The Several Days of Sockmas - Twenty-One through Twenty-Four


As we near the FINAL DAY/POST of Sockmas, and you clear the figgy pudding from your throats as the band warms up, here's a replay of the lyrics for your review: 




On the twenty-first day of Sockmas, my true love gave to me...portable sunlight, double-decker dance-class, an appropriated tea mug, mother and child, my own baby tree, mad milonga jollies, nifty new nuker, a small sporting goods store, one fulgent faux fir, frolicking ovines, sweet South Hill chocolate, tamarins aleaping, client file kindling, eight blue bulbs, cat-nipped Advent chocolate, one impromptu date night, reams of wrapping paper, tango shoes and shoe bags, four sock santas dancing, two moosies skiing, two cobalt bands, and a loris in a pear tree





Since solstice upstaged the apocalylpse (thus flinging my early trench-coat wearing/Art Bell listening/X-Filing/hackerzering into utter disarray and barely passing my grown up notice except for all the witty memes about the Mayan calendar, which have mostly made me want some more of that Mayan Gold chocolate that Molly Tasanasanta introduced me to last year... mmmmm,) I'm particularly happy for my magic box of light and joy on the shortest day of the year. When I was a wee one, I had quite the chronic case Seasonal Affective Disorder, as can happen when you live in a part of the country that prefers relentless darkness in lieu of the festive glitter of ice and snow (warmer, yes... but sometimes more depressing). Yes, ha ha, funny how the grey-eyed pallid bog-monster who ignites into a rubicund screaming mess within second of sunlight exposure needs the darned sunlight  but there we go. I waned and langoured in the eternal night of a Northwest winter. Deciding I was not in fact a Bronte character scheduled for an exquisite bout of consumption, my doctor finally prescribed me this little dinosaur of lighting technology about fifteen years ago. And it's been amazing. When I first moved to Maryland, my roommate and I used to switch this on, lay out some beach towels, and "sun" in our bikinis to this light. More than a few photographer friends have borrowed it while borrowing me for certain effects... and I've used it - naturally - to scare vampires. 

  It has turned out over the years that other habits associated with my own ripening into humanity mitigate the SAD significantly. For instance eating regularly, limiting caffeine intake, daily exercise, not being a whiny teen with proclivities for the maudlin and the oh-so-existential, having a generally earlier schedule, and so on... they all definitely reduce the need, but I still prefer prevention to cure (not that The Cure isn't fun sometimes). This box of happy gets me through my first hour of work and the faint hints of dawn. And, well, anything other than those hideous fluorescent overhead lights! The rest of the day is all full spectrum lighting in smaller cozier bulbs baby. 


On the twenty-second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me... besties bearing booty, portable sunlight, double-decker dance-class, an appropriated tea mug ,mother and child, my own baby tree, mad milonga jollies, nifty new nuker, a small sporting goods store, one fulgent faux fir, frolicking ovines, sweet South Hill stocking, tamarins aleaping, client file kindling, eight blue bulbs, cat-nipped Advent chocolate, one impromptu date night, reams of wrapping paper, tango shoes and shoe bags, four sock santas dancing, two moosies skiing, two cobalt bands, and a loris in a pear tree




Yesterday my two best friends dropped in on me at work, bearing baby (for themselves to keep) and presents (for me to keep!) They're new parents (and I've learned from watching many of my friends go down that path, that with new parents, you just kind of take a number and schedule a coffee date about two years down the road), so actual Molly and Marcus sightings are better than the bestest gift imaginable. 

Molly and Marcus are the formal couple in the center. I'm the one with her mouth - as always - agape
and the vapid honied glaze over her visage. Andrew's the one who looks like a gangster. the others are extras
Although, man did I score with the gifts anyways. Now this is the gift of somebody who knows me: chocolate bitterer than most of my divorcing clients, a book on how to make normal food quirkier in all the ways I usually weird-up food, socks(!!), candy, and yes that is a hot dog pencil pouch. This is in honor of the purse I once touted with pride and adulation: the appropriately titled hamburger purse. It featured a large hamburger, sequins and the helpful epitaph hamburger in pretty red writing. It was a sad day when that tote fell into desuetude and disrepair.

