Saturday, December 12, 2009

Losing the Lip

Somewhere, in some short story I read in some age long past, there was a colloquy between a little girl and the household cook in which the cook, commenting on the girl's pronounced pout, said something about her lip being stuck out so far that someone (get the idea I can't quite pull the quote out of the garbage bin in my mind?) could hitch a ride on it.

In my mind, if not in person, my lip feels that far stuck out. Someone, or something, could hitch a ride on it.

Oh, I'm not in a bad mood. Not at all.

I'm just in one of those I-can't-turn-around-without-stepping-on-myself moods that hit from time to time. I spent much of yesterday baking. A chunk of today will be spent that way as well. I enjoy baking, but I am about "baked out."

Last night was spent with Symphony board and volunteers decorating Gray Chapel for the holiday concerts. I drew the "program stuffing" detail, which meant first refolding almost 1000 inserts "right side out" and then stuffing it and two other pieces into 1000 programs for tomorrow's two concerts. There were five of us on this task, one a professor of ornithology who told us stories about all the places he has been - all over the world, including Antarctica - and the things he has done in pursuit of his subjects in such a droll way that I laughed my way through the folding and stuffing. Still, it was A LOT of folding and stuffing. Following on the heels of my baking all day, it finished off my energy and my hands, putting the final chapped layer on top of skin already battered from a day spent drenched either in or hot soapy water as I washed dishes.

If I rub my fingers together, there is the faint sound of very fine sandpaper.

And the Christmas cactus, which has not had a good year, just dropped the lone bud it managed to produce.

Sharon at Musings of a Midlife Mom recently posted about having no Christmas spirit yet. I commented "I am having trouble finding my own "Christmas spirit" this year - so much so that I keep trying to write a blog post about it and can't even get that out! I don't know if I feel like saying "Bah Humbug!" - mine is more the "let me sit quietly over here and not think about it."

I still feel that way. I am not in the Bah Humbug camp and hope I never am. If I were ever a character in A Christmas Carol (one of my favorite books), I might echo Scrooge's nephew Fred, who defends Christmas to his uncle in an oratory burst that ends with these stirring words: "And therefore, uncle, though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe that it has done me good and will do me good; and I say, God bless it!"

But the Christmas spirit per se? It hasn't kicked in yet, despite the radio being turned to the station that plays Christmas songs continually and despite the greeting cards that are starting to appear in our mailbox and despite the smells of baking that permeate this house.

But I don't think I am pouting about my lack of Christmas spirit. Oh, it will come, but it might be a little later and a lot more pensive this year. That is not what is making me pout.

No, I am pouting because in a (I hope rare) fit of self-indulgence, I am feeling put out, put upon, put to work, and put to the test, all in one breath! I am worrying too much and counting my blessings too little. I am dwelling on the small moments of irritation and not the small moments of great reward. I am thinking too much of all the things as of yet undone, and not enough of what truly is meaningful and necessary to turn my hand to and complete.

In the movie "White Christmas," Bing sings "Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep" to Rosemary Clooney. It is an annoyingly cloying song, but the point is well made. Only my version would be "Count Your Blessings Instead of All Your Annoyances," which would be not at all alliterative and difficult to rhyme to boot.

It is early morning here. The sun is bright despite the thermometer reading of 17. Warren headed out to Gray Chapel just after sunrise to set up the percussion section and do last minute office work before rehearsal. He just now zoomed in and back out again to grab a conga drum. (Life is never, ever dull around here.) I have butter coming to room temperature on the counter and a bag of sliced apples and one of grated zucchini thawing in the sink. I told Warren I would come over to rehearsal later this morning and take some pictures for him, so need to gear up for that shortly.

I plan on walking, knowing that the brisk, cold hike will do me good. I am counting on it to give me time to lose the lip, shake off my mood, and turn my heart to the gifts of the day and maybe, just maybe, the gifts of the season.


Sarah / Bee House Hives said...

It can sure be an overwhelming season. I just marked Christmas cards from the list, not because they are done.. because I am not doing them. Ahh, felt good! Have a good walk.

Christine @Money Funk said...

Wow, you are keeping rather busy! I'll be sure to send my address so you can send me some of those baked goods. LOL.

The feeling both you and Sharon feel I believe is more widespread do to our broken economy. Everyone is hurting, trying to play it frugal (less family holiday visits, less gift giving, etc...). And we are aware of our friends or people around us hurting. And at the same time we are trying to keep our chin up. I think our faith lacks that there will better financial times. So the holidays are felt with an unknown discomfort.

I am not unhappy at all either, but I do feel that discomfort knowing my kids are getting less and that I cannot provide as much this year (as I am trying to keep a financial safety net for uncertain times).

Well, I think I've said a bunch and now realize why I feel a quietness to my Christmas spirit. With that, I think I will bake some big old snickerdoodles and enjoy it with a cup of cocoa. :)