Turkey Coma, Christmas Clean-out

I speak to you from a happy place. I’m high on turkey and homemade cranberry sauce, and I haven’t had an original thought for at least a week. This is a state much to be desired.
I don’t think I realized how tired I was. Tired of being dog-bitten, tired of cleaning up the mess the tenant left in the rental, and tired of catching diseases from delightful young children who incubate viruses as sport, I think.
Now I am not tired. I am relaxed. I am almost too relaxed to type. I am certainly too relaxed to make profound observations on the season, but I will say this:
Clearing out boat of debris and putting it all into storage is cleansing. Attending church and meaning it is wonderful. Ringing bells for the Salvation Army is fun. And spending all year knitting socks so you can gift every family member is an organizational feat of which I am very proud. Yessss – another Christmas pulled off by November 15.
So on Christmas day John Darling and I ate turkey sandwiches and watched BBC detective shows on TV and fielded telephone calls from all the children. It was wonderful. I’d attended church they day before, and cooked the turkey the week before, so we were coasting on Christmas Carol afterglow and leftovers on the actual day. We opened presents and congratulated eachother on still being in love and d still having all our own teeth. (the two are not connected)
So. . . . there’s another book coming out in a week, and another one a month or so after that. We’ve booked our favourite two-star hotel for the Vancouver International Boat Show, and I’ve dusted off my prompt cards so I can make a couple of coherent speeches. I don’t actually speechify – I wave my arms and dance around and crack jokes. It’s the same technique I use for substitute teaching. Last year I had one audience BEG me to read them the article that got me fired from BoatJournal’s cooking column. Luckily, they (the audience) thought it was funny. I’m sorry to say Boatjournal lacked the same sense of humour.
My next book is called, “Darling, the Gulf Islands have Moved ! (or our anchor has)” The book after that will be a departure from the rut I’ve written myself into – it’s the start of a series of children’s chapter books about growing up in the Arctic which coincidentally I did. I sent the manuscripts to my parents, and GOOD NEWS! They don’t intend to sue me. Publication is imminent.
Happy New Year, and many blessings.
Catherine

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Merry Christmas from us and the Sealions

I have recovered from my dog attack, I’ve organized Christmas, we have tenants in place who are paying rent and not wrecking the joint (which makes a nice change from the last lot), John Darling’s hair, after dramatically falling out for no reason we can figure out, has all grown back, and the Cowichan Bay Sealions are sitting on the breakwater hooting and fighting and throwing fish in the air. It wouldn’t be Christmas without a pack of smelly sealions in the bay, so God Bless ‘Em!
I’m subbing steadily, and having a good time, though all this driving seems to be more than my hopeless little Kia can manage. This fall we have organized both a transmission replacement and a radiator refurbishment. Turns out the ONLY good thing about my Kia Rio is that when the temperature shoots through the roof, because of a dramatically failed radiator, the engine shuts down BEFORE everything melts. This is a good feature and greatly to be encouraged. However, when I’m a passenger in my own car (when John Darling is driving), you can be entertained by the sight of my spitting and snarling as I roll down my window to reach out to open my car door from the outside. The door latch doesn’t work from the inside. Some day I’ll get around to having it fixed, but I’m so dismayed by the other, systemic, problems, that so far I count it as trivial and a nuisance and not worth addressing – just spitting at.
My friend from Quadra Island scored enough sockyarn for me from a yarn store that went out of business to knit 45 pairs of women’s socks in autumn colours. I am delirious with happiness. And another friend from Oregon sent me a WHOLE BOXFUL of bee-you-tiful yarn which I have stored in storage RIGHT NEXT to the sockyarn. John Darling is under strict orders to make sure both stashes are accessible at all times. No tools in front! No car tires in the way! No pressure washers underfoot! Looking at the stack at the back in storage, even I admit I own quite a lot of yarn. A retired husband who runs errands and enough yarn to last me a lifetime – I am a fortunate woman. A little greedy, but fortunate.
The tree is up, all 18 inches of it, and it’s only fallen over twice when powerboaters burned past at incredible speeds. When my tree falls, it does rather spray ornaments. John calls it ‘Catherine’s Christmas Mess’. I admit it’s a touch overdecorated.
This season I’ve volunteered for the Salvation Army kettle program. They let me ring the jingle bells. It’s a lot of fun, and the weather’s mild, so I arrived at my first shift last night dressed in enough woolens to satisfy even a sheep and was actually warmish. I let a little baby in a carriage ring the bells twice by accident. I didn’t recognize him the second time because he was dressed in different clothes than when he went in. The father was a little abrupt the second time around – he seemed in a hurry to get somewhere. Also the child was sitting higher in his carriage – he might have been uncomfortable.
I’m subbing nearly every day, and though I can’t get my students to do much work at this time of year, it’s all fun. If everyone leaves smiling, it’s all good.
May the blessings of the Season be with you now and always. Merry Christmas.
Catherine

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