that's what I want.

I am straight up in love with the week between Christmas and New Year's Day. I practically lived in my pajama pants. and Christmas socks. all the live long week. But as the holidays started to wind down, I found myself  fondly thinking, I'll be soooo glad to have my regular routine back. I know, right. I'm slowly step-by-stepping my way back into the saddle, re-acquainting myself with schedules, appointments, new calendars and the vacuum cleaner. The differentiation of days, five and two, week and end. That old familiar rhythm, that always takes me a while getting used to, all over again. Up by five, done by noon, an entire day wedged into half.

With the exception of Monday when my 5 p.m. kitchen is a perfect stunt-double for the December 25th family room. Peeps are back in their very own beds. The dinner plate count has returned to normal. Tea consumption, after an extraordinary December spike, has dropped off precipitously at this coffee-chugging address. Afternoons are purposefully quiet, like watercolor dreams and wool strips and small soft bowls of soup.

   the dust bunnies, who once threatened mutiny in the border zones, are being disarmed between bouts with a hasty broom. I was able to write my name on the coffee table, yesterday morning. By mid day the dust was 60% gone. I'm fairly certain that's about as good as it gets. I'm pretty sure dusting consists of  shifting about those small particles, rather than eradicating them completely, it is also wise at this point to turn on one's heel and happily go about your day.

 I am indeed approaching regular routine, and it's nice. Almost as nice as the weeks that went before. The weeks of long pajama mornings spent writing, and past-bedtime reading, and past-past-bedtime vintage holiday movie watching. Because while I can turn down a second bowl of pop corn, I can never say no to sappy movies. Or one more chapter, hugs or extra hands to help wind yarn.

Well, alrighty then. I am glad of the regular routine, largely because I've been elsewhere so long. The ordinary's welcome for having just vacated the extraordinary, two weeks of holiday time, following weeks of prep, an exception from the rule. It's the brilliant pop of orange in a room of palest blue. I find I crave that contrast, to keep it all interesting, in life and whatnot. Were it not for these whimsical days, ordinary might soon be spelled d-u-l-l. The routine, and the breaking of it, dude it is all good.

Still, it's that time of year again. I knew this would happen. I told you it would. My Christmas cheer has been packed up with the tree and has been replaced with the following... daydreaming about the garden, daydreaming about food, daydreaming about antiquing, daydreaming about the ocean. It's like clockwork. It's how I monitor the comings and goings of winter. The good news is we are half-way there. The bad news is, well, that we are half- way not there. 

But, hello? The sparkly lights? The still-happy glow? The decorations? Cookies? Bad? Please. Wonderful, definitely. Special, certainly. A suitable celebration for the year's darkest days.
But now, feed me vegetables. Clear the corners. Store the shinies. and breathe. deeply.
I can't see my way to condemning celebrations, any more than I can keeping it up, the year round. January's no rebuttal, merely re-alignment, a welcome return to the elemental ordinary. Before long, we'll be moving on down the road and having more moments of wistfulness over the leaving. confusing? maybe. But we've got Summer coming, baby.

Come to think of it, we've also got the Spring.

And even the tail-end of Winter.

(See what I mean? Confusing.)

My once tiny mismatched sock bin now consists of two, full mismatched sock baskets. I couldn’t get rid of them to save my soul. My junk drawer contains more valuables than my jewelry box, everything is sprinkled with glitter, pine needles decorate the carpet and when I actually find a pen that writes, I feel like dancing.

And that’s where I sit.

Smack dab in the middle of mismatched socks and semi-controlled chaos. Not easy for a girl who used to color code her closet. I am good with neat, tidy, and plastic bins. Yes, clear bins with white labels. The long, skinny kind that stack in my closet and out of sight. Magazines, mail and clutter, tucked away. That is was me. Neat, controlled, clutter-free. These days, a million other things to keep me busy, instead of worrying about dusting the baseboards. Sure, I am still fairly together, most things in their place, but compartmentalized clear bins and white label living is an endless amount of work, and laughter, love, and dreams don’t leap from good organization or develop from me trying to control every ding dang thing.

Don't get me wrong: I adore organizing. all those containers, bins and boxes...all that slap-me-now neatness?  It rocks.  I revel in it.  I haul it home, by the bag and the bushel, and for days I do nothing but. I love it. But I also loathe it, just a little.  Because it's sort of time consuming. and exhausting.  clothes must be hung. pronto.  bills and mail. they're relentless.  At their peak one minute, sad and over due the next.  Laundry, the lot of it, across the finish line before it's even off the blocks. Leaves me a little breathless.

And winter's a bit of a bear, to be sure.  It gets light late.  Gets dark early.  Stays cold all the time!!!  I could do without daily highs well below freezing.  and, I think we all agree that Wind and Chill used together are absolutely, hands-down two of the most hideous words known to man. When I see the mercury flirting with forty, I am up and out before the clock hits crack of dawn. A bit starved for fresh, unfrozen air, perhaps.  sunshine notwithstanding.

So, I’m chipping away at this attitude of mine and instead of trying to keep life controlled, I'm working to keep it full.

When I put on my boots, I smile at my one sock pink and the other sock striped, silly ‘ol self. I write my to-do list with purple magic marker.  I have been making some mental notes on my annual To-Do List. I'm sure it seems like such a list is not necessary, but it really helps me to stay on task. In its absence, I end up wandering aimlessly, intoxicated by the thought of two hour naps and all day antiquing. I start to forget that I need a bookshelf of specific dimensions and instead buy a few more yards of vintage fabric, just in case I ever learn how to sew. or something for a future project I have not yet dreamed up.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

But I've found that it's easier to rationalize adding to the pile of unnecessary objects when you also throw in something you actually need. 

 Numerology says this year is important, but they all are really--even the busted-up years, the ones we don't want to remember. I'll always, of course, remember this year.  The travel.  The people. The losing. the love. But you should know, hippie status aside, I struggle with this stuff every day. I care. I love. I worry. I am tired of the superficial, the weak reasoning, the shrugging dull acceptance that this is the way it has to be. Because I know, it doesn't. Love can win. Light can penetrate the darkest hour. Denial can be pinched and prodded awake. Common sense values can win. Golden Rule ethics are still the best. Even the smallest voices can be excavated. And heard. I am turning to the new year with hope for a better one. Where not one single child is riddled with bullets, is this really too much to hope for? Where our political process is governed by doing the right thing, and not by money and power. Where no one goes hungry. or off to war. And our appetites are hungry for knowledge, art, culture and truth. I know, dude, my Age of Aquarius hippie artist proclivities are showing.

And if I could? I would invite you all over for tea and brownies. I would make you a big pot of mulligatawny and serve it up in my favorite bowl. play some Joni Mitchell and James Taylor on the HiFi. serve my best pinot. We could watch the deer outside the kitchen window as snowflakes spin their magic just before dark. I would come up with a new recipe for corn muffins, spiked with spicy green chiles and golden pumpkin.

A match made in heaven.

Or a crazy pairing dreamed up by a forever hippie wrestling with hum-drum ingredients.

You decide.
But what I want more than anything is to feel even more of the wonder of this life. I want to memorize its every moment. I want to know its weight, trust its worth. I want to remember it in the dark.

I want to laugh when I want to, cry when I need to, believe in my deep-down that every moment is precious.

I want a life that is fully lived. fully loved. one that spills out over its edges. That's what I want.

Broccolini with Browned Butter and Balsamic
(go here for recipe)


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