It’s been a year. Which is probably the best thing that can be said for it. Sure, there have been some ups but overall, there’s a shadow over this year for me that just won’t let the light shine down on it.
Like many people, I lost several of my idols this year. I went through a bit of a downswing early in the year with my depression and that had some slightly more lasting effects than usual. There were some upheavals with my career, my house, and some stresses in the family that are likely mostly par for the course, maybe. We lost our OldDog who was a good dog and maybe the smartest dog I’ve ever known.
But there were good things too.
Eldercynne Rising came out. I love this universe and am so glad I get to play in it – the Arachwie are by far my favorite of my created peoples, even more so than the Jaffine.
I got my Alfred. I am a cat person. I am not a dog person. Don’t get me wrong, I love all animals but dogs are not really my cuppa. We’ve always had dogs because my husband and children are definitely dog people. I am an Alfred people. I’ve never had dog that I really really adored until now. I don’t even mind that he smells like dog! No one has ever been happier to see me in my life – and I’m including my children.
I’ve lost 50 pounds (thanks, Pokemon Go and MyFitnessPal). An old friend reminded me that people can be totally awesome for no reason whatsoever (thanks, Becky – you are awesome and totally made my kid’s Christmas!). My kids have been doing great in school and everything. Several times this year, I’ve managed to people without making an ass of myself. I have only had three little panic attacks this ENTIRE year and none of them were debilitating enough to do much more than give me a headache.
All right, so there was maybe more good than bad, or at least, bigger good than bad. It just feels like there has been so much loss this year. This Christmas was harder for me than usual. Everything has made me think of my mother and how much she would have enjoyed my children. I don’t have words to properly explain it. I blame Brad Garrett and his singing Frankenstein’s Monster because that’s where all my weepy started this year.
I hope you all are having a wonderful holiday surrounded by love, family, and friendship. I love Christmas. I love everything about it. I enjoy making things for the people I love. There is nothing better in the world than watching a kid’s face light up like the sun finding something they never knew they wanted.
Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, happy Kwanza, Happy Yule, and blessings to you for the upcoming year.
My family has a lot of Christmas traditions, mostly passed down from my mom. I’ve talked before about making presents, a thing I’m doing my best to pass along to my kids. I’ve talked about the movies and the music, if not here than on the old LiveJournal. Someday I’ll talk about the candy making and the books. Tonight, I want to talk about the oranges.
When I was very little, I was given a book. It was a book about a baby bear discovering all the best smells of Christmas and the very best smell wasn’t the pine of the tree or the sweet of the cookie or the bright mint of the candy cane. The very best smell was the orange in the stocking. I always agreed with Tiny Tim from my favorite Christmas movie ever (Scrooge), I would always rather have the oranges. I don’t remember a time when there wasn’t an orange in my stocking when I was very small.
During some of those years, we lived in Washington. I was about 7 when I first discovered the tiny, super sweet, peel in one orange ribbon Japanese oranges (sort of like what they call Cuties now but smaller). I could eat an entire crate of them all by myself. It remains to this day the only food outside of coffee that I ever asked for for Christmas. There was at least one year where I got my box of oranges (and I didn’t even have to share them!).
As I got older, the oranges turned chocolate. Neither of my kids took to oranges early so their oranges started out chocolate but they are there, without fail on Christmas morning.
I still have my copy of the Sweet Smell of Christmas though the scratch and sniffs have long since faded. My kids have a copy too, though I doubt they’ve read it in a few years, I bet at least the youngest could still recite it.
I love Christmas. Everything just feels brighter, lighter, more cheerful, at this time of year. It reminds me how lucky I am. I have a few thoughts mulling around about all that and I’ll probably get them down soon. I’ve been very busy – working on a short story that is fighting me, having my annual Make-A-Thon where I make neat stuff for the people I care for (and I’m particularly proud of a couple of them this year), and putting together a present for all of you. I put together a little sampler – a few short stories and a couple of profiles from my stories. You can find them here: 2016 Sampler. I hope you enjoy it!