The new baby was shockingly asleep for the entire visit. I suspect she was resting up for an eventful evening of shrieking, but she was misleadingly angelic at the time, and I was happy that it meant they could stay a little longer. It's amazing how hard it is on a good day to see the people that matter most to you. I often get so set in my schedules, and tired at the end of the day, that I can go months without seeing friends. It's nice to know we can pick up as if time has hardly elapsed, but definitely argues for getting oneself in a routine that causes habit to place you in the same location as loved ones as often as possible. The old dance studio was good for that, but it has schismed and evolved many times since those days. I'd start a book group, but I doubt many would savor my esoteric and somewhat abstruse tastes. C'est la vie. It does make me glad to work in an office with loved ones and to soon be living with another loved one. Diminishes that "work" part of how keeping relationships fresh and healthy "takes work" just a little bit. 




On the twenty-third day of Sockmas, my true love gave to me... wedding invitations, besties bearing booty, portable sunlight, double-decker dance-class, an appropriated tea mug, mother and child, my own baby tree, mad milonga jollies, nifty new nuker, a small sporting good store, one fulgent faux fir, frolicking ovines, sweet South Hill stocking , tamarins aleaping, client file kindling, eight blue bulbs, cat-nipped Advent chocolate, one impromptu date night, reams of wrapping paper, tango shoes and shoe bags, four sock santas dancing, two moosies skiing, two cobalt bands, and a loris in a pear tree



I've been "engaged" (aren't we always engaging in something? But in this case engaged in being all engaged) since April Fool's Day, so sometimes the engagement thing seems unextraordinary to me. I get a touch baffled when people still congratulate us for being engaged. It seems far more of a state of being than am accomplishment at this point, and people very rarely congratulate me for, say, being 5'10 1/2 or for having curly hair. But, hey I am perpetually fortunate to have found a fella who gets my quirks, raises me with his own, and sweetens the deal with a dashing smile and sterling figure, so I'll take it. 


Much earlier in the process, we stumbled into the mesmerizing miasma of theknot.com. This is a fabulous site for a quick and easy wedding website, plus a total head trip on the side. Trust me, you are inadequate. Your wedding plans are a joke. Their wedding preparation checklist was slightly shorter than the complete works of Tolstoy, featuring many paid professionals and services I'd never heard of (professional cuticle wrangler? Feng shui accuphotosynthesis consultant?), I have immediately blocked from memory, and don't care to recall. But we at least followed the suggested etiquette timeline on save the dates, and wedding invites. And apparently it is just now time to send out the actual invites. Of course, I'm having scads of second-thoughts comparing my list of saving-the-daters... There may be some convenient "forgetting" after the first "wow, I have more of these than I thought I would! I guess I could add" rush just about six months ago now. In between addressing cards and wrapping gifts in duct tape (yes, the new hardy wrapping paper I purchased apparently will not heed the plaintive entreaties of ordinary tape), it's time to address invitations and throw them to the wind. Or possibly a post office box. Maybe even place them inside the box. With stamps or something equally banal. People might not appreciate my explanation that they can find their information in the wind... some folks just lack poetry and soul. 


On the twenty-fourth day of Sockmas, my true love gave to me... soft pjs and slippers, wedding invitations, besties bearing bootie, portable sunlight, double-decker dance-class, an appropriated tea mug, mother and child, my own baby tree, mad milonga jollies, nifty new nuker, a small sporting good store, one fulgent faux fir, frolicking ovines, sweet South Hill stocking , tamarins aleaping, client file kindling, eight blue bulbs, cat-nipped Advent chocolate, one impromptu date night, reams of wrapping paper, tango shoes and shoe bags, four sock santas dancing, two moosies skiing, two cobalt bands, and a loris in a pear tree



Although it was never disputed that Santa Clause was a mix between my ordinarily make believe and a universal metaphor for "Mom and Dad", we still got Santa gifts on Christmas Eve and stockings ("from Santa") on Christmas morning. Our Eve gifts were always cushy, festive pajamas, robes and slippers. The idea being that we'd sleep in our new lounge wear and have them on to tear into our stockings at some ungodly hour the next morning.Ordinarily, we'd have a big family dinner, put on our Santa jammies, watch Scrooged and then take turns sneaking down to the mantle to fill stockings before the morning. The next day, we reveled in our stockings, had breakfast on the fancy plates, and then hosted a hoard of incoming immediate family. 

