Monday, December 14, 2009

Just Checking In

Once again, Christmas is kicking my butt.

I had a dream things would be different this year. All knitted gifts would be wrapped up with a pretty bow by October. The house would be clean and tidy and purged by December 1. Gifts bought and wrapped by December 2.

Oh, the best laid plans of mice and me.

I came roaring out of the gate after Thanksgiving. Big, big plans for cleaning and chucking and making straight all the paths. I had two days of beautiful purging when disaster struck: the dreaded stomach bug. Six days, shot. No knitting, no gifting, the end of purging. Lots of lying on the couch napping.

When I got back on my feet again, I was behind. I'm still behind.

It's like this every year. I make my big, big plans, all for naught. I always spend the middle two weeks of December in a mild or acute state of panic. I lie in bed at night making lists of all the things I need to do. I toss and turn.

This year my problems are compounded by the fact my parents are coming for Christmas. On the one hand, they are pretty laid-back customers and don't expect perfection. On the other hand, I want to make things nice for them. For everyone.

Did I mention I'm coming down with a cold?

And did I mention that the pattern for the sweater I'm knitting my dad just sort putters out at the end, leaving me on my own when it comes to the finishing? Yep. Thank goodness for Ravelry and the kind knitters there. I posted my problem in the Sweaters group, and an expert angel figured out what I needed to do and wrote out instructions for me--and they work!

Still, I was supposed to have finished that sweater in October.

So I haven't been blogging much, or visiting blogs, or doing anything except running around doing the next thing and the next. But here's the good news: I decided last night, as I was drifting off to sleep, that I will buy rolls for Christmas Eve dinner instead of making them. You can buy perfectly good ready-to-bake yeast rolls in the freezer section. High-falutin' rolls. Rolls my boys will gobble up and ask for more.

Which is to say, I haven't gone completely insane, at least not yet. Who knows what other projects I'll abandon? What other plans I'll toss into garbage bin?

I think I'll go make a list.


Angela said...

I wodnered if you were ill, there have been no posts for AGES...
The blessed Saint Delia Smith [sort of a UK Julia Childs] says she NEVER makes pastry at Christmas, she BUYS it. So if cooks of that calibre purchase rather than create, then buying your dinner rolls is Perfectly Acceptable. And WISE
So sorry to hear you've been under the weather - you won't EVER catch up with what you had on the original To-Do list - so DO NOT TRY. Accept that perfection is only attained by Martha Stewart types [and look what happened to HER!!]
blessings xx

GretchenJoanna said...

Frances, I have a similar situation every year. The Incarnation of the Son of God is a huge thing, after all, so no wonder it inspires us to act hugely, to want to fulfill all our creative and loving impulses.

Instead, this time of year shows us just how broken and needy we are. Oh, it's Advent! Isn't that what it's for? O, Come, O Come, Immanuel!

I'm so glad about the rolls. This year, I'm cooking a lot less of just about everything.

I'll pray that you have some peaceful moments in these middle days of December to help you get to the day and find joy there.

Gumbo Lily said...

I've missed your posts and I'm sorry to hear you've been ill. I hope you'll get feeling better soon so you can complete all that knitting. I mostly "wing" life so I'm doing that instead of planning too much. Somehow it works for me. I did just realize I forgot a gift for one of the kids tho. Glad I figured that out yesterday!

Happy Advent.
Get well soon.

Tracy said...

Oh Frances I'm so sorry to hear you're not well. Especially at this crazy time of year when one does not have time to be so unwell. I hope you're feeling better very quickly indeed.

I'm pretty way behind too. But I figure one thing at a time. The 'just focus on the next thing' approach is a good way to go, I think. I finish work on Thursday, so I will concentrate on that and then I'll sort out Christmas. Once I'm sorted there I'll go for broke getting the caravan packed and organised for holidays.

I'm planning to declutter and purge in the van while we're away. A holiday version of housework, I think. I just can't get to it before we leave!

Pom Pom said...

I love Gretchen Joanna's words.
You are such a thinker, Frances. I find your writing here so true and humble. LibbyQ at PaperNapkinPoetry made a fabric post card that says, "Laughter Ever After" so I think I'm going to look around for some laughs today. No more doing.

debbie bailey said...

Go for it! Leave out what you can, buy what will replace homemade, and just enjoy your family.

I don't send cards anymore...I didn't do the Advent Chain this year...I don't have all my gifts bought...and I don't even care. It's liberating to let things go. We're really the only ones who care anyway.

So I've decided that I DON'T CARE EITHER! Have a very stress-free, enjoyable Christmas, Frances.

P.S. I am going to buy gifts this weekend.

Left-Handed Housewife said...

Angela, I feel freed by my decision to buy rolls. Now if I can get over my notion that there must be tons of snacking things around (cheese sticks, cheese platters, cheese logs), especially since my parents never eat anything with fat, then maybe I can finally relax.

Gretchen, I love what you've written here--beautiful! I've thought of it often over the last few days. Thank you.

Jody, It's those moments of forgetting and then remembering what you've forgotten that terrify me! Who knows what I'm forgetting? Arrggghh!

Tracy, I'm glad I'm not the only who's behind (I suspect there are millions of us). One thing and then the next is definitely the way to get 'er done ...

Pom Pom, I think more laughing and less doing is the way to go! Thanks for that thought.

Debbie, This was the Christmas I was going to do more letting go, too. I think having my parents here has gotten in the way of that. Not that they have huge expectations, but I do want to make things special. But next year, boy, am I going to try to let more things go! You'll be my inspiration.

victoria said...

Yes, I too am feeling a bit Christmas grinchy as usual for December, and that's even with my expectations way lower than yours....

Tracy said...

Hey Frances.....was just thinking about you and wondering if you're well again and how you enjoyed Christmas. It's probably still Christmas where you are!!!!

I also wanted to let you know we're off on holidays. I may get a bit of posting done next week, but I'll be back mid-Jan. Enjoy your winter wonderland world a little bit for me!