I stole this idea from Jennifer, though I'm a day late. :)
1) Christmas decorations. I just finished taking them all down. It's the first Christmas (since college) that I haven't been living in someone else's house, so this year the decorating was on me.
Now, I come from a home that always looks fabulous in December-- Dad does the lights outside and Mom does everything inside, from hanging lighted garland over each downstairs window to tying a red waterproof bow on the ceramic frog that sits in the glass-doored shower of the guest bathroom. I myself had intended to be minimalist because I don't want to accumulate decorations that'll have to be stored somewhere. But Mom couldn't stand it. She came to my apartment, glanced around, and exclaimed, "Everywhere I look, I see need!" Then from her own abundance she loaned me bagfuls and bagfuls of stuff. "You can keep it at our place," she said. So our apartment looked great after all, and I was quite happy about it, especially the live tree she bought me (pictured), and our inward-facing balcony which got lighted garland and a six-foot (fake) Christmas tree to put the other residents of the complex to shame.
But then the holidays passed and the tree remained, standing in mute six-foot testimony to my laziness. I meant to take everything down last weekend, but instead I went to San Juan Capistrano on Saturday and had dinner at home on Sunday, accompanied both times by lovely people, and that was worth letting the whole complex see what a procrastinator I am.
2) My roommate is busy scrubbing and disinfecting and vacuuming and dusting, while I sit here on the newly bare balcony, looking at the nice landscaping and blogging from my wireless laptop. This is the life.
3) I feel I didn't get enough Christmas this year, didn't absorb the season, partly because I didn't do enough walking around looking at Christmas lights.
There's also the fact that I didn't make it to any of the music programs various churches put on. You gotta sing some carols!
No Midnight Mass either, nor the Christmas Eve candlelight service at my parents' church. I was busy with last-minute present wrapping and I didn't get my moment to say "Yes! Christmas has come and Christ is born and here I am singing Silent Night and tearing up!" Mass at Dawn was wonderful but it's not the same.
And I was out of town for the four days after Christmas and so didn't do my traditional hanging around my parents' house enjoying the decorations and the family friends they always have over at that time. There are three wonderful couples who assemble with various kids, and their presence always makes me feel that I'm on vacation.
Well, better planning next year.
4) To all my roommate's friends who give her chocolate and sweets of various kinds: thank you. She's not big on desserts and they usually end up in my stomach.
5) I was reading John 3 today, and Nicodemus came to talk to Jesus at night and said, "Master, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him." And suddenly I got all emotional, and could only tell God over and over that I love Him for bothering to come and teach us. To think of that time, and that simple and amazing fact of God walking the earth as a man, interacting with the people who had all sorts of different reactions to him... I can't describe it, but I know my feeling had something to do with leftover Christmasness. :)
6) Isn't it funny that when Jesus was walking on water, or feeding the five thousand, his disciples could hardly believe it and he had to rebuke them for their lack of faith, yet when the Samaritan town refused to welcome Jesus, the disciples suddenly had great faith in the miraculous and asked, "Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to destroy them?"
Maybe they were angry at the rejection and the force of emotion was helping them to believe. When you really want something to be true, it's easier to persuade yourself that it is. Like an ardent sports fan somehow believes his hapless team has a chance of winning. Like someone in love believes the love must be returned and it's bound to work out somehow. Like a gambler believes his odds are better than everyone else's.
So I suppose the more you love God, the easier it is to have faith in Him.
7) About number 5... it happens quite a lot with me that I'll be reading about some historical period and suddenly I'm seized with a great desire to be there. It feels as if *that* was really the time to live, and I would totally fit in, and they knew all sorts of things then that we've forgotten today. I especially used to feel that about England of the 1600's, but that no longer seems so simpatico, so these days I get nostalgic about the Middle Ages. All things considered, though, I wouldn't want to go, because then I couldn't blog from my balcony. And because God knew very well that I should be born in Hollywood, California in 1978.
8) But I think my attachment to history is related to my enjoyment of science fiction-- other times, other places, other worlds. I used to long to live in Tolkien's Middle-Earth. And I'm embarassed to say that on Friday after work, when I heard that Ricardo Montalban had died, I went looking for Khan clips on YouTube and ended up spending hours and hours just watching blurry bits of old Star Trek episodes. We don't have a TV but I still find ways to waste time in front of a screen! It was good to see the crew again. Hadn't watched Star Trek in ages. I especially used to be a fan of The Next Generation. By the way, you know how Wesley Crusher was hated by most demographics and seems to have been put on the show just to appeal to teenage girls? Well, I was a teenage girl at the time and let me tell you: it worked.
Oops, that was eight takes. Let's see if Jennifer kicks me off the Mr. Linky list...