Shopping is much less stressful when your children are adults. The newlyweds wanted unpurchased items from their registry. Big Cuter wants jeans and a sweater and he wants to go with me and pick them out. TBG and I need nothing and want even less.
It's easier, true. It's also a lot less fun.
Last year I bought our tree at WallyWorld. It was inexpensive and they put it in my car and I drove around the corner and I was home. The tree was so healthy, so vibrant, so verdant, that it dropped not a single green dribble on the floor. I kept it up through all twelve days of Christmas. I couldn't let it go.
This year, hoping to repeat my success, I ran into the yard, picked one that looked straight-trunked and full, and ran right home. I put on the base all by myself and carried it all into the house unaided. Then I stood it up.
Cascades of dead needles fell on my head. Clumps of brown needles were nestled in every crotch of every branch. Adding ornaments was a feat of balance and care; the branches were so dry that heavy ornaments cracked them.
Next year I'm bringing an Episcopal along; Jewish girls are obviously not well trained in the selection of indoor ornament holders.
I did a very good job of culling the crap from my ornament boxes. I no longer have scads of red and green and white balls in all sizes. In fact, I have no undecorated balls at all. The ugly, the unknown origin, the handmade have all been distributed to Goodwill or the child who created them.
What's left is a chronicle of my life. The angel Little Cuter made at a holiday party when she was five sits atop the tree. It was once a white paper plate; now it is a memory I'll cherish forever. The skier Big Cuter bought when I dragged his cranky fourth grade self to the mall is hiding behind the lacrosse sticks and the New Orleans tree and the MackenzieChilds glass globe.
It's nice to go back in time. I just wish the tree were worthy of its adornments.
I finally removed the zinnias from the outdoor containers. Several have reseeded themselves in the ground; one of God's little miracles that I treasure every morning when I raise the bedroom shades. The amaryllis I planted in the containers out front have grown tall and straight but seem to be waiting for something to make them bloom.
It's going down into the high twenties tonight; perhaps that chill is what they need to open. If not, I'll find them bent over and frozen in the morning. I have to pick the Meyer lemons earlier than I'd like because they won't survive below freezing.
Gardening in the desert is always a source of amusement.
The Happy Ladies Club was taking another walk this afternoon. My pilates appointment precluded my joining them, but lunch was part of the activity and I've never been known to miss a meal. Barb hadn't seen me since she snowbirded back to Wisconsin last fall. Her astonishment at how well I was walking since last she'd watch me traverse a room was the best present I could have gotten.
I know I'm making progress. It's nice to see it on someone else's face.
I've been wearing my reindeer sweatshirt all day. There's no snow, I don't have gloves or a scarf or a hat, but it's December and Santa is on his way and my outfit will reflect that fact.... no matter how ridiculous I look.
Little Cuter's words stay with me at times like these, when I leave the house with absurd attire: Mom, the world needs more people like you!