Every-day Magic

Today, I’m taking prompts from the November/December project “Do You Believe in Magic?” at CafeWriting. It’s a site I started in 2007, and then took a long hiatus from, but it’s back, and you’re all encouraged to participate.

In any case, the prompt of the moment is: Give me seven examples of every-day magic. and as I like lists, I thought I would.

  1. Puppy kisses. None of my dogs are actually puppies any more – even Max will be two in a couple of weeks – but they still give sweet puppy kisses, and cuddle when they know I’m upset about something.
  2. My grandfather’s stuffing recipe. I posted it a few days ago. On the surface, it’s simple – bread, apples, onions, bacon, celery, spices – and yet it’s instant joy when it comes out of the roasted turkey and goes into a serving bowl. Yes, I made extra.
  3. The birds in my back yard. I’m not sure we get the same ones every year, but certainly we get members of the same families. There’s a family of cardinals who come back every winter and spring, for example, and this blue jay that is almost as big as a chicken. I love that they keep coming back, and even when they’re annoying (like the grackles) I feel like I’m being visited by special creatures.
  4. Imagination. I use it to put me inside every book I read, and to help me create everything I write. I feel sorry for people who are so linear, so rigid, that they cannot imagine anything other than what they have.
  5. Music. The right song can bring me out of the deepest funk or calm my nerves, depending on the moment. Most of the time, though, I can’t listen to anything with lyrics while I’m writing.
  6. Bubble Baths. Scented soap suds, toasty-warm water, a rolled towel, soft light – instant relaxation, softer skin, and hey, you come out of it smelling great, as well.
  7. Candlelight. There’s something about flickering flame that changes the dimensions of a room, and the tone of an afternoon. I like electricity as much as anyone else, but I have a special fondness for candlelight.

O Christmas Tree

I don’t normally decorate for Christmas until after December first, although I had Christmas lights on the outside of my house the day before Thanksgiving this year, mainly because my lawn guy puts them up, and it was 82 degrees and windy that day, and since then the highs have been in the low sixties. I did not turn them on until dusk on Thanksgiving Day, however. Anything earlier than that would be gauche.

I’d planned to put up the tree this weekend, or at least unbox it, and let it rest in the house. Even plastic trees, I’ve found, look better if you let them stand there naked for a few days. Well, nearly naked. I’m a long-time convert to using pre-lit trees.

Unfortunately, the 7.5-foot faux Niagra pine tree we’ve used for the past several years had a light malfunction last year, and while Fuzzy managed to fix it by doing essentially nothing (I mean, he touched every unlit bulb, but that’s all), this year, more of the tree refused to function, and we were tired of worrying about the heat from the lights, and fighting with pulling little bulbs out of tiny plastic sockets, so we put the brakes on trying to make it work.

And so, even though the only businesses I typically visit during Thanksgiving weekend are Starbucks and movie theaters, we went to Target this afternoon (it was mostly empty) to look at trees, found one in the price range I’d dictated, and then discovered that our local Target was out, but two semi-local stores might have it in stock. Our purchased there were decidedly un-holidayish: dog treats and a new filter for the vacuum. Then we went to Home Depot to see what they had.

The Martha Stewart trees were lovely and reasonably priced, but they all use old-style mini-lights. There was a 7.5 foot faux tree with white C3 LEDs and the classic teardrop frosted bulbs around them, in a warm (yellowish) white or in multi-colors. I chose the white, because I think it looks more magical. It was less expensive than the Target tree, and it’s now in the dining room, in front of the arched window that faces the street. Or, behind it, I guess, if you’re looking in from outside.

I didn’t watch Fuzzy set it up, but it seems to have been a remarkably quick process. Tomorrow we will shape it, and let it rest a bit more (probably) because even though I’m itching to decorate, I’m also unusually tired and have been all weekend. In fact, as much as I miss church (it’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve been), I might skip it tomorrow and just rest. I’ve been really tired all day, and I went to bed early last night AND slept til nearly noon. I think I might be fighting a cold, actually,

In any case, we have a new tree, and Thanksgiving was lovely, and I’m looking forward to all of the fun of the December holidays.