Thursday, 20 January 2011

Between Merry and Bah Humbug

Originally posted on Multiply December 20 2009
I truly admire people who have the energy, creativity and design sense to decorate to the hilt, but am not one of them. Ordinary life is enough of a challenge. We live surrounded by real fir trees, why bother bringing one inside? Of course it was different when there was kids in the house. Last year as a token to the spirit of Illumination we bought one of those tiny fake trees with shifting shimmery lights. It is quite cute, but the sparkles don't show up on a picture.
Chris had the idea to string the lights that would have gone onto a real tree along the ceiling, and I hung some balls from an old lamp chain. The sheep with the googly eyes would normally top the tree, but it gets to guard a ball instead. VoilĂ , Casa van Houten is as decorated as it will get.
It actually looks quite nice and twinkly in a funky sort of way but the flash destroys the effect.

December sets one up for grief. There is all that pressure in the air to have a life filled with Hallmark moments. It is easy to feel sorry for oneself if reality is different.

Both of our children have valid reasons for skipping the "Home for Christmas" family gathering thing. Son is with the girlfriend, which is where he should be after an intense semester of study at the coast.

Daughter works her scientific tail off and needs the break to just veg hassle-free with her own family. I can totally relate. We will do a relaxed pressure-free visit sometime later in the winter. This too is as it should be. And of course our extended family of siblings is all overseas.

As usual I feel torn between wanting to be part of the whole thing and pulling the covers over my head till Groundhog Day. In an earlier blog I described December as the month one feels depressed about not being invited to parties that one doesn't really feel like going to.
At least there is something one can do about the first part: Do the inviting! Yesterday Saturday 19th, we had a nice relaxed almost-Solstice dinner party with some neighbors.

I made dip, punch, a huge pan of locally raised goat meat in a spicy Ethiopian sauce, millet (great with goat or lamb) and a witloof salad. Others brought raw vegs, garlic mashed potatoes, ratatouille and wine. For desert a fabulous Black Forest Cake was produced through the magic of barter. The baker gets Reflexology.

Wine, talk and laughter flowed freely and it appears a good time was had by all, but I don't post pictures of people without their permission.

Today is my favorite part of any social event: the day after. I am basking in the glow of having pulled it off.

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