A little bit of warmth for tonight. Late November wind is cold, as it turns out.
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving holiday here in the States. It's a particular favorite of mine, even though I have never been very good at brevity in gratitude. I have too many childhood memories of clammy hands and nervous giggling, when eyes turned to my place at the table, expected an answer to the question, 'So what are you thankful for?' Because, how at six or seven, or now, do you say everything. That there is nothing on God's green earth, nothing in my life, not one moment of the day while I have breath and lungs and a heart that beats, that does not deserve a song or a blessing or prayer of thanks. That the world exists. That I'm in it.
Some images for you today. It's been awhile since I posted Friday Flickr faves, and I think it's pretty obvious where my thoughts are at the moment. I am surprised at how happily I've been able to turn inward this week, letting this home of ours be a comfort, rather than an overwhelming project. Also, I got all our leaves up. Because obviously I can't write a post without mentioning the freaking leaves. The fourteen bags and two bins of leaves. And then the sky broke again and poured all over everything. I was so proud of myself I wanted to run out and buy a trophy. Or a golden rake. Or something. It helps that the hours spent painting, sanding, drilling, hammering away, have come to a halt for the winter. It helps to be able to finally say, 'I'm ready,' and let the hours fill up instead with friends, and books, and fireplaces, and holiday parties, and rainy walks, and general craziness. And that could be the hokeyest sentence I've ever written, but, oh my heck you guys, it's true, and I am actually excited about winter. Am also thinking I should call a chimney sweep. Because it sounds so Victorian. (Aren't you supposed to do that in winter? Not sure. Let me know.)
A recipe for a happy December: Buy a house. Fix up house. Pass out from exhaustion. Decide that gifts are out of the question because of said house. Realize that cards, and friends, and baked goods, and Christmas trees and decking the halls with proverbial holly are more important anyway. Let go of the pressure. Roll with it.
Hope your weekend is grand and pressure-free, friends.
I can't say thank you enough for all of your suggestions, everyone. I hope to respond to each one, but for now let me tell you...much to my surprise, I am getting a little excited about winter. Even the blustery dark. I know. Crazy talk. The first step was to hang a simple wreath. Yes it's November, but it made me kind of giddy. I treated myself to the Holiday Issue of MS Living, and started combing the house for an errant collection of vintage doilies. I don't know about you, but my heart kind of stopped when I saw that feature. We hunted down discount Nutcracker tickets. Soups were made. Multiple soups. More importantly though, the sun came out for a whole stretch of days, and we spent every minute of it outside. Lots of walks and time exploring. And some unavoidable raking. But apparently it is much easier to rake DRY leaves, when it's isn't RAINING. Who knew. I was also able to take some long overdue photos of our house-in-progress. I emphasize in progress. You can view the set of our new nest here.
The sky was silver tonight. Frost at sunset. Everything all glimmery. The very last of the leaves were dropping, and I suddenly remembered how I felt last year, seeing it for the first time. I may as well have been Anne of Green Gables. Naming things, completely taken, the whole wide world something to get excited about. Imagine that. Winter. The season with the tinkling name. I guess I know what I'll be reading next.
So I have no idea what to write this afternoon. All I know is that if I don't write, my brain or my blog, will probably shrivel up and die from non-use. What is it about the sudden change in season that makes basic observations impossible? I cannot seem to look at ANYTHING in a straightforward manner right now. That is a coffee cup on the counter. It is gray. At 10 am it is bathed in darkness. Oh my god, the darkness. Honest to goodness it's a freakin' coffee cup. Just because it's the middle of the day, and I can't photograph it, or even see it, does not mean I have to go all morose on the thing. Yes. Sure. It has been raining for twelve days straight. And by raining, I mean, holy crap, the city is covered in a blanket of permanent darkness and should be underwater right now. I realize that I was perfectly tolerant of these meteorological shenanigans last year, and complained only a few times when it rained for EIGHT MONTHS straight, but that steely reserve seems to have abandoned me. Now I'm just writhing on the floor under a blanket in front of the heater, wailing about clothes that are always wet and will never dry. We will call this the requisite 'adjustment period.'
