Wednesday, December 14, 2011

State of the Blog

Sometimes I go back and forth about why I have this blog at all. I didn't really want to be all out there in internet land. I didn't want to share what I was writing with others. I didn't want any criticism. This type of writing doesn't always allow for the detailed re-write process that I like to exercise. And it doesn't keep my words private until I'm ready to share. My thoughts are out there and I'm quite exposed, so in a way I am unable to be truly real. It's a strange type of feeling, to be so vulnerable, which is why I haven't told anyone that this blog exists.

Then I thought if I had a subject, then maybe I would feel focused and able to write consistently. And maybe it would be interesting and people would want to read about it. And it would at least get me writing every day, right? And that would be good practice in being a legit-real-life writer someday, right?

When I started all of this, I picked my home to be my muse, this Green Acres land. I was excited to take so many pictures and write about what we were growing and what we were learning and what I was making with our garden glories.

And then we had the strangest season.

Our tomatoes didn't grow.

Our zucchini and squash developed a case of cutworm (strangely, not appetizing).

Our corn didn't germinate.

Our apples didn't bud.

Our grapes didn't fruit.

What the? How did? But yes, we did, we utterly and completely messed up a lot of things in our garden this spring and summer.

And now we sit in winter's solitude, trapped inside with nothing to show for it but our potatoes. And my blog sits here lacking a whole lot of what I had planned for it. I'm not quite sure what to do with it all. I think it is important to keep writing but am not certain this format is working for me. I don't expect feedback. I am using this post as another writing exercise: to throw out everything within onto the page and see what it looks like in morning's light.

Here's to a clear morning!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas Ornaments: The Child Edition

I love setting up a Christmas tree. At Green Acres, this process is pretty simple. We store our tree in a closet upstairs and it is pre-lit. Saves a lot of time, effort, and brain cells.

Putting up the tree was such a production when I was growing up. We had to clean up the living room and then form an assembly line from the garage in through the kitchen. Five kids made this assembly line pretty efficient. Dad would go up into the attic and grab tree branches and hand them down and we would scurry back and forth piling all the same-sized branches in separate piles in the living room.

Then Dad would come in and set up the base. We would hand him branches to put in the right places and sometimes we would help put them in, until we couldn't reach anymore. Then Dad would put the top of the tree on and mess with it for a while, smoothing out branches and making sure it looked "just so."

Once the tree was assembled, we were banished from tree set-up until Dad had put the lights on. This was always an excruciatingly long process. He would check to make sure all the bulbs were lit, string a bit, take it off, re-do it and on and on. We would come in and check on him, see if he was almost done, fling open the ornament box and plan which ones we would hang first, fight over a few, get sent to our rooms, get sent to the basement to grab a different string of lightbulbs, and on and on.

Finally we could put ornaments on. I had my favorites. I loved the little pram with a top you could flip back and forth. I loved the little cheesemaker you could spin around and around. And I loved the little china doll in the red and white checkered dress. And then I played with the ornaments the rest of the Christmas season.

Yes, you read that right. After the painful process of putting up the tree correctly (and I didn't even get into the tinsel catastrophes) I would remove ornaments from their place and use the Christmas tree as my own personal dollhouse. Even baby Jesus was snatched from the little barn house in front of the tree for my reindeer games. He liked to play hide and seek - as in, I would hide him on the tree and have another sibling find him. Is this sacrilegious? In any case, the little china doll was married to the clown whose legs moved up and down with a string, and that was why they had the pram, except baby Jesus didn't fit in the pram, which was very unfortunate.

I wonder if I will have a little girl someday who plays with the ornaments on the tree. I wonder if I will be upset with this practice, after the effort of putting up the tree. I look at some of the ornaments that we have... and I think that they are just begging for little hands to pull them down. The Mister has quite a classic car collection... and I have a few fun ones, including this little guy, Mr. Pengy.

For now, it's just me naming my ornaments. You should see the Gatlinburg Grizzly, and the Marshmallow Man! Perhaps this post should be called: Why I Need Therapy: Christmas Ornament Edition?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

O Christmas Tree

Last year was our first Christmas together. We didn't have a lot of decor and we didn't have a large budget for decor... but we really wanted a tree. Aloud, we said we would wait until after Christmas and pick out a tree on sale. We walked around Home Depot one night, found a beautiful 7.5 ft tree with LED white lights. We agreed it was perfect. We were excited that our tree desires were the same. We said to each other that we would return after Christmas day, when the tree would be marked down in price.

Our unspoken desires were also the same, but we didn't know it at the time: it really wouldn't feel like Christmas without a tree. 

We only had a few holiday gatherings planned at our own home. Everyone knew we were newlyweds. We didn't really need a tree. Still, that childlike spirit that comes around each Christmas was revealing itself in both of us: we really wanted a tree for Christmas. 

On the outside, we proceeded with our plan. I found some ornaments in the Target $1 section, "for next year," and Mister continued to price out trees, "for after Christmas." 

Thanksgiving arrived, along with the numerous advertisements. Grandpa directed us to the front page of the Home Depot ad - "7 ft tree with LED white lights: $49.99." It was not quite like the tree we had our eye on, but a solid substitution.

Still, we were not black Friday shoppers. Mister decided that IF he woke up on his own without an alarm clock being set for so early THEN he would perhaps go out and purchase this tree on sale for such a fabulous price. We went to sleep with visions of turkey, turkey-trot run, and our (maybe) tree.

Mister woke up at 5:13am.

He left our house.

He went to Home Depot, picked up the tree, paid for it at self-check-out with a gift card we had received from our wedding (read: free tree!!!!)

He crawled back in bed next to me at 5:37am.

Around 9am, we awoke joyously and ran downstairs to look at the tree box. We set up the tree. We gathered ornaments we had collected for years and put them on our tree. Many of these ornaments had never seen a tree before, though they had been owned for years. These were ornaments I was told to save, "for when you have your own tree someday." 

And my, it is lovely to have my own tree. Mister and I stood back to admire our tree, surprisingly we had a good distribution of ornaments, evenly spaced, plenty of color. Further confirmation that we were made for each other, and that this tree was made for us.