Monday, December 08, 2008

Why December is Difficult (possibly part 1)

My dad called me a few days ago to tell me that Phoenix's hooves are getting all chipped up.  He let me know that he'd be calling our farrier to come out and do a hoof trim; just a heads-up that I'll need to pay him back when I visit again.  Phoenix is a solid, healthy horse, but he's got the softest hooves ever.  They grow fast, but chip and crack easily.  The corral, which is mostly clay soil, was a mud pit a few weeks ago, and has since frozen into a spiky surface of hoof shaped craters.  At least now there'll be a good covering of snow to cushion it a little.  

Gah.  Winter.

I was born and raised in Ontario.  So were my parents and grandparents.  You'd think I'd have developed the kind of tough blood that can handle a Canadian winter but I tell you, ever year around the end of October I honestly believe that I will not survive this year.  I'll freeze to death in my own house.  I can't do it.  I will have to hibernate.  You think that's bad - my mom is getting worse!  I really do think she'd hibernate if she didn't have to work for a living.  She'd plan every trip into town between snowflakes.  

It's not just the cold, though.  Cold is nasty but I can deal with it as long as I've got the appropriate clothing.  That's a piece of wisdom I got from my dad, my ol Man, the hippest hick I know: Dress Accordingly.  That means long johns under the jeans, woolly socks, a long sleeved shirt over a T shirt and a hoodie sweater over the whole combo.  Then a warm toque, with the hood over that.  Then the thermal coveralls.  If that's got a hood, even better.  Industrial strength boots and huge leather mitts with fur inside finish it off.  Dressed this way, he's ready to get on the tractor and blow snow, and I'm ready to settle in and watch a movie.  See, I can handle the cold...

December stirs up a whole storm of emotions for me.  

Anxiety.  This is the Christmas season, and I don't deal with it well at all.  I hate hearing radio ads, hate reading the paper, hate being bombarded every time I leave my house.  Shop, buy, get, give, obligate.  People apparently will like me more if I get them good stuff.  And I have to get it now.  Get it now before someone else gets it.  Have you got it yet?  Get it.  Hurry.  Everybody's hurrying.  More traffic, less parking spots.  Less big parking spots.  Hurry.  Have you got your lights up yet?  But only high efficiency lights.  Have you got your tree up?  But only an eco-friendly tree.  Buy some cheap tree ornaments.  Now.  Hurry.  Have you planned your Christmas party?  Plan it now.  Have it now.  Make it good.  People will like you more if your Christmas party is fabulous.  Hurry.  Now.

Guilt.  I'm a Christian, which means that this is the most important event (after Easter) and deserves to be celebrated, yet here I am, cynical and sarcastic, that it's been turned into a giant retail thing.  I don't have a problem, oddly enough, with religion being taken out of it.  Not everybody shares my religious beliefs, and I'm totally okay with that.  We deserve the break, the distraction, the reason to celebrate life during the darkest days of the year.  Isn't that beautiful?  But I feel guilty because I often wish the whole damn thing would just go away.

Sadness.  Not everybody feels they have something to celebrate.  

Anger.  The remnants of a childhood jealousy at all the other kids, the ones who got truckloads of presents --  my sister and I would come home and report how spoiled they all were.  Their crap was all broken by the time school started again, and we took such care of our one present each.  We shared an anger that while we appreciated what we had, we were made to feel poor by the others.  

Screw them all.  I got a pony for my Christmas birthday.

I had one pair of pants, one dress and two sweaters but I had two ponies, damn it all!  

Regret.  Every December brings another year of my life to a close.  Another year older.  It's so tempting to think that I haven't accomplished enough.  I know it's not true; I know I need to focus on what I have done, no matter how small it may seem.  The clock keeps on ticking though, no matter how long I lose track of time.

Wonder.  Huh,  would ya lookit that.  We all made it another year.

Gratitude.  Here I am, still in love, breathing, living.  

Panic. I'm running out of time.

Memory.  I had a mental meltdown four years ago in December.  I have a hard time shaking that.  

Weariness.  My husband needs a break.  Yesterday was his first day off in six weeks.  yeah, read that again.  No exaggeration.  It's good to have work, but even farmers take a nap on Sunday afternoon.  We all need to slow down for a week or two.  

