The doorbell rings and the FedEx guy is disappointed because I'm not home to accept the gifts. If a doorbell rings and no one is there to answer it has it really rung at all? I wonder about these things at this time of year. I have no time to worry about politics or the economy or the sorry state of health care or any of the things that occupy my brain when it's 117 in the shade. No, December is a marathon and I must stay focused.
As FAMB remarked in her delightful card, yes Hanukkah is the earliest day ever this year. I like it when my December celebrations don't bleed into one another, but this has certainly robbed me of any wiggle room when it comes to baking and mailing my brownies. The ingredients stay out in one corner of my limited counter space and suddenly the 10 pound bag of sugar at Albertsons doesn't look that big at all. Having been the recipient of and falling in love with a big version of Perfect Brownie Pan Set last year (thank you, Big Cuter), I bought the one in the picture for myself last summer in anticipation of this month's activities. I'm really enjoying washing fewer pans between batches. There's no waste, there's no cutting, there's no shortage of crumbs on the floor and the brownies, they tell me, are delicious. And there's another sweet sound of the season - the timer ringing loudly and insistently and annoyingly so that I cannot possibly ignore it. Given my inability to remember anything, this is a good noise.
I have a good tape dispenser which has made the same satisfying noise for as long as I can remember. There's a clunk when it hits the outside of the box, then there's the scrinchy-screechy-adhering and unrolling-noise as it closes the bottoms of the boxes. It ends with a twist... and that's both the motion my wrist makes and the sound the tape and dispenser make as they part company forever. One box down, 4 bazillion to go.
I like the sound of the boxes falling to the bottom of the collection box in the lobby of the post office and I like the sound the swinging door makes when it slams shut. I like to imagine the sounds of the recipients as they open their mailboxes and spy their annual chocolate fix. Not-Kathy is in my head as she tells herself that the holidays can start because her box of brownies has arrived. Eliott's kid being glad that there are no nuts in his stash, and Big Cuter's mmmmmmmmmmmm bump into FAMB saying my entire name out loud and I could go on but you get the picture. TBG is surprised to find that I don't have the radio going while I'm baking, but the conversations in my head are just too loud and too much fun to brook any aural competition.
And then there are the unexpected sweet sounds, like this evening at the pod-castle, sitting at the table with G'ma and 3 lovely ladies who listened and smiled and laughed as I retold the story of my day of baking and boxing and mailing and feeling the love. G'ma remembered most of the players in my tale, and the other ladies were appropriately appalled and delighted as I filled them in on the gory details of our family saga. No secrets were revealed, but confidences were shared, and there was laughter, genuine from the heart laughter, because holiday stories are universal, whether it is Hanukkah or Christmas or Aunt Lillian's birthday. And those guffaws.... they were the nicest sounds of all.
I do so love this time of year.