Monday, Dec. 20: A cold, windy day. I have taken the day off from work so that I can attend my grandmother Nell’s funeral, about which I do not want to say much at this point (why? I don’t know), except that family is a wonderful thing when the people in it are fairly mature in an emotional sense. I will tell you that I chose to wear the transcendently lovely, unflappable, Serge Lutens La Myrrhe. It was beautiful all day. I am not sorry.
The few inches of snow we got late last week has now turned to ice on our half-mile-long, curving, sloping, gravel road, due to the vehicular traffic. We headed out for the funeral and spun out halfway down the hill; thank God we didn’t hit anything, and The CEO drove us backwards down to the paved road. I thanked him for getting out of that situation without damage, and he told me it was all due to his mad skilz as an AIP. A what? I wanted to know. An Agricultural Industry Professional, he explained.
The boys went home with my parents after the funeral, and about the time I got home from fetching Bookworm from Indoor Track practice, The CEO got word about the potential job. It did not work out. I think they interviewed five people, and he was the final player to get cut from the roster, so to speak; the deciding factor was the other candidate’s experience. Heavy sigh here. It’s possible that something may come up in the future.
Tuesday, Dec. 21: Cold. The road is still icy, so I took the farm pickup truck, which has four-wheel drive, to work. Incidentally, I don’t think I’ve introduced him to you. The CEO’s Camry is, of course, named Cameron, and my minivan is Eddie Van – for Eddie Van Halen, natch. The pickup is known as Walker Ford Ranger. (Yes, yes, I know. You don’t have to tell me how cheesy it is. But it makes us laugh, so I really don’t care what anyone else thinks.)
SOTMorning: DSH Perfumes December, which is rather nice, with pine and spices. Eventually it nosedives down into those balsamy notes I don’t like, however, so I don’t need any. When when I got home, I gathered up all the necessary paperwork and drove Bookworm to the Department of Motor Vehicles, where we obtained her Learner’s Permit.
SOTA: vintage Chanel No. 19 eau de toilette. By all rights, I shouldn’t love this thing, it’s so unfriendly and chilly and standoffish. But it is also extremely beautiful, and so I do love it.
Wednesday, Dec. 22: Finally, we have some temperatures in the low 40s, so the ice on our road is melting. That’s a good thing – I’ve got to drive to my parents’ house and pick up the boys. They’ve been spending time with their cousin Doodlebug. SOTMorning: DSH Perfumes Gingembre. It’s terrific for about half an hour, and then it slides into that “amber” note that reads as shaving cream to me, so I’m not gonna be wearing this one.
SOTA: Le Labo Aldehydes 44. Very nice stuff. It’s no La Myrrhe or Vega, but it is really pretty.
I am almost ready for Christmas. I’ve been scrambling, and I don’t even go out shopping, since I prefer to shop online when at all possible. Aargh. And as I’ve said before, doing NaNoWriMo during the month of November really puts a burden on me to get things ready for Christmas. Whoever thought National Novel Writing Month up (however wonderful it is in other senses), and decided November would be a good time to do it, must have been either a dude or a college student – someone with no December responsibilities, in any case. Anyway, presents are going to be un-lavish this year, for all of us, and we’ll make it more of a family-and-worship time than a woohoo-party-mad ripping of wrapping paper sort of thing.
Thursday, Dec. 23: Still chilly, but the ice continues to melt. Sloooowly. SOTD: Honore des Pres Vamp a NY. Gaze still doesn’t like it; everybody else, including me, still does: yummy tuberose-vanilla-spice-buttered-popcorn happy party thing. It lasts all day, through the last-minute shopping (picture frames, batteries, milk, eggs, apple juice) and the gift-wrapping and the making of dinner, et cetera, et cetera…
Friday, Dec. 24: I have a few things to wrap, and some cooking to do, but we’re set. (Thank goodness.) The only dilemma at this point: choosing a Christmas Eve service to attend. Do we go with The CEO’s mother, and his sister visiting from Atlanta, to the service at my MIL’s church? She’s playing the organ, and it would be nice to hear her, and the music’s nice there. The drawbacks are that it starts at 9 pm, and the minister preaches a full half-hour sermon at that service, adding to the hour’s worth of music; the kids are certain to crash before we can get home.
