Good Riddance, 2016!

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When the clock strikes midnight (or, in our case, when the glowing white numerals silently flip), I will scrape 2016 off my shoe like something nasty I stepped in.

Because I am done.

I am done with family members dying, I am done with friends dying, I am done with beloved celebrities dying.

I am finished with truculent Trumps on the television and emboldened bigots spewing hatred on social media.

I am over hurricanes that topple ancient trees, and floods that send creatures skittering into our walls for shelter.

I am beyond over zippers that strain and jowls that jiggle and photographs that capture a funhouse mirror version of me.

That is not to say these things will be done with me in 2017. But, like the polite person who pretends to ignore the malodorous lingering of 2016 on the sole of my shoe, I plan to just carry on as though there is no stench. Even if it means I have to hold my nose a bit in order to do so.

Happy new year – finally!

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Christmas is a Puppy

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Christmas is coming like a big, over-eager red and green puppy. It wriggles in earlier and earlier every year, and it speaks in uppercase letters: “NOEL!” or “JOY” or “HOMEFORCHRISTMAS.” It makes everyone around it speak in uppercase too: “TIME IS RUNNING OUT!” and “ORDER NOW FOR A BONUS” and “WE PICKED THESE DEALS JUST FOR YOU.”

Television movies turn mushy with curmudgeons finding true love, or the meaning of life. Ads aim for the tear ducts with returning war heroes, children snuggling up to lonely elderly neighbors, strangers reaching out to other strangers in friendship.

I am caught up in lists directing myself to pick up the perfect rib roast I’ve ordered before the butcher closes early, to select the serving dishes for the big meal, to get the ornaments down from the attic. I buy one more gift for someone hard to please. I give out holiday tips like I’ve won the lottery. I am too busy for joy.

Christmas comes bounding over and places its large paws on my legs and I can not resist its enthusiasm to go running alongside it with more busy-ness.

But even the most rambunctious creature must sleep and this is when I treasure Christmas.

In the soft carol that brings my mother back alive. In the slow sipping of the eggnog. In the first fierce hugs of family and friends returned for the holiday.

I am not religious, but the kitchen where my daughter makes her famous biscuits becomes my cathedral, and the silly laughter becomes my hymn.

The frantic pup sleeps and stretches and I remember why I love it.

I wish you all a sleeping Christmas.

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