I'm trying, really I am. Project Winterization '08. It's been fun, or at least sufficiently distracting. We spent two full days raking wet leaves. In the rain. The rake broke. We bought a new one. But hey look, you can see the ground now! (And to all those people who said, 'How lovely it is that you found a home on such a big a corner lot with all those trees!' I now know how you were secretly laughing at the misfortune that would befall us come November. Thanks a lot.) The heels collapsed on my beloved brown Target boots, and I finally found an attractive (cheap!) replacement pair from Zappos. The mudroom was given a nice new coat of white paint, and the winter wear has come out of hiding. The basket by the door has been filled with scarves and mismatched mittens and hats I will never wear. In an effort to contain our habit of throwing everything on the counter, a new shelf has been installed with proper junk receptacles. Best of all, this photo hangs directly above it. It always makes me smile. I have Irony and Abby to thank for keeping me sane. And soup. Soup helps too.
I am wondering if I couldn't do a whole lot more to make the transition easier. Aside from whining and complaining (because I have that DOWN), do you have any rituals that help prepare you for the winter months? Suggestions would be most welcome, friends. Because clearly I cannot spend the next eight months writhing on the floor in front of the heater.
Upon watching replays on the news, sick with sinus infections, unable to leave the house. Wednesday evening.
me: Oh my god, I totally get it.
boy: Get what?
me:You know. The kind elderly women have spilling out of their cupboards. With watercolor renderings of Queen Elizabeth II, or the Jackie O, or Princess Diana, or corgis, or something. Commemorative plates.
boy:So you're saying you 'get' those plates now.
me:Yes. But what I'm saying is, I want there to BE a commemorative plate. You know with President-Elect Obama and his family, smiling and all airbrushed in pastel clothing in front of the White House.
boy:I see what you mean.
me:I would totally buy one of those.
boy:Would you hang it in the house?
me:No. I would probably go with tradition and use it only for serving cookies to foreign guests or grandchildren. For special occasions only.
boy:So what you're saying is, you want a Barack Obama commemorative plate.
me:Or maybe just a nice decorative spoon.
boy:I don't think they make those yet.
me:Just you wait. The QVC phone lines will collapse under the demand.
As I wait for my brain to clear of infected goo, and for coherent thought to return again, I offer you this, which happens to be both mind-blowing and adorable.
And also, thank god this election is over so we can get back to talking about how I don't even know if I remember how to sew anymore.
It's Monday. Election Eve. The end of a weekend where time slowed just long enough to take in the last of the most beautiful fall I can ever remember. Slippers were worn. Naps were taken. And there were books I pretended to read while thinking about other things. My inner adult scolded my inner child for drawing finger pictures on the fogged-up windows. And we went for rides in the car like old people, drove around to nowhere, so we could, as Aaron said, remember it just like this. We didn't get any of our leaves up before the rains came (and came with a vengeance), so the lawn is a huge blanket of yellow. And if it weren't so wet, I would go bury myself under it. I have always wanted to sleep like a little Jan Brett animal.
But here we are. The Canadian and the American. Nervy. I am thinking that perhaps the map of nerviness can be extended outward. The rain is quick then slow, and the early darkness almost surprising. We are lighting a fire. Unloading the dishwasher. Kissing in the kitchen. Chopping vegetables for chili. Listening to Rehearsals for Departure. We are going to watch the election-special Saturday Night Live with fuzzy reception, and pretend this is any old Monday night.
I'm Andrea. I like to make things. I like plaid and collecting curiosities to put under bell jars. I love books. Also, mockingbirds, bikes with baskets, textiles, cupcakes, and whiskey. Mostly, I run around making no sense.