Since I work at home, I wouldn’t easily get snow days anyway, but I feel cheated sometimes when people around me are off and I’m in my lair hunched over a keyboard and pushing pixels around. My clients are still in New York City, and it’s 60 degrees there right now. Me, I have half a foot of snow on the ground and it’s under 30 degrees, so I feel like I ought to get snow day. Locally schools are closed and people are staying home in some cases; 6 inches of snow is not exactly like armageddon, but it’s a nice excuse to take it easy when that’s what’s going on anyway. I’m not actually having any trouble working (remember being in school and trying to focus when it was snowing outside?), but it would definitely be fun to sneak out and play with my daughter for a couple of hours.
I feel better than ever about stepping back from music for a while. It hurts a little bit to say no to people I care about, I have a hard time with that anyway, but it’s not as hard as it ought to be. No doubts, no second guessing. I can’t say I’m going to start selling instruments just yet, but I don’t feel like playing and I am enjoying not-gigging more than I can explain.
I’ve been reading every spare moment, watching movies with my family (in defiance of the Waldorf School rules that are supposed to eliminate 100% of that stuff form our lives) and I’ve even been doing some cooking again. Sunday, I made some fudge with my daughter, threw together some shortbread that turned out really well, and made a big pot of the best clam chowder I’ve ever made. (And I can reproduce it, it wasn’t just a fluke. Starting with a roux is the key, butter and flour keep it thick right from the start, no need to do any funny tricks at the end of the process; if anybody reads this and cares, I’ve got a great recipe that I start with and customize.) Been making semi-homemade chai – by that I mean that I use chai teabags and not a homemade tea blend – great cold weather stuff. I almost feel like sweeping the snow off my grill and making some barbecue later out in my snowy back courtyard, but the day’s kind of getting away from me – I’d be thawing out something already if I was serious. I’m dimly aware that I should probably be concerned about using 6 cups of sugar and a pound and a half of butter in a single day of cooking, but that’s where I’m supposed to shrug and say something like, “Hey, it’s the holidays!”
It’s been pleasing to have fires going and ashes to empty and pellet stoves to fill and wood to haul in some kind of dumb way. I’m basically the breadwinner in our household (Anette’s doing more and more projects of her own, and we’ve set it up that way by choice anyway), but feeding or keeping my family warm provides me with a much realer sense of actually doing something for them. We have a Christmas tree, Sydney and Anette decorated it (and I should get some photos of the snow and the tree and stuff), and I figured out how to use my wireless network to play music in the living room from my office’s computers so I can play Christmas music when people are interested. 30 years ago, I would have been happily/grumpily trying to figure out which bulb in the outdoor lights had burnt out so I could get them to work again, today, it’s configuring an Airport Express.
So the year is wrapping up, and while work is as insane as it is the rest of the year, everything’s working pretty well. I’ve successfully dodged my holiday dread so far, and can’t think of any reason to resurrect it. On top of that, we’ve been caring for other peoples’ dogs. One dog, Annie, has stayed with us at least a couple times and she fits in great and plays great with Loki, our puppy. And over Christmas, we’ll be watching Krista The Daycare Lady’s dogs – 4 – and we’ve been having “play dates” with them to get everyone used to it. So I had 6 dogs in the house most of the last 4 days. Over Christmas, we’ll have her 2 big guys, Shush and Tiger, plus her two little guys, Bijou and Marley. 8 dogs.
On one hand, it sounds crazy when I think about it, but being in the middle of it is actually pretty fun. Then, we’ll have Swiss vegetarians over on Christmas, so between the 2 little girls, 8 mongrel dogs, and people from at least 3 different cultures, it’ll be fun. If I can find a place to mount my Festivus Pole, we can get started with the Airing of Grievances. (I’m not worried about the Feats of Strength this year.) And – blessedly – no plans at all for New Years. Good times.