 As is the case with many two-home families, Christmas in my family is a bit of a staggered two part cliffhanger. After my parents set up separate homes (the model of a healthy divorce, incidentally), they agreed to split Christmas between themselves, with my mom have Christmas Eve and my Dad having Christmas.

 To keep the traditions alive, we had a conference at my mom's place around this time and decided to move the entire Christmas schedule back a day, making "Christmas Eve" start on the 23rd, and Christmas Day on Christmas Eve. A large percentage of the Christmas traditions have effervesced into the ether with the absence of children, addition of new Christmas-ambivalent members of the household-holiday-polity, and me being possibly the only one particularly excited about celebrating (wheee!!) instead of laying low and avoiding crowds. But the Santa gift persists. Which is kind of awesome, considering how I would live in pajamas if I were allowed to. Fuzzy warm things. And these actually fit even! That's in contrast to my scads of warm pjs sized extra-large, (great for waking up pantless in the middle of the night, and for maintaining my gangsta life style into the bedroom, but otherwise not ideal).





On my Christmas Eve, I ate Chinese food in honor of my Jewish boyfriend, hid upstairs and yelled at the court antics in Miracle on 34th Street while the rest of the family watched and yelled (cheerily) at the Seahawks crushing the 49-ers, watched a Christmas Carol with a group of people who humored me tentatively before mostly passing out in front of the television and then got these silky soft DKNY pretties. As Christmas morning take one dawned, it was time to make waffles after yelling at the unlikelihoods in Home Alone (seriously, a cop gets sent to check out a child abandoned at home and assumes just because the kind doesn't answer the door to a stranger, that the family who called in a panic about this must have "miscounted" and the entire police department just drops it? The criminals have never heard of a house sitter??)





We tore into stockings, and then scarfed down waffles (made by yours truly), eggs (made by hens with a little prep by yours truly), and vegetarian sausage patties (made by Morningstar). But oh that was just the appetizer for the main course: flurries of shiny foil and obstreperous wrapping fortresses. Our last batch of wrapping paper was quite pretty. but covered in sparkled dots that would not take tape, and a stiffness roughly akin to aluminum foil. As such, there were many misshapen packages swaddled in duct tape to tear through. Nonetheless, we survived without any bloodshed and emerged with many curios and happy proclamations of "oh you are so awesome" I realize the emphasis on gifts is materialistic and not necessarily the reason-for-the-season-blah-blah-blah, but there is something quite affirming when a gift just fits. At best, gifts are tokens of the care, intimacy and attention spent by one person on another. And my gifts this year showed so much thought, familiarity and love.  I was showered in warm footwear, adorable socks, interesting books, battery-heated slippers(!!!), a bag of wasabi powder the size of a wiener dog, and fanciful shiny baubles. Even more fun is seeing a gift hit home with another person - the same affirmation, but somehow even cooler - like being a match-maker for material goods and people. I showered my loved ones in silly loris books and calendars (one found used after a year of searching, and one made by me after months of google-image searching), just-your-style jewelry, and silly novelties garnered from some casual "so, if you were a super hero, which one would you be..." and "sooo... what's the difference between men's and women's sock sizes... your shoes fit about a size too big, what size are you in mens??"



It's nice when the magic of the holiday emerges uncoaxed. Sometimes, as an adult, I feel that I try so hard to recapture that youthful ebullience of HOLIDAY!! that I'm set up for profound disappointment. I wonder if this is why some people eschew the entire holiday (I grant there are many other reasons to do so, but having had my moments of "well nobody else cares that much and it's a bunch of bother... so forget it!" I wonder if others have as well). And I'll admit, given my age and the company I travel in (busy, generally secular, low interest in ceremony or tradition), that I may be at that point where I will need to rent a child for future holiday celebrations to really experience the gale force wind of holly jollies, but there are still moments. And the 24th was full of them. Not the least of which came from having a surprisingly wide-net of new friends across the globe on G+ who shared their holidays with me and exchanged so many wonderful wishes. I know that being glued to the phone while sitting by the fireside is symptomatic of an over-connected society, but exchanging those thoughts between phone calls with far flung friends and during lull periods between home-activities really enhanced and enforced my holiday experience. 

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