Today is typical winter in south jersey. It's raining/sleeting/snowing. It's not a pretty light, fluffy snow but a cold, icy wetness. The kind of wet that gets down your neck if you're not covered by a nice warm woolen scarf (which I am!). I left work early because I was feeling punky and had no real work to do. I came home and fell into a deep sleep. I feel slightly disoriented when I do that.

I brought the camera to work to take some photos of a dollhouse that they use in our Child and Family unit for play therapy. They need more and Pk wants to make some for them. Because I had the camera with me, I took a photo of the new mural in our C&F dept. A local artist, with some funding from the local Starbucks, painted it. It turned an ugly, plain spot at the end of the hall into a comfortable, friendly waiting area. I love it. I love the soft colors and the bunnies reading books on the end.

This is a shot of the hot air balloon that hangs in front of the window in my office. I made this for my girls about 20 years ago. It hung over the changing table and when they got too old for it, I brought it into my office. I like it and wish I could find the pattern but it's long gone. And what have we here? It looks like a sock. I call it Still life with sock and keys. This yarn is a merino/bamboo blend and is sooooo soft. Did I tell you how much I love this sock? I've got half of the foot done. It's probably the fastest I've ever knit anything. I started it Sunday and I'll probably finish it tomorrow. Well,maybe Wednesday. Work gets in the way.

Pk and I are going to do some holiday shopping tomorrow after work. I'm going to just say it aloud and you can all boo and hiss at me. "I like to Christmas shop". There. I said it. I like to look for presents that will make my loved ones go "ooooohhh". I don't mind the crowds too much and I like the hustle and bustle and I love looking at Christmas decorations. I like the anticipation of the holiday and the hiding of the presents and the conspiracies as we try to keep secrets. I'm not so good at the keeping of the secrets so I don't shop too early. I wish I had elves to wrap the presents but unfortunately I have to do that myself.

There have been some holidays when I was sure that life events would overshadow the joy and wonder (the year that Pk and I were separated comes to mind) but somehow the happiness that is Christmas to me has always come through. I know the world is not in an especially good place right now and the economy is in the toilet and the future is uncertain. I'm not hiding my head in the sand. I'm simply choosing, yes, choosing to make a happy holiday for myself and my family. Maybe because I don't know what is coming in the new year but I do know that things could always be worse and I'm very, very thankful for what good things I have.

I don't know if I've ever told you all about a woman I know who suffered a series of potentially devastating life events (breast cancer removed, apartment robbed, apartment burned down, father died, immigration papers stolen,diagnosed with a serious illness) all within a 2 month period. When I saw her and asked how she was coping, she said "Miss Donna, I am fine. Things can always get worse and I am alive". I keep this image of her smiling face in my mind. I can hear her tell me that things can always be worse and she reminds me to be happy and grateful for what I have. Thanks, Maria. I try to live up to you and your positive attitude!
And now I'm off to cook some dinner. I have a package of sausage waiting for me downstairs. I am not a fan of sausage but Pk loves it ("meat in a tube, gotta love it") so I cook it for him. I'll settle for some pasta and salad.
Stay safe and warm and dry! Oh, and if you happen to be vacationing in Hawaii ( Roxie) I hope you're enjoying your warm sunshine!


amy said…
You don't have to defend yourself on choosing to have a happy holiday! :-) My main problem this year is I wish I could do a little bit more holiday stuff with my kids than I am managing. Otherwise, I am quite looking forward to our quiet Christmas at home!
Tinniegirl said…
Your wonderful words have brought tears to my eyes. Thanks.

I love that gorgeous mural too.
Bezzie said…
See, I'm so glad to hear about someone else enjoying the holidays. The bandwagon thing to do seems to be to bellyache about them. Bah! (Wait, is complaining about complainers too complainy? ;-) )

The snow's sticking in North Jersey! WOO!!!
TinkingBell said…
I love your mural - how utterly beautiful - and you are so right - we always have much to be thankful for - we are alive (tick) we are living in the developed world (tick) we have food on the table(tick) and people we love(tick tick tick!) - and even better, there are people who love us!

And I am so envious both of your socks and your balloon!
Galad said…
What a bright and colorful balloon. I love that you have it in your office to enjoy.

Enjoy your holiday!
Dianne said…
I cast on those socks last night after reading your blog. They are great - might just become my favorite pattern...or one of them, anyway. On Ravelry, I found an errata for it, though - not sure if you knew of it.

Your posts make me try to be a better person.
Roxie said…
Hooray for you! enjoy this holiday to the fullest and the rest of us will trail along smiling in your wake. I, too, love finding gifts and seeing lights and decorations, but the hustle and bustle disorients me. so I get out early in the day, mid-week.

Lovely mural. Isn't it wonderful what a little paint and creativity can do?

Whenever I feel whiney, I remind me that there are at least 700 beggers in New Delhi who would trade places with me in a minute, regardless of my complaint.

Hugs and joyu to you!
Sheepish Annie said…
How true...if you are breathing then there is still hope for a better tomorrow! And lovely murals at the workplace don't hurt the morale either.

Hope you're feeling better! I don't imagine the drizzly weather helped much.
Amy Lane said…
I love those people that make me grateful for my life--(ahem, like you?) As it turns out, I'm especially grateful for them!!! (And I have a secret enjoyment of Christmas shopping myself, when it's only Mate and I, or my friend Barb and I:-)
Em said…
The mural is lovely, and how cool is it that a Starbucks sponsored it? I know they're the trendy place to go and all, but I respect some of their business practices (their beans and chocolates are all fair trade). I love that little hot air balloon, I remember it hanging in the bedroom for so long. Hey, it'll be Christmas in a week, and I'm all excited. I can't wait to come home.

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