I made way too much food last night. The squash soup was the most successful, I think, but more effort than the Fannie Farmer pumpkin soup which is just as good. Susan ended up not able to come, which left four of us, and enough food for an army. I could have invited more people, but I didn't really feel like coping with a horde. It's okay -- I'll just have leftovers to eat from now 'til I leave town on the 11th. It's a good thing, really. Especially since I have two holiday parties to go to Monday and Tuesday -- I'll take the untouched trifle to one, with some eggnog, and the maple yams to another, with some eggnog. :-)
We had a nice time, though, as usual. Paul and Marcia did a great job decorating the tree, though I think I'm going to go through and put some more of the small glass globes on the inside of the tree. I just started my ornament collection last year; I stuck to blue and silver, bought two sets of simple globes, and a few interesting ones. This year I got red globes to add, and some red and some gold ornaments. Jewel tones; my home is suffused in jewel tones. Sometimes it's like living inside a big multi-faceted gemstone. :-) I appear to like the very shiny, glittery ornaments (not the homespun wooden types that are in such profusion around Utah). I'm a crow at heart, I guess. After dinner, we played cards -- Paul taught us a game called "Pitch", another bridge variant. Fun, but too complicated for me to bother explaining here. We played until about midnight or so, which seemed just about right.
Yesterday at Borders I did manage to work while Liss shopped. I didn't quite finish revisions on "The Emigrant", but I have high hopes for it today. I did get a lot done -- changing it all from first person stream-of-consciousness to third person is a vast nuisance, but it seems to be improving the story. We'll see what I think of it when this draft is done. I also have to start grading, come hell or high water. But all of that starts after she leaves around 1. That's okay -- if I work from 1 to 9ish, that's a reasonable work day. As I said previously, I'm trying to avoid giving over my entire life to grad school. :-)
We're going to spend the morning cleaning up from yesterday and then making candles, I think. I'll show her how it's done and then if she's interested, she can do some herself at home. Almost everyone's getting candles for Christmas this year, though I did pick up books for a few people yesterday at Borders. And homemade gift bags for them -- I picked up some velvet, silk and gold embroidery thread, and in theory, I'll be able to hand-stitch little bags to put candles in. We'll see if that actually works. (Karen, I hope you're using that sewing machine! :-)
Utah really brings out the craft side of my personality. It's odd. I don't have any real artistic skills as such (visual artist, I mean), though I used to draw a pretty mean building back in 8th grade perspective sketch class. What I'd like to do is lots of beautiful elves and fairies and such -- probably blending into urban surroundings. I have a bunch of images in my head for that kind of thing. Sort of like illustrating de Lint. Karina gave me a book on drawing last Christmas, and I did a little work in it, but I'm just not motivated enough to spend enough time on it to get better yet. That's okay -- in my golden years I'll take some art classes. In between writing books, teaching as a professor emeritus and managing my vast magazine empire, of course. :-)
Anyway, I'm in a good mood, I suspect my tea is ready, and I still have to put up the sunroom lights. I'll talk to you later, my dears. I hope your holiday season has started well.
7:30. Well, I got started on actual work a little later than planned, but on the plus side, I'm most of the way done with my candle Christmas presents. Not that they're due tomorrow... :-) I've been working on "The Emigrant" for the last couple of hours, and I should be done fairly soon with this revision. I'm really having trouble keeping my tenses straight, though -- I'm going to have ask someone finicky, like David or Jed, to go through and tell me where I need to fix things. I keep sliding from past to past perfect and at this point I'm not sure I can tell which I need where. There are too many "had"'s in this story. (And I'm pretty sure I just punctuated that "had" wrong, but oh well).
I really dropped in here for two things. The first is to wish Jane and Jim all the best on their surprise wedding! That's marvelous, truly it is. Weddings make me all mushy. I think they re-affirm my faith in human nature -- that even in the face of all of life's difficulties and uncertainties, we still make these impossible promises to each other. We choose to search for joy. Humans are paradoxical and wonderful.
(Now if you take those comments in combination with Forster's quoted a few entries ago (which I also agree with), you'll understand a little of my mixed feelings about marriage. :-)
I also just wanted to tell you how happy I feel right now. I hung the Christmas lights in the sunroom, so I'm now working in a room that is hung with many little lights on three sides. The fourth side opens on to the living room, where I've dimmed the lights, the better to enjoy my shining tree when I happen to glance in its direction. I'm listening to Loreena McKennitt's "Dante's Prayer", a song I love beyond all reason. I have tea, and a lit candle (that I made) sitting in a small silver candleholder with cut-out stars. When I finish this revision, I'll start some grading, and when I get tired of grading, I'll call Kevin. If he's home, we'll probably talk for a while. And if not, I'll talk to him soon, and I'll see him in just a little over a week. I don't know why all these little things together make me so happy, but they do.
the way I feel about youis hot tea and daffodils
your sleeping body
stretched across a sofa
head nestled against me
a red balloon in summer
a winter bridge and your arm around me
a wedding dance
and quick apologies
your hands on my body
your lips on mine
my head against your shoulder
a paper castle
red gold fish
a tree of light
the care you take
and deep blue stars