Monday, December 21, 2015

Ho, ho, ho! Still Time Left to Buy a Tree!

see also: the lovely willingness of my partner.

Ahhh, Day of Wonders!

...Or at least, one of copious sugar, a bubble bath with a damp novel*, and a much appreciated "bang trim."** It has been a surprising day, with the best indicator being my Jewish fiance standing on a curb like so:

He was gamely waving and ho-ho-ho-ing. He spoke with a curious accent: jolly, sure, but originating from where exactly? "Get your Christmas trees HEEyuh!" Cars were honking. The handful of Christmas trees remaining in the Washtenaw AlAnon lot were small in stature, but not overtly Charlie Brownish. 
It was too cold for Santa to not have Santa gloves.
<-- Javier said my smile when I pulled into the parking lot was the biggest he has seen in a while. Gleeful mockery aside, you can probably see the inner child is all "SAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYNTAAAA!" 

My actual child, meanwhile, was inside, being hefted by Javier's dear friend (and snazzy elf, to boot); and sheltered from the cold and her recognizable-but-odd Papa.
they emerged for a photo op.
We are in our early stages of navigating different religions/cultures. Last Fall I had stressed that baby aside, I *definitely* needed to continue having a tree, though I understood that it was not a shared necessity; this season, I got a smaller one that would fit outside of Baby's area, and have been super super happy that Javier has approved its compact twinkliness. It probably helps that it makes me gleeful and more prone to bake things like snappy anise stars / dark chocolate pistachio bark / chocolate peppermint bars. We currently lack a menorah, but this will most certainly be rectified before this time next year.
& babbles at fake greenery that sprung up overnight
She eschews the spoon, wears bibs she can not read
I like to think we'll raise a child who will be savvy at navigating through different cultures, religions, schools of thought, and who will embrace that which appeals, question the questionable, release that which does not resonate; and not interpret confusion as overly alarming, or as a lack. Tall order? And maybe this, too, is self-justifying blather from someone who tends to get sucked in by visual trappings and rituals, but is, by no means, devout. Which is not to say that I'm apologetic for not being a person of faith; I think self knowledge is of the utmost importance and faith in any kind of higher power can never be forced on anyone who doesn't already contain a germ of this within themselves.

As of two days ago, our daughter turned 9 months old. Curious and strange to consider that her life outside my body has now surpassed the one she had within it. Curiouser and curiouser to consider Javier and I have been on this collective journey for over a year and a half now. I blogged about it, three days ago. Imagine a good post here: solid, kinda funny, with a few surprising twists. It was worth your time. I shifted my own perspective through the writing of it, and temporarily felt more settled, as I do after satisfying posts. I was, however, writing in a restaurant with dodgy internet, and the connection must have cut out wayyyyyy early in my writing, because the entire post evaporated. Gone, gone, gone.

So! Suffice it to say that I haven't lost my essential self, the baby is and shall be a crazy handful, the Cakeasaurus picture book is humming along (only 4 pages left that need to be drawn from scratch! lots of carving ahead for 2016), and Tiny Expo was a wonderful re-entry into shows. I'm not sure how many shows I'll want to take on in the coming year, but this one was a great reminder of why I (sometimes) love doing them -- inquisitive and enthusiastic people, bonding over mutual loves; healthy sales and new art discoveries. Why is it so refreshing when strangers find you funny and/or odd? Not a bad way to mark the year's end. In the next few days, we are Pennsylvania- and Florida-bound for our families -- many more plane flights for baby, oodles of Baby love, and hopefully some hours drifting in the Ocean. Happy Holidays, Winter Solstice, New Year's All!

*Barbara Kingsolver's Flight Behavior -- so good!: "...she was dismayed by the crowd of people who stood close together on her own front lawn, all facing the house as if expecting it to perform. They looked dressed for a camping trip, in boots and backpacks and puffy down parkas. As she drew closer, she saw some white cardboard placards. And heard chanting. A lot of energy directed toward a house where no one was home. Don't shoot till you see the whites of their eyes, she thought, a directive that was never meant for nearsighted people." This passage in particular reminds me of Tom Drury's dry wit, though the story's sense of yearning, constraint, is more front-and-center than its humor. 

**The latter comes just in time for our holiday visit home to my family, which will likely bolster my mother's anxiety that our daughter will be "confused," what with two parents having (nice, streamlined!) short hair. As discussed, we are already providing numerous confusion points for her, but this is a favorite for my Mom. But truly, if the babe is foiled by hair length, we're clearly in trouble. I'm more confident about the baby's future ability to navigate gender and sexual norms than I am that I'll escape the current stage without being savaged by her four newly descended teeth. She has bitten me with the lower two, and that was alarming enough for all involved parties. Hopefully my past exclamations are recalled just enough to fend off more experimental momchomping.