Behind Closed Doors

We locked the dogs out of the dining room ever since I finished putting the ornaments on the tree, because Cleo likes to sit in that window and growl at cats, and I didn’t want her knocking the tree over in her excitement.

Tonight, packing for our trip, I looked through the dining room doors, and caught the image of the tree in the window, and thought it was pretty, so I took a picture.

Christmas Room
Click to see full size

I have to be up in three hours to get to the airport, so I’m signing off now. Watch my twitter feed (my user name there is MissMelysse) for updates on our trip, and expect a blog sometime tomorrow evening.

To those whose holiday cards still haven’t gone out (I’m SORRY, I ran out of time!), please know that you are in my thoughts.

Christmas Past: 1977

We lived in Georgetown, CO that year. I was seven, and had never lived in a small town before.

It was the kind of place where it was safe for us to go skating on the frozen-over baseball diamond, and walk home after dusk in the yellow glow of street lamps, without having to worry that we might be snatched from the street. We would laugh, and sing, and scare ourselves imagining horrible creatures in the shadows, but it was “good” fear, the kind that energizes the imagination, and gives you just enough of an adrenaline boost that you can walk home briskly, even though your toes are numb from skating too long in the December chill.

It was the year that my friends and I wanted leather: equestrian riding apparel like boots and tack (even if some of us didn’t own horses, we loved the smell and feel of tack), and more froufrou leather goods like designer boots from Frye and leather visors. Siobhan’s parents owned the leather goods store and we would all go hide in the back where the big coats were, and pretend it was a leather forest. Oh, the smell of new jackets: smooth leather, yes, but also buckskin (hey, this was Colorado in the seventies after all. )

I remember having to warm my poor dog’s toes to get the ice out of her matted poodle fur after walkies, and I remember sitting on the couch watching bad Christmas movies and how her white ruff made her look like she was wearing a turtleneck, and I remember her warm furry body pressing close to me in bed at night.

Mostly, though, I remember itchy mime make-up, being asked to “go steady” by Gil (who was NINE), and coming home on cold afternoons to sip cocoa in the vault-cum-office at the back of the store, where I would be lulled into sleepy bliss by the whirring of my mother’s ancient black Singer sewing machine.

Pen and Ink

I’m not sure how I managed it, but except for seven cards for which I had to track down addresses, and therefore are not already out in the mail, I finished the sending of the cards. Unless of course I don’t have your address because you texted it to my phone and I stupidly deleted it (you know who you are, oh amazing person in Montreal), or because you’ve moved and even though I lurk in your blog/journal/diary we don’t really keep in touch the way we should.

I even managed to write 20 ‘extra’ (as in over and above the names on my list) cards to soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, so hopefully they’ll enjoy a bit of holiday cheer even if it takes til after the 25th to get there.

I like cards. I like the pictures on the front covers and the cheesy sentiments inside. I like the glittery envelopes (though probably should not have been writing cards with glitter in bed) and the seals and the textures. I like non-Christmas cards as much as Christmas cards, and I frequently use them for dropping notes to people. Note cards, especially, are useful when you want to keep in touch but don’t really have enough content (or time) for a long, rambling letter.

Today, if I have no other tasks, I’ll be baking cookies to leave for my dog sitter, and to take on the plane tomorrow. Oh, god, tomorrow. I’m not packed. I don’t know what to wear, I have so much to do, and my dogs keep circling the suitcases and giving me their slitty-eyed looks. The ones that say, “Yeah, Mom, we KNOW you’re abandoning us.”

At least they’ll be happy to see us in 10 days, and we’re leaving them in good hands.

Not hands like mine, that are covered in red and blue ink.