Here we are, December 18th. The month has dashed away on the legs of tiny reindeer, as it always does, crammed with so many things to do and see and accomplish. I’d have written sooner, but I knew Java was trying to focus on her final exams and I know how easily she can be distracted by Teh Blogs. ; )
That frosty night in Provincetown which I wrote about in that last blog post was a start of the turn to more seasonal temperatures around here, though it was still only just a week ago that we finally had our first real frost, which ended the growing season on the porch and filled nearby Rock Harbor with tidal ice.
Inside, of course, the growing continues and my eager little Christmas cactus is preparing to bloom for a third time since I brought it home from the after-Christmas clearance rack last January. Silly little thing.
Not far from it in the same window, my pink begonia is blooming quite merrily, as well. They work nicely with what holiday decorations I’ve managed to dress the Nest with.
Last year’s amaryllis seems to be working its own schedule, not mine. But I can see the top of the bulb is starting to green up, so hopefully that will bring me a treat later in the cold dark winter.
I thank those of you who sent me notes of encouragement and/or commiseration. It wasn’t a surprise to know that I wasn’t the only one for whom the season’s merriment can seem like an unattainable goal, but it was a comfort. Despite my slow start to feeling merry, it’s turned out to be a pretty enjoyable December, with a few notable highlights.
With it being now nearly a year and a half since my last cigarette (17 months today!! Woo hoo!!!), I’ve been pleased to discover that my singing voice has been returning to me. It hadn’t ever gone away, per se, but it was starting to about the time I quit. It’s been a real gift to hear it coming back, mostly in the shower or the car or what-have-you and I’d been sort of itching to give my vocal chords a proper test run.
So when I learned that the Chatham Chorale was hosting a Messiah Sing as a fundraiser for area homeless services last Friday night, I couldn’t resist the opportunity, especially when it turned out to be a night off at the start of my birthday weekend. What a great experience! I hadn’t had the pleasure of doing any chorale singing for about a dozen years, although before then, I had previously sung many of the choruses from Handel’s Messiah, so much of the work was familiar to me.
Anyone who wanted to sing with the group was invited to come two hours ahead of the performance for a short touch-up rehearsal of the piece and the moment I started to sing, there was this excitement, this energy coming out of me which I can barely describe. By the time the performance was over, I was fairly buzzing with the feeling. I’m told I’ll be getting a call from the chorale’s membership coordinator after the holidays, with information about auditioning, so hopefully I’ll get to enjoy that feeling again real soon.
My birthday evening passed quietly at home, but not unpleasantly. There was a nice dinner for one, a little wine, the last episode of GLEE for the fall season and the start of some holiday treat-making, with a batch of chocolate no-bake cookies. And even a little dancing around the Nest with my Purry Pal.
And the weekend concluded with a benefit holiday concert at work (another benefit for the homeless), featuring so many of my talented friends from the local music scene. This event is quickly becoming one of those new holiday traditions I was seeking earlier in the month.
One of those old traditions for me is the holiday baking. Last year, I’d been a bit put off about it all, as you may recall I had an demon-possessed oven that chose not to work more often than it did during our first year of tenancy here at the Nest. This December, there’s a new oven, but I was still a little hesitant, because of the small size and lack of counterspace available.
My laundry fairy friends (Thanks, Finches – I love you all!!) did offer me their spacious kitchen to bake in whilst doing laundry and I started the week testing out my holiday baking legs with some chocolate chip and cinnamon cookies over at their place. But the logistics of managing and transporting laundry and baking supplies was a bit daunting (although I know they were kind of excited to come home from their workdays to the smells of cookies baking!).
Anyway, a little ingenuity and some careful planning allowed me to adapt what the Nest kitchen had to offer (a stroke of brilliance had me duct-taping an old cookie pan over the sink to gain a little extra work surface – viva la duct tape!), and you can see I’ve made great progress, yesterday churning out five or six dozen mint chocolate pinwheels and almost four dozen cut-out cookies. Whew.
And so, with the Big Festivities only six days off now, I have found a bit of the holiday spirit.
Which is good, because there is still plenty to do, including just a little bit of gift shopping, and of course, the packaging/wrapping of assorted things. To make things more crazy/festive, this morning bring’s word of a winter storm moving up the coast in our direction, with the possibility of our seeing a fair bit of snow over the weekend. Fingers are crossed that it comes late at night, so roads can be cleared to keep things as simple as possible.
I’ll be heading off to Connecticut for a few days to celebrate with the family, where we’ll celebrate traditions old and new. I’ll miss my buddy, Mister Purrypants, while I’m away, but he’ll be excited to have the run of the whole house (and not just our apartment) as he makes merry with the Downstairses in my absence.
I hope to post again before hitting the road, but just in case I don’t get round to that, Badum and I send along our very best wishes to each of you for exactly the kind of holiday celebration you need this year: one which will warm your heart, bring you close to those you love and fill your days with quiet moments of joy.