Should you be wondering whether I managed to complete my gargantuan list of "must do" tasks at the office, I'm happy to reassure you that, yes indeed, through an effort of superhuman willpower, I did complete every report, letter and other sundry assignment (including collecting for and purchasing a group gift for my boss) right on schedule today at 12:00 p.m. Yes!

And now, I can officially turn my attention to the business of holiday making. You see, I never seem to become fully cognizant of the fact that it's Christmas until about three days before the actual day. Oh, you mean today is December 20th? That means we're leaving here in two days, so anything I'm going to accomplish for Christmas festivities in Michigan has to be done - tomorrow?



As I was blog surfing today, I read the words of a very wise woman who reassured me that it's okay if I'm not in a "happy, elfin, north pole place" at this time of the year. I'm not alone, she reminded me gently, in the kind of sad, Eyyore-ish place I tend to visit every December.

And then she gave me this advice:

"If you are to make this month bearable, or even good, you must try to be alone with yourself some — in a good way, not in a dour, isolated way. Doing that is the spiritual and psychological equivalent of standing up straight, with your weight evenly distributed on your feet. When you stand that way, no matter how hard the gales blow, you won’t fall." And of course, that's what is lacking, what is always lacking for me - enough time to be alone with myself in a good way. As I write those words, I think you all must get tired of hearing me whine about my persistent lack of time. Why doesn't she just fix her schedule, you're probably thinking. Why doesn't she just become better organized or change her life so she has more time?

That's a good question.

But I can't really answer it now - or even think about how to answer it - because tonight I'm visiting my aunt and uncle, tomorrow I will be hitting a bunch of stores helping get my mom prepared for being on her own for two weeks, picking up a few last minute gifts, wrapping things, doing laundry, checking in on my mother in law, and trying to figure out what/where/how to pack all the things I want to take with me.

And it may be that I actually have more time than I think, more time than most people have. But it also may be that I simply need more time - to be alone, to brace myself against the world. I crave simplicity and order, two commodities that seem awfully hard to come by in this 21st century world.

So I'll be looking for some of that "good time alone" during the next couple of weeks when I'm in Florida, some time to stand straight with my feet firmly planted on the ground. But I'm not sure if I can put myself in that "elfin, north pole kind of place" this month, even thought it sounds like a good place to be.

Maybe next year.