Monday, December 27, 2004

the traditional Christmas Fig Tree Posted by Hello

It isn't Christmas without a fire. Posted by Hello

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Christmas inventory

  • Playing of Messiah: several times on CD, several times (extracts) live, courtesy of the Family Chamber Consort, known far and wide for their enthusiasm, and perhaps someday to be known far and wide for their skill.
  • Crackling wood fire: one. ... Well, okay, it was on TV: the local cable channel broadcast a video of a fire with stockings hanging beside it.
  • Christmas crackers: eight. Five for us, and three for the girls down the street who shovelled our driveway while we were eating dinner.
  • Jokes in the Christmas crackers: 48, including the ones in French and Spanish.
  • Funny jokes in the Christmas crackers: zero.
  • but!!! paper crowns that fit: all of them, pretty much--a first, since most of us have enormous noggins.
  • Loaves of banana bread made to give to various aunts and church members: twelve.
  • Loaves of banana bread that came out of the pan intact: three.
  • Standard-issue Christmas trees: zero. We didn't bother to get a cut-down evergreen this year, opting instead to load as many ornaments as possible onto my parents little potted fig tree. It actually looked entirely charming.
  • Family members: five.
  • Healthy family members: one. (What with my mother's chronic sinus infection and my brother's resurgent malaria and such like, I was the only really able-bodied one in the house today.)
  • Family members that joined the family in the past three years: one. (Beg├╝m, my parents' former exchange student from Turkey, is their new daughter. My parents have taught her a lot of English, with the result that she is constantly convulsing me by using one of my father's characteristic expressions with his exact intonation. She's going to school in Canada now, and this is the third Christmas she's spent with my family. Since this is only her third Christmas ever (she's a good Muslim herself), she's endearingly enthusiastic about decorating the Christmas (fig) tree and opening presents...I had to scold her several times for trying to peek under the wrapping paper of the gifts that were under the tree.)
  • Amount of food eaten: too much.
  • Number of dishes washed: ten thousand (approximately).
  • Amount of love present: incalculable.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004


I haven't been posting here much recently. I've been getting all of my brilliant observations off my chest in real-life conversations with my real-life parents, in the past few days, and before that in Instant Message sessions with various dear friends I've never met. But I do want to share my Theory of Friendship, recently formulated by me:

A friendship consists of forbearance, compassion, and animal noises.

It's true. You can be nice to anyone; in a pinch you can even take care of anyone; but if you can sit on their floor making barnyard sounds with them, they're a real friend.

and on that note, *hsqueeEEEagh!* I'm going to bed

Saturday, December 04, 2004

'Tis, as they say, the season

for unrestrained greed. In that spirit, I've been assembling wishlists--but somehow I can't get into it. I look at these lists of material things and think, oh boy, another piece of cargo.

What I really want, more than the most fabulous gift, more than having people I care about shower me with attention (whether in the form of trinkets or of stroking my hair and telling me I'm fabulous), more even than Twoo Wuv, is to finish this gosh-darned dissertation. I want to be done with this long slog. I want to be standing in front of my committee on feet that seem to be at a great distance from the rest of me, waiting for the question that's going to make me bite my lip and look at the ceiling and count backwards from ten before trying to answer, my voice coming out as an embarassing girlish squeak. And then I want to be finished. I want to stop struggling and pushing, just for a little bit. I want to stop comparing myself to people who seem to fly through this process so effortlessly. I keep reminding myself that when you get to the top of the mountain nobody's going to ask if you strode up in energetic bounds or if you crawled and tore your hands to shreds grasping at rocks and sometimes found yourself dangling over an abyss hanging on with your teeth--that the getting there is the key, not the grace or even the speed with which you travel. But I'd like in any case to be done with the climbing, just for a little while.

I'd also like a really big pastrami-on-rye sandwich. Fortunately I'm in Manhattan right now where such things are easy to come by.