Or do we go to the candlelight service at the church where we used to attend, with The CEO’s other sister and her family, visiting from northern Virginia? It used to be a lovely service, in a lovely setting. But I used to sing for that service – O Holy Night, or Gesu Bambino – and sometimes play the piano for it. We stopped going there for a few reasons, one having to do with our growing theological distance from the Presbyterian Church, one having to do with the upheaval over the division of the family farm, and one having to do with my sorrow at still, after fourteen years of service as Sunday School teacher, choir member and director, and various other capacities, being considered a rank outsider. It is extremely difficult to go to church with people you regard as greedy promise-breakers, particularly if they are family members. And if we suddenly were to show up at that service, I think we’d be swamped with church members asking when we were going to come back. I’m not going back. My bitterness over the whole affair is starting to recede, but I cannot at this stage imagine choosing to return to that church, even for an evening.
It turned out that our own church held a small, informal service in the chapel at Virginia Tech, which we’d missed the announcements for because we missed last Sunday’s service due to the death of my grandmother. We went, and it was nice. Clearly, minimal effort was put into the thing since it was such a last-minute arrangement, and I think maybe next year I’ll volunteer to help. A few candles, a poetry reading or two, a little more music… it could be really meaningful.
SOTD: Alahine, of course.
Saturday, Dec. 25, Christmas Day: I woke early, at 6:30, to go start breakfast, and found the ground covered in snow. It was utterly still, not a breath of wind, with the snow coming down like a silent blessing, and there it was: the moment when Christmas arrived in my heart, an overflowing of gratitude for the Gift, a moment of beauty and pure happiness. Some seasons this moment comes early; I can count on it arriving if I’ve sung “For Unto Us a Child Is Born,” from The Messiah, in concert. Some seasons, it arrives on Christmas Eve, as “Silent Night” echoes from voice to voice in a darkened church. One memorable year in my youth, it arrived as I lay on the carpet underneath the Christmas tree in my grandmother’s living room, looking up through the branches and the lights: Love came down at Christmas.
I wore Alahine again, since it smells like joyous golden bells to me, all citrus and spice and sweetness, with a tiny dark balsamic thread in the base. In fact, when Kristin of Scent of the Day and Joan of Redolent of Spices started discussing the possibility of a joint blog post around Christmas, focusing on the scents of the Three Kings, gold and frankincense and myrrh, I wanted to join but knew that, first, I’d be so hectically busy that I wouldn’t do the project much good, and second, I’ve already posted reviews of the three scents that immediately sprang to mind when considering the gifts of the Magi. Alahine is gold; PdN Vanille Tonka is frankincense, and SL La Myrrhe is (of course) myrrh. I love all three of them.
It was a nice, quiet day. The CEO went to feed some cows, as he has done every single Christmas morning since he was twelve years old (save the Christmas he spent at graduate school in New Zealand). We ate breakfast: bacon and eggs, cinnamon rolls and homemade applesauce. The kids opened their stockings and waited patiently for their dad to come back. We opened presents, passed hugs around, and then I cooked a turkey breast for lunch at The CEO’s parents’ house. We spent the afternoon there, with his family, and it snowed further.
I can only remember one other white Christmas in my lifetime. It’s a lovely thing, snow on Christmas, if you don’t have to go anywhere…
Sunday, Dec. 26: Yet more snow. No way we’re getting to church today. Well, I suppose one or two of us could get out in the pickup, but I’m not driving a car over the ice-covered-with-snow drive. Undoubtedly the main roads are clear, though. SOTMorning: Kenzo Winter Flower, very nice soft powdery mimosa fragrance.
Jeff the Hired Guy called this afternoon to say that he’d seen a cow that seemed to be ready to calve, so The CEO went out to check on her a little later, and she’d already had the calf, and it was standing up. He left the pair alone to bond, came back in and built a fire. Later, he took Bookworm out with him, so she could drive and he could hold the calf on the back of the pickup, enticing the mama cow to follow the calf into the barn out of the weather. Bookworm, according to her dad, did a terrific job driving the truck up and down snowy hills, making good use of that learner’s permit. Turns out, though, that the calf is suffering from what The CEO calls SCS – Stupid Calf Syndrome – and was ignorant both of where his food source was and how to access it. The CEO and Bookworm spent a good half-hour teaching the calf to nurse.
I feel that the calf was unjustly maligned – Bookworm herself suffered from the same condition as a baby, and it was a good four months before we got the hang of breastfeeding. She’s clearly doing just fine now in the brains department.
SOTAfternoon/evening: Guerlain Vega, which is gorgeous.
Image is NZ-Winter from… I can’t find it. I’d downloaded it from a free site to use as a background on my laptop, and forgot to save the source. Oops. It looks like it might be on the South Island, but I don’t know where, and of course it isn’t winter in the Southern Hemisphere now. If you know from whence it came, please contact me.