Merry Christmas in Advance!

I sit here, comfortable in my dressing-gown, listening to ‘A Cowichan Christmas’ and surrounded by Christmas debris, sated and happy and full of coffee and Christmas cheer. John Darling has fled to drink coffee with the boys. Christmas drives him mad. I start about Hallowe’en, hit my stride just before Remembrance Day and maintain a fever pitch of craziness until Christmas day. There have been years I’ve started planning the next Christmas before the Christmas that year. There have been Christmas mornings I’ve served Christmas dinner before lunch, having completely miscalculated the thawing of the turkey on the deck and arisen at 4:00 to start cooking, panicked that this is the year I’d kill all the people I love with Salmonella poisoning. This has never happened, but I remain vigilant.
Women in John Darling’s former life also used to celebrate Christmas, but differently – hence his aversion to the season, poor dear. I try to compensate with presents. He likes presents.
“Why isn’t the Christmas chocolate on display?” I asked John yesterday. “Why can’t we buy any wrapping paper?” John closed his lips and didn’t reply. A wise man knows when to remain silent.
But his expression spoke volumes. Even the merchants aren’t as Christmas-mad as I am.
It’s his fault. If he hadn’t had so many children and grandchildren and Dook in-laws, I wouldn’t have so much to do.
So there.
During the week I busy myself with substitute teaching (nearly every day, recently), and tutoring. If I get an hour walk in during lunch and recess and gym, and get to talk to my son Paul in the evenings, I count it a successful day. Weekends I reserve for Christmas. yay!
We’ve had inclement weather, full of rain, and a flooded Cowichan Bay Road (always), but the workers who have been trying to shore up the falling bank with the four houses on top of it seem to be done. That job cost SOMEONE a lot of money. I hope they’ve salvaged the situation. Someone walking their dog under that bank one day was in danger of having four houses fall on top of them.
Someone not very nice stole a bunch of my knitting from the storage common area under the bakery. I was quite fussed at first, then I took inventory of my completed articles and with a little juggling I managed to find enough for everyone anyway. Gone are about 20 Cowichan hats, a pair of fancy mohair mittens I knit for Mom and 6-7 pairs of men’s socks. I hope whoever stole the socks has big feet. I have grandsons who take shoe sizes in the double-digits. It comes of too much bannock.
Some CVRD inspectors (we can tell them by their suits) came by to see how many float homes there are in Cowichan Bay, so they can issue ‘sewage units’. Since when, if I may pontificate for a moment, do we all need permission to perform bodily functions? Apparantly we do, even though the entire city of Duncan spews their sewage into the Cowichan River and then out into the bay, where we get to enjoy it. Dilute, but still. . . . and the crabs taste all the sweeter because of it.
Without admitting any liability whatsoever, the powers that be have decided to spew the sewage further out into the ocean, where OTHER liveaboards and boaters can enjoy it.
Sorry – I’ve gone from the joy of Christmas to the realities of sewage. Alas, most liveaboards end up by discussing their heads, or the landlubber perception of us all as polluters, even though many of us (us included) own composting toilets and could theoretically grow African violets with our leavings.
The Breakwater boys, the stellar sea-lions, are back, barking and farting and throwing fish in the air. We look forward to their arrival every year with mixed feelings, like relations who borrow money. How they smell! How they fight! How shiny they are with water and fish-oil and good-humour!
Yesterday John Darling found a book about cruising on the ‘Wall of Shame’, which is the local low wall by the dumpster where people put things too good to throw out. John Darling, unfortunately, is an avid shopper at the Wall of Shame, and WHERE are we going to put this book? I already have a collection of several hundred.
Speaking of books, my next book should be out in January. I have a sketch for a cover, the book is proofed and formatted, and I expect my wonderful cover-designer Pat McCallum will have his magic done in a couple of weeks.
Christmas is coming, and that is a reason for Joy. Joy, and lots of it.
Much love to you all, and Merry Christmas

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