Friday, December 16, 2005
I found out about two years ago something I'd never known: I was a breech birth. Instead of arriving in the world head first, which is the usual procedure, the first glimpse anybody got of me was the other end. And I've been doing things ass-backwards ever since.
For example, sending Christmas cards. Did you get my card yet? No? Here's why.
Unlike many people, I unabashedly love Christmas. Except for those few dark years with Mr. Ex, it has never been a source of stress. I don't fuss about finding the Perfect Gift or run madly from party to party forcing myself to be cheerful. I am cheerful. I don't find myself wishing for the holidays to be over so we can get back to normal. The normal part of winter in Chicago is like the grimmest part of a Bergman film run in an endless loop. Feh.
This doesn't mean I'm one of those people who merrily get the shopping wrapped up before the frost is on the pumpkin. Heavens, no. The extra demands of the Christmas season deal a knock-down blow to my already faltering grip on organization. I gave up sending cards years ago because I knew perfectly well there was no way I'd get them all addressed and stamped and to the mailbox on time.
Organizationally, I'm an unqualified mess in December. I just don't get stressed out about it.
When I grow up, though, I would like to be like James. Have you read James's excellent blog? Probably you have. He's a popular fellow, and deservedly so.
If you haven't, I'll give you the synopsis. Handsome James writes about his knitting, which displays a sense of color and pattern unlike anyone else's; and his domestic projects, which are often enough to make Martha Stewart sink down into an armchair and call for a double vodka.
James is not a man who requires the administration of sal volatile after writing a note to the paper boy. Oh, no. James is a man who managed to get an adorable bundle of New Zealand-related goodies from his part of Oceania to my part of the Great Lakes before I made my first trip to by Frango mints from Marshall Field's. And he wrapped the goodies in knitted fair isle gift wrap with a knitted bow.
James, you're a wonderful guy. And I wish you a Merry, Merry Christmas. And I wish you would knock it off for a little while because you're making the rest of us tired just watching you.
Also in the overachiever category we have Ted, a new blogger and masterful knitter and spinner. Ted, who apparently feels I don't have enough to do with my free time, has sent me Charlene Schurch's Sensational Knitted Socks, which had the intended effect of reviving my interest in sock knitting. I didn't know about this book, had never seen it, and it turned out to be the sock book I'd been hoping to find. Clear, concise, attractive, and not shaped like a sock. Now I have to go buy sock yarn. Great.
Ted also sent along a CD called Joyous Light featuring a soprano, Isabel Bayrakdarian, who had somehow managed to fly under my radar. I rather like this album, which is a to say that since it arrived I have been unable to stop listening to it. Now I have to go out and buy absolutely everything else ever recorded by Ms. Bayrakdarian.
Ted, honey, thank you so much. And thanks, also, from the yarn and music retailers who will now be claiming a larger portion of my monthly paycheck.
Ted, I should mention, is Canadian. James is a Kiwi. And splendidly rounding out a British Commonwealth trifecta of holiday giving is Judith.
Judith doesn't have a blog, but she reads this one. I would venture to say that she and I are possibly among the greatest living fans of Mary Thomas, the fascinating and elusive journalist who wrote Mary Thomas's Knitting Book and Mary Thomas's Book of Knitting Patterns, et al.
Judith, who lives in England, dropped me a note after I mentioned an interest in Mrs. Thomas and has become a regular correspondent via e-mail. Her letters are so lovely that I don't read them online - I print them out to savor later on.
And into my mailbox fell a package from Judith, from an address so charmingly British that when I opened the envelope I swear I smelled crumpets.
In a bookshop in her town, Judith had found a vintage, hardbound edition of one of Mary Thomas's books on embroidery (my first love, pre-dating knitting) and sent it across the pond to me. I'd tried to find a good copy of this in the U.S. at a decent price, and even the online dealers who generally hook me up with the good stuff couldn't help. But Judith did.
Judith, dear - I hope you find something really nice in the plum pudding this year. Like tickets to Italy. Or a tiara.
Santa is probably still sitting in an FAA briefing about revised no-fly zones, but I feel like he's already landed at my apartment. I'm touched, I'm grateful. I'm put to shame. And all I can say is, thank you.