I'm going to get through the next two weeks, wrapped in layers of clothes and breathing out slowly to expel the tightness in my chest.  And soon I'll be able to relax, and spend a few long minutes listening to my horses grinding hay with their huge molars while I lean on the wall and stare at their perfect hooves.  


lexiloo said...

bring on the christmas party!

Heidi the Hick said...

yeah, I think it's time I plan my third annual Blog christmas Party, eh?

Biddie said...

You know, I love the holidays. I love the music, the movies, the lights....
I buy what I think that my oved one will like, something that will make them smile, I don`t look at price. Sometimes I can do more, sometimes,less.
I was one of those kids, many years ago. My Dad bought us a pile of stuff, and then Betty (one her annual visit) would bring somethig bigger, better.
We spent Christmas Eve at church,and I always feel asleep before the midnight mass was over.
Later, after my Dad remarried, there was less of everything. Less presnts, less time with him, no midnight mass, but a service at 7.
I still miss those days. Not so much the presents, but the family. This is the only time of year that I really miss the Faux Steeves.
Still, I have great friends and we make our own traditions.
I hate the cold, too. There is not much worse than being carless at this time of the year. It was -17 yesterday with windchill and we had to go out for groceries.
THAT sucks!

Heidi the Hick said...

Bid, we'll make it work. The great thing is that we can make our own traditions.

And I'm just about to go out and find things that I think loved ones will love...

Tod said...

Yup, make your own traditions. That's what we do too. We take the bits we like (eating, going for walks, boozing and tormenting the cats with christmas baubles) and we discard the rest. You know I just block out the commercial stuff and it just goes right over my head.

Whywudyabreedit said...

Todd, I like your idea for blocking the commercial stuff. I'll try that =)

Heidi the Hick said...

block it out. block it out.

Got it.

hayseed said...

I find Christmas anxiety-producing too. I'm trying not to have a commercial Christmas this year, and my kids don't seem to want much, which is nice, especially since my husband is in career transit mode, and we've opened a new business. Suffice it to say that all of that stuff you mentioned makes my heart thump really loudly. Also, I don't have my (low-energy LED lights) up yet outside. I think blocking out the commercialism is a valid exercise. And a pony? there is no better gift. You were lucky!

Heidi the Hick said...

Yes, I was lucky and I knew it. We didn't have much, but two little ponies weren't much to feed when there was a whole barn full of pigs already.

I'm trying to get all books and music for gifts. That way I only have to take a couple of trips and I feel like I'm contributing to two industries I feel very strongly about supporting.

And I just want it to be so darn MEANINGFUL!

Angela said...

I've been very averse to Christmas this year too. I don't want to make a big deal about it but everybody keeps trying to cram it down my throat.

Hey... would you mind popping over to my place and giving me your expert opinion on the two horses I'm considering? Please and thank you!

dilling said...

i want some sunshine, a margarita and a sandy beach
now, could you go look at my blog and help me out for just a second or two???

dilling said...

ponies beat all!!!

pseudosu said...

I so feel you girl-- same tribe thing strikes again. "This too shall pass".
Good for you on supporting books/ music.

Heidi the Hick said...




DysdHousewife said...

Man, *I* NEVER got a pony. you suck. LOL :::ducking:::

Olly said...

That's why I call it the Christmas Crazies.

I used to live on the prairies where the bitter coldness and snow was coupled with bright sunshine most of the time. Living on the grey West Coast makes it VERY hard to feel any Christmas spirit. Usually by November, a lot of us are into our yearly struggle.

I find that after I have finished all the shopping, relative (difficult ones) visits and obligations, I quite enjoy watching the kids' Christmas concerts, putting on some classical Christmas music and wrapping, decorating and baking. So much more fun now the kids help.

I think we are reading each other's minds today. I was thinking of blogging about my trip to the mall this afternoon. I had about an hour there before the serious eye-twitch developed.

Brit said...

I feel ya Heidi. It can get very anxiety producing. I tend to freak out and wonder, "What else cna I get? I need to get them more." But I don't. That's the thing I have to remember.