I posted recently on Twitter that I don’t get the whole egg nog thing. It’s weird tasting and has actual egg in it! GROSS! As it turns out, there are many out there like myself who have never quite jumped on board the egg nog train. I like to think we’re the same people who prefer our lattes sans pumpkin spice too.
Except last night I decided to try once more. I was at my aunt’s Solstice party and it looked so festive and tempting, so I poured myself some and at the advice of my wonderful tweeters, plenty of bourbon. It. Was. Delicious. It was so creamy and sweet, but not overwhelming. I sipped it with delight.
Down the rabbit hole I have fallen because today I ordered not one, but TWO egg nog lattes and am figuring out how to procure a vehicle so I can hit up the dairy and buy it by the gallon.
Because my holiday spirit has NOTHING on Cooper’s. This guy LIVES for the glitz and jolly of this season. Be sure to follow his adventures on Instagram and Twitter @coopterrier. He’s ridiculously more popular than I am and keeps strutting around with his nose in the air. Then I remind him that he doesn’t have thumbs so I still have that going for me.
I’ve had some pretty pathetic visits to the doctors office, but the other day sitting on the table crying pathetically and saying to the doctor, “…it just hurts…and my skin… and all my clothes hurt so much!!” might be close to the top. I was diagnosed pretty immediately with the flu and sent home with drugs and instructions to rest up, which was tricky because fever dreams are CRAZY and my body felt like I had been entered into some kind of fight club. I remember at one point in my sweaty, feverish state having these very vivid images of Marmie rubbing Beth March’s legs in Little Women when she has the fever so bad and trying to do the same to myself. Logic is funny when you’re sick.
But I am well now and attempting to play catch up after losing 3 days of my life. Here is a belated Episode 2 of the vlog for you. If you haven’t already, send me your address and I’ll send you a Christmas card! Check out what one of my fantastic readers wrote about it. I haven’t murdered him or anything!!
A few years ago on Dec 26th, excess ribbon and gift wrapping still strewn about the house, my parents called my brothers and me into the basement. They sat us down for a “Family Meeting” and informed us that they were separating, which would eventually become divorce and remarriage (for my dad).
There is really no good time to be a child of divorce, but one of the drawbacks of a marriage falling apart so late in the game is that things are pretty well set at that point. We’d had 25 years to establish solid traditions and in one single moment in our damp smelling basement, those were all pulled out from beneath us.
At first, we floundered. And drank a lot. I even took one year off entirely and claimed it my “Scooge” Year, figuring we all get at least one in life and it seemed as good a time as any to play that card. Slowly and surely, though, my brothers, mom and I found our footing. It took a while, and facing the season of festive and tradition was hard. I even ran off to Montana for two of them. We have started new traditions. They are fun traditions and they will continue to grow and evolve as our family grows and evolves.
I have always loved the magic of Christmas, even when I was scrooging. I love the idea of a season devoted to love and twinkle lights. I love gifting to my friends and family and watching It’s A Wonderful Life on repeat. I love the smell of pine and haunting Advent carols. I remember knowing that even when I was in the blackness of scrooging, that I would find my way out and I have. This is my last Christmas season in Texas before heading back up to the great white north and I am excited to take advantage of all of it.
My grandfather used to tell my father stories about Pierre Frontinac, a fictional lumberman who worked in the Adirondack mountains. The stories involved adventure and wolves and always took place in the winter. My father used to tell us the same tales when we would go camping. I loved the stories of Pierre and the romanticism of being in the lumber business. Maybe that’s why I have always loved flannel so much.
So I figured it would be totally easy to chop down my own Christmas tree.
I had never been to a Christmas tree farm before this weekend or chopped/sawed anything down. Growing up we always procured our trees from the Boy Scouts and when I was an adult they were right around the corner, so I would make my brother come with me and we would just walk it home down the icy sidewalks. When I moved to Texas I stopped getting trees. I was feeling grinchy and always left for actual Christmas day, so I didn’t bother. As this is my last Advent season in the great state of Texas, I decided to go all out.
I was a little bit disappointed in Mother Nature for not realizing my plans and creating a perfect winter wonderland for the occasion. Instead it was warm and sunny and all around delightful. I told my friend we would just have to imagine the sparkle of white everywhere.
Coop came along for the experience and to inspect trees for squirrels. He liked the challenge of peeing on ALL of them!
We picked out the perfect one. It was full and beautiful, but also had plenty of character and charm. I grabbed the saw and set to work. Thank goodness I’d found a small one because I have little to no arm strength and it’s kind of hard once that saw really gets in there and I ended up making my friend finish it for me. Pierre can keep his lumber job. I’ll stick to just wearing flannel and call it a day.
It is a perfect tree and we came back and set it all up and I got nostalgic as I hung up each ornament. My mom gave me an ornament or two every year growing up so that when I was an adult and got my first tree, I’d have plenty to hang on it. Each one represents different stages of my life and I love seeing them decorating the corner of my apartment.
I have lots more photos posted on Instagram: @accmusicblog so be sure to check them out.
I remember the first day of fourth grade more than any of the others. I wore purple leggings and a turquoise turtle neck and my mom french braided my hair. I remember standing in front of the school bus while she took my picture, and I remember walking into class and trying to be confident. The desks were spread out in rows and I was in the middle. I remember thinking that my teacher, Mrs. Brown, was amazing, because I thought all of my teachers were perfect and amazing at that age. Later, I would hate her because she blindsided me. Fourth grade is the year that things are different and challenging and I didn’t like being challenged! Then I loved her again because it turns out that being challenged is actually kind of amazing and there is so much out there to learn. And that is what is so magical about being 10 years old and why fourth grade has held such a special place in my heart.
I wanted to teach it. I wanted to be like Mrs. Brown and I wanted blind side students with new academic doors. I wanted to challenge them and even let them hate me because if I did my job right, they would discover what a great world all of that challenge opens up. So I studied and I volunteered in classrooms and student taught. I tutored, got a couple of degrees, substitute taught and I landed a job in that most special of grades.
Except the thing about teaching is that it is it is so much more than the idealism of discovery and learning. It is a job that resides in a very, very broken system and it is asking more of my life than I am willing to sacrifice. It is a job that has worn down my body and my soul and for several weeks in August and September, had rendered me to the point of crying on my morning walks to school.
So I quit. Because life is short and sometimes making my own happiness means leaving a profession that I thought would be my forever. That’s the great thing about life. It’s a choose your own adventure and I can change the course of that adventure whenever I need to.
Of course, teaching has a sort of anti-climactic “giving notice”. Despite my disgruntled feelings and burnout, I have the most amazing group of students and wouldn’t dream of bailing before opening as many academic doors for them as possible this year. So that is what I will do.
With those 117 more school days, I will also figure out what my next move is. Plan A (and there is a whole alphabet worth of plans) is to see if I can hack it as a writer. It is the most daring and scary of the plans, but also the one I am most excited about. Any advice is welcome.
I will also be leaving the great state of Texas. I came here 4 1/2 years ago seeking adventure and found it and fell madly and deeply in love with it, but I miss the northeast, the smell of leaves in the fall and the silence that a heavy snowfall brings. Mostly, I miss my brothers and would move to the ends of the earth to be with them. I am excited and ready and eager to start the next phase of what my dad always hoped would be a there and back again journey.
My destination is unclear at best and it will certainly be a challenge, but Mrs. Brown taught me what a fantastic world that can open up, so I’m ready for it.