecting a pay grade promotion. And, although I’d drop this job in a heartbeat if I suddenly became independently wealthy, I’ve had far more annoying, frustrating, boring and soul-sucking jobs than this. If I thought I could find something easier, that pays as much/more and is as easy a commute...I’d consider moving. But I’m not plotting an exit strategy, which is a good sign. That’s it, really. But that’s enough.

Things I want to understand in the upcoming year:
Proliferation of mattress stores. I don’t get it. How often does anyone buy a mattress? How can there be such a high concentration of mattress stores, not to mention furniture stores, department stores, Ikea, Costco, 800-Mattress, selling mattresses? It reeks of inefficiencies, high margins and tomfoolery. I need to reduce my level of bafflement.

[User Picture]From: sestree
2010-12-30 06:47 pm (UTC)
I miss my real trees cut from the local Christmas Tree Farm. Unfortunately I found out the first year that the local flower place does not equal fresh cut. My stupid. Then we went away for Christmas twice so why? Then enter TWG and her allergy to cedar then cats who EAT cedar or pine or whatever and hello pre lit pre decorated tabletop from Lowes.

There is something about going to an actual tree farm and scouting Your Perfect Tree. You sniff. You rattle the branches. Someone bitches it's too big and someone else bitches it's too small. You forgot the saw (ours rented the saw for $1.00 unless you were buying over $20.00 worth then it was gratis). It scratches you, you get pine sap in your hair, and it's usually dark by the time you get home to unload.

Just special dammit.
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[User Picture]From: terribleturnip
2010-12-30 07:05 pm (UTC)
Ha! See, and despite living in the middle of a bunch of Christmas tree farms, most years my Dad would just pick one up from a local lot. Once or twice we cut our own...and it never seemed worth the effort.

I've got a lot I've been going to for over a decade and the trees always last a long time. Of course, I will also walk in, take a quick survey, and pick one. Five minutes, no more. I know I want a Frasier. I know the dimensions I need, then make sure it's fresh. Makes every guy I've been with crazy. They want to look at them all, compare...I don't care. It's a tree, it'll be lovely. Holes are nature's way of making room for the awkward ornaments. Flat sides are nature's way of saying "here put this part against the wall".

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[User Picture]From: pinkribbonwench
2010-12-30 10:56 pm (UTC)
I love real trees. We always had real trees at home, until I was identified with "Christmas Allergy" - apparently, there's a lot of pollen caught in the sap of the tree that gets released as the tree dries out. We had a fake tree for a couple of years, until I begged and pleaded with promises to take extra allergy pills to go back to the real thing.

After my husband and I moved down here, though, and went through four straight years of prematurely dying trees that dropped not only needles, but ornaments (it didn't seem to matter where we bought them, or how many inches we cut off the trunk - they never drank water), we gave up and bought a fake tree. And we're still using it, 24 years later. I guess it's outlasted its carbon footprint. No, it doesn't have that glorious scent, and it's obviously a fake tree. But I've never, ever seen a real tree whose branches could hold, with such safety and perfection, the weight of 400+ ornaments, many of which are heavy crystal and porcelain. Someday, if we ever have a house large enough, I'll have two trees - the workhorse fake tree, plus a real one for beauty.
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[User Picture]From: sestree
2010-12-31 02:46 am (UTC)
I loved getting ours at the Christmas Tree Farm (Mere probably caught it, but I was in Kansas then. Since I've been out here, blech artifical the trees at lots are inadequate).

We always knew we were getting fresh cut and never had problems with dropping needles or anything. Unlike Meredith, we never knew what tree we wanted til we got there and somebody had a hissy fit.

The glories of family bonding .......
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