Of course, the tree is the same endearingly pathetic little thing we've had for 25 years, ever since our brother-in-law pulled it out of their closet, complete with tinsel and ornaments still attached! This tree is imperfect and lopsided and stunted, and hey, aren't we all, in some way??
I can't post pictures. I think it has something to do with my computer and my gadget phone being little kids in grade 7 who have decided to not ever speak to each other ever again. So you will have to use your imagination here, ok?
We inherited Granny's ornaments from the 70s. There was a stretch of time when the tree stayed up all winter after the folks left for Florider, and the sort of stayed there for, oh I don't know, a couple years? Because none of us are really very attentive to non-essential functions? So the shiny plastic bobbles (I know, it's baubles but I like the way bobbles looks) faded in the sun in places. I like them better this way. They have a kind of oil-slick look. We ran out of Christmas tree real estate, so I just hung them wherever I could. Like, off the arms of the ceiling lamps. And dangling from the plant hangers. I like it like that and am considering just living year round with a strange solar system of shiny objects hanging off the kitchen ceiling lamp. Or, I might just be too lazy in January to take them down. Either way.
But seriously, people, I DECORATED FOR CHRISTMAS.
So we won't be having a virtual Christmas blog party this year… I mean, I can only handle so much, y'know?
You might be wondering what's up with me.
Well heck, what's happening in general, seeing as how 2016 has been rather unbelievable in many ways. Does it seem to anyone else that the world has crossed over into an alternate universe?
I was just thinking the other day… in 2015, Lemmy had a birthday, the next day Christmas, and the next day, croaked. And then all hell broke loose. Seriously. Like Lemmy was holding the world together and we never considered that all this time Motorhead was keeping everything on a somewhat steady pace. After that, David Bowie, and then Prince, and for the rest of the year we have been holding our breath.
We have to accept that our musical and entertainment heroes and trail blazers are aging. You know what happens when we age? Well, eventually, we die. All those artists we looked up to, it turns out, are human like the rest of us, and we will all expire. Deal with it.
You know what else famous artists do? They DISAPPOINT US.
I've been known to develop very strong admiration for people I don't actually know. Usually this isn't negative. I like being a "fan" even though I suspect the root word is "fanatic". I like admiring musicians or actors. I could easily be naive enough to elevate them too much. But I make myself do reality checks. Despite that, I care too much.
Let's just say, we won't mention any names, but say I really like an actor whose name rhymes with DONNY HEP. (Okay, full disclosure, I'm talking about JOHNNY DEPP.) Let's imagine that for a couple of decades, I thoroughly enjoyed not just his acting, but his interviews, and duh, photos. I liked his mind, and I liked his face. I liked his wife-person too. All good.
But then, just imagine that lovely wife-person is no longer attached to him. (As in, he and Vanessa Paradis broke up.) Well that's a drag, I liked them together. But then there's a new woman in his life. (As in, Amber Heard.) Don't know much about her, other than she is very pretty and much younger than him.
Right around this time, suppose he starts looking kinda sickly and waxy and bloated, and I hate to say it, slightly green-skinned. (Because he did. And does.) Right around here, my alarm bells go off. If he was my actual friend, or real non-biological half-twin, I'd be figuring out how to pull him aside to a quiet place and ask him how he's doing, really, because it seems like maybe you're drinking too much and not taking care of himself, and also, this young woman might be a very cool good person, but dude, please understand that it doesn't look good, this man in his 50s shacking up with a woman in her late 20s, and are you having a mid-life crisis, do you need help, should I hide your booze/ call a doctor/ call Vanessa? (Note: pretty sure don't call Vanessa. She's a confident elegant badass but I suspect she's had enough of this. Not that I know her life.)
So, theoretically, imagine that whole scenario. It doesn't really take up much of my life because I do have a life of my own. And I don't know these people.
But when someone you admire does something really awful, it kinda hurts, in a detached but symbolic kind of way.
When Johnny Depp is accused of abusing his wife, it makes a person think of every abused woman one has known, and it brings up any little abuse one has endured, and it suuuuucks.
As for this theory that it's not true and she did it for publicity? First of all, I have to believe her. False accusations are rare. Not believing her is dangerous not just for her, but for all women. Second, Who the hell wants that kind of publicity? So let's not get involved in that bullshit.
This leads to one unavoidable conclusion: my favourite actor is abusive.
Then Brad Pitt, the grocery shopping buddy of my dreams, gets accused of laying a beating on his kid, and we don't know what really happened, but something happened. That is a stink that does not wash off easily.
Then to top it all off, a pussy-grabbing spoiled brat reality TV blowhard gets to be leader of the free world.
Can I just say, my birthday-twin, Justin Trudeau, may be getting some heat for not doing enough in the last year, but at least WHEN HE GOES OUT IN PUBLIC HE DOES NOT EMBARRASS US.
Whew. Okay enough of that smouldering tire fire. Let's talk about Meeeeeee.
This year has been alright. I can say that after two years of messing around with various antidepressants, we have finally found a combination that works. Just in the last month, I'm feeling more like myself. I've been told by people close to me that I'm becoming myself again. What a relief! Of course, it can never be easy… one problem gets solved by the drug, and a new one comes with it. I still struggle with fatigue. Worse, I get head shocks. Like I'm getting zapped in the head when I move. It was so bad in October I didn't want to move at all. So I don't drive these days, and I don't feel comfortable riding either.
I go out to the farm every day for chores. I sweep up the open shed, get the manure out to the pile, and fill the hay nets. The trough gets filled and I clear any hay chaff off the surface. Every few days I go up to the hay mow and through a few bales down. And I always pet my horses! I get a nice hello from Parker, who reaches up to blow his warm breath on my face. I love that little guy! Copper is wearing her nifty checkerboard winter coat, and Phoenix of course is as magnificent as ever, and darn well knows it. The boys like to play their little game of Nippy Face. Copper stomps out of the shed with her ears back, right between them, and breaks them up. Then they go have Barn Standing Time, when they all line up with their butts to the wall for a snooze. It's winter, and we are all literally chilling.
The rest of the day, I read, walk the pug, and sometimes do some cleaning! I lie down a lot. I push myself physically but I rest often.
Here's the weird thing: if you'd told me years ago that I'd be basically living in the Shire and running a bed and breakfast for musicians, I'd have LAFFED. But that's what I do! I love our isolated little road, surrounded by a river and a few houses. I love the field across the road. I love our house!! Believe it or not, I even love hosting our clients. I putter around, loading the dishwasher, boiling the kettle.
Jethro's been busier than ever, which is both awesome and a pain! Heck, I married a workaholic. At least we share a home and sleep in the same bed.
The younguns are not kids anymore, even if the Pug still thinks of them that way! The girl has found herself a lovely boyfriend and we adore him! Even though he's a musician! The two of them go to a lot of concerts, and took a few trips to the beach this year with the family dogs. She is getting out of a bit of a young-life-crisis, so she's printing photos and booking portrait sessions and entering contests. Next up, galleries! The boy is in his second year of college, all set up in a totally groovy apartment in an old renovated factory, with 13 foot ceilings and a growing collection of plants. He's all smart and stuff. I don't understand most of what he talks about. Damn, my kids are so cool. They pretty much don't live with us full time anymore, but they are home for Christmas holidays and I couldn't be happier!
So that's it… the world may have seemed pretty crappy this year, but I don't know if that's anything new. We just hear about it now. There's no hiding the crap. Let's think about the good that happened. There's always a lot of good out there.
Be well, people.
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Pleasant Holidays, and now go have a great 2017!