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Christmas Bells
Henry Wordsworth Longellow (1863)

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

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KOIT and KBAY, two local radio stations, are playing Christmas music all day, everyday.  It started the week before Thanksgiving.  I’ve been listening since then. 

I would have said, had you asked, that there’s no such thing as too much Christmas music….  I must admit now to cravings for secular songs…. It probably didn’t help that I spent a good chunk of time before my birthday choosing songs for two gift CDs I made for family and friends.  (One is holiday, one is HolyDay music.) 

I’m reminded that many people can’t take it: this crazy holiday season.  And for those in colder climes it’s often worse.  Here at least, I look out at the Bay with her bright white sailboats on a sunny day and my winter anxiety is well, not.  (Though I must say, I’ve also been craving a good snow storm -but only one!) 

Fortuitously, I think, to come across this article on the BustedHalo site.  A follow-up article, it offers some insight for those who may find winter and this time of the season, particularly, difficult.  Whew, there’s hope.

16 Tips for Surviving Winter
…or How to Survive a Trip on the Bi-Polar Express

check it out.(if you want)

So, there I was minding my own business (which at this time of year means listening to and reading about all things Christmas) and the very funny (I think) passage made me laugh out loud.  Sr. Rita thought I was nuts.  (Not for the first time.)

… and by the way, not to be annoying and strident, but why do gingerbread and snow personnel always have to be men? If Christmas isn’t womanly, then what holiday is? Is it not, after all, about having a baby? And are not the best Christmas trees blessed with big hips?

Ms Gonick

and so do we.  How are you doing on  yours?  Here’s are two amazing Advent calendars to enjoy – just in case you haven’t found them yet.


go here for this one


and here for another

My neice asked me the other day, "What do you give up for Advent."  She’s not Catholic, so got a bit confused on her terminology, but I think it’s a good question anyway.  Me, I’m giving up some of my lazy procrastination this Advent.  One of my practices is to write every day.  Write something.  Mostly this means in my journal, but the added incentive is that it’s PAPER WRITING time in the wacky world of graduate school in which I find myself.  So, the writing something non-academic actually helps me when I’m doing the academic.

Meanwhile I celebrated the 40th anniversary of my physical presence on the planet (outside of my Mom’s womb, of course) just the other day.  Woo hoo!  I’m delighted to be 40.  Just sounds more substantial to me.  Maybe it’ll help me grow up and take life a bit more seriously (and myself a bit more lightly).  Only time will tell. 

  1. vanilla ice cream in coffee mugs
  2. good solid coffee mugs – and that first cup on a slow moving day
  3. pictures around the room with the faces of loved ones
  4. Christmas music on the radio 24/7; and all year round if one needs it
  5. the ability to read and write (thanks to teachers!)
  6. love of one another, whenever and wherever it can be found
  7. hope in hopeless circumstances
  8. better living through chemicals (legal ones of course)
  9. crosses found in unusual places
  10. the face in the electrical outlet
  11. purring feline friends
  12. chocolate covered brazil nuts
  13. tuna and mayonaise on saltines
  14. crisp, oh, so crisp autumn days
  15. photographs that come out
  16. shared tears with a stranger
  17. people who read and respond to what I write
  18. Arizona country-swing dancing with Charlie
  19. hikes on snow covered hills
  20. circular knitting needles and yarn, lots of yarn
  21. driving with the windows down and the radio on
  22. empty Christmas stockings
  23. the laughter of children who love you (oh, heck, the laughter of any child)
  24. toe socks
  25. friendly compilation tapes/cds
  26. buttons with clever sayings
  27. annie dillard, anne lamott, anne astrosky
  28. the bells of the salvation army
  29. the scent of candles just after they’re blown out
  30. a good skipping rock
  31. blue bells by the river
  32. a bench with a view of the ocean
  33. tire swings
  34. corn on the cob from Hoopeston, IL
  35. graveyards and the stories the tell (or don’t)
  36. real laughter heard on the street
  37. full Christmas stockings
  38. unexpected confetti in a card that comes in the mail
  39. the touch of a hand on ones neck
  40. birthday candles

Ad1 So, totally exciting.  Just discovered (via the news!) that my alma mater (number 3 after Bismarck Henning High School and NAU), ASU has the flagship store of what just may be the next big thing: Cereality.  Since I’m visiting AZ in the not too distant future, I’m so going to visit!  Taking my BFF and my three "God" children with me too.  This should be fun. 

Hmm, Apple Jacks?  Frosted Flakes?  Cocoa Puffs? No, wait, Alphabits (in honor of my linguistic background.)  Now what about toppings????? 

And you, what would you order?

December 2004